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Cross Country Christmas (The 12 NA's of Christmas)
Tiffany King
The Kissing Hand  (Chester the Raccoon - Nancy M. Leak, Ruth E. Harper, Audrey Penn My last baby recently started Kindergarten. I have been through this twice before with his older brothers, however being the last one, his starting Kindergarten had a profound effect on me.

I read The Kissing Hand to him the weekend before school started. He has been going to daycare since he was 6 weeks old, so I think that this book was more for me than it was for him. By now, he seems to have no problem leaving me for the day.

The story is about a little raccoon that is going off to school but doesn't want to and how his mother shares a secret with him that will help him through the day each time he is missing her.

When the book was done and my son ran off to go play, I was left sitting there with huge crocodile tears in my eyes. I'm not sure how much the book did for helping my son through the day, but I can tell you that I am pressing my palm to my cheek right now and feeling just a little bit better.

I would recommend this book to anyone with children. Whether you have already sent them off to school or not. I wouldn't even consider it a requirement to read it to them however I also recommend you have some tissues handy.
Nocturne - Andrea Randall, Charles Sheehan-Miles I am a simple person. I lead a simple life in a mid-sized Midwestern town. I've never been to the opera or to a symphony or any classical arts performance for that matter. However, after just finishing reading Nocturne by Andrea Randall and Charles Sheehan-Miles, I feel like I have just been on tour with The Big Five.

Nocturne is elegantly and beautifully written. The novel clearly illustrates that the authors were well educated in the subject of symphony orchestras. Either that, or they easily fooled me with big words like Rachmaninoff, arpeggios, and diminuendos. (Thank you Kindle for your built-in dictionary.) And after I got over the deer-in-the-headlights look of a very unfamiliar subject to me, I was easily wrapped up in the story.

Told from the dual viewpoint of the two main characters, Savannah and Gregory, Nocturne is a complex story of a taboo situation that pushes the boundaries of ethics. While I can't agree with the choices that were made by the characters, the story was written in a way that I was able to understand why they made the choices they did.

I've read novels individually written by both Ms. Randall and Mr. Sheehan-Miles and they were both wonderful. However, together they they have found a way to meld their voices into one incredibly written book. The seamless way the book flowed together would not leave you guessing that the book was written by dual authors had you not seen their names on the cover.

Nocturne is a book of forbidden love, heartbreak, bad decisions, emotions, and music. Although I probably glossed over some of the more 'technical' music parts, it is a very satisfying and entertaining read. It is a standalone book with a happily-ever-after and I would recommend this book whether you are a fan of the classical arts or not.
Uncharted - Tracey Garvis-Graves Uncharted is a Novella that takes place years AFTER On the Island and should be read only after you have already enjoyed OTI.

I LOVED On The Island by Tracey Garvis Graves. I was really excited to get to read this novella and get the true story behind 'Bones.' In all honesty, it wasn't what I expected though, which necessarily isn't a bad thing. I really expected this to be a depressing story...I mean...Bones was obviously dead, the outcome couldn't have been good.

Instead it ended up being a sweet love story with it's own HEA. I also really like getting a glimpse into what life is like for Anna and TJ.

I think the only thing keeping me from giving it 5 stars was that I didn't feel as connected to the characters in this story as I did in On The Island. Aside from that, this held the same beautiful writing as from Tracey as On The Island did and I cannot wait to read more from her.
Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2) - Colleen Hoover Before I say anything about this book, I want to preface by saying THIS IS HOPELESS FROM HOLDER'S POINT OF VIEW. I have seen too many reviews complaining about this so in case you don't follow Colleen on any social networking sites or have been living under a rock, please realize this before reading it.

Now, just because this was Hopeless from Holder's POV, did not at all take away from the fact that Colleen is a brilliant writer and able to tell you the same story, from a different POV and make it almost seem like you were reading it for the first time. I have always wanted to have book amnesia and read some of my favorite books for the first time over again and I can honestly say that this is as close as I have gotten so far.

There were new details, new characters and new plot lines that you were not introduced to in Hopeless. And there was a whole new set of feelings while reading it. For me, it was almost as emotional as the first book and while I "lived" Dean Holder in the first book, I "LOVED" him in this book. But as with any rewrite, and as brilliant as even Colleen is, you just can't erase from my memory what happened in Hopeless so I don't feel that this book affected me as much.

To summarize my feelings...I loved Dean Holder...I loved hearing Les's story...I loved Daniel...I love LOSING HOPE...and I love Colleen. And although this book is not necessary to read if you've already read Hopeless because it was such a wonderful story with it's own HEA, I truly do recommend it as a way to fill in some of the pieces that you didn't know were even missing.

