Originally, I wanted to start this blog as a way to challenge myself to read more classic books and meaningful literature. After looking at lists like “99 Classic Books Challenge“, “50 Books To Read Before You Die” and “Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime“, I realized, much to my embarrassment, that I have read very few. (Shame! Shame!) Read More
Title: The Voice
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Release Date: January 29th, 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
**WINNER in the 2014 SAN DIEGO BOOK AWARDS, BEST YA NOVEL
**FINALIST in the 2014 NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARDS.
During her abduction and assault, Audrey begins to hear a voice. She hopes she’s not going crazy, because after what she’s experienced, that’s the most logical explanation. However, as she begins to listen to the voice, Audrey realizes that someone may be telepathically trying to help her.
Unfortunately, rescue isn’t all she needs. In order to leave behind the constant reminders, she flees to her Aunt Kate’s house in San Diego, and assumes a new identity. It works until the eighteen-year-old twin boys who live next door threaten to break through the protective walls she’s worked so hard to build.
Between Caleb going out of his way to befriend her and Justin avoiding her at all costs, Audrey doesn’t know if normalcy will ever find her again. But one thing is certain: When a familiar danger resurfaces, it’s the same voice that she turns to — a voice that is not only real, but a lot closer than she realizes.
Gripping and tastefully told, The Voice is a story of healing, trust, and courage
My phone glitched last night and my touch screen didn’t work. I normally read on my phone and since that wasn’t an option, my insomniac-self grabbed an easy read off the shelf. I will disclose this from the start-I read The Voice for the first time, about two years ago. It became my favorite stand-alone book back then….and after reading it again last night, it still remains my favorite today. I know Audrey and I review a lot of Jennifer Anne Davis’ books, but her books are amazing. What can I say? She is one of our favorite authors.
One of the reasons I find the works by Jennifer Anne Davis so appealing is because she writes with clarity, excitement, drama, expression, romance….and yet she manages to stay within the lines of not crossing over to inappropriate. I believe, this was an exceptionally difficult task while writing The Voice. The protagonist in this story is also named Audrey, I won’t deny that could have endeared her just a little more to my heart. Fortunately, the story is full of drama, heart wrenching drama that is even more traumatic because it is so believable. Despite including a touch of psychic flair, the story is captivating and feels like it could totally happen. (Please, no, though)
The Audrey in the book feels like a real person. Her thoughts, actions, emotions, and even her family are all plausible and feel normal. After her rescue from being abused and terrorized, Audrey is crippled with fear in everyday situations. Her reactions and thought processes seem conceivable. As a mom, I hope I NEVER have to truly know how I would react if my Audrey suffered the anguish the story’s Audrey endured. I do hope that I would be more sensitive on how my actions would affect my daughter. At times, I felt frustrated with Audrey’s mother and frankly her whole family in the story. It’s hard to fault them too much however, loving your child and wanting to help them recover and not exactly knowing how to make that happen would be painfully awful (I think that is putting it mildly)
Audrey’s Aunt, Kate Brown, is one of my favorite characters in this book. **On a side note-Kate made #2 on my list of “Impressive Literary Parents/Guardians” Codex, posted August 4, 2017-Please check it out 🙂** Aunt Kate encourages Audrey in a way parents can’t always have their intentions heard. She is a sweet lady, also dealing with her own personal life struggles, but she manages to help provide a haven for Audrey where she can begin to heal. Audrey’s recovery is also directly linked to Kate’s two unique and special neighbors. The relationships Audrey develops with these two teenage guys allows Audrey to learn to accept herself as a person again, not just damaged leftovers. The two brothers who are abnormally sensitive to Audrey’s tendencies, moods and emotions are more than just supportive of her and end up rescuing her from varying situations.
This book contains some heavy situations. As I said before, Jennifer Anne Davis delivers us a compelling story including said heavy situations with tact. I am admittedly a sap so it should be no surprise that this book, one of my favorites, elicits tears from me each time I have read it. I highly recommend reading it.
Title: Blue Comes Through
Genre: Romance, Adult
Escaping an abusive relationship, Maddie has run to Cornwall. She’s starting over, with her young son Will and has covered her tracks to ensure she can’t be found.
Maddie very quickly meets Finn, gorgeous, laid back, surf obsessed, the ultimate good time guy.
The attraction is instant, but as far as Maddie is concerned, the absolute last thing she needs.
Can Finn conquer her fears and convince her to trust him?
When Maddie discovers Finn has secrets of his own – will their pasts ultimately destroy their chance of happiness?
