Thursday, June 29, 2017

Book Beginnings & Friday 56: Then There Was You by Kara Isaac

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading.

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice and asks you to grab a book (any book), turn to page 56 or 56% in your ereader and share a non-spoilery sentence or two.

This week I'm featuring Then There Was You by Kara Isaac.



Book Beginning

Paige McAllister didn't think it was possible, but there was something worse than being single and thirty at your nineteen-year-old sister's wedding.


Friday 56

"I need to hug a koala."


What have you been reading lately? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Review: Light of Dawn (The Remnant #3) by Vannetta Chapman


Summary

Before Dawn, What Dangers Lurk in the Darkness?
For nine months, since a devastating solar flare caused a complete failure of the electrical grid, Shelby Sparks and her diabetic son, Carter, have been living at the ranch of Shelby's high school sweetheart, Max Berkman.

Mostly insulated from the chaos surrounding them, Shelby and Max discover that the Texas government has fled the capitol and is barely maintaining control of the state. The governor needs volunteers to search for the new federal government, but no one knows exactly where it might be located—if it even still exists—or what perils await those brave enough to take on the mission.

Compelled by Carter's desperate need for insulin and their God-given sense of duty, Shelby and Max answer the governor's call and set out on a treacherous 600-mile journey, where they will experience the terrifying effects of unrestrained anarchy. If they have the faith and fortitude necessary to reach their destination, what will they find when they get there?

In this thrilling conclusion to the Remnant trilogy, America is left teetering between total collapse and the dawn of a new and vastly different reality.


My Review

Four Stars

I'm sad to see this series end. It's been a fascinating look at what could happen if a solar flare totally wiped out all modern technology. It's scary to think of the events that happen in the book really happening, but it's a great reminder to be prepared and to always lean on God.

I really appreciated the “Excerpts from Shelby's Journal” at the beginning. It bridged the gap between the end of Raging Storm (book two) and beginning of this one really well.

“We're going to weather this. Together we will find a way.” The first sentence of Light of Dawn and it perfectly captures what, I feel, is the message at the heart of this series... Finding a way through a difficult situation together, with friends, family, neighbors, and most importantly, God.

Chapter One begins nine months after the solar flare. They've had time to get settled at High Fields Ranch and they've started getting used to life with no modern technology. At the behest of Governor Reed, the gang's all back together after agreeing to go on a journey across the country to try and find the missing federal government. Along the way, they meet many interesting people, some good, some bad. My favorites were Dan the music man and Mary Jane and Stu.

There were quite a few times when I was shocked by what happened, when my heart was racing, when I was holding my breath, and wishing I could read faster so I could find out what would happen next as quick as possible.

A couple of my favorite quotes were “Sometimes you do a thing because it's the right thing to do. Not because it makes sense.” and “When you're completely lost, when you have no idea what comes next or why things are happening, faith is what gets you through. Even if you're not sure what you believe, you keep doing the things you know in your heart are the right things.”

I feel like I learned a lot from these books. I hope and pray that the power grid never goes down, that the events in this series never take place in real life, but if it did, I feel better prepared because of these books. I highly recommend this series to everyone!

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my own honest opinion.


To learn more about Vannetta Chapman visit her website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or blog.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: If I Live (If I Run #3) by Terri Blackstock

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming eagerly anticipated releases.

This week I'm featuring If I Live (If I Run #3) by Terri Blackstock releasing March 6, 2018.


Summary
Casey is hiding again—in Memphis this time—but it’s different now. She knows without a doubt that Dylan believes her and is doing all he can to help bring Brent’s killer to justice. He’s become an unexpected friend . . . and even, maybe, something more. Hope makes everything more bearable.

Casey makes a deal with the DA to turn over all the evidence she and Dylan have gathered against Keegan and Rollins—only to discover that the DA is in league with them too. After a desperate escape, who can they possibly turn to now?

Time is running out for Casey, but master suspense writer Terri Blackstock will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last, utterly satisfying page.

