Color of Love by Anita Stansfield

coloroflove

Title: Color of Love

Author: Anita Stansfield

Published: January 3, 2017

Genre: Historical Romance, Christian/Religious Fiction

Stars:  3           Content Rating: Clean

Synopsis:

England, 1857

The British aristocracy is an inflexible judge. And for Amala, a lovely young Indian woman, that judgment is most keenly felt. Raised from a child by the wealthy Hepworth family following the murder of her parents, Amala grew up alongside the Hepworth’s own daughter, Katarina, and was loved as both sister and daughter. The family is part of the charmed circle of the upper class, but Amala’s place in society is tenuous. As an Indian woman, her life is marked by a sense of otherness and voices of prejudice. So when she embarks upon a sweet acquaintance with Henry Breckenridge, a white Englishman, Amala is both elated and terrified. She knows first-hand the opposition that an interracial couple would face, and courtship with Henry could destroy his standing in society.

Determined to spare the reputations of both Henry and her sister Katarina, Amala flees England with the hope that an extended trip will allow her time to heal her broken heart. But she never imagined the repercussions of that decision, and the heartbreak awaiting her. For when she returns to England, she finds those she holds dear facing unparalleled devastation. And now it is her love that holds the key to healing a broken family.

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One of the reasons I love Anita Stansfield’s novels is that they are about people going through trials. All of her books that I have read are about people that have some sort of hardship in their lives and in finding God and keeping their faith in Him, they find happiness. Color of Love was no different. It has been quite awhile since I have read any of her books and I had forgotten what a whirlwind it can be.

Usually when you read a romance it starts out with ‘boy meets girl or girl meets boy’ and they flirt and eventually figure it out. Anita’s books there is always some big reason why one of the two thinks it can’t work. Or something happens that breaks them apart. In this case, Amala is very aware of her being Indian in an English society. She gets snubbed everywhere she goes. She doesn’t fit in and doesn’t want to marry or have children that would be ridiculed for being with her. Henry takes interest and even though she loves him she tells him no. AHHHHHH! This part always makes me scream. JUST SAY YES! Her fears are not unfounded but love conquers all! Right? RIGHT? I am not going to tell you anymore! You will have to read it for yourself. Amala does some soul searching and maturing and discovers herself. Will he still be home waiting for her? Did he move on like she asked him to? What hardship will they both have to face..?

What I really loved about this book was the different issues there were for this relationship based on race, society and the time period. Not that I loved the issues (obviously..) but the way it was brought to light. The way she made you understand a little bit better the struggle it must have been and then looking at our own society and trying to understand now if it has changed. I do also love the religious view as well. Trusting in God that things happen for a reason. That the whole picture is BIG and we only see a piece.

This story is a little bit messy. Life is messy. Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned and there are trials and hardships we don’t understand but in the end there is a happy ending. (hint, hint)

Alright, now is the time that you STOP reading if you want to leave this post spoiler free. After I wrote the above review I decided there was a little bit more I wanted to talk about  but it does include spoilers.

Seriously.. stop now if you don’t want spoilers..

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Continue on for mostly my ramblings about all the crazy that is in this novel…

So I have to admit that most of the romances I have read lately are not proper romances. Meaning that the content would not be rated clean. It has been awhile since I have read a proper romance and at first I was a little annoyed at how fast things happened in the beginning. They meet and feel a connection and he wanted to offer for her really quickly. I was thinking “NO WAY, lets get real” but then it got real and things got real slow. Not as fast paced as my naughty romances..  wink, wink.

Amala’s fears were definitely legit. To be Indian in England at that time and be taken in and raised as a daughter in the English society would have been very hard and lonely. I can imagine feeling out of place and scared of the risk of love. I personally believe that if two people are committed to each other and love and respect each other they can overcome hard things. Every day my kids tell me that “_______ is to hard.” (fill in the blank with whatever.. I swear they say it about everything.) My answer every time is that  “Yes it is, and YOU CAN do hard things.” Sometimes the hardest things we have to face or overcome end up making us the happiest in the end. Going on Amala’s journey with her after she turned Henry down was hard to read about because I get that in the story she is supposed to learning more about herself and gaining perspective, but I felt like she was just running away. I also had a hard time with Henry just getting over her and moving on… AND THEN MARRYING HER SISTER! Ugh. No. You don’t do that Henry!! You just don’t.  Amala receives the news while abroad with her Aunt Paulina and you can tell she isn’t over him. So now what!? Amala finally makes peace with it all and they go back to England. This whole story, since it is a Christian novel, is about finding and trusting in God. That through Him all things work out for a reason. Even if it is not how you would have wanted. Even if you don’t understand why. For some reason things happened as they did.  Amala’s sister Kat is pregnant but they also find a tumor that is diagnosed as cancer. She delivers the baby but never gets her strength back and eventually dies, not before she lets Henry and Amala know that her dying wish is for them to be together. Most of Anita’s Stansfield books are this same format. I’m actually mad that I had forgotten. She likes to write about making it through our trials and hardships and knowing that we are not alone in our endeavors but have God helping us. The whole story was a little bit depressing to me. It was good but it was slow and really sad too.

