Evie Blanchard was at the top of her field in the city of angels. But when an emotional year forces her to walk away from her job as a physical therapist, she moves from Los Angeles to Hope’s Crossing seeking a quieter life. So the last thing she needs is to get involved with the handsome, arrogant Brodie Thorne and his injured daughter, Taryn.
A self-made man and single dad, Brodie will do anything to get Taryn the rehabilitation she needs , even if it means convincing Evie to move in with them. And despite her vow to keep an emotional distance, Evie can’t help but be moved by Taryn’s spirit, or Brodie’s determination to win her help—and her heart. With laughter, courage and more than a little help from the kindhearted people of Hope’s Crossing, Taryn may get the healing she deserves—and Evie and Brodie might just find a love they never knew could exist
Being a big fan of romance and HEAs, I jumped at the chance to review Woodrose Mountain, and overall, I thought the story was sweet. But, although the reading was light and easy, I found my interest in the novel wavering often because I think it lacked that extra bit of spice that would have made it the type of sizzling delicious dish I would have devoured. Instead, Woodrose Mountain was like a lazy Sunday – familiar, quiet, and sleepy.
The entanglements that kept the main characters from getting involved despite their instant attraction to one another were a bit too common. Evie’s pain filled past warned her to keep her distance, and Brodie’s playboy ways insisted that he wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with anyone, let alone a woman who was his exact opposite. But Brodie’s daughter, Taryn, brought them together in ways that neither of them ever expected, and the affect was heart warming.
One thing that kind of bothered me was Evie’s past with loss. She had lost everyone of significance to her over the course of her life – father, sister, mother, best friend, adopted daughter. It was any wonder that she was still able to stand let alone function as a physical therapist. Does this happen in to real people in real life? Unfortunately, I have no doubt it does and they have to do their best to move on. But as sad as that fact may be, I don’t think that things need to be that bleak for book characters, especially ones in a romance novel because then it feels like ‘too much’. After a while, I couldn’t stop thinking of Evie as tragically plagued. Who would want to get involved with someone who brings death with her everywhere she goes? And, on top of that, some of Evie’s reflections of those she has lost were kind of emotionless. Maybe she’s just the kind of person that does dwell, but it didn’t do much to make me feel sympathetic towards her, and as a result, her good-natured ways felt fake.
Taryn’s recovery and the circumstances surrounding her tragic accident were what held my interest the most. A bit of a mystery slowly unravels, which ties to the first book in this series, Blackberry Summer, and though I have not read it, I didn’t feel lost.
Woodrose Mountain was a sweet, slow going novel, perfectly suited for those who enjoy happily ever afters.
Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine – a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it’s undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe – in love, in herself, and even in miracles.
Achingly beautiful and imaginatively wondrous, even if a bit too fantastical, The Probability of Miracles was a story that simultaneously warmed and broke my heart.
Campbell, a seemingly typical angst-filled teen, is nearing the end of her short life, because, as it turns out, she isn’t exactly a typical teen. Cam has cancer. And though she’s recently felt better than she ever has before, she knows her bout of good health is fleeting. Her mother and younger sister still believe that some miracle cure will save her, but Cam knows that the end is near. Driven by her Flamingo List, a list of things she want to do before she dies, Cam sets off for Maine with her family to give them the sense of hope they’ve been desperate for. But, Cam never expected to discover that she’d been desperate for it too.
Though I thought the narrator of the audiobook did a fantastic job, my listening experience with The Probability of Miracles was a bit uncomfortable. If you thought reading a third person, present tense narrative was tricky, imagine having to listen to it. It made me feel as if the story was more tell than show, and that just didn’t work very well for me.
What I enjoyed most was Cam’s journey of self-discovery. It felt so personal, so intimate. Yes, cancer had ravaged her body and what remained of her life, making her vulnerable in a lot of ways, but she was also surprisingly strong-willed. Because of that, I really thought her story should have been told by her instead of by someone else.
Still, Cam was a very well developed character that I liked getting to know. She was snarky and smart. Her struggles felt authentic. She didn’t have sudden epiphanies that made her a better person, rather she developed slowly and thoughtfully. But, aside from her mother and sister, the rest of the side characters didn’t really impress me. The new friends Cam made were a bit Stepfordy and shallow, but perhaps their characterization as Mary Sues was done purposely. Cam herself called them the “Catalog Kids” to emphasize how they always looked like they just stepped out of the page of a LL Bean catalog.
