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YA Book Review – I Am Number Four by Pitticus Lore

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore5 Stars

Synopsis
In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.

My Review
That might be the single best hook for any book I’ve ever seen. It certainly hooked me and I bought it based on that alone. The story started off strong and only got stronger. It’s one of the few books that has given me chills that wasn’t written by Stephen King. But it’s not gorey suspense in the tradition of King, it’s just good, screaming alien fun. Well, maybe not fun so much as thrilling, like a rollercoaster ride that is more turns and twists than the slogging uphill climb.

Number Four, also known as John Smith, is on the run from the Mogadorians, or Mogs, and moves to Paradise, Ohio to hide out. It’s hard enough being the new kid at school and even harder when you’re just a little bit strange. John’s legacies, his alien abilities, begin to manifest as he hides out in small town America.

Add to that the fact that the school’s penultimate “it” girl likes him, much to the anger of her football star ex-boyfriend, and the Mogs aren’t the only thing John needs to watch over his shoulder for.

Plot
The plot moves along at a clipped pace as John and Henri, his guardian, keep a watchful eye out for aliens, John’s abilities begin to develop, and oh yeah, the school bully wants a piece of him. John befriends nerdy Sam, whose father disappeared and Sam is sure aliens are involved. Even John thinks he’s a bit out there, but it doesn’t stop the two from becoming best friends.

The plot continues to build until the Hollywood blockbuster climax that never lets up. The romantic subplot is sweet and angsty as only a teen boy’s perspective can bring.

Characters
The characters aren’t particularly deep, but it’s not a character-driven story. This is about the plot and the plot brings it, so it’s okay that we don’t have solidly developed characters. There is enough to them that they feel real and their motives are clear, never acting against character.

Bottom Line
I Am Number Four is a fun thrill-ride and is difficult to put down.

Title: I Am Number Four
Author: Pitticus Lore
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 452
Category: Young Adult SciFi
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links to PurchaseAmazonBarnes & Noble

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YA Book Review – The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey4.5 Stars

Synopsis
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Review
The 5th Wave is unlike almost any book I’ve read. It’s dark on a whole new level and almost completely devoid of any hope, and yet it’s riveting. The story starts off after the 4th wave, when Cassie doesn’t know who she can trust. Through flashbacks, we get to see how she got to this awful point and it’s terrifying. Now she’s on a mission to get to her younger brother, Sammy, the only family she has left and therefore the only person on earth she cares about.

The tale unfolds through 91 chapters broken up into 13 “books.” Most of the story is narrated in first person from Cassie’s point of view, but about a third of it is told from another survivor, nicknamed Zombie, and a small piece through the eyes of a mysterious “silencer.”

As Cassie tries to survive and get to her brother, she runs into the sexy and mysterious Evan Walker. Against all instinct, she decides to trust him because she doesn’t feel she has any other choice. Meanwhile Zombie and a crew of other kids, train to take down the aliens. It becomes clear that Cassie and Evan are on a collision course with the Zombie and his friends and that keeps the pages turning.

Plot
The plot is complex and well structured, but it is long and plods along in some spots. I found it difficult in the middle to keep going, even though I really wanted to know what happened to Cassie, Evan, Zombie, and Sammy. But the story picks up during the second half and takes off, making it very difficult to put down.

Characters
Cassie is an interesting character and reminds me much of Ellie Linton from the Tomorrow When the War Began series by John Marsden. And maybe what both kick-ass characters have in common is that they’re both conceived and written by male authors, giving them a harder edge than many female protagonists. But Cassie’s roughness is part of what I love about her.

Zombie and Sammy are also likeable and I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I actually really like Evan. I know a lot of readers found him creepy, but I love that he’s willing to risk everything for Cassie. When he says, “Before I found you, I thought the only way to hold on was to find something to live for. It isn’t. To hold on, you have to find something you’re willing to die for.” I knew my feelings about him were forever changed.

Bottom Line
The 5th Wave is scary, intense, and at times, hard to put down. At 497 pages, it’s long for a debut author and my only real complaint is that the middle sags quite a bit. But it’s worth slogging through to get to the other side which is an E-ticket ride all the way to the finish.

