I was SO excited when Syrie wrote to me and told me that I was the first ever recipient of a Forbidden ARC! I read this book back in August, and was vI was SO excited when Syrie wrote to me and told me that I was the first ever recipient of a Forbidden ARC! I read this book back in August, and was very happy when it was requested that I post this review now, rather than wait for the month of the release. Put this on your Christmas lists, guys! I think you'll enjoy it. :)
First off, I really loved the story. The premise was interesting, and I like how I had to keep guessing and trying to figure out what was going on. I liked the tactic the authors used--to not tell us what Claire or Alec are for quite a while. All these crazy things start happening, and people are not who they say they are. I felt like I was just as lost as Claire was, which was exciting. I wish the back of the book did not mention angels. It would have been more fun to not have had any clue at all.
Alec is an amazing character, and I'm not going to tell you what he is. It's fun to discover that on your own. He's a mix of bad boy and sweetheart, which I love. He is so sweet with Claire. He's also mysterious and dangerous, yet soft and romantic. He's at Emerson Academy to escape his old life and create a new one... if that's even possible. He enjoys his isolation. As soon as Claire pops up on the radar as someone the Elders should be investigating, his hiding place is discovered and he ends up having to take drastic measures to protect her from those who wish to destroy her.
I'm not going to tell you exactly what Claire is either, but she's something forbidden. Haha. Her entire life should not even exist. She starts noticing changes and has to learn as she goes, because not many have ever been in her position. There's no manuals on how to be herself. Man, this is painful to explain without spoilers, so I'm moving on! She's sweet and wishes to be noticed by this one guy she's had a crush on for years. Of course, he barely notices she's alive. When Alec comes along, though, she begins to gravitate towards him right as this crush starts to gravitate towards her. She's torn. She doesn't embrace the love triangle, like so many YA girls end up doing in books. (Like... did Bella have to act so upset to be marrying Edward, but fling herself into Jacob's arms when he showed up late at her reception? Sorry... I just saw Breaking Dawn yesterday.). She does a lot of thinking, and follows her heart. She seems smart. She also uses her talents to help people, like a classmate who needed a push in the right direction. Those are two main reasons why I like her. She didn't bug me, which often happens to me with YA heroines. I feel like I'm saying this a lot lately. Maybe authors are starting to write better heroines in general?
I liked Claire's friends a lot. They looked out for each other, and spent a lot of time sitting and chatting about all kinds of things. Friends usually end up bugging me too. They can so often be petty, catty, etc. I wish I had good friends like them when I was in high school.
There were several plot twists that made me go, "Whoa! I definitely wasn't thinking THAT would happen!" I've noticed that as I read more and more of one genre, books begin to become pretty predictable. I mean, how many love triangles do we see? How many evil villains do we see? How many cliche plot twists do we see. A lot, a lot, a lot. These twists were not something I foresaw. I enjoyed being outsmarted by a genre that I've pretty much figured out.
Of course, the sweet kissing descriptions were just as good as the ones I've read in Syrie's other novels. I love romance!
My only possible constructive criticism… I'm not sure if it's because the book is part of the YA genre (which I've never read from Syrie), or if it was because she co-wrote it with her son, but there were parts of the novel that were totally Syrie, and other parts that did not sound like her. I could tell that two people wrote it. I'm not sure if it's because her writing style and Ryan's were not blended seamlessly, or if it was just that I'm used to reading adult fiction from Syrie instead of YA. In either case, it's not a huge deal… just an observation. If I had not read other works of hers, I doubt I would have noticed anything at all. I've just come to recognize Syrie's literary voice because I like it so much!
I asked Syrie if she and her son were planning to write a sequel, and she said that in their minds, it's a trilogy. However, HarperTeen only committed to one book. They have great ideas for the next two, though, so hopefully Forbidden is well-received, and they can continue the story. I'd love to know more about what's in store for Alec and Clair. Actually, I'd love a prequel, too. Throughout the story, we hear little bits about Claire's parents. I'd love to read about their story as well. It has the potential to be a pretty beautiful story.