 

The Traitor’s Kiss by Erin Beaty

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Title: The Traitor’s Kiss (to buy on Amazon click here.)

Author: Erin Beaty

Published: May 9, 2017 by Imprint

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Stars: 5                  Content: 4

Synopsis:

An obstinate girl who will not be married.
A soldier desperate to prove himself.
A kingdom on the brink of war.

With a sharp tongue and an unruly temper, Sage Fowler is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them.

As the girls’ military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom.

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I listened to this one on Audible. I have loved every narrator so far, however this one has been my least favorite to listen to. I didn’t feel she did the different characters voices as well as some of the others have. Now I want to reread this book just because I feel like I would have read some of the expressions differently.

This story was amazing. I absolutely loved it! *Me squealing*. At first it reminded me of Disney’s Mulan. Sage is to be married off and sent to the Matchmaker for her interview. All dolled up and lines memorized to impress this woman to gain an advantageous match that she doesn’t even want. She is stubborn and like most women wants to be loved for who she is. Not for pretending to be someone she is not. The interview doesn’t go well and Sage finds herself not being matched but being an apprentice to the Matchmaker!!  She is very smart and observant. She learns fast and finds that she is really good at reading people. She learns all she can about the ladies and their families whether it be by playing a lady or by playing spy.

Every 5 years the Matchmaker takes so many eligible ladies to the capitol to be matched. The girls don’t come back. The go willingly to get a husband and align their families with the powerful nobles that are looking for wives. At first Sage has to pretend to be a lady so she can learn more about them and for her own protection. Being a lady gets into her into circles otherwise denied her and she finds she can intermingle with the nobility and the commoners. Perfect for finding out everyone’s secrets. If there is one person she can’t seem to find anything out about though, it is Captain Quinn.

Captain Quinn is the General’s son and nephew to the King. He feels it is punishment to escort the brides to the capitol until he is told something is brewing. The Royal Army wasn’t sure what exactly but something is definitely brewing and Captain Quinn is supposed to be getting as much info as he can. Every member of his ‘team’ has a part to play. The Captain needs someone on the inside with the brides to feed him any information that might be useful. They send their “mouse” in to make contact with a maid and instead he meets Sage. Sage is more useful than a maid would have been but she is also too smart, too observant, too curious. She asks questions that he can’t answer. Their country is on the brink of war and all information is top secret. Will they come to trust each other or will they ruin everything? And who exactly is playing “mouse”? I have to reread this because I was surprised! I’m a little disappointed in myself actually because it was probably very obvious but I didn’t catch on tell they full on spelled it out for me. Ha ha.

I really did love this book. Sage is strong, brave and smart. She meets her match in Ash. There were a few surprises. I didn’t really try and predict this one and I loved the twists and turns. I was really sad when it ended and was ecstatic when I learned it was a trilogy. Those of you that have to have the whole series out will want to wait. The other 2 books won’t be out for a few more years. Those of you who like to look forward to the release date of the next book in a beloved trilogy need to read this now!! Happy reading friends!

 

Fairest by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles 3.5 Novella)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: January 27, 2015 by Fiewel & Friends

Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult, Fantasy

Stars: 3                Content Rating: 2

Synopsis:

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

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This is Queen Levana’s story! I love when we get to know more about the villains and their backstory. What made them the way they are. I really enjoyed this Novella. I do wished I had read it in the right order. I didn’t realize it was 3.5 so I read it after Winter which is book 4.

When Levana is burned badly as a child by her older sister Channary she tries on so many different glamours to cover her scars that she doesn’t know what she truly looks like anymore. She has had a crush on a palace guard for most of her life. He is the only one that shows her any kindness. Her parents didn’t bother with her and now they are dead and Channary is a Queen that doesn’t take her role seriously. She is cruel and selfish. Do any of you have an older sibling that is this way? (ha ha ha. . unfortunately I am the older sibling.) You get a few gaps filled about Levana’s upbringing. Her version of love and jealousy. A little bit on Winter and Jacin when they were kids. You get more about Luna and the people in it.

