My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island – Review

Reading My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was the most pleasant walk down memory lane for me. When I saw this title on NetGalley, I had to request it immediately due to the title alone.  I was born in Michigan and have vivid memories of visiting Mackinac Island and nearby St. Ignace as a child, though I haven’t been there in probably 20 years. The book featured scenes around Mackinac Island’s most famous landmarks, such as Arch Rock and The Grand Hotel and other areas around the island. One of the most interesting things about Mackinac Island is its restriction of motor vehicles. All of the sights must be seen from a carriage, bicycle, or on foot. I enjoyed the author’s use of bicycles in the story, making it seem realistic to the actual island, though the book was set in a time period before cars would have been common.

Image result for Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island)

In the first half of the story, we are acquainted with Maude, a young woman who finds she has been jilted by her beau. Her hopes of running the inn that has been in her family for years are dashed by her two-timing lover. Maude’s father’s refusal to turn the business over to his unmarried daughter forces her to take matters into her own hands by getting a job at the Grand Hotel as a maid, to prove her competence in managing a hotel.

Along the way, Maude meets a wealthy German aristocrat who seems immensely intriguing and kind.  She cannot help but be captivated by him after he inadvertently helps her young brother. Unfortunately, this impressive German man also has a secret he isn’t telling, and Maude is loathe to trust anyone after being deceived. Continue reading “My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island – Review”

The Evolution of Ivy – Review

Bad. Bad. BAD….but so GOOD.

The Evolution of Ivy: Poison is an addicting debut novel from Lauren Campbell.  The main character, Ivy, is a tormented young girl enduring an endlessly painful life.

“I scurry to the back of the classroom, making eye contact with no one, and take my seat.  New outfits, fresh haircuts, and confidence burst from this room, this concrete prison where the kids are wardens, and I’m on Death Row.”

As her future circumstances change, she decides to assume a new identity and remake her life for the better. Her main goal: acquire the love of Brooks, the only boy she ever cared for. Ivy has a take no prisoners approach to her new lifestyle. After all, a person can only be hurt so many times. She refuses to let her plans be thwarted, no matter the cost.

As a reader, I love my fictional characters with a side of crazy.  Crazy people know life, they understand pain, and they don’t live in the traditional ways society imposes. This always makes for an interesting story.  The only thing that kept me from reading Ivy sooner were my hangups about the mature content within the pages. I normally try to avoid the more graphic and gritty novels because it simply makes me uncomfortable and isn’t my taste.  However, I knew I was going to love this story if I could overlook the parts I was apprehensive about.

Everything about this story, especially the characterization and plot were on point. Let’s not forget the amazing cover design by Murphy Rae of Indie Solutions. Lauren’s ability to tell Ivy’s story had me turning pages faster than I expected.  I could have finished the book in a day, but chose to savor it one more, to make the story more memorable. My empathy was triggered for Ivy’s past. It was heartbreaking to read the cruelty she faced, and I couldn’t help rooting for her to get revenge and take back the life she deserved, despite her less than moral antics. The story alternated between Ivy’s past and present, something I love as a reader, as it allows me to connect to the characters in a deeper way. We also were able to hear a bit of Brooks’ voice, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the guy.

This is a sharply written, genre-busting page turner worth reading immediately, especially for fans of psychological thrillers.  I was immensely impressed with Lauren’s storytelling and her ability to put me into Ivy’s mind so thoroughly.  The Evolution of Ivy feels like the work of an author with eons of experience, not the debut novel it is.  I can’t wait to see The Evolution of Lauren Campbell as she shares more of her stories with the world.  I see the title New York Times Bestselling Author in her future. Give me more cray, cray, Lauren!!!

You need to snag a copy of this book now! It is sure to leave you wanting more of Ivy and Brooks.

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Happy Reading,
♥Ashley


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Our Dream Reading Space

What would you say about your very own reading space and your very own library in your apartment/house? A place that only belongs to you. A place where you can give your favorite books a home and rearrange them by color, author or genre. Your own safe haven to read, relax and dream. Have you ever thought about such a place? What would it look like? With the help of Pinterest and the Arhaus living room collection, we decided to bring you our individual visions for the perfect reading nook.
Arhaus was founded in 1986 with a passion to provide unique, high quality, well designed home furnishings. Their philosophy was to design their own products, search for the best manufacturer while controlling quality, and bring the furniture direct to their customers. Their product developers travel the globe working directly with skilled artisans to craft pieces that can only be found at Arhaus, ensuring that every Arhaus piece meets their high quality standards.

images-arh-header Continue reading “Our Dream Reading Space”

One True Loves – Review

I’m not going to review this novel in the “proper” way. Instead, I want to tell you what it meant to me.

