2015 Book #25 – I Loved a Rogue by Katharine Ashe

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Title: I Loved a Rogue
Author: Katharine Ashe
Date finished: 3/30/15
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Pages in book: 365
Stand alone or series: Prince Catchers series #3

Blurb from the cover:

In the third in Katharine Ashe’s Prince Catchers series, the eldest of three very different sisters must fulfill a prophecy to discover their birthright. But if Eleanor is destined to marry a prince, why can’t she resist the scoundrel who seduced her?She can pour tea, manage a household, and sew a modest gown. In short, Eleanor Caulfield is the perfect vicar’s daughter. Yet there was a time when she’d risked everything for a black-eyed gypsy who left her brokenhearted. Now he stands before her—dark, virile, and ready to escort her on a journey to find the truth about her heritage.
Leaving eleven years ago should have given Taliesin freedom. Instead he’s returned to Eleanor, determined to have her all to himself, tempting her with kisses and promising her a passion she’s so long denied herself. But if he was infatuated before, he’s utterly unprepared for what will happen when Eleanor decides to abandon convention—and truly live . . .

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book set in a different country” check box. This is the third book in a series about three sisters who have no idea who their real mother and father are. Since Arabella (I Married the Duke) and Ravenna (I Adored a Lord) are both married and preoccupied now, Eleanor has been asked to take up the lead on the investigation into how the three girls ended up on a boat with just their nanny so many years ago. Arabella asks an old family friend, Taliesin, to help Eleanor on the journey. I liked Eleanor’s character alot too, she was a fairly strong character and held her own. But the drugging scene was so awful I could barely read it.

I was hooked on the story, I couldn’t put the book down. I liked this book much better than the first two in the series. That being said, I was disappointed with the ending and with how many inconsistencies there were in the story. After being drugged and not eating for like two weeks she’s able to recover enough in a few days to travel, that I can understand, but then to have sex like 4 times in one night? Seriously? That seemed a bit, well, not do-able. And the same with the previous two books in the series, I felt as if the book alternated between sections that were too fast and too slow parts. And I didn’t feel like the ending fit with the story, it just made me feel weird.

The bottom line:
  This was a good ending to the series, and while there were some holes and I didn’t love the end, I thought it was a good book and I would likely recommend it.

Author website
Link to Amazon

Bookish Bingo reading challenge – Wrap up

 Bookish Bingo

Well this wasn’t the neatest arrangement (below) but I am still learning! So above is my bingo card, completed as much as possible. I’m really pleased with how well I did! I think that if the contest hadn’t been during tax season I would have had a very good chance of completing the whole card! I was able to check off all but five of the squares. Below is each of the books I read, which square they checked off, and if you click on the cover it will bring you to my review on the book. I had a lot of fun with this reading challenge, and I would definitely like to play a game of book bingo again. The three month reading challenge is a little tougher for me since there are so many other challenges and goals I’m trying to reach this year that I decided to set aside to work on the bingo challenge for this quarter. Definitely a lot of fun though and I tried a lot of books I probably never would have read otherwise. There are many different sites that have some form of book bingo, and I would definitely encourage everyone to try it!

2014 Release You Missed

2014 Release You Missed

Free Space!

Free Space!

Pink Cover

Pink Cover

Blue Cover

Blue Cover

Graphic Novel

Graphic Novel

Middle Grade

Middle Grade

Over 400 Pages

Over 400 Pages

Forgotten Fridays Pick

Forgotten Fridays Pick

Mystery or Thriller

Mystery or Thriller

Fairy Tale Retelling

Fairy Tale Retelling

Romance

Romance

Based on Mythology

Based on Mythology

Start a Series

Start a Series

Epistolary

Epistolary

Magical Realism

Magical Realism

Pretty Dress Cover

Pretty Dress Cover

2015 Debut

2015 Debut

Gold Lettering

Gold Lettering

Mental Illness

Mental Illness

POC MC

POC MC

Top 5 books I’m Looking Forward to Reading on the Beach

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With summer just around the bend, I am using all my powers of positive thinking to get through the last of the cold days of winter and looking forward to the warmth of spring and summer. And so to prepare for the wonderful upcoming summer, I’ve been considering which books I’d take with me if I were to be laying on a warm beach tomorrow. The following list is the five books I currently would like most to be reading on a beach right now.

