Review: Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

Title: Morning Glory
Author: Sarah Jio
Rating:
 ★★★★★

Honestly, I’m not sure how to write this review. I just love Jio’s books and her ability to weave the past into the present. Even when I figure out the twist early, I’m still completely hooked.Morning Glory is yet another fantastic novel by Jio.

Morning Glory centers around a houseboat in Seattle. In the present day, Ada is trying to escape the pain that has come to cover her entire life. In the past, Penny is trying to be the wife she thinks her husband needs while trying to be happy. The connections formed between the two, decades apart, are wonderful.

Ada is an amazing character. She’s strong when others would have fallen apart, even though she can’t see that in herself. She isn’t sure if she’s ready to move on with her life and looks to her past for signs of her future. Alex is equally wonderful, giving Ada the space she needs, yet he’s there for her and understands that her past has helped shape her. He doesn’t try to be her world, but instead just wants to be a part of it. Their relationship was sweet and heartwarming, bringing me to tears a few times.

Penny is a young bride that doesn’t feel like she fits in with her husband’s world. He’s a famous artist and devotes his life to his work, giving Penny time when he can. Penny tries to understand and be the wife he needs, but when Collin comes along and gives her the attention she deserves, things become tangled. I felt for Penny. She wants to be the perfect housewife, but she’s sacrificing herself in order to fit that mold. I admire her for trying to be there for her husband, but I also admire her for knowing when she’s losing herself and working to find herself again.

The characters of Boat Street are amazing. They are what really make this novel shine. You know they are keeping a secret, yet they continue to act as though nothing is wrong. They each played a part in the past and unraveling their stories is just as interesting as the main mystery. Everything is important and the little clues Jio drops throughout the novel are delicious.

Morning Glory is a fantastic novel about two women, decades apart, both struggling to find themselves again. There’s romance and mystery, all wrapped up in the quaint community of Boat Street. This novel will pull at your heart, give you tears, and make you smile. Once again, Jio has written a fantastic novel that definitely is a must read.

If Morning Glory sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Perfect Ruin
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles
Rating:
 ★★★★

DeStefano’s first series, The Chemical Garden, was a meh series for me. It just didn’t have the impact and wow factor I thought it would. I did like DeStefano’s writing style, though, which is why I gave Perfect Ruin a chance. It was worth it. Perfect Ruin pulled me right in and I had a hard time putting it down.

Morgan lives on Internment, the floating city in the sky. Everyone there is told to stay away from the edge and to be the best citizens they can be. It’s not enough for Morgan though. She wonders what the ground is like and what else there is to the world. She’s not content with what she’s told; she wants to know more. Her family has a black cloud hanging over their heads because Morgan’s brother Lex is what’s called a jumper. He tried to go off the edge. When he failed, he not only changed his life, but the lives of his entire family.

I liked Morgan. She’s a very relatable girl, with thoughts and dreams that any teen would have. She has a betrothed, a best friend, and a family. She’s smart and pretty. She seems to have everything someone on Internment would want, but she knows there’s more to the world and she can’t help my daydream about it. She’s brave and levelheaded, wanting to do what’s best for the group, although she does have her moments when she doesn’t think things all the way through.

I’m interested in seeing how DeStefano handles the romance side of things. I can see it going a couple ways and I know which one I would like to see. I’m going to place my trust in her, though, and hope she does what her characters need. I am loving Basil, though. He’s there for Morgan and believes in her when she stops believing in herself. He seems to truly care for her because he wants to, not because he was told to.

It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here. This is a concept I haven’t read in quite this way before. Yes, the idea of an isolated society existing without contact from the outside world is an idea that has been written before, but not in quite this way. The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, but not so much of one that I wanted to throw my book against the wall. It leaves an amazing setup for the next novel.

Perfect Ruin is a fantastic beginning to another DeStefano series. The world she has created is amazing and I’m already invested in what happens to her characters. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Burning Kingdoms.

If Perfect Ruin sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Rating:
 ★★★★★

A book can endear itself to me by making me feel for the main character. If I can connect with that one person, odds are good that I will love the book. Cather, Cath for short, was one of those characters. She felt so much like me that it was almost like reading a story version of my own life, even though nothing like this has happened to me. Fangirl was one of those books like I couldn’t put down until I was finished. I just had to keep reading.