How Levana becomes Queen is the whole purpose of this book so I don’t want to get into details too deep. What is interesting to me is how when you want something that much… How you can justify whatever the means is to get the ending you want. She wanted love so badly that she tried to force it. She wanted to be beautiful so she manipulated it. She took and took and took some more and then it was so second nature to her. If her parents gave her attention. If her sister loved her. If she had ANY friends. If she could have just been honest and took the happiness that would have come if she would have just been HERSELF. If, if, if..  then she could have been happy. BUT if she was happy then we wouldn’t have our villain! Mwahahahaha! Every story needs a villain and she is pretty good in that role! It definitely adds another layer to The Lunar Chronicles!

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Bookish Pet Peeves?

Lets talk what about bookish things that make us peevish. No, I don’t have a lisp. (Haha) I just wanted to write a little bit about bookish things that bother me. I’m wondering if I’m a complete nerd psycho that has the most ridiculous bookish pet peeves. Why is it called a pet peeve anyway? No seriously.. why?

Q: Where does the phrase “pet peeve” come from?

A: “Pet peeve,” an alliterative expression referring to something that bugs you, is relatively recent in origin and dates to about 1919. Here’s the entry from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language.

The noun “peeve” isn’t much older, going back to only 1908, according to The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology. It comes from the much older word “peevish,” an adjective from the 1300s. The derivation of “peevish” is unknown, but the Barnhart dictionary suggests that it might be linked to perversus, the Latin word for perverse.

Interestingly, one of the oldest meanings of the noun “pet” is a fit of peevishness. (The Oxford English Dictionary has published references going back to the late 16th century.) As an adjective, “pet” can mean “favorite,” as in “pet project” or “pet topic” or, getting back to the subject at hand, “pet peeve.” (The Grammarphobia Blog: The pedigree of “pet peeve”)

According to my finding the word ‘pet’ can mean favorite. That’s interesting. Lets see if I can narrow it down to my “favorite” peeve and see which one I’m the most peevish about! I think I am feeling this way because lately I have read quite a few books that are ALMOST really good. I liked them but I could have loved them if it wasn’t for this or that. Which is weird for me because I am the girl that likes to just go on the journey and see where I end up. Lately I have found myself disappointed. I know it must really hard for a writer. You have all these ideas and your inner genius is wanting to put it out there. I commend your work! Heaven knows I could never write a novel. This post isn’t going to be about the inner workings of a novel that bug me.. like lets say a really slow beginning. It’s hard to keep reading when your not interested. Sometimes it takes until you are half way before you really get into it. No this is just going to be about basic, bookish things that hopefully bother others too. .(I really hope I’m not some lonely, nerdy psycho).

Let’s start with just the physical things about books that make me peevish. Now remember these are things that bother me. Peeve means that it may bother me but not you.

Dog eared corners. Check. I used to.. back in the day.. bend the corners down to keep my place. Now I will use almost anything as a bookmark. Luckily I have quite a few on hand. (wink, wink) This doesn’t bother lots of people but I just feel like I’m hurting the book somehow.

Stickers on the cover. Check. I hate buying a brand new book and it has stickers all over it. 20% off. Best Seller. Ugh. If I could handle keeping the stickers on but I can’t. I have to peel them off. You guys.. I. HAVE. TO. It always leaves sticky mark and even if I can get the sticky off sometimes you can still tell where the sticker was. Very frustrating.

Shelving your books with the spines on the inside. Check. This can be pretty for pictures. I’ll give it that. That is it. I see on pinterest everyone doing this and it makes me so sad. The spines are pretty. I love looking at my books and knowing what I have. They really are like old friends. How would you ever find anything? You would be pulling everything out trying to find whatever specific book you were looking for and it would be chaos. No thanks. I’m convinced the people that do this must not actually read those books.

Writing or marking books with pen. Check. Pencil can be erased. I had a semester of school where the professor whole heartedly encouraged us to mark up our books. To write notes in the margins. Highlight everything. I get it. Lots of people do this. My experience was me cringing as I marked up this beautiful brand new book. Then later not remembering why in the world I marked that particular passage. Either I was doing it wrong or maybe I missed the whole purpose but now days I find sticky notes are the bomb. If I want to write something then it is there and can be taken out. I use tabs all over for quotes and marking particular things. Suits me much better.

Changing the cover halfway through the series? Check. Why does this happen? I can understand anniversary editions. I don’t understand why when the series isn’t even completely out yet they decide to go with a whole new look? Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. I love the covers. I luckily came in late to the game because I didn’t know that her first published was different (even tho now I wish I had every edition ever printed). Or when they start a series out in paperback and then 3 or 4 books in they come out with hardbacks? I like all mine to be the same. Bookish peeve right there! I want all my beautiful books that are together in a set to be the same. Whether they be paper back or hard back copies.. they need to match. I know. OCD.

