Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review - Dissonance (Dissonance #1) by Erica O'Rourke

Dissonance (Dissonance, #1)Title: Dissonance
Author: Erica O'Rourke
Series: 1st
Pages: 496
Published:  July 22nd 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
ISBN: 9781442460249
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not traveled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony. Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane. But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.  

I Give This ...

  Well this was fascinating and maddening all at the same time.  The idea of alternate universes created from each decision made by each person was interesting.  But, at the same I couldn't wrap my head around it.  The shear number of these universes has to more than even the Walkers can hope to control.

At first, I wasn't sure I understood what it was exactly that the Walkers did in relation to the other dimensions.  The full scope of their job isn't really explained up front, but more woven throughout the story.  Basically the are in charge of keeping the base dimension stable.  The other dimensions are ghosts of this one and really aren't even real, but tied to the base.  However, ripples from the outer dimensions can effect the base and cause chaos.  Choices made in other dimensions can actually bleed over into the base.

Delancy was interesting in the sense that she doesn't seem like your typical Walker.  You can tell she's brilliant and good at it.  But, she doesn't follow the rules set forth by the Council.  When she accidentally does something she's shouldn't be able to do, she's put on probation.  The Council follows her every move, but it's not so much to monitor her progress but to see exactly what she is capable of (and maybe to keep an eye on her family).   As with many books, The Council isn't exactly as it appears.  

 The more Delancy travels between the other dimensions, the more fascinated I became.  Some of these world's are permanent, while others exist for mere moments.  All depend on the person and the decision being made.  It so much to tend to, it's no wonder that the Council is trying to keep tight control of it.  Of course they are going about it the wrong way and a revolt has silently been brewing.

I enjoyed this for the most part.  I wasn't overly into the romance between Delancy and Simon, but it gradually grew on me.  I did find the plot and setting to be awesome.  I'm actually looking forward to more of this series!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Review - The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles #4) by Kady Cross

The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles, #4)Title: The Girl with the Windup Heart
Author: Kady Cross
Pages: 396
Published: May 27th 2014 by Harlequin TEEN 
ISBN: 9780373211197
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: London's underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End's most dazzling circus. Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends. Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist's maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields. 

I Give This ...

 I was pleased to see this one as I had no real indication that the series was over after the last book.  After a rocky start, I've come to really enjoy this characters and I wanted to see an satisfying ending.

I really wish that Griffin would stop holding so much back from his friends.  Granted we wouldn't have a story without it.  But, his friends rely so much on him, I wish he would give the slightest indication that he needed them a little bit.  Because of this character flaw, he is literally draining himself dry in the Aether.  It's a good thing that Finley doesn't stand for that kind of crap.  She's determined to prove her worth to Griffin.  I think she feels like she needs for Griffin to see that he can trust her, heart and soul.

I was surprised by the tension between Finley and Emily.  I don't think that was there before.  I think it might be because they both care for Griffin in different ways and have to argue about who has the better way to save him.  I really enjoyed that addition of Mila in relation to Jack Dandy.  I didn't particularly care for his relationship with Finley, but I liked his character.  So, I readily accepted his new found fascination with Mila.

I liked how most of this story took place in the aether.  It reminded me a little bit of Dante's Inferno.  I enjoyed Finley's own personal demons that she had to overcome in order to get to Griffin.   I enjoyed how conniving The Machinist could be.   I never failed to be surprised the lengths he wold go to get what he wanted.

In the end, I was surprised by this series.  I'm still hesitant when it comes to steampunk, but I've learned to give it a chance.  This series has helped me accomplish that.  I will be looking for Kady Cross again.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review - Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G. Howard

Unhinged (Splintered, #2)Title: Unhinged
Author: A.G. Howard
Series: 2nd (Splintered)
Pages: 400
Published: January 7th 2014 by Harry N. Abrams
ISBN: 9781419709715
Source: Library

Description: Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of. That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs. As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind. If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head. 

 I Give This ...


