Friday, June 19, 2015

REVIEW: Rock My World by Sharisse Coulter


Title: Rock My World
Author: Sharisse Coulter
Publisher: Sharisse Coulter
Publication Date: January, 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Description: Jenna Jax-Anders hit rock bottom in high school. Or so she thought. From rock star heiress to knocked-up has been, she turned it all around, marrying the punk rock baby daddy love of her life. The perfect Hollywood fairytale. Until the day she walked in on him kissing her best friend.

As she struggles to find herself and redefine the world around her, she faces the challenges of raising her over-achieving teenage daughter, the heartbreak of losing her best friend (backstabbing aside), and emerging from the shadows of two famous last names to find her own identity. Oh, there’s also the tiny issue of her husband’s record label, backed by an anonymous mogul whose morally ambiguous creative direction may ruin them all.

But she doesn’t know about that yet.

My Thoughts: With Rock My World, new to me author, Sharisse Coulter introduces the reader to the inner circle of the movers and shakers of the rock-n-roll industry. Jenna grew up in this world, the daughter of a famous musician. An unplanned pregnancy derails her plans and instead she marries Alex, the love of her life and up and coming punk rocker. To the outside world, it appears she has made a success of her life, married to her high school sweetheart and raising a teenage daughter. Everything seems perfect until she comes home and finds her husband and her best friend, Airika kissing. As Jenna’s world crumbles down around her ears, she struggles to find herself and meaning in her life as more secrets come to light.

I liked Jenna and found her easy to connect with and relate to. She starts out as quite na├»ve in the beginning but by the end of the book, she has developed a spine and has discovered her authentic self. I liked Felicity, Jenna’s daughter. She is a bright young woman suffering the normal teenaged angst while trying to cope with the uncertainty of her parents’ marriage and her own new first love. I liked Alex but found myself getting frustrated with him at times for being a weak character and not doing enough to resolve the issues that I believe he is solely responsible for. I did not like Airika but I found myself feeling a little sorry for her at times, wondering how she can look at herself in the mirror at the end of the day, while knowing she doesn’t have true love and loyalty from those around her. She brings it on herself but I didn’t find any joy in seeing her suffer.

I struggled with a few of the plot twists that I felt had no relevance and was frustrated at these twists pulling me out of the story. I also was frustrated at how long it took Jenna and Alex to communicate. When your marriage is falling apart and you have a teenaged daughter to boot, you don’t run away or stay out on tour. You come home and deal with it. I had a hard time accepting how Alex’s manager and record label made unrealistic demands and used his contract as a threat and he allowed them to bully him. He should have stood up to them much sooner. Though I enjoyed seeing Jenna find her spirit, I feel like she could have done that while being with her daughter, especially when her daughter experiences her own life-changing events.

My Final Verdict: Though I struggled with several aspects of this story, I found it to be enjoyable for the most part. I recommend it for readers who enjoy stories with complex character relationships.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Rock My World from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

REVIEW: The Girl He Knows by Kristi Rose

Title: The Girl He Knows
Author: Kristi Rose
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: August, 2014
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Description: Waking up naked next to a good looking man is not a bad way to start the day. Especially since Paisley missed all those opportunities in college, when she was too busy supporting her no good, thankfully now, ex-husband. The problem? This hottie is Hank, her best friend’s older brother, a guy she’s known her entire life.

Stopping after one night is the right thing to do. Being with him clearly breaks the best friend code, and from his career as a Naval officer to his Boy Scout reputation, everything about him screams monogamy and commitment. Two things Paisley has had enough of.

When Hank presents a “no strings attached” offer, it’s too good to be true. She can enjoy him while still embracing being single. But, poor choices force her to confront old fears of love and loss, and Paisley has to decide if Hank is worth the risk. The alternative is never experiencing the real deal. Or far worse, settling for less.

My Thoughts: New to me author Kristi Rose offers a laugh out loud funny story about friends who become lovers. On the heels of her recent divorce, Paisley wakes up in her best friend, Gigi’s childhood home, naked, lying next to Gigi’s brother, Hank. After some serious freaking out, she manages to get dressed and makes her escape. When Hank proposes a no-strings attached relationship, Paisley agrees to it, thinking it will help her transition back into the dating life of a singleton. Neither one of them is prepared for how they feel for each other and what role their past plays on their present and future.

