Bound by Birthright is Janeal Falor’s latest release and is a fantastically told adventure that is packed with danger and romance and is riddled with magic, pirates and dashing suitors.
For decades the elves and the humans have been at odds with one another; relations between their two people bad at best. To unite the two races and bring about peace, Elven princess Arabella is promised in marriage to human prince Phillip. Yet on the eve of her wedding, the growing unrest between her people forces Arabella and a trusted group of protectors to flee her castle home and go into hiding in order to protect her life from those who see the betrothal as the ultimate betrayal. When her refuge is invaded by deadly pirates, Arabella finds herself going on the run with humans who promise to keep her safe, including the charming Robert who ignites a want in Arabella like never before. But as the danger increases and with lives on the line, Arabella must not only fight for her life, but decide just how far she’s willing to go to protect her people; even if it’s at the expense of her own heart…….
As a fan of Janeal Falor’s previous work, I was really excited to read Bound by Birthright and utterly thrilled that Janeal Falor did not disappoint! I really, really loved this book! With the premise sounding promising, I had high hopes for Bound by Birthright and quickly found myself devouring the novel. Bound by Birthright was a well written, well-paced fantasy featuring a highly likable leading lady and the kind of romance I absolutely love. A fantasy tale through and through, there’s pirates, elves, magic and forbidden romance all woven into a fast paced and exciting tale.
Supported by a great cast of characters, Bound by Birthright is told through the eyes of the elven princess Arabella. Arabella was a true fantasy heroine and someone I liked very much. Having lived the life of a princess, Arabella is understandably soft in a lot of ways, but has a strong fire inside her. She genuinely wants to help her people, doesn’t put herself first and is quick to offer help to those around her. Really, she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body; even as she begins to fall for a man she knows she can never be with. Arabella still wants to do the right thing by her people, even at her own cost. She’s smart and capable and grows throughout the novel.
Nothing seems to go as planned for our characters and I loved the twist after twist Janeal Falor wrote into the story. There was plenty of excitement to be found within this story. Fantastic action scenes, electric chemistry and budding friendships added to my enjoyment and I easily became swept up in the growing romance between Arabella and Robert that wasn’t over baring and was rather the icing on the cake with a fantastic book.
Racing towards an incredible cliffhanger ending that will leave you trying to turn pages in the hopes that there’s more of this delectable tale to read, Bound by Birthright is a brilliant start to Janeal Falor’s Elven Princess series and is something that I highly recommend for this to love well told, exciting and enjoyable fantasy!
Learning to Swim by Annie Cosby is a delightful contemporary read with a paranormal undertone that will sweep you up on a summer adventure set in a pleasing coastal town.
Cora Manchester is just trying to figure out what she wants to do with her future when her mother whisks the family away to spend the summer in the small town of Oyster Beach, hoping to re-connect. Staying in a horrendously pink house and spending time with other vacationing families much like her own, Cora seeks an escape with the town’s locals. Quickly striking up a friendship with Mrs O’Leary, a kind but lonely old woman who tells tales of mythological creatures and who struggles to see the line between fantasy and reality, Cora spends her days near the ocean, learning of magical creatures within the sea. Until she meets Ronan, a local boy who makes her heart race like never before and whose connection to Mrs O’Leary is one Cora never could have expected……
Learning to Swim was one of those books that really was just a delight to read. The novel was well written and flows nicely. It’s not the fastest paced novel I’ve ever read but rather flows at a steady pace. Learning to Swim was easy to read and it seemed effortless to follow the likable characters and steadily learn about their lives and their stories. Annie Cosby weaves some Celtic and Gaelic history into the tale and throws us the perfect hint of paranormal to compliment the story. Tales of mythology and paranormal creatures litter the book thanks to fantastical Mrs O’Leary, but as the reader you’re never sure whether the stories are just that; stories….or maybe hints at something more?
Filled with different characters with plenty of personality, Learning to Swim follows a decent main character in Cora. Cora is your typical teenage girl on the brink of adulthood, and as such Cosby writes her that way. Spoilt and given everything by her parents—bar her freedom—Cora will at times frustrate and baffle you, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Cora is a character who grows a lot and ultimately learns in this novel.
