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Monday, April 29, 2013

Persuasion

 Persuasion by Jane Austen.
Persuasion
 Book description:Superb novel, autumnal and mellow in tone, concerns the lives and loves of the Elliot family and their friends and relatives, in particular the thwarted romance between Anne Elliot (Austen's sweetest, most appealing heroine) and Captain Frederick Wentworth. Finely drawn characters, gentle satire and wonderful recreation of genteel life in the English countryside. (taken from Goodreads)

Objectionable:There was really nothing past an accident that caused injury.
Thoughts:I'm doing British Lit. this year and of course Jane Austen was on my list. She is an amazing author that practically puts the C in Classics :) I had a copy of Persuasion (I own nearly all of Austen's books, I think I might be missing one or two...) but had never gotten around to reading it. Until now. Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot who is overlooked by her father and sister and has had some trouble with love. She's 28 and still not married! Through the events of this books she encounters new acquaintances, accidents, a past love who is bitter because she was persuaded to leave him, and much more.

Pros:Austen did a wonderful job with her books. Her characters bloom and are loveable. They're unique and an inch away from being real it seems. Anne was a great character and I REALLY liked her a lot. Captain Wentworth was nice and I liked him. And there were others that I liked and the others that I loathed. I wish I could pull of the writing and characters as well as Austen has, they're brilliant. Although this probably isn't as well known as Emma or Pride & Prejudice (I had no idea what it was about), this book is just about as interesting, really, and certainly as enjoyable. Although not very much happens it's still an exciting book in terms of relationships. And the occasional surprise or accident or death.

Cons:The language can be hard to understand for some although I didn't feel that hindered by it. And at times it can be a struggle to get rolling and it can seem just a bit dull before picking up. The beginning was a little hard for me, but I got interested pretty quickly.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and now that I know the story I want to see a movie version :) The characters and writing were great and I am so jealous :P
Rating:4 stars
Love, Sierra

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hollow Earth

Hollow Earth by Carol E. Borrowman and John Barrowman.
Hollow Earth
Book description: Imagination matters most in a world where art can keep monsters trapped—or set them free.Lots of twins have a special connection, but twelve-year-old Matt and Emily Calder can do way more than finish each other’s sentences. Together, they are able to bring art to life and enter paintings at will. Their extraordinary abilities are highly sought after, particularly by a secret group who want to access the terrors called Hollow Earth. All the demons, devils, and evil creatures ever imagined are trapped for eternity in the world of Hollow Earth—trapped unless special powers release them.

The twins flee from London to a remote island off the west coast of Scotland in hopes of escaping their pursuers and gaining the protection of their grandfather, who has powers of his own. But the villains will stop at nothing to find Hollow Earth and harness the powers within. With so much at stake, nowhere is safe—and survival might be a fantasy.
(taken from Goodreads)


Objectionable:There was one bad word, some violence and creepy things. Killing, injuries, and being able to animate things.

Thoughts:I picked up this book because the cover and front flap interested me. When I got around to reading it the first few chapters almost made me put the book down. Why? Because they were confusing and made hardly any sense at all! After maybe a dozen or more chapters everything started clearing out.
The story is that two children, Em and Matt, who are twins have amazing abilities that have never existed before. A Guardian and an Animare had children, which had been forbidden. Matt and Em are the results. They can animate their drawings at a remarkably young age and with great power! Each one is unique and unlike anything the other Guardians and Animares have seen. The rest of the Animares and Guardians are divided about what to do with them. Some think they should be bound and their power taken away. Some think that they are just children who should be given a chance. While their future is being decided the children escaped capture and are staying with their Grandfather now. Who is teaching them about who they are and why they have these powers.

The idea is a good one and, with the exception of the beginning, the plot is interesting and pretty complex. The ending was really good, interesting and exciting! I really liked the idea of Animares animating things like paintings and drawings with their imagination. It's a pretty cool idea :) Overall, I liked the story and everything once it got going. And the ending was great :) Not the best book I've read and that may partly be because it's a middle grade book but whatever. I would recommend to tweens who enjoy adventure and fantasy!
Characters:The characters were interesting although a few did bug me and at first I couldn't get a good feel of how old the twins were. At the first third or so maybe, they sounded maybe 10. Then as it got around the halfway mark they "aged up". There was Zach who was a cool character who was deaf. And Em was sweet. Matt was a bit annoying and Simon (Zach's dad) was a great Guardian.
Cover:I like it. I like the window behind them and the font for the title.
Stars:3

Thursday, April 25, 2013

TBR Thursday:The Ward & The Program

The Ward
Sixteen-year-old Ren is a daredevil mobile racer who will risk everything to survive in the Ward, what remains of a water-logged Manhattan. To save her sister, who is suffering from a deadly illness thought to be caused by years of pollution, Ren accepts a secret mission from the government: to search for a freshwater source in the Ward, with the hope of it leading to a cure.

However, she never expects that her search will lead to dangerous encounters with a passionate young scientist; a web of deceit and lies; and an earth-shattering mystery that’s lurking deep beneath the water’s rippling surface.

Jordana Frankel’s ambitious debut novel and the first in a two-book series, The Ward is arresting, cinematic, and thrilling—perfect for fans of Scott Westerfeld or Ann Aguirre.(taken from Goodreads)


That ending right there? Fans of those two amazing authors...that means me. And this sounds so good!!!! I can't wait to read this debut and I'm definitely expecting something from it. Like adventure and a great world. Like really enjoyable dystopian world that I won't be able to get enough of. Judging by the cover anyway :) This book releases the 30th of April.
The Program (The Program, #1)
 In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
(taken from Goodreads)

This one had just interested me.  It sounds so cool and agghhh! Just good :D The cover is intriguing as well and I'm really excited to try this one out. I've read a couple reviews I think, but I don't know too much about it (yet). It also releases the 30th.

And check out The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy.
Also releasing on the 30th, a great middle grade adventure sure to make you smile, if it's anything like the first book.
Love, Sierra

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TBR Tuesday:The Elite & Unbreakable

The Elite (The Selection, #2)
The hotly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller The Selection.
Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending. (taken from Goodreads)


I am so stinkin' excited for this book! It releases today (although I saw a copy at Costco Saturday and just about died of excitement) and I cannot wait to get my hands on it! I'm second in line at my library and I've been waiting at least 6 months for this book to get to me. Why? The first (The Selection) was amazing. It had a great world, mostly clean, wonderful story, characters I loved, and so much more! Plus the covers happen to be gorgeous. And I cannot wait to see what will happen in this book. Like I'm jumping up and down here :D

Unbreakable (Unraveling, #2)
 Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?
(taken from Goodreads)

I'm much less excited for this book. I read the first one (Unraveling)  with some high expectations and was let down. So I'm not really expecting anything from this book, I'm just going to try it. For some reason I thought the first book was about super heroes....and it was more about time travel/sci-fi stuff. :/ And I just wasn't that interested I guess. So I'm hoping this one will  be a bit better and I do like the covers. This book is releasing today too.

Also check out Summerkin by Sarah Prineas which releases today as well. 
It's a middle grade book and the first book, Winterling was quite the adventure :) 
Love, Sierra

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wicked Lovely

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. First book in the Wicked Lovely series.
Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1)Book Description:Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty - especially if they learn of her Sight - and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.


Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning twenty-first-century faery tale. (taken from Goodreads)


Objectionable:Some talk/mention/joke of sex or subtle hints surrounding it dropped throughout the book here and there. Ash and Seth sleep together (briefly mentioned, several pages before, talking about it. And a paragraph thinking about it maybe? Nothing "shown"), there are injuries, several deaths and fey magic. A little drinking and the was language a 4.5 (25 words and one was the f word)

Thoughts:I'm not entirely sure why I picked up this book. I saw it at the library, had wanted to read something by this author at some point and I liked the cover. So I got interested and I'm pretty glad I did!
This book is about Ash (or Aislinn) who has been able to see faeries her whole life. She's learned to ignore them, hard as that is. They can never know that she is able to see them. However lately two (a boy and a girl) have been following her. And she doesn't know why. One day the boy puts on glamor and comes to hit on her! She has to figure out what is going on. Without letting her cautious grandmother find out. So she confides in Seth, the guy she really likes but doesn't think likes her. Together they research but don't find anything new. Meanwhile Keenan thinks he has finally found his Summer Queen. The girl who will be able to overcome the Winter Queen's (his mother) cold and help him regain his full power as the Summer King. But first he has to convince her. Usually the girls don't run away from him, but Ash is.Keenan needs to convince Ash to agree to help him and beat the Winter Queen or else terrible things will happen. But she is extremely wary of him. Why? Ash doesn't know what Keenan is up to but she knows that she can't trust the faeries. Despite being a little attracted to him.

