Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Summary:
Live life in a bubble…
Or risk everything for love?
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean, and wearing all black-black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I, Maddy, am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

everything everything
Review:
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was an expected read for me. I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I checked it out from the library a few days ago, mostly because I’ve heard all the hype about it and I wanted to read it before I eventually watch the movie. Also, my sister read the book and she really liked it, which means a lot because neither of my sisters read very much. So I went into this read not really expecting all that much, maybe a quick fun love story about a sick girl. Boy was I wrong. This book surprised me in so many ways.
The first surprise was how much I genuinely liked our main character, Maddy. She has this innocence about her (likely because she’s never really left her house or interacted with anyone other than her mother and her nurse) that just was surprising but also super realistic. I learned by reading the pages in the back of the book that the author, Yoon, used a few situations from her very young daughter to portray that innocence in Maddy. It was very well done. Because of this innocence, I wanted to love and snuggle and protect Maddy forever, so when the new family next door includes an attractive boy the same age, I knew it wasn’t going to end well. With that said, Maddy also knew it wasn’t going to end well. She even tells herself that she’s not going to talk to him anymore, a couple times, because she knows she will just get hurt. But you can’t fight that forbidden love. Also, the main character that likes to read and write book reviews, c’mon, are you going to find a bookworm anywhere that doesn’t love this trope?
I thought the story was going to be just that, forbidden love and how the two fall in love anyway and it either kills Maddy or breaks her heart. I certainly did NOT expect what actually happened. The plot twist in this book was absolutely insane, but also incredibly written. There weren’t any hints that it was coming that I noticed. Everything, Everything started off sweet and innocent like a typical YA love story, but took a turn to pretty dark a bit over halfway through which I think is what made me like this book so much. I really love books that can surprise me and that’s exactly what Yoon did with this novel.
The secondary characters were also great. The main players were Maddy’s Mom, her nurse, Carla and of course, Olly. I loved the relationship between Maddy and her mom (for most of the book anyway), probably because it’s the relationship I always wished for with my own mother. They play board games together and actually talk about everything. I feel really bad for Maddy’s mom for a bit once Maddy starts talking to Olly because Maddy really neglects her relationship with her mom. She cancels movie nights and starts telling lies, it just didn’t sit well with me until our plot twist. I absolutely adore Carla. She’s the actual best. She lets Maddy get away with things that her mother wouldn’t because she wants to make sure Maddy is safe. You can just tell how much Carla really loves Maddy and I really enjoyed reading about their relationship.
Now, the main event, Olly. The handsome boy next door. I loved getting to know Olly. His back and forth banter with Maddy had me laughing out loud (which was bad because I read this book in bed after my husband went to sleep and I almost woke him up a few times.) He’s just so real and genuine toward her and it warmed my little heart. I think a part of this was that I loved Maddy so much and she so deserves to be loved. Olly just seemed like an all-around good guy. He wanted to make sure that Maddy was okay all the time. He would push the boundaries a little bit, but never too much. He actually communicated with her, which was nice to see instead of a broody macho man (which I like sometimes, but not for this book.) They were just a really good couple, they complimented one another and I’m glad they got their happy ending.
Everything, Everything has little illustrations throughout the story. I thought these were a really nice touch. They just added a little extra to the story. I also thought it was super sweet once I found out that it was Yoon’s husband that drew all of the illustrations and that she used to wake him up in the middle of the night to draw things when she was inspired. It just added something special to the story.
Overall, I liked this book so much more than I thought I was going to. Like, I read it in four hours last night before bed, the book was just that good and I couldn’t stop. These characters that wormed their way into my heart got their happy ending, but not in that annoying “and everyone lived happily ever after” kind of way. It was real and made sense. Maddy got what she wanted, but not without needed to work through some things. I just liked that the book didn’t end with a little bow that tied everything up. The characters were flawed and they had just learned how flawed they really were and how much work they’d need to put in to work on those flaws. But they were all moving forward despite their flaws and struggles. I could go on and on, so I’m going to stop here. If you haven’t read this book because you’re like me and are sometimes hesitant to read the hyped up books, then get over it and read this. You won’t regret it, I swear.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Summary: Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth. 51zk6kgt8dl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams. 

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart. 

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

 

Review: I absolutely loved the second book in the Heroes of Olympus series. Like Riordan’s other books, it’s a really fun story of demigods going on a quest from the gods. They face tests of intellect and strength, they battle monsters, and mostly just fight for their lives.
I enjoyed this book even more than the first. (You can read my review of The Lost Hero here.) I think most of that is because Percy came back in this one and he’s always been my favorite. He’s strong, funny, stubborn, loyal, kind, and a little goofy sometimes. Since his memory was taken away, we see him struggling for the first half of the book as he tries to remember not only his past but who he is. I really enjoyed seeing him push past it as he continued to try to do the right thing despite everything he was going through. I don’t think he will ever stop being my favorite character.
I also adore Frank. He’s cute and clumsy and awkward. He never feels like he’s good enough and, other than his skills with archery (which are kind of looked down upon by most of the other characters), he doesn’t think he has any talents. I loved watching him come into his own as he realizes he CAN do amazing things as long as he believes in himself.
Hazel was the only one of the three I didn’t love entirely. I definitely didn’t hate her and started to like her more by the end of the story but found her a little annoying during the beginning. It just felt like she kept throwing herself a pity party; granted she had fairly legitimate reasons for it and she’s only thirteen years old so I can’t expect her to be mature about everything but I couldn’t help being a little irritated when the story was in her POV.
I really enjoyed the plot throughout the book. A lot of times in fantasy, even with the help of magical beings and objects, the progression of the story can be a little awkward. I know it’s something a lot of readers have trouble with since it can be hard to find a balance between the fantasy aspects of the story and still be realistic enough for you to immerse yourself in it. I felt that this story fell nicely between the two; e.g. they had help from a magic horse that can run at supersonic speeds but it still took them time to travel long distances.
Overall this was an amazing book that had a little bit of everything (including two really excellent battles). I’d recommend this to anyone who likes YA, mythology, fantasy, or action. As always, I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading.
-Antonia

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan

Summary: Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?91vcdxkm3dl

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?

