Review: Evoke by Danielle Simmons

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Buy on Amazon

Evoke centers on Laney Thomas after she awakens from a coma with light memory of what happened. Her and her best friends were tragically involved in a car accident, and unfortunately, she is the only one who made it out alive.

Evoke was a solid read. It had enough to keep me reading, however, there were times when it was a little frustrating. For example, the withholding of information. I understand that this book centers on the mystery and secrets. Still, it was a little frustrating that a character would vaguely allude to something in front of Laney and although she asked them to tell her, they would not. I didn't quite understand why they would keep the information from her. She found out pretty earlier on that her friends died so the other information felt small in comparison.

Another issue I had was the romance. Especially the loop sided love triangle. I had no issue with the romance between Laney and Evan, but I could have done without the stalkerish subplot with Dean. Quite frankly, it made me uncomfortable and I don’t think the book needed that. It felt unnecessary and I think the plot between Laney and her friends was stronger.  

Enough about the bad; I want to talk about what I enjoyed. I found Evoke to be incredibly heartbreaking at times. Especially when Laney found that her friends had not made it. The author really did a great job of capturing that pain and heartache.

And although it was small in comparison to the other events, I really enjoyed the relationship that Laney and her mother had. It was cute and very loving.

Final Analysis

Evoke has the bad, but it also has a good. And all and all, it’s a pretty decent read.

Review: Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

Translated for the first time into English,  Flights by Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk, has finally landed.  A beautifully fragmented book, Flights executes a perfect blending of fiction, history, and an undiluted observation of the world at large and of the exceedingly small. The novel’s narration is at times omnipresent and at others, co-piloted by an unnamed but immediately familiar  protagonist. The book  acts as a fulcrum from which readers are transported from one of over a hundred vignettes on to the next—occasionally to return and find that things have inevitably changed, having moved on—as if by flight. A man combs over an entire Croatian isle in search of his missing wife and son.  Another visits the widow of an esteemed colleague in hopes that she will divulge long-kept vocational secrets. Chopin’s heart is smuggled by his sister back to his native Poland. Dutch anatomist Philip Verheyen discovers the achilles tendon. The captain of a commuter ferry shuffling unsuspecting passengers turns his helm toward the open sea.

 In one such vignette it is said, “Only what is different will survive.” If those words are to be believed, Tokarczuk will be sustained on such unrivaled and unique writing. As a long-time lover of European novelists such as Milan Kundera and an chronic journeyer my heart leapt with the recognition brought forth by Tokarczuk’s contemplation of modern-day travel. To hear it all rendered by a female voice made me wonder where this translation has been all this time. It was a wonderful read. Flights is a museum of a book; artfully arranged, edifying, fascinating, and insightful.

Spotlight: The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations by Joyce Meyer

With the new year just beginning, many of you will be setting your goals and aspirations for the upcoming year. For those of you out there faith driven and looking to be the best you can be, Joyce Meyer has this beautiful devotional that will uplift your upcoming year. For those of you who don't know her background, she had some trials that crippled and challenged her faith, confidence, emotional and physical spirit. On the outside, the world saw this bold, strong woman but internally she felt the opposite. Over time and faith, she overcame her personal obstacles to build a more confident self. This devotional, inspired by the lessons she learned through the strength of her faith and how to overcome her fears and insecurities.

This beautiful expanded edition, based on her book The Confident Woman, is gorgeous. The cover, texture, and symbolism of a woman with branches surrounding her are so inspiring. I'm not sure if this was intended but how inspiring see those branches expand in growth around her. Her devotional features new insights, inspirational quotes and practical ways to incorporate faith in your life. For those women out there who may feel broken, lost confidence, compare yourself to others, this devotional gives you a personal insight of someone who understands and knows how you feel but want to help your journey towards a more confident life. Just a side note, I started at the beginning of the year and I've found each daily inspiration has really left a comforting and encouraging imprint to embrace the new day with an inspired foot. For those of you who are faith driven, this one I encourage you to get regardless of where you are as a reminder as a reminder to "walk boldly" and love your life and yourself first.

#Sponsored by FaithWords

Review: #Awestruck by Sariah Wilson

Not to sound cheesy but I was awestruck reading the love story between Evan and Ashton. There’s not a moment I wanted to put this down. It was just fantabulous.

Ashton took an internship hoping to land her dream job. An opportunity arose that collided with her past which gave her an edge closer to securing what she wants. The problem is, she’d have to cross paths with the first guy who broke her heart, Evan Dawson.

Seeing this opportunity to get revenge on this heart breaker, she finds that her assignment isn’t that easy. Revelations of the past change everything I the present and Ashton finds her heart and mind in conflict as she begins to be less angry and more smitten.

Awestruck, part of the Lovestruck series can be read alone. I don’t think you need to back read but considering this was fun you might as well check out the others. It’s funny because what I thought initially would be a cliche thing turned out to be much more interesting and fun. Loved the chemistry between the characters. The evolution of their relationship kept us hanging on their every word. Never a dull moment. Looking forward to the next. Go check it out.

