Review: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

23277959Title: Until We Meet Again

Author: Renee Collins

Publishing Information:  November 3rd 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Time travel, romance, science fiction

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 322 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss

Recommended For: Readers looking for a romantic, easy read with a swoony male and bittersweet ending

The gist here is that Cassandra is staying with her family in a beach house that was inhabited by Lawrence and his family in 1925. The issue, of course, is that Cassandra does not live in 1925 and by some form of magic they are able to travel through time and meet on the beach behind the house. Cassandra does some sleuthing and finds out some information that insinuates that Lawrence’s life may be in jeopardy. The two are faced with wondering if they should save his life and therefore alter time (we’ve all heard this before, eh?) and of course inevitably, they fall in love.

I had a hard time with Cassandra, she was moody and pretty dramatic. I suppose that she fit into that “moody teenager” stereotype but I had a few moments where I was feeling a bit old reading her parts. I really enjoyed how her parents were present, the story felt much more real with the inclusion of the “normal” family dynamics that were presented. Lawrence has his own drama, and the two connect in a really sweet way. I would have appreciated a bit more from the secondary characters, I definitely think that it would have fleshed out the novel a bit more.

As I am revisiting my thoughts on Until We Meet Again, I am reminded of how while reading I kept thinking how nothing was really happening, but I was still invested in the story. I am unsure if this is a good or bad thing, to be honest, but despite the admittedly slow parts I still couldn’t put this novel down. The ending was bittersweet. I wish things played out differently, but can’t see how they feasibly could have. I will say that despite the insta-love factor between these two, I totally fell for their romance and enjoyed the novel overall.

Shelf Talker: After finishing, I wasn’t sure how to feel. I loved this book but kept reading it with this thought of impending doom. Admittedly, not much happened throughout, yet I couldn’t tear myself away. I liked the characters, especially Lawrence (swoon) and major props for no invisible parents! This one is definitely recommended for someone looking to fall into a love story and get lost for a while.

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Review: The Uninvited by Cat Winters

Title: The Uninvited

Author: Cat Winters

Publishing Information:  August 11, 2015 by William Morrow

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, Fantasy, Horror

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 343 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC for review via the publisher

Recommended For: Fans of historical fiction with paranormal elements, strong heroines, and those of you looking for some swoony feels

Related Reviews: Review of In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

Twenty-five year old Ivy Rowan rises from her bed after being struck by the flu, only to discover the world has been torn apart in just a few short days. But Ivy’s life-long gift—or curse—remains. For she sees the uninvited ones—ghosts of loved ones who appear to her, unasked, unwelcomed, for they always herald impending death. On that October evening in 1918 she sees the spirit of her grandmother, rocking in her mother’s chair. An hour later, she learns her younger brother and father have killed a young German out of retaliation for the death of Ivy’s older brother Billy in the Great War.

Horrified, she leaves home, to discover the flu has caused utter panic and the rules governing society have broken down. Ivy is drawn into this new world of jazz, passion, and freedom, where people live for the day, because they could be stricken by nightfall. But as her ‘uninvited guests’ begin to appear to her more often, she knows her life will be torn apart once more, but Ivy has no inkling of the other-worldly revelations about to unfold.

We follow Ivy as she leaves her childhood home behind. She does her best to move on from the violence and guilt that her family brings. As Ivy leaves home, she walks by the store in which her father and brother committed a horrible act of violence and finds Daniel Schendel down on the floor, doing his best to remove the blood from his floorboards. Ivy does her best to push into Daniel’s life and provide him with some sort of solace to replace the guilt that she feels from her family’s crime. Over time, the two are able to build something beautiful despite the horror that is right outside their door.

“I know he’s in mourning and a tragic figure, which I’m sure melts your poetry-loving heart.”

This novel broke my heart in the very best way. Like other novels by Cat Winters, Ivy is living in a rather difficult time for women. Therefore the growth of her character was truly amazing to watch. Her strength shone through the terror and ugliness of the time in which she is living, I especially liked her role in driving an ambulance for the Red Cross. Daniel grows in his own way as well, and learns to trust that not everyone is as hateful and close-minded as those he had come in contact with prior to meeting Ivy. The secondary characters have their own layered and interesting personalities and I found that I really cared about each one.
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On the Same Page: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publishing Information:  May 12, 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling

Series Information: Book one in the Wrath and the Dawn duet

Format: Hardcover, 388 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss *all quotes based on an unfinished copy

Recommended For: Readers looking for something that feels familiar but is wholly different, and anyone needing a multitude of swoons

Related Reviews: My review, Amy’s Pinterest board and Brittany’s review

Hi friends! I am sure that by now you have already read my RAVE REVIEW of The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. Well, I loved this novel so much that I was highlighting so many quotes while reading. As you know, quotes are my favorite! So I am dedicating this On the Same Page post to the best quotes of the novel. Also? I preordered The Wrath and the Dawn. I never preorder books!! So go read Amy’s post, and Brittany’s post and then go preorder this book immediately because it was definitely the best debut that I have read this year! So, without further ado, the quotes!

