I was pretty leery of this book. A 33-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy? I was worried it would be writt...more(Original review on That Artsy Reader Girl)
I was pretty leery of this book. A 33-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy? I was worried it would be written in a tasteless way, or that it would seem creepy. I was also worried that this book would be as boring as the movie Castaway. Nothing against the movie, but only so much can happen on an island. Gilligan's Island was entertaining, but it was because of all the shenanigans. I was worried this would be either boring or cheesy. It definitely was not either of those things. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. The age difference is not weird, nor is it a big deal. Nothing happens until TJ is almost 19, so don't worry. He has been through and conquered cancer, and he's surviving on an island. He is very mature and has a lot of life experience. You will not be weirded out by this concept. I'm mentioning this first because it was the first thing that scared me about this book. Haha.
2. I was hooked from the first page and read over half of the book in one sitting. The beginning is particularly intense, as the plane crash and the process of making it to shore is pretty crazy. The whole book is intense, to be honest. I mean, these two went through everything! Health issues, vicious wildlife, constant worry, depression, etc. I seriously was hooked. I kept saying to myself, "Just one more chapter. Then I'll go to sleep."
3. I really liked the two main characters. They strengthened each other and became very close. Anna is smart and caring. She was a mother figure to TJ until he grew up. TJ is strong and incredibly mature. He really takes care of Anna. Their relationship was really very sweet, as it formed from a bond that most people will never understand. I appreciated that they waited on being intimate until TJ was the proper age. If it had happened when they first crashed and he was 16, I would have probably quit reading. I'm not going to spoil anything for you, but let me just say that some of the biggest obstacles they dealt with were not on the island. But they stuck together and pulled through. I love a strong set of characters, and these are probably some of the strongest I've ever read about.
4. The narration alternates back and forth between the two characters, allowing us to read what's going on through both their minds. I loved that.
5. The descriptions of the island and the weather were very detailed and well done. I felt like I was there. Also, the intense moments (like animal attacks) were so intense that I almost quit blinking. I loved how the author took me to the exact moment and dropped me in the middle of it.
6. Remember how I said, "Only so much can happen on an island?" I was wrong! I read through years of these two and their island happenings, and I didn't get bored once. That takes extreme talent on the author's part. When over half the book consists of two people, an island, and nature, you would think there's not much to work with. Things could get boring and repetitive really fast. The conversations and critical events kept me wondering what was going to happen next, and I actually wished that more of the book took place on the island.
7. The writing is flawless. I can't believe it's Tracey's first book! Really, it was beautiful.
8. This book pulled intense emotions out of me. I was scared for these two, and I felt the love they had for each other. Their story is very moving--how they relied so heavily on each other, how they could not think of losing one another, how as long as they were together they would be ok. I mean, they were each others' reasons for surviving. Talk about intense emotion. If someone got sick or hurt, the other one immediately dreaded life. And I was there for the whole thing. I felt all of it, and it was powerful.
9. There were funny moments too, don't get me wrong. I laughed at some of the things they said to each other. I laughed at the chicken named "Chicken" who they adopted as a pet. I mean, the little guy curled up in Anna's lap! How whimsical! They played with dolphins in the lagoon almost every day. And before they acted upon it, the sexual tension and the things they said to each other were hilarious.
10. I appreciated the authenticity of the story. Tracey did not sugarcoat anything. She made things seem believable. I mean, if you're stranded on an island for a few years, you're going to deal with gross hygiene, bad diet, crummy weather, sickness, and other dangers. This could really happen, and I think that's part of why I loved it so much.
11. Everything was resolved. Have you ever read a book and flipped out because the ending just sucked? This ending did not suck at all. I loved it. You will too.
