Doug & Carlie - Lisa Smartt ★★★ 1/2

I've been debating on whether to give Doug & Carlie by Lisa Smartt, three or four stars. I'm very undecided so I'll just go with 3.5.

Carlie is 32 years old, single and working at the Dollar Store, life can't get any better, right? Wrong. It can get better but not for very long. She meets Doug who lives 8 hours away but immediately builds a connection with. After a few weeks of long distance dating, Carlie gets the opportunity of a life time and she needs to decide what to do.

I liked the book because Carlie spoke what was on her mind and didn't hold back. She was truthful, even if sometimes she was more honest then needing to be (IE. Her first email to Doug). I liked it. It's not everyday that you come across someone who just doesn't care and will tell it like it is. I also liked that Carlie made the choice for herself. When deciding to jump at the chance of an opportunity of a lifetime, she doesn't make it because her parents...she doesn't make the decision before of Doug...she makes the decision because its something she wants. She put herself first.

The reasons why I didn't like it and had a hard time deciding on the rating is because with Carlie being the strong independent no nonsense woman, she sure did cry a lot. Everyone cried a lot. Yes there were times that granted the crying (Grieving at a funeral...or two) but it felt like almost every other page someone was crying. For petty little reasons. I may not be as emotional or something but it irritated me. I wanted to yell out, "GROW A PAIR AND STOP CRYING!! GOSH!"  Yes, this bothered me enough to mark it down a full star.

Overall, it was a cute story and there was character development.


Jaden Baker - Courtney Kirchoff ★★★★★

I do not really read a whole lot of paranormal type books. Dark forces, Super natural Creature, the living dead, super human powers... I never seem to be able to get into the books, unless they have something that I can't keep away from.

Jaden Baker is something, someone, I couldn't keep away from.

The novel written by Courtney Kirchoff first introduces us to Jaden Baker at age 25 while in a drug store. He starts bleeding from the nose and has a seizure like symptoms. A girl in the same aisle rushes to his aid and calls 911.  The last thing Jaden asks of the girl before he passes out is "Don't let them take me!"

We are taken back to when Jaden is 9 years old and living with his new potential family that is in the process of adopting him. Jaden has been living with them for a week, happy but frightened of what would happen when they discover who he is.  Jaden is Psychokinesis (PK). One night his family learns of his powers and before Jaden can even explain what happened, he gets kidnapped. Taken underground and held as a prisoner while Dr. Dalton does experiments and tests on Jaden. Dalton wants to know how PK works. After 4 years there is a chance that Jaden can escape. He takes the opportunity but fails. Dr. Madrid then takes over and its horrifying. Madrid doesn't care how PK works, he's only concerned about making it work as an advantage. A weapon. Madrid doesn't stop at anything to get what he wants from Jaden.

Finally after 2 years of pure torture, Jaden at age 15 escapes. We are then brought up to speed after 10 years of Jaden hiding out and walking into a drug store one night where he collapses. Where he tells the girl (Libby) in the aisle "Don't let them take me!"

Libby helps Jaden and he soon decides that he will no longer run from them. He won't be afraid and he won't be held captive anymore. He's going to fight for his freedom. Fight for a life. His life.

Within the first two paragraphs, I was hooked. When I couldn't read, I would wonder what will happen next and couldn't wait for the chance to find out. I felt so bad for Jaden and there was nothing I could do to make it better. There were times when I was afraid for Jaden...when I was proud of Jaden and especially when I had hope for Jaden.

I suggest everyone else have hope for Jaden. Pick up a copy of Jaden Baker by Courtney Kirchoff. Whether it is a genre that you are interested in or something that you stay clear from...The outcome will be the same result..

★★★★★ to Jaden Baker.


The Keeper of Dawn - J.B. Hickman ★★★★

J.B. Hickman, gave me the opportunity to receive a free kindle edition of "The Keeper of Dawn," in return for an honest review. Of course I jumped at the opportunity. To give a brief summary, The Keeper of Dawn is about a 15 year old boy named Jacob Hawthorne is sent off to boarding school on Raker Island. At first he is just another one of the students, until he meets up with Chris, Roland and Derek. They soon become the "Headliners."  Together the boys push the lines of expulsion, excitement, death and self discovery.

When I read the first few chapters I couldn't get into it. The story was jumping between the past and current times and I found myself not all too excited to read it, but I continued to push through it since I was asked to read/review The Keeper of Dawn.

Around chapter 5-9, I noticed I was reading more and more without getting distracted. It became interesting. I wanted to see what the Headliners would do next. The jumping being the past events and the story now, didn't bother me anymore. It actually gave me a new perspective.

Towards the end, I was considering giving the book 3 out of 5 starts.   A three for me, is  "Eh, wasn't bad, but wasn't good either..its just so so." I still kept my options open as I read on..