Why I need it
I can't wait to see how this series concludes! It's been an 'edge of your seat', 'impossible to put down' suspense series.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I've Read in 2017 So Far



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week I'm featuring the Best Books I've Read in 2017 So Far.
(These are in no particular order.)

by Julie Hall

by Christy Barritt

by Janell Butler Wojtowicz

by Pepper Basham

by Allie Pleiter

by J. Rodes

by Danele Rotharmel

by Sarah Sundin

by Tanya Eavenson

by Susan May Warren

by Maria V. Snyder

What are the best books you've read this year?

Review: Huntress (Life After Book 1) by Julie Hall


Summary

No one’s afterlife is as dispiriting as Audrey’s―at least that’s what she believes after waking up dead without her memories and being promptly assigned to hunt demons for the rest of eternity. She’s convinced God’s made a cosmic mistake; after all, she’d rather discuss the color of her nails than break them on angelic weapons.

It doesn’t help that her trainer, Logan, is as infuriating as he is attractive. And just when Audrey and Logan appear close to developing an amicable relationship, a decision made under duress pushes their hearts in a direction neither of them saw coming.

Despite her sub-par fighting abilities, an ancient weapon of unparalleled power chooses Audrey as its wielder, attracting the cautious gazes of her fellow hunters and the attention of Satan himself. With Satan’s eyes now fixed on Audrey, a battle for the safety of the living looms in the shadows.


My Review

Five Stars

I'm a huge paranormal/fantasy lover, but I don't normally gravitate towards books with demons because, well... they're terrifying and I really don't like being scared. But I kept hearing about how amazing Huntress was, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm so happy that I did! What an absolutely amazing book! I could hardly put it down and certainly didn't want to leave it when life interrupted. I was hooked from the very first line. Time slipped away from me. I'd be totally and completely immersed in the book, look up and be shocked by how much time had passed. Everything except for this book, faded away. I was sucked into these pages, this world, totally and completely absorbed into it.

The world building was absolutely stunning. The writing was superb, so descriptive, painting a beautiful picture of the scenery and surroundings. I felt like I was right there, feeling all the same emotions as Audrey. There was action, danger, romance, friendship, laughter, hope. There were times when I'd feel so hopeful, so good, so light, so happy. It was such a wonderful feeling! And the chapter titled 'God'... WOW... breathtaking! There were also times when I felt scared, anxious, and a bit hopeless, but those feelings never lingered for long. The overwhelming love of God always emerged victorious, banishing the dark emotions. There was a wonderful message about putting all our insecurities, fears, doubts, etc. aside and placing all of our trust in God.

Audrey's a stubborn, but strong and fierce young woman. She's pretty much thrown into this new world with little to no explanations and has to figure everything out for herself. It was super discouraging for her at times, but the journey she goes on was so great to read! Logan was frustrating and moody at times, but a hard worker with a good heart. And I can't forget to mention Romona! She's such a great friend! 

A couple of my favorite quotes are: “There is always a plan, a bigger picture, even if you don't understand at first. Despite how it might appear, how you might even feel, you are never alone, not for one single moment.” and “God uses all situations for good in the end, but we have the freedom to royally screw up. In fact, sometimes it's those screw-ups that lead us back to God.”

Huntress is a very strong contender for the best book I've read this year! I did not want to leave the stunning world Julie Hall created. I am so glad book two, Warfare, is already out. I'm ready to delve right into it!


For more information on Julie Hall, visit her website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Beginnings: Distorted by Christy Barritt

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading, along with your initial thoughts/impressions.

This week I'm featuring Distorted by Christy Barritt. It just released this Tuesday and you can check out my review for it here.


Tennyson Walker's mission was clear; find Dante Torres, take him down by whatever means necessary, capture the insurgents, and get out.

My Thoughts:
It certainly hooked me, made me want to keep reading to see if Tennyson's mission succeeded.

