Tag «flashbacks»

Single Sundays: Exmas by Winter Renshaw

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Exmas (from Goodreads):

This Christmas, I’ll be getting a visit from a man in a suit, only it won’t be Santa.

Let me first say: Reed York was never my boyfriend. He was the pen. I was the company ink. Though if you want to get technical, we were more like colleagues-who-hated-each-other … with benefits.

Everything was fine until the charming jerk went behind my back, stole my promotion, and became my boss—literally overnight.

Refusing to work beneath him (professionally speaking and otherwise), I transferred 2,014 miles away to our Chicago division, and I’ve spent the past year trying to remember how much I hated his panty-melting smirk so I can forget how much I secretly loved the way his ocean eyes lit every time I walked into the room.

But he’s just announced a last-minute site visit the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and on top of that, he’s audaciously designated me as his ‘right hand gal’ during his visit. If he thinks he has a snowball’s chance in this hell at getting back in my good graces, he’s got another thing coming.

Reed York might be a man used to getting everything he’s ever wanted, but Joa Jolivet is a woman that never forgets.

He can put me on his Christmas list all he wants, but everyone knows naughty boys only get coal.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author
Author: Winter Renshaw
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Source & Format: Hidden Gem Reviews–eARC

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I love Winter Renshaw’s work and she’s a must read author for me. I’m not usually one for “holiday” reads but I liked the premise of this second chance romance. I always enjoy books with a bit of a “mystery” to the break-up and I couldn’t wait to figure out why Reed stole Joa’s dream job.

The Concept:

Sometimes, flashbacks to the past can be distracting but here I think it truly cemented their relationship and shaped them as characters. Otherwise, I would have wanted more from the present day plot because they don’t interact that much romantically. The flashbacks sold me on the second chance romance aspect; through them I was able to see how these two worked as a couple and why they are still hung up on each other a year later.

It’s a little light on the Christmas aspect but that’s ok. You could read it any time of the year but if you are reading it around the holidays, it’ll bring out the best in the season through Joa’s family.

The Plot:

My reason for the lower rating is that I wanted a little more from the drama. While I liked the mystery behind why Reed got the job, it was kinda predictable so that blew some of the wind out of the anticipation. Getting his POV gives his motives away even if I understand the reason behind his actions. I think that’s why I enjoyed the flashback scenes so much; in a way, it gave me something to look forward to.

In a way, you kinda get two stories in one thanks to the flashbacks. Each “present day” chapter is followed by a snapshot of the past and I liked the anticipation that built up to the story because you are getting the pieces one at a time to the full picture.

The Characters:

I really liked these two as individuals. Reed was my favourite; I thought he had the best development. He was sweet and Joa slowly melts his heart and opens up his views on what he wants in life and love. Joa was great too–I just got frustrated with her anger towards Reed because it was a bit of a communication assumption for why he took the job and her stubbornness (avoiding talking to him) caused their issues. I also think her character growth wasn’t as strong.

The Romance:

I loved these two and their hate-to-love-you romance. They had such great chemistry together so it was a treat to watch their story unfold. Again, the flashbacks really sold me on the romance.

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

It’s an addicting, quick read that fans of second chance romances will enjoy.

Read if You Like: second chances, workplace romances, flashbacks
Avoid if You: want a more suspenseful read

similarreads

  • Sweet Spot by Stella Rhys (Irresistible Series #1)
  • Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick (Jackson Boys Series #1)

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Single Sundays: Halo by R C Stephens

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Halo (from Goodreads):
I fell in love with Thomas Wells and knew he was my forever.
I was sixteen when I gave him my heart.
Our love was the kind to last a lifetime.

But Thomas was broken.
The first day we met he told me he was going to become a Navy SEAL.
At nineteen he enlisted.
At twenty he married me.
At twenty five he left me pregnant and didn’t turn back.
I knew he was suffering….
I also knew I couldn’t save him.
He left me broken.
I was scared and alone.
Until I met Ryder St. John a wounded soldier…
He was lost.
I was lost.
Together we made sense.
I fell in love again…
What Ryder forgot to mention was that he held a secret so explosive that it could shatter both our worlds.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Canadian Author
Author: R C Stephens
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Military
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 18, 2016
Source & Format: Read It, Review It (New Adult Book Club)–eARC

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

While this novel looked like it could have a love triangle, I really, really wanted to know what the ” secret so explosive ” was. Plus, I’m a sucker for military heroes in my novels. If I need a good mini-cry, those heroes always get me.

