~Chosen~ Book Review

Name: ChosenIMG_3884

Author: Sara Hanson and Brandy Bruce

Rating: 5

 

Synopsis:

It’s been twelve years since the chosen made their presence known across the globe. They are the elite of our race. A community gifted with supernatural abilities . . . and no one outside of it, to hold them accountable. Racism, distrust, and fear now run rampant in the hearts of humans, resulting in hate crimes and worse. Rumors of war are whispered in both factions, while talk of peace has become a thing of the past. A distant dream. Or delusion. In the midst of this political and social unrest, eighteen-year-old Kathryn Stokely suddenly finds herself thrust into a life-threatening situation that promises to turn her world upside down. Secrets and lies about her past are unearthed, forcing her to face a truth that will irrevocably affect her future . . . and who she spends it with. Now, choices must be made. Loyalties decided. Betrayal seems unavoidable. Because the line has been drawn, and there’s no guarantee which side will be left standing. Only one thing is certain. Nothing will ever be the same again.

My Thoughts:

Wow. To say that Sara Hanson is a talented writer is a steep understatement. Chosen was a phenomenal book! Hanson created a world that was so vivid that I felt like I was living it. (In my head, I was comparing it to the likes of the Harry Potter world.) She created characters that were so relatable, yet mysterious, that I couldn’t get enough of them. I absolutely loved the main character, Kate, and seeing her development throughout the story. It was truly inspiring! I experienced moments of happiness, sadness, shock, and even laughed out loud at some parts. You absolutely need to read this book because it is going to be a series you won’t forget! Thank you so much, Sara, for sending me this book! I absolutely fell in love with it ❤

 

***Scroll down for some more thoughts that contain spoilers***

 

 

 

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**CONTAINS SPOILERS**

I wanted to talk a little more in depth about the Fionn/Adrian/Kate love triangle. I’m going to say that throughout the entire book I truly did not know who to trust between Fionn and Adrian. However, the ironic part was that I absolutely loved both of them. Fionn’s sense of humor and bluntness was contagious. And Adrian’s caring attitude toward Kate was just so sincere and lovable. I feel like I need to know more about them and can’t wait to see what happens next! But I can’t shake the feeling that Adrian is somehow a direct descendant of Daniel’s(Zoravar). I could be wrong, but that was the feeling I had throughout the book! So, if you’ve read this far I’m assuming you’ve read the book. So who are you rooting for? Adrian or Fionn? I haven’t actually made up my mind yet!!

Going along the lines of mysterious characters, even though Gwen’s twin, Wendy, wasn’t actually present in the book, I couldn’t shake the feeling that she would be making an appearance in the upcoming books. And it may not necessarily be for the side of good!

~The Last Summer~ Book Review

Name: The Last Summer

Author: Brandy Bruce

Rating: 5

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Synopsis:

For twenty-something Sara Witherspoon and her group of friends, a perfect Southern summer includes lake-house getaways, wedding planning, outdoor concerts, and a dash of romance. But for these seven friends who love each other like family, this year, summer rolls in with changes for everyone.
Sara’s longtime crush, Luke, has been her best friend for as long as she has been a part of the group. When Luke begins seriously dating another of their friends, Sara’s forced to deal with her hurt and jealousy, while outwardly try to support them both.
While Sara comes to terms with her own heart and her friends’ relationships, an unexpected handsome pilot from North Carolina and an old flame are thrown into the mix. Knowing her heart suddenly becomes much more complicated.
But as time unfolds and friendships begin to unravel, Sara and the others are presented with the reality of what a season of change does to old friendships and new love interests.
Does growing older mean growing apart?

 

My Thoughts:

I’m known to love pretty much every book I read. Not because I want to write a positive review, but because I genuinely love the stories I read and there are SO many talented authors out there. Now when I come across a story that I fall severely in love with, I have to let everyone know! This book was one of them. I. Could. Not. Put. It. Down. The flow of the story was fantastic, and the characters were so relatable. It was raw, it was real, it was painful, and it was full of so much emotion. It filled me with hope, and love while I read it. It also filled me with frustration! (Mainly because of the characters’ decisions ;P) I’m not going to mention anything specific about the story or the characters because I don’t want to give anything away!! I honestly did not know the direction the book was going to go. But Bruce has a way with writing that made me feel like I was living this story…and I really wanted to! It represented the difficulty in making life decisions and how we need to rely on God with the big ones. We so often want to take control of our lives and think we know what’s best, but in reality we need to learn to let go and let God do His thing. So if you need encouragement in that area of your life, please read this book!! Even if you don’t need that, read this book anyway because it’s sooooo good!!!