Annie Cosby gives Cora a love interest in the form of Ronan, who really isn’t who he seems. I quite liked the attraction that simmered between her and Rory that saw them bicker in the beginning and then slowly bond with their friendship with Mrs. O’Leary. Cora and Rory were a sweet couple and I appreciated the way Cosby wrote them.
Learning to Swim sees Cora learn some interesting truths about the world around her, but it’s not until the very final chapter that the biggest revelation and development comes to light. Personally there were certain things I put together early on, but that only made me more excited when Cora finally finds out herself.
Ending with a cliffhanger at a big moment, Learning to Swim will leave you without a doubt raring to dive into the next book to discover what happens to Cora and Rory next! ...more
The Midnight Sea by Kat Ross is an incredibly told, incredibly addictive and straight out fantastic fantasy that is perfect for fans of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas or Graceling by Kristin Cashore!
Set in an alluring fictional land that takes cues from real history, The Midnight Sea introduces readers to Nazafareen, a young woman who is sought by her King’s elite to train as a Water Dog; a select group of fighters who protect the empire from the Undead. Grief stricken after the loss of her sisters at the hands of an evil Druj, Nazafareen is willing to do anything to destroy the monsters that took her sisters life; even be bonded to one. In order to fight Druj on an almost even playing field, Water Dogs are linked to creatures known as daeva, a special breed of Druj that have been bred and have fought for the empire for centuries. Bonded to a daeva named Darius through a unique gold cuff, Nazafareen is unprepared for the difficulties being bonded brings….and the feelings Darius stirs in her. Though she has sworn to uphold her people’s honour, over time Nazafareen begins to question just what she’s fighting for and just who are the true monsters……
Can I just say how impressed with The Midnight Sea I was? I mean seriously. This novel was fantastic! From the opening chapters I was absolutely swept up into Nazafareen’s story and unwilling to put the novel down. It was so easy to become absorbed in the story and this lush but dangerous world Kat Ross has created. Definitely a favourite of mine so far this year.
Set against a mountainous backdrop, The Midnight Sea takes readers into the heart of various small villages and towns and explores simple mountain people, elite fighters and dangerous creatures in fabulous circumstances. Personally, I loved the blend of danger, magic and character chemistry that litters this novel. There’s a simple feel that encompasses this novel, as you would expect with a fantasy novel that explores the most promising fantasy elements and manages to weave different aspects of love, loyalty and trust in with plenty of action scenes, danger and exhilaration.
The creatures Ross introduces and features were really interesting. Druj are basically demons or evil spirits if you will, but Ross gives them a little bit of a twist and features an intriguing race of people named the daeva. Daeva are humanoid and can easily be mistaken for human. They hurt, they feel, they care……and I really enjoyed getting to know the ones we meet within the story—especially Darius if I’m begin honest.
I truly felt that Nazafareen was a wonderful heroine to follow. Strong, personable and quick thinking, Nazafareen was down to earth, comes from a simple upbringing and manages to make something of herself as a Water Dog. Yet when the time comes for her to make a stand and pick a side, she isn’t led by idle promises and pretty words—she does what she thinks is right and knows to be fair. Truly I liked her, and the tangible relationship she develops with Darius.
Obviously there’s a romantic element to the relationship between Nazafareen and Darius, but I liked that it was a delicious undercurrent to the story and that they were partners first and foremost. Connected in a way few are, Nazafareen and Darius overcame their own misguided thoughts and beliefs about the other to bond as only a bonded and their daeva can. It was thrilling seeing them grow and develop and of course I’m thrilled with the aspect of forbidden their pairing brings to the story. So much promise, so much intensity—I love it!
Filled with plenty of luscious side characters and plenty of storyline developments, Kat Ross explores her riveting new world wonderfully in this first novel; setting the story for the rest of the series and leaving this reader at least dying for the next book to once more join Nazafareen and Darius on their daring adventure! ...more
Princess of Tyrone by Katie Hamstead is a delightful retelling of the fairytale classic Sleeping Beauty and is perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer and those who love a well told fairytale!
