I have been thinking about Cinder for over a year now, and Scarlet picks up right where Cinder drops off. The exact(Originally reviewed on the blog.)
I have been thinking about Cinder for over a year now, and Scarlet picks up right where Cinder drops off. The exact day, actually. I loved that! We get to jump right back in and pick up where we were, while learning new things about this crazy world, the Lunars, and our favorite characters!
1. For some reason, I had no idea that Cinder was going to be in this book! I was delighted when I learned what a huge role she was actually going to play in it. And her android, Iko, was there... and we even got some Kai time! Yay! So glad to see them all again. :)
2. It was also so much fun learning about some new characters: Scarlet and Wolf. Scarlet is a strong, confident character who makes a great team mate for Cinder in this ongoing quest against the Lunar Queen. I love the emphasis placed an female heroes in this series. Marissa has created two equally feisty, brave, determined, charismatic, and smart ladies to drive the story on. Wolf is sexy and swoonworthy, and exactly the kind of bad boy this story needed. His sensitive nature and core instincts make him both a ticking time bomb and the most loyal companion you could ask for. Do not get on his bad side, though. Cinder has her own male counterpart, Captain Thorne, and he's kind of hilarious. I just kept picturing this completely oblivious, clumsy, cocky guy who is always slightly drunk. He lightened things up quite a bit, and also became a character I really loved.
3. I enjoyed the balance of humorous dialogue and serious, sometimes heartbreaking moments. Scarlet's banter with Wolf was utterly charming, while her discussions with her grandmother pulled at the heartstrings.
4. This is not your typical book 2 of a series, where nothing important happens. Scarlet has SO much going on! There's space flights, running from the law, romance, Lunar attacks, kidnapping, fights, and NEWS. So much news!
5. Yet again, the world building is immaculate. Last time, Beijing. This time, Paris. Yes, people. Paris in the future is amazing.
Overall, Scarlet is just as wonderful and captivating as Cinder. Clearly, Marissa is not a one hit wonder. I can't wait for the next book! ...more
I'm glad I read Dreaming of Mr. Darcy. I was really excited for it, and it did end up being light and fun. I just had higher expectations. Like all roI'm glad I read Dreaming of Mr. Darcy. I was really excited for it, and it did end up being light and fun. I just had higher expectations. Like all romances, everyone ends up with who you want/expect them to. I still plan to read the other stories in this series, and hope to connect with them more.
Do you ever read a book that leaves you thinking, "Ok, how on Earth am I supposed to go about re(Originally posted at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl)
Do you ever read a book that leaves you thinking, "Ok, how on Earth am I supposed to go about reviewing that?" Don't get me wrong. I loved this book. Sometimes, though, I come across a book I love so much, that it leaves me wordless. Haha. This was one of them. I'm not sure exactly what it was that made me love it so much. Perhaps it was the sweeping, yet believable non-insta-love romance, the unique take on a utopian world, or the writing that I totally got. You know how sometimes your brain and an author's writing style just mesh, and you're writing in your mind the exact same story you're reading? Jodi just did everything right. She and I were on the same wavelength, and I totally got her. I'm not saying the book was predictable, because it totally wasn't. I'm saying that everything she wrote was exactly what I wanted. I got my romance, my mystery, my alternate world, my suspense, my excitement. Let's see if I can break this down for you in a way that makes sense. Haha. I'm really into putting my thoughts into numbered lists right now, so that's what I'm going to do. It works for me.
1. I really loved reading about Ana's journey to Heart. The very beginning of the book just sucked me in, and I was sold. It was suspenseful, and adventurous. It was also a great way to be introduced into this world. We're introduced to the sylph, which are vicious invisible fire breathers that burn anything in their path. Whoa.
2. And then we meet Sam. I LOVE SAM. He might just be one of my favorite YA male characters. Because he's been reincarnated so many times, he's extremely smart, talented, and mature. He's unbelievably caring and considerate. People in this world hate Ana because in order for her to be born, a person had to die and never be reincarnated again. Her birth was a complete mistake, and people resent her not only because she "stole" a life, but because they are worried that more people like her will be born in the future. Sam's totally not on board with their train of thought, though. He adores her and helps her figure out that she's worth so much more than her birth mother has been telling her her whole life. And he's musical. He made me melt a little.
3. I really enjoyed learning about Heart. The walls have a heartbeat. There's a mysterious temple with no doors that is so tall, you can't see the top of it. It's so huge that almost the entire human race lives there. Plus, it's been there since the beginning of time. The inhabitants of this place said they just stumbled upon it after being born the first time. They think it was given to them by their God, Janan (which is so close to my name. woot!), to protect them from the dangerous beasts of the world.
4. The Masquerade Ball is flat-out one of the most beautiful scenes in the book. The ball is held for two souls who have pledged their undying love for one another across all their incarnations, even if sometimes one of them happens to be 80 and the other one 5. Or... if they both happen to come back as members of the same gender. It's their souls that matter, not their bodies or age. So they celebrate this ceremony with a masquerade ball, where nobody knows who anyone is dressed as. The goal is for this couple to find each other anyway. What a beautiful underlying message of eternal love knowing no bounds. It's a breathtaking thought. And wow, this ball was sexy. I'll leave it at that!