Review: Forever My Hero by Sharon Sala

This was my first book read by Sharon Sala, so it was a wonderful introduction to her work. I don’t think I can recall reading a book that had so much going on as it did but it came together beautifully bringing a story that showed the power and strength of a community that really lives up to it’s name, Blessings.

I guess I can say the heart of the book dealt with two people who when you open your heart, wonderful things can happened unexpectedly. Dan, came to Blessings in the hopes of escaping a personal tragedy. He had lost his wife and son and wanted to try and find a place to establish new roots. He wasn’t looking for love but somehow, life put him in the path of someone who needed to be in that place and time, walks in Alice.

Alice, a mother of two, lost her husband to addiction that ultimately led to her own tragedy. She was definitely not in the market for someone new but found her path cross with Dan and saw the possibility of hope and compassion of a man who was persistent in following where his heart was leading him.

Both similar in devastation, brought together by fate, we experience their journey of how to let go and let in, the mending two broken hearts, and the affirmation that love can be found again.

There are other characters in the book that have their own unique storyline but ultimately they all blend together making the novel whole. This is the seventh book in her Blessings, Georgia series. I haven’t read the previous so I don’t know how they affect this book but I did find it be a charming read. I enjoyed how all the storylines came together. I’m a bit curious to know the past so I am going to back read into the series and will look forward to the next. I really love those small town community novels that have heart and soul to their characters. For those who feel the same, I know you will like. I’m going to recommend to this one to your list.

Review: The Magnolia Inn by Carolyn Brown

The Magnolia Inn was one of those books that was such a charming read. There are two compelling storylines in the book that I felt really anchored the heart of the book. One, the coming together of two hearts in need of mend, and the beauty of bond of four awesome women and their friendship.

We are introduced to Jolene. She has had it bad with life losing her parents especially dealing with the ups and downs of an alcoholic mother. Her saving grace in life was her aunt Sugar and her uncle Jasper. Feeling the need to retire and hit the road for their cross country dream, they decided to give half the inn to her and to her cousin. After her cousin bailed out, worried about how she was going to afford to keep it, she was able to breathe a sigh of relief when hope came in the form of Tucker Malone.

As these two come together professionally to turn things around for the Inn, personally their pasts cross path and open pain through shared experiences. Tucker, who has some issues with alcohol, mostly dealing with the death of his wife, makes it challenging for Jolene to face flashbacks dealing with her mother. As the two evolve and work through their pain, there is something happening that can’t be explained. Through this journey of friendship, letting go and letting love in your heart, these two find their way through healing their pain and grabbing their second chance at happiness.

The other part of the book that I loved was the friendship between the four ladies in the book. Sugar, Dottie, Lucy and Flossie, each as spunky as their name, brought some fun and wisdom to the book. You can’t help but fall in love with them and want to be one of the girls. The genuine love these ladies had for each other and that special bond not just because they knew each other from when they were young, really leaves a special sentimentality that you can connect with. When Jasper and Sugar left, these ladies picked up and took care of Jolene as if she were their own daughter. Sugar was the only person close to a mother that she had in her life so it really meant something for these ladies to literary to take her place being there for her life. This part of the book just makes your heart smile.

Overall, I thought it was a sweet read. Now, some people may disagree with the storyline of Jolene and Tucker and wish something different. Without spoiling, all I will say is that they had some stuff to work out and they did it on their own time which was the right storyline in my opinion. It gives their character more authenticity. It gave them more depth to who they were as people overcoming where they were to where they are. The characters each stood on their own but complemented each other well. I really hope that we revisit these gals again because they were like the cool Golden Girls. I recommend adding this one to read.

Review: The Perfect Score (Kissing the Enemy Book 3) by Maggie Dallen

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Buy on Amazon

The Perfect Score was a sweet opposite attract young adult romance book. It centers on Maggie, who deems herself as the human cupid, and Ox a very quiet athletic. Maddie has decided that she find romance for Ox, even though he never asked her too. What Maddie does not know is, that Ox has a crush on her.

The Perfect Score was a short book; however, it was nicely paced so it didn’t eventually feel too short. The author managed to create a sweet plot that was entertaining and enduring. There was no unnecessary drama like cheating; the conflicts felt very real and relatable.

I will admit that I haven’t read the other books in the Kissing the Enemy Trilogy. Before reading, I was unaware that it was a trilogy and that Ox and Maddie were introduced in an earlier book. But now, that I am aware, it would be interesting to see those two characters interact in someone else’s POV. It would also be interesting to see how the other romances came to be.

Characters

The characters were likable. Several times in the book, Maddie was described as this kind person. And instead of just stating it, the reader’s actually gotten to experience her kindness. And it was nice to have Ox’s POV because he’s described as a “tall giant” several times, so it was nice to see his thoughts and feelings.

Maddie and Ox were complete opposites; however, I think they balanced each other out well. When together, they fit very well and you could tell that there was this underlining chemistry between them. I also think that there was a respect between them as well. They both respected each other’s boundaries.

Final Analysis

The Perfect Score was a sweet book with two very likable characters who you cannot help but root for.

Review: Fuel the Fire by Krista & Becca Ritchie

“And I hear alarm clocks beeping, laughter in the kitchen, yelling by the pool. I listen to the vigorous pulse of our future, roaring with life.”

