Blog Tour: Legacy of Truth by Christy Nicholas + Giveaway

MediaKit_BookCover_LegacyOfTruth Legacy of Truth by Christy Nicholas

Published by Tirgearr Publishing on July 6, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: ebook – 358

Source: Goddess Fish Promotions

Legacy of Truth will be $0.99 during the tour. BUY IT:

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Blurb:

Gifted with a magical brooch, passed down in her family for generations, Esme finds herself isolated and ill in an unfamiliar land.

Her sister plots to steal the family heirloom from her in order to exploit the magical powers for her own gain, and Esme must battle for survival of herself and those she loves.


Excerpt:

Ardara, County Donegal, Ireland
March, 1787

Éamonn Doherty eased onto the old rocking chair beside the crackling fire. As soon as he settled, he was bombarded with children, clamoring eagerly for a story from Grandfa.

Well, it was his fault. Whenever he returned from his wanderings around the country, he would give them a story, a tale of Ireland’s past or his own.

The bairns settled onto the ground at his feet. There were Esme and Eithne, the twins, looking stark and thin with shocks of wild red hair and too many freckles to count.

“That’s my spot! I always sit there, Eithne, and you know it!”

Eithne looked at her sister and sniffed, saying nothing. She turned to Éamonn and blinked as if innocent.

Esme pushed at her sister, but Eithne was braced for it. She resisted the shove and looked back over her shoulder with disdain.

Fuming, Esme crossed her arms.

In the far corner, with her arms wrapped firmly around her knees, sat the youngest sister, wee Brighid. Everyone called her Bridey. Her solemn green eyes peered at him, owl-like. She must be about ten years old by now. And little Níaṁ wasn’t a sister, but a cousin, her parents having died of a fever. A brown wren, she was plump and sweet, still a toddler.

Éamonn would have preferred some grandsons to pass his stories to, but his son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Shona, had given him only granddaughters thus far. Still, he loved them dearly. His two other children were both dedicated to the church, so Brian was his last hope for grandsons. Éamonn looked at the girls and decided perhaps a story of a manly hero might do them for the night.

He fixed his eyes on wee Níaṁ until she giggled nervously. He tousled up his thick white hair until it looked like a lion and she laughed. Smiling, he began.

“Tonight our tale will begin with a hero of great fame, for who has never heard of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, leader of the Fianna, Warriors of Ireland?”

Timidly, Bridey raised her hand.

Interrupted, Éamonn cocked his head. “Yes, child? What is it, my dear?”

“I haven’t heard of him, Grandfa.”

Éamonn closed his eyes, reaching for patience. The children weren’t to know what a rhetorical question was.

“That’s all right, mo chuisle. I will be telling you now, so?”

The girl nodded and wrapped her hands more tightly around her knees until she was just a pair of feet, arms and a curly mass of red hair sparkling in the firelight. For a moment, Éamonn went back in time, to the memory of his dear, long-dead wife, Katie. She had hair such as that, wild and bright. The windows rattled as the wind outside picked up. The children all shifted uncomfortably.

“The Fianna were a band of warriors, pledged to protect the shores of Ireland from foreigners. Fionn’s father was the leader of the Fianna, so he had his son raised by a warrior woman. Have you ever seen a warrior woman, Eithne?”

“I have!” The girl was the boldest of the lot. “There is a woman who hunts up in Bunbeg. I heard Alan say she came into his dad’s bakery one day!”

“I heard that first! He told me first.” Esme said.

“Girls, that’s enough. Would you like to know about this warrior woman?”

It did the trick. All four children looked up at him, expectant.

He grinned and got back into the rhythm of his tale.

“This great woman was called Liath Luachra, and she was tall, with long muscles and longer hair. Her brown hair she kept in thin braids, which went all the way down to her knees. She was a fierce warrior, always clad in skins and furs, and she taught Fionn all her arts. When he had learned all he could from her, he left to join the Fianna.

