Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins
Realistic Contemporary Young Adult
Published: Dutton Books
Released on: September 29,2011
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.05
Pages: 338

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis:

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Important Information: I recently read and reviewed the first in this series. Anna and the French Kiss. You can read Lola and the Boy Next Door without having read Anna, but I recommend reading them in order. My review of Anna is here.

Overview of the Novel: Lola might be eccentric but she has a great boyfriend. He's older, more mature, and definitely what she needs. But then Calliope and Cricket Bell move back into the house next door and her world is turned upside down. Lola used to be friends with Calliope and then Calliope burnt her. She was friends with Cricket and maybe even more and then he completely crushed her. She doesn't want to have to deal with him and besides she has an awesome boyfriend. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I had heard such fantastic things about Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door that I was really excited to read them. I was slightly disappointed with Anna, but I still really liked it. So I went into Lola with mixed feelings. I was surprised by how much I ended up loving it.

Lola was eccentric and yet I found myself connecting with her character and desperately wanting to learn more about her. I think many of us can relate to liking our best friend, the one guy we think we can never have, or at least think we can't.

It's a plot that's cliched. Girl loves boy next door. Boy next door doesn't love her back....and so on. But Stephanie Perkins did a great job of breathing new life into this cliched plot. I was never bored. 

I also loved how Stephanie tied this novel into her last one. I loved learning more about Anna and Etienne. I love when authors weave in old characters without overpowering the new characters' stories. Perkins did that masterfully.  

And although, I knew what would happen in the end I thoroughly enjoyed getting there. This book was an exciting one to read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

So why 4 stars? Although I loved it, it just wasn't quite 5 star material. I liked the novel—the writing was masterful, the plot was expertly crafted, and the characters were intriguing. But it lacked that extra kick to make this novel especially memorable. It's still one of my favorites I've read this year, however.

In Summary: Stephanie Perkins has created a realistic contemporary young adult series that readers will adore. She writes quirky, realistic characters that readers will fall in love with and does so with a depth that is unusual to the genre. Definitely recommended. 

Warnings/Side-notes: Lola's parents are gay. If that bothers you, then this is probably not the book for you. However, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this novel. 

The Wrap-up: I can't wait to see what Perkins does in her next novel. This one was beautifully written and thoroughly enjoyable. I flew through this one and can't wait to read the third one.


Danica Page

Waiting on Wednesday/WWW Wednesday (24)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. The point is to share a book that hasn't been released yet, but one that you are dying to read. This is my thirtieth time participating in this meme.

And now for the books I'm waiting for. I chose one Young Adult novel and one Adult novel.

The first one is This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. It comes out on April 2,2013 and is being published by Poppy.

The synopsis:

If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs? 

Why I'm waiting? I just read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and loved it, so I'm really excited to read more from this author. My review of Statistical Probability is here. I also just love the cover and the synopsis sounds intriguing. What do you guys think?

Add it to your Goodreads shelf.

The second one is Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman. It comes out on May 1, 2013 and is being published by Fleming H. Revell Company.

The synopsis:

Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache, Cassidy travels west. 

But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. When Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than he is, Cassidy finds herself bucked by love a second time. Will Jamie discover that money can't buy love after all? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man? 

With delectable descriptions and a romantic sensibility, bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Readers will faithfully follow Lessman to the West Coast for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations found in "Love at Any Cost."

Why I'm waiting? I love Julie Lessman's books. I've now read every single book she had published so far an all of them were high 4 to 5 star ratings. She deals with faith and passion in a fresh new way. Plus her characters are always fabulous. 

Add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

And those are two of the books that I'm dying to read. But enough about me, what book did you guys pick? Please leave your link in the comments section. I love hearing from you guys.


~W.W.W. Wednesday (23)~

W.W.W. Wednesday is another weekly meme. This one is hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading. To play along just answer three simple questions: What are you currently reading? What did you recently finish reading? And what do you think you'll read next?

This is my twenty-first week participating in this meme. I forgot to do this last week, so there are a lot of novels in the what I just read pile.

