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My name is Chelsey and I am the creator of Charming Chelsey's! I read and review anything and everything that I find to be "charming." I accept ARCs or already released books for review, and I'm also available to participate in any blog tours or book reveals too. If anything, please don't hesitate to email me any time for any reason at: charmingchelseys(at)gmail(dot)com

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

AToMR Blog Tour: Reaping Me Softly Book Review


Author: Kate Evangelista
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Publisher: Omnific Publishing

Ever since a near-death-experience on the operating table, seventeen-year-old Arianne Wilson can see dead people. Just as she’s learned to accept her new-found talents, she discovers that the boy she’s had a crush on since freshman year, Niko Clark, is a Reaper.

At last they have something in common, but that doesn’t mean life is getting any easier. All while facing merciless bullying from the most powerful girl in school, Arianne’s world is turned upside down after Niko accidentally reaps the soul of someone she loves. This sends them both into a spiral that threatens to end Arianne’s life. But will Niko break his own Reaper’s code to save her? And what would the consequences be if he did?




“On the bus to Atlanta, Arianne did the popcorn bounce in her seat. She still couldn’t believe she’d spoken to Nikolas Clark, let alone that he brought her to the nurse’s office. He’d been charming and too handsome for his own good. Yummy, the tip of her tongue ran over her lower lip. The brooding expression he wore when she’d asked him about his health made her like him even more. And his voice, so smooth, so warm, it wrapped around her like hot fudge on vanilla ice cream. She could listen to him speak all day if she had her way.” – ARC Copy Pg. 39

“She came up to him until her steps matched his. “I’m trying to tell you that I see dead people. Well…technically, I see their souls.” – ARC Copy Pg. 4


“‘What’s between you and Niko Clark? He had his hands all over you throughout the memorial,’ Ben said tightly.” –ARC Copy Pg. 136
 
 
Kate, you devil, you have done it again! I am a huge fan of Kate Evangelista’s writing and her new book, Reaping Me Softly, did not disappoint. I haven’t really read many books about Reapers, this may even be my first, but I am definitely intrigued by their rare and rather creepy abilities. This was a very addictive Paranormal Romance and was somewhat similar, but on the other hand completely different from the first book I ready by her, Taste. What does this say about Kate, you may ask? She is an awesome writer who can change her whole scene like a pro! I am so impressed.

 

Arianne can see dead people; this is no secret by now. She meets a young man with a similar connection to the dead, only his is a little more personal. Niko is the guy that Ari has harbored feelings for since the day she first saw him. In this book we are introduced to their journey together into the supernatural! Their romance was very addictive; I am using that word a lot today, must mean something! There were so many things that could potentially stand in their way of trying to have a relationship. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what or when it was going to happen. We leave off with some things left unanswered, but I think that is best for our scenario. I was happy to be thirsty for more.

 

One of the things that I was most pleased with while reading was Arianne’s complexity as a character. She grows stronger and more confident as the pages turn. In the beginning I could feel her vulnerability and she is actually bullied by this really mean and totally rude girl at her high school. I love that Kate added this detail because it allows readers to quickly grasp a feel for Ari’s character and to sympathize with her, which I often did while reading.

 

On a side note I loved the character known as Death. His presence was always unavoidable when he was in scene. Chills literally creeping up me right now. This is an example of a well written and highly effective secondary character. He really did his job, Kate!

 

Kate really gives this story purpose and really draws a contract with her reader. This was an eerie and sometimes spooky YA read and was a perfect to start off my Halloween! I am so fortunate to have participated on this blog tour with AToMR Tours. You can head on over now and check out their website and see what they have coming up!

 
 



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Book Review: What Happens At Christmas

Author: Victoria Alexander
Publication Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Kensington

A blazing fire, an English country house … and the ultimate game of charades. In this charming holiday novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander, a beautiful widow finds her plan for a Christmas proposal going perfectly awry …
Camille, Lady Lydingham, knows precisely what she wants for Christmas—an official engagement to a handsome, dashing prince. Her very proper suitor expects a proper English family and the perfect Dickensian Christmas, which leaves the lovely widow with a slight problem. The last thing Camille wants is for the prince to meet her unconventional relatives. But with the aid of a troupe of actors, Camille intends to pull off a Christmas deception of massive proportions.

