RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Amazing women

Book Review – Where One Goes by B. N. Toler

Posted on

24323918

I get this feeling of insane excitement every time I pick up a contemporary romance that has a slightly different recipe. I read SO many contemporary romance books that it’s easy to get bored and burned out. I had read two sentences of the blurb for Where One Goes when I decided that this one was a must-read. The heroine sees GHOSTS! Exciting, right?!

What happens when the very thing ruining your life ends up saving it?

I was never one to believe in spirits—until six years ago, when a bone-chilling accident changed my life…forever.

My name is Charlotte, but most people call me Char…and I have a special gift.

I talk to the dead.

Make no mistake, I can’t summon them. I’m only able to see and speak to the spirits that linger when they’re unable to crossover. They’re somehow weighted to the world with unfinished affairs. And for the last six years, I’ve relentlessly used my gift to help their lost souls.

But it’s come at a price. My life is dark. Feeling despondent, I’ve begun to give up. And in helping the dead, I’ve realized I haven’t allowed myself to live. With no money, no place to go, and most importantly… no hope, I’ve decided there is only one option—to end it all.

But fate is a funny thing. One minute, I’m about to leap to my death, and the next, I’m saved by Ike McDermott. The strong, striking soldier stopped me from putting an end to my despair. He’s the kind of man that smiles and brightens an entire room.

Sweet and gentle.

He is my savior.

And he’s dead.

We’ve made an agreement. He’ll help me find a place to stay and a new job if I’ll help him with his unfinished business so that he may crossover.

Ike’s unfinished matter involves his twin brother, George. George has been falling apart since Ike’s death and Ike has not been able to compel himself to crossover in peace until he knows George will be okay.

When I agreed to help, little did I know that I’d fall in love with the charming folks of Bath County, and…Ike and George McDermott.

Now, as both brothers own equal parts of my heart, I am faced with a cruel and unfair predicament. In saving George, I must let go of Ike.

But how does one let go of half of their heart?

I’ll be honest here, the first chapter is a little scary. The B. N. Tolers talent as a writer really shines through in the first couple of chapter and the realness of the situation can be felt through every word of every page. The high emotion and intense scene setting combine to make an absolutely gripping start to this story. I couldn’t put it down.

Charlotte was a feisty heroine and her journey was a Helter Skelter of emotions. You can easily find laughter and tears within a couple of pages throughout this story. As for the two heroes, they were complete opposites in a perfect way. Ike is sweet, kind and genuinely good, while George is dark, broody and emotional. Although you know from the start that Charlotte can only ever end up with one, it doesn’t stop you from falling in love with both of them, which makes for a very bitter-sweet ending.

I absolutely devoured Where One Goes in a day, and felt completely satisfied by the resolution of each story arc. I adored all of the characters, including all of the amazing supporting characters who each had their own special moments. It is an emotional read but one that leaves a feeling of satisfaction rather than a feeling of being drained dry. It’s a story well worth checking out!

Book Review – The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

ARC Received from Netgalley

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.

This book was a very welcome surprise for me. I knew it was a historical YA type read. I knew that it focussed on America amidst the women’s suffrage movement and I hoped it was really going to grab my attention. And thanks to very clever writing it absolutely did!

Olivia is the daughter of a dentist father, is supposed to be the perfectly behaved young lady that society expects her to be… She is also book smart and is a progressive thinker. She strives to be a part of the movement that intends to earn women the same rights as men and is enamoured with the changing tide of what is expected of women. She is, in so many way, the epitome of a teenager… She is just the 1900 equivalent to our modern day teens. These days we strive for our children to question everything, we encourage independent thought and tell them that they can do anything. However this was not always the case and if there is one thing this book does very well it’s that it reminds us to remember just how far we’ve come and what’s at stake if we become complacent.

I am a history buff, I love a good historical read, so this book was always going to catch my interest. However this book has something more than that, a point of difference that really makes its presence known. The very mysterious hypnotist Henri Reverie manages to bestow on Olivia a very unwelcome gift. Resulting in not only her seeing things ‘the way they really are’ but seeing them with so much gruesome detail that suddenly there are fangs, yellow eyes and evilness personified at every turn. THIS detail. THIS part of the story is what pushes this book into the ‘something special pile’.

