Tuesday, March 21, 2017

REVIEW: The Extraordinary Life Of Lara Craft (Not Croft) by Lola Salt

Title: The Extraordinary Life of Lara Craft (Not Croft)
Author: Lola Salt
Publisher: Alula Press
Publication Date: January, 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy the Book: Amazon

Description: From bestselling authors Becky Wicks (Before He Was Famous, Before He Was Gone) and Sarah Alderson (Hunting Lila, Fated, Come Back to Me) comes a new romance with a difference...

After losing her job and her boyfriend on the same day, Lara's beginning to wonder if her life can possibly get any worse. Then along comes Jamie, a childhood friend, offering her a job delivering mysterious packages to random destinations around the world. Suddenly, things are looking up.

Lara packs her bags and sets off on an epic adventure, meeting billionaire Arabic Princes in Dubai, rugged cowboys in Australia, a sparkling wannabe vampire in LA, a love guru with sex on the brain in Bali and Angelina Jolie's bodyguards in a hostage situation that can only be resolved with some very special eggs. But though trouble always seems to find Lara, it seems love is rather more elusive.

Pack your bags. The adventure's about to begin!

My Thoughts: I loved this book, snorted out loud and laughed myself silly all the way through it. Lara was an interesting character who manages to land on her feet after losing her job and her boyfriend on the same day. She reconnects with a childhood friend on a blind date and, through him, lands a job as a courier hand-delivering packages all over the world. The places she travels to are exotic and exciting. The people she meets are interesting, strange, bizarre and entertaining. With each delivery, Lara finds herself experiencing new sights, sounds and adventures, some a lot of fun, some downright scary and some completely insane.

I really loved Lara and her approach to this new life. She demonstrates a spirit of adventure and an open mind, which, in her situation, is a necessity and something I greatly admire. Lara was easy to relate to and connect with. I loved that she is receptive to change and not afraid to experience new things. Along the way, she realizes who she is and the importance of home, friends and family.

The secondary characters all bring their own entertainment and charm to the story, though I liked some more than others. I thought the ending was a tad rushed, but all the loose ends got tied up nicely, so it didn’t take away any of my enjoyment. I highly recommend this book for the entertaining and hysterically funny adventures Lara goes on and the interesting people who cross her path.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Extraordinary Life Of Lara Craft (Not Croft) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

REVIEW: The Collector by Nora Roberts

Title: The Collector
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April, 2014
Genre: Romantic Suspense / Thriller
Buy The Book: Amazon | Audible | Barnes & Noble

Description: From #1 New York Times-bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a novel of a woman who needs nothing, a man who sees everything, and the web of deceit, greed, and danger that brings them together—and could tear them apart . . .

When professional house-sitter Lila Emerson witnesses a murder/suicide from her current apartment-sitting job, life as she knows it takes a dramatic turn. Suddenly, the woman with no permanent ties finds herself almost wishing for one. . . .

Artist Ashton Archer knows his brother isn’t capable of violence—against himself or others. He recruits Lila, the only eyewitness, to help him uncover what happened. Ash longs to paint her as intensely as he hungers to touch her. But their investigation draws them into a rarified circle where priceless antiques are bought, sold, gambled away, and stolen, where what you possess is who you are, and where what you desire becomes a deadly obsession. . . .

My Thoughts: I enjoyed the story though it dragged for me in the last quarter of the book. I became impatient for it to get wrapped up with bringing the villains to justice, though I did enjoy the spunk and feisty attitude Lila demonstrates when faced with a choice to fight back or surrender. I normally enjoy this author’s writing and though this book is not completely horrible, if you are looking for more suspense and action, I recommend The Witness.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

REVIEW: All's Fair In Love And Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant

Title: All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes
Author: Betsy St. Amant
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: August, 2014
Genre: Inspirational Romance
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Description: She's written a recipe for her future, but does it include love?

Katherine 'Kat' Varland is a small town girl, born and raised---and every day, her dreams of owning her own bakery get further away. She has no money, and the cupcake shop she bakes for, Sweetie Pies, seems to get smaller and smaller. Kat might be the sweetheart of Bayou Bend, Louisiana, but she longs to make a name for herself where she can flourish as Kat---not as the girl baking someone else's recipes.