Pros:The story overall. I loved the faerie stuff because I love mythology and fairy tales. This is a big girl fairy tale if I need to go there because this isn't Tinkerbell and little tiny fairies. These are faeries. They're bloody, dangerous and full sized. So loved that part. I also really liked the characters! Keenan I didn't like at first and thought he was a jerk. But by the end of the book I liked him more and could sympathize...kinda. Seth and Ash were so cute together and I really loved the both of them. Seth is just amazing and sweet! Ash was a strong (but not too strong) character and I found it easy to relate and like her her. The Winter Queen was creepy and evil (i.e.perfect villain) and Donia was a mysterious character that I instantly wanted to be happy. And the ending was perfect. Just the way I wanted without realizing it and, plus the characters were happy and there was certainly some room left for adventure. I will be picking up the next book soon.

Cons:There weren't that many. I mean I didn't like Keenan that much and how he just kept looking for girls to be his Queen and then kinda discarding them. :/ Apart from that and the content, which can be ignored, I liked pretty much everything else.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and the characters! I loved all the faery stuff and would recommend to 15+ girls who like fey, adventure, and romance.
Cover:I love the frosted flower, the fonts and the hues. I love the blue and light pink mixed with light green and black. It's really a pretty cover!!
Stars:3.7
Love, Sierra

Friday, April 19, 2013

Going Vintage

 Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt.
Going Vintage
Book description:When Mallory’s boyfriend, Jeremy, cheats on her with an online girlfriend, Mallory decides the best way to de-Jeremy her life is to de-modernize things too. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in1962, Mallory swears off technology and returns to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat with computer avatars). The List:
1. Run for pep club secretary
2. Host a fancy dinner party/soiree
3. Sew a dress for Homecoming
4. Find a steady
5. Do something dangerous
But simple proves to be crazy-complicated, and the details of the past begin to change Mallory’s present. Add in a too-busy grandmother, a sassy sister, and the cute pep-club president–who just happens to be her ex’s cousin–and soon Mallory begins to wonder if going vintage is going too far. (taken from Goodreads)


Objectionable:A couple kisses, language was a 3.9 or 21 words (most were suck and crap only about 4 were "really" cuss words), vague talk between Mallory and her mother about not giving away your "pieces".

Thoughts:I've read some the author's Princess For Hire series and really enjoyed them, even though they're technically middle grade. Lindsey Leavitt is a really great author, she has an easy flowing style that makes for happy books and funny characters. So I picked up this book expecting what was in the other books I had read and this book delivered. Mallory is stunned and hurt when she finds out that her boyfriend cheated on her with an online girlfriend. Hurt by technology and plain fed up with she swears off all technology, getting rid of her phone and computer...for a little while anyway. Then she finds a list of things that her Grandmother wanted to do, back when she was Mallory's age! This inspires Mallory to accomplish the things on the list.
So as Mallory sets out to finish this list, while living and dressing like it's 1962, she begins to be attracted to the very guy she should be staying away from. Her ex-boyfriend's unique cousin Oliver.

Pros:Mallory and her sister. They were hilarious and so perfect together! I really loved both of them, they were so unique and funny! That's another you should know about this book, you should expect to laugh :) There were also some great "quaint" vintage touches that were great. There is a bit of a mystery, romance, comedy, and bunches of fun. There's also this kinda hidden message that the author kinda gives you and lets you take away from it what you will :P If that made sense and everything. The message was that technology can be used for good and bad. Sometimes it's nice to get a break but don't forget that even with technology seeming like a terrible monster, things were just as "hard" and tough back when you parents and grandparents were teens.

Cons:There were a couple times in this book that I got a little bit bored. It's not super deep and doesn't have this really complex plot, although there were some surprises and mysteries. Other than that and maybe a little cliche over the top-ish stuff I really enjoy this book :)

Overall, this was a sweet read that I would recommend to my friends and other teen girls. It's sweet, funny, enjoyable, and a bit of a blast from the past. What's not to like?
Cover:Cute :) And 60s! I love the record, headphones and the radio. Plus the colors are cool :D
Stars:4
Love, Sierra

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Goddess Inheritance

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter. The third and final book in the Goddess Test series.
The Goddess Inheritance (Goddess Test, #3)
Book description:Love or life. Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world. Kate must choose. 
During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal. 
In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.
With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything. Even if it costs her eternity. (taken from Goodreads)

Objectionable:There was a good chunk of language (60 words or 5 slight+), a birthing scene, some kissing and intimate married thoughts and Kate wonders if Henry slept with Calliope when he was pretending to be under an enchantment. Injuries, mythical gods and killing as well.

Thoughts:I had really enjoyed the first two books and after the cliffhanger at the end of books two...well I was really anticipating this book :) So I think it's fair to say that I came in with some expectations. And I don't necessarily think that it lived up to them. While this is a really good series, nice characters and a great take on mythology (I love mythology) this one was just a little off to me. At the end of book two we learned Kate is pregnant and has been kidnapped. The third book opens with her giving birth and Henry arriving to save her. Only they aren't able to get Milo to safety. From then on Kate is trying to either get him or Henry back and sage. At times both of them are in Cronus's clutches.

So Kate goes back and forth between Mount Olympus and Cronus's island. Sometimes she's trying to make a deal with Cronus (half the time through these vision/dream things) and the other half she's trying a sneak attack/rescue. I felt like Kate wasn't as strong and was really off in this book. And kinda whiny :( And it got kinda annoying :/ Otherwise however, and really that was a kinda big whole story damper, I did like this book. Partly only because of Henry, who is the sweetest guy ever, and also because of James. He's way funnier than I remembered. There are some sweet scenes and cool adventures. And like I said, the whole mythology thing is really cool throughout this whole series!

Overall I liked this book and was happy with the ending. In my opinion the first book was the best and then it got a little less from then on. However the characters are really great and the adventure is too. And the written makes you want to keep reading until your done! I would recommend to YA girls.
Cover: As always with this series, it's beautiful, greek and mysterious. :) I love it.
Stars:3
Love, Sierra

Monday, April 15, 2013

Illuminate & Infatuate

Illuminate by Aimee Agresti. Book one in the Gilded Wings series.
Illuminate (Gilded Wings, #1)
Book description: Haven Terra is a brainy, shy high school outcast. But everything begins to change when she turns sixteen. Along with her best friend Dante and their quiet and brilliant classmate Lance, she is awarded a prestigious internship in the big city— Chicago—and is sent to live and work at a swanky and stylish hotel under the watchful eyes of a group of gorgeous and shockingly young-looking strangers: powerful and alluring hotel owner Aurelia Brown; her second-in-command, the dashing Lucian Grove; and their stunning but aloof staff of glamazons called The Outfit.As Haven begins falling for Lucian, she discovers that these beautiful people are not quite what they seem. With the help of a mysterious book, she uncovers a network of secret passageways from the hotel’s jazz-age past that leads her to the heart of the evil agenda of Aurelia and company: they’re in the business of buying souls. Will they succeed in wooing Haven to join them in their recruitment efforts, or will she be able to thwart this devilish set’s plans to take the souls of her classmates on prom night at the hotel? Illuminate is an exciting saga of a teen’s first taste of independence, her experience in the lap of luxury, and her discovery she may possess strength greater than she ever knew. (taken from Goodreads)
Objectionable:Language was a 2, drinking, demons and angels portrayed in a way  that went slightly against my beliefs (although, duh, the demons are evil), gay character, a couple kisses.