5. The action and suspense! Dragons, Sylph, people out to kill Ana and Sam... SO exciting! I was flipping pages faster than I could read, and had to press the back button on my Kindle to go back. (Anyone else ever do that? Haha.)
6. Music was a HUGE part of this book. Sam's an amazing musician, and Ana connects with music on the same level I do. Music has always been one of the main elements of my life. It brings out such strong emotions and feelings in me. I connect with it on so many levels, just like she mentions throughout this story. I identified with her so much for this reason.
7. The lyrical writing was gorgeous, but not over the top or flowery. Like I said, I just got it. I don't want to give away too many details, because it's something you've got to experience on your own.
8. There were no hidden agendas in this book. There were points where the people seem to be very religious and devoted to their God, but this was not preachy at all. I didn't feel like anything was being shoved down my throat. There were also a few moments that could almost be identified as anti-religious, but again I didn't feel like the author was trying to sway me one way or another. Remember in my review of Halo when I said that a good author can write a religion without preaching it? This book, unlike Halo, was a good example of an author who handles it without trying to force someone to have an opinion. I really appreciated that.
9. The idea of reincarnation was handled in a very interesting way. These people live, they die. Then they are reincarnated into a new body (male or female) and come back as a grown human in a baby's body. They come out smart, and with all the memories of their previous lives. It's a very cool idea, and opens the door for many interesting and well-rounded characters. I loved it.
10. And... I just have to mention the cover. It's gorgeous. And unlike some book covers, this cover tells so much about the story itself. I'm not going to elaborate on this because I don't want to spoil anything, but I might just have to buy a hard copy of this book so I can own the cover. I'm a graphic designer, and I really appreciate art that is done for a better reason that to "just look pretty". This is one of the best examples I've seen of a cover that very subtly opens a window to the story. You'll understand what I mean once you read it.
All in all, read this book! It's new, it's fresh, it's romantic, and it's pretty much awesome. I can't wait for the next one!
(Wonder why I classified this as a utopia instead of a dystopia? A utopia is when the community or society is perfect or ideal, and there are no thoughts of running away or escaping. A dystopia is when the condition of that place is extremely bad or unpleasant.)
**I received this book free through netgalley. The following review is full of my honest opinion(Originally posted at my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl)
**I received this book free through netgalley. The following review is full of my honest opinions, and was not influenced by netgalley at all.**
I really loved this book! Ever since I read The Hunger Games, I've been devouring dystopian novels. I honestly never thought I'd find one I liked as much, but this one came pretty close. The story was extremely exciting and had me hooked within a few pages. I became quickly invested in the story and the characters, and fell off the face of the Internet until I finished!
Aria's world is crazy. These Realms take her and her people, The Dwellers, anywhere in time and in space that they wish to visit--from medieval encounters with the knights of the roundtable, to mysterious forests, to the Paris Opera House. All they have to do is think, and they are transported there. It's all marketed as being real, but so much better. They live in domed pods with white ceilings, and never see the sky. The outside world is filled with deadly diseases, savages, and cannibals. Nobody wants to go out there, but Aria (named for her lovely singing voice) is forced out there after being blamed for a crime she didn't commit. When she runs across Perry, she's in desperate need of help to survive and return home to find her mother who has become unreachable at her scientific research lab miles away. Perry also desperately needs her help, as his nephew has been abducted by her people. A very unlikely duo sets out on a treacherous journey in search of a way to beat the odds.
My favorite character is Perry. He's very dynamic, with lots of layers that are slowly peeled off throughout the story. His back story has lots of interesting details, and I grew to find him completely captivating. His ability to sense what a person is feeling has made him extremely mature and sensitive. It has also caused him to care very deeply for people. Even though Aria is his enemy, he can't block out her feelings of pain and sorrow over the possible loss of her mother. He tries so hard to stay away, but can't help himself from trying to console and understand her. Aria sees him as a dirty savage, but softens as she realizes that he is just as capable of loving and losing someone as she is. As they begin to recognize that they're both human and are both going through the same thing even though they come from different worlds, their hearts are softened towards one another and a special bond forms. Aria's pretty strong, considering she was exiled from the only world she knew and thrown into a disease-ridden wasteland, ravaged by cannibals and deadly electric storms. She learns a lot about herself in this story, including where she came from, her powerful desire to survive, her ability to handle scary situations, the gift of her voice, and her desire to love. I liked her, but not as much I liked Perry and his best friend, Roar, who tags along mid-journey and becomes a character you grow to adore. Another character I was surprised to grow attached to was Cinder, an orphaned boy who's a lot more special than he realizes.