Cath and Wren are twins, but in looks only. Where Wren is outgoing and ready to take on the world, Cath finds comfort in the same things and doesn’t see why she should change that. She’s happiest among fictional characters and people she doesn’t see. She’s a writer and uses her words to explore the world, instead of getting out there herself. After Wren decides she doesn’t want to room with Cath their freshmen year of college, Cath is forced to meet a few new people who eventually change her life for the better.

I am constantly amazed when an author just gets it. Cath is introverted and nothing is wrong with that. I’m an introvert and the feelings Cath has about going out and being around other people are my feelings. It’s not that she doesn’t like other people, it’s that being around them is draining. Having to act as though your skin isn’t crawling with the need to be alone can be a lot. On top of that, Cath has the insecurities that any 18 year old would have. My heart ached for Cath, but I also saw myself in her. It made for an interesting feeling while reading.

The relationship between Cath and Levi was sweet and grew slowly. It never felt forced and it always made me smile. Levi didn’t see Cath’s habits as a bad strange, but instead saw them as what made her unique and worth knowing. To have a character not only acknowledge that but make it important only made me fall for him more.

Rowell has a way of writing that draws me in completely. She writes drama without it being dramatic and love without being cheesy. It doesn’t hurt that she writes about Nebraska (the Valentino’s reference in the first chapter made my mouth water). She just gets it. I can safely say that I am now a complete Rowell fan and will read anything she writes. Fangirl is the perfect story about a girl coming into her own and finding out that sometimes the real world can be just as wonderful as the fiction world. This is a definite must read.

If Fangirl sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Title: Bitterblue
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm
Rating:
 ★★★★

I’m sure there will be people who read Bitterblue who find it too long, too complex, and with too little romance. I am not one of those people. Bitterblue was a fantastic way to wrap up this series. It was the culmination of everything that had happened in the pervious novels.

Bitterblue, the little princess of the first novel, has grown up and must face the world her father created. The people of her country are confused and unsure of how to move forward. King Leck, Bitterblue’s father, was a tyrant who stopped at nothing to make the world the way he wanted it. Unimaginable things happened, but because of Leck’s grace, his entire rein comes with a cloud of fog that people are still working through. Bitterblue is trying to move her people forward to a place of piece and trust, but there are people fighting against her at every turn.

I liked the queenly side of Bitterblue, but I also found her secretive side wonderful as well. She starts sneaking out of the castle, wanting to know more about the city that bears her name. She finds that things are not as her advisors tell her and that people are unhappy. There’s a group of people wanting to find the truth of King Leck’s rein and people are working hard to keep those years unknown. Posing as a baker of the castle, she finds a group of friends that shows her the truth. When she starts to fall for one of her new friends, things begin to get messy.

There are a couple stories being told within this novel. There’s the story of Bitterblue trying to be the queen her people need. She’s coming of age and finding love for the first time. There’s a disturbing mystery surrounding her father’s rein. All of this could easily make its own novel, but Cashore was able to weave the stories together amazingly. It never feels like it’s too much going on. Just when a break from the evils of King Leck is needed, Cashore picks up the romantic storyline. Before the romantic storyline gets too emotional, Bitterblue must deal with a queenly problem. There’s a wonderful balance between everything that must happen.

I know the end won’t be for everyone. Without giving anything away, I’ll say the ending fit. Would it have been nice if everything had ended perfectly, wrapped in a perfect red bow? Of course, but then it wouldn’t have been real. There’s still happiness and peace, with the closure the characters need.

Bitterblue is an amazing novel that wraps the Graceling series up the way it needed to be. It ties everything together and gives hope for the future of the world Cashore created. Everything is not perfect, but it’s moving towards being the best world it could be. Bitterblue makes this series a must read. It’s fantastic and beautifully written with characters that will pull at your heart.

If Bitterblue sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm
Rating:
 ★★★★

Graceling was a superb novel that had me falling in love fast. It had a little bit of everything that I want in a book. I was anxious to read Fire and see if it lived up to the standard set by Graceling. Even though Fire was a wonderful book, there was something I can’t quite name that held it back from being a 5 star book.

Fire is considered a monster because of her bright and colorful hair. She’s able to influence the minds and feelings of those around her through the power of her mind and her exceptional beauty. She’s never quite sure if people like her for her or if it is because she is a monster. She becomes wrapped up in the fight over the kingship of her land, all the while learning that she’ll never truly feel comfortable with people unless she opens up and trusts how others feel.

