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November 26, 2014

REVIEW: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: 5/5 stars
Get it: Amazon | B&N
Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

My Review
Illusions of Fate brought me back to the warm moment when I  finished and devoured Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy. It just brought me back to that place where I just knew I was reading something that good, something that hooked me beyond measure or explanation. Right from the get-go I was completely immersed into White’s latest novel that contained ample amount of whimsicality, magic and edge.

There are many things I love about the main character of this book. Jessamin was such a breath of fresh air, a surprise and a delight to read and be in her head. She wasn’t just independent or strong or brave. She was all that for sure but she was intelligent in a way that she was eager and ready to learn whether it be history, literature or magic. She had sass and snap and just the way she held her head high even when she was stared at or gossiped about made me admire her more and more. 

When it came to Finn, it wasn’t hard to fall in love with him. It was nearly effortless from his out of nowhere first appearance, to his charming personality and his eccentricity. There was just something about him that was so fascinating and magnetic and just gosh darn likable. I loved how he was just so flirtatious and slightly mad. I sort of liked the underlying unhinged powerful quality he exuded. When he wasn’t flirting, he was joking around and being so humorous and even a little naughty. 

My most favorite part of Illusions of Fate was the magic, the fantasy, and the intrigue. Jessamin gets thrust into the cold and rich world of Albion whilst leaving behind her warm and bright island of Melei. When comparing Albion to Melei, Albion lacked the inviting sun and the family traditions and gatherings. Avebury, where Jessamin  lived in Albion, was described thoroughly and richly from the architecture to the cold weather to the snooty people and their elegant attire. White even included how people of Albion treated those who come from the islands through Jessamin’s experiences and encounters of other people. How there was discrimination and prejudices from those with colored skin to those who are not as privileged to those who lacked the power Finn had. All of this just made this book inherently marvelous. 

The main plot was what really had me spellbound the further I got into the book because it just got better and better. It wasn’t just simple magic, it was a war of power and the villain, Downpike, was ready to do just about anything to get his hands on it. He was diabolical, vengeful, evil, and crazed. He was the perfect villain to the hero in Finn and the heroine in Jessamin. The conflict and revelational twists that surrounded these three was absolutely surprising and astounding. I never thought things would go that way and it was freaking awesome. 

My only gripe with this book had to be the romance. There was nothing wrong with it per se. I loved the development of Finn and Jessamin’s relationship and how both had to win over the other. I loved how they were beguiled by one another then at odds until they finally settled onto common ground of partnership and love. I just wish there was more of that romance. I needed just a little more to satisfy. Despite that, I was enchanted by their subtle romance anyhow. 

All in all I thought Illusions of Fate was nearly impeccable. Readers will enjoy the fantasy ride brought on by the magic feud between Finn and Downpike along with Jessamin’s smart thoughts and comebacks. There’s much to love when it comes to Illusions of Fate!

November 23, 2014

Time for a much needed UPDATE!

Hello to everyone who still follows, stops by blog, reads the posts, authors who still reach out for spotlights and review requests...

I must say I am terribly sorry for disappearing once again. It was probably this time of the year, last year, where I started to drift off. I was having a tough time getting into books and lost interest for awhile. It's not anyone's fault, I think I just forgot why I loved to read and ended up stopping for awhile.

When the 2014 rolled around, I decided I wanted to get back into the blogging world after being gone for a couple of months. It was obvious that I wasn't into it 100%, and it can be seen by the amount of posts I had. But I tried to juggle reading and blogging and reviewing all the while dealing with my final semester in university. I got pretty steady with playing catch up reading and reviews around February and March.

It wasn't until the end of March when things started to get bad in my personal life. My dad had a stroke which led him to be immobile on his left side. The stress of his stroke and of school had me in the hospital for a day. While my dad was in the hospital recovering, I was arranging my International Experience to study abroad for a week during spring break. It couldn't be held off since I needed to go to graduate in May. So I had to leave for Germany while I left my dad in the care of a rehab center so he could gain the strength back on his left side.