Overall, I am so glad I took a leap of faith with this book. I loved it. The writing was amazing, the story inspiring, and the characters well-rounded and loveable. It's during instances like this one when I realize how truly grateful I am to be a book blogger. I'm exposed to lesser-known novels all the time, and most of them (like this one) deserve much more recognition. It's an honor to be able to help spread the word when a book is this good. I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good romance mixed with a ton of action, excitement, intrigue, and exotic places. (less)
I loved the idea of the main character being a librarian, and there being such a focus on extremely old literature. And Giovanni is totally an Italian...moreI loved the idea of the main character being a librarian, and there being such a focus on extremely old literature. And Giovanni is totally an Italian name, and combining that with the mention of Renaissance Florence, I was sold! Books and Italy. What more could I ask for? A Hidden Fire had its moments, but overall I was a little disappointed. It fell short of its potential, and I feel like it could have been so much better than it was.
While the story is light and cute, and it started off promising, there just wasn't much to it for me. It was a very quick read, so none of the charact...moreWhile the story is light and cute, and it started off promising, there just wasn't much to it for me. It was a very quick read, so none of the characters were extremely developed or all that memorable. The writing itself was fine, but the plot line was not strong enough for me either.
I swear, the creativity behind this trilogy is amazing. I love the unique take on aliens and other worlds. I also really like Belle's writing style an...moreI swear, the creativity behind this trilogy is amazing. I love the unique take on aliens and other worlds. I also really like Belle's writing style and attention to detail, even though there were several typos throughout the book. There are some gorgeous passages that I actually re-read, involving dreams, galaxies, and even descriptions of the changing seasons. I'm really excited to see where the next book goes, as yet again, I'm left with a lot of questions!
I loved it, and I was surprised that I loved it, just because I'd never heard of it book before I was given the opportunity to be a part of the tour....moreI loved it, and I was surprised that I loved it, just because I'd never heard of it book before I was given the opportunity to be a part of the tour. I am SO glad I got to read it!
1. When I say this book is refreshing, I'm being extremely literal. This is such a great read for a hot summer day, because this book takes place in probably the coldest place ever: The Frost. It's cold and snowy and windy, with blizzards and fires in the fireplace and short days, with long nights. I loved it!
"It was cold, the kind of cold that made bones feel brittle and hands ache. My breath streamed from my lips like smoke, and my feet made wet, crunching sounds in the snow as I slipped through the forest." "The snow swirled around me, like fat white moths in the darkness."
2. The writing is gorgeous, and it grabbed me within the first paragraph. Kate Avery Ellison has this amazing knack for presenting ideas like love, and the intense coldness of the Frost, in a beautiful way.
"Just thinking abut it took my breath away. I gazed at the world of snowy white around us, at the feathery pines and moonlit hollows. What forgotten secrets lay beneath this icy visage?" "The wind blew, stinging my cheeks and carrying with it the taste of ice. I slogged down the hill to the porch. My legs were weak with relief." "He kissed me at first like he was afraid I'd break, and then he kissed me like it was the last thing he'd ever do." "He looked at me like I was made of unbearable light and I was blinding him." "Love is a perilous dance too, you see. And if we stop dancing, we'll die. Don't ever stop dancing."
See? Beautiful! Don't some of those quotes make you went to melt into a puddle?
3. I love the storytelling. We are given just enough information to not feel completely unaware, but not enough to make things predictable. I loved the mystery and the unknowns. Like the monsters (Watchers)... Why are they here? What do they want? When will the show up? We are given information as we need it, not as we want it. I was flipping through the pages SO fast. The creativity behind this work is amazing!
4. The characters are all so likeable. Lia is strong and sensible. Her parents are dead, and she has to take care of her crippled twin brother and younger sister. She brings to the story that maturity a person gains when they are all of a sudden a teenage parent to children their own age. He siblings are so sweet and protective of her, but never try and hold her back from doing what she knows she has to do. The villain jumps out at you from nowhere, and the guy you thought you hated ends up being nothing you thought he was.
