Tuesday, February 19

Review: Stand by AL Jackson

Stand (Bleeding Stars, #6)Stand by A.L. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"PURE BEAUTY IN WORDS. Stand shatters and SINGS to the SOUL, making the heart both soar and bleed." ~Karen, Bookalicious Babes Blog

Zachary Kennedy has never been known as a fighter, but he’ll never regret fighting for her…

I’m Zee Kennedy.
Quiet. Reserved. Predictable.
When my brother died, everyone thought I was just the good guy who stepped up to take his place in the band.

No one knew what I was hiding. The one thing I’ve been fighting for.

For seven years, I’ve never lost focus.

Not until one chance encounter with Alexis Kensington.

Now she’s become my greatest temptation.
I knew better than to touch her, but now that I’ve had a taste, I can’t get enough.
Her kiss becomes my air. Her body my salvation.

She needed a savior and somehow she became mine.

Taking her was a betrayal. But keeping her means risking everything.
One look at Alexis Kensington, and I know she’s worth the fight.
Will my past continue to keep me down or will I finally find the strength to pull myself up and Stand…

Not quite sure how this could be a stand alone. I would not have suggested a standalone novel for Stand, because any reader will miss the monumental circle that this series will take with the addition of Zee's story. After five books of vicious circles that have drug the readers through the mud over an over again to come out on the other side stronger it would be unfortunate to only read this story. So if you are looking at this story don't cut yourself short.

Zee has been the enigma in the shadows for much of this story. Never one to act out of character, and always the responsible party I was not quite sure what I would find in this book. So what did I find you ask??? All the reasons that this series has made me fall in love AL Jackson over again. You could have anticipated a bulking protective man, but Zee is so much more. Having made bad choices he is living a life that seems to be paying the debts for every wrong decision that has been made in his life. This is a heavy burden to bear, and until Alexis, he doesn't even know what he is missing. More importantly, he doesn't even realize the family that he has had all along. This is a story of salvation, and finding a way to not only forgive yourself but to be responsible and still find happiness. While Alexis is currently living a nightmare as well she is still will to live, and she will help Zee see that the gloom he has over his life is a choice. Showing him that making that choice will not only set him free but open his eyes to what has been there all along. Perception is the key, and his perception of his decision and role in this life is about to be turned upside down. Only Alexis carefree attitude is putting her in danger that he may not even be able to save her from. Trying to be her self preservation will put him in the line of fire, and force him to make choices that he may not have been ready to make.

This story will wrap up the Bleeding Stars series. It has been an adventure that was not always the easiest on the heart but overwhelmingly is full of love. Jackson's characters are rooted in my heart, and I will be thinking of them all long after this review is posted. I can not thank this author enough for sharing them with us, and I look forward to encountering more adventures when I start another of her series. While seeing this series end is bittersweet I could not have been happier with all it will all end, and this dysfunctional family that has more love than most.

~BookWhisperer Reviewer Jax~

View all my reviews

Review: Stay by AL Jackson

Stay (Bleeding Stars, #5)Stay by A.L. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: I grow to love the boys who make up Sunder and the women they love more and more with each member's personal story. But I have a special place in my heart for Ash and Willow and simply devoured this book and was left with a happy smile on my face and a sigh in my heart. AL Jackson at her swoony, sexy best." Mia Sheridan, NYT Bestselling Author 

"Captivating. Sexy. And in true AL Jackson style, beautifully devastating. This is hands down her best work to date, and the best thing I've read all year." ~Molly McAdams, NYT Bestselling Author 

"You don’t have to look hard to see the beauty that bleeds into AL Jackson's words, so wondrous and so WOW. Every word that this author writes is full of feels. Every word is mesmerizing and meaningful. Every word means everything. Every word IS EVERYTHING. Stay is the newest roller coaster of a rock star romance from A.L. Jackson’s Bleeding Stars series that is pure beauty in words that break, bind, and make your heart bleed. 

This is my favorite!!!! Ash is by far my favorite character in Sunder. I love his energetic and witty self. I just couldn't wait to get to this book. Finding him getting his butt kicked immediately broke my heart. I was screaming inside for him to get up and "kick some a**", but I guess if he had listened to me then he wouldn't have needed Willow. The two of these are amazing characters. Individually these would have been characters to grab my attention, but once they feel together it was something awe-inspiring. Of course to continue the trend we have two characters that have a history of scars, but at least Willow was the change in the scenery. She seemed to have it together and found a way to live with her sorrow. Ash describes it perfectly when he talks about her light because this character truly depicted just that. That does not mean that she will not falter, but that she knows life it rough, and she will find a way through. Ash, on the other hand, was unfolded in a much different light. Really digging into his character I just fell in love with him more. All of the scars and bruises just made me love him that much more, and hope above all hopes that he would find a piece of happiness. That is exactly what he found, and it made my heart soar. Altogether this was one of my favorites in the series and uncovered a bit of the mystery of Zee making me really anxious for the last book in this series.

