Book Review: Obsidian – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian (A Lux Novel – Book 1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:

Blurb (From Goodreads): 
Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring… until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something… unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

My Review:

Pay attention book bloggers – this one goes out to you! Last week I did a quick search on my WordPress app on Book Reviews, just to see what would pop up. I can’t tell you the blogger who did it, but I ran across a review for Obsidian and knew that I had that book for kindle, so I stopped to read the review. This review wasn’t a 5 star all praise this book in all its ways, it revealed some thing that the reader didn’t care for, but she gushed about Daemon and a few other aspects of the book. As a result, I searched for it in my library (because who KNOWs when I bought it, but it was pretty buried in my list) and started reading it.

Note – I don’t usually read reviews…but I might start after this. I just really hate spoilers, I like to be surprised by stuff…and some bloggers have a difficult time with this. I read a review during this same search that basically spoiled an entire book (that I had already read) with her discussing what she liked/disliked about every part of the book. I have moments when I want to do this too..and I’m starting to wonder if we should call these blog posts “Book Discussions” rather than “Book Reviews” to alert the reader?! Anyway.

What I Loved: So, alien books aren’t actually my ‘thing,’ I’m not sure why, since in the last few years I’ve read a few good ones, but they just aren’t the first books that I tend to grab first. But I did really enjoy this take on Aliens. I didn’t fully understand what they could do and why – well, I vaguely understood why I guess – but I also just know it’s a book and it doesn’t have to make complete sense to me. The back-story of how they came to exist on earth and what had been established was flushed out to a satisfactory degree for me. All of the fight scenes were enjoyable to read, I didn’t get lost in the movements and what was actually happening, which can happen sometimes when there is a battle going on.

I totally loved Daemon and Katy’s back and forth constant battering of each other. It was some really good heat between the two of them.  The fact that they were both fighting attraction kind of helped dial up the heat quite a bit.  Some of my favorite scenes where the ones where Daemon was displaying jealous.  And w-o-w, the kiss scene.

Not So Much: Despite that the back story and the fight scenes were well done, I did feel like the overall story had some holes in it. At some points it felt like the entire town was alien, and at other points it felt like a select few were, and the people of the town knew they were alien or at least ‘other.’ At other times it seemed like their secret was completely locked down and humans put off the whole thing as “this town is weird.” I kind of felt like the lines were blurred a bit on the alien powers also, mostly when it came to the trace, or mark that could be left on humans. I kind of felt like they knew the logistics of it, and then at some point it was like – “hey, let’s try this.” In fact – as far as the instance I’m referring too, I kind of felt like it was put there so the scene would happen – and I would NEVER want that scene removed, but the reasoning behind it seemed a bit under-processed.

Katy is so dense. I loved her personality for the most part, but how many times does one have to refer to “your kind” or call you “human” before you really get it, and not have to have it spelled out to you? She doesn’t want to believe anything, including that Daemon isn’t quite as uncaring as he seems half the time. Read between the lines! It’s only frustrating because she is only like this to drag this storyline and hot/cold heat between the characters on for as long as possible – she is a strong character otherwise. The hot/cold stuff could probably be done without her playing dumb about it.

The Verdict:    
I’m completely engrossed in this series, and just bought book 2. I want to know what happens, and I do want a little bit more Katy/Daemon heat in my life. My hope is that the story and writing just gets better as we go through the books. The book is okay for older teenagers, there is cussing. Kissing and a little bit of touching that isn’t overly descriptive.

Book Review: A is for Abstinence – Kelly Oram

Title:  A is for Abstinence
Author: Kelly Oram
Genre: NA – Romance
Blurb (from Goodreads): 

Best selling YA romance author Kelly Oram takes her first dive into new adult romance with this heartfelt and hilarious tale of a rockstar and a virgin.

Rockstar to the core, Six-time Grammy Award-winning musician Kyle Hamilton has it all—money, fame, talent, good looks, and a job he loves. His only regret in life: walking away from a certain notorious virgin because he was too prideful, stubborn, and even afraid to give her the only thing she asked of him—his abstinence.