What's the first line (or so) of the book you're reading? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Review: Raging Storm (The Remnant Book 2) by Vannetta Chapman


Summary

In the Darkness,
Anarchy Awakens

When a massive solar flare wiped out all modern technology across the globe, the small town of Abney, Texas, was thrown into chaos. Shelby Sparks and her teenage son, Carter, have found refuge, but Shelby knows she can't simply remain hidden. Carter is a type 1 diabetic in need of insulin—and Shelby will risk her life traveling to Austin to make sure he gets it.

Shelby's best friend and high school sweetheart, Max Berkman, won't even consider letting her make the perilous journey alone. Together, they manage to reach the capital—only to discover that while things are desperate in Abney, Austin has turned into an urban nightmare on the brink of anarchy.

Shelby and Max's search for medical supplies will lead them into terrifying territory, where the only thing more uncertain than finding what they need is the hope of making it out of the city alive.
* * *
In this second book in an eerily plausible, action-packed dystopian series, survival will be threatened and faith will be put to the ultimate test as a raging storm engulfs America.


My Review

Four Stars

I absolutely loved Deep Shadows, book one, and have been super excited to read Raging Storm. My mom read this before me and devoured it, but warned me that I might want to wait until it was closer to the release date for book three, Light of Dawn, because of the gigantic cliffhanger. Since it's close to the release of Light of Dawn, I thought I should get to reading this one... and now I completely understand my mom's warning!... I NEED BOOK THREE NOW!

It took me a little bit to get into this book, but once I did, I had a difficult time putting it down! My favorite parts were reading about Carter and life on the ranch with Max's parents Georgia and Roy. They're such a great influence on Carter and I loved watching him grow and adapt to so much in such a short amount of time.

Shelby got on my nerves a bit in the beginning. I completely understood her impatience and attitude, but I still cringed when she took it out on others. Max was one of my favorite characters. He's a steady, strong, good guy, a stable force in a world gone mad. A lot was revealed about the mysterious Dr. Bhatti, what he was hiding, what he was doing in Abney... very interesting!

I had so much anxiety the entire book. There was a sense of urgency that permeated all throughout and I couldn't read it fast enough. The author did a magnificent job at painting a vivid and realistic picture of what the world would look like if the electrical grid goes down and all modern technology is lost. It's haunting and bleak at times, but there's also an underlying theme of hope. I seriously can't wait to read Light of Dawn and I highly recommend this series to everyone!


To learn more about Vannetta Chapman visit her website, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, or blog.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy #1) by Sarah Sundin

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming eagerly anticipated releases.

This week I'm featuring The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy #1) by Sarah Sundin releasing February 2018.


Summary:
In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a Wren in the Women's Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France--including those of her own family's summer home--in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin's practiced pen with this powerful new series.

Why I need it:
Nobody does World War II fiction like Sarah Sundin. I'm always entertained by her books, but at the same time, I learn so much history, too!

What book are you eagerly anticipating? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Distorted by Christy Barritt

Summary:
Mallory Baldwin is a survivor. A former victim of human trafficking, she’s been given a second chance, yet not a night goes by that she doesn’t remember being a slave to weapons dealer Dante Torres. Despite being afraid of the dark and wary of strangers, Mallory is trying to rebuild her life by turning her tragedy into redemption.

To former Navy SEAL Tennyson Walker, Mallory seems nothing like the shattered woman he rescued two years ago, and he can’t help but be inspired by her strength and resilience. So when a stalker suddenly makes Mallory vulnerable once again, Tennyson steps up as her bodyguard to keep her safe.

Mallory and Tennyson’s mutual attraction can’t be ignored, but neither can Mallory’s suspicion that Tennyson is keeping a terrible secret about her past. As the nightmare closes in, it’s not only Mallory and Tennyson’s love that comes under fire but their very lives as well. Will their faith sustain them? Or will the darkness win once and for all?

My Review:


Five Stars

Distorted: To give a misleading or false account or impression of.


Distorted delves into the disturbing world, and aftermath for a survivor, of human trafficking. It's a very real issue that doesn't get the attention that it needs. This novel brings to light the fact that human trafficking doesn't just happen to poor girls from foreign countries, it could happen to anyone.


