The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

30851451Title: The Elusive Miss Ellison
Author: Carolyn Miller
Series: Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace #1

Publisher: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Buy Link: http://a.co/eMkyeMp

Blurb: Pride, prejudice and forgiveness…
Hampton Hall’s new owner has the villagers of St. Hampton Heath all aflutter–all except Lavinia Ellison. The reverend’s daughter cares for those who are poor and sick, and the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury definitely does not meet that criteria. His refusal to take his responsibilities seriously, or even darken the door of the church, leave her convinced he is as arrogant and reckless as his brother–his brother who stole the most important person in Lavinia’s world.

Nicholas Stamford is shadowed by guilt: his own, his brother’s, the legacy of war. A perfunctory visit to this dreary part of Gloucestershire wasn’t supposed to engage his heart, or his mind. Challenged by Miss Ellison’s fascinating blend of Bluestocking opinions, hoydenish behavior, and angelic voice, he finds the impossible becoming possible–he begins to care. But Lavinia’s aloof manner, society’s opposition and his ancestral obligations prove most frustrating, until scandal forces them to get along.

Can Lavinia and Nicholas look beyond painful pasts and present prejudice to see their future? And what will happen when Lavinia

My Review: I got this book from NetGalley (typically they tell you NOT to start with this information because readers will think your review is skewed…apparently I don’t care…), and it was a bit of a surprise actually.  I think I was just browsing the shelves of NetGalley one day and I have a rule – I can request 3 books at a time.  Once those three books are cycled through, I’ll go request 3 more.  This keeps me from over-committing myself. I hate when I do that and find myself in a rebellious (to my self) cycle of hating everything I’m reading simply because I obligated myself to read it.  It’s silly..but it happens.  ANYHOW, I don’t remember requesting this book, but I’m sure I did. I do love a regency novel now and then, and the mere mention of Pride and Prejudice probably would have me hitting “request” pretty quickly. And I find the lavender in the cover rather pretty, I’m sure that helped some too.  But when I got the email, I was like, ‘what is this madness??’

What I Loved:  The setting of course is a given, I loved both Gloucestershire, and the small-town life and community.  I also loved when the book picked up again in London, and all her glory.  I so enjoyed Lavina and her strong-willed ways.  Nicholas and his teasing and sarcasm.  I truly enjoyed all of the characters in this book, even the characters who didn’t have redeeming qualities because they played their part in the story as a whole.

I do love the growth of the characters, especially Lavina, as she learned that her self-sacrificing ways were also a huge pride issue for her that had resulted in a prejudice, and judgmental spirit as well.

Another surprise for me was that this turned out to be a Christian novel.  I’m sure I knew that when I requested it, but since I just started reading without looking at what I was reading again, I was like..oh, okay.  I don’t always grab Christian novels because I find a lot of them to be a bit over ‘preachy’ – which I find unnecessary because well…Christians are the most likely to pick up a Christian novel.  However, this book had a surprisingly good sermon included.  The best I had ever read in a novel such as this.  It was so good I took a few screen shots and posted it to social media.  I was convicted as much as the characters of the story were.  Surprise-surprise.  I love when books buck my own judgmental ways!

Not So Much: I’m the first to tell you that I love a good re-tell.  I seek them out, actually.  But when I first started reading this, I kept wondering if it was supposed to be a Pride and Prejudice retell or not.  Actually, I do think it was supposed to show reflections of the classic story, but it was a story all it’s own too.  I’m still a bit confused on this issue.

Okay, so our main characters were so confused for almost this entire story.  I felt like they did a lot of not-talking about what was going on, causing all kinds of misunderstandings.  I am all for misunderstandings and reconciliations, but the number of times that Nicholas had to apologize started to get a bit ridiculous.  I was at about 85% when this ball dropped again and nearly put the book down in frustration.  There were plenty of other conflicts, in my opinion, that could have been expounded on, that this misunderstanding each other one needed to be laid to rest at some point.

The Verdict: I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  Even though I admit to having almost put it down, I am so glad I did not.  As I was wrapping it up last night before bed, the ending of the novel left me with that happy glow of an excellently executed HEA.  I’m pretty sure I don’t need to remark on how clean the novel was…but it is squeaky, and STILL a fantastic despite my small misgivings.