I had a great time in Germany, met new people, and saw new sites. It was an adventure I never even dreamed I would have ever had the chance to experience. So because of my dad's condition, the school and my Germany trip, reading and blogging took a back slide. I tried to read a bit here and there, but when your mind was elsewhere, it was hard. Coming back from Germany was still a struggle. My dad wanted to go home, I still had final exams and graduation to worry about. But my dad recovered immensely and he still continued to recover today.

When graduation hit, I felt accomplished. Like another chapter in my life has finished. I hoped that over the summer I would catch up with all my unread review books and I was starting to. It was a slow process. I was enjoying being school free while I took care of my dad since he was finally able to come home from the center a few days before I graduated. He sadly, couldn't come to my graduation, but that's all in the past and I have moved on from it.

It was until the end of June and beginning of July hit that I needed to get a job. My boyfriend applied me, I got an interview and I got hired. It's my first job. I know...23 years old and you only had a job now? Crazy right?! My dad was adamant of me not getting a job and focusing on school until I got my coveted degree in Health Science. So I knew that I didn't have the experience yet to go after a job under my degree. I thought working wouldn't take up so much of my time. I thought other bloggers had college and jobs and blogged too, so maybe I could do it too. I wasn't entirely wrong. I thought I could do it, but I didn't realize how tired I was all the time.

I still am tired all the time. I've been working at Subway as a Sandwich Artist since July. It's not exactly a hard job, but it's not easy either. The schedules are mixed up so one day I work in the morning, the next maybe in the afternoon, and then maybe again in the morning the next day, and maybe the next day I'm closing the store. I know it's a lame excuse to say that that I'm tired, that I don't have the time or energy. I'm working on it. I'm still reading. I've been writing reviews here and there, I just haven't had the energy to actually make a blog post.

I am behind on reading and reviewing and posting, but I found that being away from the blog has left me to enjoy the easy pace of reading. Of being able to draw out a book for a long period or read it in a day if I can and not worry about taking notes, or reviewing or blog posts. But I also have missed being involved. Being able to chat with bloggers and authors about books. I missed being up to date on the latest books and adding them on my TBR/wish list.

With all that, I'm not quite sure when I'll be truly back. Just know that I will be popping up here and there. For now, I'm closing my review requests. I'll be on twitter more, I promise. And again, I am sorry for being MIA, a lot. I appreciate those who still follow me and come by and talk to me on twitter. You guys are great and you'll always be the reason for coming back.

If you guys don't mind, send me some recommendations I may have missed out on! Love you guys xoxo

October 21, 2014

Release Day Launch: ROWDY by Jay Crownover

ROWDY RDL Banner 2
 
We are over the moon excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for ROWDY by Jay Crownover!! ROWDY is the fifth novel in her Marked Men Series published by William Morrow, and imprint of HarperCollins and you do NOT want to miss it!


RowdyROWDY by Jay Crownover (Marked Men #5)

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.

Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.




EXCERPT-

WHEN I PUT THE key he had given me in the door to his apartment it felt like the end of a long journey. Really it was only a little over twelve hours and I had stopped to nap once along the way, but it still felt like too long since I had seen his face or been able to touch all that toned and tattooed skin. Jimbo greeted me at the door when I pushed it open. His tongue lolled out of his mouth and he jumped up and put his paws on my legs. He was going to be huge when he finally grew into his fuzzy body and I was overwhelmed at how happy I was to see him. I dropped to my knees and rubbed my face in his neck as he licked me all over my face. I was obviously missed and I had to say it was just one more reason I knew I was finally where I was supposed to be. It was late, so the apartment was dark.

I checked the dog’s food and water, trying to be quiet in case Rowdy was already asleep. I was winding my way toward his bedroom when a haphazardly discarded sketch pad lying on the couch caught my eye in the dim light. I paused for a minute to pick it up and felt my heart stop and then start to race as I flipped through the first few pages. There were a couple of drawings that were obviously for clients, tattoos that hadn’t made it from paper to skin yet, but most of the pristine white pages were covered with images wearing my face. There was mermaid me, and naughty- sailor- girl me. There was sassy Indian girl me with long Pocahontas braids and there was sexy devil me standing next to angelic me. There were dozens of them all in different shapes and sizes, but every single image was undoubtedly modeled after my distinct look. I wasn’t sure if he had drawn them all over this last week while I had been gone or over the months we had been chasing each other in circles.

