I got this book from NetGalley (typically they tell you NOT to start with this information because readers will think your review is skewed…apparentl I got this book from NetGalley (typically they tell you NOT to start with this information because readers will think your review is skewed…apparently I don’t care…), and it was a bit of a surprise actually. I think I was just browsing the shelves of NetGalley one day and I have a rule – I can request 3 books at a time. Once those three books are cycled through, I’ll go request 3 more. This keeps me from over-committing myself. I hate when I do that and find myself in a rebellious (to my self) cycle of hating everything I’m reading simply because I obligated myself to read it. It’s silly..but it happens. ANYHOW, I don’t remember requesting this book, but I’m sure I did. I do love a regency novel now and then, and the mere mention of Pride and Prejudice probably would have me hitting “request” pretty quickly. And I find the lavender in the cover rather pretty, I’m sure that helped some too. But when I got the email, I was like, ‘what is this madness??’
What I Loved: The setting of course is a given, I loved both Gloucestershire, and the small-town life and community. I also loved when the book picked up again in London, and all her glory. I so enjoyed Lavina and her strong-willed ways. Nicholas and his teasing and sarcasm. I truly enjoyed all of the characters in this book, even the characters who didn’t have redeeming qualities because they played their part in the story as a whole.
I do love the growth of the characters, especially Lavina, as she learned that her self-sacrificing ways were also a huge pride issue for her that had resulted in a prejudice, and judgmental spirit as well.
Another surprise for me was that this turned out to be a Christian novel. I’m sure I knew that when I requested it, but since I just started reading without looking at what I was reading again, I was like..oh, okay. I don’t always grab Christian novels because I find a lot of them to be a bit over ‘preachy’ – which I find unnecessary because well…Christians are the most likely to pick up a Christian novel. However, this book had a surprisingly good sermon included. The best I had ever read in a novel such as this. It was so good I took a few screen shots and posted it to social media. I was convicted as much as the characters of the story were. Surprise-surprise. I love when books buck my own judgmental ways!
Not So Much: I’m the first to tell you that I love a good re-tell. I seek them out, actually. But when I first started reading this, I kept wondering if it was supposed to be a Pride and Prejudice retell or not. Actually, I do think it was supposed to show reflections of the classic story, but it was a story all it’s own too. I’m still a bit confused on this issue.
Okay, so our main characters were so confused for almost this entire story. I felt like they did a lot of not-talking about what was going on, causing all kinds of misunderstandings. I am all for misunderstandings and reconciliations, but the number of times that Nicholas had to apologize started to get a bit ridiculous. I was at about 85% when this ball dropped again and nearly put the book down in frustration. There were plenty of other conflicts, in my opinion, that could have been expounded on, that this misunderstanding each other one needed to be laid to rest at some point.
The Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Even though I admit to having almost put it down, I am so glad I did not. As I was wrapping it up last night before bed, the ending of the novel left me with that happy glow of an excellently executed HEA. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to remark on how clean the novel was…but it is squeaky, and STILL a fantastic despite my small misgivings....more
Roseblood was an unexpected surprise in January’s Owlcrate. I mean, they give you hints about what you’ll be getting and I knew it was going to be a cRoseblood was an unexpected surprise in January’s Owlcrate. I mean, they give you hints about what you’ll be getting and I knew it was going to be a classic retelling, but from some of the teasers I was thinking it would be a ‘classic retelling’ in the vein of Pride and Prejudice or something of that nature. I never in a million years would have guessed that it was going to be a Phantom of the Opera retelling!!! I hadn’t even imagined one existed….now I’m wondering about others.
First, let me tell you, I’ve seen Phantom of the Opera…and it is by far my favorite musical ever. I love everything about it. And like the rest of the world, I was taken by the Phantom. I love the music. I own the movie version with Gerard Butler (and will be watching it again sometime soon). And I truly loved being surprised by this book!
What I Loved: This book wasn’t so much a re-telling as it was a world built off the original story. I loved the pace set by this book. I felt like the elements of the whole story were revealed perfectly, and it flowed quite nicely. The setting, the characters, the story, all of it kept me captivated. There were no mention of the actual musical’s songs or dances, the book still brought to memory my theater experience. I enjoyed that. As I said, this wasn’t a re-telling exactly, but there were scenes included that well-enough reflect the story we all know.
The romance between Rune and Thorn was so sweet and beautiful. There are underlying layers to their relationship, things that in real life (or at least ME in real life) would have had a hard time just simply accepting; Rune does accept easily, however the pacing of the relationship was still just right. And without a touch of ‘unsavory events’ this couple still made my heart beat faster and me sigh with that contentment you get when reading about first love.
