Book Review: My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

9750937Title: My Name is Memory
Author: Ann Brashares
ISBN: 978-1594485183
Publisher: Riverhead Trade
Pub. Date:  June 2010
Source: Purchased
Genre: Romance/ Fantasy/ Historical Romance/Paranormal Romance/ Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:   The latest from Ann Brashares, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, a magical story of reincarnation and a love that lasts more than a lifetime Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. For all the times that he and Sophia have been connected throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. But just when Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally awakens to the secret of their shared past, the mysterious force that has always separated them reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

My Reveries and Ramblings: My Name is Memory is one of those books where you read the first page, and you immediately know that it will be amazing. There is so much I have to say about this book, so bear with me as I try and collect my thoughts and communicate them to you.
I have a not-so-small obsession with stories that involve reincarnation and romance. Something about soulmates and love lasting lifetimes just warms my heart and makes me smile. There is a drawback, however, to reading so many stories like this; they tend to all start to mesh together because most of the time they are all too similar. This book is not like that at all! The story was so original. It was so grounded in reality! It barely felt like a paranormal romance. In fact, by the end I felt like it could totally be possible.
The book switches between Lucy and Daniel’s POV; It also alternates between lives. There are many chapters dedicated to Daniel telling the story of his past lives and how he came to meet Sophia (Lucy) in all the other lives. He can recognize her soul even though her body changes with each life. Her soul becomes a beacon throughout his lives. However, they usually are far apart in age and it almost always ends in tragedy. It was painful to watch Daniel in his past lives try so hard to be with her, make her happy, make her know, and to apologize for what he did to her in that first life they met, only to fail again and again.
Daniel and Lucy in the present spend most of book apart. We see Daniel falling in love with Lucy through the stories of his past life. When Daniel transfers to Lucy’s school, she immediately becomes obsessed with him and that scares her. It’s the insta-love syndrome, but the heroine isn’t giving in to it (like in almost every other book), instead she seriously questions her sanity. When he approaches her after two years at the end of senior year, she remembers some of a past life with him. That is what causes her to run. She leaves him, heartbroken, because she is scared she has finally gone insane. The rest of the book takes place in the six years following the incident. She uses this time to flesh out her thoughts and feelings and find out the mystery surrounding Daniel. But neither of them realize that a danger from the past has been following them and wants revenge. This danger could tear them apart once again.
I feel so bad for Lucy. She is a very realistic person. The fact that she is being haunted by memories that knows didn’t occur in her lifetime very nearly convinces her she belongs in an institution. She spends a lot of the book trying to come up with an explanation for her love for a man that she’s barely spoken a word to, and the strange visions and memories.
There was only one teeny tiny thing about this book I didn’t really like that much. The pacing was inconsistent. The beginning was good and super interesting. Then the entire middle was long and ever so slightly tedious. The end picked up, though. But the information presented in the middle is extremely important for the series. It sets up the story and the history; plus the reader gets to see Lucy and Daniel fall in love. So it was still enjoyable.
What I really loved about this book (other than the reincarnation romance part), was that Ann Brashares explored the consequences of having memory as a special power. Daniel’s character changes throughout his lives. He learns and grows like most people do, but in many lifetimes, carrying those experiences over from life to life. His love and dedication to being with Lucy strengthens with each lifetime.
Ann Brashares has written a beautiful novel that touched my soul. While reading this book, I realized one of the reasons why I love reading about love is because it IS so beautiful. Words can caress the heart, bring tears to your eyes, pull at your heartstrings, make you stop breathing, make you laugh until your side hurts, and so much more. There were moments where I felt like crying. Their love was so beautiful it tore at my heart.
This book is not stand alone. It’s the beginning of an epic love story. The only sad thing is that now I have to wait for the sequel (THANK GOD it is a series), which from what I’ve heard, may or may not happen. Let me just say, IT BETTER! I’m serious, I will write a letter to the publisher if i have to!
So my recommendation, is that you stop reading whatever it is that you are reading right now, AND READ THIS!!!!

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My Name is Memory

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Book Review: Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

674220Title: Again the Magic
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #0.5 (Prequel)
ISBN: 978-0380811083
Publisher: Avon
Pub. Date: February 2004
Source: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 391
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads: She gave him her innocence . . .Lady Aline Marsden was brought up for one reason: to make an advantageous marriage to a member of her own class. Instead, she willingly gave her innocence to John McKenna, a servant on her father’s estate. Their passionate transgression was unforgivable — John was sent away, and Aline was left to live in the countryside . . . an exile from London society . . .and he took her love.
Now McKenna has made his fortune, and he has returned — more boldly handsome and more mesmerizing than before. His ruthless plan is to take revenge on the woman who shattered his dreams of love. But the magic between them burns as bright as ever. And now he must decide whether to let vengeance take its toll . . . or risk everything for his first, and only, love.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  When Aline and McKenna’s feelings are discovered by her father, he threatens McKenna’s very existence if Aline ever sees him again. In order to protect him, Aline convinces McKenna that she does not love him, hoping he will never return to Stony Cross. After he leaves, Aline descends into a depression that is followed by a terrible accident that leaves Aline with scars on her legs. Twelve years later, McKenna returns to Stony Cross from America, where he became one of the nouveaux riches, to take his revenge on Aline for all the pain and heartache he caused her. Aline realizing his intentions decides to ride it out until he goes back to New York. This plan fails however when both McKenna and Aline start to fall for each other again. But Aline can never be with him, for she is not only a spinster, but also damaged.