You see, I only read the first couple sentences of a blurb, if at all. I judge by popularity, the cover, genre, the author, all of the things readers aren’t supposed to judge a book by before reading it. Usually if it is popular, it is popular for a reason.

This makes me think of the quote, “if you read what everyone else is reading, you’ll think what everyone else is thinking.”

Alas, I have found a book that makes me disagree with this quote. If a book makes you think, it doesn’t matter what others people’s thoughts on it were. The only thing that matters are the thoughts you take away.

And, did I take away some thoughts. Continue reading “One True Loves – Review”

The Queen and the Cure – Review

“The Gifts we are given are not given for our benefit but for the benefit of mankind.”

Was Amy speaking of herself with this quote?  Seriously, the woman’s gift of writing is a benefit for mankind.  Every time I read one of her books I am in complete awe of her writing abilities.  She crafts such in depth stories and some of the most romantic scenes I have ever read.  To be honest, I’m not the biggest fantasy fan, but that does not stop me from snatching up Amy’s books as soon as they are released.  Whether I prefer the genre or not, I know I will be getting a beautiful story with some of the most incredible writing out there.  The Bird and the Sword was one of my favorite reads of 2016.

The Queen and the Cure picks up two years later where The Bird and the Sword left off, with Kjell’s story.

SYNOPSIS:

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.

Continue reading “The Queen and the Cure – Review”

The Foxe & The Hound by R.S. Grey – Cover Reveal

We are so excited to reveal the gorgeous cover of R.S. Grey’s next release, THE FOXE & THE HOUND! This romantic comedy releases June 1st. See the cover and find out more about THE FOXE & THE HOUND below!

 

About THE FOXE & THE HOUND

When your life is a hot mess at twenty, it’s cute. At twenty-seven…well, not so much.

It’s just that my lofty dreams—making it as a real estate agent, paying rent on time, showering daily—have stayed just that: dreams. Oh, and love? I’ve decided love might be a little ambitious for me at the moment. Instead, I’ve settled for the two guys who will never leave me: Ben & Jerry.

That is, until Dr. Adam Foxe takes up residence as the town’s new vet.

With his strong jaw, easy confidence, and form-fitting scrubs, it’s not long before every housewife in Hamilton is dragging neglected tomcats in for weekly checkups.

Like everyone else, I’m intrigued. Even after I spoil my chance at a good first impression, he still offers me a proposition I can’t refuse: play his girlfriend at a family function and he’ll hire me as his real estate agent. Welcome to love in the 21st century.

It’s too bad I underestimated Adam’s irresistible charm and the undeniable attraction that burns between us. The day he pins me to the wall and silences me with a kiss, the line between reality and ruse begins to blur. Every teasing touch brings me to my knees. Every kiss promises more.

It looks like my hot mess of a life is about to get a little hotter.

Add THE FOXE & THE HOUND to your Goodreads list here!

THE FOXE & THE HOUND releases June 1st – you’ll be able to preorder your copy for .99c starting May 29th!

Keep an eye on R.S. Grey’s Facebook page for the links!

About R.S. Grey

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of thirteen novels, including THE FOXE & THE HOUND. She lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga! Visit her at rsgrey.com

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My History of Reading – Sabrina

I was maybe 8 or 9 and I still remember getting a book from my mom’s best friend. I hated the book and didn’t want to read it. There were so many words, so many pages and less pictures. In elementary school I always had an A in reading, so my not wanting to read was not about my ability to read but rather about my lack of enthusiam. Crazy, I know, especially because I love reading these days and can’t picture my life without it. I guess it was just a phase or the wrong book and/or the wrong genre for me.
However, during 5th/6th grade I discovered reading books for me. IIMG_9115edited was totally obsessed with the Freche Mädchen – Freche Bücher books (~”Sassy Girls – Sassy Books”). The books were aimed at girls in their tweens or early teens. The stories were about a bunch of girlfriends who had to deal with school, parents, clothes, boys, first love and the following first heartbreak. The great thing was that the books were not written from one author alone but from many. The “Freche Mädchen – Freche Bücher” theme was only the name of the series in general. Every author then wrote their own sub-series with their own characters and stories. My goal was to own every single one of the books, there was even a tick-list at the end of each book. And since I’ve always been someone who loved lists and tick things off a list, I did just that: I ticked off the books I already had and marked the ones I wanted next. Continue reading “My History of Reading – Sabrina”