5. Gabe is swoonworthy, which is why he needs his own bolded number. I mean, he's got this brooding hardened exterior, and is a man of few words... but the words he actually does say are perfect. He says the most amazing things to Lia. I melted. And he's from this forbidden people, so we've got the tension that goes with "I have a major thing for him, but I've been brought up to fear and loathe him." situation. Also, there's this slow build up with him. The romance is actually barely mentioned, since it's in the beginning stages. I bet the next book will include more. There's no instalove, though, so I am SO willing to wait longer. :)
6. The forest is a character all its own, and I loved it. It sounds so mystical and gorgeous, yet it freaked me out! Every time any person ventured into the trees, I got so scared for them. And as the sky grew darker and darker, and the monsters began to appear... OH MAN. Good stuff, I tell you!
7. The ending is amazing! It's suspenseful, charged with romance, and ah-ha! moments. Again, you are given the info you need to understand, but there are so many things screaming from inside of me, begging for the sequel. I can't wait!
This book is a hidden gem. Again, I love being a book blogger, because I get to find all these amazing lesser-known books and then tell you to buy them! I'd recommend this to dystopia lovers, people who believe that monsters lurk in the dark, and swoonworthy male leads! (less)
All in all, I enjoyed Racing Savannah and am happy I read it! The horses made the story unique and enjoyable, and the romances were sweet. Even though...moreAll in all, I enjoyed Racing Savannah and am happy I read it! The horses made the story unique and enjoyable, and the romances were sweet. Even though I liked Vanessa and Rory’s story a bit more, I did like reading about Savannah’s life-changing decisions and her romance with Jack. There were some pretty sexy scenes, so I would not really recommend this for younger young adults, but it’s a fun new contemporary romance that I’m sure many readers will love. I have not read all of the Hundred Oaks series, but I could tell from some of the names dropped that characters in the previous books check in and let you know what’s going on with them now. I always love it when authors do this, so I’m sure fans of the series will be happy to see them.
All in all, Suddenly Last Summer is a fun read that I would definitely recommend to lovers of Sleigh Bel...moreFind my full review at That Artsy Reader Girl.
All in all, Suddenly Last Summer is a fun read that I would definitely recommend to lovers of Sleigh Bells in the Snow, as well as lovers of summer romances. The O’Neil family is too wonderful for words, and I think everyone should take a trip to the Snow Crystal. Even though I did not love this book as much as the first, I can’t WAIT to get my hands on Maybe This Christmas (CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!) so that I can finally see Tyler O’Neil (sweet single dad of a teenage girl) fall in love.(less)
Just Like the Movies is a very sweet romance with tons of references to well-loved romantic movies, a be...moreFind my full review at That Artsy Reader Girl.
Just Like the Movies is a very sweet romance with tons of references to well-loved romantic movies, a beautiful friendship, swoony boys, girl power, and an important message to readers young and old. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves romantic contemporary stories with a little meat on their bones,.(less)
Zips Goes Wandering is a fun rhyming picture book about a little zebra who goes on an adventure and gets lost. Reminiscent of Are You My Mother? by P....moreZips Goes Wandering is a fun rhyming picture book about a little zebra who goes on an adventure and gets lost. Reminiscent of Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, Zips goes to different animals to ask if they have seen his mother. He searches and searches before finding a really tall giraffe who is able to help him. Children will enjoy the repetition of Zips asking for his mom and then rushing off to see if that animal directed him in the correct direction or sent him to the wrong place again.
The illustrations are absolutely delightful, and are my favorite part of the book. Each illustration is bright, colorful, and enhances the text of the story so that emerging readers feel confident in trying to sound out the words. Children will love looking at pictures of several different animals. The author plays with perspective and Zips’s nose is frequently fish-eyed on the page, big and adorable. He has the sweetest little face, and so much personality.
The story presents a very important message to its readers, and that is to be careful and stay close by so as not to get lost. I think this is a great book to read to a child in order to explain this lesson, as well as come up with a plan for what to do if someone does get lost. Zips comes close to getting hurt by a crocodile and a lion, which is a compelling reason to not wander off. Luckily Zips was taught to ask other grow-ups for help, and he ended up home safe. I’ve found several lost children in stores over the course of my life, and it’s a super scary thing for everyone involved. This is such an important lesson to discuss with children, and I’m so happy to see such a sweet book that does just that. Highly recommended.(less)