Tag Archives: romance

What Light — Jay Asher

13 Dec

whatlight

 

Publisher: Razorbill
Released: Oct 18th, 2016
Genre: YA
Source: ARC from publisher

 

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that’s moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

From Goodreads

This is the PERFECT December read if you are into YA love stories that are just awesome. It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of romance books but love stories, if done well, just suck me right in. I sat down with What Light and didn’t get up until I finished it. Folks, I’m talking no pee breaks. I read it all at once and was kind of sad when it was over.

I love that the plot wasn’t overly complicated or overly done, and it drew me right in. Asher doesn’t need a whole lot of bells and whistles. His writing is on point and the plot believable. My test of whether or not a love story is believable is if I roll my eyes at all while reading. And I didn’t. I really cared about Sierra and Caleb and their relationship. I felt invested in their story and whether or not they’d make it. They were believable characters, both flawed in their own way.

And as I already mentioned, the writing is awesome. I was so into it that I had to make myself slow down so that I was really reading the words, not just skimming. And to me, this is always the sign of awesome writing.

 

Summer Lovin’ Blog Tour -While He was Away – Karen Schreck

6 May

One year—he’ll be gone for one year and then we’ll be together again and everything will be back to the way it should be.
The day David left, I felt like my heart was breaking. Sure, any long–distance relationship is tough, but David was going to war—to fight, to protect, to put his life in danger. We can get through this, though. We’ll talk, we’ll email, we won’t let anything come between us.
I can be on army girlfriend for one year. But will my sweet, soulful, funny David be the same person when he comes home? Will I? And what if he doesn’t come home at all…?

I don’t often do this in reviews, but I HAVE to take a second to talk about the cover for While He was Away. I don’t know if it’s the gorgeous pink coloring of the sky, the fact that they’re holding hands or my strong desire to have those wedge shoes, but this cover caught my attention majorly. When the book arrived I was in the middle of reading another book, but kept going over to my desk to glance at it. I just I think it’s amazing.

And the inside of the book was just as fantastic and captivating as the cover. I felt a pretty strong connection to Penna from the beginning and didn’t wander too far from my box of Kleenex throughout the whole book. See, here’s something that some of you might not know: my husband doesn’t live with me full time. He works in another province for two week stints then comes home for six days. So while he isn’t a soldier and doesn’t leave for a year at a time, I could still empathize with what she was going through, all the emotions she was feeling before David left and after. And let me tell you, Schreck nailed that perfectly. PERFECTLY. Hence the Kleenex.

The blurb doesn’t give much away, so I don’t want to either, but I do want to let you guys know that there’s a lot more to this book than just Penna and David’s long-distance relationship. Penna has some serious family shit going down, and while it’s traumatic and stressful, it also helps keep her mind off of David (as much as that’s possible). I loved the layering of Penna’s stories and how everything was connected.

I was expecting a bit of a gooshy, romantic read and I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the novel. I read it in one sitting and was moved by the beauty of the prose and the details of the story. Anyone who is a fan of YA contemp should absolutely run out and buy While He was Away, as should anyone who’s interested in the genre. Actually, all of you should go buy it. It was that good.

Thanks bunches and bunches to Source Books for the review copy.

Review and giveaway: Purpose by Kristie Cook

17 Dec

Publisher: Ang’dora Productions
Released: December 15th, 2010
Genre: Adult paranormal, romance
For review from author

Defending souls is her purpose…but can she save her own?

Lost in despair, Alexis teeters on the edge of an abyss, her lifeline of hope fraying into a thin thread. If it snaps, she’ll plunge into complete darkness. With the help of her son and her writing, she’s been able to hold on. Until now. Erratic impulses, disturbing delusions and her own demonic blood threaten her sanity. When she’s forced to choose between hanging onto hope or letting go to serve her Amadis purposes, she faces a decision with inconceivable sacrifices.

Alexis runs to the one place she thinks will provide answers, only to find herself at the center of another battle of good versus evil, not only with the Daemoni, not only within herself…but also against the worst opponent imaginable. But even if she wins, what will she lose?

From the author’s website.

*Disclaimer*
I know I said this review would be up yesterday and that had been my plan. But my crappy mattress and insomnia banded together and my brain was like mush. If I had written the review yesterday it would have sounded much like all the adults in the Peanut cartoons.

I love when a sequel blows me away. You know, when you enjoyed the first book in the series, but then you hit the next book and it’s like “Whoa, this is some great stuff!”.  Well, that’s what happened when I read Kristie Cooke’s second book in her Soul Savers series, Purpose.

I really, really liked this book. Really, really. While there is some romance in it, it wasn’t as romancey as the first book and that was just fine by me.  There was more mythos, action and bad guys and a lot more Owen (who, BTW, is my fave).

Purpose takes place a few years after Promise, and Alexis is not in a good place. I think my only issue with the book was that the first third of it was so frigging depressing. I honestly wanted to reach into the pages and shake the crap out of Alexis. She wanders around pretty depressed and teary-eyed for the first part of the book. She’s gone through something pretty traumatic and can’t seem to get over it. I just wish she hadn’t been quite as gloomy as she was. But she does eventually snap out of it, and for me that’s when the book really took off.

The writing in Purpose was better than the writing in Promise. I know that seems like a bit of an obnoxious thing to say, but it’s true. While Promise wasn’t badly written, there just seemed to be a better to flow to the writing in Purpose. Kristie was really in a cool writing grove.

I think some people that read and enjoyed Promise for the romance may be a bit surprised that Purpose isn’t as romance based. At least it didn’t seem that way to me. And for a chick who prefers her paranormal with just a dash of romance, it was the perfect balance.

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!!