“But the Fianna knew him for his father’s son and worried for his youth and safety. They told him he must leave, and they could not protect him from harm. This angered Fionn, so he left in a temper. After his temper had cooled, he sought out a Druid to learn wisdom. The Druid he found was named Finnegas. Finnegas spent seven years trying to catch the Salmon of Knowledge, and he had just caught the fish before Fionn found him. It roasted on the fire, and Finnegas told Fionn to watch it while he got more firewood.

“Fionn watched the fish, watched it bubble and pop, sizzle and squeak.”

Níaṁ let out a squeak of her own to help with the sound effects.

“He saw a great blister form on the skin of the salmon, growing larger and larger, about to pop. He pressed his thumb to it to push it back down so the skin wouldn’t be blemished. As he did so, his skin burned, so he stuck his thumb in his mouth.” Éamonn demonstrated with his finger and looked around until each child did the same.

“But he had done a terrible thing, now.”

“What was so horrible, Grandfa?” Bridey asked with wide eyes. “All he did was touch the fish!” She replaced the thumb in her mouth absent-mindedly.

“Ah, that is true. But, you see, Fionn was the first to taste of the flesh of the Salmon of Knowledge, and it meant he now had all the Salmon’s great wisdom. Finnegas was furious and chased him out with a club, but Fionn now had the knowledge and wisdom he needed to lead the Fianna fairly.”

All the girls watched him for the end of the tale.

“In the end, he controlled his own fate, and therefore could make himself happy. That’s all that any one of us can do, aye?”

When Níaṁ realized the tale was over, she belatedly removed her thumbs from her mouth. As she did, he picked her up into his lap and rocked in front of the fire with her. She was a solid, warm little child. Brian might not be able to make his farm work well, but he at least kept his children fed.

He sang a sad, low song of lost love and broken promises until each child fell asleep on the soft, white wings of fantasy.


Review:

Historical fiction is always a genre that I enjoy reading. I’ve never disliked a book from the genre before, and that sure isn’t the case now. This book’s rich depiction of Irish folklore and attention to detail is what makes it such a captivating read.

From the get go, we are introduced to our characters – and boy are they unforgettable. The characterization is extremely well done, and I found myself rooting for (and against) many. Our MC, Esme, has near-impossible odds stacked against her and I absolutely love how she perseveres despite that. The secondary characters all have distinct voices that reach you through the page, and that made for a very rich story.

The world building was done in a very subtle and gradual manner, allowing the reader to slowly immerse themselves into the story. I totally devoured this book in two sittings! Also, the plot was intriguing and drama-filled, but I did think that the beginning of the story took a while to find its footing. After that, however, everything kept going uphill.

In short, this was a masterfully written story with an enthralling, drama-filled plot that’ll keep you on your toes ’till the very end. The Irish aspects of the story were incorporated really well and the characters had very distinct voices. This is the second book in the Druid’s Brooch series. I haven’t read the first book yet, but if it’s anything like this one, then sign me up!

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Author Bio:

MediaKit_AuthorPhoto_LegacyOfTruth.jpg Christy Nicholas, also known as Green Dragon, has her hands in many crafts, including writing, digital art, beaded jewelry, writing, and photography. In real life, she’s a CPA, but having grown up with art all around her (her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother are/were all artists), it sort of infected her, as it were. She loves to draw and to create things. She says it’s more of an obsession than a hobby. She likes looking up into the sky and seeing a beautiful sunset, or seeing a fragrant blossom or a dramatic seaside. She takes a picture or creates a piece of jewelry as her way of sharing this serenity, this joy, this beauty with others. Sometimes this sharing requires explanation – and thus she writes. Combine this love of beauty with a bit of financial sense and you get an art business. She does local art and craft shows, as well as sending her art to various science fiction conventions throughout the country and abroad.

Links:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/greendragonauthor
Homepage: www.greendragonartist.com
Blog: www.greendragonartist.net
Publisher Page: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Nicholas_Christy/index.htm
Legacy of Truth: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Nicholas_Christy/legacy-of-truth.htm


Giveaway:

Christy Nicholas will be awarding a $15 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter to win a $15 Amazon/BN GC – a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure you follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning! The tour dates can be found here.