The writing was mesmerizing. I was totally immersed in the vivid descriptions of the land, the Aether (which made me picture the magnificent skies of Vincent van Gogh even before the author mentioned Starry Night), the advanced, limitless technology, the Realms and their virtual worlds, and even the pungent smells of the cannibals (ick!). Perry's inner struggle with feeling the feelings of others was beautifully written. The author explains his interpretations so well, that it's like a window has been opened to his mind. I could feel and understand Aria's fear when she was dropped in the Death Shop. It can be hard to write emotion, but Rossi did a wonderful job. I could feel the love as it grew between Perry and Aria. Nothing was forced or instant, just believable. I could feel Cinder's inner confusion and Roar's sense of mischief and humor. It was like I was there, along for the journey. I'm so sad the book is over! I can't wait to rejoin my friends in book #2, with a pretty vague release date of 2013.
I would definitely recommend this to futuristic dystopian lovers who enjoy action and sweet, innocent romance. I'm so proud of this 2012 debut author! Her first book is amazing, and I know it will only get better from here!
Well... That was confusing! With this book, I kind of felt like I was just going through the mot(Originally posted on my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl)
Well... That was confusing! With this book, I kind of felt like I was just going through the motions. I wanted to read it, and I knew I should read it, but I wasn't excited about it or craving it like I do when I'm reading a book I adore. I spent a lot of time going, "hmmm...". This was definitely unique and totally unlike anything I've ever read before.
We have our unnamed (until the very end) heroine/narrator of the story. She's not a very riveting character, probably because she is the nameless "new girl" living in the shadow of, and pretty much replacing, the girl who disappeared mysteriously the year before. I had to feel for her. I moved around a lot as a child, and I've been the new girl SO many times. It's really hard to go to a brand new place, and at the end of high school? That's pretty brutal. It's even harder because Becca (mystery girl) had to disappear to even open a spot for "new girl" to attend the boarding school. Everyone's got a major thing against her, and they don't even know her yet. That's got to be hard. At the same time, though, because I've been there I know that you've got to stick up for yourself to fit in. She didn't. She spent a lot of time having people yell at her and accuse her of untrue things while she sat there, stunned, with her mouth gaping open. So... she kind of bugged me. Eventually she finds her footing and begins to stick up for herself. And I do admire her for sticking it out and not moving back home. I know I would want to, so I have to give her props there.
Every other chapter or so, Becca narrates and we have flashbacks of her time at the school before her disappearance. She was a snobby, cocky, manipulative, drunken slut! And... a total sociopath. I got really tired of reading about her against-the-rules late night beer pong/body shot parties at the boathouse, her two-timing two nice boys, her lies, and her ego. I really just hated her! She's the kind of person that new girls of the world fear. Her friend and roommate, Dana (also "new girl's" roommate"), was also totally psycho. She really creeped me out as I watched her grief over losing Becca totally consume her. She spent the entire book on a conquest to find Becca and ruin "new girl's" life. And she was creepy. I got chills reading about her. And then there were all the other members of Becca's posse, who also hated "new girl". And then there were the two boys who had a thing for Becca... also having a thing for "new girl" but trying not to have a thing for her because it would be weird in light of Becca's disappearance. Both guys were nothing special, and I had a hard time understand how they knew enough about her to like her so much. So... poor "new girl" does not have many positive pieces of her life.
Really, the whole story is all boathouse parties, people sneaking off to do the nasty, the occasional classroom environment, creepy encounters, and insane people being really mean to an innocent girl they don't even know the name of. And the sad thing is... I can totally see this happening in real life. I think that's why it disturbed me so much! A popular girl in a high school environment can TOTALLY take control of an entire student body like Becca did. She was so powerful that even being MIA, she still ruined the life of someone! That's kind of scary if you think about it! (By the way, I had no idea this was a retelling of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier until I read another review. Now I'm intrigued... I need to go grab my copy of Rebecca and read it!) The pacing was a little too slow for me, especially at the end... although I did kind of like "new girl's" introspection as she accessed her final thoughts and her time at Manderly.
I tend to be pretty critical, but in light of what I just said, this book had some positive points. I did not find it weird that we never knew "new girl's" name. It did not feel like we were not allowed to know. It flowed naturally, and I think not knowing her name actually allowed me to identify with her more. It was easier to slip into her mind and feel what she was feeling. I was also pretty intrigued by what happened to Becca, and how she had such control over so many people. I read most of this book in one sitting, so even though I have my complaints, I was still interested enough to continue on well into the wee hours of the morning.
(Oh my. The light bulb just went on... Rebecca... Becca. Gosh. In my defense, it's 3:00 AM. Don't judge!) <-- Ok, sorry. That was a tangent.
I liked how Becca and "new girl" were linked. They both essentially told the exact same story, but things went very differently for the two of them. Becca always got what she wanted and "new girl" pretty much never did. The character development was sound. I know the personalities of the main characters very well. I don't know their favorite book, TV show, or color. I don't know where they are from, or what they plan to do with their lives, but I can guess what they'll think or feel next. They contrasted well with each other, and I liked getting into their heads.