Thanks again to Brandy for sending me this book, I will definitely read it over and over ❤

~Huntress~ Book Review

Name: Huntress

Author: Julie Hall

Rating: 5

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Synopsis:

Death was only the beginning.

No one’s afterlife is as dispiriting as Audrey’s at least that’s what she believes after waking up dead without her memories and being promptly assigned to hunt demons for the rest of eternity. She’s convinced God’s made a cosmic mistake; after all, she’d rather discuss the color of her nails than break them on angelic weapons.

It doesn’t help that her trainer, Logan, is as infuriating as he is attractive. And just when Audrey and Logan appear close to developing an amicable relationship, a decision made under duress pushes their hearts in a direction neither of them saw coming.

Despite her sub-par fighting abilities, an ancient weapon of unparalleled power chooses Audrey as its wielder, attracting the cautious gazes of her fellow hunters and the attention of Satan himself. With Satan’s eyes now fixed on Audrey, a battle for the safety of the living looms in the shadows!

 

My Thoughts:

I really didn’t know much about this book, other than seeing it around Instagram quite a bit. So when Julie reached out to me wanting to send me a copy for review, I jumped at the chance! And wow am I SO glad that I did!! This story blew me away. The world Hall created was so beautiful and captivating. I can safely say I was addicted to the story. The characters were fantastic and I think I fell in love with yet another fictional character. ❤ LOGAN ❤ Who’s with me on that one?!

Hall has a way with words that had me entranced page after page. I couldn’t put the book down as the storyline developed because I just needed more!! I will be starting the sequel right away.

If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it!! And thanks again, Julie, for sending me these books! I will definitely be adding them to my list of rereads in the near future.

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~No Plain Rebel~ Book Review

Name: No Plain Rebel

Author: M.C. Frank

Rating: 5

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Synopsis:

A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do. A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive. A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack. The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It also has forgotten love and beauty. The year is 2524. Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic novel is set in a world where Christmas – among other things – is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace. Written in three installments, this is the breathtaking and sensual story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time. In No Plain Rebel, Felix finds out the truth. Or so he thinks. He’s trying to come to terms with that, as well as with the fact that the Clockmaster’s shack has been discovered by his fellow soldiers, but he can’t exactly concentrate. The match girl’s fiery curls appear before his eyes every ten seconds, distracting him, and then he starts talking to her in his head. Because she’s no longer there. The Stadium is looming in the distance. It’s ten heartbeats to midnight.

 

My Thoughts:

So, you know when you read the first book in a series and you finish it and think, “That was amazing and I really really hope the second book measures up to it.” Yeah, well, No Plain Rebel far surpassed my expectations. This book took No Ordinary Star and expanded it on all levels. It expanded the character development even further. It expanded the reader’s knowledge of the entire world. And it expanded your desire for MORE OF THE STORY BECAUSE HOLY CLIFFHANGER!!! I’m not going to talk too much about the story because I really don’t want to give anything away. However, I will HIGHLY recommend you reading this series. It will make you question things and it might even make some readers angry. But that’s the beauty of this story. It’s challenging every reader to stop and reevaluate your life. Not understanding what I’m talking about? Go read the book. You will then 😉

~No Ordinary Star~ Book Review

Name: No Ordinary Star

Author: M.C. Frank

Rating: 4.5

Synopsis:

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A soldier is summoned to the North Pole, days before the year changes, told to fix the great Clock for a celebration. He has no idea what to do. A girl, hunted for the crime of being born, almost dies out on the ice. She is rescued by the last polar bear left alive. A library waits for them both, a library built over a span of a hundred years, forgotten in the basement of an ice shack. The world hasn’t known hunger or sickness in hundreds of years. It also has forgotten love and beauty. The year is 2524. Inspired by the short stories of Ray Bradbury, this futuristic novel is set in a world where Christmas – among other things – is obsolete and a Clock is what keeps the fragile balance of peace. Written in three installments, this is the breathtaking and sensual story of how two unlikely people change the world, and each other, one book at a time. Immerse yourself into the icy cold world of this scorching hot new novel.

