Then this one or "Ginger's Heart" are a great start. They are my favorite ones. I really enjoy the Blueberry Lane series, but it's different, it's stiThen this one or "Ginger's Heart" are a great start. They are my favorite ones. I really enjoy the Blueberry Lane series, but it's different, it's still very sweet and romantic but without the fairy-tale vibe to it. I REALLY enjoyed the third "part" - the Rousseaus. All of them can be read as a standalone but I think it's better to start at least at the beginning of one of the parts (currently there are three - The English Brothers, The Winslow Brothers and the Rousseaus). I"m currently reading the first series she published - Heart of Montana. I think she went through quite a lot since then. I enjoy her newer books better than those though they are still good. Maybe just not AS good....more
The little Mermaid have been a favorite of mine for many years, since the Walt Disney movie came when I was just a dreamy little girl. So it's no wonder I was really excited about the modern version. I didn't know how Katy would pull it off, and sincThe little Mermaid have been a favorite of mine for many years, since the Walt Disney movie came when I was just a dreamy little girl. So it's no wonder I was really excited about the modern version. I didn't know how Katy would pull it off, and since I dislike reading any promotional snippets, and since I don't usually read synopsis of books by authors I love (since I'm going to reading then anyway), I came into this one almost totally "blind". I DID read the synopsis just before I opened the first page but it still gave me no real idea of how BEAUTIFUL this book would be, how fairy-tale like, in a way it was even better made than the previous ones in the series, because in every step of the way I felt inside a (modern) fairy tale.
Our Mermaid isn't called Ariel in this one, she's called Laire, and she is a sort of Mermaid who lives in a separate kingdom in which her father isn't King (except for his successful business called King Triton ;)) but he still is very respected in the small island she lives in. Some special traits have made Corey Island even more isolated than the other small islands around them which made their culture old fashioned with a special dialect from their original Scottish ancestry hundreds of years ago. Yet Laire has bigger dreams than the people around her, she wants to go to college and study fashion and design. She have been making clothes for the people of Corey Island for years now. But the old fashioned family who lovingly surrounds her can't understand her longing. Her father and sisters wants her to get married and start having kids, maybe open a small shop to sell the clothes she makes. College? no way.. even though her mother (who died when she was a little girl) DID go to college for two years, she did that while abiding most of the other Islander rules. For Laire it's even more than that, she doesn't want to stay at Corey, she wants to see the big world, see and go places, experience new things (are you singing "Part of your world" yet?).
Her path changes from fiction to reality when she delivers crabs to a small town beyond Corey Island. That's the first time she meets Erik, but it's also her chance for making more money (so she'll be able to leave for college sooner), it's where she is offered a job in a small restaurant by Ms Sebastian. I LOVED the fact that the Sebastian from the movie turned into a woman who treats her like the mother she lost (and still miss terribly). Judith Sebastian might have started as her boss, but she became much more than that in the years to follow.
She got her father's acceptance for working off island with a little bit of a twisted truth, enabling her to keep the job and also start meeting Erik after-hours where no one knows her and can report back her activities. They shared a magical summer together. But once the summer was over lies and deceptions tore them apart.
Erik is the governor's son, but truthfully, he would have loved being just a regular guy. Though he has his loving sister and two best friends Val and Pete, everything else in his life is pre-designed by his parents and not in a way that has ANYTHING to do with what HE wants. Even the day he and Laire meet for the first time, it's his 21st birthday party catering to public figures his parents wants to impress, and has actually nothing to do with HIM, maybe their aspirations for him to go to politics like his father, but still Erik felt sort of left out at the occasion (and not for the first time..). Laire is so different from anything he has ever known. She is genuine. Even though it's obvious they come from VERY different worlds they still connect. The both want to be something totally different than their family wants them to be, but they are still captured enough by them not to be able to break out of the chains. Their stolen moments this summer is a sort of promise for a better future neither of them can really act upon. They want eternity together, they want to make their own rules, but in the end, when the summer is over, they find themselves each heartbroken and alone.
This is where the first part ends and the second begins. I have to say something here.. the main reason for them breaking is a turf I TOTALLY dislike in books. It's the sort of thing that when happens I slap my brow with annoyance of NOT AGAIN.. and yet, when it happened I told myself - hold your horses! Give this book a real chance! and I did just that, which is why, very unexpectedly my general feel of the book and my review doesn't reflect my usual opinion. Between the first and second half, there's a short heart breaking interlude which somehow makes it all better. It worked for me that way and it moves the plot along and brought us and the MCs to a different place - physically and mentally.
The plot continues a few years later where even though Erik and Laire are apart, hurting for what they had to suffer, they still in their hearts long for what they lost, for WHO they lost. So when they re-meet but accident they need to have a long conversation about what happened back then. Actually it's more than one conversation because even though there's a spark between them, lighting up the love they shared, they both need time to digest the reality of what happened.
