So, I purchased this anthology of seven stories called Romance through the Ages for $.99 (a CRAZY good deal), and Running Barefoot is one of the storiSo, I purchased this anthology of seven stories called Romance through the Ages for $.99 (a CRAZY good deal), and Running Barefoot is one of the stories. I hadn't heard of this author or this book, but I was just trying to read through the entire anthology.
I HAD ZERO EXPECTATIONS. I WAS BLOWN AWAY.
WOW. I started reading this and couldn't stop. Life would drag me away, but even when I wasn't reading, I was still thinking about these characters. I usually read novels very quickly, but I read this one so slowly, just savoring every word. Relationships that could be "problematic" in another author's hands were handled so tastefully by Amy Harmon and worked so, so well. I loved Amy Harmon's writing style. I was completely captivated, and these characters felt real. There was so much chemistry it was palpable. (And I actually learned a ton, too, about everything from classical music to Native American legends.)
I totally cried. More than once. It's been awhile since I cried reading a book.
My only critique is that sometimes minor characters were introduced kind of choppily and then fell away only to come back kind of jarringly because I'd forgotten about them, but it's so not important because Amy Harmon got the two main characters perfectly right.
This one is going on the favorites shelf, and that's rare for me. I truly only put my very favorite books on that shelf, but this one's on it. ...more
I think this may be the best Regency romance I've ever read. CARLA KELLY CAN WRITE. She creates these characters that live and breathe, complex characI think this may be the best Regency romance I've ever read. CARLA KELLY CAN WRITE. She creates these characters that live and breathe, complex characters with flaws and heart that you can't help but cheer for. I've never read a Regency romance quite like this one. There are serious themes of redemption, prejudice, and forgiveness mixed with wit and romance. The blend is intoxicating--a novel that made me laugh, made me cry, made me swoon, and, importantly, made me think and reevaluate myself. How does one make his or her life worth living? Don't we all need a bit of redemption at times?
Lord Ragsdale is an indolent, neglectful man who won't "exert" himself for anything or anyone. He neglects any and all duties and wastes his life on drink and worthless past times. The worst part--he knows it but is too lazy to change. The best thing he can say about himself is that he doesn't gamble. So why does he exert himself and save Irish indentured servant Emma Costello in a card game? And what will be the results when, in a drunken stupor, he agrees to let Emma reform him?
This story has so much expected depth and sparkling wit. In this day of the overused love-at-first-sight romance and cardboard stock character, Reforming Lord Ragsdale shines with it's slow building romance and complicated characters. Would you believe it, but these characters actually grow from hating each other to becoming FRIENDS. It's a indication of the power of this story that the most important part is when the heroine tells our flawed hero, not that she loves him, but that she LIKES him.
Carla Kelly, please keep republishing these classics of yours. This is what a historical romance should be. This one deserves to be re-read every year....more
I read this on a coast-to-coast plane trip, and the pages just melted away I was so engrossed. It's my first Melina Marchetta, and I cannot stop thinkI read this on a coast-to-coast plane trip, and the pages just melted away I was so engrossed. It's my first Melina Marchetta, and I cannot stop thinking about this book--its characters, its messages, its journey of healing and forgiveness are unforgettable.
I'll admit: I was confused for the first 100 pages, but I didn't give up (probably because it was this or the Skymall). The more I read, the more riveted I became until I could not look away. The way Melina Marchetta wove these plot threads together into this profound tapestry of a novel left me wonderstruck.
Where's my copy of Finnikan of the Rock? This woman is brilliant.
Content: This book contains some mature themes probably more suitable for older teens and adults. ...more
This series is what every other angel book wishes it could grow up to be.
Hallowed is "middle book" at its very best.
Out of all the paranormal creatureThis series is what every other angel book wishes it could grow up to be.
Hallowed is "middle book" at its very best.
Out of all the paranormal creatures in YA, angels get by far the worst treatment. Three of the worst YA series all feature angels, and until Unearthly, I thought perhaps it was impossible to write a decent angel book. But Unearthly was not decent--IT WAS AMAZING. That delicious, slow-build romance between Clara and Tucker. A strong, likeable heroine with a realistic voice. A vivid, gorgeous setting. Intriguing mythology that makes sense. Tucker. (Did I mention Tucker?) Ever since I closed the pages of Unearthly, I've been clamoring for a sequel.
