Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen (Red Queen #1)  by Victoria Aveyard

Publication Date: February 10, 2015

Publisher: Orien

Synopsis:

Mare Barrow is a Red. If they’re skilled, Reds spend their lives working for the superior and magical Silvers. If they’re not, they go to the front lines of the war. Mare knows she’s not skilled — unless you count thievery. That particular skill won’t get her a job, so she knows her time is running out before she goes to war. Unless she can find a way to avoid the war, Mare knows her death is imminent.

Unexpectedly, Mare finds herself working at the Silvers’ palace. She feels horrible working for the group that oppresses her people, but can’t help but feel good that she’s finally making her parents proud. Those feelings become even more confusing when Mares discovers a hidden talent. As she learns more about herself and the Silver world, Mare realizes she has more power than she ever thought. But power can be dangerous and knowing who can be trusted is difficult.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Red Queen has been showing up constantly in my Goodreads Updates feed. It seems like just about everyone I follow there has read it and loved it. I have been putting off reading it for a while because I wasn’t sure it would be something I would enjoy. I’m not big into the dystopian fantasy genre–especially prince and princess type novels. I have a really hard time buying into the “I love my poor male best friend…but I also love this new prince I’ve just met” love triangles that seem to pop up in most of them. But I finally decided to cave and read Red Queen last week.

I’m glad I did. Red Queen was different than what I was expecting. It grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept it throughout.

I loved the setting, the characters and the writing. Victoria Aveyard did an amazing job creating an interesting society filled with magical abilities. I felt like I could picture her cities in my mind. Her characters were complex and it was fun waiting to see what they were going to do next. I even enjoyed reading about the evil Silvers.

One of my favorite things about the book was that despite the fact it had a love square (Can’t be a triangle with four points, can it?), romance wasn’t the focus of the story. Red Queen focused not on who Mare was going to fall for but how each relationship shaped her choices and the path she took. It was all about the Red versus Silver plight. That was refreshing.

The only thing that drove me nuts was the main character’s name. Mare Barrow. Every time I read Mare Barrow, I thought Bone Marrow. I kept wanting to call her Bone. Which, when you think of it, makes total sense with all the references she makes to bleeding red.

Red Queen is a book YA dystopian fans are sure to love. It’s fast paced, full of action and the cliffhanger ending leaves you begging for the next book to come out as soon as possible. I can totally see a movie version in the future.

Amber to Ashes

Amber to Ashes (Torn Hearts, #1)Amber to Ashes (Torn Hearts #1) by Gail McHugh

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Publisher: Atria Books

Synopsis: 

Amber Moretti made it through a tough childhood, one horrible moment defining her entire existence. Now, thanks to her amazing foster parents, Amber’s starting college and getting a chance to start her life over. No one there will know about her past. Nor will they know how she used to escape from the memories that still haunt her.

But just as one moment defined her childhood, another moment will define her life now. When Amber walked into the college dining hall, she never expected to meet and connect deeply with one man, let alone two. She’s always kept herself emotionally unavailable to men, but she can’t help but need both of them now.

Brock Cunningham and Ryder Ashcroft may be completely different in looks and attitude, but they both want Amber in the same intense way. Brock is the hunky football player that every girl wants. Amber can’t help but be attracted to his slick words and the way he wants to be everything she needs. Ryder is Brock’s opposite. He’s tough, tattooed and pierced. His every word disgusts Amber….until he kisses her. Then, she feels powerless to his touch.

Quickly, Amber finds herself falling for these two men. She knows she can’t possibly be in love with each of them, but she finds it harder and harder to fight her feelings for them. Amber knows she’ll be forced to choose to between Brock and Ryder, but she has no idea what would lead up to her decision.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Um….Wow. I’m not quite sure what my reaction should be after reading Amber to Ashes. This book was so gritty, dirty and all sorts of messed up…but I think I liked it. It’s hard to say because, while I was really disturbed by most of the story, I couldn’t put the book down. It was crazy. Every time I thought the story couldn’t get any more disturbing, it did.

