Carla Kelly, you did not let me down. Just when I thought this was going to descend into regency romance cliche territory, you deftly and surprisingly...moreCarla Kelly, you did not let me down. Just when I thought this was going to descend into regency romance cliche territory, you deftly and surprisingly and blissfully steered this in the other direction just in time. I haven't been surprised at the ending of a book in a long time, but you got me with this one. Happily so.
Another delightful and addicting book from Carla Kelly. I'm looking forward to devouring the sequel.(less)
Cedar Fort acquired a real indie gem with Geek Girl. I first read Geek Girl back in March when it was self-published, and I burned through it in a mat...moreCedar Fort acquired a real indie gem with Geek Girl. I first read Geek Girl back in March when it was self-published, and I burned through it in a matter of hours. Talk about flow...Cindy C. Bennett's writing is addictive and all-consuming and emotionally gripping. And she ALWAYS makes me cry.
I initially gave Geek Girl four stars, but as I re-read it now that it's been published, I'm upping it to five. Out of everything I've read this year, this is one of those stories that has just stayed with me. I can't tell you how many times this year that I've stared at all the books on my iPad and opened Geek Girl back up to read some favorite passages again. These isn't anything too earth shattering here, but I've had a hard time saying goodbye to these characters. Cindy's characters always breathe. Her heroines are fierce yet symphatic. They speak of the attrocities of their lives with such raw honesty that you can't help but cheer for them to get their happy ending. And let me tell you, Cindy knows how to write the White Knight.
This book has only gotten better with time. I can't wait to see more from Cindy C. Bennett. Her book Heart on a Chain is another indie gem, and I'd love for it to see publication (hint, hint!).(less)
Sigh. I haven't been this addicted to an author's writing since Marcia McClure. I've been sneaking downstairs after everyone's asleep and reading into...moreSigh. I haven't been this addicted to an author's writing since Marcia McClure. I've been sneaking downstairs after everyone's asleep and reading into the wee hours because I CANNOT STOP READING Donna Hatch. Even better? THIS ONE HAS PIRATES. I read Daphne Du Maurier's Frenchman's Creek as a teen and have been hooked on pirate stories ever since. And a clean Regency romance with steamy kisses AND pirates? Donna, it's like you read my mind.
More, Donna, please? How about Grant's and Christian's stories?(less)
I love a spunky heroine. I love a girl who will get in and out of scrapes, volley some witty banter at the handsome man we're dying...more4.5 out of 5 stars
I love a spunky heroine. I love a girl who will get in and out of scrapes, volley some witty banter at the handsome man we're dying for her to kiss, and beat him at chess to boot. And you know what else I love? Carla Kelly's writing. I read Marian's Christmas Wish not knowing what to expect and ended up spending the next three days reading three Carla Kelly books because I couldn't get enough of her writing. I immediately bought my own copy of Marian's Christmas Wish as soon as I finished my ARC because I know I'm going to want to read this book every Christmas.
Marian's Christmas Wish begins as a sweet, light-hearted holiday tale with lots of silly escapades and laughs, but the second half transforms the story into something completely different, fraught with intrigue, heartbreak, and danger. While I did feel a bit of a jolt between the two halves, as the tone is quite different, I still reveled in this story. The romance is the hold-your-breath kind that builds throughout the book, and that kept me reading way past my bedtime. These endearing characters had latched onto my heart, and I wanted to see everyone get a happy ending before I closed my eyes.
Fans of Georgette Heyer looking for a clean Regency romance full of heart-aflutter kisses, humorous dialogue, and a bit of danger will enjoy this Christmas tale...and that ending was so gooey and sweet...just the way I like my romances. (Although I could do without Gilbert lovingly calling Marian "brat" all the time...I know Georgette does it, too, but it made me cringe.)
Carla Kelly, keep the "Greatest Hits List" coming! I can't wait to read more re-releases from Cedar Fort of Carla Kelly's early works. I need more! (less)
I have FINALLY found it. THE BEST MARCIA BOOK EVER. I thought it would be a three way tie between Shackles of Honor, Light of the Lover's Moon, and Cr...moreI have FINALLY found it. THE BEST MARCIA BOOK EVER. I thought it would be a three way tie between Shackles of Honor, Light of the Lover's Moon, and Crimson Frost, until I read The Highwayman of Tanglewood.
Now THIS is Marcia at her very, very, utmost best. I read it in one sitting and turned around and read it again the next day. The Queen of Clean really delivers in this one. Ladies, prepare to SWOON!(less)
Cindy C. Bennett, you know how to make me cry. I'm not much of a book crier, but you've made me weep through not just one book, but TWO. You have some...moreCindy C. Bennett, you know how to make me cry. I'm not much of a book crier, but you've made me weep through not just one book, but TWO. You have some magic button that just unleashes my tear ducts so that I find myself sobbing while reading. And then, you add these crazy-good, awwww endings that make me smile through my tears. May we have some more, please?
I devoured Cindy's book Geek Girl and couldn't stop thinking about it. Her writing and characters draw me in and make me feel like I'm present for everything--that I'm watching my best friend live these events. I have now read BOTH of Cindy's books in one sitting each because I care so much about these characters that I can't stop without knowing the conclusion of their story.
While Geek Girl is a little lighter, a littler fluffier, Heart on a Chain tackles some serious issues: abuse and bullying. You can't read this book without it making you want to be a nicer, better person. It exposes the effects of bullying in a way that tore at my heart. It showed how a plea for help may be stifled or go unnoticed because bullying has isolated and destroyed someone to the point where there's no one she can trust to protect her from unimaginable horrors at home. A particular conversation between Kate and a tormentor at the end had me WEEPING as the tormentor realized what her bullying had done--how she had made sure Kate had no friends...and thus no one to confide her terrible secret to.
