Can't Let You Go picks up several years after the third book in this series, The Big Picture. A lot has happened...moreOriginally posted on Wishful Endings.
Can't Let You Go picks up several years after the third book in this series, The Big Picture. A lot has happened during those years, including that Charlie and Katie are no longer together. That about broke my heart from the beginning because I loved them in the third book. They weren't, nor are, perfect, but I thought they were perfect for each other. It was fun coming back to the town of In Between. Rather like coming back to old friends. The best stories are the ones that feel this way. Even if you haven't read the other books in this series, the story was written in such a way that you could read this one alone.
I'm going to insert here my love of the cover. It is gorgeous and perfect for this story! Really, really love it! They got her hair that strawberry blondish and his dark and the airplane in the background... An airplane and flying was quite significant in this story. The cover also continues the newer covers' more vintage look. I love the sunny-ness of it as well.
Okay. So the story...
Katie was in really deep this time in so many ways! So much was going on and she had a lot of concerns for herself, for her best friend who was rushing to the altar, for Charlie, for Ian, and for her beloved Valiant Theater. Some of her choices were upsetting. Emotions were high and intense, both in very sweet as well as in some ugly ways. The author always has this great wit that comes across in her stories and it's no different here. There were a lot of zingers, humor, and sarcasm. I especially enjoyed a lot of Katie's grandma Maxine's lines. Her and those other home town folks always add so much to this series.
I loved that the story was messy. Not in the way it was written or the characterization. The author let her character's make choices, both good and bad, or not make them sometimes. She let them cry and hurt, be angry, fall in love, be unkind, and be the best friends. It made me really cheer on and connect with these characters. And really, Charlie is the best sort of man in so many ways and Katie has so many insecurities and lashes out sometimes, but Charlie tries to be there for her regardless. The biggest question was if Katie would figure things out and let Charlie in, or if someone or something else would feel that roll.
Can't Let You Go inspired and sucked me in with these fabulously familiar characters, sweet and intense romance, lots of humor, and Katie's struggle to face her fears, to accept love, and to learn to let go. It was a beautiful, heartfelt story. A story I loved. I'll definitely be visiting these characters and the town of In Between again when I reread this series in the future. If you enjoy YA, NA, or Adult contemporary romance (Christian or not) then I'd definitely recommend Can't Let You Go.
Content: A little innuendo, but otherwise clean. Source: Purchased.(less)
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This was such a fun and sweet Historical Romance! Everything that I love about the...moreInterested in joining the tour for May 18-25? Sign up here.
This was such a fun and sweet Historical Romance! Everything that I love about these types of books was present: a well-researched setting, likable characters, love that isn't instantaneous, humor, tension, and a story that flowed and drew me in. Let me get into some specifics...
I really enjoyed these characters! Elizabeth is quite stunning. She knows she is, but instead of it being a point for conceit, it is something that bothers her because she feels that men only see her physical beauty and are only interested because of it. She is quite caring and sweet, but showed herself to also be strong and fierce when she needed to be. Colin is fairly high up in English society and has quite a presence. He is also rather jaded and thinks that Elizabeth is trying to take advantage of him when first they meet. However, once he gets to know her more he realizes that she is sincere and possesses all that he would want in a wife. Their friendship develops as the story progresses and their relationship turns into something more, but is destined for failure. There is this annoying friend of Elizabeth's that kept things tense and humorous in parts and then other family members and fiances that also livened things up.
I knew that this had to end happily. How could it not? But there were some definite twists and tension that kept me intrigued. I wasn't exactly sure how Colin was going to make it to the end with Elizabeth by his side. The only thing I would have liked changed was, towards the ending when something unfortunate happens, that Elizabeth wouldn't have so easily gotten out of her predicament. I would have liked for it to have been a little bit more of a drawn out, climatic scene.
This was a great addition to the Miss Delecourt Series. I loved it and would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy reading clean and sweet Historical Romance set in Regency England! I'm really looking forward to seeing what new characters will be introduced in Heidi Ashworth's next book.
Content: Clean Source: From the author, which did not affect my review in any way.(less)
I have enjoyed most of Susan May Warren's books and have been meaning to read this series since t...moreYou can see my original tour stop post here.
I have enjoyed most of Susan May Warren's books and have been meaning to read this series since the first book, Take a Chance on Me, came out last year. I'm definitely going back to read the first book now because I really enjoyed It Had to be You!!
For one thing, Susan just always does a great job of pulling me into her books from the start. Normally there's some friction between the heroine and hero and this book definitely held to that. I also enjoyed reading about Jace, a professional hockey player, renegade bad boy, and definitely swoon worthy. I tend to be a succor for chiseled athletes, especially when they are gentlemen and are hiding some vulnerabilities. Eden annoyed me in the beginning because I could see how much of her life she was giving to her brother and was almost obsessed with it. However, she mellows out and I could see her kind of come into her own as the story progressed. These characters were a perfect match. Then you have these great supporting characters, such as other hockey players, the John Doe, Sam and his daughter, Eden's co-worker and boss, and the Christiansen clan that really filled in all the spaces. I loved how instantly I felt I knew the characters and connected with them.
The pacing and the writing style were both perfect. I basically just ate the book up! There was enough tension, depth, and romance balanced with some humor and heartbreak. Yes, there was heartbreak. I teared up pretty good in a few spots. Moving on to the happier parts...the romance was really sweet and I loved how the author let the tension between the two MC's grow. Too much is really too much and because everything was balanced so well I was fully invested in each moment. The third POV with Sam did throw me just a little and his portions were the most heartbreaking for me, but I definitely was routing for him and his daughter.
The Christian aspect of the story is fairly strong, but not too preachy. It's more just the characters dealing with what they are facing and they're facing some pretty serious stuff. The inspiration comes through Eden's dad's and others' counsel as to reaching out and trusting in God and making that choice. Some of the inspirational moments touched me as well.
Will I be reading the next book in this series? Definintely. In fact I am dying to pick it up. Right. Now. It was such an inspirational romantic book that left me feeling happy and content (except for needing the next book!!!) I would recommend It Had to be You to those who enjoy Christian Romance or just general Romance and wouldn't mind the inspirational moments.
