Tuesday, June 28, 2016

And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1) by Kiersten White

NO ONE EXPECTS A PRINCESS TO BE BRUTAL.

And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, who’s expected to rule a nation, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.


Oh.  Oy.  I don't think I expected this book to be quite as dark and violent as it was.  The blurb doesn't really give you a real clear picture of the brutality and horrors this book contains.  It is graphically violent and full of brutality and man, if I would have known that before I read it, I probably would not have picked it up because I am a bit squeamish when it comes to things like this.  

For me, this book contained so much heartache and despair and so little hope.  I kept trying to find the good, the light, the hope and every time I thought I found a glimmer, it was taken away in some violent, unhappy way.  It was hard.

I will say that even though the subject matter was not to my taste, I can easily recognize the amount of research it took to create a story crafted like this.  The writing was good- the story pulls you in and doesn't let you go.  I am still thinking about this book days after finishing it.  

Bottom line is that this just wasn't the kind of book I personally enjoy reading.  It's a personal preference and has nothing to do with the author, her abilities or writing style.  I would say this book is best for those 18+.  If this were a movie it would be rated R.

Content:  graphic violence, sexual situations without details within a harem, multiple wives and concubines, same sex attraction, swearing, innuendo

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Fresh Starts: Bree's Story (Second Chances #3) by Kimberly Krey


Bree has had her fair share of difficulties. The loss of her parents, a not-so-recent divorce, and the disruption of her life caused by a stalker now who’s serving jail time. When the determined criminal finishes his sentence, Bree is sent into hiding. And while she’s doing all she can to steer clear of this frightening piece of her past, an old acquaintance enters the scene, determined to be part of her future.


I love reading Kimberly Krey books!  She knows how to write chemistry and sizzle without crossing the lines of comfort for me.  I've been waiting for this book- to finally see Bree's story come to life.  It's always a happy day when I get a new book from Kimberly!

This is the third book in the Second Chance series.  I don't think you have to read them in order as they can stand alone, but you will have a better understanding of the secondary characters and references to them if you have read the previous books in order.

Greyson was awesome.  He is strong and smart and determined to keep Bree safe.  Because Greyson and Bree knew each other from high school there was already a thread of knowing between them.  Probably more on Greyson's end as he definitely had a crush on Bree way back when and he is now seeing her in a new light but with the added responsibility of keeping her safe.  I loved how Greyson tried to understand Bree's personality and give her what she needed in order to feel independent and safe.  He is so attentive to her and that is very attractive.  

The apple orchard was the perfect, beautiful setting for growing love and attraction.  It was fairly isolated, with hours and hours of working alongside of each other.  There are sparks that lead to a growing attraction and love.  It all felt natural and good.  I loved the added element of the stalker and the tension and bit of suspense it added to the book.  This was so diverting and fun!  I loved it.  

Content:  some mild swearing, kissing

* I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard + Giveaway!



Kai was seventeen when he died saving Avery’s life, though he didn’t really have much to live for. After spending half his life being shipped around to different families, the only place he felt at home was on a street corner with his guitar. Now, it’s been six months since his death. Six months adapting to a new kind of existence where instead of making music, he uses his new healing powers to save lives. But in his off hours, he watches helplessly as Avery’s life is unraveled by his death.

Avery doesn’t know that it was Kai who saved her life in the ocean, because her rescuer’s body was never found. Wracked with guilt, the ocean she once loved is now her tormentor. As her surfboards collect dust in the garage, the weight of her grief destroys her relationships and stretches her to a breaking point.

Always willing to break rules for those he loves, Kai steals a ring that temporarily gives his body substance. With limited time, he does all he can to restore her life to the way it was before his tragic death, but Kai’s half-baked plans rarely turn out the way he thinks they will.




I am in love with this book.  Could I tell you anything better than that?  I doubt it, but here's my attempt to explain why I love it.

This is not what I would classify as your typical YA romance.  The story felt meaty- full of depth and emotion that I could just sink my soul into.  There was nothing light or surface to this book.  I really loved that.  As the book went on and more of the story unfolded, I felt like I was really getting to know the characters.  They became real to me.  I was invested completely and I had a hard time putting the book down.

I wasn't sure how this story would resolve.  I thought I knew, then I didn't.  Then I did, then I didn't.  :)  It was awesome.  There were moments of brilliant writing and imagery.  They made my reader heart happy.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Avery haunts me.  I smell her scent even when she's not beside me.  I hear her voice echoing inside my head long after she's gone.  And when I'm not looking, she moves things around inside the chambers of my still heart."

This is a book I'm sure my teenage daughters will love.  I can easily pass this book off to them with no hesitation.  This book is clean (no swearing, profanity or sexual situations).

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.



Sarah Beard is the author of YA novels Porcelain Keys and Beyond the Rising Tide. She earned a degree in communications from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MFA in writing from VCFA. When she's not writing, she referees wrestling matches between her three boys and listens to audiobooks while folding self-replicating piles of laundry. She is a breast cancer survivor, a baker of sweets, a seeker of good love stories, a composer of melancholy music, and a traveler who wishes her travel budget was much bigger. She lives with her husband and children in the shadow of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains. 


Twitter: @authorsarahb
Website: sarahbeard.com
Facebook: facebook.com/authorsarahbeard
 





 
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