Wednesday, January 18, 2017

One Moment by Kristina McBride

This was supposed to be the best summer of Maggie’s life. Now it’s the one she’d do anything to forget.
Maggie Reynolds remembers hanging out at the gorge with her closest friends after a blowout party the night before. She remembers climbing the trail hand in hand with her perfect boyfriend, Joey. She remembers that last kiss, soft, lingering, and meant to reassure her. So why can't she remember what happened in the moment before they were supposed to dive? Why was she left cowering at the top of the cliff, while Joey floated in the water below—dead?

As Maggie's memories return in snatches, nothing seems to make sense. Why was Joey acting so strangely at the party? Where did he go after taking her home? And if Joey was keeping these secrets, what else was he hiding?

McBride delivers a novel of secrets that packs an emotional punch, perfect for fans of Sara Zarr and Gayle Forman.

Going into this book, I expected teenage drama, lack luster emotion, and over the top metaphors.... What I didn't expect was a heartfelt story full of guilt, mystery, and life lessons. 

One Moment
opened my eyes to the things that are hard to acknowledge. It showed me that life is short, regrets are damaging, and forgiving is the key to one's well being. It gripped my heart in it's fist and squeezed tightly. I was consumed by the mind twisting mystery and overwhelmed by the reality that one moment can truly change everything. It made my mind race and my heart pound. I wanted the truth to be revealed, but then once it was, I wanted to hurry and bury it again. 
Maggie was an average teen facing adult problems. Her life turned upside down when her boyfriend died and her memory left with him... To make things worse, secrets slowly surface and her truth quickly turns to lies. As her memory fades in and out, she is left with the painful what if? question. Adam, her close friend is linked to the chaos in an intimate way and though Maggie wants to keep him at arms length, eventually the walls crack and true feelings shine through. 

There was bitter anger, painful goodbyes, but also new beginnings. I really enjoyed the book and recommend it to all readers. It may be based around teens, but the message is clear for people of all ages.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Fire by Night by Teresa Messineo

A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.

In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.

Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.

When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.


As far as historicals go, this one was top notch. It had an educational story line with deep rooted emotion and a strong focus on faith/hope. It was about two military nurses and their lives during a tragic time. Each one was faced with their own battle, but in the end, it was courage and perseverance that guided them both to safety. 

To say this was a heavy read is an understatement. At times I became overwhelmed by the slow pace and vivid details, but I learned to appreciate the writing style and ended up really enjoying it. I appreciated the emotion that seeped from the pages and was intrigued by the behind the scenes look at the medical side of war. Not to mention, I found the lusty bits very important as well. If I had to pick, I'd definitely say Jo was my favorite. While both stories were empowering, I found Jo's to be a tad bit more emotional/real-feeling. I felt for Kay having to leave her loved one behind, but once that part passed, I had a hard time fully connecting to her. It didn't break the book for me, but it did push me to skim her parts a bit. 

All in all, it was a really strong, well written historical fiction. It may not be for everyone, but I recommend it to all readers looking to immerse themselves in an important piece of history. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

With lush writing and a star–crossed romance, Reign of Shadows is Sophie Jordan at her best.


I absolutely loved this book... It pulled me out of a month long rut and for that I am thankful.

It was a fast paced read with lush scenery and swoon worthy romance. When I say there was romance, I mean it had a VERY strong focus on romance. It went with the royalty/fantasy/magical theme, but there was grit and horror too. I really connected to the characters and found that the words were laced with rich emotion. I felt the fear and passion. I honestly felt as though I was within the pages... No to mention the twists. Oh gosh, they definitely proved to make things interesting! I can't say much, but if you read, I guarantee, you will be surprised.

Luna lives a sheltered life, under the protection of her guardians. She doesn't venture out of her tower much, but when she does sneak out, it ends up being a wild ride. She stumbles upon danger and offers up her protection. Her guardians aren't pleased with having visitors, but has to eventually learn to trust Luna's decision. Together Luna and Fowler embark on a journey through dark forests, stilt cities, and creepy lakes. Their relationship slowly blooms like a rose... thorns line the stem, but the overall picture is quiet beautiful.

It was a thrilling story with plenty of action. The ending will make some mad because of the cliffhanger, but book 2 releases soon! I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thank you Sophie Jordan for fueling my reading fire again.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Favorites from 2016

When it comes to reading in 2016, I will be blunt and state the truth, I sucked. After changing my Goodreads goal halfway through the year to 72, I still only read 71 books. (<- This is extremely low considering I read 100 last year.) Blame it on Heartland being on Netflix, or blame it on my reading mood... Either way, I struggled. I DNF'd a few, took weeks to get through others... However, I did come across some really fabulous reads this year. Check out my list below and feel free to comment with any questions! 

Simply click the links to view on Amazon
Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh (Beauty and the Beast meets the Sea)
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood (Contemp. with dark theme and Taboo Romance)
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (Cult theme with strong focus on literature)
Beauty of the Broken by Tawni Waters (Emotional, Lesbian Romance, Tragedy, Abusive Father)

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson (YA Western with slow bud romance)
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (YA Comtemporary, Romance, Deportation)
Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto (YA Unique, Paranormal, Steampunk, & Romance)
The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis (YA Fairy tale meets Reality, Emotional & Mind Baffling) 

Beast by Brie Spangler (LGBT Romance, Self identity)
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (YA Contemporary about life struggles)
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (Western/Magical Bonnie and Clyde)
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez (Gut Wrenching Historical with Epic Romance) 

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (YA, Magic Rugs, Arabian Feel, Forbidden Love) 
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Historical during a Tragic Time)
Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers (Ya Fantasy with Dark Elements and a Forbidden Romance)
I Shall Be Near to You by Erin Lindsay McCabe (Historical, War Romance, Fierce Heroine)

The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace (Beautiful Poetry with Lyrical Prose)
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes (Dark YA, Cult, Orange is the New Black feel)
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (YA Fantasy with love triangle feels and a thrilling plot)
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye (YA Fantasy with epic fight and Forbidden Love)
Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott (Historical Fiction, Hope, Friendship, War Struggles)