Keep on writing Colleen, you have truly found your calling!
Left Drowning - Jessica Park Wow.

Wow.

WOW!!!!!

I really thought that I knew Jessica Park but she surprised me with Left Drowning. Not only surprised but BLEW ME AWAY!!! I am literally left speechless.

I would love to spend a day within the brain of Jessica Park that has spawned this engaging, passionate, and captivating story. The characters were believable. The story line hooked you and kept you dangling. And at times, the plot twists and turns tore your heart out.

This book has easily made it to my "favorites of all time" list. I am not a re-reader but if I ever were to reread a book, this will be one of them.

I can't say much other than READ THIS BOOK! It will leave a stamp on your life that you won't soon forget.
Pink Slips and Glass Slippers - J.P. Hansen When I was approached by this author to read his book in exchange for an honest review, he mentioned that he wrote it on the dare that "men can't write romance." I do know for a fact that it is possible for a man to write a romance book, however, the way that this book was written...it just wasn't for me.

I don't think that I would have ever picked up this book had I not been asked to review it. Both the title and the book cover were not appealing for me. When I read the synopsis, I was a little confused as it seemed all over the place. But I needed to see if this man could write romance...so I jumped into the book anyway.

The story line was okay but the book could have been 30% shorter had it not included fluff details that didn't add much to the plot. I found myself skimming in some areas (and I am not usually a skimmer) just to get to something that kept the book moving forward.

I think what bothered me the most were in the details (or possibly what was lacking in the details.) Things like...

1. The "hero" took his 3 year old son to Chuck E. Cheese twice in the book. Both times all they did was eat. I don't know anyone that goes to CEC just for the food, as the food is not that good. And what 3 year old wouldn't beg and throw a fit to play games before you left?

2. I'm not sure if the author has stock in Starbucks, but I lost count on the number of times the coffee chain was mentioned.

3. I started to get annoyed at all the similes.
"Holding the coffees like bombs about to detonate"
"A waiter appeared like a pop-up window"
"His stomach flared like a brick oven"
"her backside tingled like a funny bone"
"Chase darted toward the door like an antelope"
There were so many in this novel that it became a game for me to start highlighting them on my Kindle.

4. The blatant self-promotion of the authors other book, The Bliss List.

5. The sudden changes in POV, sometimes multiples times on one page.

Based on all the 4 and 5 star reviews on this book, it is possible that it has its audience that it appeals to but it wasn't for me and I can honestly say that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone in the form that it is in now. I commend this author for giving it a shot to write in a genre that he is unfamiliar with. However, I do suggest he should get a good editor that is used to this genre the next time around.
Seeds of Hate - Melissa Perea Melissa Perea is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world...of course I can't wait to get this book in my sticky little fingers!
Running On Empty (Mending Hearts, #1) - L.B. Simmons First of all, I have to say that I am fairly certain that the author was hiding in a corner of my house somewhere when she wrote a good portion of this book. I swear I lived through parts of it...all you would have to do is change her three daughters to three sons. I was able to connect with the book on so many levels and the book was a good change of pace from what I had been reading. If it weren't for a few small things, this book would have been 5 stars for me.

Alex is a strong single mother of 3 that has been through a tragedy that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. This tragedy has left her a shell. Devoting all her time and energy to her children and not thinking of or spending any time for her.

Blake is a good looking former classmate and used-to-be best friend of Alex's. A chance encounter on the highway brings him back into Alex's life. Blake proves to be amazing but there was something about him that just wasn't completely believable to me. Possibly it was his willingness to drop everything to help out a girl that dumped his friendship long ago. I would have thought there would have been a bit of resentment in there.

I also found the book lacking on the steam level. That is probably just a personal preference but I just kept waiting for things to steam up and was a little disappointed they didn't.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. Solid character development, lots of tear-inducing emotion, great supporting characters, and a nice HEA. I would recommend this book for lovers of chick lit and those looking for a book that will both make them laugh and cry.
Iced - Karen Marie Moning Loved going back into the fever world but I couldn't get past the without-warning switch of perspectives. One paragraph is one person's POV and the next paragraph is someone completely different.
Just Remember to Breathe - Charles Sheehan-Miles I'm going to be honest. I didn't want to read this book. I saw the word "Afghanistan" and decided it wasn't for me. I'm not into war books, war details, ANYTHING to do with war. I'm not heartless, It just doesn't interest me in the slightest. So I wrote it off despite all my book friends raving about it. Then I was asked to review it for my blog. This is where my inability to say no got me in trouble. I pushed it off until the very last moment and now here I am kicking myself for it.

