Monday, February 16, 2015

Review: Positive by Paige Rawl

I’m excited to say that I did my first outreach at the local high school. I had previously met with the High School Media Center Specialist and we shared a lot of great ideas. She had tons of insight for me and I let her know that I really wanted to have a presence in the school. She runs two clubs, the Anime Club and a Book Club, both meet twice a month. Right now I have only been able to attend the Anime Club, but I did meet the some of the book club members.

One of the book club girls I met was very excited to recommend a book that she had just read. If a patron recommends a book to me, I will immediately check it out and try to move it to the top of my To-Be-Read (TBR) pile. The book she was so excited about was Positive by Paige Rawl and Ali Benjamin. It is the story of a young girl who was born HIV positive.

Let me tell you about Positive. It will absolutely break your heart. The bullying and torment that this young woman suffers through starting in the 6th grade is enough to move anyone to tears. Until the 6th grade it was a secret about Paige’s HIV status…until she confided in her best friend. By the end of the day, everyone was claiming that she had AIDS. The lack of support from the school administration and faculty members is what really got me fired up. My mother was a high school guidance counselor for 17 years and I can’t tell you the horrific stories that were brought to her on a daily basis. She always stated that her number one job was to stand up for the students…even against teachers. The outrage I felt at Paige’s story was so intense that I had to put the book down three times, just to calm down.

I understand why the girl who recommended Positive was so passionate about Paige’s story. The fact that she was able to overcome all the torment and grow into a beautiful young woman is amazing. She did not just give up and let these bullies beat her down. She stood up for herself and other kids that were being bullied. With the help of Ali Benjamin, Paige’s story is eloquently told in a beautiful light.  If you have the chance to read Paige’s amazing journey, you won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Spotlight: Me Tarzan, You Jane by Camelia Miron Skiba

Me Tarzan

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00002]

Me Tarzan, You Jane by Camelia Miron Skiba

Moving on doesn’t always have to mean goodbye.

Widowed makeup artist Jane Sullivan is more comfortable keeping her husband's memory alive than dating a pool full of sharks. Ella, her 4 year-old daughter, is her whole world.

When Jane meets Lucas Oliver, famous cover model, it’s hate at first sight. His playboy persona rubs her the wrong way.

Accustomed to every woman fawning over him, Lucas is drawn to the shy, uncompromising single mom and completely melts at the sight of Ella. He is determined to convince Jane that sometimes a second chance can mend a broken heart.

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Fun book. When it first started out, I was afraid it was going to be shallow (lots of references to hot guys, etc) but it turned out to be a thoughtful story with likable characters. I look forward to reading more from this author. ~ Author Karey White

Great story! Loved Jane's strength, and learning the layers of "Tarzan." This is a great story about moving on after a tragedy and learning to trust again! ~ Author Sherry Gammon

I adored this book. The characters were so alive for me that I was actually sad when the book ended. I wanted more. Maybe the author will be kind enough to write about each of the male models mentioned here ... If your looking for a heartfelt story this is the book for you. ~Solmarie

Author Camelia Miron Skiba


CameliaI’m a dreamer
I’m a sinner
I love my books
I conjure hooks
And heroes with good looks

Romance is my guilty pleasure
Taking me to places with new decor
Come join me if you dare
I promise not to bore

If you like to read my stories
Pray my husband continues snorin’
For he’s the one who keeps me up at night
When I give my heroes wings and flight.


Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 2/27/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spotlight: In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams by Karen Ranney

In Your Wildest Scottish Dreams
The MacIain Trilogy #1
By: Karen Ranney
Releasing January 27th, 2015

Avon RomanceNew York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney's first novel in a brand-new series spins the intriguing story of a beautiful widow and a devilishly handsome shipbuilder...

Seven years have passed since Glynis MacIain made the foolish mistake of declaring her love to Lennox Cameron, only to have him stare at her dumbfounded. Heartbroken, she accepted the proposal of a diplomat and moved to America, where she played the role of a dutiful wife among Washington's elite. Now a widow, Glynis is back in Scotland. Though Lennox can still unravel her with just one glance, Glynis is no longer the naïve girl Lennox knew and vows to resist him.

With the American Civil War raging, shipbuilder Lennox Cameron must complete a sleek new blockade runner for the Confederate Navy. He cannot afford any distractions, especially the one woman he's always loved. Glynis's cool demeanor tempts him to prove to her what a terrible mistake she made seven years ago.

