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Falling in Fiji (The Falling in Paradise Series) (Volume 1)
Casey Hagen, Lisa Ricard Claro
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Review: Forever My Girl, by Heidi McLaughlin

Forever My Girl - Heidi  McLaughlin

Forever My Girl has been on my TBR for too long a time. Now after having finished it, I can see what others have enjoyed from it and I’m a bit eager to continue the series.

 

What I enjoyed most with this book was the slow build. The pacing wasn’t slow, but the romance was allowed time to build, trust was allowed to build. It wasn’t a romance of impulse. With the past all these characters had, this was the way it needed to be and reading a book like this was a welcomed experience.

 

I think McLaughlin created some great characters, as well. The main characters were well developed. I feel like I really got to know them. The secondary characters were a little bit in the background for my taste, but I’m sure they’ll get their own spotlight in future books. And because they weren’t too up front in this book, they didn’t get in the way, either.

 

Beaumont seems like a town I’d like to stay in again soon. And it looks like there many more books to add to my TBR now. I don’t think I’ll be leaving any time soon.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/review-forever-my-girl-by-heidijovt

Review: The Wives of Los Alamos, by TaraShea Nesbit

The Wives of Los Alamos - TaraShea Nesbit

The Wives of Los Alamos is a book that sat on my shelf for a few years. I originally bought a copy of the book after hearing great things about it. But then I held off reading it due to the use of the plural first person point of view (“We”, “Our”, etc instead of “I”). Turns out that I was hesitating for no reason. After a few pages, I got hooked by the book and the plural first person POV didn’t bother me at all. To be honest, I think one of the strengths of this book was this rarely used POV.

 

The POV plays a big part in telling the story of this large community of women. While every one of these women is an individual, they also shared many of the same experiences. This is reflected in the writing, along with various other experiences some may have went through. Through Nesbit’s writing each woman has a voice as well as the community of Los Alamos having a voice together.

 

Aside from how well that all was written, this book is also informative about this time in history. I don’t know many details about the Manhattan Project. I know a little more about it now. But what’s best about having read this book is that it wasn’t overloaded with details. That’s not the goal. The goal was to show the effect of secrets on marriages, families, friendships. It shows how this secretive relocation altered the course of the lives involved and then after, the course of world history. I could have read a non-fiction book that spelled out all the experimenting, politics, and more surrounding the project. But The Wives of Los Alamosmade it all human. History shouldn’t always be boiled down to the facts. Real humans were involved, and a book like this one reminded me of that.

 

If this is what Nesbit has to share with readers for a début novel, I can’t imagine what’s in store for us with the rest of her career.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/review-the-wives-of-los-alamos-by-t_nesbit

Review: The Mountain Lion's Secretary, by Lila Jean

The Mountain Lion's Secretary (A Billionaire BBW Paranormal Shape Shifter Romance) (Billionaire Security Shifters) - Lila Jean

Billionaire Shifter Romance. It’s rare that those three words are strung together in a book I’ve read, but it happens. That’s the case for The Mountain Lion’s Secretary, the debut novella from Lila Jean’s Billionaire Security Shifters series. And I have to say, I was surprised to enjoy it as much as I did.

 

When those words from above are strung together in a sentence, sometimes my eyes roll. I want to be perfectly honest with that. But I think my days of eye rolling are over. (That’s a lesson in judging too fast. Even as open minded as I am, I have my flaws.) One of the things that made me like the book was the balance between the more intimate scenes and the plot not getting bogged down by them. I’ve read books that had too much sex in them for their own good. This isn’t one of them. And it’s well-written and helps in building the relationship between the two main characters.

 

Those two characters are also part of why I enjoyed the book. This is a short book, so there’s not much room to have developed the characters, but with the space available, the author didn’t lack in too many areas. I was able to get to know Zane and Mara. I was also able to see them grow together romantically and on their own.

 

There was also some action, which should be expected when you have humans changing into dangerous animals. One of the animals in particular intrigues me and I hope to see that one focused on in future books in the series. It doesn’t quite fit into our modern world (or the “real world” in general), so I’d like to see how Jean expands on her minor world building and maybe shows how they’re possible. (I’m being vague because it’s fun and could ruin the fun if I told you the animal.)

 

Would I read more books from Lila Jean? That’s a very strong yes. I’m also wanting to explore the shifter romance genre more. Now to find where to start while I wait for more from Jean.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2016/06/07/review-the-mountain-lions-secretary-by-lila-jean

Review: Poet Robot, by E.I. Wong

Poet Robot - E.I. Wong
I got a copy of this book without really knowing anything about the poet or his work. I finished the book feeling like I might know a little more about Wong and have a good feel for his work. With the subtitle “An Introduction to E.I. Wong” I guess the book accomplished it’s goal.