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 497
Category: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Links to PurchaseAmazonBarnes & Noble

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Bird After Bird by Leslea TashSynopsis
Dear Birdy, Princess Birdzilla von MuffinStuff, Keeper of Dreams, Lover of our Fine Feathered Friends, queen of my life and light of my world, I hope this letter finds you well. If you are reading this then I am gone, and sweetheart, I am so sorry.

Chi-town professional Wren Riley is 25 and a rising star in the business world. She can eat a man alive and laugh about it to her girlfriends in seconds flat–and she does, on the regular. Behind the power suits and the flashing, flirty eyes, however, Wren has a secret, vulnerable side. Following a devastating loss and the discovery of a bird journal she and her father made together years before, Wren sets out to seek peace, closure, and something she just can’t name. Is that something tied to the little paper cranes she keeps finding along the way?

Laurence Byrd grew up a lanky Hoosier kid with the good/bad fortune of having the same name as the state’s perennial basketball legend. With a better affinity for dogs than sports or school, he ends up in the Army instead of the Chicago art school of his dreams. Still, his service to our country is something he can be proud of–until an argument with the girl who means the world to him results in a series of events that blows his life apart. With no one left to understand him, black sheep Laurie pours out his heart into letters and drawings he never intends to send–then he folds them into paper cranes that he leaves behind like messages in little winged bottles. He never dreams someone might be finding them.

God damn it, Sylvia, for a few moments I tricked myself into feeling really alive. I cut it off before anyone got hurt, but just for a moment or two, I really thought I might feel something again–something like trust. Something like love. Not the kind of love we had, but something new. Something like hope.

Spoiler alert: Wren and Laurie are going to meet. And when they do, their lives are never going to be the same.

Check out Some of These Amazon Reviews
“There were nights I *had* to force myself to go to bed. I couldn’t wait for the day to end so I could hang out with Laurie and Wren.”

“Definitely worth the read, so go on, make yourself a cuppa and sit for a while, listen to the birds and become immersed in this beautiful story of how love and loss can lead you to love deeply again.”

“I loved this book like crazy. I read it in a day. And I recommend it highly.”

Title: Bird After Bird
Author: Leslea Tash
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: 290
Category: Contemporary Romance
Link to PurchaseAmazon

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Tomorrow When the War Began by James Marsden5 Stars

Synopsis
When Ellie and her friends return from a camping trip in the Australian bush, they find things hideously wrong — their families are gone. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in their town has been taken prisoner. As the reality of the situation hits them, they must make a decision — run and hide, give themselves up and be with their families, or fight back.

My Review
There are not enough words to adequately describe how MUCH I love this book. It’s intense, and thrilling, emotional, raw, witty…everything I love in a book and more. The story is set in Australia, where a group of teens decide to take one last camping trip before school starts back up. While camping deep in the bush, their country is overtaken by an enemy that is never fully defined, but that feeds the plot so perfectly. And because the teens don’t know who is behind it, neither does the reader.

As the reality of what has happened slowly dawns on Ellie and her friends, a chill washes over the reader. It is so utterly believable that you can’t help but get caught up in the story, feel the initial shock and growing fear as they realize everyone they love is gone, their pets dead, and they have no idea what has happened.

Slowly they put the pieces together and decide to fight back, first against their own fears, and then against the enemy. The emotion that John Marsden brings to the story is authentic. As a high school teacher, he has a deep understanding of the teenage mind and draws his characters so beautifully real that it’s hard to remember they’re fictional.

Plot
The characters deal with the realities of life in a country ripped from under them and the ugly realities of war. They’re the only ones left to do something, and yet nothing in their lives has prepared them for it. The story starts off a little slow, but not haltingly so. John Marsden beautifully sets up his pivotal moment, building to the unfolding horror like a steady climb up the steps of Hell, where the kids have been camping. And then it takes off at breakneck speed, from one intense moment to the next, allowing us only small moments to catch our breath.

I think what I love best about this story is the way the characters are so deeply affected by what has happened and what they have to do. So many stories of this nature have the characters deal with emotions in the moment, but there never seems to be any lasting damage from the events. Often, characters are broken by what happened before the story starts and play into the character arcs. But in Tomorrow When the War Began, the characters are profoundly affected by what they need to do, and we see them break before our eyes.

