Book Review: Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard

Title: Glass Sword (Red Queen – Book 2)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian, Romance, Fantasy

Blurb (From Goodreads): 
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

My Review:
I have been waiting on this book for a year – I fell in love with this world right from the start.  Any new world that I can somewhat compare to the X-Men is always going to get my attention though (hello Shatter Me Series!)  But I also enjoyed the Hunger Games/The Selection aspects of this book as well.

So I’ve waited a little impatiently for this book, all the while watching the fandom come together via instagram photos.  So when the day finally came, I was the first in line for the library’s audio-version of  The Glass Sword, but also my best friend had bought me the book for Christmas!  I LOVE HER SO MUCH! 🙂  (Okay, I love her whether or not she got me the book..but still!!!)

What I Loved: SO MUCH ACTION.  This isn’t your typical ‘sit and wait’ 2nd book where it really felt like it was a space-filler between the first and third books of the series.  In the past I’ve had trouble with the middle book of a trilogy for this reason – I love origins because I love getting to know new people – Glass Sword gives you plenty new characters to get to know and love.  One specifically I suspect is going to play a major role in the final book!  The 3rd book is usually so full of action and wrap up, but here again I say Glass Sword has its full share of action.  We aren’t stuck waiting out to find out what the oppressors are going to do in the books, we are taking action and creating game plans.  Some game plans don’t work out as well as others, but that’s okay.

I do also love that this book isn’t prettied up any.  Victoria Aveyard does not hold back any punches.  There are gruesome details and you end up hurting just as much as Mare.  She is not leading the easiest life right now, and you can feel that in every move, ever decision.

Not So Much:  Well, one – I hate when characters don’t communicate well.  I feel like Mare and Cal have some things they should talk about.  Do you know how many of our lives would be much easier and better if we would just talk??

I really wish I could have been in Cal’s head a bit more.  While he was there with Mare the entire time, and played a very important role in their rebellion/revolution, I still kind of feel like we didn’t see enough of him.  He was there in a sort of closed off sort of way.

I’m not digging Mare’s fixation on Maven either – This isn’t like Shatter Me where my heart tipped in Warner’s direction…I don’t feel like he’s been very redeemable at all.  Plus, well I love Cal, and have from the beginning.  The underlying theme of this entire book has been “Anyone can betray anyone” but he’s been pretty clear about who he is, what he desires, how he feels.  I swear if he betrays what I believe to be true about him, I might just throw the last book against the wall.  Then buy a new one since I ruined it. 😉

The Verdict:          
These books are best for older teenagers, there are a lot of gruesome details that I think would give my pre-teens/young teens nightmares, but you know your kids best.  There is cussing.  Other than that this is a clean book – and one I love and recommend for Dystopian lovers!


Book Review: The Five Stages of Falling in Love – Rachel Higginson

Title: The Five Stages of Falling in Love
Author: Rachel Higginson
Genre:  Adult Romance
Publisher:  Indie Book

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Elizabeth Carlson is living in the pits of hell- also known as grief.

Her husband of eight years, the father of her four children and the love of her life, died from cancer. Grady’s prognosis was grim, even from the start, but Liz never gave up hope he would survive. How could she, when he was everything to her?

Six months later, she is trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life and get the kids to school on time. Both seem impossible. Everything seems impossible these days.

When Ben Tyler moves in next door, she is drowning in sorrow and pain, her children are acting out, and the house is falling apart. She has no time for curious new friends or unwanted help, but Ben gives her both. And he doesn’t just want to help her with yard work or cleaning the gutters. Ben wants more from Liz. More than she’s capable of ever giving again.

As Liz mourns her dead husband and works her way through the five stages of grief, she finds there’s more of her heart to give than she thought possible. And as new love takes hold, she peels away the guilt and heartache, and discovers there’s more to life than death.