1. Desperately Ever After by Laura Kenyon
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This book is basically a “where are they now” story about our favorite fairy tale princesses. We catch up with Belle, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Penelopea years after they’ve supposedly obtained their “happily ever afters.” I think this would be a fun book to read on the beach, it sounds funny and I love the fairy tale princesses.

2. The Marriage Season by Linda Lael Miller
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This book is the third in the Brides of Bliss County series by this author. We will read the story of the third in a group of three girlfriends who is going to fall in love with the third in a group of guy friends. I really mostly want to read this story to find out what the other two charms on the charm bracelet are. Silly I know but it still bothers me that we never found out what the charm for the woman in the last book was. Also I think this will be a light, cheerful read which can sometimes make a really good beach read.

3. The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase
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This is a debut novel by Chase. The author is said to have a writing style similar to that of Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin, both of which I very much enjoy. I think this would be a good one to read on the beach since it sounds really interesting to me and if her writing style really is similar to those two authors I have a feeling this book is going to just suck me right into the story.

4. This One Is Mine by Maria Semple
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I
 read another book by Maria Semple earlier this year and just loved it. It dragged me into the story and didn’t release me. I devoured it in a day. I’m hoping that I love this book just as much. And if it devours me just as quickly, it could make a great beach read.

5. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver
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This book sounds pretty scary to me so I think reading it in the sunlight surrounded by a ton of people is the best way to go. Girls going missing and sisters torn apart, and I guess an unexpected twist that you’ll never see coming.

So those are the five books that I am most looking forward to reading on the beach this summer. What about you? What books are you looking forward to diving into on the beach?

2015 Book #24 – Mortal Heart by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

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Title: The Mortal Heart
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Date finished: 3/29/15
Genre: YA (novella)
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Pages in book: 54
Stand alone or series: Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories

Blurb from the cover:

Everyone in Gatlin has a story…
Before she met and married Mitchell Wate, the beautiful and brilliant Lila Jane Evers was an honors student at Duke University. Studying late into the night in the rare books library, she is captivated by a single line of text on an old piece of parchment: “In the Light there is Dark, and in the Dark there is Light.”
What can it mean?
Then one night, Lila Jane meets a mysterious young man who may have the answer. His name is Macon Ravenwood, and for every secret he reveals, he is hiding another. With Macon’s help, Lila Jane uncovers the wonders of the Caster world–the Light and the Dark. But a romance between the Incubus who is fighting his own dark side and this fiercely independent Mortal is doomed from the start. The closer Lila Jane and Macon become, the more her life is in danger.
Discover the unforgettable and untold story of how Lila and Macon fell in love in this all-new Beautiful Creatures novella from #1 New York Times bestselling authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

My rating:
 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book with magic” check box. While this was a short story (it was a novella after all), it was oh so very interesting. And such a tease. The end really just leaves so many worlds open on what could happen in future stories.
This novella tells the heart-breaking story of Lila Jane Evers and Macon Ravenwood. Lila Jane and Macon fell in love before Macon’s transformation into an Incubus. Macon has never wanted this fate and has fought his change at every turn. Lila Jane makes him wish more than ever that he was normal so that he could be with her forever. Unfortunately, he can not fight his family’s heritage. Macon gives her an Arclight to protect her in case he should attack her after he turns into an Incubus. I know that if Macon and Lila Jane had stayed together that Ethan never would have been born so obviously I can’t wish that they had been together always, but they loved each other so much it is just heart-wrenching.

The bottom line:
  For those who like the Beautiful Creatures series I would definitely recommend this novella!

Author website

Link to Amazon

2015 Book #23 – Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

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Title: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)
Author: Mindy Kaling
Date finished: 3/28/15
Genre: Humorous commentary
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Pages in book: 222
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “POC MC” square, which I had to ask to discover but this means Person of Color Main Character.  I decided to give this book a try because I love Mindy’s character on The Office and I loved her in that movie with Natalie Portman where they are nurses that live in an apartment together. Unbeknownst Mindy is actually a writer for the show The Office. I had no idea of the extent of her genius! She comes off as cocky in some parts of the book but she should be! She is hilarious! I fought this book to be witty and very entertaining.
This book is a humorous look at the many different parts of Mindy’s life that have made her the Mindy she is today. Its also a commentary on many different things including dating and other general life areas. I thought it was really funny.

