Reviews: The Scarlet Series – A.C. Gaughen

Reviews: The Scarlet Series – A.C. GaughenScarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #1
Published by Walker Childrens
Published: February 14th 2012
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three-half-stars

Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets - skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood's band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet's biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know...that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.
The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more - making this a fight worth dying for.

Review

I read Scarlet a while ago. I had had it on my TBR shelf for a long time, signed no less, but had never gotten to it. After being strongly urged to do it I did and I really liked it. I had trouble with the dialect originally. It is written in a way that is slightly hard to get comfortable with until you don’t even notice it as the book progresses. I guess what I liked best about Scarlet was actually Scarlet herself. She was such a strong female lead in a men’s world that you can’t help but like her. I didn’t always like her choices and her actions, but I knew what she was trying to do. And I loved her relationship with Rob. The end kind of broke me and although this wasn’t my favorite of the series it made me want to read book 2.

Reviews: The Scarlet Series – A.C. GaughenLady Thief by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #2
Published by Walker Childrens
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four-half-stars

Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.

Review

Lady Thief took me a while to read and it wasn’t because I didn’t want to see what would happen to Rob, Scarlet, John, Much and the townspeople. It was because I was told the ending was a doozy and you would need Lion Heart almost immediately after completion. So I waited and waited and waited. And then I read it and loved it. It was a completely different book than Scarlet. Scarlet was almost this new character in Lady Thief and I loved seeing this layer of her. She had to deal with consequences for something she had done in Scarlet and it opened her eyes to a life she didn’t know what hers, nor did she really want. I loved seeing how things changed between her and Rob and how those changes affected what she did or the choices she made. I also liked knowing more about Scarlet’s background. And that ending! Oh that ending!

Reviews: The Scarlet Series – A.C. GaughenLion Heart by A.C. Gaughen
Series: Scarlet #3
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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five-stars

The eagerly-awaited conclusion to the Scarlet trilogy delivers another action-packed and romance-filled adventure.Scarlet has captured the hearts of readers as well as the heart of Robin Hood, and after ceaseless obstacles and countless threats, readers will finally find out the fate of the Lady Thief.Imprisoned by Prince John for months, Scarlet finds herself a long way from Nottinghamshire. After a daring escape from the Prince's clutches, she learns that King Richard’s life is in jeopardy, and Eleanor of Aquitaine demands a service Scarlet can’t refuse: spy for her and help bring Richard home safe. But fate—and her heart—won’t allow her to stay away from Nottinghamshire for long, and together, Scarlet and Rob must stop Prince John from going through with his dark plans for England. They can not rest until he’s stopped, but will their love be enough to save them once and for all?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

Lion Heart was by far my favorite of the 3 book series. As the plot progressed I thought Gaughen’s story got better and better and culminated in a book that felt pretty perfect, not only as a series ender, but as an exclamation on a great set of books. This book terrified me to read. After what happened in both Scarlet and Lady Thief I was legit afraid what would happen to the people I had grown to know and love. I had a pit in my stomach the whole time and for good reason. But Annie did an excellent job with Lion Heart. She tied up things that needed to be tied up and left some stuff open as it takes on a different historical context. It was utterly fantastic. It crushed my soul but I also loved every minute.

final

In conclusion the series was fantastic. Scarlet was a character that you don’t think has many layers when you meet her and then her story grows and you see she is very complicated and that there is more to her. Each book in the story changes her in some way and it makes her a better person even when it is a hardship or something truly awful that happens to her. And Rob, he and Scarlet together are unstoppable. What am I saying? This is a series you don’t want to miss.

Oh and that dialect that I had trouble with in that beginning? I was speaking it to a friend in the end. It gets into your pores and makes the story authentic feeling.

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Review: Open Road Summer – Emery Lord

Review: Open Road Summer – Emery LordOpen Road Summer by Emery Lord
Published by Walker Childrens
Published: April 15th 2014
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five-stars

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own.
Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.

This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking.

A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Very rarely do I call a book perfection. Even five star reads always have that something that irks me or that I dislike. But, there have been a couple that are pure perfection and I now have one more to add to that list, Open Road Summer. Bluntly put, it was EVERYTHING. It had all the highs and lows of a great contemporary book. I laughed and swooned and cried and felt those deep feels that only a truly great book can make you feel. It was exactly what I look for in a great book and to make matters better, it was a debut novel.

Open Road Summer is a book about friendship, boys and figuring it all out. It’s the story of Reagan(one of my favorite names by the way) and Dee, two girls that have been best friends since they were 8 and who couldn’t be more different. Reagan is the wild child, always getting in trouble while Dee is the professional with a country music contract. With a US summer tour happening for Dee and everything at home falling apart for Reagan the two of them embark on a road trip they won’t soon forget. But when a scandal happens and Matt Finch, a former boy-bander gone solo, joins them, what started out as a drama free girls summer becomes something entirely different. As the girls navigate broken hearts and healing and moving forward they also hold on to the one thing they both know matters most, each other.

I don’t even know where to start my love fest, because let’s face it, that’s what this review is going to be. I guess I’m going to start with the writing because without it you have nothing and Emery Lord gave a whole lot more than nothing. She gave this book everything. She wrote Open Road Summer not like a debut author, but like a seasoned pro. Everything, every single thing gave me the book feels and I’m still stunned by it. There were pages and pages of quotes I want to share but I’m going with just one: ‘I would like to know you for a while.’ That one simple sentence gave my tummy that flutter that I love getting when I read a phenomenal book. Lord has power in her words that made me believe what I was reading like I was a part of it as opposed to just looking in. She wrote pure magic whether she was describing the locations and the scenery or the feelings Reagan was having or the connection Dee and Reagan had.

