Here is another author that I had the pleasure meeting at Once Upon A Book. I cannot wait until next year to actually meet her and talk with her kinda go a little overboard-fan-girl crazy... I'll try not to make too much of a scene...
I read this book in no time and I really enjoyed it. I will say, at first I was getting upset with the book because it is written in many different viewpoints. Each chapter is from a different character's point of view from the last. The reason I was upset with it is that I would have to finish reading the next person's story to get to the next when really I just wanted to continue on with the first person's story. However, as I went through, I loved the way that the story came together in the end. I felt that if you changed the layout and just had the story from one viewpoint then the story would have lost some of its flow and appeal, which is not at all what I was expecting. I love that you got to see what was going on with all the characters and got to see what they were thinking from a detailed view.
This book is heavily paranormal and right up my alley of what I love to read. I love that the main characters are girls and they are kick-ass and really do not have too much help trying to get things done themselves. However they would take the help of others which makes them seem humble and relatable.
There may be some SPOILERS to follow, and for that I am sorry...
Rachel is the "main" character in the first half of the book. She is a human who was kidnapped. She was locked away for sometime because they were testing her with a drug. This drug caused her to change which is why I loved her. The book took a crazy turn and she had to use her new found gift on other paranormal beings. She did not want to be told what to do and this is where Bastine came into the story. Bridget wrote him into the story very nonchalant and then all of a sudden you are rooting for him and Rachel. As a heads up, things get a little hot a heavy... Something I would not let just anyone read.
The second half of the book is in mainly Winter's viewpoint. Winter is a Fae. She has been exiled from the Fae World. She is of the Seelie and Unseelie. Winter comes to the aid of a little girl that Rachel has saved from the compound and in turns finds herself with a very unlikely partner that she so happens to take a fancy to: a vampire Lord named Varian. I feel that Winter's story could have gone on longer, but it does leave you wanting more and gives a slight cliff hanger that will make you want to grab the second book. I know I am already in the works of reading the second book, and will be heading onto the third as soon as I am done.
I think that for this book, we will go with a Oreo cupcake, a hybrid of sorts it's already cake, and then you are adding cookies mmmm... Yum. This idea was inspired by a friend that asked me to do this for her wedding cake. So I made it happen and it has been a big hit. Check out the tasty morsels tab and get the full recipe and the photos tab for the pictures of these amazing cupcakes You will not be disappointed.
Mary Ting, what can I say... I can start by saying sorry. Sorry that I have met you at 3 or so books events and have only just now read a book by you. I am extremely mad at myself for letting work and everyday life get in the way of me not reading your work.
Mary Ting has an amazing way with words that you are captured by the story. I have never really read any paranormal books that were about angels and I found that I really liked what I was reading. Her characters were well developed and allowed you to have a connection and felt like you knew who they were. You felt the love that Michael and Claudia's were building for one another. Even though the love was forbidden, you wanted to witness the love happen. Why do we always want something we cannot have so much? (Maybe I do like romance books more than I say I do.)
In this story Claudia is just a normal teenage girl who has had a relatively normal life. She was the daughter of a widowed mother, who worked to make sure that she was well kept for. She had a Gamma who looked out for her. She was not her true grandmother but an adoptive one. She had many close friends.
One day, everything changed when her friend passed away. She has "dreams", where she was on a road that was surrounded by a vast field. She didn't know it really was not a dream, and that it was an actual place, nor was she aware she had been there before. In one of the "dreams", her life changed when Davin put his arms around her to help her from not falling down because she had tripped. At that moment she had been marked: the Fallen were after her. Though they did not know that they were after her, they had a feeling that they would be so they went to Halo City to talk with Philip to come up with a plan to keep her safe.
Michael is a nephilim: half human and half angel, just like the others that are in Halo City. He had become her guardian angel. He was nervous because he was not allowed to have human feelings and he had already had some feelings for Claudia. Their love was forbidden.
Claudia is faced with trials that no regular human can go through. Luckily she has an angel to help her along the way. She also had help from a loved one that knew along all that she would be the chosen one. There is a dark family secret that someone was trying very hard to keep.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a young adult paranormal romance. And while you are snuggled up on the couch reading this book you can have a slice of the Heavenly Cake recipe that I have. Check it out on the Tasty Morsels page or click here. This cake is not only heavenly but its not terrible for you. Also did I mention that its only 2 ingredients.... can you say super easy!