This book was more of an experience than a story. I can see it as a kind of social commentary. I felt the chill and the emotion. I felt really sorry for "new girl". Actually, I ended up feeling really sorry for Becca as well. It really made me think a lot. Even now as I'm writing this review, I'm coming up with new things I pulled from the book. I just keep coming back to how eerily possible the entire story is. Clearly, an underlying moral message was written between the lines, but telling you my opinions on that might foil your own thoughts.
Have any of you read this? What did you think? Those of you who have read Rebecca, how closely does this story follow Rebecca's storyline? No spoilers, please!...more
Reviews of Cinder are storming the blogosphere right now, in anticipation of today's releaseOriginally posted on my blog, That Artsy Reader Girl
Reviews of Cinder are storming the blogosphere right now, in anticipation of today's release date! They are everywhere! I'm jumping on the "Cinder-lovers" bandwagon and seriously have no idea how to approach this review. Haha! My thoughts feel so unorganized and are conflicting with one another. What can I say that will make my review different? So many people have already covered everything. Oh well! Here goes!
Last year with my first grade class (I taught reading and phonics to a 1st grade class while their other teacher did small group tutoring), we had a fairy tale week and I spent the week reading them different Cinderella picture books. We had a zombie Cinderella, and an Indian Cinderella... and a very modern spin on the story. The kids LOVED it. At the end of the week, we wrote and illustrated our very own Cinderella story called, "Mrs. Bellarella and Miss Janarella." (I'm Miss Jana, obviously. Mrs. Bell was their other teacher.) The story was absolutely hilarious. Needless to say, I'm pretty familiar with Cinderella, and I was pretty excited to hear about a more "grown-up" retelling. I thought that cyborgs and androids were pushing the envelope a little too far, though. I was SO wrong! I loved how Cinder tied in all the elements of the original story, but put a modern sci-fi spin on it! And even though we're talking about a dystopian society with cyborgs and aliens, Cinder was still a completely magical fairy tale. :)
I loved Marissa Meyer's writing style, and very creative imagination! The world she created left me with no questions. The detailed descriptions of the scenery, futuristic mechanics and medicine, people, etc. were captivating to read. I got totally lost. I loved Cinder's character. She's a tom-boy mechanic, and has grease stains all over her ALL the time. Her idea of getting dressed up is putting on a shiny new foot, not a glass slipper. She's spunky, and realistic. She sticks up for herself when it counts, and is not afraid of anything! I pretty much adore the fact that she's always got her head on straight. Perhaps her internal programming is what keeps her grounded, but she just gets it. She knows what needs to be done, no matter what, and she does it! She lets nothing cloud her judgement. You go, girl! Her quirky android friend/assistant, Iko, is hilarious. She's a machine, but there's some kind of glitch in her that makes her more human than most androids. I was enthralled by their story, and really loved reading about their latest projects and schemes.
Prince/Emperor Kai is a little... eh right now. Don't get me wrong, I like him. It's just that as the male lead in the story, we don't know much about him. His conversations with Cinder are mostly small talk, with a few intimate details shared every once in a while. Perhaps he'll become more rounded in the next three books. I do appreciate that there's no insta-love. They both know that there's a connection, but they're not going crazy about it. Meyer is giving them time to develop their relationship, which we will hopefully be able to see in the next books.
My favorite parts were the hidden Cinderella details, and the awesome futuristic settings and technology. Oh, and the ending is pretty breathtaking as well. Twists and turns keep you guessing until the last sentence. I would have enjoyed seeing a little more character development in Kai. Right now, I'm not seeing what Cinder sees in him. Also, the story takes place in New Beijing, but I never would have known if it had not been continually mentioned. I would have liked more Chinese cultural elements, even futuristic ones. Finally, the ending was a bit too rushed for me, and then I fell off a cliff all of a sudden. I'm hanging by a thread here, wondering how the ending snuck up on me so fast!
Regardless of my tidbits of constructive criticism, I can't deny how much I loved the story. Sometimes we have to make allowances and just enjoy the ride, forgetting what we would have preferred. Plus, I'm trying to remember that there's 3 more books in the series! Marissa has plenty of time to turn Emperor Kai into Prince Charming. She has plenty of time to explain more details to me. I kind of like the mystery I've been left with. If we were given too much with this book, the others would end up being fluff. I'm sad I have to wait so long for Scarlet (Book #2). I guess that's the downside of getting ARCs: more time to wait for the next one! Haha!...more
I don't have a ton to say about this book, so I'll keep it short and sweet this time. Haha. I loved the idea of this story. Three macho men hitch a ride home on a big, shiny red bus full of senior citizens dressed as Stantas. On their way home, they make stops at homeless shelters to spread Christmas cheer to those less fortunate. It's definitely a unique storyline! It appears to be an anthology, but it's really one story written from three different perspectives. Each author took on one character, and then they took turns writing chapters from their character's point of view. It's a really good idea, but it ended up causing a lot of redundancy. I kept reading the same things. I'd read it happen to one person, and then I'd read another person SEE it happen to said person. I got kind of tired of it.
