A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.
March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.
June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.
Sparkling with charm and full of captivating period detail,Letters from Skye is a testament to the power of love to overcome great adversity, and marks Jessica Brockmole as a stunning new literary voice.
Letters From Skye was unbearably lovely from the very first page. I loved that it was written all in letters, and that it still managed to be a dual timeline novel. That seems tricky! It made the book focused while still remaining detailed within the letters themselves. The voices were so distinct and I loved the unraveling of the mystery and the blossoming of the romance. It’s a wonderful, quick read that is emotional and thought provoking (I almost cried a couple times), while the early letters contain quite a bit of humor. The story is very charming, full of family relationships & friendships, as well as romance. I highly recommend for historical fiction fans.
Riley Logan and Travis Grayson have been best friends for the last fifteen years. She would do anything for him, go anywhere for him...and she has, countless times. Except now. Now he's asking for too much. Their friendship has reached a breaking point and she doesn't know how to go back. But as Travis' personal assistant, Riley spends her every waking moment by his side. When a fractured ankle puts Travis' BMX career on hold he's given more downtime than he knows what to do with. Always one for excitement, he agrees to become the bachelor on a televised dating show, but only if Riley goes in undercover to help weed through the girls. What was supposed to be eight weeks of freedom has turned into eight weeks of hell surrounded by desperate girls all vying for Travis' attention. He promised her the show would be smooth sailing. He promised he would listen to her advice on which girls should be eliminated. But now he's breaking those promises and getting way too close to the girl Riley despises the most. She shouldn't care. Except she does. Much to her surprise there is one girl she wants Travis to choose... Her. Will she get what she wants, or will Riley lose her best friend along with getting her heart broken on national television?
As y’all know, I love a good “from friendship to dating” tale! That combined with The Bachelor – well it was a good read! I’m a huge fan of friends to lovers because there’s so much more history between the characters. Nothing feels forced or “insta” and that causes for a stronger and more believable connection.
This is the story of Travis, a pro bmx rider, and Riley, his best friend of 15 years and his personal assistant. While taking a break from riding, Travis is offered to star as a bachelor in a new reality tv show. He’ll only accept the offer if Riley comes along and helps him weed out the bad girls. Riley reluctantly agrees and in doing so she not only joins Travis, but goes undercover as one of the contestants vying for Travis’ love. In that process, the dynamic between our two main characters begins to shift and they are left trying to figure out what to do about their feelings since, as the old saying goes, the show must go on.
I felt for Riley because she had the tough job of having to balance being honest with Travis about the girls without coming off as petty to viewers. When the show ended, her life would still be impacted by what the audience thought of her. As feelings began to emerge it really threw the course of the show for a spin and, as a viewer, I would’ve totally been rooting her! I like that the author had Riley build the onscreen friendships she did because it added to the plot and kept Choose Us from being solely based on the love story. The friendships were strong and that kept me wondering how those friendships would hold up when the girls found out who Riley really was.
One of my favorite things about Caylie Marcoe‘s writing style was her detailed description of scenes! She truly did an amazing job at describing in great detail the different settings and it really helped to visualize the story as it was happening.
My pet peeve with Choose Us was with Riley’s character and how difficult she could be at times. I understood the predicament she was in, but the tantrums she’d throw just seemed a bit much at times. Granted, I could never go through the process of a tv show like The Bachelor, but if I somehow found myself in her situation then I would have placed more trust in my bestfriend.
All in all, this was a good quick read and I think those that would enjoy it most are my fellow The Bachelor fans. This concept of having someone on the inside really peaked my interest! There are SO many times when us viewers get to see the true colors of contestants and it’s mind boggling how the bachelor/bachelorette continues to keep them around. A season with this kind of a twist would be super interesting to watch!
Sienna Murphy never does anything without a plan. And so far her plans have been working. Right after college, she got a prestigious job and gained the stability she'd always craved-until work takes her to the sun-drenched shores of Oahu and places her in the path of sexy surfer Luke Everett. For the first time, she lets her heart take control. Drawn to his carefree charm, she makes a spontaneous and very un-Sienna-like decision to drop everything and stay in Hawaii for two more weeks.
