The Night Prince series has some pretty good reviews, which is what prompted me to check it out once the paranormal romance mood struck me. It seemed to be a shorter series and it was also only $4 for kindle, which is why I bought it.
I really enjoyed Once Burned. It was a vampire paranormal romance, but before anyone starts rolling their eyes, it was pretty well done. For starters, Leila/Frankie, the heroine, is kind of awesome. She was snarky, independent, and everything I expect from an urban fantasy girl and it was out of place to see a character so strong and witty in a paranormal romance. It offset the very alpha and controlling love interest in a really good way.
Leila was not an unsuspecting human. She worked for a vampire in a circus. She had powers of her own. She couldn't touch very many people without frying them because of the electrical currents in her arm. She also glimpsed pasts and futures when touching a person or an object. I liked that she had her own talents and was using them in a circus act and fending for herself. She ended up being kidnapped and accidentally linked to one of the most powerful vampires on the planet. Vlad. That Vlad. The Impaler. Aka Dracula. It turned out that he was actually pretty decent, though violent. Leila and Vlad immediately had a connection, despite Leila's stubborn resolve to ignore it completely and date someone else.
I liked the paranormal plot and the way everything was high stakes, violent, and dangerous. I didn't think it was too over the top or that the vampire lore was overdone. I liked that Vlad was what you kind of expected, but he wasn't too caveman alpha male or too sleek and elegant like so many vampire guys. The romance was great because I really liked both of the characters and their back stories. While I love paranormal romance, it can be a little redundant when you get alpha male characters and then weak and gasping heroines that melt into puddles whenever they are in the same room alone together, so I found Once Burned to be incredibly refreshing. Leila might have been melting a little, but she used snark to try and counteract her feelings. I loved it!
I definitely recommend Once Burned if you enjoy paranormal romance and want something that has the fun of an urban fantasy with likeable characters and a compelling plot. It's definitely worth the $4. I think that's a steal. I would have totally paid a full $10 for it. I'm not surprised at all that the author also has an urban fantasy series because I totally got that vibe from the Night Prince series and it made me want to pick up the Night Huntress series, too. ...more
Like, the first two books were cute and kind of interesting if I just ignored the logistics and lack of depth. I still don't understand why people rave about this series like it's the best thing since sliced bread. Have any of them heard of K.A. Tucker? Colleen Hoover? Katie McGarry? Was this only all the rage before those authors were writing things?
I hate to sound harsh, especially after rating the first two books fairly at 4 and 3 stars. But I just could not do it anymore.
Book one deals with a gang member and a rich girl in Illinois. They both went to college in Colorado at the end, which was a nice change of pace. Because of the gang presence in their previous area, Alex arranged for his mom and brothers to move to Mexico when he moved to college. And then Carlos was dealing with some craziness in book two. So he moves to Colorado to be with his brother and get some good influence. Somehow, he also gets involved with a gang, but it's still like, not the way of life for that particular area.
Two brothers in the same family have been involved with gangs and have suffered the consequences of their choices and have tried to be better influences on their younger brothers. The only way for book three to even have had Luis be remotely involved in a gang is for him to literally not be on planet earth for his entire childhood and to be utterly unaffected by anything. Or, he's part of a family that doesn't ever talk about anything ever. I'm sorry, but Luis would have to be dumb and completely unaffected by his childhood, family, and surroundings for him to have chosen gang life. And even then, people join gangs because they are affected by their surroundings. We've already decided that Luis is completely blind to anything happening around him so what would make him join or even participate in gang activities? Family? Please. They obviously don't speak to each other about anything that matters. Loyalty? To what? He literally has no idea what color the sky is if he's that unaware of his surroundings.
I already watched two brothers cling to a gang in order to be loyal to themselves, their race, and their family. And I watched what happened, I watched them learn their lessons. I couldn't do it again. Luis was Alex if Alex was also given a million ways out and just didn't bother to pay attention.