At the very basis of the story it is a fictional telling of a young females experience during the time where women were fighting for their right to vote. For their right to be heard. For their right to fight to be equals. What the author has done so cleverly is write it in a way that it’s an accessible history lesson, rich in descriptive supernatural elements. This story is a story that makes me proud to be female, proud of where we’ve come. Education and entertainment wrapped so perfectly together you don’t realize where one ends and the next begins, definitely a ‘must read’.

The Cure for Dreaming

By Cat Winters

photo credit: El Bibliomata via photopin ccphoto credit: national museum of american history via photopin cc

Book Review – See How She Awakens (The Izzy Chronicles) by Michelle Graves

ARC received in return for an honest review

The Seer has fallen, yet the prophecy remains.
The World will burn, unless the Seer is Awakened.

Izzy is lost to the void, doing everything within her power to forget the past two years of her life, when a voice calls out to her from the fog. Aberto begs for her to return while Kennan’s voice implores her to remember. Everything within her is telling her to stay in the void, but then Aberto tells her the one thing powerful enough to pull her from oblivion, Molly is dying.

What awaits Izzy on the mortal plane is more terrifying than she could’ve imagined. The darkness is on the rise and no one seems to see it, or they don’t want to admit to the truth. With the darkness more powerful than ever, Izzy must find a way to push the past behind her and protect her loved ones, even if it means losing herself forever.

Will Izzy fall to the darkness or will she finally discover who she was always destined to be? Find out what happens when the Seer finally Awakens.  

There was a lot that needed to be resolved in Izzy’s world going into this book and I have to say I was more than a little bit nervous to see what was going to happen! Really this story could’ve gone a few different ways. Reaching the conclusion of a series is big, especially a series which you have been obsessed with. Every reader going into a final book definitely has a picture in their mind of what they are hoping the conclusion will look like, myself included…

Izzy thought once she fell the prophecy would be fulfilled and the world would be safe from the darkness… But this is not the case… Not even close. While Izzy is languishing in the void, people she loves are dying, she knows she has to stop the darkness, she just doesn’t know if she’s strong enough to after being so utterly and completely broken.

What I loved about this book is that now we’ve come full circle the pace was slowed down a bit so we could focus on the characters and details. There is still a ton of action, don’t get me wrong! But the feel of this book is very much a goodbye, so we take the time to work through Izzy’s final battle, which is just as much with herself as it is with the darkness. There was no way that Izzy was going to be her usual bouncy back chatting-self going into this book, she was far too broken. The overall tone was definitely darker and heavy with despair and that was important for the story being told. But happiness is a state of mind and can be accomplished many ways. I loved that Michelle Graves managed to not only continue with Izzy’s character development and work through the despair and challenges she was facing, but also managed to by the end give us glimpses of the old Izzy. In this aspect of the story I was completely satisfied!

The romance part of this book was a tricky one. Obviously with previous events it wasn’t going to be simple no matter what way it was approached. After having a few days to digest I do feel like the end was fitting. Now, this doesn’t mean that I wasn’t hoping for ‘more’ because the hopeless lover of romance in me did hope for sunshine and rainbows and over the top gestures of romance. But I know what this story entailed and I understand why the ending was what is was. I guess it’s just one of those things where I understand it and it works perfectly for the story, but there’s still a part of me that’s protesting. Which I actually think is a really clever way to end a series, that I feel so passionate about it really shows that it’s hit the mark.

I’m sad to say goodbye to Izzy and the rest of the crew but at the same time I’m glad her story has finished on a high note. This series was the perfect length and had an amazingly balanced mix of everything that you love to see in this genre. I know if Michelle Graves writes anything in the future I will be one very excited reader!

 photo credit: vanz via photopin <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licensesphoto credit: Eddi van W. via photopin cc

Book Review – The Harlequin Doll by S. K. Munt

Posted on

We just finished our very first blog buddy read since Amy joined us. We were looking for something we could all read together and The Harlequin Doll sounded like it had a bit of everything we all love – mystery, hot men, romance and…a circus. Everyone loves a circus romance, right?! 