Thoughts:Well this book is off and on, Haven is training to be an angel. And we can't train to be angels and well the whole demon/angel thing was portrayed in the world's sense and really had no mention of God. Which is fine for other people but I think it's a bit off, personally. Anyway, that was really the main thing that disagreed with me. So Haven is given this job with her best friend and another guy who she kinda knows. And they go to work at the hotel and wow...turns out that the beautiful people there are demons trying to steal their souls. Fun. So she fights back and in the end conquers them. With some consequences.

While this book takes a little while to get started (it's a pretty large book) once it gets started it doesn't stop! The adventure and plot are well done and interesting. There is an air or mystery around the hotel for a while  and even after Haven and her friends discover the demons there are still secrets and mysteries. The whole book is really well thought out and the author has a great pen for details! Overall, I enjoyed this book despite the slight content and thought that it was really well written. I would recommend to 14+ girls.
Characters: Haven is a really strong character and I really liked her! She was quiet and shy at times but really bold and confident at others. She is a sweet girl and I totally called who she ends up with :) Lance is a sweet guy and kinda Clark Kent...only smarter I think. Anyway he's adorable. Dante is the other main-ish character and he is the stereotypical gay guy. But he's hilarious and fashion conscientious for Haven. (*note* I don't hate gays, I think they should be happy and all that, but I do believe that homosexuality is a sin. But I don't want to be hater, it's just my belief.)
Cover:I love this cover. The shadowed wings, the doodle around the title...the dress. It's really beautiful and one of my favorites.
Stars:3

Infatuate by Aimee Agresti. Book two in the Gilded Wings series.
Infatuate (Gilded Wings, #2)
Book description:Haven Terra is still recovering from an internship that brought her literally to the brink of hell when a trip to New Orleans leads to more trouble. Graduating early from high school leaves the spring semester free, so Haven and her friends Dante and Lance head to the Big Easy to volunteer with community service projects. But their true mission becomes clear when they run across an enclave of devils known as the Krewe. New Orleans is a free-for-all for these shape-shifting devils, who are more reckless and vicious than any Haven, Lance, and Dante have encountered. And they soon discover their French Quarter housemates are also angels-in-training, and together they must face off with the Krewe in their quest for wings. But Haven’s resolve is tested when Lucian, the repentant devil with whom she was infatuated, resurfaces and asks her for help escaping the underworld. Can he be trusted? Or will aiding him cost Haven her angel wings—and her life? Thrilling, romantic, and full of surprises, this gripping sequel to Illuminate takes the battle of good and evil to the next level. (taken from Goodreads)

Objectionable:My main reason of not enjoying it as much is that the whole training to be angels + the demons thing is a little weird and not necessarily agreeing with my beliefs. There is also a gay character, but it's only mentioned a few times. Language wise there wasn't that much, only 10 words. There is some sleeping together but nothing farther and it isn't made out to be huge deal, barely mentioned. Um and some killing and voodoo.

Thoughts:I had read the first book, Illuminate and become interested in this series a while back. Basically Haven is training to be an angel and is constantly in danger of her soul and other's around her souls being stolen by demons. That are incredibly attractive and evil. In the first book Haven and her friends, Dante and Lance, survive and defeat the demons. Now they are starting on a new adventure in New Orleans, where there are different demons, interesting culture, and new powers emerging. Also everything starts going a little crazy when they discover other like themselves and the fact that they will be constantly and brutally attacked.

So apart from this book being a little strange it is interesting.  Because this book is set in New Orleans I felt like I learned a lot and got to see a piece of the New Orleans culture. It was really interesting and now I want to visit :) The descriptions are definitely good and the writing may start of slowly but it certainly picks up. This book is on the long side...400 pages and not always page turning excitement. However it's still a pretty good story. Overall, this is a different, interesting book that I enjoyed the uniqueness of, some of the content not so much, but it was a good sequel I felt. And I loved the setting. I would recommend to 15+ girls who like adventure, a bit of romance and a unique story.
Characters:Haven is a good, strong, determined character and there are several other enjoyable ones :) Although Lance seems a little woozy in this one, I still liked him, but thought he was nicer in the first book. Dante is a sweet, fun guy. And there are a couple others. But the main story is on those three.
Cover:I don't like it as much as the first and I was a little disappointed when I first saw it. How ever I like the way the title is done and the mask :)
Stars:3
Love, Sierra

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Avenger

 Avenger by Heather Burch. Third and final book in the Halfings series.
Avenger (Halflings, #3)
Book description:Sometimes the Truth Comes with a Price
Nikki knew Damon Vessler would not let his prized creation go easily---she simply never imagined the lengths he'd go to get her back into his clutches, and turn Nikki's heart toward darkness.
A Seeker at her heels, trained on her blood, Nikki flees with Raven alongside her for protection, while Mace and the other Halflings fight the battle that has erupted on earth. But even as the two boys she loves fight for her, she knows the battle will be hers to win. Determined to uncover the secrets of her past, and exactly how she fits into Vessler's twisted plans, Nikki sets off on her own, and soon discovers facing hellacious beasts is nothing compared to the decision she will need to make. One that could change not only the war, and her relationship with Mace and Raven, but her future with the Throne.

Wow. I was very very surprised by this book. I hadn't liked and connected with the first two that much. And the romance, in the first mostly, felt fleshly to me. And like Nikki was playing both guys. The second book was more interesting although I didn't like the ending a ton. (taken from Goodreads)
 Objectionable:There are some violent battles and injuries. A couple kisses and angels and demons portrayed in the Christian view.

Thoughts:
Wow. I was very very surprised by this book. I hadn't liked and connected with the first two that much. And the romance, in the first mostly, felt fleshly to me. And like Nikki was playing both guys. The second book was more interesting although I didn't like the ending a ton.
Now in this book we find Nikki with Mace although Raven is still trying to change her mind. Right off the bat the adventure starts with a mysterious, unbeatable, terrible creature called a seeker coming after Nikki. Raven takes her and they flee all around trying to escape and find a way to beat the seeker. From there they have battles that need to be fought, physically and spiritually. And the final battle as well, Nikki's grandfather is after what Nikki can give him. An army. He is determined to change her and then create "darklings" with her DNA.

The pros:I really, really liked it. I connected with it, I felt like the characters and everything flowed a lot better and despite the dark elements and the fears the book didn't feel dark. I want to be happy when I'm reading a book. And there was faith and hope in this book as well that really shone through. The ending was perfect and there was a really cool part where the seeker was warded off by prayer warriors.


I really liked Raven's character, Mace and Nikki. And several of the b characters as well. The three main characters really seemed to have matured and I was really happy and proud of how they ended up :) I was definitely smiling in several scenes and with several lines. I couldn't have been more surprised with how happy I was with really everything in this book! It was the perfect ending. One that was mysterious, happy and hopefully a reader pleaser for everyone.

Cons:
The only problem that I had with this book was that at one point a couple characters are captured and beat up. When the author is focusing on them I couldn't help but feel that the beatings seemed to stretch over a longer period of time than for the other characters who were wondering where they were. It seemed like the beatings lasted over a couple days when "really" it was only a couple of hours or a morning.

Overall, I was very pleasantly surprised and I would recommend this book to several of my friends! The ending I felt really connected to God (it's this Jesus thing at the end...so beautiful) and uplifted! I really enjoyed this book and would recommend to YA girls who are looking for some clean, exciting paranormal/supernatural romance and adventure :)
Cover:My favorite or second favorite. I really like the purple and the model's (a Sierra too!) hair.
Love, Sierra

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Take A Chance On Me

Visit the author's site:Susan May Warren.
http://www.tyndale.com/authorphotos/amazon/705/pic_full_warren_susanmay.jpg Susan May Warren is the RITA Award-winning author of more than thirty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable
characters have won acclaim with readers and
reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four
children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before
she and her family returned home to the States. She
now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on
Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of
her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Susan holds a BA in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times and won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Four of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives. Visit Susan's website at www.susanmaywarren.com


Take A Chance On Me by Susan May Warren. A Christiansen family book.
My review:
Take a Chance on MeBook description: Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

Objectionable:Premarital sex mentioned (past), several kisses, characters think over the possibility of a affair in the past. A brief fight, injuries,  a car accident (past), an attack in a foreign country in the past as well and a fire coming extremely close to the town.