Vengeance Road – Erin Bowman

Title: Vengeance Road
Author: Erin Bowman
Genre: YA – Historical, Western, Romance
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Published Date: September 1, 2015
Audiobook Narrator: Amy Rubinate

Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B00QPIM66M

Blurb (from Goodreads:
Revenge is worth its weight in gold.

When her father is murdered for a journal revealing the location of a hidden gold mine, eighteen-year-old Kate Thompson disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers—and justice. What she finds are untrustworthy strangers, endless dust and heat, and a surprising band of allies, among them a young Apache girl and a pair of stubborn brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, a startling truth becomes clear: some men will stop at nothing to get their hands on gold, and Kate’s quest for revenge may prove fatal.

My Review:
This book was sort of a break from my norm. It’s not a fairy tale retell, it’s not straight up fiction, or even dystopian/fantasy. This can best be described as a YA-Western, complete with guns, small down salons, horses and Stetsons. Although I’m wondering…were the hats actually called Stetsons back then? Because I’m pretty sure that’s a name brand, right? I could be wrong.

What I Loved: It was just ever so different, yet the same. The setting is one that I’m not used to, and the southerny/western accent too. This was more a book about redemption than anything, but first comes vengeance. I think the thing that I liked most was Kate’s character, she was complicated. She was after the men who killed her father, but at the same time was able to be compassionate and understanding toward the Apache Indians, the race that everyone hated/feared/mistreated. However, even in that area, she was tainted by society norms and while she was trying to maintain a friendship and understanding, she continued to have disregard for their ways and was borderline offensive for a good portion of the book. There were events that helped her to gain more understanding and respect for the Indians as the story went on, and this growth was the most significant throughout the book, in my opinion.

I also enjoyed the relationship between Kate and Jessie. I felt like it was this low simmer sort of thing between them, rather than drama that extended throughout the book. This wasn’t just Kate’s story either, Jessie had his own redemption to find as well.

Not So Much: Despite any kind of redemption she found while on the hunt for her father’s killers, Kate really never did leave the thought of vengeance behind. For a small portion of the book I thought that she was going to find healing elsewhere, and I do feel like she kind of did – however she was still pretty set on her path. I would have liked to have had more of an emotional resolution for both Kate and Jessie. While there was character growth throughout the book, I feel like we stopped just shy of anything remarkable.

The Verdict:      

I enjoyed listening to this book. Again, it is nice to break free from the mold just a bit and read something a little different. I can’t say it was my favorite book of the summer, but I certainly do not regret reading it. This is a YA driven novel, though there is some stronger cussing in it..just so you all know.

One Paris Summer – Denise Grove Swank

Title: One Paris Summer
Author: Denise Grover Swank
Genre: Young Adult – Romance, Coming of Age
Publisher: Zonderkids Books/Blink
Date Date: June 7, 2016

Buy Link: https://amzn.com/0310755166

Blurb (from Goodreads):
Most teens dream of visiting the City of Lights, but it feels more like a nightmare for Sophie Brooks. She and her brother are sent to Paris to spend the summer with their father, who left home a year ago without any explanation. As if his sudden abandonment weren’t betrayal enough, he’s about to remarry, and they’re expected to play nice with his soon-to-be wife and stepdaughter. The stepdaughter, Camille, agrees to show them around the city, but she makes it clear that she will do everything in her power to make Sophie miserable.

Sophie could deal with all the pain and humiliation if only she could practice piano. Her dream is to become a pianist, and she was supposed to spend the summer preparing for a scholarship competition. Even though her father moved to Paris to pursue his own dream, he clearly doesn’t support hers. His promise to provide her with a piano goes unfulfilled.

Still, no one is immune to Paris’s charm. After a few encounters with a gorgeous French boy, Sophie finds herself warming to the city, particularly when she discovers that he can help her practice piano. There’s just one hitch—he’s a friend of Camille’s, and Camille hates Sophie. While the summer Sophie dreaded promises to become best summer of her life, one person could ruin it all.