Another case of why didn't I read this sooner, especially knowing how much I loved the first book.  I can't say enough about this book and the series so far.

I was happy to be back with Alyssa even if she's in complete denial that Wonderland exists.  She has her mom back, even if she's become a bit overprotecting.  Jeb is still alive, although he has no recollections of the events in Wonderland.  In her opinion, her world is almost perfect.  The only thing out of place is her art has taken on a mind of it's own, beautiful but a bit morbid. Because blood is not a normal medium used and she's not really guiding the picture that forms.  That, and Morpheus continues to haunt her dreams. 

There's so much that happens in this book that it's hard to describe it all in one messily little review.  The Red Queen is trying to infiltrate the human realm in very subtle ways.  One the twins that guards the graveyard has left her post, which leads to way for some of Wonderland to cross over.  But through it all Alyssa is convinced that she's not needed.  It isn't until she learns that the truth not only about her mother, but her father as well, that she begins to accept just how deep her destiny runs.  

I think the most fascinating thing about this series is how the author has managed to give even more life to the world created by Lewis Carrol.  The characters and scenery are familiar, but the have more depth.  Each element is darker and more malicious.  It seems everything and everyone has an ulterior motive.   The only part that lost me a little was the ending at prom seemed a little cliche.  But, it had to happen at some point.

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. Click on the picture to be taken to Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books!
Read Last Week:

Of Metal and Wishes (Of Metal and Wishes, #1)Shattered (Scorched, #2)
  • Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine 
  • Shattered by Mari Mancusi
Currently Reading:

Mortal Danger (Immortal Game, #1)
  • Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
Up This Week: 
Illusions of Fate
  • Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

For Review: 

The StoryspinnerThe Cure for Dreaming
  • The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace
  • The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters


The One (The Selection, #3)
  • The One by Kiera Cass


Gates of Paradise (Blue Bloods, #7)
  • Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Review - Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods #5.5) by Melissa de la Cruz

Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods, #5.5)Title: Bloody Valentine
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Series: 5.5 (Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Misguided Angels)
Pages: 147
Published: December 28th 2010 by Hyperion 
ISBN: 9781423134497
Source: Library


Description: The Blue Bloods have powers beyond human comprehension: strength that defies logic, speed that cannot be captured on film, the ability to shape-shift, and more. But in matters of the heart, no one, not even those immortal vampires, has total control. In Bloody Valentine, part of the best-selling Blue Bloods series, author Melissa de la Cruz offers three tantalizing stories that delve deep into the love lives of the all-powerful vamps (and their Red Blood friends) from New York's Upper East Side. Might a witchy new girl help cure Oliver's broken heart? How did Allegra fall in love with a human? Will Schuyler and Jack finally be bonded?

I Give This ...

I don't normally do short stories.  It depends on the story I guess.  I this case, I'm actually glad I read it.  I think it bridged a few gaps that I was missing in how things came to be the way they are.

I loved all three stories.  I was curious as to what would happen to Oliver.  I think the pain of being bonded to Schuyler was almost to much for him to bare.  It's event in some of the things he tries to do to be rid of her in his soul and his blood.  I was happy that the witch was able to cure him of the bonding, but sad when she left.  I felt that Oliver might have grow attached to her to quickly as a replacement.  

I think the story of Allegra and Ben  is my favorite.  She was willing to go against time and tradition by not renewing her bond.  She tried to not let that happen for the better of everybody involved.  But, she found she loved Ben to much and he loved her.  In the end the realized that it was better to be together no matter what the cost than live without each other.

Jack impressed me a lot in the last short story.  It's taken a long time for him to prove to me that he really does love Schuyler.  For some reason, I was never as sure of him.  I admire the great lengths he went to for all their friends to be there on their bonding day.  He made it special and meaningful despite all the dangers they were facing.