Thoughts:This is such a sweet story of forgiveness and second chances! With one accident and one women's death a whole town takes sides and lives are changed and filled with bitterness. This is the story of how that changes when several things happen...Ivy comes to town and bets on the wrong bachelor, who may just be able to give her the family she came to Deep Haven looking for after feeling unwanted in the foster care system. Darek left his wife and newborn son to have adventure fighting fires. When he returns their marriage was falling apart and after a fight she killed in a car accident. That was three years ago, he's know come to love his son and realize how special family is. He has also met Ivy and started to believe that he could find life and love once again. Jensen is the guy everyone in Deep Haven hates, who was driving the car that night and who killed Darek's wife. He's been doing community service for three years, he's suffering and bitter, but totally sorry. Claire is the missionary's kid who has suffered trauma and just wants everything to be right. She doesn't want to leave Deep Haven even though her parents are pressuring her. Deep Haven was the only place she felt safe. Everything is changing as characters come together and the aftermath of one accident is undone.

This was my first time reading the author's books and I was very happy with this book. Okay I loved it. The characters came to life and were so sweet and lovable. I couldn't really pick a favorite out of them, they were all great! I got a feeling of family and closeness from this book and the town it was set in. The writing was good and the plot exciting. I was really surprised and interested in how one car accident could just create all these plot lines and secrets that affected so many other characters! The whole book was kinda about how the family of Felicity, her husband, her friends and her town recovered from her death. Although she isn't in the book you kinda get to know her too. The descriptions and setting were lovely, I want to visit Minnesota now! Overall I enjoyed this book and the character tons! I had no problems at all, this is a pretty clean book for YA readers and definitely an enjoyable one! I would recommend to YA+ girls who love sweet stories about families, lives changing and redemption.
Characters:The characters were probably the best part of this story. They shone and they were very well written. Like I said I couldn't pick a favorite because they were all interesting and I really liked all of them :) Jensen was misunderstood and at times conflicted, but he really wanted to do the right thing. One of my favorite scenes is where he is talking about what happened, how he isn't guilty, but he is sorry and he's playing checkers with Claire's grandfather. It's a great scene :) Claire is a strong girl who makes people happy and is just overall sweet. She and Jensen were so cute together! Ivy was a great girl who just wanted to be loved, I was really able to relate to her. Darek was a kinda lumberjack type guy who loves the woods. And he's pretty smart around a fire too! And the scenes with his son, Tiger, made me smile :)
Cover:Perfect. It's sweet and definitely goes with the story :) I love the fonts and the colors too.
Stars:4.5
Tyndale Blog Network
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher and the views I've expressed are my own.

Here is an interview that was done (not be me) with the author:
1. This is the first installment in a brand new six-book series. Can you give us a bit of background on this
series?

I love stories about families – watching the members interact and grow together through
challenges and victories – and I conceived this series as I watched my own children begin to grow
up and deal with romance and career and futures. I love Deep Haven, and it’s the perfect setting
for a resort, so I crafted a family, much like the families I know, who run a resort. They want to
pass on their legacy to their children…but their children don’t know if they want it. It’s sort of a
parallel theme to the legacy of faith we instill in our children. As they grow older, they need to
decide whether it is their faith too. It’s a saga about family and faith and what happens when
those collide with real life.

2. This Christiansen Family series is set in Deep Haven, Minnesota. Tell us about this setting.

Deep Haven, Minnesota is based in a small vacation town in northern Minnesota where I spent
my childhood. It’s located on Lake Superior, surrounded by pine and birch and the sense of small
town and home. Populated by everyone from artists to lumberjacks, it’s Mitford, or perhaps
Northern Exposure gone Minnesotan. Quaint, quirky and beautiful, it’s the perfect place to
escape for a vacation.

3. What was your inspiration for this particular book and the main character Darek Christiansen?

As I started to put together this series, I began to think about our culture and our children today.
I started to take a look at the big questions we are faced with as parents – and as young people;
the issues that affect us as a culture, as well as personally. I wanted these books to go beyond
family drama, beyond a great romance to raise bigger questions and stir truths that we might
pass along to others. This story is about our propensity in our culture to blame others for what
goes wrong in our lives – and how this alienates us from each other, and ultimately, God. Darek
is the oldest brother in the family; the leader and a real hero. He’s a wildland firefighter and a
widower who’s had to give up his job to come home and run the resort and care for his young
son. Darek doesn’t realize he has a problem – he lives with anger on his shoulder, hating the
man who killed his wife (his best friend). His real problem is that he can’t forgive himself. In this
first story, readers meet the family, hang out at the resort and discover that God can redeem
even a heart of stone, if we take a chance on Him.

4. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?

This book is for the person who feels they just can’t get past the anger they have for someone
else to live in joy again. It’s for parents who see their children making bad choices and don’t
know where to turn. It’s for people who believe that no one will ever really love them because of
who they are, or the things they’ve done. It’s for people who need the courage to take a second
chance on love and faith and family. I’m hoping readers walk away with a sense of how much
God loves them, and that yes, He can heal the angry and broken-hearted.

5. How do you expect this new series to resonate with your audience? How do you want your books to
make them feel?

Great question! I love a story that brings me on an emotional journey from anger to laughter to
hope. But most of all, I want readers to be wrapped up in joy, that feeling we get when watch
our football team win, or when we’re hands up in a convertible on a hot summer day, or digging
our feet into a sandy beach, or hugging our loved one when they return home. Ah. The sense
that, just for a moment, all is right in the world and everything tastes and feels delicious. I write
romances, and in the end it’s worth the journey to the happily ever after.

6. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?

I loved Darek’s transformation. His relationship with his son is so precious, but when he truly lets
go of his anger, he becomes the hero I always knew he could be. I love writing about broken
heroes who find healing.

7. What advice do you have for budding novelists?

Read! Then write the book you’d like to read.  But, along the way, learn the craft. In fact, a
good writer never stops learning.

8. What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?

Just keep writing. If you want to be a career novelist, you just have to keep writing.

9. In your writing career, what are you most proud of?

After over forty novels, I’m always striving to keep the stories fresh and unique; so I guess I’m
proud that every book is bathed in prayer, has a message singular to that story, and has unique
characters and journeys. Every story is a new adventure for me, and the reader.
And here is an excerpt of the first chapter:
My dearest Darek,
Even as I write this letter, I know I’ll tuck it away; the words on it are more of a prayer,
meant for the Lord more than you. Or maybe, in the scribbling upon this journal page, the
words might somehow find your heart, a cry that extends across the bond of mother and
child.
The firstborn child is always the one who solves the mystery of parenthood. Before I
had you, I watched other mothers and wondered at the bond between a child and a parent,
the strength of it, the power to mold a woman, making her put all hopes and wishes into
this tiny bundle of life that she had the responsibility to raise.
It’s an awe-filled, wonderful, terrifying act to have a child, for you suddenly wear your
heart on the outside of your body. You risk a little more each day as he wanders from your
arms into the world. You, Darek, were no protector of my heart. You were born with a
willfulness, a courage, and a bent toward adventure that would bring me to the edge of my
faith and keep me on my knees. The day I first saw you swinging from that too-enticing oak
tree into the lake should have told me that I would be tested.
Your brothers shortened your name to Dare, and you took it to heart. I was never so
terrified as the day you came home from Montana, fresh from your first year as a hotshot,
feeling your own strength. I knew your future would take you far from Evergreen Lake. I
feared it would take you far, also, from your legacy of faith.
Watching your son leave your arms has no comparison to watching him leave God’s.
You never seemed to question the beliefs your father and I taught you. Perhaps that is
what unsettled me the most, because without questioning, I wondered how there could be
true understanding. I held my breath against the day when it would happen—life would
shatter you and leave your faith bereft.
And then it did.
It brought you home, in presence if not soul. If it hadn’t been for your son, I might have
done the unthinkable—stand in our gravel driveway and bar you from returning, from
hiding.
Because, my courageous, bold oldest son, that is what you are doing. Hiding. Bitter and
dark, you have let guilt and regret destroy your foundation, imprison you, and steal your
joy. You may believe you are building a future for your son, but without faith, you have
nothing to build it on. Evergreen Resort is not just a place. It’s a legacy. A foundation. A
belief.
It’s the best of what I have to give you. That, and my unending prayers that somehow
God will destroy those walls you’ve constructed around your heart.
Darek, you have become a mystery to me again. I don’t know how to help free you. Or
to restore all you’ve lost. But I believe that if you give God a chance, He will heal your
heart. He will give you a future. He will truly lead you home.
Lovingly,
Your mother