Book Review: Under the Lights by Abbi Glines

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Under the Lights by Abbi Glines

Published by Simon & Schuster on August 23, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 336 – hardcover, 320 – paperback & ebook

Format Read: paperback

Rating: 3 stars

Source: Simon & Schuster

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Blurb:

Willa can’t erase the bad decisions of her past that led her down the path she’s on now. But she can fight for forgiveness from her family. And she can protect herself by refusing to let anyone else get close to her.

High school quarterback and town golden boy Brady used to be the best of friends with Willa—she even had a crush on him when they were kids. But that’s all changed now: her life choices have made her a different person from the girl he used to know.

Gunner used to be friends with Willa and Brady, too. He too is larger than life and a high school football star—not to mention that his family basically owns the town of Lawton. He loves his life, and doesn’t care about anyone except himself. But Willa is the exception—and he understands the girl she’s become in a way no one else can.

As secrets come to light and hearts are broken, these former childhood friends must face the truth about growing up and falling in love…even if it means losing each other forever.


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

Okay, so, I do admit to kinda being nervous that Under the Lights wouldn’t live up to my expectations after Until Friday Night or that it would just be too similar to the first book. I was wrong about the latter; it had a completely different feel to it than the first book. Under the Lights could probably be read as a standalone, though it’s set in the same town as Until Friday Night with the same cast of characters making cameo appearances. Reading the first book definitely isn’t a necessity, but I personally like the feeling of recognizing old characters and already being acquainted with the world and all.

Under the Lights is told in multiple points of view — three, to be exact. Brady, Willa, and Gunner used to be childhood best friends until Willa had to move away. Now she’s back, but she’s not the same. All of them aren’t. They have haunted pasts and dark secrets (you know, the package deal). I know what you’re probably thinking… love triangle? Yikes. I was a bit disheartened by that, too, but it actually wasn’t that bad. For starters, it was pretty obvious who Willa would end up with from the beginning. For me, it didn’t even take away from the book. Their relationship development still made my heart beat all the same. There wasn’t much drama about the love triangle itself as expected. Instead, the “drama” was mostly focused on each character’s individual struggles. Needless to say, there was jealousy here and there, but it didn’t stir that many problems.

The story itself was an incredibly enjoyable fast read that’ll have you wondering where the pages flew. My overall level of enjoyment of this book alone is enough to warrant it 4 stars; however, there are a few issues that did bother me enough to make me take away a whole star.

Firstly, the way every single girl character except for our MC, Willa, and the previous book’s MC (Maggie) was written irked me so.much. They were all so stereotypical and mean, and it was obvious they were written for the sole purpose of being props to the guy characters. In addition, older women like Willa’s and Gunner’s mother were such awful, conceited people and I just- arghh. What pissed me off the most was the fact that two women in this book *no spoilers* said that they’d been raped, and guess what? They were ridiculed & disbelieved by almost everyone, including some of our very own MCs.

Second, unlike the first book, the character development in this was almost nonexistent. Maggie’s character development was honestly phenomenal, but Willa? Not so much. What this book did have in abundance, though, was inner dialogue. There was lots of it. Like, it would span the length of 1-2 pages! At first, I didn’t really care or notice that much, but there were times that this inner dialogue started to get repetitive and, dare I say it, boring.

(At this point of the review, I started waffling about what to rate this book, but finally settled on 3 stars for the reasons below.)

On one hand, this was a very quick, cute, and enjoyable read – no doubt about that. The romance was able to pull me in and the love triangle (thankfully) wasn’t that obnoxious. The writing was pretty great and articulate, too. The characters made me fall in love with them, and the book made me feel so many wonderful things. I just really, really, really enjoyed this book!

On the other hand, when I start analyzing the book and delving deeper into all the technicalities, I start to find underlying issues. The way the female characters were written and how they tried to bring each other down (which is a huge pet peeve of mine), the lack of character development & abundance of internal dialogue, and the sexism.