I had the pleasure of meeting Jules at the Once Upon A Book author signing. Compared to my other reviews, which are very distinctly paranormal works, this would be more in line with a young adult romance story.
Shadows is a book about a young girl in the 1800s named Emma (reviewer note: I already like her because of her name is the same as my daughter's). Emma is forced to grow up quickly with the loss of her mother. She had to give up going to school to help around the family farm. She had the task of taking care of her brothers and her father, keeping up with the house work while they were in the fields. With her heavy workload there was no time for her to court, unlike all of her friends whom were already married. Her family lived outside of town so she would make trips into town to buy anything that they needed. But then, one of her trips to town changed everything: she saw a young man that she didn't know but whose eyes she recognized as those that had saved her from some unsavory person. At this point, you can no longer put the book down. I had to keep reading because I had to know what happens. I couldn't put it down until I found out for myself.
In this story Emma is trying to follow a path that is good, and one that will follow God's will. She wants to make sure that her name is not tarnished in any way. She does not want anyone to notice her so she does not become a burden for her family. The book blurb on the back of the book says "As Emma struggles to follow God's will, she comes to realize that God does not simply guide us by events along our path.... " "... sometimes you are guided by the shadows..." There are many Scriptures in the book, and now that I have read and re-read the story, they have taken on a new meaning.
Jules writes in a way that is very clear and easy to follow and never required re-reading things to remember or understand situations. She kept true to the time era she was writing about. Her characters were well developed and you felt like you knew them, by creating an emotional connection to the characters in the story. I not only loved Emma, but I fell in love with Thane, her savior. I found myself hoping and praying that Emma would fall in love with him. That being said this book does have a slight love triangle, which I am personally not a big fan of (you may have picked up on that from previous reviews). If you are like me and do not particularly like love triangles, this one does not feel forced and you can see why and how it happens. I do however like a little complication and competition in love stories because there always is something in real life.
I would recommend this book if you are looking for a light quick read. I really enjoyed this book. I do hope there will be another book to make this a series because I would like to know more of Emma and Thane's story from growing up, or where they are now.
In the story, Emma is making a blackberry jam, and all I wanted in that second was cobbler. I wanted to get up and start making it right then and there (if I could put the book down!). So why not provide a delicious cobbler recipe? You can follow the link here to check out the recipe.
About 5 years ago I accompanied my aunt (the wonderful Stacey Rourke) to a book signing. I never realized just how much fun that I would have meeting authors and being immersed in the literary field; nor did I realize that I would be starting my very own blog one day. While on this trip I met Elizabeth Kirke (who I totally fell in love with, by the way), so I had to buy one of her books (I have since bought all of her works... support your authors!). I started reading "Semester Aboard" on the drive home and could not put it down.
"Semester Aboard" is a story about a young woman Jennifer going on a trip abroad on a cruise ship, but ssh doesn't know what is in store for her once she is on the ship. (Goblins? Zombies? Handsome strangers with serious trust issues? Pirate-themed lawn gnomes come to life with a thirst for blood?)
I love that this story, it has many different paranormal elements. It's a story about vampires, witches, mermaids, elementals, and werewolves... it's a smorgasbord of fantastical creatures! Kirke writes in such a way that keeps you intrigued and you want to know what happens next. From the very first chapter she has your attention and starts it off with drama. It captures your attention and imagination and has you wanting to continue to read because you want to know what has happened. I know reading the first chapter that I would have reacted the exact same way as Jennifer if...
...I saw someone falling overboard on a cruise ship.
Now, I don't generally care for sappy love stories all that much (however I am a girl and sometimes I love them). It reminds me of high school, usually. But this story has a budding romance that I love. I can feel for Jennifer and what she is going through (personal experiences!). She is finding herself and also finding a friendship in someone that is turning into something a bit more. There is a scene in which Thomas is explaining to her how to do something and she is listening to him, but she also is coming to the realization that she is nervous around him. While following direction she is thinking to herself "hoping I wasn't blushing or anything embarrassing like that. Of all people to have a crush on, why on earth had I picked Thomas? A vampire, seriously?" She admitted that she was "crushing" on him. To see stories and characters develop like this made me want to know more.