They’ll do anything to love her…

Elle Carey has never felt like she has ever truly belonged to anything; not her family, her body, her career as a journalist following in Editor-In-Chief father’s footsteps- none of it. By day she goes through the motions, reporting at her father’s side, playing nice with her over-achieving sister and pretending to be ashamed of her family’s heritage as her father is, but for Elle, it’s all a lie- she exists only to fly and has gone great lengths to keep her passion for the silks and trapeze a secret.

But when The Harlequin Bros spectacular comes to town, Elle gets the opportunity of a lifetime- one interview, one audition- one chance to live. She knows instantly that both of the beautiful Romani brothers, Archer and Jarrah Harlequin have the potential to steal her breath, but what she doesn’t know is that one is destined to do exactly that, and that the other will stop at nothing to make sure that the curse comes to pass as quickly as possible, yet again.

Elle expects to return to the paper afterwards with a few fond memories and maybe even an exclusive into the dark underbelly of the circus, but her destiny is not to see her name as a byline, but in the obituaries.

It is brother against brother, light against dark, demon against demon, temptation against love in this passionate and beautifully cruel story about the corruption of innocence and the illusions we weave to hide our true selves from one another

Kristal – Alright! Where do we start with this one….there was so much going on! The story starts off in the past where we learn about how it all began. We got to meet Archer and Jarrah and get some insight into who they were before certain ‘events’ happened. I gotta say, I loved these flashbacks and getting to know these character from the beginning. I also really enjoyed how it was done in a minimal way that didn’t overtake the story or make it feel drawn out, but it still gave us vital insight into who these characters are.

Charm – I agree with you Kristal, I loved the flashbacks. Not only did they provide the background that we needed on both the story and the characters but they were actually really interesting, integral snapshots of a past time in this world. I felt like there was a careful balance struck, which is not always a sure thing, we got enough insight without feeling like we were wading through the past every second chapter. This story was definitely not weighed down by its layout at all, the moments I had during the book of realizing that the puzzle pieces were slotting into place were due to the perfectly timed interspacing of past and present… I have to say though, while I loved those flashbacks, I was absolutely enthralled with the current day. Like, could not put it down enthralled.

Amy-This is one of the stories that you have to pay attention to and I mean that in the best way possible. There is so much going on. You will not want to skip a single word. This was my first book by this author and I was blown away. She created such an interesting world and I couldn’t help but want to know more. I think we’re all in agreement with the flashbacks. Sometimes for me, it can go either way. I either love them or don’t. But in this story, it worked so well. The flashbacks really gave me great insight to how things were in the past and how the characters ended up being the way that they were.

Kristal – I agree – you definitely need to pay attention to this story! There are so many twists and turns. I loved this world! It was very different to any other paranormal/fantasy type book I have read and it’s so refreshing when authors put a new twist on the paranormal world. And while there were plenty of WTF moments for me I didn’t feel at all like the story was losing me. I think a lot of my love for this world can be credited to the female characters in this story. I freakin loved them all but my faves were Elle, Ananya (especially Ananya) and Amelia; such strong and sassy characters!

Charm – I do agree, the world building was ridiculously intriguing. There was nothing formulaic or ‘been here done that’ about this story, which seems to be unfortunately a common let-down in paranormal. Now, character wise. I was ALL kinds of obsessed with these circus folk. I have a lot to say about this, so lets start with the females… Amelia, Ananya and Elle were fantastic strong female characters. I was especially loving Amelia, she is just such a complexity when you look at what she is and who she is vs. where she came from and who she came from. She was hard and sweet and really at the end of the day, everything that she needed to be when she needed to be it. These characters can often be overlooked in favour for more outrageous types but I really feel like she held her own here…

