4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance · Sports Fiction

A Season to Dance by Rebecca Heflin

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A Season to Dance by Rebecca Heflin

Published: December 13, 2018

Publisher: Rebecca Heflin Books, LLC

Pages: 336

Genres: romance, contemporary romance, sports

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: the ballet world, sweet and steamy contemporary romance 

Foodie Vibes: dark roast coffee and chocolate croissants from the local shop – a wonderful indulgence among old friends 

 

Synopsis: 

Olivia James and Zach Ryder were high school sweethearts, but at age eighteen, she left small-town Georgia for the bright lights and satin pointe shoes of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. Seventeen years later, Olivia’s come home for her mother’s funeral, nursing an injury that could likely end her meteoric dance career. Being back home stirs up old heartache, and seeing Zach again is not on her to-do list. Her best bet is get in, get out—a week at most. Then she’ll return to Chicago to rehabilitate her injury and salvage her career. But best laid plans often go astray . . .

Zach has never really recovered from Olivia’s departure, even though he always knew she was destined for fame, while he was destined for small-town life. Now Olivia’s back and he’s determined to protect his heart. But when he learns she’s staying in town longer than originally planned, Zach knows they are going to have to face the past to move on. He’s just not prepared for the beautiful woman she’s become or the effect she still has on his heart.

Small towns being what they are, Zach and Olivia are constantly thrown into one another’s paths, and it soon becomes apparent they still love each other. Will they give in to their rekindled desire and seize a second chance at happiness?

 

Review:

I won this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Rebecca Heflin and the publisher for the ebook. As always, an honest review from me. 

A Season to Dance is a sweet & steamy second chance romance set in a small but successful southern town. Olivia is a prima ballerina on break from her career of elite ballets, magazine deals and worldwide performances. Months before she tore her achilles tendon and is now currently rehabbing her injury. The uncertainty over her future in ballet makes for some great tension and lots of soul searching throughout the book. To help her along on her journey is her late Mom’s wife, high school boyfriend, and used to be enemy but now close friend. 

I liked that there weren’t many hard feelings between the characters who had conflict. They realized their hurt feelings were due to miscommunication instead of hate, and resolved their disagreements like adults. The growth in their relationships was wonderful. While the friendships are great, this is a romance novel after all. The romance was sweet and steamy, just how I like it. It’s not overly raunchy, but there’s definitely enough adult content to keep romance lovers entertained. The romance is like a good dark chocolate – rich, deep, sweet but with substance. Also the ballet world setting is perfection. The author has included enough ballet terms to make you feel as if you’re transported to the world of dance, but not so much that the non dancer will be confused. There’s also a glossary of dance terms at the end in case you want to reference it. 

There were very few moments that I didn’t enjoy. Actually nothing. There were a few minor storylines that didn’t add much to the book, but other than that it’s all good.

Overall, A Season to Dance is a perfect feel good romance novel for a day when you need a pick me up. I highly recommend. I really hope there is a sequel to the book. 

 

Add to your Goodreads TBR

 

Bookish Question:

How many of you took dance class as a child? Which types of dance? 

 

I danced for 16 years including tap, ballet, pointe, flamenco, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary.

 

Come say hi!

Twitter: @BooksAndLife1

Instagram: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

Goodreads: Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)

Facebook: @BooksLifeAndEverythingNice

3.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Sports · Uncategorized

ARC Review | Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

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Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

Published: November 13, 2018

Publisher: Little A 

Pages: 316

Genres: contemporary fiction, sports

Rating: 3.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: college athletics, the toll life can take on a person, relatable characters 

Foodie Vibes: egg white omelets, dry toast, black coffee — perfectly measured out and calorie counted 

 

Synopsis:

Breadloaf and New York Public Library fellow, Jaclyn Gilbert’s LATE AIR, a tale of a fanatical Yale cross country coach sent reeling into the ghosts of his past after an early morning practice run on the golf course goes horrifically wrong, injuring his star runner and churning up all that has lain dormant around the coach’s fragmented life and marriage.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a free ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Late Air can best be described as an odd book in a mainstream way. The coach shows he cares about his athletes, himself, his wife and their child through actions. He obsesses about counting things, keeping in control, and producing results. By staying regimented he can achieve what he wants for himself and others. Much of the book is about his goals and coaching his Division 1 athletes. It’s fascinating, sad and a bit horrifying to read about the inner workings of his brain. The book can be seen as a warning against a singular focus mindset. 

Despite the catch being so focused, the story was a bit all over the place. At times I got lost and other times I didn’t really care. There are many life lessons to be learned, but I didn’t really care about the characters. 

All in all, a cautionary tale against obsession, but not as amazing as I had hoped.

 

Answer me this:

What’s your favorite sport?

Let’s get to 5 comments, and I’ll share my favorite sport!

