Book Review: First Date

Author: Krista McGee
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Christian
Release: January, 2012
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4/5

Description: The last thing Addy Davidson wants is to be on a reality TV show where the prize is a prom date with the President's son.

She's focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn't even audition for it.

But she got selected anyway.

So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show. Right before she realizes that the President's son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him.

Addy's totally out of her comfort zone but that may be right where God can show her all that she was meant to be.



Book Review: Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK

Author: Betsy St. Amant
Genre: Young Adult, Christian, Fiction
Release: January, 2012
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4/5

Description: Sixteen-year-old Addison Blakely has tireless played the role of PK—preacher’s kid—her entire life. But after Wes Keegan revs his motorcycle into town and into her heart, Addison begins to wonder how much of her faith is her own and how much has been handed to her. She isn’t so sure she wants to be the good girl anymore. Join Addison Blakely as she attempts to separate love from lust, facts from faith, and keep her head above water in her murky, fishbowl existence.

Review: As a PK (preacher's kid) myself, I so had to read this book. I'm glad I did as I enjoyed it.


  • The good girl/bad boy theme has been done quite a bit. It works for this novel, but it would've been nice if Ms. St. Amant added her own twist to it.


  • The book had a Christian theme to it, but it wasn't preachy at all. All teens, whether Christian or not, could read it without feeling like the author is trying to force religion on them.
  • Teens, especially PKs, can relate to Addison. She's a preacher's kid, but she's not perfect. She struggles with her faith and how she should act and why she should act that way. Life is not all perfect for her.
  • Addison's voice adds humor to the novel.
  • I love her new best friend, Marta!


Book Review: Can't Touch This

Author: Marley Gibson
Genre: Romance, Fiction
Release: December, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5

Description: For Vanessa Virtue, all work and no play leads straight to temptation, one that’s too hot to touch...or resist.

A well-deserved work promotion opens up a thrilling world that Vanessa could only long for until now: exotic travel, a corporate credit card, and the opportunity to ogle hunk-and-a-half Kyle Nettles. Unfortunately, their employer has a strict “no dating within the company” policy. So instead of succumbing to her feelings, Vanessa hones her flirtations on the competition: a rock star sales exec who works for their rival company.

Rory Ellery has dreamy blue eyes and a kiss that threatens to obliterate Vanessa's taboo crush on Kyle...and just might provide a great chance for spying on the competition. That is, unless Rory is actually spying on her. When Vanessa goes digging for dirt with Rory, what she uncovers is scandal—and risks losing her job completely. To make things right with her employer, she’ll have to enlist Kyle’s help. But to make things right with her soul, is she willing to risk her job and her security in order to open her heart to Kyle.

Review: Marley Gibson is a published YA author. This is her first adult romance novel. The cover and the fact that it was Marley Gibson attracted me at first. Though it wasn't spectacular, I did enjoy this novel.

  • Some of the characters, like Vanessa, seemed a little younger than they were in the novel.
  • I sometimes wanted to shake Vanessa. Her rules were fine, but at times her insistence on following them was a bit much. Also, she was so blind to the obvious.
  • Vanessa's character was endearing and quirky, despite sometimes causing you to want to shake her. 
  • After a slow start, the book held y attention. I wanted to know what would happen next. Will Kyle and Vanessa finally stop fighting the attraction? Will Vanessa through the rules out the window? Does Rory really like Vanessa or does he have an ulterior motive?
  • The secondary characters helped make the book interesting.


Book Review: The Stuttering Tattoo

Author: Greg Logsted
Genre: Fiction, YA, Mystery
Release:December, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5

Description: Steven Bishop is extraordinarily ordinary. He goes to school. He rides his motorcycle. He stutters. His best friend is a former Colombian cartel hit man turned cook/construction worker. You know, ordinary. All that changes the day Becky Moore walks into his classroom. Becky is dazzling, enigmatic.

One day Steven gives Becky a ride home on his motorcycle. There, they discover a severed arm, one of the fingers of which still has an unusual ring attached: a circle, in the middle of which is a heart, at the center of which is a bold number 37. While comforting Becky, Steven discovers a tattoo at the base of her neck: it is the same symbol. And so begins a thrilling descent into a world of crime and murder, a ride wilder than any Steven has taken before.

Review: The blurb and cover are what attracted me to the book. Sounded interesting. It turned out to be ok...not terrible, but not awesome. It was just ok.