Review: I read Percy Jackson and the Olympians (written “PJO” for the rest of the post) a few years ago and immediately loved them so much I had to get the Heroes of Olympus series. I read the first three books but around the time I was starting the fourth, I moved across the country and it somehow got lost in the chaos. I’ve finally replaced it but since it’s been so long I’ll be rereading and reviewing the entire series.
I loved this book just as much the second time as I did the first for many different reasons. First, mythology is a topic that’s always interested me and I’ve always loved seeing how different authors turn those myths into fiction. I instantly loved Riordan’s take on Greek mythology and am really excited that this series includes some Roman mythology as well. If you don’t know, Roman mythology came directly from Greek so a lot of it is very similar but they’re still considered two entirely separate pantheons. In this book I got to see all of those similarities and differences and am excited for more of it in the next books.
Another of my favorite aspects of this book is the characters. First, I was really happy I got to see some of the old characters from the PJO series though I am very sad Percy wasn’t in it. Second, I just really love the characters Riordan creates. They’re flawed and relatable but also amazing and badass. I feel like they’re a better portrayal of their ages than many other YA books. The characters are around 15-16 in this book and while they have moments of maturity (being heroes and fighting monsters makes you grow up fast) you never forget that they’re still children. It’s one of the first things I loved about PJO as well. The children acted like children. They worry about silly things, they make gross jokes, their priorities are sometimes skewed, they’re impulsive. Since they’re a few years older in this book there’s certainly a bit more maturity but they’re still just kids.
The plot was really fun. There’s a lot of action and suspense, even a little romance, but mostly it was just fun to read. Our main characters are demigods going on a quest so there’s all sorts of magic and monsters. Crazy things happen to them constantly so if you’re looking for something realistic you should probably look somewhere else.
One of my favorite things about the way Riordan writes is the little clues he gives us. Either through prophecies and visions, or sometimes just things a character sees; and you’ll think, “oh, yeah! That means this” and other times you have no idea what it means. Usually it turns out to be a little different than you originally thought but there’s always this moment where something just clicks and you realize that scene earlier in the books had a hidden meaning.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to start the next. I’d recommend this to anyone who like YA, fantasy, or mythology. I suggest reading PJO first but you likely wouldn’t be too confused if you skipped it. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie


Summary: There has been a murder at Styles Court. Detective Poirot comes out of retirement to solve who would want the rich heiress Inglethorp dead, and would have the impudence to poison her. The jagged plot turns keep Poirot – and the reader – guessing as suspicion shifts from one peculiar character to the next.

In Agatha Christie’s first published work, the reader meets Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, destined to become the central detective of her mystery novels.

Review: I’ve been wanting to read Agatha Christie’s books for a long time but continuously put it off in favor of others. When I read Sabriel’s review of Murder on the Orient Express the other day, I decided I finally had to get one of her books. I immediately got the first Hercule Poirot novel and finished it in about four hours.
Now I’m kicking myself for not reading her books sooner. This was a fantastic mystery that kept me guessing the entire time. It was a relatively light (for a mystery), quick read and I appreciated that it didn’t lean towards the scarier side of the mystery genre. (I’m a wuss when it comes to scary stuff.)
The narrator, Arthur Hastings, was the only part I didn’t love. I found him a little self-absorbed and mildly annoying at times though not enough to diminish my overall enjoyment of the book. He worked very well as narrator; since he didn’t have a direct connection to the murder, he was able to observe events without influencing them too much. He appears in several of the other Hercule Poirot novels so I hope I’ll start to like him better later on.
I found Hercule Poirot extremely entertaining. He’s a Belgian detective who appears in most of Christie’s works. He works in a style similar to Sherlock Holmes, using seemingly insignificant clues to solve the mystery. He’s a little dramatic and flamboyant and has funny little quirks, like straightening objects on a mantelpiece when he’s agitated, that combined to form a very clear picture for me. I absolutely can’t wait to read more about him.
The rest of the characters were fairly diverse in their personalities and I was surprised that they were more complex than I expected from a book written in the early 20th century. I’ve found many older books have secondary characters that are more two-dimensional.
I found the plot interesting throughout despite a great deal of back and forth over who the murder suspect could be. There were so many clues and behaviors, small and big, important and irrelevant, that I could never quite figure out who the murderer was.
Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery, detective novels, and crime. I can’t wait to read the rest of Christie’s books. Please leave your own thoughts in the comments and thanks for reading!
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Inferno by Julie Kagawa

Summary: TODAY, WE STRIKE BACK.

WE SHOW TALON THAT WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEIR NEW WORLD.

Ember Hill has learned a shocking truth about herself: she is the blood of the Elder Wyrm, the ancient dragon who leads Talon and who is on the verge of world domination. With the Order of St. George destroyed, Ember, Riley and Garret journey to the Amazon jungle in search of one who might hold the key to take down the Elder Wyrm and Talon—if they can survive the encounter.

Meanwhile, Ember’s brother, Dante, will travel to China with a message for the last Eastern dragons: join Talon or die. With the stakes rising and the Elder Wyrm declaring war, time is running out for the rogues and any dragon not allied with Talon. 

The final battle approaches. And if Talon is victorious, the world will burn.

Review:

DISCLAIMER: Since this is the last book in the series, there may be spoilers from previous books in this series. If you haven’t read books 1-4, you may not want to continue reading.

I. Love. This. Series.
Inferno is the fifth and final book in the Talon series and I’m happy to say I was very pleased with this last installment. That’s not to say it was perfect, but I wasn’t really disappointed by anything.
Ember continued to grow into herself right up until the end; from the impulsive, immature child to the daring rogue ready to take on everyone and finally, to the young woman at the end who I’d love to be friends with. Good character development is one of my favorite things so the fact that Ember went from someone who really annoyed me to a character I can actually admire made me extremely happy.
This was somewhat true for Riley and Garret as well. They didn’t have as much growth as Ember did but as I slowly got to know them better throughout the series, I liked them more and more.
The only character I actively dislike is Dante. There are a lot of bad guys in the series that I can appreciate as villians but Dante wasn’t one of them. He really just annoyed me for most of the series until I ended up hating him at the end. I think mainly it’s because his actions in this book felt off to me; the Dante I’d been reading about wouldn’t act like this. It might just be me but I definitely found the end of his story arc frustrating.
I really enjoyed most other aspects of this book. As with most series conclusions, there was a lot happening but it didn’t feel like I was being overloaded with information or like everything was happening too fast. One of my favorite bits was that Riley finally got a chance to go after the Talon facility that houses their breeder females. (It’s basically a lab where female dragons who aren’t considered important enough for anything else are kept as broodmares. It’s despicable but I can’t get started ranting about it or I’ll never stop.) This has been Riley’s white whale for at least a few decades. He’s been searching and searching for it in order to free the dragonells but was never able to find it until now. I really loved seeing what this meant for his character.
I also really liked getting to finally see the Elder Wyrm in dragon form. It. Was. Amazing.
Overall I really loved this book. It made an excellent conclusion to a wonderful series. It fits more into the YA and fantasy genres but I believe it can be enjoyed by pretty much anyone. Let me know what you think in the comments and thanks so much for visiting our blog.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Girl Who Dared Series by Bella Forrest