At least until Grayson Elliot shows up. A dozen years ago, he declared his love on the day before her marriage to another man, then vanished from her life. Now he’s back, gate-crashing Camille’s already chaotic house party, playing absolute havoc with her scheme—and with her heart. Because for Grayson, losing Camille once was quite bad enough. Losing her twice? Unthinkable. And he’ll find a way to show her they belong together—for this season, and every Christmas yet to come…


On a day like today, when it feels like Jack Frost is creeping back into town, this is the perfect book to pick up. I love the snow that cascades over the front cover and the enormous, but painstakingly beautiful, house in the background. This book just put me right in the mood for Christmas! This was a first time read for me as far as the author goes and I was pleasantly surprised, but you will find out why when you scroll down!
 
How I laughed out loud with this book! I honestly do not think I have laughed so hard while reading a book in such a long time. I was so invested in this entire setting, as well as the lives of the characters, that I could not stop reading until I had finished. At first I got such a cozy feel right off the first page and then I started to realize the wit and spark that all of Victoria Alexander’s characters carried; I was blown away with my first time reading this author, and it will most certainly not be the last.
 
Camille, Lady Lydingham, is recently widowed and has her sights set on a new man, a prince to beat all! At the start of Camille’s story we are placed right in the middle of a scheme that she has devised in order to have Prince Nikolai fall right into her arms. Are you ready for her scheme? This is the best part. Lady Lydingham has hired a stage of actors to fill in for her family this holiday season. Yes, you heard right. The entire Christmas season will be carried out with people who are not her real family. Except for her twin sister, Beryl, who claims that she would not miss this event for anything in the world. So this is where our fun begins. Prince Nikolai is very fond of Charles Dickens and has requested a Christmas that rivals the ones in Dickens’ beloved novels. And this, my lovely readers, is exactly what Camille seeks to give him.
 
What Camille doesn’t expect is a visit from someone from her past. Enter Grayson Elliot. Oh, the romance and tension that was filling the air when these two shared any room or conversation. I loved Alexander’s writing when it came to romance, what passion and intrigue! I fell in love with their back story and each of them. When we first meet Grayson we learn that he has not seen Camille in eleven years, but still you can feel his love for her has never faltered. You have to be dang good at what you do for this to have an effect on your readers!
 
***Thank you to the publishers at Netgalley for providing me with a e-copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***
 









Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Bella Fortuna

Author: Rosanna Chiofalo
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Kensington

In this warm, enchanting debut novel, Rosanna Chiofalo evokes the extraordinary beauty of Venice, the charm of a close-knit New York neighborhood, and the joys of friendship, family, and surprising second chances...

Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it's her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He's handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she's going to marry him--in Venice.

But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy. And as she soon learns, in a place as magical as Venice, what seems like misfortune can turn out to be anything but, although who knows what may be waiting around the next corner? The chance to enjoy a moonlit gondola ride, to sip Prosecco in St. Mark's Square, to eat mouthwatering gelato, to put aside "sensible" for once and see where the warm Italian breezes guide her as she visits all the sights she's dreamed of: The Doge's Palace, Il Rialto, the little islands of Murano and Burano. And maybe, along the way, to discover that bella fortuna--good luck--isn't what you're given, but what you make.



Bella Fortuna in Italian means “beautiful fortune,” I believe. I have always wanted to journey to Europe, especially Italy and France. Anytime that I get to read a wonderful novel that is taking place there, I am ecstatic for days. This cover is so beautiful and if someone could just drop me down right in the middle of it then I would be happy beyond measure. I am not sure if you can see it very well on the computer screen but directly in the center of the cover is a woman in a bridal gown standing on a bridge. It took me a couple looks to find her!

Everything about this book was truly heartwarming. I especially loved the wonderful and sometimes crazy DeLuca family. They embodied their Italian heritage and I was able to feel right at home when they were together. I really love books like this that can really take on a culture and a heritage and portray it through the characters and their actions. Valentina was our main character and the DeLuca sister that was preparing for her wedding day. I was glad to learn that our author, Rosanna, is Italian herself and I often wondered, while reading, if any of the characters were based off of her own family!
 