I enjoyed the characters. The senior citizens are all pretty hilarious old people. They say some of the funniest things. You know how older people can be pretty blunt without really realizing it? That's how these people are. They totally speak their minds whenever they see fit. I liked all three of the main guys, although I had a hard time telling them apart sometimes. There was not much different about each one to set them apart from the others... plus two of them had very similar names: Sam and Stan. It made it tricky! The three grew up together in a home for boys, so they have a very strong bond. I loved reading about their relationship. I also liked their love interests: a childhood sweetheart, a girl who ran away to avoid testifying against someone in court, and a girl-next-door type who was also headed to the wedding. Each one has quite a dynamic personality, and they added a lot to the story. In my opinion, they actually brought more life to the story than the men did, because these girls are all very different from each other. They come with different backgrounds and life stories. The guys are very similar, so a lot of times it didn't really matter which one I was reading about.
At first, I was really loving the story. I enjoyed reading about what these men had to do to get to the bus. One had to parachute to it, one had to use a snowmobile to drive out to it, and one had to pay an "Amish woman" $100 to get her to take him to a local truck stop on foot. The sexual tension was definitely there with all three couples, and that was also fun to read about. As soon as they reached the bus, though, (and that happens pretty soon) the story got boring. All we hear about from then on is the lustful thoughts that everyone is having about each other, and the Santa Brigade stops at shelter after shelter. Nothing exciting or interesting happens. They make toys on the bus as they drive through major weather, and stop at shelters to deliver them and put on a show. And THEN... the lust intensifies. Lust, lust, lust! The men want to jump the bones of the women pretty much all the time, and vice versa. There's no real talk of love or anything, just sex. No real talk of commitment. The only relationship that even made sense to me was the one between the two childhood sweethearts. They had a history, and they were in love. So when they proclaimed those feelings, and the inevitable steamy scene came, it was to be expected almost. But the other two? They had known each other for, what, 2-3 days? It just seemed unrealistic and rushed to me. Essentially, they just gave into temptation and carnal desires. And all the men talked about or thought about was sex, sex appeal, sexual tension, and sexual fantasies. The story quickly went from a light-hearted, funny Christmas romance (which I loved) to a bunch of sex scenes (that can be skipped without running the flow of the story) and dirty thoughts strung together, which is not my thing. Some of the old people even catch the lust bug! It was just uncomfortable.
Now yes, some sweet romance happens, and a few of the characters have some "coming of age moments," and I really liked those aspects of the story. Eventually, the story turns back to a happy, light romance. I loved the ending, and how everything was tied together. All in all, parts of this book were great, and parts of it I skipped/skimmed through. I loved the unique storyline. As far as a contemporary romance goes, it's pretty mainstream. It follows all the usual formulas, and ends like pretty much all romances do. I love happy endings, even if they are totally predictable. :) Merry Christmas!...more
This book was lovely for several uncommon reasons: 1. The characters are my age! I'm so used to reading about tweens, teenagers, and middle-aged adults. I rarely read about characters who are mid-to-late twenties. It was refreshing. 2. This book is an amazing book to help you feel better after a nasty break-up. I wish I'd had this book a few years ago when I went through one of those. 3. Traveling!!!!! I love books where people travel, and what's better than driving through England in a camper van named Dolly?
So, Carrie is engaged to her business partner: a farmer guy named Huw. One night he comes home from a stag party and tells her he can't marry her anymore. Of course, she's heartbroken. Who wouldn't be? THEN... just 4 months later, Huw is getting married to the woman he cheated on her with! She finds out on the day of his wedding, and runs to the church to crash the ceremony and call him out. She chickens out, though, and just ruins a very expensive flower arrangement outside the church. At this point, her best friend Rowena is pretty worried about Carrie, and decides the two of them need to go on a roadtrip to Italy and beyond. Things are all set and ready to go, when Rowena gets a job on a soap opera and has to back out of the trip the morning of. She mischievously calls on Dr. Matt Landor, an old friend from college to go with Carrie instead. Matt's currently home from a small island where he works as a doctor for a charitable organization, and has absolutely nothing to do. His passport is also expired, and so they can't leave England. Carrie is mortified at this change in plans, but Matt finally talks her into going on a trip with him. They spend just over a month traveling around the English countryside meeting new people, and getting to know each other far better than they expected. Love blossoms among several different sets of characters. There's even a bit of a scary twist that makes you worry for the characters! Mix all of this together with a lot of British slang that I had a hard time understanding at first, and you have a very cute romantic comedy on your hands.
Carrie is hilarious. She destroyed a flower arrangement with a hose! I hope that if my fiance dumps me for a skank named Fanella, I will have the guts to do something like this. I like her sense of adventure, and her determination. Not only does she get over Huw, but she has fun doing it. Matt is the brooding sexy type. Carrie compares him to Mr. Darcy, and I have to agree. He's tall, dark, handsome, troubled, and covers up his love for Carrie with witty banter and silly arguments. He and Carrie have great chemistry. Some of their conversations and flirtatious moments had me laughing. I enjoyed the supporting characters, which included some pretty funny hippie surfer dudes who end up lying on the beach stoned more than they actually surf, and a stuck up gaggle of socialites who add the word "darling" to the end of every sentence.
