You guys! Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson ended up being a huge surprise. I didn’t know what to expect when I had a chance to read a review copy – hi...moreYou guys! Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson ended up being a huge surprise. I didn’t know what to expect when I had a chance to read a review copy – historical romance written without sexytimes? Interesting.
So, as it turns out – Edenbrooke didn’t need the sexytimes to bring on some massive, spine-tingling sexual tension. Seriously.
Marianne Daventry ends up staying at the Edenbrooke estate, owned by family friends. She is at loose ends after losing her mother and is somewhat lost as to what her purpose should be. As the book chronicles Marianne getting to know herself at a gorgeous country estate – her musings are peppered with interactions with a man who began as a mysterious stranger with a bad first impression. By the end of the book he becomes much more.
So, I think it took me over forty minutes to read the last 15ish pages of the book. I kept reading the same paragraphs over and over again, relishing seeing the HEA but hardcore dreading seeing the story come to an end. The warm fuzzies abounded.
What more proof do you need that Julianne Donaldson is definitely an author worth reading? I can’t recommend the story, writing and characters more. I promise you won’t miss the lack of sexytimes. Promise.
I plan on pushing this on my mother soon, and I know I’ll definitely be reading it again in the future! Edenbrooke by Julianna Donaldson is totally a keeper, y’all.(less)
Oh angel books, what a complicated relationship we have. A love-but-mostly-hate kinda deal. Before reading Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James,...moreOh angel books, what a complicated relationship we have. A love-but-mostly-hate kinda deal. Before reading Forbidden by Syrie James & Ryan James, I would have claimed the Unearthly trilogy as the only angel books I’ve ever read and liked even the slightest. While those are definitely still my favorites – I did mostly enjoy reading Forbidden.
First – let’s talk Forbidden’s cover. I actually love it. I love the aquaish turquoisey color. I love the vintage feel. Basically: I’m a fan. I’ve seen several people talking about not liking it, but that’s perfectly fine. I like it enough for them too. What do you guys think about it?
Next: characterization. Y’all, when supernatural elements started being introduced I thought the characters accepted everything way too well. Actually, some of them accepted the possibility of supernatural answers to some questions they had almost immediately. I thought: What on Earth? Forbidden isn’t realistic! Who thinks this wa…thinks about it. Thinks about it some more. Doh.
Our entire culture is saturated with the supernatural these days! Of course these characters are more accepting of things like that then people would have been even 3-4 years ago. We’ve just all been Cullen-ed. So yeah, Authors: 1. Allison: 0.
So anyway, Claire Brennen starts having psychic episodes: seeing pieces of both the past and future. She and her two best friends are freaking out trying to figure out what is up. Then – they are saved from being crushed in a freak accident by new kid Alec MacKenzie (Alec MacKenzie of the hot Scottish accent, y’all!). Claire thinks Alec is some type of vampire or something because no way could a human have pulled them out of the way like that.
She has no idea how closely Alec’s secrets align with hers. Just wait, Claire. Just wait.
Claire rocked in Forbidden a lot of ways, you guys. She had a backbone. When she first gets confirmation that Alec is indeed supernatural, it is through one of her visions. She sees him killing someone. So instead of being a whiny little wuss that gets scared, backs into a corner and starts asking questions – she takes off. I mean, she ran out of there like she just witness Voldemort killing a puppy. She stole his car keys and got the hell out of Dodge. That is what I call survival instinct! (AKA How Not to be a Dumbass.)
Thank you Syrie James and Ryan James, for not writing an idiot as your heroine.
So, now the not so great parts. Even though I did like Claire and Alec and Claire’s friends and mom and so forth…I didn’t really connect with any of them. I wanted them to be happy and get together and all, sure. But I didn’t feel it once they did. You know what I mean? The writing of Forbidden failed to pull me in completely.
I was also a little disappointed with the overall plot. I didn’t feel like anything new was brought to the table. Angels? Forbidden love? Elite school setting? Plot climax during school dance? It has all been done before. Syrie James and Ryan James might have pulled together an interesting plot with decent characters, but I didn’t feel anything special anywhere.
So, while I realize “decent” isn’t exactly the highest form of compliment, that is ultimately how I’d describe Forbidden. If you’re a fan of angel books – definitely pick it up! I still think it is one of the better reads in the genre. If you aren’t, check out the synopsis. If it appeals to you: then go for it!(less)
I put off reading The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg for awhile. Afterlife plots don’t always appeal to me. Well, let me tell...moreI put off reading The Catastrophic History of You & Me by Jess Rothenberg for awhile. Afterlife plots don’t always appeal to me. Well, let me tell y’all. This was an exception – because I loved it! I was totally blown away by both the plot and characters.
