Monthly Archives: December, 2011

Here by Denise Grover Swank

♥♥♥♥♥ YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK! ♥♥♥♥♥

Denise Grover Swank has done it again! Here is a fabulous book. Fab-u-lous!

After surviving an accident that took the life of her best friend, strange things start happening to our sixteen year old view point character, Julia. She can’t explain the  strange bracelet she has never seen before, yet was found wearing at the scene of the accident, and the swirling doodles that seem to simply flow from the end of her pencil. Now the most popular boy in the school is taking an interest in her. But there is something different about Evan, and Julia finds herself wanting to know more, yet afraid of what’s to come.

Though targeted toward young adults, Here is a novel for all ages. The theme is equally appealing to everyone. “What would happen if…” And that oh-so human pondering, “If things could be different…”

Denise does a outstanding job portraying the devastation that death has on family, the anguish of survivor’s guilt, and the pure and special innocence of first love. It is so very easy to identify with Julia, though most of us have never had to walk in similar shoes. As always, Denise’s characters are real and dimensional giving us a glimpse into their world and dragging us along for their journey.

I was sad to get to the end of the book, but thankful that it’s a series. Whew! There’s more on the way! In fact all of the books I’ve read from Denise have been installments in a series. Just call me a true fan, for on release day, you’ll find Denise’s new novel downloaded into my Nook! Can’t wait to read what she comes up with next!

Be sure to visit Denise’s tour page and be entered to win an Amazon gift card.

You can also visit Denise at other places in the web–

 http://www.denisegroverswank.com/

 http://www.denisegroverswank.com/blog/blog/

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4921525.Denise_Grover_Swank

 http://www.facebook.com/deniseswank

http://twitter.com/#!/DeniseMSwank

And be sure to leave a comment on this post or at www.amielouellen.wordpress.com/ to be entered to win an eBook copy of any of the books I’ve reviewed this month!

Happy reading–Amie

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Recession Proof by Kimberly S. Lin

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This Book ♥♥♥♥♥

Helen, our POV character, has allowed those around her and her own self-doubts to dictate what her life has become. From her college degree and her job to the man she plans to marry, her life is a string of passive aggressive mistakes. The good news is all that it’s all about to blow up in her face…very gently, of course. It starts with a fight between her and her boyfriend and ends with her losing her job and having to move in with her best girlfriend. With her life turned upside down, Helen has time to reflect on what she really wants for herself. She wants to be a writer. And when she meets Nate, she knows she wants him, too. But once again, life is complicated, and Helen’s fears and insecurities make Nate think twice about their relationship. Then the question becomes, can Helen make her dreams of falling in love and being a writer come true, or is she destined to fall back into her old habits and a life she never really wanted?

Recession Proof is a fun read. I think there’s a little bit of Helen in most everyone. That niggling of self-doubt that tells us we’re not good enough, or that it’s not really feasible to want to write/act/paint/sing for a living. Only those who can ignore that voice are able to go on to the feats they aspire to achieve. Does Helen make it? Well, you’re just going to have to read the book to find out.

And it is worth the read, but  I had to get over the numerous editorial mistakes in order to truly enjoy the book. As a writer myself, this is not an easy task. Now don’t get me wrong, every manuscript has problems. But that’s why we have editors, proof readers, and a host of people in our lives to help get us over these humps.

Unfortunately, for Ms. Lin, the errors take away from the professional presentation of the book and cause more distraction than any writer would want to compete against.  Great overall story, but what to do about the commas?

Be sure to visit Kimberly Lin’s blog tour page at Chicklit.com Leave a comment for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card (onform Chciklit Plus Bklog Tours).

Leave a comment here for a chance to win an e-copy of this book or any of the others I’ve reviewed in the last month. Thanks for stopping by! Lots of <3–Amie

Click: An Online Love Story by Lisa Becker (Repost)

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This Book! ♥♥♥♥♥

Click: An Online Love Story is a witty, witty read. Lisa Becker takes four unlikely friends on one’s journey through internet dating. Tired of the traditional dating scene, Renee allows friend Mark to convince her to sign up for an online dating service. Through “Choose Jews” Renee meets a menagerie of men including a cyber stalker, a serial texter, and  great guy who just might be the one.  Click is told entirely through emails back and forth between the friends. I admit to skimming over the to/from section (at the beginning of each email) to get to the best part. At times I lost my place and had to back track. My fault or the author’s? Mine. Definitely mine.

Lisa has a great handle on the voices of her characters which is a commendable feat considering no one actual speaks. But even through their emails, they come alive—Mark’s compulsive, Renee’s got a low self-esteem, Ashley is a goody-goody (though she’s incredibly likeable), and Shelley’s a…well, Shelley’s a slut. 🙂 And all of them quickly became my friends as I rooted for Ashley and her impossible relationship with boyfriend Evan, laughed at the nicknames Shelley gave her conquests, and rolled my eyes with a smile on my face as Mark complied list after list and did his research on EVERYTHING! lol And Renee? I was behind Renee all the way, hoping and praying that she might actually come out on top in this crazy dating scene.

Click is humorous, well-written, and an enjoyable read. Kudos to Lisa Becker for a unique idea that so clearly shows the sign of the times–internet dating—in this era of computers.

Remember to leave a comment with your email address (I promise not to spam you) for a chance to win an e-copy of Click or any of the books that I’ve reviewed here this month! 