Apolline has lived her whole life on the planet of Mish, happily hunting in the forest and living with her three fairy guardians. Believing herself to be an orphan, there’s no way she ever considered she might be the missing princess of Tyrone, kept in hiding lest an evil sorceress force her to sleep for eternity due to a long ago placed curse, unless her betrothed, the Prince of Oran can wake her with true love’s kiss. Apolline knows she’s betrothed and that’s never been an issue….until she meets Allard. Handsome, intelligent and charming, Allard is betrothed too, but neither can fight the pull they feel for each other, and as their friendship grows and develops into something deeper, both Apolline and Allard are in for some unexpected surprises as danger arises and they must fight for all they love…..
My goodness was Princess of Tyrone a thrilling tale! Honestly, I just devoured it. Told through both Apolline and Allard’s POV’s, Princess of Tyrone was fun, adventurous and romantic; a brilliant reciting of Sleeping Beauty with a sci-fi twist. There’s pirates and ogres and magic galore as Katie Hamstead draws readers into a sweeping tale of romance, butt kicking heroines and a beautiful and addictive romance.
Apolline was a really fierce heroine to follow. She was as far from a typical princess as you could get and was the first one to jump into the fray; fighting, shooting and taking things down. With her huntress background, a gun in her holster and an often disheveled appearance, Apolline was a character you found yourself cheering for. She was sweet, but sassy and I loved her attitude. I couldn’t fault her as a main character—especially in a fairytale retelling. Apolline managed to be very strong in character and kick-ass as a heroine.
As Apolline’s love interest and leading man, Allard was a worthy match for Apolline. Sure he was charming and handsome, but he was also kind and honest and genuine. Allard was a good guy and someone swoon worthy. If I had to pick a fairytale prince; Allard is definitely someone I’d choose—he was just everything I could have wanted.
Now, I don’t want to give too much away, but Apolline and Allard were such a fabulous couple and I really enjoyed their romance. Hamstead writes their building friendship and budding romance in such a way, you actually feel the chemistry and the tension between them. Stolen glances and soft caresses keep their feelings growing and they manage to bring out the best in each other; as well as a smile to this readers face.
Princess of Tyrone was a very fun and fresh fairytale retelling and I’m very intrigued by the sci-fi world Katie Hamstead has introduced. We met plenty of fairytale characters in Princess of Tyrone and Hamstead clearly has a vivid idea of the twists she’s put on the classics. I’m very much looking forward to more and I highly recommend Princess of Tyrone! ...more
Smash & Grab by Amy Christine Parker is a fast paced contemporary read that is a delicious blend of Ally Carter’s Heist Society and Simone Elkeles Perfect Chemistry and will thrill you until the very final page.
Wealthy high school student and adrenaline junkie Lexi’s life comes crashing down around her when her banker father is arrested for fraud and her family’s assets are frozen. Setting out to prove her father wasn’t in it alone, Lexi goes undercover as an intern at the bank where he works. With the help of her brother and a close group of friends, Lexi hopes to discover some evidence that might prove that her father wasn't in it alone. Christian is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks, determined to protect his family. Blackmailed and forced to participate in a number of bank heists by the ruling gang in his neighbourhood, Christian is desperate for a way out that doesn’t end in bloodshed. When the gang boss promises freedom in exchange for Christian leading the biggest heist he’s ever conducted, Christian reluctantly agrees. But when a chance encounter between Christian and Lexi ups the stakes, the two teens discover that they may have to combine their individual heists if they have any hope of pulling either heist off……
Smash & Grab is one of those novels you read that is a little unrealistic, but you enjoy nonetheless. Do I really believe a bunch of high school students could infiltrate a bank and then participate in a multi-million dollar robbery? Um, no. But it was really fun to read regardless. If not simply for the entertainment factor and the romance.
Nicely paced and continually picking up speed, Smash & Grab has been well thought out by author Amy Christine Parker. If you’ve ever enjoyed heist tales, Smash & Grab is sure to please. Personally I think Parker put all the elements of the heist together well, and I enjoyed seeing the characters undertake different roles to bring things together. Ultimately when the heist is carried out is the most exciting part of the novel, but Parker still managed to keep me entertained with the connection between Lexi and Christian and all the developments that see the heist set up.