While you pretty much know how everything will turn out, you don't know how everything will be wrapped up. There were twists, turns, misunderstandings, and some lovely character development. The timeline of the book covers more time than I'm used to (over a year), which was nice. I loved the setting of the book. Carrie and Matt spent a lot of time along the water, and the author wrote some lovely descriptions.
Overall, this was a great read! I really enjoyed the plot line and the writing, although I would have appreciated fewer f-words. I'd recommend this book to people who enjoy travel, England, quirky characters, and romance. I'll definitely be pursuing more Phillipa Ashley books.
The release date is December 1st of this year, so you don't have to wait too long to get your hands on it! It's definitely a nice, happy read that will warm your heart during these chilly, wintery months. Happy reading! ...more
Formal review to come at The Broke and the Bookish, where you will also have a chance to win a personalized copy signed by the author! I'll post hereFormal review to come at The Broke and the Bookish, where you will also have a chance to win a personalized copy signed by the author! I'll post here as soon as my review goes up there. :) ...more
First of all, let me just say that the title of this novel embarrasses me. Haha. I'm glad I had it on my Kindle so that nobody could see it! That coveFirst of all, let me just say that the title of this novel embarrasses me. Haha. I'm glad I had it on my Kindle so that nobody could see it! That cover is pretty lovely, though! Mmmmhmmm... Ok, anyways. On to the review!
**EDIT: When I read this, it was called The Bastard. Now it's Honor Bound! Much better!)**
The story was exciting! We enter the story right as Jeanette is marrying this ugly old man that she is really rather repulsed by. She's doing it to help her family, though. By marrying him, her family will want for nothing, but she will always want true love! While awaiting her new husband's arrival to their bedroom, her brother barges in with some scary news. Her husband is impotent, and plans to have his male friends sleep with her to get her pregnant so he can have an heir. Jeanette decides to flee. When she discovers a Royal Navy ship in port that will be leaving for London soon, she decides to pose as a thirteen-year-old boy and sign on as one of the crew. In doing so, she runs into some dangerous situations. Lieutenant Treynor figures out her secret, and takes care of her until they can get her back on dry land. Of course, love happens... along with some adventure.
I really enjoyed this story. I appreciated the fact that, as far as romance novels go, this one was a little on the tamer side. It's definitely not a book for youth, as steam happens, but there's not a ton of time or pages devoted to it. It's very easy to skip if you're so inclined.
Jeanette is one of those characters that easy to not really know how you feel about her. Do I like her? Do I not like her? There's a fine line between the two in this book. At times, I really liked her. I mean, she had self-esteem. She knew she did not deserve the life her husband was going to give her. She had a sense of honor because she married him to help her family. She was brave posing as a boy and becoming part of the crew. She had a certain level of values, and was very ladylike. However... so many of the times she was in danger were because she was an idiot. She kept doing things she was told not to do, thereby putting herself and Treynor in danger. It happened all the time. I can't stand heroines who lack common sense.
How could anyone not like Lieutenant Treynor? He's described as being nothing short of a Greek god. He came from a very difficult background and ran away to join the Royal Navy at a very young age. He climbed the ranks, and gained a ton of respect from the people he works with. He has an incredible sense of duty and does everything he can to protect Jeanette in secret, as well as do his job. He respects women. At one point, Jeanette gt a little tipsy drinking rum with the boys one night, and tried to seduce him. He sent her away because he felt wrong taking advantage of her current state of mind. He never forced himself on her. He is compassionate. Even when he thought she was a boy, he protected this young thing and took "him" under his wing. He's also very gentlemanly and well-spoken. I really liked him. Definitely one of my favorite males in romance, and the very best part of this book.
The supporting characters were great. There were not too many to keep track of, but enough to convince you that the ship was full of a crew that mattered. We even have a villain, as pretty much all books do. He bugged me, but he was supposed to! I found myself enjoying the company of many of the characters. I'm not used to that, but I suppose it's because these were Navy men and not ruthless, cold-hearted pirates.
I loved the descriptions. I could picture the wedding, the town, the port area (with taverns and seedy inns), the ship, the ocean, all the different cabins and rooms on board, etc. I could picture the crew doing tasks that I've never seen done before. I pictured everything wonderfully. I understood everything, and even learned a little about what went on aboard ships in days gone by, not to mention French and British history.
I'm not used to books of this genre covering so much adventure. Many authors could have turned this in to two books. I loved how fast-paced it was. Just as I thought we were winding down, ready to tie everything up into a nice bow, something crazy happened. AND every loose end imaginable was tied up. I was not left really wanting anything. I was happy with the ending.
I'd recommend this book to people who love romance on the high seas, adventure, strong male leads, likeable heroines, interesting and amusing supporting characters, and happy endings.
I'll definitely be looking into more of Novak's books. I hear she writes a lot of romantic suspense, which is another favorite genre of mine. Happy reading!
(Notes for those concerned about sensitive content: (Some may consider these spoilers, so be careful in reading.)
