I snapped this story up because it was free on kindle. Now I plan to read the entire series. This story is a great depiction of the deception that say...moreI snapped this story up because it was free on kindle. Now I plan to read the entire series. This story is a great depiction of the deception that says beauty, success, and money will bring happiness. You can have everything in this life and it still leaves you empty. Lexi's story is pretty familiar to me. I knew girls and desperate situations like this. Not the modeling, rich girl aspect of the story, but it was the aching inside and the trying to smooth over the pain unsuccessfully that struck a chord with me. In some ways it reminded me of the television show 90210 that I used to watch back in the 90s.
The characters were so easy to relate to because of the way the author crafted them that at times I forgot they were rich. In fact, the story was so realistic and addicting that I found myself wanting to do nothing else but continue to "read" it. The weird thing about my experience with this novel was I never actually glanced at a single page. My Kindle Fire HD read it to me. Because of this I noticed some of the quirky phrasing that is unique to the author's style. But it fit the book, so I didn't mind. I just fell in love with the story. Now I have to read the entire series because there are so many gems of truth in it, especially when it comes to the faith journey of the characters.
For some people they have to not only hit a low point, but they need to experience the desperation that leads to conversations with God when nothing else fills that emptiness. Lexi will probably get there eventually. Right now the story is all about the journey, and this author knows how to make me care about what happens to all of the characters. I love it!
So far I've read two of Julie's books and I've enjoyed them both. This Gothic-style romance was completely different from her first book. I haven't re...moreSo far I've read two of Julie's books and I've enjoyed them both. This Gothic-style romance was completely different from her first book. I haven't ready anything quite like this book. The writing style was very good and the plot moved along at a brisk pace. The complexity and detail shown reflects the author's creativity. The setting with its Southern culture, graveyards, and creepy secret cult also gave the story an intelligent feel. The creepy scenes and odd characters added to the story's appeal and the mysterious twists and turns in the plot held my attention. I loved the emotion, the tension, the intrigue, and the sizzling romantic elements. I also appreciated how there were several instances where I had no clue about what was going to happen next, and then the author tossed in a curve ball I never saw coming. There was nothing predictable or cliche about this novel. There was even a spiritual/faith thread in the book. And the ending was sweet with just the right amount of resolution to satisfy me as a reader. (less)
Wow, I'm so tired this morning but I just had to finish this book before I went to sleep last night. It was good from the beginning, but I work full t...moreWow, I'm so tired this morning but I just had to finish this book before I went to sleep last night. It was good from the beginning, but I work full time and am an author myself, so it took me longer to read due to my own deadlines. The tension kept building and building, just the way I like them. I cared about the characters so much my heart ached at times. I would love to see this book in print. It's long, but very good. I enjoyed the entire ride!
The story felt real to me and the characters were complex. I often got so lost in the story I forgot I was reading. The plot was emotional and compelling. My heart pounded more than a few times. And the ending... OH MY! If that doesn't make you want and jump up and shout, "Yes!" nothing will. Very well done!
I'm a big fan of fiction written about Europe during the war anyway, and this story had just the right amount of tension, romance, and setting. I must have read upwards of fifty books or more during this time period and this was one of the better ones. There were so many compelling twists and turns in this story. I'm telling you, that last quarter of the book was NOT going to let me rest until I finished the last word. Great debut!(less)
I listened to this book from start to finish today. The plot really pulled me in. Sometimes while I'm on a long drive I'll have the kindle voice read...moreI listened to this book from start to finish today. The plot really pulled me in. Sometimes while I'm on a long drive I'll have the kindle voice read one of my e-books to me. The plot was easy to follow and the point of view was simple to track because the novel was written in the first person point of view. Sometimes I feel the story differently when I experience a book this way, but I really enjoyed this one. There were no annoying repetitious phrases to distract me. The dystopian plot paralleled some issues in our world today, like when it came to faith vs. trusting no one and relying only on yourself. I loved how the author showed that people will sometimes blindly follow things because that was all they knew. The fact that Star Wars was like their Bible amused me, but it also made a point. The author did a good job showing how a survival of the fittest philosophy is self-serving and can be dangerous. We all need to believe in something greater than ourselves. That was well done.
