Isn't it wonderful when a favorite author publishes something new? And isn't it absolutely amazing when that something is outside of the genre of thatIsn't it wonderful when a favorite author publishes something new? And isn't it absolutely amazing when that something is outside of the genre of that author...and is brilliant?! That's how I felt about First Light. I became aware of Michele Paige Holmes through her Hearthfire Romance series (which is lovely and romantic and dazzling and I LOVED THEM ALL) which are historical, 19th century, British romances. When I heard about First Light, I was both interested and skeptical. Could Ms Holmes manage to write an interesting fairy-tale or would she fall into the trap of a hum-drum retelling?
First Light is a brilliant story! The plot is an eclectic mash-up of several classic fairy tales, but with a dash of something completely unique, making Adrielle a lovely character and the story entertaining. I would nestle it in the YA realm of retelling and romance, but as a thirty-something-Mom-of-3, I still greatly enjoyed reading and stayed up far too late to finish the tale.
Fairy-tales I caught scent of in this story included the Snow Queen, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, the Swan Maiden, and perhaps some details from obscure Grimm tales. But these bits and pieces did not detract or distract from the unique Adrielle, her loss of family, her lack of belonging, and her confusion as to why things around her seem to be going absolutely to pot. On a quest to find the one family member who may love her, Adrielle runs into most unhelpful fairies, smooth-talking gypsies (who I really want to know more about), strangely helpful animals, and a drunken royal cook. Then, of course, there is the Romantic Interest. He is sweet, likes Adrielle for who she is, but hides a most important fact from her - he's a crown prince betrothed to someone else. Dash it all.
Adrielle is likable, makes mistakes, tries to do the right thing, and wants to be her own person even while the rest of the world seems to want her to fade away, blend in, and make no fuss. I enjoyed her very much and I would certainly be happy to pick up the next book in this series....more
This is a difficult book to review. I had a mental tug of war with whether I liked it or not! But, as evidenced by my rating, I finally figured that oThis is a difficult book to review. I had a mental tug of war with whether I liked it or not! But, as evidenced by my rating, I finally figured that out.
The number one thing you need to know when you read this book is that it is ESCAPIST FLUFF. It is NOT meant to be realistic (it takes 3 days after receiving a marriage license to get married...and they would've needed lots of paperwork), it is NOT meant to be taken seriously, it's meant to launch the reader into a fantasy world of a modern marriage of convenience. This is something I really struggle with in contemporary novels. I equate contemporary with reality - and this book is NOT reality.
Okay. That's out of the way. So, here are all the great things about this story: It's a MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE! That's one of my all time favorite tropes. He's spoken for, she's hopeless with men, but together...they can attend college! Having navigated the realms of financial aid - and WORKED in a financial aid office - I know what a pain all the different rules can be. But I also know it's quite easy to get around them and work through them in the appeals process - so, yeah, not realistic. But these two are desperate to get into and through school, with valid enough reasons, so they marry. Then they achieve a new financial status that makes them eligible for financial aid! Yay! But things quickly twist out of their hands when they become eligible for another scholarship, offered by a well-meaning (unrealistic) millionaire with a thing for reality TV! I also LOVE the witty banter between our two characters and their awkward/cute flirting. I admit to giggling out loud a time or two.
Joshua is a sweetheart, but you want to pummel him for being an idiotic numerous times. Still. He's working through stuff, so I gave him a break. And I found him quite realistic in that his primary, first reason for liking our heroine is physical. Very guy-like of him. But he wants to be true to his out of the country girlfriend who is somewhat (?) supportive of his goals and dreams!
Morgan is better. She's got a gentle heart, a shy nature, and just wants to be an accountant. She doesn't like hurting people. But she's fallen hard and fast for her legal husband. What's a girl to do?
I took one star off because, even though it's escapist fluff, there were way too many dances with unrealistic circumstances. I also dislike that the author made two such perfectly "hot" characters. Do they both have to look like models? Really? Throw in a millionaire fairy-godfather and I just groaned. And...Morgan's never cooked before and all the sudden she's worthy of appearing on Master Chef?
Sweet, escapist, romantic. Suspend your disbelief and you'll enjoy this story just fine. :-)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review....more
I've always loved novels set in Britain, especially anything pre-WWI. But I've never much ventured into the territory of Wales. With this absolutely wI've always loved novels set in Britain, especially anything pre-WWI. But I've never much ventured into the territory of Wales. With this absolutely wonderful novel, I found myself immersed in the beautiful Welsh countryside, nestled between deep green hills, walking through a village of quaint cottages, loving the land as described through the eyes of young Gwen.
This book has been classified as a romance - and I must tell all readers now that it is NOT a book filled with sexual tension or exquisite, longing-agony. This is a quieter love. The main plot actually seems to be the growth and character development of Gwen, a young girl with few in the world who know her heart. Throughout her trials and sadness, her quiet longing for the land around her, she grows into a woman of peace and strength.