~BookWhisperer Reviewer Jax~

View all my reviews

Review: Wait by AL Jackson

Wait (Bleeding Stars, #4)Wait by A.L. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: She is his strength and he is her weakness. And this time he won’t let her go.

Edie Evans is gorgeous.
She’s also the definition of off-limits.
But that didn’t stop me from sneaking into her room to comfort her at night.
But guys like me? We destroy everything, so it should have been no surprise when I destroyed us, too.
The night I sent her running, I thought I’d never see her again.
Until I saw her standing like a vision in the crowd.

Austin Stone is dangerous.
He broke my heart and I refused to give him the chance to do it again.
It’s been years since I’ve seen him, and now I can’t do anything but stare at the gorgeous, tattooed man playing onstage. I should run. I know I should. But like a fool, I run straight back to him.
Our desire is overpowering.
Our need unrelenting.

She is my hope.
He is my weakness.
We should have known a passion this intense would burn us right into the ground.

Watching Austin leave was hard. Having fallen in love with this dysfunctional family has been a blessing, and while it was obvious that Austin had demons to sort it was still hard. Finding him living it up on his own, and what a shocker to find that he is doing it while making music. Not just making music, but singing for himself. This was the first chance to really see who Austin is, and I was not disappointed. This was the first story that has characters with a past intertwined as deeply. While Shea and Baz were unknowingly starring in the same story; Austin and Evie were in love and just children. Finding the darkness surrounding them both was hard seeming to almost suck all the air out of the room, but knowing that the love between them was so deep that together might be the only way to come out. This was the sweetest of the romances I have felt so far in this series. Although, while all of the darkness of these stories have been from past events this was the first time watching the darkness unfold in the story. Ash had no idea about this past makes it new darkness for him, and it broke my heart to see this one unfolding.
~BookWhisperer Reviewer Jax~

View all my reviews

Review: Where Lightning Strikes by AL Jackson

Where Lightning Strikes (Bleeding Stars, #3)Where Lightning Strikes by A.L. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: Do you know what it feels like right before lightning strikes? How you can feel the current running through your veins? The trembles of warning that ripple through the air? It was a thrill Tamar King chased all her life until it became the very thing she had to escape. 
For the last four years, Tamar King has hidden herself in an isolated world she created. She was safe. No one could touch her. Until Lyrik West walked through her door. 
He’s the lead guitarist for Sunder and everything she can never have. The dark and beautiful rock star becomes everything she craves. 
Lyrik’s life has been devoted to his band and that success has cost him. Bitter, hard, and filled with regret, he refuses to lose himself again, but from the moment he sees her, he wants one night with Tamar King. 
The gorgeous bartender is more than he bargained for. Their attraction is consuming. Their desire overpowering. With one touch, they ignite. 
But is it worth the cost of getting burned?
She’s a gorgeous nightmare and he’s a wicked dream…

Oh my Lyric!!!! So let's talk about Lyric. My impression prior to reading this novel Lyric is a man of few words, but he carries a danger and foreboding that leave you wondering just what is underneath it all. I started Where Lightning Strikes knowing that this story would be the unraveling of Lyric and Tamar. Tamar being Shea friend at work has ensured her presence in the previous books. Throughout the past experiences, it is easy to see the devotion and loyalty of this friend, and when the awkwardness starts when Tamar and Lyric are ever in the same room it was obvious that there was something going to grow. This is the adventure of what grows! Let's throw it out there that the first intimacy between Tamar and Lyric already has readers dying to know more, but more importantly it the first time we see that devotion and desperation to fix that Lyric has. While with the tortured past of his own it is without concern for making his own life right, but the need to fix her. Never in a million years would I have ever thought that the story for Lyric would have been on the one that I discovered, but it was spellbinding to get wrapped up in learning his story, and watching these to find the destiny that they always deserved. Uncovering that truth was a little more heart wrenching than I thought it would, but in the end, it just made my connection with these characters so much more extreme. On a side note, that connection that seems to be between Ash and Tamra is amazing. It offers brother protection to the story that while his innuendos say anything but brother it is easy to see the comradery and loyalty that he holds for this woman as well. While I found Ash's character to be amusing in the past it has definitely grown in this story and has me excited beyond belief for his own story.