Toward the end of the story the reason for this reference to The Force and the Star Wars book as the gospel is revealed. I won't post a spoiler, but suffice to say it reminded me of the story about a ham that was cut off on one end for a hundred years. The tradition continues for several generations until one day someone asks why this is done, only to discover that at one time an ancestor had a pan that was too small. Despite later generations having an adequate sized pan, the tradition continued because that's how the family thought hams had to be cooked. So that's my way of giving you the gist of the core theme without telling you what happened. I found the main character's insight quite deep when she discovered the origin of their traditions. Other than some swear words sprinkled into the book, I didn't find anything offensive when I listened to the story. I would read another book by this author.(less)
This was a really cute novella. The writing was better than most and the point of view was clearly defined. I loved the characters' inner thoughts and...moreThis was a really cute novella. The writing was better than most and the point of view was clearly defined. I loved the characters' inner thoughts and how they started out with sparks flying--not the good kind--which then it turned into more, but in a believable and natural way. Their fears of emotional intimacy were well grounded-- especially on Alicia's end. I loved how their communication was handled, with honesty being the ultimate bond that drew them closer. The point system on their date and the reward of a kiss at the end was cute, too. This is a nice, sweet love story with just enough sizzle to make me smile, but without going overboard. I found everything to be likable in this story.(less)
This was an enjoyable story. I don't often read about angels and demons -- actually I've only read one book in the past two years with those types of...moreThis was an enjoyable story. I don't often read about angels and demons -- actually I've only read one book in the past two years with those types of characters -- but I liked the concept and how the author put the story together. The strongholds and battles in the heavenly places were interesting as was the rationale about the bloodlines and trying to solve the mystery. I enjoyed the search for the child who has been missing and the mystery involved in that whole plot. Some of the conflict was simplified and the characters seemed to have a lot of time to explore and look for clues despite the dangers alleged by threats, etc. So in that regard it was more of a mystery than suspenseful. The dialog was interesting and the characters were well-drawn. I also enjoyed the various romantic subplots. I listened to most of this book on my kindle fire as I was driving and it worked well because of the first person point of view. Enjoyable read. I would recommend it for people who enjoy reading stories about good and evil battling over humans. (less)
I absolutely loved this book. Over 80% of it was read to me by my Kindle Fire HD, but I had no trouble understanding it because it was in the first pe...moreI absolutely loved this book. Over 80% of it was read to me by my Kindle Fire HD, but I had no trouble understanding it because it was in the first person POV and there was only one character to track while listening. Anyway, I bought this book to find out more about Scott and to see what happened. I was not disappointed. Things just really took off and now I'm feeling bummed that the next book isn't out yet. I loved how the author wrote life like she saw it for this character and wasn't worried about being PC when it came to conversations and actions. These characters acted like real people would.
I love the setting because I was young in the 1980s and when computers first came out. I remember the chat rooms and going dancing with friends. Some people might take issue with them drinking champagne a few times, but they never got drunk so it didn't bother me. Phoenix did get drunk in the first book, but she wasn't a believer and her boyfriend made her drink too much. I liked this book better even though the first book sets the foundation for her past, which helps you understand the second book. I found this story compelling and very interesting. The faith elements became a pleasant surprise I hadn't seen coming. I am definitely going to buy the third book.(less)
I listened to this story on my kindle fire while I was driving as the kindle "voice" read the story to me, but it was still good. I remember those day...moreI listened to this story on my kindle fire while I was driving as the kindle "voice" read the story to me, but it was still good. I remember those days when computers were "beasts" and chat rooms were a new invention. Oh, and the internet cost a fortune per minute to use. The screetching noise a modem made while the internet connected... well, that is all nostalgic for me. Yeah, the 80s were interesting and the author portrayed that well. I liked how the author introduced the heroine and how the ending left me wondering about her and the decent guy, Scott. I liked him quite a bit. Anyone who would protect a woman's honor and help her when she is super sick from having overimbibed is a great guy in my estimation. Plus, he was a sweetheart in other ways. On to read the next installment (or have it read to me) on my next long drive. Enjoyable short story. (less)
I always enjoy Christy's books because of the humor. She is great at building anticipation and getting the reader to nibble on fing...moremore like 4.5 stars
I always enjoy Christy's books because of the humor. She is great at building anticipation and getting the reader to nibble on fingernails. There were a number of laugh out loud moments that I had to read to my husband to see if I was just weird, or if it was truly as funny as I thought. For example: sometimes the author would end a chapter with a statement like, "At least we didn't have a ghost in the house." Then in the beginning of the next chapter it would say, "We had a ghost in the house." I find that hilarious.