Yay! So, I have one copy of Purpose to give away to a lucky reader. All you have to do is comment below and let me know of a sequel that  you enjoyed more than the first book or what sequel you are most looking forward to (beside Purpose) in 2011. The contest is open to Canada and the US and I’ll pick the winner on Christmas eve.*

*Yeah, so I’m going to extend this contest until the 8th of January because I took a bit of a blog break and so wasn’t promoting it.

Intrinsical by Lani Woodland

29 Nov

Publisher: Pendrell Publishing
Released: August 20, 2010
Genre: YA paranormal, romance
Ebook purchased on Smashwords

Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn’t want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist’s attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara soon realizes that the past she was trying to put behind her isn’t going to go quietly.

From author’s website.

I discovered this book the way I discover most of my books these days: via Twitter. The author and I somehow ended up talking and as I always do when I chat with authors, I looked up her book. It sounded interesting and I loved the cover. It ended up being one of the first books I bought for Coco the Kobo.

I think this was one of the darkest and scariest YA paranormal I’ve read in a while, despite the fact that a lot of folks would categorize this as romance. Yeah, there’s plenty of romance in it, but there were times that I could feel my heart rate increase and more than one chill ran down my spin. There were also situations that Yara got herself into, seriously sticky situations, that made me go “WTF??” Honestly I had no idea how she was going to get out of them. But Lani didn’t disappoint and a weird, twisty, never-saw-it-coming solution appeared.  And this is a good thing, trust me. Intrinsical kept me on my toes and my brain engaged the whole time I was reading it.

I was a little iffy about the start of the book and the reason why Yara ended up at the boarding school. I don’t see this as a major flaw or anything, just something that I questioned. But it’s such a small part of the book that it really didn’t take a lot away from it. My only other complaint about Intrinsical is that there seemed to be an awful lot of crying going on. Not that I’m against crying, but I think that when it happens a lot in a novel, I start to become immune to it.

So I’m finding that my whole “I don’t like romance” stance I’ve had for years seriously needs to me modified. I like some romance. There, I said it. And I really like the romantic aspect of Intrinsical. It was sweet and had that whole does-he-like-me-or-not thing going on. Very cool.

So yeah, there were things that I liked and things that I didn’t like about Intrinsical. But I’d definitely recommend it if you are looking for a dark, almost gothic paranormal romance.

 

 

Review:Promise by Kristie Cook

29 Jul

Ang’dora Books, 2010

When Alexis Ames is attacked by creatures that can’t be real, she decides it’s time she learns who she really is, with or without the help of her mother, who guards their family’s secrets closely. After meeting the inhumanly attractive, multi-talented Tristan Knight, however, Alexis retreats behind her façade of normalcy…until she discovers he’s not exactly normal either. Then their secrets begin to unravel. Their union brings hope and promise to her family’s secret society, the Angels’ army, and to the future of mankind. But it also incites a dangerous pursuit by the enemy – Satan’s minions and Tristan’s creators. After all, Alexis and Tristan are a match made in Heaven and in Hell.

From Amazon website.

Okay, here’s the thing: I don’t like romance books. I never had. Not since junior high when I devoured those stupid little Sweet Dreams books that were all romance and gave totally dorky, impressionable 13 year old me the wrong idea about love and romance. In my early 20s I tried a Harlequin and then a Danielle Steel. Yeah, hated them both. From that moment on I decided to stop trying to like romance and I’ve shunned the genre ever since. Hell, I usually mock it every chance I get.

Then in the last six months I have sloooowly started reading and enjoying YA with elements of romance, as long as there is plenty of paranormal to go with it. (Shiver, Linger, Evermore). But I’ve still steered clear of adult romance novels. Cuz I hate them.

Yeah, well, please gather ’round as I eat my words topped of with a touch of crow and humble pie. I just finished Kristie Cook’s Promise and I kinda dug it. And – wait for it – it’s a ROMANCE BOOK!

Yes, folks I have read and enjoyed a romance book. I found myself furiously flipping through the pages in order to find out what happened next. Alexis was an interesting main character and while not my type, I’m sure most gals will find Tristan the perfect male lead.

Since this is the first adult romance book I’ve read in over 15 years, I can’t really say how the romance aspects holds up with other books.  What I can tell you is it was the epic, soul mate kinda love.  Instant attraction, instant love, meant to be together, the whole nine yards. And while on it’s own this could be seen as a bit over the top and cheesy to the likes of me, it tied in so nicely with the main story line that it wasn’t. See, there was a purpose to their all consuming love. A reason. This made all the difference for me.

Okay, the paranormal plot. I likes it! It was different from other paranormal angel-related books I’ve read, but wasn’t completely coming from left field. I found myself wanting to know about Alexis’ past and her family almost as much as Alexis herself wanted to know. The lore was well explained and well written. It trickled out over the course of the book, rather than being spat out all at once. There were two key scenes in which the more knowing characters explained to Alexis (and me) what the heck was going on, but the hints had been there.

Cook’s descriptive writing made me feel like I was right in the middle of the story. Lately I’ve been all about the little details and have come to realize that quite often it is what is happening in between the big events in a book that makes the whole thing seem real. Cook’s eye to detail, whether describing a room or how a character is holding themselves, all added to the believability of the story.

Promise is the first in Cook’s Soul Saver series. The second book, Purpose is out this fall. All I can say is I can’t wait to read Purpose and see where all this is going.

If you like romance and paranormal, I strongly suggest picking this up. Hell, even if you aren’t big on romance, give it a try. I did and I’m glad.

Thanks so, so much to Kristie Cook for the review copy.

Oh, make sure to come back tomorrow for a guest post from Kristie AND the chance to win your own copy of Promise!