This book is NOT about war. Don't let my opening to this review lead you to believe that. And I knew from reading the synopsis that it wasn't. It was the fact that I knew there would be stuff from war in it that kept me from reading it.

What is this book about?

Young love
Heartache
Second Chances
PTSD
Failure
Overcoming obstacles

It's about real life and Mr. Sheehan-Miles did a wonderful job of creating an emotional, heart-wrenching story that sucked me in with the first sentence.

And the war stuff? It's there. But it's there in a capacity that it didn't turn me off. It is only a portion of the story and it was explained and described in layman's terms so a complete war idiot like myself could understand and sympathize.

So I apologize to Charles for jumping to conclusions and I thank him for writing such a wonderful story. I will definitely be reading more of his work in the future.
Hopeless - Colleen Hoover Is it possible to top perfection?

Anyone that knows me knows I LOVE the Slammed series by Colleen Hoover with all my heart. To me that book was perfection and I really didn't think that Colleen would be able to top it. And she didn't top it. No, she double-decker ice cream scoop, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and sprinkles topped it.

I am once again amazed at Colleen's ability to bring her characters to life and how they can so easily get under my skin. Sky is strong, brave, but yet a broken young woman. There are many points in the story that have you wondering why something that would bother or embarrass anyone else simply doesn't faze her at all. The reality is that I love that about her. I envy her ability to take life so nonchalantly. I don't, however, envy all that she had to go through and wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. My heart broke for her in many places and I'm still not sure if it is completely put back together.

Holder is....well, Holder is scary. He's scary because he is so damn perfect. Not perfect in a flawless sort of way, because he definitely has his flaws, but perfect in a way that makes you feel protected, in a way that makes you feel secure, and perfect in a way that oozes swoon-worthy masculinity and makes your heart pitter-patter with everything that comes from his mouth. There is no poetry in Hopeless, but Holder's words felt like poetry to me.

Before delving into this book, I didn't read the synopsis and I didn't read any teasers. I simply put my faith in Colleen that she would write something that would blow me away. And she didn't disappoint. So in this review I am not going to give anything about the story away. I simply challenge you to pick it up and start reading. Your decision to do so will be validated with the emotions your heart feels throughout the book.

Hopeless is a book that will make you laugh, make you cry, rip out your heart, shatter it in little tiny pieces, stomp on it a little, and then duct tape it all back together. It's not simply a love story, it a journey that will change you forever. I am forever changed because of this book.

If you have a heartbeat and a soul, you should read this book. Heck, even if you're a zombie, you should read this book. You will LIKE it. You will LIVE it. You will LOVE it.
The Game Changer (The Perfect Game, #2) - J. Sterling I have some mad love for J. Sterling. Not only as an author but as a genuinely nice person that cares about and talks with her fans. That being said, I find myself extremely lucky to have had the chance to read "The Game Changer" prior to its release.

This book for me was a solid 4 stars throughout most of it. I have this little requirement for a book to earn that 5th star...it has to evoke some sort of emotion in me, whether it be that it makes me cry, gives me goose bumps, turns me on, etc. The emotion has to reach out from the book and grab at my heart strings. Miss Sterling squeaked that out at the end for me and earned that 5th star.

First off, if you haven't read "The Perfect Game" by J. Sterling, you need to go read that first. After reading it, if you felt pissed off at either Jack or Cassie so much that you wanted to throw your Kindle/Nook/paperback against the wall, then you need to read this book. Heck, you just need to read this even if you didn't get pissed off.

The book starts off as flashbacks to different events that occurred in "The Perfect Game" giving you a look at what was going through Jack's mind as the story played out. Believe me, if you didn't love him before, your heart will reach out to him now. And don't worry; the story is not just a rewrite of "The Perfect Game" from Jack's perspective. Now that the drama from the past is behind them, they must learn (sometimes the hard way) how to handle life together with one of them being in the public eye and see if they have enough trust in each other to make it through as a couple.

Aside from Jack and Cassie, many of the same characters from the first book make a second appearance in "The Game Changer" - Melissa and Dean in particular are a favorite of mine - with the addition of some other important (and HOT) characters. Miss Sterling has a way with creating characters that you either love to hate, hate to love, or simply can't help falling for.

"The Game Changer" was a perfect continuation of the story started in "The Perfect Game." I was entertained, shocked, happy, sad, and utterly satisfied by the time I reached the end of the story. I would recommend this book to everyone that read "The Perfect Game" whether you loved it or hated it.
Every Which Way (Sloan Brothers, #1) - Calia Read Writing a review for this book is hard. All-in-all I did really like the story I just couldn't connect with it. It took me some time to get through as I had to force myself to keep reading.