I definitely think that the book will appeal to more than just YA readers, and I think a lot of that is due to the fact that the characters are not annoying and certainly don't fit into the stereotypical high school student formula. I think it also helped that Alec had a certain maturity that seemed to influence the other characters, and that brought on more mature conflicts and issues. I'm 24, and a lot of YA novels I read make me feel pretty old. Haha. I know I'm not old, but in a totally different place than most YA characters. I didn't feel like this while reading Forbidden, and I forgot they were all highschoolers. It was refreshing.
In short, it was a wonderful book. I quite enjoyed it, and only took about 2 days to read it. Hopefully this team gets to continue the story! While it can totally stand on its own, there are plenty of ends that are just a tad loose, that could use some tying up!...more
If you’re like me and are not a novella fan, make this one allowance. If you’re only going to read one iFind my full review at That Artsy Reader Girl.
If you’re like me and are not a novella fan, make this one allowance. If you’re only going to read one in your whole life, read Just One Night and find out how things really end. Or begin. Because yeah. It’s Allyson and Willem. Thanks, Gayle! My heart is happy now, and I’ve got my closure....more
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(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. ...more
Into the Sill Blue was a beautiful and exciting ending to one of my very favorite trilogies. I have always complained and ended up really hating the fInto the Sill Blue was a beautiful and exciting ending to one of my very favorite trilogies. I have always complained and ended up really hating the final book in a series or trilogy, because authors usually do everything I wish they wouldn’t. Or they don’t do anything I wish they would. Veronica wrapped this story up so perfectly, and I loved every word.
I have chosen not to read this book after reading a review that had me entirely disgusted. Here is a quote from that review and the link to it (There'I have chosen not to read this book after reading a review that had me entirely disgusted. Here is a quote from that review and the link to it (There's a bit of a spoiler in this quote, but one I think you might find worth reading.):
"Let's get to the real reason I marked this as DNF. Killing kittens in the name of science. I bawled. Ugly cry does not even cover it. Not because the writing is good, or because the author is talented, but because the idea of someone purposely killing a kitten is just so horrific to me (I am a crazed cat fanatic) that I think a little piece of my soul died just reading about it.
I will never understand for the life of me why an author feels the need to put something like this into their novel. To get a rise out of the reader? To make an emotional connection? To create controversy? Unless the book is focused on animal abuse, there should be absolutely NO reason for it. Especially in fantasy/sci-fi novels. And with this particular reader, an appearance of said abuse is more likely to make me get angry, throw the book, and never pick it back up again than to make me give kudos for being ballsy enough to face such a controversial topic. Sorry, that's just my opinion. Actually no, I'm not sorry. I hate it when authors kill kittens fictionally, no matter what the reason. I am a cat lover, and any abuse or murder of a cat is enough to condemn any book in my eyes. I don't care if anyone thinks I'm overreacting. That's just the way it is for me. If a two-week-old kitten getting stabbed with a syringe of poison and then thrown on the ground doesn't bother you, then give this book a go; you'll probably like it. The issue here is that it just wasn't for me."
I love it when I read a book that makes me want to read another book. That's what books should do, in my opinion. Reading this book has convinced me tI love it when I read a book that makes me want to read another book. That's what books should do, in my opinion. Reading this book has convinced me that I need to read Bram Stoker's Dracula. Now that I know Mina's point of view, I need to read what the rest of the world thought. I seriously loved this book. I was kind of scared to purchase it, because it's a little out of my usual comfort zone. Plus, it was expensive. I kept thinking about it, though, so when I finally found a good deal, all other books on my to-read list were pushed to the back. I'm SO glad I gave this book a chance, because it is a truly beautiful story of love, deception, obsession, survival, and sacrifice. I was riveted, and could not put it down!
I'm on Mina's side. I saw that tender, romantic side of Dracula and found myself falling for him right along with her! She's got a difficult situation at hand. She went from being the plain, simple girl who never got any romantic attention (even from her husband), to being obsessed over and stalked by a mysterious and sexy bad boy. You'd think that would be terrifying, but she is so captivated by him that she dreamt of and longed for him when most women would flee in fear. She fell deeply and hopelessly in love with him, yet she felt so incredibly guilty because of it. She was married to another man, whom she also loved, but was sneaking away in the middle of the night to be with Dracula. This mortified her, but she could not help herself. When she tried to refrain from going to him, he came to her in the form of a mist that materialized by her bed in the middle of the night, unbeknownst to her husband. He would them sweep her away and have her back by dawn. So scandalous! I think that's part of the reason I loved this book so much. I think a little part of everyone is curious about the forbidden. It's only human nature.