I can compare the romance, the love story, to only one other - my favorite, in fact - the story of Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe. NOT that Gwen and Lewis, son of the blacksmith, are antagonistic to each other. Skip that part of the relationship. Gwen and Lewis are friends. Good friends. They enjoy sitting quietly together or talking on the things that matter most to them. But then the dynamic begins to shift, however subtly, and sweet Gwen isn't sure what to make of things. She doesn't understand what is happening to their friendship, and then she is pulled away from Lewis at a critical moment. Enter a dashing stranger, and Gwen has a difficult choice ahead.
If you love Wales, or beautiful descriptions of lush countrysides, or exploring a single character in depth to discover their strengths, then you will absolutely fall in love with this book. You will love Gwen and her desire to find peace and happiness in a world that is changing far too rapidly around her.
Sian Ann Bessey's writing is excellent. I would say - as one who normally cannot stand long and prosy paragraphs - that she strikes the right balance between rich description and engaging dialog. I thoroughly enjoyed her work and fully intend to find more of it! If only book budgets could be the ENTIRE budget.... *sigh*...more
What? Donna Hatch, this is ridiculous. This isn't even a full story! It's...what...a ten minute read? And I paid money for it! Shame on me, really. BuWhat? Donna Hatch, this is ridiculous. This isn't even a full story! It's...what...a ten minute read? And I paid money for it! Shame on me, really. But this is more like a short scene from a longer work than it is a complete story. I also found it incredibly predictable. I feel more outrage at myself for not noticing the length than anything. :-( I love Donna Hatch's other works, though - so check those out, but skip this one. It's... Well. You blink and it's over!...more
Having read the other two books in this series, The Fortune Cafe and the Boardwalk Antique Shop, I felt excited to read the third installment. This coHaving read the other two books in this series, The Fortune Cafe and the Boardwalk Antique Shop, I felt excited to read the third installment. This collection of three stories, each taking place in and around the boutique hotel, are cute, light, and fluffy romances. I have to say, they didn't feel as magical as the first two books. The Fortune Cafe is by far my favorite of the collection. But these are great to read on a lazy day, when you just a need a moment to escape into a cute romance.
Other reviewers have shared the most pertinent details. If you want a serious read, or a really serious romance, this isn't for you. But if you need something on par with a Hallmark Christmas movie, you'll enjoy these. ...more
I've been shying away from the YA genre lately, because it's been less satisfying now that I'm in my thirties. :-) Imagine that. But after reading anoI've been shying away from the YA genre lately, because it's been less satisfying now that I'm in my thirties. :-) Imagine that. But after reading another of Julie Daines' books, I really wanted to try something else by her. "Unraveled" does not disappoint. This is a beautiful story, about a girl who is desperate to escape her circumstances, and all it will take for her to do so is one pair of magic shoes.
Set in an early (imaginary) Welsh land, full of beautiful language and superstitions, this story drew me in completely. Bronwen is nobility, yet the people of her village go out of their way to avoid her, due to her condition. Bronwen is a cripple, with two bent and shriveled legs, and only a mother to love her and pass her days. In her heart, she has one lonely, longing question... "Who would want a crippled wife?" Then, on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, everything changes.
Bronwen's struggle is one that many young girls experience in today's world. She has a flaw that she sees as fatal, unacceptable, and ugly. She will do anything to rid herself of that flaw, to be seen as a whole and beautiful girl. It doesn't take long for her to discover that being something other than what she is creates its own problems - deceit, distrust, and alienation of those who truly care for her, for the person she is and not what is on the outside.
This book is lovely, near-perfect, and would be an excellent gift for any young lady in your life. Love is more than looking on the outward aspects of a person, but finding who they are inside and giving them your heart.
Lord and Lady Whitlock have been married - and estranged - for years. And they quite like it that way. They married to please their families and are fLord and Lady Whitlock have been married - and estranged - for years. And they quite like it that way. They married to please their families and are far from pleased with each other. Derek will see to it that all his duties will be fulfilled, eventually. Katherine will see to it that everything in London - their estates, their social advancement - runs smoothly in the meantime. But, as often happens, a dreadful occurrence has Katherine sending for her husband to ask for his support. Feeling duty bound, Derek answers her summons. Chaos, misunderstandings, and some regency-era shenanigans ensue.
I am a sucker for a good regency romance, and this is one that I enjoyed immensely. It's clean, period accurate (in mannerisms, conversations, etc), and a somewhat original plot. There are so many marriage of convenience stories that give us two characters immediately after the ceremony, uncertain of themselves or belligerent, but this is a new an interesting take on the idea. Our characters have been married for years, despise each other, and are perfectly fine living as far apart as possible. Neither character is weak-minded or weak-spirited. They're both stubborn fire-brands.
I will likely read this again in future. The story and characters are very entertaining....more