The main character, Severine, seemed to be a strong independent woman hell bent on not getting her heart broken. She was witty, funny, and overall likeable. Her name bothered me a little because I had the darnedest time trying to pronounce it. I also didn't feel a connection to her and found myself questioning her decisions and annoyed at little things that she was indecisive about.

The Sloan brothers were a nice addition. I mean really? Two hot brothers, one a 6'9" basketball player - whew, fan me now! And I like the uniqueness of their names, Thayer and Macsen, which were very much pronounceable.

I think what got to me the most was the writing style. I found myself having to reread parts to understand what was going on. It felt a bit discombobulated. But at around 2/3 of the way through things picked up and I was able to connect to the story a little more. It is that last 1/3 of the story that will have be reaching for the sequel when it comes out.
Snowed Over - Angie Stanton I love Angie Stanton's books. Being from WI, I love that she writes about places in WI and that I not only know where they are and how to pronounce them, but it helps me relate to the story more.

Snowed Over was no exception. Not only could I relate in terms of location but also weather. In WI is gets pretty cold and as I read this book, I could literally feel the cold as they experienced it.

Snowed Over was a very cute novella. I loved the story. I loved the characters. And I loved the ending. I would definitely be interested in hearing more of Alex and Katie's adventures.
The Perfect Game (The Perfect Game, #1) - J. Sterling I live and breathe baseball. 99% of my free time in the spring, summer and fall is spent watching my boys either play or practice baseball. So when J. Sterling said she was writing a book where one of the main characters was a baseball player, I about jumped out of my seat in anticipation. Then when she asked me to read an advanced copy, I about peed my pants. I am honored, elated, and nervous that this review will not do it justice.

In short, I LOVED it! I devoured it. It provided a rollercoaster of emotions that brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

First, we have Jack Carter, the infamous baseball player. Egotistical, cocky, a typical player...I hate him. No, I love him. No, no...I REALLY hate him. No wait...I love him. Ack! I couldn't make up my mind. His actions and choices had me swooning one minute and then the next I wanted to punch him in the face. In the end, he won me over, but it was quite the ride.

Next we have Cassie Andrews. Fiesty, fun, and a talented photographer...she's been hurt in the past by people she loves and when Jack shows a liking to her, she has a hard time letting him in.

I think that where J. Sterling really shined was in her ability to create side characters you could love and and characters you could hate. Melissa (besides having an awesome name) was supportive, caring, and critical to the story line. She was everything a best friend should be. And then there is Chrystle. I think Chrystle can be added to my list of favorite characters to hate. From the minute she was introduced in the story, she made my skin crawl. I wanted to punch her, I wanted to scream at her, and she was the reason that I almost threw my Kindle against the wall.

I really think that Miss Sterling has grown in her writing in The Perfect Game. She allowed characteristics of herself to shine through the characters, she stepped out of the box with a couple sex scenes, and her level of writing has matured.

I gave this book 5 stars for it's ability to grab my attention, hold my attention, and keep me entertained. It was in J. Sterling's ability to physically make me cry that the 5th star was awarded. The fact that I could relate to the characters in such a way to hurt when they hurt and cry when they cry was the turning point for me.

I recommend this book to anyone that wants a love story with character, a little bit a angst, emotion, and an ending that will leave you satisfied.
Clash - Nicole  Williams When I finished reading Crash, the first book in this series, I was content with how everything ended. I was a little nervous then when I saw Nicole said she was releasing a second book in the series. I mean really, how can you top Crash? But then I got really excited because another book meant more Jude, and more Jude is a good thing!

My apprehension toward this book was completely unwarranted. I should have known Nicole wouldn't steer me wrong and I will never doubt her again.

Jude and Lucy were able to overcome the challenges that were pulled at their relationship in book 1. Now in book 2, a whole new set of challenges present themselves as they go off to college. And with these challenges comes a roller coaster of emotions for the reader.

My favorite quote and a good summary of the premises of the book is “Love isn’t only love, sweetheart. It’s hard work, and trust, and tears, with even a few glimpses of devastation. But at the end of each day, if you can still look at the person at your side and can’t imagine anyone else you’d rather have there, the pain and heartache and the ups and downs of love are worth it.”

I think I loved this book even more than I loved Crash. Nicole's writing style has always drawn me in and this book was no exception. The roll out of the events in the story pulled out just about every emotion possible from within me and at times left my heart lying on the floor feeling like it had just been stomped on. The beautiful part is that even though I felt ripped apart by reading the story, Nicole made sure to piece me back together and heal all those wounds by the end of the story.

I am now waiting on the edge of my seat for the release of Crush, the third and final book in Jude and Lucy's story.