Book Review

Book Review: Where the Stars Meet the Sea by Heidi Kimball

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Regency Romance
Length: 256 pages
Author: Heidi Kimball
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Release Date: March 2nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A broken man. A fiery young woman. Neither one’s heart will come away unscathed.

Juliet Graham fervently counts the days until her twenty-first birthday, when she can claim the inheritance that will grant her the freedom she has always craved and the guardianship of her younger brother. Until then, she is trapped under her aunt Agnes’s domineering will. When forced to accompany the family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet’s only objective is to keep to herself. That is, until a chance encounter with a boorish stranger stirs up an unexpected whirlwind of emotions in her. Thrown off-balance, Juliet does the unthinkable: loses her temper and insults the man—who turns out to be her unwilling host, the Duke of Halstead. Fully expecting to be sent away, Juliet is surprised when the brusque and callous duke instead takes an interest in her.

Drawn to the duke in unguarded moments, Juliet finds herself more and more intrigued by the man who shuns Society’s rules as completely as she does, and over the next few weeks, their unlikely friendship deepens into a connection neither expected.

But even as Juliet comes to recognize her true feelings, her scheming aunt issues an ultimatum that threatens the future she was just beginning to hope for. Juliet must choose: either break the promise she made to herself years ago, or lose the man who has captured her heart and soul.

OFFICIAL REGENCY FAV.

Oh my goodness, I LOVED THIS. I kept this on my TBR for far too long. It’s an absolute favorite and if you don’t feel like reading this review, don’t worry, my answer for you would be READ IT. Thank me later.

From chapter one I was hooked. The initial banter and chemistry between Halstead and Juliet gave me all the feels and setup for an amazing read. I love the way the passion between them and the incredibly tender moments that had me swooning over and over. If you’re worried about a miscommunication issue, that isn’t a problem here! The conflict has been led to the entire time and it works out the way it should. Not to mention, that ending was PRECIOUS. I am still in a gush over the romance. There’s no steam here, but the wait Kimball builds heat and dynamic won’t leave you missing it at all.

I really liked the overall plot. It’s set at a castle (!!) and the writing sweeps you away to another time. There’s some general characteristics of regency romances but this holds its own with a unique story that had me finishing this in a day. I am an official fan now of Kimball’s and can’t wait to read her other books.

Overall audience notes:

  • Regency romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: emotional/psychologically/physically abusive family member, a runaway child, loss of parents

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Book Review

Book Review: Legendborn (Legendborn #1) by Tracy Deonn

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Urban Fantasy
Length: 501 pages
Author: Tracy Deonn
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: September 15th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

AMAZING.

Wow am I so glad I read this! It was fantastic. An incredible debut.

For someone who’s not a general fan of urban fantasies, this didn’t make me worried for a second if I was going to enjoy it. I loved the combination of the college campus with the Arthurian legends. It was SO COOL. A bit confusing at times and I didn’t quite understand until the end how everything worked in the organizations, but once I got there, watching everything click into place was beautiful.

Bree is flawed character with an intense amount of strength. I love solid character growth over a book and it was perfect here. Bree went through an acute amount of grief, growing up, and the racism and microagressions she experienced throughout her life (and more specifically in this book while she’s in a college program). It was powerful to take in this story.

This magic system is complex and very well crafted. Add in some demons and rogue parents and this was a mash-up I could get on board with. It was high action and was paced well. I loved all of the adventures with a dash of a preciously sweet romance brewing.

Legendborn has an incredibly powerful voice. It’s a book hard to put down. It’s a book that makes you think and be exposed to conversations you might not have been. I loved this and can’t wait for the sequel!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Urban Fantasy
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: demon attacks, physical altercations, see trigger section for more
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: depcitions of intense grief, slavery, abuse, PTSD, PCBD (persistant complex bereavement disorder), intergenerational trauma, loss of a parent, racism and micro-agressions

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: November 2021

Birthday month was a success! Lots of great reads, and plenty of holiday books too.