      I don’t think I’ve ever cried, or even teared up while reading a romance novel, before reading Again the Magic. Here we have two characters who are obviously in love with each other, but refuse to acknowledge it, and instead spend almost 400 pages fighting it. The book begins with Aline and McKenna in their late teens, already in love. Life is good. Well, except for the fact that Aline is the daughter of the cold and malevolent Lord Westcliff, and that McKenna is only a footman. After years of resenting, no that is not strong enough, hating is a better word; after spending years hating Aline, he starts to unwind when he realizes that Aline never married or slept with anyone. This sends his plan to “break her” out the window. Aline on the other hand, doesn’t mind McKenna’s efforts at hurting her. In fact, she welcomes them because they allow her to feel after years of being numb. This entire book had me screaming “Just say it!” It was like McKenna and Aline decided to be stubborn and thick-headed at the exact same time. And this is what created the tension throughout the novel. All of these scenes led up to an amazing tear-filled ending that any fan of romance will LOVE. 

This novel deals mostly with Aline and McKenna’s story but it also includes Livia, Aline’s sister, and Mr. Shaw’s, McKenna’s business partner, story. This one was also cute. Of course, not as much drama as the main love story, but still a bit dramatic.
For a historical romance, this was fantastic. It was an emotional, film-worthy story that will have you rushing to the bookstore wanting more of this series.

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Again the Magic (Wallflowers, #0.5)

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Book Review: Cascade by Lisa T. Bergren

9368401Title: Cascade
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Series: The River of Time #2
ISBN: 978-1434764317
Publisher: David C. Cook
Pub. Date: June 1, 2011
Source: Author
Genre: YA/ Historical Romance/Time-Travel
Pages: 416
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads: Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”
Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.  But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  If you haven’t read Waterfall, the first book in the River of Time series, then I urge you, nay, kick you to the bookstore to buy, yes, you heard me right; buy Waterfall because it is so worth it! Now, stop reading because this review will spoil the end of Waterfall for you.
When my package (Cascade) came in the mail, I screamed and ripped it open. I beheld a signed copy of Cascade with signed bookmarks (Thank you, Lisa Bergren!) Apparently all the noise I was making alarmed my family. When they walked in the room asking me what was wrong, they found me jumping up and down repeating “yes yes YES! AHHHH, I’m so happy!” They just looked at me shaking their heads, probably flashing back at the last time this happened (during my Twilight phase).
EPIC. That was the first word that came to mind when I finished Cascade. I didn’t think it was possible to love a book more than I loved Waterfall, but Ms. Bergren proved me wrong. This book was even better than Waterfall. The stakes were raised even higher in this installment. Gabi and Marcello are forced to really think about the direction of their relationship. For Gabi to stay in the past, she would have to force her family to stay with her. She would also have to start thinking about marriage-people got married at a much younger age back then (they also died earlier). When the three Betarrini women travel back in time, they find themselves in the middle of a war. No one is safe; especially the “She-wolves of Siena.” Gabi and Lia are confronted with numerous obstacles in this sequel. The enemies of Siena are constantly hunting them. As a source of hope for the people of Siena, Marcello and Luca, the girls must survive. I’m going to stop talking about the plot here, because there is just too much that happens and I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Just know that there are three things the girls are up against: 1) The plague, 2) the war, and 3) the choice to either go back to the present or stay in the past.
Okay, now for my gushing! I. Love. Marcello. I might have said that in my Waterfall review, but I don’t care. It’s true! Ms. Bergren created a hero that is charming, swoon-worthy, and…..Italian! All my favorite scenes involved Marcello. Ahhh, I’m smiling just thinking about him. Ms. Bergren did add a new potential swoon-worthy guy, Lord Greco. His status in the book is a bit complicated, so I’ll just say this: YUM! Yep, he has the whole Ash (from the Iron Fey series) attitude. He’s goal-oriented, sly, and is more than meets the eye. He is charged with capturing the Betarrini women. After accepting the task, he finds out that this is much harder than it seems.
Cascade was exhilarating! The story never stalled. I was constantly turning the page wondering what happened next. Whenever Gabi overcame one obstacle, there were two more waiting for her on the next page. Just when I thought “Thank God they made it!” the suspense comes creeping back. Usually authors have an action scene then a relationship scene. Ms. Bergren effortlessly blends the two together. The reader feels the urgency the characters are feeling, throughout the book. This made me feel like I was a part of the story; like I was right there in the battlefield/forest. This sequel was much more emotional than Waterfall. Ms. Bergren was not afraid to kill off characters. Gabi, as well as Lia and their mother, had to deal with death at a much closer and bloody level. They begin to realize how tragic and dangerous this war is. They have a responsibility towards the people of Siena whether they like it or not. Whatever Gabi felt, I felt. I could feel her pain and sadness over each death. War is so tragic; it was heartbreaking to read it through Gabi’s POV.
I couldn’t put the book down! The only problem was that it ended. Ms. Bergren took me on an exciting adventure that I will never forget! WARNING: Don’t read the book in a public place unless your are fine with being stared at. I read Cascade on the train. Every time something really great happened I wanted to jump up and down. Every time something tragic or sad happened I wanted to scream or cry. Of course stifling my laughter by coughing doesn’t really work because my “coughs” sounded more like cackles. When I finished it (on the train) it took EVERYTHING I had to calmly shut the book. I wanted to dance and run around yelling “THAT WAS AMAZING! WHY DID IT HAVE TO END?!?!?!?!” But instead I fidgeted in my little window-seat replaying my favorite scenes and thinking about how far away the release date for Torrent is.