I didn’t know that R C Stephens was Canadian so that also swayed my decision. I love supporting my fellow Canadians <3

New Adult or Adult:

I heard about this book in a New Adult Book Club. But after reading it, I felt more comfortable labelling it as an Adult Contemporary Romance. Primarily because the lead characters are 25+ which is that cut off for me, especially if they aren’t in a “college” setting and are living in “the real world”.

However, it almost reads like a NA read so it’s one of those bridging reads that straddles the line in between.

The Plot:

This story is told through a series of past and present chapters, which is a brilliant way to execute this story. The story builds as you go and you start to put all the pieces together. And even then, I didn’t see the reveal coming at all–which is fabulous! Major bonus points for me for that!

However, this story seemed a little lop-sided as a whole. I felt like so much of the time was used to build up the relationships–which you have to for sure–but that it lacked a little more “drama” post-reveal.  Not that the ending was rushed by any means; it’s just that it could have been flushed out a tad more I think. There was definitely a lot you could do with that reveal and I felt like it never truly reached its potential in that respect.

The Characters:

I really liked Halo. She’s a strong girl but she has her weaknesses too. While she is raised on a pedestal by the guys and her family, she does have her flaws and personal struggles that she has to endure. She was a much more rounded character than I expected going into this story.

Thomas and Ryder irked me a little with their constant high praise of Halo (like I said, she’s on a pedestal) but I liked that they too had developed personalities and growth.

The Romance:

The flashbacks of Thomas and Halo in high school are sickeningly sweet; you know that couple that just sees nothing past their love? It leads to very long “sexy time” scenes which I wasn’t totally expecting. So that particular aspect I wasn’t a fan.

But what I did like is how they loved and supported each other through all their difficult times. In my books, I love seeing romantic leads that are partners in life and that definitely shows at times in this novel.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I really enjoyed this novel! Once the “secret” was revealed, I had a hard time putting this one down. It’s just a solid romance that makes you believe in the power of love.

Read if You Like: military heroes, big twists
Avoid if You: dislike contemporaries romances

similarreads

  • Ten Tiny Breaths by K A Tucker (Ten Tiny Breaths Series #1)
  • Out of Time by Jen McLaughlin (Out of Time Series #1)
  • Confess by Colleen Hoover
  • Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick
  • Trapped by Beverley Kendall (Trapped Series #1)

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Series Review: The Archers of Avalon by Chelsea Fine

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Series: Archers of Avalon Trilogy
Author: Chelsea Fine
# of Books: 3 (Anew, Awry, Avow)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

This trilogy was one of the first series I bought for my Kobo but I never got a chance to read it until now.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I started the series given the synopsis for Anew. The synopsis hints at a love triangle but I didn’t write it off because I knew that there was more to the story than that given of the amnesia aspect of the plot. I love the mystery of stories that have amnesia elements so I decided to grab this series and solve the mystery.

The amnesia element is by far the best thing about this series. Just when I would think that I had solved the mystery, another clue would be thrown at me and I would have to re-evaluate my thoughts and I loved that. I quickly read through Anew because of this.

However, I just felt like the series was missing that little umph to make it that much more exciting. I think part of the problem is that it is told from a third person POV and for me that always causes a big disconnect between me and the characters. However, I really don’t think you could tell this story any other way besides a third person narration. But perhaps the biggest thing missing was a secondary plot line. Anew really only focuses on Scarlet trying to learn about her past and relationship with the boys and nothing else is really happening. Everything focuses on one plot element and I tend to prefer stories that multiple things happening–especially when they get significantly longer like they did in Awry.

Holy crap was Awry long! It had to be at least twice the size of Anew and I felt that I was just getting a little tired of reading it by the end. Which is a shame because I enjoyed it a lot more than Anew. Everything just seemed amplified: the romance, the plot-line and I loved the flashbacks to the past. Through the flashbacks I felt like I connected more to the characters and everything started coming together. But, there were still enough twists to throw my theories out the door. Basically, it was just the sheer length that killed me.

Avow was smaller than Awry so that made it more manageable to read. I thought it was a great way to wrap up the series and all my questions were answered leaving me very satisfied with everything.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed reading this series. While it isn’t my favourite series ever, I thought it was well done and I loved getting down to the nitty-gritty of what actually happened to Scarlet. If you like stories with lots of flashbacks and an amnesia element, this is a great one for you to pick up!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No

Similar Reads: Evermore by Alyson Noel (The Immortals Series #1); Immortal by Gillian Shields (Immortal Series #1)  and The Awakening by L. J. Smith (Vampire Diaries Series #1)

Synopsis for Anew (from Goodreads):
Two years ago, Scarlet awoke in the forest alone, afraid, and unable to remember anything. Lost and confused, her life was a mystery…until she met a boy with a familiar voice.