Then I started to wonder........my curiosity was on full alert. I read on and WHAM!! PLOT TWIST!!


As I read on, things started to become clear and brought everything together. I finished the book and knowing what I know now, I gave the book a 4.

If anyone has the chance to read The Keeper of Dawn, and in the beginning are like me and not that interested, I do suggest keep reading. You'll become interested in the story and then get sucked in towards the end.


A Million LIttle Pieces - James Frey ★★★★★

I read A Million Little Pieces by James Frey in 2005, the same year that it was published. Before the "lies." I think I read this book within 24 hours. I stayed up into the wee hours of the night, until it felt like my eyes were bleeding because I was just so transfixed. The topic was a curiosity to me. We watch movies and TV shows that portray the life of a junkie and the final outcome (death), but there is hardly ever the I'm-going-down-the-path-of-total-descruction-and-I-need-to-change-things-otherwise-I-will-not-wake-to-see-another-day story. When they do show it, it’s more of a comedic relief (28 days). Or maybe I'm just naive and there is more out there then what I've seen. Anyway, I was drawn into the story. I was captivated on how ruthless those withdrawals were. I grew fond of the characters and wished them all a full healthy recovery. I read this story and thought it needed to become a movie.

Then, I was told it was all a lie.

I thought about it (for 2 seconds) and said, so what? Whether it’s true story or a fictional story, it’s still a story. It didn't change my opinion of Frey. I just removed the former junkie thoughts. Frey is still a very good novelist and obviously I wasn’t the only one who thought that since Oprah added him to her booklist (before removing him because he lied. Get over it Oprah, it’s still a good book).

Was it a publicity stunt to get more readers? I don't care. Would I have read it, even if I knew the "True" story, wasn't true? Probably.

I say give it a chance. Don't let your biased opinions of it no longer being a true story; prevent you from reading A Million Little Pieces. Read it because it is a good book. Read it for the same reasons, people enjoyed it before they found out it was a lie. Just wait till Frey writes a book that he announces is "fictional" at least I know it'll be good, since A Million Little Pieces was good.


Harbour Falls - S.R. Grey ★★★★

I received Harbour Falls from S.R. Grey from a Goodreads.com First Reads giveaway contest. Harbour Falls is the book in the Harbour Falls Mystery series. The locals think Maddy has returned to Harbour Falls to have some "quiet time" while writing her newest novel. However, she has another item on her agenda. She is back to investigate a murder that took place 4 years ago that still remains unsolved. The top suspect, is Adam Ward...also known as Maddy's crush since high school.
As Maddy investigates what happened, she finds herself still having an attraction towards Adam. As she gets closer to solving the case, she also gets closer to falling in love with Adam.

I enjoyed this book. I tend to read a lot of murder mystery books and I'm always trying to guess who the killer was. I was very close at figuring out who the killer was, but didn't expect a twist. There is one sentence that was written around the first few chapters that I thought didn't need to be included in the paragraph. It seemed a little pointless, until I was reading and put the "clues" and that one sentence together. I would say I was half right. Grey left the novel with an ending that leaves you with wanting more. I'll be looking forward to the #2 book in the series.

Fatal Decree - H. Terrell Griffin ★★★★

Matt Royal is a former lawyer who left the big city to become a beach bum in Longboat Key. Jock Algren, is Matt's best friend, works in a part of the government that a lot of people do not know exist. Jennifer "J.D." Duncan, is Longboat Key's one and only detective. Together, the three of them set out to search for the person responsible for killing two local women...the crime scenes are eerily close to a murder spree that was 12 years ago. They soon find that it may be harder than expecting after sometime tries to kill J.D.....more than once and start to come after Matt. Drug Cartel, gangbangers, and serial killers? What do they all have in common and can they put a connection to all the murders, before its to late?

I won Fatal Decree by H. Terrell Griffin in a Goodreads.com First Reads contest. At first I was hesitant to sign up since it the description revolved around the drug cartel and that isn't usually my first topic of choice. After reading up to the 10th chapter, I was glad I won.  Griffin wrote Fatal Decree in the first person (of Matt) and since I'm not use to this style of writing it was different. I did enjoy it though. Reading a novel in this style made me feel like I was apart of the book. I was Matt. I also thought it was funny how towards the middle of the book, each chapter ended with a sentence that would give you a little in site of how the next chapter would begin. I found myself laughing a few times because it was like, "Oh, there at it again! Can the day get any worse?" Sure enough..it can. When I reached the end of the book, it felt like it was just too easy. Catch the bad guy and the day is over......and all of the sudden....BAM! Plot twist!
I read that there is actually a Matt Royal series and this book was not apart of it (based on Griffin's Goodreads profile). After reading Fatal Decree, I'm a little curious to check out one of the books that is apart of the Matt Royal Series.