Summary:
How do you fight an enemy when they’re inside your mind?
A gargantuan glass-walled tower looms over a deadly wilderness. They say it’s all that’s left.
The Tower’s survival is humanity’s survival, and each must serve it faithfully…
Twenty-year-old Liana Castell must be careful what she thinks. Her life is defined by the number on her wristband — a rating out of ten awarded based on her usefulness and loyalty to the Tower, and monitored by a device in her skull. A device that reports forbidden thoughts.
Liana is currently a four, the lowest possible acceptable score, and despite her parents’ perfect scores of ten, she struggles to increase it. Rebellious ideas come all too easily, and resentfulness seems part of her being. She is an overseer-in-training, but her future will be dark if she cannot raise her worth…
Threes require drug treatment.
Twos are isolated.
Ones disappear.
When Liana’s worst nightmare comes to pass and she drops to a three, desperation spurs her down a path few dare to tread. A chance encounter with a cocky young man whose shockingly dissident attitude toward the Tower couldn’t possibly have earned him the perfect “ten” on his wrist, sets her on a trail to save herself–even at the risk of dropping lower.
Stalking the young man seemed like a simple enough task, but after events take an unexpected twist, Liana finds herself taking a treacherous dive into the darkest depths of the Tower… and the decades’ old secrets buried within.
In a society where free thinking can make you a criminal, one girl dares to try…
An unforgettable tale brimming with suspense, mystery and romance – The Girl Who Dared to Think will thrill fans of The Gender Game , Divergent & The Hunger Games.

Review:
The last book in this series (book seven) came out recently and I’ve been putting off reading it, mostly just because I wasn’t ready for the adventure to be over. Part of me right now wishes that I hadn’t decided to read it today on this 8 hour car ride because I’m really sick of my husband asking me if I’m okay when he realizes that I’m balling my eyes out and I have to explain to him (again) that I’m crying because of this book. I’m going to review this whole series in one post because this is a series I found on my kindle while I was taking a break from writing reviews, but it’s an amazing series that everyone should read. The Girl Who Dared series is one that will make you laugh and cry. It’s full of characters that will frustrate you, but also you will have to admire them for all the things that they deal with.
Let’s start with our main character, Liana. At the beginning we see Liana struggling with life inside the tower, to the point where she has to go to medica (their version of the doctor) and essentially get medication for depression that completely changed her as a person. Living with her parents who are forever disappointed in her and wishing her brother hadn’t moved departments and left her alone with them she can’t seem to get it together and do better. But the further we get into the story we realize that Liana isn’t in the wrong like she thinks she is. We learn that life in the tower isn’t what it was meant to be and everything isn’t fine and dandy like those in charge would like you to think. When this series opens, Liana seems to get find herself in bad situations all the time. Things just seem to happen to her rather than her making things happen. Even though she is trying to do better by everyone else’s standards, she still feels like she’s failing, until she realizes some important things. Liana is my favorite because she developed the most as a character throughout these books. She went from being a girl who couldn’t seem to keep her life together and trouble just fell into her lap to a woman that’s confident and fearless and an amazing leader. Some of this is absolutely due to the people around her. We get to meet some interesting people during this story and when Liana first meets them, it’s not under the best circumstances. but regardless of all of that, they become their own sort of family.
I love this little squad so much. I’m not going to name any names because they’re not a little squad from the start and it takes some time to get to where they end up but it’s worth the wait. They all compliment one another so well. Where some aren’t skilled, the others are. Each member of their makeshift family has an essential role to play in their survival. They also just work so well together. They do their best to lift one another when they’re feeling down, they say all the right things to inspire confidence and the desire to continue on regardless of the latest setback or horrible thing. It certainly takes them a few books to get to this well-oiled machine that they are in the final book, but that’s one of the things I loved about the story, watching these characters develop into their best selves was so enjoyable. There’s realistic and hilarious and traumatizing development with all of the characters and it’s just one of the many things that made this series as great as it is.
Another thing that made this series so fantastic was the actual story. The author, Bella Forrest, has become one of my favorite authors in the last year or so since I’ve discovered her books. The Girl Who Dared series is based in a futuristic world that she’s already written another series in (The Gender Game.) The worlds basically unrecognizable because of a long-ago war. This series was another group of “survivors” in this desolate world who believe that they only survive because of the tower they live in. They’re all led to believe that life outside the tower isn’t possible. The world that Bella Forrest has created inside the tower is so incredibly intricate. I would love to get inside her head just to see what other ideas she has in there that she isn’t sharing with us (she has like four other series that she’s written / still writing). So along with the crazy story that is life inside the tower, there are the details that just make the story better. I’m going to try to explain what I mean without giving anything away. The characters in this story are essentially fighting rebels within the tower that most people don’t even know exist. Because of this, there are quite a few really screwed up things that happen (from near deaths to actual deaths to learning that everything they’ve always been told is a lie), Forrest goes the extra mile to show her characters dealing with these horrible life events and what comes after them. Too many stories have terrible things happen to their characters and then their just fine a few days later as if nothing happened. That’s not how these books work, the characters deal with their traumas and struggles realistically. Liana not being able to feel anything or focus or really have any desire to get out of bed or continue on with their mission, and if there’s no time for the characters to deal with their emotions appropriately, Forrest shows the thought process behind it and the characters supporting one another through it. I just thought this whole series was written really well with characters that were realistic in their trials and tribulations even in a world so foreign from the one we live in today.
I could honestly go on and on and on saying wonderful things about The Girl Who Dared series because it was just that good (which yes, is how I feel about all of Bella Forrest’s books.) But I’ll stop while I’m ahead because I really don’t want to give too many details away because I would like anyone and everyone to read these books. I can say that I enjoyed getting lost in this uniquely creative story that’s full of so many extra little details that just make the story that much better. Forrest has really gone the extra mile to make her story something relatable even though the world is nothing like the world we know now, but just similar enough that we could see how today’s world could end up at that point. Please, go read these books so that you understand what I’m saying. Also so that you love these characters as much as I do and cry huge ridiculous tears while reading the last book only to find out that we were lied to and tricked. So please read them and feel the emotions that I’m currently feeling and can accept that the story of these characters that I’ve fallen so in love with is actually over.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Legion by Julie Kagawa

Summary: The legions are about to be unleashed, and no human, rogue dragon or former dragon slayer can stand against the coming horde.