I loved the little nuances to The Little Mermaid movie (including the malicious Ursula), the way both Laire and Erik grew up and changed throughout the years, their path going so differently from what they expected and yet they both did what they needed to do to survive. When they find each other again, Laire isn't the little innocent girl Erik met years before, she is a successful woman who knows what she wants in life and has her priorities straight. He might still be the governor's son, but he hasn't really made his parents happy with his decisions. The way both Laire and Erik had to push their families was heartbreaking. Laire might have had more hope than Erik but she was also realistic. They both stepped out of their chains and there's a price to be paid for that.
I could go on for MUCH more, but I'll stop here. I don't want to spoiler anything and ruin the book for you. It was beautifully written in the best modern fairy tale way possible. If you are a fan of fairy-tales, of The Little Mermaid specifically you MUST read this book. It's has a more sugary feel than the "usual" romantic novel because of the fairy tale theme, but it's also what makes this book so perfect. LOVED IT! <3
I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Ezra and Dae story was truly unique, we already knew it has to be from the previous installments. Ezra is an introvert, who and how can anyone break into his inner shell? That's where Dae comes in. It was really sweet seeing them become friends and sEzra and Dae story was truly unique, we already knew it has to be from the previous installments. Ezra is an introvert, who and how can anyone break into his inner shell? That's where Dae comes in. It was really sweet seeing them become friends and slowly morph into a couple almost without both realizing they are actually "there", in love and together. Unlike SO many romance stories it was simply refreshing seeing the friendship buildup BEFORE the steam begins.
Ezra is a very interesting character and yet I found it at times a bit hard to truly understand and therefore relate to him. His emotions are hidden beneath layer and layers of fears and a difficulty to connect and interact with others. He has his friends - his two previous roommates Gabriel and Conner and their boyfriends Lucas and Jamie, and Henry his friend from college, yet he mostly sits by himself at home and paints. That's his true passion and the way he expresses his deeper emotions.
Dae is a care-free kinda guy. He is a flirt, he enjoys life and he doesn't want to settle down as long as he "doesn't have to". His parents had him when they were 16 and 17 and through their loving connection they encourage him to explore life in a way they weren't able to in their time. He studies psychology, he works as a yoga instructor and even finds time to volunteer - he has a lot on his schedule, yet he doesn't mind "babysitting" Ezra two times a week when Ezra is painting the walls in the yoga center he works at. Someone has to be with Ezra since he is working after closing time and so this is how they become friends. Twice a week Dae stays late with Ezra, he studies while Ezra paints.
Dae, being the flirt that he is, keeps coming on to Ezra. He likes what he sees, and so he tries his best to catch Ezra's interest. Yet he doesn't get anywhere with his attempt up until Ezra tells him he is Ace (Asexual), or more specifically Demisexual which means he can only have a sexual relationship with someone he knows and trusts. That's a sort of turning point for them because THEN they start becoming friends or at least that's how I see it. before they were texting and talking but I think once Ezra opened up to Dae even if just a little bit, Dae started pursuing something differently with Ezra which allowed them to become much more than they were before.
It was interesting seeing their friendship developing, seeing how Ezra kept him to himself, not sharing him with his friends at the beginning, yet once Dae started to be more important to him, he wanted to be with him and show how much he meant to him. With Ezra it's the gestures not the words which shows his feelings. Dae is good at reading those and good for Ezra period. He teaches him a little bit of meditation and enables him to be a little less of an introvert. I loved that he didn't want Ezra to change for him, but he did those little things that Ezra actually wanted. He DOES want to meet his friends, but going out of the house isn't always an easy decision for him. I could really relate to that. I'm not a true introvert, but I have, let's call it an introvert side and I see how some friends (the closer ones) are able to take me out of my closed box and how much it DOES mean for me to do that because I love spending time with my friends, and yet they know that pushing me isn't the way because I WANT to be in my own corner alone at times and not be disturbed. I felt Dae really respected Ezra and his way of living but at the same time they both did little adjustments so they could be together. They had more things that WEREN'T in common than the things they shared and yet they made it work.
What stands in Ezra and Dae's way to happiness is mostly Ezra. Dae is willing to try, giving it a shot. He is truly there from the beginning, trying to see what happens between them. Ezra, well, that's something else entirely. He has two main issues to deal with, first his religious family and the fact his parents don't accept him for who he is. His sister is a help, but it's no always enough. The second issue is his past relationship with Ben, his boyfriend from college. The story there is clear and yet unclear. I wish we could have gotten a better emotional feel to what Ezra went through at the time. He is still not over Ben, I don't mean romantically, I mean the damage to his ability to trust and since it's THAT crucial for him in order to build any relationship he constantly second guessing himself and Dae - if he could be who he wants him to be.