As the war casts its long shadow across the ocean, will a secret from Glynis's past destroy any chance for a future between the two star-crossed lovers?

I have been waiting quite impatiently for this book to be released. It sounds right up my alley and I can't wait to devour it! 

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Karen Ranney began writing when she was five. Her first published work was The Maple Leaf, read over the school intercom when she was in the first grade. In addition to wanting to be a violinist (her parents had a special violin crafted for her when she was seven), she wanted to be a lawyer, a teacher, and, most of all, a writer. Though the violin was discarded early, she still admits to a fascination with the law, and she volunteers as a teacher whenever needed. Writing, however, has remained the overwhelming love of her life.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani

In Lovetorn by Kavita Daswani, Shalini has only known one world: India. She lives in a massive house with 37 of her relatives and loves it. She has been engaged to Vikram, the man of her dreams, since she was three years old. Nothing could spoil her wonderful life…except when her father decides to take a new job and uproot her family to L.A. How could she possibly adjust to this completely different lifestyle? Her little sister seems to jump right in, while her mother struggles more and more with these new surroundings. As Shalini adjusts to live in California, will she be able to hold onto the world she has always known and the person she has always known herself to be?
                I instantly gravitated to Lovetorn because of my unhealthy obsession with anything related to India. This was a pretty easy and straightforward read. The author provides a glossary to help the reader understand the different foods, phrases, and words that Shalini uses. This is a great reference tool and I was really glad it was included. Daswani creates a storyline around Shalini’s mother that I thought was very well written and crucial to Shalini’s struggles to accept this new lifestyle. Some of Shalini’s actions and feelings did not seem genuine to me. I think the author could have spent more time on Shalini’s transition from being completely in love with Vikram to realizing that she might feel different. I would have liked to have seen the author develop more into the secondary characters, especially Sangita, Shalini’s little sister and Toby, an American boy who makes Shalini rethink everything she knows. Other than that, Lovetorn provides an insightful look at the lifestyles of India and the transition that many teen immigrants face.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wyoming Strong by Diana Palmer Review

Confession time….I can’t help but read Diana Palmer’s books.

If you have read one Diana Palmer book, then you have read them all.

Palmer’s books usually carry the same themes. Young innocent girl meets mid-thirties rugged man. He is uncomfortable with the age difference or there is an instant dislike. Throw in a cattle rancher, a sheriff, maybe an ex-CIA operative and you have a Diana Palmer romance. Sometimes they are historical westerns or contemporary.

Besides Johanna Lindsey, Diana Palmer was one of the first romance authors I was ever introduced to. My mom had mentioned to her co-worker that I was reading romance novels (at 13) and the next thing I know my mom is lugging in a paper bag full of them. Her co-worker was kind enough to lend me dozens of Fabio covered books to educate my young mind. In this bag was Once in Paris, the first book in the Hutton & Co. series by Palmer. I loved this book (and the two sequels) so much that I never returned it with the others in the bag. In fact I still have it.

Over the years, I have continued to check out Palmer’s books…but these books can get a little ridiculous. The love scenes are often full of the most unrealistic dialog. I have read a few aloud to BF just to see his reaction. They are pretty entertaining.

I will give Palmer credit, because she is an insanely prolific writer. She has several hundred books under her belt…yup, hundreds. Out of these several hundreds, I have read about 25. I have tapered off because the level of ridiculousness has increased exponentially. But nothing tops Wyoming Strong.

I grabbed Wyoming Strong off the new shelf because I was looking for something easy and quick to read. Boy, was I in for a treat.

Wyoming Strong does not stray from Palmer’s typical set up. Wolf Patterson is a mid-thirties ex-mercenary who loathes Sara Brandon, who is in her early-twenties. This is a contemporary story set in San Antonio, Texas. The Wyoming reference refers to the series, Wyoming Men.

First off…these are probably two of the most effed up characters that I have ever read about (and I have read Tiffany Reisz and Gillian Flynn!).

Let’s start with Wolf….first it is important to note that Wolf is not a virgin (remember this for later). While on an assignment he falls for a local girl who is cra cra. Every time they have sex, she flips the lights on and makes fun of him…at the most inappropriate moment.  Yeah, so he is pretty screwed up from that.