Luke lives fast and wild. When he meets Sienna, he's convinced that some no-strings-attached fun is just what she needs. As their nights quickly turn from playful to passionate, Luke can't deny the deep connection he feels. But there's a reason Luke doesn't do long-term. He can't promise Sienna forever, when the enormity of his past has shown him just how fragile the future can be . . .
This story is told from the alternating POVs of Sienna, a 22 yr old successful event coordinator from California, and Luke, a 24 year old surfer/thrill seeker living in Hawaii. The two meet while Sienna is working a wedding in Oahu, Hawaii! I’ve been wanting to travel to Hawaii for what seems like forever now so I was really excited to read all about it!
After meeting Luke, Sienna knows that just a couple of hours is not nearly enough time and she makes the decision to cash in on her saved up vacation time. She decides to stay an extra 2 weeks and make the most out of her time getting to know Luke better.
Side Note: Coincidentally, right before I started reading this book I had been obsessing over the Investigation Discovery channel so I could’ve sworn Sienna’s body was going to wash up on shore and a big murder mystery would ensue! ha ha
Spoiler Alert: No such murder occurs and Sienna lives!
I was able to extremely relate to their love story because I too have dated the guy I met while on vacation and extended my visit! Having said that, I couldn’t really connect to the characters themselves. Sienna seemed to only value herself by the size of her bank account and few things put me off in a person more than that. As for Luke, I didn’t really get what the big deal was with him being a thrill seeker. That part of the plot was heavily played up and it just didn’t seem like anything too crazy. He was skydiving, for God’s sake, not jumping off a plane while wearing a Target grocery bag for a parachute.
I honestly think I would’ve enjoyed The Moment of Letting Go a lot more if it hadn’t dragged on for so long with nothing really happening. However, if you’re the kind of reader that likes tons of detail than this might be a cute contemporary that you’d enjoy!
Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.
Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of. And though she can’t talk to him, they soon forge a connection neither of them can deny…and Kahlen doesn’t want to.
Falling in love with a human breaks all the Ocean’s rules, and if the Ocean discovers Kahlen’s feelings, she’ll be forced to leave Akinli for good. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart.
First of all, YAY for finally finding a book that ended my book slump!! I had started quite a few books since the beginning of February, but I hadn’t found one that interested me enough to read all the way through. That is, until The Siren! This was the first book ever written by Kiera Cass, author of The Selection series.
This is a story about 19 year old Kahlen, who is in a shipwreck and is meant to drown. In the process, she begs to survive and the Ocean decides to spare her under one condition: she must live out a sentence of 100 years serving as a siren. As a siren, Kahlen is expected to sing when told to do so by the Ocean which will cause people to become mesmerized and drown.
I’ve always been really intrigued by mermaids so I instantly knew I would really enjoy the fantasy aspect of this story. Sirens are a darker spin on your typical mermaid. According to Wikipedia: In Greek mythology, the Sirens were dangerous yet beautiful creatures, who lured nearby sailors with their enchanting music and voices to shipwreck on the rocky coast of their island. I was really excited to see how this would all play out!
When I first read the plot summary, my initial thought was that our main character would be living in total isolation and have zero contact with others. I was very pleasantly surprised that Kahlen is actually part of a group of 3-4 sirens who live and “work” together. Although we did get a back story for each one of the girls, I still didn’t really connect with any. The characters were all pretty one dimensional, but I still really enjoyed watching the bond they shared and how loyal they were to each other. In The Siren, the Ocean plays a character as well and although that might weird out a few, I really did dig it! I’ve always thought of the ocean as breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s vastness scares me. This story forced me to see the ocean as lonely and that took away some of the fear!
As you guys know, I love me some traveling and this book gave me lots of that! My favorite place was the little town of Port Clyde, Maine. I’ve been dying to visit Maine for ages and this book set a perfect scene of what I’m looking forward to!