I wanted to know how everything was going to play out for Amber and her need for both Brock and Ryder. Each character was so messed up with their own issues that all together they were just one gigantic disaster waiting to happen. I couldn’t see how this could end positively for any of them.

I really liked how most of the book was in Amber’s POV, but that I also got a sprinkling of Brock and Ryder’s as well. That really helped shape their relationships with each other — especially Brock and Ryder’s relationship. Which was a good thing, considering how Amber felt about both of them.

My least favorite parts of the book were the violent ones because I’m just not into violence. BUT I will admit the violent parts were a good addition to the storyline. They made this more than just a love triangle story.

The ending, though. The ending killed me! What a cliffhanger! I’ll definitely be reading the next book because I have to know what happens.

If you’re interested in reading this book, I’d just warn you ahead of time to be prepared for a lot of sexually explicit encounters (one F/M/M), violence, and drug use. The story will suck you in and then twist and turn in ways you aren’t expecting. It’s an entertaining read, but in it gets messier and messier the deeper into the book you go. It’s definitely not for someone expecting a HEA filled with sunshine, rainbows or unicorns.

Thank you to Atria Books for the opportunity to read and honestly review Amber to Ashes.

The Sound of Glass

The Sound of GlassThe Sound of Glass by Karen White

Publication Date: May 12, 2015

Publisher: NAL

Synopsis:

In The Sound of Glass, young widow Merritt Heyward inherits the childhood home of her dead husband, Cal. Merritt abandons her life in Maine to move to Beaufort, SC, where she hopes to learn more about the husband she lost. Before she can even move into her new home, her step-mother and the half-brother she’s never met show up, complicating Merritt’s life even further. Together, they begin to unravel Cal’s past and learn to be a family again.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s hard to pick out one favorite thing about The Sound of Glass. I truly loved everything about it. The narration moved smoothly between the three narrators: Merritt, Loralee and Edith. The combination of the plane mystery and the family relationships made the novel fast paced and hard to put down.

Although, I do have to admit I had a favorite character. I adored Loralee and her Journal of Truths entries. Her wisdom was refreshing. I also liked that she saw the best parts of Merritt and wanted more for her. I was inspired by how Loralee dealt with the hand she was given in life and how she was raising her son, Owen.

Merrit was a character I had a love/hate relationship with. Just when I would be annoyed with her actions and start to dislike her, she would explain herself or Loralee would think of something her husband had told her about Merritt and I would like her again. Seeing her growth throughout the entire novel was very fulfilling.

Edith’s glimpses of the past really shaped how I saw not just Heyward family, but Cal and Merritt’s relationship as well. I liked how her perspective helped tie the whole story together.

The only thing more that I wanted out of Karen White was a chance to hear a part of the story through Gibbes’ POV. There must have been so much running through his mind! He was such a cool character.

The Sound of Glass is one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. That doesn’t surprise me, as I always love anything Karen White writes. She truly knows how to mix mystery, romance, family and the Southern landscape into beautifully heartbreaking and fulfilling tales. I would highly recommend any of her novels.

unDefeated

unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3)unDefeated (Wayward Fighters, #3) by J.C. Valentine

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Publisher: J.C. Valentine

Synopsis:

Undefeated is the third book in the Wayward Fighters Series. The story continues from the end of Tapout and is in Spencer and Olivia’s POV’s.

Spencer’s trip to rehab has finally brought him to terms with the gambling addiction that ruined every good relationship he had. His goal now is to stay away from those he loves and prevent them from facing any future harm his addiction could bring. But when he has no where else to go after rehab ends, he find himself on Olivia’s doorstep.