I first read Fuel the Fire in 2015. I finished it in a couple of days, and immediately reread it. I loved it that much. I emotionally declared that Fuel the Fire was my favorite book out of the Calloway Sisters series. I had such a deep and raw reaction to it.

On a whim, I decided that I wanted to revisit the book. There is something exciting yet terrifying when you revisit something that you love. Feelings of whether the love is of the concept or if the subject does not hold up to the unrealistic expectations that you have proudly held it up to so long loom in the background.

I’m grateful and happy to declare that after reading Fuel the Fire again, I still have such a great love for the book. I think I might love it more. After being away from these characters for so long, it felt like coming home.

Fuel the Fire is the third book in the Calloway Sisters series. It centers on Rose Calloway Cobalt and Connor Cobalt as they fight to protect their family after being faced with numerous obstacles.

When you read a Krista and Becca Ritchie book, it is about the journey. And Fuel the Fire is proof of that. There are going to be ups and downs. You will cry uncontrollable. It is going to feel like you heart is going to burst out of your chest. But once you reach the end, you cannot help but acknowledge what a wonderful and beautiful journey it was.  

The authors have a gift of hooking you and keeping you captive. The writing is yet simple but impactful. The attention to detail is amazing; every read you’ll find things you never noticed. There are tiny threads that trace all the way back to first book in series. Moments that may seem small but add so much depth to the story and characters.

I’ve read this book several times now, and I still want more, but I understand that all good times must end.

Characters

Rose and Connor are painted as this unstoppable and brilliant forces, who have the job of making sure that no one falls apart when there is trouble. They are the guardians. But like the Latin phrase asks, who guards the guardians?

Like mentioned before, Rose and Connor are fighting to protect their family in Fuel the Fire. But when you’re fighting an obstacle with a huge caliber, you sort of begin to almost lose or doubt yourself. This book perfectly illustrates how it feels to fight with everything you have to protect our family but also fight an internal battle with yourself.

Although out the book, we witness the love between Connor and Rose and the love they have for their family. These two characters are incredible and their development at the end is amazing.

Like all books in the series, Fuel the Fire does not solely focus one a particular.  Although one couple is front and center, however, other characters do not just stand in the background. They have they have their own storyline as well.

There is something so beautiful that the way Krista and Becca write these characters. I personally like to describe them as beautifully flawed. They are not perfect humans who make all the right choices and say all the right things. They are raw and relatable. I love them all and they are characters that I will never forget.

Final Analysis

Fuel the Fire is so much more than a book for me. It is an experience that I’m glad that I got to be a part of.

Review: #Starstruck by Sariah Wilson

#Starstruck tells the story of college student, Zoe Miller, and acclaimed actor, Chase Covington. After Zoe sends him a tweet criticizing his latest role, Chase responds and the two begin a blooming friendship that eventually turns into more. 

#Starstruck had a strong premise. There are millions of people who wish they were as lucky as Zoe. Unfortunately, the execution of the plot felt weak as well as character motives. 

I whole heartily enjoyed the first half of the book. It was interesting to see the relationship between Zoe and Chase develop. I really enjoyed how the author incorporated Twitter and text messages into the early stages of their relationship. 

However, as it continued, the book begun to feel rushed, repetitive, and immature. The characters were having the same conversations and nothing of substances was being added to the plot. And when the climate finally hit, it was irritating since it all could have been avoided. 

Characters

I didn't mind Chase. He was a little too perfect sometimes and I didn't quite understand his attachment to Zoe, but I liked him better than Zoe. The issue I had with Zoe is her desire to keep her relationship from everyone she cared about; especially her best friend. There was no indication that her best friend would have reacted in the way that Zoe believed that she would. Zoe keeping the secret from her friend sis nothing but add pointless drama to the book. 

Final Analysis 

Although a strong premise and a strong start, #Starstruck is unable to sustain a strong and engaging romance. 

Review: Winter Love (Love Collection) by Natalie Ann

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Buy on Amazon

Winter Love was a short and sweet book centered on Zeke & Kendall. A perfect read for when you want to relax with some nice hot chocolate.

After abruptly losing her parents, Kendal embarks on an adventure that leads her to Lake Placid, where she meets Zeke. As the two develop a friendship, she begins to wonder if maybe she is where she needs to be. 

One of the things that I enjoyed about Winter Love was that it wasn't not rushed. This book is less than 200 pages, but somehow the author managed to pace things very well. In addition, it felt like a complete/developed story. What I mean is, that everything fit well together in the book. There were no missing pieces nor where there any unnecessary storylines. Although, some were predictable none where out of place.

Natalie Ann created a space where the romance could grow, and that made it feel natural. It was a beautiful and believable romance.

There was not any unnecessary drama between the main leads. Both Kendall and Zeke were understanding people and tended to be open with each other. Miscommunication was not a factor in their relationship. They both were likeable characters with strong backgrounds. 

Final Analysis 

Winter Love was an entertaining and sweet read. The romance was mature and adorable. Also, the story was nicely told without any unnecessary and unfortunate factors.