High Heels and Slippers by Ella Slayne

♥♥♥♥♥ YOU GOTTA READ THIS BOOK! ♥♥♥♥♥♥

High Heels and Slippers by Ella Slayne is chick-lit at its best!  Josie Jenkins, a British girl currently living in Dallas, has just suffered from a life-altering accident…well, she fell out of a hammock while vacationing in Mexico. Maybe not enough to make most of us examine our priorities, but it is for Josie. As a result, she begins to write letters to all the people who have meant something in her life. Not that she plans to actually mail them, but Josie is ready to take account of her existence.  That means realizing that it is well and truly done with the married man she’s been having an affair with, starting over with a new man, and reconnecting with a love from her past. But what Josie learns is that every life is a sum of its travels. And how sad it is that we can’t start over, that we make mistakes, and that life goes on whether we’re ready or not.

This book has many, many laugh out loud moments that I book marked and read aloud to friends and family. But it also has moments filled with many, many tears.  It seems trite to say that I laughed and I cried, but I did. Rare is a book that can bring both, along with characters that are as real as your sister and almost as neurotic!

I was saddened to reach the end of the pages. I wanted more–more Josie, more Callum, more…Tom. And hopefully Ella Slayne will give us more. (Please, Ella!) Watch out, Bridget Jones, here comes Josie Jenkins!

Ella Slayne is originally from the UK and now lives in the US with her family.  Her first novel, High-Heels And Slippers, is available as an ebook at www.smashwords.com and www.barnesandnoble.com and in paperback at www.amazon.com.  For more info please stop by her website: www.highheelsandslippers.com or leave a comment on her blog: http://ellaslayne.wordpress.com/.  You can follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/EllaSlayne or check out her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Ella-Slayne-Author/268625979835390.  Stop by and say hi, she would love to hear from you!

Be sure to stop by Ella’s tour page and leave a comment for a chance to win the Amazon gift card!

And as always, leave a comment here or at www.amielouellen.wordpress.com/ for your chance to win this book, or any other than I have reviewed this month! Thanks for stopping by! Lots of <3–Amie

Chosen by Chandra Hoffman

♥♥♥♥♥You Gotta Read This Book♥♥♥♥♥

Chloe Pinter is a caseworker with a helpful spirit. She really believes she’s doing the world and the adoptive parents a great service by connecting them with a birthmother who — for whatever reason—is about to have a baby she can’t keep.

Chosen is the story of four couples—Chloe and Dan, her almost fiancé who has very different goals than she does, but loves her just the same. Jason and Penny who know they need to give their baby up for adoption, but are heartbroken by the act all the same. Francie  and John who have waited so very long to be able to adopt the baby of their dreams. And Paul and Eva who after years of trying to get pregnant and contemplating adoption are finally about to deliver a baby of their very own.

But what happens when the birthfather feels slighted and the birthmother slips into depression and the caseworker makes a few careless mistakes?  Disaster.

I’m always careful not to give spoilers in my reviews, so I’ll just say that Chosen is a supreme example of the old adage, “the best laid plans of mice and men…” The four couple have plans, but unfortunately their plans are not in sync and their lives are tied together through the Chosen Child adoption agency.

I was a little thrown that the novel’s written in present tense, but once I got into the rhythm of the story, I stopped conjugating verbs and rewriting the tense in my head and settled in to enjoying the story. (If biting my nails and praying for the story to work out happily for everyone involved can be considered “enjoying”.) Chosen is an insightful look into the lives of four very different couples who have one thing in common, babies. More exactly, two babies who’ll change all of their lives forever.

Hoffman does an amazing job, giving the readers a candid look into the world of adoption not only from the caseworker’s perspective, but from all parties involved. How does a woman walk away from a child she’s only just brought into the world? Ask Penny. How does it feel to want a baby so badly that you‘re willing to sacrifice your every dream for it? Ask Francie. And how does it feel to make the biggest mistake of your life? Just ask—Uhup, no spoilers. You’ll just have to read Chosen to find out.

A Slot Machine Ate My Mid-Life Crisis by Irene Woodbury

♥♥♥♥♥ You Gotta Read This Book ♥♥♥♥♥

Unorthodox. That’s the first word that comes to mind after reading A Slot Machine Ate My Mid-Life Crisis. (You would think the title would be a tip off, huh?) Newlywed Wendy travels to Vegas with her BFF for a long weekend and decides to stay…indefinitely. And what started out to be “I just need time to myself” turns into living in separate cities for almost two years.

After getting married, moving from Houston to LA, losing her job, and having trouble fitting in with the Texas crowd, Wendy is overwhelmed with the changes in her life (experts say that three major changes in one year is enough to send even the most steady-minded into a tailspin.) She falls headlong into the surreal reality of the Vegas Strip. Basically, she just doesn’t go home.

Roger (husband) is patient and understanding—more so than most husbands would be. He’s very involved in his job and has so much on his plate that it’s hard for him to coddle Wendy and support her in her wacky decision (or indecision, as it may be) to see what opportunities Vegas holds for her.

Personally, I had a hard time relating to Wendy. She’s self-centered and self-absorbed, callous toward her husband’s feelings, and out and out childish at times. Through most of the book, I wanted to shake her, shove a Xanax down her throat, and put her on a plane back to her husband.

The book was told in first person, so Wendy’s is the only internal perspective the reader gets. And just when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, she would connect back with her husband—usually in a fight—and he would tell her she was being hurtful, unfair, and needed to come home. A reality check that she didn’t heed. But it helped to ground the story for me. (At least I wasn’t the only one who felt she needed to be sent to her room without supper.)

A Slot Machine Ate My Mid-Life Crisis is a train wreck of a story. I would read, shake my head, and crane my neck to see what would happen next. (Do people really live like this?) I’d cringe, look away, then look back at the carnage that was Wendy’s marriage. I couldn’t put it down! Yep, unorthodox, definitely and for sure!  And a super read from beginning to end.