Actually the relationship of Dee and Reagan was one of my favorite parts of the book. It is very rare in YA for there to be a tight bond between friends. I always find the frienemy is used more often than the friend. As a person that has had some of her closest friends for 25-30 years it has always bothered me. But Lord has fixed that. She wrote a true, real friendship between Reagan and Dee. They were just like all friends. They had each others backs, bickered, laughed, were jealous of one another, and even fought. That’s what friends do. But friends also are there for one another and Dee and Reagan were no different. Their bond was so strong and true and a complete joy to read. Some of my favorite parts of the book were when it was just the two of them being goofy or hanging out with Matt in the tour bus.

Oh and Matt! OMG, Matt Finch! Add another book boyfriend to the list because…SWOON! Seriously is it getting hot in here?!?! The boy is like Etienne St. Clair and Corey Livingston with a hint of Matthew McConaughey all wrapped in one. He had manners and sass and swagger. He was confident and boyish and charming. Basically the perfect package and Reagan’s perfect match. There was something just so right about their banter and Matt in general. GAH, I don’t want to give away too much of his awesomeness, but man is he awesome.

So flat out, I loved Open Road Summer like I haven’t loved a book in a long time. It’s one of those books that transports you to summer days hanging with your best friend. To those feelings you get when you first develop a crush. It comes to life while you are reading it and just gives you all the feels you can barely handle. It’s amazingly written, has great characters and a great plot. Emery Lord has now become an auto buy author for me after reading just one book and I think after you pick this one up you will feel the same. Thank you Reagan, Dee, Matt and Emery, thank you.

Bonus:
I sometimes like to dress the characters in books that I read and I was inspired by Dee and Reagan.

Open Road Summer Reagan/Dee

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Review – Vengeance by Megan Miranda

Review – Vengeance by Megan MirandaVengeance by Megan Miranda
Series: Fracture #2
Published by Walker Childrens
Published: February 4, 2014
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four-stars

Nobody really believes in a curse. Until you know the people who disappear. Too much coincidence, you look for reason. Too much death, you grasp for something to blame. Carson pulled Delaney out and he died on the side of the road with her mouth pressed to his. Her air in his body. Troy. She told the cops it was suicide. Didn't matter. The lake released her and grabbed another. But when Decker's father dies in a pool of spilled water on their kitchen floor, all Decker can feel is a slow burning rage. Because he knows that Delaney knew that his dad was going to die. She knew and backed out of his house and never said a word. Falcon Lake still has a hold on them both, and Decker can't forgive Delaney until he knows why.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A little under two years ago I read a debut book called Fracture by an author by Megan Miranda. The book was interesting and mysterious and had great characters. It was real with a hint of paranormal added to it. It was well written, and it was supposed to be standalone. Well, guess what, it wasn’t. Miranda decided to write a sequel and let me tell you, years later that sequel was a great follow-up to a book that could have honestly stood on its own. It had all the same characteristics as Fracture, but there was something more there too.

Vengeance picked up right where Fracture left off with Delaney and Decker a couple and all trying to move on from the events of the year before. Since being trapped under the ice for 11 minutes Delaney has developed the ability to tell when a person is dying. She sensed Carson dying, knew Troy would die and has been pulled to countless others. Decker has known about this ability to a long time and doesn’t look at her as a freak or as a crazy person. She is just the girl he loves, the girl next door. But when Delaney senses something that changes Decker’s life and doesn’t tell him, everything is blown apart. Now separated from the one he loves and trying to pick up the pieces of his life, other things start to happen to Decker and his friends and Delaney showing that maybe the curse of Fallon Lake is real and it is after anyone that helped saved Delaney’s life that winter day.

Vengeance is 100% a character-driven story because this book, series, would have been nothing without these core group. Decker and Delaney were favorites of mine in Fracture and they were favorites of mine in this book. It was fascinating to get to see inside each of their heads and a smart choice by Miranda to back Vengeance be told from Decker’s POV. I think it was important for this story to be mainly about him as it was his story more than Delaney’s. Decker felt a lot of guilt and fear after he nearly lost his best friend and with the tragedy that falls on him in Vengeance it was away from the guilt and anger and fear to be released. Was it always released at the right people? No, but that is what grief can do and I think Miranda wrote that perfectly. I also really liked what we got of Delaney in this book too. Even not being prominent, she was prominent because she was always with Decker no matter what he was doing because she was his everything.

I also really enjoyed the mystery aspect of the story. I’m not going to say it was unpredictable because I pretty much had it figured out pretty early in the story, but I will say I wasn’t a 100% certain I was right until the end so I will give credit for that. The pieces of the mystery fell together and they fell together at a good pace that didn’t overwhelm the reader with information and was a nice break from the heartbreaking romance part of this book. Miranda seemed to really think out the outcome of this mystery and I applaud her for that because, for me, it worked.

I’m sure you are wondering why not 5 stars then if I seem to love it so much? It was close, not gonna lie. It was a book I didn’t want to put down once I got going and I loved the characters like I mentioned. But I do feel like some of it was unfinished. There were some side stories that there was no finality. It left me wanting more, maybe a 3rd book from Delaney and Decker’s POV.

But really Vengeance is a great follow-up that has equal parts romance and mystery with a touch of paranormal. I personally am glad that Miranda decided to continue the story of Decker and Delaney. It was the right call and only enhanced what was already a great foundation. Bravo Ms. Miranda. Bravo!

 

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