Tag: 5 stars

The Cellar

Author: Natasha Preston
374 pages
Published: March 1, 2014

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:
5 Stars

Description from Amazon:

“Lily?”

My stomach dropped as a tall, dark-haired man stepped into view. Had he been hiding between the trees?

“No. Sorry.” Gulping, I took a step back. “I’m not Lily.”

He shook his head, a satisfied grin on his face. “No. You are Lily.”

“I’m Summer. You have the wrong person.” You utter freak!

I could hear my pulse crashing in my ears. How stupid to give him my real name. He continued to stare at me, smiling. It made me feel sick.

“You are Lily,” he repeated.

Before I could blink, he threw his arms forward and grabbed me. I tried to shout, but he clasped his hand over my mouth, muffling my screams. My heart raced. I’m going to die.

For months Summer is trapped in a cellar with the man who took her—and three other girls: Rose, Poppy, and Violet. His perfect, pure flowers. His family. But flowers can’t survive long cut off from the sun, and time is running out…

Kim’s Review:

I’ve been seeing Preston’s books on the shelves for months and for some reason, I only just picked them up recently. And I’m so glad I did! I read Awake a few weeks ago and loved it, so when I saw The Cellar at Target, I grabbed it. I’m a huge fan of Criminal Minds and to the annoyance of my family and friends, I totally consider myself to be an amateur profiler, and yes, I love showing off my skills. 😉 However, no Criminal Minds episode has ever awakened more empathy than this book did. Getting into the mind of both the criminal and the victim was fascinating! Watching Summer fight to hold onto her identity and her innocence was inspiring and heartbreaking, all at the same time. Seeing the other girls losing themselves in the fantasy that “Clover” set up for them gives such insight into real life kidnapping plights. If you like psycho thrillers, then this book is for you! And even if you don’t, this is an empathetic and educational read that I would recommend to anyone.

Blog Tour: The Queen of New Beginnings

Today I am one of the two blog stops on the blog tour for The Queen of New Beginnings by Therese Loreskär! She is published by Bombshell Books. Today I will be sharing my review. The publication date for it was yesterday, August 11th.

Book Description:

Kajsa lives in a large house in Stockholm along with her three children and their dog. Since coming clean about lying on her popular blog she no longer has any work. Not only that but she has kicked her husband out because of his sex addiction.

While her husband is in rehab trying to fix his little problem, Kajsa’s mother-in-law is thrown out of her retirement home and comes to live with her.

Then Kajsa receives an unexpected offer to move to a fashionable part of London. But having to look after her mother-in-law makes life complicated.

Can Kajsa rid herself of her baggage and make a fresh start with her children in England?

This laugh-out-loud comedy looks at the daily struggles we all face with our families and asks if starting again is ever really possible.

Author: Therese Loreskär
Published: August 11, 2017

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 17-23, 2017
Jessica’s Rating: 5 Stars

Jessica’s Review:

In The Queen of Blogging we were introduced to Kajsa, who can be described as a modern day Bridget Jones: She is quirky yet flawed. I loved The Queen of Blogging, and it was one of my top reads of last year. My review for it is here  XXXX. Now Therese Loreskär brings us round two of Kajsa’s adventures with The Queen of New Beginnings which picks up three months after the end of The Queen of Blogging.

The Queen of Blogging was written ‘blog style’ and The Queen of New Beginnings is similar to a diary style, but without the “Dear Diary” part.

Kajsa has lost almost everything due to a huge lie she told: She lost her career which was run through her fitness blog. She has also lost the fame, freebies, and salary that came with the blog. She lastly lost her husband, but that was due to his own fault. She still has her kids and dog…

Kajsa  is having to adjust to life as a single mom and then things get turned upside down as her ‘future former mother-in-law’ comes to live with her. With that, we are back in Kajsa’s crazy and often hilarious life in The Queen of New Beginnings.

All the characters from The Queen of Blogging are back in their glory for round two and we also meet some new characters (Just WHO is Brad!?!?).  We are in for a roller coaster of an adventure with Kajsa (sometimes through her own fault and sometimes not) and you never know what will happen next. You think her life can’t get any crazier then something else happens!

You can see Kajsa slowly get her life back together as the novel reaches its conclusion, to where it feels like she is finally in a position to be The Queen of New Beginnings. I loved this novel and the optimistic ending and I really look forward to seeing more of Kajsa in a third novel.

About the Author:

Therese Loreskär started her career in 2010 as a Swedish author. She self-published her first novel which was very well received and quickly sold out!

In 2014 she signed up to a publishing house. Her novel called “The Queen of Blogging” was released and the feedback was overwhelming! People referred to the book as a modern “Bridget Jones” and couldn’t get enough of the main character, Kajsa. The next book “The Queen of Blogging 2” was released shortly after to all the reader’s delight.

Therese has since then published 4 bestselling children’s books as well. She often does tours at different schools and talks about her books. The children love her visits and Therese always enjoys talking to her little readers.

