This one is by far my favourite in Gordon's Western series. Michaela and Grayson were fantastic characters, I just wish I hadn't read the book in one...moreThis one is by far my favourite in Gordon's Western series. Michaela and Grayson were fantastic characters, I just wish I hadn't read the book in one sitting!
Michaela and Grayson have known each other since they were teenagers. Michaela had a crush on Grayson, although he never returned the feelings. When Michaela and her father, whom Grayson holds a grudge against, travel to make sure her sister, Ella, is being treated right by her new husband, they have quite the reacquaintance. Caught in a compromising situations, Michaela and Grayson are forced the marry. Neither are pleased with the situation and each have their own issues for why the marriage can't work out. Both of them will need to willing to talk to the other if they ever have their chance for their happily ever after.
This one was another winner from Gordon, and I loved going back to Fort Worth. Out of the books, I think that Michaela and Grayson had the most mature relationship and I liked the fact that it was built on something that started when they were teens. I could have used more detail about how Grayson got his misplaced reputation as a womanizer and I would have liked to see him and Michaela have that discussion.
If you've read other works by Gordon, this one will be sure to measure up. Readers are treated once again to a lovely, sweet romance. This style really appeals to me and I always looks forward to the authors new releases. And it looks like the new series will be just as good - I'm hoping for some awkward heroes, since I loved the Groom series so much. (less)
Loved this conclusion to Heath's Scoundrels series. I'm so glad we got Graves story and I think the novella format fit the story since it all started...moreLoved this conclusion to Heath's Scoundrels series. I'm so glad we got Graves story and I think the novella format fit the story since it all started for Graves and Winnie in book one. In some sense this novella feels like an epilogue for the series since readers were already given a hint that Graves and Winnie would one day get their deserved happily ever after. Due to the connection, I felt The Last Wicked Scoundrelwas a fully fleshed out novella, although I recommend reading the entire series to get the most out of this one. Overall, I believe fans of the series will be pleased.
*review copy provided by the publisher via Edelweiss. (less)
I've been meaning to read Starling since it came out, and I've heard wonderful things about Lesley Livingston, so at long last I got my copy...more2.5 Stars
I've been meaning to read Starling since it came out, and I've heard wonderful things about Lesley Livingston, so at long last I got my copy of Starling and started reading.
Mason Starling is a rising star for her private school's fencing team and she's hoping to make the national team. Practicing all that she can and crushing on her fencing partner, Cal, are pretty much her biggest concerns at the moment. She's had a seemingly charmed life, considering her dad is a millionaire; of course, these rich families always have skeletons in their closets, although Mason doesn't expect them to jump out and attack her. Or for a naked guy to fall out of a tree in the middle of the storm and fight off zombie creatures. Oh private school; where anything can happen.
It seems that Mason is a descendent and part of an ancient prophecy that spells out the end of the world. It's part of the Norse mythology for Ragnarok that states:
One tree. A rainbow bird wings among the branches. Three seeds of the apple tree, grow tall as Odin's spear is, gripped in the hand of the Valkyrie. They shall awaken, Odin Sons, when the Devourer returns. The hammer will fall down onto the earth to be reborn. (p. 98)
Apparently Mason and her brothers are part of this prophecy, although Mason is left in the dark about her ancestors while both her older brothers have the inside scoop. Instead Mason's cloistered at Gosforth Academy, where all the other students are descendents of servants for the gods of mythology. Some seem to be aware of this fact, but others, like Mason, don't have a clue. But, when this prophecy starts to unravel, Mason and others start to see some strange and monstrous characters in New York City.
Overall, I thought Starling was okay. It was entertaining and there was some funny moments, but I felt that the story wasn't original. This mythology mix has been done before and so has the prep school motif. For me, I didn't think there was really anything that stood out for me that made Starling markedly different from other stories that I've read. So while there wasn't anything really wrong with the story, I did feel that it fell flat for me because of the unoriginal theme.
I did like the characters and the writing style of the book. In my opinion there are not enough teen books that show multiple points of views. I thought this technique was extremely appropriate for Starling considering that many characters had different levels of understanding of the prophecy and the existence of magic and gods. The focus was definitely on Mason and her romantic lead, The Fennrys Wolf (a.k.a. naked guy), but I thought the inclusion of multiple points of view kept Starling interesting enough for me that I could continuing reading something that I wasn't completely invested in.
As for the secondary characters that readers get to know, I have to say I really hope we get to see a turn around with Rory Starling, Mason's middle brother. I'm getting an Edmund from Chronicles of Narnia vibe here, and I'm hoping that Rory's not all bad, although this may be wishful thinking. As for the rest of the secondary characters, I really liked Roth Starling (the eldest brother), Cal (Mason's crush), and Heather (the token gossip queen). At this point these characters are not completely fleshed out and are somewhat stereotypical, but I would love to see these characters grow a little in book 2, so fingers crossed. Because of the wide array of characters, I think Starling will have appeal to both guys and girls; however, the feminine cover may turn away some readership.