My biggest problem with this book was the love interest, Akinli. I liked him as a character, but I didn’t swoon over their insta-love. I was also very thrown off by how accepting his family was of Kahlen even though she’d arrive under the weirdest of circumstances. It seemed very unlikely that a real family would react as welcoming as they did. I wish those scenes would have been written better as opposed to just fitting together because that’s what made the story flow.
Overall, this was a great fantasy story that has peaked my interest even more on mythical creatures and I’m looking forward to more stories like it. Please let me know if you have any recommendations in the comments below!
Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant—despite having never had sex—her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him. As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible—and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.
When I read the premise of Immaculate I just had to get my hands on the book. An immaculate conception in present day? I was curious to see how this would go. Seventeen year old Mina is a virgin and she’s pregnant. Of course, everyone thinks she’s lying. Her friends and family turn on her, her boyfriend breaks up with her, and her perfect life starts to fall to pieces. I really loved the topic of this book because it made me think. If someone you knew told you this story would you believe them?
Mina is a good girl, she follows the rules, gets good grades, and never does anything reckless. One day an old woman comes into the restaurant where Mina works as a waitress and starts to tell her about her future and the baby she will have. Mina writes the old lady off as crazy and goes on with her life. A few weeks later Mina finds out she’s pregnant and maybe that old lady wasn’t so crazy after all.
Going into this book I thought it would be religious or preachy but it wasn’t at all. Mina is not religious and the book focuses more on having faith in things and believing in miracles. Mina goes through many ups and downs , she has to have faith that all this is happening for a reason and that it all means something.
I felt awful for Mina while I was reading. She goes through so much and so many people she trusts turn on her, even members of her family. The people at school make fun of her, her ex thinks she betrayed him, and even some of her best friends turn their backs on her. It’s hard to read sometimes because people are so awful to Mina. People she doesn’t even know feel the need to have input on her and the baby’s life. On the other hand, I can understand why people are so doubtful and unbelieving. If someone told me the same story I’m not sure I’d believe them. That disbelief and curiosity go to some extremes in this book. People are determined to find out if Mina’s lying and it’s really crazy how perfect strangers get so invested and involved in what’s going on with Mina and the baby.
My biggest problem with this book is the ending. I just wanted more. I felt like there was a lot more we needed to know and so many answers we never got. It was a really emotional book and the ending just felt very flat and vague. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book and the characters. Mina was a great protagonist and I was rooting for her the whole time. I really liked this book and the message it sends. It wasn’t too preachy or religious, it focuses more on family, bullying, friendships, and how to stand up for your beliefs.
A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer.
Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless.
When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup truck, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose.
At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before.
The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive.
Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.
Ruthless is a story about survival. It will keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through. Ruth Carver wakes up blindfolded, in the bed of a moving truck and has no idea how she got there or where she’s going. When the truck finally stops and her blindfold is removed she realizes a creepy farmhand she asked her father to fire has abducted her. Now the guy she calls “The Wolfman” wants to punish her and get some payback for what she did. Ruth has to figure out how to stay alive and get away from him.
Ruth is strong and manages to figure out a lot of things while she’s being held captive. She realizes The Wolfman has done this before to other girls and she vows not to end up like them. Ruth really uses her head and manages to keep it together during this ordeal. I loved how smart she was and how she was determined to get through this, she did not let herself give up. This is one of those stories that really scares you because you have no idea how you would react if you were in it yourself. I have no idea if I could be as brave as her if I was in that situation.
This book also lets us see into The Wolfman’s world, we see what it was like for him growing up and it adds to the creepy factor. This guy is such a creep, we get little glimpses of why he felt the need to go after Ruth. It’s easy to see how he got so damaged and the twisted logic he uses to fuel his actions.
It was hard to put this book down, I kept telling myself “just one more chapter” and next thing I know it’s two in the morning and I’m done with the book. Like I said, this is a story about survival, not only does Ruth have to survive The Wolfman, she has to survive the unfamiliar wilderness she finds herself in. There were so many moments where Ruth could have given up and she almost does, but every time she finds a way to move forward and keep fighting. Ruth may not have been the nicest girl before all this happens but she didn’t deserve what The Wolfman planned for her and she refuses to let him win.
