Book Review: Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Summary

This is book five in the Significance series by Shelly Crane. It follows Ava, the daughter of the main characters in the first four books. In this series, a certain group of people called Virtuosos (who are mostly human, but with some extra powers), find their soulmate by “imprinting” when they touch. Once they have their soulmate, their Significant, they go through a period of time before they Ascend and gain their power. Ava has grown up in the Jacobsen clan – a close-knit family that has good morals and stands up for its beliefs. Her significant, Seth, grew up with the Watsons – the antagonists from the first four books. The books very much follows the idea of star-crossed lovers.

What I Liked

  • I don’t know why I’m obsessed with this series. I love the idea of soulmates. (So if you know any great books with a soulmate AU, let me know! I want to read them!) And although there are a ton of things I don’t like with these stories (see below) I just keep reading them…
  • Seth is a firefighter, which brought some unique challenges we didn’t get to see with the original characters (Ava’s parents).
  • The star-crossed lovers thing was also a very intriguing idea. This also lent itself to some interesting plot points that we haven’t seen yet from this society.

What I Didn’t Like

  • The grammar and the writing. Oh. my. gosh. For a while I though these books were just self-published eBooks, for which it would be understandable if they weren’t well edited. But apparently she does have an editor?! If you are her editor and you’re reading this – please go read a book by Jeff Gerke. I’d suggest 50 First Pages or How to Write Christian Fiction. Then problems such as the following could be avoided:
    • Telling and not showing
    • Treating the reader like they’re stupid. (Stating “I knew this was such a significant moment in my life” is unnecessary. If the scene was written correctly, we the reader already know that!)
    • Restating the same things over and over and over again. Unless of course it’s an important detail, in which case it’s only mentioned once and never again.
  • Ava is supposedly attending university. But the way it is described sounds a lot more like high school… Are there universities out there with bell schedules? And a lunch time that everyone has?
  • While I understand that he first four books are romances following her parents, it is still incredibly weird the way in which Ava describes her parent’s romantic life. “Hanky panky would have been had” is something I would never imagine a teenager saying or even imagining about her parents.
  • Twenty years or so have passed since the last book ended. However, nothing much seems to have changed. Either in the human world or in the Virtuoso world. And that was weird too.

In Conclusion

If you can get past the sloppy writing and poor grammar and you’re weirdly obsessed with the soulmate AU idea like I am, then read this book. Otherwise, it’s not for you.

Find it on: Goodreads | Amazon (affiliate link)

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Book Review: Stone in the Sky by Cecil Castellucci

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

This is book two in the Tin Star series. It follows Tula Bane as she works to assert herself and her values against the evils in space. Her home in space, the Yertina Feray, has now become a hub for a new source of galactic currency – the alin. Thanks to all of the extra traffic, Tula attracts some unwanted attention and finds herself travelling the galaxy, reaching out to aliens she knows.

I really wanted to like this book – but it left me feeling so-so. In the first book (which I loved), Tula Bane is a kick-butt character who uses her wits and creative manipulation to become a (somewhat) respected citizen on the Yetina Feray. In this book she does a lot of sitting and letting other people do the work. I expressed my frustration to my writer friend, who said “Ahhh. She’s losing agency.” And that’s exactly why this book bothered me. Instead of taking control of her own fate, things just sort of happen to her and around her. Yes, the events may be exciting, but she’s not the one participating in them. There’s also a nice section of the book where she’s pretty desolate and hopeless. Which isn’t necessarily a problem by itself, but combined with the agency problem, makes the story weak.

Another dislike is that, as the reader, I had a hard time believing in the author’s assertations about Tula’s leadership skills. Of all the things that happened in the story, we didn’t get to see Tula’s leadership skills in action (much), we were just told she had them.

That being said, there were some good things with the story. I did enjoy following the romance(s). It’s the first time since Stephenie Meyer’s The Host that I’ve actually rooted for an inter-species relationship. I also loved the galaxy and and the aliens within. The aliens species were creative and I enjoyed how the author conveyed their different cultures and communication styles. We see a lot more of this in the first book, but I still though it was strong in this one as well. We also get a deeper look into different cultures (the wanderers and pirates) who are mentioned in the first book, but never really elaborated upon.