Every mean girl needs to read this book.
Bad boys, move aside. Cindy sure knows how to write the white knight. Her heroes are squeaky clean and devoted, and it's refreshing to see the anti-jerk get some page time. Cindy's boys are so...non-judgy. Henry and Kate share some sweet chemistry, and Henry's epilogue at the end had me awwwwing because it was so adorable. (Yes, Henry, ADORABLE.)
While the events may border a tiny bit on melodramatic at times, Heart on a Chain made me want to stamp out bullying and sprinkle friendship and kind words all around. I can't think of a better way to teach teenagers the effects of bullying. This is a story of abuse, redeeming love, and forgiveness that's unforgettable.(less)
Amy Plum's Die for Me is an enchanting debut novel with a rich setting, fresh mythology, and charming supporting cast. I was swept away by the story a...moreAmy Plum's Die for Me is an enchanting debut novel with a rich setting, fresh mythology, and charming supporting cast. I was swept away by the story and read into the night because like Kate, I just HAD to know what Vincent is.
Die for Me's revenant is my new favorite paranormal. Plum's mythology is so creative and refreshing after the countless vampire, werewolf, fairy, demon, yadda, yadda stories I've read. Her explanation for what a revenant is and how a person becomes one feels so...noble. These are NOT zombies. The entire concept and the revenants' calling is really quite benevolent and beautiful. Finally, a paranormal with a purpose I can cheer for (unlike, say, drinking blood).
And that SETTING. I mean, IT'S PARIS. Plum's vivid descriptions of Paris perfectly match her mythology. There's an old world, exotic feel to the story, and Paris suits this well. Plus that gorgeous setting lends itself to some breathtaking double cheek kisses, sublime hot chocolate, and swoony French lines.
Although there is immediate attraction between Kate and the enigmatic Vincent, Plum lets the romance simmer for a few chapters, which I love. You know those books where you add up the days and it turns out the characters have only known each other for a week before they're declaring their undying love? This is not one of them. Kate and Vincent exchange glances at a cafe. And a few weeks pass. They bump into each other at a cafe. And a few more days pass. They even go on a few dates. Yes, the romance has a Twilight feel at times, but it is sweet and captivating. (Vincent just needs to tone down the stalkery/needy tendencies at times.)
Unlike so many YA books that have cardboard supporting characters, Die for Me's secondary characters are charming *cough, Jules* and well developed. Jules, Jules, Jules. I'm not really a fan of the YA love triangle, but if Jules is involved, I'm all for it in Book 2. This supporting cast adds flavor and wit to the story, from the sweet Charlotte to the delightful Ambrose.
The action really picks up towards the end of the book, and thank you, thank you for a cliffhanger-free ending that nicely resolves the current book's main conflicts. After the gripping battle scene, the last chapter also lets us indulge in a little delicious escapism. Why don't more books end this way?
Die for Me has an original paranormal concept that I love and a vivid setting that I can't wait to visit again in Book 2. (And isn't that a beautiful cover?) (less)
It's always sad (and a bit scary) to say goodbye to a favorite series. Last books come with such emotionally-fu...moreJulie Kagawa knows how to end a series.
It's always sad (and a bit scary) to say goodbye to a favorite series. Last books come with such emotionally-fueled expectations. And after, some authors leave you feeling wrung out and crushed, while other authors make your heart sigh with happiness and contentment. Whenever I read a last book, I'm always overwhelmed with that feeling of Please don't ruin what you've created. Well, I am ecstatic to say that in The Iron Knight, Julie Kagawa gives us the perfect journey to the perfect ending that this stellar series deserves.
The Iron Knight was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2011, and WOW did Julie deliver. It was everything I was hoping for: adventure, anguish, romance, danger, and a slew of game-changing twists that left my head spinning. Within the first ten pages, Julie hit me with a whiplash twist that I just didn't see coming (the summary wasn't available then) and then she kept them coming for the rest of the story. Things that weren't anywhere on my radar were thrown into the mix, keeping the story fresh and compelling.
And let's talk about ASH. This is his story. His narration is everything my little fangirl heart was wishing for: some moments were pure bliss, and others, as Ash begins to thaw that icy cold heart, were harrowing and heart-wrenching. Everything about Ash--his emotions, his intense love, his regret--is laid bare. We see every vulnerability Ash hides behind that cold exterior, and we feel the extent of his absolute devotion to Meghan. And as Ash has told Meghan many times, there are horrific crimes in his past, and as Ash atones for those crimes to be worthy of what it will take to be with Meghan, we see how much his love for her has changed him--how much her love for him as already redeemed him.
For fans worried there may not be enough Meghan, I thought Julie devised some sneaky, delicious ways to fit in plenty of Meghan. Besides, we've had three books with her, and I'm a sucker for any kind of alternate POV, especially from the hero's perspective, to truly feel the extent of his love for our heroine.
So this Ash fangirl thanks you, Julie Kagawa, for creating such a satisfying, stirring end to this beloved series. I found myself re-reading entire chapters just so I didn't have to say goodbye so soon.
(And let's all give Julie's editor a big cheer for convincing Julie to write The Iron Knight and not leave that heartbreaking goodbye in The Iron Queen as the end like Julie initially intended. Yes, those parting words of Ash and Meghan in TIQ were tragic and all-sacrificing and made me cry, but oh, how I love my happily ever after instead.)(less)