Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Where Silence GathersFrom Goodreads: In this companion novel to the critically acclaimed Some Quiet Place, Alex must choose between Revenge and Forgiveness.

For as long as she can remember, Alexandra Tate has been able to see personified Emotions, and she’s found a best friend in Revenge. He’s her constant companion as she waits outside Nate Foster’s house, clutching a gun. Every night since Nate’s release from prison, Alex has tried to work up the courage to exact her own justice on him for the drunk driving accident that killed her family.

But there’s one problem: Forgiveness. When he appears, Alex is faced with a choice—moving on or getting even. It’s impossible to decide with Forgiveness whispering in one ear . . . and Revenge whispering in the other.

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This novel is a companion to Some Quiet Place; a standalone that is set in the same world, but with different characters. Whereas Some Quiet Place focuses on Elizabeth, a young woman unable to feel emotion, and her relationship with Fear, Where Silence Gathers brings us new characters and emotions in that of Alex, Revenge, and Forgiveness.

Alex is a fairly complex character and I enjoyed getting to know her. I can’t imagine how I would react should my family be decimated by a drunk driver, and I certainly don’t know how I’d react should said drunk driver be released from prison, only to come back to town as a constant reminder of what I lost. Alex struggles, and I found her struggle to be an extremely real one. While I’d like to say that I wouldn’t act like her, that I wouldn’t allow my family’s death to consume my life, I feel like that’s a lie, and I’d most likely be in the same boat as Alex.

With Revenge as a constant companion, Alex has many choices to make—and some of them are quite horrible, but as she grows throughout the novel, I liked how she began to connect with Forgiveness and begins to come back into herself—the girl she was before the death of her family.

I wasn’t expecting the final truth about Revenge and Forgiveness—I was surprised, but in retrospect, I don’t think I should have been; it only makes perfect sense. There is an added element of mystery to this novel as well as Alex learns about information she found on her father’s flash drive, and I enjoyed this aspect of the story as well, though I preferred that of the emotions and their constant companionship of Alex. I just find it so cool to think that emotions are invisible entities that constantly appear and interact with us, without our knowing.

Overall, this series is a unique, interesting read. If you’re looking for something different, I highly suggest picking it up. Four stars.

4 stars

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Strawberry WineFrom Goodreads: Ten years have passed since Tanya Smith’s last summer at Laurel Lake – the summer of Marie. Today Tanya is a confident, successful music promoter – a far cry from the naïve seventeen-year-old who showed up at the lake full of rosy notions of first love, lifelong friendships, and evenings spent sipping strawberry wine on the shore. That September changed everything, and as far as Tanya is concerned, there’s no going back. That is, until a mysterious phone call from Marie’s lawyer brings Tanya face to face with the past. Suddenly she finds herself returning to Laurel Lake and to everything she left behind there. Will the dark secret that haunts the lake break her heart all over again? Or will Marie’s legacy be the key that unlocks the future Tanya gave up on ten long years ago?

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Strawberry Wine is a NA/Adult novel with a splash of YA intermixed as the story focuses on both present day and the not-so-distant past. Revolving around Tanya, a 27ish, put together, self-made music promoter, readers are instantly drawn into her life as the novel opens with the death of her estranged friend Marie, a girl Tanya only knew for one summer during her high school years, a summer that for her is impossible to forget; a summer that changed everything. Almost instantly, the novel jumps from present to past, allowing readers to live through the events of that summer as Tanya begins to fall for Michael, explore the deeper recesses of love, and become friends with Marie, the quiet girl with abusive step-relatives. What starts off cute and carefree, turns jarring and sinister as the summer progresses, and everything abruptly comes to a halt when a few drunken decisions change everything for Tanya and Marie.

Here, the novel once again jumps back to the present, and it is also here that Adams sends readers a curveball, one I never saw coming, but in retrospect, should have. With the death of Marie, Tanya’s entire world is upended, altering the course of her world, should she so accept it, and in doing so, allowing her to go back to those carefree summer days and claim what she lost. It’s a beautiful tale, and I thoroughly enjoyed that present to past to present narration—it’s not back and forth, but steady, almost like a circular novel, but continuing on once it comes full circle to give readers deeper insight into current events.

