Inner Sparkle Reviews

I want to support any and all writers I can, because, in effect, I am a writer myself. I love to read and will happily devour any and all books at my disposal. Ready? Here we go.

Part-time Princess (Ladies in Waiting, #1) by Pamela DuMond

Part-time Princess (Ladies in Waiting, #1) - Pamela DuMond

I must start my review by mentioning that this book has the longest blurb I have ever encountered. This is of the reasons, or at least the main reason, I decided to read it. I don't know, I just found the list of things the book entails intriguing. I mean, it was comedic and slightly endearing and just warranted to give this book a chance. Boy am I glad I did.


Honestly, I don't have a clue where to start. The story matches its blurb perfectly. It's spastic, in a good way, random at times, and just downright funny. But more than that, the main character, Lucy, is so real. She's down on her luck and out of work when, after a seemingly unsuccessful part-time job interview with a gentleman named Phillip Phillips, suddenly a woman by the name of Elizabeth is telling she has got the job, much to Mr. Phillips' chagrin. Lucy is then thrust into a crash course of proper behavior and whisked off to a place called Fredonia.


Lucy will definitely earn every cent of her pay, because it seems impersonating Elizabeth will not be as easy a task as she originally thought. A surprise proposal, attempted murder, obnoxious but amazingly loyal bridesmaids, and royal wedding preparations are just the tip of the iceberg for what she must deal with. Not to mention the guilt of fooling people she soon begins to care about over the course of her stay and falling in love with a man she knows she cannot be with.


While there were grammatical errors in the book, ones I could not overlook, it mostly does not take away from the wonderfully romantic, funny, witty, and all-around beautiful story.


AND THE ENDING! Ugh, the ending had me smiling and laughing so hard I ended up with tears in my eyes.

 

Just read it. That's all I can say. Because it will touch your heart in ways you never thought possible. This book is proof that happy endings can be truly magical, especially when the song "Wild Thang" is playing in the background.

Raven (Legends Saga) (Volume 2) by Stacey Rourke

Raven (Legends Saga ) (Volume 2) - Stacey Rourke

After reading the first book in this series, Crane, I knew immediately that I had to read this one. I mean, the segue between books is so perfect that I could not resist. And boy was I definitely not disappointed with this continuation of the Legends Saga.


The beginning of this novel is met with a bit more humor than we saw in the first book. With Rip learning a new word that we can blame Noah for, the Horseman basically being forced into submission because of country music, and a situation involving art, an asian family, and stress-induced narcolepsy, this book's beginning is a bit of a bright start compared to the darkness of the ending to its predecessor. I absolutely love that. Because the humor is sorely needed. It creates a glimmer of hope that makes all the darkness worthwhile. To the characters, it allows them a small sense of normalcy in a journey sure to be filled with great sorrow and pain.


This book focuses on the story of Edgar Allen Poe. And like the first in this series, the author switches between past and present. Cursed by his maternal grandmother, Poe grows up knowing the world of the dead. Anything beautiful in the world is tainted by his forced perception of dark things. I say forced perception, because who would want to witness the things he has even once in their lifetime, let alone throughout their childhood years and all the way into adulthood. So it is with no surprise that he becomes a drunk. The numbness it seems to cause allows him at least some respite from the demons, or should I say ghouls, which haunt the very depths of his mind.


But! Luckily a light appears in his world in the form of a beautiful young woman named Lenore. He is immediately smitten and life appears a bit clearer whenever she is near. Alas, tragedy seems to strike in the most sudden of ways, and it is Ireland and her group of heroes, I guess we could call them, along with a new player in this cursed game who seems to have been given the same fateful powers as Poe, who suffer the consequences of the events that snowball from one single, and quite terrible, unkindness of ravens.


Add to that Ireland's weakening attempts to keep the Horseman at bay inside her, and clues throughout the story allowing us to get one step closer to who ultimately did this to her, and you've got yourself a dilemma that will keep you reading for more.