In Cynthia Hand's follow-up novel, she DELIVERS. She makes me feel things about characters that I never thought I could. She takes this in the direction hinted at throughout Unearthly, but she makes it work (in ways this Team Tucker girl didn't think were possible) and adds some complexity with other unexpected twists. My heart was aching--ACHING--when I finished this book.
Cynthia Hand, how did you make me like Christian? I'm as TEAM TUCKER as they come, and yet you drew me in to see Christian's goodness and charm and caring with such a sly hand. I'm no advocate of love triangles, but this one is as good as they come.
And the writing? As addictive and snappy and heart-breaking as ever. I love that Cynthia can poke fun at her own book and genre with funny little lines about stalker girlfriends and love triangles and jealous boyfriends. Her writing makes these characters feel REAL, so real that she can make me feel absolute joy and then devastation because of the struggles and choices these characters face. And trust me...you will feel a gamut of emotions reading this.
Cynthia Hand has shown that Unearthly was no fluke. This woman can WRITE. This series shines with stellar characterization, fascinating mythology, compelling choices, and Tucker (it needed to be said). I cannot wait to see what she has in store next for these beloved characters.
I knew I was going to love this from the moment I read the blurb. Cricket is an inventor (and soEven. Better. Than. Anna.
And that's saying something.
I knew I was going to love this from the moment I read the blurb. Cricket is an inventor (and so is the hubby--25 patent applications, thank you very much). It takes place in San Francisco (which is our city). And Stephanie Perkins wrote it (and we all know her words are magic. MAGIC! Everything she writes is oozing with amazingness.)
Lola surpasses all expectations. When you read these words, you FEEL everything. Lola's embarrassment, her sadness, her longing...and the sparks every time Cricket touches her. How does Stephanie Perkins weave these spells? I can't remember the last time I felt quite like this reading a book...this heart all a-flutter feeling where you're holding your breathe waiting for them to touch. Oh, wait--I can. It was when I read Anna and the French Kiss.
Lola is a story of finding yourself, and finding the one you love. And Stephanie Perkins writes chemistry like no other. Sigh.
I can't wait to see what Stephanie has in store for Isla, and she uses the events in Lola to set the scene perfectly for Isla to ensure all our favorite characters will be back.
Go read this book. And then read it again because that's what I'm going to do right now. (I swear, this book must be laced with some kind of addictive substance...or else Stephanie Perkins' pacing and characters and writing are PERFECT.)...more
Finally...an angel story we paranormal fans can get behind. Today's angel stories are riddled with weak heroines, obsessive "love interests", and shodFinally...an angel story we paranormal fans can get behind. Today's angel stories are riddled with weak heroines, obsessive "love interests", and shoddy mythology (Fallen and Halo, anyone?). With its strong characters, swoon-worthy guys, and unique angel lore, Unearthly is now my gold-star standard for angel books.
I grew up on a ranch near where this story takes place, so reading Unearthly felt like coming home. Cynthia Hand creates a vivid setting and characters that spoke to me. She perfectly captures the western charm of Wyoming and Idaho (Tucker, anyone?) and I couldn't put this stunning debut down.
Unearthly really shines in its characterization. Cynthia creates a strong, likeable heroine through Clara's voice and actions. Instead of being the well-worn whimpering heroine who needs everyone to save her, Clara is smart and resourceful, yet relatable and believable. Too many authors try to make their heroine appear strong by making her cold or distant or unfeminine, but Clara is warm and kind and isn't afraid to wear a dress. She faces challenges and struggles but doesn't let them overcome her. (None of that "I'm going to DIIIIIIIE" because of boy troubles for our heroine.) From Clara's friends to her mom, Cynthia Hand creates engaging, believable characters that I care about.
Tucker. You had me from "Carrots." It was Anne and Gilbert all over again, and I loved it. Cynthia weaves some delicious romantic tension between Clara and Tucker that had me coming back chapter after chapter (I may or may not have let my kids play at the park for hours so I could stay on my bench and keep reading). Instead of the ridiculous "I loved you because I saw you from across the hall" that's way too prevalent in today's young adult books, Cynthia lets the attraction simmer and build, with a lot of "pulling the hair" antics and teasing along the way that had me smiling. It felt real and believable, and I LOVED IT.