I don’t know if the first book had the same problems as this one and I just didn’t see them, or if I was just in a really weird place while reading it, but what I do know is that both books still managed to capture a part of my heart – no matter how small.

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Rating: 3 fish

3 fish

Book Review: One by Sarah Crossan

one One by Sarah Crossan

Published by Greenwillow Books on September 15, 2015

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Pages: 448 – hardcover & paperback, 400 – ebook

Format Read: paperback

Rating: 4 stars

Source: Bloomsbury UK

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Blurb:

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.

And their lives are about to change.

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…

From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate?


Review:

So, I read this book a while ago and wanted to write this review then, but unfortunately, I never had the chance to get around to it. So when I received a complimentary copy from Bloomsbury Publishing, it was practically fate! I reread the book again and wrote this review and it’s just as amazing as the last time I read it.

From the moment I heard about the idea of One, I knew I had to read it. I’ve always been so intrigued about the psychological aspect of being conjoined twins and the emotions that come with it, which this book managed to portray VERY well. You have no idea how many emotions I went through as I read this book.

Added bonus: it’s written in free verse! Usually, I find that books written in verse lack the ability to make me connect with the characters or the plot or the story in general. However, One managed to pull that off flawlessly! The writing style really made the pages go by. One sitting is all it took to devour this story.

This book is told from the POV of Grace, not Tippi. I didn’t mind that it wasn’t in dual POV because we still get to see both sides of the coin. Grace is the quiet, shy one and Tippi is the stubborn, outgoing one. They’re so different, yet they’re so in sync with each other — it’s beautiful! Sarah Crossan did a phenomenal job of providing insight into their lives; it’s obvious a lot of meticulous research went into this.

The story explores a variety of different problems. One example is the daily struggle of being conjoined twins and the difficulty they face in fitting in with others. Another example is Grace and Tippi’s dysfunctional family – they aren’t the only ones with problems – and their struggle to manage the medical bills. I also found many underlying themes such as love, friendship, and family.

Also, can we talk about THAT ENDING. I can’t say I didn’t see it coming, but boy did I cry my eyes out. WHY IS LIFE SO CRUEL *sob*

So, in short, One is a very thought-provoking and insightful read into the lives of two girls bound together. The free verse writing style and the topic of the book itself makes for a very unique read. Grace & Tippi were such complex, flawed characters and their dynamic with their family and friends was just so well-written. The way this book addressed everything was extraordinary and I just- *hugs book*.

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Rating: 4 fish

4 fish

Book Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

and i darken And I Darken by Kiersten White

Published by Delacorte Press on June 28, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 496 – hardcover, 498 – paperback, 400 – ebook

Format Read: eARC

Rating: 5 stars

Source: NetGalley

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Blurb:

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.

From New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White comes the first book in a dark, sweeping new series in which heads will roll, bodies will be impaled . . . and hearts will be broken.


Review:

Alright, so, I’ve been wanting to write this review ever since I finished the book at 5:30 a.m., but unfortunately, I had to go to sleep. Ugh, life necessities. I don’t know if I can properly articulate what I feel about this book, but I sure as hell will try my hardest!

Now this is a book that is unlike any that I have ever read. From the get-go, we are introduced to the book’s dark and gritty atmosphere. The synopsis compares it to Game of Thrones, but I’ve only watched 5 episodes of that so I can’t really judge. What I can tell you, however, is that this book is going to sink its claws into you from the beginning until the very end. There’s this suspense and darkness about it that keeps you flipping page after page after page. Trust me when I say, you will devour this book.

This story has elements of fantasy incorporated into an alternate historical universe set during the pinnacle of the Ottoman Empire’s success. Although not very historically accurate, the book does an excellent job of depicting various religions and politics in an objective way, which I loved. The story itself is also very unconventional, for sure — with its unconventional setting and unconventional heroine and unconventional atmosphere. This all makes it so unique and original.