I really liked Paisley. She’s flawed and damaged. She doesn’t trust herself and is a bit of a doormat. I found it easy to relate to her, her disappointments, frustrations and fears. She makes mistakes, has been hurt in love and still mourns the death of her father. In her shoes, I would probably make the same decisions and choices. Hank was a fantastic character. He really is a knight in shining armor but I loved that he is able to convey his feelings so eloquently. There’s a scene between him and Paisley that was hard to read, but it was so refreshing to see a male to be able to share his feelings without hidden agenda or manipulation. With Hank, Paisley gets the hard truth, pure and simple. I would have liked to see more closure with Jake, the bartender Paisley briefly dates. I did not like this character and it seemed like the author was heading into a very sinister and dark place, which was okay, but I would have liked to see that loose thread tied up.

With the exception of the bartender, I liked the characters and felt a connection to them, which is important to me as a reader. The author has an amazing flair with vocabulary and I got such a kick from listening to Paisley’s inner monologue. This book moves at a great pace and kept me interested and entertained from start to finish.

My Final Verdict: I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast read that will tickle your funny bone and tug on your heartstrings. I am hooked and will be looking for more of this author’s work.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Girl He Knows from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, June 04, 2015

REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: June, 1997
Genre: Young Adult
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Description: Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the "Harry Potter" series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.

My Thoughts J.K. Rowling does a marvelous job of creating a world so unlike ours but so similar in many ways. The witches and wizards in Harry’s world are not that unlike us when you think about it. They have the same feelings, fears, hopes, dreams and disappointments. There’s a social hierarchy in their world, much like ours. There’s a political structure in their world too, complete with a governing agency, ruling officials and laws and regulations. They go to school, hold jobs, get married, raise families, get old and die. They love sports and entertainment as well. There’s good and evil in Harry’s world too.

Harry is your typical boy for the most part, but having never known his parents has left him missing out on that most important relationship. He’s being raised by his mother’s sister and her husband, living with them and their bully of a son, Dudley, but not really wanted. I got angry all over again at the way they treated him and at his living conditions. One thing that amazed me then and still does is why the Dursley’s put up such a fight to keep Harry from going to Hogwarts. They made it abundantly clear every day that they didn’t want Harry, barely tolerating his presence in their home. Going to Hogwarts would get him out of their home and ultimately their lives. They should have been kicking up their heels in joy when the first letter arrived. Perhaps, I will never understand why. Fortunately, the lack of bonding and family love does not turn Harry into a sociopath, bent on destroying lives.

Harry adjusts remarkably well to his new life and the excitement of it all. Once again, I found myself wishing I could go to Hogwarts. Going away to school in a castle with moving staircases, ghosts, magical creatures, and interesting characters may seem like a lot for an eleven year old boy to deal with, but Harry does. Finding out his parents were actually murdered by a very evil wizard who also tried to kill him is a lot to take in, as well, but Harry soon learns that those events are a part of who he is and the world he is now a part of.

I wanted to savor each page of the book, but I couldn’t put it down. Even knowing what was coming next, I discovered things I had missed before or perhaps forgot. I had forgotten what a strange and unusual girl Hermione was in the beginning. I had forgotten that Ron is very brave. I had forgotten how troublesome Peeves was and how stern Professor McGonagall could be.

So whether you are a fan who loves to re-read this series or someone who is reading it for the first time, embrace the story fully and enjoy the ride. It is an adventure not to be missed.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

REVIEW: Four Of A Kind by Shannon Clayton

Title: Four Of A Kind (Divination Deborah #1)
Author: Shannon Clayton
Publisher: Black Rose Publications
Publication Date: March, 2014
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Description: Have you ever had one of those days where everything that could go wrong does?

Deborah Hayes is dealt that exact hand when disaster strikes at an event she’s managing, giving her publicity for all the wrong reasons, not to mention breaking up with her English boyfriend. And the trouble doesn’t just end there, but when Deborah starts to investigate she can’t help but feel like the universe was trying to warn her.