There is also a prequel to the series, I Really Do Miss Your Smile, that's a little over 60 pages that is also included. It's the back-story for Eden's parents. I really loved it as well!! It was a great novella and definitely worth the read!
Content: Clean Source: I want to thank LitFuse Publicity Group and the publisher, Tyndale House Publishers, for my free review copy, which did not affect my opinion in any way.(less)
I had very high expectations when I began reading A Beauty So Rare after absolutely loving To Whisper Her Name (her last release). Needless to say Tam...moreI had very high expectations when I began reading A Beauty So Rare after absolutely loving To Whisper Her Name (her last release). Needless to say Tamera is one of the authors I pre-order books for. I have to say that this book did not disappoint me, in fact it even surprised me in some ways.
The setting was amazingly done. The descriptions, dress, dialogue, mish-mash of the residents, societal expectations, and just the overall feel of the novel felt realistic. The author definitely did her research and it shows. I really loved the setting! I loved seeing how the different classes and nationalities mingled, or didn't, as the case may have been. I loved the opulent Belmont estate, the lower side of the city, the asylum, and discovering more about the area and this time period as I read. I really felt immersed in Eleanor and Marcus' world.
Speaking of Eleanor and Marcus... They were such great characters! You would think that Eleanor is such a sweet thing, until you realize what a backbone she has. She's feisty and full of determination, but also full of heart. She is also very intelligent and wasn't afraid to use her mind. It allowed her to keep up with Marcus as he explained his work. She was also insecure and heartbroken from the hardships of the war and her life. Marcus was quite a dashing man. He really struggled with finding who he wanted to be and what choices he would make. He's in a peculiar circumstance because of being Austrian royalty and the expectations put upon him. He is such a great man, full of integrity, loyalty, and strength. I was really hoping that in the end he would make the right choice, at least the choice I felt he should make. :) Then there are a slue of other great characters, such as Eleanor's Aunt Adelicia, Naomi and her son, Eleanor's father, as well as others who make appearances here and there (including some characters from the first book in this series). The characters were all full and consistent and I loved them all!
There is so much heartache in parts of this story. The beginning of the novel starts with a sad glimpse into Eleanor's past from when she served as a nurse during the Civil War. The story refers to her experience at different points as the story progresses. Then there is the situation with Eleanor's father. Between that and the plight of Naomi and those who live around her I definitely felt sad. At the same time, I also felt hope. Hope for what might come and for how things might turn out. There are some inspirational moments that are so beautifully woven through the story. They were perfect and not preachy at all.
One of the things I loved the most about A Beauty So Rare was how balanced the characters and emotions of the story were. There is the heartache I referred to above, but then there is also humor and love. The dialogue between Eleanor and Marcus was really great. That would probably be my favorite aspect of the story. The first time that Eleanor and Marcus talk to each other it immediately reminded me of Darcy and Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. They both have some preconceived notions of who the other is and their conversation is witty, snarky, and made me laugh! It reminded me of the debates, set-downs and conversations between Darcy and Bennett. That same sarcasm and attraction is evident between Marcus and Eleanor from the beginning. I loved how it mellows, but that they continue to challenge each other and that they become such good friends.
This is a story of faith, hardship, family, hope, friendship, love, and finding who you are and not who you've been told you are. It's also about taking risks and learning that some things just aren't as important as you thought they were, and that others are much more. I highly recommend A Beauty So Rare to Christian Romance and Historical Romance readers!!
Content: Clean Source: From the publisher, which did not affect my review in any way.(less)
I have really been enjoying the Christiansen Family series! When I Fall in Love was another great addition. It ha...moreOriginal review posted here.
I have really been enjoying the Christiansen Family series! When I Fall in Love was another great addition. It had lots of humor, sweet moments, inspiration, and characters that I loved! It also had some fabulous food between Grace's culinary experience and her catering her two sisters' weddings! Makes me hungry just thinking about that food... Mmmm...
Grace was so scared to leave her comfort zone and to live her life when the story starts. I wanted to give her a little push, but she gave in to her family and took the trip they set her up with. Max's sole focus was on hockey and he was one amazing player. He also loved cooking and getting some time off where he could be carefree and forget himself for a little while. Grace and Max were thrown together and friendship and sparks flew. It was so much fun!! I loved the camaraderie they had!!! There was some great dialogue and plenty of funny quips from Grace. There was also delectable food and crazy family weddings. It was fun getting to see Grace's other family members that had been the focus of prior books.
I really loved this story! I pretty much sat down and read it in one sitting and caught myself tearing up in a few places, smiling in plenty of others (if not even chuckling), and in a couple places also getting angry at Owen. I just wanted to shake that boy. I'm sure his story will come up in the future and I'm eagerly anticipating it. I did feel the inspirational element was slightly too strong for my taste with the pastor's sermon and a few other moments, but it wasn't enough to discourage me from reading or loving this story.
If you have enjoyed Susan's other books or enjoy Christian Contemporary Romance, then I'd definitely recommend grabbing When I Fall in Love. I don't doubt that you'll fall in love with this story and Grace and Max. I know I did. :)
Content: Clean (There is one instance of closed-door sex, but meaningful to the story and not descriptive in any way.) Source: I would like to thank Litfuse and Tyndale House for my free copy, which did not affect my review in any way.(less)
Review originally posted on Tressa's Wishful Endings.
I really enjoy reading most Fantasy novels. I also have been enjoying books with dragons...moreReview originally posted on Tressa's Wishful Endings.
I really enjoy reading most Fantasy novels. I also have been enjoying books with dragons lately. This book was a perfect blend of the two, although more fantasy than dragons. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I requested this for review. It isn't a book that I've seen anywhere, but I really liked the premise and the books it referenced in similarity. Bitterblue and Seraphina are both books I loved, so I thought if this was anywhere near what those were like that I would love this book. And guess what? I did!
The storytelling in this book was amazing! I loved the descriptions, but I loved most how you experience things as the character does, either in her memories or in the present. I loved how I could envision the storybook world, it's forests, farmland, castle, and all the creatures and people.