 

My Thoughts:

Ok, so I read Ruined by this author and absolutely loved it. I had high expectations for this book, No Ordinary Star, and they were definitely met! What I loved most about it was the fact that the entire story physically took place in one setting. However, Frank was able to create an entire world through it. The unraveling of the history and current ways of the world kept me on the edge of my seat. (I won’t say too much as not to give away the story!)

The character development of the main two characters was incredible. I constantly needed to know more about them because the concept of their upbringing was fascinating. People were basically mechanical and the development of love being found again kept me wanting more.

Also, I love diving deeper into the meaning of why a story is written. Something that I got out of this book was how humans crave control. And when we take action and feed into that control it can lead to devastating consequences. In the book’s sake, those consequences led to a life of no feelings, no emotions, and no one was allowed think for themselves, etc. That choice was taken away from them. It was a mechanical world. I’ve had many conversations where people question me about my faith in God. They say, “If God is perfect then why did He create sin?” Well, this book is a perfect example of what my answer is to that question. Without good and evil, there is nothing. Without love and hate, there is nothing. A lack of choice makes everything mechanical. And my answer is that God’s love is so strong that He lets us choose our own paths in life. And if He didn’t, the world would be one big puppet. (We just have to be careful not to try and control everything!) 😉

Now that I’ve gone all psychological and spiritual on you, I’ll stop ;P But I love books that make me think and find a deeper meaning. I’m not sure if Frank intended for that to be the message, but that is what I got from it. So I want to thank MC Frank for sending me this copy of No Ordinary Star. I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to read the next installment! Please go check out this book, I promise you that you will very much enjoy it.

~Ruined~ Book Review

Name: Ruined

Author: M.C. Frank

Rating: 4.5

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Summary from the back of the book:

The duke of Ashton sits at the opera at Vauxhall Gardens, bored out of his mind, and plans murder. He curses the day that brought the little governess, destitute and sad, at his door eight months ago, to upset his careless if a bit meaningless existence. How could he have guessed the terrible, evil secrets she was hiding? And now that he knows all, the truth appears wilder, even more despicable than even he could have imagined. He hadn’t counted on losing his heart to her, of course, but he did. What he doesn’t know is that a tendril of the shadows of madness and sin that followed Beatrice to his door is still out there, looking for something to devour. The only one who can save him from the darkness is the girl herself, but he knows he’ll never see her again. He who once prided himself on his indifference to other human beings, feels his chest constrict with pain every time he even thinks of her. Beatrice, smart, gentle, kind-hearted, lovely. Ruined. A perfect blend of darkness and light, this Regency reverse retelling of Jane Eyre will break your heart as well as uplift it.

My Thoughts:

I was so surprised at how much I loved this book. I haven’t read Jane Eyre so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this book just blew me away with everything from its writing down to the overall message. If I’m honest, it started out a little bit confusing for me. I don’t know if it was because I was distracted or what, but it was difficult to grab hold of the characters in the first chapter. ( I sometimes have a rough time starting new books and grasping the new characters in my mind – so that had nothing to do with this particular book, just my own mind not working correctly haha) However, once Beatrice was introduced, the story took off and I could not get enough of it; and as the story was developed, the opening chapter fully made sense to me!

The character development was incredible. Beatrice was revealed bit by bit of her intense background and personality. It was devastating and humbling. Dominic was also revealed bit by bit about his background and personality. His was heartbreaking and eye opening. Together, their story was devastatingly beautiful, while offering a true sense of hope. [It reminded me that no matter what hurt our past holds, we should never fully close ourselves off to opening our hearts to new people. You never know what that person can add to your life!]

There were twists and turns in the story that I didn’t see coming and it kept me flipping pages late into the night until I finished it. I highly recommend this book and I really look forward to reading more from this incredibly talented author!

Thank you so much M.C. for sending this to me for review. I will cherish this story for a long time!!

~TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY~ Book Review

Name: TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY

Author: Jay Asher

Rating: 5

Summary from the back of the book:

You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret…is to press play.
Clay Jensen doesn’t want anything to do with the tapes Hannah Baker made. Hannah is dead. Her secrets should be buried with her.
Then Hannah’s voice tells Clay that his name is on her tapes – and that he is, in some way, responsible for her death.
All through the night, Clay keeps listening. He follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his small town…
…and what he discovers changes his life forever.