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all–dragons do not suffer human emotions–let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante–the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.

Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.

Review: So this one’s probably going to be a little short because I just want to read the last book.
Like the last book (see my review here), Legion had a lot more forward momentum than the beginning of the series. Tons of action and it really felt like the story’s progressing quickly and in the right direction. One of the things I loved about this book was the protagonists finally starting to convince members of Talon and St. George to question the beliefs each organization has instilled in them. Don’t get me wrong, everyone didn’t suddenly decide to get along but a few have made an attempt to see other points of view and it makes me hopeful for where the series will go from here.
Ember once again had some really great character development. I mentioned in my review of the first book (read it here) that Ember’s human side and her dragon side were kind of at odds and it’s continued that way since. In this book, Ember finally realizes that while they are different aspects of her personality they’re still the same. They’re both Ember and it’s okay that they’re different, she can still be both. Her realizing this also led to a big decision in her love life so the love triangle is officially over!
I won’t tell you who she picked. It wasn’t who I initially wanted her to end up with but I ended up being really happy with the way it turned out anyway.
I’m not going to talk too much about the men in the story since my thoughts on them haven’t really changed since the last book. I keep liking Garret more and more. He’s also had some really great character development and he has flaws but is mostly just a really kind person.
I still love pretty much everything about Riley and Dante still drives me nuts. I think the only difference in my feelings for Dante was that I’ve lost hope for his redemption. I always figured Ember might find a way to make him see Talon for what it really is but at this point I think he’s too far gone to see reason.
Overall I loved this book and I can’t wait to see how the series ends. I’d recommend this series to pretty much anyone, but it’s definitely targeted more towards YA and fantasy. Let me know what you think in the comments and as always, thanks for reading.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Heart Forger – Rin Chupeco

Summary:
No one knows death like Tea. A bone witch who can resurrect the dead, she has the power to take life…and return it. And she is done with her self-imposed exile. Her heart is set on vengeance, and she now possesses all she needs to command the mighty daeva. With the help of these terrifying beasts, she can finally enact revenge on the royals who wronged her-and took the life of her one true love.
But there are those who plot against her, those who would use Tea’s dark power for their own nefarious ends. Because you can’t kill someone who can never die…
War is brewing among the kingdoms, and when dark magic is at play, no one is safe.
Review:
I am super happy to say that I enjoyed this book WAY more than I did the first one, The Bone Witch (reviewed here.) I was hesitant to even read The Heart Forger because I was so disappointed with the first book, but I am happy to say that I liked it way better. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t think there was anything wrong, because I do have some negative opinions.
This book is told from two points of view, just like the last one. I liked the way that this story was told except that it leaves so much room for unanswered questions. A large amount of unanswered questions is honestly my biggest problem with this series so far. I totally understand the need for suspense and leading up to the big unveiling, but this is just a little ridiculous.
Let’s talk about our main character, Tea. She’s pretty much just a badass chick that’s out to burn the world down, at least, that’s how she wants us to see her. She spends so much time making herself out to be this big bad villain that the rest of the world is out to defeat. Yes, most of her ‘friends’ are trying to get her to come back to her city because of killing someone (we still don’t know who she supposedly did or didn’t kill, but it seems to be a huge deal in these books and I kind of can’t believe that we don’t get that little tidbit of information until the third book.) And yes, she’s raised and is controlling the daeva (big, scary, gross monsters that the whole world is afraid of, except Tea’s discovered that they’re just misunderstood.) So, Tea for sure makes a convincing villain, but only in the present. In the bits of the book that is her telling us her past, her being a villain just doesn’t make sense most of the time. It’s finally starting to make a bit more sense now that I’ve read two out of the three books in the series (the third doesn’t come out until March 2019, sadly.) Tea is someone that I genuinely like. She really cares about her friends, to the point where she does reckless stuff to try to protect them. She’s hard-headed, but not so much that she doesn’t listen to her loved ones when they’re trying to tell her she needs to chill out before she loses it completely. She’s just a girl that I can support. She’s flawed and isn’t ashamed to admit or talk about it. She makes mistakes and owns up to those mistakes trying to make amends when she does something dumb. She’s a realistic girl that I enjoyed reading.
Tea’s not the only character I liked. In this second book, we got to see some relationships develop further and some weird relationships develop that I didn’t even realize were happening. There were a few supporting characters that were developing relationships of their own (which I’m totally for) but it was weird because we didn’t really get to see how the characters got there. So it was kind of like all of a sudden these two characters actually love each other, surprise! We did get to see Tea and her brother, Fox, interact more and see what their relationship was like. This is something I complained about for the last book, so I’m glad we got to see them poking fun and messing with one another. We also got to see them worrying and trying to protect each other. They’re just a nice brother/sister pair and I liked them.
Now, prince charming, Kalen. This relationship kind of bugged me. Mostly because Kalen acted like a five-year-old for the entire first book and a good chunk of the second playing the ‘I’m going to be mean to her because I secretly like her’ game and I just didn’t like that at all. I get the whole ‘I have feelings for her but I’m scared to admit them to myself or anyone’ but c’mon, man up and at the very least stop being such a jerk to Tea all the time. Then, when he does stop, he goes from jerk to admitting that he’s in love with her in no time at all. I just feel like the progression of this relationship was a little off and wasn’t all that realistic. Though, once they both pulled their heads out of their butts and admitted that they cared about each other, I was all for it. They’re a way better match than Tea and the prince jerk-face who I’m not even going to talk about because I’ll just get mad all over again.
I do want to briefly mention the heart forger (apprentice) Khalad. I just really liked everything about this character and I can’t wait to read more about him in the next book. He’s just all around a good dude.
There were a few things I didn’t like about this story. The first being the time progression, this story is supposed to be two years after the start of the first book, The Bone Witch. That just doesn’t make sense to me unless we missed a big piece of time in between The Bone Witch and The Heart Forger, but there’s nothing that indicates that. So this was just a little confusing. The next thing was that there were some things in the first book that weren’t in the second. In the first book, after Tea has become a full blown approved and all that asha, she’s required to attend all kinds of parties and events and things like that. There’s none of this in the second book, which after a certain point it just wouldn’t make sense to have her doing this stuff, but at least at the start of this book, shouldn’t she be doing all of these things that are required of asha? It just didn’t make sense to me and left me a little confused.
I did really like the way this story was written, by that I mean that Rin Chupeco really has a way with words. Some of the pages I had to sit back and reread a few times and just take it all in. This was a beautifully written story. I’m not referring to the story here, but the actual words, the language used. It paints a very pretty picture in what is likely to be a pretty scary book world.
By the end of this book, I was fully invested. Invested in the characters and finally invested in the story. So, if you’ve read the first book and liked it, you will for sure love the second one. If you read the first one and didn’t like it, you should give the second one a chance because it was great. If you haven’t read either, you should.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Rogue by Julie Kagawa

Summary: From the limitless imagination of bestselling author Julie Kagawa comes the next fantastic adventure in the Talon Saga.