For a love interest, Asher was a bit too idealized and perfect for me. He didn’t really catch or hold my attention, but I could see how/why Cam fell for him. I thought it was sweet that he helped to ease some of Cam’s longing, but I didn’t want to see a version of Cam that was defined by the first boy that ever really paid attention to her, which is what exactly what happened a few times.
Though I wasn’t emotionally invested in the romance, I was in Cam. Each miracle that she magically encountered put a smile on my face, and I couldn’t help but hope that the inevitable wouldn’t happen.
The Probability of Miracles is more than a story of love, loss and everything in between. It’s about magic of life, and how it should never be taken for granted.
A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.
And then you’re dead.
When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.
Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.
Because how will she go on if there isn’t?
When an unknown virus begins to kill off inhabitants of an unnamed island, Kaelyn chronicles its deadly progression in letters to her ex-best friend, Leo.
I haven’t read too many books written in diary/journal/letter format, but judging from the ones I have, they seem to be either a hit or miss for me. The main reason I have trouble with them is because it’s hard to believe that anyone would write out whole ‘word for word’ conversations they had with whoever they interacted with during the day in a letter or diary. So every time I came across these types of convos in Kaelyn’s letters, it made me frown and wonder why this particular format was used.
Though I didn’t particularly care for the letter format in which the story was told, it did make for quick reading in an otherwise slow going story. In fact, if it weren’t for the few random expletives, I’d say that The Way We Fall seemed to be written more for a MG audience than for YA.
I think the author did a good job of creating character tension by building up the mystery of the deadly virus. It seemed to spring out of nowhere and kill infected people quickly, but the fact that little answers were ever given as to what exactly caused the virus or if there would ever be a cure was frustrating. And, I was disappointed to find that even though I was reading Kaelyn’s personal, intimate thoughts in her letters, I didn’t truly connect with her or those around her. It was as if she was not only quarantined from the mainland, but from me as well.
The ending absolutely baffled me. I not sure there’s a reason, other than what can be predictably guessed at, for Kaelyn’s story to continue as a trilogy or even a sequel, but apparently, something like that is planned because The Way We Fall just stopped. I think book one would have been more interesting had Kaelyn not been writing letters almost daily, as marked by the dates she put on top of each letter. The mundane and repetitious stuff like, ‘today we went scavenging, again’, could have been cut out completely and replaced with weekly updates to move the story along further and get more into the cure/rescue efforts.
Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something’s got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past.
Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe–until the night she learns that someone wants her dead.
Because of my little vampire addition, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about immortality and how it might change a person’s humanity over the course of several lifetimes. How hard would it be to hold on to your moral compass if time stretched on forever? Not only does Immortal Beloved do an excellent job of exploring an answer to that very question, it also examines several others like it.
Nastasya is an immortal that knows very little about her past or her status as an indestructible human. Living a life of luxury, the only thing she concerns herself with is having a good time with her friends at the latest club. But when she witnesses her best friend use dark magic, her world shifts and she quickly realizes she needs to change her ways before she too becomes consumed by the darkness that surrounds her. Seeking refuge, she retreats to River’s Edge, which forces her to face her past with brutality honest. As tormented memories that she prefers to forget awaken, she confronts her pain, a new part of herself emerges.
In a beautifully hunting story that isn’t exactly a page turner, but still well worth a read, Nastasya’s tale unfolds as a slow and painful journey of self discovery. It didn’t take long for me to realize that underneath her superficial shell, Nastasya’s a rich character with an amazing amount of depth. I always feel embarassed for characters that don’t bother to learn anything about their own history, and Nastasya was no exception, but as she admitted and worked through her flaws, my perception of her changed and I really grew to like her.
I did have a few problems with the language Nastasya used, and not because it was ‘bad’ but because it was modern. I believe with age comes a certain amount of formality in one’s choice of vocabulary. I would think this would be especially true of someone who is, say, 450 years old. So it bothered me a bit that Nastasya’s speak was so juvenile, even for a wayward party girl. I mean, I enjoyed her sense of humor and her snark, but her “WTF” and “OMG”s seemed a bit out of place. Also, I didn’t find the entire immortality angle believable. If they have been around since the beginning of human existence and if they are basically human, why the secrecy? An explanation for that wasn’t really provided.
The conclusion of the plot part of the story was a bit anticlimactic and the villain ended up being the obvious choice, but that didn’t bother me because the story seemed to be more about character development. With that in mind, the title of the book, Immortal Beloved may throw you off. If you’re like me, you might believe it to be about an epic love affair, and in a way it is. But the love affair isn’t between a boy and a girl; it’s between a girl and herself as she tries to discover who she is and what she wants to be.