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Cascade (River of Time, #2)

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Book Review: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

6644117Title: The Iron King
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #1
ISBN: 9780373210084
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub. Date: January 26, 2010
Source: Kindle
Genre: YA/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Pages: 368
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined. Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

 

My Reveries and Ramblings: I first read The Iron King a year ago, before I even knew book blogs existed; before I was really into reading.  This book shocked me with its amazing-ness (yes, I’m well aware that this is not a real word-but oh well).  I didn’t think I would love it as much as I did.  Since then, I’ve read this book at least 5 times.  I LOVE IT!   Not only did I love it, but my sister (who is extremely picky when it comes to books and almost never reads) loved it too.
The story begins with the protagonist, Meghan Chase, making it through high school.  So far, she’s had a pretty rough life.  Her father disappeared/left when she was younger; her mother remarried and had a baby, Ethan.  Her family is dirt poor, she is underappreciated, and is the loser at school.  The only bright spots in her life are her best friend Robbie and her younger brother Ethan.  On her sixteenth birthday, Ethan is kidnapped and replaced with  a changeling.  With Robbie’s help, Meghan ventures into a world filled with faeries and other creatures to rescue her brother.  What was supposed to be just an ordinary rescue mission turns into something much more.  Meghan learns the truth about her birth, her family, and who she really is.
<<SPOILTER ALERT-START>>
Meghan Chase is such a great character.  She’s not really talented at anything; however, she is a good person and a very strong character.  She risks everything to save her brother.  When she meets Ash, the winter prince, he is puzzled at how she allows her emotions to influence her decisions.  Through the course of the book, Meghan learns that she can make a difference; that she isn’t invisible; that she is wanted.  She also grows up (through all three books).
Ash, the Winter prince, is just sooooooo hot.  (Note-the sidebar on the left has my Team Ash button!!!)  Seriously, every time he walks into the room/scene I get butterflies.  I just love him.  You’d think after having read this book so many times, that would go away-it does not.  When I re-read The Iron King last week, I was just giddy the entire time.  By the way my absolute favorite line of his is: “Touch her, and I’ll freeze your testicles and put them in a jar.  Understand?”  Ha ha.  When I first read that line I laughed so hard.  But in all seriousness, Ash is a very quiet and calculating character.  He never lets his emotions show.  The thinks rationally; well, at least he did until Meghan entered his life.  Over the course of the book Meghan and Ash have a TON of obstacles they have to overcome.  It definitely doesn’t help that Ash and Robbie are out to kill each other.
Robbie, Meghan’s best friend, is actually Puck from the Summer Court.  He was ordered to protect Meghan Chase and keep her from discovering the truth.  Well, its safe to say, he failed.  But it was all for love.  He is so very weak when it comes to Megan.  Its kind of cute, but still, I like Ash better.  However, Puck is just so funny.  Almost anything he does or says gets me on the floor in tears.  Even though I am completely Team Ash, I feel bad for Puck.  He really does deserve to fall in love.
<<SPOILER ALERT-END>>>
Ms. Kagawa fills her novel with fantastic characters, including a sharp-talking cat.  I love every one of them.  Ms. Kagawa’s imagination is so vast and vibrant.  Her world is amazing.  I was pulled in, just like Meghan, and was taken on a journey, one that I will most likely never forget.  Think Alice and Wonderland meets A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.  I highly recommend this book (series) to anyone who loves YA/romance/ supernatural books.  If you do, you’re going to love this!