  • It started out a little slow. The action didn't pick up until after Steven and Becky discovered the severed arm. 
  • Quite irritating at times. Sometimes, I wanted to shake some sense into Steven. And some scenes left me saying, "Seriously?"


  • It was short and sweet, perfect for teens (& even adults) with short attention spans. 
  • After Steven and Becky discovered the severed arm, the novel became fast-paced and interesting. 
  • I like Steven's support system. His dad, a cop, isn't a big part of the novel. Steven has Carlos, a Colombian ex drug enforcer turned coworker/mentor, and Hank, owner of a small diner. Hank gives Steven valuable advise while Carlos helps Steven when he tries to take down the gang, Thirty-Seven.

This books is perfect for reluctant readers. The action will hold the reader's attention til the end.


Book Review: Ten Plagues

Author: Mary Nealy
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Release: October, 2011
Source: Netgalley Rating: 4/5

Description: Join the breakneck chase through Chicago for a murderous maniac. As the victims begin piling up, detective Keren Collins’s spiritual discernment is on high alert. Will she capture the killer before another body floats to the surface? Ex-cop, now mission pastor Paul Morris has seen his share of tragedy, but nothing prepared him to be a murderer’s messenger boy. Will his old ruthless cop personality take over, leading him to the brink of self-destruction? Can Keren and Paul catch the killer before the corpse count reaches a perfect ten?


  • The book started off a bit slow. I kept reading because the book sounded interesting and I wanted to know where Ms. Nealy was going to go with it. I'm glad I didn't stop reading.
  • I loved the suspense. It kept me wanting to know what would happen next. What will the killer do to show the next plague? Who will be the next victim? And when I found that the killer had been close, I wanted to know who it was.
  • Keren and Paul's relationship. There was a bit of romance there, but it wasn't a major part. I like the banter they had. Keren develops feelings, but she's hesitant, not because he's now a preacher, but because of a past incident that he doesn't even remember.
  • I liked that Paul still struggled. In the past, his anger was definitely an issue. In his cop days, he was not a likeable man. But, after losing his wife and daughter (first by divorce, then by death) he changed, became a Christian and preacher. He still struggles with his anger, especially during this ordeal. He's not perfect, but he's trying to live right.
I enjoyed reading Ten Plagues. If you're into suspenseful thrillers with a bit of romance, this book is just for you!


Book Review: Blood Trails

Author: Sharon Sala
Genre: Mystery, Romantic Suspense
Release: September, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3.5/5

DescriptionHer "father's" deathbed confession reveals that Holly's real father was almost certainly the notorious serial killer known as "The Hunter," and that her mother gave Holly up to save her life. But The Hunter was never caught--and Holly's mother simply "vanished."

In search of her past, Holly leaves both her home and Bud Tate, the handsome ranch foreman she's afraid to love, horrified by the knowledge that the blood of a depraved killer might run through her veins. Haunted, driven, she searches for The Hunter and hopes her mother was wrong.

But her search leads to a terrible truth no one could have imagined, and even Bud's determination to follow and protect the woman he loves may not be enough to save Holly from the terrors of a past become present.

Review: Blood Trails is actually the third, and final, book in Sharon Sala's The Searchers series. The series features three sisters - Maria, Savannah, and Holly - who after their father dies, find out that they really aren't blood related and the man who raised them wasn't their father. He leaves each of them a journal with info that can lead them to their true identity. Each book features a sister and her journey for the truth. Blood Stains features Maria, Blood Ties features Savannah, and Blood Trails features Holly.

  • It was slow at times in the novel.
  • Although overall interesting, it was pretty predictable.
  • Besides the slow parts of the novel, it held my interest throughout most of the novel.
  • The relationship between Holly and Bud was sweet. Bud started out as a family friend, but feelings grew between him and Holly. And I like how protective he was of her.
  • I like Holly's strength. She found out some frightening things about her past, but it didn't stop her from looking for justice.
  • I like that this book can stand on its own. I haven't read the other two books, but it didn't cause me to be lost while reading Blood Trails.
This book wasn't the best book I've read, but it did hold my interest, especially when Holly discovers the truth and the events that come because of it. And I did find myself rooting for Holly and Bud. If you enjoy romantic suspense, you may want to give this one a try!



