Monday, March 28, 2011

By Love or By Sea by Rachel Rager

Genre: Historical Fiction-Romance
Publication Date: April 2009

One Word Review: Good

Author Website: www.rachelrager.com

GoodReads Synopsis: Alice Lind Frank never forgot the boy she loved when she was just six years old, even after he was lost at sea. Now a young woman, Alice has found happiness in living and working with her grandparents, and in the affections of Clarence Hielott, the wealthy shipyard owner who intends to make Alice his bride. When a ragged sailor appears in town, Alice is reminded of the young boy who once held her heart. Upon learning that the sailor is in fact her childhood love, Caleb, she finds herself yearning to trust him again. But Clarence refuses to let this ghost from the past destroy his plans for the future. He exposes the secrets of Caleb's past and Alice realizes that the boy she once knew is now a man with a dark history.


Kathy’s Review: I’ve been wanting to read this one for a long time. While I enjoyed the story, it didn’t really sweep me off my feet. I liked our heroine Alice. She had a nice mix of spunk and sweetness. I liked the side story between her and old Betsy Winters. Caleb was a good leading man, although I would have liked a little more tension with the love triangle. Speaking of Alice's other love intrest Clarence, his character was a little disappointing. I never got the feeling that he was really a bad guy. We’re told certain things, but I just didn’t feel it. I was a little confused with Caleb’s relationship to royalty. It seemed like a storyline that was thrown in for convenience sake and wasn’t really explained. It just seems like if he was really related to royalty his family would have held a different position.


There were a couple problems I had with the book. First, I had no clue where the story was taking place. It wasn’t until about 125 pages that China and England were mentioned and I finally figured out it was suppose to take place somewhere in reality. I also had no clue when the story was suppose to be, I could tell by a few things that it was suppose to be a long time ago, but I would have liked a little time frame to work with.


Bookworm Rating: 3.5, G

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Peasant Queen by Cheri Chesley

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: December 2010
One Word Review: Disappointing
Author Website: www.cherichesley.com

GoodReads Synopsis: After running away from home, Krystal is transported to a faraway kingdom where an evil tyrant is bent on taking the crown - and Krystal's hand in marriage. But when she falls in love with the rightful heir to the throne, she must make an impossible choice: sacrifice her one chance at happiness or face the destruction of an entire kingdom.

Kathy’s Review (contains spoilers): I really hate writing negative reviews, but as I sit down to write this I’m having a hard time thinking of positive things to say. My biggest problem with the book was the dialog. It was unrealistic, awkward and choppy. None of the conversations sounded like they would take place in the real world. My next problem was that Krystal was just too lucky, everything happened easily for her. For example, her escape and rescue of the prince not only happened very easily, but really quickly. No planning was done, no prep work, both just happened too easily. Lastly, the supposedly super evil King Gregory just came across as a spoiled little child. There was nothing scary about him; he was more laughable than frightening. He would throw temper tantrums when he didn’t get his way, was way to forgiving of Krystal’s behavior and his personality was not consistent. The writing was okay, but could have been better.

I will say that I liked the overall idea for the story, and aside from the above criticisms the story did move along quickly and was clean. Since I liked the story I am wavering between giving this a 2 or a 3, but I went with a 2 because I had to force myself to keep reading instead of being sucked into the story.

Bookworm Rating: 2, G

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Pirate Ruse by Marcia L McClure

Genre: Historical Fiction-Romance
Publication Date: October 2010
One Word Review: Great
Author Website: www.marcialynnmcclure.com

Kathy’s Review
: This is my favorite McClure book! I love a good pirate story and thought she did a great job creating a realistic storyline with very likable characters. I admit, sometimes I find her books a little cheesy with too much focus on romance on not enough on plot. That wasn’t the case here, there was a good back story and while there was still a great romance there was a lot of other things going on as well. I really liked Cristabel, she stood up for herself and didn't fall for the charms of the very handsome pirate Navarrone, at least not right away. Navarrone was a great character as well and their relationship moved at a believable pace. I had a hard time putting the book down; I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be re-reading it. If you haven't read a McClure book before, I would recommend starting with this one.