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The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)

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Book Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Title: Paranormalcy
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Paranormalcy #1
ISBN: 9780061985843
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pub. Date: August 2010
Source: Library
Genre: YA/Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance
Pages: 352
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.  But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.  So much for normal.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  I really enjoyed this book.  If I had to give a one word review for this book it would be AWESOME.  It was so much fun.  Kiersten White weaved together a fantastic story stuffed with action, suspense, a bit of mystery, romance, and just about everything paranormal.
Paranormalcy is told through Evie’s POV.  Evie grew up in the foster care system, never knowing her parents, until she was 8 years old.  That was when she was almost the victim of a vampire attack.  She freaked out in front of the vampire because she could see through his glamour to the dead corpse beneath it.  This ability caught the attention of the agent “bagging and tagging” the vampire.  No other paranormal or human can see through paranormal glamour.  Since Evie didn’t have a family, the International Paranormal Containment Agency (IPCA) adopted her.  Her mother figure, Raquel, makes sure Evie is tutored as well as trained.  At 16, she can successfully “bag-and-tag” a paranormal.  Even though the IPCA is much better than the foster care system, Evie still longs to go to a normal high school, complete with a locker and friends.  The only friend she has is a mermaid, Lish, who talks through a monotone communicator since she can’t actually speak English and lives underwater.  When a paranormal takes the shape of Raquel and starts looking through her office, Evie, who can see through his glamour, tasers him (with Tasey!).  When he drops to the ground unconscious, he turns transparent, like water, but still solid like a person.  Evie succumbs to her curiosity and starts spending time with “water boy,” Lend.  Evie has never seen a paranormal like him, neither has anyone at IPCA, and because of that (and the fact that he broke in) he is kept there.  Lend can change how he looks and can shift into other people easily.  One day is an adorable Chinese boy and the next, the star of Easton Heights, Evie’s favorite TV show.  He also enjoys shifting into Evie’s form.  Although he can’t get her eyes right.  As they spend more and more time together, Evie finds she has a crush on Lend.  Evie’s ex, Reth, doesn’t seem to want to let go.  Reth, a faerie, shows up randomly temporarily kidnapping Evie or burning her throughout the book.  Of course Lend is quite helpful during these visits, coming to her rescue, or at least trying.  Reth also doesn’t seem too concerned about the paranormals all over the world dropping dead.  In fact, he seems more concerned with spending uninterrupted time with Evie.
Evie was such an interesting character.  Her POV was so refreshing and so much fun.  Having grown up in the IPCA, she’s never been to a high school or had any normal human friends her own age.  She’s in her element when she’s on an assignment or inside the IPCA, but she really wants to live a normal teenage life.  After meeting Lend, she gets a taste as to what her life could have been if she wasn’t different.  After being plagued by dreams of a girl named Vivian and learning that she isn’t actually allowed to leave the ICPA, she goes through an identity crisis.  Evie learns that what you are doesn’t define who you are.  She learns that it’s the choices we make that choose our paths and who we are.
Lend helps Evie a lot in Paranormalcy.  While she’s going through her identity crisis, he is right there helping her figure it all out.  When Lend and Evie first officially meet, he doesn’t trust her enough to show her his true form, even though Evie and see it underneath his disguises (glamour).  He is insecure with who he is, as a paranormal.  He doesn’t know where he fits in since he’s one of a kind.  I thought he was so cute!  He was so admirable and such a great guy.  He and Evie were perfect together. They both complimented each other.  Evie could see Lend perfectly.  In fact, she even preferred his true self better than the main form he takes.  There is one scene later in the book when he shows her what he really looks like.  In it Evie thinks he is gorgeous and he is so shy about how he looks, my heart just melted.  When he spoke to her in that scene, Evie heard his real voice and told him that she didn’t think she could go back to hearing his fake voice.  It was such an intimate scene, probably one of my favorites in the whole book.   This theme of beauty on the inside is seen throughout.
Ah, Reth.  I’m not sure how to describe him.  He’s Evie’s ex-boyfriend (well, ex-almost-boyfriend).  Evie, who grew up feeling cold and alone, confused having a crush/like-liking someone with the faerie feeling Reth was giving her.  Reth would always fill her up with warmth, almost touching her heart.  This made Evie scared that he would steal her heart and soul after they “broke up.”  Reth has a terrible temper.  Get him mad and he might kill.  Threaten Evie, and he most definitely will.  He is extremely protective of her.  But Evie would rather never see him again.  I felt like his intentions were good, and I think he cared about Evie, but at the same time I’m not sure.  His actions were a bit on the sketchy side.
Paranormalcy was a delightful read.  I had a lot of fun reading it.  When Evie experienced “normal life” for the first time, it wasn’t odd or unbelievable.  Kiersten White didn’t make Evie naïve, ignorant, and gullible.  She also didn’t make her into that teenaged character who acts like she’s 25, not 16.  Evie was very much 16, but she wasn’t stupid.  Evie was very well aware of her situation and her surroundings.  It was very believable.  This skill made the story so much more engrossing.  I really cared about the characters and what happened to them.  I can’t wait until the next book, Supernaturally, comes out in August of this year (2011)!!!

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Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)
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Book Review: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Awakened
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #3
ISBN: 978-0451219367
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: September 2006
Source: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, a deadly turf war rages between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion and terror his only passion-until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past and find a future with her.