4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · romance

ARC Review | No One Like Me by Heather McGovern

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No One Like You by Heather McGovern

Published: October 30, 2018

Publisher: Lyrical Shine

Pages: 266

Genres: romance, contemporary romance

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: feel good romance, realistic romance

Foodie Vibes: coffee and chocolate croissants 

 

Synopsis:

In the quaint mountain town of Windamere, North Carolina, the three Sargent sisters are determined to make their hotel and winery, Chateau Jolie, a success. And one by one, they’re finding that nothing pairs better with new beginnings than unexpected love…

The downside of living in a charming small town is that it’s impossible for Brooke Sargent to avoid anyone. Especially someone as big, handsome, and friendly as Trevor Bradley. At his brother’s wedding, they flirted and danced…before Brooke recalled that she’s not ready to trust any man after her divorce, let alone one who’s the competition. Her family’s struggling chateau is planning to host the local senior prom—without the Bradley family’s renowned Honeywilde Inn muscling in and stealing the glory.

Trevor has thought of no one else since the night he and Brooke connected. Even though she shot him down—hard—he’s seen the warmth beneath her guarded facade. Working together, they could give the high school students a spectacular prom. Navigating the rough terrain of Brooke’s business, while proving himself to his own siblings, won’t be easy. But Trevor loves a challenge—especially one that could win him the woman he can’t stop wanting . . .

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Lyrical Shine and Heather McGovern for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

No One Like You is a sweet and sexy contemporary romance story that features an iconic moment in a teen’s life the high school prom. Except the main characters aren’t in high school anymore. They own hotels and wineries nearby and are begged to host the local prom after their venue couldn’t anymore. Trevor and Brooke end up planning the event together, despite some ups and downs. 

I like that there’s some history between the two. They had met at a wedding months prior and there was some obvious attraction. So it’s not some brand new whirlwind romance. It took some time and is built off mutual trust and understanding. My kind of novel. The locales don’t hurt either. Gorgeous wineries, hotels, and gardens set the scene for a lovely romance. I especially like the couple. They’re both private people by nature. Also the actual planning of the event was really fun to read about. 

However, their family’s backstory at times was a bit vague and confusing. With it being such an important part of the book, I wish it was a bit more figured out. But with a romance it’s easy to overlook those aspects as a reader. 

Overall a lovely romance that I would love to read more of, in the series. A serious but feel good read. 

 

What was your favorite prom memory?

Daily Goodie Box · Free Samples · Friday Fun · Unboxing · Uncategorized

Unboxing my Daily Goodie Box

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I love free samples! I mean, who doesn’t? Am I right?

 

Besides the whole “it’s free factor”, I really enjoy learning about and trying new products before purchasing them.

Money can be tight for me, so I want to know I’m going to love a product before spending hard earned cash on it. I”m sure many of you can relate.

 

So when Daily Goodie Box was looking for bloggers to receive a Goodie Box and write a blog post about it, I jumped at the chance. I’ve already tried and reviewed products from them with my personal account. I’m super excited to share this month’s unboxing with you!

 

 

Daily Goodie Box sends out boxes of free samples to it’s members for them to review. The products can be samples sized or even full sized. Let me be clear: shipping is free, no credit card required, and it’s very easy to sign up.

 

Each month there are different products to try out and review. I received October’s Box. These are all the samples I received and my thoughts about them!

 

* I have various food intolerances, so for some of the food products I had someone else in my household try them. A blogger with a tummy ache is not a happy blogger. For transparency purposes, I will indicate which products I personally didn’t try and the other person’s thoughts.

 

Susan Brown’s Baby – Foaming Shampoo

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Since there aren’t any babies in the household, I tried it out myself. Taking one for the team! It’s super easy to use, definitely smells like typical baby shampoo, gentle, and leaves my hair feeling really soft. It seems like it would be really good for babies or toddlers. 

 

Nightfood – Midnight Chocolate Crunch Bars

My dad tried it and enjoyed the taste. I like the concept: a healthier version of a typically super processed junk food chocolate bar. The product would be great for people who want to indulge and satisfy their cravings but still be mindful of their healthy eating habits. 

 

Ethical Bean – Classic Medium Roast

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It smells amazing! If it was decaf I could have tried it, but I keep smelling it. Oh my goodness, yum!!!

 

Gear Beast – Universal Smartphone Wallet

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Such a cool concept for people on the go who don’t want to carry around a lot of extra items. Just your smartphone, a few credit cards, ID, and cash. Total honesty: I didn’t try it out on my phone since it’s over 4 years old. I was afraid that if I took off my current phone case I might not be able to get it back on without breaking. 

 

Coral LLC – Coral White Toothpaste Tea Tree

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It’s different than traditional toothpaste. I tend to stick with the traditional toothpaste, because I haven’t found a natural one that I really love. I can definitely taste the cinnamon and tea tree oils in it, which isn’t bad but takes some getting used to. The coral gives it a bit of a different feel, which I think might whiten my teeth nicely. I haven’t used it enough to know for sure, but fingers crossed. 