I enjoyed the basic rich girl/boy from the wrong side of the tracks element Parker adds into the story. Throw in the fact that Christian really is a good guy just wanting to take care of his family, and this Mexican bank robber quickly won me over.
Easy to read and definitely worth the time, Smash & Grab will bring a smile to your face as two teens from opposite sides of the spectrum attempt to pull of different heists. What starts out as a way to get what they want by using the other turns into an endearing romance that will leave you satisfied with its ending.
Love Me, Love Me Not is a magical and whimsical tale that sees Alyxandra Harvey once more draw fans into a luscious and romantic tale mingling romance, magic and excitement!
Having previously read all of Alyxandra Harvey’s published work, I was excited to dive into Love Me, Love Me Not and once again, Harvey did not disappoint! I found Love Me, Love Me Not was a well told and well-paced novel that deftly wove magic, romance and danger together and introduced readers to some thrilling new mythology. The concept of "swan girls" was very different and unlike a lot of shape-shifting type tales, Love Me, Love Me Not really did explore something I hadn’t seen before.
Love Me, Love Me Not is told through the varying POV’s of Anastasia "Ana" Vila and Peirce Kent. Ana is from a long line of women who are able to turn into swans and who has been patiently waiting for the moment she would fall in love and receive her swan form. Pierce on the other hand is Ana’s literature loving best friend who has been secretly pining for Ana for years and who is the only person outside Ana’s family who know about swan maidens. Ana only seems to think of Peirce as a friend but as that slowly changes and as the blood feud between Ana’s family and their enemies escalate, soon Ana finds herself in danger of not only losing her heart, but her life…..
Personally I really enjoyed Love Me, Love Me Not and found it to be a very enjoyable, easy read. Harvey has clearly thought about her mythology well and I liked these strong and fiery swan maidens. The dynamic between the Vila family members was really nice and I liked their devotion to one another. If I’m being picky, I did notice some similarities in the family dynamic between the Vila’s and the Drake family from Alyxandra Harvey’s Drake Chronicles—but these were only minor similarities; nothing that would make or break the novel for me.
As far as I’m aware, Love Me, Love Me Not is a standalone novel, but I’d really love the chance to explore some of the other characters, including the Renard’s. Ana’s cousins Sonnet, Rosalita & Mei Lin hold promise, as does Liv Renard, a "fox" girl. It would be nice to see Harvey flesh the series out a little bit more, but I’m only speculating (and hoping) here.
Nicely paced, magical and romantic, Love Me, Love Me Not features two likable main characters and I romance that develops well over time. A decent read worth your time! ...more
Totally Starcross’d is a delightful novella by S.D. Wasley that ret**spoiler alert** Find this review and more on my blog The Rest Is Still Unwritten!
Totally Starcross’d is a delightful novella by S.D. Wasley that retells the famous William Shakespeare play Romeo & Juliet and introduces readers to the star crossed lovers in a way like never before!
Romilly Montague’s father is Alan Montague and is a strong contender for the Governor of Verona. Beautiful, smart and kind, Romilly longs for freedom, but it’s not until she meets an alluring boy at a political event that she feels her heart flutter. Julian Capulet doesn’t support his father’s political ideals at all—in fact he’d rather not see his dad beat Alan Montague in the race for Governor. The eldest son in a very conservative family, Julian isn’t expecting to meet Romilly, or be unable to get her out of his head. Their fathers are political adversaries and their families at war, but Romilly and Julian quickly become smitten with each and refuse to be torn apart, whatever the consequences…..
I was very impressed with this novella by S.D. Wasley. Almost everyone is familiar with the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet in some way, shape or form but Wasley gives it a little bit of a shake up with Totally Starcross’d. Though short in length, Totally Starcross’d is well written and paced. Romilly and Julian’s romance moves swiftly, but feels very believable too.
Totally Starcross’d manages to be very fun and light, and the gender switches of the characters was very clever on Wasley’s part. I liked that Totally Starcross’d was set in modern times and was relevant in today’s society. Wasley managed to competently retell Romeo & Juliet and touch on all major moments and characters in this tale. Romilly and Julian were likable and their romance sweet—unlike the original tale I didn’t find myself wanting to strangle the characters for their ill-fated choices.