My Review:
I recently went to NetGalley looking specifically for fun summer reads to take one. I came across two I felt I would like and would be fairly easy to commit to. One Paris Summer stuck out to me specifically because I’m an Anna and the French Kiss freak. I’ve read that book nearly 20 times (I really wish I were lying). It is my go-to book when I’m in a slump, or just want to reconnect with old ‘friends.’ One Paris Summer sounded perfect when I read the blurb, and I was even more excited when I was approved.

What I Loved: The setting and the language for sure top this list. It is one of the things I loved about Anna, I felt like I really could put myself there. I’ve never actually been to France, but I’m willing to bet based on Anna and now One Paris Summer, I’d be able to recognize a couple of places that aren’t actual landmarks (assuming they are real…). One Paris Summer was especially nice in the language area, I did take French in school, and since there were some French phrases, some well known while others weren’t, I was happy to know I could recognize what was being said before the book gave away the translation.

I also connected with the music side of this story. Sophie was a pianist, and she would ramble off pieces of music that most people don’t even care to recognize, but I on the other hand did know some of them – and probably all of them if I took the time to listen to the piece, since I don’t know every piece of music by name.

I did get caught up in this story line of this book (and not just the setting). The dynamic between Sophie and Camille and Camille’s friends was great. I loved the growth of Sophie and Eric’s characters throughout the book as well. In the opening chapter I thought that we were going to encounter the brother/sister cat fighting pretty much throughout the entire novel, but I loved that wasn’t the case. Some of my favorite moments were when Sophie and Eric were spending time alone. Of course, the blooming relationship between Sophie and Mathieu was front and center, and totally gush-worthy.

Not So Much: So I hope I don’t sound too hypocritical in my next statement, since I picked up this book because it reminded me of Anna and the French Kiss, but the similarities of a few of the scenes in One Paris Summer to Anna almost had me putting the book away. They happened in the very first few chapters and thankfully, once they had passed, the similarities ended rather quickly and One Paris Summer became its own. But still, if it were me I probably would have avoided that as much as possible (and if it was a coincidence…then that is super crazy, and sorry for calling it out!)

Camille played the perfect antagonist, however she might have ended up being a tad bit over the top at some points. Not the climax, mind you…but in some of her tantrums. And I kind of wish we got to “experience” more of her reformation in this book.

The Verdict:        

This really was exactly what I was looking for. I think it is very likely that I will add this to my “re-read” books…but first that means I have to buy my own copy rather than the NetGalley version!  The book is clean, and perfectly suitable for Young Adults.

Dalysian Hope – Jamie Summer

Title: Dalysian Hope
Author: Jamie Summer
Genre: YA – Fantasy/ Paranormal/ Romance
Publisher: Self-Published
Pub Date: March 23, 2016

Buy Link: http://smile.amazon.com/dp/1530803020

Blurb (From Goodreads):One night that changed everything.

Sophie Evans is sure about one thing: she’s a normal teenage girl. Until one night her life is turned upside down.

Attacked in her own apartment and saved by two handsome strangers, she’s thrown into a whole new world. Suddenly dealing with powers she knows nothing about and having half-truths thrown at her from every direction, she realizes that the definition of normal might not fit her after all.

When Sophie is told that she has to fight in a matter of life and death, she’s left wondering what chance does she really have? And how can she be the only hope of a race she never even knew existed?

Can Sophie fight the odds stacked against her, or will she lose herself in the process?

My Review:

Dalysian Hope was a review request sent to me. I’ve slowed way down on accepting requests, just because the time I used to spend on reading/blogging/promoting just isn’t available anymore. But since I was interested in the blurb I was given, and the cover of this book was beautiful, so I decided to give it a shot.

What I Loved: This story is very unique in many ways, and yet still falls into what is popular in YA-Fantasy/Dystopian type novels. I enjoyed Sophie’s character. She was witty and strong, yet at the same time took things in stride and didn’t have a tendency for the dramatic ‘this is not fair’ attitude that sometimes comes with these novels. This book was not too forthcoming with information, but there were some elements that of foreshadowing I was able to pick up on, and I love when I’m able to do that.