I have always loved to read about weddings and I loved following Valentina as she planned for hers. Not to mention she is having a destination wedding in, yep you guessed it….Italy! I was so thrilled when I learned this and I loved reading along as she made her wedding gown and prepared for a cake and everything else that goes along with any girl’s big day. I also enjoyed it whenever her sisters were around, even though they only got on Valentina’s last nerve. I felt by the time I had reached the end of the book that I deserved an invitation to this wedding!
 
I loved the romance in this book because it was not overdone. I am not one to get all wrapped up in mushy gushy romances, but I love the more realistic ones. I felt like this book fit the latter category. This book really tugged on my emotions at times and I can honestly say that I am very pleased with Rosanna Chiofalo’s writing. I have read a few reviews in which it was critiqued negatively. I am quite the opposite. Every author has their own style and I try to embrace them all! I am very excited for her next book. I would recommend this book to anyone just for the Italian culture and an inside look at the dynamics of a crazy but loveable Italian family!
 
***Thank you to the author for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***
 



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Book Review: A Flight of Fancy

Author: Laurie Alice Eakes
Publication Date: October 2012
Publisher: Revell Books
Series: The Daughters of Bainbridge House # 2

Cassandra Bainbridge has twice set aside her scholarly pursuits--once for the London Season and once for her wedding preparations. Love seems a wonderful alternative to study, until disaster strikes. When an accident brings an end to her betrothal, she heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. There she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when her former fiancé slips back into her life, what course will she choose?

Filled with the mystique of London society and the charming beauty of the English countryside, "A Flight of Fancy" explores what it means to find the true source of happiness and love amid the distractions of life. Readers will love the next installment in this rousing Regency series from accomplished author Laurie Alice Eakes.
 
 
Nothing caught my attention more on the cover of this book than the hot air balloons in the background. I was just so enthralled with the idea of hot air balloons and I absolutely loved the fact that our main character, Cassandra, was so passionate about them too. I also loved the fact that I don’t think I have ever read a book based on the love for hot air balloons. In the world of literature and fiction today it is so hard to stumble across something entirely new, but this is seldom done so I was very pleased with the idea!

Cassandra Bainbridge is such a dreamer and I think that her love for ballooning, the Greek language, and even the study of physics is what drew me closer to her character. She just possessed such a strong passion for those areas of her life. She is definitely very bookish and highly intelligent which I can really appreciate in any female character, and that makes her all the more easy for me to relate too; besides the physics part! I did feel sorry for her because she thought she was too smart for any man to love and care for her. Alas, her passion for soaring in a hot air balloon thought the baby blue sky prevailed over it all!

There was a great deal of suspense that I immensely enjoyed about this book. Cassandra was put into situations that her cautious character would not usually be placed in. I love that! I think it shows a certain air of chance writing. I think that taking the main character out of his or her comfort zones makes any book that much more interesting. Not to mention all of the adventure that we face as well! I was pleased that we had a great romance, but I was all the more pleased with suspense and action that were added to it.

Now for the best part, hot air balloons! I mean what an interesting concept. I have read a few reviews in which people may have been put off by that aspect, but why would you be? To me it was different and it was executed very well. I feel like so many romances can be overdone and follow the same monotonous order. I have honestly never read a book with that displays the idea of hot air balloning, at least not set in 1812. This author just combined enough of everything to make this book really stand apart from the rest!

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

***A big thank you to the publishers at Revell for my copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***




Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Review: Against The Tide

Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Bethany House

Love and Lives are Threatened in Camden's Latest Offering

As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.



I am in love with the cover of this book. The ship in the background looks like something straight out of an old, torn and tattered vintage photograph. I love the sea and I am fascinated with the New England area and this story takes place in Boston right off the harbor. I also love the name Lydia and in fact it is what I would like to name my baby girl someday, if God sees fit to give me one. This book is set in the 1800’s and that was quite interesting as well, as I think that I would have fit in perfectly around that time!

There is so much that I could say in my reaction to this piece of literature because that is what it is: wonderfully rich literature. I was very impressed with this author for a number of reasons. I had never read any of her work before, but alas; I am hooked now. Elizabeth Camden drew me into Lydia’s world and invited me to be a part of it. I was not particularly interested in Lydia’s career as she works with men and numbers, and I cannot stand either for too long (joking!) However, I was fascinated with everything about the makeup of this book. The setting, the characters, and even their circumstances had me so fascinated and held me captive for the few hours it took me to finish the book.