I really loved the characters! Marni is so unique, good, mysterious, and loyal. I loved her grandfather, the queen, and the Lord who becomes her friend. I loved how developed all the characters were. The great thing was that each character isn't overly described and we don't hear all their thoughts, but you just get to know what they are each like in the way they are written. It is the looks and words they give, and their reactions. As I said, really good storytelling! I loved how Marni's relationships were developed or not developed, as was the case a few times. I would have maybe liked a little more romance and maybe for her uncle to not act quite the way he did, but these weren't major things in any way. Romance is not the focal point of this story and it didn't need to be. Marni and the plot carried this story alone.
Yes, let's talk about the plot a little. Marni doesn't remember all that has happened to her. She has a heartbreaking past and lives with her grandfather who has raised her. She grows flowers that are the best to be found in the kingdom. She has always been watched and feels a pull from the creatures in the woods near her home. Woods that also surround the entire kingdom. Her mother died because of these same woods. Her father is supposedly a dragon. She has been protected her whole life, but that protection will not always last. One day soon she will have to face her heritage and the people of her kingdom may not accept what that is. That is about all I can tell you, but I will say that it is a great journey that she undertakes. It is basically a coming of age story.
If you enjoy Juliet Marillier, Jessica Day George, or Seraphina then A Creature of Moonlight is the perfect book for you. I know I loved it and I can't wait to see what this author writes next!
Content: Clean Source: From Edelweiss, which did not affect my review in any way.(less)
In Righting a Wrong we get to find out what happens to Jace, who used to be the heroine's boyfriend in the last book. Jace is a down-to-earth, great g...moreIn Righting a Wrong we get to find out what happens to Jace, who used to be the heroine's boyfriend in the last book. Jace is a down-to-earth, great guy. He's a little more reserved than some other heroes, but I really liked him. I also really felt for him and wanted him to get his happily-ever-after. I loved that I was able to sit down and read Righting a Wrong (and really each of the novellas in this series) and feel satisfied that I could read it in one sitting, delve deep into the story while doing it, and in the end be satisfied. It's just really nice to have that feeling and to know I'm going to find out what happens to the two MC's, but also be happy with the outcome.
Cambri hasn't ever really moved on from Jace. They were the best of friends and she feels she ruined that. She doesn't get along with her dad (still doesn't really when she comes back) and so hasn't been back home for six years. Her dad definitely spices things up in this story. Him and Jace's grandfather really add a lot to this story. Cambri isn't even expecting for Jace to still be living in her hometown, but she finds out how wrong she was when she begins running into him everywhere. I really loved the dialogue between her and Jace! I loved that even though Jace has all these emotions, he keeps them inside and he challenges Cambri. There were some great moments between the two of them and several that were just flat-out hilarious and then some that were really sweet.
This was another great read for me from this series! I loved the characters, the dialogue, the plot, and, of course, the wonderful ending. It was sweet, funny, and romantic, and included some great characters. I would definitely recommend it to chick-lit lovers everywhere.
Now I can't wait to find out what happens to Jace's sister, Lydia, in the next novella in this series, Lost and Found. Join me again in two weeks to find out what I thought. :)
Content: Clean Source: From the tour host, which did not affect my review in any way.(less)
I LOVED this book! I was sucked in by the first page and then was happy to go along with Lucy and Owen on their journeys. They are only with each othe...moreI LOVED this book! I was sucked in by the first page and then was happy to go along with Lucy and Owen on their journeys. They are only with each other for a short space of time, but when they are together, it's amazing! Home really is where the heart is.
So let me just say that Jennifer E. Smith wrote this story so well! I loved the setting and descriptions of where the characters lived and traveled to. I loved feeling immersed in the different cities and countries and the character's lives. The story really came alive to me. Probably one of my most favorite things from this book were the postcards. Just so, so sweet to send someone you're friends with or maybe even love a postcard in the mail and them do the same. I just loved it! I also loved that their is romance, but it isn't the story's sole focus and doesn't take over.
I loved Lucy and Owen and the other side characters. I loved that there were two good families surrounding the MC's. Their situations were very different, but they felt realistic. Lucy has such different perceptions of her life and parents than what might actually be true. It was great to see how her perceptions changed and how she interacts with everyone. I loved that she was more of a deep thinker and wallflower. I loved her thoughts on being surrounded by people and yet still alone. Then there's Owen. He was such a good guy. He definitely made mistakes, but he came through. I loved how Lucy and Owen fit together and how they almost immediately made this great connection when they meet, but that their friendship grows and changes and turns into something more. Their dialogue is fabulous and I thoroughly enjoined their banter.
Here's one part when Lucy talks about her parents and traveling that I really liked: All these years, she's imagined her parents were out there in the world trying to take in as much as possible: photos and stories and memories, check marks on a list of countries and pins on a globe. But what she hadn't understood until now was that they'd left pieces of themselves in all those places, too. They'd made a little home for themselves wherever they went, and now Lucy would do the same. ~ Location 2998 on Kindle
This is something that really struck me with this story. How a house or a place by itself isn't a home. A home was where Lucy's family was, where Owen's dad was, where they each were for each other. It was also where they had been together making memories, places they could go back to or think back on and feel the connection there.
This was a heartfelt story of finding who you are and falling in love for the first time. I would definitely recommend The Geography of You and Me to those who love this author or read Contemporary YA, NA, or Adult. I felt it was definitely worth the read! It will have a prized place on my shelf.
Content: Clean Source: From NetGalley, which did not affect my review in anyway. Thank you, and Little, Brown for Young Readers for approving it!(less)
Melissa does such a great job from the beginning of her books pulling you right in. One of the main heroine's...moreSee my original ARC review here.
Melissa does such a great job from the beginning of her books pulling you right in. One of the main heroine's from the last book, Brianna, is recovering from some injuries. She's a prophet and can see glimpses, images, words, and sometimes just feelings of the future. She knows what the outcome of what is coming. She knows that she needs to change that outcome, but she doesn't know how or what specifically will happen between now and then. She's trying to recuperate and search for answers at the same time, which is somewhat of a difficult thing to do and leaves her feeling exhausted and hopeless sometimes.