First of all, I'd like to say Happy Mommy's Day to all moms! Hope you all enjoy your day. I wish I were in the US to celebrate this day with my mom, but I'm here in Abu Dhabi, thousands of miles away. That's ok. I was able to text her. She knows that I love her. And I got to spoil her a bit about 5 weeks ago when she came to visit me.

So, I've been working on losing weight and getting in shape since May, 2011. This weight loss journey is more for health reasons than for looks (like I've said before, I love my curves). I have high blood pressure and I HATE taking meds. I'm trying to be done with it. Plus, my family has a history of other sicknesses like diabetes, stroke, etc. I'm not even trying to deal with that. And I just long to be in shape; to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without feeling like I'm going to die. I'd like to live to see the kids in my family as well as my future kids grow up. So, yeah. Losing weight is imperative.

I'd started losing weight. Got excited, then got stuck. I've been in the same range since February (250 - 255lbs). My weight's been going up, down, or the same. GRR! It's been frustrating to say the least. To make matters worse, I haven't been under 250lbs since....forever. Ok, not forever, but it sure feels like it. Since 2010. I kept thinking if I can get out this range, I'd be good. I'm glad to say that after two years, I'm FINALLY out of the range. WOOHOO! I'm at 249lbs (four pounds since last month's weigh in).

I've lost a total of 21 pounds so far. Would I like to be further along in my weight loss journey? Yes. I mean, it's been almost a year. But, am I happy with the 21 pounds so far? Yes. It could be worse. I could still be the same weight from last May. Or I could still be stuck. But I'm not, so I'm happy. I'm just a bit closer to my goal weight. Operation Fit and Fine/Operation Goodbye High Blood Pressure is in FULL effect!

21 pounds down...79 pounds to go!


Book Review: Tankborn

Author: Karen Sandler
Genre: YA; Science Fiction; Dystopian
Release: September, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4/5

DescriptionBest friends Kayla and Mishalla know they will be separated for their Assignments. They are GENs, Genetically Engineered Non-humans, and in their strict caste system, GENs are at the bottom rung of society. GENs are gestated in a tank and sent to work as slaves as soon as they reach age fifteen.

When Kayla is Assigned to care for Zul Manel, the patriarch of a trueborn family, she finds secrets and surprises; not least of which is her unexpected friendship with Zul's great-grandson. Meanwhile, the children that Mishalla is Assigned to care for are being stolen in the middle of the night. 

After weeks of toiling in their Assignments, mystifying circumstances enable Kayla and Mishalla to reunite. Together they hatch a plan to save the disappearing children. Yet can GENs really trust humans? Both girls must put their lives and hearts at risk to crack open a sinister conspiracy, revealing secrets no one is ready to face.

Review: I must admit, this book surprised me, in a good way. I wasn't really expecting much, but boy am I glad I requested it!


  • I would've liked a little more description about the world around them. Loka is the name of the planet humans inhabited after Earth was destroyed. I would've like more description as to what Loka looked like. She had a few descriptions, but not enough, in my humble opinion.


  • The descriptions Ms. Sandler do have are awesome. I can picture the characters & I can see what's happening.
  • The complexity of the novel...she created an interesting world beyond our normal world. She addresses prejudices in a unique way. GENs (Genetically Engineered Non-Humans), who were not born the natural way, but through test-tubes, are on the lowest level and treated as such. Lowborns are born from mothers, but they are not high status. Still they have more rights than GENs. High Status Trueborns are at the top.
  • I loved the characters from Kayla and Mishalla, to their love interests, Devak and Eoghan. Kayla and Mishalla are such strong female main characters. They are GENs, sometimes treated like lower than dirt, but it doesn't break them or cause them to become whiny. I found myself rooting for them throughout the whole novel.
  • I loved the romance between Kayla/Devak & Mishalla/Eoghan. Devak is a trueborn while Eoghan is a lowborn. Both boys are higher than Kayla and Mishalla, but they fall for them anyway. I liked that the romance didn't start right away. Both Kayla and Mishalla had feelings for their prospective love interests, but they didn't act on it cos of the statuses. They were hesitant, even when the guys showed interest.
  • There were points in the novel that had edge-of-your-seat action.
  • The ending left it open for a sequel.

I sure hope Ms. Sandler writes a sequel to Tankborn! I want to know what has happened to Kayla, Devak, Mishalla, and Eoghan.


Book Review: Ambitious

Author: Monica McKayhan
Genre: YA
Release: August, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3

Description:"There's only one thing tougher than getting in to Premiere High: Staying in..."