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My Thoughts:

This. Book. I was honestly hesitant to read it at first because it was another book about suicide. There have quite a number of books that I’ve read on this topic and some of them I really didn’t like because it came off like it was almost glorifying the character’s decision of committing suicide. Thankfully, this book was not like that and I am so glad I read it. It was a very intense read and obviously dealt with a heavy topic. However, it really made you think about how you’re living your life. Are you living it in your own bubble, making sure you’re doing everything for yourself and not paying attention to anyone else? Or are you paying attention to others and loving them as best you can and making an effort to truly get to know them? Now, I’m not saying that every bad thing someone decides to do is preventable. That would be an impossibility, but what I am saying is that it’s important to make sure we are giving our time to others and not just to ourselves.

Okay, back to the book. It was impeccably written. I won’t give away too many specifics, but it switched back and forth between the point of view of two characters and it was very easy to follow. Even aside from the font switching, I could tell when the character would switch. The character development was beautiful and I got really attached to Hannah and Clay.

Sidenote: I read this book in two days only because I didn’t have time to read it in one. That’s how amazing it was. It was suspenseful, happy, sad, infuriating, and devastating. I also feel like it is an important read and I definitely recommend it to anyone high school age and up.

~Meet Your Baker~ Book Review

Name: Meet Your Baker

Author: Ellie Alexander

Rating: 4.5

Summary from the back of the book:

Welcome to Torte – a friendly, small-town family bake shop where the treats are so good that, sometimes, it’s criminal…

After graduating from culinary school, Juliet Capshaw returns to her quaint hometown of Ashland, Oregon, to heal a broken heart and help her mom at the family bakery. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is bringing in lots of tourists looking for some crumpets to go with their heroic couplets. But when one of Torte’s customers turns up dead, there’s much ado about murder…

The victim is Nancy Hudson, the festival’s newest board member. A modern-day Lady Macbeth, Nancy has given more than a few actors and artists enough reasons to kill her…but still. The silver lining? Jules’s high school sweetheart, Thomas, is the investigator on the case. His flirtations are as delicious as ever, and Jules can’t help but want to have her cake and eat it too. Murder might be bad for business, but love is the sweetest treat of all…

 

My Thoughts:

I don’t think I’ve ever read a murder mystery series! So this was a great one to start off with. It was deliciously addicting! The characters were wonderfully written and I’m still so attached to them. (I’ve only read the first book in a series of 6.) Jules is very relatable and I need to find out how her life turns out!!  And I’m totally rooting for Thomas…swoon ❤ !! I also love the relationship between her and her mother…it’s very real and sweet. The setting was created wonderfully. I so badly want to go visit Torte! Too bad it doesn’t exist :/

It was a fast pace book and easily kept my attention throughout. I couldn’t put it down because I had to find out what happened next! Not only was it a fun mystery to try and solve, but it had delicious recipes throughout the entire book. I love baking and I haven’t in a while so this inspired me to bake again soon! It also made me very hungry while I was reading haha

I’m currently reading the second book, A Batter of Life and Death and loving it just as much as the first one. I can’t wait to read the rest of them! Thank you to Ellie Alexander for sending these books to me for review! ❤ I highly recommend them!!

~Unwritten Melody~ Book Review

Name: Unwritten Melody

Author: Tessa Emily Hall

Rating: 4

Summary from the back of the book:

Does breaking free require breaking the rules?
Cassie Gilbert lives every day in the shadows of her deceased mom’s rebellion. But now that she’s seventeen, she finds herself longing to break away from her grandmother’s suffocating rules, experience what it’s like to be a regular teenager, and fulfill her songwriting dreams.
James Russo, former American Spotlight contestant, escapes to small town Willow Creek, SC hoping to flee from his tarnished past. When a school project pairs him with the shy principal’s granddaughter, he’s determined to get to know this Emily-Dickinson-obsessed and typewriter-using girl. His plan? Convince Cassie to co-write songs for his demo album.
As Cassie gets to know James over “project meetings” (more like opportunities to match her lyrics with his melodies), she becomes intrigued by his sense of adventure and contagious passion for music. But soon, his past becomes exposed. Cassie’s left to wonder—did she make the same mistake Mom did by falling for the bad boy?
Then, Grandma’s control pushes her over the edge. Cassie must choose between remaining in the chains of yesterday, or delving into her own freedom by completing the melody her mom left behind.