- Foreplay happens, but the actual act of sex never does. - Any steamy scenes are kept to a paragraph or two (with the exception of maybe one). - There is a rape attempt at Jeanette by someone on the opposing side of the war. Nobody on her ship's crew is involved with that. - There is war violence. People die. ...more
It was cute! Not as good as Austenland, but when are sequels ever as good as the first? Austenland is one of my favorite books in life, so I knew it wIt was cute! Not as good as Austenland, but when are sequels ever as good as the first? Austenland is one of my favorite books in life, so I knew it would take a lot to supersede my expectations of this companion novel. My initial thoughts:
1. Loved the mystery/murder/suspense that was woven throughout the book. This is new for Austenland, and I enjoyed it. It was a bit spooky, and I know I'm a chicken, but... I had a hard time reading after the family went to bed!
2. The "Inner Thoughts" drove me nuts. The heroine's inner thoughts speak to her a lot in this book, and she has frequent conversations with them. I hated it. It was so cheesy and done in a rather unnecessary, bulky wort of way.
3. The cover: LOVELY. Too bad I got a Kindle version from netgalley instead of the tangible book, but mine was free! (Thanks you netgalley, and Austenland publishers for letting me have it!)
4. I did enjoy the romance. I ALWAYS enjoy the romance.
A more formal review to come, as the book's publishing date (2/5/12) comes closer. Expect it probably in January. ...more
I had high hopes for this book. The cover is one of the prettiest I’ve seen in a long time (Really. Who could say no to that cover?), and the story soI had high hopes for this book. The cover is one of the prettiest I’ve seen in a long time (Really. Who could say no to that cover?), and the story sounded like something I’d love to read. I like stories with angels and romance. This book just didn’t do it for me, though, and parts of it really annoyed me.
I was expecting these amazingly perfect angels coming down from Heaven to save a deteriorating world. I thought it would be full of action, excitement, forbidden love, and suspense. Was it? Not really. The story didn’t even really pick up until about page 370. This is a 500-page book. Let me list off some of my main complaints that made this book so hard to finish. I must warn you, this might be the harshest of all my TB&TB reviews. I feel really bad about it… but I just can’t go without saying this!
1. The writing. Oh dear. Talk about purple prose. There was more flowery writing in this book than actual dialogue! And it did nothing for the plot. Things are described multiple ways and then compared to something else countless numbers of times: "That was the effect he had on me--an explosion of happiness in my chest, scattering like little beads and making my whole body shiver and tingle." Or… “Xavier's eyes are turquoise and almond shaped, like twin pools of clear blue ocean.” Every time Xavier’s eyes were mentioned, they were turquoise. The author could come up with nothing else to describe them. Yes, we get it. And his hair was always nutmeg. ALWAYS. Hey, did you know Xavier’s hair color is nutmeg? Oh, by the way… Xavier has nutmeg hair. And he’s hot. Really hot. If you forget, that’s ok. You’ll be told again really soon. At least 3-4 times a chapter, in fact.
Pages were devoted to descriptions of interiors, or places, or outfits, or feelings, or people that didn’t contribute to the plot at all. I'd read some long, overdone description of some nameless character, and then they are never mentioned again! So why should I care about them? I was getting so tired of it. An Amazon reviewer said it best when she mentioned that the plot takes a back seat to the overwritten details and descriptions. Did I mention Xavier’s really hot?
2. Bethany’s “brother” is Gabriel, the archangel. Her sister is a seraph. Why are such powerful angels sent to a sleepy little town called Venus Cove, where nothing bad is happening? I would think they’d be sent to a war zone or a place with extreme poverty, but no. They get sent to a place where more volunteers are needed to serve at the local soup kitchens. There was no possible way to write in any exciting encounters against evil.
Bethany would offend all actual angels, in my opinion. She’s petty, childish, shallow, and complains about her job in Heaven. Gabriel and Ivy walk around acting very superior and stuck-up—much different than I would expect messengers from God to act. AND… these angels are so dumb! The villain of the story is painfully described to a tee and fits perfectly into the category of “evil”. Every reader in the world knew he was bad before the angels did. A 3-year-old would get it. It wasn’t until he started doing awful things that the light bulb turned on and they were like, “Oh, I think he’s bad.” Duh! Luckily this is not what real angels are like, because we’d be in trouble if they were.
3. Don’t fall into the plot holes. In the book, angels are described as having no family and not being able to understand human emotions. So why are Gabriel and Ivy referred to as Bethany’s siblings? Gabriel says love is forbidden. He also says that angels don’t feel the way humans do. So… the fact that Bethany is so in love with Xavier makes me question the entire premise of the book.
