Finished the book and loved the satisfying conclusion, though it took the heroine a long time to get there. This entire series had enough twists and t...moreFinished the book and loved the satisfying conclusion, though it took the heroine a long time to get there. This entire series had enough twists and turns to make a reader dizzy, but there were a few constants as well. All in all I loved the transformation of Lexi into who she became at the end of the series. The author did a great job showing her being slowly transformed and maturing in her faith. It was very realistically portrayed as most new believers are a bit slow at learning some lessons. This story could be read as a stand alone but would be best enjoyed by reading the books in order so the details that led Lexi to her final decision can be fully experienced and savored. I would read more books by this author. (less)
I'm not a huge fan of modern biological terrorism space stories, but this novel rocked! I can totally see it as a movie on the big screen. The pacing...moreI'm not a huge fan of modern biological terrorism space stories, but this novel rocked! I can totally see it as a movie on the big screen. The pacing was great and the abundance of stressful situations they encountered made it a page turner. Add to that a love triangle, and you've got one amazing plot full of tension. While the ending was great, I can see it leaving a small opening for a sequel, though it reads like a stand alone. At least it won't make you crazy like stories that don't have a satisfying conclusion. There were some scenes that brought tears to my eyes, too. The author did a great job depicting human nature and the spiritual conflict we all have at one point or another.
I think the thing that impressed me most about this book were the details regarding space travel and biological science. I felt like I was on the spaceship with the others. If I didn't know better I would have pegged the author as an astronaut who also happened to be a novelist. The spiritual parts of the book were also critical to the story, but the author didn't hit you over the head with theology. The author did a great job with weaving faith issues into the plot where they came across as a natural part of the story. Seriously, the writing was very good and I don't typically select contemporary fiction to read. The gorgeous cover and intriguing description drew me in, though. The book video trailer is also pretty cool, so I've included it. (less)
Once again I was blown away by the raw honesty in this book. The crazy thing is I listened to the entire thing (mostly while driving) and never actual...moreOnce again I was blown away by the raw honesty in this book. The crazy thing is I listened to the entire thing (mostly while driving) and never actually read a word. But the story is so well done that I felt like I was reading it. The characters have become my friends. I hated for the story to end. The spiritual parts of the book were realistic. The conflict felt genuine and not forced. Lexi's life is a complicated mess, and at the same time, intriguing. She is a great example of someone who seems to have everything except the one thing they desire most... true love that lasts. I can't wait to read more to find out what happens next. I'm hooked on these characters and something tells me I may shed a few tears when this series ends. Love this author and absolutely adore this series.(less)
I love Philippa Gregory's novels. So far every one that I've read has held my interest to the end. This one was a bit more challenging than others for...moreI love Philippa Gregory's novels. So far every one that I've read has held my interest to the end. This one was a bit more challenging than others for some reason. It took me a lot longer to read than usual, despite the interruption in my life and routine that made reading anything challenging. I did identify with the heroine and loved how the story ended with the White Princess finally understanding what Queen Anne went through when she -- Elizabeth, the White Princess -- was the apple of King Richard's eye. I liked how it tied to the other book, Lady of the Rivers, which I found very hard to put down.
The element of the missing York princes and the legend of what may have happened to them - which no one knows for sure - mingled with curse Elizabeth made with her mother on whoever killed prince Richard, became a subtle, yet integral part of this novel. I loved that element of intrigue. Also, the fear and trepidation that Elizabeth's husband went through as long as the people of England wanted to replace him with a York Prince made this story tie into others I've read as well. I felt for Elizabeth and hurt for her being forced into a loveless marriage with a king who essentially raped her in the beginning. There was no love in their marriage, and if she had been anyone other than a York princess, the fate of being matched with the usurper, pretender Tudor King would not have taken place.
All in all, this was a good story about what it may have looked like during the time when the Tudor's feared that their throne would be taken over by a York. The ending left me feeling a bit sad, and I agree that the guilt felt by the king was well-deserved. The coolest part is that the next segment of the story follows history. Arthur marries Kathryn of Aragon and dies, thus she is remarried to Henry, who becomes the famous Henry VIII, who is well known for his many wives and lack of a legitimate male heir, resulting in the Virgin Queen. I would recommend this book for history lovers and for people who enjoy books that tie together, even if they release out of order. (less)
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!