Fresh and fun, Totally Starcross’d is a quaint twist on Romeo and Juliet that progresses nicely and doesn’t end at all in the way you’d expect. Nicely done S.D. Wasley!
Twisted Sisters is the second novel in Kimber Leigh Wheaton’s Orion Circle series and is another well written and paced adventure that sees our main characters back to investigate another ghostly haunting.
Having previously introduced readers to Kacie, Logan and their friends that make up the Orion Circle, a band of teenage ghost hunters who have supernatural and physic abilities, Kimber Leigh Wheaton embarks on a new ghostly adventure when the Orion Circle are called in to investigate a haunting after two sorority sisters use an Ouija board only to bring back the ghosts of three long dead murder victims. Racing against the clock to help the ghosts find peace before they kill, Kacie, Logan and their friends must discover the truth about their murders if they ever hope to set the spirits free…..
Though this is the sequel in the Orion Circle series, I do believe it could be read as a standalone novel, although for the best reading experience I recommend reading the first novel Tortured Souls beforehand. Twisted Sisters is well written and has a solid foundation. The storyline is one easily read and Wheaton writes an engaging story. The ghost hunting aspect is nicely written and flows beautifully. I believe the characters know what they’re talking about and they clearly have talent.
I actually found myself enjoying this second novel in the series more than the first; Kacie and Logan seemed secure in their relationship and I thought the ongoing dynamic between all the characters was fantastic. I admit I was thrown at first with all the different people and struggled to recall them and their position in the first book, but I quickly found it was easy to follow them in Twisted Sisters regardless. I feel invested in all their individual hints of romances and relationships together. Just what is going on between Rebecca and Carl? And when will Blake and Raven admit they’re nuts about each other?
Twisted Sisters is quite a fun story. Kimber Leigh Wheaton references Scooby-Doo and Mystery INC in this book and funnily enough, this is the overall feel this story has. It has that light who-done-it feel that sees the characters mix physic abilities with science and investigating to attend to the ghosts.
Quick and fun, Twisted Sisters is definitely worth a read and leaves me wondering what will happen to the gang next. Especially after Logan’s devastating vision that revealed that one of the characters’ lives is in grave danger….. ...more
Dancing In The Athenian Rain by Katie Hamstead is an incredibly rich and detailed romance set in an authentic feeling Athens that is powerful, beguiling and absolutely delicious. Prepare to be swept away to another place and time and to be lost to a tantalising romance….
Dancing In The Athenian Rain introduces readers to Donna, an eighteen year old Australian woman who catches her boyfriend cheating and seeks comfort from an eccentric friend of hers, known for his crazy beliefs and inventions. When Dr Stephens uses one such invention to send Donna back to ancient day Athens, Donna is shocked, frightened and in the middle of a world she knows nothing about. Armed with a few useful tools from Dr Stephens, Donna attempts to survive in the new world, a task both helped and hindered when she is bought and taken as a wife by an Athenian warrior known as Peleus, a soldier who is both fierce and kind and who has the power to change Donna’s world forever.
From beginning to end Dancing In The Athenian Rain was a wonderful book to read. I can’t fault it and found it to be exciting, authentic and endlessly romantic. It was a periodical tale of wonderful depth and I think author Katie Hamstead did a fantastic job detailing ancient Athens and the people who called it home.
Something I really appreciated about this book, and want to point out, is that Katie Hamstead sets it out over the course of two years. It’s not some quick couple of month’s long escapade by our main character. Donna actually lives and resides in Athens for almost two years. She builds a very wonderful life for herself there and it’s very genuine. I won’t go into too much detail to avoid spoilers but there is a lot of harsh trials and situations for Donna to face in Dancing In The Athenian Rain.
Set in a time where women have no value or worth, Donna is a normal, modern day Australian woman sent back to place where everything that makes her who she is has no importance. Prior to being sent back, Donna is a somewhat self-conscious young woman, but she’s also hot-headed and sure of her beliefs; especially when compared to the thoughts of those in ancient day Athens. Lucky for Donna, the man who makes her his wife, Peleus, is a saving grace in a time where men have no respect for their wives and considered them possessions; meant for baring them sons and sexual pleasure only.
