chicklit, new adult, romance

Book Review: Eversea by Natasha Boyd

EVERSEA_4
Title: Eversea
Author: Natasha Boyd
Publisher: NPRB
Length: 359 Pages, Ebook
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Chicklit
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Warning: This book has explicit scenes and is not meant for those under 18.

Blurb:
An orphaned, small-town, southern girl, held hostage by responsibility and self-doubt.

A Hollywood A-list mega-star, on the run from his latest scandal and with everything to lose.

A chance encounter that leads to an unlikely arrangement and epic love affair that will change them both forever.

When his co-star and real-life girlfriend is caught cheating on him by the tabloids, A-list hottie, Jack Eversea, finds himself in sleepy Butler Cove, South Carolina. Jack hopes the sultry southern heat in this tiny coastal Lowcountry town will hide him not only from the tabloids and his cheating girlfriend, but his increasingly vapid life and the people who run it. He doesn’t count on meeting Keri Ann Butler.

Keri Ann has relied on herself so long, dealing with her family’s death and the responsibilities of keeping up her family’s historic mansion, that boys and certainly the meager offering of eligible boys in Butler Cove, have never figured into her equation. But fate has other plans. Suddenly face to face with the man who played the movie role of her favorite fictional character, Jack has Keri Ann yearning for everything she has previously avoided … and Jack must decide whether this funny, sassy girl is worth changing his life for, before his mistakes catch up to him.

Review:
I picked up this book because it was free and I was in the mood for romance. I think it’s no secret that I tend not to expect a lot from free romance ebooks but this book packed a punch! I was pretty much flung across a room by how much this book surprised me and I read it in about 4 hours. I couldn’t put it down.

Keri Ann Butler is probably the best female character I have come across in a very long time. She’s strong, independent, and for the most part confident in herself and her abilities. She isn’t afraid to plainly show her emotions no matter how up and down they may be and the best part is she STAYS that way.

The strong characteristics she starts out with she keeps throughout the book. The entrance of a sudden romance doesn’t change who she is. My biggest pet peeve in romance books, romcoms, Korean dramas, and other similar media types is that the woman tends to suddenly become completely dependent of the man she gets involved with. All of her amazing characteristics disappear to show just how “awesome” their love is and how it’s meant to be. This may be a bit of a tangent but I want to make it clear that Keri Ann Butler is amazing and I need more female protagonists like her in basically everything. Though she isn’t without her flaws.

Jack Eversea is also a great character. He’s broken and mysterious and hunky. Pretty much everything you could ask for in a romance novel. But he also has a lot of character and depth outside of the cliche.

If it isn’t obvious, I really loved this book. The side characters were also fantastic and I can’t wait to read the side story about Jazz, Keri Ann’s best friend, because she was also really well written and developed.

My one issue with this story, really, is the writing in certain parts. The explicit scenes were bogged down by using weird words to describe things. I understand the Keri Ann was supposed to be inexperienced and innocent but constantly describing sex using words like apex and center is just not hot. I also found Boyd to overuse cliches like “wet hot heat” and other similar phrases.

The plot was interesting. I normally get bored with romance books because the plot doesn’t carry well but this one worked. So much so that when I finished it I needed to know what happened with the characters so much I bought the rest of the series in a Kindle set. I don’t normally feel the need to read other books in a new adult series but I couldn’t stop myself with this series.

Overall, this was a fantastic read. I hope more people seek out this series because honestly, it’s probably the best new adult book I’ve ever read. The first book in this series is still free on Amazon if you’d like to give it a go.

Fantasy, young adult

Book Review: Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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Title: Howl’s Moving Castle
Author: Diana Wynne Jones
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Length: 336 pages, Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.

After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.

The Hatter sisters–Sophie, Lettie, and Martha–and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.

In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl’s castle?

Review:
I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing me say this, but yet again this was a reread. I loved the Studio Ghibli film of the same title though it’s very obvious once you read the book that the movie is VERY loosely based on it. My friend made me read it when she saw how much I loved the movie and she wasn’t wrong. Although the two are very different both are amazing.

The basic characters are all the same, Sophie, Howl, Calcifer, Witch of the Waste, Michael and so on. But with the book the plot and conclusion is a little bit different. Also, you get so much more from all the characters. I feel like the movie didn’t have the proper time to flesh out the characters like the book does considering there are so many.

Sophie is so stubborn and annoying but in the most perfect way. You can really see the effect the witch’s spell has on her in the book. The movie, I don’t think, does that justice. Sophie’s emotions are so raw and real and her change in character brought on by the spell is amazing to read.