 

Lydia was such a courageous and stable woman; I almost wish that I could be more like her sometimes. She was so particular and I would even go as far to say that she had a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, although this was not a diagnosis in 1876. Lydia was bold and did not let her obvious gender set her apart in what was essentially a male dominated world. She worked in the Boston Navy Yard, surrounded my men all day long, but never let that intimidate or stop her from doing her job. She was just such a well-rounded character and I loved watching her struggle to provide for herself, even through small instances like providing enough food to eat or money to pay rent. She is a character that all women can admire and aspire to be more like.

 

The romance in this book was one of the best parts about it. It started out as a subtle occurrence and towards the beginning of the novel I was debating if there actually might be a love triangle. One relationship eventually does prevail and it takes a few twists and turns in which I was on the edge of my seat and holding onto all of my emotions for dear life. Bane especially tests Lydia’s will and makes her question her own motives at times, which I think makes for a stronger and more realistic character. I am sure that many people may classify him as the “bad boy,” but I would just call him a diamond in the rough. A very attractive diamond in the rough, from what I gather. It was quite the journey to see him irritate Lydia, and I think that him getting under her skin as much as he did helped me to fall that much more in love with his sense of humor.

 

Mrs. Elizabeth Camden, you have stolen my heart with this story and your knack for writing such inspirational characters. Please do continue and please allow me to follow you on your journey. I am truly honored to have read this book and I hope to read many more by you!


***Thank you to the author for my wonderful SIGNED copy of this book in exchange for my absolutely honest review***







Thursday, October 25, 2012

Book Review: A Promise To Love

Author: Serena B. Miller
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Publisher: Revell Books

Ingrid Larsen, a young Swedish immigrant, arrives in Michigan in 1871 to search for her brother who has disappeared into the woods to work the dangerous lumber camps.

Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, she encounters a newly-widowed farmer who is struggling to raise five children on his own. Marriage would solve both of their problems, and so Ingrid proposes to a man she barely knows. She will fight to protect her new family--but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.

Readers who loved "The Measure of Katie Calloway "will be pleased to find more of Miller's emotive and descriptive writing here--and to discover that love is more than words.

This cover really caught my attention. First of all, I love cherry blossoms; I believe they are such beautiful flowering trees and yet so simple. The woman on the front cover is just as naturally beautiful; her skin almost looks like porcelain. I love covers that are beautiful because of the simplest touches.


At the beginning of this novel Ingrid Larsen, our heroine, is one that readers definitely feel sorry for because of the circumstances that she is facing. Ingrid has to make some tough choices and it put in some pretty uncomfortable situations. I loved Ingrid and I loved how hard she fought and how much she pushed through, being a Swedish immigrant. She was part of a planned marriage, a convenient one so to speak, and I have read so many of these that I really need something different when it comes to that department. I like the way that the story was told through Ingrid, but I just wish there had been some outstanding twist that set this book apart from so many others like it.
 
Ingrid was so strong and determined for a woman of her time, and by that I mean in a time when women did not have much of a say. I liked Ingrid’s character far more than I liked her husband, Josh. There was just something about him that I was not crazy about it. I mean it could be the fact that they didn’t really have a wonderful romance; I never even sensed a lot of romantic feelings between them.
 
I loved all of the secondary characters as well. I would say that some of the secondary characters I enjoyed more than the two main characters. You already know how much I loved Ingrid and I believe that is because Serena gives her characteristics that make her so admirable, just like she does with the secondary characters. Ingrid is so protective over her family and I think that is the reason that she has such a strong drive and this drew more to her even more. Some of the best secondary characters included Agnes and Hazel who add a little humor to an otherwise emotional story.
 
I love the time period, the 1800’s. The author did a superb job of reeling me into the action and making me feel accustom to the times. The author even included historical facts that I was able to learn from. I love when that happens! The author is either very knowledgeable or passionate about this time frame; she writes it so well.
 
Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
 
***A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review***
 


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Book Review: A Wedding In Great Neck

Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: NAL Trade

The Silverstein family is coming together in Great Neck, Long Island, for the nuptials of the youngest daughter. Always considered the favorite—and the object of much envy and resentment—Angelica has planned a fairy tale wedding to her fiancé, a former fighter pilot. But there are storm clouds on the horizon.