When The Catastrophic History of You & Me begins, fifteen year old Brie has just died of a (literal) broken heart. She goes through the stages of grief and discovers all the things she didn’t know about her close friends and family. There are surprises in store from her boyfriend, best friends and parents! Really makes you think about what might be going on in your own life…
Jess Rothenberg majorly impressed me with her mad awesome plot building skills. Seriously – so many twists and turns. The kind you don’t always see coming. I was constantly being surprised by what happened next! I definitely did not expect to have so many great unexpected changes thrown at me when I started The Catastrophic History of You & Me.
I was immediately struck on page 1 because there was a reference to Princess Bride! Then, throughout the book there were multiple references to Disney Princesses. They were all so fun and clever, I had so much fun reading most of this book! Towards the end there was even a nod to Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus! How awesome is all of that? So much awesome all in one book.
Not that everything was Wesley and Buttercup loving and magic carpet rides. There was a lot of tragedy, mourning, poignancy and anger. Just like the plot had constant twists and turns – so did the emotions.
And as for the characters – seriously wow. Brie has a lot of depth. Patrick, her guide in the afterlife, is equally amazing. Two of the best-written YA characters I’ve come across in recent history.
Basically, Jess Rothenberg has created an amazingly written story in The Catastrophic History of You & Me. I can’t think of anything I would change. Definitely a book you guys want to check out!(less)
Tempest by Julie Cross involves time travel, y’all. That was pretty much all I needed to know. Add in the fact that the characters are college-aged an...moreTempest by Julie Cross involves time travel, y’all. That was pretty much all I needed to know. Add in the fact that the characters are college-aged and I was SOLD.
April read it and immediately mailed me her copy and said “you have to read this so we can talk about it!” Needless to say, that had me more than intrigued enough to move it to the top of my TBR pile. You guys, this book is awesome. There are so many layers to Tempest that it is ridiculous – definitely plenty to talk about!
Jackson has the ability to jump back and forth from the past. He is experimenting with his abilities with help from math-genius friend Adam (I have a massive geek crush on him). Things get complicated fast when some strangers come after him. They shoot and fatally wound his girlfriend Holly. Jackson is totally freaked out, jumps back two years desperately hoping to save her, and gets stuck. Is it pervy for two-years-in-the-future Jackson to hit on two-years-in-the-past Holly? You decide!
Anyways, the plot is non-stop action and suspense. Seriously, Julie Cross left not a dull moment to be found. Jackson starts to learn more about the strangers that came after him and shot Holly. These “Enemies of Time” also intersect with his family more than he could have imagined. His abilities are part of a larger picture that he had no idea existed!
I often find that books with dynamic and constantly moving plots fail at characterization. Tempest is not one of those books. Jackson, Holly and the rest of the characters (including those from the past, present and future) all come alive in the story. Julie Cross has created a fascinating world full of people it is easy to care about.
This is one of the rare instances where I am absolutely thrilled that this is only the first book of a series. I absolutely cannot wait to read more! Also exciting is the fact that Tempest might be made into a movie. Cross your fingers, guys.(less)
Y’all, Karen Rose is one of the authors I admire most. I have read and loved every single one of her books. Sometimes authors, even the best ones, hav...moreY’all, Karen Rose is one of the authors I admire most. I have read and loved every single one of her books. Sometimes authors, even the best ones, have off days. One or two of their books just don’t quite live up to the rest. Well, Karen Rose doesn’t have that problem. Ever. No One Left to Tell is book #13 and she is going strong.
No One Left to Tell might actually rank up there with my favorites of her books. Paige Holden and Grayson Smith are awesome characters, and the plot was intricately weaved and detailed. My favorite thing about Karen Rose is that her characterization and plotting are always both masterfully done – she doesn’t sacrifice one for the other.
The way the story was told actually reminded me of a season of 24, one of my all-time favorite TV shows. When things start, Paige Holden is on the scene of a shooting – and surprise, the victim is someone she knows. We meet the sniper, who has a guilty conscience. Elsewhere, there is a guy behind the scenes pulling strings to make sure key people die so certain truths won’t be brought to light. Then, we go to the suburbs and meet a random couple, one of whom has a secret. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? How does it connect? What is going on already?
Every page is action-packed, the characters all have amazing chemistry – both romantic and platonic – and everything is just so high-charged. I loved seeing characters from the previous book, You Belong to Me, have parts to play. (All her books are connected to some degree, but they all work find as stand-alones too. No worries either way.)