My Review:
The fact that I own this book is a true testament of the power of social media to convince us to purchase a book.  This is one of those books that popped up in my news feed over and over again with people raving about it’s greatness.  I saw the cover enough that I became intrigued more and more, despite it’s topic matter.
Here’s the thing, people.  I don’t do a lot of “real life” in my books.  Oh, I love books about love and life and I absolutely love a good “coming of age” teenage book where the protagonist must learn to live with the cards they are dealt.  But I have very adamantly steered clear of The Fault in their Stars because John Green has ripped my heart out before.  I won’t read anything by Nicholas Sparks until I can get confirmation that the book isn’t going to make me cry my eyes out.  I have to deal with the tears of real life, so I don’t really seek them out in book life.
I acknowledge that these are sometimes the most excellent of books usually.  I mean, I innocently grabbed up a Jodi Picoult book a while back, and she is an extremely talented author.  All the way up until she tore the skin from my body in grief.  I just don’t seek these books out on purpose.

What I Loved:
This is hard.  Too hard.  This book was very good of walking us through all of the stages of Liz’s emotions, while at the same time I hated it.  Rachel Higginson is an excellent writer.  I swear to you, she has taken my relationship with my husband and almost our origins and put them on paper…then wrote the scenario I hope never, ever happens.  Or at least waits until we are both 90 years old.  Do you know how hard it was to read about Liz’s adoration for Grady, how she has eyes only for him..the feel of his arms around her and the fact that she falls in love with him more every day, year – then her reality.  This book made me cry.
But I love the healing, the hope of this book.  I loved Liz’s children, and seeing them all work through this grief process together.  I LOVED Ben, and his patience.  Gosh, Liz’s interactions with her mother-in-law. It was all on point, true to what would it would probably it would look like for me, and made such a great story.
Not So Much:
I think I was too engrossed in the story to really come up with any constructive criticism.  This is, again, another fairly linear book – no a lot of action, or no sharp climax.  Just a pretty gradual line to reach the end of the book…however, in this kind of book I’m not sure I would like a lot of drama/action.  I’m not sure I could make it.
The Verdict:        
I’ll tell you the truth, if this book were to be a movie, I probably won’t watch it.  And I’m sorry to say this, Ms. Rachel Higginson, but I probably won’t willingly re-read this book either.  But don’t let that be a hindrance to anyone.  This book is excellently written, and worth the tears to get to the end.  This book is an adult book and deals with adult situations.  There is an emotionally based sex scene – no graphic details.

Book Blitz: The Touch (The Cotiere Chronicals Book 2) – Michelle Bolanger

Alexander Koch lives a life most men would kill for. As the sole heir to his family’s enormous wealth, he enjoys the finer things in life despite the crippling pain that increases with every passing day. Until he meets the one he’s intended for. The one whose slightest touch makes the pain vanish. But after a chance meeting at the first Gathering of their kind, the girl runs from him in terror. Now he’s willing to spend every last cent to find her.

Jessalyn Vogt escaped her father’s controlling ways and has settled into a simple life, caring for her horses and brewing coffee for her customers. Until Alexander Koch tracks her down. She wants nothing to do with his arrogance, his money, or the undeniable attraction drawing her to him. But she knows she is the only one who can relieve him of the horrible pain racking his body.

The Cotiere has been reunited, but that was the easy part. Greed and old traditions threaten to tear it apart again. Trust has been compromised and hidden agendas are destroying the fragile truce between parents and children. It’s in the hands of the new counsel to keep it together, even if it means some must be willing to lose everything.


       Fighting to keep the echo of confusion out of her voice, she replied as coldly as she could. “I’ll have your pour over right up, Alex, but I have work to do.”

     Alexander stiffened, and she flinched harder this time, sure he would raise his voice. His expression grew puzzled. “If you don’t mind please, it’s Alexander, and I can wait until you have the time.” His tone never changed, but there was doubt in his face. He slid a fifty-dollar bill across the counter, his stance softening when she didn’t immediately take the offered money. “Keep the change, Jessi.”

     Frustrated by her body’s response to him, and angry at his ridiculous tip, she gritted her teeth. She swiped the bill off the counter, slapped it into the register, and slid his full change back. Hurt flickered on his face before she turned away and let her echo punctuate her frustration. “I can’t be bought.” Instead of the anger she expected, she was hit with his confusion. Her own doubt was followed by regret, but she reminded herself who he was. He’s just not used to anyone telling him no. He’ll get over it.