 

There are some beautiful scenes in this book, just as there were in the first, along with some wonderfully frightening ones. I love the haunting aspect of Poe's particular story and the fact that parts from the stories we know and love of his fit so perfectly together that the whole past part of this book just makes sense. The way the author writes this story is just exquisite, and the ending just brings me to a point of satisfaction and aggravation because I want to know more. Will Ireland be freed from her plight? Will she stay the way she is even when the saga ends? I DON'T KNOW!!! This fact just kills me, but the anticipation is completely worth it. This author is a true light in a wonderful genre, and someone whose books and stories I will not soon forget. Keep an eye out for her, folks. For she is a true star as a writer.

500 Dates: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Online Dating Wars by Mark Miller

500 Dates: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Online Dating Wars - Mark Miller

I love books like this. Ones that contain stories of the author's personal experiences or even the experiences of others which the author has meticulously put together in a way that allows one story to flow wonderfully into another. There is just something so real about books like this one. And after reading a bunch of fantasy fiction, which is my particular favorite genre, it is nice to sit down with something that can make me laugh or think or just enjoy what the author has to say.

 

The title and its description ultimately was what made me select this book. Just the concept of 500 dates intrigued me. And the fact that he wrote about a lot of his experiences with those dates. Throw in some references (okay, quite a few) to Jews, an ending consisting of fake articles which make perfect sense, and Barbie being his perfect woman, and I was hooked from the beginning.

 

This is a book I would gladly recommend again and again, because it truly is an enjoyable and entertaining read.

Ghost Hold by Ripley Patton

Ghost Hold - Ripley Patton

Last year when I read Ghost Hand, the first book in the PSS Chronicles series, I was absolutely hooked. The whole PSS thing just fascinates me and the story is so very well written that it was a no brainer for me to read the second in the series. I mean, I just had to know what was next for these characters.

 

Okay, so this book starts where the first left off. The characters are on a journey to help the next person on Marcus's list. A girl named Samantha. But for this particular sting, they will need to have a very extensive identity change, well at least for Olivia and Passion, who are going to be attending Samantha's school in order to get close enough to reveal their true intentions. But things are not going to go as planned.

 

You see, Samantha can hear PSS. It is literally music to her ears. Which wouldn't be bad if she wasn't in a cult that could potentially be as dangerous as the CAMFers themselves. And it also doesn't help that this particular cult is a part of Marcus's own past. A past that Olivia finds he has been pretty much hiding the truth about. Events will occur revealing things about him that will make Olivia doubt his true intentions. Is he truly on their side, or has he been siding with the enemy all along? And she will also find things out about her own past that will change what she has known about her family forever.

 

This book has a lighter mode in some parts than the first one did. But there are also infinitely darker parts as we go deeper and deeper into the abyss that is PSS. I am floored by this very story, and cannot wait to see how this series will end.

 

Conflict of Interest by Allyson Lindt

Conflict of Interest (Bits & Bytes Book 1) - Allyson Lindt

So for me this was one of those books that I really couldn't judge based on the cover. At first glance I wasn't even sure if I would even like the book and had basically passed it off. But after a couple of days and quite a bit of deliberation over the blurb itself, I jumped in and took a chance.


Now, I usually am not a big fan of characters who are "undecided." What that basically means to me is that they say one thing while hoping the character they say it to does another thing completely. Normally and predictably the undecided character tends to get mad when what they think should happen doesn't and what they say should happen does. Because this is in fact a real trait in people, I tend to try to stay away from it in stories. And when it came up in this one, I was a bit tentative. But because of this book I have found out that I have not been reading the right ones. This author's characters, or at least the one doing the undeciding, actually admitted that is what they were doing. They felt guilty because of this and knew that if they didn't stop they would lose the love of a lifetime. YAY! I was quite relieved when the remorse set in. All I could think was "Finally!" I had never seen that before in any book with the undecided trait.


Story-wise I didn't really get into the book until about halfway through. It wasn't until the relationship between Scott and Kenzie began to get a little rocky that I realized I was completely invested. I mean, I thought nothing of it when they began their little off work, and sometimes on work, rendezvous, but when uncertainty began to dissolve that, I was like "Come on! You can't do this now! You had such a good thing going!" It wasn't until then that I actually started cheering every time the two got together once again. I just really wanted them to end up as a couple.


