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My name is Chelsey and I am the creator of Charming Chelsey's! I read and review anything and everything that I find to be "charming." I accept ARCs or already released books for review, and I'm also available to participate in any blog tours or book reveals too. If anything, please don't hesitate to email me any time for any reason at: charmingchelseys(at)gmail(dot)com

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: How To Handle A Heartbreaker

How to Handle a Heartbreaker (The McCauley Brothers, #2)Author: Marie Harte
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series: The McCauley Brothers # 2

It’s lust-at-first-sight when Brody Singer first sees Abby Dunn. Abby looks a lot like a woman he once knew, one who died years ago. But Abby’s definitely different—shyer but sexier.

Abby’s still trying to put her last disastrous relationship behind her and overcome the flaws her ex wouldn’t let her forget. But somehow Brody isn’t getting the hint. It doesn’t help that when writing her steamy novels, she keeps casting Brody as the hero.

Only Abby can write her own ending—will she choose her own happily-ever-after, or stay safe in her shell?

She hated overthinking things. One of her biggest flaws.

And then he had to find a way to figure out just where the hell this thing was going. Because it felt anything but casual.

She’d started to step off that cliff, and if she fell this time, she didn’t think she’d recover.

Brody had won their contest. She was well and truly hooked. Hell.

It was so enjoyable getting to read Brody’s story. Brody is the adopted McCauley brother and has quite a twisted past, but thanks to the McCauley family he got a chance at a better life. Abby Dunn is his love interest and she has quite a few insecurities of her own, mainly because of her ex. I think Brody and Abby’s story is my favorite so far. They really even each other out and are a great fit. This series is very captivating and I am very excited to see where it goes next. We all need those books that allow us to escape, if only for a day. These series is steamy and full of drama. It’s a nice little treasure for a rainy day!

These two built up a lot of sexual tension in this book, but finally they gave in to temptation and have quite a few adventures together. They have a lot of commonalities, which makes their relationship even more likeable, because they both come from harsh backgrounds. They have obstacles to overcome and must learn to trust each other. Brody is a fascinating character because of all he has been through with his biological family; his issues are much more severe than Abby’s. Harte really built Brody’s character by showing how he has overcome his past. I really enjoyed seeing that and seeing him become a man.

Abby had a lot of confidence issues, but I must say that I came to love her even more than I loved Maddie in book one. At first I thought Abby was going to be extremely shy and meek, but she quickly learned to fight past all of that. I really enjoyed the trials that Brody and Abby both overcame that led them to each other. Once they started to work as a team, this book became even better than it already was. I am very excited for the next book and I don’t think I have to wait very long for it to come out.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for my honest review***

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: The House of the Four Winds

The House of the Four Winds (One Dozen Daughters, #1)
Author: Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Tor Books
Series: One Dozen Daughters # 1

Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Valdemar series and romantic fantasies like Beauty and the Werewolf and The Fairy Godmother. James Mallory and Lackey have collaborated on six novels. Now, these New York Times and USA Today bestselling collaborators bring romance to the fore with The House of Four Winds.

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers.

Each princess, on the day of her eighteenth birthday, would go forth to “seek her fortune.”

But in the days she had spent watching the passengers board the ships and the ships set sail, Clarice realized she had made up her mind: excitement and adventure were to be found in the New World, and that was where she would seek them.

The thought of him went down with her into sleep that night.

All around her, from every corner of the captured ship, sailors began to cheer.

This series of books has such an interesting premise behind it. Clarice is one of twelve daughters living in the tiny nation of Swansgaard. Each of the daughters must learn a trade because the kingdom is not wealthy enough to support them all. The book has the feeling of a fairy tale, but not just any fairy tale – a fairy tale featuring pirates. As I said before this is Clarice’s story and in it she decides to take up the sword. So on her eighteenth birthday, she decides to venture out and look for adventure while perfecting her chosen craft. She finds adventure and so much in her exciting story and the first installment in what I am sure will be a fantastic new series from some very well-known authors.

Clarice is seeking adventure and hopes to earn a name for herself by participating and winning duels so that she may travel back to her home nation and teach others as a swords master. Needless to say she thinks that the best way to achieve that is to travel and disguise herself as a man. Quickly Clarice becomes “Clarence” and “he” sets off to have the adventure of his life. I do not usually like books where the female lead is disguised as a man, but for some reason this storyline worked for me. Clarice fit well into the role and she made it very believable for me. I enjoyed following her and I quickly found myself hoping that she did not get caught for fear of what would happen to her next. You could say that I easily bought into her story.