Chapter 1

Ivy Madison would do just about anything to stay in the secluded, beautiful, innocent town of
Deep Haven.
Even if she had to buy a man.
A bachelor, to be exact, although maybe not the one currently standing on the stage of the
Deep Haven Emergency Services annual charity auction. He looked like a redneck from the
woolly woods of northern Minnesota, with curly dark-blond hair, a skim of whiskers on his face,
and a black T-shirt that read, Hug a logger—you’ll never go back to trees. Sure, he filled out his
shirt and looked the part in a pair of ripped jeans and boots, but he wore just a little too much
“Come and get me, girls,” in his smile.
The auctioneer on stage knew how to work his audience. He regularly called out names from
the crowd to entice them to bid. And apparently the town of Deep Haven loved their firefighters,
EMTs, and cops because the tiny VFW was packed, the waitresses running out orders of bacon
cheeseburgers and hot wings to the bidding crowd.
After the show was over, a local band would take the stage. The auction was part of the
summer solstice festival—the first of many summer celebrations Deep Haven hosted. Frankly it
felt like the village dreamed up events to lure tourists, but Ivy counted it as her welcoming party.
Oh, how she loved this town. And she’d only lived here for roughly a day. Imagine how she’d
love it by the end of the summer, after she’d spent three months learning the names of locals,
investing herself into this lakeside hamlet.
Her days of hitching her measly worldly possessions—four hand-me-down suitcases; a loose
cardboard box of pictures; a garbage bag containing The Elements of Legal Style, How to Argue
and Win Every Time, and To Kill a Mockingbird; and most of all, her green vintage beach bike—
onto the back of her red Nissan Pathfinder were over.
Time to put down roots. Make friends.
Okay, buying a friend didn’t exactly qualify, but the fact that her money would go to help the
local emergency services seemed like a good cause. And if Ivy had learned anything growing up
in foster care, it was that a person had to work the system to get what she wanted.
She should be unpacking; she started work in the morning. But how long would it take, really,
to settle into the tiny, furnished efficiency apartment over the garage behind the Footstep of
Heaven Bookstore? And with her new job as assistant county attorney, she expected to have
plenty of free time. So when the twilight hues of evening had lured her into the romance of a
walk along the shoreline of the Deep Haven harbor, she couldn’t stop herself.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d taken a lazy walk, stopping at storefronts, reading
the real estate ads pasted to the window of a local office.
Cute, two-bedroom log cabin on Poplar Lake. She could imagine the evergreen smell
nudging her awake every morning, the twitter of cardinals and sparrows as she took her cup of
coffee on the front porch.
Except she loved the bustle of the Deep Haven hamlet. Nestled on the north shore of
Minnesota, two hours from the nearest hint of civilization, the fishing village–turned–tourist
hideaway had enough charm to sweet-talk Ivy out of her Minneapolis duplex and make her
dream big.
Dream of home, really. A place. Friends. Maybe even a dog. And here, in a town where
everyone belonged, she would too.
She had wandered past the fudge and gift shop, past the walk-up window of World’s Best

Donuts, where the smell of cake donuts nearly made her follow her sweet tooth inside. At the
corner, the music drew her near to the VFW. Ford F-150s, Jeeps, and a handful of SUVs jammed
the postage-size dirt parking lot.
She’d stopped at the entrance, reading the poster for today’s activities, then peered in through
the windows. Beyond a wood-paneled bar and a host of long rectangular tables, a man stood on
the stage, holding up a fishing pole.
And that’s when Deep Haven reached out and hooked her.
“Are you going in?”
She’d turned toward the voice and seen a tall, solidly built middle-aged man with dark hair,
wearing a jean jacket. A blonde woman knit her hand into his.
“I . . .”
“C’mon in,” the woman said. “We promise not to bite. Well, except for Eli here. I make no
promises with him.” She had smiled, winked, and Ivy could feel her heart gulp it whole. Oh, why
had she never learned to tamp down her expectations? Life had taught her better.
Eli shook his head, gave the woman a fake growl. Turned to Ivy. “Listen, it’s for a good
cause. Our fire department could use a new engine, and the EMS squad needs more training for
their staff, what few there are. You don’t have to buy anything, but you might help drive up the
bids.” He winked. “Don’t tell anyone I told you that, though.”
She laughed. “I’m Ivy Madison,” she said, too much enthusiasm in her voice. “Assistant
county attorney.”
“Of course you are. I should have guessed. Eli and Noelle Hueston.” Noelle stuck out her
hand. “Eli’s the former sheriff. Hence the fact that we’ve come with our checkbook. C’mon, I’ll
tell you who to bid on.”
Who to bid on?
Ivy had followed them inside, taking a look around the crowded room. Pictures of soldiers
hung in metal frames, along with listings of member names illuminated by neon bar signs. The
smells of deep-fried buffalo wings, beer, and war camaraderie were embedded in the dark-
paneled walls.
A line formed around the pool table near the back of the room—what looked like former
glory-day athletes lined up with their beers or colas parked on the round tables. Two men threw
darts into an electronic board.
Then her gaze hiccuped on a man sitting alone near the jukebox, sending a jolt of familiarity
through her.
Jensen Atwood.
For a moment, she considered talking to him—not that he’d know her, but maybe she’d
introduce herself, tell him, I’m the one who put together your amazing plea agreement. Yes, that
had been a hot little bit of legalese. The kind that had eventually landed her right here, in her
dream job, dream town.
But Noelle glanced back and nodded for Ivy to follow, so she trailed behind them to an open
table.
“Every year, on the last night of the solstice festival, we have a charity auction. It’s gotten to
be quite an event,” Noelle said, gesturing to a waitress. She came over and Eli ordered a basket
of wings, a couple chocolate malts. Ivy asked for a Coke.
“What do they auction?”
“Oh, fishing gear. Boats. Snowblowers. Sometimes vacation time-shares in Cancún.
Whatever people want to put up for charity. But this year, they have something special on the

agenda.” Noelle leaned close, her eyes twinkling. Ivy already liked her. And the way Eli had her
hand wrapped in his. What might it be like to be in love like that? That kind of love . . . well, Ivy
had only so many wishes, and she’d flung them all at living here, in Deep Haven.
“What?” Ivy asked.
“They’re auctioning off the local bachelors.”
And as if on cue, that’s when the lumberjack bachelor had taken the stage.
Ivy sipped her Coke, watching the frenzy.
“So are you going to bid?” Noelle asked.
Ivy raised a shoulder.
The lumberjack went for two hundred dollars, too rich for Ivy’s blood, to a woman wearing a
moose antler headband. He flexed for her as he walked off stage, and the crowd erupted.
A clean-cut, handsome young man took the stage next, to the whoops of the younger crowd
down front. “That’s my son,” Noelle said, clearly enjoying the spectacle. He seemed about
nineteen or twenty, tall and wearing a University of Minnesota, Duluth, T-shirt. He was built like
an athlete and had a swagger to match.
“He plays basketball for the UMD Bulldogs,” Noelle said. She placed the first bid and got a
glare from the young man on stage.
A war started between factions in the front row. “Should I bid?” Ivy asked. Not that she
would know what to do with a bachelor ten years younger than her. Maybe she could get him to
mow her lawn.
“No. Save your money for Owen Christiansen.”
Probably another lumberjack from the woods, with a flannel shirt and the manners of a
grizzly. Ivy affected a sort of smile.
“Maybe you’ve heard of him? He plays hockey for the Minnesota Wild.”
“No, sorry.”
“He’s something of a local celebrity. Played for our hometown team and then got picked up
by the Wild right after high school.”
“I’m not much of a hockey fan.”
“Honey, you can’t live in Deep Haven and not be a hockey fan.” Noelle grinned, turning
away as the wings arrived.
Ivy ignored the way the words found tender space and stabbed her in the chest. But see, she
wanted to live in Deep Haven . . .
Noelle offered her a wing, but Ivy turned it down. “Owen’s parents, John and Ingrid
Christiansen, run a resort about five miles out of town. It’s one of the legacy resorts—his great-
grandfather settled here in the early nineteen hundreds and set up a logging camp. It eventually
turned into one of the hot recreation spots on the north shore, although in today’s economy,
they’re probably struggling along with the rest of the Deep Haven resorts. I’m sure Owen’s
appearance on the program is a bid for some free publicity. Owen is the youngest son of the clan,
one of six children. I’m sure you’ll meet them—all but two still live in Deep Haven.”
A redhead won the bachelor on stage and ran up to claim her purchase. Ivy escaped to the
ladies’ room.
What if she did bid on Owen? Truly, the last thing she needed in her life was a real bachelor.
Someone she might fall for, someone who could so easily break her heart.
Maybe she could ask said bachelor to show her around Deep Haven. Teach her about hockey.
Certainly it might give her a little social clout to be seen with the town celebrity.
She could faintly hear the announcer stirring up the fervor for the next contestant, then a