The chemistry between Sophie and Ash….and Sophie and Ren was pretty decent. Yes, unfortunately we have the makings (not exactly there yet…) for a love triangle here. I have my ‘side’ but I will keep that to myself for now.

Not So Much:
As previously mentioned, this book is not too forthcoming with the information. I was just as frustrated as Sophie about this, but mostly because it caused some of the story to just not make sense, or even flow very well. Keeping information so far under wraps that nearly the entire book is us discovering Sophie’s abilities, her training, and her internally swooning – it really just could have used a little more movement. There were things happening, lies that were being told (though not very well at times) and plots forming; however we never really figured out the reasons behind some of these things. I have my suspicions on a few of them…but no confirmation. That is not to say the book wasn’t without its action, and once there was some information starting to get shared, the book picked up pace considerably. It was just that I had to wait until the final 3/4ths of the novel for that to really happen.

The Verdict:  

    

 

I did enjoy the concept of this story, it was a unique idea with a lot of potential. I will be interested to see what more can be made of it as the series progresses. This book is clean, very YA appropriate.

The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

Title: The Unexpected Everything

Author: Morgan Matson

Genre: YA – Coming of Age, Romance
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Buy Link: https://amzn.com/B015WNZ1KI

Blurb (from Goodreads): 

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

My Review:

I’m on a roll, deciding to read books because of other bloggers’ reviews. I an Audible Credit I needed to spend and had recently run across another blogger’s review of The Unexpected Everything. Her raving review peeked my interest, plus this cover just screams summer fun!

What I Loved: Our flawed main character, Andie, to start off with. I loved her because she was so real about dealing – or NOT dealing – with her life by keeping everything at surface level. I would say that the exceptions might be her 3 best friends, Palmer, Bri, and Toby, but even then there were topics she just didn’t discuss. Her growth is the key element here, without it I would have hated this book, because at first I really just didn’t care for Andie at all. In fact, in the first few chapters I was kind of annoyed at her standoffish-ness, and strange obsession with kissing. It probably wasn’t until about half way through that I really started to like her.

I also love the progression of Andie and Clark’s relationship. It was not this all-encompassing passion to start off with, it was something that started with blushes and awkwardness and then formed into something wonderful. I read a lot of YA books, especially in the YA coming of age/romance type, and I really feel that this book is among the few that has a realistic view on relationship growth as opposed to the lust at first sight, in love the next week we get a lot of the times. There was gushing about how hot Clark was, but that wasn’t the entire basis of why Andie liked him – her feelings for him grew as she got to know him.

Speaking of relationships, I love the entire cast of characters in this book. The foursome (and their boys) were such a dynamic bunch, you can’t help but want to be included in their group. Then there is the relationship between Andie and her father; there is so much to love here simply because both sides make mistakes and learn from them. You start off the book thinking that you’re going to hate Andie’s dad, but you can’t help but love and respect him in the end.

Not So Much:
Because this book is about growth, becoming a better person, and discovering who you really are; it’s hard to come up with something that I didn’t like about it. It is very well written, and I feel like all of the emotions that I felt were exactly the reaction that Morgan Matson was going for.

The Verdict:        

This is the perfect YA summer read! It’s not too heavy, nor is it too light of a read. It has just enough meat to dig into, good characters that you want to know in real life. This book is clean, there is talk of sex, but none actually in the book – though there IS lots of kissing.

Creatura – Nely Cab

Title: Creatura
Author: Nely Cab
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Romance

Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B00WQ5YUAS

Blurb (from Goodreads):
When seventeen year-old Isis Martin is having trouble sleeping due to perturbing dreams of a horrific growling beast, she decides to confront her fear. But what Isis discovers is something other than a menacing entity.

The human-like creature offers Isis assurance that he is not a figment of her imagination. Unwilling to accept his avowal, Isis sets his words to contest by asking the entity to prove himself—a dare, he readily welcomes.

It is in her dreams that Isis innocently stumbles upon the silent existence of the divine lineage of those that man has long forgotten.

In a quaint town, deep in south Texas, this story leads Isis onto the path of impermissible love and captivating life-changing truths. Isis Martin’s journey is sure to leave any reader ravenous for more.

