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: Torment by Lauren Kate

7740152Title: Torment
Author: Lauren Kate
Series: Fallen #2
ISBN: 978-0385739153
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pub. Date:  June 2011
Source: Purchased
Genre: Paranormal Romance/ Young Adult/ Fantasy
Pages: 464
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:   Hell on earth.
That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts – immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something – something dangerous. What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series…where love never dies.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Torment is one of those “in-between” books. You know, the kind of book where you LOVED the first and third one but the second is just eh. Well, I haven’t yet read book 3. But I’m really hoping I’m right.
I read Torment when it first came out. I didn’t like it very much. So it stayed on my to-be-reviewed shelf for a few years because I really didn’t want to sit and talk about a book that wasn’t that great. However, recently I picked it back up, wanting to get back into the Daniel and Luce story. And I found myself flipping through the pages rather quickly–stopping when I couldn’t stand what certain characters were doing–then picking it right back up again after popping some chocolate chips into my mouth.
Fallen (book #1) centered on the insta-love of Daniel and Luce. Book # 2 goes a bit deeper and has Luce questioning whether or not she trusts the mysterious Daniel, who has sent her away to keep her safe. In the process of trying to figure out who she is and was, she meets and befriends a whole bunch of really awesome people (Miles, Shelby, and a bunch of other angels, nephilim, and demons).
So I’m not going to lie, Daniel and Luce have a LOT of problems, starting with their ever-present and growing trust issues. Daniel spends most of the book trying to stay away from Luce only to fail and visit her while refusing to tell her anything useful other than “I love you.” and “You can’t do that.” Meanwhile, Luce is falling apart. She’s having a major identity crisis, which fuels her fights with Daniel. All the while, she is searching for anything that could help jog her memory of the past.
While I definitely related to Luce, I had a hard time accepting some of Luce’s decisions. It was so obvious what was going on, why she needed to be protected. But she just kept breaking the rules. Daniel, too. He was all “I love you!” but then when asked even a tiny question about what was happening, he was all brooding and distant. Come on!
Even though I wanted to strangle certain characters in this book, I still liked it and was able to finish it (with interruptions) in a day. I will FOR SURE be reading the 3rd book in the series.

 

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Torment (Fallen, #2)

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Book Review: Evermore by Alyson Noel

3975774Title: Evermore
Author: Alyson Noel
Series: The Immortals #1
ISBN: 9780312532758
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date: February 2009
Source: Library
Genre: Paranormal Romance/YA
Pages: 306
Rating:  3/5

From Goodreads:   Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever can see auras, hear people’s thoughts, and know a person’s life story by touch. Going out of her way to shield herself from human contact to suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste . . .  Ever sees Damen and feels an instant recognition. He is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy, and he holds many secrets. Damen is able to make things appear and disappear, he always seems to know what she’s thinking—and he’s the only one who can silence the noise and the random energy in her head. She doesn’t know who he really is—or what he is. Damen equal parts light and darkness, and he belongs to an enchanted new world where no one ever dies.
My Reveries and Ramblings:  I first read Evermore over a year ago. I recently re-read it to write this review. I feel the same way now as I did last year: I liked it, but nothing really popped out at me. I’m not sure why but lately I find that I get very annoyed with the I-just-met-you,-now-I’m-in-love theme that is so popular among YA books. It doesn’t really happen that way in real life. This book had that, even though Ever does try to avoid Damen. That was pretty much the main issue I had with Evermore.
What I did like though was Ever’s friend Miles. He reminded me of one of my best friends. They could be the same person. I also really liked Ever’s ability to read auras. I would LOVE to have some ability like that. I just wanted to scream at her when she was trying to block it out and refused to get help, especially when she had multiple chances to harness it. I felt like I spent the majority of the book mentally yelling at her. She kept making one bad or selfish decision after another; and it drove me crazy!
Now onto Damen. As the love interest, he wasn’t very swoonworthy. Maybe I’ve just read to many Twilight-esque books (don’t get me wrong I love Twilight…), but I’m seriously getting tired of the same old same old. Perfect guy with no real flaws swoops in and spends his days pining over the girl (but not in a pathetic way). He was sweet and of course, drop-dead-gorgeous but I found his “mysterious” actions to be very predictable. Also, I really wish he had more personality. Hopefully in the next books his character is explored more.
Even though I had some issues with the book, I still liked it. It’s about past lives! That’s enough to get me to like pretty much any book. I will continue to read the series (hopefully they do get better). The last book or two look really good. I give it 3 kisses.