Deserter. Traitor. Rogue.

Ember Hill left the dragon organization Talon to take her chances with rebel dragon Cobalt and his crew of rogues. But Ember can’t forget the sacrifice made for her by the human boy who could have killed her—Garret Xavier Sebastian, a soldier of the dragonslaying Order of St. George, the boy who saved her from a Talon assassin, knowing that by doing so, he’d signed his own death warrant. 

Determined to save Garret from execution, Ember must convince Cobalt to help her break into the Order’s headquarters. With assassins after them and Ember’s own brother helping Talon with the hunt, the rogues find an unexpected ally in Garret and a new perspective on the underground battle between Talon and St. George. 

A reckoning is brewing and the secrets hidden by both sides are shocking and deadly. Soon Ember must decide: Should she retreat to fight another day…or start an all-out war?

Review: First things first: this review will be a little shorter than usual because most of my thoughts on this book are similar to my thoughts on the first book. (You can read my review of Talon here.) Once again Julie Kagawa wrote a fun, suspenseful, fast-paced book that kept me hooked all the way through. This book had a lot more action than the first, which I enjoyed immensely. I find reading action scenes can sometimes be a little tedious since it can be hard to visualize certain things but Kagawa does it in a way that I can picture really well; which is particularly impressive when you consider many of the fight scenes involve literal dragons.
Book 1 ended with Ember and Garret realizing their respective organizations are corrupt and turning their backs on them. In this book, you get to see them dealing with the various consequences of that choice and coming to terms with the serious life change it created. Mainly it means they’re both going to be on the run for the rest of their lives.
Ember especially didn’t think this part through as much when she decided to go rogue but she handled the pressure relatively well. I enjoyed seeing her grow a bit more throughout this book. She still had a few impulsive, immature moments but she’s headed in the right direction and I can’t wait to see how she develops through the rest of the series.
I also liked getting to see from the perspective of someone inside Talon. Personally I love when I know more than the characters do and this way I got to see things from both sides of the conflict.
Overall this was a really great book with a fast-pace and an interesting storyline. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA or fantasy. As always, thanks for visiting for blog and please tell me your own thoughts and opinions in the comments.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Come Sundown – Nora Roberts

Summary:
Love. Lies. Murder. A lot can happen… COME SUNDOWN
Bodine Longbow loves to rise with the dawn. As the manager of her family’s resort in Western Montana, there just aren’t enough hours in the day – for life, for work, for loved ones. She certainly doesn’t have time for love, not even in the gorgeous shape of her childhood crush Callen Skinner, all grown up and returned to the ranch. Then again, maybe Callen can change her mind, given time…
But when a young woman’s body is discovered on resort land, everything changes. Callen falls under the suspicion of a deputy sheriff with a grudge. And for Bodine’s family, the murder is a shocking reminder of an old loss. Twenty-five years ago, Bodine’s Aunt Alice vanished, never to be heard of again. Could this new tragedy be connected to Alice’s mysterious disappearance?
As events take a dramatic and deadly turn, Bodine and Callen must race to uncover the truth – before the sun sets on their future together.

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Review:
Nora Roberts is an auto buy author for me. I don’t care what the story is about, how long the story is, when it was published, I just love all of her books. So when I saw Come Sundown at Target a few days ago I knew I was going home with it.
Nora Roberts really just knows how to get you into the story right from the first page. She makes you feel for the character, who in this case left home and was admitting defeat and coming back home with her tail between her legs, only that’s not what happened.
This story focuses on a huge family, the Bodines and Longbows, who own an enormous property where they have a ranch and also a resort. I loved the dynamic of this family. Every member does a bit of everything, but the men run the ranch and the women run the resort, with some going back and forth when the extra help is needed. The family is just such a finely tuned machine, they all work so well together, getting things done in whatever way works best for everyone. They all share their ideas freely and everyone says their piece. They’re a team and I really enjoyed getting to know all the different parts in this story.
One thing I can say is that Nora Roberts sure knows how to write romance. I hate that love at first sight junk. It’s just not believable or realistic to me. And while Nora leads us to see that our two main characters, Bodine and Callen, have been interested in one another for longer than they want to admit, their relationship is realistic. They go on dates and they discuss the important things and it happens at a reasonable pace over months rather than in five days and then everyone is happy and getting married. Along with this couple there are two others that we get to see develop. Bodine’s friend and event planner, Jessica, and Jessica’s assistant, Chelsea, develop a few different relationships, first the three girls get close and become good friends and then the more they get together, Jessica and Chelsea find themselves interested in Bodine’s brothers, Chase and Rory. I liked seeing the six hang out together and slowly all develop their relationships as a group and as couples.
I think my favorite part of this story was all the different dynamics in the relationships and characters. This story touched on so many different real life issues from gambling to addiction to kidnapping and sexual assault to losing loved ones and being far from loved ones and coming together to be there for one another despite all of these issues. I really think Nora did a great job in this aspect of the story. She talks about these issues and gets them out into the open and also touches on how family and loved ones will be there to support you through it all. She shows that there is hope to move forward and get past these horrible things and keep on living.
So there’s one character that we see in the first pages of this story and then are left wondering about her for a while before we get a few updates and then she takes her place in the rest of the story. This character is Alice. I’m not going to say too much about her because I don’t like to give spoilers. But I do want to say that Alice is such an amazing character and was written so incredibly well. The character development that we see her go through was so interesting. Going from the young girl who has the world at her feet to the victim and then back into the real world again, was just incredible. I loved seeing the family come together and each member doing their part to help Alice recover and remember who she is and bring her mind back into the real world. It’s just exactly what family is supposed to be and I loved it. It was super heartwarming to see Alice recover and to read her interactions with her niece and nephews and Callen, how each one did little things that helped her come out of her shell and clear the fog in her head a little bit more. I could go on forever, so I’ll stop here and move on.
The last thing I want to mention is the ending, which happened so fast. There was quite a bit of drama in this story, but I feel like the ending was just a bit rushed. So much happened in the last hundred pages or so and while it was all wrapped up nice and neat, I definitely think there could have been more to it, we could have been shown just a little bit more. Now, I’m not saying the ending was bad, because it wasn’t. There was a mostly happy ending where all the mysteries were solved, but I was just left wanting more, more details, more story, more of what was going to happen next. But that’s something that happens for me with most books. It’s rare that I’m not left wanting more once I get to the end of a book, but I think that’s just because I get really attached to the characters.
Anyway, this book overall was really very good. I liked it, even though it was definitely a bit darker than her other books. I wouldn’t recommend this to young adult readers, because there’s a lot that’s not really meant for younger readers. If you’re someone that likes Nora Roberts then this book will be no different. There’s romance and family love and drama and craziness with awesome characters and a fascinating story.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Talon by Julie Kagawa