Howl, Calcifer, and Michael all have their own unique personalities as well that are so fleshed out and yummy. I might be just a tad biased though because this book holds a special place in my heart. I think this is the third or fourth time I’ve reread it in about 8 years.

The plot itself is a little confusing and a little frustrating but I think it was like that in the movie as well. Honestly, you get a lot more explanation in the book and it helps clear up the confusion I had with the movie before I read the book.

I do think the Jones waits a little too long to reveal everything. The ending is a whirlwind of action and resolutions and it can almost give you a headache there’s so much information dumped on you.

Still aside from that tiny flaw, I thoroughly enjoyed my reread and I look forward to the next time I reread because I’m sure I will many more times in the years to come.

contemporary, romance, young adult

Book Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Title: Since You’ve Been Gone
Author: Morgan Matson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Length: 464 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Emily is about to take some risks and have the most unexpected summer ever in this new novel from the bestselling author of Second Chance Summer and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour.

Before Sloane, Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—someone who yanks you out of your shell.

But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list with thirteen bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Wait…what?

Getting through Sloane’s list will mean a lot of firsts, and with a whole summer ahead of her—and with the unexpected help of the handsome Frank Porter—who knows what she’ll find.

Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

Review:
I read this as a break between all the heavy fantasy and science fiction books I was reading (basically after Days of Blood and Starlight and before Winter). It was perfect to mellow out with before reading Winter. I finished it in a day because I just couldn’t put it down.

I really, really loved Emily. Seriously, you guys have no idea how much I love her. She’s just like me if I’m being honest. Super shy and kind of awkward. Unable to easily make friends. Paralyzed but doing things outside of her comfort zone. Where was this book when I was teenager to help me discover myself? I’m a little biased I realized. Emily did get on my nerves sometimes like her indecisiveness and another bit that I won’t spoil because it’s a big part of the book.

But still, even at 22, I find the message this book sends great and helpful. I found myself thinking if Emily can go outside her comfort zone so can I.
Sloane reminds me of a friend I had in middle school and most of high school and it made me really reflect on that friendship as well. I love when books and characters make me think and challenge my views and this book definitely did that. I found myself hating Sloane in some parts and loving her in others.

The friend group Emily falls in with is pretty great as well. I love how the relationships feel like the happen organically. They aren’t forced and I can see most of them occurring in real life. It was very fulfilling to read.

This is the best contemporary novel I’ve read in a while and it’s definitely making me rethink my choice to not read Second Chance Summer.

picture of the last little blue envelope
contemporary, young adult

Book Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

picture of the last little blue envelope

Title: The Last Little Envelope
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 288 pages, Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Note: Haven’t read the first book in this duology? Here’s my review of 13 Little Blue Envelopes.

Warning: Blurb and review may contain spoilers for the first novel in the series!!

Blurb:
Ginny Blackstone spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny’s backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how the adventure was supposed to end.

Now a mysterious boy has contacted Ginny from London, saying he’s found her bag. Finally she can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a whole new one, and Ginny must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions.

Review:
I loved this book almost as much as the first book. There were a few things that I was kinda eh about but the adventure and emotion was just as present. I actually read the 13 Little Blue Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelope back to back I took a break in between to write the review for 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I didn’t want to change it to make it a series review.

Moving on, I loved the new character introduced. He was mysterious but sweet. I hated watching how he was treated. I’m glad Johnson did what she did but some parts were very hard to wach and it made me absolutely hate characters I had liked in the first book. I won’t go further than that.

I do think this book could have had a little more depth. I wanted to see more of the new character and I wanted more interaction between Ginny and new character. I think the book could have done well to be a little longer. I think more depth would have made the ending more plausible and satisfying.

However, other than wanting more depth, I have no complaints. I read this book, like the first, in three hours and loved every second of it.

new adult, romance

Book Review: Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame

Small update about me: Thanks for all the well wishes! I’m feeling much better and to help make up for not posting anything this past week I’m publishing this today. The regular update schedule will be back next week. 😀

Title: Imperfect Chemistry
Author: Mary Frame
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Length: 198, Kindle Book
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Rating: 4.5

Blurb:
Lucy London puts the word genius to shame. Having obtained her PhD in microbiology by the age of twenty, she’s amassed a wealth of knowledge, but one subject still eludes her—people. The pendulum of passions experienced by those around her both confuses and intrigues her, so when she’s offered a grant to study emotion as a pathogen, she jumps on the opportunity.

When her attempts to come up with an actual experiment quickly drop from lackluster to nonexistent, she’s given a choice: figure out how to conduct a groundbreaking study on passion, or lose both the grant and her position at the university. Put on leave until she can crack the perfect proposal, she finds there’s only one way she can study emotions: by experiencing them herself.