Shazi to the wolves

“So you would have me throw Shazi to the wolves?”
“Shazi?” Jalal’s grin widened. “Honestly, I pity the wolves.”

beautiful laugh Continue reading

Bard on the Blogs: Guest Post by Emma from Miss Print

Bard

Hello there, friends! Today, we have Emma from Miss Print chatting all about one of my favorite sonnets by William Shakespeare, Sonnet 130! After you are done reading, head on over to check out Emma’s blog and Twitter and head over to a Rafflecopter giveaway and enter for a chance to win a Shakespeare retelling of your choice!

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you hear the name William Shakespeare?

For me, the immediate answer is “poet.”

Considering the iambic pentameter of his plays, it makes sense that Shakespeare was also a brilliant

poet who wrote 154 sonnets

over the course of his lifetime. In each sonnet, he drew out beautiful imagery and sentiments from the

rigid form that follows a specific line structure and rhyme scheme.

One of my favorite Shakespeare sonnets, one I refer to often when trying to improve my own writing, is

Sonnet 130.

Sonnet CXXX

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red, than her lips red:

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound:

I grant I never saw a goddess go,

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:

And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,

As any she belied with false compare.

Like the best poems, Sonnet 130 is layered. Instead of showering his mistress with false comparisons,

the narrator suggests that he loves her all the more fiercely for seeing her clearly–a beautiful thought

that is as relevant today as it would have been in Shakespeare’s own lifetime.

The interplay between what is overtly stated and what is left unsaid here works as a primer for how to

write and how to do it well. This sonnet never calls the subject of the poem beautiful or any other

niceties. Still, by the end, it’s impossible to think the narrator feels anything but a deep love for the

subject.

Sonnet 130 challenges everything readers think they know about love poems–and it does so with

humor. Being a sonnet is impressive enough, but also being funny and conversational? Being timely and

relevant while being more than four hundred years old? Astonishing.

Like a magician diverting the audience’s attention, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 is a misdirect of sorts as he

uses simple language and plain ideas to give voice to an abstract concept. And, really, isn’t that the

standard to which every poem, not to mention every writer, should strive?

Review: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Publishing Information:  May 12, 2015 by Putnam Juvenile

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings

Series Information: The first in The Wrath and the Dawn duet

Format: Hardcover, 388 pages

Source: Received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss *review and quotes based on an unfinished copy

Recommended For: Readers looking for something that feels familiar but is wholly different, and anyone needing a multitude of swoons

A sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights

Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

There is so much to say, and yet I don’t think that I have enough words to convey how much I absolutely adored The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I honestly don’t know where to start…

Let’s start with all of the things that The Wrath and the Dawn could have done. It could have given the readers a love triangle to frustrate the most easy going reader. It could have provided us with a strong heroine who suddenly shifts in character and falls apart due to a man. We could have been given women who hate each other due to their beauty, or jealousy. Honestly, this novel could have fallen into every trope imaginable, and somehow the author managed to move past these boundaries and therefore succeed in writing one of the best debuts that I have ever read.

Instead, Renee Ahdieh wrote a novel that encompasses love after it has grown and become something real, between two characters who grow and learn with one another. Characters who only lose themselves in the moment, still maintaining their sense of self and strength while learning to allow another past the walls around their hearts. The slow burn love story in The Wrath and the Dawn is admittedly the best part of the novel. It is the core of the novel, weaving through every page, yet it doesn’t take away from the underlying plot, the question of why Shazi is there in the first place and the struggle that Khalid has every waking moment.

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.

“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.

“No.” His hands dropped to her waist, “Destroy me.”

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Review: The Bridei Chronicles by Juliet Marillier

Hi friends! Whew it feels like it has been forever since I have brought you reviews but if I am being honest, I have barely even had time to read! I have, however, had time to listen to ALL THE AUDIOBOOKS!! Well, “all” really covers too wide of a range as in actuality I started some pretty awesome but LONG series on audiobook and have been devouring them for months. Let’s take a looksie..!