My Reveries and Ramblings: First things first:  Black Dagger Brother series by J.R.Ward is OUTSTANDING! Okay, got that out of my system, now on to the review.  This book was hard to get through.  Zsadist rescues Bella after she was kidnapped in the previous book, Lover Eternal.  Zsadist was the only one who didn’t give up.  Everyone else assumed she was dead since she was kidnapped by lesser.  The lesser who kidnapped her, David, wanted her to be a replacement wife since she looked so much like his dead wife.  When Zsadist finally finds her, she is beaten to a pulp, unconscious, and has David’s name etched into her stomach.  The brothers bring her back to the main house.  There they try to get Zsadist to leave her alone, but he won’t.  He insists on caring for her.  After Bella awakes she tries desperately to get him to want her.  Zsadist does want her! His past keeps him from doing anything.  The other brothers are also hesitant to allow Zsadist to spend time with Bella.  The other story arcs are also in this installment.  Phury’s character and history are discussed.  J.R. Ward also shows life in the Wellie-Tohr-John Matthews family.
J.R. Ward wrote such amazing characters in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series. All the characters are so complex-especially in Lover Awakened.  For romance novels, these have a ton of depth.  Zsadist is a very tortured character. Having been a blood and sex slave (I’m leaving out all the gruesome details….and believe me its quite horrifying) before being rescued by Phury, Zsadist finds sex revolting.  He is mentally as well as physically scarred by his past.  The abuse he suffered caused him to think he was dirty, evil, and impure.  When Bella wants to be with him, he refuses.  He thinks she is too pure, good, and beautiful to be soiled by him.  Over time, however, Bella breaks down most of the walls that Zsadist built.  This huge change, from feeling hatred to love, causes Zsadist to become confused.  He spends most of the book sorting through his issues.  J.R. Ward also used a bit of symbolism in Zsadist’s eyes.  The eyes are windows to the soul.  His soul and state of mind were reflected in the irises of his eyes.  Phury, Zsadist’s brother, also loves Bella.  He is torn between his love for his brother and his love for Bella.  She is the only female that has ever threatened his vow of celibacy.  However, when he sees the transformation happening to Zsadist, he backs off, but not happily.
After being kidnapped, Bella has some issues, although no where near as terrible and complicated as Zsadist’s.  While she was being held captive by David, she prayed, hoped, and wished Zsadist would come for her.  After ending up with the brotherhood, Bella tries everything to be with Zsadist.  At first she’s not that successful because whenever she gets close to him, he pushes her away.
David, the main villain in this story, was sick and twisted.  Ugh!  I hated him….awful…terrible….evil…..I could go on forever.  Before becoming a lesser he was married.  He was physically and emotionally abusive to his wife.  When she died, his insanity got worse.  After joining the lessers he started looking for his “wife.”  One day while searching Mary’s house for her he saw Bella walking across the yard.  Since she looked like his dead wife, he kidnapped her.  He never raped her, because, well, he can’t really feel anything like that down there so it would be pointless.  But he did use her as a punching bag.  He’s very violent so whenever he was upset, or angry he would take it out on her.  He would then follow the abuse with an “I love you.”  Poor Bella.
This series is amazing!  I’ve been getting these books from the library, but after this one I’ve decided to go ahead and by the whole series.  Every time I had to return one of the books, I wanted to cry.  Lover Awakened is my favorite in the series so far.  Zsadist, who was more of the villain on the good side, turned into the true hero-so touching.  This book is very emotional.  You might find yourself crying, laughing, and screaming.  A side note:  Zsadist and Bella’s story reminded me of a rated R and slightly altered version of Beauty and the Beast.  I highly recommend this series.

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Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3)
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Book Review: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Title: Tuck Everlasting
Author: Natalie Babbitt
ISBN: 9780374480097
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pub. Date:  1975
Source: Library
Genre: Children/Supernatural/Victorian/Fantasy
Pages: 139
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Imagine coming upon a fountain of youth in a forest. To live forever–isn’t that everyone’s ideal? For the Tuck family, eternal life is a reality, but their reaction to their fate is surprising. Award winner Natalie Babbitt (Knee-Knock Rise, The Search for Delicious) outdoes herself in this sensitive, moving adventure in which 10-year-old Winnie Foster is kidnapped, finds herself helping a murderer out of jail, and is eventually offered the ultimate gift–but doesn’t know whether to accept it. Babbitt asks profound questions about the meaning of life and death, and leaves the reader with a greater appreciation for the perfect cycle of nature. Intense and powerful, exciting and poignant, Tuck Everlasting will last forever–in the reader’s imagination. An ALA Notable Book. (Ages 9 to 12) –Emilie Coulter