Amy- This was such a unique paranormal story, with so many fascinating characters. You had everything from Succubus’ to fae creatures to vampires to demons. I loved the variety.  One of my favorite parts about this book had to be all the twists and turns. For sure, there was never a dull moment. Just when you thought you had things worked out, you were proved wrong. I love nothing better than to be reading a book that has me on the edge of my seat, guessing what’s going to happen. And,  I have to agree that the ladies in this story stole the show. They were such strong leading characters and that’s not something you see a lot of. As far as favorite male character goes, I’m still sticking with Jarrah. He’s got that whole good/bad thing working for him and I can’t wait for Book 2 to come out, so I can know what his real motives are 😉

Kristal – Aaaah the male characters. This is a tough one for me because I’m not particularly sure I like either of them right now. Jarrah is definitely buttering my buns a little more than Archer though. For some reason I’m having a lot of difficulty connecting with Archer. He’s coming across as a little weak and feeble to me (maybe it’s because he uses so many exclamation marks in his speech?).  But it’s still early days so I’m keeping an open mind! I have my theories on how this will play out so I’m looking forward to finding out if I’m on the money or not.

Charm – Yes! The menfolk! I have to agree with you Kristal. I’m much more Jarrah than Archer… I can’t decide if this is smart or foolish of me. Jarrah seems much stronger as a character. I definitely don’t always agree with what he does or his motives but he’s true to himself and has a certain presence on the page… Where as Archer, he seems a little wishy washy. I think I understand what the author was going for with his character, but either it’s just not clicking quite right and what should make me love him is actually turning me off him OR this is actually exactly how it should be played and we are going to turn around further down the track in this series and think ‘Aha! I get it now’ I am personally really hoping for the latter as I would love nothing more than to be in Archers corner… but time will tell.

Amy-  The guys….I kinda have a love/hate relationship with them.  Archer was  so hard for me to connect with. He is a demon, the barro, the leader. And yet, I don’t feel that he really had a backbone. A leader is supposed to be strong, dominate, and be able to take charge and I just didn’t get that from him. Jarrah was more what I expected the leader to be, but his motives are questionable. Were his actions really to save his people or was it more selfish reasons- to get what he always wanted. I know I’ve stated this before but, it’s a  very interesting dynamic and I can’t wait to see if the guys prove me wrong in the next book!

Kristal – I know that three of us have talked about this, and we usually over-look these types of things in our reviews because we know that writers work their ASSES off and the stories are their babies, but there were quite a few grammatical errors in this book. At times it pulled us out of the story because we were having to re-read sentences. It not enough to be off-putting AT ALL, it’s just something to be aware of. 

I’m going to wrap up my part of this review by saying that I thought this was a fresh and intriguing world and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment in this series. S. K. Munt FTW!

Charm –  Ok, time to wrap up. I LOVED this book. It was intriguing and scene stealing and  I was completely enthralled from the start. However, I am in agreement with Kristal, although perhaps for me it was mostly the enthusiastic use of exclamation marks that was a little iffy. It really is amazing how such a small thing can alter the tone of a characters thoughts or speech so much. 

At the end of the day though I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who will listen to my rambling. This is my first foray into the work of S. K. Munt and it absolutely won’t be my last, I can’t wait to find out what is coming next for these weird and wonderful circus performers!

Amy- I want to say a big Thank You to Charm and Kristal! This was our first buddy read since I joined OUaBB and It was such an exciting one! This was my first book by S.K. Munt and I’m excited to read more from her. Yes, there were some grammar issues, but I was able to overlook them. This story was so captivating and took me into a paranormal world that I have never experienced before. I think we are all in agreement that we can’t wait for Book 2 to come out!

 

Wednesday Anything – Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

Posted on

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou is my favourite poem. Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of poetry but ever since I first came across this poem I have been in love with it. Maya Angelou is an American author, poet, and civil rights activist, among many other things. Still I Rise really captures the determination to rise above, and I think that almost everyone can relate to that at one time or another in their lives. Also noteworthy is her poem Phenomenal Woman. We run the world!

 

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou, 1928

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.