Books reprinted with the movie cover. Check. This one doesn’t bother as bad BUT if I am given the option to buy the orginal vs. movie cover, I am always going to pick the original. I like to use the books description on the characters. I like reading the book FIRST and THEN seeing the movie. I always kick myself when the movie screws it up. I expect it now but back in the day I was REALLY disappointed with the Twilight series. I LOVED that series and couldn’t wait for the movies. Total bummer. In the end they turned out okay but now I have those character stuck in my head and that changed the books. Not cool.

Book jackets. I usually like book jackets on my books. I even read with them on. I have been reconsidering this lately. I have noticed that they slide all over the place. The get torn or damaged from sliding around and me trying to keep it in place while I’m reading. I might have to start taking them off from now on. Everyone likes naked books, right? I guess this one isn’t quite a peeve of mine yet but I thought I would mention it since it has started to bother me.

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On my Instagram Friday I did a fun follow train and asked you all to tell me what your biggest peeves were. There were so many good ones that I hadn’t thought of! Peeves that definitely bother me but I didn’t put in my original post! (slapping myself .. !)

I want to add a few of the really good ones that it seems we all really get peeved by.

  1. When you order online and you think you are ordering one version and it comes in and it is a completely different edition. This has happened to me a few times.  I don’t know if it is because I am viewing a paperback and then I buy a hardback copy and the edition changes and I just don’t realize, or if they just send you whatever they can find!
  2. Bent spine, especially on a not so well made paperback and all the pages fall out. I have a book I just ADORE. I have read it multiple times and there is a huge section that falls out. Completely falls out.
  3. Ebook prices. I do think authors deserve their money for their ebooks, BUT it is ridiculous how much a digital copy costs sometimes! Almost as much as a book! I have honestly wanted an ebook and the paperback was cheaper so I bought the paperback! Why can’t there be some agreement that if you buy the physical copy you get the digital copy free? DREAMING. I know. At least cheap. *LIGHTBULB* They should do something like “Buy the physical copy and get the digital copy for $1!” I would do it. I love being able to pick up on my kindle if I didn’t bring my actual copy with me. .. Why does it cost so much for a digital copy?
  4. When your trying to read and people want to talk to you. It’s honestly like, “Really? Can you not see I am trying to READ!

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My biggest pet peeve really might be the stickers. I just absolutely hate it. All these things bother me but that might be the winner. They can put a sign up that says Best Seller, or Discounted. It’s such pain to ruin the covers with that blasted sticky mark the sticker leaves. .. because yes. It leaves a mark. Drives me nuts. Obviously.. I can tell I’m ranting. Do any of these bother you as well or am I really the only nerdy psycho getting worked up over nothing? Is there a peeve that I missed? I would love to hear it! What is YOUR BOOKISH PET PEEVE?

As always happy reading dear friends! I try and post a new review every Friday but I have been so crazy busy! I will get back on schedule soon. A special thank you to all of those that subscribe to my blog! It means the world to me to have support in doing something that I love so much. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!

Hugs,

Whit

 

 

 

 

 

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

sincewefell

Title: Since We Fell

Author: Dennnis Lehane

Published: May 9, 2017 by Ecco

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Stars: 2         Content Rating: 7 (language, violence)

Synopsis: Since We Fell follows Rachel Childs, a former journalist who, after an on-air mental breakdown, now lives as a virtual shut-in. In all other respects, however, she enjoys an ideal life with an ideal husband. Until a chance encounter on a rainy afternoon causes that ideal life to fray. As does Rachel’s marriage. As does Rachel herself.

Sucked into a conspiracy thick with deception, violence, and possibly madness, Rachel must find the strength within herself to conquer unimaginable fears and mind-altering truths. By turns heart- breaking, suspenseful, romantic, and sophisticated, Since We Fell is a novel of profound psychological insight and tension. It is Dennis Lehane at his very best.

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Hello lovelies! It has been a few weeks since I have posted a review due to just being a busy Mom. We are also doing some remodeling plus its SUMMER so there is that. I’m soooooo glad it is summer.  I have a HUGE tbr list for the month of June and I can already see that I won’t get to half of them. *sigh*. I decided on the ‘Since We Fell’ as my Book of The Month Club novel for May. (If you are interested click the link and it will take you to their website.) I was really excited about this book. My whole purpose for joining the BOTM was for it to help me read something I normally wouldn’t pick. . (also.. it’s only $10 a month and you get a hardback best seller). Since this is my first book I have read in this genre I feel like I don’t have much to compare it to. Or experience with one that I just loved to officially tell you how much I .. cough.. ahem.. cough .. didn’t like this book. SURPRISE! I didn’t like it. You probably figured that when you saw I only gave it 2 stars. Let my tell you why and hopefully it doesn’t come across as a rant.