Ultimately, I liked the book, but I'm not inclined to rave about it, and I think only finishing the trilogy will tell me whether or not I'll be recommending this trilogy to friends and teen readers.
Isn't She Lovely was my second tentative exploration into the new adult genre. Anyone who has talked books with me knows that I hate this genre with a...moreIsn't She Lovely was my second tentative exploration into the new adult genre. Anyone who has talked books with me knows that I hate this genre with a burning passion. It's such a grey zone and I don't like the way that it's used as a label for everything now. It's like you slap 'new adult' on something and it's supposed to be a best seller. There are a lot of novels that are labeled new adult and I think it not used by what I would consider a 'new adult.' Many of the novels that I come across in new adult seem like you should really just call them contemporary romance, since the characters that inhabit those novels tend to have the mannerisms and skill sets of thirty-somethings. But enough of my ranting about this genre, because as my latest read has shown me, everything new adult isn't that bad. Isn't She Lovely showed me that this "genre" is one that I can actually get behind if it's done right.
Stephanie Kendrick is a college student working through a summer film class. She wants to avoid going home to her father and step-mother, so she makes sure that she can stay in the city. The problem is that her housing plans have fallen through and she's stuck living with her ex-boyfriend, who she caught cheating on her (sounds like fun, right?). To add the icing on the cake, she's partnered with a upper-class society guy, Ethan Price for her film class. Like Stephanie, Ethan is also avoiding home and his responsibilities for this summer, and has decided to take the film class as a way to escape. He doesn't count on being saddled with a grumpy, goth girl that he finds pretty hot.
While neither are happy about working with one another, they slowly find some common ground with their screenplay. Eventually, Ethan gets inspiration for their screenplay, and as an added bonus it could also help his private life and get his parents off his back, who are trying to force a reconciliation with his ex-girlfriend. Ethan's idea is to write a modern day Pygmalion in a college setting, and what better way to do this than for Ethan and Stephanie to act it out themselves? With this misguided plan in place, Stephanie moves in with Ethan and agrees to play his new girlfriend for the summer, including undergoing a makeover that transforms her from goth-girl to debutante. Of course they fall for one another, but neither know how to navigate from a fake relationship to a real one.
Like I said at the beginning of this review, Isn't She Lovely completely took me by surprise. I'm not much for contemporary romance and new adult generally makes me want to hurl, but I decided to give this one a chance, and I was so pleasantly surprise. To me, Isn't She Lovely is what new adult should be. It's the college years, the first real forays into independence and it's not always pretty, and it's generally filled with tons of awkward moments. I liked the fact that for the most part, Ethan and Stephanie were both good kids. Yes, they each had their own troubles, but were essentially on the straight and narrow. This is not the case for most of the new adult I see advertised, and I think this is irritating, because for the most part, I think most people grouped in the new adult age bracket are like Stephanie and Ethan, essentially good people trying to figure it out. How many tortured, tattooed, cage-fighters did you have on your campus? Personally, I can't think of any.
I also liked the fact that Ethan wasn't an asshole. Again, there are so many new adult books out there that seem to have every romantic relationship with usually the guy treating the gal horribly. I don't get that trend! I don't want to read about some guy treating a woman like crap and then decided he loves her so he'll stop. I think that's setting unrealistic expectations. But, that's my opinion, and I'm aware that this kind of new adult is wildly popular. Anyways, I liked Ethan as a character because he was mostly a nice guy. He liked school, he was looking forward to working in the family business, and at the end of the day he respected Stephanie. Don't get me wrong, the guy had his asinine moments, but he realized what he was doing and owned up to, and I think that's why I ended up liking this book so much. Ethan knew he made a wrong move and went about fixing it. Hello, self-awareness, and thank-you for being there!
As for Stephanie, she was obviously a troubled young woman, and when you find out what she's been through you can understand why. I wasn't as taken with her character as I was with Ethan, but I liked her journey towards self-discovery. She was more than a goth girl and she had to figure out what she really wanted out of life.
Ultimately, I think what really appealed to me was the path that both Ethan and Stephanie went on throughout the novel. Neither character stayed the same and they both learned about each other and changed because of the others influence. I liked this progression and emphasis on self-discovery because if this doesn't sum up the 20's experience (ie. the new adult era) than I don't know what does. I feel like Isn't She Lovely has changed my whole outlook on a sub-genre. If this author writes more new adult, I feel like they will be worth checking out.