Unearthly is an enchanting tale oozing with unputdownable qualities. It delivers on the promises made by that gorgeous cover with its believable, likeable characters; intriguing mythology that reveals just enough to be satisfying but holds back some answers for a sequel; and one of the most team-deserving guys to grace the pages of young adult literature in a long time.
Let me just say I was torn between reading at a crazy, feverish, I-am-consumed-by-this-book pace5 SERIOUSLY SPARKLY STARS.
Oh, bleep! It was SO. GOOD.
Let me just say I was torn between reading at a crazy, feverish, I-am-consumed-by-this-book pace and slowing down to savor each delicious word and laugh-out-loud line.
As I ended up reading Supernaturally in 3.5 hours, I obviously opted to drink from the fire hose instead of sipping daintily from a tea cup.
Kiersten White, you are the word maestro. You really upped the hilarity quotient in this sequel with your clever turns of phrase and laugh-out-loud lines sprinkled on every page. You know that part where Lend gives Evie a gift (which she loves) and Evie says, "Well, you've set a ridiculously high standard for yourself. Should have started out with something tacky."? That's how I felt after Paranormalcy. You'd set the bar so high for yourself (no short jokes intended). Could you do it again?
My answer is a RESOUNDING YES!
It's been six months since Evie and Lend's escape from the International Paranormal Containment Agency. Evie's finally gotten the "normal" life she's always longed for: high school, a job, an apartment, a locker. But Evie's finding that normal is...kind of boring. So when Raquel and IPCA come calling, swearing they've kind of changed their ways, Evie's drawn back in by the lure of the excitement of her former life (and helping out Raquel). The best part for Evie: no more trips through the faerie paths with psychotic faeries thanks to IPCA's newest teenage phenom, Jack.
Oh, Jack. With your cocky attitude, all-kinds-of-funny wit, and dimpled audacity, you had me laughing from hello. Jack, thy name is Cheeky. (I just had to throw that little ode in to one of my favorite new characters of 2011.)
I don't know if Jack has a real-life inspiration, but if he does, heaven help that boy's poor mother.
Kiersten White knows her stuff. She seems well aware of YA tropes and avoids them at every turn with her refreshing characters, unexpected plot points, and authentic relationships. Kiersten seems to know we're tired of love triangles. And clingy, over-dependent heroines. And cliffhangers. (There is no the-building's-burning-and-we-don't-know-who-gets-out-alive for our Supernaturally ending. *ahem, Demonglass*) Kiersten lovingly pokes fun at many of these well-worn YA tropes and creates something fresh and fun--an absolute pleasure to read.
Each moment where I thought the story could descend into predictability, Kiersten White took it in another direction of total awesomeness.
And Evie. I heart Evie. There are YA heroines I respect. Others with which I sympathize. Some I relate to. But Evie, she's in the very tiny category of YA heroines I'd want to be friends with. SUCH A FRESH VOICE. She's sassy and clever and witty and relatable and sparkly. She's tough yet vulnerable. And she likes pink. Kiersten draws these characters with such a vivid hand.
The pacing? Genius. It was unputdownable. And unforgettable. I've read it three times now because it was that good. There was an "oh my gosh, what's going to happen next" read, an "I am so savoring this" read, and a "good parts--wait that's all the book" read. I am an unabashed fangirl at this point.
Fans of Paranormalcy, start counting down to July 26.
P.S. That cover is all kinds of gorgeous.
P.P.S. And Kiersten, I was waiting to see where you'd fit in the usage of "cleavagization" and now I know. =) ...more
I had chills--CHILLS--at the end of Lauren Oliver's Delirium. It was like I could hear Muse's "Uprising" playing in the background as I read the lastI had chills--CHILLS--at the end of Lauren Oliver's Delirium. It was like I could hear Muse's "Uprising" playing in the background as I read the last passage. I was unbelievably moved by this resistance movement that will fight for the right to love. I had to read the last page out loud to my non-literary husband (something I haven't done since "Katniss, there is no District 12") just so that I could share it with someone.
Fans of young adult dystopian fiction, rejoice! A remarkable new series has been added to our genre. I've been reading dystopian fiction way before there ever was The Hunger Games, and I was captivated by Delirium. This novel combines so many classic elements of dystopian literature into a moving, heart-rending tale of the ultimate forbidden love--not only is Lena forbidden to chose whom she will love, but she is forbidden to love PERIOD. I saw echoes of so many favorite dystopian works in Delirium (1984, Anthem, and perhaps the first YA dystopian novel, John Christopher's The White Mountains).