Summary: Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey—and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him—and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

Review: I loved this book when it first came out in 2014 but for some reason I never caught up after the second book. Now that the fifth and final book just came out I’ll be reading and reviewing the entire series.
I’ll start with the basics. I LOVE dragons. Always have, always will. It’s an autobuy topic for me so I’ve read a lot of books about dragons. You’d think I’d get sick of them but somehow authors keep managing to surprise me. In this series, centuries ago when dragons were hunted near to extinction, they learned to become human and now hide among us, still hunted by the Order of St. George, an organization descended from dragon slayers.
Dragons but it still takes place in our world? YES PLEASE. Since dragons can shift between their dragon and human forms, they’re able to blend into human society. Over time this allowed them to gain positions of power to build Talon into an organization that could actually threaten humanity. At first we only see how it directly affects Ember and Dante. It seems overbearing and rigid in it’s control over dragonkind but you can sort of understand their reasons; they remember a time when dragons were ruthlessly hunted and killed and they want to protect their species. Throughout the book though, you learn more and more about what Talon doesn’t tell it’s members. Terrible secrets that make Ember question everything she’s been taught her entire life.
The Order of St. George is basically the same. Two groups that have been enemies for centuries and are on completely opposite sides of this conflict, but they operate in the same ways. They control their members to an insane degree and have no tolerance for anyone being even slightly less than perfect. If their own members go against them, they kill them without question. I enjoyed seeing the parallels between the two groups.
Ember is a 16-year-old hatchling, sent to California with her brother for the next step in their education; observe, assimilate, blend in. They’ve been holed up in the desert with Talon their whole lives and now it’s time for them to learn to act like humans. This part was actually pretty funny because they’ve been taught about humans but you can only teach so much so some of their interactions with their new friends are very awkward. Ember takes to human life really quickly. She loves hanging out with her friends, surfing, and just being a teenager. She knows she’s not supposed to. She’s been taught that dragons aren’t supposed to feel emotions the way humans do. Humans are the inferior species and they don’t matter. But Ember does feel these emotions, she cares about her human friends and even falls in love. I really liked watching Ember as she learned about the organization that raised her as she slowly comes to realize that there is nothing wrong with her, she’s just been lied to.
Garret also had some great character development and I loved that it mostly paralleled Ember’s. They both learn that the “right side” of the war isn’t what they thought it was and that there’s more to their enemy than they were told. This was even harder for Garret to go through because he’s always believed that dragons were evil creatures. Devoid of emotion or anything resembling humanity. Until he meets Ember, he’s killed dragons mercilessly, and it was difficult to watch his entire worldview crumble.
Riley is the third POV we see in this book. He’s a rogue dragon on the run from both Talon and St. George who tries to show Ember the truth about Talon so she’ll run from the organization with him. Riley is my favorite. He tries to show this carefree, bad boy demeanor but as the story progresses you see the side of him that risks his life for others and cares deeply about Ember.
Which brings me to the always unnecessary YA love triangle. I won’t rant again about how much I hate them but I will say one thing about this triangle in particular. The only reason I didn’t throw the book across the room in frustration was Ember’s side of it. There’s two separate parts of her, dragon and human; the dragon is more animalistic and is at odds with the human emotions she begins to feel. It’s not so much one girl loving two guys as a human girl loving a human boy and a dragon loving a dragon. You can see very clearly how these different parts of her are pulling her in two different directions. The reasoning behind it made me tolerate this love triangle more than I usually do.
Overall I loved this book. It’s fast paced, funny and suspenseful. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA or fantasy. As always, thanks for visiting our blog and please share your thoughts in the comments.

-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Dragon’s Gift: The Valkyrie by Linsey Hall

Summary: From Book 1: I’ve got two choices. Join the Undercover Protectorate. Or die.

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In a world of controlled magic, I’m an Unknown. Deadly power, little control. I’m only alive because I pay a Blood Sorcerer to keep me hidden. But when he comes to collect on the debt I can’t pay, one of his goons slams me with a deadly curse. Suddenly, I’m out of options and out of time.

When I’m given a rare chance to join the elite Undercover Protectorate and train at their academy to become an investigator, I have a way to hunt the cure for the curse. They have resources I don’t. Easy, since I’m broke.

Seems like a good plan, right? At least, until they tell me Cade will be joining me on my hunt for the Blood Sorcerer. He’s an actual Celtic war god–and the hottest guy I’ve ever seen. The catch? I can’t let him know that I’m an Unknown, or I’m out on my ass and deader than Hades.

Undercover Magic is a fast-paced urban fantasy with a kick-butt heroine, a tough hero, and magic that will knock your socks off.