Gretchen, Angelica’s sister, is dealing with a failed marriage and her moody teenage daughter Justine. One brother is a callous businessman while the other is struggling with his search for love and a career. Her mother is in a battle of wills with the wedding planner, while her father, a recovering alcoholic, struggles to confront his ex-wife’s lavish new life in the Long Island manor of her dreams. And her grandmother Lenore has decided it’s high time to take charge and set her grandchildren on their proper paths.

Then an impulsive act by Justine puts the entire wedding at risk and brings the simmering family tensions to the boiling point. Before vows are exchanged, this day will change more than one life forever…

What woman hasn’t dreamed about her wedding since the time she was a little girl? I know that I have and I always enjoy reading books and stories about weddings now. I was very intrigued because I almost guessed that this book would be about a dysfunctional family surrounding a highly prestigious wedding. I actually wouldn’t mind having the dress on the front cover for myself!

We are introduced to the highly dysfunctional Silverstein family in Yona’s new book. We meet for the wedding of the baby sister, Angelica, and we are introduced to the entire family, which have come together for the event. Each chapter belongs to a member of the family who speaks about their experiences at the wedding and what is going on in their life at the current moment. Some readers are not fond of this method, but for the purpose of this book, it works great!

 

Yona creates such deep and complex characters. I honestly couldn’t say that I like reading about one more than another. I like the teenage twin sisters, but that is probably because I am a high school teacher and can relate to their ages. Every character has a back story and many of them are quite interesting to read. I love stories where you are able to see the dynamics of the entire family. Yona is able to give each character a different and exciting voice and added spark. I would think that developing this many characters would be exhausting, but she never falters; they are all exquisite!

 

You can really feel the emotions of this family and you really get a sense for the way that family dynamics really work. As each of their stories unravel readers really get a sense for the secrets that families sometimes keep. By the end of the book I felt the need to really go and hug my mom and dad because sometimes we all just take for granted the fact that our family will always stand by us. I felt like this book had such a realistic aspect to it as well because of course family and the wedding of one of its members usually get a little chaotic at times!

 

This book was a quick and fun read that made me wonder about my own wedding and how my own sometimes dysfunctional family will cooperate!

 

***A huge thank you to the publishers at NAL and Yona Zeldis McDonough for my own copy of this book given to me in exchange for my honest review***

 



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway


 

Welcome to the Spooktacular Giveaway here at Charming Chelsey’s! I am so happy to be able to host another giveaway in 2012 and not to mention one for my favorite holiday ever….Halloween! This giveaway will work basically the same as all of my others. I have made a list below of Halloween themed books that possess some element of the supernatural or another. This giveaway will be International so long as The Book Depository ships to your location! There will be 1 winner and that winner has 48 hours to respond to me once the giveaway is up. You may choose from any of the books below!
 
 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to check out all the other awesome blogs that are participating in this giveaway hop:




Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Review: How to Capture a Countess

Author: Karen Hawkins
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series: The Duchess Diaries # 1

Urged by her favorite nephew, the intimidating Duchess of Roxburghe agrees to transform a thorny Scottish rose into a lovely bloom. But even she isn’t prepared for fiery Rose Balfour.

At seventeen, Rose fell wildly in love with Lord Alton Sinclair, known as Lord Sin for his wicked ways. Stung by his indifference, the starry-eyed girl tried to win an illicit kiss, but then panicked and pushed the notorious rakehell into a fountain. Leaving Lord Sin floating among the lily pads to the mocking laughter of his peers, Rose escaped back to the obscurity of the Scottish countryside.

Six years later, Sin convinces his aunt, the Duchess of Roxburghe, to invite Rose to her annual house party, where he plans to get revenge by making Rose the laughingstock of polite society. To his astonishment, he finds she has become an alluring woman who threatens to turn the tables on his nefarious plans. Thus Sin and Rose begin an epic battle of the sexes that becomes more passionate at every turn. Eventually, one will have to surrender . . . but to vengeance? Or to love’s deepest passion?
 
 

The cover of this book is subtly sexy! I looked at it for a good five minutes before I actually began reading the story. The looks on their faces are pure genius! They give nothing and everything away at the same time. I love the title of the story as well because I love a good strong heroine who is reluctant to give in to a man’s charming ways! I had never read Karen Hawkins before, but I did enjoy my first attempt at her books and there will be more in the near future.