Brianna is in the middle of a type of tug-of-war. Aern of the Council wants her protected. So does the Division and both want to take control of that protection. I really, really loved how Logan stepped between the two, even though he's basically a Council man. I loved the way Logan supports Brianna and that it wasn't always with words or actions, but sometimes just in a touch, a look, or in silence. He tried to make sure she rested and ate and had a way to get where she needed to be. They compliment each other beautifully. Logan is quite different than Aern, but I loved that difference and that he was just as strong of a character. I loved Logan's question to Brianna of "Is it now?" It was great every time and just immediately brought up that romantic tension between the two of them. You'll have to read it to find out what I mean. No spoilers here. ;)
I did get a little lost when Brianna was researching her lineage and how to fulfill the prophecy. I really love the setting and the history behind these people who possess powers. I wanted more! I wanted to understand more and really see how it all worked. I still feel like I'm missing something and maybe I'm supposed to since the third book in the series comes out next year. I guess I'll have to wait and see...
The thing I probably love most about this series is that I love the characters! They are each different and feel realistic. They aren't perfect and they don't know or do everything they should, which I think is part of the reason they feel authentic. I also love that the feeling of time slipping away and the urgency for Brianna and her sister to figure things out before it's too late is always present. This really helps drive the story forward.
Overall, I really loved Shifting Fate! It was an engaging, paranormal romance that I would definitely read again! I would recommend it to those who love the YA and NA genres.
Content: Some violence, but I would consider this clean, which I really appreciate. Source: From the author, which did not affect my review in any way. (less)
Original review posted here and fabulous guest post by the author posted here.
I have really enjoyed each of the books in this series! Ever si...moreOriginal review posted here and fabulous guest post by the author posted here.
I have really enjoyed each of the books in this series! Ever since I read the second book in the series, The Hero's Lot, I have been dying to find out what happens. Now I know and it was a crazy journey, bittersweet, but so good.
I have loved these characters in every book, but even more so as the series continued. This was the same when I was reading A Draw of Kings. I especially love Errol! He is my favorite. Then there's Liam, who plays a larger role than he has in past books, and Adora, who we see quite a bit as well. Then there are the slue of companions to these characters. Most of them I remembered from the previous books, but a few took me a few chapters to figure out who they were again.
This book starts with a bang. I was pretty much on the edge of my seat the first few chapters. Then things completely switch gears, which did throw me a little until I got back into it. There are all these different pieces of the plot that we have to work through and that fit together in the end. Yes, the end. It's crazy! There's war and death. Trust and love. Some characters face serious choices and are rather conflicted. Liam wants so desperately to fight and both he and Erroll want to live. They still have to figure out not what they want, but what will save their kingdom. It is very bittersweet, but I will say that I loved how things turn out.
Now I need to go back and read all three books in a row. :) There is such a good balance of difficulty, blessings, trust, love, and sacrifice. If you enjoy Christian or mainstream Fantasy, YA or Adult, I would definitely recommend A Draw of Kings and this entire series!
Content: Clean (There is definitely some violence, but nothing that would make this not clean.) Source: From tour host, NetGalley, and publisher, which did not affect my review in any way.(less)
This review was originally posted for my Friday Favorites meme on my blog here.
Before I really get into reviewing The Winner's Curse I just wa...moreThis review was originally posted for my Friday Favorites meme on my blog here.
Before I really get into reviewing The Winner's Curse I just want to say that I love the cover! I also love the way the hardcover book was made. It has those uneven edges like collector edition books do (such as my Sribner's Illustrated). I just absolutely loved opening it up, smelling that new-book smell, and feeling it's pages!! The book is pretty much a work of art itself. Yes, so I'm definitely a book geek. I claim it! Lol! It does bring back memories of growing up reading with my family and reading on my own when I first fell in love with books. Okay. On to my review...
Going in I was expecting a decent read because so many others, who were lucky enough to receive an ARC, recommended it. I was not expecting to be pulled in from the first page, not be able to put the book down, and love it so completely. This is my kind of book!!!
The writing style and pacing of this story were fabulous! I was immediately engaged and even though the story slowly builds towards the end, my interest never waned. I knew almost from the beginning what Arin was about. I knew that Kestrel would struggle with her relationship with him. I knew that things would change and that there would be dire circumstances. I just didn't know how it would all happen and what choices would be made.
I really loved the setting. It was an amazing storybook world with all of the society's gaiety and expectations. The servants, formal clothing, and social gatherings. It reminded me a little of Austen, especially some of the dialogue that was so well done. I loved that you see how the aristocrats live, but also get a small picture into the servants and slaves lives. It was a well developed world.
I LOVED the characters! Kestrel and Arin are both very intelligent, musically talented, and at the mercy of their stations. They both are vulnerable in different and similar ways. I loved Kestrel's friends. I loved that she wasn't perfect. Even though she is the general's daughter, she isn't the best fighter. She doesn't always make the best choices or see all that she should. Arin is also flawed. He tries to hide so much from those around him, but sometimes his anger flairs when it shouldn't. I loved Kestrel's father because he was a force in Kestrel's life and taught her so much. He has high expectations of her, but also loves her deeply.
The romance was absolutely perfect!! This was probably one of the things I loved the most! It isn't instant love. It builds slowly and against the two main characters' wills. They are friends first before anything. I loved that you could feel the tension and that the author let that tension grow. The romance wasn't ruined with too much and didn't take over the story even though it is a driving force for both of the main characters' choices. Then there is that ending. I can't say anything more, but I am dying to read the next book!!
This story had it all: strong characters, exciting plot, dangerous circumstances, difficult choices, grief, friendship, war, love, with a bittersweet ending that left me wanting so much more! This would be a book I would love to rate higher than five stars. I loved it that much!! I just wish I didn't have to wait for the next book!
Content: Clean (there is some innuendo and violence, one instance of intended rape, but I would still consider this clean) Source: Purchased(less)
I wasn't sure what to expect from Six Months Later. The book definitely pulled me in and I couldn't put it down!...moreYou can see my tour stop here.
I wasn't sure what to expect from Six Months Later. The book definitely pulled me in and I couldn't put it down! I just had to know what happened, how it happened and when. The story was really such an emotional roller coaster, but I think the thing that worked for me was how well the author played the suspenseful parts and then balanced them with these sweet moments with Chloe's dad, friend Maggie, and some romance.