Peleus goes against the grain in this novel and treats Donna with respect and kindness. He’s a prime example of a wealthy Athens man; sensational physique, fierce fighter and proud beyond compare….but he’s also very understanding and compassionate, unlike most of his time. It’s this that allows Donna to fall for him, and if I’m honest, me too. I loved Peleus and the way Katie Hamstead wrote him. Given the time, setting and society Donna found herself in, finding a man like Peleus was a miracle. It doesn’t get better than him.
I actually felt really proud of the woman Donna had become by the end of the Dancing In The Athenian Rain. And she really was that; a woman. She’s someone’s wife by the close of the story and has responsibilities she didn’t have prior to Athens. Again, no give-aways, but the things she experiences and the road her life takes---well no one can say she’s a girl anymore, that’s for sure. It was beautiful seeing how much Peleus appreciated Donna, both inside and out and I love how he was able to ease her body issues—adoring ever part of her.
I loved the romance between Donna and Peleus and how their relationship progressed. Hamstead develops it wonderfully and over time, but there’s no denying the sizzling attraction is there. It was both believable and beautiful and I give her props for allowing two people from very different times to fall for one another in such an enjoyable way.
Katie Hamstead fills Dancing In The Athenian Rain with some lovely side character who add both depth and confliction to the story. From servants and friends to those to oppose Donna’s relationship with Peleus and the power she brings to women in the Athens time period, Dancing In The Athenian Rain has it all. Love, romance, war, pain…..power, fight and wonderful development all make this a fantastic read.
Perfect for those who want to explore history but who are also looking for high entertainment and romance, Dancing In The Athenian Rain is fast paced, rich and absolutely does not disappoint! ...more
Annabeth Neverending by Leyla Kader Dahm is a nicely woven tale of reincarnation, the power of love and the strength of destiny.
Annabeth Prescott has never been a normal teenager. At sixteen, she’s already had her fair share of health issues and having been adopted has left her with plenty of questions about her heritage, but when Annabeth picks up an ankh pendant from a flea market, the last thing she expects is for the pendant to bring about memories--memories of a past life where she was the daughter of a great Egyptian Pharaoh and promised in marriage to a powerful dark sorcerer named Kha. Wanting to learn about her past life as Ana where she was deeply in love with her slave guard Sethe, Annabeth draws on the ankh’s powers to delve into her past while at the same time finding herself drawn to Gabriel, a handsome and kind young man she quickly comes to realise is the reincarnated version of Kha, and C.J, Gabriel’s twin brother who is Ana’s lost love Sethe come back to life. Torn between her feelings for the two brothers in the present, Ana must discover the truth about her previous life as strange and dangerous things begin happening in the present…..
In all honestly Annabeth Neverending started out slow for me. I’m not quite sure why considering author Leyla Kader Dahm does a great job jumping straight into the story and beginning to detail both Annabeth’s present and past. Leyla Kader Dahm does a fantastic job with detailing a lush and vivid Ancient Egypt and she has clearly spent a lot of time researching different aspects. Eventually I found myself quite invested though and eager to learn what happened to Annabeth in her past life.
Annabeth was a decent heroine, although there were a few moments where I struggled to connect. Leyla Kader Dahm’s prose is beautiful and although Annabeth is quite literally an old soul, there were a few moments where I thought Annabeth’s voice and internal monologue seemed too old for her seemingly sixteen years. Whether this was intentional or not, it seemed at odds with the teenage drama and romances Annabeth was going though. Leyla Kader Dahm is clearly a stunning writer though; her writing technique is lyrical and detailed, and very thought invoking.
With Annabeth Neverending at its base focusing on Annabeth’s reincarnation and subsequence romances with Gabriel and C.J, I was really hoping to absolutely adore Annabeth’s love interests and to be absorbed in her romances, but this unfortunately wasn’t the case….at least not all of the time. Personally I struggled to connect with C.J. but I really liked Gabriel. He was a sweetie and I did genuinely like him. Who doesn’t love a good intellectual type—I know I do!
There were some moments in this story I enjoyed more than others and found myself extremely interested from about halfway onwards. Leyla Kader Dahm certainly surprised me with some twists in this novel, especially towards the end. There’s one big reveal I was not in any way expecting and I commend her on managing to keep her readers on their toes.