This is the first in a new series by Karen Hawkins and it sets the tone quite nicely for the rest of the books to come! We are introduced to Rose Balfour, the first of the three Balfour sisters. We also meet Alton Sinclair, Lord Sin, a man whom Rose turned down many years prior to their encounter in this novel. They have somewhat been setup to meet again by the Duchess of Roxburghe, who is Lord Sin’s great aunt and the godmother to Rose and her three sisters. We meet all of these characters at the annual house party and Winter Ball held by the Duchess of Roxburghe, who became one of my favorite characters.
 
Rose Balfour is a subtle character in that she is a natural beauty who does not even realize the glowing effect that she has on the people around her. My favorite parts were when she was in conversation with Lord Sin and she could not help but chuckle at the fact that she has left him empty-handed years before. It was almost as if she was proud of herself and I found that to be rather enjoyable. Rose feels that immediate attraction when she sees Lord Sin once more and I knew that from that point forward I was going to be in a mess with these two!
 
Rose and Sin together are certainly humorous and the situations that they get themselves into while they are attending the ball are so funny to read. I love reading stories where you can feel yourself being placed in the setting and finding a somewhat cozy charm amongst the actions of the characters. The Duchess of Roxburghe and her sidekick, MacDougal, are one of the best things about this book. They set everything up nicely so that Rose and Sin have no choice but to realize how perfect they are for one another. I could just picture the Duchess and her right hand man scheming behind the scenes so that Rose and Sin would have no clue as to what was really going on. The supporting cast in this novel makes it all the more interesting to read, but sometimes takes away from Rose and Sin because they are just too hilarious to avoid.
 
Another aspect that I loved and admired about this novel is that Karen makes the setting a real place. She opens up the book by including a letter to her readers that notes all about the actual setting, Floors Castle. I was so impressed and eager to read this. I even checked out more about the actual castle on Karen’s website: www.karenhawkins.com. The castle felt all the more real after reading some of the facts and history that is behind it. I think something small like this can really make a book stand out.
 
I was so impressed with this story and cannot wait to hear about the next Balfour sister, Lily. Lily’s story is due to be released in June 2013, I believe. Please do head over to Karen’s website and see all the wonderful books that she has written. This is an author that you will not regret picking up especially if you are in the mood for some romance!
 
***A big thank you to Karen and her publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***
 
 
 



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review: Romeo Redeemed

Author: Stacey Jay
Publication Date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Series: Juliet Immortal # 2
                     
Seductive companion to the popular Juliet Immortal, in which former lovers—Romeo and Juliet—meet, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.

Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart
.

After reading the first book in this series, and being such a huge fan of anything Shakespeare, it was only natural that I would want to read the second book. I love the bluish hues on the front cover and the way that the ocean waves sweep over the female character, how breathtaking! Their romance really comes out on the cover of this book, it gave me so much to be hopeful for!

I loved Juliet Immortal. I am so sad to say that I was not in love with this book. There were parts of the book that were written really well and then again there were parts that were not. Even after reading Juliet Immortal I was left a little confused as far as what exactly mercenaries/ambassadors are or their purpose really. I did not understand it any better really in this book. There is a lot of information that is trying to be presented in this book. I felt like at times it was too much; I constantly having to go back and re-read over and over again. I wasn’t crazy about the switching POVs and the two separate stories either. I feel like Juliet Immortal would have been the perfect read without adding a sequel.

I did like Romeo’s character and I loved that I could see him change as the story progressed. A story is not worth reading if the main character does not change in some way or another. I liked watching the romance develop and I felt like this was where Romeo shone his brightest! Juliet is still my favorite and I wish there had been more of her and Ben, and less of Ariel; I’m sorry I just had to say it. Ariel just annoys me. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but if she were a switch, I would turn her off! I think my biggest complaint would be that there was not enough Juliet in this story! I want what Shakespeare already had in place. Romeo & Juliet is not an incredible love story without an applicable dose of both!

I do have to give credit to Stacey Jay for being able to write a plot this twisted and manipulated! She is truly a talented writer and writes an eternal struggle between two characters that is so powerful and jaw dropping. Stacey writes Juliet in a way that makes me admire her that much more, not that I didn’t in the first place. Jay’s world writing is part of an unexplainable visionary that makes me think that it was just my personal preferences that turned me off from this story.

***A BIG thank you to the publishers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion***






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