Enter Jensen Walker, Lucy’s neighbor and the one person on the planet she finds strangely and maddeningly appealing. Jensen’s life is the stuff of campus legend, messy, emotional, complicated—in short, the perfect starting point for Lucy’s study. When her tenaciousness wears him down and he consents to help her, sparks fly. To her surprise, Lucy finds herself battling with her own emotions, as foreign as they are intense. With the clock ticking on her deadline, Lucy must decide what’s more important: analyzing her passions…or giving in to them?

Review:
I LOVED this book. I heard of it because of Duchess at Duchess Reading and I’m so glad I read her review on it. It was such a light and easy read.

Lucy was such an interesting character. I loved how logical she was about falling in love. I also love how she made friends. She was super intriguing to read. My only qualm is that her character kind of changed toward the end and I think it may have been a bit too big of a leap.

Freya is an amazing side character along with the slew of friends she brings with her. Jensen was a mystery, which was both a good and bad thing. I think he went from mysterious to open book way too quickly.

As for a new adult novel, it didn’t get nearly as graphic as I was sort of expecting. It was refreshing since the romance seemed to be less about physical attraction and more about attraction to the other’s personality.

Fantasy, new adult

Book Review: The Line by J.D. Horn

Title: The Line
Author: J.D. Horn
Publisher: 47North
Length: 298, Kindle Edition
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Savannah is considered a Southern treasure, a city of beauty with a rich, colorful past. Some might even call it magical…
To the uninitiated, Savannah shows only her bright face and genteel manner. Those who know her well, though, can see beyond her colonial trappings and small-city charm to a world where witchcraft is respected, Hoodoo is feared, and spirits linger. Mercy Taylor is all too familiar with the supernatural side of Savannah, being a member of the most powerful family of witches in the South.
Despite being powerless herself, of course.
Having grown up without magic of her own, in the shadow of her talented and charismatic twin sister, Mercy has always thought herself content. But when a series of mishaps—culminating in the death of the Taylor matriarch—leaves a vacuum in the mystical underpinnings of Savannah, she finds herself thrust into a mystery that could shake her family apart…and unleash a darkness the line of Taylor witches has been keeping at bay for generations.

Review:
I found this book on Kindle Unlimited. Actually the whole series is on there which is amazing since I happened to LOVE this book. It could be considered Young Adult but since the main character is 21 and a few of the themes seem a little too adult to be in YA I’m going to put it with NA.

Mercy is one interesting character. She’s loyal almost to a fault but also extremely curious. The book starts off with her giving a “Liar’s tour” and honestly I think it sets an amazing tone for the rest of the book.

I don’t want to get into any of the other characters for fear of spoiling anything, but I loved the way they were presented and the fact that we only had Mercy’s perspective on them. It means that the majority of the plot twists that happened I didn’t see coming at all which was extremely refreshing.

Going more into the plot twists, there are several and only one of them was semi predictable but by the time it happens you’re almost convinced it won’t happen because you thought it would be there sooner.

The only thing I could wish for from this book was more. I wanted more descriptions and explanations. I think certain parts could have been better explained. Basically I think 50 more pages would have been perfect to help flesh the plot, characters, and details out a little better.

romance

Novella Review: Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover

Title: Finding Cinderella
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Length: 176, Kindle book
Genre: Romance
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
A chance encounter in the dark leads eighteen-year-old Daniel and the girl who stumbles across him to profess their love for each other. But this love has conditions: they agree it will only last one hour and it will only be make-believe.

When their hour is up and the girl rushes off like Cinderella, Daniel tries to convince himself that what happened between them only seemed perfect because they were pretending it was perfect. Moments like that with girls like her don’t happen outside of fairytales.

One year and one bad relationship later, his disbelief in insta-love is stripped away the day he meets Six: a girl with a strange name and an even stranger personality. But Daniel soon realizes that fairytales don’t exist, and unfortunately for Daniel, finding Cinderella doesn’t guarantee their happily ever after…it only further threatens it.

Review:
I’ve been hearing a lot of mixed things about CoHo books. Some absolutely love them and others just don’t. I wanted to decide for myself without investing much because honestly my TBR is getting way too big. So when I saw this novella by Hoover for free on Kindle I figured it wouldn’t hurt to grab it. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

Finding Cinderella was so engaging I had the hardest time forcing myself to stop reading. It was cute and heartbreaking. I was a little skeptical of whether or not the novella would be good. Some people can write novella’s and some people can’t it’s the same with short stories but Hoover pulled it off brilliantly.