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Ooooooo this was such a cute book!  Underneath the innocence and beauty of the story, there was a much heavier undertone.  The story is about the Tuck family. Eighty-something years before the events of the book, they drank from a fountain in the woods.  When they never grew old, or died of injury or disease, they realized it was the water.  At first they were happy and went out and did whatever they wanted, but over time they realized it was more of a curse than a blessing.  Everyone around them grows old and dies and then new people come into the world.  The Tucks will forever be the same.  The two sons of the family, Jesse and Miles, can never have families because of it.  It is so sad.  Winnie Foster, the 10 yr. old daughter of the owner of the woods that the Tuck family lives in, decides to runaway one day.   While walking in the woods she sees Jesse drinking from a fountain at the base of a tree.  After talking for a bit, Winnie is brought to the Tuck’s house.  At first she doesn’t believe that they can live forever and just wants to go home, but she grows to love the family, especially Jesse, and wants to protect their secret.  In town, there is a man in a yellow suit whose heard of the Tuck family and wants to find the fountain of youth by taking advantage of Winnie’s “kidnapping.”
This was such a beautiful story.  Unlike most people, I had never read this book when I was younger.  In fact, this was the first time I’ve ever read it.  I was astounded by how much I enjoyed it.  Even though Tuck Everlasting is a children’s book and for the most part written through Winnie’s 3rd person POV, it can be enjoyed by adults, maybe even on a deeper level.  Winnie’s POV added an innocence to the writing.  As an adult I could see past the innocence right to the seriousness of the situation.  The Tuck’s want to die, or at least grow old and then die.  They would do anything to be normal again.  But they can’t and they force Winnie to realize that without death, there is no life.
“Everything’s a wheel, turning and turning, never stopping. The frogs is part of it, and the bugs, and the fish, and the wood thush, too.  And people. But never the same ones. Always coming in new, always growing and changing, and always moving on. Thats the way it’s suppose to be. That’s the way it is.  If we didn’t move it out ourself, it would stay here forever, trying to get loose, but stuck.  That’s what us Tucks are, Winnie.  We ain’t part of the wheel anymore.”
“You can’t have living without dying. So you can’t call it living, what we got. We just are, we just be, like rocks beside the road.”
I just adored this book.  Babbitt wrote with an illustrative style.  Her word choice and descriptions brought the woods to life.  It was all so vivid in my mind-the world was so lovely and charming.  In 2002, Disney made a movie of the book.  Even though the film is slightly different from the book (Winnie being 15 instead of 10-makes for a good romance-and a few other smaller differences) it captures the spirit of the book, making it a fantastic film.  If you’ve never read Tuck Everlasting, I recommend you do- no matter how old you are, you will love the Tuck family just like Winnie did.

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Tuck Everlasting
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Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
ISBN: 978-0061726828
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub. Date: February 2011
Source: Library/Kindle
Genre: YA/Dystopia/Romance
Pages: 448
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love — the deliria — blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.  But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Reveries and Ramblings: The beautiful message of Delirium:  Love.  A four letter word.  A word that has caused people to write poetry, songs, and countless novels.  A word that has led people to take their own lives.  Love is complex.  Love can be happy and sad at the same time.  Love can be overwhelming.  It is like chocolate for the soul.  One can survive without it, but, they can not live without it.  Love doesn’t always have to be romantic, it can be parental, or between friends or siblings.  It can take any form, but without it, we aren’t really alive.
Delirium is, down to the binding, a book about love.  In a society where love, deliria, is thought of as a lethal disease.  At the age of 18, people are “cured.”  This involves going through a surgery that will ultimately cure you of deliria and keep you from getting it.  The summer before Lena is scheduled to be cured, she meets Alex.  Originally thinking he is cured (she sees this “surgery” scars), Lena talks to him.  However, soon she discovers that not only is he uncured, but he is also a rebel, an Invalid.  The Invalids are people who live in the Wilds, outside of the borders.  They hate what the US government is doing, controlling people by removing their ability to love.  After confessing who he really is, Lena is petrified that she has become infected with deliria.  She has always been scared of contracting the disease. Her mother had it, even though she went through three separate surgeries to get it removed.  It destroyed her.  After getting saved by Alex during a raid, Lena officially falls for him.  Their love opens her eyes to how dead she was before she fell in love.  The tightly controlled loveless world she has always known is wrong.  It is with Alex that she realizes that everything she has ever known, all the rules she was molded by, is a lie.  Their love is a tragedy waiting to happen.  Lena only has a few months before getting cured.  After that she will go to college and marry her assigned match.  Before Alex, she couldn’t wait. Now, she would rather die than live without love.
I had a love/hate relationship with this book.  I find dystopian literature interesting, but very hard to get through.  I almost always have to put the book down after each chapter or so because I’m so angry or scared.  Dystopian societies are frightening.  Which is why I rarely read them.  When I do, I read a lot of reviews on the book to make sure it is worth the emotional roller coaster I will most likely be going on.  This one intrigued me because not only are people oppressed, but they think it’s the only way.  They want to be cured.  The population is brainwashed through the government’s control of communication.  By controlling what people read, watch, listen to, etc., the government convinced people that love (deliria) is a terrible disease.  Without love, people don’t feel the need to die unnecessarily or fight for anything.  It’s probably the strongest emotion a human can have.  However, the idea that people are forced to undergo a surgery to never love, that pains me.  This book was so hard to get through because I was so shocked at the cruelty of it.  Those who knew the truth about it were severely punished or killed (usually the latter).
Lena is a seventeen yr old girl who is looking forward to being cured at the end of the summer.  She always follows the rules, and believes that the government and the cure are protecting her from a painful death.  She wants nothing more than to live her life without the fear of contracting deliria.  Her transformation in the book was slow and gradual.  Written through her POV, the reader sees the uncertainty and fear in her. She started scared, insecure, and very ignorant.  As the story progresses she finds love, learns the truth, and finds strength in having her own mind.  Alex, an Invalid, was born in the Wilds and moved around a lot.  He falls in love with Lena, forcing her to rethink everything about herself, essentially a mild identity crisis.  Alex teaches Lena about love and how it’s those who can’t love that aren’t really living.  He opens her eyes.  Their relationship is very Romeo-and-Juliet-esque.  He risks his life every day to see her; if he was caught he’d be killed.  The only other person who knows about their relationship is Hana, Lena’s best friend.  She is not looking forward to the cure.  People in this society would call her a rebellious teen, however in reality (the reader’s world) she would be seen as a normal 17 yr old.  She supports their relationship and helps Lena sneak out after curfew to see him.
Lauren Oliver wrote a story that makes you think and reflect on the importance of love and how we, as human beings, sometimes take for granted that we can love.  She also explores the lengths people would go through to keep love and those they love.  Delirium invoked so many emotions in me.  Alex and Lena’s love was beautiful.  It was slow and shown through actions.  The words “I love you” are rarely said.  But the intention, the love, is there.  You see it in the sacrifices and risks made.  Everything about Delirium was amazing.  Instead of hating Lena for believing in propaganda the government puts out to brainwash, Lauren Oliver shows us through her POV so that the reader understands.  Delirium wasn’t exactly action packed.  There were a few action scenes, but not many and they were spread out.  The book is filled with suspense.  It looms over the story sending chills through your spine and increasing your heart rate.  Lena and Hana could be running and you still feel that weight, that feeling of being watched that fills you with apprehension.  I’m so glad I picked up this book.  This heartbreaking novel will leave you in tears.  I cannot wait until the sequel comes out!
Warning: Cliff-hanger ending.