Four years and a broken heart later, Kyle realizes that sex isn’t everything, and he suddenly can’t stop thinking about the girl that got away. Virgin Val Jensen got under his skin like no one else ever has. He wasn’t ready for her then, but things are different now. He’s grown up, he’s learned a few things, and he’s finally figured out exactly what he wants, or, rather, who he wants.

Kyle Hamilton wants a do-over, and this time he’s willing to do—or not do—whatever it takes.

My Review:
So I broke my rule TBR Challenge rule.  Kelly Oram is NOT on my “pre-approved to buy” list for this year, but I couldn’t leave Val and Kyle up in the air like that.  I lasted 4 months.  That’s pretty decent, right?  And it doesn’t mean I’m going to run out and buy all the books…not necessarily. 
What I Loved:  Getting the rest of the story.  
I loved what Kyle was willing to do to prove to Val that he loved her and wanted to be with her.  I loved the growth his character went through between the two books in understanding Val’s perspective and even as far as understanding just why waiting was so special.
Not So Much:  I didn’t really feel like there was much of a story arch in this second book.  There were some minor issues and a little drama, but this was mostly a story about how Val and Kyle got their HEA.   I expected some kind of grand gesture from Marissa that would mess up something between Val and Kyle, or maybe someone from Val’s side. 
The Verdict:     
I really glad I picked up and read this book, but kind feel like it could have been more.  This book is still clean, despite the NA category.  Mild cussing, and of course there is sex talk.

Book Review: Prince of Wolves – Quinn Loftis

Title: Prince of Wolves
Author: Quinn Loftis
Genre: YA – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Jacque Pierce was just an ordinary 17-year-old girl getting ready to start her senior year in high school in Coldspring, Texas. When a mysterious foreign exchange student from Romania moves in across the street, Jacque and her two best friends, Sally and Jen, don’t realize the last two weeks of their summer are going to get a lot more interesting.

From the moment Jacque sets eyes on Fane she feels an instant connection, a pull like a moth to a flame. Little does she know that the flame she is drawn to is actually a Canis lupis, werewolf, and she just happens to be his mate; the other half of his soul.

The problem is Fane is not the only wolf in Coldspring, Texas.

Just as Fane and Jacque are getting to know each other, another wolf steps out to try and claim Jacque as his mate. Fane will now have to fight for the right to complete the mating bond, something that is his right by birth but is being denied him by a crazed Alpha. Will the love Fane has for Jacque be enough to give him the strength to defeat his enemy, will Jacque accept that she is Fane’s mate and complete the bond between them?

My Review:

I have heard a lot about The Grey Wolves Series by Quinn Loftis, and how much I need to read these books. I’m all about the paranormal romance genre, but I’ve been sitting on Prince of Wolves for a while. Mostly because I did start the book over a year ago and stopped reading it. At the time I just wasn’t getting into it. BUT with much persistence I picked the book up again.

What I Loved: There was a lot of playful banter in this book. Especially between Jacque and her best friends Sally and Jen, and even a bit between her and her prince wolf, Fane. While it came off very young at times, or a little over the top on the valley girl meets wanna be thug, it still made for some comedy.

The action in Prince of Wolves was pretty good, there was tension and the story line moved along at a fast enough pace to keep the reader interested.

Of course there is that cover.  Isn’t it gorgeous??

Not So Much: Well, I had a hard time biting off the easy acceptance of there being werewolves in existence. I mean it wasn’t just the main characters, but even some of the supporting characters took the news in stride and just kept right on going as if it were nothing. Jacque (I really had a hard time with her nickname too, if I’m completely honest) would have these mini-panic attacks about the situation and all the things she was learning, but they seemed more like young teenager tantrums than a real reaction to the events surrounding her life.

Another thing I didn’t quite understand was the fluctuation with how cussing was handled in this book. At times it seemed like the characters were using word replacements for cuss-words, other times it was like “he cursed and…,” then there were times a cuss-word was actually spoken out loud (no replacement word used), and at least once I saw the characters indicating a cuss-word ($*%#). This probably could have at least used some consistency throughout the novel.