What am I currently reading?

I'm currently reading Nightshade by Ronie Kendig. So many of my blogging friends loved this so I had to give it a shot. It hasn't gripped me yet, but I'm sure it will.

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover-I've heard amazing things about it and it was cheap on Amazon, so I decided to give it a go. 

What did I recently finish reading?

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout-I had heard enough people say that this was amazing so I gave it a go. My review will be up soon. I really enjoyed it.

Taking Shots (Assassins, #1) by Toni Aleo- I read the third one in the series so I wanted to go back and read the first one. It was also enjoyable. My review will be up soon.
Derailed (Clayton Falls, #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy- I loved this author and since it was free, I decided to get it. I loved it. My review will be up soon. 

What do I think I'll read next?

There are so many good books on my docket. What shoul I read first? Dare you To, The Edge of Never, Time Between Us, or Flight by Alyssa Rose Ivy? I'm thinking Dare You To. What do you guys think I should read next?

That's all for me. What about you guys? What are you reading? Please leave your link in the comments. I love hearing from you.


Danica Page

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E. Smith
Realistic Contemporary Young Adult
Published by: Poppy Little Brown
Released: January 2, 2012
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.79
Pages: 236

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. 

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

In Summary: Hadley is ticked. Her mom is making her going to her father's wedding and that's the last thing Hadley wants to do. Her father walked out on them and she doesn't understand why she should go see him marry some other woman. It's just ridiculous.

What's even more ridiculous is the fact that she misses her plane by four minutes. It's not like anybody will believe she didn't do it on purpose. She is stuck in an airport with people she doesn't know and she has her father's book sitting on her lap. She hasn't read it and she's decided she's going to give it back to him. That is bound to make a statement.

Then she meets Oliver on the airport. Oliver is heading back to London too and as they start talking she is stunned by the connection she has with him. Can one day with somebody change your whole outlook on life. Hadley is about to find out. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I had heard a lot of hype about this book, but I was skeptical about it. I was completely blown away by the awesomeness of this novel. I love books that take place in one day and this one simply solidified that belief.

Smith was a master at infusing her writing with Hadley's voice. I felt so connected to her character and felt like I knew her so well. Smith was a master at writing and character development.

I also liked Oliver. He had great dialogue. Seriously every time he opened his mouth, I ended up laughing hysterically. I definitely could see myself crushing on Oliver....oh I kind of did for the whole book. 

Her writing was beautiful too. I was surprised by how profound her writing was. She worked in such meaningful quotes and how she developed this novel so completely. She worked in literary quotes so seamlessly. It didn't feel pretentiously. 

Fans of realistic contemporary novels will adore this one. The plot was well-developed and the writing was beautiful. I was sucked in from the very first page until the very last page. I recommend this to anybody and everybody.

So why 5 stars? Because I absolutely loved this one. This is a memorable book and one that I actually wrote down several quotes from. It had me laughing one moment and then thinking deeply the next. Any book that can do that is one of my favorites. 

In Summary: A beautifully written book that I absolutely adored. Jennifer E. Smith has made a fan out of me. I can't wait to read more from her.

The Wrap-up: This book is one that I would definitely consider buying. You should definitely read this one. I really did adore this novel. Smith's writing was beautiful, touching, entertaining, hilarious, and moving. Any book that can be described by all of those words is one of my favorites. 


Danica Page

Monday, January 28, 2013

Top Ten Characters Who Frustrate Me

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish featuring a new top ten list each week. Everyone can participate just head on over to their blog and sign up. Each week they will post a new top ten list that one of our bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday.

Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters Ever

Some of these characters who frustrate me are ones I still love, and others are ones I just hate. Without further ado, here we go:

1. Scarlett O'Hara from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind- She had Rhett Butler and she was an idiot. Seriously, you don't let a rogue like Rhett go. Why on earth would you like Ashely over Rhett?

2. Count Vronsky from Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina-I can sympathize with Anna Karenina, but the Count just bugged me so badly. Seriously, he was just slimy.