Also, why on earth would this family ever move back to an area with gang problems when they lived in a nice area? And if they did, why would they move into the SAME HOUSE is same bad neighborhood. I'm not saying they should have moved to the rich side, but Illinois has to have "slightly ghetto, but still an upgrade" neighborhoods. Why would Alex ever go back to the town with the gang he was jumped out of? I'm pretty sure if you get jumped out of a gang, they still don't want to see your face and the active gang members are not allowed to talk to you and I know that from like handful of prison and gang documentaries.. So, it feels like a dump plot device to create the same situations as book one and two to give the reader the SAME story with different characters that are actually mostly the same.
I thought it would be good because the first two books dealt with unaware white girls who had no idea about anything Mexican or poor. Nikki was Mexican and she also knew about the poor side of the town since her dad was a doctor and operated on Alex (and probably a gazillion other gang members if they are so prominent). But Nikki was just like a Mexican version of the other two love interests in that she had no idea what it was like to have culture, be poor, understand Mexicans, or have a clue as to what is happening. It was disappointing enough to not have the author explore the culture divide and class divide in the first two, but to have a character ignore her heritage and the only real thing that showed it bothered her was when she screwed up homemade flan? Ugh.
Not only did Nikki and Luis irk me, but the OTHER brothers decided to be terrible, too. Alex moved his whole family to the town for no real reason and didn't tell his wife first. Carlos flirted with a girl IN FRONT OF his girlfriend and told the girl he was a bachelor?! Not only was I done with this book, it made me basically dislike everyone else.
If you enjoyed the first two books, but kind of thought they were far fetched, this book is like the icing on the cake. It's too much.
This review is harsh, I know. But it was agony to sit through the author regurgitating the formula of all of the other books. In the first two books, I thought perhaps the author just chose to keep things light and not delve into gang, race, or social issues. But the events of the third book show me that she didn't just want to keep things light, she just wanted to ignore the effects of all of the hard hitting things she inserted into her books and just keep using a formula that worked for her. The books have gangs in order to create a conflict, not because the author wanted to have characters who were affected by their situations or to say anything real about anything.
I don't recommend this book unless you just want a light romance that has cookie cutter characters. I expected too much by wanting anything deeper than that. #sorrynotsorry ...more
I liked Perfect Chemistry enough to be curious about the rest of the series. Since all ofReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
I liked Perfect Chemistry enough to be curious about the rest of the series. Since all of the books are available to download on Kindle from my local library and are quick and easy to read, I figured I might as well read them all.
For a light contemporary YA romance, Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction are good books. They are full of conflict, emotions, and romance with all of the right lessons learned and changes made. I get why so many people have raved about this series.
I enjoyed Rules of Attraction and liked the characters. I liked getting to see Alex and Brittany from the first book and getting to see Alex's younger brother change his ways and grow as a person. However, I feel like it was pretty similar to the first book in the sense that the guy is in a gang and falls for a girl who has no idea what that might be like. There's something unbelievable about it all. It doesn't have the realness that I look for when I read contemporary romances and it was just too.. easy.
I know I'm being picky, but I think it's because I'm a huge Katie McGarry fan and she tackles the poor and mixed up youth in a way that is believable and real. She kind of digs underneath the exterior and shows us why they are the way they are and how they are awesome people, just like she exposes the richer characters and shows how their family life can be less than perfect.
In this series, I feel like Alex and Carlos are in their gang just to be a plot device and I don't sense the reasons why someone would join. I have no idea if the author has experience with gang members or mixed up youth, but I feel like the author must either be too far removed to truly express a person's motivations in a sympathetic light, or only vaguely educated about what gang life is like. Also, I feel like the author doesn't quite capture regular people, either. Everyone is a little too much of who they are supposed to be. The popular girl is shallow. The gay guy is funny and quirky. The tomboy girl is more complex that you'd expect. It's not like the characters are all cookie cutter, but none of them really... break their molds.
This is a YA romance I recommend to fans of light contemporary with a little fluff and a happy ending. If you're looking for something that captures the complexities of class and culture, it's not really the right series.