Review:
Amanda got me into Linsey Hall’s books on Kindle and I’m so glad she did. This is the fourth Dragon’s Gift series, each consisting of five books. It sounds like a lot but they’re very quick reads; I could read one in a day. Each series follows a different women as she tries to master her magic and defeat the evil she’s tasked with getting rid of.
Let’s start with the basics. I really enjoyed these books. They’re quick, funny, suspenseful and have some kickass heroines. I also really liked the world Hall created. It’s mostly based on our world but with a magical twist. Magical creatures of all kinds exist in secret; hiding among us or in hidden magical cities. This allowed Hall to do all sorts of fun stuff with history and myth. (Fun fact: Since Hall was an archeologist before she started writing, her books have a lot of historical accuracy and she includes a section at the end of the books where she explains the different connections to history and what she may have changed for creative reasons.)
Let’s start with Bree. I LOVED her and her sister Ana when they appeared in a previous series. They’ve basically been hiding on the outskirts of society their entire lives and because of this they’re a little awkward, a little crazy and completely badass. Ever since their older sister Rowan disappeared five years ago, they’ve been trying to keep it together while spending all their resources to find her. Unfortunately the series starts with them being deeply in debt to a bad guy because of it. Cue the Undercover Protectorate; a secret, magical organization that fights for the little guy and protects the world from magical threats. They find the girls to recruit them and end up helping them with all the problems that keep popping up in their lives, including finding Rowan.
Bree is awesome. She’s a fighter through and through, proven by the fact her fear response is to dive head first into everything. She works on this impulse control throughout the series which actually proves to be a VERY good thing during an especially surprising plot twist. She also starts to get past her (understandable) trust issues until she’s able to make a home with people she cares about. Bree had some really amazing character development.
Now I’ll talk about Cade, Bree’s love interest. Very swoonworthy. He’s an earth walking god; basically a mortal who inherits godly powers. At first I was a little annoyed. One thing I noticed throughout all the series was that we got these really powerful women who suddenly meet the one man who’s more powerful than them… I’m sorry, why can’t the women be more powerful and not have it be an issue? The one saving grace was that most of them either gain powers or come into their own more strongly until they’re at least level with the male MC. Once that started to happen, I liked Cade a lot more. He has his own trust issues and together he and Bree help each other to start working through them. He’s a tough guy and wants to protect Bree but understands that she’s her own person and has to fight her own battles. While he certainly saves her a few times, he never tries to stop her from going into danger which I thought was a refreshing change from what you frequently see in male MC’s.
Overall I loved this series. I really enjoyed all the mythology throughout it. Mostly Norse since that’s where Bree gets her powers but you get bits from several other pantheons as well. I’d recommend this series to anyone who likes mythology, urban fantasy, or the paranormal. I suggest starting with the first Dragon’s Gift series. You don’t have to read them in order but there’s enough crossover that some of it will definitely make more sense if you do.
As always, thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
-Antonia

Beheld by Alex Flinn

Summary:Featuring retellings of favorite fairy tales such as “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “East of the Sun and West of the Moon,” and “The Ugly Duckling,” Kendra’s adventures in Beheld are filled with fresh fairy-tale fun from beginning to end.

Since she first beheld James over three hundred years ago, Kendra has tangled with witch hunters and wolves, helped a miller’s daughter spin straw into gold, cowered in London as German bombs fell, and lived through who knows how many shipwrecks.

But her powers have limits, and immortality can be lonely. Kendra isn’t ready to stop searching for the warlock she met centuries ago.

With the help of her magic mirror, Kendra will travel the world to reconnect with her lost love—and, of course, she can’t help but play a hand in a few more stories along the way.

Review:
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I love Alex Flinn’s books.
They can be quirky, funny, sad, frustrating but mostly they’re just really unique twists on fairytales. This book (like her previous book titled Bewitching) mostly consist of a few different stories narrated by the immortal witch, Kendra. In this case it’s Little Red Riding Hood, Rumplestiltskin, East of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling. Between these stories, you see Kendra’s struggles over the course of three centuries to reconnect with her lost love James (also immortal).

First, let me talk about Kendra. She first appeared in the book Beastly (one of my all-time favorites) and I immediately loved her character. Beheld is the fourth book she’s appeared in and I only love her more. Yes, she’s a badass witch and completely unapologetic about it, but I think what I like about her most is that she’s also deeply flawed. You see it most in some of the stories in Bewitching but one of the main points throughout these books is that Kendra tries to use her magic to help but magic rarely works the way you want it to. She’s failed- alot. She’s vain and a little impulsive and things don’t always go the way she plans. I just really love seeing a character, especially an immortal one, who’s allowed to have flaws and it’s not the end of the world. No one’s perfect and she’s not trying to be. I was also really excited that after seeing her helping others find happy endings for so long that she finally got her own love story.

Next I’ll talk about each of the stories individually. I can honestly say the first is probably the most unique version of Little Red Riding Hood I’ve ever read. One, it takes place during the Salem Witch Trials. Wait, what? Yeah. Growing up in Massachusetts I’ve heard A LOT about the witch trials but have never seen them tied to a fairy tale. Flinn managed to keep a lot of the historical accuracy while twisting it with Little Red Riding Hood in a way that I thought worked very well.

Rumplestiltskin was always a story that intrigued me though I can’t say this version was my absolute favorite. Don’t get me wrong it was still enjoyable to read, I simply didn’t love all the characters. The prince Cornelia falls in love with pretty much just fit that stereotypical playboy-noble-messing-around-with-farmgirls mold. I liked Cornelia except where it concerned the prince. I mostly just sat here the whole time like “You know he’s a jerk right?”. Rumplestiltskin I DID like. He was sweet and had a cute little backstory that I enjoyed learning about. Overall this story was good but fell fairly close to the original fairytale.

East of the Sun and West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairytales. Maybe because it’s not one I ever heard growing up so it always feels so different to me. I really liked the way Flinn went about this one, tying the setting into World War II. I liked the story and the characters; my only complaint would be that I would’ve liked to have seen more of them as this story seemed a bit shorter than the rest.

Finally we have The Ugly Duckling. I would have been happy with a book just about this one. It’s about Chris and Amanda, two awkward kids who become friends in kindergarten and eventually fall in love. I know, it’s been done a thousand times. Usually I’m really sick of this trope and I was even a little annoyed when I thought that’s where it might be going; until I wasn’t. For once I didn’t feel like I’d read this story before. The characters and their friendship were so fun and unique to me that this ended up being my favorite part of this entire book. It wasn’t just this weird foreshadowing to the romantic side of things, it was an actual, healthy, well-rounded friendship that you get to see evolve over the years.

Overall, this book was an entertaining, quick read that I’d recommend to anyone who likes fairytale retellings or YA in general.
-Antonia

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Dream Trilogy – Nora Roberts

Hello Readers!
I just finished The Dream Trilogy by Nora Roberts. I was planning on writing a review for each after I finished, but that didn’t happen because I couldn’t stop myself from just picking up and starting the next book. I’ve realized that I have no self control when it comes to books. So instead, I’m going to review all three as individual books but in the same post because they’re about three different people but their stories intertwine.