The Verdict:     

While I did not absolutely love this first book of the series, this is an (almost) 10 book series, that has a bit of a following. I was already warned that the first book was a little iffy, but that Quinn’s writing definitely gets better with time (and I’m 100% sure that it does). So this isn’t me writing off this series. As I stated before, the book moved along and was interesting, I just had a hard time with some minor things that could be viewed as personal preference rather than flaws with the book if you think about it. As a whole, I’d say if you like paranormal and romance, and fun banter – pick this book, and series up. It is clean with mild cussing, but okay for teenagers.

Book Review: Firstlife – Gena Showalter

Title: Firstlife
Author: Gena Showalter
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance

Buy Link:

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live—after she dies.

There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, longtime enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms who will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t home to the boy she’s falling for? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…

My Review: 
I had just recently started hearing a little bit of buzz about Firstlife recently when I saw that the audio book was available for download from my library, so I decided I’d give it a shot. A long while ago I was a fan of Gena Showalter, so I figured giving her YA novels a try would be worth the time.

What I Loved: This was a unique world that Showalter has created. I enjoyed learning about the two (three) sides of the afterlife, and their differences. More so, I enjoyed getting to know Archer and Killian along with Ten(ley). When the book started, I wasn’t sure which direction we were going to take on the whole romance angle, and I actually guessed wrong – which was a pleasant surprise for me actually. I wanted to be wrong, though I was interested in how what I thought was going to happen would…(clear as mud?! 😉 )

I enjoyed the banter between all three main characters, they were witty and silly at times, and serious others. The boys were even a bit overwhelmingly over protective at times, a trait that I love in book-form only. I loved Ten’s loyalty to her friends. Despite the two afterlives fighting for her allegiance, and the decisions her friends were making along the way, she remained rather impartial and even respected their decisions. She was genuinely trying to figure out what was best for her life.

There was no lack of action in Firstlife. There was always constant motion – even if I wasn’t sure exactly where that motion was suppose to be leading.

I cannot leave this section without mentioning the narrator, Emma Galvin.  Even in the times when I felt like the book was running long, Emma was the saving grace – because she did such an excellent job, especially with the accents.  It was beautifully done!

Not So Much: There were many parts of this book that I felt were sort of loose ends, or scenes that kind of seemed unnecessary to the story line (unless they play a role in the next parts of the series, though that doesn’t really seem that likely). I also felt the first half of the book dragged on a bit long as well – it truly was the two boys fighting for her allegiance the best they could, just a constant ‘sign with…’ every time something happened.

I spent a good portion of this book kind of understanding why there was such a huge fight to sign Tenley, but mostly was left wondering what really was the big deal with this girl.

The Verdict:    

I think this series is going to have to come together a bit more before I’m able to know if I’m going to really like it or just kind of like it. Right now I’m on the “eh, it was okay,” end of the spectrum, but intrigued enough to give the 2nd book a chance when it is released. If the 2nd book doesn’t really capture me completely though, I wouldn’t give the 3rd book much of a chance (I’m just assuming this is a three book series). This book had mild cussing and some sex talk suitable for high school teenagers.