~BookWhisperer Reviewer Jax~

View all my reviews

BookWhisperer Review: Drowning to Breathe by AL Jackson

Drowning to Breathe (Bleeding Stars, #2)Drowning to Breathe by A.L. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: The danger in pretending is it becoming real...

Sebastian Stone, Sunder front man and guitarist with a rap sheet about ten miles long, escaped to Savannah, Georgia, to get away from the trouble he’d caused.

Not find more of it.

The moment he saw Shea Bentley, he saw beneath all her sweet and innocence to something that went deeper.


Their relationship was built on secrets; their love built on lies.

Sebastian never imagined how deep her secrets went.

When the past and present collide, Sebastian and Shea find themselves fighting for a future neither believed they deserved. Their passion is consuming and their need unending.

Now, holding the truth in his hands, Sebastian is faced with sacrificing everything he’s come to love to protect Shea and his family.

Two pasts intertwined.

Two lives bound.

Will their demons drown them or will Shea and Sebastian finally learn to breathe?

Drowning to Breathe is Book 2 in Sebastian and Shea's two-part duet. Their story begins in A Stone in the Sea.

The thrilling sequel the A Stone in the Sea. I absolutely fell in love with Shea, Baz, and Kallie from the moment I met them. This is such a powerful story that will feed the heart. After the cliff hanger of book 1 I just couldn't wait, and immediately dove into Drowning to Breathe. Shea and Baz are fighting their pasts that they had no idea intersected. Now with all the cards on the table, they are trying to overcome the secrets that have made them who they are. Leading me to fall further in love with them, and determined to see them come to a happy ending this book pulls you into the trenches. While you are mucking about you will find four more sunder band members that will knock you off of your feet. I felt such a connection grow with each and every one of them as all of there characters grow to create a family that wouldn't be the same without each and every one. This book does wrap up nicely, but it definitely preludes to future books for alternate characters. Again even without the cliffhanger that had me hanging on for dear life, there was no way that I wouldn't take the plunge to keep reading. AL Jackson creates so much love and devotion in her books that I have to see what these other characters have to offer. Even to this point in the story, there is enough to know about each and every character that readers will be determined to see each of them find peace.

~BookWhisperer Reviews Jax

View all my reviews

Review: A Stone in the Sea by AL Jackson

A Stone in the Sea (Bleeding Stars, #1)A Stone in the Sea by A.L. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary: He wanted nothing at all… 

Until he found she had everything to give… 

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A. 

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced. 

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she's helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers. 

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air. 

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them. 

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea’s past that costs them everything?

A Stone in the Sea is a powerful adult romance that will savor the adult appetite for the love and family while still allow the reader to walk on the wild side. Baz is the lead singer in the band Sunder and his life has been far from easy. From childhood to adulthood he has walked the path less traveled and has the scars to prove it. When he meets Shea it is an instant attraction that leads to a love to lay down for. Adding the element of Shea's daughter definitely fed the motherly "feels" and made me love this story so much more. Watching this love that carried two people with so much responsibility to a place where they found happiness was refreshing. I was so absolutely absorbed into the story that I found myself on the last page before I even realized it. If you could have only been present to see me flipping back and forth to the next page in despair when I realized that was the end. Therefore, I wasted no time jumping into the next book.

~BookWhisperer Review Jax~

View all my reviews

Sunday, February 17

Review: Motion by Penny Reid

Title: Motion 
Series: Laws of Physics #1
Author: Penny Reid
My Copy: Author
BookWhisperer's Rating: 

Forced to lie to protect her sister . . .
From the New York Times Bestselling Author, Penny Reid

One week.
Home alone.
Girl genius.
Unrepentant slacker.
Big lie.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Mona is a smart girl and figured everything out a long time ago. She had to. She didn’t have a choice. When your parents are uber-celebrities and you graduate from high school at fifteen, finish college at eighteen, and start your PhD program at nineteen, you don’t have time for distractions outside of your foci. Even fun is scheduled. Which is why Abram, her brother’s best friend, is such an irritant.

Abram is a talented guy, a supremely gifted musician, and has absolutely nothing figured out, nor does he seem to care. He does what he feels, when he feels, and—in Mona’s opinion—he makes her feel entirely too much. 