Clarice was not your average princess. I found that I loved that so much about her. She was not above going out into the world and finding her own way; she respected the fact that she had a loving, stable family but she never took advantage of it. This book is full of pirates, which I loved, and contains just enough romance to keep it interesting. Romance is not my favorite genre, but this book was the perfect recipe with just a dash here and there. I am excited to see where this series goes, as we all know I love books that follows sisters!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Tor Books in exchange for my honest review***

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Revell Blog Tour: Bouquet of Love

A Bouquet of Love (Weddings by Design #4)Author: Janice Thompson
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Revell
Series: Weddings by Design # 4

Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family–especially her father–has other ideas. They’ve all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand– directly across the street from the Rossis’ popular pizza place–and they want Cassia’s full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston’s premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family’s faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella’s good graces!

Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .

Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers one more romp with Bella, Galveston, and the bustling wedding biz in the final installment of her popular series. Anyone who loves quirky families, loads of laughter, and tender romance will find themselves hooked.

God would make all things beautiful – like the fragrant bouquet – in his time. If I could just hang on for the ride.

And with a family like mine, who had the time to dream of Prince Charming?

I had to die somehow. Might as well be with this good-looking guy on my arm and pepperoni on my breath.

Fans of Thompson are sure to love the newest book in her Weddings By Design series! If you are looking for a sweet, easy read, then look no further because this series brings smiles to my face each and every time. Cassia is our main character and she is such a fun and loveable character. This book centers a lot around familial relationships as Cassia, who doesn’t always see eye to eye with her father, begins working for the Rossi family, who are rivals in business to Cassia’s own crazy Greek family. Cassia has other dreams for herself, and they are different from what her father has in mind for her. Cassia loves floral design and really wants no part in a family restaurant, but will she be able to tell all this to her father and follow her dreams?

Thompson’s books never fail me. Whenever I need a quick pick me up or some stress relief from a chaotic day, her books will always do the trick. This is the fourth book in this series and I would really be very content if she kept this series going for quite a while. The characters are always delightful and easy to relate to. The family rivalry in this story was a great add on as it’s not something you often read in too many books. It added a nice challenge to Cassia’s dreams because it put so much strain her relationship with her father. This book has an encouraging underlying message as well that I believe anyone can appreciate and relate to!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Revell in exchange for my honest review***

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review: Shelter Me

Shelter Me (Second Chance Ranch, #1)Author: Catherine Mann
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Berkley
Series: Second Chance Ranch # 1

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Mann comes this beautiful, heartwarming novel about a returning military officer, the daughter of his fallen commander, and a very special dog with a mission. For fans of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery.

Nestled in the sunny fields of Tennessee lies the McDaniel family’s Second Chance Ranch Animal Rescue. Two new arrivals are on their way, but only one is the four-legged kind.

Staff Sergeant Mike Kowalski wants only one thing after he gets home from Iraq: to sleep in a king-sized bed with clean sheets. But first, he has to hand off his fallen commander’s dog, Trooper, to his family without handing off his heart to Sierra…

Sierra McDaniel needs a break. Her family life is crazy, and when she’s not mucking out kennels, she’s slogging through grad school. Sierra certainly doesn’t want another dog, especially one that reminds her of her father. And she definitely doesn’t want to see Mike with that charming smile of his…

But Trooper has a mission of his own. Before too long Mike is moving to the ranch to lend a hand—and hoping for his own second chance with Sierra.

As if there weren’t already enough reminders of her dead dad. She blinked back tears. Was it so wrong to want some part of her life that wasn’t military issued and full of good-byes?

Sierra. The daughter of his mentor. Off-limits. Untouchable. And total Kryptonite to a man who’s spent twelve long months dreaming of her citrusy scent to escape the pungent stench of war.

Kneeling, she offered her hand for the dog to sniff before stroking his head. Her eyes glazed with unshed tears, but her ease with the strange dog was unmistakable. Her mom had a Dr. Dolittle gift.