Bookworm Rating: 5, PG

Similar Reads:
The Guise of a Gentleman by Donna Hatch
To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker
The Pirate and the Puritan by Mary Clayton
Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mark of Royalty by Jennifer Clark & Stephonie Williams

Genre: YA Fairytale
Publication Date: February 2010
One Word Review: Okay

GoodReads Synopsis: At a time when royal infants are marked at birth, a royal advisor makes a terrible misstep—and an infant princess must be secreted away to save her life. Named Sarah by Miranda, the woman who agrees to raise the child as her own, the girl is unaware of her royal heritage—even though Miranda has done all she can to pair Sarah with the king’s nephew, Lord Chad. But unexpected events prevent the expected betrothal. Determined to fulfill her devoted mother’s wishes, Sarah reserves her heart for Chad despite her growing affections for another man. But as plots against the crown unfold, someone accidentally discovers Sarah’s mark of royalty—setting the stage for discoveries that will shake the kingdom to its core.

Kathy’s Review: I thought this was a cute story; it had a kind of fairytale feel to it. The story moved along quickly and kept me interested. It actually reminded me of a couple other books I’ve read. Where there is a princess who is in disguise for one reason or another. This book ended up going a different direction than I was expecting, and I liked that while it was predictable, it was still unexpected. I liked the main character Sarah and her love interest Alex. I thought they were cute together. Sarah goes through the story not knowing her true heritage, which I thought was interesting. It was a fun, entertaining read.

There were just a few things that I didn’t like, or could have been improved. First, I had no idea when this story was supposed to take place. It mentioned real places such as France and Spain, but I didn’t know if they were supposed to be real characters or what timeframe the story was taking place. I also felt that about halfway through the book some of the characters (Chad, Felicia and Clyde especially) started acting out of character. I could understand the change in Clyde, but the other two just did a 180. Chad had been a loving, close friend to Sarah throughout and then all of the sudden he become a villain? I would have liked a little more build up for that kind of change. Felicia just seemed really fickle, her character shows up randomly throughout and each time she almost acts like a different person. The other problem I had was more of a personal pet peeve. There were multiple POV throughout the story which in my opinion interrupts the flow and prevents you from really getting attached to just one or two characters. I don’t mind if a story switches POV from chapter to chapter, but not during the chapter with multiple POV throughout.

Bookworm Rating: 3, G

Similar Reads:
The Decoy Princess by Dawn Cook
The False Princess by Eilies O’Neal
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Seer and the Sword by Victoria Hanley

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Babies, Babies, Babies

Here is an update for those who follow my blog. The end of January my precious twins were born. It was a very difficult delivery, but the end result was worth it. We are so happy to have them here! Our family has grown rather fast! It has gone from zero kids to three in less then 9 months! They are definitely keeping me busy, but I'm still squeezing in time to read (reading is probably helping me keep my sanity). Below are just a couple pictures of our sweeties.

Ashley & Austin (1 week old)
Austin, Josh, and Ashley (Twins are a week old, Josh is 7 months)



The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Genre: YA Historical Ficion
Publication Date: January 2011
One Word Review: Good
Author Website: www.eilisoneal.com

GoodReads Synopsis: Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known. Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Kathy’s Review: I enjoyed this one, but admit I went into it thinking I would like it more than I did. The last book I read was pretty fast paced and kept me glued to the pages. This one was a little slower paced, but not boring. There was a lot of detail and world building with bits of action here and there. The story and writing reminded me a bit of Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, which is a favorite of mine. The False Princess was unique and had a few twists that I didn’t see coming. I actually really liked the idea of Sinda, being raised as a princess her whole life and then suddenly finding out that she was a stand-in. She was sent out into the world and had to rediscover who she really is. I liked the growth she went through and confidence she gained in herself and her abilities. Her best friend and potential love-interst Kiernan was an enjoyable character. He brought a little lightheartedness to the story, which was nice. He is loyal to Sinda and while I liked their friendship, it was a little hard for me to see a romantic relationship. On the otherhand, I love when characters are friends and really know each other before a romantic relationship begins. I think it’s a great foundation for true love. I enjoyed the story and will be on the lookout for more books by Ellis O’Neal!