With that being said, of course I've downloaded the next book. The series is fun, cute, and I have no idea what else to read right now. And sometimes, books like these are the best medicine for times when you don't know what to read and want a story that makes you feel good. ...more
I should just stop trying to read billionaire romances that everyone else loves. I get inReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
I should just stop trying to read billionaire romances that everyone else loves. I get into a mood where I want to read romance with a bit of spice to it and I think that maybe I'll find of these I'll enjoy. And then I don't. I just need to stop trying.
There's something so cold and clinical about these types of situations and it loses all of the things I love about a good romance novel, where two people just click and can't avoid each other. The contract and the I'm-going-to-take-over-your-life-and-work thing just sucks all of the romance out of it for me. I mean, sure, I like the fact that the guy gets to take control and those things give him extra power, but I think it's a shitty plot device designed to create a situation in which the heroine wouldn't think to refuse and makes being bent over a desk by your boss seem more... reasonable? I don't know.
I think I just need to stick with regular people romance (as in no powerful and controlling billionaires) and paranormal romance (when a guy's need to take control can be part of his animal instincts and not just him being a rich jackass).
Rush was better than Fifty Shades because Mia wasn't annoying and she didn't refer to any inner goddess or bite her lip a thousand times. Also, I think it was better because, while the arrangement was crappy and not something I like, at least I could pretend like the characters knew what they wanted because they had a history of knowing each other and being in the same circles and weren't strangers. So, if you like these kinds of romances, it's better than Fifty. I prefer the Bared to You series over this one, though, because Mia didn't have quite as much spunk as that heroine and because Gabe was also older and I'm not really into the 15 year age gaps.
(Also, I think it's hilarious that people say the contract aspect makes it a rip off of Fifty Shades when Fifty Shades is freaking Twilight fan fiction in the first place, but that's another story).
Overall, it wasn't bad, if this sort of story if your thing. For me, these just don't work. The only one I ever really enjoyed was Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige, and even then I wonder if I did because I expected to hate it more. In any case, because I realize that I should just not be reading these books in the first place, I'm giving it 3 stars to be fair. ...more
People rave about this series, yet I've only ever read one book by the author and didn't enjoy it very much. When I saw this was available through my local library, I decided I'd give it a shot. I really enjoyed the book, despite my initial reservations. It's not the best YA contemporary romance I've read and I do prefer the way that Katie McGarry tackles the tough issues and "other side of the tracks" characters, but I felt like Perfect Chemistry was well done and better than I imagined it would be.
I didn't really like that the main character was in a gang. I'm all for poor meets rich romances, but I kind of lose all respect for people who actually join a gang. However, I grew to like Alex as a character and understood why he made some of the choices that he did. I would have preferred he just been in a certain lifestyle without actually being a part of a gang, but I guess I got over it once I got to know his character.
I liked Brittany and I enjoyed getting a glimpse of her stressful life. I liked that she was so good to her sister, who had some physical and mental disabilities, and I think dealing with that made her a better person than she appeared. However, I wish she didn't place so much effort on being perfect and I wish she spoke her mind more often. I liked that Alex was the spark that made her more herself.
The conflict was great and I'm glad I picked this up. I might have enjoyed it more had I not just read Take Me On by Katie McGarry that deals with a similar situation, but Perfect Chemistry was super addicting and I devoured it in less than a day, so I still highly recommend it if you like YA contemporary romance and I'm bumping up what might have been 3 stars to a 4 because I enjoyed it so much. The series is available through my library, so I'll definitely grab the sequel. ...more
I absolutely loved A Court of Thorn and Roses. It was magnificent, as wellReview originally posted at Love Literature Art and Reason book review blog.
I absolutely loved A Court of Thorn and Roses. It was magnificent, as well written as the Throne of Glass series, and in some ways, even better. It was a mixture of fantasy and fairy tale. Not only did it involve Faery legends, it was somewhat of a Beauty and the Beast retelling at the same time. I loved that it combined various aspects, making it a unique and tantalizing novel.
I admired Feyre and loved her as a character. She was ruthless and cunning, but she was out of her element in beyond the gate in the world of the Fae. There was so much she didn't know about it. The legends and her life on the other side did not prepare her well for the types of people and creatures she met.