I personally related to Maddie Blue in her thought processes, her OCD need to organize, her emotions, her mindset on being a mother protecting her son and her overall circumstance. Maddie over thinks everything! She is constantly second guessing her actions because she analyzes and re-analyzes her interpretation of others’ actions, reactions and their comments. I understand the complications and delayed processing time from this redundant reasoning. I have first hand understanding of conceiving a baby boy with someone in an unhealthy relationship. Fortunately, the relationship with my baby boy’s biological father didn’t have the extreme level of physical abuse poor Maddie endured but, it was unstable and toxic nonetheless. My “Finn”, who is still my awesome husband 23 years later, loved and embraced not only me but also my baby boy. If you have read my reviews before, you know I am a sap and a sucker for happy endings. *Disclaimer* this book may fall right in line with a pictured Happy Ending.
This story is in the Adult genre and not Young Adult and it does contain some explicit scenes. I feel the author, LouiseLLawrence, scripted this tale, including the more graphic and sexual scenes with sensitivity. Her authentic illustration of the abuse Maddie suffers at the hands of her son’s father is chilling. Maddie’s story begins while this young lady is right in the thick of dealing with dangerous abuse in a noxious relationship. Focusing on all of the details written to explain Maddie’s physical and emotional reactions while being brutalized made me sincerely hope the author hasn’t personally experienced it herself.
As a mom, I appreciated Maddie’s constant awareness of her son. Her primary concern is for her Little Will’s safety and well being. She sacrifices her own welfare over and over again to ensure her baby is safe and unaffected, as much as possible anyway. Often times when reading other stories from a mother’s point of view, I find myself getting annoyed and frustrated at how clueless some mothers are regarding their own children. Sadly, in real life there are many of these pathetic excuses for parents, but when I’m reading a story and I am supposed to respect and connect with the maternal figure, I need her to put her kid(s) first! Throughout the entire book, Maddie demonstrates what I consider to be logical thinking of a good mom…for example, she remembers to bring the appropriate baby essentials, bottle, diaper (nappy), change of clothes, even his favorite stuffed ‘Dog’. I appreciate the author included practical details of everyday life, like pushing the stroller one handed because your little munchkin wants to ‘walk’ or remembering to wash his little face and hands after a messy snack and striving to keep the language clean around her very impressionable sponge.
Leaving her abuser is just the first major milestone Maddie has to overcome. There are other interesting hurdles and some fantastic characters Maddie encounters along her journey of healing and recovery. I laughed out loud several times at the banter between the newly formed friends. As Maddie heals and matures through the story, she blossoms, emerging as a strong, independent, healthy, and beautiful lady who is now equipped to be the best version of herself.
I enjoyed this book. The characters felt genuine. The situations felt sometimes too real. The path Maddie navigates is truly a journey worth following.
Title: The Bad Boy’s Girl
Author: Blair Holden / JessGirl93
Series: Bad Boy Series #1
Status: Published April 12, 2017
Parts: 55 Pages: 395
Genre: Romance, Young Adult
Tessa O’Connell is a girl as ordinary as they come-or so she thinks. Her aim for senior year is to keep her head down yet somehow manage to convince her childhood love Jay Stone to love her back. What she isn’t prepared for is for Jay’s brother, Cole to return to town and change the life she’s always been seemingly content to live. Tall, gorgeous as all hell and a bad boy with ocean blue eyes and the perfect edge of adorability, he was her greatest tormentor, her number one enemy. But the guy that’s come back is like no one Tessa’s ever come across. He challenges her, he tests her limits, he forces her to bring out the girl she’s long ago buried under a veil of mediocrity and most of all he compels her to consider that perhaps the boy that infuriates her to the point of no return might just her guardian angel.
For me, this is one of the most daunting ‘Concealed Crowns’ books that I am undertaking reviewing. Not only has this series been dear to my heart, but it has been in my heart for a long time now, (revealing it seems odd). I don’t tell many people to read this book, not because it doesn’t warrant it, because trust me, it does. I don’t tell people about it because if they don’t like it I think I will take it a bit personally. Obviously, as the author, Blair Holden will always have a stronger connection than I can ever have to this story, that is what happens when you put your whole soul into a book series while writing it, and that is exactly what she did. The amount of personality and life she put into this book is probably the reason why I love it as much as I do.