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Delirium (Delirium, #1)
TV Show Trailer (<< updated on August 30, 2015)
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Book Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Title: Dark Lover
Author: J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #1
ISBN: 978-0451216953
Publisher: Signet
Pub. Date: September 2005
Source: Kindle/Paperback/Library
Genre: Paranormal/Romance/Urban Fantasy
Pages: 416
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly turf war going war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing their enemies more than Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood…
The only purebred vampire left on the planet, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But when one of his most trusted fighters is killed – orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate – Wrath must usher the beautiful female into the world of the undead…
Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn’t there, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both….

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Wow! I had heard a lot of really great things about this series, but I wasn’t expecting to love it this much.  It’s a romance book so obviously there’s more than a few graphic sex scenes.  However, the book dives deeper.  I was drawn into a world inhabited by vampires, humans, and lesesrs.  A world where vampires are heroes, humans are blissfully ignorant, and lessers are pure evil.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is about a group of vampire warriors who are as close as brothers.  They protect the civilian vampire population, as well as the humans from the lessers, people who sold their soul for immortality.  The lessers freaked me out.  They were so evil; it was difficult to read some of the parts that included them.  I found myself skimming over some of the Mr.X, the main lesser in Dark Lover, parts.  The lesser are led by Omega, a nefarious villain.  Dark Lover tells the story of Wrath, the Blind King, before he ascends the throne.  After one of the brothers dies, Wrath goes searching for that brother’s half-breed daughter, Beth.  Vampires cannot turn people to make more vampires.  They have to be born.  However, they are born as a “human,” and go through the change in their twenties. If Beth is going to survive the change, then she needs to be around and drink the blood of a male vampire.  Beth had a hard life, from being orphaned to foster care to being very nearly raped; she takes life day by day.  When Wrath shows up, she becomes captivated by him.  She sees the real Wrath under his hard exterior.  Wrath did not plan or want to fall in love with Beth, but he did.  She not only becomes the center of his life, but also the object of the Mr. X’s impromptu plan.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood is addicting.  I loved Wrath.  Actually, let me correct that, I love all the brothers.  J.R. Ward is so talented.  These books aren’t only about sex, but also about love.  True love.  Love that lasts forever.  The lessers pissed me off so many times with what they did.  They were/are merciless.  Thank goodness the Brothers fight them.  J.R. Ward made the Brothers into real, three-dimensional characters. Each of the brothers has their own personal demons they have to face.  Those demons define how they act and what they do.  The BDB series has a feel similar to the Underworld movies- very urban fantasy with lots of guns and leather.  Ward changes POV throughout the book, even though the focus of the book is on Wrath and Beth.  I don’t know what I’ll do when the series ends, and there will be no more books.  I’m getting depressed just thinking about it.