3. Everybody from Gustave Flaubert's Madam Bovary-Seriously, all of the characters in this novel drove me batty. They were all so stupid. The novel was a watered-down version of Anna Karenina and they all drove me nuts.

4. Percy Weasley from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter-Everybody else was willing to admit that Voldemort was alive and when presented with the truth changed. Percy was just so stupid. He frustrated me. 

5.Edward, Bella, and Jacob from Stephanie Meyers' Twilight-I still give the series an average 3 star rating, meaning I didn't hate the series, but I didn't like it either. So I'm not in the "I-hate-Twilight" or the "I-love-Twilight" club. I'm apathetic about it, but I do hate the characters. Edward is manipulative and whiny. Jacob is immature and manipulative. And Bella is just so whiny. 

6. Hannah from Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why-I love this book. I just hate that Hannah committed suicide. I know she had a lot to overcome, but she should have gone to Clay. It just frustrates me she had to die. 

7. Every character in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights-I love the novel, but every single character is just so insanely frustrating. Ah Catherine and Heathcliff way to ruin your happiness.

8. Romeo from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet-I just have issues with his character. You were in love and then saw Juliet and when forget about that. Let's get married and then kill each other. It's beautiful; it just drives me nuts. 

9. Othello from William Shakespeare's Othello-Seriously, you were married to Desdemona, a pure character, and then you let your jealously drive you to murder her. Idiot. 

10. Anna Karenina from Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina-I love her, but she is so frustrating. I can't hate her but I can't love her. She frustrates me

That's all for me. Which book did you pick this week. Please comment and leave your link. I check out every single link and respond" to every comment. :)

Danica Page

Book Review: To Honor and Trust (Bridal Veil Island, #3)

To Honor and Trust
(Bridal Veil Island, #3)
by Traci Peterson and Judith McCoy Miller
Received for Review
Adult Historical Christian Romance
Released on: January 1, 2013
Published by: Bethany House Publishers
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.00
Pages: 368

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

Callie DeBoyer is unsettled as she arrives at Bridal Veil Island with the Bridgeport family. She's just received a letter from her parents, missionaries in coastal Africa, stating they are in dire need of more personnel. Should Callie give up her governess job and join her parents in their important work? Is God calling her to the mission field, or does she just want to escape the emotional scars of being jilted by her former beau? 

When she enrolls young Thomas Bridgeport in golf lessons, Callie meets Wesley Townsend, who urges Callie to take lessons, as well. During their time at the golf course, Callie comes to care for Wesley--until she discovers hidden secrets about his past. 

Then expensive jewels go missing from various homes on the island, and suspicion is aimed in Callie's direction. As the investigation continues, Callie wonders if she should escape it all by going to Africa. After the secrets he kept about his past, will Wesley ever be a man she can honor and trust for the rest of her life?

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received this book for review from the publisher via Netgalley. Thanks for this opportunity. 

Overview of Novel: Callie is so over guys. She is a governess and she loves her job. The family she works with treats her more like family than a servant and so she is treated very well. But Callie isn't sure what the future will hold for her. Her kids are about to outgrow a governess. She could continue working at the school or she could join her family as missionaries in Africa. All she knows is love is not in the picture. Then she meets Wesley.

Wesley is the son of a wealthy family who is vacationing on Bridal Veil Island. The only problem is that he has a string of failures following him and a father and a mother who want nothing more than to marry him off to a wealthy bride and then have him settle down in the family business. But Wesley wants more.

When he meets Callie, he is drawn to her. She thinks that he is a gardener or a employee there. She doesn't know he's wealthy or the failures of his past. He wants something more than friendship. But will the secrets of both of their pasts keep them apart.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Judith McCoy Miller and Traci Peterson are two authors that I have read several books by. I have enjoyed every single one. 

This one took awhile to capture my interest, but once it did I found the characters to be very intriguing. I loved watching them grow. Both of these characters wanted to do the right things in their lives. And yet, they both had so many fears to overcome. I loved watching them interact as friends. 