Book Review: 99 Days – Katie Cotugno

Title: 99 Days
Author: Katie Cotugno
Genre: YA – Fiction, Coming of Age

Synopsis:  Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

My Review:  
I listened to 99 Days as an audiobook downloaded impulsively from the library.  The cover of this book stuck out to me at first, and I don’t know, I kind of just went with it.  This review is going to be a little bit weird because I both disliked and really liked this book – which makes me not know how to rate it or how to phrase what I want to say exactly.
What I Loved:  The writing in this book is great.  I know this because I was so engrossed in the story and the characters that it was impossible for me to put it down.  Several occasions I wanted to, trust me, I wanted to.  I was so frustrated and annoyed and disappointed in the characters, Molly especially.  But. I. Just. Couldn’t.  So that means it’s a good book, right?
I actually did like some of the flashback scenes, and the relationship between Molly and Patrick before it went off track. Though it made the relationship seem a little one-sided in a way, Molly seemed to be what Patrick needed at a particularly hard time in his life.  They had a  relationship that was cut off from the rest of the world, and they were engrossed in each other.  This is sort of a reflection of my husband and I in those same tender teen years.  We were completely engrossed and entangled with each other for the first couple years of our relationship – and while the book kind of indicated that it is an unhealthy way to be – I do agree that if it continues for years and years it probably is; most of the time teenagers turn into adults who come out of hiding and return to the real world with responsibilities and start interacting with people again.  I know.  I lived it!
Not So Much:  Love Triangle.  …but that’s unfair, right, because reading the description of the book before downloading it to my phone I knew about the triangle.  So it’s really unfair of me to list that here.  
So moving on…Molly as a person bothered me.  She was so engrossed with both Gabe and Patrick, and somehow she had them both wrapped around her little finger (sort of).  Some of the major points of this book, ie: it takes two to tango, rings true of course.  However, to continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results; that’s insanity.  And I’m over here trying to figure out how she’s going to do the right thing, how this book is going to smooth over all this emo-teen-love junk and an important lesson is learned.  It did, in its way…but I’m not sure I’m convinced that anyone has learned anything, if I’m honest.
Also – I felt like the turmoil in the relationship between Molly and her mother, who is an author and did a horrible, horrible thing when she wrote a book based on her daughters experience, and then ADMITTED to it in an interview.  How could her mother not see how that would make her daughter feel?  I mean, really??  But outside of that,  why did this relationship/sub-plot not really move?  There was a scene where I thought there was going to be a breakthrough moment – where either Molly was going to see the book that was written in a different light, or her mother was going to truly understand the depth of the stupidity of her actions.  Nope, there was a flipped coin (a reference to the book mother had written) and end scene…never to be referred to again.
The Verdict:  
This is why it’s so difficult.  The book overwhelmed me with emotions, just not all the ones I usually like to have when reading.  It wasn’t satisfying in the way that I like stories to be.  But is that a bad thing?  I mean, I admitted already that I wanted to put the book down and be done with it.  I couldn’t.  I couldn’t leave them up in the air like that because my brain would have busted my butt, I would have been utterly distracted until I gave in and finished the stupid book.  I can’t say that just because I was unsatisfied that this wasn’t a good book.
So this book has cussing and talk of sex (no actual scenes), so mature YA would be my stance on this one – I know some look out for this portion of my review, I didn’t want to leave you hanging!

About the Author:
Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult, both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.

Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Her first novel, HOW TO LOVE, is due out from Balzer + Bray on October 1st, 2013.

The great loves of Katie’s life include child’s pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston (and in sin) with her boyfriend, Tom.

Book Review: A Wicked Thing – Rhiannon Thomas

Title: A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing, Book 1)
Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Genre: YA – Fairytale Retelling

Synopsis:  Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before. 

My Review: It is no secret that I’m a big fan of fairy tale retells, but I can say that Sleeping Beauty is not one that I have read previously.  I think that it really is the tale itself that kept me from it.  The idea of being asleep and woke up to insta-love, it just wasn’t appealing to me. So when I read the description of A Wicked Thing, I thought surely this version is one that I could get in to.
In this Sleeping Beauty rendition, nearly 100 years have passed and the kingdom that Aurora is waking to has changed completely.  She isn’t given even  a moment to adjust to this new reality when a century of waiting and expectations falls to her shoulders, yet her instructions are to ‘smile and wave, boys…smile and wave.’ Okay, maybe not verbatim, but you get the idea…