Tennyson is “one of the good guys”. I mean, how could anyone not like him. Mallory's a survivor. She's very relatable and even though she went through something so terrible, she's working hard to overcome it. I really admired her courage and the fact that “she could take her heartache and redeem it by helping others...”


The pace never let up. I was hooked from the very first sentence and did not want to put it down. It's one of those books where I was constantly telling myself, “Just one more chapter.” I couldn't, didn't want to, stop, even when I had to. I never knew what was going to happen next. I didn't know who to trust or the motives of a few of the characters. Were they good, bad, only in it for themselves? Did they have Mallory's best interests in mind? I was constantly kept guessing, which is what I love in a great suspense novel.


There were many times when the action was so intense and the suspense so great, when my heart was racing and I was holding my breath that I forgot I was reading about fictional characters. I felt like I was right there with them, praying everything would turn out okay.

Distorted is a must-read for any fan of romantic suspense. Highly recommend!

I received a complimentary copy of this book and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my own honest opinion.

To learn more about Christy Barritt, visit her website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I've Been Meaning to Start/Finish


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week I'm featuring Series I've Been Meaning to Start/Finish. There's quite a few series that I've had on my TBR list for a while that I've been meaning to start and also quite a few that I've read either the first or second book and need to finish the series. I'm breaking this into two categories and, of course, you know me... I can't seem to stick with just ten, so there's a few more.

Series I Need to START


by Irene Hannon

by Rachel McMillan

by Sarah E. Ladd

by J.C. Morrows

by Ronie Kendig

by Ally Carter

by Rachel Hauck

by Valerie Comer

Okay, so these aren't a part of a series, but I really need to read all of Elizabeth Camden's older books.

Series I Need to FINISH


Friends and Enemies (Book 1) was one of my favorite books last year, so I don't have any good excuse about why I haven't read books 2 and 3 yet. I've heard great things about them and am excited to read them soon.
by Terri Wangard

I've loved everything I've read by Roseanna White, especially The Lost Heiress (Book 1) and so here's another series where I have no good excuse about why I haven't finished it. Hopefully I can find some time to get to them soon.
Ladies of the Manor Series
by Roseanna M. White

Okay, I'm ashamed to admit it, but Undeniably Yours (Book 1) wasn't one of my favorites. So I thought I'd skip the rest in this series, but I'm rethinking my decision now. My Dad listened to all the Porter Family Series books on audiobook and raved about how good they were. Plus, I've recently read a couple of Becky Wade's novellas and absolutely LOVED them, so I'm gonna give this series another try.
Porter Family Series
by Becky Wade

I read books 1 and 2 in this series (loved them) and have books 3-5 in my TBR list just waiting the be read.
Christiansen Family Series
by Susan May Warren

I've read the first two books and loved them. I keep telling myself I need to get back to this series, but something seems to always come up.
Rookie K-9 Unit Series

There's quite a few series where I have just the last book left to read. Some series I love so much, I don't want them to end, which is what has happened with these books.
Tangled Webs (Men of Valor #3)
by Irene Hannon
Season of Glory (The Remnants #3)
by Lisa T. Bergren
A Refuge at Highland Hall (Edwardian Brides #3)
by Carrie Turansky
Sadie's Secret (The Secret Lives of Will Tucker #3)
by Kathleen Y'Barbo

I have 3 books, from 3 different series, by Melanie Dickerson that I NEED to read... what's wrong with me?
The Silent Songbird (Hagenheim #7)
A Viscount's Proposal (The Regency Spies of London #2)
The Noble Servant (A Medieval Fairy Tale #3)

So many books, so little time...

What are some of the series that you've been meaning to start or finish? Leave a comment below and let my know.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Book Beginnings: Raging Storm (The Remnant #2) by Vannetta Chapman

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading, along with your initial thoughts/impressions.



Excerpts from Shelby's Journal
Abney, Texas
June 10
Approximately 8:20 pm EST

While hiking in Colorado Bend State Park, Max, Bianca, Patrick, and I watched as a massive solar flare collided with the earth's atmosphere. The subsequent solar storm affected every aspect of our infrastructure and resulted in a total collapse of the electrical grid.