Maybe I just didn’t really know what the book was about but the beginning was really slow. You meet Rachel Childs and get all this back story on her teenage years and her psychotic mother. Anyone would need lots of therapy after growing up with a mother like that. At first this book had a few twists and turns. Things I wasn’t expecting but for what? None of it had anything to do with the story. I supposed he was trying to build Rachel’s character. I felt like she was really shallow. She was negative and desperate. I do get it. I understood why she was that way but it didn’t make me like her. If I can’t love the characters I’m reading about I want to at least like them. I couldn’t relate to her at all.

After you get all this back story that you don’t really need, Rachel meets Brian. Brian is safe and positive. Brian loves her. Brain helps her find herself again. For a minute you think FINALLY the poor girl catches a break and meets a guy that is her opposite in every way and is everything she needs. Until she starts catching on to little things that don’t make sense. She was a journalist after all. She wants the truth and she will do whatever it takes to find it. This part is suspenseful. You know something is up and of course you want to know what it is.

Then the last of this book where it is supposed to be intense and you finally get your answers was so incredibly cheesy to me. I felt like it was just too unbelievable. Too crazy. Things didn’t really make sense. I was picturing it my head and thinking it was the was worst movie ever. Her logic wasn’t my logic. If I didn’t just have to know how it all ended I wouldn’t have finished. .. and the ending. Ugh. It ended with me thinking she is as crazy as her mother but at least her lying, con man of a husband loves her. Apparently that is all that matters. It was just so messed up to me. I didn’t think this book made any sense! Is this how mystery/suspense/thrillers all are or did I just start off on a bad introduction to the genre?

If you read this book I would love to hear what you thought! Am I way off? I would love to hear some of your recommendations if you have any for a good thriller! Happy reading friends!

Lets Wrap Up May

Lets wrap up May! How is May over!?  I wanted to go through and give you a guys a summary of what I read. This month I feel like I should list off the books I DIDN’T read. May was crazy busy and I didn’t get as much reading done as I would have liked. I have a feeling that the whole summer will be this way. Which is good. I have 3 littles and we have lots of fun to do!

Most of the books I did read were not even on my TBR. (does this happen to all of us or just me?) Some of these books I didn’t get to writing a review yet but I’ll list it anyways with a recommendation, just in case your interested. Here we go!

acowar

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. I did not write a review for this one yet. I would give it 4 stars. I know, I know. I think maybe I just had too high of expectations for this book. I started this series with the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, 3 years ago. I love the world and the characters. The series as a whole is one of my all time favorites but I was just a little bit disappointed. Sarah is an amazing writer and just immediately sucks you into the world of the Fae. She makes you feel things and thats why I love her books! I would give this one a content rating of 10. There are lots of sex and battle scenes. Pretty detailed. As well as strong language. Part of why I was disappointed is because this series starts out Young Adult and ends up very ADULT. I still love the books but I feel like this last one went a little over board in those areas. It would have been nice if she stayed more Young Adult.

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Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon. I was so excited to read this for book club. The movie came out and I have been DYING to see it. I haven’t heard anything about it really?  Have you seen it? Was it good or bad? I really liked this book. There were a few twists that I was not expecting! Definitely give it a read and then go see the movie!

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Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright. This one was an ARC I received from NetGalley.  It comes out in November. I was really excited to read it since I love all things Jane Austen but unfortunately it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. There were just a few to many things that bugged me. The idea of this book was great but I found it lacking.

ithappenedoneautumn

It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas. This book is book 2 in the WALLFLOWERS series by Lisa. I absolutely adore Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn. They are two of my most favorite romance authors. I had read this series forever ago and saw that Lisa had come out with another (next book down) that was about Westcliff’s sister. I couldn’t quite remember the story so I reread this one and it was just as good as the first time. I highly recommend this series to those that love a good risqué romance. 5 Stars. 10 Content Rating.

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Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas. When I saw this book I was so excited because I thought she was continuing the Wallflowers series. There are a few books she has written about some of the side characters. This one is about Westcliff’s sister and I just adored it. If you have not read any of Lisa Kleypas books I recommend starting with her Wallflowers series. You will love them! 5 Stars. 10 Content Rating.

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Winter by Marissa Meyer. Winter is book 4 in The Lunar Chonicles. All these books are fairytale retellings set in a futuristic world where people live on the moon. The Lunar Queen wants to take Earth as her own. The small band of fugitives are the only ones standing in her way but they need just a little bit of help, and the Queen’s stepdaughter is more than willing! These books started off kinda .. bleh. I didn’t understand all the hype. Cinder is my least favorite but keep reading! I love them all so much now. As a whole they are amazing. My favorite fairytale retelling so far!