The bottom line:  I thought this book was really funny, witty and interesting. Of course I like her sense of humor. I would recommend to people who laugh when the watch The Office. Not that she just talks about The Office or is defined by her work on The Office. But she writes some of the scenes for The Office. So. Whatever.

Memorable Quotes: 
“Going on and on in detail about how stressed out I am ins’t conversation. It’ll never lead to anywhere. No one is going to say, ‘Wow, Mindy, you really have it especially bad. I have heard some stories of stress, but this just takes the cake.” (page 75)
As a follow up to this, your life is always going better than someone else’s at any given point. Unless you’re being murdered. That you should probably get to bitch about.

Link to Wikipedia website about author
Link to Amazon

April reading challenge – #ReadingMyLibrary Challenge

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For the month of April I will be participating in the #ReadingMyLibrary Reading Challenge hosted by Caught Read Handed and Read What I Like. This challenge is designed to encourage participants to read books that they obtained from a library. They can be any kind of form of book: e-book, physical book, audio book, etc. The reading challenge runs from April 1 to 30. You only have to read one book to participate but if you decide to read more, every five books you read over the initial one will earn you another entry for a chance to win a prize. For more on the rules for this challenge, you can visit either blog listed above. There is also a handy-dandy schedule that you can use to make sure you stay on track!

One of the things I’m really excited about with this reading challenge is the Library Scavenger Hunt the hosts have planned. Not a lot of details on this yet but it will run from April 15 to 30. Make sure to check back to see more on this fun activity!

I thought this challenge would be especially fitting to participate in since National Library Week is April 12 to 18. I tend to make very good use of my library, though the past couple months I have been buying more books than I have been getting from the library. So I am excited to utilize my local libraries a lot more this coming month! Make sure to check back to see my progress! For anyone else who is interested in signing up, the home page for the challenge is here and the hosts answer FAQs here. Happy Reading everyone!

Gretna Green

Unfortunately, this was supposed to have posted on St. Patrick’s Day but was mistakenly saved as a draft instead of posting. Definitely a user error! Hopefully all you readers will keep in mind that this was posted with Ireland in mind on St. Patrick’s Day. Happy reading!

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If you read historical romance novels, odds are you have read one from the Georgian or Regency era. And odds are there’s been some mention of Gretna Green. But for those of you who aren’t aware (and in connection-ish with today’s holiday, St Patrick’s Day!) Gretna Green is part of Dumfries and is a town just over the border of Scotland traveling from England. It is on what was a main coaching route from England to Scotland and is located at the junction of five old coaching roads, the junction being known as “Headless Cross.” And because of its location, Gretna Green became well known for runaway marriages. This tradition began about halfway through the 18th century when Lord Hardwiske’s Marriage Act was signed into law in England. Under this Act, no minor (under the age of 21) was allowed to get married without parental consent. However, in Scotland, boys were able to marry by age 14 and girls able to marry at age 12 with or without the consent of their parents.

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This difference in laws created a large influx of young men and women who would flock to Scotland to get married against their parents wishes. And given Gretna Green’s convenient location (right over the border and on the main route from London to Scotland in the 1750’s) many couples would immediately stop here to get hitched as soon as possible. And luckily, in Scotland it was easy to find someone to marry you since, as long as your had two witnesses, almost anyone really could perform a “handfasting” ceremony or a “marriage by declaration.” Since the blacksmith shop was a central hub of towns at this time, most of these runaway marriages were performed over the blacksmith’s anvil, and blacksmiths in Gretna Green became known as “anvil priests.” As noted from the Gretna Green Wedding website “the hammering of the anvil soon became a notorious sound; romantically it is said that like the meals he forged, the Blacksmith would join couples together in the heat of the moment but bind them for eternity.”

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To this day, people still flock to Gretna Green to get married, I’m sure some find the concept and tradition romantic (I do). It is mentioned in a lot of books and was even mentioned on the well-known TV Show Downtown Abbey. Even further, Gretna Green marriages have come to represent a general term for marriages that are entered into in a different location than where they live so that they can avoid certain laws or restrictions imposed on them in their home town/country. These “runaway marriage” locations in the United States have included at certain points Elkton, Maryland, Reno, and Las Vegas.