I loved the characters. I definitely have known a few Daniel-esque guys and I enjoyed that Hoover writes believable characters and scenarios (for the most part lol). This novella makes me excited to pick up other CoHo books (from the library because I am officially on a book buying ban just fyi more info in my haul to come).

I don’t read a lot of novella’s simply because there aren’t many that I come across. I’m glad I somehow found my way to this one though. I see what everyone means when they say CoHo writes beautifully even if they don’t enjoy her books. Her writing is masterful and so easy to read that it’s hard to remember you are reading.

CoHo definitely has me wanting more so I can’t wait to order her books at my library.

Fantasy, urban fantasy

Book Review: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Title: Storm Front (Dresden Files #1)
Author: Jim Butcher
Publisher: Roc
Length: 372, Paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Harry Dresden — Wizard

Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or
Other Entertainment.

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in. Takes a wizard to catch a — well, whatever.

There’s just one problem. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name. And that’s when things start to get… interesting.

Magic. It can get a guy killed.

Review:
I read this book like I was sipping a martini, which is to say, in small but delicious doses. For some reason I could do long sprints of reading this book even if I enjoyed it while I was reading it which meant I read it a lot slower than I’m used to. However, I immensely enjoyed it even if it’s very far from my normal reads.

Harry Dresden is a one of a kind character. I love how distinct his personality is (even if said personality is a little bit sexist with a tad of douchebag). He’s kind at heart and hates to kill. Honestly, he’s an extremely well rounded character flaws and all.

I also enjoy the way the the world and the laws of magic are explained. No spoilers but it’s well done exposition that isn’t too long or boring.

The slow build to the climax was excellently put together and written as well and Butcher was able to to tie plot points together in amazing way. The ending left me a little dissatisfied but I know it’s a long ongoing series so I’m not worried. I’ve already bought the second novel and when I start wanting to read fantasy books again it will probably be one of the first I pick up.

classic, romance

Audiobook Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

Title: Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen
Narrator: Juliet Stevenson
Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks
Length: 8 hours 47 minutes
Genre: Classic, romance
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
Anne Elliot has grieved for seven years over the loss of her first love, Captain Frederick Wentworth. But events conspire to unravel the knots of deceit and misunderstanding in this beguiling and gently comic story of love and fidelity.

Review:
Anne Elliot is the type of person I want to be and also want in a best friend. I like how down to Earth and loyal she is. And I think so far she’s my favorite character of any Austen novel I love Miss Elizabeth Bennet but she can be a bit grating which I don’t find at all with Anne.

Juliet Stevenson did an amazing job bringing this novel to life as well. I’ve read this before but I didn’t quite understand it the way I did when Stevenson narrated it. Her inflections and pace are amazing. The only thing I have to say is that I feel like chapter ends are abrupt because she narrates like the chapter is continuing. But I only noticed that 2 or 3 times.

I really enjoyed the way the romance played out in the book. Everything was done subtly. There were no grand gestures or over the top romantic lines. The romance perfectly suited Anne’s personality.

I think as far as Austen novels go, I’m going to have a hard time choosing the order of my liking. Pride and Prejudice (so far) has my number 1 but it’s a close fight for 2nd between Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility.

Fantasy, historical fiction, romance

Series Review: The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

Title(s): A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night, The Book of Life
Author: Deborah Harkness
Publisher: Penguin books
Length: 592, 592, 576 all Kindle Edition
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Historical fiction
Rating: 5, 4.5, 4 folded pages respectively

Book 1 (A Discovery of Witches) Blurb:
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Review:
Originally I read books 1 and 2 of this about 4 or 5 years ago and I loved the first one but didn’t really like the second. In my defense I was still young, barely out of high school, and didn’t really like how sophisticated the novels felt. Now that probably what I love most about the series.

I absolutely loved marathoning this series. I was going to try and put space between each novel but after I reread the first one there was no way I was going to let myself hang on that cliff. Instead I read all three books in about a week which is no small feat let me assure you.

Deborah creates a very lively world with vampires, witches, and daemons and it’s entirely unique. I loved how she revealed the world to us through Diana who wasn’t really familiar with it even if she grew up in it.

The romance aspect of the book was a little eh if I’m to be honest. Matthew could be overbearing and over the top with cheesy things but for the most part I enjoyed it. And I definitely enjoyed watching them decide to be together. However, it was Diana and her character development that made me stay (along with the incredible world)

I definitely think the first book was the best of the three and the third book got really slow at some points. Still I loved the series and hope Deborah Harkness has something new in the works for us.