4. The love between Xavier and Bethany is more obsessive than that of Edward and Bella. I know, right? Is that even possible? Must be because he’s so hot. I did mention that, right? Bethany is willing to turn her back on Heaven for him! That seems really unhealthy, considering it took only a week or two for this crazy, never-ending, undying love to develop. There was no build-up to the love story. They saw each other, he ran into her on purpose a few times, he tells her he likes her, and BOOM. A full-on love explosion happens, and they both go nuts. I didn’t believe it at all, and it really sounded like some little girl’s daydream. And oh my, protectiveness! Xavier actually force-fed a protein bar (airplane noises and all) to Bethany when she wasn’t hungry when he thought she should be. He compared her to glass and would not let her carry her books. I wanted to gag.
5. Halo is a Twilight knock-off. It’s like the author read Twilight, said, “Oh, I can do that!” and decided to change vampires to angels and make the supernatural one be the girl instead of the guy. The two meet in high school, she fights her feelings for him because the two of them shouldn’t be, then the whirlwind romance happens, she tells him her dark secret after hardly knowing him at all, he is taken in to her family as a trusted ally, the angels are the hottest breed of life known to man, etc. Instead of sparkling, the angels glow. Xavier saves Bethany from a gang of guys who want sex from her. Bethany even takes the train in to the city (Port Circe) to search for prom dresses, but found nothing she liked. Can we just call it Port Angeles, call Bethany Bella, and move on?
6. It was SO preachy! A good author can write a religion without preaching it. There are mini-sermons and lectures everywhere. This book should have been marketed as a Christian romance. Readers deserve to know if they’re about to be preached to for the entire book. I have nothing against Christian fiction; I just don’t read it (not because I’m not a Christian, but because there are so many different variations of Christianity and I frequently find things that rub me the wrong way, or teachings I don’t believe in). I understand this is fiction, but I was downright offended by some of the things she said about angels, God, etc. I have a hard time with authors taking liberties with spiritual/gospel-related subject matter. Commercialized Christianity. Not digging it. I hear the Devil himself is referred to as “Big Daddy” in book 2? Oh my. Gag me with a spoon.
7. The story moved SO slowly. While reading this, I was in the process of painting my living room. I would choose to paint over taking a break to read. Watching paint dry was more entertaining. Now THAT’S saying something.
I guess I should have expected nothing more than I got as soon as I read a quote by Beyoncé on the introductory page of the book. Yes… a lyric from the song, you guessed it! HALO (Baby I can see your halo/you know you're my saving grace.). How creative. To make matters worse, it was paired with a quote from “Romeo and Juliet.” Sorry, but Beyoncé and Shakespeare don’t go together. The author was 17 when she wrote this, and it shows. Boy, does it show. Had she had a little more help and guidance from her editors, this book could have been a little better (as long as they mostly re-wrote it for her). I’m having a hard time understanding why this book got a deal. I enjoyed the idea, but not the execution. And I feel bad for the graphic designer who had to waste their beautiful design on such a lackluster book. My 1-star goes to the designer. Adornetto gets nothing. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I have no interest in reading the other two.
And on that note… Xavier. He’s, like, really hot. ...more
Oh. My. I did not think any book could top Anna! This one, however, came really close. It's sitting right up there at the top next to Anna. I love SteOh. My. I did not think any book could top Anna! This one, however, came really close. It's sitting right up there at the top next to Anna. I love Stephanie Perkins. I hope she writes thousands of books!
I really needed to hear the message that President Uchtdorf had for me in this book. No good thing comes without adversity. I need to better myself inI really needed to hear the message that President Uchtdorf had for me in this book. No good thing comes without adversity. I need to better myself in order to receive the blessings I have been promised. I loved this book! ...more
Formal review to come shortly, but in the mean time: Oh. My. Goodness! SO good! It's not as intense as Firelight, but I still loved it. I can't wait tFormal review to come shortly, but in the mean time: Oh. My. Goodness! SO good! It's not as intense as Firelight, but I still loved it. I can't wait to read the next one! ...more
Ok... So, I didn't love this. It was just a bit too quirky for me. I mean, about 3 whole pages were spent describing a game of miniature golf. It justOk... So, I didn't love this. It was just a bit too quirky for me. I mean, about 3 whole pages were spent describing a game of miniature golf. It just didn't grab me. I loved the idea of the book. However... when the publisher pitched it to me, it sounded SO much better! I was sent a summary that was not the one printed on the back of the book. The publisher summed it up for me very nicely, and now I can't find it! Anyway, the publisher's blurb made it sound so much more entertaining and interesting. When I received the book, I read the summary on the back and it sounded nothing like what the publisher said. If I had read this summary, I would not have accepted it because I would have known immediately that it was not my cup of tea. No offense to the author or anything. You can't please everyone. :)
I'm pretty picky. A book has to have me sold before page 100 or I usually give up. Some might not agree with my logic, but I think it's a service to the author. If I'm reading something I don't like, and force myself to read it... I'm pretty much frustrated by the time I write my review, and I am really critical. If I reach a point where I'm convinced my opinions can't be changed, I think it's better to just give up and state that it wasn't for me. Then I won't steer a person to or away from the book, and will still be giving the author the courtesy of returning the favor. I got a book, so he deserves the acknowledgement. I do appreciate that I was given this book, and plan to send it to a new home where it will be more loved and appreciated than it did in mine. :)...more