Throughout the book, both characters taught each other something. Kenzie taught Scott that his past shouldn't affect his present. In fact, he should take the past and make his present better using what he has learned from his experiences. And Scott taught Kenzie that sometimes the rulebook needs to be thrown out the window. Caring what people think about you all the time can be exhausting and, frankly, cause you to lose the things you love most. He brought out a side to her that I do not think anyone had seen in a long time. And vice-versa. They just both clicked. In all the right ways.


And what about Riley, Kenzie's sister? She seems like an absolute mess in the love department, but she is phenomenal at giving advice. Near the end, when she is basically telling Kenzie like it is, she is so spot on! Kenzie wasn't willing to admit it to herself, but in the end, Riley gave her the best love advice to get back her man. Whether or not Kenzie took it is quite another story.

 

This book left me wanting so much more. I have wish-listed the rest in this series! I just want to know if Kenzie's boss could be a character in a future book. *Cross fingers* Hey, a girl can dream can't she? I just...ugh...I ended up absolutely adoring this book. I am totally fangirling right now over Kenzie and Scott's relationship so much it is not even funny. Seriously...I don't normally fangirl. I don't so much, in fact, that I didn't even know what fangirling was until this year. Or maybe last year. Anyway, kudos to this author for bringing that out in me. I tip my imaginary hat to you.

Upon Your Return by Marie Lavender

Upon Your Return (Heiresses in Love Series, #1) - Marie Lavender

I wanted to read this book after practically devouring the second book in the Heiresses in Love series, Upon Your Honor. I had to know more about the relationship between Gabriel's parents. I mean, it was a given considering what we are told in the second book. It was enough to tide me over, but there was a nagging sensation in the back of my head. If someone gives me a tidbit, I long for the whole story. And here it is!


So, little bit of info about me...I am a redhead. Because of this, I always feel a sort of kindred closeness to characters, more specifically women characters, who have red hair in the books that I read. I also especially love it when the characters are both red haired and named Kayla, but that is for a different time. Anyway, as soon as it is told in the second book that Gabriel's mother has red hair, I was practically scrounging Amazon for this first book. I just felt a connection to her. I also thought it would be a bit fun to see her as a young woman. She just seemed like a bit of a firecracker to me. I mean, to be married to a captain of a ship she kind of has to be. I was completely right.


While in the book she does follow the rules of society, being raised since the age of nine by an uncle who thrives on the acceptance of society's patrons kind of forces that way of life into you, she does want to be able to choose her own path. At her uncle's sudden death quite a few chapters in, you find her questioning the mourning period that is considered acceptable. She just wants to be able to rip free from the confines of the life she has lived and be able to find herself. She wants to figure out who she is, not who society wants her to be. But there is always that nagging voice in the back of her mind reminding her that the people around her are always watching for that slight misstep in propriety. And when they find those missteps, they never let you forget you made them. 


I think meeting Grant Hill kind of scared a little bit as much as it almost thrilled her to meet a man of his passions. Yes, he saved her, and yes, he did treat her as a gentlemen should, but I think from the first moment he kissed her and the first moment she showed just a slight rebellion from the ways of high society, involving an awkward session for her where she woke up and found she had practically crawled atop him in her sleep, she was afraid of what society would think of her. Sub-consciously, I believe this supposed guilt followed her throughout the rest of the book. Yes, they did bed together, and both of them obviously enjoyed it, several times in fact, but I think the talk of the town made her question his true intentions. And even hers as well. All her life, or at least since being "taken in" by her uncle, and even at the convent where she was schooled most of her childhood, she had been taught that love was a frivolous endeavour. A dream. A fantasy. And once that fantasy became all too real for her and him both, it is like they both tried to deny it.


Fara and Grant have a sort of cat and mouse thing going on in this. Or, this might be a better picture, a "He/She Loves Me Not, He/She Loves Me" situation going on. They are both enamored by each other, and the fact that they do end up in bed at some point does confirm this, and it seems that both do kind of admit their love for the other person to themselves, but it seems that society's rules are so engrained in the mind's of both that neither seems willing to accept the possibility that their love might not just be one-sided. I think they are both so scared of being ultimately rejected in the end that they do not want to press the subject, but yet, when one of them doesn't press the subject, the other feels both confused and aggravated at the fact that the subject was never pressed.