Shelter Me was an emotional surprise for me, but a good one. Trooper, a four-legged loveable character, is on his way home from Afghanistan in order to be with the McDaniel family. Trooper lost his owner, Allen, in Afghanistan and now the family needs him to help heal and mourn the loss. Staff Sergeant Mike Kowalski’s ultimate goal is to return Trooper to his rightful place and to get back home to his own place as well. It is then that we learn the past between Mike and Sierra, our hero and heroine. Sierra and Mike dated before Mike left for Afghanistan and neither of them are ready for the feelings that are obviously trying to surface between them. Little do they know, Trooper the rescue dog has a plan of his own.

Sierra McDaniel has a lot on her plate. She is an ambitious character and this is what I loved most about her. She was, without a doubt, my favorite. She was dealing with her father’s death, attending grad school, and all while trying to help out at her mom’s animal rescue. Sierra is a character worth following. She has true grit and determination when it comes to all the things going on in her life. She really struggled with the idea of letting Mike in again and it was nice to watch her go through those emotions and really take the time to discover what was best for her. Her character was well-developed and truly a believable one.

This story is an emotional one. It is not only Sierra and Mike’s story but it’s a story of Sierra’s entire family and of Trooper, Allen’s trusted companion. I usually hate books that make me cry, but this was much needed and the message behind this book was all too powerful. I later found out that this is going to be a series and the next book is set to release in January. It looks just as charming and as endearing as this one was and I highly recommend to any and every one. This is a story of more than just romance, but of real, solid, everlasting relationships as well.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Berkley in exchange for my honest review***

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Book Review: Six Feet Over It

Six Feet Over ItAuthor: Jennifer Longo
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Home is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?

I wish I was the kind of person who could look his shenanigans in the face and just be all, No. A smart person. A brave person. An Emily person.

My blame knows no bounds. Or logic. This Dario person is not just the messenger; he is the Grim Reaper. Or no, wait – that’s me.

In retrospect, kudos to Wade for dragging us to live in a graveyard, a genuinely logical next step in my already deathsoaked existence. Wade says I’m super dramatic. Wade is the one using headstones for a walkway.

Four years. College or circus or hookering can’t come soon enough.

I am unsure where to start with this debut novel because it was not at all what I expected it to be. I flew through the story because of the pacing and the main character’s voice, but this story is not a happy go lucky one. It’s about a girl, Leigh, who is surrounded by death. Her father bought the local cemetery and it is her job to try and sell the plots of land to people who have recently lost their loved ones. This is of course Leigh’s story, but it’s not just about death, it’s about Leigh learns to deal with the idea of death.

This book was very enjoyable for me, even after realizing that it would mostly be centered on death and the family’s cemetery business. However, as I mentioned before the main character’s voice was one of my favorite things while reading. There was so much dry, witty humor in this book and it helped to alleviate some of the harder scenes to read or when characters were in troubling situations. This book could have been extremely gloomy, but this is where I really praise Longo, especially since this is her debut novel. She kept the air light and humorous even when you would expect things to turn dark and dreary. I was so pleased by this; this showed how badly she wanted the overall message of the book to come across to readers.

Leigh was a believable teenager and I think this book would be a wonderful read for any teenager, or even someone older, who is dealing with some type of grief of their own. Leigh has her struggles, of course, like any other teenager and she feels very isolated and alone at times. This is all about Leigh’s learning process and the fact that by the end of this book so many things happen that Leigh realizes she was never as alone as she felt. There were so many realistic relationships in this book as well. Relationships that you would expect any angsty teenager to have. Longo definitely has a career in young adult fiction!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Random House Books for Young Readers in exchange for my honest review***

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: Magnolia

MagnoliaAuthor: Kristi Cook
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

Glancing out my window, I hold up my finger and thumb, creating a little frame around Ryder Marsden, who stands outside on the lawn below. I close one eye to get the illusion just right and then pretend to squash him. Take that.

I shake my head. “Mama’s going to have their hides for making such a racket.”

Maybe there’s a chance I’ll get that other life I imagined, after all.

Then yeah, I’ll admit it – I allow myself a nice long look at his backside as he walks away from me. And let me tell you, it was well worth the look.