Ruthless is an amazing psychological thriller that keeps you engaged the whole way through. This definitely isn’t for younger readers and is a little scary because this situation could happen to anyone. This is an intriguing story about a girl who gets caught by a monster and she refuses to let herself be his next victim. If you love a good thriller and mystery I would definitely pick this up.
Twenty years ago, all the evil villains were banished from the kingdom of Auradon and made to live in virtual imprisonment on the Isle of the Lost. The island is surrounded by a magical force field that keeps the villains and their descendants safely locked up and away from the mainland. Life on the island is dark and dreary. It is a dirty, decrepit place that's been left to rot and forgotten by the world.
But hidden in the mysterious Forbidden Fortress is a dragon's eye: the key to true darkness and the villains' only hope of escape. Only the cleverest, evilest, nastiest little villain can find it...who will it be?
Maleficent, Mistress of the Dark: As the self-proclaimed ruler of the isle, Maleficent has no tolerance for anything less than pure evil. She has little time for her subjects, who have still not mastered life without magic. Her only concern is getting off the Isle of the Lost.
Mal: At sixteen, Maleficent's daughter is the most talented student at Dragon Hall, best known for her evil schemes. And when she hears about the dragon's eye, Mal thinks this could be her chance to prove herself as the cruelest of them all.
Evie: Having been castle-schooled for years, Evil Queen's daughter, Evie, doesn't know the ins and outs of Dragon Hall. But she's a quick study, especially after she falls for one too many of Mal's little tricks.
Jay: As the son of Jafar, Jay is a boy of many talents: stealing and lying to name a few. Jay and Mal have been frenemies forever and he's not about to miss out on the hunt for the dragon's eye.
Carlos: Cruella de Vil's son may not be bravest, but he's certainly clever. Carlos's inventions may be the missing piece in locating the dragon's eye and ending the banishment for good.
Mal soon learns from her mother that the dragon's eye is cursed and whoever retrieves it will be knocked into a deep sleep for a thousand years. But Mal has a plan to capture it. She'll just need a little help from her "friends." In their quest for the dragon's eye, these kids begin to realize that just because you come from an evil family tree, being good ain't so bad.
The Isle of the Lost follows the children of Disney’s meanest villains. The villains and their children have been banished to an island and trapped under a dome so they can never leave. The “good” Disney characters like Belle, Beast, Sleep Beauty, and all their children live across the river in Auradon. The story follows Mal, Maleficent’s daughter, Jay, son of Jafar, Carlos, son of Cruella de Vil, and Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen. On the island these kids are learning to be just as bad as their parents.
The book is a really fun read especially for those who love fairy tales and shows like Once Upon a Time. This is a new take on the lives of our favorite villains, and even better we get to see what their children are like. The kids of the villains try their hardest to be just as wicked as their parents to make them proud. Just because these Disney villains have kids don’t think they’ve gone soft. They are just as bad as they were in their stories and are doing their best to make their kids just like them. Mal, Carlos, Jay, and Evie all have interesting dynamics with their parents. These villains aren’t exactly the warm and fuzzy types, and all of the kids are just dying for their parents’ approval.
I really enjoyed seeing the adventures and schemes that the kids got up to. They go through quite a change during the book and learn that they don’t always have to do everything on their own and they don’t have to be like their parents. They all start to become a little more comfortable in their own skin.
We also meet Ben, the son of Belle and Beast, the future king of Auradon. Ben is conflicted because he doesn’t know if he’ll be as good of a leader as his father. He starts to wonder about the way the kingdom is run, and questioning whether or not his father’s way is really the right way. I loved the glimpses into Auradon. All these characters are supposed to be living their “Happily Ever Afters” but nothing can ever be perfect. There are many citizens of Auradon who are not happy with the way things are.
When I finished the book I realized that it’s a prequel to a Disney Channel movie “The Descendants” since I liked the book so much I will probably check out the movie too. Just to see what Mal, Jay, Evie, and Carlos are up to.