     Her eyes involuntarily rose to the mirror as she reached for a mug and pour over vessel. Peter was leaning against the far wall with his left foot planted beside the opposite knee. His arms were crossed while he watched them. Peter lifted his chin toward her as a satisfied quirk curled his lip. Unfolding his arms and kicking away from the wall, he took a seat across from Alexander at a table near the counter. Sitting together, they looked like two lions prepared to wait for their next meal. A cold shiver raked Jessi’s back at the thought.

My Review:
The Touch is Michelle’s 2nd book, and her writing has just gotten better! I knew from the moment I started hearing about Alexander and Jessi that I was going to love them, and I was 110% correct! This book brought so many goofy grins to my face, and then there were moments where I just had to put the book down and walk away because of the emotional roller coaster.

What I Loved: I’ve already mentioned that I knew I would love Alexandar and Jessi, but really I loved their individual personalities and how different they were. I really enjoyed their banter and emotional dance. The tension between the two was spot on, and leaves you either wanting to throw a bucket of ice on them or screaming “get on with it already.” Both of Alexander and Jessi have uneasy backgrounds, but at this point in their lives they are primed to be ready to move forward and move past their past…but how? Especially when the past wants to come back and bite them.

The back stories in The Touch really made this book interesting. We met Alexander in The Kiss, but to know more about where he comes from, and some of what he’s gone through within The Cotiere really helps to build the backbone of this book. Then you’ve got Jessi’s story, and together it’s all a bit of a mess.

Not So Much:
There never seems to be enough book. There’s not really anything I can say here, honestly. I knew I was going to love Alexander and Jess!

The Verdict:

 I wish I could get more people to take a chance on Michelle’s books – they are awesome stories! I would consider these to be clean New Adult books, with a slight paranormal/fantasy aspect – and I highly recommend them.

Author Bio:

Michelle Bolanger has been an avid reader all her life. In 2014 and with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to take the leap and publish her own books. The Kiss is her first full length novel and the beginning of what is to be a four book series titled The Cotiere Chronicles. Michelle is also a talented vocalist and amateur photographer. She enjoys going on cruises, cheering for her favorite professional hockey team, and falling asleep to the sound of auto racing on TV. Michelle lives in Ohio with her husband and two dogs.

Book Review: Cinder & Ella – Kelly Oram

Title: Cinder & Ella
Author: Kelly Oram

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

My Review:
I have seen and passed up Cinder & Ella multiple times on It was one of those – eh, I’ll probably like that book but I’m not sure. I’m not totally into the whole Hollywood aspect of the story. However, when a friend and fellow blogger over at Celebrity Readers was reading it and really enjoying the book, I knew I had to get it. (Bonus for being on sale for $.99, but at that point, it didn’t matter – she was raving and I knew I had to have it.) I have not done a ‘book binge’ in a long time, however I started reading this book probably at about 5:30 Friday night, and finished it at 1am Saturday morning. Aaaannnnd I was exhausted all day Saturday (I want to say it’s not because I can’t handle going to bed late, but I lift some heavy weights, and have three kids…so truth is, I can’t handle going to bed late…)

What I Loved:
What didn’t I love? First, it’s loosely based off a fairy-tale. Right there is a winner for me, but that’s obvious based on the title alone. Second, the interaction between Cinder and Ella, which is mainly NOT in person, is so perfect and funny! The banter, I totally fell in love with the banter, and the fact that both of them have this mutual “I really like this person…but I only know them via the internet” stigma; kind of just made it all that much better. It was also nice that the story changed perspectives, and you really got a good idea of what both Ella and Brian (Cinder) were going through.

Third, there were no innocent parties in this book, everyone is a victim of something, everyone has issues. I liked this because this wasn’t a perfect heroine needing rescued. Ella has had a complete life changing experience, and she really has the hardest hand in the entire book – but she is not faultless, she is not flawless (er, I’m speaking internally…). The fact that you’re reading this book and genuinely end up liking almost all of the characters was okay for me. I think that for this book, it really made for a well rounded story.

Fourth, this book felt so incredibly real. I wanted to read The Druid Prince. I wanted see the movie, go to the FantasyCon (I think that was what it was called..) with my new friends. I did not fall in love with Cinder myself, I wanted him so badly for Ella. I wish that I could call my new friends on the phone!!