Within Poet Robot are three separate collections: 1) A Narcissist Writes Letters, to Himself, 2) The Second Person, and 3) (Most of) Tin Lion or, the badge of heartless cowards. Each of these collections showcase a different style of writing. Unifying all three is humor. The humor may not be to everyone’s liking, but I feel that with Wong’s sense of humor, as long as you’re open to feeling a little uncomfortable at times, it’s enjoyable. I think it means to push buttons, but all in good fun.

Overall this is a quick read and somewhat out of my comfort zone even within the wild west of poetry (especially The Second Person written in…well, you guessed it: the second person POV). I enjoyed it. I think Wong has a talent for saying whatever he wants, that I admire. I’d be open to reading more of his work in the future, that’s for sure.
 
 

 

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/poetrymonth-review-poet-robot-by-edu_independent

Review: The Prince, a Betrayal, & a Kiss, by Kristin D. Van Risseghem

The Prince, a Betrayal, & a Kiss (An Enlighten Series Short Story) - Kristin D Van Risseghem

My main issue with this story was that it didn't feel complete. The story felt like it was building up to one thing, then switched to a different track near the end. Then it ended. The change was fine. It didn't feel too out of place. But the story never jumped back to its original focus. I haven't read the other books in this series, but was told that it could stand alone well enough. With that said, it feels like this is just a few chapters within a bigger novel, instead of a story in itself. There are previous events alluded to, which helped a little with setting things up. But it feels like I'll get the unfinished story in the book that comes next.

 

I also felt that the characters were a bit flat. Even Finn, the main character, didn't feel fully developed. This might be due to the story mostly telling instead of showing. Things just sped on through, as I read, without taking the time to flesh out the story. This is a short story. There are limitations due to the length. But instead of using those words effectively, things just felt rushed.

 

Despite this, I do think I will try one of the main books of the series. I think Risseghem has some good ideas for this world she's trying to build (even if the world building, and setting in general wasn't up to par for my tastes). I want to see what the author can do without the limitations of a short story. Maybe given more room to flesh out characters, setting, and plot lines I could find this to be a great series.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1550836866

Review: His True Nature, by Silvia Violet

His True Nature (The Forestry Series Book 1) - Silvia Violet

I grabbed this story randomly while searching for something to read. I was intrigued from the description and I have to say that I wasn't at all disappointed with what I got.

 

This was a great, fast paced story of a man finding himself and love after not so pleasant time in his life. I really liked the characters and how they interacted. Even though this was a romance, I wasn't sure how it was going to finish out. But I can't get into my full thoughts on that due to spoilers.

 

I'm looking forward to getting a copy of the sequel story Their Natural Habitat. I'm not ready to stop reading about this romance.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/review-his-true-nature-by-silvia_violet

Review: An Unexpected Baby, by Susan Hatler

An Unexpected Baby (Treasured Dreams Book 7) - Susan Hatler

Treasured Dreams is over. Now that An Unexpected Baby is out, that means I've finished the series of stories that follows Holly and Dave through the early parts of their relationship, all while enjoying the beautiful town of Whitefish.

 

This story was just as great as the others. Holly and Dave's characters continue to develop and grow. It's hard to leave them behind at this point, seven stories in. I'm sure I'd be happy to read more if Hatler were to write them. I feel with the way this left off (not as a cliff-hanger, don't worry), there's more enjoyment to be had from this couple's future. But at the same time, I'm content with this being the end. I think this was a good place to leave it.

 

I'm sorry I don't have much more to say about this story. It, like the others, was short. There's not much to pick apart without giving everything away. I'm confident in saying that if you've enjoyed the series so far, this story won't be a disappointment. That's what we want in the end, anyway.

Source: http://wp.me/pIbS4-29h

Review: Ari, by S.M. Boyce

Ari (To Each His Ghost #1) - S. M. Boyce

S.M. Boyce is back with a new series and a new genre. She's also back as a gateway for this reader to explore this genre more.

 

Ari is the first book in S.M. Boyce's brand new series To Each His Ghost. Previously I've only read fantasy from this author. Her Grimoire Saga is one of my favorite series of all-time. I won't lie. The previous series was fantasy. There was magic, world building, incredible creatures. All the elements that make fantasy great. I wasn't sure how the transition to a new genre would work for me. Would Boyce be able to pull it off? The answer: Yes. Yes, she did. And I think she did it very well, even coming from a novice horror reader like me.