The internal dialog about worrying about what other people think rather than being genuine is a good lesson for everyone. Same with the "is this for show or so much part of my culture that it's what I do" versus "is this what I really believe?" lesson. I appreciated the many spiritual nuggets of truth in this book. I loved the mystery part of the story and I don't even read them normally, but the author always makes them funny and interesting, yet with a spiritual lesson that runs pretty deep. That's not easy to do.
The entire story -- besides being humorous -- is woven into a plot full of wrong perceptions, which is what always makes for a great little mystery. The truth always comes out in the end and the unraveling of the truth by the amateur sleuth is what makes it fun. I loved the healing theme and the message about judging and being judged. Plus, Cooper was just plain hot. I wanted him to bond with Tara in a way that lasted more than just the few weeks she was staying at her sister's house. In the end, it all boiled down to trust.
The more I read stories about a deep abiding love, the more I see that trust is a key component to that type of love. This novel showed that well. If you love humorous mysteries with a touch of romance, this book should turn your crank.(less)
This story blew me away. I found myself engrossed to the point where I thought about the book all the time. The story was achingly beautiful. The hero...moreThis story blew me away. I found myself engrossed to the point where I thought about the book all the time. The story was achingly beautiful. The heroine Amyaryllis was strong, yet vulnerable in that she feared any kind of weakness. The hero was similar, but in a very masculine way. Valryan was probably the most heroic character I've read in the past year. I loved how the author showed his struggle to follow the King in everything that he did, from his gut-wrenching honesty, to his complete humanity. He was by no means a feminine-thinking man, which I think made me love him more... because he thought like a man would think. Too often we female authors soften our male heroes up to the point that they are not realistic. This author created a spiritual man in Valryan who was thoroughly lovable and very masculine.
The way Valryan talked to himself and cried out to the King when he struggled was especially powerful. I loved how he sought the King to help him have more faith and to believe that the King's Word to him would work out in the end. His desire for everyone to know the King was heart-warming and enviable. I loved how he nick-named his wife sparky and how he used that to tease her in a loving way. Their growing relationship was breathtakingly beautiful.
I loved the faith aspect of this book and how the author showed the progression so beautifully. She touched on the heart of humanity and the desire for purpose and meaning. She also touched on the fear that often keeps people from the truth and how loving someone like Christ loved us does indeed -- over time -- draw the lost to the King. We just need to be patient, consistent, and genuine in our relationships with those we love. Of course, we can only get that kind of strength through constant communication with the King.