It is a whirlwind of emotions, and one I would indeed have been annoyed with had I not completely adored this book. I think the way the author wrote this story just makes the whole love dilemma between the characters bearable to the point where if it weren't there, the story would be empty. It practically IS the story. And I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.

 

This book honestly did not disappoint at all. While the ending was expected because I had read the second book, I did not feel like I knew what was going to happen. Even in those cliffhanger moments where it was not guaranteed the characters would stay together, and the fact I even knew the outcome, I just literally couldn't breathe. In my head all I could think was that they had to. They had to be together, otherwise I didn't know what I would do. I have come to fall in love with Marie Lavender's characters throughout this entire series, and her writing seems to bring a smile to my face every time I reach that last page.

Coral and Bone by Tiffany Duane

Coral & Bone - Tiffany Daune

On a very positive note, I absolutely adore this cover. It is ethereal and menacing and simply beautiful in its design. It was about halfway through the story when I finally kind of understood its meaning. LOVE IT!

Now, onto the story.

I had actually passed this book up the first time I was given a chance to sign up for a possible review spot. Not because I had no interest in it, mind you, but because my schedule of books was currently full up at the time. So it was with a huge smile on my face when I was finally faced with this book a second time. I immediately snatched it up then, because I didn't want it to slip away again.

The world this author this has created wonderful and almost awe-inspiring in its brilliance. I absolutely loved Elosia. It just oozed mystery and fantasy and just...there are no words for it. I want to know so much more about this world. I want someone to paint this world so I can hang it on my wall, that's how much I love it.

As for the characters, I did like them, but there were times where I tired of some of them. Halen, the subject of most of this story, and around whose life this story pretty well bases, is a strong character. But only when it suits her. Throughout most of the book she just wants things to go back to normal. She wants to run away, thinking she can abandon the destiny that has been laid for her. And while yes, I admit, the people around her were mainly wanting her to save their own skins and she was their only hope, as far as they could tell at least, she still seemed a bit...I don't know the right word...too apprehensive for my taste. I can understand the circumstances were not ideal and everything was happening a bit too fast, and a little bit of denial is a given at first, but she had been coddled a bit too much by her mother. And by that, I mean, her mother allowed herself to run from her problems, and she continued to do so when Halen was informed of her fate to save the three realms, so that was all Halen basically knew, and so she did it herself. I guess I shouldn't fault her for that small chink in her personality, but it just bothered me a bit too much for my liking.

Other than that, I think the rest of the characters were okay. They were all likeable, especially Tage, I loved her. She was cool. The one character that confused me was Halen's sister, the sister she never knew about. While it wasn't the character herself which confused me, it was the way in which the other characters talked about her. I can understand believing in whether she was dead or not dead, but one of the characters just suddenly changed his adamant thoughts about her being not dead to a sudden declaration of her being dead almost near the book's end. I was just thinking on it and was gonna change my statement and say nevermind, that I understood the situation regarding this change, but after much deliberation, I still don't understand.

The story itself just felt unnecessary. I mean, the whole point of the story was to defeat a bad guy, and while I expected him to have a bigger role if this is to be a trilogy, he doesn't. Well, in a way, he does, which I still don't understand the ending, but the whole final battle was a bit anticlimactic for me. And there was not really a clear transition into a second book. Yes, the last few pages hinted at more, but I kind of wished for an event that would leave me breathless and pining like a jilted lover for the second book. And anyway, the build-up to the final battle, Halen's training and all that, seemed to fast for me. I kind of wish there was more to this first novel, because it just felt incomplete. The beginning was great, perfect even, but at some point that perfection waned and it felt like the rest of the story was a bit rushed. I think that with a better execution, this first book could be the basis for a phenomenal series.

I will be reading the second book when it comes out, because I want to know more about this third realm that is talked about in this book, the one that has been blocked by fire this entire time, but I kind of wish I could feel more toward it instead of just a slight curiosity of future events.

Flaming Hearts by Susan Stoker

Flaming Hearts (Beyond Reality Book 2) - Susan Stoker

I was actually quite excited to have the opportunity to read this book after finishing the one before it. 


While the main premise of the last book was a man falling in love with the odd girl out on a reality show, the main premise of this book was a man whose brother works on a reality show finding his one in one of the stars of the reality dating show where guys are fighting for the attention of two different girls. I loved that. I love the idea of a man knowing who his soul mate is at first glance. I love that this was actually kind of a generational thing. It was sweet.