This story was more of a historical novel than a historical romance, but it was still a good book. There were two different stories that came together...moreThis story was more of a historical novel than a historical romance, but it was still a good book. There were two different stories that came together at the end. This story had its sad moments and it's enthralling ones. It wasn't my favorite book by Melanie, and I love many of her books, but it was still worth reading. If you love fiction set during the Revolutionary War and tales of bravery, spying, and such, you will enjoy this book. (less)
This story kept my attention to the end. The pacing was really good and I liked how the story include...moreMore like 3.5 stars because of the writing style.
This story kept my attention to the end. The pacing was really good and I liked how the story included so much about their fears and their challenges including the ones regarding faith and doubt. The writing style took a bit getting used to, but it didn't take much from the story. I still felt like I understood what they went through when they risked their lives. All of the miraculous ways God intervened on their behalf was quite inspiring. I couldn't help thinking of Paul the Apostle and his many trials. For people who long to read about how God still does miraculous things on behalf of his children in modern times, this book would be the perfect way to give them that testimony. (less)
This is a nice story. Not too complex and just the right length to read to very small children. Not sure I agree with the theology, but the pictures a...moreThis is a nice story. Not too complex and just the right length to read to very small children. Not sure I agree with the theology, but the pictures are nice and the theme is sweet. I think it would give a young child a sense of awe thinking about the story. Anyway, the illustrations are nice, too, and they have different kinds of angels, not all blondes like you see in some books. I liked that best about the story. Diversity in the angelic realm. (less)
I enjoyed this story. It's not my favorite book by this author, but I loved the abolitionist themes as well as the bad boy turning good plot the story...moreI enjoyed this story. It's not my favorite book by this author, but I loved the abolitionist themes as well as the bad boy turning good plot the story was based on. What the love of a woman will do for a man...sometimes that can turn the hardest of hearts toward God. Fortunately Jack was one of the better in the bunch... maybe the only good guy in his family besides his sweet little sister. I really loved her character. She almost made me cry several times. I'm sure she smiled at the end of the story even if it's not included in the book.
Ellie, the heroine, is everything I wish I could be myself. Tender and passionate, yet demure and sweet at the same time. But she is also honest and true to herself and she loves with her whole heart. That's a great heroine. The way the author described her feelings whenever she was around Jack was well done and my heart melted a few times when they were together. The same with Jack. A few times I almost cried. This author really knows how to pull at a reader's heartstrings. I am looking forward to the third book in this series. (less)
I adored this author's writing style and "voice." The story came alive to me and all I wanted to do was read this book. It was tragically beautiful an...moreI adored this author's writing style and "voice." The story came alive to me and all I wanted to do was read this book. It was tragically beautiful and passionately written. The lessons Bess learned were priceless. Her longtime friend, Gil, was truly heroic. One couldn't help wondering what might have happened to the Tudor Dynasty if Henry VIII had married Bess Blount instead of Anne Boleyn. Though not Christian fiction, the story went deep and explored the faith of the characters, which was sincerely experienced despite being a bit misguided. The religious parts of the story were genuine to the time they lived in.
The emotion between the king and Bess felt genuine to me. I actually liked Henry VIII and his seemingly impossible position in this book. What may have started out as a selfish pursuit by Henry ended up sparking frightening emotions he hadn't allowed himself to feel with any of the other women in court. I have always wondered about the life of the first and only living son Henry VIII had produced outside of wedlock. I felt badly for him and the constraints his role as king put on him. His way of working around the system set in place for centuries had ultimately cost his son Harry his very life. Quite sad, but true to history.