Oh these books. These books were just wonderful. I can’t lie, I was a little wary to branch out into another Marillier series seeing as my love for her Sevenwaters series knows no bounds. I took the plunge, and did so in the form of the audiobook read by Michael Page and in doing so, found myself a new favorite narrator! Don’t you just love it when that happens?! I would highly recommend this series for fans of Marillier, strong female leads, brooding heroes, slow burn romances between the two and hints of political intrigue…

Title: The Dark Mirror

Author: Juliet Marillier

Narrator: Michael Page

Publishing Information:  March 6, 2004 by Tor

Genre: Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance

Series Information: Book one in The Bridei Chronicles (was a planned 5 book series that turned into a trilogy)

Format: Hardcover, 512 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library (in hardcover AND audiobooks!)

Recommended For: Fans of epic fantasies, slow burn romances, and historical fiction

The Dark Mirror was one of those books that broke my heart a little bit, the relationship between Bridei and Tuala is very sweet and I loved the strength shown from both of them. Each has to deal with their own struggles, but it was the struggle that Tuala faced that really felt heart wrenching to me. I liked how The Dark Mirror set the tone for the rest of the series, though the next two books branch off, they always come back to the backbone that is Bridei’s kingdom, and the relationship between he and Tuala. If I am being honest, though I did enjoy book one in this trilogy, I did not LOVE it and it was the promise of better things to come that had me continuing on with the series. The relationship between Bridei and Tuala was very sweet, but it was the secondary characters that really piqued my interest. Had I not known that the next two books would be focusing on Faolan (hubba, hubba) I am not sure that I would have been as excited to continue on.

“Tales within tales. Dreams within dreams. Pattern on pattern and path beyond path. For such short-lived folks, the human kind seem determined to make things as complicated as possible for themselves.” Continue reading

Love-A-Thon: Mini-challenge #3: One Can Only Quote

Hello there! I hope that you all have been following the #LoveAThon hashtag on twitter and checking out Alexa’s post so that you can see the bloggers participating and keep up with everyone’s posts! For this challenge we are sharing quotes about love and friendship, so I thought that I would sharing a few pictures that I have made for the blog and Instagram showcasing some of my favorite quotes!

IMG_1561

“Watch that boy,” she said. “You’re stronger in many ways, but that doesn’t mean he can’t take you apart.” from Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

nightcircus

“I have tried to let you go and I cannot. I cannot stop thinking of you. I cannot stop dreaming about you.” From The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

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On the Same Page: Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick

Title: Midwinterblood

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Publishing Information:  October 6, 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 272 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of books that make you think, and love that moves beyond time.

Related Reviews: Amy’s post on the many moons of Midwinterblood, and Brittany’s review

Have you ever had the feeling that you’ve lived another life? Been somewhere that has felt totally familiar, even though you’ve never been there before, or felt that you know someone well, even though you are meeting them for the first time? It happens. In 2073 on the remote and secretive island of Blessed, where rumor has it that no one ages and no children are born, a visiting journalist, Eric Seven, and a young local woman known as Merle are ritually slain. Their deaths echo a moment ten centuries before, when, in the dark of the moon, a king was slain, tragically torn from his queen. Their souls search to be reunited, and as mother and son, artist and child, forbidden lovers, victims of a vampire they come close to finding what they’ve lost. In a novel comprising seven parts, each influenced by a moon – the flower moon, the harvest moon, the hunter’s moon, the blood moon – this is the story of Eric and Merle whose souls have been searching for each other since their untimely parting.

“It’s not even as if she is beautiful, not in the way people usually mean. She’s more than pretty, that’s what he can say, but it’s not that that has caught him. It is simply her face, her eyes. The moment he saw them something clicked. He suddenly realized what it was. He recognized her face. As if seeing an old friend, long forgotten…”

Okay, so you read the blurb right? You get the gist? Two people are slain and it echoes multiple lives they have lived together, moments where they keep finding and losing one another as time passes…deep stuff. This was a hard book for me to read for many reasons, almost all of them personal, but I read it and honestly am not sure that I can put into words how deeply it affected me. As you know we Gals on the Same Page write non-traditional reviews for this feature, but what I am going to do is try and put into words why this book affected me on such a personal level. We are about to get a little personal!