Not So Much: There really isn’t a lot for me to put here. The one thing I can think of is I didn’t quite understand Rob’s character in the book. I understand he ended up being this great friend, but I was left feeling like he got a really crappy deal over all, especially since he was kind of a great guy. There was a part of me that wanted him to fall for one of Ella’s step sisters, or something just to make it all better.

The Verdict: 
GREAT Book! I will read it again, and probably love it just as much. I have already purchased more books by Kelly Oram because I’m pretty sure that I’m going to love all of her works. Cinder & Ella was clean over all, perfect of YA and NA loves in my opinion! Go grab it now, last I checked it was still $.99!

Movie Review: Goosebumps

Title: Goosebumps – The Movie

Synopsis: Upset about moving from a big city to a small town, teenager Zach Cooper (Dylan Minnette) finds a silver lining when he meets the beautiful girl, Hannah (Odeya Rush), living right next door. But every silver lining has a cloud, and Zach’s comes when he learns that Hannah has a mysterious dad who is revealed to be R. L. Stine (Jack Black), the author of the bestselling Goosebumps series. It turns out that there is a reason why Stine is so strange… he is a prisoner of his own imagination – the monsters that his books made famous are real, and Stine protects his readers by keeping them locked up in their books. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s suddenly up to Stine, Zach, Hannah, and Zach’s friend Champ (Ryan Lee) to get all of them back in the books where they belong.
My Review:
Ever since I was a kid I have always steered clear of scary things.  I’m not one for haunted houses at Halloween, or scary movies. (In High School I went on a date to see the Jason/Freddy mashup – I think that was the movie – and almost broke my hand because I jumped so hard, and brought my hand up into the cup holder…that didn’t help my dislike any.)   In Jr High I was given two Steven King books for Christmas, and I read those because they were a gift (The Dark Half and It, and the fact that I can tell you the titles, and probably a good portion of the plot means they left quite a lasting impression on my 14 year old brain) but there are parts of me that wish I hadn’t…while there are parts of me who secretly enjoyed them.  It’s the same with movies; while I HATE being scared, that kind of fear doesn’t really appeal to me, once everything is said and done I’m actually happy to have had the experience.

I say all that to say this; I never was a huge fan of R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps series as a kid/young teen.  They were all the rage in my time, my friends couldn’t wait to get the next book, while I was sitting there reading and rereading Judy Blume.  That was okay though, even then I knew it was fine to not like things that other people liked, especially when it came to books.  But that means that as the Goosebumps show came out, I had no care to watch it.  While my husband made it a yearly tradition in October to watch it on Netflix with the kids, I usually could be found reading a book, taking a bath or doing some other ‘alone time’ thing.  That is not because I thought they would be scary (and I don’t like scary things) but because I was never in to it.  

So in comes last Friday evening where my husband, kids and I find ourselves with cancelled plans and free time.  The Goosebumps Movie has been out a week or two, and the kids and husband want to see it.  So I relent and we make it a family date!  (an EXPENSIVE family date…seriously, stupid expensive to take the family to see a newer movie!)

What I Loved:  It’s already established I was never “in” to the Goosebumps thing, so it shocks and amazes me just how good this movie was.  Jack Black was the perfect Stein, and the movie was excellent.  While the actors are suppose to be in High School – the movie was very appropriate for my 8, 10, and 11 year old kids.  It was funny with a little bit kind of scaryish stuff (but not really..not really at all).  This was the perfect outing for us, and I’m so happy to have spent the time and money to go see the movie that the kids continue to talk about, and recite lines from.

Not So Much:  Can we just talk about ticket prices again?  That ship has sailed?  Oh okay.  Well, I’m also not a huge fan of 3D…it’s kind of neat for the first 3-5 minutes, but then I forget I’m watching a 3D movie and nothing jumps out any more.  Anyone else experience this?

The Verdict:     
GO TAKE YOUR KIDS TO SEE THIS MOVIE!  It’s perfect, it’s appropriate, and while I like quality time to be more interactive, it’s still quality time.

Book Review: Instant Happy Journal – Karen Salmansohn

Title: The Instant Happy Journal

Author: Karen Salmansohn
Book Description:       
On the heels of Karen Salmansohn’s wildly popular gift book Instant Happy comes this happiness journal, with daily prompts to help you think about and apply happiness wisdom to your own life. Each page features a specific intention, inspiring quote, surprising scientific fact, or thought-provoking question to ponder. When you approach your day with Salmansohn’s “happiness prompters” in mind, you amp up your ability to notice (and create!) many more joyous moments in your day. But that’s just half of what it takes to live a supremely happy life. This journal teaches the top two habits of happy people: to naturally set their intention to enjoy a happy day, then end the day reflecting on what made them happy. When you end your day writing about what went right, you further strengthen your happiness mindset. With fill-in dates so that you can write and reflect at your own pace, this little journal features a graphic design and fresh attitude perfect for today’s modern happiness-seeker.

My Review:
Recently I’ve gotten back into doing daily journaling, and by “journaling” I mean I jot down a brief description of what went on through the day of the lives of my husband, my kids and I.  Sometimes it’s a mundane description, sometimes there’s a lot to say.  Sometimes it’s just a really good outlet for the things that frusterated me in the day.  What makes this Journal different is that it forces you to focus on the good parts of your day.  It reminds us how even in the tiniest of moments, we are incredibly blessed.  By thinking on the good things on a daily basis I believe that we slowly start to have a mindset change where instead of finding outselfs feeling so beat down by the cares and stresses of our life, but we start to realize that while live is in no way perfect – there is something there (any small thing there) to be happy about!

What I Loved:  The format of this book is just wonderful.  It not only focuses on the positive, but each page is just a little different.  You have to look at your life from different angles.  It also stretches your creative muscles and sometimes work hard for the response.  Of course the journal is only going to be as good as you make it.  If it becomes an obligation or something that you just fill out because the blanks are there it’s not going to be near as good as if you actually decide to spend some time thinking about the daily entry and investing the time to put down a thoughtful answer.  And imagine the wonderful memory book you’ll have at the end of the 365 days.

Not So Much:  NOTHING.  This is a cute journal, and I think each and every person young and old can enjoy this!

The Verdict:     
 This book review is appropriately timed because I just found the perfect Christmas present for nearly everyone on your list…especially those ‘hard to buy for’ people who have just about everything.  I think that I would love to have this journal yearly for a beautiful, positive, and encouraging history of my life.  And my kids would probably love it too!

Book Review: Hawthorne & Heathcliff – R. K. Ryals

Title: Hawthorn & Heathcliff

Author: R. K. Ryals
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult
Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Two names that didn’t belong to us. Two shoes that did.

Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She’s felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.

Until she meets his shoe.

Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she’d learned to stay outside of.

His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, he’s Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.

Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they’ll hold up.

My Review:
Hawthorne & Heathcliff is the perfect example of social media advertising at it’s best.  I have never read one of Ryal’s books previously, and I’m not even sure how she started pulling up in my newsfeed – could have been a result of me liking random pages via one of those “post your page here” posts, who knows.  What I do know is that the cover for the book started showing up, and it appealed to me very much.  Sweet an simple, and more often then not, the kind of cover that appeals to me the most.  Once I read the synopsis of the book I kind of knew I would read it eventually.  It was during the H&H themed shoe contest when I finally pre-bought the book.  It just goes to show, you generate enough buzz an hype on a book, you will get people to bite.
What I Loved:  Although in many ways the writing is poetic, not in the rhyming way, but in verse, Hawthorne & Heathcliff is very real.  The reality seeped through the seams with love and grief.  My story is so different from Hawthorne’s, but I can relate to how stand-offish she was, and the hesitancy to let people in.  I also relate to her being forced to grow up and understand the realities of life beyond the thoughts and cares of most teenagers, while simultaneously sort of wanting that kind of innocence/freedom to care about nothing more than your hair, clothes and the boy you like.  I was drawn to her just as much as Heathcliff (Max) apparently was.
I loved the growing relationship between her and her uncle, and how because she was afraid to ask, there were so many assumptions that Hawthorne made about herself that just weren’t true.  This book was a different kind of ‘coming of age’ novel.  Normally the teens in this kind of novel are maturing and realizing the things that are important in life.  Hawthorne is discovering who she is, crawling out from under her issues and looking at life in a different light.  
Of course the relationship between her and Heathcliff was such a steady burning flame throughout the book, just the kind of romance I love to read.  I enjoyed how Heathcliff was both persistent and patient with Hawthorne, and how eventually the roles reversed.
Not So Much:  I’m not a huge fan of sex in novels, especially with teenagers.  This is not a surprise to any of my regular readers.  I wasn’t sure if this novel would or would not have it, it’s hard to say sometimes.  However, there was a little in this book, and it was mostly emotionally based in description, but there were a few visuals (which is where I sort of draw my line).  However, I will say that as teenagers, Hawthorne and Heathcliff were very mature about it, there was discussion and protection, and it was based in reality and not this all amazing, perfect experience.  I respect that much more than glamorizing the entire experience.
Rating: 5 Stars – Sometimes a beautifully written novel with words like lyrics is exactly what I’m looking for.
Rated: R – due to sex and cussing (remember, I try to do this based of movie standards! 🙂 )
P.S. I still wish I would have won those amazing shoes!  I hope the winner loves them!  🙂

Book Review: Song of David – Amy Harmon

Title: Song of David

Author: Amy Harmon
Genre: Adult Romance Fiction – Age-wise this seems like it would be New Adult, but this does NOT fall easily into that category. It especially does not fall into what most people expect out of a New Adult Book.

Synopsis (from Goodreads): This is David ‘Tag’ Taggert’s book, a supporting character introduced in The Law of Moses. This is a stand-alone story, but it is highly recommended that The Law of Moses be read first to avoid spoilers.

She said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.

I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?

If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.

My Review:
Amy Harmon makes it difficult to write a normal review, because I’m afraid if I share any littlest detail from the book I’m bound to give something away. The teasers that were put out for the book were intimate scenes, and yet were probably the safest words to put out to the world in order to entice without giving things away. I had this same trouble with Law of Moses, and I wasn’t 100 percent happy with my review because I still felt like I was leaking information from seams I’d prefer to keep shut so that the reader can find out the information themselves. I’m just like that – I hate spoilers, and I hate to spoil, too.

I will say that Song of David is another emotional roller coaster brought to you by Ms Amy Harmon; this seems to be her forte. While the overall feel of the book was bittersweet, woven in the details of Tag and Millie’s story is joy, love, laughter, fun, happiness, frustration, confusion, and anger fueled by love. Every single emotion is out there for you to latch on to and experience yourself within the pages of this book as you fall into this dance with Tag and Millie.

What I Loved: David (Tag) and Amelie (Millie). I loved their story front, center and end. I loved Millie’s brother, Henry, and his way of communication – sometimes he was the most profound character in the chapter. I loved still “seeing” Moses and Georgia and their baby! I love how Amy chose to tell this story (yet another secret that you must find out on your own). I loved that Tag is both the nice guy, and the bad guy; and yet he’s the perfect guy!

Not So Much: I’m not big on ambiguous – I’ll say that and leave it alone.

Rated: PG-13 – some cussing, and this book has sensuality, and a black out scene.
Rating: 5 Stars – Stellar writing, Awesome story.

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Book Review: Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen

Title:  Saint Anything
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult – Coming of Age, Romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident? 

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time. 

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

My Review:
Going back to read Sarah Dessen is basically me going back to my roots.  When I started reading again, after High School ruined the fun for me and I had to rediscover the joy in reading, Sarah Dessen was one of the first authors I picked up, and then devoured all of her books.  There are a couple of her books that I wouldn’t consider my favorites, but they are the exception to the rule.  Whenever I find myself needing a good book that isn’t too intense, but whose characters I know I will love forever – Sarah is my go-to.  I love following a long as her characters are usually somewhat broken people who are learning to find themselves.  Beautiful pictures and examples to our young adults, I will always recommend her books when someone is looking for a good read for their teenagers.

Saint Anything is exactly that.  This book dives into the life of Sydney in the middle of the drama, but that drama is all her brother’s, and she owns none of it (yet).  Throughout the book you start to love Sydney and can relate to her feelings and her empathy, and root for her on her quest to be not invisible within the walls of her own home.

What I Loved:  The family that took the show: The Chathams.  Their example of a simple family who have their issues, but man they are bonded.  You get the impression that while they don’t always get along, they would have each other’s backs at the drop of a hat.  The fact that they took Sydney in as one of their own, and just understood and listened to her from the beginning; well that is exactly how I feel like people should behave all the time.  No one is perfect, we all have flaws and hiccups, but we should love people unconditionally, and help them when they ask for it.

Not So Much:  The only part of the entire story that I could even think to include here was the point where Sydney’s parents went out of town and left her in charge of her brother’s friend Ames.  (Ames is another thing I ‘like – not so much,’ but I hope that is a normal reaction).  Anyhow, we get half a day of this weekend where you know things are going to weird and creepy, and then the scene jumps to after.  It felt abrupt, and actually made me wonder if there were some things edited out there.

Rated: PG – as stated above, perfect Young Adult books!
Rating: 5 Stars.  I loved the book from beginning to end.

~*Books by Sarah Dessen*~
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Book Review: The Kiss – The Cotiere Chronicles #1 – Michelle Bolanger

Genre: New Adult – Romance

Synopsis: Best friends since birth, Leisel Gottschalk and Baden Dietrich are months away from the ceremony that will unite them forever, until Baden learns that everything they’ve been told about their arranged union is based on lies. He knows he has to let her go, but getting her away from their families will cost them everything.

Koen Lockton is determined to make the most of his life. He’s just signed a recording and tour contract that will jump start his music career. With one year of school left before he hits the road, his life changes in a way he never would have dreamed when he hears Leisel Gottschalk’s laugh. But when she fails to recognize him for what he is, he knows something is terribly wrong.
Driven into hiding and divided by an ancient wrong, a forgotten race of people are nearing extinction. Old traditions and long held grudges will be exposed and challenged when one man risks it all to right the wrong he caused and three young lives are caught in the middle. Will they be strong enough to change the future and unite a broken people? All it will take is a single kiss, but are they willing to break her family’s rules?
My Review: As friend of the author I have watched The Kiss blossom from the seed of an idea into this beautiful love story of family ties, past hurts, prejudices, loyalty and true love. I have seen this book morph from a very rough outline into what it is today. In some ways I feel like this may disqualify me from being able to write a trustworthy review in the eyes of some people, but I do know a good book when I read one.  While talking to my husband one day over the last year I said, “Michelle is writing a book…and it is REALLY good,” Justin just raised eyebrows in surprise, because he knows how honest I can be when it comes to reading and books. My opinion has been solid from the very beginning, and not because I’m her friend and I love her dearly, but because The Kiss captured my attention from the start and begged me to read it. (Unfortunately, most of the time Michelle just wasn’t writing fast enough).
Michelle’s writing style is beautifully descriptive; she can take you into a scene and make you feel as if you were a bystander watching these characters fall for each other; she can take you into the heat of the moment and cause your heart to race, and best of all – she writes moments that will make you laugh out loud. These things are amazing qualities to find in a book – and to find them within the pages of a “first” book is even more unique and exciting. The Kiss is a great foundation for this series. Michelle feeds you all the nitty gritty and background information bit-by-bit throughout the story instead of in some introductory paragraph. You will experience twist and turns that will surprise you, all laced with a set of characters you either love, or love to hate.
I will say that while I love Leis and Koen; I am so very excited for the next book to come out. Read The Kiss– get to know the world, fall in love with Leis and Koen and their friends, and then hang on because I truly believe that the best is still yet to come!
Rated:  PG-13 – for Sensuality, this is a “clean” book
Rating: 5 Stars

Buy Here:


About Michelle Bolanger:

Michelle Bolanger has been an avid reader all her life. In 2014 and with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided to take the leap and publish her own books. The Kiss is her first full length novel and the beginning of what is to be a four book series titled The Cotiere Chronicles. Michelle is also a talented vocalist and amateur photographer. She enjoys going on cruises, cheering for her favorite professional hockey team, and falling asleep to the sound of auto racing on TV. Michelle lives in Ohio with her husband and two dogs.