Beck Valley Books-Top 10 Books that our Reviewers Choose-2013

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 brought us many great books to review for our Beck Valley Books Book Tours, so much so the reviewers have had a difficult choice to make this year for their Top 10 Favourite Reads.  Here are the awards xx

Too difficult to decide so we have joint winners !!

The true story of... A woman who laughs at funerals. A gypsy mother who refuses to wear a bra and a father who refuses to leave his first wife. A brother who sleeps under the coffee table and a sister who was kidnapped. A cheating minister, a missing uncle and a feisty, red-headed grandmother who was longing to leave it all.

Buffi always knew her family was unusual, but she was lucky enough to escape that gene. Or was she? Joined by her siblings at the bedside of their dying grandmother, Buffi begins on a journey of self discovery as they recall stories of their youth including juicy family secrets, inappropriate practical jokes, abuse and betrayal. She is on a quest to find Normal but finds herself instead.

It Must be Genetic is about an American family of no particular importance, descendants of the once wealthy and revered Perry clan, but stripped of their family wealth during the Great Depression. It’s full of quirky characters like grandmother Mopsie; a sexy divorced mother of two in the 1950’s who would turn the heads of her conservative neighbors when hosting the best poker parties in town, but who can now be found sleeping her days away in the bed of a nursing home. The story climaxes when Mopsie accidentally reveals a secret that sends her family frantically searching through old documents to find the son she gave up for adoption half a century ago.

It Must be Genetic is about acceptance, forgiveness and the great capacity to love. The story is written from the perspective of a third generation divorced mother, Buffi, who realizes that the very traits that make her family dysfunctional may be the same traits that make it so wonderful. At 64,000 words, it's paced for a quick-and-easy read.

Read the reviews from the book tour here

Imagine if you were in a tragic accident – unable to move or speak but otherwise cognizant of everything around you. Imagine hearing doctors deciding your fate without you having a voice in the outcome.

Alex is a 16-year-old girl who finds herself in that exact situation in Both Sides, a novel that begins when – while on a class field trip – Alex and another girl, Sandra, end up in a horrible accident.

If the doctors act quickly, they may be able to save one body…and one brain. Amid the confusion and uncertainty, we hear everything that’s going on in Alex’s mind – from her initial disbelief to her quips about the absurdity of it all to her realization that she may have to go through the rest of her life living in the body of a girl she couldn’t stand. If she survives.

Both Sides tackles these issues and more. Within its pages every reader will find her own answers and discover, in the end, a story of courage and a girl who never before existed.

Award-winning author Paul E. Stawski captures the minute-by-minute struggles of a 16-year-old girl whose world is suddenly turned upside down in Both Sides. Radical brain surgery is the only option. Time is running out and Alex’s mind is racing: will she still be the same person when she comes out on the other side?

Read the reviews from the book tour here

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Again too difficult to decide so we have joint winners !!

Vera Custodio has never fallen in love, though she has strong feelings for her friend and sometimes lover, Zach Spencer. Long-forgotten memories resurface when Vera discovers Zach’s mother was the woman her father supposedly murdered many years ago.

After losing his leg, former triathlete Zach Spencer reevaluates his life—and realizes he’s falling in love with Vera. After she ends their relationship, Zach is determined to prove his love and follows her to Australia in search of the killer.

Caught between a web of family secrets and a deranged adversary, Vera and Zach must depend on each other for survival. Love blossoms, but the truth explodes everything Vera knows about herself. Will she close her heart forever or risk it all for a shot at happily-ever-after?

Book 3 of The Chance For Love Series - Each book can be read standalone, but earlier plots will be revealed by reading later books.

Read the reviews from the book tour here

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Barbara's vivid and dramatic stories, told with a wicked sense of humor, will make you laugh out loud. She definitely gets what living with rescued dogs (nine of them!) is all about. 

When Barbara meets her future husband, Ray, it is love-and dog-at first sight. Over the course of thirty-two years, seventeen relocations and nine dogs, their mutual love of dogs guides them on their unconventional path. The love that Barbara and Ray get in return is literally lifesaving, with one dog attacking a lethal intruder and another discovering Barbara’s cancer. Her own survival story underscores the story of how her dogs become survivors themselves. 

Each new dog adds its own dynamic to the family, sometimes upending it. From Turbo (whose Spock-like ears may have provided super powers), Barbara learns about the will to live; Lexington demonstrates incredible patience and an inexplicable love of golf; Madison teaches that laughter is truly the best medicine and that the whole “nine lives thing” is not reserved just for cats; Morgan should be sainted for tolerating Izzy, who is as cute as she is bad. Barbara is certain that somewhere in doggie heaven there is a poster that says “If you are sick, injured or in need of really expensive medical care, FIND THESE HUMANS!”

Read the reviews from the book tour here

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You Guessed it !! Again too difficult to decide so we have joint winners !!

Book #2 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #5

You met Rex Braden in Lovers at Heart, Book One of the The Bradens (Love in Bloom Series). Jade Johnson is about to turn his comfortable rancher's life upside down. Don't miss this powerful love story.

Rex Braden is wealthy, hard working, and fiercely loyal. Sweat at his brow, he works the family ranch by day, then kicks back at night with part time lovers who require nothing more than his physical presence a few times each week. But that was before. Before Jade Johnson, the daughter of the man his father has been feuding with for over forty years, moves back into town.

After ditching a horrific relationship—and her veterinary practice in the process—Jade Johnson returns to the safety of her small hometown and finally finds her footing. That is...until her horse is injured and Rex Braden comes to her rescue. The last thing she needs is a bull-headed, too-handsome-for-his-own-good Braden complicating her life.