I knew there was some mystery surrounding Chloe's memory loss, but I really had no idea for some time what that mystery was. I mean she has no clue how or why she is dating who she is, why her grades are so good, why she's lost her best friend. She literally doesn't know who she has been the last six months.
I wanted Chloe to listen to her inner thoughts that were warning her about some things. She still feels like her life is a dream come true and that maybe she's just being paranoid. I would have liked Chloe to trust her parents a little more, but then at the same time, her mom would have completely freaked out and I don't know if she would have really believed her, so I can also see why Chloe wouldn't have gone to them. Then when I did find out what was going on, I wasn't sure exactly who was involved in the deception and the extent of everyone's knowledge.
I loved how nothing was easy for Chloe as some things were resolved and as the story progressed. It felt authentic. Chloe wouldn't just automatically get her best friend back after what she did with only a few phone calls and a simple apology. It would take time to mend their relationship, and it does. Here's an example of their, almost life-long, friendship: "Do you have any idea what they're saying?" I ask in a whisper. Maggie holds up a hand to quiet me. She's always had the better hearing of the two of us. She says it's a side effect of her crap vision. There's been no celebration in our history that has yet to live up to The Day Maggie Got Contacts. Chloe wouldn't automatically be with who she should be and there be no challenges in their relationship with their backgrounds and in their situation, and there aren't. Chloe just wouldn't be able to figure things out and be scott-free, and she isn't. Oh, man! She isn't.
There is a lot at stake and a seriously evil villain pulling the strings in Six Months Later. There is also a group of friends that are willing to do what they can to find out the truth and stop him.
Here's one of my favorite parts:
When he tries to pull free. I kiss him. He makes a halfhearted effort to stop me, but I fight harder. When we separate, I can see his eyes are clearer. His touch brought my memories back. Maybe mine is doing the same to him. It's a crazy idea, but it still makes me smile.
If you want to read a thrilling suspense story about an imperfect girl who needs to find herself again, trust in love, and stop the person who stole six months of her life before others face the same fate, then I would recommend picking this up!
Content: This is so close to being clean. There were a few swear words, including one F-word. Source: From publisher/NetGalley, which did not affect my review in any way.(less)
This is another republished work for this author. I actually own the original book called, Through All Hopes, and read it back in 2009. I don't know w...moreThis is another republished work for this author. I actually own the original book called, Through All Hopes, and read it back in 2009. I don't know what, if anything, was changed when it was republished. I'll have to see if I can find out without having to go page by page comparing my two copies. I also don't know what was different this time around, but the first time I read it I gave it three stars and this time, I gave it five. I loved it!
This is one of Sarah's more depressing (that's not quite the right word) books, but I really liked the characters and I wanted so desperately for things to work out for them. They both have misconceptions of how things went wrong and neither are completely in the right, but mostly they don't know where they have been wrong. I literally had to hold back tears regarding some of the things that Miranda had to deal with. I am a mother, a wife, and have experienced something that happened to her character (trying to not give away any spoilers here) and couldn't imagine going through that with an estranged husband.
The plot moved at a nice pace, but with tension, sadness, and happiness here and there. What also struck me was that the author let us see the more fake/manipulative side of the English aristocracy during that time period. Not everyone had loving families and parents who let them marry for love, in fact I don't believe that most did marry for love, but for rank and wealth.
So, dealing with all those difficulties, why did I love it? The characters, my interest in the plot, and that there was hope for a happy ending. I think the title fits perfectly. I also love the cover! If you like Sarah's books or Historical Romance, I would definitely recommend reading this!
I loved For Darkness Shows the Stars! It was one of my favorite books that I read last year! I love how the author takes a classic and uses it as insp...moreI loved For Darkness Shows the Stars! It was one of my favorite books that I read last year! I love how the author takes a classic and uses it as inspiration. In Across a Star-Swept Sea, she uses The Scarlet Pimpernel, but you don't need to have read that story to understand this one. I think one of the best things about these books is that even though the author might use a classic work as inspiration, each story is completely her own and done so marvelously well.
I also would like to note that these stories are vastly different because the plot and the protagonists are vastly different. Elliot from FDSTS is somewhat reserved, but has a core of steel. She isn't showy in any way. This is vastly different from Persis from this book who is a very flashy public figure who appears shallow, spoiled, and rather dull if not partying and socializing to her heart's content, but who actually hides an amazing mind, a caring heart, and a strong will. She isn't reserved in any way and seeing these two next to each other was quite interesting. We don't get reacquainted with the characters from the first book until close to the end of this one, but you definitely could see the contrasts culturally and among the characters quite easily and they are quite strong.
My undergrad is in Political Science so I found the political intrigue and turmoil really interesting in this plot. I liked seeing how the two islands of New Pacifica worked so differently and how their beliefs influenced their thoughts and actions. You have two very different governments and neither one is perfect, but one is definitely better than the other during the time this story takes place.
I was really curious to see how the author worked in pieces from The Scarlet Pimpernel. I really loved the twists. Not only is the notorious spy a woman instead of a man, she is also quite young (16 years-old), and then there is the very different setting that she is working in with all the technological advances. You also get more information on the history of this dystopian world and how the earth came to be as it is, even though no one seems to really know the whole story.
What I really loved about this book was two things. First are these amazing characters! I loved Persis and Justen and the other supporting characters that had key roles to play. Persis is just such a fabulous character. She is very intelligent, but has to hide that in order to help her friend, the ruling regent, to do something to help the people of the neighboring nation across the sea when officially she cannot. She is also the perfect person to pull it off as no one would suspect her, a partying and popular aristo who only cares about clothes and image. I loved that even though she thinks she knows what is best, that her views are still changeable. After Justen shares some of his views and challenges her on some things, she sees that maybe she has been prejudiced in some ways too. Really, they both have been being raised as they were in their different cultures. Justen is also great! He made a terrible mistake when he wasn't even aware of what it was at the time and now wants to do all in his power to make things right. He doesn't like Persis, but she has challenged him as well and he begins to see that she isn't completely as she appears to be. I also really loved Isla. She is in a tough spot having to rule the country with basically no power because she's a girl and the real ruler is her infant brother. She still has a great love for her country and for her friends and is trying to wade through the situation as best she can.