Tessa O’Connell is an accurate representation of a teenage girl, she hold flaws and also great redeeming qualities that can only be shaped through her experiences that are so crucial to this story. We all make mistakes and find ourselves enticed by the things we know deep down we cannot have. The way Tessa responds to the obstacles in her life shows how human these fictional characters have the potential of being. Often, I find myself annoyed with how, either flawed or perfect characters are in books. Things in life are not black and white, they often have many different angels to look from, and this book addresses that. Even though for some, characters in the book like Cole Stone seem too good to be true, for others he is the guy we all strive to find in life.
Although sometimes annoying and rash, when you take a step back, you are able to see why and how they reacted to the choices the characters made. Honestly, none of us can know how we would react in these situations, no matter how much we believe that we do. Until it comes to the point of fight or flight, we can never truly know what we will do. Tessa is the definition of unexpected choices and dealing with the obstacles life provides.
The Bad Boy’s Girl is first and foremost, a romance book. With the main journey being that of Cole’s and Tessa’s love, it doesn’t hold back the other story that progresses at the same time. This other story being the journey of maturity and realizing who you want to be, and how you are going to be that.
This book has been, and probably will stay one of my favorite books. I really urge you to buy it and read this journey that is laid out before you. It is truly remarkable what the soul of a writer can produce when it is nourished enough to do it.
Title: Conquering Fate
Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Series: Order of the Krigers (Book 3)
Release Date: September 14, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
With no choice but to face her destiny straight on, Kaia is determined to end the curse—no matter the personal cost. Sacrificing her own wants and desires, she turns herself over to the evil king, Morlet. Together, they seek to discover the catalyst for the events that started it all over a hundred years ago.
The path she embarks on tests her skills, her willpower, and her heart. Facing the darkest truth inside of her, she makes a choice that not only has unspeakable consequences, but also changes her life and the future of the kingdom forever.
A reoccurring theme from book 2 that carries throughout the series; While enduring each hardship, Kaia must remind herself the reason she continues with these burdens. Her purpose becoming a manta inside her own head. She will choose to save the people of Nelebek. She will choose do her part to end this curse for the people of Nelebek. She will choose to fulfill her promise to her dying father, complete her tasks and save the Kingdom of Nelebek. She will choose to complete each segment required of her to end the curse and save Nelebek. She will choose to do what is needed to complete the cycle involving her family to end the curse over Nelebek. She will continuously choose to sacrifice her own wants and desires in order to achieve the final objective…End this curse and end the suffering of the people of Nelebek.
Kaia’s responsibilities only increase as time goes on. Her burdens become immense as more and more details regarding the curse are revealed. Kaia is unnaturally strong in mind, body and spirit, especially for a 16 year old! It becomes clear, only a very unique, specific lady descended from her family line could possibly fulfill all of these objectives in her central position to end the curse over Nelebek. I couldn’t help but feel sad for this young lady who grew up oppressed and poverty stricken. For her entire life, she could only rely on her father and their dismal apartment for consistency. After the quest to end the curse over Nelebek is thrust upon Kaia, she forges many new connections with the other Krigers, an assassin, royal brothers, estranged family, heks and even the people of Nelebek as a whole. Kaia’s fate will cruelly force her to choose which of these connections to destroy in her crusade to end the curse.
Kaia is the only one who sees the two warring sides within Mortlet. The evil side who was created by dark Heks magic that was transferred to his body at the inception of the curse. This is the dark side that takes over the king turning him into the merciless Mortlet. Then there are select times when she sees a light of hope, a direct opposition to the wickedness buried inside him. She comes to know and eventually love this human side of the king as Espen. A human raised to rule Nelebek, Espen was supposed to take over for his father as king in royal succession. Espen is the tortured soul entombed inside the king, now only recognizable as the powerful, cruel and evil, Mortlet. The complicated circumstances and her conflicting feelings make it so important that Kaia remain steadfast in her conviction to defeat the curse.
Kaia concentrates much of her inner dialogue analyzing every detail of the curse and past events not only to determine her role to end this curse, but also everyone else’s too. In part because she is so young and in part because she was shielded from certain truths throughout her upbringing, Kaia is naive and innocent and guided by an ingrained sense of good. Her resolution is relentlessly tested over and over again. Kaia stays true to her good-hearted character throughout the entire book series. She feels empathy and compassion for everyone and everything, including the heks who are the key to harnessing her good magic as well as the purely evil magic consuming Mortlet.
Title: Holding Onto You
Series: Spin off – “A Song for You”
Genre: Romance, Young Adult
When Helena finds a phone on the night train, she decides to text the first number in the list of contacts in order to figure out who it belongs to.
