Sunday, February 28, 2016

Count Your Blessings by Sharon Sala

Synopsis via

Previously titled Color Me Bad, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sharon Sala dishes up Count Your Blessings, a contemporary romance piled high with love, laughter, and plenty of heart in Blessings, Georgia!

As the respectable wife of the town preacher, Patty June Clymer never thought she'd have to worry about a cheating husband. But when things come to a head, Patty decides to take charge of her life by kicking her no-good husband out her house, and getting a total makeover at the popular local salon. With a new spiky black haircut and a new outlook on life, Patty goes from mousy and meek to living large and in charge, and fairly starts a revolution in the small town of Blessings, Georgia.

This story started out with a bang! Anyone who has been cheated on or knows someone who has been cheated on will like the first few pages of this story! Revenge is best served with a pair of clippers and a lawn strewn with belongings.

Blessings, GA, the stereotypical sleepy little town with residents that know everything about everyone. The characters are colorful, the gossip juicy, and husbands are throwbacks from the 50's and 60's.

While Patty June is the main character, Miss Sala introduces you to the majority of the residents of Blessings. Each character has a distinct purpose to the story. But the story gets to be a little confusing with so many characters actually taking center stage. She does keep the storyline progressing and evolving, but it hits a climax and all of a sudden, the story is over.
Miss Sala left me confused and wanting more.
The ending felt like it was as far as she could go with the story and just quit. I know it is a novella, but I have read novellas that give you closure, but still ties into another story. It doesn't leave you wanting to read another story, it just leaves you wanting.

How would I rate this novella? Well, I'm a little torn. I enjoyed the beginning, but was so disappointed in the ending. I will rate this a 2 star.

Disclaimer: I received this e=book for free through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Future Shock by Elizabeth Briggs

Synopsis via

Elena Martinez has hidden her eidetic memory all her life--or so she thinks. When powerful tech giant Aether Corporation selects her for a top-secret project, she can't say no. All she has to do is participate in a trip to the future to bring back data, and she'll be set for life.

Elena joins a team of four other teens with special skills, including Adam, a science prodigy with his own reason for being there. But when the time travelers arrive in the future, something goes wrong and they break the only rule they were given: do not look into their own fates. 

Now they have twenty-four hours to get back to the present and find a way to stop a seemingly inevitable future from unfolding. With time running out and deadly secrets uncovered, Elena must use her eidetic memory, street smarts, and a growing trust in Adam to save her new friends and herself.

I have found myself another must read author! Miss Briggs is a talented and captivating writer.
Future Shock has a little bit of everything; suspense, drama, intrigue, and teen romance. I was hooked from the very first page.

I really liked how she wove the characters' past into the storyline instead of devoting chapters just to explain each character. The story flowed effortlessly. As I read, I just wanted to keep going. I wanted to know what happened next. I don't want to say it is a quick read, but it would be easy to complete the story in one sitting because of the easy flow of the storyline.The story never feels forced or tedious.

The drama, intrigue, and suspense naturally blended throughout the story. The idea of time travel is one that is debated everywhere. Could you exist in the same timeline as your future self without causing a paradox? Will changing the past create an alternate timeline? These are all questions that are debated every day, everywhere. This is what Miss Briggs has tackled.
Elena and the other four characters each brought their own emotions and baggage to the story. The interplay between the characters added depth to the story line. Elena is a character that you not only feel empathy for but admire for her strength and perseverance. Each character is like Elena, they bring out different emotions as the story progresses. These are not cookie cutter characters!

The only thing about the story that was somewhat baffling was the romantic side of the story. During most of the story line, the characters are what you would expect from teenagers that have been victims of the foster care system. Yet when the story turns to  romance, the ages of the characters come into question. The romantic exchange made me think that Miss Briggs was writing about middle school characters as opposed to high school students on the brink of adulthood. No, I wasn't expecting sex scenes from Pretty Little Liars or The Originals, but there was so much hesitancy between the characters that the romance felt immature and lacking.