I really liked Tamlin and Lucien. As each bit of information about them was uncovered, it was like peeling layers back. Tamlin was a multidimensional character with problems of his own. He was unable to express those problems to Feyre for multiple reasons. I wasn't expecting the story to follow the arc that it did. Other fairy tale retellings would have stopped with a happily ever after once the heroine discovered she had feelings for the beast, but A Court of Thorn and Roses did not take that route. And that is what puts it above and beyond other retellings!
As I said, the novel is unique and full of various aspects. The story took an unexpected turn. Things became dangerous, complicated, and terrible for the characters. I loved the twist and I enjoyed being to able to see Feyre fight for everything she believed in against all odds, further molding her into a complex person and favorite character. She was awesome.
However, I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel now. I am terrified of the sequel and what will happen. I have no idea if the author will turn things into something I don't want to see happen... but at the same time, I'm trying to be open to the idea. Sarah J. Maas is an awesome author who has created a roller coaster of emotions for me with this series as well as the Throne of Glass novels, so I have faith that the series will continue to be awesome.
I highly recommend A Court of Thorn and Roses, especially if you're a fan of Throne of Glass because Sarah J. Maas writes awesome books. I think it's different enough to not really compete with it. In some ways, it's better because I felt like there was more romantic tension, but obviously there are things I prefer about Throne of Glass. This is definitely a must read whether you like fantasy, Fae legends, or fairy tale retellings because it combines them all into one awesome story! I can't wait for the sequel....more
Katie McGarry is the queen of YA contemporary romance, I swear. How can she write about b Review originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
Katie McGarry is the queen of YA contemporary romance, I swear. How can she write about both sides of the tracks the way she does and continuously tug at my heartstrings? It's insane.
Take Me On was yet another amazing addition to the Pushing the Limit series. It's been awhile since I've read the books and I totally forgot who everyone was, which was totally disorienting at first. It didn't take long for the backstory to form in my memory, but it wasn't super important to remember every detail.
I really liked West, although I'm vaguely aware that I hated him in the last book because I thought he was a preppy jackass, but I think that's kind of the point. He was a determined person and he wasn't going to run to a friend or back home when a fight his father resulted in him being kicked out of his home/mansion. He met Haley when he almost ran her over with his car/new home.
Haley was an interesting character. She was a champion kick boxer with a fighting phobia after an encounter with a violent ex boyfriend. She quit fighting and she was constantly running, trying to protect everyone around her except herself. Circumstances brought her and West together and they both had lessons to lear
I admit that Haley got on my nerves a couple of times because I just couldn't understand why she let everyone push her around, but I kind of understood that she was just doing what she thought was best. If she opened up to anyone, I think her family would have handled things different. West was willing to fight for her and make her open up and she became a much better person in the process.
I love Katie McGarry and she can consistently deliver YA romance that doesn't suffer from cheesiness or insta-love or annoying tropes. She is definitely one of my favorites and I love all of her Pushing the Limits characters. ...more
Conversion was the story about a boarding school where girls suddenly developed strange sReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
Conversion was the story about a boarding school where girls suddenly developed strange symptoms and no one knew what was causing it. There were parallels to the events in Salem Village in 1706, so parts of the novel went back to that time period. In the present, hysteria and panic were taking over the town, but the students still had tests to take and colleges to interview with. Colleen's history substitute gave her some extra credit to bring up her grade and suggested that she compare history to The Crucible to determine what was fiction and what was fact. The teacher was bothered by the fact that the regular teacher was using a fictional play to teach historical fact. The author of the play was making parallels to 1950s hysteria and communism and using the events in Salem as a backdrop to make those parallels. Not only did the extra credit have connections with the 50s, it definitely resembled the hysteria and panic taking over the town, so it was a good project for Colleen to be working on while craziness enveloped her town. Conversion definitely had a lot going on and tons of interesting threads.