However, the main driving force of the story is the complex, dimensional characters. Our protagonist is the fierce Lada, short for Ladislav, and she is basically the alternate female version of Vlad the Impaler. Lada is the epitome of fierce anti-princess. Her wickedness & sinisterness are very palpable things in the book. I might even dare call her psychotic. However, her POV makes us sympathize with and feel empathy for her, framing her in a slightly humane manner. Lada defies everything a woman should be in the 1400s. She despises being a woman and does everything in her power in order to not be seen as one. Later on, she learns that women themselves are weapons, binding their time and then striking. I really admire Lada’s character – she’s wild and shrewd and cruel and calculating. A force to be reckoned with!

In contrast, we have Lada’s brother Radu. He is pretty and delicate and sensitive, pretty much the polar opposite of Lada. He’s usually the one that needs protecting, in the physical sense. However, later on, we learn that Radu is better at defending himself in other ways: through charming smiles and insincere speech and praise-filled assurances. ‘Kill ’em with kindness’ is probably his motto. What Radu lacked in substance, he more than made up for in charm & kindness.

Lada and Radu’s sibling dynamic is an intriguing one for sure. They are practically the embodiment of yin and yang. Their relationship is tainted with frustration, misunderstanding, and jealousy, yet they both manage to put each other first. It’s quite unlike anything I’ve seen in YA. In this book, their relationship is merely a thread in the web of other complicated relationships in this book.

Contrary to what you might believe, there’s no love triangle in this book, although it may seem like one. Mehmed and Lada’s slow development of their relationship was nice, but I don’t think Mehmed is a good match for Lada. I feel like he holds her back from her true potential, as it is so often subtly hinted at in the book by others. *cough* Mara, Bogdan, Nicolae. *cough* In the first half of the book, Lada is as wild as ever, but in the middle of the second half, she kind of stops fighting. She’s content with what she has, which was all given to her by Mehmed. I remember thinking,“I thought you didn’t want to be tied to what a man gave you? I thought you were going to take what is yours and not have it given to you?!”

Moreover, let’s talk about the compelling, captivating plot, shall we? It literally made my head explode! (In a good way) The plot is so fast-paced from the very start, and there’s never a dull moment in this book. Hold your horses. I don’t mean fast-paced as in sword-fighting, arrow-shooting, knife-stabbing action, although there is plenty of that to go around. I meant the political intrigue that’s so abundant in this book. There are so many mind-blowing machinations and jaw-dropping twists & turns! The complexity of all that, in addition to the author’s eloquent writing style, makes for an unputdownable read.

To briefly sum it up, And I Darken has complex dynamics that are all tangled in a dark web of betrayal and frustration. That’s not all, though. The attention to detail, the intricately woven setting & plot, the meticulous characterization, and the portrayal of history & its religions… These all make for a truly phenomenal page-turner of a book. A perfect read if you’re looking for something dark, unconventional, and unputdownable!

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way impacted my views & opinions above.

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Rating: 5 fish

4 fish

Book Review: Winning by Lara Deloza

winning  Winning by Lara Deloza

Published by HarperTeen on June 28, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction

Pages: 336 – paperback, 304 – ebook

Format Read: paperback ARC

Rating: 4 stars

Source: HarperCollins

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Blurb:

Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?

Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.

Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.

With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is in no way impacted my views & opinions below.

I’ll start off by saying this: If you’re looking for a cute contemporary read about a nice heroine and her charming love interest, and a happy ending for both of them, then this book – my friend – is not for you. Winning will trample over all your hopes and dreams, then ruthlessly crush them into nothing. This book has honestly left me speechless; I can’t even form the words to appropriately articulate my feelings!

*deep breath* Okay, yeah, I’m fine now.

So, our protagonist is Alexandra, and boy is she ruthless and manipulative. Alexandra has a plan: win Homecoming Queen, become Miss Indiana, and then Miss America. Simple & breezy… or is it? From the very beginning of the book, Alexandra is established as the anti-hero who will trample over anyone and anything to get what she wants. We see her resort to manipulation and concocting some really, really messed up schemes. She’s a power-hungry bitch, to say the least.