The concept for this story is endearing and fun! The author, Unsinkableships did an excellent job of illustrating their introduction and then the development of the relationship between Helena and Adam. Their snarky thread of banter is intriguing for each protagonist as well as for me, the reader. The quick and easy connection that forms between Helena and Adam seems to take each of them off guard. Developing this relationship through continued texting conversations was an original way for not only the characters to get to know each other, but it also affords the reading audience the opportunity to form a connection with each of these characters.
Helena and Adam continue living their busy lives, however what starts from sassy and flirty banter morphs into a genuine friendship. Trust builds between these two and they each unexpectedly find in the other a reliable confidant. Their lives are worlds apart and yet they are still able to genuinely care about one another, more than each is willing to admit, especially to themselves.
I enjoyed their messages of light hearted banter with each other. There was a sense of freedom for Helena and Adam hiding behind the veil of texting much more so in the beginning when they first ‘meet’. As knowledge about each other becomes known, constraints that can plague traditional relationships also come into play.
This story is a true illustration of being attracted to a person’s “insides” before beauty on the outside. Although cliche’ and a super bonus for our leading characters, Helena and Adam discover the other is basically a model… no literally…the cast list that the author chose for Helena and Adam are actually models in real life… It’s probably the most unrealistic part of the whole story’s concept that both of these people who turn out to be loyal, trustworthy, hardworking, honest, self-sacrificing, smart, and then also turn out to be equally beautiful on the outside as well.
This story is an entertaining read. It’s not void of substance however, and incorporates some pretty heavy concepts like death and abuse while dealing with life issues and massive responsibility before you are ready. I enjoyed this story and the characters and mostly their text chats. Each character grows along with their budding relationship.
Wendy’s Rating: 4/6
Title: The Haunting of Hill House
Author: Shirley Jackson
Release Date: 1959
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Supernatural,
First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.
The book that paved the way for all other supernatural books. The Haunting of Hill House is a book that has created widespread influence and is easily seen as a classic novel. Since I have not read many supernatural or thriller books, this was a very exciting experience for me.
First encountering the four main characters, I was very skeptical of Dr. Montague. I did not expect to like him as he was arrogant and presented himself as if he was better than others. Though, once the book got underway, I found that he was the only sane one when the others seemed unstable. He was a much needed anchor throughout the book, and actually ended up being one of my favorites.
When it came to the other characters, well, I underwent a love-hate relationship with them. In the beginning, Eleanor was a girl who had experienced too many people walking over her, but as things are revealed, the bit of innocence this lady possessed, seemed to dwindle. The same thing happened with Theodora. I believed her to be an eccentric and dramatic girl, but as the story unfolded, I found myself questioning my first impressions and why I had believed them to be true. I guess this is a common theme of the book as you question every action, and every word and thought that erupts from these characters.
I enjoyed this book, I feel that it has set a good standard that other similar books should follow. It laid out a plot that was easy to follow, yet made you second guess what you were reading, and why. This brought the story and its characters to life, producing an impactful ending that could only be manifested by a supernatural thriller.
Title: On My Block
First Aired: March 16, 2018 – Season One
A coming-of-age comedy about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles.
After getting a recommendation from my friend, I quickly tuned into this new release Netflix Original. I cannot say that I was hooked instantly. In fact, even after the first episode, I was still skeptical to see the great things that my friend endorsed. However, I know that you need to give any show more than one episode for the story to develop, so I did what any self-acclaimed binge-watcher would do, watch the next seven episodes (I would have watched more if I had enough time that day).
By episode number two, I was hooked. Not only was Monse a killer leading female character, but with the addition of Ruby, Jamal, and Caesar, I could not help but find myself laughing out loud. With one-liners pulled by Jamal, and Ruby consistently posing as the desperately loyal best friend, one cannot help but love the cast. Caesar’s story is the heart of the show, for better or for worse, and fuels every action that ends up benefiting this teenage family. So, with that being said, loving Caesar is a part of the journey.
Every episode adds another dynamic to the show. By either introducing something that is detrimental to the group, or something as trivial as a high school dance, the show continues to go up a level with every episode that passes. This creates a climatic, and hilarious show that stereotypes the high school experience, and fortunately, in a tasteful way.
The only thing that I would critique negatively about the show is its ten episode cap. In a series that amps up the danger and the risks and the rewards every episode, by the time the tenth comes, everything ends abruptly with a bang. Literally. I was left wanting more.
I couldn’t search fast enough to see if and when season two is coming. Luckily, season two has been confirmed, and we will actually get to see what will come to be after that agonizingly amazing season finale.