Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Born to Resist

Inside the Book

Author: Ember Raine Winters
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 191
Genre: YA Dystopian
“I never thought one moment could change my life forever. In an instant life as I knew it was over. My new life was the stuff of legends. I just hoped I was strong enough to survive it.”

A series of what were called The Immigration Wars changed the way of life for the former United States. It was thrown into chaos and a dictator came into power.

On the eve of Alexa’s sixteenth birthday her world changes forever. Her father is arrested for treason and she finds out her mother is really alive. She and her best friend Jacob must travel across country to meet her so they can free her father from the tyrannical leader of the government. Everything is not as it seems in the resistance and secrets and lies will be revealed along the way.

They must rely on each other and their new friends to be successful. But, trust isn’t easily given in the resistance and Alexa must find a way to save her father and keep her friends safe while on the run from both the government and the resistance.

My Review

I enjoy the dystopian genre. However, lately the past several books I have read in this genre were not up to par. They seemed to be lacking in a strong plot and characters. As if the authors were rushing to produce a book to get on the dystopian train wave. Yet, author, Ember Raine Winters does it right with her first novel, Born to Resist.

Instantly, I connected with Alexa and Jacob as well as where the story was going. I could picture the world that Alexa and Jacob lived in. So Alexa and Jacob have a romantic relationship in this story but it is not overplayed to the point that it distracts from the overall storyline. Everyone from Alexa, Jacob, Xander, and Kara were strong characters. Another aspect that I enjoyed about this book. Sometimes in this type of genre the authors feel like they have to make the leading female heroine weak in the beginning leading up to a fighter. Yet, Alexa was a fighter from the start. In addition, she was not easily fooled. I can't wait to continue with the next book to see if Alexa, Jacob, Xander, and Kara can take down RONA.

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Meet the Author

Ember Raine Winters is a single mother of 2. Living in Bakersfield California. She has an Associate’s Degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the Local Junior College and she loves to read. Anything she can get her hands on, but mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. She self-published her first book in March and hopes to publish many more in the future.

Connect with Ember at


Book Excerpt:
“Alexa, where are you going?” Dad asked as I picked up my crossbow and strapped my hunting knife to my thigh.
“Hunting, be back before dinner,” I replied just before the large mahogany door slammed behind me.
I went hunting every day and my dad knew that, but he always asked where I was going. I thought it was just him being overprotective. Clearly, there was a reason behind everything he did.
He was my confidant, my teacher, and my friend. In the world we lived in there weren’t any schools like in the old world, so my dad had to teach me everything. He was ex-military before the Immigration wars and taught my best friend Jacob and me everything we needed to know to not only survive, but also defend ourselves. I never understood why we would need to know how to be the perfect soldiers living in our little town in back woods Texas, but I didn’t complain. I loved hunting and shooting. Plus, I was good at it.
Walking through the forest on a hunt has always been somewhat therapeutic for me. I walked through the forest quietly. I always found the sights and sounds intoxicating. The bright yellow sun peeking through the canopy of dense pines. The smell of pine and the sounds of blue jays singing made it feel like home. I walked for miles in the dense underbrush listening intently for any quail, turkeys, or even a rabbit to hunt.
An almost eerie silence fell over the forest. It was unnaturally quite in a place that moments before was teeming with life. I stopped short overwhelmed by the sinking feeling that something was terribly wrong. Listening carefully, I heard a gentle hum that got progressively louder by the second. After a few minutes that stretched into an eternity, the hum became the roar of an engine and darkness fell over the trees. Looking up through the branches, a plane, and close enough to see through the trees. Not good. There were no planes anymore. Not running. Jet fuel cost far too much for even the wealthiest of men, and the only person who had clearance to fly was President Carlyle, anyway. I had never seen his plane fly through our town before, and my gut said that something wasn’t right.
So, I took off at a sprint pumping my arms and legs just as fast as they would take me. I was about four miles from home and even at a dead sprint it took more than twenty minutes zig-zagging through the trees and jumping over roots before I broke the tree line. I zigged past the old oak that Jacob and I used to play in when we were young. The thick branches are a stark contrast to the spindly branches of the pines surrounding it. I ducked beneath a low-hanging branch that I was once able to walk underneath, but my tall five foot nine inch frame would have been decimated at the speed I was running. The burning sting as the branches whipped across my skin was almost bearable, even the oozing blood trickling down my face and arms didn't compare to the cold hard dread I felt deep in my bones as I pushed myself forward.
Once I reached the corn field I stopped dead. An all-consuming fear stole my senses when I saw the plane sitting off to the right of our old ranch style home. I dropped like a brick to my knees and drug in one raspy breath after another. What could be happening?