I saw a difference in character between the main girl in this story and the main girl in the last. And while a difference in character is obviously understandable, since they are different stories, I must say that I loved this main girl character a lot more than the one from the first book. While they were both sweet and kind, I kind of felt like the first one had this whole pity thing going on. She didn't want to tell people her problems or create problems because she didn't want people to pity her or think her a bad person. She was willing to take a brunt of hurt quietly just so people would not take things out on her any worse than they already were. That just kind of bugged me. She really didn't stand up for herself. And honestly, I did not realize how much that actually bugged me until writing this review.


I loved that the main character in this story stood up for herself. She actually wanted to tell people what was going on. I mean, yeah, she kind of had pride near the end, but considering what she went through, I would have done the same thing she did. But she actually used her backbone and was willing to fight against everything being done to her. I rooted for her each time she stood up for herself. I also loved that she also had a really cool experience with a wild animal. It basically trumps most of what happened in the last book.


While I will say that, just like the first book, to me this one was a bit too simple, for some reason I felt that this one held more depth than the last. Maybe because there were some darker themes introduced in this one. Or maybe because the love interest part of the story developed a bit differently than in the last book. This one just had a bit more substance to it.


I have to say that so far, out of the two that I have read, this one is my favorite. The two main characters and their connection just felt a bit stronger to me than in the last book, and that could have been because we got to see different locations through both characters' eyes. And by that I mean it wasn't almost the same location but in different POVs, but we actually were able to be in the show and experience what Becky experienced, and then the author would switch and allow us a glimpse into Dean's own separate world.

 

I think it would definitely be worth it to read the third book in this series. I so want to see what brings the next set of lovebirds together. I also want to see what else could possibly happen on the set of the next reality show. It's gotta be something big if it's gonna top the first two books before it.

Shardheld by Paul E. Horsman

Shardheld (The Shardheld Saga) (Volume 3) - Paul E. Horsman

I have been writing reviews for a while now on various book websites, so therefore it should get easier, right? Wrong. While some books are amazingly simple to write reviews for, there are those that take some time. And in the case with this book, I had to mull it over for a couple of days before I could write my review.

 

This book rounds out the Shardheld series. It is the final part of the story and brings with it a sense of closure regarding the return of the Skyshard to its rightful place but also great hope in regards to the future. The ending left me smiling with the thought that the possibilities for the various lands we have been introduced to throughout the story are infinite and endless and, most importantly, prosperous.

 

One of the reasons I took a few days before writing this review was the bombs that were basically unleashed in the story. I think it was only a couple, it felt that way to me, but I must say the second one was HUGE in my eyes. And while it was so simply explained, I still am reeling over it. I love how this book is an example that even if the reader is in the last dregs of a series, even in the last pages, a twist can still be slipped in, one that could end that series on almost the perfect note.

 

And this book indeed ended on a perfect note. I feel immensely privileged to have been asked to review these books by the author and will definitely be checking out some of his other work in future.

My Soul Immortal by Jen Printy

My Soul Immortal  - Jen Printy

I always talk about books that make an impact, books that sweep the reader away from the get-go and immediately you know you love them, and books that are quieter, ones that you don't know you truly love until you finish them. Sometimes those are the ones I truly adore reading. This book, was one of them.

 

The sorrow the main character has in this story can be felt throughout the entire book. I sensed his pain and hurt from losing someone he loved dearly all those years ago. I also sensed his desperation for death. Some people think immortality would be an amazing thing, but it is stories like this and characters like Jack which put the truth behind immortality into perspective. Would you want to live your days alone and constantly moving around so people wouldn't suspect when you don't age. I mean, the whole being able to get shot or stabbed or hurt in any way and then healing is pretty awesome, but immortality could be a very lonely life.

 

And then what happens if you find someone that you begin to love, such as in Jack's case? Even though Leah is a soul immortal, and there is a miniscule chance she could come back in a different time and remember him, contrary to what Jack himself believes, it is not like she can live forever like him. So I could definitely understand, after he figures out how to die, Jack planning to basically kill himself when she dies.