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi we have a little taste of Southern royalty. Which of course is right up my alley! The Cafferty and the Marsden families are old friends who share many aspects of life together. So of course when one of them has a boy and the other has a girl, around the same time, they get the bright idea that the two will be joined in marriage one day. There is only one small problem: Jemma and Ryder hate each other extremely.  I love when this happens in books and this one was no exception. What also made for an interesting twist was the fact that Jemma and Ryder were stuck together because of a huge violent storm that tore through Mississippi.

Besides being incredibly adorable and filled with more Southern charm than I can handle, this book is an extremely fast read. It is light and the character’s actions and dialogue make everything go a lot faster as well. Jemma’s voice, especially, is one of my favorite parts about this book. She turned out exactly how I pictured her from the start and I think her attitude and a lot of her actions fit the personality that Cook was trying to build for her. Reading through Jemma’s eyes is like reading her diary, and those are always some of my favorite types of books to read. Jemma is very realistic and is always able to admit when she has made a mistake. Loved this about her!

This book brings a little bit of everything and wraps it all into one. We have teen issues, familial relationships, a lot of sexual tension between our two love interests, romance, and an unbelievably awesome setting. The end of the book became a little too predictable, but I am still a huge fan of what Cook has concocted here. I cannot wait for more from her, and I hope she is willing to write more stories with characters like these who build as much sexual tension as these two did! This romance was so steamy and was well-paced!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Simon Pulse in exchange for my honest review***

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review: Deadly Little Sins

Deadly Little Sins (Prep School Confidential, #3)Author: Kara Taylor
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Series: Prep School Confidential # 3

In Kara Taylor's Deadly Little Sins, Anne Dowling investigates a mysterious disappearance in this fast-paced, twisty conclusion to the Prep School Confidential series.

It’s August and Anne is back in New York City for the summer, but she can’t escape the memories of the terrible things that happened at the Wheatley School last spring— and the possibility of being expelled looming over her. When an unexpected— and suspicious— turn of events gets Anne sent back to Wheatley, she’s determined to figure out what happened to her favorite teacher and only adult ally at the school: Ms. Cross.

After a shocking, gruesome murder with connections to the Wheatley School occurs, Anne is convinced there’s more to Ms. Cross’s sudden disappearance, and that her favorite teacher is in danger. But after an ugly breakup with Brent and a new, inexplicable distance between her and Anthony, Anne isn’t sure who she can trust. And even worse, someone at Wheatley knows the truth about what happened to Ms. Cross— someone who will stop at nothing to keep Anne from learning the truth in this engrossing, unputdownable read.

Maybe it’s because the only thing that scares me more than the thought of being kicked out of Wheatley is going back there.

And I believe in that moment that maybe there’s enough good waiting for me in Wheatley to block out the bad.

“That’s why you may notice several changes around campus this year.” Yeah, I think. Like a disturbing trend involving teachers going missing.

In the final installment in this series, our heroine, Anne, seems to get herself into even more trouble than ever before. She very nearly gets herself killed and then finds herself chasing down a mystery that involves drug activity and identity theft. I have been an extremely devoted fan to this series and all of these books have been amazing; however, this final installment lacked a little luster for me. I still loved the book, but the others had just a little more sparkle than this one. It felt a little rushed and some of the things Anne discovered rendered me speechless. The criminal activity was a little darker in this book, and the murder twist was a bit gory when described. However, I am still a huge fan and I hope that Kara Taylor will write a spin off series from this one!

Once again we have Anne Dowling, who for the love of everything sweet and precious in the world cannot keep herself out of harm’s way. Her relationships are a little more complicated in this book, and it was nice to see an author not afraid to stay away from a love triangle or any of that mushy gushy love stuff. This story was all about Anne finding her way, realizing who was meant to be in her life and who was obviously not, and of course for Anne to discover some much needed answers once and for all. I still love Anne’s witty attitude and her drive and determination. She has made a wonderful heroine and I hope Taylor is not finished with her yet. Hint hint, Kara Taylor!

Wheatley Preparatory School has been a wonderfully creepy and eerie setting for the duration of this series, and in this book we find out more secrets that have been buried within Wheatley’s walls. A lot of the characters that we met in the beginning we have come to find are actually corrupt and some of them are downright evil. This book put a nice twist on things, but I wouldn’t read it right before bed! Anne discovers a plot even more sinister than the last in this wrap up to an overall amazing and unputdownable series of books!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for my honest review***


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