They didn't really interact as more than friends which was nice in many ways. It wasn't insta-love which I'm thankful for, because I like it when relationships develop. However, I would have maybe liked a little bit more romance between them.

The focus was on the characters and their growth and I really appreciated that. The writing was excellent. Peterson and Miller have a way with words and always weave stories that suck me in. Fans of christian fiction and historical fiction, will love this book. The elements of faith are never over-powering and the details of the time period are incredible.

So why 3.5 stars? It wasn't my favorite by these authors. I've read several books by these two authors and this wasn't my favorite by them. I did, however, still really enjoy the novel. It distinguished itself above other 3 star rating books in the fact that it seemed more memorable and had more depth than most 3 star books, but it lacked that extra something to kick it up to a 4.

In Summary: Miller and Peterson have teamed up for another intriguing story about two characters trying to have the faith to dream for a future and forgive themselves or forget their pasts. Peterson and Miller always write powerful, poignant novels and this one was no different.

The Wrap-up: I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and am so glad I got to read it. Peterson and Miller are a great writing team. Their characters are always so real and the plot was intriguing. Definitely recommend this one to those who like either the historical fiction or christian fiction genre. 


Danica Page

Saturday, January 26, 2013

IMM/Stacking the Shelves...the week of ebboks

Hello Fellow Readers,

This is my twenty-third time doing In My Mailbox and Stacking the Shelves. IMM is a meme hosted by Kirsti from The Story Siren and Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

The point of this meme is to share what books you received in the previous week through any medium. 

Books I received for review:

Hysteria by Megan Miranda
(Netgalley)-New Adult
(Edelweiss)-New Adult
The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spaulding

Flight (The Cresecent Chronicles, #1) by Alysa Rose Ivy
(Expresso Book Tours- New Adult
At First Touch by Mattie Dunman
(Reading Addiction Blog Tours)- Young Adult

Books I bought:

I bought a lot of e-books this week. I kind of went a little crazy, but :). They were all $4 or less.

Derailed (Clayton Falls, #1) by Alyssa Rose Ivy
New Adult-My review will be up later this week.
Taking Shots (Assasins, #1) by Toni Aleo
Adult-My review of the third book in the series is here.
Lengths (Lengths, #1) by Steph Campbell
New Adult-

The Perfect Game (The Perfect Game, #1) by J. Sterling
New Adult-
Hopeless by Coleen Hoover
New Adult-

Double Crossed by Ally Carter
The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski
New Adult

 That's all for me. What did you get? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments and be sure to link up.

Danica Page

Friday, January 25, 2013

Book Review: A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman

A Heart Revealed
(Winds of Change, #2)
Adult Christian Historical Romance
by Julie Lessman
Release Date: September 1, 2011
Published by: Felming H. Revell Company
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.29
Pages: 503

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston as a battered woman, escaping the husband who scarred her beautiful face. The physical and emotional wounds have faded with time, and her life is finally full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity's handsome and charming brother, Sean O'Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she's ever known? 

Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, "A Heart Revealed" will hold readers in its grip until the very last page.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Relevant Information: I received the third book in this series for review and loved it so much that I went back and read the rest in the series. The first three books come from the Daughters of Boston series and then they are followed up with the Winds of Change series.

Overview of Novel: Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston ten years ago with her best friend Charity. She left behind an abusive husband, Rory. He left her face permanently scarred, but she's much more scarred on the inside.

Emma is happy with her life. She has a good job, she has good friends who treat her like family, and she has God. She's determined she'll remain faithful to her vows even if her husband won't. And she has remained faithful for ten years. 

Sean O'Connor has always been known as the clam one, the one who doesn't have a temper. But he's let his temper get the best of him twice in his life and both times the consequence was disastrous. Sean rarely looses it, but when he does, he does so in dramatic fashion. 