 

The only thing that wasn't working for me with this book was the switching of points of view in the beginning of the book. The book, throughout, is told from a 3rd person POV and alternates focus on Ari and Marcus. They're the two main characters. And the switches happen at chapter breaks. In the beginning I felt like the switch was happening a little too often and I wasn't able to get a good feel for the characters. Well, I enjoyed Ari from the start. She felt like the real lead. Marcus on the other hand isn't a likeable character. That's how he's written and there's no issue with that. I think his sections were a little short and I wasn't caring as much for him. This all changed as I kept reading, though. It actually really pulled itself together once I gave it time. I think it was how the book was meant to be done. In the end, I grew to like both characters (and some of the minor ones that come along the way). Marcus grew on me, even if I didn't expect him to.

 

The horror elements of this book were great. As I said already, I'm not the biggest of horror readers, but I know what'll scare people. I don't get scared from books. I don't even cry during the saddest moments of some. (Maybe I have no soul.) Despite this, Boyce was able to paint a great visual in my mind of the ghosts, demons, and other horrific parts of the book. She didn't hold back much either. I helped when I read this book at night with only my book lamp on. Added to the overall atmosphere as I read along.

 

Would I recommend this book to other readers? Definitely. I had a great time reading it. I also want to try more horror now. I'm looking forward to other books in this series. I think horror lovers will enjoy it as much as I did, and I don't think it'll turn away non-horror readers, either. Yes, it's scary, but there's a great story underneath it all, too.

Source: http://wp.me/pIbS4-28t

Review: An Unexpected Joy, by Susan Hatler

An Unexpected Joy (Treasured Dreams Book 6) - Susan Hatler

Susan Hatler’s Treasured Dreams series is almost done. This story, An Unexpected Joy, is the sixth installment in Holly and Dave’s life story. It’s also one that caught me by surprise in a few ways.

 

What I enjoyed about this story is that Holly was the one driving the story (and series story arc) forward. In the last few, Holly was the one in for a surprise with what was going to happen by the end of the story. Now, Holly had the chance to hold all the cards. It was a nice change of pace to have Dave be out of the loop.

 

From the title of the seventh story, I can tell what the focus will probably be. At the same time, there’s something unresolved (not in a cliff hanger way, don’t worry) in this story that will most likely carry over to An Unexpected Baby that I’m looking forward to reading about. That’s making me want it to be February even sooner.

Source: http://wp.me/pIbS4-280

Review: An Unexpected Wedding, by Susan Hatler

An Unexpected Wedding (Treasured Dreams Book 5) - Susan Hatler

Story number five of Susan Hatler’s Treasured Dreams series was released, and I devoured it like all the rest. That’s how much I keep enjoying this series. Yes, each story is on the short side, but I still have a hard time not powering through, enjoying every word, compared to how I read some stories of a similar length.

 

Hatler has a gift for putting so much story, emotion, and forward movement into small spaces. In An Unexpected Wedding, that’s exactly what the reader gets. The series may is coming to an end soon (there are two more planned, as of now, stories in the coming months), but it’s Holly’s story isn’t losing steam. It’s still pushing forward. Her character is developing more and there’s even more to enjoy from her relationship with Dave.

 

As usual, I don’t want to discuss the plot itself in this review. I want to allow the reader to discover what unfolds on their own. Just know that as a long-time Hatler fan, and big fan of this series, this fifth story didn’t disappoint in the least. If anything, it raised expectations a bit. (No pressure, Susan.)

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/review-an-unexpected-wedding-by-susanhatler

Review: An Unexpected Proposal, by Susan Hatler

An Unexpected Proposal (Treasured Dreams Book 4) - Susan Hatler

Now that I’m four stories deep into the Treasured Dreams series, I know for sure that the 12th will be my favorite days on the calendar for a few more months.

 

This is another great story from Hatler. And it’s also another time I can’t really say much about what I read. It’s too easy to dive into the deep dark Spoiler Ocean when talking about these short stories when there’s so much story leading up to each one, but I can say that the series isn’t losing steam. If anything, it’s picking up steam and getting even better each time.

 

I can also say that I was surprised with this one. As the title and description promise, there’s some sort of proposal involved. What kind of proposal is it though? How will the characters handle it? There’s a lot to be assumed when reading this, but I was caught off-guard with the final outcome. And it gave me a deeper appreciation for Hatler’s writing.

 

Now I only have to sit and twiddle my thumbs for another month before I can read the next story. I hope I can last that long.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/review-an-unexpected-proposal-by-susanhatler

Review: An Unexpected Love, by Susan Hatler

An Unexpected Love (Treasured Dreams Book 3) - Susan Hatler

This is the third story in Susan Hatler’s Treasured Dreams series. I think of the three, this pulled a head slightly as a favorite. I feel that this is where the series will really start taking off and expanding, as Holly and Dave’s relationship does the same.