Determined not to miss any future ‘signs’ and desperate to attract some good luck, she embarks on a journey of divination, dipping her toes into all sorts of spiritual disciplines, Feng Shui, Palm Reading, Tarot Cards...

After scoring an amazing account at work, things look to be on the up, particularly after meeting her gorgeous Irish neighbor. But sometimes the signs are harder to read than we think, and when the latest up and coming sexy Scottish movie star, and a cute Kiwi guy, both take a shine to her, she’s even more desperate for guidance to help her choose.

Bordering on obsession, Deborah gets caught up in asking questions, looking for signs, and searching for hidden meanings and clues.

Can she make the right choice or is she looking for something that has been right in front of her all along?

My Thoughts: New to me author Shannon Clayton offers up a cute and entertaining story about a woman who is so focused on recognizing the signs of good luck in her life, she nearly misses out on capturing it when it’s right in front of her. After a publicity event she is managing goes horribly wrong, her boyfriend breaks up with her and her apartment is damaged in a fire all in the same night, Deborah Hayes decides she needs to focus her energies on ensuring she doesn’t miss any more signs of trouble on the horizon. She goes over the top in her obsession to attract good luck from decorating her apartment with Feng Shui principles, getting her palm read, having her chakras balanced and going for a tarot reading. What makes this story so entertaining is that despite all of the signs that may be obvious to most everyone around her, Deborah has a hard time seeing what’s in front of her and is just one false step from complete disaster through most of this book.

In addition to trying to decide which of the four men currently in her life is “the one,” Deborah also has to figure out who is sabotaging her at work. With the help of her best friend, Val, Deborah embarks on a journey of self-awareness to help her find the happiness she seeks.

Though I found myself getting a little annoyed at Deborah’s inability to make a decision or choose a path, I liked the character and was able to relate to her very easily and enjoyed this book. The story moves at a good pace and I liked most of the characters. The author does a great job of throwing in some surprises that I didn’t see coming but was pleased with the result. I recommend this book for the interesting and different plot line and think it would make a great addition to your list to read this summer.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Four Of A Kind from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, June 01, 2015

New Additions To The TBR Pile In May

Did your TBR pile see new additions arriving in May? Anything you are really excited to dive into and start reading right away? Three new arrivals made their way onto my TBR pile in May and I read a total of four so I figure I broke even, yes? (smile).

Title: A Field Guide To Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri
Description: Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri turns her satirical eye on her own life in this hilarious new memoir...

Most twentysomethings spend a lot of time avoiding awkwardness.

Not Alexandra Petri.

Afraid of rejection? Alexandra Petri has auditioned for America’s Next Top Model. Afraid of looking like an idiot? Alexandra Petri lost Jeopardy! by answering “Who is that dude?” on national TV. Afraid of bad jokes? Alexandra Petri won an international pun championship.

Petri has been a debutante, reenacted the Civil War, and fended off suitors at a Star Wars convention while wearing a Jabba the Hutt suit. One time, she let some cult members she met on the street baptize her, just to be polite. She’s a connoisseur of the kind of awkwardness that most people spend whole lifetimes trying to avoid. If John Hodgman and Amy Sedaris had a baby…they would never let Petri babysit it.

But Petri is here to tell you: Everything you fear is not so bad. Trust her. She’s tried it. And in the course of her misadventures, she’s learned that there are worse things out there than awkwardness—and that interesting things start to happen when you stop caring what people think.


Title: Losing The Plot In LA by Sonia Farnsworth
Description: Sylvie is a trendy, LA party girl with more going on than she knows what to do with. Between apartment hunting, insane friends, a rapidly growing puppy, and one too many boys to juggle, she's just trying to catch her breath. Will the craziness overwhelm her, or will she find a better path to move forward? Draw a bath, pour some bubbly, and join her as she tries not to Lose the Plot.


Title: The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot
Description: Meet The Vintage Cinema Club….

Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?

Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…
Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?

Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.

Fans of Lucy Diamond, Michele Gorman and Milly Johnson are going to love this heartfelt, funny story.

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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at sharalsbooks@yahoo.com Happy Reading! :o)