~~~~~ What I Liked The setting was beautiful. Picturesque snowscapes and castles, and women riding side seat with gorgeous gowns. Jordan is especially good at building her worlds so her reader can be lost in it. The male lead character, Will, is pragmatic and kind Unlike an Earl you would picture who comes from fancy lineage. He was not fond of the idea of an arranged marriage to some heiress he didn't even know, because he (wrongly) assumes all heiresses are the same: spoiled, arrogant, vapid. When he comes upon Violet, it is clear the connection is strong, but Violet isn't yet willing to give, and Will won't give up. Violet is a strong woman with flaws Albeit a bit too strong-willed, because she is unwilling to bend a little or give people the benefit of the doubt. But I liked that about her because it meant she wasn't perfect and reacted to situations with very human emotions. It's easy to see how her desperation to have love leads her to believe that her father's man of affairs is a man worthy of her affections. Her mom was a title-digger LOL, that sounds weird to say it's something I liked, but she felt true to the era. The subsequent loss also felt realistic, since dowries and arranged marriages for money and political advancement are something that really happened back then. Also the relationship between her title-digging mother and herself set the tone for the kind of character Violet was: not easily manipulated but a people-pleaser nonetheless. Even though this is a novella, the romance isn't instantaneous. It's a slow build. Will realizes Violet is unlike other heiresses he's met, and finally, there is one he wants to get to know better. His efforts were cute, and their verbal back and forth was adorable. The moment they get stranded together in a blizzard is the turning point for the story, and I really enjoyed reading how they came together that night. What I Didn't Like TSTL-syndrome Sometimes, though, Violet suffered from TSTL syndrom (Too Stupid To Live). She made one especially ridiculous decision and it can only be attributed to having impractical and emotional reactions to the situation she found herself in. Verdict I didn't think I would enjoy a historical romance, but I love Sophie Jordan's YA novels, and I thought I'd give this one a try for the HoHoHoRAT. I was pleasantly surprised that I liked it, so now I might try other historicals, too. Obviously fans of this genre will love it. An Heiress for All Seasons is downright adorable....more
~~~~~ What I liked Damn near everything! The characters, the beautiful setting Stone built within her pages, the chemistry, the plot. The Plot Jake Edwards is a dashing, yet troubled leading man. "Heart-broken" is his middle name, and he comes with a bit of it. This is his first Thanksgiving and Christmas home in a while, and being back in Crystal Lake is breaking his heart - in many ways. He's a survivor of the war and a battle that stole his own twin brother, and his suffering is the guilt of that loss, as well as the guilt of the attraction he's felt for his sister-in-law since way before his brother married her. He has nightmares about the war, and his presence in Crystal Lake is begrudging at best. He doesn't want to be there.
Raine is heartbroken, too. Mine broke for her a little bit, as her plight of loneliness and abandonment is described. Not only does she feel abandoned by her husband who died (perhaps voluntarily) in battle, but she also feels abandoned by his twin brother, Jake, who was always there for her before. Those feelings seem to have settled into contempt for life (and hygiene), as well anger and bitter resentment at her situation, which manifests itself with quick, snide words and days where all she does is sleep. Depression, thy name is.
Lily St. Clare. Snarky, full of relationship wisdom, and a completely unforgiving personality, she's a strong woman. The way she was brought into the novel makes me suspicious that she's the next main character, which I would love to read, because I just really liked her. The Chemistry Sizzling. It's clear from te beginning that there has always been something there between Raine and Jake. Can they move past the stigma of Jake marrying his brother's wife? Will Raine forgive him? Can they just have the sex already?! Both of them seemed to pull at each other, whether they liked it or not. I enjoyed reading how they find their way to each other, and the difficult circumstances that cloud their relationship, be it platonic or sexual. I was rooting for them the whole way. The Setting is beautiful. Green pines, a puppy playing in the blanket of snow, the frost of your breath in the air, the small town feeling of knowing characters you were just introduced to. I bet it's cold as hell, though. What I didn't like Really, not much. It didn't hold me the way some novels do, but I tend to just rate romances a little less than other genres, because you pretty much know it's heading to a HEA, so there isn't much in the way of surprises (although I suppose with romance, it's just in how they get there that is the point of it all). Verdict
A great holiday romance for fans of romance and/or Christmas.
~~~~~ I'm not going to get all long-winded on this one. I didn't enjoy it and the fault is partly my own.
Under the Mistletoe with Me is a sweet audio novella, don't get me wrong. But at just over two hours, it took me longer to get through this than the other audios I was listening to around the same time, because it was too sweet with very little conflict. I don't know if Proby felt that conflict was not needed in a story this short, but I like some at least. It felt like the dramatic parts of the story are contrived. Example: she thinks he's cheating because he took some phone calls she didn't know about. Perhaps this is where backstory would have helped me. Is there a reason she felt like that? It just felt like an overreaction to me, perhaps because I don't know these characters. And also, that issue gets resolved basically in the beginning so there is nothing left to drive the story. Blah.