Olivia tried to give Spencer the support he needed to face his addictions. He made it pretty obvious he didn’t want anything from her. So when Spencer shows up on Olivia’s doorstep, she hopes it will bring them closer together. But Olivia has demons of her own and her insecurities with their relationship may cause her to self-destruct. Will their relationship give them the strength they need to survive their addictions or cause them both to spiral out of control?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In the previous books in the Wayward Fighters Series, it was hard to find anything redeeming in Spencer. He caused so much pain for Jami, Ally and Olivia. I wondered if I was going to like reading unDefeated with him as one of the narrators. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, while I didn’t absolutely love him, I didn’t hate him so much anymore. I may have actually started to like him by the end! Reading from Spencer’s POV about his background and his struggles with his addiction made him more human and less of a monster. The way he tried to take care of Olivia in her lowest points, really helped redeem him. I could finally see what she saw in him. I loved how their relationship started bringing out the best in each of them. I also loved the way he dealt with the fall out of his actions and their impact on his relationship with his best friend, Jami.

Overall, unDefeated was a great story about love, friendship and the ongoing struggle with addiction. I think fans of the series will be extremely happy with Spencer and Olivia’s story of redemption.

Other books in the Wayward Fighters series by J.C. Valentine:

Knockout (Wayward Fighters, #1)  Tapout (Wayward Fighters, #2)

On the Fence

On the Fence

On the Fence by Kasie West

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis:

It’s no surprise that sixteen year-old Charlotte “Charlie” Reynolds is a tomboy. She’s been competing against her three older brothers and neighbor, Braden, in every physical competition they can come up with her entire life. Her single father hasn’t been much help in all things girly either. Charlie knows nothing about clothes or makeup. She’s completely fine with that until one too many speeding tickets forces her to get a job at a boutique.

Working at the boutique opens up a whole new feminine world to Charlie. Not only is she learning about fashion, she’s making female friends. Charlie even meets a boy that’s interested in her and not just competing against her.

But Charlie isn’t completely comfortable with the changes she’s making and finds herself hiding her new found femininity from those closest to her. When hiding becomes too much for her, Charlie finds herself confiding in Braden. Their late-night talks have Charlie wondering if she wants more than friendship with Braden.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I absolutely loved On the Fence. It had me laughing from the very beginning. Charlie and her brothers were hilarious. It was so much fun to read their competitions with each other. It was also easy for me to identify with Charlie. I may not have been quite the tomboy she was, but I’ve never been big on wearing makeup. I can remember wearing it for the first time and looking into the mirror. I’m pretty sure I felt just as awkward as Charlie!

Kasie West has quickly become one of my favorite YA contemporary romance authors. I honestly couldn’t put this book down. It was cute and funny. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice, fun read to brighten their day. You won’t stop smiling the entire time you read it. It’s also very appropriate for any age reader. There’s no sex or even talk about it in this one.

Delicate Monsters

Delicate Monsters Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Publication Date: June 9, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Synopsis:

The mean girl returns…

Seventeen year-old Sadie Su is a mean girl. Not the kind of popular mean girl you’re imagining, but just plain bad. Even her own father doesn’t want to be around her. She’s just gotten kicked out of her third boarding school for almost killing a classmate. Now, she’s back in California going to the local public school and mandatory therapy sessions. She’s trying to be good, but it doesn’t come naturally to her. It never has.

…and throws off the delicate balance in the Tate boys’ lives.

Emerson Tate is not happy his childhood friend Sadie has returned. He doesn’t want anything to do with her, but he’s afraid she’ll spill his secrets. She represents the person Emerson used to be, not the person he is now. One word from Sadie and Emerson could lose the popularity he’s worked so hard to build.

Miles Tate is Emerson’s younger brother. You wouldn’t know it by the way Emerson treats him at school. To Emerson, Miles doesn’t exist. But Miles doesn’t blame Emerson. Who would want to be known as the freak’s older brother? Miles has always been physically weak, but that’s not what makes him so unpopular. Miles is WEIRD. He has seizures and disturbing visions–visions that always come true.

While Emerson tries unsuccessfully to avoid Sadie, Miles is drawn to her. Sadie believes in Miles. She thinks he is telling the truth about what he sees and wants to help him. But is it too late?