The message about marriage was especially strong as were the truths that the hero learned through the King about how loving Him first made everything else the way it was intended to be. I found their joining prior to his wife knowing the King to be especially powerful since it reflects on the human love that often leaves us very insecure and dissatisfied in marriage. With the King's presence in marriage, however, the is beauty of marital love is beyond description and His presence is indeed with us. We need to use that reality to give us courage and strength. We need to be willing to trust the King completely. The way the author showed how the hero being trustworthy increased the heroine's ability to trust the King was incredibly insightful. So was the way salvation was described to someone who didn't even believe in God, and the revealing of the Scriptures. Awesome, awesome book. I'd give it ten stars if I could.(less)
Something Beautiful is a love story about two people from different walks of life. There is something sizzling about the hero that would draw any woma...more Something Beautiful is a love story about two people from different walks of life. There is something sizzling about the hero that would draw any woman with breath in her lungs. At the same time, there is danger and a sense of doom on the horizon because of the undercover nature of his job and the criminal element. I liked how Lauren wanted to have Antony around to make her feel safe, but I had a hard time with believing that they'd only rest in each other's arms. Then again, their restraint was admirable, especially for their age and their situation. Maybe that was one of the things that drew Antony to her. The fact that he couldn't have her made him want her more. Anyway, I listened to most of the book on my kindle while I was driving, and hearing it made it harder to connect with the characters. But I read the last 20%, and it had a good ending. I liked how everything turned around at the conclusion of the novel. This is a classic K. Dawn Byrd wrap up. I wouldn't expect anything less. (less)
Call me weird, but I like reading stories about women in close friendships who deal with infidelity. But the stories that interes...moreMore like 3.5 stars.
Call me weird, but I like reading stories about women in close friendships who deal with infidelity. But the stories that interest me are the ones where the women are the unfaithful ones. Part of this is because I wrote a book on the same subject and I'm curious to see how similar their reactions are and their motivations, etc. as the character in my novel. In this case I found the characterization very believable. Unfortunately, I've known a number of people in situations like this where a good friend finds out her other friend is sleeping with the good friend's husband and the agony of how to deal with it is rough, to say the least. I also know of several situations where husbands came around and things worked out despite the woman's cheating. It even happened to a good friend of mine. I ran into her husband, a chronic cheater, a year after their divorce only to find out they'd gotten remarried. I didn't see that coming. I think the difference is in how the affair happened and who the woman loved. Leigh's motivation was entirely different than Jill's. So were their feelings toward their husbands, and that made all the difference to me. I totally identified with Jill's situation and the horror she went through in more ways than one. I do believe if her friend hadn't talked about her affair so much she may not have gone down that road herself.
An aside... there is a lot of cursing in this book, but a lot of witty dialog as well. Honestly, I could hear these characters saying angry things like "you bitch" when furious, so it didn't bother me, though I prefer not to read cursing in novels. Most of the time the words fit the scenes. Just sayin'. I also find the way English people curse a little bit amusing. Call me weird, but to me bloody simply means blood coming out of something like a cut. And shag is a type of carpet people had in their homes in the early 1970s. There are a number of other words that I'm sure were meant as bad words, but I didn't know what they meant, so I just kept reading. This book and the characters reminded me a bit of the language and characters in the movie, Sliding Doors, with Gwyneth Paltrow. That story contained a lot of British slang, too, most of which went over my head. Anyway, I liked the resolution at the end and found it plausible. This kind of stuff does happen. I've seen it where a bad situation turns out to have good elements despite how messed up it began. I applaud the author for her dramatic storytelling and her ability to pull me into the characters's lives. This story felt pretty realistic to me. I have to say I felt a bit sorry for these three ladies because they all suffered in different ways. I especially hurt for Wendy. That said, would I recommend this book to people with sensitive ears and minds? No. But for people who like the deep psychology of getting into characters' heads and examining their motivations? I'd definitely recommend it because this dramatic story was well done.(less)
I haven't read Wasteland yet, but it was interesting to see what started everything in the paranormal realm. The fact that the story took place in a k...moreI haven't read Wasteland yet, but it was interesting to see what started everything in the paranormal realm. The fact that the story took place in a kingdom where there were servants and royalty made the story that much more compelling to me. I love those types of novels.
I also found the writing to be engaging and the first person POV quite effective at drawing me in. The struggle between good and evil and doing the right thing verses doing what tempts the flesh was contrasted well.
How many young ladies end up passing over the good guy for the dangerous one only to discover the man wasn't what they'd thought. Well, this definitely whetted my appetite for the book that follows. There is also a chapter intro to Wasteland at the end. I found the insight into darkness and evil schemes from the dark side quite compelling. (less)