I was hooked from the very beginning. I love the premise, and Lauren Oliver really delivered. Although the first quarter of the book drags in places, once Oliver hits her stride, the story grips your heart and emotions and doesn't let go. Oliver takes us on this fascinating journey of self-discovery with Lena, as Lena slowly learns to trust her heart, question the "truths" she's always been taught, and ultimately choose for herself. I loved seeing Lena gradually awaken from the slumber this world places on the mind as Alex show her how to think and feel and LOVE for herself.
And that ending? I was blown away. Oliver foreshadowed it throughout the book, but I was still floored. There are certain events that I REALLY hope are possible for the next book based on that ending, so I read the last few pages several times to see if there's any hope there, and believe there is. Was that vague enough to keep it spoiler free?
Delirium is a thought-provoking tale that had me riveted. It combines some of my favorite elements--forbidden love, dystopian world, resistance movement--into one compelling book that will haunt you well after you've read that stunning last passage. ...more
It's always sad (and a bit scary) to say goodbye to a favorite series. Last books come with such emotionally-fuJulie 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.)...more
WARNING: When you start this book, just take the day off from work or get the kids a babysitter. YOU WILL NOT PUT IT DOWN. I was both completely rivetWARNING: When you start this book, just take the day off from work or get the kids a babysitter. YOU WILL NOT PUT IT DOWN. I was both completely riveted and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, and yet I wanted to savor every word, every captivating exchange. This is Julie Kagawa’s best work yet, and that’s saying something because I adored The Iron King and The Iron Daughter. Written with equal parts of romance, witty banter, and action, The Iron Queen is a glistening gem of a book. You’ll never look at a “faery tale” the same again. (And did I mention that gorgeous cover? Won’t that look pretty on your bookshelf next to The Iron King and the The Iron Daughter?)
My favorite part of this book? All things ASH. Julie peels back the icy exterior of Ash and leaves him vulnerable and open. In the beginning of the book after their exile, Meghan says she’s getting a glimpse of the Ash she always knew was there all along. As a true Ash fangirl from the first pages of The Iron King, I wanted to cheer and squeal because that’s what us Ash fangirls have been saying about him the whole time. And Julie doesn’t just give us a glimpse of this true Ash—she lets us gaze adoringly for page after page as we truly SEE Ash. He’s tender. He’s devoted. He’s caring. He’s ROMANTIC. AND HE TREMBLES. His love for Meghan tears down the façade, the emotionless mask, and his emotions are laid bare. I cannot wait for everyone to meet the TRUE ASH.
My, my how Meghan’s grown since those first painful pages of The Iron King. At one point, Ash tells her she’s not the same girl he met when she first came to the Nevernever, that she’s changed, and I agree. It has been a truly beautiful journey to see Meghan grow and change over the course of the three books. She’s become a strong heroine ready to face any threat head on, to fight side by side her loyal companions, and to embrace and exercise her immense power. No more will Meghan shy away or cower and hide—as she tells the false king’s messenger, she’s going to take the fight to him.
And the ending? I can’t remember the last time I cried reading a book. It was probably when I was 12 and Beth died in Little Women. Maybe I’ve just read too many books and have become jaded, but not only did Julie have me crying, I was WEEPING. Tears were streaming down my face. Ash’s words to Meghan at the end? Is there anything more romantic in literature? Julie’s writing pulls at all of your emotions.
Stunning from start to finish, Julie Kagawa’s Iron King series is the most riveting, most captivating faery series I’ve ever read (and with the explosion of young adult paranormal romances, I’ve read about A LOT of faeries lately). The concept of the Iron fey is original and compelling, and Julie uses her immense creativity to create a world and characters that draw you in, hold onto your heart, and take you on an awe-inspiring journey. Go on—immerse yourself in this enchanting world.
If you haven’t experienced this series yet, I highly recommend it. And that’s what it is—an experience. It will touch all of your emotions. You’ll FEEL true love, heartbreak, humor, friendship, sorrow, and suspense. I laughed, I cried, and I savored the romance. This book will haunt you…you’ll be thinking about it long after you turn the last page. How long until The Iron Knight is released?
