Friday, August 28, 2015

"A Book Based on a True Story" 2015 Challenge; WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE by Trish Doller

I’m giving you full disclosure here.  I went online and found a list of books that were “based on a true story.” I looked through them all, and found one that sounded good.  It was about a girl ripped from her family only to grow up not knowing who she truly was.  Intriguing, right?  Believe me, it was.  However, when I went to find the story that it was based from, there was nothing.  That’s when I found out that the book I had already read all the way through was NOT based off a true story, but in fact was about a topic that was so lifelike that it COULD happen.  Here’s the question… Do I count this book? I am… for now.  If by some grace of God I get done with the reading challenge early, I’ll squeeze another book in there.  Until then, here is my review of “A book based on a true story, but not quite a true story.”



Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from Laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

4.5 out of 5 *Stars*

“Sponges are better than flowers.”

What a heartfelt sentiment that our hunky Greek, Alex, had.  You know, since sea sponged are already dead so you don’t have to worry about them dying.  Unusual, but if you think about it, it does make a little sense.  That was just Alex – the suave young man that could charm the panties off of almost any person, man or woman. 

As much as anyone liked to read about the heartthrob, he wasn’t the main focus of the story.  Callie, a teenage girl, was taken from her father and big Greek family at a young age.  When she was finally back, everything was new to her.  She had forgotten everything.  It was heartbreaking when a person would reveal something that should have been common knowledge for her. Such as the moment she found out what her full name was.  Then there was when she met close family members that were nothing more than strangers, even her own grandmother. 

“Georgia stands back to look at me – her hands clutching my shoulders – and I see my face in her wrinkles, my eyes behind her red-rimmed glasses.  It’s strange to go your whole life thinking your DNA is all your own, and then see yourself in someone else.”

This was a very compelling story.  It was heartfelt and warm.  A definite tear-jerker.  You wanted her mom to pay, you wanted her dad to feel loved, and you just wanted everything to fall into place perfectly without any hiccups.  Yes, I know it was wishful thinking, but it didn’t hurt to hope.  I wasn’t a huge fan of how it ended, but it didn’t change the fact that I had a genuinely good time reading this book.   

This story felt so real.  Whether it be cute little Tucker snapping green beans and “pretending they are puny humans and he is the Incredible Hulk,” the silly drama of teenagers, and even the frustration of getting a lame fortune in a cookie.   
“You have the power to write your own fortune.”

Now if that cookie wasn’t just slacking off…

I am glad that I chose this book for “A book based on a true story,” even if there was no exact “true story.”  It wasn’t something I probably would have read without this challenge. Yes of course, I recommend this book.  Don’t forget to thank me once you’ve read it. ;)  Till next time…

26 books down, 26 more to go!

Happy Reading, Everyone!!   

Monday, August 17, 2015

PERFECT TIMING by authors Julie Kenner, Nancy Warren, and Jo Leigh

You know.  Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a mushy, make you feel good book, but it still has to be a little more risqué than one written by Nicolas Sparks. (Nothing against Sparks.  His books make great movies, but the majority of the time his books are a little too tame for me.) When I hit that mushy mood, I sometimes pick up a romance book that consists of three or four short stories.  They’re always predictable, and never fail to give me what I need.  This one was no exception.

        by authors Julie Kenner, Nancy Warren, and Jo Leigh



For three women, the right time to find passion is BEFORE their time.

This time-travel romance anthology contains stories by three bestselling authors which introduce three women who discover the right time to find passion is before their time.
200 Years Ago?  PISTOLS AT DAWN by Nancy Warren
After breaking off her engagement, Natalie Bowman, finds herself in the 1800s being auctioned off as a sex slave! She’s even more shocked when the highest bidder is Andrew Greenwood – the fiancé she dumped.
80 Years Ago?  THOSE WERE THE DAYS by Julie Kenner
Uptight Sylvia Preston is terrified when she time travels to a twenties party.  But when Tucker Green gets her dirty dancing, Sylvia wants to see just how uninhibited she can be – in bed with Tucker.
60 Years Ago?  TIME AFTER TIME by Jo Leigh
When history student Betty Kroger is transported to WWII, it feels right – and even more right to show sailor John Stevens what sex is like twenty-first century style!


4 out of 5 *Stars*

Three stories, all based on finding love in a different time period. The idea drew me in.  It was like a historical romance, but not. The details were so precise in all three stories, that I had no problem getting drawn into any of them.

The first story was Those Were the Days where Sylvia went to the twenties.  It was great.  It was fun. There was an immediate chemistry between the two main characters.  Well, obviously there had to be since it was a short story, but I think this is the only story I’ve read where the connection was formed while one was unconscious.  It didn’t matter.  The dialog was sweet, the storyline had an intriguing plot… It was just an overall cute short story.    

“If you could be one of the actresses.  A new life on film, I mean.  What would you be?”
Her brow furrowed as she pondered the question.  “A fairy-tale princess, I think.  After all, she always gets the happy ending.”
“You deserve a happy ending,” he said, taking her hand again.
“How about you?” she asked.  “What would you be?”
“Ah, that’s easy,” he said without taking his eyes off her. “I’d be the frog.”

The second story in the book, Pistols at Dawn, was just okay.  Yes, it had a duel and a romance, and a good sex scene, but I couldn’t get drawn into it the same way I did the first and third story.  I did enjoy the fact that both the man and the woman got sent back in time, but both characters were a little too dry for my taste.

Which leads me to the last, and my favorite story of the three, Time After Time.  This story was utterly remarkable, and I didn’t want it to end.  I would have loved it, if this story was a full length novel.  I actually felt myself tearing up towards the end.  The amount of emotion it brought forth was incredible. Maybe it was because throughout the history stories, similar romance tales have been told.

“This is what we fought for. Right here, right now. This is victory.”

It was as if I had stepped through the pages and entered New York in the 40’s. You could practically feel the devastation and fear coming from John, and the elation and sorrow coming from Betty.  It had a great story line, and I LOVED how everything tied together throughout the story.  This is a story that I’m not soon going to forget. 

“I know.” she said.  “I’ll never forget you. Not in a million lifetimes.”

For the book in a whole, I really enjoyed how they were all tied together.  It wasn’t just a common storyline, but, believe it or not, the same traveling sex exhibit came to each female’s city.  

“She jumped as someone coughed behind her.  Her cheeks heated as if she’d been caught looking at dirty pictures, which, of course, she had.” 

A little bit of Bippitie, and a little bit more Boppitie Boo, and they were each sent to different time periods, but each by the same person.  It made it to one cohesive book and not just three short stories. 

So here I am, typing this review, and remembering the excellent last story, and thinking “5 Star! Give it a 5 Star!”  That could also be the Celine Dion that just started playing as well.  However, I am sticking to my guns on this one.  If it were just the last story, it would be a 5, hands down, but it wasn’t.  Taking everything into consideration, I’m keeping the original rating, but I would definitely recommend the book for light and heartfelt reading.  Till next time…

Happy Reading!