 

Pure Chimp – Matcha Green Tea

I’ve never tried matcha before, but I really like green tea so I was super excited to try it. I loved it! And have been drinking it every morning since then. The smell is a little strong, but the taste is smooth and delicious. 

 

Chosen Foods – Vegan Mayo on the Go

I’ve never tried vegan mayo before, so it was another new experience for me. Fairly good taste though. 

 

Karma Nuts – Peri Peri Roasted Cashews

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My dad tried these and enjoyed them. A bit spicy for him, but he does not like spicy food at all. A great healthy protein packed snack with a ton of flavor.

 

Veroni – Iron Energy

No one I know drinks energy drinks, so I couldn’t test out this product. Too much caffeine for me! But it seems like a fairly standard energy drink.

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I had so much fun trying and reviewing these products. I even discovered that I definitely love matcha! Who knew?

 

If you like a product, click on the link for more information. Maybe you’ll find something you like as much as I did. 

Also if you want to try and review products like me, sign up for Daily Goodie Box and start sampling!

 

And remember,

Daily Goodie Box

It’s more than just Free Samples!

DailyGoodieBox.com

 

* This post is not sponsored. I did not receive any monetary compensation for my review. I did receive a free Goodie Box for the purposes of reviewing the products for this blog post. I do not receive any financial compensation if you click on the links. They’re simply so you can get more information on products that may interest you.

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · mystery · Police Procedural · psychological thriller · suspense · thriller · Uncategorized

Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell

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Truth and Lies by Caroline Mitchell

Published: August 30, 2018

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Pages: 348

Genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, police procedural, psychological thriller

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: twisted serial killers, police procedurals, characters to root for, the TV show Criminal Minds

Foodie Vibes: home cooked meals alternating with bad police station coffee

 

Synopsis:

Meet Amy Winter: Detective Inspector, daughter of a serial killer.

DI Amy Winter is hoping to follow in the footsteps of her highly respected police officer father. But when a letter arrives from the prison cell of Lillian Grimes, one half of a notorious husband-and-wife serial-killer team, it contains a revelation that will tear her life apart.

Responsible for a string of heinous killings decades ago, Lillian is pure evil. A psychopathic murderer. And Amy’s biological mother. Now, she is ready to reveal the location of three of her victims—but only if Amy plays along with her twisted game.

While her fellow detectives frantically search for a young girl taken from her mother’s doorstep, Amy must confront her own dark past. Haunted by blurred memories of a sister who sacrificed herself to save her, Amy faces a race against time to uncover the missing bodies.

But what if, from behind bars, Grimes has been pulling the strings even tighter than Amy thought? And can she overcome her demons to prevent another murder?

 

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas & Mercer, and Caroline Mitchell for an ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review from me.

Truth and Lies pulled me in right from the beginning. I was so engrossed in the story that I hardly stopped to take notes for my book review. The character of Amy, a Detective Inspector, made the entire book work. She’s the daughter of a serial killer and is being contacted by her imprisoned mother. Forced to unearth haunting memories of her childhood to solve the case.

I really enjoyed the creepy multilayer story. It reminded me of a Criminal Minds episode but set in the U.K. And Criminal Minds is my favorite TV show, so that’s good all around. The evil from Amy’s mother was so far reaching. It impacted many people and made for a great novel.

At the beginning I had trouble figuring out which police personal were which. As the story went on, it made more sense. Also, I wish the characters were more developed. Now this isn’t always possible with an intense police procedural. I really want to get to know Amy better and find out what happens to her next. I hope there’s a sequel!

 

Have you read the book?

Do books ever remind you of TV shows?

5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Classics · Literary Fiction · Young Adult

Book Review: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 

Published by Harper & Row in 1943

Pages: 493

Genres: fiction, classics, young adult, bildungsroman

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: life changing books, classic literature that you will actually enjoy, coming of age novels

Read with food: roasted chestnuts and black coffee … treats of the era and enjoyed by France

 

Synopsis:

The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

Review:

I had put the audiobook version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn on hold at my local library … a year ago. I was hoping to read it for the 2017 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Obviously that didn’t happen. I read another book to meet that challenge. No big deal. I then figured that if I had waited this long, why not a bit longer to read it, and kept my place on the hold list at the library.

I am so glad that I did! A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an amazing novel. A true literary classic that almost everyone can learn something from. 

I was captivated with Francie’s story from age 11 to 17. Her observations, intelligence, progressive nature, and life lessons are still relevant to me as an adult 100 years after the book takes place. I can absolutely see why people would read this multiple times. You could probably pick out a new life lesson with each reread. 

I can’t really say anything bad about this novel. Of course, there are some actions, societal rules, and words of the time that would be unacceptable today. But nothing that detracts from the story. 

I highly recommend this amazing novel! Don’t let the length deter your, it’s worth the time. 

 

Fun fact:

I learned a new word and book genre today, bildungsroman. Definition: a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education. A sort of coming of age novel that focuses on psychological and spiritual growth. 

 

Also, bonus!

If you’re participating in the Great American Read, this is one of the books on the list.