What I Loved:  The characters were pretty great.  From Aurora and her ability to be both witty and prim and proper princess, to Rodric who was all blushes and shy self-conscious prince, to Finnegan who was full of arrogance yet quite smart and cunning (and fwiw, I’m totally team Finnegan), and Tristan who was charming, fun, and then surprises you completely.  I enjoyed even Queen Iris who was way too proper and seemed to have an agenda that was all her own.  Actually, her character threw me for a loop more than any of the others, I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect from her.  There were points where I think we were almost suppose to like Iris, though overall no.  The king was the least disappointing, and most predictable of them all, he was actually slightly reminiscent of the kings you see in The Throne of Glass and the Defy series.
I felt like the flow of this book was really good – I enjoyed the writing quite a lot.  Despite the fact that Aurora did spend a bit of time locked away (yes even in this version), the book didn’t really feel like it dragged any.  I feel like this is an accomplishment that many authors have struggled with; how to ‘pass time’ in one spot without causing the story to trickle away into the darkness.
 Not So Much:  So I kind of felt like Aurora was too paralyzed by her position and who she was and who she was taught to be throughout nearly this entire book.  It was like she knew something needed to be done, but felt that clearly she wasn’t the one to do it.  She had a ‘fate’ that she didn’t want, but then she didn’t want to leave because that was wrong.  She wasn’t really a mopey or melodramatic character, however her actions indicated that she was playing a victim of her circumstance.  DO SOMETHING besides think about how something needs to be done.  That was frustrating.

The Verdict:   
I most certainly will be sticking around for the remainder of the series.  I have some suspicions about what happens next, and I will have to satisfy that curiosity.  This book is perfect for the YA genre, very clean, very appropriate, and fun.  It does have action and adventure, and despite some main character frustration, it does keep your attention.

About the Author:  Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.

As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.

I don’t hang out on Goodreads much, so if you want to contact me, please swing by my personal website or message me on Twitter.

Book Review: Crane – The Legends Saga #1 – Stacey Rourke

Title: Crane (The Legends Saga #1)

Author: Stacey Rourke
The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?

My Review:
Crane (or this entire series really,) is one of those books that I picked up mainly because of the amazing cover.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that regardless of how I feel at the end of all of them, I’m going to want hard copies of all of these books.  The covers are dark, and beautiful.  I love them!  This series is one of those I really, really want to judge by its cover.
I have read a few books by Stacey Rourke and I really enjoy her work.  Her characters are fun and just make me want to continue reading, couple that with the fact that on her birthday she gave us all of her books for $.99 each….it was a steal, so I got the entire series.

***Please know – there is minor spoilery type content below…***

 What I Loved:  I am a huge fan of retellings.  I love it when authors take a famous story line and carve their own path into it.  There are many retellings that I actually like better than the originals.  This book is a great retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hallow, and it includes several ‘characters’ you will recognize.  I really liked this version of Ichabod;  instead of the scared wimp you get in some of the cartoon versions of this story – you have this handsome, socially inept hero.  There is something sweet about a strong man who is also shy.

 In Crane, Rourke took a fun method of taking us back and forth between timelines, blending the original story with a modern-day take.  I don’t always like it when books jump back and forth like that, however it really worked for this book.  It was never confusing, but I’m sure that had a lot to do with the fact that the “voices” of the two POV’s were very different – even if the stories were parallel(ish). 

 Not So Much:  I had a hard time connecting with our modern-day main character, Ireland.  I loved her voice, she was funny, sarcastic and all the things that I like in a character, but I don’t really feel like I got to know her all that well.  I also had a very difficult time with the Ireland/Noah relationship – probably for the same reasons.  Noah, quite honestly, wasn’t really IN the story as much as you would like him to be.  He seemed like a great guy, but again I couldn’t really tell.  Then the two of them together – well, they were just playing at the edges of ‘together’ in this book…I imagine that is rectified in the future installments,  however the fact that they were truly together by the end of the story (sorry minor spoiler) – I just wasn’t ready for it yet.

And if I’m going to pick on the relationships, I did kind of feel the rush of Icabod and Katrina’s relationship as well.  Perhaps my problem is I like to see people’s feelings unfold rather than having this insta-attraction turn into love.  Life rarely works that way – so I think I enjoy books where the characters have to work at it a bit, too.  Spend some quality time together, you know.
 Finally, there is the parallel of the legend; in the old version you have a reason the horseman showed up and the events transpired, but in modern-day it I believe the reason it was happening again was because all the right people in all the right place.  That felt flimsy as a story-line, in my opinion.  WHY did it happen again when all of the people were in the right place?  Just because it was foretold, and that’s it?  