I enjoyed the novel, but I found that there was a ton of build up to some fantastic ending that would connect all of the dots and that never really happened. I wasn't necessarily looking for something to have caused the symptoms, but I was looking for some better execution of the similar threads of the story. The pieces were all there, but it all just kind of fell flat for me. I liked the way it ended and what the author explained in her Author's Note at the end about the events that inspired her to write the book. However, I feel like she took conversion, The Crucible, hysteria, and Salem and didn't connect them all as seamlessly and draw parallels from them with Colleen as the oblivious main character. I would have liked to have gotten the teacher's POV or perhaps 3rd person POV and probably would have enjoyed the conclusion. I'm possibly being unfair because this book kind of reminded me of The Fever by Megan Abbott, which was brilliant and took on the way that hysteria and panic affects people and wasn't trying to connect with past events in order to do so.
I would recommend Conversion because it did have some interesting connections and points to make about the stresses placed on teens and girls in general. It was the kind of story that had me flying through the pages. I think some of the effect was lost on me because I was expecting one of two things and the story didn't take either path. Still, I enjoy the author's style of writing and I love that all of her books so far have connected to Salem, as the witch trials are of huge interest to me and always have been. Conversion has been on my radar for a very long time and I snatched it up as soon as it was in paperback, so a lot of my disappointment is probably from my own personal hype. I couldn't wait to read this book and I should have not expected it to shatter my reality or anything crazy like that. it was really good and it made some awesome points about people, stress, hysteria, and history. ...more
Fall With Me was a cute contemporary romance with a quirky main character you can't help but love. It was a second chance romance, which I typically enjoy because it takes the whole meet, lock eyes, and cue the insta-lust issue out of romance. I love love-at-first-sight, but in NA and adult romance, it's usually too much and too lusty. Roxy and Reece knew each other, had a one night stand eleven months earlier, and Roxy had pretty much been avoiding him every since because she felt pretty strongly about him and he seemed to be all regretful.
Fall With Me had light characters and a nice romance, but it also contained some serious things. Roxy's best friend was in a long term care facility after he was violently attacked as a result of his sexual orientation. Roxy also received threats and was being messed with in odd ways, which added a little bit of mystery/crime to the plot.
I enjoyed the book a lot, as I typically do with all of the author's books. There's something about the way she writes that makes it so much fun to read and I'm able to finish her books quickly. The mystery was easy to figure out and I would have been disappointed had that been the main plot, but it wasn't, so I can ignore the fact that was obvious.
I liked watching Roxy grow, see how her relationship with Reece would form, and see her realize that not all things are black and white. The hatred she had for her friend's attacker was counterproductive and I liked seeing her sort of realize that and be able to rise above it.
I definitely recommend the book to any fans of light contemporary New Adult romance. She's definitely by go to author for when I'm in the mood for it....more
Death Sworn had a good premise. Ileni was sent to teach by her people in a cave of assassReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
Death Sworn had a good premise. Ileni was sent to teach by her people in a cave of assassins after the last two teachers died in mysterious ways. She was losing her magic and quite useless in the region of her people and figured that was part of the reason she was chosen.
Death Sworn had no world building. None. I have no idea what kind of world it was set in, what the history between the Elders and the assassins were, why the Empire was to be overthrown, or what role each group played in the Empire. As a result, the book was quite unpredictable in terms of who killed who and what would happen with the overall conflict. However, the lack of world building was aggravating.
The book also featured an insta-love connection between the teacher and one of the assassin students assigned to her protection. I'm not really sure in what world a group of Elders would send a teacher so young to a group of men learning to be assassins, but since I'm also not sure what world this book was placed in, perhaps it's the same one. It was so obvious that Ileni would start to develop feelings for her protector.
I didn't like Ileni and since the story took place in the caves and she was isolated, I never really got more of other people or a change of scenery at all. She lacked an understanding of the assassins that a teacher should probably have. She was a little snobby, despite being utterly useless as her magic was draining (a problem in which we were given no reason for). If the story was supposed to be about changing your worldview, then the love story between the two characters would have been amazing. However, that wasn't really the point, so it was just kind of.. there.