The characters were so well developed. Each person had their own voice and their own opinions. Dracula was strong, sexy, deceptive, evil, manipulative, and extremely romantic! He called her, "My Love." Oooo la la! Mina was very strong, rebellious, and thought for herself during a time when women were supposed to be meek and submissive. She grew up a lot over the course of the book and learned a lot about herself. Mina's husband was the typical male from the time period. He was controlling, demanding, protective, and was all about saving Mina from this evil man who so desired her. Of course, he had no idea that Mina was a willing participant in her rendezvous with Dracula. She was sure to keep that a secret, in the hopes of preserving Dracula's life as well as her own.
While her husband and his accomplices (including Van Helsing, a former boyfriend, and the widower of her best friend) came up with an intricate plot to murder Dracula, she appeared to be helping them, but in reality was leading them on a wild goose chase formulated by Dracula himself. She kept swinging back and forth between the two, doing her best to keep everyone in the "loop". She hoped for both sides to win, because she cared so much about everyone involved. All of these elements tied together created a very spooky, suspenseful, and exciting romance. You get to jump into Mina's mind and hear her thoughts. You begin to understand her wants, fears, and desires. You number yourself lucky for not being in her shoes, but care too much to stop hoping that she figures everything out. You will be glued to every page and travel through every emotion with her.
The writing is done in old-fashioned English, which I found very refreshing. It really added to the story. I have a hard time when historical genres are written in contemporary language. This felt very authentic and seemed very real as a result. The mannerisms of each character were also believable. I loved the contrast between the chaste, ladylike behavior Mina displayed around her husband and friends and the, for lack of a better word, lustful thoughts and actions she exhibited with Dracula. It was like he had her under some spell that amplified her desires and emotions when she was with him. In all actuality, though, this book is not all about lust and carnal desires. Her time spent with him was always spent in long discussions about life and literature. They had so much in common. Her greatest desire was to be with him. The book is really very clean, except for one steamy "dream" she has about him.
I loved this book. It was entirely captivating, and I think I've discovered a new author to follow. Syrie James has written other books along the same lines, including The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen . Based on this book, I think they are both worth checking out. I'm also planning to read Dracula by Bram Stoker, and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I think Dracula might have cast a bit of a spell on me as well!
I was at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert where David McCullough told us this story, so naturally... the book does not live up to my expeI was at the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert where David McCullough told us this story, so naturally... the book does not live up to my expectations. When he told it, he was surrounded by beautiful scenery, under very nice mood lighting, and was backed by the amazing musical score composed by Mack Wilberg. I was captivated. Was I captivated by this book? Not as much. The text itself took me about 10 minutes to read, and all of the imagery interspersed throughout the story created a disconnect and I found myself forgetting where I was. The pictures were wonderfully heartwarming, though, so I'm glad they were there. I also love the story itself. I've heard it told many times in many different ways, and it is a truly inspiring story. As I was reading the addresses by both Roosevelt and Churchill, I was amazed that they each spoke with such spirituality and faith to the American public. I am sure that would not happen today, which is very sad to me.
Bottom line, this is not a book that will give you an in-depth account of the 1941 Christmas Eve in America. It was a nice, quick read and full of Christmas spirit. It was an appropriate Christmas Eve read, and it will be a fun one to pull out and share with the family every Christmas Eve for years to come. :) ...more
Captivate is a new favorite of mine, and the start to what I’m sure will be an amazing trilogy! The world is one I know many readers will love visitinCaptivate is a new favorite of mine, and the start to what I’m sure will be an amazing trilogy! The world is one I know many readers will love visiting, and Vanessa’s writing will keep them wishing for more. I was truly captivated and thoroughly enjoyed my reading experience. I cannot wait for the next book!
I think I might have found my new favorite YA contemporary romance, and that’s really saying something! I love Julia and Jason, and am quite sad thatI think I might have found my new favorite YA contemporary romance, and that’s really saying something! I love Julia and Jason, and am quite sad that my time with them is over. I’m also sad I had to leave London and fly back to the USA with them. Meant to Be is such a fun journey, and I loved every single word. Finally, I love that the cover matches the content! Both are absolutely beautiful. If you loved Anna and the French Kiss, Just One Day, and Instructions for a Broken Heart, you will love this! And if you’ve never read any of these, you’ll still love it. It’s full of heart, travel, young love, and humor.