From carefree to brokenhearted, from on top of the world to uncertain, from safe to vulnerable, this novel spans the gamut of emotions, and they’re a very tangible aspect of the novel. Although the story itself sometimes flows a bit clipped in terms of transitions, it’s well done just the same, and as surprise and fear edge their way into the story, so does the reliance on God—though not preachy. I wouldn’t say this is a religious novel by any means, but when faced with a bad situation, as Tanya finds herself in after the death of Marie, one does tend to rely more on God. For me, this was all a bit sudden, but understandable as the plot thickens, lives are threatened, and a sinister danger lurks on the horizon.

It is said that we write what we know, and Adams definitely does this in that Tanya is a music promoter, as is Lee, and a deadly kidney complication comes in to play—something Adams has also dealt with as a donor. Although fiction, Adams’ own personal experiences come through in the novel, adding validity and giving the novel extreme realism, which is an aspect I highly enjoy in my stories. Overall, this is a very well-done novel—and if you’re looking for an alluring summer read, I highly suggest adding Strawberry Wine to your reading pile. Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from the author at Martinsburg Chocolate Festival and Book Fair.

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Best Kind of BrokenFrom Goodreads: Pixie and Levi haven’t spoken in nearly a year when they find themselves working―and living―at the same inn in the middle of nowhere. Once upon a time, they were childhood friends. But that was before everything went to hell. And now things are… awkward.

All they want to do is avoid each other, and their past, for as long as possible. But now that they’re forced to share a bathroom, and therefore a shower, keeping their distance from one another becomes less difficult than keeping their hands off each other. Welcome to the hallway of awkward tension and sexual frustration, folks. Get comfy. It’s going to be a long summer.

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Chelsea Fine has written many amazing YA novels, and I’ve read and loved Every. Single. One. Now, Fine is stepping into the world of New Adult with her debut novel and upcoming release, Best Kind of Broken, that’s about to his shelves, and of course, it is just as amazing as her YA work, if not better.  Having read this amazing novel in one sitting, I can’t help but state that it is a masterpiece full of raw emotion, snarky retorts, and steamy tension that will leave readers in love with both Pixie and Levi, and wanting much more.

Readers instantly fall in love with Pixie’s spunk from the get go; her fiery attitude and indignation at having to live and work at the inn with dreamy Levi instantly brought a smile to my face, and the tension between the two is definitely palpable. Levi and Pixie are two amazing characters, full of gumption, yet bogged down with feelings of guilt.  Each is struggling to come back from a heartbreaking experience that has sent them on a downward spiral, unable to find peace or joy in the simple things of life and leaving them incapable of civilly interacting with one another. For much of the first half of the novel, the reader is kept in the dark concerning the rift that now plagues Levi and Pixie as they attempt to live and skirt around one another, though it becomes apparent early on that they used to be the best of friends.  As the novel unfolds, though, readers slowly begin to piece together the circumstances of their relations, both past and present, and it is indeed one of heartbreak, yet it’s so beautifully crafted.  I absolutely adored the first person narration that altered between both Levi and Pixie, giving me a window to their souls as the truth comes out.

This is ultimately a story of healing–from the ashes of their past comes a new dawn, and as Pixie and Levi continuously fight, if only to push the sadness from their minds, Chelsea brings this intense, sassy, and emotional novel to the perfect, albeit emotional, end. Reader beware, however, that Best Kind of Broken does leave readers emotionally raw, and a box of tissues is definitely a recommendation, especially as the conclusion comes in sight.

I highly recommend this beautiful novel for mature 18+ readers due to two graphic sexual scenes.  Five stars.

5 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Forever (Grand Central Publishing) has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on March 4, 2014.

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Pre-order this gem NOW for less than $5!!!

BEST KIND OF BROKEN GRAPHIC

AND you can PRE-ORDER books two and three now, too!!

Perfect Kind of Trouble: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Right Kind of Wrong: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Finding FatesLevi Red



et cetera
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