But not everything is always peachy, and there are a few negatives that I can say about this book, one being the size. I feel that it could have been broken into two different stories just based on how much happens, but that being said I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out where a sensible break off point would be, and I haven't the slightest clue (so maybe not a negative at all?). Also, and it pains me to say this, but I would have loved to get more of the love story. I wanted the main character to call attention to the flirting and not be so shy... take some action ( not just thinking the thoughts in her head), further this along! Honestly, people, has being shy ever worked? Shyness didn't snag me my husband, that's for sure! And maybe that's one of the reasons I felt this book could have been split somewhere, so that maybe it could alleviate some space for more romance.
That being said, I do love this story and recommend it to anyone and everyone with an interest in paranormal things and fantastical creatures... Or those with a fascination with stories taking place on cruise ships. Me personally? I can't wait to find out more from this series.
I can't help but put myself in a character's shoes and that includes imagining being in the same places and exotic locations as them. So what else but to imagine being on a cruise and ending up in the tropics somewhere? I know that there are many other cruises and they all do not go somewhere warm, my dream cruise would take me somewhere warm. I think that it is only fitting to have a Carribean Jerk Chicken Salad recipe to go along with this book review. You can follow the link here to check out the recipe.
..Before I get started, I must confess something. I love Stacey Rourke with all my heart. She's an aunt, a surrogate mother, and a sister to me all rolled into one, so bear with me as I make my best effort to not scream "fangirl" from every letter of this page. She is an amazing author and an even better friend and I cannot thank her enough for everything she has done, even up to dedicating this book to me. That being said, Stacey is an amazing author that has been able to capture my attention with her writing for as long as I can remember, as you may be able to tell from my "about me" section. But I assure you, I will not be biased in this review (nor any reviews of Stacey's work) because of this. However, I felt it was only fair to acknowledge this from the start... But anyway, on to the book!
I am a big fan of Ichabod Crane and the movie “Sleepy Hollow (1999)” (#JohnnyDeppSwoon)... And listing that date makes me feel so very old now. I love how Stacey has woven the past to the present in this story. She has taken the headless horseman legend and put a modern day twist on it. The way she writes helps make you feel as if you are right there in the action. She paints a clear picture of the scenes so you have no trouble understanding what is happening in the story. The main character Ireland doesn't know what she possesses inside of her. She moves to Sleepy Hollow trying to start over after a nasty breakup; and she finds a new start all right! As the reader you get to accompany her on a journey to becoming the Headless Horseman, and you feel for her and understand in the end why she chooses the path that she does.
Along the way, you meet a few other interesting characters such as Noah and Rip. Here, Stacey has written Noah as a chivalrous man, which I personally love. Rip is from the past and stuck in the future because of a spell, but he doesn’t understand the present time, slang, nor modern technology. This creates a lot of witty humour and banter between Ireland and Rip. Things that will cause you to laugh til you cry. I know I received a few confused and concerned looks from my husband wondering why I was laughing (not to mention the strange looks from our dog...) and my daughter asking if I was mentally ill.
Not too much of a spoiler but something that I find extremely funny... I know that I have been through one of those really bad break ups in the past, one where you change everything about yourself from hair length and color to even tattoos at the extreme ( I can admit that I have done all of the above). Ireland has as well, In this part of the story, Ireland is explaining part of the break up. After explaining why she left her boyfriend, she says "I was too busy trying to maneuver the refrigerator into the hallway." ( I can see a woman trying to do this because they are so pissed off!) Ireland also says "He could ruin my life, but he couldn't take my fridge". This is incredibly funny to me because, quite literally, this happened in my life when I was young... Though it wasn't me that had the fridge! This kind of storytelling, one that pulls from real world experiences, does wonders to grasp at a reader's imagination... and mine especially!
Okay, end spoilers!
This story gives you a female lead that is not afraid to get hurt, that doesn’t need a man to do her bidding. She is strong, independent and has a sense of humor, and I would like to see more stories with females as strong leads that don’t always need saving. It brings me pleasure knowing the ending of the books leaves it open for a second book in the sires. I am very excited to see what is in store for Ireland and what will happen in the next book.
While I am thinking about Sleepy Hollow and Ichabod Crane, I think of fall, with all the pumpkins and apples and it makes me want a fall treat. What's a better fall treat than pumpkin pie? I have the best crustless pumpkin pie recipe. As a forewarning, I am one of "those people" that follows a gluten free diet (out of necessity!), but if you can you can as easily take this recipe and make it with a pie crust (my husband likes my pecan-based crust). So while you read "Crane" you can enjoy this yummy pie!