 

Even now, I am smiling at this story. It was so sad, yet so happy. I felt the love both main characters had for one another, and I loved that Leah was the descendant of Jack's first true love but that he saw her for her true self. He did sometimes compare the two, but he loved Leah for who she was and he was willing to sacrifice himself to save her. I don't think I realized just how much I truly enjoyed this piece until writing this review, but it is very beautiful, AND it sets itself up for a possible sequel! YAY! 

 

This oh so quiet novel was truly a privilege to read.

The Wanderer's Guide to Dragon Keeping by Ashley O'Melia

The Wanderer's Guide to Dragon Keeping - Ashley O'Melia

I am not sure if I read the blurb wrong or what, but when I first chose this book to read, I thought the main character was going to stay a child throughout the entire thing. So, obviously because of my random changing of the story in my head, I thought this story was going to be a bit more juvenile reading age wise. However, that is not the case. This is the story of one girl's love for fantasy as a young child which she finds once again in adulthood.

 

As a child, Aubrey believed in princesses, princes, and most of all, dragons. But when a terrible incident kills her mother and father and sends her off to an orphanage, those days of imagination and fantasy become long ago memories.

 

Into adulthood, Aubrey is more focused on her reality than she is about old kiddie dreams. That is until she encounters a strange book at the library where she reads to children. This book explicitly informs her not to read ahead until the time is right. Heeding that advice she reads the introduction and nothing more, believing this book to be mere fiction. Well, an encounter with an old man at a carnival begins a set of events that proves without a doubt that the book is complete truth. And this book, its contents, and a real-life encounter with a fantastical creature believed not real will teach Aubrey more about herself, her role in the world, and the truth behind what caused her to become an orphan in the first place than she ever thought imaginable.

 

On top of all that, she will find love. Love with a man who is so very unexpected in all the right ways.

 

This is a great read, and one that I hope has a sequel since it kind of sets itself up for one.

Balance by Ciara Knight

Balance - Ciara Knight

Third and final installment of the Neumarian Chronicles is quite a bit darker compared to the other two. War is on the horizon and every single character will have to delve inside themselves to get through it. Only the strong, both in mind and in body, will be able to come through to the other side, if there is to be another side.

 

There is a lot of death and destruction in this final book. It is the escalation before the big showdown with the queen. There is a lot of despair and loss and all-around hopelessness that roils through the main characters. This is a war they do not know if they can win. And on top of it all, Semara begins to second guess her own command. Well, she knows she has made the best calls she could based on the current situation, but it is the fact she has indirectly signed the death warrants of those fighting with her that gets to her. Knowing that she has caused her own brand of death, even if she is not the one killing. But sound advice from her father tells her she must lock those emotions away if she is to continue fighting for freedom for all. And she too knows this is true deep in her heart, but you see throughout the books that her facade of strength cracks when no one is looking. And I think those small moments make her stronger.

 

Throughout the destruction and despair and darkness, however, is peppered little moments of happiness and joy. Talks of marriage and the sight of children running in the sun brings hope. Little rays of sunshine that keep the reader rooting for the side of good. 

 

But will this hope be enough to destroy a daunting force and bring back what was lost all those years ago?

 

Compared to the second book in this series, this book wasn't as clean, and there were moments where I had to read things two or three times to understand what the author might have meant. It seemed like the first one, a bit jumbled at times and sometimes confusing, but there were moments of clarity throughout. It was a very satisfying end to this series.

 

 

Crane by Stacey Rourke

Crane - Stacey Rourke

I thought it very fitting that I read this last week, considering it was the premier week for the second season of ABC's Sleepy Hollow. And with a cover like that, and a title to match, the story itself did not disappoint one bit. In fact, it made me even more curious to want to read the original story from which this book is based.

 

The story of Crane follows two different times. We have the past, where we meet Ichabod Crane and two of his "buddies", Rip Van Winkle and Washington Irving, men who fought together in war and who have become, well, close isn't really the word for it. Rip and Irving have a sort of respect for Ichabod, considering the war had an impact upon him, causing uncontrollable tremors from an injury he sustained. We first meet the group of fellows as they make their way to Sleepy Hollow. It seems they had an agreement that whoever and wherever employment was gained first, that is where they would go. Rip and Irving are not really ecstatic over heading to the town of Sleepy Hollow, that is the first thought in their heads and out their mouths, and it seems the town of Sleepy Hollow isn't exactly ecstatic over having them there either.