So when Sean lets his temper get the best of him and hurts Emma's feelings, he is devastated. Then due to the depression, he loses his job. Emma offers him a job and since he feels like Emma needs the help, he agrees to work with them. But working with Emma every single day makes him realize he has feelings for Emma that go way past the bounds of friendship, but Emma is married. Neither of them can forget that. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I loved this book. Emma and Faith's stories were my favorite books in the series. I loved the faith that both of these individuals had. Emma had a lot in her past that she needed to overcome. She had to overcome an abusive husband and then the trials that come with trying to stay faithful to her vows.

Sean also had a lot  to overcome. He's been labeled as the good brother and for the most part he is. But he messed up once and now he's living his life in regret. Love is so not in the cards for him. 

I loved watching Sean and Emma interact. These two characters were incredible to watch develop throughout the novel.

Julie Lessman's writing was incredible like usual. I've loved watching these characters develop throughout both of the series. Lessman managed to keep track of 14 very different characters and keep track of them throughout the series. I loved that she kept developing all of her characters, not just the ones starring in the current novel.

This series was complex and beautifully written. I definitely recommend it. 

So why 5 stars? Because I loved the characters. I knew Sean and Emma were going to get together in the end, but I just didn't see how it was going to end up happening. This book was full of intrigue and such depth that it had me reeling. 

In Summary: A wonderfully written, and beautifully complex book that I absolutely loved. 

The Wrap-up: This series is incredible. I loved becoming acquainted with this author's works. One of my good friends said and "another Lessman fan has been born" and she was right. 


Danica Page

Up Next: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight 

Book Review: A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

A Hope Undaunted
(Winds of Change, #1)
Adult Christian Historical Romance
by Julie Lessman
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Published by: Revell Books
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.00
Pages: 505

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

What happens when the boy she loved to hate becomes the man she hates to love?
The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face-to-face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Relevant Information: I received the third novel in this series for review, and then I loved it so much that I went back to read the first two. This is the companion series to the Daughters of Boston series. 

Overview of Novel: Katie has been known as the feisty one in her family, the one who made her sister Charity look tame. Katie has seen all of her older sisters get married and then be controlled by a man. She refuses to fall into that same trap.

When she gets married, she plans on wearing the pants. She's going to be a lawyer and fight for woman's rights and marry well at the same time. And that's where her boyfriend Jack comes in. He's perfect; everything that she wants in a man. She's not head over heals for him. She's perfectly in control of her emotions and that's the way she wants it.

And then Luke McGee moves back to town. Luke made her childhood a living nightmare and now he's back, she's determined not to give him the time of day. But when her dad decides to punish her for missing curfew by making her work at a charitable organization, Katie is furious. But when she learns her boss is going to be Luke, she's even more furious. 

Luke knows that Katie has always viewed him as the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. She's stubborn, proud, and oh so fun to torment. So when she starts working for him, he's determined to rile her up.

But as these two go head to head, they may just discover that the attraction between them might be more than just that of old "friendemies" 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I loved the Daughters of Boston series and so I had high expectations for this one. I wasn't disappointed.

I loved Katie and I found myself being drawn into this story from the get-go. Seriously, the first line said that she was glad that she wasn't falling in love that she'd rather be sane and keep her wits about her. Seriously, from that point on I was waiting for her fall head over heels. 

Katie was spunky, fiesty, and oh so fun to read about. The chemistry between Katie and Luke was undeniable. I've loved all of the O'Connor's relationships, but this relationship might have been one of my favorites.

Julie's writing was as beautiful and poignant as always. Her characters always take on a life of their own. Katie ranks as one of my favorites.

Julie does have a standard plotline and so I can usually guess what is going to happen. Girl meets boy and girl likes him even though she won't admit it. Boy doesn't like girl. Boy starts to like girl. Girl admits she likes boy. Problem arises that separates them. They then work out problem and get together. It's a simple plot really and yet there are so many different variations on it that it never bores me. 

Seriously, every single book I'm completely sucked in. Julie develops that plot line so well and does so in several different ways that I'm still absolutely hooked. 

However, I will admit that this variation of the they aren't getting together did bug me more than the others. I won't give anything away, but it just made me so sad.