This just might be the biggest disappointment of the summer. Within the first 50 pages of the book, I almost gave up. I suffered through it only to beThis just might be the biggest disappointment of the summer. Within the first 50 pages of the book, I almost gave up. I suffered through it only to be told that there's another book. I put it down wondering why I wasted my time on it, and I have no interest to read the next book. I loved the idea, and I know that it could have been done so much better. I'd heard it was in the vein of Anna in the French Kiss. Heck. No. I feel very deceived.
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
This book really rubbed me the wrong way. First off, the author is a business administration professor and through life experience, felt he could writThis book really rubbed me the wrong way. First off, the author is a business administration professor and through life experience, felt he could write a book on dating advice for women. I've been through a TON of stuff relationship-wise including abuse of all kinds and more heartbreak than most people do. I've seen very close friends go through awful pain and anguish. That does not mean that I am qualified to write a book on it, even if I do speak to "over a dozen female advisors."
One thing that really bothered me was at the end of a small section in his introductory chapter. It says, "If you want to find a man, something's got to give. First, you have to get real with your requirements." I hate that. No woman should have to settle for less than she wants. Now yes, if she wants a man with brown eyes and won't give the green-eyed hunk of burnin' love the time of day she needs to reevaluate. The author does not make this clear, though. He makes you feel like you're being too fussy. You're not. I'm not. I ask for a lot in Mr. Right, but I deserve it. There are fundamental things he and I have to have in common or it will never work no matter how much love is there. Believe me, I've tried.
He also mentions improving your looks, namely losing weight. I've been asked to read other dating books and this is the first one that spells out, "lose weight." That bothered me too. Why can't a woman be loved for who she is? If a man approaches you only because of how you look, you don't want him. Maybe this was mentioned because the author was male, but still. It's not worth mentioning in a book like this. Any woman who needs to lose weight, I'm sure, is very very aware of it and is either doing what she can or loving herself for who she is regardless. Heck, many women out there who feel they should lose weight don't need to. The media has created a mold that society seems to think is the only way to look. I know some very large women who have amazing marriages and amazing lives. I also know some drop-dead gorgeous women who have never been in serious relationships.
The dating game is made out to be a game. There's almost a checklist in here for how to find the right man, and it's written in such a matter-of-fact way. It's like sitting in a circle at a slumber party and asking your group of friends what to do to catch that man. It's just not professional. He also quotes a lot of people. He says it's because he wants to reinforce his points, but I think it's almost because he can't enforce them on his own. I was always taught to not use many quotes in my writings because it turns my work into a compilation of the works of everyone else. It steals your credibility and gives it to those who already have it.
Finally, the author says this. "Sometimes the problem isn't with the man though. It can be with women too." First off, that passage is grammatically incorrect. Second of all, this begins the blame game (which is not necessary. Obviously the reader is reading because she wants to know what to do. She does not need to be told she's doing something wrong. She needs to be given good advice.) Thirdly, it's so casual. The author does not establish any credibility by speaking so casually.
I could keep going on, but I'll stop here. I think everyone gets my point. This book and I are not a perfect match.
In the end, I think I have a hard time with this book because I have a completely different belief system than the author. I believe there is someone out there for everyone. You should not have to change yourself or your standards to find him. He'll be right for you because you're right for him. You don't have to work to make him love you. I believe that you have to become the person you want to be with and you have to love yourself. Put yourself in places where the kind of man you want to be with will be and then just believe that whatever happens happens for a reason.