First, it is imperative to let you know that a few years ago someone close to me was murdered. As you can imagine this sort of thing affects you for the rest of your life, it is something that absolutely changes the way you view the world and there isn’t a day that goes by that it doesn’t affect me in some way. Second, I should explain to you that I am not a religious person. This is an understatement, believe me, but I believe “to each their own,” and therefore won’t get into my reasons or debates. Well it is no question that when my friend was killed I quickly spiraled down into a very dark place, I obsessed over the trial and hate and pain consumed me and I found it hard to even be around other people. One day I was at work making a cup of coffee and I just couldn’t stop thinking about the trial and about my friend. I hadn’t told anyone what had happened at work but my co-worker came into the break room, looked up at me and said, “Alyssa, Matt wants you to stop reading the articles, you are going to be stuck in the dark.” I felt like the world came crashing down in the at moment all over again. I just started sobbing and somehow managed to ask her “how” and “why” she was doing this to me. To make a long story short, this woman was a Psychic Medium who specialized in past life experiences. I know some of you are probably going to stop reading here due to disbelief and bias, and that is totally fine, this is a no judgment zone. I am not going to get into details about what this woman told me, except that I will tell you that she said we have traveled many lifetimes together, each time missing the mark where we can be together, each time he was lost to tragedy in order to move us forward toward an unknown goal. I am not going to explain to you how she helped me bridge a gap that I so desperately needed and how she gave me something to believe in again. I am just going to tell you that it forever changed me, and though I may not believe 100% in anything, I believe that anything is possible and I believe that everything happens for a reason. Continue reading

On the Same Page: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Title: The Goose Girl

Author: Shannon Hale

Publishing Information:  May 13th 2005 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retelling, Adventure

Series Information: First in The Books of Bayern series

Format: Hardcover, 400 pages

Source: Gifted for my personal library from Amy

Recommended For: Fans of Jessica Day George, Patricia C. Wrede, strong heroines, and sweet romances

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Review and Amy’s Post on Quotes

Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt’s guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny during Ani’s journey to be married in a foreign land, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her.

Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny. Shannon Hale has woven an incredible, original and magical tale of a girl who must find her own unusual talents before she can become queen of the people she has made her own.

This was Amy’s choice for our On the Same Page feature, and a few years ago she even bought it for me (before we were best friends) when she had me for Secret Santa! So it is no question that she LOVES this book, and therefore I knew that I would love it as well. Well, friends, love it I did. I adored Ani and her strength, but I also loved that she was unsure about herself and her abilities. She was very real to me, and I love it when that happens. I could honestly go on and on about this book, but as we try and change it up for our On the Same Page posts I thought I would share a read alike guide with you instead of a traditional review!

So, if you liked The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, try…

 

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George – While it may sound that this is just another dragon inspired fairy tale employing all of the familiar themes, I promise that it is more involved than that, and though reminiscent of other tales it is uniquely sweet and promising. This novel comes highly recommended for those of you looking for a sweet story about a girl, her dragon, and their successful attempts to save a kingdom.

 

 

Entwined by Heather Dixon – This story follows Azalea and her sisters, they live with their mother and father and their favorite thing in the world is to dance. Unfortunately, their mother dies giving birth to their youngest sister and the palace goes under a period of mourning, in which no dancing is allowed. Azalea finds out some information regarding the secret passages in their castle and they discover a magical wood beyond their castle that contains a dancing glen, taken care of by a man who only goes by the name Keeper. Then, evil comes to the castle and there is an epic battle and all of these love pairings come about in a non-obvious way and it was so sweet and refreshing from the immediate I-have-to-have-you-now that comes in most YA romance novels. Also? I cried. This alone makes me like this book because it was so unexpected. The relationship between the girls and their father is even better than the romantic relationships in the book, which is rare and beautiful.

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Review: Cress and The Lunar Chronicles Novellas by Marissa Meyer

I’m back with some more mini reviews! In case you were wondering if The Lunar Chronicles are worth the hype, they absolutely are! Read on to read my thoughts on the novellas of the series and of course, the newest addition, Cress!


Title:
 Glitches

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publishing Information: December 5th 2011 by Tor

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Series Information: 0.5 in The Lunar Chronicles

Format: ebook, 32 pages

Source: Free on Tor.com

For those of you who are curious about the series and wondering if you can believe all of the hype, or for readers looking for a deeper look into Cinder’s background and her relationship with Iko, definitely give this one a go. It is somewhat bittersweet as we see how hard it was for Cinder to adjust to her new life as part cyborg, but when you continue on with the series, you see that Cinder comes into her own!

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