Lilac Girls | 4 Stars

Lilac Girls
By: Martha Hall Kelly
4 Stars

This book was a fascinating look into the lives of three very different women during WWII: one in a Polish concentration camp, one working for the Nazis, and one working for a charitable organization in New York City. The war ties these three women together, but their lives are so totally different because of their geographical location that it seems like they’re in different worlds or at least different times.

My favorite part of this book was looking at life after the war. As Americans, I believe we see WWII ending with the liberation of the concentration camps and the survivors going home to their families – because that’s where our involvement ended, for the most part. Instead, Kasia goes home to a country that is now under Russian rule and lives a very difficult life. Leaving the concentration camp wasn’t the start of ‘happily ever after’ for her. I didn’t know if a happily ever after was even possible for her – but I found the end to be very satisfying. I definitely recommend this novel.

The Iron Knight | 3 Stars

The Iron Knight
By: Julie Kagawa
3 Stars

I loved that we got a book from Ash’s point of view—and not just Ash’s retelling of book 1 (like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey), but Ash’s own story. I loved the darkness of his backstory and how the author didn’t shy away from the fact that the faery do some pretty awful things and think nothing of it. I loved his relationship with Puck (their bantering and death threats were some of my favorite parts of the previous books), especially seeing it evolve.

There’s a lot of questing and a lot of fighting, so for someone who was reading the first three books purely for the Ash/Meghan relationship and Ash/Puck fighting, it wasn’t quite my cup of tea. The conclusion of the book was also a bit flat for me. Not that it wasn’t a satisfying ending, but I just felt that there could have been a bit more emotion to it.

All in all, I enjoyed Ash getting to be the hero of his own story, not just a character in Meghan’s.

The Iron Queen | 4 Stars

The Iron Queen
By: Julie Kagawa
4 Stars

This was another Iron Fey story that I couldn’t put down. After the epic conclusion to book 2, I had to know what was next for Ash and Meghan! And I was so happy when Puck showed up. I really love him, and I feel like he rounds out the group with his trickster ways. Life with Puck is never boring and I love his bickering with Ash. Like before, I would like to see a bit more Puck though.

I love Ash and Meghan together (maybe I just have a head-over-heels crush on Ash and just about every tortured bad boy in every book?), and their declarations and commitment to each other were so sweet and powerful. I just would have liked to see them get to know each other a bit better. At one point, Ash tells Meghan about his past and his dark side, and I couldn’t help but think – why didn’t you tell her this sooner? Why are the two of you making eternity-long promises to each other when you have all these secrets? Talk to each other, damn you! I get it. They’ve spent three books at war with all sorts of enemies, but come on! Find some more down time to chit chat. Actually, there was a bit more down time chit chat time in this book, which I thought was long overdue and greatly appreciated.

The war in this story is exciting, the characters are awesome, and I bet that you too won’t be able to put it down.

Of course, I won’t spoil the ending for you, but have your tissues nearby and be ready for the feels!

The Iron Daughter | 4 Stars

The Iron Daughter
By: Julie Kagawa
4 Stars

I read this all in one sitting. I could not put it down. Seeing Meghan in the Winter court, learning to do the twisting dance of court life while interacting with Ash’s (is evil too strong a word?) family, was exciting. Of course, it’s never happily ever after for star-crossed lovers—certainly not this early in a series—so seeing the new heartbreaking element to Ash and Meghan’s relationship also kept me frantically turning pages dying to see what was coming next! I also loved seeing Puck throw his hat in the ring as well. Actually, I would have liked to see a bit more of that possible storyline. One, because Puck is awesome, and two, because sometimes the best friend really is your soulmate! I’m all for my main character, especially one as young as Meghan, dating more than one person in her entire life. It’s kind of like trying on your first wedding dress and deciding it’s the one, when you’ve never worn any other one. Yes, it’s beautiful and you feel like a princess—but can you know it’s the one when you’ve never known anything else? But I digress.

I love Ash. I really do. I could just use a little more in his relationship with Meghan, reasons why the two of them belong together other than this unexplainable feeling of meant-to-be (which is totally great. I just wanted more, something tangible). But we’re still early in the series; there’s plenty of time for them to get over the initial no-I-love-you-more of young love and get into the meat of it.

I mentioned before how much I enjoy the Iron fey and I loved that we got to see more of them and get to know them better. Ironhorse is awesome! And the evil Iron fey are cool too.

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.