Characters
The characters are what really make this book what it is. Yes, it has a pulse-pounding plot, but the nuanced complexities of Ellie, Homer, Fi, Robyn, Corrie, Lee and Chris take the story from just a thriller to something so much deeper. Ellie is a fun-loving only child who considers her friends to be family. The way she adores her friends makes me adore her even when she’s getting on my last nerve.

Homer is the guy I want to hang out with, the one I want as my best friend. He’s a crazy Greek with streak for getting into trouble, but would never abandon you in the thick of things. He’s definitely the guy you want along on your camping trip or an attack on an unknown enemy.

Corrie is Ellie’s best mate, the one she’d do anything for. Their relationship is at the heart of the story and ultimately the most emotional and heartbreakingly real. Corrie stands by Ellie when Ellie snaps and alienates everyone else, but she does it with love and a touch of humor.

Robyn is sweet and principled and is constantly finding those principles put to the test. Standing by her long-held beliefs or standing by her friends is a battle she fights nearly every day and it’s both painful and satisfying watching her grow.

Fiona, or Fi, is the sweet, wholesome, rich girl from town hanging out with the “rural inbreds” and she’s so clearly out of her element that most of the comic relief is at her expense, but she takes it with grace.

Chris is the town stoner, but he’s no Jeff Spicoli. Chris is far deeper than I originally thought and the more I learn about him, the more I like him.

And finally, there’s Lee. What can I say about Lee except that I love him. So completely and truly. He’s a musician and the only one of the group who the others don’t really know. Ellie invites him along as a last choice because she finds him “interesting.” He ultimately becomes her love interest, but he’s much more than that. Lee is the center to Ellie’s craziness. He’s willing to do what needs to be done, regardless of how awful he finds it. He’s not immune to the consequences of their actions, but he understands better than the others that war sometimes means difficult choices and that beating yourself up constantly over those choices isn’t prudent.

Bottom Line
Tomorrow When the War Began is probably the best young adult dystopian novel you’ve never read. John Marsden has created a totally believable and horrifying world and plunked his complex characters into it to play out a what-if scenario that is brilliant on so many levels. The fact that it is just the first book in a series, and that I read the entire ten-book series in under three months, is a testament to how incredibly much I love the Tomorrow series.

Title: Tomorrow When the War Began
Author: John Marsden
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Pages: 293
Category: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links to Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble

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Losing Logan Trailer Reveal by Sherry D. Ficklin

Losing Logan Trailer Reveal

About the Book
Title: Losing Logan
Author: Sherry D. Ficklin
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: YA Paranormal

Synopsis
Losing Logan by Sherry D. FicklinWhat if the one thing you never meant to hold on to, was the one thing you couldn’t let go of?

Normally finding a hot guy in her bedroom wouldn’t irritate Zoe so badly, but finding her childhood friend Logan there is a big problem.
Mostly because he’s dead.

As the only person he can make contact with, he talks Zoe into helping him put together the pieces surrounding his mysterious death so he can move on. Thrust into his world of ultra popular rich kids, Zoe is out of her element and caught in the cross-hairs of Logan’s suspicious ex-girlfriend and the friends he left behind, each of whom had a reason to want him dead. The deeper they dig to find the truth, the closer Zoe gets to a killer who would do anything to protect his secrets. And that’s just the start of her problems because Zoe is falling for a dead guy.

Trailer

About the Author
Sherry D. Ficklin is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other. That is, unless she’s on deadline at which time she, like the Loch Ness monster, is only seen in blurry photographs.

Website: http://sherryficklin.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sherry.ficklin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorSherry
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4153170.Sherry_D_Ficklin

Sneak Peek
“Who would want me dead?” he whispers.

I raise my hand.

He glances up and laughs….

“Why am I not surprised by that?”

Lowering my arm I pick at my fingernails.

“Well, you do irritate me.”

“Yeah, but did I annoy you when I was alive?”

I think about that for a second. “No, I suppose not. It’s hard to annoy someone who doesn’t even orbit the same planet as you. Or maybe you’re just annoying dead?”

He smirks, “Well I never had any complaints while I was alive so, maybe. Then again, maybe you just bring out the best in me.”

I pucker. That’s entirely possible. Lord knows Carlos has called me abrasive more than once.

Changing the subject I stab a piece of chicken and hold it out to Logan.

“Ok, experiment time.”

He looks around the fork at me like I’ve lost my mind.

“Lick it.” I say.

“You lick it.”

I sigh, “Seriously. If we are going to work with the whole ghost thing, I’d like to know the rules. I want to see if you can taste it.”

“Why? Are you planning on having me lick things often?”

I thrust the fork forward, “Just do it.”

Reluctantly he leans forward and sticks out his tongue, making a licking sound like a dog.

“Anything?” I ask hopefully.

“Maybe just a little? But I might just be smelling it through my mouth.”

“Huh.”

I stare at the fork for a second, debating whether to eat it or put it back in the box. I mean, he didn’t get his germs on it or anything, did he? Do ghosts even have germs? Ghost cooties?

He’s watching me with an amused expression. I shrug and take the bite, stuffing the empty fork back in the carton.

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April is National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. Established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, it is now celebrated every April. Libraries, poets, writers, schools, and even publishers celebrate with a wide variety of activities. Strand Books, a New York bookseller, is challenging the masses in a Book Spine Poetry contest via Instagram where they will repost their favorite entries.

I had so much fun coming up with three ideas, none of which are really all that creative, but it was still a blast. Admittedly, the overwhelming majority of books I’ve bought in the past four years have been ebooks, so I had to work with older books, but that only made it more challenging. Try your hand at a few and see how addicting it is. I’d love to see what you come up with. If you create your own, post a link in the comments.

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How to Say I Love You Out Loud by K.A.Cozzo5 Stars

Synopsis
Jordyn’s always wanted to fit in more than she’s wanted to stand out. Until she realizes there’s something, or someone, she wants even more than that.

For Jordyn Michaelson, having a severely Autistic sibling means her wants or needs never come first. It means keeping friends from her new school at a distance and hiding the truth about her brother Phillip. She’s lost friends because of her brother before. She refuses to be once again known as nothing more than “Phillip’s sister.”

So she’s settled for friend status with Alex Colby, even though she still clings to the memory of one steamy kiss last summer. Even though she’s in love with him. Not that it matters anyway, because Alex is with Leighton Lyons now. Confident, competitive field hockey all-star Leighton goes after whatever she wants. Jordyn could never go up against someone like that. Jordyn’s kept her feelings and desires hidden away for so long, she’d have no idea how to begin anyway.

When Phillip’s private school closes and he’s forced to join Jordyn at image-conscious Valley Forge High, she’s desperate to keep her sibling status hidden. But secrets are always more complicated than they seem, and before long Jordyn has alienated her friends and gained some very unwanted attention from Leighton. The only person who seems to have her back anymore is Alex, if only Jordyn could put her trust issues aside and let someone in. When Alex hints at lingering romantic feelings, will Jordyn take a risk and go for it, even if it means letting someone see the real her? Or will Jordyn stay silent and let one last chance with Alex slip away for good?

My Review
This story hooked me from the first chapter. Jordyn has a secret and I was dying to know what it was. Plus there’s a guy who’s both cute AND hot, which is a nearly irresistible combination, and she can’t be with him because of the secret? Yeah, my interest was piqued.

When I found out Jordyn’s big secret, my feelings about the book blossomed. This was no longer just a teen romance, but was now a deeper story dealing with very real, contemporary issues faced by very real people.

Nearly everyone knows at least one family dealing with autism. In fact, we know three families with autistic children. In the United States, autism impacts one in 88 children — more than two million — and tens of millions worldwide.

The issues Jordyn faces are not unique to her, but her reaction and the ways in which she copes are all her own. It’s hard enough being a teen girl, harder still when you’re the new girl in town, add to that an autistic brother who’s suddenly attending your exclusive high school, and you have a recipe for disaster. Author K.A. Cozzo brings it all to a beautifully crafted climax and satisfying conclusion.

Plot
The plot is intelligent, nuanced, and layered. Jordyn struggles to get through 60 days without anyone finding out that Phillip is her brother. In the meantime, she watches Alex’s relationship with Leighton, captain of her field hockey team, unfold in front of her, twisting the knife deeper. And underlying it all is Jordyn’s inability to speak her mind, stand up for what she believes in, and take control of her life.

Characters
Jordyn is incredibly likeable despite her faults. You pull for her because you want her to see that life can be so much more than she’s making of it. You can’t help feeling her pain — loving someone who will never be able to express their love back and watching the boy you secretly adore be with someone else. Gosh, I just want to hug her.

And then there’s Alex Colby. He is my new book boyfriend. It was Aiden St. Delphi from the Covenant series, and I never believed anyone would be able to knock him off his perfect pedestal, but Alex Colby has done just that. While not perfect, Alex is perfectly flawed in a way that only makes me love him more.

The supporting cast is limited because this is primarily Jordyn’s story, but her mother is well-fleshed out as is Leighton. They are solid, believable characters that add depth and conflict.

Bottom Line
Autism is real and the author handles the topic deftly, never whitewashing it, nor making it more than it is. This is a deep story filled with longing, hope, love, acceptance and forgiveness, with undertones of redemption that comes from learning to speak out loud for yourself and for others. The friendship and love between Jordyn and Alex feels authentic, and heartbreaking, and beautiful. This story has something for readers of all ages. Don’t let the category be your guide.

Title: How to Say I Love You Out Loud
Author: K.A. Cozzo
Publisher: For a limited time, available to read for free at SwoonReads
Pages: 194
Category: Young Adult Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links to PurchaseSwoonReads

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YA Book Review – Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Onyx by Jennifer L Armentrout5 Stars

Synopsis
Being connected to Daemon Black sucks.

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies.

My Review
I loved Obsidian. Devoured it. Nothing JLA ever writes could possibly be as good as Obsidian. Except for Onyx. She took Katy and Daemon to a whole other stratosphere when it comes to romantic tension. After Daemon saves Katy’s life at the end of Obsidian, he’s ready to finally be honest with her, he likes her and he thinks she likes him, too. But Katy’s convinced his feelings aren’t real, that they’re based on nothing more than some sort of weird alien connection as a result of saving her life.

All she wants is a normal, HUMAN boyfriend. Is that asking so much? Enter cute California surfer, Blake. As a So. Cal girl, I can attest to the cuteness of California surfer boys, so I was on board with a little diversion, and it was fun to watch Daemon’s jealousy rear its ugly, albeit sexy, head.

But when your next door neighbors are aliens and constantly being watched by the DoD, nothing will ever be that simple. Chaos ensues. Katy uncovers a secret the DoD would rather remain covered and, as she so often does, makes all of the wrong choices. This time the consequences are far worse than she could ever have dreamed.

Plot
The plot was simply amazing. This action-packed sequel hit the ground running and never let up. The romantic subplot sizzles even more than in Obsidian. Anything but predictable, JLA foreshadows so expertly, you don’t even realize until after the fact how beautifully she’d set you up. And it was delicious to sit back and watch Daemon working so hard to get Katy after she spent all of Obsidian trying to get him.

Characters
As fantastic as the plot is, the characters are what really make this series. The characters are well-rounded, if not essentially deep. They are fun and funky and the kind of people you’d want to invite over for Friday night zombie movie watching and popcorn.

Bottom Line
This is a fun, pulse-pounding read that is equal parts exciting, funny, and quirky, and I highly recommend it.

Title: Onyx
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 416
Category: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Links to PurchaseAmazonBarnes & Noble

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YA Book Review – Meant to Be by Tiffany King

Meant to Be by Tiffany King3 Stars

Synopsis
Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept and without any real friends; the one exception being the boy that visits her each night in her dreams.

Krista’s emotions are put to the test when a move to California triggers a devastating change to her fantasy world. The nightly comfort that the boy provides has now become a recurring nightmare as he is taken from her by an unseen force.

Struggling to appear normal, Krista enrolls in a new school and finds it to be nothing like she thought. Her new life is sent spiraling out of control from a strange connection with a boy, Mark, who claims to know all her secrets.

As Krista begins to explore the emotions that Mark evokes in her, secrets about their mysterious past and their predestined purpose threatens to separate them just when they have found each other.