Bookworm Rating: 4

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergen

Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: February 2011
One Word Review: Great
Author Website: www.lisatawnbergen.com

GoodReads Synopsis: In Waterfall, American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in sixteenth-century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the sixteenth-century—and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.

Kathy’s Review: Loved it!

I guess I need to write more than that. I read the book synopsis and thought this sounded like a fun adventure. There had been some great reviews and I thought I’d give it a try. So around 3 AM (I was up feeding my twins) I downloaded a sample to my Kindle. It was a bad idea to start the book at that time, I ended up wanting to stay up and read instead of getting some sleep. Sleep won out, but I soon started again once I was up for the day. I’ve spent most of the day reading, being sucked into the story until I just finished. I really wish I had the next book on hand!

I really liked our heroine Gabi. She was not only pretty, but smart, tough and just likable. The author did a great job explaining Gabi’s abilities with the sword and working it into the story. I also thought Gabi’s transition from our time to the fourteenth century to be realistic. And of course I’m a sucker for a good love story, which brings me to Marcello. *sigh* I am definitely on Team Marcello. I liked that their relationship wasn’t the whole story. There were a lot of other things going on and things between them also felt realistic. I’m a sucker for his best friend Luca as well.

This is the first in a long time, where I was actually happy this was going to be a trilogy. I love the characters and can’t wait to see what happens next.

Bookworm Rating: 5


Reading Order:
Book One: Waterfall
Book Two: Cascade (June 2011)
Book Three: Torrent (September 2011)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: September 2010
One Word Review: Good
Author Website: www.sophiejordan.net

First Line: “Gazing out at the quiet lake, I know the risk is worth it.”

GoodReads Synopsis: Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form. Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Kathy’s Review: Hmm, I’m wavering between a 3 and a 4 on this one. I got sucked in right from the start; the first part was kind of exciting and new. About halfway through I got a little…bored. Not sure if that’s the right word, I still liked the story and characters, but got a little restless with Jacinda wavering between Will being dangerous and needing to stay away and Will being her only hope and can’t keep herself away. I know on some level they are both drawn to each other and have very intense feelings. BUT, not only does it seem too fast, but also unsubstantiated. They hardly speak and yet are totally in love. I don’t know, I have a hard time believing in couples when there hasn’t been much interaction between them. I guess I don’t believe in the “love at first sight” myth. Having said that, I do like Will. I think he is a good leading man and I can see why she likes him right away. I also like Cassian, he has the whole Alpha Male thing going for him. The ending, if you can call it that, was a bit abrupt. I would have liked a little more things tied up. It left me hanging and wanting to get my hands on the next book…so I guess that’s a good thing. Overall, I enjoyed the book quite a bit. The writing is well done and the characters are interesting, the story is original and I’m excited to see what happens next.

Bookworm Rating: 4

Reading Order:
Book One: Firelight
Book Two: Vanish
Book Three:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Firelight

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It is open to anyone and is a fun way to get a taste of different books. The rules are simple and everyone is welcome to participate.

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. Be careful NOT to include spoilers (you don’t want to ruin the book for others.)
5. Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to the TBR lists if they like your teaser.
6. After completing your post, return to Should Be Reading and add a link in their “comment” section.

Firelight
By Sophie Jordan
Page 161

“I can forget him. Turn off everything I’m feeling. I can. I will. He’s too dangerous for me to be around.”


 
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