Not So Much: There were a few holes in my opinion. Or maybe not holes, but places where at first Rune was completely oblivious about things, and then suddenly she is completely in the know using terminology that she shouldn’t quite understand (as far as I could tell). I don’t know if I missed something while reading, or if it was supposed to be in those gap-times where the characters do spend time together but it’s not written in the book in detail…however I did think, ‘wait…how did she know that, or come to that?'
The Verdict: I loved this book! There’s not much more to it than that. It’s a clean read, I would let my 11 year old daughter read it if she wanted to. (And she would LOOVE Diablo, the opera cat, if she did). ...more
What I Loved: I loved the action scenes, and the moments when you know that the suspense is building. The knowledge that something is coming, but notWhat I Loved: I loved the action scenes, and the moments when you know that the suspense is building. The knowledge that something is coming, but not exactly sure what it is just yet.
This is going to seem strange, but I was drawn to Stella a bit because I could relate to her on a small level. Her life is, by far, more dysfunctional than mine was, but I understood her struggle with authority and trust due to her mom being an addict. When you have a life full of empty promises, it is difficult to believe when people are being sincere. So even though I would get frustrated at her indignant attitude at times, I also could understand where she was coming from.
The twists of the stories, and especially the scene where Stella and Chet are revealing their secrets. I feel like this was the most exposed and sincere scene in the entire book. Though I did feel like Chet was sincere to the degree of being overly intense all the time – this scene sort of finally won me over.
Not So Much: First and foremost, and I think this is why I may have had a hard time getting into this book…because I did. I actually started it in October and put it down for a long time before deciding to finish it off this week; I really didn’t feel the chemistry like I wanted between Stella and Chet. All the right scenes were there and everything seemed like it should have been just right, but something was missing. I don’t know if it was Stella’s hold on Reed, or what it was – but the relationship kind of fell flat for me all the way up until the end when it finally came together. (And no, it wasn’t because of the fade to black scene – that wasn’t even that great to me, either.)
While I enjoyed all the side stories happening in this book, I also kind of felt it added a lot of unnecessary length. I really wanted more action and danger I think, when really only a small portion of the book was really thriller.
The Verdict: I did enjoy Dangerous Lies, but I was really hoping for another Black Ice, I think. That book was awesome in the ‘edge of your seat’ kind of way, and the blooming romance was a slow heat, while Dangerous Lies was kind of out there and open because of Chet’s nature. In real life, I would probably fall in love with Chet, hands down. This book was mostly clean, it had some intense kissing, and as I mentioned, a fade to black scene that was squeaky clean. I think there was mention of the top of the bathing suit, and that was as graphic as it got. YA-ok....more
My Review: I read this book as part of a class I took for work. I had actually purchased the ebook ages ago based on a recommendation, and when this cMy Review: I read this book as part of a class I took for work. I had actually purchased the ebook ages ago based on a recommendation, and when this class popped up I decided to give it a go.
What I Loved: While pretty basic, all of the principles of this book are very clear and applicable to anyone at any point of our life, they are not just principles for people who work at a corporation. In fact, I would say that most of the principles presented are just good people skills put into practice.
I enjoyed the healthy reminders of how as a decent human being, I should be listening, and keeping other peoples perspective in mind rather than only thinking of my own wants and desires. There are a lot of nuggets to take from this book, but one of the best is the realization that every single person really has one deep set desire (whether they realize it or not) and that is to feel important. We can help them achieve those desires by doing very simple things; addressing them by name, really listening, smile, being authentic in our desire to know about them and their life. Simple life concepts. And though this isn't a Christian book at all, they are simple Christian attributes as well.
Not So Much: For each principle laid out in this book, there were several real-life examples given. At first I was really enjoying the stories and little bits of history (as this book is quite old, and many of the examples are well-known individuals from U.S. history) - but after several chapters of these points/story/story/story setting - I kind of started to feel like I was just getting the points presented over and over and over again. However, without all of these examples, the book would have been nothing more than a pamphlet.
The Verdict: This is a great book. It should be read of for nothing more than to be 'told' what we as humans probably already know to be true. Sometimes, though, knowing something and hearing it presented makes a big difference. If more people would apply the principles in this book, this world would look quite a bit different....more
My Review: My friend recommended this book to me, more than once actually. And not just the book, but the audiobook. Did I GET the audiobook? NOPE, I My Review: My friend recommended this book to me, more than once actually. And not just the book, but the audiobook. Did I GET the audiobook? NOPE, I had gift cards to Barnese & Noble, and while I was there shopping I saw these books – took a glimps inside and knew I just had to own them.
