Sunday, June 1, 2014

Review of "Meant to Be Mine"

Rating: 4 Stars
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Review:  The charming Porter family is back with a couple of new additions in "Meant to Be Mine."  Becky Wade creates a story of love, forgiveness, and second chances with Ty Porter and Ceilia Park in the leading roles.  The scene is set for their relationship in the prologue when an impetuous marriage leaves Celia heartbroken when Ty walks away from their vows. Fast-forward almost 6 years, and Celia is a single mother to Addie and struggling to make ends meet; while Ty is still an incorrigible cowboy. I immediately sympathized with Celia and her plight after falling for Ty's charm.  I wasn't won over by Ty quite so easily because he came off as cocky at times.  His character grows a lot throughout the novel as different revelations and events uncover a gentle and caring man under his flirtatious exterior.  The relationship between Celia and Ty progresses at a pleasing pace, neither too fast nor too slow, and their shared history adds an emotional dynamic.  Towards the end of the novel, parts of the plot reminded me of a modern, Texas-Style "Pride and Prejudice."   Although readers see evidence of Ty's love and sacrifice for Celia and Addie, the unveiling of his sacrifices is a pivotal point in Celia's acting on her feelings. 

Some of the sweetest scenes revolve around Addie. Becky Wade paints an adorable portrait of Addie in her glasses and pink cowgirl boots.  Her character feels real and well-balanced between serious, cute, and insightful.  Other supporting characters add texture to the cast, especially Uncle Danny with his surfer-dude mentality and penchant for online dating adding a touch of humor. The Porter family is an endearing group who I will enjoy seeing in future novels in the series.  There is clearly a story to be told about Ty's brother, Jake and I hope that Becky Wade will make him the focus of her next book. "Meant to Be Mine" is solid story of love and family that will grab readers' hearts.

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Summary from Bethany House: Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school--irresistible. When their paths cross again after college--still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel. 

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be her husband. He's a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he's long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he's known since childhood. 

Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia's trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

Review of "I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages"

Rating: 4.5 Stars
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Review: "I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages" may be a quick read, but it does not lack in intrigue or strength. Alex Marestaing delivers a novel that transcends age boundaries with a message that is applicable to readers in any stage of life. The plot centers on an overwhelmingly fearful 7th grader, Caleb Reed, who struggles to even step out of his front door.  The novel's journey is an emotional one.  Physically, the scenes rarely venture from Caleb's neighborhood, but even distances that seem insignificant become triumphant feats for Caleb.  It is impossible not to cheer on Caleb as he bravely confronts and conquers his worst anxieties. Adult readers may wonder about their ability to connect with such a young protagonist, but a few pages into the novel, Caleb’s age becomes a small detail compared to the more important messages his story conveys.  I was quickly drawn to every aspect of Caleb’s story – his familial relationships, his compulsive behaviors, and the mystery surrounding the poetic letters from the unseen Emily.

Marestaing pens a tale with an element of fantasy that touches hearts.  Caleb’s agoraphobia and compulsive behaviors are not qualities that one usually finds in main characters.  There are plenty of stories about triumph over fear, but “I’m Nobody” stands out from others.  Marestaing creates a character who suffers from paralyzing fear to a degree that many of us have never experienced.  Yet, despite the extreme circumstances, hope triumphs and blossoms into something beautiful.  Emily Dickinson’s prose plays a central role in “I’m Nobody,” adding an extra layer of depth and beauty.  Together Marestaing and Dickinson pull the novel’s characters towards a hopeful future and encourage readers to loosen the bonds of their fears. The message is wrapped in layers of magic and mystery that makes “I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages” hard to put down.   

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from LitFuse. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Summary: We're all broken on this side of heaven, but we can make beautiful things from the pieces. Agoraphobic Caleb Reed is about to step outside for the first time in seven years, meet indie filmmaker Iris Elliott . . . and definitely not fall in love. It's all because of the notes, the weird and wonderful notes he keeps finding on his front porch, notes signed by someone claiming to be long dead poet Emily Dickinson. Caleb's parents think he's losing his mind, as always, but he knows they're wrong. Something's going on outside --- something strange, something terrifying . . . something beautiful.

Read the EPIC Award nominated novel that critics are saying is "fresh", "powerful" and "unlike anything" they've read. In a world full of anxiety, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages is a triumphant tale of faith over fear and one that kids and grown-ups of all ages will love. (A London Book Festival Honorable Mention Winner)

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About the author: 

Author Alex Marestaing loves to create. He's written for media outlets such as The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins, and The Los Angeles Times and has authored three YA novels. His latest, I'm Nobody: The Lost Pages, recently won an honorable mention at the London Book Festival and was nominated for a 2014 Epic Award. Though he spends most of his time imagining ideas for the youth market, he's also written for faith based publications and has covered his favorite sport, soccer, in Europe and the U.S. for Sports Spectrum Magazineand Yanks Abroad. When Alex isn't writing or speaking at conferences, you'll most likely find him hanging out in California with his wife, three kids, and Milou, his dog.

Alex can be found at: websiteTwitterFacebook


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