At this point in time I’m not a hundred percent sure whether Leyla Kader Dahm intends to write a sequel and turn Annabeth Neverending into a series, but with the novel ending how it does, I’m very intrigued to see what happens next! ...more
Joy is Found is the third novel in the Men of Ocean Beach series by Emma James and sees ladies’ man Levi find love this time around as our beloved characters continue on their way to happiness.
Picking up where the previous novel left off, Joy is Found continues to follow Faith and the men in her life---Harley, Jase, Retro, Levi and Keanu, her late brothers best friends. As their lives continue to develop and they find new friendships, love and laughter, Emma James takes them on various journeys to find their own forms of happiness.
Having previously enjoyed the first two books in this series, Emma James is back with another wonderfully told and interwoven installment. There’s a lot going on in this series and this novel in particular. Emma James strays from the pack and tells her series through the eyes of a number of different characters at different intervals. It’s nothing for her to share a couple of lines from one characters POV and then jump to another and then back again. Though this makes for a very detailed and well-rounded depiction, I think it could get confusing for some.
As I previously mentioned, Levi is front and centre with his romance to Joy, a pin-up style mechanic who is from Levi's past and someone in a position to understand him like no other. Personally I thought Joy was a sweetie and liked that James explored her vulnerabilities. Emma James gave Joy and Levi a real connection and something they shared that was really powerful.
There's a lot going on in this novel with many of the characters. Faith and Jase continue to find their feet in their relationship as Retro and Birdie receive a surprise....or two. Keanu and Hope continue to remain strong and Emma James adds new characters to the series as we finally discover the secret behind Hudson Raine, but are left to wonder what is going on with Slade and Phoenix.
Intricate, romantic and easy to get caught up in, Joy is Found is another great Ocean Beach novel that ends well, and makes me want to read the next book pronto! ...more
Not Okay Cupid by Heidi R. Kling is an easy contemporary read that oozes sweetness and features an endearing and charismatic romance.
Hazel McCallister thought she had the perfect life; perfect boyfriend, perfect high school life and perfect plans for the future…..until she catches her boyfriend cheating with her best friend and all her future dreams come crashing down. Shocked, left broken hearted and humiliated, the last person Hazel expects to step in and offer support is Felix James, her best friend in questions older brother. Felix may be charming and known for his playboy ways, but when he offers Hazel the perfect revenge opportunity—pretend they’re a couple to make her ex jealous—Hazel never anticipates discovering that the real Felix James may be more special than she ever thought.
For me, Not Okay Cupid by Heidi R. Kling was really easy book to read. Told through both Hazel and Felix’s POV’s Kling gives them a really addictive dynamic as a couple who you can’t help but want to read about. Admittedly in the very beginning of the novel I struggled with how quickly Hazel developed feelings for Felix considering her relationship with her boyfriend Jay had just ended, but as you see Hazel and Felix interact and learn of their history as childhood playmates it does make sense.
With Felix’s sister Kimmy Hazel’s best friend, the two have been in each other’s lives since they were children. They played, bickered and teased each other throughout their childhood but it’s not until Felix hatches his revenge plan that they actually spend time together one on one and realise how much they enjoy each other’s company.
Both characters were nice to follow. Hazel was a typical teenage girl and I enjoyed seeing Heidi R. Kling have her break out of her shell and not be so put together and organized. Felix however was the one who absolutely stole my heart. Good looks and charm aside, he was such a sweetie and had a really good heart. The fact that Felix was a good person who worked hard and loved his mother deeply really warmed me to him. He was just a good guy, and as Hazel begins to learn about the real Felix, you as the reader start to enjoy them more.
As a couple Hazel and Felix were quite endearing. There was a real sweetness to their relationship that shines throughout Not Okay Cupid and there’s no denying the chemistry that simmer’s between them. Some readers may be concerned by the swiftness of their relationship considering the fact Hazel’s only just come out of a relationship, but when you see the connection between them and the way in which Kling writes their romance it’s really hard to be bothered by this fact.
Sweet, fresh and outright endearing, Not Okay Cupid by Heidi R. Kling is an enjoyable contemporary read that you're sure to enjoy. ...more