But, overall, this is a must read story for sci-fi fantasy and YA readers.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fire and Ice (Fireman Make it Hotter #1) by Cheyenne McCray

Fire and Ice

Synopsis via

Firefighter Grady Donovan, spots Chelsey Daniels teaching at the local ice skating arena. The sexy former international champion has curves in all the right places, a smile that lights up the room, and a personality to match. She causes a five-alarm blaze inside him that only she can put out.

When Chelsey meets gorgeous firefighter, Grady Donovan, he seems perfect for her. However, when she learns of his dark past, it puts the skids on their growing romance.

Grady is nearly killed as he rescues victims from an apartment fire, and it brings back terrible memories for Chelsey. She doesn't think she can go through losing another man she loves to a dangerous profession.

Can she overcome her fears to embrace love again?

Another Cheyenne McCray homerun!
Fire and Ice will grab you by the libido and won't let you go until the very end!

So what is so special about this story in a genre with so many options? Well, let's start with the author. Cheyenne McCray is a super talented author who knows how to combine conflict, lust, sex and love into am actual story-line. She is an author who knows how to keep her readers interested. An author who cares about the quality of her writing, determined to make her fans happy and keep them engaged.

Now, about the book, Both Chelsey and Grady are loveable characters with real life flaws, inside and out.
Grady is a hot fireman (who doesn't love a man in uniform?) who is drawn to Chelsey. Chelsey is a former champion ice skater who has loved and lost. They are drawn together, seemingly perfect for each other. But as we all know, real life can get in the way. In their relationship, it is Chelsey and Grady's past that gets in the way. Gardy is head over heels for Chelsey, but Chelsey just can't seem to overcome her inner demons to fully embrace what Grady is offering her. While she can fight the emotional demons, she just can't say no to the red hot, curl your toes sex that Grady offers.
There really isn't much more I can say without spoiling the story. And believe me, you DO NOT want me spoiling this one for you.
I pick this as a MUST READ. Yes, Cheyenne is one of my favorite authors, but she earns my dedication all over again with every book she writes! Read this book. I promise you will NOT be disappointed!

Arivaca (Guardians of the Light) by John Poulson

Synopsis via
Jesse Ballard’s life is filled with misfortune. His parents are dead, he’s been convicted of a crime, and a dark secret torments his soul. But when he’s incarcerated on a ranch for troubled teens he discovers his troubles have just begun. A Supreme Power has literally hijacked his life, bringing him to the ranch to make him the guardian of a powerful relic that was hidden away 2600 years ago when Solomon’s Temple was destroyed. 

Given superhuman powers, Jesse is suddenly thrust into a strange and perilous world of supernal treasures, killers and demons—battling the dark forces who desperately seek the sacred artifact. Thinking he’s on a one man mission, Jesse is shocked to learn that Cedar Lane, a girl who seriously despises him, has spiritual gifts essential for keeping the relic safe. Without her help, he’s in jeopardy of losing not just the relic, but his life. 

As Jesse unravels this secretive and dangerous world he learns the ups and downs of young love, and both the reward and peril of following his divine call.