Blurb 2 (from Amazon):
Isis can control her dreams. Or she could—until recently. The creature in her nightmares has been haunting her for months. As if being dumped wasn’t bad enough, now she dreads going to sleep. She decides to confront the creature and win back some of her peace; only, she finds that he’s not a monster and he’s not a dream. A sacrifice for love, a shocking discovery and a jealous ex-boyfriend blur the lines between reality and dreams, making it hard to tell who the real monsters are.

Who would’ve known…that sometimes love is lethal?

My Review:
This book is not one I would have picked up on it’s own.  Judging from the blurb (I had read the Amazon version) and the cover, it sounded a bit more thriller/horror for my taste.  However, this was voted as the May book of the month in a book group that I belong to, and since it otherwise fit my ‘type’ of book, I decided to suck it up and give it a chance.

What I Loved:  So, I try and make it a rule to not reveal anything about a book that isn’t already in the blurb, in the attempt not to spoil anything, so I’m sorry if I’m vague – I’m working with what I’ve got! 🙂

I enjoyed the world building and back story of Creatura, especially when it came to the human/creature. The concept behind these creatures was unique and interesting.

Isis has great family and friend connections throughout this book, everyone in her life is very supportive, especially considering her months of insomnia, which is having its effect.  While at time I felt Isis’ mother behaved a lot more like a friend than a mother during times, and then switched back – I loved the comradery between them.


Not So Much:  I really was expecting something more with this book.  I already mentioned that I felt like it was going to be thriller/horror like, and I feel like the cover indicates this too, however the reality is that this book was closer to a typical young adult, paranormal romance novel.  There is little real action, and a lot of smoldering glances.

I really thought that Isis’ dreams would play a much bigger part in this book, but after the beginning the fact that she could control her dream and was able to dream into this place that the creature dwells sort of became a back-burner detail after the first couple chapters. Then there was her jealous ex-boyfriend, who played his part but I really thought he was something more and in the end it felt anti-climatic to me.

The Verdict:     +.5

While the writing was decent and the world building was pretty good, I felt like this story just fell short for me.  My expectation based on the blurbs was that this book was going to be a paranormal version of when the girl falls in love with the boy who isn’t what he seems – he’s much more dangerous – and it turns into an action filled drama of her attempting to escape.  This book is good for the Young Adult genre, age appropriate.

Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend – Becca Ann

Title: Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend
Author: Becca Ann (Cassie Mae)
Genre: Young Adult – Romance, Self Image

Buy Link:  https://amzn.com/B00AY6OT70

Blurb (from Goodreads.com):
It’s stupid to fall for your brother’s ex. It’s even worse to enlist another’s help to win the ex over. But Brody is desperate and Hayley, his partner in American Sign Language, is more than willing to lend him a few tips.

She’s the school’s matchmaker,’ and with her bizarre and positive personality, Brody finds her easy to talk to, even about the most awkward situations. Hayley’s tips seem to be working, but as Brody learns more about his matchmaker, he starts finding reasons to spend time with her, and not the girl he thought he was in love with.

But Hayley isn’t ready to fall for anyone. Labeled the “Funny Fat Friend” within her group, her self image makes it impossible for Brody to share his feelings without Hayley shrugging it off as a joke.

Convincing her Brody can, and did, fall for the “Funny Fat Friend” turns out to be harder than simply falling in love.

My Review:  
After being in the supernatural world for a bit, I decided I wanted something light and fun and normal to read. What better author to turn to than Mrs. Cassie Mae?

What I Loved: This book was exactly what I needed. It was a sweet romance with likable, real characters who were goofy and down to earth. I loved that this story was told from the guys perspective, which is always a little refreshing, despite me wrinkling my nose every time he talked about how badly his bedroom smelled (at least he was aware of it!). Hayley was pretty funny, and a lot cheesy, but I could tell the person she was meant to be right off. I’ve met those people who seem so incredibly self-aware and confident, who are easy to talk to and know how to keep conversations moving, yet have something going on underneath. I could see why Brody would have a hard time understanding her reluctance to believe that he actually liked her.