This book wasn't quite my favorite by Julie Lessman, but it was still really good. Luke and Katie might just be two of my favorite characters in the entire series. I definitely can't wait to see what happens with Sean and Emma in the sequel. 

So why 4 stars? I really loved this one, but it wasn't my favorite in the series. Katie and Luke's relationship was my favorite, but the novel just made me so frustrated. I wanted them to get together so badly and stuff kept getting in the way. It probably should be another 5 star book, but I was just too frustrated to give it a 5. 

Side-notes: Julie's books are passionate. She's talking about people who are very much in love, but she never crosses the line. I actually loved how passionate her books were because they were clean and talked about these matters in an appropriate way. Her book isn't edgy and her message about dealing with this passion is very appropriate and clean.

In Summary: A great book with beautifully developed characters. If you like a spunky heroine, then check this one out. You won't regret it. 

The Wrap-up: Julie Lessman is a master at writing. Her characters are always so unique and each story is as well. If you love reading a series with interconnected characters and story lines, then this one is for you. 

Love, Danica Page

Up Next: A Heart Revealed (Winds of Change, #2) by Julie Lessman

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: Salvation by Anne Osterlund

by Anne Osterlund
Young Adult Realistic Contemporary
Release Date: January 10, 2013
Published by: Penguin Young Readers Group
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.98
Pages: 288

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

Salvador Resendez--Salva to his friends--appears to have it all. His Mexican immigrant family has high expectations, and Salva intends to fulfill them. He's student body president, quarterback of the football team, and has a near-perfect GPA. Everyone loves him.

Especially Beth Courant, AKA the walking disaster area. Dreamy and shy, Beth is used to blending into the background. But she's also smart, and she has serious plans for her future.

Popular guy and bookish girl--the two have almost nothing in common. Until fate throws them together and the attraction is irresistible. Soon Beth is pushing Salva to set his sights higher than ever--because she knows he has more to offer, more than even he realizes.

Then tragedy strikes--and threatens to destroy everything that Salva has worked for. Will Beth's love be enough to save him?

Thoughtful and romantic, this is a beautifully written story about following your heart and fulfilling your potential.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Overview of Novel: Beth is known as the walking disaster. She has a knack for running into people, for not fitting in, and just for blending in the background. Salva is the opposite. He's popular, football captain and student body president. Basically, he's everything Beth isn't.

But Beth has had a crush on him for years. He's never noticed her. And then when they are in AP English, her paper gets read out loud and Salva gets a D. Suddenly Slava is noticing her. He convinces her to tutor him. But Beth is worried she's set herself up for failure. She's not even sure Slava will notice her as more than a friend, and then when tragedy strikes, it's up to her to save him. But what makes her think that she's enough to save him?

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Let me start out by saying, I love Anne Osterlund. I've read every single one of her books and every single one of her blog posts. 

Basically, I think this author's writing is exceptional. This book was no exception. It wasn't like I expected it would be. In fact, it was very different than I expected, but I still loved it.

Beth and Salva were interesting characters. Even though, I'm not very similar to either one of them, I still loved learning more about their characters. This book dealt with issues of race and racial prejudice, dealing with crappy family situations, and finding your own dreams and reaching for those. 

All of those themes made this book a memorable read for me. I love when books have a deeper underlying message and this book fits that bill.

Anne Osterlund's writing was beautifully crafted, but really that isn't surprising. I've already said I love her writing.

I guess I just loved this story because the characters seemed so realistic, the plot was entertaining, and it had a deeper underlining message. Basically, it had everything I like in a good book. 

So why 4 stars? This one was tough to rate. I loved it. I loved the characters, the plot, and the writing. However, I felt like Anne Osterlund developed such a great world with such conflicts and real problems and then the ending just felt slightly rushed. I would have liked to have seen it more drawn out. 

There was just so much build-up and then it kind of ended. Don't get me wrong, I loved the book and the ending was great. It just needed to be better to earn a 5. 