Seriously, I know all of my reviews for her books turn into fangirl ramblings, but I can’t help it! This woman continually blows my mind, and No One Left to Tell is certainly no exception to the norm. If you like romantic suspense and/or mysteries and/or contemporary romance – you should definitely listen to me!
Whether you want to start at the beginning with Karen Rose’s first book, Don’t Tell, or pick up her most recent release doesn’t matter – just don’t let this author’s work pass you by!(less)
Shatter Me by Tahera Mafi has a lot of buzz surrounding its release next week. The writing style and plot both make it a very intriguing and original...moreShatter Me by Tahera Mafi has a lot of buzz surrounding its release next week. The writing style and plot both make it a very intriguing and original debut. Unfortunately, it ultimately fell short for me despite the fact that I plan on reading the next book in the series. Intrigued? Read on.
You guys, I feel like I’m missing something here. So many people are raving about the writing style! In my opinion, it was just a little overboard. Yes, it was certainly original and I have a lot of respect for Tahera Mafi for taking such a big risk. It just didn’t work for me. I didn’t get any deeper meaning out of it; I actually found that it diluted the story. I’ve never been a fan of choppy narratives and poetry though, which I think are both elements of the style – maybe that has something to do with it.
The characters grew on me by the end of the story, but I never really felt an emotional connection to their plight. When the story opens, Juliette is in prison for murder. She has a fatal touch and has no idea why or where it originates from. It should have been easy to connect with her and want her to get free – but it didn’t hit with me. Ditto with Adam – never felt like I understood his character. I didn’t trust him, didn’t much like him and didn’t feel any chemistry between him and Juliette. There was even a sexy shower scene! Still – nothing. When a sexy shower scene fails for me chemistry-wise, it is basically time to throw in the towel I think.
So, all that being said – the end of the book? Major game changer, y’all. The end finally brought a plot I could appreciate (more along the lines of Enclave & Divergent). I also liked the characters a lot more in relation to the surroundings they found themselves in at the close of the story. Ironic that Shatter Me hooked me at the very. freaking. end. Right?
So, despite the fact that Shatter Me mostly didn’t work for me, I will most certainly be reading the sequel! I’m really hoping that it will have the characters continuing to evolve so that I can connect with them more. I’m also looking forward to seeing how the new setting will play out.
If you’re a dystopian/fantasy fan, this is probably a book you’ll be wanting to pick up. Maybe, if your expectations aren’t quite as high as mine were, you won’t be quite so disappointed.(less)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a celebration of magic. From the splendor to the ornamental to the oddities, magic is showcased in various way...moreThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a celebration of magic. From the splendor to the ornamental to the oddities, magic is showcased in various ways throughout the novel. The characters and plot both take second place to the illusions and the mystical. Every layer that unfolds is as bewitching and alluring as the next.
The only thing that could be better than a book so filled with elegantly rendered magic is one where that magic is also shrouded in mystery. From the very beginning, every single illusion, no matter how innocent, has a whisper of tension and menace behind it. Even though every piece of magic seemed to portend a future danger, it was still impossible not to get caught up into the enchantment even while not knowing where they were ultimately trying to lead. In fact, forget about not knowing what was going to happen - there were a lot of times I didn't know what was happening as I was reading!
As I mentioned before, everything takes a second stage to the magic. The plot was meandering and detailed...definitely not a book for those of you who seek constant action and a cohesive plot structure. This is a book to be savored and explored. It also isn't a book where the characters feel like family or like people you can relate to on some deeper level. It is one where the characters feel like what they are: novelties. Circus performers. Magicians. Illusionists. The very nature of the book is not one that allows the reader to see past the mysterious. So, this might not be a book for everyone. But, if none of that scares you away - you have got to read this!
I really don't say any of that to try to scare you off the book - I loved everything about it! Normally I'd be less than impressed with a book where I don't feel like I get to know the characters better, but this book is the exception. I adored all the characters, mysterious natures and all. The characters all fit in with the intensity of the novel, and I don't think it could have been written any other way. The feelings and emotions (especially in regards to Marco and Celia) were all there for me - vivid and real.
Speaking of vivid - this book will make all your senses come alive. I could picture all of it so easily: an ice garden, a room made up of clouds, a labyrinth. I wanted to taste all the food - from the mulled cider to the cinnamon twists covered in icing. The writing was gorgeous, it made anything seem possible.
So, I definitely recommend picking up this novel if you're a fan of fantasy. Next time I find myself at a circus...I'll make sure to be wearing black clothes with a dash of red somewhere. You know...to mark myself as one of the ones in the know.(less)