What I Loved: This book was full of action, I want to say mystery, but it’s not a mystery really, it’s just an unraveling of secrets. I love that. While it’s going to be listed in my next category, the uniqueness of this book was part of what made it so appealing. It’s not simply told in a collection of documents – but the format of the book makes them seem legit. There are little post it notes, and pictures made of words; all sorts of beautiful treasures.
I loved the characters in this book. Like – pretty much all of them. I will say that AIDEN (the AI) might possibly have been my favorite character of them all. Is it weird to want to comment on the character growth of a computer? Yeah, probably. I also loved both Katy and Ezra; Katy was defiant and daring, and Ezra was sarcastic and fun. They made a fun pair.
Not So Much: It took me some time to adjust to reading a book that was 100% documents. I miss a lot of the emotion that way. You get some, but you don’t get the picture created for you like you would in a typical book. The little touches, or the room descriptions – things that really put you there. At least….that’s how I felt at first. But the more I read the book, the more I really WAS there. I got used to the format and couldn’t put the book down.
The Verdict: When describing this book to others, I’ve sort of mentioned Star Trek, but mostly the show Firefly – with the different plants and such. I mean that only in a ‘setting’ sort of way. I normally wouldn’t read a book about space travel, but I am so glad I started this series. This book was clean, very YA appropriate. A 5-star read for sure....more
This is my second book of a sick-day read-a-thon. This time I went down the list of books I've purchased recently and picked the cover/title that appeThis is my second book of a sick-day read-a-thon. This time I went down the list of books I've purchased recently and picked the cover/title that appealed to me the most. Adorkable was another great choice on my part, no matter how random.
What I Loved I really enjoyed Sally's obliviousness to Becks feelings, and likewise Beck's obliviousness to Sals. It really did make for a fun time for the reader who was able to 'read between the lines.' It made Becks' character even more adorable, because while Sally was the one who struggled the most in this book, for acceptance with herself and others, Becks was hopelessly lost in love and it was plain as day.
The opening of this book was so great, best beginning ever.
Sally as a whole was a great character. I loved the parts of her that were 'dorky' and absolutely adored her job reading to the kids. I almost wanted that job too!
Not So Much: I'm sorry, I don't care how good her intentions were, I would have thrown Hooker to the curb a LONG time ago. No friends who can't take no for an answer deserves the amount of chances she got. I was really annoyed with her, even if she did provide some entertaining moments. I kind of was aggravated at Sally's mother for similar reasons. Yes, these things are there to make the story go - they were just so annoying and persistent, it drove me nuts!
The Verdict: While I was annoyed at parts, as a whole I loved watching this story play out. I even kind of enjoyed the torture Sally went through in the fake boyfriend process, knowing that Becks was feeling the same thing. This book is clean and great for Teens young and old....more
I picked up Dream Chaser this week due to a recommendation by Lenore over at Celebrity Readers, because while Lenore and I don't always read the sameI picked up Dream Chaser this week due to a recommendation by Lenore over at Celebrity Readers, because while Lenore and I don't always read the same style books....we usually do. As is probably evident by the [lack of] activity on my blog, I've not only been having a difficult time finding moments to read/blog, but I've also found myself in one of those inevitable reading slumps where every book you pick up and start gives you that, 'meh' feeling. I've even been having a difficult time getting into audiobooks recently - and listening to audiobooks while I work is one of my favorite things! Regardless, I think the slump has been broken, because on Saturday November 19th I read not one, but two books in their entirety. Granted, I was also pretty sick and allowed myself to be confined to the couch for the day...but still.
What I Loved: I wouldn't pick up a book about cheerleaders on my own, not because I have something against cheerleaders, but because most of the ones I have picked up have come off so very cliche in the 'cheerleader' personality of the characters. I just couldn't get into them. Dream Chaser was not a cheerleader book, it was more of a theater book. I'm so glad I allowed myself to read past the beginning to discover this. I adore most theater type books.
Willow was also not the typical 'over achiever' character. She WAS an over achiever, apparently single-handedly throwing the cheerleaders into National Championship winner status, and also good enough to be thrown into the leading role of a musical that was already several weeks into practices - so yes, definitely over achiever. However, she struggled with subjects in school, and her self confidence was really pretty low. She was humble and recognized that while she may be good, in both of her activities she realized the important part of being just a part of an entity. She understood the value of practice and hard work, and just work ethic in general.