I can't recommend a book I so strongly disagree with. I can't give a raving review either. Like I said, the author was very nice and I think he has a genuine desire to do good. I also think he might not be qualified to give such advice, though, and it shows in his writing. To me, it felt like reading a letter from a dad addressed to his daughter. It would mean a lot to get something like this from a caring father, but not from a stranger who got tired of teaching his business class. ...more
I liked it... I just would have appreciated a little less use of the f-word. The author threw these out like beads at Mardi Gras and I felt like theyI liked it... I just would have appreciated a little less use of the f-word. The author threw these out like beads at Mardi Gras and I felt like they were uncharacteristically placed sometimes. It was like she was throwing them in, hoping she'd appeal to a specific audience over another... Like movie companies out there who throw a scene in because they WANT an R-rating. It was a good story, but the vulgar language bugged me a lot. ...more
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
DNF - I did not like the writing style, found the pacing to move too slowly, and did not care for any of the characters. I felt that the flowery, wordDNF - I did not like the writing style, found the pacing to move too slowly, and did not care for any of the characters. I felt that the flowery, wordy language made them seem more cold and distant....more
I thought that, with a premise like this one, I would fall in love with Sekret. Sadly, it just did not keep me interested. I was not happy with how YuI thought that, with a premise like this one, I would fall in love with Sekret. Sadly, it just did not keep me interested. I was not happy with how Yulia was being treated, and I did not like that her family was being threatened. The missions were a bit boring, and some of the memories Yulia felt from certain items were upsetting. I did like the writing style and there were some lovely quotes. The pluses did not outweigh the minuses, though, and I quit about 30% of the way through....more
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 anI 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 read Genevieve's Under the Same Sky and reviewed it over at The Broke and the Bookish last month, so I was excited when Genevieve contacted me and aI read Genevieve's Under the Same Sky and reviewed it over at The Broke and the Bookish last month, so I was excited when Genevieve contacted me and asked if I was interested in reading this companion novel. Under the Same Sky was a tricky read for me, as some of the subject matter was highly distressing, and my tender heart had a hard time reading the recounting of certain historical happenings, including rape, abuse, and war. I wrote to Genevieve about my struggles, and we began discussing history and how women were treated during the times this book covers. Genevieve is here today to talk about what she and I discussed (how researching opens up so many unknown truths), and you can find her guest post beneath my review of Sound of the Heart. Now, on to my review (which I will try to keep brief so this post does not turn into a HUGE read!)! I fear my review will be vague, as there are so many ways to include spoilery... but I will do my best to not spoil anything!
1. I went into this book expecting a darker read, like Under the Same Sky. The covers of both books are rather deceptive, so don't assume you'll be getting a light, fluffy romance when you pick them up. Sound of the Heart is much lighter than Under the Same Sky, and I actually ended up liking it even more than I liked the first one. I rarely like sequels or companions as much as the first book, so I was pleasantly surprised at my reaction to this one.
2. Now, we're still dealing with some heavy subject matter, it's just spread more thinly throughout the book, plus there's much less violence towards women, which is what I struggled with in book 1.
The bulk of the first part of the book tells us all about Dougal's time being imprisoned as a POW after he survives the Battle of Culloden (which is actually told in great detail in Under the Same Sky). The struggles of life in prison during this time are told in great detail, and I felt so badly for Dougal and all the others with him. There was a lot of violence, and prisoners were killed or beaten for the smallest reasons. Women were treated very poorly and we read some instances of rape and abuse. It's much tamer and less detailed than in Under the Same Sky.
3. I really liked Dougal. You don't learn much about him in the first book, but I liked him just as much as I liked his brother, Andrew in Under the Same Sky. We're given another sexy Scottish Highlander with a cute accent and a sweet demeanor. He befriends and watches over two younger boys who are imprisoned with him, and I loved the tender bond the three formed. He sort of adopts them as his own brothers after his family died in the battle. The loyalty to his family was very touching. I love family guys. I also really liked his friend Joseph, who had a lot of personality and a sense of humor that lightened the mood during the dark times of the story.
4. Glenna is a very dynamic character, with a lot of secrets. I won't tell you how she falls into Dougal's life, because that's a spoiler, but I really liked her. I appreciate the fact that Genevieve writes strong female characters. So many historical romances make women look like submissive, meek little chickens with no backbones or common sense. Glenna was SO strong, just like Maggie was in Under the Same Sky. She was thrown some major curve balls in life, but she's still a sweet character with a lot of street smarts.
She is captured from her humble home with Dougal and shipped overseas, where she is sold into slavery. Hello? I had no idea white slavery existed during this time, nor did I know that Scottish men and women were essentially kidnapped and shipped to the Americas to serve as slaves or fight for the English Army. Her life as a servant starts out better than most, but then things go wrong and she is placed into a terrifying situation. She fights back, though, and I kept saying, "Yes! You go girl!" all throughout the book. I loved watching her grow. She also runs across some wonderful friends, and I enjoyed reading their stories as well. They all had such sweet personalities, even though their lives were far from pleasant.