Again, this novel was well-written and heartfelt. I absolutely loved this book. I am glad I discovered this book at the store and purchased it because I am now a devoted fan of Ms. Haeger's. (less)
I love to read the "what if" type stories. Add to the mix some old-fashioned fairy tales, and I'm in reading bliss. This story was cle...moreAlmost 4.5 stars
I love to read the "what if" type stories. Add to the mix some old-fashioned fairy tales, and I'm in reading bliss. This story was clever in that it combined the stories of Snow White and Rapunzel. Reading it was like watching a mixture of "Mirror, Mirror" and "Tangled" in my mind, only grittier. Scenes from both movies played out in my thoughts. At the same time, it was different, and those parts were clearly an original work from the author's imagination. It was a bit edgier than anything you'd see in a Disney movie, but life is painful at times, and there is often heartache that comes with out-of-control ambition. I liked the insight into the darkness of the human soul that was skillfully shown in this story. But the author also showed that darkness can be redeemed by light.
Reading this book reminded me of learning about Luke Skywalker's father the first time and pondering how someone who started out innocent became corrupted because of tragedy and pain, then turned evil as a result. At the same time, the author managed to squeeze a happy ending out of it. The big "reveal" at the end made sense, and it wasn't entirely unexpected. At the same time, it was a unique twist on things that the author used to turn Rapunzel's heart around. I liked the fact that triumph came from tragedy in this book. The magic she tried to use only made her situation more complicated, and in the end, it showed itself to be a false friend as well. How true that is. Deception never works. In the end, it only wounds.
The "revelation" about their marriage at the end was a bit creepy, but at the same time, everything came together in a way that made sense. If I were Rapunzel, I'd have been horrified, too. Thankfully that situation resolved naturally. I really enjoyed the author's voice and the creativity she expressed in this novel. I read it quickly. Actually, I devoured it. It's not for readers who like gentle stories, though. Some of the reality in this story might be a bit much for teens. But I like the realism and the emotion, so it worked for me. I'll be thinking about the story for some time.(less)
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)
Okay, so this is by far the best book I've read this year. In fact, it even beats out the previous book, and that was a hard one to top. I read this b...moreOkay, so this is by far the best book I've read this year. In fact, it even beats out the previous book, and that was a hard one to top. I read this book in less than twenty four hours. It's over 400 pages and honestly, I read most of it in one sitting. I went to church and ate dinner but the rest of the time I enjoyed reading this book. Anyway, I don't know where to begin.
The pacing was phenomenal for starters. I felt like I understood Issy completely and the more I saw her tortured emotions, the more I loved her. There is just something about a character who is afraid to love that melts my heart every time I read a novel. I felt her shackles and her despair. The moment she understood her mother's depression from feeling trapped, I got goose bumps. Before that she was running from her feelings. It was that resignation that broke my heart. But Issy is a fighter.
The cool thing about this book is that it can be read as a stand alone. While Issy stayed true to her character, you didn't have to read the first book to get the sense that she was a mess. I love Jake, too, so I am thrilled he has his own story coming up in 2014, though I can't imagine how the author will top this one. It was a perfect story in every way. I got tears in my eyes, my heart sped up, I got so caught up in the story that I forgot that I was reading. That's an excellent book. I didn't want the story to end, but the ending satisfied me.
Issy changed so much through her trials, but her faith journey felt so natural that I totally believed it. I've read other books where the characters break down and reach for God, but nothing was as believable as this story. I cried when she called Avery so desperate for peace. It was emotional and beautiful. And she did what she thought was best for Grant, but God bless him for not giving up on her even when everything seemed hopeless. That scene where her dad's henchmen pulled him away from her broke my heart. I could feel his desperation and pain.
In some ways this book reminded me of a contemporary Titanic story. Issy was Rose and Grant was like Jack. Robbie reminded me of Cal and all of the emotions his character in the movie sparked in me came up again when I thought about how controlling Robbie was... just like "Cal" from Titanic. His power and his desire to win at all costs frightened me, so I could empathize with Issy's terror and how shackled she felt. Billions were riding on the arrangement. The stakes were high. But love triumphs over tragedy and trials made them both stronger. I love stories like this. Again, it's my absolute favorite book this year. I don't know how anything will top this novel. (less)