 The Verdict:  I really, really wanted to love Crane.  I was looking forward to reading it, and felt this was (is) the perfect season to read it in; however while I liked it, I didn’t love it.  I have been told by mega-fans to keep reading.  I do have Raven and Steam on my iPad, and I will likely continue with the series.  Perhaps by the end this will be one of those series I re-read over and over again and discover all the things I missed in this first book and how they relate to the following – who knows.
 I do think it’s worth your time, especially if you’re like me and enjoy a good retelling.  Give it a chance, because you know – my opinions are my own, and there are many who loved this book!

Rated: 3 Stars
Rating: PG-13 – some sexual content, mild cussing

Book Review: His Haunted Heart – Lila Felix

Title: His Haunted Heart

Author: Lila Felix
Genre: New Adult – Clean, Historical, Romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Six years ago, deep in the swamps of Louisiana, Delilah’s face was marred forever at the hands of her sisters by the point of her mother’s kitchen knife. Despite her protest, her parents insist she make haste in finding a husband. But finding a husband isn’t an easy feat with a scar running the length of your face.
Porter Jeansonne keeps to himself. He lives in his mansion, set apart from the town he’s grown to detest. One night, walking through the town, seeking to collect a debt, he hears a man selling off his daughter in the most deplorable part of the darkened streets. He chooses to take pity on her and set her free from her despicable family. Until he sees her face. He then knows that maybe she is the mend for his haunted heart

“Some scars are too devastatingly beautiful for the world to see.”

My Review: His Haunted Heart sort of threw me for a loop, this is not Lila Felix’s normal style. Honestly, I thought she was going to throw a twist in the story about halfway through, and it was going to be a little bit more “The Village” than historical. (Though I’m pretty sure she makes it pretty clear in the beginning its historical, I just choose to set aside that detail). I like to try and find foreshadowing while I’m reading – so I tend to look for things that aren’t quite there.

While I had some reservations about some of actual story-line, this book really did suck me in. I enjoyed reading it because it’s been so long since I’ve been swept away from my world and felt like I left the cares of life behind to get lost in the book’s world – because it’s so different. Lila’s writing actually felt ‘haunted’ in this book – making this time of year (the time between summer and autumn) seem almost the perfect season in which to read it. (That might be silly and fantastical, but it was true for me!)

What I Loved:
There was just something about the melancholy setting of this book that drew me in from the very beginning. I was immediately rooting for Delilah, which is normal – you’re usually suppose to like the main character, but her life from the start just made me want her to have much better things.  Truly all of the sub-characters were perfectly written, as well as being melancholy, I felt like the story had an air of ‘fairytale’ as well, so the ‘good’ characters were great, upstanding people while the ‘bad’ characters were obviously bad.

I really enjoyed the chemistry between Delilah and Porter, their love and affection was pretty evident from the beginning. While there were some ups and downs, mostly on Delilah’s end – I kind of enjoyed that there was no major dividing line between them as a couple in the story. There wasn’t a huge falling out or major break in the relationship. They actually talked things out and there were even legitimate apologies for the way they behaved. I did like this for the simple fact that it breaks the norm when it comes to relationships in novels. It’s also worth noting that I am sooo thankful that this wasn’t a love triangle.  I had about a three second time-span in which I thought it was going to be – but Lila quickly nipped that one!

Not so Much: First of all, I felt like the ending was quite abrupt. It was like there is all this stuff, and then – done. So that was a little unsatisfying. It wasn’t in a cliff-hanger sort of way, but just a ‘…huh, that’s it…’ kind of scenario. I also felt like either we didn’t get enough correlation to things that seemed important in the story, and their purpose. There was a necklace, there was a lake, there was a witch-type person, there were ghosts and hidden backstories. There are the obvious facts which are laid out in the book, but throughout the story it felt like certain parts and scenes had much more significance, then when the “real story” or the mystery sort of unfolded I couldn’t decide if we were deceived and they weren’t really as significant as they seemed, or if I was just needing more detail – HOW was this used, what was the mechanics behind it. (My vagueness is purposeful to avoid spoilers).