The second thing I loved was the plot. I loved seeing how Persis sneaked people to her country, how things didn't always go smoothly, that there were other characters with their own plots and seeing how these plots fit together. I really wasn't sure how the story was going to go or work out in the end. I just hoped that it would, but it was a surprise how things played out.
I also have to say that I thought the title fit this story so well. Not only does it pertain to the two nations across the sea from each other, but also the characters from the first book who travel quite some distance to find these islands in the sea. The cover is also gorgeous and definitely fit the story and reminds me of the starry dress that Persis wears at one point representing her starry cove.
Here are two parts I liked:
...It reminded him of the looks he'd seen Persis's parents giving each other, the love Persis had claimed in the star cove was an impossible standard to meet. At the time, Justen had agreed. Who even wanted a love like that? Wouldn't it distract from everything else you wanted to do with your life? But looking at Kai and Elliot, Justen wondered if, instead, love was what made it possible. Torin and Heloise had defied the customs of their nation and helped bring about great social change in Albion. Kai and Elliot had sailed to a whole new world. He didn't know much about the intimate aspects of his grandparents' relationship, but he did know that Darwin Helo had worked tirelessly to help his wife bring the cure to all the people of New Pacifica. If Justen ever found someone like that, would he change his mind?
One night, not long ago, Justen had floated in a starlit cove with a girl who told him, There is only on way to recover from the evil humanity does to itself: overcome it. We can only be held responsible for what we ourselves do. Bad things happen in this world, and we are judged on how we respond. Do we take part in evil, or do we fight against it with all we have?
I can't wait to see what Peterfreund tackles next. I don't know if she'll use another classic for a basis or not, but I have loved both of these books so far. I highly recommend Across a Star-Swept Sea to YA readers in general, and those who love spies, star-crossed lovers, and dystopians. It is definitely worth a read!
Content: Some mild violence, but I would consider this clean. Source: Won in a giveaway. (Thank you, Jen, from YA Romantics!)(less)
I love fairy tales. I also love SciFi. Marissa Meyer does such an excellent job in putting these t...moreOriginally posted for Friday Favorites here.
I love fairy tales. I also love SciFi. Marissa Meyer does such an excellent job in putting these two together! It is amazing to me as well that in this third book of her Lunar Chronicles series that she also handles multiple points of view and story-lines so seamlessly without losing my interest or confusing me. This is storytelling at its best!
I don't know how she comes up with the back-stories for her characters that build these amazing plots, nor how she creatively takes a beloved fairy tale (Rapunzel) and creates this amazing story. I just know that she does it well. I was immediately drawn in to Cress's world, her joys, and her fears from the first page. None of the characters in this series are perfect, and Cress is no different. I would say, however, that all the characters are perfectly flawed and I wouldn't change a thing about them. They are all consistent and I felt they react as they should if they weren't just in a storybook world. I loved Cress! She is amazing! She isn't my favorite character. I think Cinder, Scarlet, and Thorne are all vying for that place, but I still love all of these characters. I can't say that I love the villains, which are Queen Lavana and Sybil, but they are very true to who they are and what they do.
I just have to note here that I am very happy with Thorne's place in the whole plot. I felt he was meant specifically for someone and now I know that he is and I am very happy about it. :) Prince Kai redeems himself to me in this book. I loved him in Cinder, not so much in Scarlet, and I am falling back in love with him in Cress. We also meet another leading man and a new leading lady that I'm sure will be much more present in the fourth book. I'm really looking forward to it!
The plot kept me turning the pages. Meyer doesn't let her characters off easy. She is actually pretty hard on all of them. They have a serious fight they have undertaken with serious decisions to be made that have major consequences. I'm glad that it hasn't been too easy, even though it was pretty difficult in spots. I was a little worried about what would happen and I'm glad that I'm happy with the way things are going. I'm really not sure what is going to unfold in the final book. I can figure out what needs to happen and probably what will happen, but I also know that it is going to be a tough journey for Cinder and her companions.
If you enjoy reading fairy tales (or very creative twists on them), or SciFi, then I would highly recommend reading Cress! The series just seems to get better and better. If there was a higher rating than 5, this book would get that for me.
Content: Clean (there is some innuendo and violence, but I would still consider this clean) Source: Purchased(less)
I loved A Cast of Stones, so I was very excited to read The Hero's Lot. This seri...moreOriginally posted as part of a blog tour on Tressa's Wishful Endings.
I loved A Cast of Stones, so I was very excited to read The Hero's Lot. This series reminds me a little of The Lord of the Rings series, except it isn't as wordy with descriptions or as drawn out, and there is more romance. It is also well written with a fully fledged fantasy world, plot, and characters.
I know that this series falls under the Christian genre. I suppose you could read into the belief system and how it can relate to Christianity, but it also reads to me like any fantasy novel where some parts of the story are about the country's religious beliefs and system. I would recommend it to anyone, regardless of religious preference.
I really love Errol. He has his flaws, but he has risen above so many challenges that have been thrown at him, and he will still face more. He feels things deeply, even though he tries to hide that. He wants so desperately to just be free, have a simple life, and to love and be loved. His world, circumstances, and situation will not allow him those things. He has enemies everywhere, but also friends in surprising places, and a group of very loyal friends who would do anything for him. The other characters all have their own roles to play as well and they are each interesting and unique.
One of the things I loved the most about all of the characters, including Errol, is seeing how they continue to change as the story continues. So many of them might have poor judgement at one point or another, but redeem themselves during the story or in the end. You have a princess who swallows her pride and tries to be useful; a priest who changes what he believes; a selfish swordsman who sacrifices all for what is right. Then Errol himself who is constantly trying to stay alive and do what is right for a cause he may not believe in.
The story was pretty intense in some parts, then sweet, humorous, and sad in others. The mission that Errol and his group have undertaken is nearly impossible. They have enemies on so many sides, even from within their own country. There were several things that didn't go as planned. I wasn't entirely sure if everyone was going to survive or not and there are some casualties. I liked that this didn't end all easily wrapped up. Of course now I'm dying to read the third book, which won't be out until February, 2014.
If you enjoy reading fantasy or need something good and exciting to pick up, then I would definitely recommend this!
Content: Some violence and mild innuendo, but I would consider this clean for YA. Source: Copy from tour host/NetGalley, which did not affect my review in any way.(less)
Loved it, loved it, loved it! Really what else do you need to know? ;) Okay, maybe a little bit more so you can decide if you would love it too.
Deeann...moreLoved it, loved it, loved it! Really what else do you need to know? ;) Okay, maybe a little bit more so you can decide if you would love it too.
Deeanne is one of my all-time favorite authors. She puts a lot of research into her books and it shows. I loved the historical background: the old pictures, the actual world fair setting, the descriptions of the buildings, rides, clothing, basically all of it. I felt like I was really pulled back to that time. It wasn't super descriptive, or what I mean to say is that she doesn't always tell you everything, but lets her characters show you. This, to me, is the best way to do it. I've never read about the fair, so this picked up my interest in learning more about it as well.
I loved the characters! They weren't perfect, but this made them feel more realistic. They both have things they are struggling with and things they need to do better. Cullen is definitely swoon worthy and I loved a lot of the conversations between him and Della. There was plenty of wit, humor, and attraction. Oh, the mortification of this teaser (from p. 124-125):
She slapped at his arm. "Let me go," she hissed, her voice quiet. "I'm on your lap."
Leaning his head against the wall, he closed his eyes. "Hush. Just be quiet and be still for one second so I can catch my breath. Please."
With a huff, she waited, then thrummed her fingers on his arm. "How long do you need? I thought farmers were supposed to be strong, what with all that shoveling of hay and digging of rows and pushing of plows."
He held out his free arm. "Grab my upper arm."
"Just grab it."
He flexed his muscle.
The thrumming stopped. Twisting slightly, she placed one hand beneath his arm, then smoothed down his jacket with the other. "I'd have thought it'd be a lot bigger."
Sighing, he picked her up, plopped her beside him, stripped off his jacket, removed his cuff, and shoved up his shirtsleeve, Once more, he flexed.
Her eyes widened. "Good heavens, that's huge. Are they both like that?"
That wasn't the end of it either.
One thing that Deeanne always does well is create these magical and humorous scenes. There are always several in every one of her books and that was the same for this one as well. I enjoyed every single one of them!
For those of you who might not normally pick this up because it is in the Christian genre, let me just say that there is no preaching in this. Deeanne (I would say in all of her books) doesn't preach. There might be a reference to God or a brief reference to scripture, but it's not very often and more in the context of the culture at the time. It doesn't feel forced, unnatural, or unrealistic. I think there might have been two brief references in this one and nothing that diverted from the story. I would say that her books are more general historical romances.
I highly recommend this if you are looking for a very well written historical romance with some wit and humor.
I originally had an egalley copy from NetGalley, but pre-ordered this as well and ended up reading the finished copy. It is definitely worth having a place on my shelf as I'm planning on re-reading it in the future.
Content: Clean Genre: Christian Historical Romance Source: NetGalley and bought Original review posted here(less)
I didn't realize that I've never added this. It's been a while since I've read it, but it is a favorite of mine. Written really well and a fabulous pl...moreI didn't realize that I've never added this. It's been a while since I've read it, but it is a favorite of mine. Written really well and a fabulous plot! Also love the film adaptation.(less)
I have seen quite a few reviews for The Distance Between Us. When I read one review, I thought that this book would...moreOriginally posted on my blog, here.
I have seen quite a few reviews for The Distance Between Us. When I read one review, I thought that this book would probably be perfect for me. I like modern fairy tales, in other words, books that may not be completely realistic but have very happy endings. Although, I think these stories can be realistic too (mine would have a very happy ending). All readers don't agree with me and I won't hold that against you. ;) When I picked this up from the library I was really in the mood for a good, romantically sweet story and this fit the bill perfectly.
Okay, characters. Let me tell you that I loved the two MC's, Cayman and Xander (check out those names too)! They are definitely a study on contrasts in many ways, but then they are also somewhat similar. I think one thing that stood out to me is that they have both been prejudiced by those around them to not like each other, or at least where the other comes from: rich and arrogant vs. poor and unpolished. Cayman has this terrible first impression of Xander and Xander is actually quite rude, but he really isn't that type of guy. Cayman also has these misconceived notions about the rich and thinks things or blames Xander for things that he really hasn't done or meant anything by, but that is Cayman's perspective. I give huge points to Xander. He really allows himself to be vulnerable and pursues Cayman with very little encouragement from her. There were some great conversations and chemistry between these two characters too that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I don't want to leave out the other characters though. Cayman's friend, Skye, is really great. I like the side that she brings out of Cayman. I also got a kick out of her boyfriend, Henry or "Toad," and his band mate, Mason or "Tic." I even loved Xander's grandmother and the rest of his family. I had some serious issues with Cayman's mom. She's a little (no sarcasm here) prejudiced and hypocritical, which Cayman points out. She does have some bad history and she is extremely stressed out, so I'll give her that, but still I don't think she should have done what she did. I did like their relationship in a lot of ways though.
The writing was smooth and the plot moved along well. There weren't any lulls for me and when things started to get good, of course a rough patch would come up. Then things would get good again, only to not stay that way. I do agree with some reviewers that this does wrap up a little too perfectly, but it wasn't a huge issue for me.
The biggest things for me in this book were that I loved the characters (as I already mentioned), the romance and the sense of humor that comes across were fabulous, and it was completely clean. That is so rare in YA Contemporary. I don't remember a single swear word or instance of innuendo and none of it was needed. This is one that I can recommend to everyone. At the end, it left that fabulous happy feeling inside of me and a smile on my face. Those are my favorite kinds of books and the ones I can read over and over again. :) I highly recommend it!
Here's one favorite quote:
"Okay. I guess I have the floor." He takes a deep breath. "This is me facing failure. This is me putting everything on the line even though I know I might lose. And I'm terrified."
I swallow hard, fighting the instinct I have to comfort him.
"But like you said, anything worth having is worth the risk."
My summary: Errol has been hiding for the past several years, since he was fourteen, in a barrel of ale. He is the town drunk, but a nice one and will...moreMy summary: Errol has been hiding for the past several years, since he was fourteen, in a barrel of ale. He is the town drunk, but a nice one and willing to do lesser jobs so that he can buy his next drink. He isn't necessarily comfortable with his life. It is just as it is and what he must do to keep the memories away.
Then one day he takes a job, better paying then any he has ever had. He agrees to take a message from the church to the hermit who lives some way out of town. It is a difficult trail to the hermit's home and he is the only one who knows it well enough to get there quickly. He is also too poor for the bandits who sometimes dwell in the area to bother him. The message is supposedly very important, although he doesn't do it for the church who he has no love for. He takes the job for the gold and the ale he will buy with it. Little does he know that this job will set him on a course that will greatly change his life.
Once he delivers his message, after barely surviving the trail, he is found to have some talent. He is coerced to travel with the hermit and some other companions to the capital. No one has ever thought much of him, but as he journeys he finds that he was wrong about himself, most of all.
What I thought: I loved it! I had heard some good things about it, but hadn't actually read any reviews, so I had no expectations going in. It reminded me a little of Lord of the Rings and Juliet Marillier's Bridei Chronicles.
I love it when authors really make me feel the story. This one had plenty of grit due to the time period and plot. It also had such an interesting group of characters and they each had some depth to them. We learn about the land, its history, government, and people as Errol does. I liked this because it wasn't information overload at the beginning. We're just immersed in the world and the story. I didn't feel like anything was easy. Everything that occurred that was amazing or turned out okay took time, work, and some luck. No one came out unscathed either. I did feel Errol was still a little too naive after a little while, like proclaiming his talent when he shouldn't, but overall I felt he was true to his background and age (19 at the end of the story), as well as never having being outside of his village. The ending had a good resolution, but also set us up for the next book. I highly recommend it!
Content: Some innuendo. Genre: YA Fantasy Publication date: February 1, 2013 by Bethany House Publishers Source: NetGalley
This was a fabulous book! I loved it! It definitely made me feel like I was on a roller coaster with all that happened and the characters' different e...moreThis was a fabulous book! I loved it! It definitely made me feel like I was on a roller coaster with all that happened and the characters' different emotions. Sometimes a second book in a series is just filler leading up to the climatic finish in the third book, but that definitely wasn't the case here. There were several climaxes in this book itself. Let me move on to what I loved most about this book.
I loved the characters! Well, except maybe Mal, initially, but in the end he redeemed himself a little. I loved Sturmhond/Nikolai. He is probably my most favorite character introduced in a second book of all time. He has an amazing presence and I know we're going to see more of him later. I loved his confidence, wit, mischievousness, honesty (I know he's not necessarily honest, but it does seem like he is fairly straightforward and says what he wants), intelligence, and his good looks don't hurt him either. I don't know if he'll be a romantic interest for Alina or not. I don't know that she will have her happy ending. The Darkling is right, in some ways, that like calls to like. He does get her and he is a force to be reckoned with. He definitely has that seductive, powerful, and dark pull that Alina is sometimes drawn to. I think she has to end up with someone who loves her as the Sun Summoner as much as the peasant she was and the person she is. Mal seems to have a tough time with that, although I think he is a Grisha in his own way with the talent he has for tracking. Of course I love Alina too. She has a lot to deal with. She is still trying to figure out who she is and her place in the world. I did wish in a few spots that she would have been more confident and communicated better (especially with Mal), but I still understood why she did what she did and she is still an amazing character. I really, really disliked the king and Vasily, who is the prince heir, even more. I actually could have strangled him towards the end. Ugh!
The plot was intense! There was a lot going on and you could feel things thicken. I wasn't sure who would be a danger to Alina first or when and the whole time you know The Darkling is coming for her. I also appreciated the few slow parts and especially the humorous parts, mostly involving Sturmhond. I do wonder in some ways what The Darkling's ultimate plan is. I know he seeks power, but there has got to be more to him seeking Alina and the amplifiers than just that. It makes me wonder what he knows. Then that ending! It wasn't too terrible of a cliffhanger, but I can't wait to find out what Alina and Mal end up doing, how they do it, and when Sturmhond and The Darkling come back into play.
If you enjoy reading YA or Fantasy then I definitely recommend this series!
Content: Some violence and innuendo, but I would basically consider this clean.(less)
This was just a super fun read! I already love the characters, but it was kind of fun to see them play different roles and be thrown together when the...moreThis was just a super fun read! I already love the characters, but it was kind of fun to see them play different roles and be thrown together when they're from different series. They find a type of camaraderie rather quickly, probably because they are from similar worlds. Both are separated from their crews and they have to figure out things mostly on their own. They have no choice, when they are faced with armed men holding their group as hostages.
I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in both series! (less)
Another great re-published work from this author. I was immediately immersed in the story and character, although it did lag for me just a little betw...moreAnother great re-published work from this author. I was immediately immersed in the story and character, although it did lag for me just a little between 1/3 and 1/2 way through, but then picked up again. I would say that the second half of the book was probably my favorite and it had a fabulous ending! I'm looking forward to reading about the rest of the Jonquil brothers as the rest of her books are re-published. Lovely cover too! Content was clean.(less)
I loved the historical setting. I don't think I have thought about those that fought for the "other" side as much as I did in this book set after the...moreI loved the historical setting. I don't think I have thought about those that fought for the "other" side as much as I did in this book set after the Civil War. I also didn't realize how much women were still basically dependent upon their legal guardians or whoever could take them in, especially after the war. They were lucky to even have a place to live in the South most of the time. I really liked the characters and felt like they and the plot were genuine. A fabulous read!(less)
Loved it! I have loved every single one of her books and this was no exception. This is probably one of my top three favorites of hers. Fabulous story...moreLoved it! I have loved every single one of her books and this was no exception. This is probably one of my top three favorites of hers. Fabulous story, romantic, great characters, and clean. Just what I like to read. :)(less)
This was a super fun and sweet read. It includes three short romantic Christmas stories by three different authors. Perfect for a lazy winter night. C...moreThis was a super fun and sweet read. It includes three short romantic Christmas stories by three different authors. Perfect for a lazy winter night. Completely clean. Highly recommend!(less)