I do think reading this short book made certain events in the next major installment make a little more sense.  I also think it filled in some back story that I really wanted to know (like Ben and Allegra). 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review - The Boleyn Reckoning (The Boleyn Trilogy #3) by Laura Andersen

The Boleyn Reckoning (The Boleyn Trilogy, #3)Title: The Boleyn Reckoning
Author: Laura Andersen
Series: 3rd (The Boleyn King, The Boleyn Deceit)
Pages: 416
Published: July 15th 2014 by Ballantine Books 
ISBN: 9780345534132
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: Elizabeth Tudor is at a crossroads. After a disastrous winter, the Duke of Northumberland has been executed for treason while his son, Robert Dudley, claims from the Tower that the true traitor has not yet been caught. And though her brother, William, has survived smallpox, scars linger in the king's body and mind and his patience is at an end. As English ships and soldiers arm themselves against the threat of invasion, William marches to the drumbeat of his own desires rather than his country's welfare. Wary of this changed royal brother, Elizabeth assembles her own shadow court to protect England as best she can. But William, able to command armies and navies, cannot command hearts. Minuette and Dominic have married in secret, and after an ill-timed pregnancy, they take to flight. Faced with betrayal by the two he loved most, William's need for vengeance pushes England to the brink of civil war and in the end, Elizabeth must choose: her brother, or her country?  

I Give This ...

I've really enjoyed this series so far.  I love the play on "what if."  Considering that Queen Elizabeth I is one of my favorite people in history, I was also extremely curious how this would come full circle.

The author has done a fabulous job at creating a monarch that mimics so many of the characteristics of Henry VIII and Queen Anne.  I also see some of his sisters in him.  I thing his biggest flaw is what ultimately brought down his mother and lead to his father having so many wives.  He knew what he wanted and would stop at nothing to make sure he got it.  It got in the way of his friendships, his family, and in the end ... his kingdom.  Sad as it was, none of his actions surprised me.  I held my breath every time he flaunted Minuette in front of everybody.  I wish he could see how much she hated it.  As a person whose job basically demands that you be able to read people, he was horrible at it.

I loved Minuette throughout this.  She's playing a delicate game and one that she has to know might cost her everything.  She may not come right out and tell William how she really feels, but I think she does it in lots of subtle ways.  I was happy when she finally confided in Elizabeth.  It was slowing eating at her to keep such a huge secret.  I was kind of surprised at how Elizabeth reacted.  But, at this point I know she's setting up her chess pieces to win the game. 

The court is just as treacherous in the alternate reality as it was in history.  People still were tried for treason, just not the ones that I was expecting.  William never became the king destined to rule the kingdom in all its glory.  That right was reserved for Elizabeth.  I don't think she ever betrayed her brother.  She just played the hand better.  Perhaps Elizabeth was always meant to rule the Golden Age, no matter what reality you look at.

I absolutely loved this book from start to finish.  It was almost like this was how it really happened.  I laughed, I cried, but most of all I just enjoyed the ride to get there.  I'm looking forward to what Laura Andersen produces next!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Review - Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief #1) by Livia Blackburne

Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)Title: Midnight Thief
Author: Livia Blackburne
Series: 1st
Pages: 376 
Published: July 8th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion 
ISBN: 9781423176381
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs. But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull. Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease. When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives. In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life. 

I Give This ...

This sounded like something that might be that it book, the one to rave about.  For awhile it really was.  I enjoyed so many aspects of this novel.  But, somewhere in the book an event occurred and the story took a different turn.  And one that just no longer resented with me.    

I really enjoyed Kyra.  Her ability to sneak into places undetected and leave the same way she came was fascinating.  That part of the story really drew me in.  I was hesitant when the Assassins Guild offered Kyra a place in their ranks.  But, I wasn't surprised that she accepted the offer.  I never felt it was about the money that was offered.  It was all about being able to prove that she could do the job and all it's challenges.  I think she also enjoyed skirting around those in charge without their knowing.  A way for her to prove that she was more than just a street urchin.  

I also really enjoyed Tristam.  He's your poster boy for someone who fully supports whatever government is in place.  To him, there's only black and white and no grey.  So, I think it's really hard for him to admit that Kyra might have got the best of him.  He never imagined that it was a women sneaking in and out without being seen.  I also like that as he gets to know here, he realizes that not everything is as clear cut as it seems.  That sometimes the good guy and the bad guy aren't always what you think.