Death Sworn had a ton of potential, but it just didn't hit the mark. It felt short in multiple ways. If it was a small section of a fantasy novel in which other characters were featured outside and it all created a conflict in the Empire, I would have not minded Ileni's story. But as a whole, the isolation, lack of world building, and instalove were all too much for me to overlook. To me, this reads like an underdeveloped slice of the plot of An Ember in the Ashes. ...more
I enjoyed Split Second and the fact that it gave me some closure as to what would happen with Addie after she chose her path and lost the memories of her Search in book one. She obtained new powers and connected with family members, while also uncovering secrets within her Compound. Her best friend learned a lot about the Compound and gained a sense of empathy and compassion after connecting with a boy named Connor, who had memories that couldn't be erased. Each character grew immensely and had to face major conflicts.
The concept of the Pivot Point duology was intriguing and I loved the way the author executed the plot. Addie was a likeable character. I enjoyed the fact that in both instances regarding the Norm boy, Trevor, it was never insta-love and they kind of started off as friends with a connection neither one could ignore. I completely enjoyed watching the two characters struggle with their feelings and slowly grow to realize that they were meant to be together. It was sweet, but I also loved the high stakes conflict surrounding them as well.
After reading this duology and one of the author's YA contemporary romances, I'm convinced I found a new favorite author who does a wonderful job creating stories that are full of emotion and conflict. I loved the tests that Addie had to go through after spending the summer with her father and I enjoyed how she grew into her changing powers in order to keep everyone she cared about safe. I got all of the closure I was missing from the first book and I'm glad the story wasn't stretched out to span more books, but ended in a way that left me satisfied and happy I picked up the two books.
I highly recommend the Pivot Point duology. It's an awesome YA science fiction with an emphasis on family, friendships, and relationships. There's a reason it's so highly rated on Goodreads and was surprisingly awesome. ...more
The Distance Between Us was an awesome contemporary YA romance! Books like this one are tReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
The Distance Between Us was an awesome contemporary YA romance! Books like this one are the reason I am beginning to love YA contemporary romance. It wasn't filled with unrealistic things like insta-lust. It wasn't preachy like so many adult contemporaries seem to be. It was a simple and wonderful story about love between two very different types of people.
I loved Caymen. I am such a sarcastic person and I totally loved that she wasn't afraid to be snarky and sarcastic to just about everyone. It was a personality trait I hardly ever see in a character, especially the star of a romance novel. Xander was a charming. I sided with Caymen in thinking he was privileged and snobby, but eventually it was clear that he really was a good person who loved that she wasn't fake and out to get something from being in a relationship with him.
The conflict of money is definitely one that appears in a lot of romance plots, but it's a pretty valid one and Caymen was realistic about who she was. The thing I liked about this novel was that the main character was not envious of the rich. She actually scoffed at most of it, yet wasn't quite bitter and nasty about it, either. It was a good balance and I think the author created a pretty realistic, sweet, and amazing contemporary romance with a tried and true conflict.
I highly recommend The Distance Between Us. It's a perfect summer read and I finished it in just about a day. It was super cute, left me feeling all sorts of warm and fuzzy, and was definitely well written! ...more
I obtained a copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
The Library at Mount Char was insanely weird. If I'm being honest, I almost stopped reading about halfway through because nothing made sense and I didn't like any of the characters from the Library. Little of the plot was explained and I wasn't sure why I should care one way or the other about these strange and terrible people. But, since my track record with finishing and liking books from Blogging for Books is low, I kept trudging through because I didn't want to hate another book I got for review.
The book rewards you for your patience. The last half of the book was much better than the first. I felt like I was gaining a better understanding of Father's children, what happened to them, and why they were so cruel and terrible. The addition of human characters to the plot and getting their points of view was also helpful in changing my mind. Steve also thought Carolyn and the others were crazy as fuck, so at least I wasn't alone in my opinion.