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Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1)

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Book Review: Seers of Light by Jennifer DeLucy

Title: Seers of Light
Author: Jennifer DeLucy
Series: Light #1
ISBN: 978-1936305032
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Pub. Date: February 2010
Source: Kindle
Genre: Paranormal/ Romance/ Fantasy
Pages: 396
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads:  Lillian Hunt has never truly lived. Always sensing more to the world than is easily perceived, she fears that her instincts are stubborn flights of fancy, or worse, mental instability. But some things—disappearing strangers, tangible dreams, and visits from malevolent creatures—cannot be ignored. Before it’s too late, Lillian is ripped from the only existence she’s ever known and thrust into a reality that she always suspected, but could scarcely believe. She must learn the truth about who she is, the powerful beings that wish to destroy her, and the two men who would die to protect her.  Jennifer DeLucy has created a unique, enchanting tale of destiny and the ageless power of love in her debut novel, Seers of Light. DeLucy’s novel charms readers with quirky characters, while sketching a haunting portrait of one woman’s journey on the path of the supernaturally gifted. But be prepared. Once you’ve entered the world of Seers, you will never be the same.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Jennifer DeLucy’s Seers of Light is a journey of love, hope, and courage.  The story follows Lily, a pathcrosser and empath, who is saved by Christian from a vampire attack.  After a brief explanation from Christian, he takes her to Georgia to Abram and the other endowed people.  There she discovers who she really is and her destiny, to battle evil spirits and beings.  She trains with William, the vampire with a soul.  Before their first training session Lily decides to hate him for what he is not who.  He expects and puts up with her attitude stating that she can hate him all she wants just as long as she learns what she needs to survive.  As the training sessions continue, she starts to see the humanity in William.  Christian, seeing that Lily is being less hostile with William, becomes very clingy, even though they are not dating.  He starts to follow her around like a “golden retriever.”  When a coven of vampires located near her hometown starts to threaten Lily’s new happy life, she along with her new family, must defeat them, or die trying.
All the characters in Seers of Light were real.  I found I had a lot in common with Lily.  Although, I don’t think I’m quite as stubborn as she is.  After spending most of her life seeing spirits and being empathetic, Lily is more than happy to go where she is accepted and even admired for her abilities.  She is very kind, but also judgmental and a bit gullible.  Her love interest in the story is William Maddox.  I could talk about William for the rest of my life.  In fact, I’ve reread Seers of Light so many times that I’ve actually lost count, all because of William.  Even after reading it X amount of times I still feel my heart beat erratically whenever he walks in the room, or speaks, or is brought up in the conversation.  Jennifer DeLucy did a marvelous job writing his character.  William is a vampire who got his soul back.  Everything about him is human except his body.  The sentients, other endowed people, around the world aren’t too fond of him, nor is Christian.  Christian spends most of his time voicing his hatred of William to his face.  Poor William.  He is so tortured but still strives to do what is right.  Unlike Christian, William allows Lily to make her own mistakes and decisions.  All I can say is that every time William did something or said something especially cute or witty I pretty much swooned- which was quite often.  Christian bugged me.  There were so many times when he interrupted William and Lily moments that got me out of my seat screaming “Shut up, Christian!” or “Go away, Christian!”  But to be fair, Christian has problems of his own.   By the end, I thought Christian was okay.  Abram was kind of like the head of the house.  If I had to pick an actor to play him it would be Morgan Freeman.  He’s wise and very grandfatherly.  The rest of the characters are beautifully brought to life and fill the novel with an amazing story.
Jennifer DeLucy explores love and courage in her novel.  Love is a huge, and I mean gigantic huge, theme in Seers of Light.  She forces the characters to examine their hearts and what it means to love.  Love takes courage-it is a leap of faith.  As a reader, I felt the love wrapped around the characters.  To love someone, sometimes sacrifices must be made to keep or save that love.  Seers of Light contained every form of love as well as the ups and downs of it.
Seers of Light is one of those books that I can’t recommend enough.  I’ve read this book more than three times (lost count after that).  After every reread, I dreamt about William.  I’m not exaggerating.  I did.  This is the only book that I’ve dreamt about more than once.  It will stick in your mind.  It will make you reflect about your own life and how love has affected you.  The smooth and easy flow of reality and the paranormal is proof of Jennifer DeLucy’s skill at story-telling.  The paranormal aspect takes up a huge part of the book, but it is so completely believable that you barely notice it.  There are so many books where the paranormal is just too unbelievable that it ruins the book for me.  I’m so glad my library didn’t have this book.  By buying a copy (kindle!) I am now able to bring it with me wherever I go.  Which means, William goes with me everywhere 😉   Goodness!  Seers of Light is an exceptional novel.  The characters are memorable, the dialogue is absorbing, the suspense is thrilling, and the romance is truly beautiful.  I adored this book!

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Seers of Light (Light, #1)
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