So what happened?  It's actually really hard to explain without giving away something that I think is suppose to be a surprise, although an intricate part of the story.  Let's just say that there's something off about those Demon Riders and their wildcats.  I could see it coming, but I kept hoping the story wouldn't go there.  When it did, I was so disappointed.  I have no idea why the story effected me that way.

It's likely that I won't continue this story.  There are parts of me that are greatly intrigued.  But, I was put off by an element of the story that might be to much to overcome.    

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review - The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois #1) by Joanna Hickson

The Agincourt Bride (Catherine de Valois, #1)Title: The Agincout Bride
Author: Joanna Hickson
Series: 1st
Pages: 578
Published: January 3rd 2013 by HarperCollins 
ISBN: 9780007446971
Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: When her own first child is tragically still-born, the young Mette is pressed into service as a wet-nurse at the court of the mad king, Charles VI of France. Her young charge is the princess, Catherine de Valois, caught up in the turbulence and chaos of life at court. Mette and the child forge a bond, one that transcends Mette’s lowly position. But as Catherine approaches womanhood, her unique position seals her fate as a pawn between two powerful dynasties. Her brother, The Dauphin and the dark and sinister, Duke of Burgundy will both use Catherine to further the cause of France. Catherine is powerless to stop them, but with the French defeat at the Battle of Agincourt, the tables turn and suddenly her currency has never been higher. But can Mette protect Catherine from forces at court who seek to harm her or will her loyalty to Catherine place her in even greater danger? 

 I Give This ...

I've read another book recently about  Catherine de Valois.  Given that Tudor England is perhaps my favorite period in history, I've been eager to read more about the women who started it all. This was an interesting addition to my knowledge of the time period.

The beginning is almost depressing to read.  I think one always thinks of the grandeur part of royalty.  But, these children lived in horrible conditions as barely an after thought of the King and Queen. It's not until the children become a pawn in some way or another that they are given any thought what so ever.   Mette feels she is the only stable figure in Catherine's life and forms a deep bond with the child.  This was the only part of the story that troubled me.  Mette seems to be willing to go to great lengths for Catherine, more so than even her own family.  She gives reasons, but just couldn't agree with them.

I found the history to be the most interesting part of this story.  Catherine had to witness a lot in her lifetime which I think explains a lot of how she reacted later in life.  Her mother had little care for her.  Her father didn't know she was most of the time.  She was sent away in her early years to be given the proper upbringing when her mother was influenced by one of the Dukes.  It seems it was always noticed what Catherine could do for France.  She was often used as a bargaining tool for King Henry V to stop warring with France.  In the end she was forced to choose between her brother the rightful heir to the throne and King Henry declaring war on France.  

I fear the thing that really drug this book down was it's length.  Granted I know this is a huge time period to cover, but it was very slow in parts and it seemed like the pages would drag on.  However, that won't stop me from reading the next book in the series. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Review - Where Silence Gathers (Some Quiet Place #2) by Kelsey Sutton

Where Silence GathersTitle: Where Silence Gathers
Author: Kelsey Sutton
Series: 2nd (Some Quiet Place)
Pages: 360
Published: July 8th 2014 by Flux
ISBN: 9780738739472
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Seventeen-year-old Alexandra Tate sits outside Nate Foster's house, clutching a gun. After serving ten years for the drunk driving accident that killed Alex's family, Nate has been released from prison. Every night, Alex waits out of sight, building up the courage to exact her own justice. There's just one problem: Forgiveness. Alex has been able to see personified Emotions for as long as she can remember, and Revenge is her best friend. But when Forgiveness suddenly appears, he offers Alex a choice--getting even or moving on. It's impossible to decide when Revenge whispers in one ear . . . and Forgiveness whispers in the other. 

I Give This ...

