Friday, August 4, 2017

Begin Again by Crystal Walton



When I started reading Begin Again, it felt a lot like the first book. Drew was the reserved one trying to overcome past hurts while trying to save his father's heritage and Ti was the one pushing his boundaries. There was even the spunky senior, Grandma Jo.

However, the more I got into the book, the more I realized that it was its own story. I think that I love this one even more than Write Me Home. I could hear the New York sass pour out of Ti. She was be choice a superficial person, so that she could hide all the deep hurts started by her parents and perpetuated by every male relationship that followed; until Drew.

Drew reminds me of my husband. Someone who is thoughtful about his approach to life. He analysis and processes how to take care of the people in his life. Drew demonstrates a love and patience that is not often found. Despite the cost to himself, he continues to deliver what he feels the other person needs. He isn't perfect and some of his responses are quick and selfish. For those he loves, it is a steady love.

Ti battles issues of sexual abuse, forgiveness, belonging and love. While other characters also tackle neglect and love. Faith played a stronger role, as you will see characters battling with their understanding of a loving God.

This was definitely my kind of story and I am eager to read the next story, Just Maybe.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Write Me Home by Crystal Walton


Write Me Home centers around a run down summer camp. Cassidy is intent on repairing the damage to the facility so that she can sell the camp. The money from the sell of the camp will go to paying off the lien on her mother's business, which also contains her residence. She is unpleasantly surprised by some of the challenges she faces. One of them is a man named Ethan.

Ethan has spent the last several years as far away from his hometown as possible. He is burdened by his past and everyone in that small town knows his story. Yet, his grandmother's health draws him back. In an attempt to salvage his grandmother's pride, he makes a business deal with Cassidy that allows him to stay at the camp. Close enough to help his grandmother without making her feel like he was taking over.

It's hard not to fall in love with Ethan and Cassidy right away. Ethan turns out to be a hard working handyman who lends his strength and presence to all the projects at Cassidy's camp. There are many roadblocks that get in their way. I found myself rooting for my favorite characters every time the odds were against them.

I just finished reading Write Me Home and am a first time reader of Crystal Walton. This contemporary fiction is well written. I loved the clean romance and elements of mystery. There are elements of faith present, but not in a pushy way.  The characters were well thought. They have layers and personal flaws that make them feel like someone you might know. They struggle with issues that many people face. My favorite part of any book is an uplifting ending and Write Me Home didn't disappoint. It is always a good indication when I am sad that a story ended and thrilled that the next book is already written.   If you enjoy a good contemporary story, you should definitely read this one.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Prophecy Awakened by Tamar Sloan

This book has been compared to Twilight, a series I deliberately avoided. I still don't know how I feel about the comparison. I also tend to stay away from the werewolf section of fantasy, but this book is heavily saturated with werewolves. Despite all it had against it, I did enjoy reading this story.

Eden has been moved from place to place and never truly fit in. She moves again her senior year and her only goals are to finish with good grades and stay unnoticed. She doesn't realize it, but her goal of staying unnoticed flies out the door the moment that Noah sees her. There is an instant connection between the two. There are also some surprises waiting for Eden as she is soon to discover that her new friends are, in fact, werewolves.

This was a clean read. Anyone who is a fan of young adult fantasy would most likely enjoy this story.


Monday, June 5, 2017

The Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen


This book really challenged me to change my perceptions of Trolls. Two images come to mind when I think of trolls: the little dolls that were popular when my mother was young and again when I was young,
and then this guy ------>


Neither one of these trolls would be my idea of something beautiful. However, from the beginning of the story, the author asked me to think of trolls as beautiful creatures. She described them as



The story is technically a prequel, but is suggested by the author as the third book to read in the series. The order is as follows: 1. Stolen Songbird, 2. Hidden Huntress, 3. The Broken Ones, and 4. Warrior Witch. To see more of her reasoning, visit her comment on Goodreads. I read it as a stand alone before seeing the suggested reading order.

The setting is Trollus, a cursed land that the inhabitants cannot leave. They rely on the magic of the King to protect them from an avalanche of stone. Even so, the King is somewhat of a tyrant. He sends half-bloods and humans to the labyrinth, a certain death, for not meeting quotas in the mines. Only those with magic are worthy. Years in partial imprisonment has led to inbreeding and an affliction of iron poisoning. Bonding to an iron poisoned Troll can lead to death for both bonded partners. Amongst all of these concerns, emerges the prince, Tristan, who opposes his fathers position on those who are not full-blooded Trolls. He enlists the help of his friends to begin and sustain a resistance movement.

Two of his friends are the voice of this novel. Marc and Penelope alternate perspectives. More than anything this is the story of Marc.

This was a clean read but does contain basic information regarding premarital sex, pregnancy, miscarriages, death, physical and mental abuse, and insubordination. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, was surprised by the unique elements, and plan on reading the other stories in this series. This would be a great story for anyone who loves fantasy and are willing to give trolls a chance.


Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Rise of the Dawnstar by Farah Oomerbhoy

This was a pleasant surprise. I have not read the first book in the series, The Last of The Firedrakes, but I definitely plan to now. The author provided enough connection to the first story that I was not completely lost in the events that led to this book. The beginning was a little slow for me, but the pace definitely picked up and proved exciting. I appreciate that the romance element was clean and that it took a backseat to the elements of fantasy and adventure.

Aurora must set out on a journey to her grandmother's kingdom, the only place that she will find safety. While there, she must also learn about her heritage and improve her skills with her fae abilities. She is met with animosity and resistance, as she is not a full fae, instead she is half mage and in danger from the very people with which she seek refuge.

This is a dazzling coming of age story full of intrigue and politics. I think fans of the Fantasy genre will greatly enjoy this story.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Hidden Legacy by Christine Rees

I really enjoyed reading this story full of teens with para-normal abilities. It reminded me of X-Men in a way. Faye is an outcast at her school but gets a new start when she moves to her Grandmother's house in Astoria, Oregon. She has to navigate a new school while trying to keep her abilities hidden. Unfortunately, she has a premonition of someone's death. Even more unfortunate, that person is the first person she meets at her new school. Faye finds a place for herself at the new school, only to find out that someone is searching for her and does not have good intentions.

Some might find the story predictable, but I do not feel like it diminished the quality of the story. I enjoyed the twists that were thrown in and was surprised once or twice by the author. I feel like she was able to capture the feel of high school without making it overly juvenile. The author provided a suspenseful tone that kept me engaged. She also answered enough of my questions before she ended with a cliffhanger. This was a clean read. I look forward to reading the next chapters of Faye's story.

The Unseen by Jacob Devlin


If you are a fan of fractured fairytales or the show Once Upon a Time, The Unseen is a book you would enjoy. Set in both the Old World and the New World, Alice, Peter Pan, and Pinocchio try to rescue their children who have been pulled through a mirror. The children are on their own quest to reunite with their parents. They must battle the forces of the Red Hearts and the Ivory Queen. Love is lost and found, friendships are tested and battles are won and lost. I would suggest reading the first book, as I was a little lost at first, although you can read it as a stand alone. There is also a book #1.5 called The Ivory Queen.