Despite all that, her POV is framed in such a way that makes the reader actually want her to
succeed. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself defending her in my head. Alexandra’s also been affected by a few outside influences that made her into who she is, like her father’s death and her mother’s subsequent neglect of her. This served to help the reader empathize and relate to her. There’s also the fact that, from the exterior, Alexandra’s not that bad. She’s genuinely a good person, even defending her friend’s sexual orientation when she was being attacked for it.

Winning blurs the lines between the good guys and the bad guys. There’s a kind of moral ambiguity there, because everyone’s pitted against each other. The mean girl. The best friend. The new girl. The wimp. The lackey. They’ve all done cruel things to take down each other. No one is who you think they are. Good vs. bad is clearly a conundrum that this book wrestles with, and it does so excellently.

I’ve seen people describe this as Pretty Little Liars meets Mean Girls, which is a pretty accurate description. There’s a lot of devious plotting and cutthroat competition; everybody wants something. Alexandra wants to be Homecoming Queen and get out of this town, Sam wants Alexandra’s love, Ivy wants to not be an outcast, Sloane wants to take Alexandra down, and Erin just wants to be everyone’s friend.

There’s a lot of backstabbing, sure, but there are light moments, too. The f/f subplot was really adorable, and I loved how even though everyone – including her ‘best friend’ – tried to use Sam’s sexuality against her, she still managed to emerge victorious AND she got the girl. There are tons of witty one-liners, humorous dialogues, and most importantly, girl power!

In short, Winning is a book that is sure to surprise you, taking you on a whirlwind path of devious schemes & cunning plots. Bonus points for anti-hero protagonist, multiple POVs, and f/f subplot! I’d definitely say that there are still loose ends to be resolved; I want to know what happens next, but a sequel? Not so much. Leaving the book as it is would be so much better – it sends a realistic message that not every ending has to be perfectly wrapped up and tied in a bow. If you’re a fan of unconventional contemporaries with anti-hero protagonists, then this is definitely for you!

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Rating: 4 fish

4 fish

Book Review: Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

indiana-trr-headline-398x625 Indiana Belle by John A. Heldt

Published John A. Heldt on April 14, 2016

Genres: Historical Fiction/Romance, Time Travel

Pages: 295 – ebook

Format Read: ePub

Rating: 3.5 stars {rounded to 4 stars}

Source: Author (John A. Heldt)

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Blurb:

Providence, Rhode Island, 2017. When doctoral student Cameron Coelho, 28, opens a package from Indiana, he finds more than private papers that will help him with his dissertation. He finds a photograph of a beautiful society editor murdered in 1925 and clues to a century-old mystery. Within days, he meets Geoffrey Bell, the “time-travel professor,” and begins an unlikely journey through the Roaring Twenties. Filled with history, romance, and intrigue, INDIANA BELLE follows a lonely soul on the adventure of a lifetime as he searches for love and answers in the age of Prohibition, flappers, and jazz.


Review:

Many thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

Okay, so this may not be my first read by John A. Heldt, but it is my favorite! I’m probably going to say that about every single book of his I read in the future. This book captivated my attention from page one and managed to keep it it till the very end. I was so fully immersed in the book, and that’s saying something, because I’m not a regular reader of the time travel genre. Well rest-assured, I’ll be reading a lot more time travel books now.

What makes this such an immersing read is the way the world was fleshed out. I found it really easy to visualize the setting of this book. The author does a magnificent job of depicting the 20s; it’s obvious that meticulous research was involved in this. The writing was also contributory to the book’s impressiveness. It was very well-articulated, but not too convoluted with unnecessary descriptions, which I loved. It made everything flow really well together and made it easy to follow along. I could practically picture myself in the 1920s!

The characters were also really easy to relate to. Candice’s character drew me in from the beginning. At first, I was afraid I wouldn’t like her because I usually cringe at the way women from the 20th century are written in books, but that turned out not to be a problem! Candice is an extremely wonderful and likable character with her repertoire of witty comments and sarcastic one-liners. I loved her independence, intelligence, and good-naturedness. Of course, she’s not rainbows and unicorns all the time – she has a dark past – but that just makes me admire her character even more.