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Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz. I bought this book because the cover was pretty. HAHAHA! Don’t judge me! I know you have all been there! I didn’t really know what it was about, other than a love story. I was very pleasantly surprised when it is the love story of Alexander Hamilton (the founding father) and his wife Eliza. Taking place in America 1777. I really enjoyed it and want to find more books like it! If you know of any please share them with me!

frostblood

Frostblood by Elly Blake. I listened to this on Audible and loved the narrator. The sequel Fire Blood comes out this fall. I loved it so much I bought a hard copy and will be buying the next one as well! It’s a story about people with the fire gift and people with the gift of ice. They hate each other. All except two that are on the same mission to bring peace to the land. Sometimes I feel like fantasy gets to be all the same. Switch out the name of the city and the characters names = the same story. Its nice to find one that is different. It wasn’t too predictable and its one I can recommend to my Young Adult readers.

Whelp! There ya go! That is what I read for May. I am currently putting together my list for June. What was your favorite book you read in May and what is your most anticipated read for June? Share! I would love hear what your reading!

Hugs,

Whit

Winter by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Winter

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: November 10, 2015 by Fiewel & Friends

Genre: Sci-fi, Young Adult, Fantasy

Stars: 5         Content Rating: 2

Synopsis: Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mark her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

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To start I want to mention that I gave this book 5 stars. I almost want to go back and give all the books in the series 5 stars! Ha ha. My main requirements for a 5 star rating are 1) must be super dooper good. 2) wanting to recommend it to my friends. 3) must be willing to buy it if I haven’t already and read it AGAIN.  When I started this series I didn’t really know what what I was getting into. It had a lot of hype and I bought Cinder and had it FOREVER before I actually read it. Each book the series and characters get more and more interesting. I love fairytales and these retellings are one of a kind and so true to their individual fairytales yet so completely their own as a whole that I am simply AMAZED.

Cinder is a Cinderella retelling in which you meet our main girl and her Prince.

Scarlet is a Red Riding Hood retelling complete with wolves and Grandma.

Cress is a Repunzel retelling with Cress being trapped in her “tower” and then being saved by her thief.

Winter is a Snow White retelling with the Evil Stepmother and poisoned apples.

Honestly .. I am in LOVE with how all this has worked out. The way all these characters are apart of each others stories and the overall BIG PICTURE. This series is set in the future. It is sci-fi. That might sound weird to some of who you think that it’s not your thing but I really recommend you give it a chance. It’s not all weird planets and languages and aliens. It is only the Earth and the colony that lives on the moon called Luna. With some space travel in between and very futuristic touches here and there.

Winter is the story about Queen Levana’s step daughter. She is so beautiful that Levana used her mind manipulations to make Winter scar her own face. Winter decided from a very young age she didn’t want to be like Levana and she stopped using her Lunar Gift which has made her hallucinate half the time. Because she doesn’t use her gift she has no glamour to hide her scars. Even with those scars on her face she is more beautiful than the Queen.

Winter has one childhood friend who helps keep her sane and not so lonely. Jacin has loved Winter his whole life and will do anything to protect her. As the one of the Queens guards he has access to Winter and she is all that matters. He temporarily helped Cinder in Cress’ story and was labeled a traitor. Now he is back on Luna and to prove his loyalty the Queen has asked him to kill Winter.

Cinder and the others have a plan to start a revolution on Luna. Will the people believe Cinder is who she says? Will Levana fall for their trap? Prince Kai knows his part to play but if Cinder fails will he really marry Levana and make her his Empress? Maybe Cress will give Thorne a talking to and they will finally be together? I love Cress and Thorne. They might be my favorite. Can Winter and Jacin help the crew and still live to see each other again?

This book had the same feels as Hunger Games/Divergent as far as the Capitol has all this luxury and wealth and the outer districts are poor providing everything for the Queen. Very District 12. Not hard to start a rebellion when these people have been treated awful and been taken advantage of for years. Having Princess Winter helps. The people adore her and have hope that their lost Queen will be the start of a different life.

So much happens in this book! I really can’t think of anything I didn’t like. I was surprised and sad and anxious in parts. I wasn’t ever bored or thought that it was predictable. As a fairytale retelling that is what you expect. I mean its a “retelling” so you kind of already know what is going to happen but I didn’t feel this way in these books. I enjoyed them so much! This series also has two novellas which are next on my list. I didn’t realize that Fairest was novella 3.5. Keep that in mind as your making your way through this series. Happy reading friends!