Another note, if you get the chance to listen to the audiobook, do it! The narrator is great, she has that dramatic fairy tale voice that really draws you into the story.
About Melissa de la Cruz
MELISSA DE LA CRUZ is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling series Blue Bloods, which has three million copies in print. She spent many summers on Shelter Island, which served as the inspiration for the fictional town of North Hampton. She lives in Los Angeles and Palm Springs with her family.
Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.
But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.
Until he does.
Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.
Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.
So while I was sitting around wondering how I’d write my review of Last Will and Testament, this song came on. It instantly caught my attention because it fit Lizzie and Connor. The lyrics are exactly what they felt for each other, the music is sexy like them, and the feel is warm and romantic at is core. So if you’re looking for the feel of this book, here you have it…
Song: “Fallingforyou” by The 1975
What time you coming down?
We started losing light.
I’ll never make it right
If you don’t want me around,
I’m so excited for the night,
All we need’s my bike and your enormous house
You said some day we might
When I’m closer to your height
‘Til then we’ll knock around, endlessly
You’re all I need
Don’t you see me now?
I think I’m falling, I’m falling for you,
Don’t you need me?
I, I think I’m falling, I’m falling for you,
And on this night and in this light,
I think I’m falling, I’m falling for you
Maybe you’ll change your mind
I think I’m falling, I think I’m falling
I’m caught on your coat again
You said, “Oh, no, it’s fine,”
I read between the lines
And touched your leg again, again
I’ll take you one day at a time,
Soon you will be mine,
Oh but I want you now (I want you now)
When the smoke is in your eyes,
You look so alive,
Do you fancy sitting down with me? Maybe?
You’re all I need
According to your heart,
My place is not deliberate,
Feeling of your arms
I don’t wanna be your friend,
I wanna kiss your neck
Don’t you see me?
I, I think I’m falling, I’m falling for you
Don’t you need me?
I, I think I’m falling, I’m falling for you
And on this night and in this light
I think I’m falling, I’m falling for you
Maybe you’ll change your mind
Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza's reverence for rock is equaled only by Paul's, and the two fall wildly in love.
When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul's sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending.
I don’t think I’ll be able to really express how much I loved this book, at least no with a proper review. Thank you, Ginger, for putting this book in my hands. <3
Eliza and Paul have that crazy in love kind of relationship, where it’s passionate but not destructive. They make each other better and their souls really know one another…
Sometimes people will do things because they think it’s the right thing to do or because they think it’s what you want, all with good intentions that really are so off base. Eliza and Paul go through this very thing and it made my heart ache SO MUCH.
So this is Paul’s song.. I feel this is him in his darkest, most devastating moment.
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.
This year, it is my turn.
My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.
But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.
Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…
The Book of Ivy was just brilliant! Full of twists, turns and amazing surprises, it really blew me away. In the future a nuclear war has left the United States in shambles. A group of survivors come together to create their own town, but the people couldn’t agree on how to run the town and war broke out between the two sides. Now, The Lattimer family presides over the town and the Westfalls may come from the founding family but have no power. In order to maintain peace it’s decided that each year all the 16 year olds will be matched up to marry, one member from each side of the town in order to keep the peace and prevent an uprising from happening. Now Ivy Westfall is turning 16 and set to marry Bishop Lattimer, the president’s son. What the Lattimer’s don’t know is that Ivy’s family has a plan, Ivy has been tasked with killing her new husband so her family can take over the town.
Ivy was an amazing main character; she was strong, smart and caring. She was often conflicted with what she had to do even though she has known about this plan since she was a child. Her dad and sister have majorly influenced her for most of her life. They have drilled their desire for power into her head and made her feel like she’s the weak link in the family. I was not a fan of Ivy’s father and her sister Callie. Callie was the one who was supposed to marry Bishop and kill him but Bishop decided he wanted to marry Ivy instead. Callie seems to hold a grudge about this, I can never tell if she is genuine or not but by the end I’m guessing not. Callie seems to be her father’s daughter through and through. She cares more about power and revenge than anything else.