At Premiere School of the Performing Arts, nicknamed Premiere High, talent is a must and competition is fierce. But the payoff is worth it. Some of the biggest stars in music, movies and dance are on the alumni list. New student Marisol Garcia dreams of taking her place among them one day. And being chosen to take part in a local dance contest where a film role is the prize could possibly be her first step into the spotlight.

Almost as big a challenge: getting Drew Bishop to see her as more than a friend. But Drew is preoccupied with his own dilemma of either playing basketball, which could be a free ticket to college, or pursuing the stage where he really comes alive. But every dream comes with a price. And as Marisol becomes consumed with winning, the once straight-A student risks losing everything. Starting with her parents' approval, her friends and her place at Premiere High...

Review: I chose this book because I LOVE all things dancing. I'm totally addicted to movies like Step Up and the like, no matter how corny they may get. Lol. I'd hoped this book catch me like the movies would. Sadly, it didn't. It wasn't bad, it just didn't wow me.

  • The characters didn't seem to struggle like I thought they would in a top performing arts school. They struggled a little, but not enough. 
  • I did not like Drew as a love interest for Mari. He was a player, always looking at other girls and using them for his benefits. I think she deserved better.
  • Mari as a character was just ok. I didn't hate her, but I didn't find myself impressed with her.
  • Mari's old best friend, who was jealous of Mari & her new friends, started hanging out with an adversary of Mari's. She only comes back to Mari when the girl gets on her nerves and Mari accepts her with no problem.

  • I love that it's about dancing.
  • I love that it features minorities. And that these kids are in an exclusive school, but aren't rich, preppy kids.
  • Although I wasn't crazy about Drew, I liked that he wasn't stereotypical black youth when it comes to sports. He's a star of the basketball team, but he chooses acting over basketball.
  • It's geared towards reluctant readers. I'm all about getting teens to read.


Book Review: Witches

Author: Cheryl Christian
Genre: Children's Book; Picture Book
Release: August, 2011
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 5/5

DescriptionHalloween night to remember. Whimsical, colorful illustrations overflow with charming details that will engage young readers to read the book again and again to discover all its charms.

Review: Witches are visiting homes on Halloween night! Children will love this book. The colorful illustrations capture the story perfectly. And I love that the witches are diverse. If I remember correctly, there's even a witch in a wheelchair. The revelation of the witches' identity, for adults, is predictable (we'd already know), but children will love it. This is a charming story perfect for Halloween!


Book Review: Carrot

Author: Cheryl Christian
Genre: Picture Book; Children's Book
Release: May, 2011
Rating: 3.5

DescriptionCarrot is a delightful story about a common house cat who finds that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Carrot envies the fancy white cat she sees on a yacht in the bay and fantasizes a life of wealth. Finally Carrot realizes her “common” life has much to offer that idleness aboard a yacht could never fulfill.

Review: Carrot gets her name from her orange-colored coat. She loves her life, til she sees Buffy, a white cat on a fancy yacht. Then, Carrot wonders what it would be like to live like Buffy, having everything she could ever wish for, including the best caviar and a collar made of diamonds and pearls. After thinking up how wonderful her life would be, Carrot thinks about her life now. She realizes that maybe Buffy's life isn't as superb as it looks. Maybe Carrot's life is just perfect. I loved the vibrant colors in the illustrations! This was a cute book perfect for preschool/early elementary children.


Break Time!

I survived the A to Z Blog challenge! With not one, but TWO blogs! Yeah, I'm the woman. Heehee! 

Blogging practically everyday on two blogs is quite tiresome, so I'm taking a short break. My regularly scheduled blog posts will return in June. I figured, since I'm behind on my Netgalley reviews, I can use this time to catch up. Sooo, I'll be posting about 2+ per week. Then, come June, when school is practically over and summer is close to starting, I can return to normal blogging.

By the way, you'll be seeing a new look on both of my blogs within the month. So excited. I've had this look since I started this blog back in 2008, so I'm thinking it's time for a new look. And my other blog, The International Diva definitely needs a new look, seeing as though the girl in the header isn't even a black girl. She was the closest to my skin color as I could get for a free blog template.

So, my loves, in the words of the great philosopher, Arnold Schwarzenegger (heehee), "I'll be back!" Until then, enjoy some book reviews. Muah!