Growing up knowing she’s a monster, with an evil man for a father and never knowing if she will ever have true friends has left a mark on Fire. She’s guarded and unsure of people, even with the confidence she has in herself most of the time. She trusts very few people and see’s her beauty as a burden instead of a gift. She saw how the power made her father into a force that people feared and she doesn’t want that for herself. It’s hard for her to see herself as different from her father, though, when the same things that made him that way are the things that draw people to her. She feels like she needs to make up for her father’s actions, but thinks she can never do enough to do that.

She goes to aid the king in figuring out the plots against him and his throne and ends up becoming wrapped up in the royal family. They want her to use her gifts to find out what secrets and plots are formed, but she feels like this is breaking her personal rules against invading and influencing the minds of others. It’s too close to what her father did, even though he did it for personal reasons and she is being asked to do it to try and make the coming war shorter.

The romance in this book was just as wonderful as in Graceling. It has a slow build and doesn’t jump right into love. The relationship starts out extremely rocky, but a trust and friendship grows first. All the build-up made that final moment even sweeter. Fire’s feelings about herself and others cause her to doubt what others feel and that made the tension even better. Not only does Fire have to come to trust what others feel about her, but Cashore wrote so well that the reader has to feel that growth as well.

There wasn’t as much action in this book; a lot of it took place outside the setting of the novel. But there’s intrigue and deception to make up for that. Even though the story was just as interesting to me as Graceling, there still felt like there was something missing and I’m not entirely sure what that is. My heart wasn’t pounding quite as hard with Fire.

Even with that missing something, Fire is still an amazing book. It’s a different story from Graceling, yet it has the same feel and same fantasy elements that made me love the book in the first place. Fire is a perfect companion novel to Graceling and can be read as part of the series or as its own novel. It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you liked Graceling. I already have Bitterblue in my hands and can’t wait to start reading.

If Fire sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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Reviews Update

As I mentioned in this post, I’ve been facing some health issues that had really cut into my reading a posting time. Unfortunately, I’m still trying to get over them and I have fallen behind in my reviewing. I haven’t had the energy to finish a book in a couple weeks (and that is really not like me). I’ve just been too tired to read for very long.

As a result, I’ve exhausted my review reserve and haven’t had anything new to post recently. I’m still working on reading, but until I can get everything back under control, reviews might be a little sporadic. I really hate doing this, but it’s something that’s out of my control.

I’m hoping to get back to reviewing and doing other posts soon. I miss reading and miss reading a book a day. Hopefully you’ll stick with me until I’m back. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your book recommendations. I’ll need some books to read once I’m back in the groove.

Review: Thornhill by Kathleen Peacock

Title: Thornhill
Author: Kathleen Peacock
Series: Hemlock
Rating:
 ★★★★

I was surprised by Hemlock and couldn’t wait to read Thornhill. Despite my anxiousness to read, I knew I needed to wait until I could sit down and read it all in one go. It was filled with everything that made me love Hemlock and even more that made me fall in love with Thornhill‘s story.

Everyone eventually leaves Mac. Her mother was first, then her father, and a werewolf recently killed her best friend. When Kyle, the boy she’s falling in love with, leaves, she finally decides enough is enough. With the help of Jason, Amy’s boyfriend, Mac travels to Denver, Colorado with the determination to get Kyle to follow her back home. Once in Denver, plans fall apart and she ends up in a wolf “rehabilitation” camp, along with Kyle, Serena, and a bunch of wolves from one of the Denver packs.

Life in the camp is stressful. Kyle must keep Mac safe from the other wolves, Serena is taken away under strange circumstances, and Mac is trying to discover what secrets are being kept within the walls of the camp. Jason talks his way onto the staff of the camp and from there, plans are made, attempted, and unravel.

I think my favorite thing about these novels is the relationships. Yes, the love story between Kyle and Mac is fantastic and makes my heart race, but every relationship is fascinating to read. Jason has to reconcile his feelings about wolves with the fact that his best friend is one and all wolves are not evil. Mac must tread carefully in order to not lose ties with more people in her life, wanting to be with Kyle but not wanting to hurt Jason anymore than he already is. Each relationship is constantly changing and it keeps the novel from feeling too stereotypically Young Adult.

The sequence of events was fast paced and I was never sure what was going to happen next. I was never sure of a character’s thoughts, motivations, or actions. It kept me on my toes and I could not read fast enough.

After the surprising feelings towards Hemlock, I was ready for what Thornhill would bring. I trusted there would be romance and action, all wrapped up in a supernatural tale that felt more real than fantasy. Thornhill completely delivered and I’m already anxiously awaiting the conclusion to this amazing series.

If Thornhill sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
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IndieBound