The rest of the novella just takes you through the holiday season, to a nice ending, but nothing spectacular.
I say the fault is partly mine, because I didn't do my research so I had no background on the series it is a part of. I find that most holiday books and novellas can be read as standalones. Not Under the Mistletoe with Me. I really feel like you need the backstories on characters to really get into it.
This is something I might recommend if you know the series; otherwise, I wouldn't bother.
Narrator 4-1-1 Ehhhhh. Jennifer Mack was alright, but she didn't do male voices convincingly and all her female characters sounded the same. Eric Michael Summerer's voice is...amazing. Too bad he only narrated the epilogue....more
~~~~~ Jennifer's Take What I Liked A Thousand Pieces of You has a thrilling and exciting plot. In the beginning of the story, we learn that Marguerite's (Meg's) father has been murdered and his interdimensional device, aka the Firebird, has been stolen away. Meg is understandably equal parts devastated and vengeful. Her mother's assistant Theo insists it was Paul, who is adamant he is innocent, while he jumps from one dimension to the next. So who did it? Finding out leads you through multiple dimensions, as the plot twists from one person to the other, people die and Meg's heart gets shattered.
I'm not going to even pretend to understand quantum physics or string theory, or even the possibility of interdimensional travel. I was just along for the ride, y'all! I did find the science as it was explained, easy to understand. I "got" the rules.
The plot for A Thousand Pieces of You had me gripping my book, because I felt compelled to keep reading since the excitement literally never stopped! I loved the world-building!
The different dimensions are fascinating! Who you are in one dimension may not be who you are in the other, but it seems that your soul is the same, which was a romantic and hopeful notion. I also loved the dimensions, but my favorites were probably Russia and the oceanographic station. Gray wrote each world with such detail, from vivid holographic phone screens, to the palace in Russia, and the fish and storms of the ocean lab.
That Cover! I seriously feel like I need to call this out, even though it has nothing to do with the book rating. When I got this in the mail, I think I spent about 5 minutes studying the cover, and how a futuristic London skyline is juxtaposed above the Moscow skyline. The cover team for A Thousand Pieces of You did a splendid job. What I Was Meh About The romance was not something that grabbed me. And that's not totally true. There is a small love-triangle in A Thousand Pieces of You, and I was only able to buy into one part of the love-triangle, which was in itself a mini-love-triangle. The other part of it just felt a little contrived. It was entirely too easy for everyone to find each other in each dimension.
*brief pause for a Sliders gif*
When characters are playing tag between dimensions, it should be harder to find each other at first. Maybe Gray thinks we will just assume it's all in the technology, but the characters - all of them - adapted far too easily.
I figured out the bad guy fairly quickly. Perhaps I've become a more critical and discerning reader since I began blogging a few years ago. But I kind of had the whodunit figured out early into the book. I didn't know the hows, but the ending confirmed all my suspicions. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, because it was how I would have ended the story. And it was actually a good ending, supporting it as a standalone, or leading into the second book of the series (which, P.S. I can't wait for!). What I Disliked Nothing!
The first thing that struck me about this book was the cover - it is absolutely beautiful! I was immediately drawn to the book without having any idea what it was about, and once I found out, I was even more interested. The premise of multiple dimensions with different versions of the world is so intriguing, and offers limitless opportunities for storytelling.
All of the dimensions were really cool – futuristic London with all of the crazy technology, the underwater community where sea life swims by during dinner – and all of the world building was done so well that I could vividly imagine each location. But my favorite was when Marguerite was a Russian duchess. Not only because of Lieutenant Markov, but also because she got to experience having several siblings, have a unique relationship with her father, and there were some really, really great scenes.
I liked that the author didn’t skip over things like questions of ethics – Marguerite wonders if she is becoming the villain for taking over the bodies in other dimensions, sometimes stealing experiences that should’ve belonged to them. It was the small details that she included that really made the characters more real and relatable.
I also liked the flashbacks where we got to learn more about Marguerite’s past and her parents (who were pretty awesome, by the way). The only issue I had with anything in the story was when Colonel Azarenko took the Firebird from Paul. It was previously mentioned that people didn’t notice the Firebirds, so I wondered why he would’ve even seen it. I finally concluded that he obviously didn’t realize how unusual and out of place it must’ve seemed in this Russian dimension, so he noticed it as something that didn’t go with Paul’s uniform. I also had one of the big twists figured out pretty quickly, but I was enjoying the book so much that I really didn’t mind.
I am already so excited to read the next book and see what new dimensions are in store for Marguerite. Actually, I’m excited just to see the cover of the next book! In the meantime, I may not be able to put this one on my bookshelf, I may have to keep it laying around just so I can admire that artwork.
We want you to love this book, too! So we're giving away two copies!
Thank you to HarperTeen for sponsoring this giveaway.