 

Holly has to make a big decision in this story. No matter what what she finally decides, her life will change. With it, the course of this series. I know what she decided, and I can’t wait until story four is released. I don’t think I’ll get tired of Holly’s story.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/review-an-unexpected-love-by-susan-hatler

Review: Baking & Babies, by Tara Sivec

Baking and Babies (Chocoholics #3) - Tara Sivec

To put it simply, reading Baking & Babies was like coming home to some old friends. I’ve been reading Tara Sivec’s Chocoholics series, shortly after finishing the original Chocolate Lovers series, since the Love & Lists was released. I loved every minute of the series, but it’s been awhile since I read those books and forgot how much I missed the characters, situations, and absurdity that Sivec writes so well. From the start, this book reminded me why I can never get enough of these books.

 

In this book readers get a glimpse at another member of this large and strange family we’ve grown to love over the years. Not much is known of Molly before this book starts, and it was great to see her character develop and change. It was also great to have a new character pop up, adding a fresh set of eyes to what readers have come to accept from the characters at this point. I really liked how Marco fit in, while also reminding us what “normal” can be.

 

The only “downfall” is that this is the final book in the Chocoholics series. Was I sad to end it? Of course. Was it done well? No denying that. Does this mean I’ll have to reread the books and enjoy them all over and over? Yes, this will be a series that I make an exception to my “no re-reading” rule. I can’t wait to revisit all the hilarious and horrific (sex/)escapades Sivec can cook up for her books. These books will never get old for me.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/review-baking-and-babies-by-tarasivec

Review: Audacity, by Melanie Crowder

Audacity - Melanie  Crowder

This was a book I randomly grabbed because I was looking for verse novels to read. I’ve enjoyed the form from many different authors, but knew nothing about Audacity or Crowder’s work. Having now read the book, I’m glad I picked this one up.

I hadn’t heard of Clara Lemlich, the narrator (and historical figure), before but now I feel like I have a good idea of who she was. While this was a fictional representation of a few years in Clara’s life, it felt genuine to me. Crowder did a great job of showing the struggle of being an immigrant in the early part of the twentieth century. She also showed the struggles workers, particularly women, went through just to barely make a living wage, at the time.

Along with Clara’s life story being told, this is the story of sweat shop workers, the rise of unions, and women’s rights. These women put up with a lot to earn some money. Crowder doesn’t hold anything back, either. Knowing the details of how the strikes went and the violence they union members had to deal with, it gives me even more respect for those who stood up for their rights.

I don’t read many historical novels, but this will be one I highly recommend from now on. With it being a novel in verse, it only adds to my enjoyment and I think the form allowed the story to have more of an impact on my, as well.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/review-audacity-by-melanieacrowder

Review: Chance Encounter, by Nancy Warren

Chance Encounter: Take a Chance: Prequel - Nancy Warren

I really enjoyed this story. To be honest, there’s not much to it. It’s a short, light read, but I think I got a very good feel for the author’s writing style and what the Take a Chance series will be like once I start it. I think that’s what a good prequel story can do, and in some instances, should do.

 

I’d like to read more about both Daphne and Jack. I enjoyed these characters from this first encounter. I’m sure I’ll read more of them in the novels, along with the stories of their future family. There is nothing ordinary about these two people, and I was left wanting to read more, in a good way.

 

Whether you’re looking for a quick and sweet read or looking to dive into something bigger, it’s in this story.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2015/10/05/review-chance-encounter-by-nancywarren1

Review: An Unexpected Kiss, by Susan Hatler

An Unexpected Kiss (Treasured Dreams Book 2) - Susan Hatler

Holly’s story started back with Susan Hatler’s story, An Unexpected Date. That was a short story released a few years back, and I’m happy to have had the chance to continue with Holly’s journey now, in An Unexpected Kiss.

 

For a follow-up to Date, I thought this story met expectations and exceeded them in ways, as well. It’s still a sweet and simple story about two people falling in love, but unlike the brief first story, Hatler allowed the story to open up a bit more. This helped paint a bigger picture of the town of Whitefish and the characters’ backstories, as well.

 

I won’t get into more detail due to the length of this story, but know that I was in no way disappointed with what I read. I’m also, like I was after reading story one, eager to see what happens next for Holly. From the looks of it, I won’t have to wait too long for the next one.

Source: http://alifeamongthepages.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/review-an-unexpected-kiss-by-susanhatler