My Review
I want to start off by saying I love Tiffany King, but this book didn’t do it for me. Unlike many books I read, it started off strong and fell apart toward the end. Usually books start off slowly and then grip me by the middle.

Meant to Be started strong with a great concept. Krista sees the same boy in her dreams every night. She’s in love with the boy in her dreams even though she’s never seen his face. After she and her mom move to Santa Cruz following her father’s death, her dreams change, becoming darker and leaving her feeling empty. They still include the mystery boy, but something has changed and her dreams no longer bring her comfort.

The story stalls about midway through. It gets to a point where there is far more telling than showing, the scenes feet choppy, and don’t transition well. And even though this is the first book in a series, it had too many loose ends for me, and it ended abruptly.

I didn’t feel the connection between Krista and dream-boy Mark. Tiffany King does a masterful job of building that chemistry in her other books, particularly Unlikely Allies and Forever Changed. In fact, she does it so well, it’s one of the things that keeps me reading her books. But Krista and Mark’s relationship felt forced.

Plot
The concept is really good and unique, but I don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been.

Characters
To me, the characters were the weakest aspect of the book. I don’t like Krista at all and I’m having a hard time understanding who Mark is or why he even likes Krista. Maybe it’s just that they’re meant to be, but that isn’t good enough for me to feel it. Also, Krista has just discovered that another boy, Shawn is likely her brother, but she doesn’t develop any kind of a real relationship with him, even though she’s been raised as an only child. That didn’t ring true to me.

I really did like Sam and Shawn, though. They were far more interesting and maybe this would have been better told through their points of view.

Bottom Line
I’m not sure I’d recommend this one. I’m usually quick to recommend anything by Tiffany King, but I don’t think this will be one of them. That said, I will probably read the rest of the series. And it certainly won’t stop me from reading other books by her.

Title: Meant to Be (The Saving Angels #1)
Author: Tiffany King
Publisher: Unknown
Pages: 288
Category: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Links to PurchaseAmazonBarnes & Noble

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Book Review – Forgive & Forget by Heather Ashby

Forgive and Forget by Heather Ashby3.5 Stars

Synopsis
There’s something about a man in uniform…but there’s something about a woman in one, too. When Hallie McCabe meets Philip Johnston at a picnic, she is drawn to his integrity. He is a gentleman. But also an officer. From her ship. Aware of the code against fraternization between officers and enlisted, Hallie conceals her Navy status, hopeful she and her secret will stay hidden on their aircraft carrier until she can figure out a way for them to sail off into the sunset together.

Caught in an emotional firestorm, Hallie faces a future without the man she loves, a career-shattering secret from the past, and the burden of being the one person who can prevent a terrorist attack on the ship she has sworn to protect with her life.

My Review
It started off strong, and built to a decent climax, but then it sort of fell apart at the end. Hallie meets a nice guy, who just happens to be wickedly sexy, that she really connects with. She likes him and wants it to be more than just a fling, until she discovers he serves on the same naval ship she does — a big no-no. It’s a great set-up for awesome romantic conflict. Even better, she doesn’t tell him, and the conflict intensifies. Throw in a terrorist on board who wants to take out the ship in epic fashion and what can go wrong?

Sadly, too much. Hallie starts out beautifully flawed but by the end, she’s so over-the top holier-than-thou that she becomes completely unlikeable. I literally couldn’t stand her by the time I hit the other side of the climax.  I feel this would have been a MUCH better book if it had ended about two chapters before it did and the previous two chapters had been compressed into one.

Plot 
The plot was good. A strong three-act structure that builds to a great climax, although I felt it took too long to get there, but the drawn out aftermath ruined it for me.

Characters
With the exception of Hallie’s transformation into “St. Hallie the Perfect” at the end, the characters are strong and believable. I particularly liked Skylark and Davis. I thought all of the supporting characters had depth and I liked that there was even growth in some of the tertiary characters, particularly the ship’s commander.

Bottom Line
I’m on the fence on whether or not I’d recommend it, because of some of the things I mentioned above, I can’t give it a solid recommendation.

Title: Forgive and Forget (Love in the Fleet)
Author: Heather Ashby
Publisher: Henery Press
Pages: 300
Category: Romantic Suspense
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Links to PurchaseAmazonBarnes & Noble

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