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If you’d like further information on getting married at Gretna Green, there is a website you can visit here.

2015 Book #22 – He Wanted the Moon by Mimi Baird and Eve Claxton

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Title: He Wanted the Moon: The Madness and Medical Genius of Dr. Perry Baird, and His Daughter’s Quest to Know Him
Author: Mimi Baird with Eve Claxton
Date finished: 3/28/15
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: February 17, 2015
Pages in book: 250
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

A mid-century doctor’s raw, unvarnished account of his own descent into madness, and his daughter’s attempt to piece his life back together and make sense of her own.
Texas-born and Harvard-educated, Dr. Perry Baird was a rising medical star in the late 1920s and 1930s. Early in his career, ahead of his time, he grew fascinated with identifying the biochemical root of manic depression, just as he began to suffer from it himself. By the time the results of his groundbreaking experiments were published, Dr. Baird had been institutionalized multiple times, his medical license revoked, and his wife and daughters estranged. He later received a lobotomy and died from a consequent seizure, his research incomplete, his achievements unrecognized.
Mimi Baird grew up never fully knowing this story, as her family went silent about the father who had been absent for most of her childhood. Decades later, a string of extraordinary coincidences led to the recovery of a manuscript which Dr. Baird had worked on throughout his brutal institutionalization, confinement, and escape. This remarkable document, reflecting periods of both manic exhilaration and clear-headed health, presents a startling portrait of a man who was a uniquely astute observer of his own condition, struggling with a disease for which there was no cure, racing against time to unlock the key to treatment before his illness became impossible to manage.
Fifty years after being told her father would forever be “ill” and “away,” Mimi Baird set off on a quest to piece together the memoir and the man. In time her fingers became stained with the lead of the pencil he had used to write his manuscript, as she devoted herself to understanding who he was, why he disappeared, and what legacy she had inherited. The result of his extraordinary record and her journey to bring his name to light is He Wanted the Moon, an unforgettable testament to the reaches of the mind and the redeeming power of a determined heart.

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Mental Illness” square. I can’t remember where I first saw this book but it immediately caught my interest. Mimi Baird never knew why her father (Dr. Perry Baird) disappeared or what really happened to him, but years later she obtains his manuscripts and discovers that he suffered from manic depression and that his disappearances were due to his staying at various mental institutions during his manic episodes. His manuscripts detail his care and treatments as well as different details of his life after he disappeared from her life. This book combines notes from the mental institutions where Dr. Baird stayed, narratives from his manuscript, as well as letters between Dr. Baird and various peers and friends.
The first half of the book was difficult for me as this is where the bulk of the writing from Dr. Baird’s manuscript was included. As Mimi describes in a later passage, Perry alternates between a clear line of thinking and being eloquent and scientific in thought, and ramblings of delusions. At certain points in his writings it was hard to tell if the scene Perry was describing was one of his own imagination or something that actually happened. Also the differences between what Perry describes of his actions in the mental hospitals and what the medical record notes describe are slightly different, making it difficult for the reader to know what is real and what is not. This did not at all detract from the seriousness or the subject matter discussed within the memoir and only compounded the ways in which a mental disorder can distort reality for the patient.
The second half of the book was mostly a narrative written by Mimi Baird, describing her journeys in compiling this book and also in learning more about the father she never really knew. I found this narrative to be very moving and extremely touching. I thought that this book was well put together and was a very interesting look into the mind of an extremely intelligent man suffering from manic depression.

The bottom line:  I found this book very interesting. While the first half of the book was slightly tough to get through, the daughter’s narratives in the second half added such emotion to the book. Very well done. I would recommend.

Link to Amazon

2015 Book #21 – I Adored a Lord by Katharine Ashe

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Title: I Adored a Lord
Author: Katharine Ashe
Date finished: 3/24/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Pages in book: 356
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Price Catchers series

Blurb from the cover:

Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?
All that clever, passionate Ravenna Caulfield wants is to stay far away from high society’s mean girls.
All that handsome, heroic Lord Vitor Courtenay wants is to dash from dangerous adventure to adventure.
Now, snowbound in a castle with a bevy of the ton’s scheming maidens all competing for a prince’s hand in marriage, Ravenna’s worst nightmare has come true.
Now, playing babysitter to his spoiled prince of a half-brother and potential brides, Vitor is champing at the bit to be gone.
When a stolen kiss in a stable leads to a corpse in a suit of armor, a canine kidnapping, and any number of scandalous liaisons, Ravenna and Vitor find themselves wrapped in a mystery they’re perfectly paired to solve. But as for the mysteries of love and sex, Vitor’s not about to let Ravenna escape until he’s gotten what he desires . . .