My Thoughts:
This recaps the first book extremely well and sets it up perfectly for the start of book two!

What's the first line (or so) of the book you're currently reading? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Tearing the Veil (The Uncloaked Trilogy Book 2) by J. Rodes


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that highlights upcoming eagerly anticipated releases.

This week I'm featuring Tearing the Veil (The Uncloaked Trilogy Book 2) by J. Rodes releasing July 17.


Summary
They trained us well. Power punctuated our every move, driving fear into the intended target. Who would stand against them?Braxton Luther, the sellout.
Now a part of the Den, he’s determined to make good on Eliza Knight’s faith in him—to be more than what he’d settled for when the Party had taken over. But his goal is dangerous, and not just for him. As he searches for a way to protect the silent, invisible victims of the new government, Braxton’s mission—which includes finding a way to rescue Eliza from the Reformation Camp—becomes even more complicated. Hannah Knight, Eliza’s sister, is simply too much like him.
Tired of standing in her perfect sister’s shadow, Hannah determines to find her own place in the world. If that place is with the Pride—the girls’ home and training center provided by the Party—so be it. When she leaves the hopelessness of the cellar, that’s all she’s aiming for. But Quinn Sanger, the handsome son of a powerful political leader, finds her at the creek, and her life takes an unexpected and optimistic turn.
Braxton’s convinced Hannah’s in trouble. Hannah’s convinced Braxton, and all the Uncloaked, are insane. But when they peek behind the real veil the Party maintains, the truth is beyond what either had feared or hoped.
If everyone knew, it could change everything. They redefine their mission. It’s time to tear the veil.

Why I need it...
The Uncloaked, the first book in this series, was so good, one of the best dystopia's I've ever read. I'm anxious to find out what happens next with Braxton and Eliza!

What book are you waiting on? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books My Dad and I Loved



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week's theme is a Father's Day Freebie, so I thought I'd share some books my Dad and I both enjoyed. I know I have WAY more than ten books listed, but I thought since it's Father's Day, why not go all out. My Dad listens to a lot of audiobooks, so most of these are available in that format, but not all of them.


Dystopia/Post Apocalyptic

This is probably our favorite genre. It's always interesting and scary to think about the types of situations/scenarios in these types of books. EMP's and massive solar flares wipe out modern technology in Deep Shadows, The Alliance, and Last Light. Ashfall takes a look at what the fallout might be if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts and the Swipe Series details a seriously corrupt and evil government.



WWII

My favorite historical time period to read is WWII and I knew my Dad would love these books and love learning more about WWII. So, I bought these for him on Audible and he really enjoyed them.

Historical

She Walks in Power is a tale of good vs. evil set in medieval times. The Ballantyne Legacy Series follows three generations of Ballantynes from the 1780s to the 1850s. The Watchmaker's Daughter is a historical fantasy with a quirky cast of characters and an intriguing mystery.



Cozy Mysteries

These are super fun mysteries that are a bit on the lighter side.



Mystery/Suspense/Thrillers

This genre is right up there with dystopias as one of our favorites. It's always fun to ask each other whether we've figured things out yet or what our theories are.



Funny

Everybody needs a good laugh every once in awhile and these two sure brought many smiles to our faces. Whether it was walking the cat in The Thirteenth Chance or Uncle Laz and his 'mob stories' in Fools Rush In, we both still talk about these books.



Misc.

These books are a little bit on the different side for what my Dad usually likes, but when I was telling him about them, he was intrigued enough to want to pick them up. House Immortal was super unique. I don't really know how to categorize it. It's a bit urban fantasy, dystopia, futuristic, paranormal with a little Frankenstein twist. The Lunar Chronicles, who hasn't heard of that wonderful series? They're super fun Sci-Fi fairy-tale retellings set in a Dystopian future. And The Study Series!... The best fantasy series out there right now! (I would probably recommend House Immortal and The Study Series for ages 16 and up.)


What's your dad's favorite book or genre? Do you have a favorite fictional Dad? Leave a comment below and let me know.