Despite the angry family history, sparks fly between Rex and Jade, and attitudes follow. Fifteen years of stifled, forbidden love stirs a surge of passion too strong for either to deny—and the rebel in each of them rears its powerful head. Loyalties are tested, and relationships are strained. Rex and Jade are about to find out if true love really can conquer all.

DESTINED FOR LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series.  

Read the reviews from the book tour here

Buy the book from......

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The Bridesmaid
A Love Affair... A Secret... A Murder...

Haddley, a quiet English village in the Midlands. Kelly Evans -- a sixteen year old girl -- is brutally murdered. Her body is discovered by a neighbour, and the police are called in to investigate. Kelly was young and beautiful, and her untimely death comes as a shock to all who knew her … or does it really?

The dark side of Kelly’s personality soon comes to light. She was ruthless and promiscuous, and stopped at nothing to get what she wanted, even if it meant wrecking other people’s lives. She made quite a few enemies, and among close friends and neighbours are some who might have had a very good reason for wanting to get rid of

The investigation takes a new and unexpected turn when a locket goes missing, and a connection is made with the twenty-year-old murder of a wartime movie star. As the police search the past for answers and gradually piece the mystery together, the respectable veneer starts cracking exposing a web of jealousy, sexual intrigue and deceit.

Read the reviews from the book tour here

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The racially-charged prejudice of the deep South forces eighteen-year-old Alison Tillman to confront societal norms—and her own beliefs—when she discovers the body of a hate crime victim, and the specter of forbidden love turns her safe, comfortable world upside down. 

Alison has called Forrest Town, Arkansas home for the past eighteen years. Her mother’s Blue Bonnet meetings, her father toiling night and day on the family farm, and the division of life between the whites and the blacks are all Alison knows. The winter of 1967, just a few months before marrying her high school sweetheart,
Alison finds the body of a black man floating in the river, and she begins to view her existence with new perspective. The oppression and hate of the south, the ugliness she once was able to avert her eyes from, now demands her attention.

When a secretive friendship with a young black man takes an unexpected romantic turn, Alison is forced to choose between her predetermined future, and the dangerous path that her heart yearns for.

HAVE NO SHAME is an emotionally compelling coming of age novel featuring a young woman who cannot reconcile the life she wants with the one she’s been brought up to live.Have No Shame will
resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love, and those who have been forced to choose between what they know in their hearts to be true, and what others would like them to believe.

Read the reviews from the book tour here

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A witch who demands humanity.

The immortal families who denied her of it.

Two mortals commanded to right the wrong.

That is the fate of the urban princess Anasztasia and the renegade prince Matthias, born shockingly mortal to two immortal families. If they go back in time and restore the witch’s humanity, she will grant them immortality. She will also break a 550 year-old curse that imprisons Matthias’s family in their ancestral homeland and exiles Anasztasia’s family from it.

But to make their lives their own, the heirs must return to the most dangerous day in their families’ past, Easter Sunday, 1457. This is the day Vlad III, aka Dracula, massacred all nobles and their families involved in the death of his father and older brother.

How can Anasztasia and Matthias reverse the past when their families will not speak of their wrongs? How can they refuse when the witch owns their lives?

The Witch’s Salvation is a time-travel fantasy weaved around myth, historical fact, and a whole lot of creative license.

Read the reviews from the book tour here

Chicago wife, mother and finance executive Claire Cummings, arrives at work one morning to discover her friend Julia has embezzled millions and vanished. Blindsided and devastated by the betrayal, she’s sent home pending further investigation. Claire’s bizarre death the following day sends everyone reeling, guessing and looking for her in all the wrong places. In no time she's
addicted to an enchanting menagerie of tricks and techniques for getting the living's attention, but most people are harder to reach than she'd ever dreamed and even harder to set free.

She was still a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend... she'd move heaven and earth to keep it that way.

Sheri Meshal’s Swallowtail is a haunting story about life, love, loss and just how far we’ll go to control it all.

This debut from a thought-provoking new voice in fiction begs the question… what would you do if all the rules changed, and you were suddenly bestowed powers beyond your greatest imagination?

Read the reviews from the book tour here

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On the surface Junie Olson’s life looks idyllic, from her handsome husband and beautiful daughter to her successful business, the bakery she'd always dreamed of opening. But in the past few months her world has slowly unraveled. Her precocious child is withdrawing, showing unexplainable signs of emotional regression, a condition that frays the bonds of Junie’s once impenetrable marriage. When her father dies suddenly of a heart attack, Junie packs up her daughter and goes home to help her mother. Her homecoming stirs up memories of the nightmare she thought she had put behind her, the disappearance of her childhood friend, Ellen. Haunted by recurring memories of what happened on that fateful day, Junie must gather the courage to revisit her past and untangle the secrets surrounding her missing friend, and the trauma that has caused her little girl to climb back into herself. As the pieces come together on the event that shook her small town, and at the risk of losing everyone she loves, Junie will question everything she thought she could rely on and everyone she thought she knew.

WHERE PETALS FALL is a gripping and emotional novel with an undercurrent of suspense, featuring a determined mother whose world slowly comes apart around her. Readers will root for Junie as they follow her transition into an indomitable heroine who must reconcile what she discovers about her husband and family’s tragic past, and find a way to put the pieces of her family back together and carry on.

Read the reviews from the book tour here

Buy the book from......

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Are you a book reviewer / blogger looking to read more books in 2014, if so come join us at Beck Valley Books Book Tours - join here x

Also have to mention the following books that only just missed out !!


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