The romance was well done. Ivy and Bishop don’t just fall in love right away, it takes time. They have to learn to trust each other and as that trust grows their feelings do too. I really loved their relationship and how it happened. They were forced into this marriage and they are both way too young and they know that. Bishop also helps Ivy to see through her father’s views. He shows her that not everything is so black and white and sometimes she has to question things.
The end of this book was really shocking to me. I did not expect it to end like that, and now the next book doesn’t come out until November and I don’t know what to do with myself. Overall I was really impressed with this book, it’s definitely a new favorite of mine.
About Amy Engel
Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri where she lives with her husband and two kids. Before devoting herself full time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which she says is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV. :) When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, but lust refused to settle in for a long winter's nap. She might be all nestled, snug in her bed, by why, oh why, do visions of the wrong guy dance in her head?
Jessica, (not Jessie), figures that nothing could be better than a trip to the Emerald Isle for Christmas break. So she takes a flying leap and follows her boyfriend home for the holidays, not only sure that he will finally agree they're destined for each other, but also that Ireland will provide the perfect backdrop to the beginning of their happily-ever-after.
But it turns out his family--and his gorgeous ex-girlfriend--don't feel the same way, and even the family goat seems to be conspiring against her well-laid plans. The only person making the trip worthwhile is the very last one she should be thinking about, but Grady, the local farmhand, has a way of showing up when Jessica needs him most...and least.
USA Today bestselling author Lyla Payne wraps up the perfect holiday novella, ties it with a ribbon of romance, and tops it with a light dusting of snow. Perfect to curl up with under the tree. Just add hot cocoa!
Mistletoe & Mr. Right was basically written about one of my fantasies, lol. The main character, JESSICA (ahem!), goes to Ireland during Christmas (yes!), and falls in love with a hot Irishman (yes, PLEASE!). Ok, so maybe it’s not a current fantasy, seeing as how I’m engaged and all, but who hasn’t fantasized about this type of scenario?!
It wasn’t quite that magical for Jessica though. She actually goes to Ireland to surprise her boyfriend, who doesn’t seem all that excited that she’s there. Then! His family doesn’t get her, and THEN there’s the hot, super easy to talk to farm hand who is also an amazing photographer. What is a girl to do! Oh, but to top things off? A certain character gets added to the mix mid story that can’t possibly make things better for Jessica.
The characters are great fun, and the story has just the right amount of emotion to make you feel connected to these characters. I completely enjoyed it! And it’s totally perfect for the holidays.
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.
Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.
Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?
Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?
Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.
Let me preface this review by apologizing to you, my readers, if this review sounds…all over the place. I tried to make sense, I swear I did! lol
I make no secret of my love for Sarah Dessen’s books. She’s one of my favorite authors whose books are instant auto-buys for me. Thanks to the generosity of a fellow blogger (THANK YOU, RACHEL!), I was able to read her newest book, The Moon and More, a little early. The Moon and More did not disappoint. I actually read this book twice already. I finished it on a Sunday, and reread it on Tuesday. Crazy, I know!
I love that the family in this book is a stepfamily. Emaline has lived with her stepdad and two stepsisters since she was two, so she doesn’t really see them as anything other than her actual family. I loved how close they were, but even in their closeness they drove each other crazy sometimes. Emaline’s father, not her dad, because as Sarah Dessen says in this book “There’s a difference between the words father and dad. And it’s more than three letters. (ARC, page 25)”, is the cause of Emaline’s grief most of this book. She doesn’t really even know she’s going through and grief until he shows back up in her life after hurting her the last time. When things between her and her longtime boyfriend, Luke, start to suffer she wonders where it’s all coming from, and I felt her father had a lot to do with it. He left her with so many questions, about him, about herself, and about her future. Sometimes the resolutions we think we need aren’t actually what is needed.
So this boyfriend, Luke. I reeeeeally liked him, right from the start. But you could soon tell that something was going to happen, especially when this other guy starts showing up in the story, Theo. (Sidenote: I love the name of both these guys, btw. Luke and Theo. Love it!) Some really sad events transpire between Luke and Emaline that left me brokenhearted. :( And while I found Theo completely adorkable at first, he soon started to show a different side of himself that I did not care for. But then, Luke wasn’t Mr. Perfect either. I think Emaline could’ve handled this whole situation differently, but I think if it had been different, she wouldn’t have realized many things about herself in the end. Sometimes, change and distance gives us so much perspective. And you can make mistakes, but what matters is how you handle them.