PG – Sensuality, no cussing, no sex
Rating: 3 Stars – I enjoyed this book!

Book Review: Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Young Adult – Romance/Fiction

Synopsis (from Goodreads):  

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. 

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…  

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.  

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. 

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.  

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?  

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?  

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

My Review:  When I left for my cruise I had loaded up both my iPad and iPhone (by loaded up, I mean predownloaded) with many book options for reading while on vacation.  When I got on the ship, however, I was more concerned about squinting and trying to see the screens – and kids who liked to splash a lot ruining my electronics.  (This didn’t stop many people though, as I saw quite a few Kindles throughout the week). The great thing is, Carnival has us covered, and provides a nicely stocked library on board the ship.  On it I found Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  This seemed as good of a choice as any because while I have seen Rainbow’s books come up over and over again, I hadn’t actually read one.  And it seemed like a fun vacation read…plus I love nerdy/fangirlly books.

Reading on a cruise ship is both perfect, and difficult.  I loved relaxing in the sun or on the front or Hi Michelle!) which meant that I couldn’t be “zoned out” for too long, people were bound to miss me.  That being said, I didn’t finish the book.  I came really, really close – but not quite.  So when I got home I forked out the $4.99 to buy the e-book so I could finish FIVE CHAPTERS!  Money well worth it, because who in their right mind can just sit for long when you’ve only got 5 chapters of a book to read?!
back deck with the book and a cup of coffee and just zoning out.  However, there is so much to do on a cruise, and I was there with not only my husband, but my best friend and her husband (
What I Loved:  Characters always make the book for me.  And I loved Cather and Wren (and the origins of their name! 🙂 )  They were so different, but still had that gravitational pull that you always hear about twins having.  Levi was excellent as well, I loved who he was for Cath – how patient and kind and exactly perfectly what she needed.  I already mentioned that I loved the fangirl stuff – It made me nostalgic for when I was all about Twilight, and everything Twilight related.  I wasn’t like Cather or Wren – I didn’t read FanFic, but that was mostly because I liked the “canon” and didn’t want anything or anyone changing the characters or story-line for me.  However, I can understand the other perspective too…not wanting the world to end.

I found Rainbow Rowell’s writing quite entertaining, her characters were witty and fun, and if I’m being quite honest, I was probably half through the book before I realized that it was written in third person and not first – that is how strong Cather’s voice is!

Not So Much:  Okay all you ‘fangirls’ don’t skin me alive on this one, but I didn’t really feel like there was much of a climax/resolution in this book.  It all sort of was just a flat story that was entertaining to read.  I can’t tell you that Cather was a stronger or better person at the end.  She was always capable, and usually did make the right decisions (eventually), regardless of any insecurities she had.  I can’t say that Wren even was a better person at the end – although all things indicate that she was.  I feel like their father might have made progress – but nothing definite.  Their mother, well let’s just say I side with Cath on that issue, and I don’t know if I could say that part of the book went anywhere either. I guess it could be said that Cath and Wren grew as much as any young adult does at this point of life.  I’m just used to a more pronounced story arc, I suppose.

Rated: PG-13 – Good read for teenagers even though the characters are in college.  Some talk of sex, some cussing.
Rating:  3 Stars – I liked it, very entertaining.

Book Review: These Broken Stars – Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Author: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Synopsis from Goodreads:   

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive — alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth. 

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

My Review:
These Broken Stars was a good adventure of twist and turns, a new planet, and budding love, and I look forward to reading the remainder of The Starbound Triliogy.  At the start of the book I almost felt like I was back on a cruise ship with all the different decks, entertainment options; but I felt the book really took off once Lilac and Tarver landed on the unknown planet.  As for the characters, I really enjoyed Lilac and Tarver’s relationship, it was fun at the beginning with each of them trying to display disinterest and indifference, and then growing into fondness with obvious attraction into something more.  In the end, I think the best aspects of this book was the world building and the story line/emotional roller coaster that the authors takes you on.

Rated:  PG 
Genre: Young Adult
Rating:  3.5 Stars – While I did love the world building, the travel time/time between action seemed kind of lengthy