Favorites of the Month (there were a lot!): When You Get the Chance, The Fastest Way to Fall, Echoes and Empires, The Hating Game, The Flight Girls, Aurora’s End, A Cross-Country Christmas, The Song of the Marked, The Off-Limits Rule, The Inadequate Heir, A Twist of the Blade, and Cytonic

Least Favorites: Jade Fire Gold, What Are Friends For?, Lovelight Farms, and A Convenient Christmas

  • [ARC] When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord
  • [Novella] ReDawn: Skyward Flight (Skyward #2.2) by Brandon Sanderson and Janci Patterson
  • Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan
  • The Fastest Way to Fall by Denise Williams
  • [ARC] Echoes and Empires (Echoes and Empires #1) by Morgan Rhodes
  • The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan
  • [Reread] The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  • The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar
  • Gilded (Gilded #1) by Marissa Meyer
  • What Are Friends For? (Love in Fenton County #1) by Sarah Sutton
  • [ARC] A Song Among the Silence (The Rhythmist Cycle #1) by Julie Janis
  • Aurora’s End (The Aurora Cycle #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • A Cross-Country Christmas by Courtney Walsh
  • The Song of the Marked (Shadows and Crowns #1) by S.M. Gaither
  • [ARC] The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka
  • Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison
  • Vespertine (Vespertine #1) by Margaret Rogerson
  • One Way or Another by Kara McDowell
  • [ARC] Edgewood by Kristin Ciccarelli
  • [Reread] The Off-Limits Rule (It Happened in Nashville #1) by Sarah Adams
  • The Inadequate Heir (The Bridge Kingdom #3) by Danielle L. Jensen
  • Duke, Actually (A Princess for Christmas #2) by Jenny Holiday
  • [Novella] A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Mathews
  • A Twist of the Blade (Shadows and Crowns #2) by S.M. Gaither
  • A Convenient Christmas (Isn’t It Sweet #1) by Jody Holford
  • [ARC] Beyond the Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks
  • [Novella] Christmas in Love by Karen Thornell
  • The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R.F. Kuang
  • Cytonic (Skyward #3) by Brandon Sanderson
  • A Very Grumpy Christmas by Jerica MacMillan
  • These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  • [Novella] Merry Hearts (Poplar Falls #4.5) by Amber Kelly

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Book Review

Book Review: A Hand-Me-Down Heart (Texas General Cases of Romance #1) by Becki Willis

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 148 pages
Author: Becki Willis
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: November 24th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Grace Stavenaugh has lived her life in the shadow of her older sister. Even as children, Hope was always the talented one and Grace the smart one. Hope received the attention, the boyfriends, and the beautiful clothes; Grace received the hand-me-downs.

The leftovers never bothered Grace, until it came to one boy. Her sister went through boyfriends and their affections like she did her clothes, carelessly tossing one aside in favor of another. Often left to stall her sister’s adoring public, Cruz Colton was the one boy Grace never objected to entertaining. As their friendship grew and Grace found herself falling for the boy with the quiet sense of humor, she began to imagine he really came to see her, and not her sister. But one fateful night changed that perception, and she realized his was only a hand-me-down heart, after all. Long ago, Grace banished thoughts of Cruz from her mind, even if her heart was reluctant to let his memory go.

Ten years later, their paths cross again. Grace is living her dream as a registered nurse, Hope is a brilliant concert violinist, and Cruz has a distinguished career in the military. Recently discharged from service, Cruz checks in at Texas General Hospital where Grace works.

And just like that, Grace’s heart picks up where it left off.

She tells herself she’s over him. These sparks between them are nothing but leftover embers from bridges burned, a decade past. The adult Cruz is a changed, hardened man. The shadows in his dark eyes speak of hidden secrets and the horrors of war. Is Grace strong enough to help him battle his inner demons? And with Hope back in town, can Grace stand up to her sister’s domineering presence?

Grace may have been content in the shadows as a girl, but she’s a woman now, and she knows what she wants. It’s time to let her own light shine, because Cruz Colton’s is definitely a hand-me-down heart worth fighting for.

From the best-selling author of Texas General Cozy Cases of Mystery, The Sisters, Texas Series, and Forgotten Boxes, don’t miss this first book in the series! 

FULL OF HEART.

This was a quick and well-written tale of second chances. I was impressed that within 150 pages that I felt some emotion and attachment to these characters. The set-up for their second chance worked out really well for them.

It’s a cozy read with two characters coming to terms with a lot from their pasts. I thought the banter was cute and made for an enjoyable read. There’s not a lot here to dive down into but it is engaging. Some aspects were a bit silly (i.e. what the main issue was from their past). Overall though I’m happy with this simple, romantic read and am curious of the authors other novels.

The side characters made me laugh, and completely roll my eyes. I did like the charm they added to the book and helped round out some of the situational aspects. If you’re looking for something light to get lost in for the afternoon it’s a satisfactory choice.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warings: PTSD (from being a war veteran)

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