A Wedding for Christmas

The whole town is ready for the holidays: The Cookie Club is baking, Main Street glitters with lights, the carolers sing . . .There’s even a Christmas wedding.

When bodyguard Ryder Southerland sees his best friend’s sister Katie at an L.A. Christmas party, he mistakes the slinky blonde for a celebrity stalker and tackles her. Then they tackle each other . . . at his place. The next morning, Katie’s gone, and Ryder tells himself it’s for the best. It isn’t. Now, one Christmas later, Ryder’s falling for the woman he’s been missing in the town he hasn’t missed at all . . .

Katie Cheek’s outgrown the romantic fantasies she had about Ryder when she was fifteen. Katie’s packed their hot night away in a box labeled “fling”—or tried to. But Twilight’s bad boy is the best man in her brother’s wedding. And up-close and personal, Ryder’s impossible to ignore. So Katie can either go into hiding—or surrender to Christmas magic.

My Review
Who knew that the nickname "Miss Priss" could actually be a sweet nickname. I have read many stories of crushes and the brother's best friend and sister hook up but thus far for 2016, I have to say that this was one of my favorite hook ups. Ryder and Katie made such a great couple together. For example, Katie had Ryder falling all over her on their first encounter as adults. Ok, so maybe it was due to the fact that Ryder thought Katie was a stalker (minor detail). Yet, what I enjoyed the most was that Ryder and Katie were not hooking up instantly on their next encounter. One of my favorite moments in this book was after Ryder and his father had their conversation. Katie offered Ryder a hug and they embraced. Although, Ryder and Katie were not the only people in this story. There are also the people of Twilight. A place that readers will want to visit over and over again. A Wedding for Christmas is the perfect stocking stuffer gift!

Along Came Love

When a silly, impulsive decision lands free-spirited India Shaw behind bars in San Francisco, she has no choice but to call the only person she knows in the unfamiliar city—the very man she abandoned after a steamy two-day fling. The fact that she’s pregnant with his child is something she’d rather not divulge.

Tech executive Michael Black never thought he’d hear from the quirky beauty after she left his bed four months ago, much less be called upon to post bail. He’s got his hands full with a corporate merger that could make or break his career, but his honorable nature—and an overwhelming need to see her again—means he can’t just leave her in jail. And when India reveals the truth about her pregnancy, Mike insists she stay with him until the baby is born.

India doesn’t want to depend on him for anything, but their constant proximity stirs up feelings she can’t ignore. She’s never desired a family before and she knows a future with Mike isn’t possible . . . but then along came love to shake up all her plans.

My Review

This is the second book in this series. Yet, it can be read as a stand alone novel. I loved India aka Indi's spunk. OMG, Mike is such a sweetheart. The way that he cared for Indi had my heart melting. Yet, this book was not all about romance. There were laughs to be found as well. For example, when Indi and Mike were at the OBGYN. The doctor tells Indi to lie back and relax and Indi responds with "That is what he said." Then there was the time when Indi and Mike were book shopping on the topic of pregnancy. Indi asking Mike how she would ask the doctor for the placenta to plant in the garden and Mike responding that he did not know as he did not plan to do this. I am right there with Mike, the idea is more of a turn off then a sweet one. Although, my favorite in this story was Mike and Indi's unborn baby aka Nugget. The name while temporary was great. This is a quick read filled with great characters and storyline.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Welcome to Heywood, Oregon where three lost women find healing, hope and love under the bright light of the town's old Star Inn this Christmas season.

Two bad things happened to Sally Cartwright that week. Three if she counted the pink slip received at the Home and Family magazine’s annual Christmas party. But nothing was worse than plowing into a snowbank and being stuck in a town she swore never to see again. A town she once called home. Now she must spend the long cold night in the car or follow the bright shining star through the woods to the old Star Inn. She chooses the inn and that’s where her troubles really begin…

Lumber mill owner, Rick Rennick, is in no mood for Christmas cheer. Having recently buried his father, he’s still trying to sort out the financial mess left behind. Unless Rick comes up with a miracle, the mill run by the family for generations is about to shut down for good. That would put a lot of men out of work and impact the future of the town. If things weren't bad enough he’s now stuck at the old Star Inn waiting for the road back to his cabin to reopen. His luck takes another turn for the worse when he suddenly comes face to face with the past he’d sooner forget. For unless he’s seeing things, the only woman he’s ever loved is standing in front of the inn’s blazing fire trying to get warm. How is it possible that one chance meeting could stir up so many old memories?

Both Rick and Sally regret what happened between them, but his family lumberyard clashes with her tree-hugging ways and neither is willing to try again. It will take the storm of the century, one stage-struck young boy, a certain meddling “angel”—and even a cranky cat—to convince them that in matters of the heart, sometimes the second time around is best.