“The Queen of Blogging 1 & 2” have also been recorded and launched as audiobooks in addition to paper backs in Sweden. Her biggest dream is to have “The Queen of Blogging series” made into films, and she secretly keeps a list in an old drawer of presumptive actors that would do the characters in her books justice.

Her never-ending energy for writing and entertaining people with her characters is her biggest trait.

Therese lives in the countryside along the west coast of Sweden. She has a rather big and busy household, with (one) husband, two children, one deaf cat, five hamsters and a grandmother.

When she’s not busy making up stories and writing silly things, she enjoys the nature, people, history, redecorating the house without asking anyone for permission, and all other kinds of creativity.

Contact Therese:
Website
Facebook
Instagram @loreskar

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Serafina and the Splintered Heart

Author: Robert Beatty
358 pages in Hardback
Published: July 3, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

Description from Amazon:

In the highly-anticipated next installment of the Serafina series, Serafina must confront the darkest threat she’s ever encountered at Biltmore Estate. She knows she can face anything with her best friend and closest ally, Braeden Vanderbilt, by her side. But when a sinister force tears them apart, Serafina scrambles to uncover the mystery of her most formidable challenge yet…and about herself and the destiny that awaits her.

Kim’s Review:

This is the third book in the Serafina series. Serafina is the Chief Rat Catcher and Guardian of the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. After rescuing the children from the Black Cloak in the first book, and protecting the estate from the revenge of the Old Man of the Forest and his Twisted Staff in the second book, Serafina finds herself literally six feet under. She digs herself out of her own grave and finds that everything has changed. Biltmore, once again, is under attack. But can Serafina help, when she is so isolated from her friends? Braeden has been wounded and Waysa has been spending his time chasing a strange creature through the woods. Storm clouds are gathering, floodwaters are rising, and Serafina feels nothing but powerless and alone.

Ok, writing a summary for this book was torture! I hate to sound dramatic, but you have no idea how much more I wanted to write, but couldn’t because I didn’t want to give anything away! This book is full of surprises and plot twists and I was this close to just copying the summary written on the book jacket. If you haven’t read the first two books in this series, then you need to finish up whatever book you are reading now, and then go out and pick up this series. Serafina and Braeden and Waysa and Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt and Pa and Gideon and Cedric have all become such good friends. Watching Serafina and Braeden grow and mature has been a source of such pleasure and fun for me. I don’t normally see book characters as real friends, but I couldn’t help but feel that about these people. I used to visit the Biltmore House many times with my parents as a kid, and, unfortunately, I never appreciated it the way I should have. My snobbery got even worse when I began to identify as a preservationist, rather than a restorationist, in college. But after several years of real life and more growing up, I admitted to my husband, who has refused to let me live it down, that I was being unfair to the Biltmore House. Just because something has been so well preserved that it looks like it was restored, does not make it any less important than those sites that are being preserved with what little remains. I took my husband to the Biltmore House about 2 years ago, since he had never been before, and I was newly enchanted! As a kid, it was fun to dream about living in a house like that, but as an adult, my imagination has grown to include historical perspective. And considering that both my husband and I developed a crush on George Vanderbilt after looking at his portrait and learning of the amazing, well-rounded, dapper gentleman that he was . . . don’t judge, ok! I can’t tell if it was reading these books that brought such reality to the Vanderbilts and their house, or if it was visiting Biltmore that drew me so close to Serafina and her story. All I can say is, Robert Beatty captured my imagination in ways that many other books never have. I was truly terrified after reading about the Black Cloak. I was immersed in the history of Biltmore and the Vanderbilts in the Twisted Staff. I grew to love Serafina and Braeden as friends and found myself so proud of how brave and loyal they are to each other and the ones they love in the Splintered Heart. Please read these books. If you have kids, read this series to them. Give these books to the tweens and teens that you know. Go to Biltmore. See the beautiful estate. Drive through the Smokey Mountains. Feel the love that Serafina had for her home. I promise you that you will not be disappointed. And on a personal note, this book spoke to me as someone who has the dirt of NC in her blood. My family owns a tobacco farm in La Grange, NC that has been in our family since before the Revolutionary War. I wish I could put into words how much Biltmore and Serfina’s and the Vanderbilts’ love of their home affected me. There’s something about the land itself that just inspires. I can physically feel it when I step foot on my family’s land. At the risk of sounding even more dramatic, I can feel my blood singing. Mr. Beatty captured that in these books. You can feel the physical love of the land, from the mountain people, from Serafina, from George Vanderbilt. When you go to visit the estate, even if you have no connection to it, you will feel it. There are few places in this world to which I feel such a strong physical connection. The Biltmore Estate is one of those places. Maybe that’s why I love this series so much. Maybe that’s why I have written more in this review than I have for any other book that I’ve read. If I could convey this physical feeling to you, then I would. But the best thing I can do for you is to beg you to read this book, to beg you to go visit Biltmore. And thank you, Mr. Beatty for your wonderful books and I can’t wait to read more of your books!

A book signing where I got to meet Mr. Beatty himself!:

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