The ending was weird, but it explained virtually everything, so I was happy. I felt like everything came full circle. I understood why things were the way they were and what was wrong with the other characters. I just wished that the author could have gotten to the point a bit faster and perhaps executed the story a bit differently in order to better explore the loss of humanity that came from being a Librarian. Half of this book is quite a lot to wait for the story to kick in and I don't know that other readers would be as willing to wait that long.
The near end where we figured out the origins of the librarians and how their lives were shaped and changed should have been at the beginning, where at least we can see the contrast, feel some sort of emotion for them, and understand a bit better. I understand that a large point of the book was the loss of humanity of the Librarians. Carolyn was the most human of them, but she was still far from human and I didn't like that she was the main character for so much of the book. Steve should have been introduced sooner or something in order to give me a character that wasn't crazy and detached.
The Library at Mount Char was a weird, surreal horror mixed with fantasy in a real world setting. It was a crazy premise that was certainly interesting. The last half of the book was awesome and I felt like I was rooting for the right people. I definitely enjoyed it and I loved Carolyn's plan and how such tiny actions were allotted her in her plan.
I recommend the book to fans of weird, violent, and horrific novels. I liked the ending and the overall plot. It's definitely more Clive Barker than Neil Gaiman, but I think the synopsis does a pretty good job of explaining what you'll be getting when you crack open the book. It's crazy, but kind of cool.
I loved At the Water's Edge. I was a big fan of Water for Elephants, despite the fact thaReview originally published at Love Literature Art and Reason
I loved At the Water's Edge. I was a big fan of Water for Elephants, despite the fact that the novel really didn't fit into my normal category of fiction I read. I was impressed by the writing, which is why I decided to pick this book up. I had to see if the author would wow me all over again. She definitely did. This book has some negative reviews and it's constantly compared to the author's other novel. I think a lot of people were looking for another Water for Elephants instead of being open to a new story line, which is the recipe for disappointment. Authors should not be expected to write more of the same and I'm disappointed that so many people wanted the novel to be so much like her first.
At the Water's Edge is NOT Water for Elephants. It's a completely different story: Different time period, different types of people, different conflicts, and a different plot. It's not the same. Do not expect it to be. If you're open to a similar style of writing with lessons to learn about life and love, then At the Water's Edge will not disappoint.
I admit the book was tough to get into at first. I couldn't stand the attitude of the main characters. They were spoiled, privileged, selfish, and ridiculous. Maddie didn't seem quite so bad at times, but I could tell she was naïve and ridiculous and had no idea how to navigate the real world. It was tough to like a character who had never done her own hair, makeup, nails, laundry, dishes, etc or feel sorry for her. The other problem was that, because the main characters were selfish and clueless, the fact that the novel took place in a time of war ended up not mattering a whole lot to the plot. For anyone reading the book in hopes it would be a war-focused historical fiction novel, I can see why it would be disappointing. And yet, the selfishness of the characters and the war time setting did impact the plot in some subtle and some obvious ways and were quite brilliantly executed plot points.
It did not take long for the story to take shape and suck you in. I was hooked and unable to put it down and I wasn't even sure how it happened so quickly. I went from trudging through the first few chapters to plowing through it.
At the Water's Edge was about Maddie. She found herself in Scotland with her husband and his friend on a quest to photograph the Loch Ness monster and redeem his family's name that was tarnished by a badly faked photograph. During her stay, Maddie began to realize her husband wasn't the kind of person she thought he was and his alcohol and drug addiction began to spiral out of control. Maddie was left at the inn most of the time and started to form friendships with the "help" there and step outside of her station a bit.
Maddie grew so much as a character and I loved watching it happen. I hated her husband and I just wanted her to see what I saw and figure out a way to change her situation. Once she stopped expecting other people to change her life or take care of her, she became a truly amazing character. I began to admire her and root for her.
I highly recommend At the Water's Edge. I was captivated. It was full of drama, secrets, history, romance, and conflict. It was the kind of historical fiction I love. It wasn't too focused on the war or too focused on romance and kept a good balance between the two. The story was about growth and identity and was brilliantly executed. Despite being different from Water for Elephants, it left me with the same feeling after closing it and realizing I read an excellent book that I just want to savor again. ...more