As head coach for the Bayou Bend championship high school football team, Lucas Brannen is used to winning---everything except his best friend's heart. He finally gathers the courage to make a gesture and show Kat his feelings by signing her up for the popular reality TV show Cupcake Combat. But his plan backfires after he realizes the cash prize for the winner also includes a one-year baking contract at one of New York City's most famous pastry houses.

The situation grows sticky when Kat enlists Lucas's help as her baking assistant for the show. Lucas is torn between helping Kat live her dream and selfishly wanting to keep her in town. His plan has always been a dozen acres of land and a farmhouse in Bayou Bend---but Kat is blinded by the stars in her eyes.

Will Lucas and Kat risk their chance at love in order to achieve their individual dreams? Or will they find that sometimes the most delicious happily-ever-afters begin and end in the same place?

My Thoughts: Kat Varland and Lucas Brannen are best friends and have secretly been in love with each other for a long time. Kat works in her Aunt’s bakery, but longs to branch out on her own. Lucas is the high-school football coach who wants to plant roots in Bayou Bend with Kat at his side. Lucas signs Kat up for a televised cupcake competition as a gesture of his feelings for her, not realizing that an opportunity for Kat to realize her dream may mean the destruction of his.

Unlike most romance novels where the protagonists meet, get to know one another and then fall in love, Kat and Lucas have known each other for most of their lives and are already in love with each other, but have not shared their feelings with the other. On many levels, I found this to be very frustrating because the lack of communication creates the “big misunderstanding” plot that I completely loathe. Fortunately, the author uses this plot device to build on the frustration Kat and Lucas are feeling, drawing their uncertainties and insecurities into the light, which really worked for me. I enjoy meeting characters that I can bond with and feel a deep connection to. Kat and Lucas come across as regular people trying to live good Christian lives while pursuing their dreams. They are both stubborn, trying to control the direction of their lives instead of putting it in God’s hands from the beginning.

I thought Lucas signing Kat up for the cupcake competition was a little controlling at first, but enjoyed seeing his frustration when his plan didn’t play out the way he anticipated. It was a sweet gesture and he is full of sweet gestures throughout the entire story, but struggles with his feelings and his reluctance to tell Kat how he feels.

Kat is very insecure about her ability to make her dream of running a cupcake business a reality. She feels trapped in her tiny hometown and without any support from her family feels isolated. Lucas is her best friend and the only person who believes in her. She is reluctant to tell Lucas how she really feels about him because she is afraid he will reject her and she will lose her best friend. Though she is initially angry and terrified of competing on the reality TV show, I enjoyed seeing Kat transform into someone who begins to believe in herself and her abilities.

My Final Verdict: An enjoyable story of two people struggling to maintain control of their lives and their struggle to make their dreams a reality. I recommend All’s Fair In Love And Cupcakes for fans of the chick-lit, contemporary romance and inspirational romance genres as well as anyone who enjoys a sweet story that will make you smile and cheer on these characters to their happy ending.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

REVIEW: Secrets Of A Shoe Addict by Beth Harbison

Title: Secrets Of A Shoe Addict (Shoe Addict #2)
Author: Beth Harbison
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: June, 2008
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

Description: Every woman has a secret. The question is: How far will she go to make sure it stays secret?

Abbey Walsh never wanted anyone to find out about her shady past. After all, she’s the wife of a minister now, living an exemplary life. That is, until someone shows up from her past with blackmail in mind . . .

Tiffany Vanderslice Dreyer never dreamed that she’d find herself up to her new designer sunglasses in credit card debt from one mad moment of a shopping spree. She’s an upstanding wife and mother with the perfect marriage . . . right?

Loreen Murphy hadn’t meant to hire a male prostitute in Las Vegas. It was all just a big, stupid, and expensive misunderstanding. . . .

Abbey, Tiffany, and Loreen are each in need of thousands of dollars and fast. Tiffany’s sister, Sandra, has the perfect idea. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s legal, and it’s the secret that kept her shoe addiction alive. It’s the perfect plan. . . .

My Thoughts: Though technically a sequel, this story introduces us to three friends who each get into financial trouble while in Vegas. To resolve their financial crises, they become phone sex operators. I thought the book was enjoyable and contained many laugh out loud moments. There wasn’t much connection to shoe addiction, but the story was entertaining.


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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)