5. The romance was really wonderful. Glenna and Dougal are adorable together! Sadly, a lot of this book is them trying to get back to one another once they are separated, but you can feel the longing they share. Their love keeps them alive, and I really enjoyed reading about a love with that kind of power.
6. Again, Genevieve does not disappoint with her writing style. It's gorgeous. She has a way of packing you up and taking you to the settings in the book. She also has the power to make you feel what the characters are feeling. I know that's why I struggled so much with Under the Same Sky, and why I ended up really enjoying both books. It's because her writing is so powerful that it feels real. You're sent on this roller coaster of emotions and feelings, and when the ride is over you're as in love with the characters as they are with each other.
Overall, I'm so glad I read this book. I loved reading about Dougal and Glenna's love story, and I enjoyed learning more about the history during this time in Scotland, England, and the American Colonies. I would recommend this to lovers of historical romance and historical fiction. Genevieve has a book 3 in the making, and I KNOW I want to read it! It tells the story of Adelaide, Maggie's sister in Under the Same Sky. SO exciting! Hopefully Penguin picks it up, as I know it'll be nothing short of amazing. ...more
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
I really loved Cicada and Firefly and was on the blog tours for both of those books, so I was very excited to be given the opportunity to be on the laI really loved Cicada and Firefly and was on the blog tours for both of those books, so I was very excited to be given the opportunity to be on the last blog tour for this last book in the trilogy. I’m feeling nostalgic! Monarch is a bit of a hard book to review, just because I feel like the things I loved about this book are the same things I loved about the first two. Plus, I don’t want to give anything away!
Monarch is probably the most exciting book in the trilogy, as things are getting real and intense. Decisions and sacrifices have to be made. Blair is discovering herself more and more (and getting more comfortable with who she is), and learning about how all the various, seemingly unrelated puzzle pieces in her life fit together into one big revelation of a puzzle. I love how Belle pieced all these details together. I had a lot of “ah ha!” moments. I also had a lot of “YES! I KNEW it!” moments. It was exciting to finally be in the know, as the first two books were mysterious and left me with a lot of questions.
In Monarch Blair, Andrew, and Everett leave their home, possibly forever, and travel to Brazil. The tribal drums are calling her, and it’s time for Blair to return to her alien people as their queen. She ditches Andrew and Everett at a bus station, fearing their safety, and takes to the jungles alone. Did she really think they would not search for her, though? Blair soon learns she is being hunted. She is forced to awaken her Royal Guard from a centuries-long slumber, and the fight between sides and loyalties begins. Blair must choose between her true love from her human life, her true love from her alien life, and the man who was promised her hand in marriage by her father. She also has to figure out how to survive it all.
I was so happy to see Andrew again. I love her big brother, and his loyalty to her. I was happy to see swoony Everett again. He’s not as nerdy as he once was! We don’t see as much of them as we do Blair, though. We spend a lot of time with her hiding out in the jungle and remembering things from her former life. She makes a lot of discoveries about herself and who she used to be. She learns more about who Ash really is. This is a very enlightening experience for Blair and the reader, but I found things to move a bit slowly at times. Because she was alone we did not get much dialog for a while, and I missed that interaction. Things did pick up, though, and then it was non-stop action and suspense. I loved watching everything unfold. I LOVE Blair’s Royal Guard. Each member has this incredible loyalty and amazing personality. Xi is my favorite, and I saw his as almost a father figure for Blair.
I’ve always loved Belle’s writing, and I still do. She paints such immaculate pictures with her words, and made the jungle come alive in my mind’s eye. She wrote such detailed descriptions of the Royal Guard and what they look like and their apparel. She brought everyone’s emotions to life and I felt their loyalty and love for one another. I felt the aching love between Blair and Everett as well. Theirs is a very special and unique love story. I have become so invested in all of these characters, even the ones I just met in this book. That’s the sign of a truly wonderful author. I loved how the story wrapped up, and am sad to see it end at the same time. I hope Belle continues to write more!
(I received an ARC for free from the author in exchange for my honest review.)...more