Like every Penny Reid book (and Penny Reid) all the characters are ridiculously lovable and smart. That is exactly where we find Mona, ridiculously lovable and smart and stepping in to save her trouble marker sister Lisa.  In doing so, she must fool Abram into thinking that she is Lisa.  They are identical twins so it shouldn’t be too hard, right?  However, Mona and Lisa are completely different in all the ways that matter. Being Lisa means that Mona has to wear make-up, do her hair, show some skin, and hide so that she can read her book.

While reading, I found myself adoring Mona more and more each page.  She is the young woman with characteristics I wish I had when I was her age – confident, beyond smart, and super cool.  I could feel how much Mona loved her family (even though it seems that they have wondered apart), enough to act like her sister to get her out of trouble.  And the big heart that Mona presents when dealing with everyone.  The way she and Gabby (Lisa’s best friend) start to slowly bond again and how she reacts with Abram’s family (Oh, look at you Penny Reid for weaving in a Knitting in the City character.)

As always, I am excited to see where this series takes us.  Yes, it does end in a cliff-hanger so be prepared to say, “What?” and then always realize that Penny Reid knows best so we will take what we get when we get it.

Saturday, February 16

Review: It's Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lisa TerKeurst

Title: It's Not Supposed To Be This Way
By: Lysa TerKeurst
My Copy: Purchased at Barnes and Noble
BookWhisperer's Rating: 

What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful, and His promises doubtful? 

Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness.

Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she's also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God. In It's Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and, with grit, vulnerability, and honest humor, helps us to:

* Stop being pulled into the anxiety of disappointment by discovering how to better process unmet expectations and other painful situations.
* Train ourselves to recognize the three strategies of the enemy so we can stand strong and persevere through unsettling relationships and uncertain outcomes.
* Discover the secret of being steadfast and not panicking when God actually does give us more than we can handle.
* Shift our suspicion that God is cruel or unfair to the biblical assurance that God is protecting and preparing us.
* Know how to encourage a friend and help her navigate hard realities with real help from God's truth. 

I found this book a beautiful yet filled with heartbreaking stories read.  If any of you know who Lysa is, you know that her life has been filled with turmoil lately but she has used these horrific events to grow her relationship with God even more.  This book is one of her testimonies.  

It may not be an easy book to read when you are going through a hard time but it is definitely necessary.  Lysa’s struggles reveal that even the best of us go through hard times, get hurt by others, become depressed, and feel like God leaves our side when things get dark and painful.  However, God never leaves us.  He is always there and through the pain and darkness, He will take that and turn it into something beautiful for you and others, making it your testimony.  

If you find yourself in a place where you feel lost, I highly recommend Lysa’s book.  Through her story you realize that you are not alone feeling lost in the world.  That other Christians have struggles.  That we feel like God has abandoned us throughout our lives.  That through all our work and praises, life shouldn’t be this way.  But through scripture Lysa reminds us that God loves us unconditionally and with His whole heart and that He is working for us, not against us.  

After every chapter, Lysa brings you multiple resources of scriptures, the main points to the chapter, and questions to help process your situation.  

Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Title: Where the Crawdads Sing
By: Delia Owens
My Copy: Purchased at Barnes & Nobles
BookWhisperer's Rating: 
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

If you are looking for a book that has developed characters, emotional chapters, heartbreaking circumstances, and an all out confusion of what truly happened until the last page, then this is a book for you.  

I was immediately drawn to Kya and her life.  Born a Marsh Girl, Kya is left to defend for herself when everyone in her family leaves her one by one.  How can a little girl survive with no money, little human contact, and no love from her parents?  My heart broke for Kya and the only life she has ever known.  I wanted to go to that marsh, scoop her up in my arms, and carry her to my home so she could have well-cooked meals and love.  

However, this book isn’t all just about Kya and her struggle to survive, learning how to interact with humans, and growing up; this book is about much more.  We follow Kya as she learns and grows but we also follow a murder of a local town person.  Switching back and forth between chapters of Kya’s life and the murder of Chase, you get immediately get sucked in to the pages between the covers. 

It was beautiful to watch Kya befriend Jumpin’, Mable, and Tate.  The relationship that Kya had with Jumpin’ and Jumpin’s wife Mabel gave me hope that she would learn love and how to love others.  The friendship she had with Tate mystified me. A boy a little older than she, he taught her so much and was patient with her in the process.  These people gave her life meaning when she didn’t even know she needed them.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone.  In fact, I have been telling everyone I meet to read this book.