My Thoughts:

I’ll start off by saying that I loved this book! It started out so sweet and the character development was great. I quickly became attached to all of the characters. As the book unraveled and the plot thickened I was surprised at how deep it got. I wasn’t expecting that!! But I loved it because my mind loves delving into topics that are difficult to talk about. I won’t go too much into what the book is about but I will say this. It portrayed the love of a parent/grandparent so well. It’s so tough because as a parent, all you want to do is protect your children from harm. However, sometimes keeping them “caged in” can do more harm than good. I’ll stop there because I don’t want to give away any of the book! You’ll have to get it to find out for yourself what happens 😉

Great job, Tessa and thank you so much for sending it to me for review!! I highly recommend that everyone read this.

~Countryside~ Book Review

Name: Countryside & The Tears of Adina

Author: J.T. Cope IV

Rating: 5

Summary from the back of the book:

Countryside:

“You have a power within you, one that is within everyone…It’s the same power that fills that building, that keeps that tree alive…and the same power that has attracted your attention…I know it’s all a bit strange to you, but I assure you it is quite real…”
Eleven-year-old Luke Rayburn has never seen a skyline without skyscrapers or fallen asleep to anything but the sound of traffic. But his life is about to change in ways he never imagined. When his father leaves for a year of military service, Luke and the rest of his family move into their grandparents’ home in the remote town of Countryside, a place like no other. Reachable only by a mysterious traveling tunnel and horse-drawn carriage, centaurs roam the landscape and shadowy wraiths slip among the trees.
There, Luke will be drawn into a centuries-old quest for an almost-forgotten book whose secrets will determine the fate of the world. He will have to reach deep to discover the power within him as he battles the forces of darkness and an alliance of sinister men who seek to destroy any who get in their way.
Luke’s only hope is to find the book before they do, but to do so he’ll need help from someone he never expected as the forces of evil come to bear on the magical world of Countryside.

Tears of Adina:

Luke Rayburn has spent summer vacation running up and down sandy beaches with his family. He’s explored hidden coves, learned how to write invisible letters, and even met an ocean nymph. But his friends write to tell him of strange happenings in Countryside and he’s anxious to get back.
When Luke returns, he finds that much has changed. Mischievous gnomes are spreading chaos across the valley, a lone wolf haunts the forests, and Mayeem, one of Luke’s new teachers, just happens to be a mermaid. And then there’s the hunter, a man with golden eyes, only part of a soul and the belief that Luke has hidden something he wants—something he’s willing to destroy Countryside in order to get.
Hounded by blackhearted men and soulless creatures and with darkness luring him in, Luke must gather his wits and ferret out his true friends. But as he draws close to finding what it is the hunter seeks, he will learn that there is more at stake than he understands. He’ll learn that it’s not the hunter he should be afraid of and that, once done, some things cannot be undone.

 

My Thoughts:

First off, I want to say how refreshing it was to read a series that has morals behind it. There were underlying lessons throughout the two books that taught respect, on a very noticeable level. As someone who teaches young children (dance, but I’m still around children on a daily basis), it is rare to see respect anymore and I would be more than willing to have any child read this series even just for that aspect! It is an exciting story and I loved that not only would it be safe for young ones to read, but it would actually be teaching them on multiple levels as well.

Now onto the actual story-line of Countryside…I cannot stress enough how much I loved it. The first book was very much about character development and introducing the whole plot line. The friendship that was formed between the main characters was fun to follow and it only strengthened throughout the book. It was fantastic. The second book did an even better job of character development. There are a LOT of characters but it was very easy to follow. Cope did an amazing job of introducing each one and giving them their own specific traits so it didn’t get confusing between any of them. Also, the suspense of what was developing in the plot kept me flipping through the pages!! There is a strong sense of good and evil throughout the story and I just loved the Biblical-spiritual parallel. (It’s not an in-your-face Biblical parallel, but I did see it and it was awesome and inspiring!!)

As a person in her late 20’s, I highly recommend this series – to older and younger readers alike. If I’m correct, there is a plan for it to be a 7 book series and I am anxiously awaiting for the rest of them to be written 😉 Cope has such a gift because to create the world of Countryside takes some major talent! If you are a fan of Harry Potter, Narnia, and/or Percy Jackson this series is definitely for you!