The Iron King | 4 Stars

The Iron King
By: Julie Kagawa
4 Stars

It took me a little while to fall in love with this book, but once I did, I couldn’t put it down! Meghan is real and relatable. Like just about every young adult heroine, she’s a bit of an outcast and her classmates think she’s a freak, but this was one of few recent young adult books that didn’t lay it on too thick. I thought she was believable, and when you’ve got a whole new faery world to wrap your head around, having a main character whose shoes you can slip into was a huge help.

I loved the concept of the Iron fey. The Winter and Summer faery characters are based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and they exist only because mortals tell their stories and remember them. It seemed perfectly logical—and brilliant—to me that the Iron fey were created when mortals developed a love of industry and technology. Sure, we’re all still suckers for a good love story and a heroic quest, but I’m writing about that on a laptop. Technology is everywhere, and I loved how the modern world intertwined with the timelessness of the faery realm.

This was a fun exciting read and I definitely recommend it!

The Book of Two Ways | 5 Stars

The Book of Two Ways
By Jodi Picoult
5 Stars

Wow. Wow, wow, wow! What a fantastic book. I am a longtime Jodi Picoult fan, and this book is quite possibly my absolute favorite. I loved every minute of this book: the beautifully crafted characters, the elegant writing style, the fascinating topics we learned so much about (such as death doulas, Egyptology, and quantum mechanics). Leave it to Jodi Picoult to make the link between the beliefs of Egyptology and quantum mechanics.

This book was a true page turner, something I couldn’t stop thinking about whenever I had to step away (to, you know, work and stuff). Jodi Picoult always has a surprise twist at the end, and by the time I was two-thirds of the way through the book, I was both anxious for and dreading the different things I thought it might be (none of which were right). In my opinion, the ending is absolutely perfect and the journey to get there was fantastic. I think this is the first book I’ve ever finished and immediately wanted to read again right away.

I think the highest compliment I can give this book, as an author, is that when I finished it, I was inspired and motivated to work on my own story.

Unraveled | 3 Stars

by Lauren Dane
3 Stars

I immediately fell in love with this author’s style. Her eloquent descriptions that contrast the abrupt nature of the characters. And the heroine’s attitude. She’s witty, crass, and fiercely independent.

I was intrigued by how much of the book was spent watching the relationship develop, without much input from the external plot. With so many books, we watch the characters fall in love because they are fighting side by side or they are forced to work together. In this book, our characters fell in love because they wanted to.

For all the aspects of the book that I really enjoyed, the storyline itself just wasn’t enough to keep me interested. I was caught by surprise when the book ended, because there were still so many loose ends. I assume these will be explored in the other books in the series, but this one left me feeling unfulfilled.

Me Before You | 4 Stars

Me Before You
By Jojo Moyes
4 Stars

I had watched the movie before I read the book, so I knew what was coming, but I still cried and cried during this one! I can’t remember the last time I cried while reading a book, so have your tissues ready.

I really enjoyed this story. Like I said, I’d watched the movie first, but (as always) there was so much more in the book that it felt like a new experience. I loved the two main characters. Louisa was quirky and fun, dedicated and lovable, with such a unique style and personality (there’s a reason you can do a Google search for her outfits). And Will’s banter and witty attitude were just as lovable. My only complaint was about Louisa’s family’s attitude toward her/the way they spoke about her to her, but it’s not a perfect fantasy world after all and I’m sure this will give her room to grow in the rest of the series.  

Cowboy in Wolf’s Clothing | 4 Stars

by Kait Ballanger
4 Stars

My first shifter romance, and I really enjoyed it! I particularly liked that being shifters wasn’t the focus of the story, but it heightened the characteristics of the characters.

I loved the complexity of the characters and the world the author created for them. There are a number of secondary characters that drew me in, and I’m excited to continue the series to read their stories. As for this story, Colt drew me in from the beginning and didn’t let go. There’s just something about a tortured hero with a dark secret past – and Colt’s secrets had secrets. There were so many layers to unwrap as the story went on, which I loved.

When I Fall | 5 Stars

When I Fall
By J. Daniels
5 Stars

I fell in love with Beth and CJ right from the start. They’re both so sweet and easy to love, both funny and adventurous and so caring. A perfect match. The dance between the two of them as they fought to remain “just friends” was perfectly balanced, never too fast or too slow. Every interaction between them was sweet and funny, and just such a joy to read.

My heart melted every time CJ called her “darlin'” and skipped a beat every time Beth called CJ by his birth name. The pair of them are just so darn sweet to each other! I enjoyed every moment of this book, and as soon as I finished it, I went back to read it again.

The Rancher’s Baby Proposal | 2 Stars

The Rancher’s Baby Proposal
by Barbara White Daille
2 Stars

I was not a fan of this one. Watching the heroine throw herself, repeatedly, at a man she’s had a crush on since third grade, who she’s spent her whole life waiting for and is madly in love with – even though she hasn’t seen him in years and they barely interacted during their school years? I realize romances are daydreams, but this was too much for me. I really didn’t believe that they could have a functional relationship where he loved her the same way she has supposedly loved him since she was a child.

And then his response to their final getting together? I was immediately and completely turned off to him, what a jerk. At the end, I feel like he married her because she loved him so much and loved his son – but not because he felt anything for her.

Sean’s Reckoning | 3 Stars

The Devaney Brothers: Sean’s Reckoning
by Sherryl Woods
3 Stars

I really enjoyed the super-slow build to their relationship. I enjoyed the tension. What didn’t work for me was that neither of them really questioned whether or not they were ready for/wanted a relationship, or if they were ready/wanting something long-term. They both just kept saying that some kind of romantic entanglement was inevitable and I was never really sure that it was what either of them wanted.

The hero came off as too controlling for my liking. I know that he meant well and that many women would enjoy how far he went to do what he thought was best for the heroine, but it was a turnoff for me personally.

Where We Belong | 4 Stars

Where We Belong
By J. Daniels
4 Stars

I really enjoyed this look into married life for Mia and Ben, a reminder that the story doesn’t really end at “happily ever after” or even “the end.” It was sweet and funny and so, so hot. Ben and Mia are sex-deprived when their two adorable children master the art of cock-blocking. They were interrupted so many times during the course of this book that I began to get paranoid every time they would find a minute alone together, afraid that one of their kids was about to pop up and put an end to their antics at any minute! It was a terribly fun read, even if I was on the edge of my seat every time Ben and Mia started getting undressed!

Duchess By Design | 4 Stars

Duchess by Design
by Maya Rodale
4 Stars

It took a little while for me to get into this story (I’m not a big fan of historical romance, so this was no fault of the book’s) but once I did, I really enjoyed it. Smart and sassy is the perfect way to describe Maya Rodale’s writing – and the heroine! I also enjoyed the incorporation of British aristocracy but on American soil, so nothing was as it was expected to be. A fun twist!

I loved that so much of this book focused on the revolution of putting pockets in dresses! At first, I thought it was cute and funny, but then I began to realize just how important pockets really are and how limiting it is for women not to have them. What an eye opener!