Arivaca was an easy, gentle read for me. As a Christian, I was intrigued with Mr. Poulson's modern twist on an age old story from the Bible. As a reader of  supernatural/YA, this was a book with deep thought and occasional action. That said, when I combine my two halves, I enjoyed this book with a "gentle sway" kind of feeling.
We find Jesse, a troubled, orphaned teen unable to find any real meaning in his life. He stumbles into a bad situation that ends up being a blessing in disguise. He finds himself placed on a ranch for troubled boys. Here he finds himself on a journey of faith and self-discovery.
 Arivaca is a place of structure where troubled boys can get away from their bad influences, learn to work with others as well as how to make and keep lifelong friendships. Mr. Poulson introduces a number of characters. These characters are pivotal in Jesse's journey. I enjoyed that Mr. Poulson gave you just enough information on each character to explain their impact on Jesse's life without delving deep into their background boring me, There is definitely no doubt that Jesse is the primary character.
I do have to admit though, that I thought Cedar was a little too good to be true as well as confusing.
Jesse is in high school, under 18, and here comes this college graduate that works on the ranch helping with these troubled boys. She is loved by all, gentle and caring, easily and quickly forgiving. Yet Mr. Poulson creates a bond that is both spiritual and intimate. No, I don't mean they have hot and heavy sex. Mr. Poulson creates an intimate relationship between Jesse and Cedar that is gentle, respectful and caring. In my opinion, it borders on inappropriate because of their ages and Cedar's position.
Overall, this is a book that puts a modern twist on some of the stories in the Bible. Mr. Poulson made the Bible relevant to our time. He opens the reader's eye to the fact that evil and demons wear the face of humanity, that satan doesn't have to pull evil out of the depths of hell because there are any number of humans he can recruit to his side.  
On a personal note: I was flabbergasted when I googled Arivaca and found that there is an actual Arivaca, AZ as well as an Arivaca Boys Ranch! But what really hit me over the head was the fact that I lived so close to the town for over 11 years and never heard of it. Sierra Vista, AZ, the home of Ft. Huachuca, the home of Military Intelligence is literally just a few miles due east of Arivaca.
Mr. Poulson's choice of setting is a mirror of what Jesse must become. AZ is a place of beauty and serenity where anything that lives must dig deep into themselves, utilizing their inner strength to help them survive. They have to have faith in themselves and learn their strengths and weaknesses.
Who will like this story? I think readers who enjoy Christian Fiction as well as paranormal readers who can take or leave erotica.
Will I read the rest of the trilogy when they come out? This is a "wait and see" for me. I am intrigued to see where Mr. Poulson takes this story, but at the same time, this is not a story that left me feeling like I just HAVE to read more.

disclosure: I received a free copy of this book throught Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Black Dawn by Cristin Harber

Black Dawn (Titan #6)

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Parker Black wants the one woman he shouldn’t have—his buddy’s girl. She's sweet and smart, but clueless about how deep Parker lives in Titan’s virtual world. Everything is controlled. Chaos is mastered. Black and white data and risk analysis. That is the way he understands his world, how he plays his role to keep Titan teams alive.

But he’s wrong.

About everything.

Lexi Dare lives two lives. She’s an unhappy fiancĂ©e stuck in a spiraling relationship, unsure how she ended up with a ring on her finger and an abuser in her bed. But she’s also elusive. Elite. A master hacker playing deadly stakes.

When the lines blur and the truth comes out, Lexi’s only shot at survival is the trust of her rival—her equal—before it’s too late.

This is the first book by Cristin Harber that I have read. The synopsis had me hooked. As I have said before, I have a weak spot for soldiers. But Parker is so much more than a soldier.
Miss Harber has created characters that you can't keep from falling in love with. Parker is the quintessential "perfect man". He is highly intelligent, very compassionate, empathetic, and a total badass all wrapped up in one HOT package.
And then there is Lexi. A woman of contradicting personalities. On one side she is in a relationship out of hell, abused by her fiance'. But her other personality is a badass biker babe who is an elite, master hacker.
While Parker and Lexi have met a few times through her abusive fiance', they never imagined that they have actually known each other for years-BlackDawn and SilverChaos, two elite master hackers.
This book was big on action and romance. The characters are well-developed, intricate, and emotionally engaging.
The story is also well developed and engaging. Every time it seems like the story was winding down, Miss Harber surprises you with another fork in the road. While these surprises are exciting and captivating, there is one downside: you have to put the book down at some point and get some sleep.
So, what did  I like the most about this story? Pretty much everything. I totally fell in love and lust with Parker. And Lexi, so very hard to describe; I actually fell in love with her. She is in a bad situation that made me feel awful for her, but then she transforms and I found myself rooting for her and feeling happy for her. Ah, but the best part? Well, that is how her fiance' gets what is coming to him. I won't go any further into this because, well, you'll see when you read the book.
This one is another MUST READ. Putting it down will be soooo hard!