 

From the moment they arrive, or shortly thereafter, people begin to die. The first victim being Selena Van Tassel, wife of Baltus Van Tassel, a man who does not like Ichabod whatsoever. Thankfully, though, one of Ichabod's friends, not knowing of this man's dislike of Crane uses his name as their. Still, though, Ichabod cannot shake the man's hatred. So when Ichabod meets his daughter the day after the terrible incident, he attempts to shoo her away, you know, without truly offending her, but alas, his name is revealed and she responds, surprisingly, with a smile.

 

Crane and Katrina Van Tassel get to know one another, but throughout their growing bond, bodies are being scattered like flies. Bodies of people who just happen to have connections to Katrina. The subtlety is perfect, but as the plot moves along, we find that her life could also be in jeopardy.

 

The story of the Headless Horseman, as each body falls, riles the town up more and more, and Ichabod desperately searches for a way to put this threat to the town, and possibly his love, to rest. But the task will not be easy. And it could mean certain death.

 

In present time, it seems Ireland Crane has just appeared in Sleepy Hollow in time to find bodies dropping around her as well. But the cause of the deaths will hit closer to home with her than it ever did with Ichabod. As danger rears ever nearer, its axe blade gleaming sharply in the moonlight, she will find herself fighting to keep the demon from killing again.

 

Crane involves love, loss, sacrifice, and an old man with stress-induced coma who, I must say, makes the story what it truly is. Both main characters, from past and present, will find their stories intertwining in more ways than one. There is humor, darkness, and just a satisfying ending that will have you wanting so much more. Thankfully, this is the first in a series, because Ireland's story is definitely not done yet.

Reclaimed Love by Ramona Flightner

Reclaimed Love: Banished Saga, Book Two - Ramona Flightner

I was slightly obsessed with the first book in this saga, okay maybe a little more than slightly. By the end of the first book, I was so invested in the lives of the characters in this story that I just absolutely had to read the second one when it came out. In fact, I freaked when given the opportunity to read and review it. I mean, I almost literally jumped for joy before diving headfirst into this book.

 

My reaction?

 

Give me a second while I bang my head against a wall....

 

Okay, that done, I LOVED this book even more than the first. There is so much more depth in this second book compared to the first. I mean, we are dealing with how the main characters' relationship will hold up due to distance and situations that occur throughout the story. Some more dire than others. Will they bow down to the pressure's around them and break things off, or will they finally be able to live a wonderful life together. A life that they both sincerely deserve considering all that has happened to them.

 

This book is also much darker than the first. While Banished Love did have some slightly sad elements to it, such as the treatment of Clarissa by her stepmother and various other relatives and citizens of Boston due to her choice in men, and even the sadness of Gabriel leaving at the end, it mostly focused on Clarissa and Gabriel's budding love for one another. This second book brings in two deaths, a terrible attack which changes one of our main characters almost completely, and a decision to leave home. It doesn't sugar-coat, and I like that.

 

When reading books, I love to get aggravated. I love to get angry at the "villans" of the story. I want to feel something. And believe me, I definitely felt quite a bit of that in this. We get more of a taste of Clarissa's stepmother in this book. So much more. To the point where I just want to go in the book and smack her upside the head. Oh, Goodness!! I am rolling my eyes now just thinking about her. UGH!!! Cannot wait to see what she has up her sleeves in the book. She is just one of those characters I love to hate. I would be highly disappointed if she were otherwise. She just helps make the story.

 

Along with her stepmother, Clarissa's former beau, Cameron, also makes even more appearances in this one. AND his true intentions come out. Albeit near the end, but they come out nonetheless. Now he is a character that I could definitely live without. But he also makes the story what it is, and it would not be what it is without him making at least a few appearances.

 

Now while there is a bit of darkness to this story, there is also just as much light, maybe more. Florence gets to change her past, and a family is reunited after so many years of being apart. Children are born and friendships are forged. It is what makes this story worthwhile...all those good moments.