The Lunar Chronicles:

 

Alex & Eliza by Melissa De La Cruz

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TitleAlex & Eliza

Author: Melissa De La Cruz

Published: April 11, 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Genre: Historical Romance, Young Adult, Fiction

Stars: 3.5           Content Rating: 1

Synopsis:  Their romance shaped a nation. The rest was history.

1777. Albany, New York.

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.

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I hate to admit it but this book took me quite a long time to actually read. I bought it because the cover is beautiful and the synopsis sounded like a perfect love story. (I am a sucker for romances) It was the book I was most excited to read this month besides ACOWAR. I had started it and even though it was good I kept getting distracted with other things. I read 3 other books in-between the time I started and then actually finished. That being said it was still really good. I will tell you why after I make a confession.

I should start all reviews with a confession. It seems like I am confessing something every time I write down my thoughts. Usually it is because I felt like I should have known something that I didn’t.

Confession: I didn’t realize this is based off of a true story. Nor did I realize that Alex is THEE ALEXANDER HAMILTON. Like the founding father and writer of The Federalist Papers.

The name really did sound familiar when I was reading but they call him Colonel Hamilton through out the book and I didn’t catch on. I did do a little bit of research (meaning I used wikipedia, haha) and found that this love story is surprisingly accurate with the dates and family names and all that. It is still work of fiction but I love when a writer can fill in the historical blanks with a story such as this. Now I know who Alexander Hamilton is but I still didn’t know that there is/was a broadway show called Hamilton and about his life. Apparently it is absolutely fabulous. I would really love to see it. The author, Melissa De La Cruz says in the acknowledgments that it was her inspiration for this novel. The more I looked into it the more I want to know and I wish I would have done even this little bit of research before I read the book.

This story is about a young Alexander Hamilton. He has come to America to further his education and is an amazing writer studying law. Before he can finish schooling the school closes since war is brewing and Alex finds himself as aide-de-camp to General Washington. He is sent on several missions but finds himself at the Schulyer’s to deliver a message to General Philip Schulyer on the night of a ball. A ball that Mrs. Schyuler was throwing in an attempt to marry off her three oldest daughters. All of whom are very headstrong, smart, independent women. Alex meets Eliza there. He falls for her there. She however is upset by the new he gave her father and doesn’t want anything to do with him!

2 years later she finds herself on the road to Morristown, NJ. All the soldiers are there waiting out winter and her Aunt Gertrude helps her husband, The Doctor. Between giving a vaccination for the small pox and helping the wounded Eliza tries to keep her distance from a certain young Colonel. Try as she might Alex is pretty determined to get in her good graces.

The pressures of war time and the uncertainty for the future that it brings and the pressures from family make and shape Alex & Eliza’s love story. Eliza is from one of the oldest families in America and she is expected to marry well. At one point she points out that social rank is part of the reason they were fighting in a war. It is funny that I read tons (I mean tons and tons and tons) of romance novels. Quite a bit of them are set in England 1800’s. The British aristocracy is so normal in that setting and I never really considered America being that way. In America anyone can climb the ranks of society if he had enough money. Right? You really feel the pressure Eliza’s parents put on their girls to marry well. There wasn’t that many wealthy families at the time. Nor very many eligible young men.

In this story you get a good feel of the time. You meet General Washington along with some of the big name Generals and a Major Andre. I honestly thought Major Andre was a made up character and he is not. I had no idea. This story was not quite what I was expecting. It didn’t suck me in at the very beginning like I thought but I would definitely read it again. Especially now that I know most of these characters are based off real people! It is a good historical romance. A proper romance and one that I am so glad was written and shared! As always, happy reading friends!

Lies Jane Austen Told Me by Julie Wright

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Title: Lies Jane Austen Told Me

Author: Julie Wright

Published: EXPECTED publishing date is November 7, 2017 by Shadow Mountain

Genre: Romance

Stars: 3            Content Rating: 3

Synopsis:  Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she’s been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she’s good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake’s younger brother, Lucas.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it’s time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it’s time for him to love her back.

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I received an early ebook copy of this book from Netgalley. It will be available in November. Overall I really liked the concept of this story. A girl named Emma, who is a die hard romantic and loves Jane Austen wants the happily ever after. Emma is smart, business minded and dedicated to her job. When her boyfriend, Blake, invites her home for the weekend she had originally said no but decides to surprise him. Surprise him she did when he is there having dinner with another woman.