trickle of applause for the main attraction as he took the stage. She walked out, standing by the
bar to survey this hometown hero.
They grew them big up here in the north woods. Indeed, he looked like a hockey champion,
with those wide shoulders, muscular arms stretching the sleeves of his deep-green shirt that read
Evergreen Resort—memories that live forever. He stood at ease like one might do in the military,
wearing jeans that hugged his legs all the way down to the work boots on his feet. The man
looked like an impenetrable fortress, not a hint of marketing in his face. So much for winning the
audience.
In fact, to use the only hockey term she knew, he looked like he’d just been checked hard into
the boards and come up with some sort of permanent scowl, none too happy to be standing in the
middle of the stage of the local VFW as the main attraction.
“C’mon, everyone, who will start the bidding for our Deep Haven bachelor tonight?”
Ivy looked around the room. It had hushed to a pin-drop silence, something not quite right
simmering in the air. She glanced over to where Jensen Atwood had been sitting and found his
seat vacant.
On stage, the man swallowed. Shifted. Pursed his lips. Oh, poor Owen. Her heart knocked her
hard in the chest. She knew exactly what it felt like not to be wanted.
“One hundred dollars? Who has it tonight for our local hero?”
She scanned the room, saw patrons looking away as if embarrassed. Even Eli and Noelle had
taken a sudden interest in their dinner.
Owen sighed and shook his head.
And right then, the pain of the moment squeezed the words from Ivy’s chest. “Five hundred
dollars!”
Every eye turned toward her, and for a moment, she had the crazy but horribly predictable
urge to flee. But the words were out, so she took a step forward, toward the stage. “I bid five
hundred dollars,” she said again, fighting the wobble in her voice.
Ivy shot a look at Noelle, expecting approval. But Noelle wore an expression of what she
could only pinpoint as panic. Wasn’t she the one who’d suggested Ivy buy the man?
And then from the stage, she heard, “Well, that’s good enough for me! Sold, to the pretty lady
in the white jacket. Miss, come up to the stage and claim your prize.”
Still, no one said a word—not a cheer, not a gasp, nothing. Ivy swallowed and met the eyes of
the man on stage. “I’ll meet him by the bar,” she said, her voice small.
Owen looked as relieved as she was that they didn’t have to create some public spectacle. He
moved off the stage and the auctioneer mercifully introduced the band. The men in back resumed
their pool playing.
Ivy couldn’t help it. She edged over to Noelle. “What’s the matter? I know he looks a little
rough around the edges, but—”
“That’s not Owen,” Noelle said, wiping her fingers with a napkin. She shot a glance past Ivy,
possibly at the stranger she’d just purchased.
“What?”
“Owen couldn’t make it. That’s Darek Christiansen. His big brother.”
Ivy turned now, found her man weaving his way through the crowd. He didn’t stop to glad-
hand anyone or even slap friends on the back.
In fact, it seemed she’d purchased the pariah of Deep Haven.
Noelle confirmed it. “Brace yourself, honey. You’ve just purchased the most ineligible
eligible bachelor in town.”

* * *

Everything inside Darek told him to keep going, right on out of the VFW until he hit his Jeep,
and then punch the gas toward the hills.
And hide.
He would murder Owen next time he saw him, which wouldn’t be anytime soon, given the
kid’s celebrity demands. Sorry, Bro. I can’t make it up today—I have a photo shoot. Owen
couldn’t have thought ahead to that, maybe rearranged his oh-so-packed schedule? But Owen
didn’t think beyond practice, improving his shot, and updating his Facebook status. Last time
Darek checked, his twenty-year-old kid brother had 32,876 fans.
Darek had maybe thirty-eight friends on his own page. Not that he was counting, but it
seemed like some sort of commentary on his life.
The minute Darek had hung up with Owen, he should have made himself scarce—loaded
Tiger into the Jeep, attached the boat, and headed for some pristine lake. Except losing his head
and forgetting his responsibilities was how he got here in the first place.
Instead he’d experienced a streak of clearly misplaced hope that the stigma, the gossip, might
have finally died and he might once again be an eligible bachelor. Someone who just wanted to
start over, for himself and his son.
The near silence in the room when they’d called his name, when he’d stepped up to take
Owen’s place, confirmed that no, nothing had been forgotten.
Darek stalked past the bar, where, of course, his high school buddies gave him tight smiles.
He hadn’t seen any of the former Deep Haven Huskies getting up to sell their . . . well, it
wasn’t exactly his body, and she certainly didn’t expect a real date, right? So he wasn’t sure what
he was selling up there.
Darek glanced at his father, John, sitting at the end, nursing a Sprite. A linebacker-size man—
bigger than any of his boys; he’d played fullback for the Minnesota Gophers back in the day.
That he’d ended up with hockey players could only be blamed on the skating rink he’d cleared
on the lake every January.
“Great job, Son,” his father said, catching his arm.
“This was a bad idea,” Darek groused, slowing his exit.
“Five hundred dollars doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. You were the most expensive
bachelor here. That will make the news.”
“Yippee,” Darek said. But his father was right—he’d created a bit of buzz, and hopefully it
would someday turn into goodwill for their lakeside vacation spot, Evergreen Lodge Outfitter
and Cabin Rentals, which most people shortened to Evergreen Resort.
“Do you know the woman who bid on you?”
Darek scanned the room to locate her. He couldn’t see her well from the stage with the lights
in his face, but he thought he’d glimpsed a redhead wearing a white jean jacket, her hair in a
messy ponytail. She wasn’t tall, maybe five foot four, and a little on the curvy side.
Now he found her, sitting next to Noelle Hueston and staring at him like she’d purchased . . .
well, the devil.
Darek turned away, his lips a grim line. “No, I don’t know her.”
His father wisely said nothing, took a sip of his Sprite. Then, “She looks pretty.”
“Next time you want to sell your flesh and blood, pick a different son.”
He caught his father’s smirk as he turned to leave, and it only darkened his mood.
No one from Deep Haven, not a soul, had bid on him. What was so different about him from,
say, the two previous bachelors?