I've been early awaiting this next part of the series.  Part of me really wanted more of Fear, but realizing this was more of a companion book I was just happy to back with these characters.

Alexandra is one angry teenager.  I'm not discounting her anger, because I think part of it is very justified.  She's been through hell and back at a very young age.  But, part of me wonders if those raising her shouldn't have been doing more to help her.  I think they might have been afraid to push to hard.  She makes reckless choice throughout this story.  Since I've never been in her position, I found it hard to agree with many of the.  Granted I don't think it helped that her companion since childhood was Revenge.  

I truly love the concept of this series.  For some reason that idea of emotions and elements being able to take on human forms in fascinating to me.  I love how Revenge and Forgiveness battle it out in this one.  They have to be constant enemies vying for the top prize.  I loved each of them, even when I knew in my heart that it would be better for Alexandra to pick Forgiveness.  I love the other elements that we see and how they perfectly embody the emotion they represent.

I hope Kelsey Sutton write more of these books.  I don't think I would tire of getting to know different emotions in this light.  Plus, I really enjoy the humans they interact with.

Review - Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

Torn AwayTitle: Torn Away
Author: Jennifer Brown
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 288
Published: May 6th 2014 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 
ISBN: 9780316245531
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Description: Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.  When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy? 

I Give This ...

One should not read books about the loss of loved ones when you've recently experienced it yourself.  Or maybe you should because it helps you come to better terms with how you are feeling about your own loss.  Whatever the case may be, I deeply felt the pain Jersey goes through in this book.

I enjoyed our brief introduction to Jersey before tragedy struck home.  I think the point of making her the typical girl made the story that much more devastating.  Her life isn't perfect, so that can make her anybody.  It shows that death knows no bounds and will take anybody.   I admired her courage as the tornado was ripping over her, her determination to stay put because she knew that's were her family would come looking for her. I felt her deep sorrow when she discovered her mother and sister were gone and the joy she felt when she found her step-father.  

And then the story turns some more because all that wasn't enough for Jersey to go through.  Part of me really wanted to hate Jersey's stepdad.  But, he wasn't coping well with his grief and thought the best thing for her was to live with her biological father.  This is a man she's never met and family who obviously resents everything about her.   They were awful is so many ways.  I had high hopes that her stepfather would recognize this and come and get her.  

At this point, I was beginning to wonder if Jersey would find some sort of peace in this chaos the world had left her in.  She ends up at her mother's parents house.  She's indifferent here and determined not to show any sort of emotion.  But, she's having a hard time matching these people with the imagine her mother left her.  Slowly she begins to understand that maybe family changes over time.  Her mother and sister may be gone, but they can still live on in her and the people around her.  How she chooses to remember them is up to her.

A beautifully written and powerful book.  I savored it until the last page was done.  I apparently need to  read more of Jennifer Brown.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Stacking the Shelves!

For Review:

The FallSalt & StormThe Brewer's Tale
  • The Fall by Bethany Griffin
  • Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper
  • The Brewer's Tale by Karen Brooks

Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!  It's hosted by Tynga's Reviews!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Review - On the Fence by Kasie West

On the FenceTitle: On The Fence
Author: Kasie West
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 296
Published: July 1st 2014 by HarperTeen 
ISBN:  9780062235671
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Description: For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.  To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high. 

I Give This ...

I've read Kasie West's debut novel but haven't managed to get to anything else written by here (even the second book in her series).  I've been interested in her contemporary work, so I decided this would fit the bill.  Plus, I like the idea of the boy next door.

I liked Charlotte from the first few pages.  I didn't really identify with her, but I felt her personality really jumped off the pages.  I liked how at ease with her brothers.  I liked that her dad gives her a challenge because to help her learn a lesson.  Part of me does wish it would have been a little harder for her to find a job, but I enjoyed the job that was available to her.  I think it taught her a lot about who she was, who she could be, and what she wanted.  