Daring to Dream – Book One
Summary:
Margo, Kate and Laura were brought up like sisters amidst the peerless grandeur of Templeton House. But it was Margo whose dreams first took her far away…
Margo Sullivan had everything a young woman could ask for. But while growing up along the rocky cliffs of Monterey, she couldn’t help but dream of bigger things. The daughter of the Templetons’ stern Irish housekeeper, Margo had been treated like a member of the family. Deep down, she knew that money could not buy the thing she craved most-her mother’s acceptance.
Maybe things would be different if she could be sweet like Laura, or had Kate’s shrewd head for business. But all Margo knew how to do was be Margo, and that meant doing things her own way-no matter what the consequences…

Review:
Margo Sullivan is a strong and outgoing girl. She doesn’t take anyone’s shit, even when she gets herself into a mess. She’s always looking for thrills, being reckless and doing whatever her heart desires. I think that’s what I liked so much about her. I would love to have some of her spontaneity. This books starts when Margo’s perfect life starts to fall apart. She left her safety of the Templeton House when she was eighteen. She always had a fire to make her goals happen. She’s confident in herself and her choices. She is comfortable with who she is. I absolutely loved Margo’s passion. Especially when she finds love.
So Margo’s life has fallen apart. She’s lost almost all of her sources of income. So she comes home to the Templeton House to attempt to get her life together. This is when she run’s into Josh again. Laura is Margo’s best friend and she’s also Josh’s sister. Taking place of the family lawyer when Margo ends up needing some help, the two start to figure out their love for the other. The two are quite the couple. It’s obvious that they we’re meant for each other. They have a few common characteristics including some that clash, but for the most part they compliment the other. I loved being able to experience their story.
Nora Roberts wrote this beautifully. I fell so easily into this story and couldn’t get out until I’d experienced every emotion on the scale. The Dream Trilogy was written in third person, which I enjoyed. I liked being able to see the whole story from more than one point of view. We got to see each relationship developing from a few different perspectives. This book was an excellent opener to The Dream Trilogy.

Holding the Dream – Book Two
Summary:
Surrounded by the Sweeping cliffs and beauty of Big Sur, Kate Powell treasured her life at Templton House…and the family who raised her like one of their own. Although Kate lacked Margo’s beauty and Laura’s elegance, she knew she has something they would never possess-a shrewd head for business. Driven by ambition, Kate measured her life’s success with each soaring promotion. But now, faced with professional impropriety, Kate is forced to look deep within herself-only to find something missing in her life…and in her heart.

Review:
I liked Margo’s story better than Kate’s, and I believe there’s one reason for that. But I’ll start with what I liked first. So Kate is the one that does everything right; goes to college, gets a degree, returns to town and works her little butt off. She gets a job at an accounting firm that didn’t belong to the Templetons. Kate’s goal in this book is to be successful, to hopefully become a partner and make her adoptive parents proud. Kate receives news that she struggles with involving her past and maybe affecting her future.
Kate’s life is starting to collapse a bit when she becomes acquainted with Byron De Witt. I think what I loved most about this couple is how hard they tried to deny their affection and attraction toward one another. It was seriously funny to follow their thoughts. They were both so stubborn and as the book progressed Byron’s stubbornness was being used for another goal. He started pursuing Kate. I think the two had a very healthy relationship. Byron helped Kate get her health in order along with the rest of her life. They both just have such a positive impact on the other. They never let anything get bottled up, neither had a problem yelling as much as they felt necessary when there was a problem.
Now, what I didn’t like about this book and why I liked Margo’s story better. I previously mentioned that Byron helped Kate get healthy again. She was seriously neglecting her body and her all around well being. She wasn’t eating right and she was drinking so much coffee it pretty much burned a hole in her stomach. She just all around wasn’t taking care of herself. This really upset me because when it seemed like her life was falling apart around her keeping herself together and actually taking care of herself were her last focus. She was neglecting herself because she felt like she’d let the people in her life down. I hate that she didn’t choose to take care of herself, but I’m glad Byron came into her life.

Finding the Dream – Book Three
Summary:
Laura Templeton found out the hard way that nothing in life is guaranteed. The daughter of a wealthy hotelier, she has always known comfort, privilege, and security. But by the age of thirty, her storybook marriage had been destroyed by her husband’s infidelity. Laura’s divorce left her both emotionally and financially devastated-but determined to rebuild her life without the Templeton fortune Laura has always define herself as a wife, a daughter, or a mother. Now she much finally discover Laura the woman…

Review:
Laura’s story was my favorite. We read about what’s going on with Laura through all the three stories. So when it’s Laura’s turn for love we’ve already learned about all of her troubles, she’s given herself time to heal. She’s also working on putting her life back together. Laura was my favorite for a few reasons. I think her struggles were the most difficult to handle and she never once asked for help or let her weakness show. Regardless of all the hurt she is put through, she holds her head high and does the right thing for herself and her two girls.
Insert brother’s troublesome childhood friend, Michael. He really makes an impact in Laura’s life. At first Laura is unsure how to handle Michael being around all the time. When she observes the positive affect he has on her girls she starts to let him in. When the relationship between Laura and Michael becomes more of a flirtation we start to see Laura discover herself in a new way. I really enjoyed seeing her grow into a more confident woman. Michael and Laura’s relationship is complicated for most of the book. They both struggle with events from their pasts. There are quite a few bumps for the couple to go through before finally accepting that they’re right for one another. I think I liked their relationship the best because it was the most unexpected match. I loved following the ups and downs of their story.

These three entangled stories were all wonderful, as expected from Nora Roberts. Each book is about one woman finding herself and the love of their life, along with strengthening the relationship between the three women. These girls are as close as sisters and even though Laura, Kate and Margo each have their own trials to deal with through out these pages they aren’t alone of any of it. I was a bit envious of the closeness between these three women. There isn’t anything one wouldn’t do for the others. They support one another with every decision they each make. Margo, Kate, and Laura end up creating something beautiful together. Each woman cares for this something in a very personal way and it was wonderful to follow the sisters in their endeavor. The three are all strong, beautiful, smart women that don’t let anything stop them.
There was one aspect of this trilogy that I wasn’t a huge fan of. I noticed this happening in each book and I wanted to shake each girl when I saw it coming from them. Kate, Margo, and Laura all seem to have a really bad habit of comparing themselves to the others. I think this is ridiculously unfair to them. Each of these women are their own independent person and while they have some similar qualities along with being so integrated in each others lives, it’s wrong. To compare the outgoing Margo who is the queen of not thinking things through to Kate who’s never done anything without planning it’ll all before even bringing the idea up. And to compare Laura’s family oriented nature to Kate’s determination to succeed with her career is just unfair. Each woman has such different goals and views of life and I hated reading about them comparing themselves to their sisters.
Overall, this might be one of my favorite trilogy’s written by Nora Roberts. It’s full of romantic love, family bonding, doing the right thing, and sticking to your goals. I would suggest this to anyone that likes romance, or Nora Roberts.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.