I enjoyed getting Ezra and Dae's story and yet there were things that were difficult for me. First, as I mentioned, I didn't FEEL Ezra enough. I'm not Dae as it seems. I got WHY he was hurt by Ben but I didn't FEEL how he hurt him. Also even when a resolve WAS possible it was done "off page" which really annoyed me which leads me to my second complaint, I felt we had too many missing pieces. Naturally in order to have a realistic relationship buildup the book needs to span a while. They can't form a friendship and trust in a week.. and so we get small chapters of Ezra and Dae together (and a little bit apart) but somehow I felt it was less fluid than I would have wanted. Because of the way the scenes / chapters were built, there were issues that happened and we didn't get to see how each character dealt with what happened, their inner feelings and thoughts. It felt "chopped".
With my little misgivings I still loved their story and the way it was progressed. This book CAN be read as a standalone, nothing is revealed about the previous couples though I DO recommend reading them (you just don't have to do that in order... ;)). It's not easy writing a book about someone like Ezra, I feel it must have been a challenge, him being an introvert, his fears and difficulties, the fact that he is Demisexual. Yet Christina and Nyrae made it work! He found everything he could have wished for in Dae even if he wouldn't have guessed they were even a possible match. Dae wasn't even expecting to find this great love, he stumbled into it with his huge heart, peacefulness and optimism. With how much he appreciates the physical-emotional connection in meditation and yoga, Ezra with his limited emotional language also talks with his body and so it's no wonder Dae understands him the way he does. It was a beautiful journey to finding love.
I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
Though I enjoyed many things about this book, and though I REALLY loved Lars, I had mixed feelings about Jane and at some point I felt the story dragged, I guess it had mostly to do with Jane, her mixed feelings and insecurities. Even though I felt hThough I enjoyed many things about this book, and though I REALLY loved Lars, I had mixed feelings about Jane and at some point I felt the story dragged, I guess it had mostly to do with Jane, her mixed feelings and insecurities. Even though I felt her pain, even though she is VERY relatable on so many levels, it took her TOO long and while she was worried about HER heart being broken she totally missed how much she hurt Lars with the way she guarded herself.
Jane is not only the assistant but also the cousin of the gorgeous Samara Amaya. She comes to Gardiner to help prepare for Samara's shoots later that week. Coming early means a few days off, from the demanding and downright EVIL Samara. Samara doesn't have ANY redeeming traits, even at her best (near the end) she was still selfish in her behavior and her father, Jane's uncle was even WORSE, I felt he was using her emotionally even more than Samara ever did. So let's just say that Jane has a horrible life she hates and she doesn't have anyone else besides Samara and her parents since her mother and father died when she was ten years old. Back to the story.. working under Samara means being "plain Jane", the one no one looks at, and even when someone WAS interested in her it ended once the stunning Samara entered the guys' vision. So it's no wonder than even though she and Lars seems to connect she pushes him away at any turn, not believing anything can actually hold once her cousin arrives.
I felt sorry for her, for her childhood, for having to deal with Samara, with a demanding uncle who looks like her father (they were twins) but expects her to do Samara's bidding no matter how much it drains her, hurts her and how down right abusing the whole thing is! Also being a "plain looking girl" attached to one of the most beautiful girls out there is also hard on one's self esteem not to mention Samara would gladly take from Jane just to spite her. What she shared with Lars while they were alone, just the two of them, was everything she could have asked for. He isn't just beautiful, sexy, sweet and kind, they also share a lot in common, they enjoy each other's company and listening to 60s music.
Lars have always been a player. It's not that he doesn't want to settle down, it's just there is NO ONE there for him in the small town of Gardiner, and unlike his siblings who found their HEA in the surrounding towns, Lars would NEVER leave Yellowstone behind. Being a tour guide, just wandering around in the park is his LIFE AND PASSION. What he finds in Jane he hasn't found with ANYONE, and he so wishes they could build a future together, maybe Jane would even stay and leave her horrible cousin to go back to New York and find others to torment. But Jane is playing "hard to get", she is SO insecure every step of the way she plays hot-cold, and it's exhausting really, for me at least, for him it's frustrating and also hurts.. no matter what he says or does, Jane NEVER seems to trust him.
It gets even worse once Samara arrives and decides she is having Lars no matter what and him saying no to her is NOT an option. What a bitch.. hurting Jane is one thing, but also using a guy who isn't even into you?! The fact Samara got her way practically the WHOLE book, up until the end was SO annoying. She never actually "paid" for anything bad she did, the hurt she spread around on the contrary.
There's a small sub plot about Lars' place in the family's business, I thought it would play out differently, but I think it's best the way it did. I wish we got more of that, more of the Lindstrom family in general and not only the family gathering with all the small babies. I liked we got more of Maggie and Paul, getting ready for both Paul's book and Nils and Maggie's right after to finish the series.
All in all it was an okay read. I liked the idea behind it, I liked Lars and I think Jane is the sort of "anti-hero" that SHOULD be a hero, someone like "you and me", a regular Joe so to speak, but I wish her insecurities didn't take THAT MUCH of the plot and didn't hurt Lars as much as they did. He didn't deserve that. It's not only he was a pawn in Samara's playground he was also a ball thrown and caught by Jane.