 

I absolutely am in love with this saga and the books that have been written so far. It is just one of those stories that seems so timeless and so beautifully written. I can feel the age of the books, the time they are written in, and the characters are like friends (and enemies) to me. I just...*deep sigh*...can't help but smile at the thought that maybe this isn't over yet.

Adagio by Delancey Stewart

Adagio: A Hot Contemporary Romance (The Company Book 1) - Delancey Stewart

I adore dance...especially ballet. There is just a beauty in it that makes me in awe of the people who learn and become almost masters of this exquisite sport. But that is only what we see on stage, during the performance. What we don't see is the blood, sweat and tears behind the curtain. There is so much more to ballet than meets the eye, and sadly, what is portrayed in this story is part of it.


Before anything, I just want to commend this book cover, because it is initially what forced me to read the blurb of the book, and once I did that I was hooked. It is just such a beautiful cover, and probably one of my favorites.


Now, to the characters. I must give kudos the author for starting the story out with a creepy factor with Sebastian and his cringe-worthy antics. I got chills and uncomfortable feelings at the beginning of this book, to the point where I was almost wasn't sure if I was truly going to like the rest of the book. In my head I was like, I do not like this. Something is not right. And boy was I correct. But the beginning opened up into a relief when the character of Cain was introduced. I mean, a visible sigh of relief actually ran through me when he came into the picture. I was all YAY! The leading man! That is what made me continue reading. I just knew he was going to be what made this story grand.


I have to admit that there is a bit of a thriller aspect to this story. What with the reopening of the OD case of a former member of the company. There is this tension throughout the story that something happened...something big. And while I could not quite put my finger on it, I knew that somehow her OD wasn't just a mere accident. No sir. It was not.


I absolutely adored the parts of the story where Anna described how dancing made her feel. Her awe was reminiscent of my own when I used to perform music. It is just something that cannot be taught or forced. That passion has to be inside of you.

 

This is the story of two people with terrible pasts coming together through what they love most. It is a story of learning to trust, and protecting those you love. I am completely in awe, and I cannot wait to see what the next books in this series will unfold.

Upon Your Honor by Marie Lavender

Upon Your Honor - Marie Lavender

I loved this book so much! SO MUCH!!!


I know that I have probably mentioned this before in a previous review of mine, maybe not, but ever since I was a little girl I have had this love for ships. Sailing ships. I love the terms for everything. I love the idea of being able to traverse oceans and leading a band of miscreants, and just the camaraderie that happens when you sail for months at a time. Sure there are bad days too when it comes to the sea, but I just absolutely  it. (Okay, so my kinds of ships are normally only in books, and the groups I'm talking about are mostly pirates, not a those on a trading ship like the men on La Voyageur, but it's kind of the same principle, right?)Anywho...that was one of the things I absolutely adored about this story. The fact that most of it takes place on a vessel of the seas.


I also loved the characters, mostly the supporting characters, my favorite being Gabriel's father. He just seemed like such a sweet man, and his daughter Adrienne was a bit of a firecracker in comparison. Gabriel's mother was also very sweet when it came to Chloe, and you could definitely tell she was a strong woman, considering what she herself went through for true love.

It also doesn't hurt that she was a redhead...REDHEADS UNITE!! *ahem* Sorry, kinda slipped out. And Gabriel was a redhea....AUBURN. Sorry, his and his mother's hair is auburn. The characters are kind of berating me for not getting that right. Now...where was I... Oh yeah. I loved that I could sort of relate to those two because of hair color.


While Chloe was an integral part of the story, without her running away from her fiancé there would be no story, she definitely wasn't one of my favorite characters I have ever read. I liked her, don't get me wrong, I just sometimes felt a bit annoyed by the fact that she was SO proper, SO well brought up. At one point I just wanted her to spit on a bad guy or her fiance, just once. I was completely rooting for that to happen. That would have made my day. But other than that, she was a good character.

 

All in all, this was really great story. I freaked out a bunch of times while reading it, especially near the end, where...well, you'll have to read to find out. This reaction always indicates to me that whatever I am reading has to be good. At first I couldn't figure out how the other books were connected to this one, since this is the first I have read from the series, but it made me smile when I was able to connect all three with characters that I was pretty much introduced to in this second book. It reads very well on its own, but the other books are definitely on my to read list for the future.

Currently reading

The Inner Circle
Brad Meltzer