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.

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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: Bright Before Sunrise – Tiffany Schmidt

Review: Bright Before Sunrise – Tiffany SchmidtBright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Published: February 18th 2014
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five-stars

When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, "miserable" doesn't even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother's first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real... until she breaks up with him.

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she's really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She's determined to change his mind, and when they're stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.

Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.

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.

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Well if I didn’t love Tiffany Schmidt before I do now after reading Bright Before Sunrise. Seriously, is there a way to give more than 5 out of 5 stars??? Because really, this book deserves it if there is. It was clever and fun and honest. It truly was a pleasure to read every word and I hated that it ended so soon because it was fantastic!

Bright Before Sunrise is the story of Brighton and Jonah(love the names by the way!), two teenagers that have nothing in common except they go to the same school. Brighton is peppy and into school spirit, at least on the outside, while Jonah is angry at a lot of things, especially having to more to a new house and school in the second half of his senior year. When circumstances force these two to spend a night together things go from bad to worse, from up to down, from hate to the possibility of love. For two people that thought they had nothing in common, in the course of one night, realize there is more to the other than they ever thought and find out there may just be more to themselves as well.

Do you know what I loved about this book, well besides that fact that it was written by Tiffany Schmidt? I loved that we got two totally different voices from totally different characters. I know, I know, there are a ton of books out there that have dual POVs, I haven’t been living under a rock. I’ve read a bunch myself. But what I liked the best about it is Bright Before Sunrise is although it is a book written by one author it could have easily been two based on the characters(if that makes any sense). Basically Schmidt gave us a wide range of her writing prowess by making Jonah and Brighton so opposite each other that they may have been on different scales. And the fun part about it, they were both putting on a front which then made them more a like then you could imagine.

The other great part of this book was the chemistry between Brighton and Jonah even when Jonah was being surly to her and she was putting on her happy face. Beneath their initial reactions to each other there was a connection even in their differences. You could feel the draw they had to each other leap off the pages even when they were trying to pretend it wasn’t there. Between the banter and the confusion of what they really felt, there was a deep connection that was shown seamlessly in their actions. Was Jonah a jerk and Bright fake at times? Absolutely. But for some inexplicable reason they had each other’s backs no matter what. Watching these two change from the beginning of the book to the end was really a great thing to see unfold.

I know, this review probably doesn’t make a lick of sense, but I had so many feels(all amazing) about this story that it is hard to get my thoughts and emotions down on paper. It was flawlessly written, had strong characters with a great story, and had some nice moments of teenage uncertainty mixed in. Basically all you need to know is that Bright Before Sunrise is a must read so get on that!

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Tiffany is doing a different kind of blog tour for this book and I’ve participated on my newly formed Tumblr account. Check out it out here! And follow me if you feel like it. I’m still new to it, but I’m getting there.

 

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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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Second Chance Sunday – Fracture by Megan Miranda

 

Second Chance Sunday – Fracture by Megan MirandaFracture by Megan Miranda
Series: Fracture #1
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Published: January 29th 2013
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four-stars

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

I’m not sure what compelled me to move this up on my to read list. There wasn’t anything that stood out about the book in my memory. It may have been because it was a debut author book that fit into my challenges for the year, or it could have been dumb luck. Whatever the case, I thought it was completely fantastic. I mean there wasn’t anything over the top amazing about the plot that bowled me over or some shocking twist that brought me to my knees. It was simply a great character book.

I flipping loved Delaney and Decker. Simple as that. The two of them brought life to this story that felt real. I could actually feel the push and pull of their relationship and I wanted more. The way things went from being completely easy between them to awkward and strained and then to a thick sexual tension is what had me riveted. They both knew what they wanted but had so much outside stuff getting in the way so it was virtually impossible for them to grab what was just out of reach. Even Troy, who I found insane, and Tara, who was annoying, added to the story of Decker and Delaney and I found myself grateful for them.

There were two things I didn’t like though. The first was Delaney’s mother. She was over the top overbearing and mean. Everything she said she did was out of love, but I thought she was wrong with every decision she made. She was trying to be this amazing parent and really she sucked. She has harsh and abrasive and borderline abusive and that was never really dealt with. I also didn’t like the part towards the end with Janna. I understood her reaction, but that was it, just a reaction with again no follow up. I just didn’t understand the point of including it if there was no plan of a revisit. Just seemed out of place,

Other than those two things I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I actually found myself wishing it were a series. 😀 Can’t wait for more from this author.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

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Title: Bright Before Sunrise
Author: Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: February 18, 2014{purchase}

Description: When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, “miserable” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from brighthis mother’s first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real… until she breaks up with him.

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she’s really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She’s determined to change his mind, and when they’re stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.

Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.

*Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is a weekly meme that allows you to share a book you can’t wait to read!
**description from Goodreads
***Disclaimer: I’ve been lucky enough to get to read this already. FANTATSTIC!

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