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

Title: Crane (The Legends Saga #1)

Author: Stacey Rourke
Synopsis: 
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).


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

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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