My Review

In this book the Christmas spirit is alive and well. The town of Haywood has that great small town feel that it makes me want to visit it. As I was reading this book, it reminded me of a Debbie Macomber novel. Particularly Mrs. Miracle books. Only, this time it was Rick who slipped into the role of Mrs. Miracle. Yet, my favorite aspect of this story is that Rick and Sally did not instantly share a sexual relationship. In fact, they were more like really, good friends reconnecting and rediscovering just what Christmas is all about. Which I can report this story does have a happy ending.

The Mirror Sisters

From the legendary New York Times bestselling author of The Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina series comes the first book in a new series featuring identical twin sisters made to act, look, and feel truly identical by their perfectionist mother.

Alike in every way...with one dark exception.

As identical twins, their mother insists that everything about them be identical: their clothes, their toys, their friends...the number of letters in their names, Haylee Blossom Fitzgerald and Kaylee Blossom Fitzgerald. If one gets a hug, the other must, too. If one gets punished, the other must be, too.

Homeschooled at an early age, when the girls attend a real high school they find little ways to highlight the differences between them. But when Haylee runs headfirst into the dating scene, both sisters are thrust into a world their mother never prepared them for—causing one twin to pursue the ultimate independence. The one difference between the two girls may spell the difference between life...and a fate worse than death.

Written with the taboo-breaking, gothic atmosphere that V.C. Andrews is loved for, The Mirror Sisters is the latest in her long line of spellbinding novels about mysterious families and tormented love.

My Review

First off I have to say that Haylee and Kaylee's mother kind of reminded me of Mommy Dearest. This is no wonder that Haylee turned out to be the evil bitch twin. Thus the reason I liked Kaylee better as she was kind. Yet, I hope in the next book she comes out a fighter and does not let Haylee keep running all over her. There was the word gothic thrown in about the author's writing style, which yes the author has been known for but I would not describe this book as being gothic. If anything it was more PG-13. The most devious act that Haylee committed was horrible but not shocking. Except for Haylee's recent one that has Kaylee in way over her head. I am interested to see how this all plays out in the next book.

Like Fresh Fallen Snow

Everyone needs a New Years’ kiss.

Ellie Richards’ New Year’s Resolution: this will be her year, no men necessary. Who needs them when she has a successful website, a great apartment, and plans to ring in the New Year at a ski lodge with her best friend. That’s until Ellie gets stuck in a snowbank and a gorgeous, blue-eyed cop throws a wrench in her plans.

Matt Grayson intended to spend his last day of the year getting everything ready for his move across the country. But when he helps dig Ellie’s car out from the side of the road, something about this cute blonde who spews out pop culture references makes Matt wish he didn’t have to leave the next day.
When fate brings Ellie and Matt together that same night at a party, the sizzling tension between them bubbles like a bottle of champagne. As midnight looms closer, their time together grows shorter. Is their budding romance doomed to be nothing but a night of memories, or can it survive the changes the new year will bring?

My Review

This may be a short read but it reads like a full length novel. Instantly, Ellie had me cheering for her. Matt had her tongue tied. The comments that Ellie would randomly start saying had me laughing. Not only because they were funny but because I could picture myself in her shoes and saying comments like her. At least when Matt and Ellie look back on their first meeting they can agree that it is not boring. I mean the first thing Ellie says when Matt introduces himself is "Like Dick". While, Ellie and Matt barely knew each other, I actually was fine with them hooking up right away. The chemistry was there. The ending was a charming one. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

Big Package

Baby it’s cold outside…but things are about to heat up.

I missed the last bus to my sister’s for Christmas, and now I'm stranded in a bus station—in the middle of a blizzard—with a giant package covered in naughty wrapping paper.

Then he shows up: Kalen Welles, the football star from my high school fantasies—and offers me a ride.

Just when the car is getting cozy, the roads get shut down due to snow.

Luckily there’s a nearby cabin where we can hole up for the night.

A warm fireplace, cozy blankets, pent-up longing we both spent years ignoring… maybe I’ll be able to unwrap Kalen's big package before Christmas morning.

But when the snow clears and the ice melts, will the former football star and the shy nerd finally get a happy ending?

Unwrap this sexy holiday story from Opal Carew!

My Review

I have read several books by this author. The one thing that I can associate with this author's books are the steamy sex scenes. Yet, in this story while there were many sex scenes, I did not find them leaving me panting for more. In fact, the scenes were short and not a lot of detail was given. I would say this story was more on the mild side for the author then the books I have read. Although, I did like Holly and Kalen. Kalen was so sweet with him trying to cheer up Holly and make their situation a better one. However, I do agree with other readers that the number of sex scenes was a bit much, especially for such a short story. It grew old after a while when this was pretty much the substance of this story. I did laugh several times.