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Wow. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what went down in Delicate Monsters was not it. It was dark, disturbing, intense and twisted. This psychological thriller messed with my mind in so many ways. The twists and turns were great and surprising. The characters were tragic. I’m amazed this is a YA novel. It could easily be categorized with adult psychological thrillers.

My only complaint was that it left me feeling really disturbed–more so than most psychological thrillers. The story keeps popping into my mind when I least expect it. Yikes!

I would recommend Delicate Monsters book to those that love a dark and gritty psychological thriller. It’s categorized as YA, but I definitely think you would need to be a mature young adult to read this. It’s that dark.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin and Goodreads First Reads for the opportunity to read and honestly review Delicate Creatures.

Breathless in Love

Beathless in Love - Ebook 3000 x 4500-2Breathless in Love (The Maverick Billionaires, Book 1) by Bella Andre and Jennifer Skully

Publication Date: June 10, 2015

Publisher: Maverick Oak Press, LLC

Thank you to the authors for allowing me to read an ARC of Breathless in Love. Below is my honest review.

Synopsis:

Uptight Harper Newman has given up on finding love. She has too many responsibilities caring for her teenage brother, Jeremy. They’re a package deal and there is no way any man would want to take that on.

Billionaire Will Franconi has tried to put his rough past behind him, but never feels quite good enough. It doesn’t matter how much money he makes or how much good he does, Will still feels like he can’t completely escape his past. He fears no one will ever love him if they know who he really is.

When Will honors a request from Jeremy to see his prized car collection, Will can’t help but find Jeremy’s enthusiasm refreshing and his older sister enticing. Will wants Harper and he’ll do just about anything to prove himself to her. Harper wants to stay as far away from Will as possible. He makes her want things she shouldn’t. But Harper can’t stay away from Will. He brings out the wildness she forgot she needed.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have to admit I’m a big Bella Andre fan. I love her writing style and how she makes each series and character fresh and new. I haven’t read Jennifer Skully before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect with the two authors writing together. I didn’t have anything to worry about. Breathless in Love was just as good as any other Bella Andre novel.

I loved the characters! Will was both strong, but sweet. It was great that he could be both without losing his manliness. How he treated Jeremy made me swoon. Harper was a strong female character and her devotion to her brother really added a lot to the story. Jeremy was my favorite, though. His enthusiasm and the way he brought everyone together made me smile a lot. I also loved getting a glimpse at all of the other Mavericks. I can’t wait to read their stories!

Overall, I really enjoyed Breathless in Love. It was fun, sexy and fast paced. Fans of Bella Andre’s will love this new series. I can’t wait to read more of it and to check out Jennifer Skully’s other writing!

Hello world!

20150601_130744[1]    Welcome to A Novel Glimpse! I am so excited to start this journey into book blogging!

My love of books started early. My mom was a grade school teacher and I can remember many trips to the library with her to pick out books. I don’t really remember toys I had as a child, but I can remember books my mom read to us. My love of books continued into my teenage years when my friends and I read authors such as Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine. In college, I discovered romance novels and began a Nora Roberts addiction. My love for books has continued into my adult life and since becoming a stay-at-home mom, I have become an avid reader.  I read so much that my husband thinks I’m nuts. Even my kiddo notices.

Just this morning, I was asking my kiddo today a bunch of questions I saw on a friend’s Facebook Timeline. The first question was “What does your mom like to do?” My child’s answer: “Read.” The second question was “What do you think your mom does when you’re not around?” My child’s answer: “Sit, relax, read a book.” The third question was “What is your mom good at?” My child’s answer: “Reading.”

Do you see a theme there? I’m so happy that my child notices I’m always reading. I hope it helps my child see how much fun reading is and how it can help you get farther in life.

So, my love of reading is one reason I’m starting this blog. The other is that I love to share the books I’ve read with others. I am constantly giving my friends book recommendations or telling them about great books I’ve read. They really enjoy my sharing and have been telling me for years that I’ve needed to start a blog.

I finally am. I’m really excited about being able to share the books I read with (hopefully) even more people. So, thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. I hope you’ll be back in the future to see what I’ve been reading.

-D