Not So Much: Part of me is happy that Hayley’s home life wasn’t as bad as I had originally thought, at the same time I kind of felt like that part of the story was a little underdeveloped. It could have been me wishing to get into Hayley’s head (since I’m used to the girls being the narrator) but I kind of wanted more there.

The Verdict:    

As always a great read! There is mild cussing, and there IS non-descriptive sex in this book, so older YA would be my recommendation.

Onyx – Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Onyx (A Lux Novel – Book 2)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult – Paranormal, Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/1620610116

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

 
My Review:

No sooner did I finish Obsidian then I went and purchased Onyx. While I may have had some character troubles with Obsidian, I was still captivated by this story and wanted to know more about what was going to happen.

What I Loved: The continuing building of heat between Katy and Daemon. I enjoyed Daemon much more in this book than the previous. He was done fighting what were obviously very strong feelings for Katy, and he was in aggressive pursuit. There was a lot more kissing in this book – and boy can Jennifer Armentrout write a good kissing scene!

We learned more about what is going on between Katy and Daemon’s strange connection and what it might all mean. We also are introduced to Blake who is more than he seems.

In Onyx we get a few more twists and turns in the story, while the progress on the relationship front seems to be more the issue here.

Not So Much: Katy is driving me crazy. She is still so obtuse and just wishy-washy. She says things that she desperately wants to believe, but are obviously not true. She has become a horrible friend and really not admirable at all. She lies, and hides things that should be brought to light, and trusts way more information to people outside of her alien circle than she should.

The Verdict:    

Gosh, the romance draws me in. The story is interesting enough…but I’m just a bit perturbed by Katy. Some reviews of the third book indicate that she gets better, but I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to move on yet.

V is for Virgin – Kelly Oram

Title: V is for Virgin

Author: Kelly Oram
Genre: YA – Romance

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/B00AJUVJN8

Blurb (from Goodreads): 
When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

My Review:
Kelly Oram is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. I am loving her YA stories so much. I recently re-read Cinder & Ella for the 3rd time since November, and once I was done I decided to pick up V is for Virgin.

What I Loved: Well, for starters I loved Val from the start! She was such a strong person with convictions that I could relate to. I had a somewhat similar experience to her, not in the standing on lunchroom tables sort of way, but I did have my best friend at the time basically indicate that I either hung out with her new group of friends, (and partook of the drugs and alcohol) or I didn’t. I didn’t and I wouldn’t all through Jr High and High School. I grew up with that stuff around me – I knew what the results could bring, I wanted nothing to do with it. So ….I just didn’t. I didn’t get ridiculed for it, but I did lose someone who was very important to me. Anyhow, I digress, I loved Val not only because she was strong, but because she was funny. She was quick witted, and passionate. All admirable qualities.

I loooooved the heat between Val and Kyle. I’m a little bit of a sucker for the ‘all up in your personal space’ kind of passion. I enjoy it in books almost as much as I enjoy it when my husband surprises me like that. And that is pretty much Kyle’s signature move.

I think the issue of being/feeling pressured to have sex as a teenager is tackled pretty well in this book. It is a BIG deal. And honestly, I hated how many of the characters were portrayed as whining that they weren’t ‘getting any’ because – why has this become such an everyday occurrence? What is wrong with this being special. And I mean really special? Not something that is expected of you with every passing boyfriend or girlfriend. I felt like both ends of the spectrum were laid out pretty well. I felt like my personal convictions were adequately portrayed as well as how others feel on the matter. A very fair assessment.

Not So Much: I didn’t realize when I picked this book up that it was a part of a series. (If two books can be considered a series.) The first book stands alone well enough, but no one is NOT going to want to pick up A is for Abstinence. But I really wanted it to be a stand alone. ::insert my own pouty face here::

The Verdict:        

Go buy Kelly Oram’s books! Clearly this particular book has sex talk in it…but it is a clean book. Good for teens.
(cross posted from http://www.iloves2read.blogspot.com)

Obsidian – Jennifer L. Armentrout

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

Buy Link:  http://amzn.com/1620610078

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.
(This Review has been cross posted from http://www.iloves2read.blogspot.com)