In Summary: Anne Osterlund's book is incredibly written. Fans of Simon Elkeles, Sara Zarr, and retellings of Romeo and Juliet will adore this book. Osterlund is a master at characterization and that shines through. 

The Wrap-up: I loved this book. It was beautifully written and Anne is one of my favorite authors. If you love realistic contemporary novels, then I recommend this one for you. 

Love, Danica Page

Up Next: A Hope Undaunted (Winds of Change, #1) by Julie Lessman

Book Review: A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

A Passion Denied
(Daughters of Boston, #3)
by Julie Lessman
Adult Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: May 1, 2009
Published by: Fleming H. Revell Company
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.25
Pages: 475

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

Young Elizabeth O'Connor is the little sister John Brady always longed for. But she wants much more than that from her spiritual mentor. As she blossoms into a beautiful young woman intent on loving John, he must push back the very real attraction he feels for her. His past just won't let him go there. Unfortunately, Lizzie won't let him go anywhere else--until she discovers he is not all that he seems. Can true love survive such revelations? 

Full of the romance and relationships Lessman readers have come to love, "A Passion Denied" is the final book in the popular Daughters of Boston series.

My Rating:  5 out of 5 stars. 

Overview of Novel: Lizzie is sick of being viewed as John Brady's little sister. She's been in love with him for years. She wants more than friendship, but he refuses to give it to her.

He keeps protesting that she's just like a little sister to him. Lizzie knows differently. John is attracted to her, so why won't he admit it? Lizzie confides in Charity and Faith and they strike up a plan to win his heart. Charity's involves fake crying, kissing, and ploys. Faith's involves lots of prayers. With both of the O'Connor sisters' help, she should be able to win John Brady's heart. Instead, the plan backfires. Determined to save the friendship, Lizzie and John agree to be just friends. 

John refuses to admit he has feelings for Lizzie who he still insists on calling Beth. He has things in his past that make him feel incapable of loving Lizzie. He won't bring Lizzie down with him. He insists that she view him as just a friend. Now he only needs to view her as the same way.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Whenever I love a story in a series, I always fear that I won't love the rest in the series. I shouldn't have worried. Julie Lessman is a master at writing. I loved Lizzie from the beginning and I had already fallen in love with John Brady in the previous series.

Lizzie was more like Faith than Charity and yet she was full of her own personality. I loved how Lessman did that. Each one of her characters was full of life and had a definite personality that belonged to them and them alone.

I don't know who I liked more, Faith or Lizzie. They were both such strong characters who had a strong moral code; however, they both had struggles to overcome. 

The relationship between John and Lizzie was interesting to watch. It left me frustrated the entire time. Clearly these characters were meant to be together, and yet they were so stupid. It was actually quite frustrating.

Julie is a master at character development. All of her novels are quite long and yet they never feel that way. I flew through every single one of her books. 

So why 5 stars? Because I absolutely loved the story. It sucked me in from page one and left me reeling once I finished it. Julie's stories are definitely infused with passion like I mentioned earlier, but that passion is always dealt with in an appropriate way. I loved that. Julie also has such compelling plots. When I'm reading these books, I'm never able to think of anything else.

In Summary: A beautiful read that you shouldn't read unless you have a lot of time on your hands because once you start it you won't be able to put it down. Julie Lessman is a master at writing and has quickly solidified herself into the position of one of my favorite authors of all time. 

Side-notes: Julie's books are passionate. She's talking about people who are very much in love, but she never crosses the line. I actually loved how passionate her books were because they were clean and talked about these matters in an appropriate way. Her book isn't edgy and her message about dealing with this passion is very appropriate and clean. 

The Wrap-up: Julie Lessman is incredible. It's getting hard to write individual reviews for all of her novels because I love all of them and keep wanting to make similar comments on all of them.

The point is that this series was incredible and is easily one of my favorites. It's been awhile since I've read a non-suspense book that I have enjoyed this much. Go out and read this book!

Love, Danica Page

Up Next: Salvation by Anne Osterlund
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