Honestly, I wasn't sure what part of the story I enjoyed more...the boy or the job.  You see, I think the job is a big part of the story her.  Charlie didn't have to be just a tomboy.  She was allowed to be feminine whenever she felt like it.  But, she was so afraid that her brothers would give her a hard time.  Her job allowed her to explore that side that I think she hadn't wanted to for a long time.  

And then there's the boy.  Braden is the typical boy next door.  I love that he is so close to her brothers that there's really no separation to them and him.  I think Charlie has always noticed him, but never give him much thought until they started their late night talks at the fence.  But, Charlie has a hard time ready his intentions.  She's never had much practice ready boys off the field.

I also enjoyed the two surprise twists in the story.  One, I had a feeling about given the hints and dreams that Charlie kept having about the accident that killed her mom.  The other one was a given considering Charlie has 3 older brothers.  I'm sure they thought they were protecting her.  Overall, I loved this story.  I have another one of her contemporaries that I need to read as soon as possible.  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Review - The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

The Fortune HunterTitle: The Fortune Huntter
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Series: Stand Alone
Pages: 480
Published: July 29th 2014 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781250043894
Source: Publisher for honest review

Description: In 1875, Sisi, the Empress of Austria is the woman that every man desires and every woman envies. Beautiful, athletic and intelligent, Sisi has everything - except happiness. Bored with the stultifying etiquette of the Hapsburg Court and her dutiful but unexciting husband, Franz Joseph, Sisi comes to England to hunt. She comes looking for excitement and she finds it in the dashing form of Captain Bay Middleton, the only man in Europe who can outride her. Ten years younger than her and engaged to the rich and devoted Charlotte, Bay has everything to lose by falling for a woman who can never be his. But Bay and the Empress are as reckless as each other, and their mutual attraction is a force that cannot be denied. 

I Give This ...

I've had Daisy Goodwin's first book on my to read list for awhile.  So, when the opportunity to review this one came up I jumped on it.  Now I see I need to make it a priority to read her first work.  I enjoyed this book from start to finish.

I love period books.  I often think and how I would act in a time period were women aren't allowed the liberties they are today.  I would think that I would be a lot like Charlotte (or other character similar to here).  While many is social circles found her odd, I thought she was charming.  Yes, she may have been a little bit naive at times.  She was young and probably been sheltered a lot due to her heiress status.  But, she had a quick tongue on her that told others what she was thinking.  Plus, I loved her love and talent for photography.  I think that it would the only think that kept her mind of things.  

I wasn't sure what to think of Bay for quite awhile.  I never thought he was a fortune hunter.  He seemed to be a man who loved to be in love.  He fell easily and often.  He had a charm about him that made women fall just as easily for him and not care about the risks associated with their affairs. I think he was also drawn to strong women, hence his attraction to the Empress.  I think he realized way to late in the game that what he felt for Charlotte was real while what he had with the Empress was just infatuation.  Unfortunately, it proved how deep he had gone that the Empress would not let him go to easily.  In the end, I felt sorry for him.  I don't think he deserved half the ridicule and shame he got, even if the situation was of his own making.

Our two royal figure were starch contrasts of each other.  Our older Queen Victoria is so hard to grasp.  She's has a way of lifting people up but at the same time making sure they know their place.  Empress Sisi is almost reckless by comparison.  Granted, she's not English so I don't think she ever thinks twice on how her favor of Middleton is seen by others.  All she knows is that he makes her happy and she will have him no matter what the cost.

I completely enjoyed how this story played out.  I enjoyed all our characters and how they interacted in both conventional and unconventional ways.  I loved how the horses, hunt, and the Grand National Race were included.  Now, I must read her first book!


Daisy Goodwin
 DAISY GOODWIN, a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University’s film school after earning a degree in history at Cambridge University, is a leading television producer in the U.K. Her poetry anthologies, including 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, have introduced many new readers to the pleasures of poetry, and she was Chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. She and her husband, an ABC TV executive, have two daughters and live in London. After the success of her first novel, THE AMERICAN HEIRESS, she wrote THE FORTUNE HUNTER.  Please visit Daisy Goodwin's social website's for more information!

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