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Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is by far the best book I have read in a long time!!

Juliet has recently lost her mother. Since her mother’s death she’s dropped out of her favorite activities, including photography, which she can’t bring herself to do any more. Declan has his own past drama, and masquerades at school as a troublemaker. While serving community service at the cemetery he finds one of Juliet’s letters to her mother – and writes back. From there the book follows their correspondance and journey as they deal with their situations.

The summary above looks sort of sad, but this book is beautiful. Anyone can tell you that I don’t like to read (or watch or talk about) sad things – the last book I read was Scooby-Doo, if that’s any indication! Bridgid Kemmerer has a great way of writing about something sad in a way that you feel for the characters, but don’t feel depressed yourself. I loved the way she wove the two stories together and how the interactions in real life versus on paper occurred. There were plenty of surprises that are discovered throughout the story. (Did I mention that I read this book entirely in one sitting? It’s that good!) I’m not sure what else to say about the book except “Go read it!” It’s a work of art. 🙂

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Ten Book Recommendations for Those in a Reading Slump

Today’s post is based on Top Ten Tuesday at Broke and Bookish. I have for you ten books that will help you break your reading slump. These are books that have gotten me out of my own slumps, or that I just couldn’t put down! (Post contains affiliate links.)

Ten Books for Those in a Reading Slump

1. Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

This is, hands-down, the best book I’ve read this year. An actual review is coming soon, but this book will definitely take you out of a slump! I read it all in one sitting. It follows Juliet, a photographer, who has recently lost her mother. She writes letters to her mother and leaves them at her mother’s grave. Declan, a high school delinquent, finds one of the letters and responds. The following conversations and events create an amazing story.

 

2. Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram

 

This book is just plain adorable. It’s a pretty easy read and every time I even go to re-read a passage, I get sucked in and read basically the whole thing. The main character, Ella, is recovering from severe burns received due to a car accident. She has to deal with her father, stepmother, and stepsisters for the first time in her life, and it’s challenging. Her only solace is in her online blog and online pen-pal, Cinder.


3. What If by Randall Munroe
This is a super fun science book that takes crazy questions (“What would happen if you drained the ocean and put the water on Mars?”) and answers them with science. The author is as the creator of the web comic XKCD, and he once worked for NASA.

4. Talon by Julie Kagawa

 

Give this book two chapters, and you’ll be hooked. The female main character is a dragon in human form, assigned to learn how to assimilate with humans. The male main character is a dragon-slayer – a soldier who has been taught to kill first, ask questions never.

5. The Martian by Andy Weir

This may only pick you out of a slump if you are a logical-mathematical type person. I loved this story about a man who is accidentally left behind on Mars and must learn to survive with minimal supplies until he can be rescued. He has to face many obstacles you would never thing of on earth, and the stakes for everything are life or death.


6. Bad Connection by Melody Carlson

This is a Christian fiction novel that follows Samantha McGregor – a teen who gets visions. When she gets one of a person who has gone missing, she knows she needs to step in and help with the investigation. This is an intriguing mystery/crime novel.

7. Angelfall by Susan Ee

While I did only give this book three stars, it also kept me hooked from beginning to end. And then I did the same thing with the next book. And then the next. As a series, the books will keep you on edge, intrigued about the next action. The series follows Penryn as she navigates post-apocalyptic Earth, which has now been invaded by angels.

8. Crash by Lisa McMann

This is a super quick but intense read. It follows Jules – your average Italian high schooler, who works at her parent’s pizza shop, argues with her two siblings, and avoids her family’s rivals. Then she starts seeing a vision. There’s a crash, and then, lots of body bags. What does it mean? And what can she do about it?

9. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

 

This book is great for fans of Twilight. Jessica’s life has been pretty normal so far. And then an exchange student/vampire shows up and turns her life upside down.

10. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

This is an adorable young adult romance, and it’s my favorite in the Anna and the French Kiss series. (Lola… is second in the series, but it can easily be read out of order.) Lola is an eccentric designer with a passion for costumes, and Cricket is an inventor who lives next door, and who hasn’t been in Lola’s life for years. (It’s a romance, so I’m sure you can guess the rest. 🙂)

So that’s it! What books would you recommend to someone in a reading slump? Have you read any of the books above? Let me know!