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Evermore (The Immortals, #1)

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Book Review: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

10118172Title: Spellbound
Author: Cara Lynn Shultz
Series: Spellbound #1
ISBN: 9780373210305
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pub. Date: June 2011
Source: NetGalley
Genre: YA Romance/ Paranormal Romance
Pages: 324
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads: What’s a girl to do when meeting The One means she’s cursed to die a horrible death?  Life hasn’t been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she’s irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can’t stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma’s been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Oh. My. Goodness. This book seriously surprised me. Going into it, all I knew was that it was a YA paranormal romance. Boy, was I amazed to discover there was so much more. For starters, Cara Lynn Schultz successfully wrote from a teenager’s perspective. I never once cringed at the language used. (Don’t you hate it when a YA author starts throwing around the word “Yo”). Actually, I really enjoyed Emma’s voice. She was nice, funny, and completely relatable. She has insecurities, like every teenager. She worries about her hair, if she will fit in, and what Brendan thinks of her. Also, Emma is not a push over. Especially when it comes to the kids at school who constantly gossip about her. Cue the jerk: Anthony. He just makes Emma’s life a living hell at school (and outside it). At first its just a matter of ego, but it soon turns into something much more dangerous. As the story progresses, Anthony’s darker side surfaces. He is seriously insane. By the end, I was scared of him.

The second thing that literally brought this book up a full kiss was the fact that it a) has a tragic love story for a base; b) involves soul mates; and c) involves past lives/reincarnation. As you know, I love books that contain even just one of those. But this one contained all three! The tragic love story: Emma and Brendan are cursed to fall in love over and over again only to be torn apart by an untimely death. Something is different this time around. They might have a shot at breaking the curse. If they don’t hurry, it could all end, once again.
Poor Emma. In every life she is born poor. This one was especially brutal for her. After her mom and brother die, she lives with her step-father who would rather drink and abuse her then man-up and be a father for her. After getting into a DWI accident with Emma in the car (she gets injured), Emma escapes to her aunt’s home in NYC. Going to the exclusive Vince Academy has Emma feeling even more of an outsider with all the rich students (think Gossip Girl).
Yes, it does have a HEA. But, you know, it was still a lot of fun to read. The ending was suspenseful. The romance was lovely. And Brendan was just soooo cute. You can’t see me, but I’m crossing my fingers hoping there will be a sequel.

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Spellbound (Spellbound, #1)

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Book Review: Abithica by Susan Goldsmith

11050827Title: Abithica
Author: Susan Goldsmith
Series: Abithica #1
ISBN: B004WOYNGC
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
Pub. Date: April 2011
Source: received an ebook arc copy from the author

Genre: Supernatural/Romance/Fantasy/Paranormal/Paranormal Romance/YA
Pages: 287
Rating:  4/5

From Goodreads:  What if you knew you were about to be torn from your body and replaced by an imposter in a seamless switch forever separating you and the one you love? Would you do whatever it took to stay? Even if YOU happened to be the imposter? Abithica must borrow all that she is from others: names, lives, even bodies. When she switches into the troubled life of Sydney Turner, she breaks the rule that has sustained her, the one thing in her control—never get attached. Lane Riley has no idea he’s fallen for Abithica, wearing Sydney Turner’s body and that a future with her is impossible. Desperate to stay with him, Abithica uncovers the mystery of what she is, only to learn she’s a pawn in a battle over souls, and that she’s probably one of the “bad guys.” What will happen if she refuses to leave Sydney’s body?