One character that really stood out for me was Morris. He’s cast as this slacker kid, going nowhere, but Sarah Dessen spins his story in such a positive way. I loved that she showed us that anyone can have great potential when they find something they’re good at and when given the right opportunity.
The setting was, of course, AMAZING. The beach town of Colby is one of my most coveted fictional towns. I must one day make my way to Emerald Isle, NC, which is the town Colby is based on.
The Moon and More was such a great read overall. Lots of ups and downs, but they’re well worth it. This book is the perfect beach read, as it takes place in the Summer. Just be aware it’s not a quick, beach read, as it’s over 400 pages long. AND I STILL WANTED MORE! Ha! The only thing that I wish for, and this is totally a selfish thing, is for a more concrete answer on Emaline and Luke, but I guess I’ll just have to come up with it myself. :)
In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures--if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
All Mallory knows of The City is that her father--and every other witch there--fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.
From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series and Graveminder, comes a brand-new tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one's own destiny.
Carnival of Souls is one of the most unique stories I’ve read this year so far. Melissa Marr has created this imaginative realm of daimons and witches, fights to the death, and so many secrets. It was amazinnnnnnnng!!
One of the things I loved about Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series was how many characters and love stories were in those books. In Carnival of Souls, we get the same thing. There isn’t just one boy and one girl, there’s two!! And their relationships are far beyond the normal romances in YA. There’s love, but there’s secrets too. So many that I know I’ll be in heart-wrenching pain when the truth comes out, because it cannot end well for any of them.
Out of our two heroines, Mallory and Aya, I liked Aya most. Nothing against Mallory, but the problem with her character is that she’s pretty much in the dark about who she is throughout most of the book. She’s always being watched out for, and even though she’s more than capable of kicking someone’s ass, she’s almost babied the whole time. I actually fist-pumped at the end when she finally took control and started acting fierce.
Now Aya, started out fierce. The lengths she goes to to win a spot as a ruler of The City so that she doesn’t have to become just a wife and a mother with the daimon she loves are beyond most anyone’s capabilities, physically and emotionally. Aya is probably the one hiding the biggest secret of all, but you don’t have to wait long to learn what it is. I have my theories about her…parentage wise. But that’s all I’ll say about that because I don’t want to spoil anything.
Melissa Marr has a gift for creating male characters I instantly fall for, inspite of their flaws. Take Seth, Niall, Irial, and Keenan from Wicked Lovely for example. I LOVE ALL OF THEM! Ok, maybe not Keenan so much, lol, though I did feel for him. Here we have two new characters that had me swooning, Kaleb and Belias. I can’t help it..I love them already. And they couldn’t be more different from each other! Kaleb comes from the slums of The City. He’s a strong fighter and will do anything to protect and take care of his family. His heart is what really drew me to him. In turn, Belias is just a strong a fighter, but he is also high caste, meaning he’s practically royalty. What I found irresistible in him was his passion and devotion.
I loved the way they all had a voice in this book. I always want to hear what all the characters are going through and thinking. It makes the story so much more engrossing. Especially in one with so much depth. This book was also really bloody. It’s graphic, but not gross, which I really appreciated. I really loved the masks concept, that each color represented a service. That was really interesting and I hope we see more of it in future books.
Carnival of Souls swept me away into a realm that was terrifying and beautiful at the same time. Its intricacies left me in awe and in wanting for it to continue beyond the last page.
Check out the awesome trailer!
Update On This Series
Since posting this review, the name of the book and cover have changed as follows…
Carnival of Secrets
About Melissa Marr
Melissa Marr is the author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels Graveminder and The Arrivals. When not writing, editing, or traveling, Melissa is buried under a plethora of books, dogs, and children in Virginia or online at www.melissa-marr.com.