❤️ Annette

Book Review: Sixteen Kisses by Kelly Oram

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This novella follows Cassie on the day of her sixteenth birthday. Up until this day, she’s never been kissed. Will that change now that she’s sixteen?

This book was cute. It’s perfect for reading in a waiting room, or even a quick trip to the beach. It is a little predictable, and it doesn’t have the depth of a normal novel, but for a novella I thought it was great.

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New on the Stack in July 2017

I’m linking up to The Deliberate Reader for this post. Here are the books I got, in some way or another, during the month of July. Next to each I try to explain why I chose to purchase/borrow that particular book. (Clicking on the picture of each book will take you to the book’s Amazon page, through an affiliate link.)

Borrowed from Friends

Plot Perfect by Paula Munier

This book was recommended to me by my writer friend.

 

 


Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

Another book recommended to my by my writer friend.

 

Quiet! by Susan Cain

I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now so when I saw it at a friends house I had to borrow it!

 

Purchased eBook

Talon by Julie Kagawa

I loved Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, so I was super excited to pick up her series about dragons.

 


Rogue by Julie Kagawa

After reading Talon, I had to immediately go and buy the sequel!

 

 

Re Designed by Denise Swank

I’m trying to finish series that I’ve started, so this is book two in the Off the Subject series.

 

Baby Comes First by Beverly Farr

I enjoyed Beverly Farr’s Love and Chocolate series so I picked up a couple of ebooks by her.

 


Forgotten Honeymoon by Beverly Farr

Another book by Beverly Farr.

 

MacFarland’s Lass by Glynnis Campbell

Another series I’m trying to finish.

 

 

Borrowed eBook Through Kindle Unlimited

Taken by Tuesday by Catherine Bybee

I’ve enjoyed the first four books so far, so here’s the fifth.

 

Wide Awake by Shelly Crane

I really like her Significance series, so I figured I’d give this one a shot.

 

Accidentally Hers by Jamie Beck

I read a couple of books by this author a couple of years ago, and enjoyed them.

 


Worth the Trouble by Jamie Beck

Another series I’m trying to finish.

 

 


It Had to Be Love by Tamra Baumann

Another series I’m trying to finish. (See a pattern here?)

 

Chameleon by Kelly Oram

I love everything by Kelly Oram, so I’m excited to read more of her work!

 

 


Serial Hottie by Kelly Oram

Another book by Kelly Oram. 🙂

 

Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram

Another book by Kelly Oram.

 

V is for Virgin  by Kelly Oram

Yet another book by Kelly Oram.

 

Undeniably Chosen by Shelly Crane

Book five in the Significance series.

 

 

What books did you pick up in July?

❤️ Annette

Penryn and The End of Days Fashion: Post-Apocolyptic Practical

I thought it would be fun to make some fashion boards based on the Penryn and The End of Days series. All four of the outfits come from book three. Sorry if they’re not perfect – they’re the closest I could get with what I could find on Polyvore. 😊

(This post contains spoilers for End of Days by Susan Ee.)

Post Apocalyptic Practical
Penryn’s outfit choice in The End of Days, when they go to an abandoned mall to shop.
Paige's Outfit

 

The outfit Penryn chooses for Paige at the same shopping excursion.
Wishing
This comes from page 61 of End of Days.
“‘You won’t always be fighting, Penryn. There will come a time when you’ll be so bored that you’ll wish you were fighting.’
‘I can only dream.’ I pull out the dress and lay it against me, feeling the soft, sparkly fabric.
He reaches out as if he can’t help himself and runs his forefinger along the shoulder of the dress. ‘If I were human, I’d plow the nicest farm for you.’ He sounds completely sincere. ‘Better than anyone else’s. It would have golden pineapples, the juiciest grapes, and the most flavorful radishes in the entire world.'”
Time to Relax

Clearly the least attractive outfit from the set, but when you’re living in post-apoclyptic times, you make do with what you’ve got. I did the best I could with Pooky Bear.

 

Did I miss any outfits? Which of these are your favorite?

💗 Annette