Either way it made my heart swell and the full certainty that I was it for him settle deep inside my bones. I set the pad down and tiptoed through the hall. Jimbo took one look at where I was going and huffed out a disgusted- sounding snort. The poor guy had learned early on that he wanted no part of what happened between his humans when they were together in the bedroom. The light was off and Rowdy was sprawled on his stomach across the covers. His blond hair was sticking up every- where and he hand one arm bent up under his head. The only thing that could have made the sight better would have been if he hadn’t bothered with the black boxers before crashing out.

Even with them obscuring the view, I couldn’t complain. I let out a breathless sigh and crept closer so that I could lean over and touch my lips to that anchor on the side of his neck. I felt his pulse leap and tasted the salt on his skin as he murmured sleepily and rolled over onto his back. Those infinitely blue eyes glowed at me in the dark as a grin pulled up the corner of his mouth.

“Hey.”

Rowdy Teaser 2
Sensual portrait of beautiful girl with tattoo lying on bed.


About Jay Crownover

Jay CrownoverJay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men series. She will also be introducing the dark and sexy world of The Point in a new series this summer starting with ROWDY. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she'll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her three dogs.       




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August 27, 2014

REVIEW: The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen

The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen (The Coincidence #2)
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: July 30, 2013
Rating: 4/5 stars
Get it: Amazon | B&N
The dark secret Kayden has kept hidden for years is finally out. Worse, he's facing charges for battery. The only way to clear his name is for Callie to speak up-something he'll never ask her to do. Instead, he'll do whatever he must to protect her . . . even if it means letting go of the only girl he's ever loved.

Callie knows Kayden is going back to his dark place and desperately wants to save him. But that means facing her greatest fear and admitting her own painful secrets aloud. The thought of breaking her silence terrifies her-but not as much as the thought of losing Kayden forever.

Deep in her heart, Callie knows the time has come for her and Kayden to forget the pain of the past. With the help of her friends Seth and Luke she makes a plan to show Kayden the life they could have. But can she convince him they can make a fresh start together-or is she already too late?


My Review
Breaking down The Redemption of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen...



The Beginning

Redemption picks up where Coincidence left off with Callie worried and reeling and Kayden broken and almost at rock bottom. 



Callie

I’m probably most proud of her for being brave and strong for not just herself, but for Kayden as well. True to her word, Callie never judged Kayden, but supported him and helped him. She tried to be a strong person so she was able to save herself and save him. She mustered up all the courage she had and put herself out there and I was so amazed by her resilience. Callie wasn’t that quiet, meek, scared girl in Coincidence. She really steps up and out and speaks up. 



Kayden

I was aching for him because of what he did, what he went through and how he felt. It was his turn to finally be helped and saved and while it took him a few push and pull moments, Kayden followed through. He had a hard time and he struggled with his inner demons and continued to believe he wasn’t good enough. I was rooting for him to also have the courage to speak up, to help himself and move forward. With Callie’s help, he sees the potential in himself and his ability to just allow someone to understand him and be there for him. And even after everything Kayden has been through, he has always been a good person despite it all.



Friendship

As before, Redemption really celebrates friendship. Callie, Seth, Luke and Kayden have become each other’s little family. They hold no judgement towards each other, they respect the boundaries while still pushing the lines to move forward. They are there for each other without the need to share every little thing. It’s a friendship based on understanding, care and concern. They all share in their dark and especially in their light. I love that these four have made a path towards an even stronger bond with one another. 



The message

Sorensen really boasts the importance of friendship, love, and overcoming the fear of what the truth can bring and trusting that someone will listen and believe. She shows the real struggle and pain one can go through after traumatic events, how it is possible to heal and be loved, and that a happy ending small or big is within reach. 



All in all, I am happy where Callie and Kayden are right now, but I would not mind following their story even further.