Okay, maybe that wasn’t a fair question. Neither of them walked around with the stigma of
being the youngest widower in town, pity and probably the tsk of tongues following in their
wake.
He glanced over to the chair where Jensen Atwood had sat, smug, rich, wearing a fancy
leather jacket, his hair cut short and slicked back, contempt in his eyes. Yes, he’d seen the man
sitting near the back, next to the jukebox, like no one would notice. He had a lot of nerve
showing up here, and Darek had just about launched off the stage toward him. That might be a
show the locals would bid on—a go-round between Jensen and Darek. Finally.
Instead he’d dark-eyed the guy into fleeing. It fed the heat inside him, gave Darek the strength
to stand there like an idiot while the town shifted uncomfortably in their seats.
Until, of course, Moneybags piped up.
Five hundred dollars.
Wow, did she waste her money on him.
And what kind of woman paid five hundred dollars for a man she didn’t know? Hopefully she
didn’t want a real date. He wasn’t a real-date kind of guy.
In fact, he was a never-date kind of guy.
Darek shook his head and headed out the door.
He paused on the sidewalk for a moment, drawing in the clean air, shaking off the reek of old
cigarettes, whiskey, and town gossip that coated him like grime. The moon had risen, hovering
above the town, milky light washing over the trading post, the Blue Moose Café, pooling in the
harbor, icing the waves of the lake.
He could feel his heartbeat thundering in his chest and hated how easily his guilt took hold of
him, turned him surly. At the least, he should swallow his pride—what was left of it—and meet
the woman who had forked out good money for him. For charity.
Instead he moved away from the door and dug out his cell phone, about to call home.
“Hey, where are you going?”
He turned, pressing End. His “owner” had followed him out of the VFW. A fireball with
green eyes and freckles, wearing the jean jacket he remembered over a T-shirt and a green scarf.
She stood about to his shoulder but had no problem slamming her hands to her hips and toeing
up to him.
“I thought we had a date.”
“Is that what you want? A date?” He didn’t mean for it to emerge so sharp, even angry, and
didn’t blame her for the way she opened her mouth as if she’d been slapped.
“No, I, uh—”
“Then why did you buy me? And why on earth would you pay five hundred dollars? Sheesh,
lady, you must be desperate or something.”
Wow. He must have lost control of everything decent inside him. But he didn’t like the
feeling of being humiliated.
Or owned.
In fact, the entire thing made him feel trapped and small, and he’d had enough of that, thank
you.
Her mouth closed. Pinched. “I’m not desperate. If you want to know the truth, I felt sorry for
you.”
He probably deserved that, despite the way it sideswiped him. He didn’t let on, however,
preferring to stare at her, something icy he’d learned from his years on the rink. “Okay, then,
let’s just get this over with. What do you want?”

“I—”
“You should know that I’m not like the other guys in there. If you’re looking for some kind of
fling, I’m not your man. I can probably hook you up with one of my buddies—”
“Wow. Stay away from me.” She whirled around, heading down the sidewalk, and he knew
he was a first-class jerk.
“Wait!”
She held up a hand. “Forget it! You’re right; this was a bad idea.”
He ran after her—boy, she had a fast walk for such a short woman. “Listen, I’m sorry. Really.
It’s just that you don’t want a date with me. If you ask, I’ll bet you can get your money back.”
“I don’t want it back.”
She didn’t stop and he was walking fast to keep up.
“Then what do you want? Why did you buy me?”
She stopped, breathing hard. Pressed her fingers to her eyes. Oh no, she wasn’t crying, was
she?
He swallowed, his throat on fire, hearing his words and wishing he wasn’t the kind of guy
who ran full speed into hurting others.
You are so selfish. Felicity, in his head. Always in his head.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly, shoving his hands into his pockets. The wind took his words, flung
them toward the lake. “It’s just that I’m the last person you want to be seen in town with.”
She sighed, turning her face away from him. “Well, I don’t have anyone else.” Her voice
emerged small and wheedled in past the anger, the annoyance.
It settled inside, in a place he reserved for Tiger, and he tempered his tone. “Are you here for
the weekend?
“No. I live here.” She said it with a layer of determination, as if convincing herself.
Really? “I know nearly everyone in this town—”
“I moved here yesterday. I’m the new assistant county attorney.”
Uh-oh. He’d heard that the current assistant CA had resigned to stay home with her newborn
child. He’d miss the way she tolerated his monthly phone calls. But someone had to keep tabs on
Jensen, right? He looked at this angry sprite and grimaced, imagining her reaction next time
Jensen threatened a restraining order.
Darek might be the one doing years of community service.
“Sorry,” he said again.
Her shoulder jerked in a halfhearted shrug.
“Maybe . . . maybe I could help you carry furniture or chop wood or mow your grass or
something.”
She had folded her hands across her chest. “Wow, I must be a real catch for you to offer to
mow my lawn instead of being seen in public with me.”
“No, I—”
“Like I said, you’re off the hook.”
“I don’t want to be off the hook. You bought me fair and square.”
She pursed her lips.
“I have an idea. C’mon.”
She frowned at him, and frankly he was done begging, not sure how he’d gotten to this point
in the first place. So he turned and headed for the Jeep, parked just down the street.
He didn’t look behind him but heard her steps. When he reached the car, he held her door
open like a gentleman, although he knew he might be a little late to resurrect any sort of real

gallantry.
She looked up at him before getting in, her eyes big and shiny in the moonlight. They caught
his and for the first time, he noticed how pretty they were, with golden flecks at the edges.
“I’m safe, even if I’m a jerk.”
“I have friends who will hunt you down and kill you if I go missing.”
“I have no doubt.” He took a long breath and stuck out his hand. “Darek Christiansen, Deep
Haven tour guide, at your service, milady.”
She regarded his hand for a moment, and he sensed something shifting inside her. “Ivy
Madison.” Then she slid one of her petite hands into his and smiled.
The full force of it reached out and poured into him, hot and bold and shaking him through.
He dropped her grip, swallowed. Stepped back.
She climbed into the Jeep and reached for the seat belt, her eyes on his as he closed the door.
Oh, boy.
Maybe he should have run when he had the chance.

* * *

Jensen sat outside the VFW in the Pine Acres work truck—the one he took to town when he
wanted to hide—and watched Darek get the girl. Again.
And why not? Darek Christiansen always won.
Tonight, he’d stared Jensen down until he’d had no choice but to slink out. The last thing
Jensen wanted was a fight. Especially with only six weeks left on his sentence. He didn’t need a
judge deciding he wasn’t repentant enough and upgrading his community service to a stint
behind bars.
Jensen should simply concede that Darek would always win. His streak began in fourth grade,
when they’d both started playing hockey, and continued long after Jensen moved away, returning
every summer as they vied for Felicity’s attention.
Sure, Jensen had a few glimmering moments. Like the summer Darek escaped to Montana to
fight the fire in Glacier National Park with the Jude County Hotshots, after Jensen had given up
his own firefighting dreams. Jensen and Felicity had nearly become something that stuck then—
probably would have if Darek hadn’t returned home tan and triumphant.
And of course, there was the simple fact that in the end Darek had married Felicity. Jensen
hadn’t quite seen that one coming. But then again, he doubted Darek had either.
He watched as Darek and the redhead headed out of town in his Jeep Wrangler. For a
moment, he debated going back inside to listen to the Blue Monkeys. After all, that’s why he’d
braved the auction—Jensen normally slunk in late for the band’s events, sitting in the shadows so
no one saw him. But today he’d misjudged the time, the auction ran over, and well, creeping
back in now felt too much like tucking his tail between his legs.
He had at least a smidgen of pride left.
Jensen put the truck into gear and pulled out.
One hundred hours and he’d be free; he could leave Deep Haven and never look back. Maybe
keep driving all the way to California or Mexico, where he could change his name and leave his
past in the dust.
On top of the hill over the town, Jensen resisted the urge to glance out the passenger window
at the scattering of lights that made up Deep Haven. Eyes, watching him, blinking, accusing.
He kept his gaze on the road, slowing as he took the truck around a curve carved through the
granite, where the shoulder disappeared. His hands slickened and he caught himself holding his

