Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Thirty SunsetsFrom Goodreads: To Forrest Shephard, getting away to the family’s beach house with her parents and her brother, Brian, is the best part of every summer. Until this year, when her mother invites Brian’s obnoxious girlfriend, Olivia, to join them. Suddenly, Forrest’s relaxing vacation becomes a mission to verify the reality of Olivia’s rumored eating disorder. But the truth behind Olivia’s finicky eating isn’t at all what Forrest expected. And over the next thirty days, Forrest’s world is turned upside down as her family’s darkest secrets begin to come to light.

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This novel turned out to be completely different than what I expected, and I really applaud the author for it, especially as it hits on so many important issues, rape and attempted rape included, and the message for women is an amazing one. While reading, it’s so easy to point at Forrest and to shake your head, yelling at her to get some common sense, but in the end, it’s NOT her fault. Women tend to blame themselves when a man becomes aggressive, or when he takes advantage of her; outsiders tend to blame the woman too, even I was upset with Forrest leading up to the pivotal scene between her and Scott because all the signs concerning an aggressive, unhealthy relationship were there, but Forrest is NOT at fault. And this is an important theme that needs to be put in the hands of young girls more often. Scott is a terrible human being, and the fact that Forrest has never had an admirer before explains her gullibility and the fact that she writes off his pushy behavior, to the point that it’s almost too late. Yes, it did drive me crazy, because I’m an outsider looking in, but when in the heat of the moment, as Forrest finds herself, we tend to be blind to the reality that surrounds us, and this is exactly what happens to Forrest. Luckily for her, she has a supported family willing to stand by her side and help her through the rage and turmoil that Scott leaves in his wake, and I just love how Deriso handled the entire situation.

But the novel doesn’t actually center around this—the novel deals with so much more, such as teen pregnancy, family dysfunction, and secrets as well. The truth about Brian and Olivia’s relationship floored me, but made perfect sense, and the reaction of Forrest’s parents also made perfect sense once the truth about their relationship came to light. Overall, this is an extremely well done novel, though I did find the ending just a tad bit too convenient. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  This title recently released.

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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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DesolateFrom Goodreads: A wedding massacre. An innocence stolen. Mortality stripped away.

In a single night, everyone Roseline Dragomir has ever loved is slaughtered before her eyes. Alone in the world and bound by a solemn marriage vow to a vicious murderer, she must find a strength buried deep within her to keep going or risk completely losing herself.

When a mysterious stranger crosses her path, Roseline will discover that not all immortals are evil. Some even bear emotional scars that run just as deep as her own.

Will she uncover a will not just to survive…but to fight back?

***DESOLATE is the first book of the prequel trilogy to my YA paranormal romance AROTAS trilogy. This book contains elements that may be sensitive for some YA readers. Please download a sample before purchasing this book to ensure it is suitable for your teen***

Desolate is book I of the Immortal Rose trilogy, prequel to the Arotas series.

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This is my first novel by Amy Miles, but it certainly won’t be my last! Desolate, the first in a prequel series to the bestselling Arotas trilogy, is indeed a beautiful novel, and though dealing with difficult topics such as abuse, rape, and attempted suicide, Miles eloquently addresses these issues, breaking Roseline down before building her back up again. I can’t say I didn’t cringe as the story unfolded, but I will say that it is a beautiful portrayal of resilience and self-worth.

As Desolate deals with incredibly sensitive issues, I was thankful that Miles didn’t flaunt the events, or give the gritty details. She glosses over many, instead giving the reader just enough information to make the peril and torture Rose is experiencing obvious for readers, but also leaving much to the imagination. But even so, it is enough to cause my heart to bleed for Rose. Miles has put herself in the shoes of an abuse victim and shown the inner depths of hatred, fear, and loss of innocence.

The characterization of this novel was superb, and though I absolutely hate Rose’s husband, a forced union knit together through sociopathic tendencies on his part, Miles portrays a true sociopath vividly, putting the reader right in the midst of events. And while I truly don’t want to experience anything Rose goes through in this novel, Miles makes it impossible not to feel as the novel unfolds. Rose in my hero.

I will admit that some of the events in the novel proved to be a bit much for me; I can’t fathom anyone reading this novel and walking away unscathed, but Miles has done a superb job expressing Rose’s experiences, and I can’t wait for the next novel in the series, and to read the Arotas trilogy itself, as I know Rose becomes stronger for all her suffering. Four stars.

4 stars

I received an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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amyAbout Amy Miles:

Amy Miles has been a carbaholic since birth and is hopelessly addicted to Frozen Cokes. When she’s not chatting with fans on Facebook she can be found goofing off with family, traveling or stomping her husband at golf. She is an obsessive writer and an avid reader who loves to chat about all things books.

She is the author of the Forbidden, Reckoning, Redemption and Evermore of the Arotas Series. Also Defiance Rising and Relinquish of the Rising Trilogy. She has a stand alone romance, Captivate and has just begun releasing books in her Immortal Rose prequel trilogy.

Want to know what she is currently working on? Check out her website: www.AmyMilesBooks.com
Follow on Twitter: @AmyMilesBooks
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmyMiles.Author

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And don’t miss out on this deal: Get all three books in the Arotas series for just $4.99

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Arotas Trilogy____________________________________________________________________________

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