The chemistry between Willow and Eli is what really had me devouring this book. Their history as best friends and former partners really helped to play into the tension that built between them. I loved their director, Tyson's, little comments regarding this tension, and his role at helping them overcome their past.
Another favorite part is that regardless of how awful Jilly and the rest of Willow's friends were treating her because of her decision to move on from cheerleading, I'm glad that this wasn't a transfer from one group of friends to another, and that there was some healing and understanding that started to happen.
Every time I think that I'm done with this section, I remember something else about the story that I love....Willow's family is AWESOME! I loved their support and understanding. I think that my favorite scene is when they come home and catch Willow and Eli on the couch. ;)
Not So Much: I feel like the gravity of Willow's cheerleading accident was either overplayed at the beginning, or underplayed throughout the book. She could have easily died, and yet so few of the cast of characters of this book seem to really take that into consideration when dealing with Willow about her decisions or fears. I also think that something like that would take you out of the 'game' longer than half a week.
The Verdict: This is everything I could have asked for in a 'sick day' book. It was entertaining, passionate, fun and serious at times. I even shed a couple tears... I'm so glad I picked the book up and started reading almost immediately. This book is clean and perfect for your teens!...more
Teasing Destiny…I can’t remember who recommended this book or why I picked it up, but I did. I will say, however, this is not my typical read. It is nTeasing Destiny…I can’t remember who recommended this book or why I picked it up, but I did. I will say, however, this is not my typical read. It is not a clean read (and therefore will not be reviewed on my blog – because while I’ve been quite for a few months, I do want to continue to maintain a relatively clean, family friendly blog world where I can allow my pre-teens and teenagers to review if they would like).
What I Liked: I love small town, first love romances, and that is probably why I picked up the book to begin with. I enjoyed the attraction between Destiny and JJ. JJ’s constant teasing and Destiny’s sarcasm really helped with this, as it was its own kind of mating dance. But more than our main characters, I loved the matriarch figures in this story. Destiny’s grandma was feisty and tricksy. I totally would have loved to know her in real life. JJ’s mom was just so calm and collected, but she seemed to have that mom-patience worked down to a T. I really wish we could have seen more of them.
Not So Much: While I can see where JJ learned the error of his ways, I feel like he was such a jerk to Destiny. I lost a bit of respect for him that I never really gained back. I would have liked to have seen more of their outside life (the bakery and the training center) played out in the story as well. I kind of felt like we got a lot of face time with JJ and Destiny, which is great – but beyond their tunnel vision things seemed kind of part and partial I guess. The ending (epilogue)…was a little abrupt and almost a bit cliché to me, kind of like we rushed through to give everyone everything…but the timing was crazy.
The Verdict: This made for a quick passionate read. Again, not my norm and not clean. My rating reflects that – I simply got a hold of a book that sucked me into its characters, but really isn’t as ‘my style’ as I’d hoped. ...more
Broken Records is written by two of my favorites; Cassie Mae and Theresa Paoleo, so even before it was released I knew I was going to buy and read it.Broken Records is written by two of my favorites; Cassie Mae and Theresa Paoleo, so even before it was released I knew I was going to buy and read it. Again, I find myself with a book that may not qualify for my blog due to sex and I’m going to be one hundred percent honest and say that I can’t remember if it was more emotional or graphic (I tend to let the emotional slide for the blog, though I always make sure to mention it), it’s been at least a month since I read this book…I’m EXTREMELY behind on my reviews. So I’m playing it safe and leaving this exclusively for Goodreads and Amazon.
What I Loved: The growth of Ethan’s character. He started off as a rich, spoiled playboy of a character, but watching him stop trying to grow into his dad’s shoes and making his own way with this newly inherited business was…well, funny most of the time. I also enjoyed the passion between him and Paige. There was a scene where she said or did something and he looked up from his desk at her…let’s just say I could picture this look exactly ::swoon::…these ladies know how to write chemistry, that is one hundred percent truth.
I also loved Paige, from her first hilarious encounter with Ethan to her strong personality and her inability to stay away from Ethan. I loved her back-story with her ex and best friend, and how it played out through the this book as well. Many times in romances you have books where the entire thing is focused on the two MC’s and a lot of the back-story is just fluff. In this case, I enjoyed what was happening around our characters just as much as I enjoyed the relationship developments
Not So Much: While I feel like Ethan’s complete aversion to hearing music was starting to subside, but it seemed to be such a prominent issue, I wish it would have been flushed out and resolved a bit more. I’m glad it was Paige who started to pull him from it, but it seemed like it could have been an even stronger connection point for them. But maybe this is just me trying to guess what was going to happen and being wrong.
