Saturday, August 31, 2013

review - Quintana of Charyn

Quintana of Charyn Cover Image

Five Stars
Quintana of Charyn
by: Melina Marchetta | Website | Twitter

Publication Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Series: The Lumatere Chronicles #3
Format: Hardback
Page Count: 516
Genre: YA, High Fantasy
Get your copy: Amazon | B&N

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Summary: There's a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . .

Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn's unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn's war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

Quintana of Charyn Header Image
My Review
The bittersweet finality of a series-ending book. Melina Marchetta blew this one out of the water. There were so many characters and plot points to cover but none were neglected. Finishing the last page, I was definitely satisfied and fully content with where the characters were and their hopeful futures. Melina wrote a full-fledged epilogue; other authors take note! Lucian and Phaedra became one of my favorite story lines; their struggle to honor their respective kingdoms but stay true to the path their hearts were leading them. Ugh, the feelings! Quintana's journey and growth was amazing, considering her start in Froi of the Exiles. While there was hope in the end, Melina does not spare readers of heartbreak and lose.

Series-wise, I was surprised by how much Froi's story became integral to the land of Skuldenore. Seems like Isoboe and Finnikin were just a device to introduce Froi. I wouldn't have complained if there had been more of their story in the final book, but this did not affect my love for this series. This sweeping and detailed fantasy series has permanently left its mark on my heart!

Have you read any of The Lumatere Chronicles? Fantasy at its highest? Yes, I believe so!

Friday, August 30, 2013

review - After Math

After Math Cover Image

Five Stars
After Math
by: Denise Grover Swank | Website | Twitter

Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Createspace
Series: Off the Subject #1
Format: eBook
Page Count: 246
Genre: NA, Contemporary Romance
Get your copy: Amazon | B&N

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Summary: Scarlett Goodwin’s world is divided into Before and After.

Before she agreed to tutor Tucker price, college junior Scarlett was introvert, struggling with her social anxiety and determined to not end up living in a trailer park like her mother and her younger sister. A mathematics major, she goes to her classes, to her job in the tutoring lab, and then hides in the apartment she shares with her friend, Caroline.

After junior Tucker Price, Southern University’s star soccer player enters the equation, her carefully plotted life is thrown off its axis. Tucker’s failing his required College Algebra class. With his eligibility is at risk, the university chancellor dangles an expensive piece of computer software for the math department if Scarlett agrees to privately tutor him. Tucker’s bad boy, womanizer reputation makes Scarlett wary of any contact, let alone spending several hours a week in close proximity.

But from her first encounter, she realizes Tucker isn’t the person everyone else sees. He carries a mountain of secrets which she suspects hold the reason to his self-destructive behavior. But the deeper she delves into the cause of his pain, the deeper she gets sucked into his chaos. Will Scarlett find the happiness she’s looking for, or will she be caught in Tucker’s aftermath?

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

After Math Header Image
My Review
Never have I read a book that I so connected with, as much as Aftermath. And to think it was a whim purchase after seeing a quick blog post with the words "math nerd." I started Aftermath that night and stayed up way too late finishing it.

Scarlet is the closest book version of me I've ever found, aside from her background. The studious, 4.0 GPA introvert, who's wary of crowds and prefers her comfortable sanctuary that is her room/apartment. She spoke to me from page one; I understood how she felt and all of her motives. Some would ask why read about what you already know, instead of the adventurous heroine who's afraid of nothing? While those can provide some escape, it was nice to read something relatable.

All the New Adult books are taking place in college, and Denise Swank writes one of the most realistic, true-to-life college settings, everything from classes, university funding, study labs, student fitness centers, and NCAA athletes (having been one myself). Aftermath was kind of surreal, like my college years had been brought to life on the page. And for me it was these little details that really pushed Aftermath to the next level in New Adult. College wasn't presented in this Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby way with all the parties and days were students don't study. The characters actually went to a college sporting event; hello real college experience!

Be still my heart! The understanding of this man is mind-blowingly sweet. He senses Scarlet's apprehension and works so hard to make her comfortable, building their relationship from the very smallest nugget of friendship. I love that the infernal friend-zone wall was smashed in this book. In fact, Scarlet almost required the friendship prior to her heart even thinking about any more. No insta-love here, which is much appreciated. Sometimes people need to know a person's character before they surrender their heart. Very glad Tucker stuck with Scarlet and let her warm-up to him and the idea of them. Just another shoutout for how much I loved that Tucker was a college athlete. Him running to Scarlet's apartment made my heart pitter-patter.

I highly recommend Aftermath to anyone interested in a slow-burning romance and a realistic New Adult novel, where partying is not the entire college experience!

Have you read After Math? What did you think?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

swoon thursday | 5 - Escaping Reality

Swoon Thursday
Swoon Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by YA Bound to share your swoon-inducing bookish moments. Also, shout it out on Twitter with the hashtag #YABound.

Escaping Reality Cover Image

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Escaping Reality
by: Lisa Renee Jones | Website | Twitter
Series: The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #1
Page: 160

What I like is him bare-chested and relaxed in his pajama bottoms, with sexy, mussed-up morning hair. And me, in his shirt, with his scent teasing my nostrils. I have never worn a man's shirt and that somehow makes wearing his shirt all the more intimate.

My heart kind of melted when I read that passage.
So domestic and normally sweet, but sexy at the same time.
Have you read a great swoony scene lately? Let me know below!