Nastasya has lived for hundreds of years, but for some reason, life never seems to get any better. She left her spoiled, rich girl life to find peace at River’s Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. There, she learned to embrace River’s Edge, despite some drama involving the sexy Reyn, who she wants but won’t allow herself to have. But just as she’s getting comfortable, her family’s ties to dark magick force her to leave.
She falls back into her old, hard partying ways, but will her decision lead her into the hands of a dark immortal? Or will it be her first step to embracing the darkness within her?
Have you been in the middle of reading a new book and thought, I’ve read this before?! Darkness Falls, as a continuation of Immortal Beloved, felt like the exact same story as its predecessor. Much to my disappointment, it was a filler book that focused on the inevitable relapse that I knew was coming for Nastasya.
Darkness Falls picks up right after the conclusion of Immortal Beloved. Nastasya has been at River’s Edge for two months and is still trying to make progress on becoming a better immortal. Understandably to everyone but herself, everyday is a struggle to choose good instead of evil. But when bad things start to happen, Nastasya begins to believes her darkness is overcoming her and she flees River’s Edge to return to her former party girl life. Once there, she finds that her old pals are still spending their time doing the same old things, all expect the one she trusted the most. The one that wants her power.
I get that it must be hard to erase 450 years of ignorance and that it probably can’t be done over one lifetime, but this book seemed to be more slow going than the first. After patiently sticking with Nastasya through her journey of self discovery, I was hoping the romance between her and Reyn would take center stage in Darkness Falls. Instead, Nastasya spends her time rehashing the strides she’d made in the first book, only to have her progress quickly deteriorate after a few incidents of self-doubt.
Perhaps reading the books back to back was a disservices to the series, but it was incredibly frustrating to see Nastasya repeat same mistakes. And though this installment has a bit more action towards the end than the first, once again, the plot was predictable. Still, as I did with Immortal Beloved, I really enjoyed the careful thought that was put into forming Nastasya’s history. Having lived for over 400 years, she’s been all over the world and lived through various time periods. The spinets into her past were fascinating and well developed.
I’ll definitely being reading the third book in this series because I’m still holding out hope that the romance will finally take the spotlight. But even without it, I liked how this series introduced me to a new breed of immortals and the struggles they face.
In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky — taken by the Society to his certain death — only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander — who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart — change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
I loved Matched, despite the fact that it left me worried. After Ky was hauled off, I didn’t see a way for Cassia to go after him without jeopardizing her place in the Society. Because of that, I was eager to pick up Crossed to see where the story and characters would go.
I don’t know if it’s because I listened to the audiobook, or because it’s been over a year since I read book one, but Crossed lost me. Instead of giving me concrete answers as to exactly what the Society is, and who rules it, and where does it rule, and how does it know all, Crossed just added more questions to the mix, like, what is the Rising, who runs it, who is the pilot, what is the Warming, who is the Enemy, and most importantly, why should I care?
I was rather surprised to find the world building in such disarray. I kept trying to map out the structure of it in my mind, but I couldn’t come up with anything that made sense.
Shaky world building aside, I was happy to be reunited with the characters, and since I’m a big fan of duel narration, I was excited about the fact that I’d get to listen to Cassia and Ky’s POVs. It was thrilling to hear about their struggles and fears and hopes straight from them. But my biggest issue with Crossed was that I didn’t feel like there was much of a story in it.
The prose, while beautifully crafted in Condie’s unique style, was a bit too flowery for my taste, and as a result, I felt Crossed read more like a poetic philosophy or a obscure metaphor rather than like a tale about a boy and a girl trying to find a way to be together.
I remember finishing Matched and really pulling for Cassia and Ky despite the odds they faced. But after reading Crossed, I’m not so sure they are right for each other. In Crossed, as their difference desires became more apparent, I felt them drifting apart in a way that saddened me, especially when it started to seem like they were more in love with the “idea” of one another than their actual other. I mean, I can certainly understand couples wanting different things, that’s bound to happen, but big picture things should be shared. And Ky’s resistance to accept Cassia’s ‘big’ thing felt like a plot device used to create tension between them, which I didn’t care for at all.
Aside from that, the audiobook narrators did a great job. Cassia’s voice sounded much younger than Ky’s though, and that was a bit uncomfortable and took some getting used to, but overall, I enjoyed it. There was some weird music played in the middle of the book to add an ominous feel to a tragic scene that I didn’t care for, but the switching of narrators kept the story moving when I otherwise would have put it down.