As a footnote to my review, I just want to rave about the sensational Julie Kagawa. She is so gracious to her fans and treats us like true friends. Some authors seem to act like the fans are just a bother, but Julie is so kind and thoughtful to our league of Ash and Puck devotees. I mean, how many authors write an entire novella (“Winter’s Passage”) and let their readers devour it for free??? How many authors post juicy, delightful teasers EVERY WEEK for their fans? Julie Kagawa is full of awesomeness. ...more
Judge this book by the cover. Seriously, do. I loved this cover so much I sat at the bookstore staring at it, and then when I read the book, I loved iJudge this book by the cover. Seriously, do. I loved this cover so much I sat at the bookstore staring at it, and then when I read the book, I loved it, too! And the title? I LOVE THAT. The sequel's title, Supernaturally? Love that even more.
I heard a lot of great hype about this book, which can often lead to a letdown once you actually read the book. However, Paranormalcy was just as flirty, funny, and refreshing as promised. It had great characterization, hysterical dialogue, and just enough answers with just enough mystery still unexplained to have me eagerly awaiting Supernaturally. I loved all of the bleeps, the sighs, and the quirky sense of humor. Seriously, I just loved it all.
And the romance? I loved the innocence of it. Here you have two secluded teenagers falling in love for the first time, so I thought the innocence was perfect. I felt myself cheering for them to hold hands for the first time! One part I don't get? The quote by Aprilynne Pike about the other paranormal winning her heart. Was she talking about Reth??? Reth was so creepy. I thought he was a fantastic, intriguing character and I can't wait to read more explaining his motives, but stealing my heart? He was crazy creepy. Let's all just cheer now that Evie is still with Lend.
Paranormalcy. Loved it. I have to hold myself back from using some sort of "bleep" phrase to describe it because I really loved it that much. Like, loved it enough to stay up until 2:00 a.m. finishing it after starting it at 10:00 p.m. because I could not go to bed without knowing how it ended. Kiersten White, keep the funny, quirky, flirty books coming! ...more
Read. This. Book. Seriously, read this book. I've read over 100 books this year, and this is in my top 3 because it sucked me in completely. I read itRead. This. Book. Seriously, read this book. I've read over 100 books this year, and this is in my top 3 because it sucked me in completely. I read it in one sitting (finishing at 3:00 a.m.) because I could NOT put it down. It was original, refreshing, and ROMANTIC. You can tell Sophie Jordan's a romance novelist--the romance in this book had me swept away with every glance, every little touch between Jacinda and Will. I LOVED THIS BOOK. Can I say that loudly enough?
It all started when my friend passed me a copy of this book and said, "Read it. It will be like reading Twilight for the first time." What she meant was it will suck you in, you'll stay up all night reading it, and you'll feel like a teenager in love all over again. Now, I read my share of the classics and the deep, literary-type books, but I LOVE a good escapist read. Firelight was one of the very best "let's get away from it all and escape into a fresh, new world" books I've read all year.
The premise (a race of human-like creatures descended from dragons) felt fresh and original. I've read about WAAAAAY too many werewolves this year, and Sophie Jordan's world felt new and exciting. AND THE ROMANCE. Seriously, I LOVED Jacinda and Will. They felt real and complex and had AMAZING chemistry. They become people I cared about, and by the end of the book, my heart was breaking, too. I was also intrigued by Cassian. I can't wait to read more about his motives and his true intentions regarding Jacinda in the sequel. And speaking of sequels, fall 2011 is feeling like a long way away right now! I have some predictions regarding Tamra's future, and I can't wait to find out if I'm right!
Jacinda was a strong heroine trying to find her place between two worlds, and I thought her anxiety and emotions felt very realistic. I didn't find her whiney at all---her mother was trying to kill a very real part of who Jacinda is in her mother’s attempts to protect Jacinda, and of course Jacinda's going to fight that. I have read the inner thoughts and MANY whiney heroines this year, and Jacinda's voice felt fresh and real in a good way.
Seriously, buy this book. After I read it, I had to have it for my shelf. It was the most "Oh my gosh--they're looking at each other and I can't breathe" book I've read in a long time. Intriguing characters, original premise, lush prose, and intoxicating romance. I am waiting with bated breath for Book 2... ...more