breath.
He couldn’t wait to leave. But to do that, he’d have to find a few more places where he could
go, hat in hand, begging for hours. Deep Haven seemed determined to keep him from fulfilling
his community service, especially lately. Volunteer jobs had fizzled to ten hours a week and
some places, like the after-school tutoring program, had turned him away.
Apparently the fact that he had graduated from college and managed two years of law school
didn’t matter to the English teachers struggling to teach their sixth graders to read.
No, if the citizens of Deep Haven had their way, he would have been their first public stoning.
He turned south where the road split around Evergreen Lake and took the paved road to the
end, pulling in to the gated community of Pine Acres. The electronic gate and pass card could
probably be considered overkill, but his father had promoted safety for the vacation homes when
he jumped into the world of property development and created the luxury vacation community,
and he kept his word. At least to the residents of the community.
As Jensen drove through the gates, he noticed that deer had snacked on the currant bushes by
the entrance. He’d have to reshape them, maybe spray. A bulb was out on the automatic entry
lights, and he spotted a tree down along one of the wooded drives. He’d come by tomorrow on
the four-wheeler and clean it up.
He had to mow, anyway, and finish painting the Millers’ garage—a project his father thought
might fill time and create some goodwill. After all, the Millers were one of his father’s largest
clients in the Cities with their string of cinemas.
Jensen crawled into the driveway of his father’s massive vacation home and parked the truck
outside. As he got out, the stars created a canopy of brilliance, innocent and bright. They felt so
close he wanted to reach up and touch one. The wind hushed in the white pine and birch, the
poplar and willow that surrounded the property.
Motion sensor lights flickered on as Jensen moved toward the service door, blinding him for a
moment. Then he let himself into the darkness of the garage and didn’t bother to turn on the
lights, toeing off his shoes and moving from memory up the stairs to the great room. At the top,
moonlight streamed through the grand windows that overlooked the lake, waxing the wood floor
with light. The ceiling rose two stories, trapping the silences of the grand house, and the place
smelled of the walleye he’d cooked for lunch in butter and dill. He dropped his keys onto the
granite countertop and opened the double-door stainless fridge, peering inside for something.
Anything.
Grabbing a root beer in a tall bottle, he twisted off the cap and padded out to the deck.
The lake rippled in the darkness, fingers of light feathering over the surface. He could barely
make out Gibs’s light next door, trickling through the woods and across the sandy beach. He
should check on the old man. A canoe lay moored on the sand, evidence of a recent visit by his
granddaughter, Claire. How she loved to canoe the length of the lake.
Jensen didn’t mean to stalk, but he loved watching her. And what else did he have to do,
really?
Across the lake, almost directly from Pine Acres, the lights of the Evergreen Resort main
lodge blazed.
Once upon a time, he and Darek had been the kings of Evergreen Lake.
He set his root beer on the railing and dug out his harmonica.
The sound echoed across the lake, long and twangy, Johnny Cash’s “Cry! Cry! Cry!” Maybe
it was a little indulgent, but tonight, he couldn’t help it. “You’ll call for me but I’m gonna tell
you, bye, bye, bye . . .”

He listened to the last of the sound lingering as he finished. It was so easy, sometimes, to just
close his eyes, lose himself in memories. The heat of the sun on his skin, the taste of trouble in
his laughter. Standing on the bow of the canoe, his feet balanced on the edges. Claire and Felicity
on the seat in the middle, and at the stern, facing him, similarly balanced, stood Darek.
Jensen had seen that sparking of challenge in Darek’s eyes as he said, “You can’t knock me
off.”
“Watch me.” Jensen gave the canoe a playful jerk.
Felicity squealed. The summer had turned her hair a rich, luscious blonde, and with her
skimpy bikini, he could barely keep his eyes in his head. She faced him, grinning, and he
wondered if she could hear his heart pounding in his chest.
Claire grabbed for her side of the seat, and he caught her gaze on him. She always made him
feel a little naughty, even when he wasn’t thinking anything he shouldn’t. Then again, he
supposed that’s what a missionary kid was supposed to do. Make you behave.
But on days like this, with the sun streaming down his back and both girls smiling up at him,
he didn’t care about behaving.
Just winning.
Jensen jerked the canoe hard, and Darek’s arms windmilled. He nearly went over but found
his balance and stamped his foot, making the canoe lurch the other direction.
Jensen caught himself and jerked it back, this time fast, hard and—
Darek leaned into it, and suddenly Jensen found himself in the air. The chill of lake water
swept away his breath, and he kicked hard to right himself.
He found Darek’s hand reaching for him when he came up. Jensen took it. And yanked.
Darek flipped over his head and into the lake. Darek came up sputtering, then launched
himself at Jensen. They wrestled until they both hung on the side of the canoe, breathing hard.
“Let’s take your dad’s boat out, get some dinner down at the Landing,” Felicity said as Darek
reached for her. She swatted him. Glanced at Jensen. “Please?”
“Sure.”
Claire reached out and helped Jensen into the canoe. Darek climbed in after him and they
paddled back to shore.
Thankfully, his father wouldn’t be back until the weekend to grouse about the boat. Claire and
Felicity met him in sundresses and they picked up Darek across the lake, then motored down to
the outside grill and restaurant, Jensen’s knee propped on the diver’s chair as he guided the boat.
“Faster, Jens!” Felicity said, so he pushed up the throttle. Darek frowned, his eyes darkening,
but Felicity was laughing and Jensen could feel it in his chest.
Her laughter always felt sweetly dangerous, like if he hung on too long, it might burn him. He
could still hear her sometimes, in the darkness across the lake. Taste the memory of that curious
summer when he had her all to himself, feel the texture of her kisses. What a fool he’d been,
gobbling up the idea that if he did it right, she might belong to him. Believing that he even really
wanted that.
Because she’d never belonged to him. Not then, not later.
He opened his eyes, staring into the night, at the lights across the lake, pressing into the
darkness.
He should have remembered that Darek Christiansen always won. 


This is a great book and I hope anyone who picks it up enjoy it!
Love, Sierra

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Domination

Book description: Domination is book #3 in the C.H.A.O.S trilogy. Please note that certain plot points and characters might be a continuation from the prior books in the series.
Their goal is simple: total domination.
With six arms and jaws that can snap a man in two, the warmongering race of aliens known as the Thule has conquered every planet they’ve attacked.
And now their invasion of Earth has begun.
Humanity’s only hope springs from a mysterious Thule legend about a Betrayer, who they believe will rise up and destroy their people. The American government tried to manufacture their own Betrayer by injecting children with Thule blood but time after time the experiment failed . . . until Colt McAlister.
A decade later, Colt is a 16-year-old cadet at the CHAOS Military Academy where he’s training to defend mankind. But he’s afraid that the alien blood may be turning him into a Thule—and he’s beginning to suspect that fulfilling his role as the Betrayer may cost him everything.
Experience a cosmic battle filled with high-tech gear, gateways to other planets, and ultimate stakes. Not everyone will survive. But heroes will rise up and step into their destiny in this earth-shaking conclusion to the C.H.A.O.S trilogy.

Objectionable:Injuries, deaths, a few fighting and battles, aliens, lies and deception. And a couple brief discussions/thoughts about a girl or dating. 1-3 cheek kisses.


Thoughts:I rather wish that I had been able to reread the second book or at least look at it before starting this one. But I didn't, I just jumped in and started reading. Luckily I remembered a good deal and there was a little bit of reviewing done at the beginning. Although at some points I did get a bit confused or there was something that had happened in a past book and I didn't remember it, it usually wasn't that important and I wasn't completely lost or anything. So someone could pick up this book and just read it without reading the previous books, I wouldn't recommend it though. Reading the first books makes more sense :P I was expecting a big battle for the ending of this series and in reality the big battle only lasted a page or so. Maybe the author simply wanted to tie it up quickly but the ending felt rushed and crammed while the rest of the book was detailed and well laid out. Not to be negative(I don't know what was going on in his life or head, but I do know that endings can be hard), but in my opinion this ending really didn't fit in with the rest of the book and wasn't the best, rather cliche and was possibly unrealistic...despite several deaths.

Now that I'm done with that, this book was a good and enjoyable book.  Although the whole book wasn't battle and there were only five or so battle scenes I did feel the excitement and thrill of adventure in every page. I adore how there is so much super hero/comic book as a big part of the story line. Well that and the alien thing too. It makes this series unique and very interesting! This is the final book where the bad guy is taken down and the hero triumphs. But before that there is the terror of the enemy's final strike, when it will come and the hurry to get prepared as much as possible before that final battle. Colt is doubting if he'll be able to do much against the Thule attack and what his role will be as the Betrayer...and how many people will be lost before all the pain and attacks stop. My only problem with this book was that the ending felt off, I really enjoyed and flew through the rest of this book. The plot was interesting and almost every chapter ended making me want to continue on. I would recommend this book to tweens and teens who enjoy science fiction, aliens and a good adventure with a true hero :)
Characters:This book had some wonderful characters that seemed to come off the page and into real life. I really liked the three main characters, they weren't perfect but had some great qualities and morals. They were unique and I really liked them, they were what had stood out the most from when I had read the other two books. There were some other good ones and overall the characters were nicely done :)
Cover:I like it. Maybe not as much as the second, which is my favorite of the series. But I like the color and the sinister robots slightly hidden in the background :D
Stars:3.6
Love, Sierra
I review for BookSneeze®
  I was given a copy of this book by the publisher and the views I've expressed are my own.