The Verdict: Cassie and Theresa’s ability to write such amazing characters that are so real you think you really know them has always been something that has stood out to me as a reader. I loved seeing these two talents come together and create – bringing both of their strengths to the table. The humor and the romance were just a the right mix in this book, and as always the story is one that I truly enjoyed....more
Every now and then I get it in my mind that I want to read a bit of a thriller. Nothing scary, just something that will keep my on the edge of my seatEvery now and then I get it in my mind that I want to read a bit of a thriller. Nothing scary, just something that will keep my on the edge of my seat, trying to guess what is going to happen. That was what I was imagining when I picked up Through the Lens.
What I Loved: This story did keep me captivated. It starts off with the end…so when it jumps back to the beginning I spent the entire book wondering; who, what, when, where, why? (Yes, I did just list all the W’s…but it’s true, I spent the entire book making hypothesizes).
I really enjoyed all of the characters in this book, which is kind of rare for me. Usually, I have a few I like and a few I don’t, but everyone in this book seem to have their place and played it well. I loved Ethan’s mystery, and Jessa’s new found popularity, Josh’s appeal and Jenna’s jealousy.
Not So Much: I didn’t exactly get the thriller I was hoping for. Yes, I did contemplate the ending from the very beginning, but there was no real ‘danger’ or any thing overly suspenseful about the book until close to the end. It was more of a typical YA with troubled teenagers just learning to “life.” Some of the characters did have a little extra baggage than others, but there wasn’t the cat and mouse game I was hoping for.
The Verdict: Even if it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be, I still loved this book! The characters really make this book, 100%. There is some mystery to it as well, and a lot of different kinds of foreshadowing that keep you guessing the entire book. This book has some mild partying, drinking, and off-scene sex, nothing graphic though. Still upper YA in my opinion.
I received a copy if Through the Lens from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I have received no other compensation, other than the joy of reading, for my opinion. ...more
Tammy L Gray has become a pretty consistent 1-Click Author for me, mostly because her stories are filled both with real-life and hope.
What I Loved: SoTammy L Gray has become a pretty consistent 1-Click Author for me, mostly because her stories are filled both with real-life and hope.
What I Loved: So many words out of this novel are nearly the same things that come out of my Pastor’s mouth on a regular basis, a message of being real and genuine as a Christian, and through our daily walk with those who aren’t. She mentions so many hot buttons, such as how Christians are hypocrites (true), gossips (true), sinners (well duh), but she also brings light to the fact that despite these things, there are Christ-followers who are real and genuine. People who struggle on a daily basis to just get it right. How if we are truly “Christ-Followers” we would do as He did, sit at tables with sinners, show them love and compassion and not judgment and rejection. It was also touched upon how Christians have their own “language” using words that are unfamiliar to those who did not grow up in Church. Using these words don’t make us holy, and if they make people uncomfortable or becomes a stumbling block, we need to be aware of it, and just be real. I very much love these mini-messages of being relevant and real.
This story was a sort of an opposites attract type story, but both Asher and Katie had issues. I loved the struggles portrayed from both the lifer-church-attendee, and from someone completely…opposite. It was nice to see the story bring together both stories and the love and truth and healing that came through in different ways.
Of course, I love to see real romance, love and passion coming out in a Christian novel that feel much the same as my own relationship with my husband. I love that Tammy L. Gray does not shy away from passion, but embraces it.
Not So Much: While both Asher and Katie both have their own healing, I felt like this was more Katie’s story. I’m pretty sure this was the intention actually, but I was also interested in seeing more of Asher’s process as well. There was a reconciliation and forgiveness, but I felt like at the beginning of the book he was dealing with many internal struggles that seemed to clear up with a simple lecture from his Dad. I would have loved to have seen it flushed out just a bit more.
At times I did feel like the book was a little long. At some point I kind of felt that Katie’s devastation was abundantly clear and was ready to proceed forward with the story. All these things did happen, it just took a bit longer than I felt was necessary.
The Verdict: I know that there are many of my readers who won’t consider this book because I’ve openly reveal how it’s Christian in nature. That is fine. I do think that this was a very beautiful piece of written art and is perfect for any Christ-Follower who prefer books based on Christians rather than not. I also think anyone who likes clean-reads would love this book as well, regardless of their beliefs. I highly recommend this author because she writes great books of struggle and reconciliation, and of hope. ...more