My Reveries and Ramblings: Abithica is the story of a spirit/being/whatever you want to call her for right now(not giving anything away) who is thrust into people’s bodies taking over their lives.  She stays with her host until she has completed whatever needed to be done.  She sees her predicament as a punishment from God.  She sees herself as a parasite or demon.
The book opens in Arizona with Sydney collapsing into her food at a restaurant because the spirit being mentioned (in the previous paragraph) has just entered her body.  As Sydney, the spirit starts trying to improve her life starting with Sydney’s damaged relationship with her mother, Faith.  At first “new” Sydney is having a hard time because the real Sydney is being resistant.  During a trip to Faith’s work (at the mall), Sydney meets Lane and his much younger sister, Shae.  It’s love at first sight for “new” Sydney and Lane.  However, “new” Sydney is very resistant because she doesn’t want to hurt him when she leaves Sydney’s body.  Also, she is scared of falling too hard because she knows it will all be ripped from her.  Besides the romance, there is also an element of danger from the gang that Sydney belongs to, the Legnas.  They are a dangerous gang that brands their members and like to kill, a lot.
Abithica takes the reader on a journey with the protagonist as she discovers who and what she is.  She discovers her real name at the end.  Poor girl.  Every time she forced into a new body she forgets most of what happened before.  However, the one thing she does know is that she wants to fall in love and stay that way.  That is her greatest wish/dream.  This is impossible, though.  To prevent herself from getting hurt she decided that she would never get attached.  Of course Lane changed that.
Lane is just * gush * amazing!  He knows there’s something different about Sydney as soon as he meets her (I’m talking about “new” Sydney).  No matter how many times she pushes him away he comes back even stronger and more cling-y (in a good way).    He loves her so much.  The most beautiful aspect of their love is the fact that he loves who the “new” Sydney is-meaning he loves the spirit inhabiting Sydney.  (Yes, I know, it sounds confusing on paper, but it really isn’t).
The novel contains many other great characters.  Among them are Shae, Lane’s adorable little sister; Faith, Sydney’s shoe obsessed mother; the ever helpful Father Gabe; and Marge, a saint-like doctor.
When I started Abithica, I was enjoying it.  But about half-way through, OMG! I was hooked.  There were moments where I was screaming at my computer screen (ebook), yelling at the characters.  Then there were moments where I was on the verge of tears.  The protagonist’s voice easy to read.  I felt a connection with her-there were moments where I could completely relate to her.  Mrs. Goldsmith did an awesome job with the writing.  Even when she wrote through Shae’s POV, it was readable at the same time as sounding like a little girl.
Now, even though I really really liked this book, there were a few things that just didn’t click with me.  I didn’t like reading the Legnas parts of the book-but I think this is just a matter of personal taste.  I never like reading the antagonist’s POV in any book.  Also, Lane annoyed me in the beginning.  He was talking about marriage very VERY early on in their relationship- they had only gone out a few times together.  But, of course, I was able to come to terms with it, and even accept it later on in the book.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to all who love a good romance.  Yes, it is Christian Lit., but it’s not overwhelming (which is good).  Also, I seriously read the last 50 pages four times-it was just too fantastic to not reread! I can’t wait until the sequel.

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Abithica

Book Review: Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

Title: Angel Star
Author: Jennifer Murgia
Series: Angel Star #1
ISBN: 978-0982500538
Publisher: Lands Atlantic Publishing LLC
Pub. Date: May 2010
Genre: YA/Supernatural/ Romance/Angels/Fantasy/Christian
Pages: 256
Rating:  2/5

From Goodreads:  Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.
But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel’s malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows.
Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel’s sacrifice collides with another angel’s vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower.

My Reveries and Ramblings: Angel Star, written by Jennifer Murgia, is the story about good vs evil, or light vs. dark.  Teagan’s life isn’t that great:  she has only one friend, Claire, is the object of torture by a group of girls at school, is plagued by nighmares, and her father disappeared when she was a baby.  One day while sitting on a bench, a new transfer student, Garreth, approaches and talks to her.  He seems to shine/glow.  She realizes that not only does she feel strongly for him, he makes her feel safe from the nightmares and the dark shadows that seem to follow her.  Garreth is her guardian angel.  He has watched over her and kept her safe for years.  He is finally allowed to appear to her as a human, but only for eight days.  During those eight days her destiny will be revealed.
I had mixed feelings about this book.  I really liked the chemistry between Garreth and Teagan.  Their bond was beautiful.  Whenever Teagan was worried he would breathe for her, calming her.  It was so sweet.  Their dynamic was the best part of the book.  Hadrian, Lucifer’s brother, is the dark angel.  He tries to corrupt people’s guardian angels so that he can control humans.  Garreth and Teagan are constantly running from him.  When Hadrian starts targeting people close to Teagan, they stand and fight.  While Garreth symbolizes light, Hadrian represents the darkness.  Teagan finds herself drawn to Hadrian and the darkness only to be reminded of her light, Garreth.  This situation is parallel to the good-angel-bad-angel-on-your-shoulders.  Both are trying to pull Teagan in different directions and get her to do something.  It is both an internal and outward struggle for Teagan.
There were many things I didn’t like about this book.  There were times when I was confused as to the location of the characters; one minute they are talking in the car, the dialogue going, with no mention of leaving the car then all of a sudden they are in the park on a swing set swinging.  There were times when I couldn’t tell the difference between her nightmares and reality because she kept “waking up” suddenly in her bed like it was all a bad dream.  I could never tell if the action sense took place in her nightmare or in reality.  I really liked the basic story of Angel Star.  I think Jennifer Murgia could have slowed it down a bit by adding more detail to the action scenes and adding more depth to the characters.
Overall, this book wasn’t for me.  I didn’t really like it.  In all honesty, I only continued reading, and will probably read the sequel, Lemniscate, because of Garreth and Teagan’s relationship.  Their connection was deep, like down to the soul deep.  It was fascinating.  Jennifer Murgia’s idea was fresh and different from many of the angel books I’ve read.