Sara had a terrible childhood. Her stepfather attempted to rape her when she was 13, but she was saved by her brother and the fact that she has an imperforate hymen.  She is pretty skittish around men, which is to be expected, but she can’t deny that there is an attraction to Wolf.

Things are actually going pretty well in the story. Palmer likes to throw in gamer terminology and she really stepped it up for Wyoming Strong. In previous books, the terminology was generic and seemed like it was only added to confirm the story being set in modern day. I will give her credit for improving in that area.

Now back to Wolf and Sara…here are some issues that I found ridiculous and hilarious…
1.       She calls him “Mr. Patterson” for most of the novel.
2.       She can’t believe that people actually have sex with the lights on.
3.       He knows more about her imperforate hymen then she does.
4.       He has never had an orgasm until Sara.
5.       Crawling Sperm.

Before I explain the crawling sperm, let’s talk about number 4. Remember, when I said that Wolf was not a virgin? Well, he makes it very known that he had never had an orgasm until Sara. Let that sink it. Palmer references him ejaculating with his ex (remember turning on the lights at inappropriate moments?), but according to Palmer, that is not an orgasm.

Now, the crawling sperm. If you had never heard of an imperforate hymen, like I hadn’t, then you might not know that it has to be corrected surgically…therefore making it impossible to have sex without the surgery. This is mentioned in the book, so the couple can’t do the deed just yet…but they do have a heavy petting session that goes pretty bad (remember, both characters are pretty messed up in the head when it comes to sex). Anyways, Wolf mentions to Sara that she might get pregnant. HOLD UP! I kept thinking, “They didn’t have sex!”. That is why Wolf explains to Sara the basics of anatomy when this classic line, “Do you know that sperm are mobile, and they can crawl?”

Yup. Crawling sperm.

And you know what else? She does get pregnant! Oh those crawling sperm.

Don’t believe me? Check out Wyoming Strong and see for yourself. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: No Place to Fall

In No Place to Fall  by Jaye Robin Brown, Amber Vaughn is a good Southern girl, who secretly longs for a life outside of her small town.  She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.

 Amber has never left her small town and doesn’t know if she can. Between the drama with her drug dealing sister and brother-in-law, her parents' disastrous marriage, and the new attention of her best friend’s brother, Will, Amber’s life is far from simple. Will she be able to find the courage to make her dreams come true?

Sounds intriguing, which is why I checked out No Place to Fall immediately after it was processed by our Cataloging Department. Too bad the book jacket blurb didn’t paint an accurate portrait of No Place to Fall.

First off, Amber Vaughn is not a good girl. Within the first few pages, she discusses her plans to have sex with a virtual stranger, including almost going through with the deed, eating pot brownies, and actually having sex with someone…and not caring about the fact that he has a girlfriend. She preached about her sister being sucked into the drug dealing world, but Amber was hooking up with the guy that made the pot brownies. I was annoyed because it seemed that there was a big difference between the book jacket blurb and what I was actually reading. I carried on thinking that maybe Amber had to have a big fall from grace before redeeming herself…but no.

I know I’m sounding harsh and yes, I understand that teenagers do stupid shit. If she or any of the other characters actually grew during the story you might be reading a different review. This book was filled with half-ass characters. No one was likable (except Amber’s mom) and all the characters were two-dimensional. I found it impossible to connect with any of them, especially Amber. In fact, all Amber did was get on my nerves. I kept hoping that Amber would redeem herself to the reader. She made some mistakes, but there was still the possibility of a good story. I’m sorry to say that it didn’t happen though. I haven’t disliked a main character this much since Whitley in Kody Keplinger’s A Midsummer’s Nightmare.

The story and the characters were all over the place. There were too many secondary characters and too much going on. It definitely needed to be simplified. Nothing ever came together for me and I’m sorry to say that I wouldn’t recommend this book to my patrons. I think it will check out though because of the cover and the book jacket blurb. Maybe I expected too much. The story was there, but it was lacking the glue to hold it together. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My Best Reads of 2014

According to my 2014 Goodreads Challenge, I read 237 books in 2014. At least half of these were romance titles and about 40 were picture books. I've gone through and selected my 5 star ratings from the year. Some weren't published in 2014, but that is when I read them so I counted them. I picked my favorite book of 2014 at the bottom.

Young Adult:





Urban Fantasy


Picture Book




So which book was the best read from 2014?
It was actually a tie!

What were your favorite books that you read from 2014?

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