As much as I liked Candice, I felt like Cameron’s personality was a bit bland in comparison – as in, his character somewhat falls on the “plain” spectrum. There was a bit of one-sided instalove on his part, and although it is later reciprocated, instalove has just always been something that put me off. Still, Cameron and Candice’s relationship dynamic as it developed was pretty interesting to read about.

Also, can we talk about the book’s premise? Time-travel books usually require a certain level of suspension of disbelief, and they have to be executed really well – not too complicated and science-y, but not too straightforward and simple. I feel like the author’s done an excellent job in accomplishing that. In addition to being a time-travel book, this book also incorporates historical fiction, romance, and mystery elements. Best of all worlds!

Overall, this is a fast-paced book with a plot that has many twists that are sure to keep you flipping pages till the very end. In addition to dimensional & well-rounded characters, the author’s casual, easy-going style of writing truly makes this an enjoyable read. If you think time-travel books aren’t your thing, I’d recommend trying again with this book!

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Rating: 4 fish

4 fish

Book Review: Wanderlost by Jen Malone

wanderlost  Wanderlost by Jen Malone

Published by HarperTeen on May 31, 2016

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 352 – paperback & ebook

Format Read: paperback ARC

Rating: 4 stars

Source: HarperCollins

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Blurb:

Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe.

Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.

Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.

But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.


Review:

Many thanks to the publisher, HarperCollins, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way impacted my views and opinions below.

When I first read the premise of this book, my first instinct was to roll my eyes and think “Yeah, totally, that’s so plausible.” A minor leading a senior group on a tour around Europe as a replacement for her older sister who was arrested, and as a result, grounded? Uh, yeah, sureee. I soon realized that if you just roll with it and continue reading, you’ll find that it isn’t much of a deterrent after all. So in this review, I’m going to put aside all my doubts & opinions about the implausibility of the premise just because the rest of the book was enjoyable enough to nullify that flaw.

Let me tell you, Wanderlost was a very adorable, cute, fluffy, charming read. Adorable, cute, fluffy, charming reads are my favorite kind of reads! I flew through this book and I was so sad to see it end. Aubree was an amazing heroine. I loved how she a) stepped out of her comfort zone and b) managed to handle everything that got thrown her way. She didn’t do it perfectly, of course. She fumbled her way through and messed up quite a few times, but in the end she still persevered — with the help of her friends and family. Her relationship with her sister was emphasized in this book, and it was such a pleasure watching them try to reconnect & fix this relationship.

This wouldn’t be a contemporary review if I didn’t talk about the romance. The romance in this book gave me soo many heart palpitations. I could swoon over Sam for hours on end. From the moment we are introduced to him, he is charismatic, charming, and funny. His lines had me grinning widely at the page… like a goof. He’s definitely my favorite character in this book. What bothered me, however, was how Aubree still wouldn’t tell him her secret. He was so nice and charming and an overall good guy that I knew what Aubree was hiding would hurt him very much. I was practically screaming at her to just tell him!!! Still, their relationship was truly something to read. It had its bumps along the road (see what I did there), but in the end, their pull toward each other was just too strong. All the feels, man.

Another thing that I really admired about this book was the way the senior characters were written. I’m so glad they weren’t just a bunch of wise, warmhearted, wool-knitting grandparents, because that’s usually the way old people are written in books. They all had realistic personalities and were extremely dimensional, encompassing all the flaws and shortcomings of a normal person. I was actually able to connect and care about every single one of the group.

The setting of this book was breathtaking. The descriptions of the different countries in Europe the group group visited made me want to go there myself. I can understand why Aubree fell in love with every place she visited. The writing made me easily picture Aubree there with Sam, leading the tour group and having adventures together.

In short — ignoring the plot holes & inconveniences that this story presents — this was an extremely adorable book with excellent writing and lovely themes. The dynamic characters and swoon-worthy romances are an added bonus! Still, there are quite a few flaws, but the story’s overall enjoyableness definitely negates them. A perfect summer read with just the right amount of adorableness!

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Rating: 4 stars

3 fish