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Angel Star (Angel Star, #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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Book Review: Juliet by Anne Fortier

Title: Juliet
Author: Anne Fortier
ISBN:  978-0345516107
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pub. Date: 2010
Source: Library
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery/Treasure Hunting/Shakespeare
Pages:  464
Rating:  5/5

From Goodreads: 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?
From Anne Fortier comes a sweeping, beautifully written novel of intrigue and identity, of love and legacy, as a young woman discovers that her own fate is irrevocably tied—for better or worse—to literature’s greatest star-crossed lovers.

My Reveries and Ramblings: I had seen this book on B&N’s coming soon page and had to get it as soon as it was released-which I did at the end of August 2010.  This book brought me into a month long obsession with Italy.  I grilled my parents for days about our family which came from Italy.  I was secretly hoping that there was some sort of cool mystery, death, or curse or something that would allow me to go on the same kind of adventure as the protagonist, Julie, did in Juliet.  I was so disappointed when there was nothing-but I’m not giving my hopes up until I step foot in Italy and find out for myself 😉
      Juliet begins with Julie Jacobs finding out about the death of her great aunt, who raised her and her sister, Janice.  After she is told by Umberto, the butler, and her aunt’s lawyer that the estate was left for Janice, a broke Julie goes to Siena, Italy to find the family treasure that was left for her by their mother.  In college, Julie Jacobs went to Italy with a group of peace activists only to be kicked out of the country and asked to never return.  This time she enters the country as Giulietta Tolomei, her birth name.  On the plane she meets Eva Maria Salimbeni who informs her to be careful about who she tells her name to.  She begins to tell Julie, or Giulietta, about the history between their two families.  What follows is 400 pages filled with a treasure hunt for Juliet’s eyes, a gold statue with very very valuable jewels for eyes.  However, this statue is said to be located at the grave of Romeo and Juliet, which no one has seen since the black plague.  Led by only her dead mother’s notes and a copy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Julie sets out on a wild treasure hunt.  There is another thing-a powerful curse that all started with the Friar Lorenzo, who was the friar responsible for Romeo and Juliet’s romance all those years ago.  As he was being tortured he cursed the Tolomei (Juliet and Julie’s family) and the Salimbeni (Eva Maria’s family-and the evil man who tore Juliet and Romeo apart’s family) family.

“A plague on both your houses
You shall all perish in fire and gore
Your children forever wail under a mad moon
Till you undo your sins and kneel before the Virgin
And Giulietta wakes to behold her Romeo.”

      Of course Julie doesn’t have an easy time trying to end the curse and find the treasure- what with Alessandro Santini wanting her to stay away from him and his godmother Eva Maria.  Then when he finally befriends Julie, he starts doing some very suspicious things.  Then there’s the issue of someone on a motor cycle who keeps following her everywhere.  And to top it off, the Maestro painter who she befriends and who owns the painting of the original Juliet from all those years ago, tells her that Romeo comes to his studio almost every night to drink a glass of wine and look at the painting.  And no, he is no ghost- for ghosts don’t drink wine.
Take The Da Vinci Code, National Treasure, Romeo and Juliet, and Anne Fortier’s imagination and writing and you get Juliet, a beautiful love story spanning centuries and a treasure hunt.  This is one of my favorite books.  I opened it to skim through before writing this review and ended up rereading it completely -I did not expect to stay up until 5 AM.  And now all I want to do is go to Siena.  Having been to Italy once before (about 4 or 5 years ago) I have to say it felt like Italy, I was right there.  Not only that but I remember seeing the places that she describes in the book, which make it all the more real.
The middle chunk of the book alternates between the past and present.  The past being the “real” Romeo and Juliet in 1340.  The story is sad and tragic.  In my opinion, it’s even more tragic than the Shakespeare version.  Now many years later, their decedents are cursed and trying to break it.  But will Romeo and Juliet of today’s world find love or tragedy?
Julie Jacobs, or Giulietta was a great character.  I truly related to her.  I hated her twin sister, Janice, so much.  But eventually grew to like her.  Alessandro Santini is a hot Italian man.  He is the head of security for the local 500 yr old bank, very hot, and a tortured soul.  Who doesn’t love all that?  Plus he’s got some secrets.
I URGE you to read this book.  Juliet is a passionate tale of love, death, secrets, fate/destiny, and finding oneself.  It will have you believing that Romeo and Juliet existed and that this curse is for real-which of course both aren’t true.  You will be transported to Italy and will never want to leave. You will wish/pray/hope/beg that you can find your Romeo.  You will beseech your parents to let you go to Italy to find love and adventure.  You won’t know what to do with yourself when it ends.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Juliet