Emma decides she needs to break up with Jane Austen. What does she know anyway? Jane Austen died a spinster. Every chapter begins with a quote from a Jane Austen book. Which I really love. Emma goes back to work ready to throw herself into her job when she is told she will be working very closely with a new consultant. This new consultant just happens to be Blake’s brother, Lucas. As they get to know each other they find that they have lots in common. Lucas is not Blake’s biological brother but was adopted when he was 13. The Hampton family is very wealthy and Mrs. Hampton has lots of charities. Lucas was left at a homeless shelter when Mrs. Hampton found him and brought him home. Emma’s mom left her and her dad when she was 5. They both like the same things and you can tell there is a connection between them but because Lucas loves his brother  (and doesn’t think he is good enough) he is constantly trying to push Emma and Blake back together.

Like I said at the beginning, I loved the concept of this book. I love Jane Austen. I love a good romance, but I found myself wanting to skip parts. Yes, it’s awful that Emma’s mother left her and she is dealing with abandonment issues but it gets brought up A LOT. Also, you know early on that she doesn’t want to be with Blake and she drags that relationship out way too long. She can’t decide what to do about the brothers. Who is she going to pick and it’s all silly because she loves Lucas but it doesn’t get to that until the end. THE VERY END. She inter monologues quite a bit as well. So as much as I wanted to love this book, it just didn’t do it for me. Maybe by the time the final print is done in November she will have made a few changes?

The Valiant by Leslie Livingston

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Title:  The Valiant (The Valiant Book 1)

Author: Lesley Livingston

Published: February 14, 2017 by Razorbill

Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Stars: 4          Content Rating: 4

Synopsis:   Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

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This was an amazing read. Let me clarify, I actually listened to this one. This was an amazing book to listen to. The narrator was incredible. She spoke with a British accent which makes sense because Fallon is from “The Island of the Mighty.” (Britain) The narrator did all the accents and voice changes and did them very well. I really enjoyed listening. It added a little something extra that I would not have gotten if I read it myself. Since I listened I’m afraid I don’t know how to spell anything! I’m going to have to go to the library and borrow the book just to know how to spell everyone’s names!

Alright. I went to the library. They do not have this book (sigh). I guess I will have to just buy my a copy!

-3 Weeks Later- 

Alright.. I bought it. I’m holding a new hardback copy in my hands and it is STUNNING. Now I can look at it for reference. Ha ha. But seriously.

As always I don’t like telling you all about the book. What fun is it to read a book that someone has already told you all about? That is what the synopsis is for. This book reminded me of the movie Gladiator with Russell Crowe. Only way more bad A because it is princess warrior in the arena kicking butt. This story follows Fallon’s journey from princess to slave to gladiator and what it means to be free.

Her story starts out as a young warrior Princess of the clan. It is her birthday and she can finally join her father’s Royal War Band. She also realizes that she is in love with her best friend Mael who wants to marry her but because she wants the to be in the war band first, she tells him to wait and they will get be warriors together and be married after. Her father refused to see his other daughter killed in battle and denies her a place in his war band. Instead (not knowing of the affection between Fallon and Mael) offers her hand in marriage to Mael’s older brother Aeddan. Honestly, all this is the first few chapters of the book. I was HOOKED. When the narrator said, “Chapter 2” I about died. No way did all this happen in one chapter. No way was I this into it and interested that fast. I was. Oh. I was.

She gets captured to sell as a slave. The captain of the this particular ship seems to recognize her sword and knows she will catch a huge profit. As they travel along making their way to Rome, Fallon finds herself chained to a girl from the North. She is a Viking warrior named Elka. They immediately don’t like each other but I think it’s common for the best of friendships to start out that way.

Fallon gets sold to the Lady Achillea. She is expected to fight for the entertainment of Rome and She wants no part if it. She wants to escape. Fighting in the arena for sport has no honor. Becoming a Gladiatrix is not part of her plans. The harder she tries to fight the sisterhood the more she realizes how much she needs it. She needs a home. She needs family. She needs to fight for her freedom in the arena. After she earns her freedom she will help others with theirs.

Along the way of finding friendships and mourning all that she has lost she finds Cai. They have a thing. It’s a little bit wierd because I don’t feel like these two have a very strong connection. I wasn’t in love with the idea of them. They don’t seem to have the same level of spark that you get at the first of the book with Mael.

I felt like this story was a really fun one. I haven’t read one like this before and the characters were so full of personality and interesting to get to know. For example; one if the other fighters that Fallon has to spar with is called Meriel. She has red hair and fights with a net and trident. (Kind of cheesy because obviously I am thinking of Ariel from The Little Mermaid) The friendships that were made in the sisterhood were strong. They are are fighting for the same thing and helping each other. Cai is there supporting Fallon. Helping her reach the dream of being free. There are some twists and surprises along the way.

Fallon meets Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. You get a feel of ancient Rome and I love when books can bring in a little history. I really enjoyed this read and recommend it to those who love a princess warrior fighting for what is right and finding who she is along the way.