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my TBR Pile Reading Challenge, marking off #8 on my list. Many of my thoughts on this book are similar to the first book in the series. There was a lot going on in this book all at once, and while it was easier to follow than the first book it was still nonetheless slightly difficult to follow the train of thought. There are references made early on that are confusing instead of subtly intriguing and made it hard to follow the choppy thoughts of the hero and heroine. The story line had a lot of promise and was interesting but,same as the last novel, this book alternated between being too detailed/slow-paced and too fast-paced. I liked the heroine of this book better than the last, she wasn’t quite as wishy-washy. She still didn’t seem to value herself very much though, while I understand it makes sense for that time period, I hate to think that the heroine believed she wasn’t a good match for the hero just because of her birth. Other than that she had a good amount of backbone though, which I like to see in novel’s heroine.

The bottom line:  I liked this book better than the first in the series but I still wasn’t thrilled with it. There’s one more in the trilogy though so I’m going to read it, I’m guessing she marries that Tali guy and turns out he’s some kind of prince even though he’s an orphan.

Link to author website
Link to Amazon

2015 Book #20 – Tribute by Nora Roberts

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Title: Tribute
Author: Nora Roberts
Date finished: 3/16/15
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: July 8, 2008
Pages in book: 451
Stand alone or series: Stand alone

Blurb from the cover:

Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a long way from Hollywood. And that’s exactly how Cilla McGowan likes it. Cilla, a former child star, has found a more satisfying life working with her hands to restore homes from floor to ceiling – and has come here to her grandmother’s farmhouse, tools at her side, to rescue it from ruin. Sadly, no one had been able to save her grandmother, the legendary Janet Hardy. An actress with a golden voice and a tumultuous life, Janet entertained glamorous guests and engaged in decadent affairs – but died of an overdose in this very house more than thirty years ago. To this day, Janet haunts Cilla’s dreams. And during her waking hours, Cilla is haunted by her melodramatic, five-times-married mother, who carried on in the public spotlight and never gave her a chance at a normal childhood. By coming to the East Coast, rolling up her sleeves, and rehabbing this wreck of a house, Cilla intends to take a shot at finding some kind of normalcy for herself. Cilla has her work cut out for her – the house, once a place of comfort and simple rural beauty, is long neglected, crumbling, the grounds choked by weeds. Plunging into the project with gusto, she’s almost too busy and exhausted to notice her neighbor, graphic novelist Ford Sawyer – but his lanky form, green eyes, and easy, unflappable humor (not to mention his delightfully ugly dog, Spock) are hard to ignore. Determined not to carry on the family tradition of ill-fated romances, Cilla steels herself against Ford’s quirky charm, but she can’t help indulging in a little fantasy. But love and a peaceful life may not be in the cards for Cilla. In the house’s cluttered attic, she has found a cache of unsigned letters, tied with a faded red ribbon, suggesting that Janet Hardy was pregnant when she died – and that the father of her child was a local married man. Cilla can’t help but wonder what really happened all those years ago. The mystery only deepens with a series of cruel and intimidating acts and a frightening, violent assault. And if Cilla and Ford are unable to sort out who is targeting her and why, she may, like her world-famous grandmother, be cut down in the prime of her life.

My rating: 3.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Gold Lettering” square.  So Cilla, a child star now grown up and trying to find her place in the world, has purchased her grandmother’s homestead from her mother. Ford is attracted to Cilla right off the bat and he immediately can picture her as the star of a new series for his graphic novels (like comic books). Someone is threatening Cilla though, leaving her mutilated dolls of herself from when she was a child star, destroying her house, even attacking her friend Steve. Ford will do anything to protect her.
I didn’t especially love this book. There were entertaining parts but overall I didn’t love the plot line and I didn’t especially jive with the plot twist of who ended up being the bad guy at the end. I guess the book was ok.

The bottom line:  This book was ok, I wasn’t thrilled but it kept me entertained for the most point.

Link to author website
Link to Amazon