Book Trailer: 

And

Just because I think Romeo and Juliet is one of the greatest (albeit tragic) love stories of all time:

Book Playlist: 

[spotify https://open.spotify.com/user/121171848/playlist/3FKQaWKZT88U9kbfaoi3Bq]

Book Review: The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller

Title: The Eternal Ones
Author: Kirsten Miller
Series: Eternal Ones #1
ISBN: 1595143084
Publisher: Razorbill
Pub. Date: 2010
Source: Hardcover
Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal
Pages: 416
Rating:  5/5

Check out the author’s website for extra stuff (like letters between Ethan and Constance)

From Goodreads:  Haven Moore can’t control her visions of a past with a boy called Ethan, and a life in New York that ended in fiery tragedy. In our present, she designs beautiful dresses for her classmates with her best friend Beau. Dressmaking keeps her sane, since she lives with her widowed and heartbroken mother in her tyrannical grandmother’s house in Snope City, a tiny town in Tennessee. Then an impossible group of coincidences conspire to force her to flee to New York, to discover who she is, and who she was.

In New York, Haven meets Iain Morrow and is swept into an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Iain is suspected of murdering a rock star and Haven wonders, could he have murdered her in a past life? She visits the Ouroboros Society and discovers a murky world of reincarnation that stretches across millennia. Haven must discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves¸ before all is lost and the cycle begins again.

My Reveries and Ramblings:  Haven Moore has spent most of her life passing out and having visions through the eyes of a woman named Constance.  All her visions center around the handsome Ethan.  Everyone, apart from Beau-her friend, thinks she’s either crazy or a bad seed.  Her grandmother is convinced she’s possessed.  The only person who ever really knew the truth, or beginning to learn the truth, was her father who died in a car accident when she was little.

One day Haven sees Iain Morrow, a celebrity, on TV.  She can’t stop thinking about him.  After some time she decides to go to New York to try and find him.  After finding him, Haven discovers that she and Iain are soul mates who have been reincarnated for thousands of years.  Problems continuously arise threatening their relationship and the reincarnation cycle.  People start going missing or turning up murdered.  Haven is constantly being watched, and not always by the good guys.  Iain is hiding something from Haven, and she knows it.  By going out and trying to find answers on her own, Haven ends up even more confused and unwilling to trust anyone.  She must decide who to trust before its too late.

Oh my! This book was good.  It was so different from most girl-and-boy-fall-in-love-at-first-sight books.  This story centers around the idea of immortal (not vampire) people, reincarnation, and soul mates.  I felt like I was being pulled in every direction alongside Haven.  I wasn’t sure who to trust-although I always…let me repeat that, ALWAYS trusts Iain.  I hated how she kept ruining the moment with her paranoia about how Iain may or may not be the murderer.  The twists throughout the book were so good.  After closing the book, I waited about an hour before rereading it.  Then a few days later I reread it again.  I couldn’t stop thinking about this book.  It was one of those I-wish-I-was-that-character moments.  I believe in soul mates.  This book definitely fueled that belief.  I really really really really wish this would happen to me-except maybe no killing and creepy secret society- but definitely all the true love stuff.

You don’t have to believe in reincarnation or soul mates to love this book.  It’s a beautiful love story filled with mystery that will leave you wishing you were the characters.  *secretly wishing I was Haven.  The only…and I mean only problem I had was with Haven’s trust issues.  I found them a bit annoying-but that’s it.  It was such a great book.  I give it 5/5.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

The Eternal Ones (Eternal Ones, #1)
Book Trailer:
Book Playlist:
[spotify https://open.spotify.com/user/121171848/playlist/4soiPrajIMyQV7dd6vRXtC]