Gabriel Archer has a voice from her past, and Scarlet’s determined to remember why. She immerses herself in his life only to discover he has a brother he’s kept hidden from her: Tristan Archer.

Upon meeting Tristan, Scarlet’s world becomes even more muddled. While she’s instinctively drawn to Gabriel, she’s impossibly drawn to Tristan–and confused out of her mind. As she tries to piece together her history Scarlet realizes her past…might just be the death of her.

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DNF Series Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy
Author: Laini Taylor
# of Books: 3 (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight, Dreams of Gods and Monsters)

There is a novella listed as Book 2.5 called Night of Cake and Puppets

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Angels, Urban Fantasy, Demons
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That as of the publication of this review, I have only read the first book in the series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Find out why I haven’t read the next two below…

I’ve wanted to read this series ever since I saw the cover for Daughter of Smoke and Bone when it was first published. It has been at the top of my to-read list ever since and I’ve been anxiously waiting for the eBooks to become available at my library.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone starts off slow but intriguing. It really starts to build up as you continue reading and you get a little hooked into the story’s mystery. It isn’t overly exciting in the sense that there is a lot of action or fighting but it is exciting in the sense that as you learn more about Karou, the faster the plot seems to go.

While the writing is well done, I find because it is told in third person I sometimes have a hard time following what is going on. This isn’t a book you read when you are a little sleepy because you will probably miss something important. One thing I didn’t like about the writing was the flow of the story. One chapter would be in the present but the next would be in the past and sometimes I would get a little lost trying to piece together the timeline. By the end of the book, I was into the story but nothing really wowed me about the book. It wasn’t really what I thought it was going to be as I found it to be slower than expected.

The end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone promises that the sequel will be a bit faster plot-wise but the mere size of the book is daunting. Most books are approximately 250 pages as an epub file for my Kobo and I can read that in 5 hours. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was in the 300s which is only an hour or so more. But Days of Blood and Starlight was over 400 pages and Gods and Monsters was even longer. Not that I have an issue with longer books–sometimes I prefer them–but the problem was I had multiple books out from the library (never fails that all your holds become available at the same time) and not a whole lot of time that I had to make the executive decision to return the last 2 books in the series and try again later.

That was 5 months ago and I haven’t thought about this series since. I would like to finish the series because I do find it interesting but with the hectic life I lead, I probably won’t be able to even contemplate finishing this series until Christmas break.

Conclusion:

A unique series for sure but one that moves slower than most. If you don’t like really long books, avoid! But if you like books that focus on demons and the paranormal/supernatural elements associated with them, this is a good one for you to pick up.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Synopsis for Daughter of Smoke and Bone (from Goodreads):
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Single Sundays: Juliet by Anne Fortier

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved Aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.

This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.

But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding her—superstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud, she begins to fear that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is destined to be its next target. Only someone like Romeo, it seems, could save her from this dreaded fate, but his story ended long ago. Or did it?

Review:

I read this book a long time ago after a co-worker recommended it to me. I got my hands on a local library copy and I ended up loving the book so much that I went out and bought it for my own personal collection.

As you may or may not know, I am a huge Shakespeare nut. Any fiction involving Shakespeare and I am there! I recently went to see Romeo and Juliet at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada (if you ever get the chance to attend, do! They put on amazing productions ever year!). Amazing play and this production was awesome! So awesome it made me think about this book and I hope to reread it very soon!

But, back to the book 😉

This book is basically two stories in one. One follows the present day Juliet while the other follows the “original” Juliet. You can tell Ms. Fortier has done her research because the story that takes place in 1340 is rich in detail about the time and about the play Romeo and Juliet. My mom–who I made read this book–made the comment after the play about a gold statue saying she forgot it was in the play when she read about it in the book. Fortier does a fabulous job with tying the two worlds together and this makes the book super enjoyable to read.

Another bonus was the mystery and suspense. I find with some books that have regular “flashbacks” to the past, I tend to enjoy one story more than the other so I dread the respective POV. That was not the case here. I was equally addicted to both and that made this book super hard to put down. While I had suspicions about how the book was going to play–no pun intended–out (I mean, we all know how Romeo and Juliet ends, right?) I found it wasn’t predictable which always makes me happy. The plot was a little DaVinci Code-esque in its delivery but with Shakespeare which I thought was cool.

I really liked the characters and Juliet–either of them–didn’t annoy me (unlike the Juliet in Shakespeare’s play) so win!

Conclusion:

You don’t have to like Shakespeare to like this book. If you enjoy mysteries, books with suspense and a dash of romance, you will enjoy this one! I highly recommend it!

Rating: 5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Mystery, History, Romance
Recommended for: 17+
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #2
Similar Reads: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly and Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle