Posts Tagged 'Romance'

The Betrothed by Kiera Cass

Genre: Romance

# of Pages: 307

Hollis is a wealthy young lady who has suddenly caught the eye of the King at court and she is unsure how she feels about it. Her parents are thrilled at the prospect of their daughter becoming a Queen, but Hollis is not sure if this is the life she really wants. At the same time, she doesn’t have any other ideas for what she wants to do in life so she might as well be pampered and adored wherever she goes. In this kingdom, Queens have always been highly respected and revered, which pressures Hollis into thinking she has to be great if she were to become Queen. Suddenly, a family of refugees from a nearby kingdom arrives and with them, a young man whom she feels instant chemistry with. He is a talented metalsmith and has a mysterious past and Hollis can’t help but feel drawn to him. Could she really give up becoming Queen in order to chase someone she barely knows? Could she let down all of those around her who plan to benefit off of her impending nuptials?

As a fan of The Selection series I was so excited to read this new title by Kiera Cass, but unfortunately, most of the book lacked any real character development or plot movement. The ending was really exciting and definitely opens up the possibility for Hollis’s story to find some excitement, but up until then Hollis was a very difficult character to care about. She was unsure how she felt most of the time and extremely impressionable, but she was also unbelievably forgiving to those around her who might wish her harm. Most of the characters around her were very one-note as well which made it hard to feel one way or another about who Hollis ended up with. After the dramatic ending the next book could be really good, but I wish that the first one had taken the first 200 pages to better develop the characters and drive the plot.

Virtually Yours by Sarvenaz Tash

Genre:  Romance

356 p.

College freshmen Mariam is still reeling from her breakup from Caleb, her high school boyfriend and she believes the love of her life.  She has a great relationship with her roommate, but otherwise she hasn’t gotten out much since she’s started college.  One day she decides she’s done feeling sorry for herself and she goes to the local virtual dating experience in order to see if she has any more “matches” out there.  To her surprise, the matchmaking program uses artificial intelligence in order to assess all of her qualities and match her up with three top choices.  They tell her that her top choice is one of the highest percentages they’ve ever had, but she can’t help but notice that her third choice is none other than Caleb.  Can she really ignore this incredible coincidence?  No, she can’t, so she invites Caleb’s avatar on a virtual date without him knowing it’s really her.  It goes really well and pretty soon they are going on other virtual dates, but the longer this goes on the more she knows that she must tell him the truth and she’s not sure she’s read to lose Caleb all over again.  Meanwhile, is it possible she’s already had contact with her #1 match?

This romance story puts a very modern twist on dating with the virtual experience, but it’s still fun and filled with engaging characters.  The story feels genuine and believable despite the use of very advanced matchmaking technology and the reader really wants Mariam to find happiness.  Mariam’s difficulty adjusting to college life is very relatable to many students and they will want to see how she copes with her parents, siblings, and making new friends during this transitional time.  Recommended for romance fans.

 

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  398

There is an island that is almost totally cut off from the rest of the world where a set of triplets are born every generation.  The queen immediately knows what power each of the girls will have and when they are a few years old they are separated so that they can hone their craft.  When they come of age they must compete in a bizarre set of rituals in which only the last one alive can become the next queen.  Katherine is a poisoner, but she while she has become adept at administering poisons she has not yet become immune to them herself.  Arsinoe, the naturalist, has not yet found her familiar, which is like her animal soul mate, but she has been very happy growing up alongside her best friend, Jules, who is a very talented naturalist.  Finally, Mirabella, the elementalist, is very gifted and can easily manipulate water and fire.  It is expected she will easily take the crown over her weaker sisters, but once the games begin everyone has a few surprises in store for the waiting spectators.  Who will end up with the crown?  Whom can the sisters really trust in this process?  Who will get hurt along the way?

This series has received a lot of attention from my students, but it did take me awhile to get into the story and the characters.  Once I did become immersed in the characters I not only wanted to finish the first one right away but wanted to read the second one as well.  It’s definitely a unique story that does not rely on plot details seen in other fantasy series.  There is still a lot that needs to be revealed about these characters, their motivations, and the ultimate outcome which will keep readers engaged for a long time to come.

The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

Genre:  Historical Fiction Mystery

# of pages:  349

Piper is living on the outskirts of 1920s Chicago.  As she nears the end of her senior year she is startled to learn that her best friend, Lydia, is suffering from seizures and her own family has not told her about them because they do not want to upset her.  Piper has witnessed two of these episodes and both have frightened her terribly.  She’s not that surprised when Lydia arrives on her doorstep one afternoon distraught because her parents want to send her to the Mayo Clinic mere weeks before graduation.  Piper is sad to see Lydia leave, but understands why her parents feel she needs medical attention.  She watches Lydia walk the short distance to her house and waves at her from her white picket fence and that’s the last Piper sees of her best friend before Lydia’s family notifies her that Lydia never came home.   As the police begin investigating Lydia’s murder Piper can’t help but begin investigating herself a bit by retracing Lydia’s last steps and finding that not everyone is telling her the truth about that night.  Many people around Piper believe she should leave the crime solving to the police and act more like a traditional lady, but Piper believes she may be the only one who can truly find out what happened to Lydia that fateful day.

This mystery is well written and engaging.  The 1920s backdrop is fun as Piper tries to become a more modern woman at a time when that earned you a ruler to the back of the hand in school.  When it counts, Piper’s family support her even if they don’t approve of her behavior all the time.  There are many intriguing characters which helps to keep the mystery more difficult for Piper to solve.  The mystery itself holds up as everything is properly explained in a plausible way, but it is still challenging for Piper to solve.  Highly recommended.

Royal Chase by Sariah Wilson

royal-chase

Genre: Romance

# of Pages:  274

The second in the Montlake Romance series, Lemon is unexpectedly placed on a reality dating show similar to the bachelor after two other contestants are forced to resign and filming is about to start.  The “bachelor” is her PR client and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the show successful, even if it means pretending to be a contestant despite being recently engaged herself.  Throughout the filming of the series, Dante tries his hardest to woo Lemon into giving them a chance.  While Lemon is not entirely sure about her fiancee, Sterling, she also believes Dante is a womanizer who only wants her because he can’t have her.  As the competition goes on, however, things begin to intensify and Lemon isn’t sure what to do.  Does she give true love a chance with Dante even if he could break her heart?  Or, does she play it safe and return home to her fiancee who doesn’t seem to care very much that she’s been gone for weeks filming?

This is a fun romance series that romance readers will enjoy.  In particular, fans of The Selection would like it although there is not any rebellion action.  The stories feel modern and fresh while also incorporating all the romantic qualities that readers enjoy.  It would be best to read this in order, but each one is enjoyable on its own.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

fangirl

Genre:  Romance/Realistic Fiction

# of pages:  438

Cather does not like to go out drinking like most college freshmen she knows.  Instead, she likes to stay in and write fan fiction for a fantasy series she is obsessed with.  Meanwhile, her identical twin has tried very hard to distance herself from Cath so that they can start anew in college.  Cath slowly assimilates to college including getting used to her unusual roommate and her friendly male friend who seems to be in Cath’s room a lot.  There is a fair share of drama in Cath’s life (including a father who is struggling with his new empty nest), but the one thing that always balances things out is her love of writing, which is why she’s so excited for her fiction writing class.  Unfortunately, even that does not go exactly as planned…

Fans of John Green or any of Rainbow Rowell’s other books will become obsessed with these characters.  The story is interesting enough, but it’s the characters that make it hard to put this one down.  Cath is very relatable to anyone who’s ever been new to a place and trying to find your way.  She has trouble knowing who to confide in, who to trust, and who to run from.  Eventually she starts gaining more confidence in her new life and starts making proactive choices instead of reactive ones.  It’s a very compelling coming of age story that will leave readers wanting more.

The Siren by Keira Cass

siren

Genre:  Romance

# of Pages:  327

RAC:  Yes

Kahlen was turned into a siren when she was a teenager after witnessing her entire family’s demise at the hands of the sirens that preceded her.  Kahlen finds the life very sad and struggles to forget the faces of the people they drown with their songs in the Ocean in order to appease Her.  At the same time, she loves the Ocean and believes she cares about her too.  One day she meets a young man in a library and despite the fact she cannot speak around him he finds her interesting anyway. They spend very little time together before she realizes she is falling for him and makes the decision to stay away because she still has 20 years on her sentence as a siren.  Months later, after a devastating event, she finds herself running back to him and they have an amazing day together.  Can they find a way to be together?  Is being together safe for either one of them?

Once again Keira Cass has created an interesting tale of two people who have an instant connection and yet are not able to be together due to her situation as a siren.  The fact that the ocean is a character is unique and Cass finds a way to make that work so that you both like and hate the ocean at the same time.  Readers will appreciate that Kahlan and Akinli’s story finishes in one book.  The story is captivating, but it would have lost something if it was stretched out for any longer than one novel.  Fans of the Selection will enjoy this title.

Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

until we meet again

Genre:  Romance/Fantasy

# of pages:  322

RAC:  Yes

Cassandra is living in a beach house for the summer that her mom and stepdad rented and is finding a hard time filling her time.  One day she wanders down to the private beach and meets a young man there who is very polite and friendly.  They get to know each other and eventually discover that they both believe they are residing in the same house, but Lawrence is in 1925 and Cass is in 2015.  Cass decides to do some research and discovers Lawrence was murdered on that very beach in two weeks from the time they are at now and she believes they can see each other so that she can help save him.  Can they save Lawrence from his early demise?  Who is the person trying to kill him?  How will Cass explain her strange behavior to her family?

This is a very sweet romance story that successfully places characters in two different time periods.  The supporting characters are well established to help readers visualize these characters in their own times as well as together.  The ending is very satisfying and believable, which is an incredible feat for a story based on people meeting across 100 years.  Fans of romance novels or the Ruby Red series will enjoy this title.

Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

lock and mori

Genre:  Mystery

# of Pages:  248

RAC: Yes

Miss James “Mori” Moriarty has been living a tough existence since her mother died several months before.  Her father has become a heavy drinker and often takes his frustrations out physically on her and her three brothers.  She knows she needs to do something to protect her brothers but she isn’t sure what at this time.  Meanwhile, she becomes friendly with a strange boy at her school, Sherlock Holmes.  They encounter a murder in the nearby park and are shocked to see the police are severely inept and make terrible and lazy assumptions.  They decide to investigate on their own in order to find the true killer and are horrified to discover this was merely one amongst several similar murders.  There is a serial killer out there the police aren’t even looking for!  Can Mori find the killer and save her family from an increasingly bad home life?

This is a fun mystery story for fans of mystery fiction and TV shows.  Sherlock Holmes is impressive in his deductions and observations as always and it’s refreshing to see a different take on the character of Moriarty.  There is a bit of violence in it and Mori’s father is definitely a force to contend with in her life, but Lock and Mori try very hard to never lose hope that they can in fact prevail as long as their intentions and resolve are strong enough.

The Body Electric by Beth Revis

body electric

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  466

RAC:  Yes

Ella lives with her mother in the new city that was built after a major world war.  Her mother is famous for inventing the technology of reveries, which enable people to go into a sleep where they can relive their happiest memories.  Her father was also a brilliant scientist who worked on finding a cure for the terrible disease her mother had before he was suddenly and tragically killed in a lab accident.  Ella’s mom has lived longer than anyone else with this disease, but she’s getting weaker and Ella knows it is only a matter of time before she’s on her own.  Her mother’s childhood friend helps run the reverie spa and one day informs Ella that she needs to go meet with the president of their newly established government.  The President informs her that she feels rebellious rumblings and will do whatever it takes to stop another war, including altering the memories of the rebels.  Ella isn’t sure about using her mother’s technology that way and goes to her father’s grave to think it over when a teenage boy comes up and acts like she should know him.  He knows things about her family and seems genuinely hurt she doesn’t know him.  Is it possible someone is using her mother’s technology to alter her memories?  If that’s true, what else doesn’t she remember?

This thrilling sci-fi novel takes many plot twists to get to the final conclusion.  Some readers may find the constant revelations start to get a little confusing at times as they happen quickly near the end.  As Ella’s parents were both genius scientists there are numerous referrals to science and technology in the ultimate resolution of the plot.  The characters are very memorable and engaging, especially considering some of them aren’t in the story that much.  The romance between Ella and the boy is well described and a believable source of angst for Ella, but isn’t dwelled upon too much in a book that has a lot going on.  Fans of sci fi will devour this title.

Atlantia by Ally Condie

atlantia

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  298

RAC:  Yes

Rio and her twin, Bay, were born in the underwater town of Atlantia and it is now their chosen time to decide if they wish to stay below or go up to the surface for the rest of their lives.  People in the underwater city believe that life above ground is dangerous, labor intensive, and fairly short while residents of Atlantia are believed to have an easy life where most people live a very long time.  Unfortunately, their mother, Oceana, was recently found dead and many suspect foul play.  Rio has always dreamed of going above, but now that their mother is gone she has promised Bay she will stay with her down below.  All decisions are final in this ceremony and there is no going back and forth allowed.  Rio is shocked when Bay ends up leaving her and choosing to live above the water, but she is ushered away before Rio has a chance to ask her why.  She does have time to utter one word that alerts those near to her of what she truly is, which is a siren.  Her mother has trained her to keep that truth a secret for reasons unbeknownst to Rio.  Can Rio survive in the one place she has wanted to leave her entire life without her mother or sister?  Why would her sister choose to leave after making her promise they would stay together forever?  Is it possible to bridge the two societies together?

This novel is fresh and interesting right from the beginning.  It feels like yet another futuristic story, but the setting and characters quickly help you to forget all of that as you cannot help but get immersed in the story.  Rio has many plot details to figure out in order to find out the truth of her family and Atlantia itself.  While many great characters are introduced, it does take Rio awhile to discern whom she can and cannot trust which makes the journey more interesting for the reader.  It also appears that this is going to be a stand alone novel which is refreshing in a world where every book seems to have three sequels.  Recommended for students who enjoy fantasy.

Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin

queen of someday

Genre:  Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  249

RAC:  Yes

Sophie has been summoned to Russia to meet with the Empress and her nephew, the heir to the throne.  Sophie’s mother has impressed upon Sophie how important it is for their family to secure a match with the prince because they have many debts and are in danger of losing their title and land.  Once Sophie arrives in Russia it becomes clear that the prince is very self involved and wants all attention on him at all times.  She begins to spend a lot of time with her Russian tutor, Sergei, and one of the prince’s men, Alexander.  Eventually, Sophie begins to have affection for Alexander and she knows how much trouble she would be in if anyone ever found out.  Meanwhile, she is informed that she must learn fluent Russian and convert to Greek Orthodox before she can marry the prince.  Can she turn her back on her family and marry the man she loves or must she marry a man she finds vile in order to save her family?

Loosely based on Catherine the Great, Ficklin makes no apologies for any historical inaccuracies.  The story is interesting in that very little is written in the young adult category for this era in historical fiction.  Due to the fact that it is based on true events, there are some twists to the story that may shock and dismay readers, but is essential in order to follow the arch of Catherine’s life.  The characters are interesting and written so that they are not easily confused.  Fans of series such as The Luxe or Cleopatra’s Daughter will enjoy this title.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

eleanor and park

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  325

RAC:  Yes

Park is a half Asian student who lives in a tough neighborhood of thugs and bullies, but has always managed to stay under the radar.  Eleanor is a new student who has bright red curly hair and is a bit overweight.  She immediately becomes a target for the bullies at school and Park takes pity on her and allows her to share his seat on the bus.  They do not talk at first, but eventually they start sharing music and comics.   Eleanor never talks about home, however, and as their friendship begins to shift toward a more romantic relationship Park begins to understand why she never discusses her family.  Can Park protect her from the bullies in her life?  Does he have the courage to do so?

This powerful modern day romance will connect with John Green fans who enjoy unique and truly memorable characters.  There are many interesting descriptions used and information about both Eleanor and Park is revealed through surprising and yet realistic means so that the reader truly learns certain pieces of information at the exact moment that it occurs to the character.  Highly recommended.

Flame by Amy Kathleen Ryan

flame

Genre:  Science Fiction

# of Pages:  326

RAC:  Yes

In the third installment of the Sky Chasers Series, everyone is on the New Horizon since the Empyrean was destroyed in the last book.  Anne Mathers is trying to promote peace, but she has both Waverly and Kieran under armed guard at all times since she doesn’t trust their motives.  Both of them are living with their mothers, but they seem a bit off and Waverly wonders what exactly has been done to them to make them so agreeable to everything the New Horizon suggests to them.  Meanwhile, Seth has landed on his own on the ship and has been on the run ever since.  His arm is badly damaged and is in danger of infection, but he just cannot bear to turn himself in.  Everyone on the ship is divided over the conditions they are living in.  Some believe the New Horizon did what they had to to ensure survival while others believe it wrong how they used murder and drugs to get everything they wanted for the Empyrean and the poor girls they violated.  Everyone does want to live peacefully, but can they overcome their past in order to move forward and work toward that goal?  Will Waverly and Kieran end up together just like everyone always planned?

The conclusion of this series is just as exciting as the rest with many close calls for Kieran and Seth especially.  Waverly and Kieran want to move on and promote a peaceful existence, but it is difficult to forget what they have been through and all of their shipmates who died in the process.  Anne Mathers is losing control of her ship, but for the first time Waverly starts to see who exactly created the evil persona she has become.  There are many surprises and the ending is far from predictable, which should intrigue fans.  Overall, it was a very satisfying ending to a fun and creative story.

Deep Green by Trisha Haddad

Deep Green_Trisha Haddad_150dpi

** New Release Excerpt **

Genre: Adventure/Contemporary Romance

Format: e-book and print

Tagline: They fight for survival, but their secrets could ruin everything.

 

About the book

Leah Taylor prefers the quiet adventure and romance of books, but during a cruise with her parents, a terrorist attack leaves her adrift in a lifeboat with strangers.

University student, Blue McCree impresses her immediately with his knowledge of literature and philosophy. Equally thrilling is strong, quiet Musir. While he is slow to speak, translating his thoughts from Arabic to English, his chivalry and wisdom capture Leah’s curiosity.

Together they face danger after danger as they fight for survival. Leah also struggles with the growing attention from the men she’s stranded with, and her mixed emotions toward them.

When Leah learns the dark secrets her fellow survivors hold, the truth will blow apart any semblance of civility and test Leah’s preconceived notions of just how far dedication can go before it crosses over into fanaticism.

 Excerpt

I could have sworn it was silent all over the ship in that moment. The ocean stood still, the wind slowed, and the other passengers walked silently. It must have been so. I certainly couldn’t register a sound. It was as though the world awaited his voice and words.

Then I began to feel awkward when they did not come. Here I was, staring like a love-struck fool into the eyes of a guy I never met before.

I tended to fall in love with characters in books. Most guys I went to school with were far too interested in sports or video games. How could they ever hope to hold a candle to Mister Darcy’s intensity, Tom Joad’s ethics, Martin Eden’s passion, Caleb Trask’s struggle for goodness, or Edmond Dantes’ cunning intellect? No real boy ever sparked in me the passion these fictional characters did; until now.

Yet, I didn’t know a thing about him. Did he have a strong sense of justice? Did he thirst for knowledge? Was he a romantic to the core? Did art touch his very soul? I had no idea. All I knew was that his gaze bore into the essence of me. I could read in it something deeper than I saw before in anyone’s eyes. It was a sort of sadness, like he carried with him all the sorrows of the world.

I had to know if there was more than his beauty. Surely I couldn’t feel how I did if he weren’t passionate, if he lacked depth? It simply wasn’t possible.

 

Find out more: www.TrishaHaddad.com

 


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