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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hello, dears! Today it's my tour stop for The Valentine Challenge by Marisa Cleveland. It's an adorable Entangled book with romance and fun. For my stop I'm going to be hosting an interview and there's also a giveaway. Marisa is very, VERY sweet as you will see in a moment. But first, I'll start off by spotlighting the book!


The Valentine Challenge
Marisa Cleveland
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Stacey Bradford believes in love, but when her hot boss, Marshall Royce, decides to close her best friend's flower shop - days before Valentine's Day! - Stacey declares war.
Intrigued by Stacey's devotion to her friend, the hearts and flowers holiday, and belief in true love, Marsh issues a challenge - prove love exists or deliver the closing documents to her friend herself.
Stacey never could resist a challenge, but when Marsh makes Valentine's Day the deadline for their deal, Stacey must decide how far she's willing to go for love.



Hi Marisa! Welcome to Sparkles and Lightning! We’re very happy to have you here today!

Thank you soooo much for inviting me on your blog! I'm super excited to be here, and I love the name of your blog!

What’s your favorite line from The Valentine Challenge?

"For you, I broke all my own rules."


Describe The Valentine Challenge using only a few words.
Short and sweet with a side of sexy

Why did you decide to write, and why romance?

I'm a naturally quiet person, and writing lets me communicate all the thoughts in my heart. I love the promise of the happily ever after in romance novels. No matter how horrible or hopeless, in a romance novel, love will always prevail.

What is the best part about being an author?

Connecting with other writers and readers. Some of the best moments in my life happen with other writers and readers.

If you could collaborate with any author, living or dead, who would it be?

I have been fortunate to connect with so many amazing authors! Just the idea of collaborating with one of them excites me. If I have to choose just one, I choose my husband.

How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?

Reading, cuddling, and sleeping.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Marisa!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I love sparkles, and your other entries are so interesting!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, that's really it for today. Personally, I'll definitely be picking up The Valentine Challenge. I hope very much that this post has encouraged you to give it a chance too! I hope you all enjoyed this post, darlings! And then, until tomorrow! *blows glitter kisses*


Lovelovelove,

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Thanks to Jill at Breaking the Spine, it's time for another midweek Waiting on Wednesday! These are always a lot of fun, seeing what other people have chosen, going starry-eyed over the gorgeous covers, finding awesome new reads. That's what Wednesdays are all about in the book blogging world!

The Beautiful and the Cursed (The Dispossessed, #1)
Page Morgan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 14, 2013

After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.
In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.
And Grayson has gone missing.
No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.
Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.


Okay, so that cover. Um, wow. Yeah, it's absolutely gorgeous. The colors, the play of light, the vulnerability and release of that pose. The Eiffel Tower in the background. Yeah, it's pretty much perfect.

I ama HUGE fan of gothic novels, so I've been excited to see more of them in YA lately. Here's on them! It sounds suspenseful and mysterious, and I love looking for missing people. In books, that is. It sounds like it's going to be a creepy and fun adventure.

I am also a gigantic and possibly slightly fanatic lover of all things F. Scott Fitzgerald, so naturally this title makes me think of his book The Beautiful and Damned. That pretty much makes this book even more exciting. I'm definitely thinking that was done for a reason!

Lovelovelove,
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What are you waiting on this Wednesday?
Link me up! :)
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)
Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Source: Emily @ Doodle's Book Blog
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?



CATCHALL
This book received so much hype and praise that I was nervous to read it, afraid it wouldn't meet my expectations. Really, though, I needn't have worried. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was just as gorgeous and haunting as everyone promised me it was. It didn't take me long to fall head over heels for the characters and immerse myself in this new world of angels and demons. 

THE HEROINE
KAROU
Karou has always known that she is different. But she's never just how different. She can travel freely through the otherworld, though she doesn't know at first what it is. Raised by demons, running errands for them, she tries to live a relatively normal life. She's a strong yet vulnerable heroine, and though I had a hard time relating to her I definitely admire her strength in the face of difficulty. She can be stubborn, however. 

THE HERO
AKIVA
Akiva is an angel who is haunted by his past and the decisions he made then. He's also hell-bent on revenge. However, he can't seem to keep himself from making mistakes. In finding his revenge, he loses his shot at redemption, at least for a time. He has a good but troubled heart, and he wants to do the right thing but he doesn't know what that is anymore. 

THE PLOT
Daughter of Smoke and Bone actually doesn't start off on that much of an exciting note. We get the impression that Karou leads an unspectacular life, going to art classes, just broke up with her boyfriend. But we soon realize that this isn't the case at all. 

Karou has a family of devils she'll do anything to protect, and she'll do anything for them as well, no matter how strange. If they need her help, she is there for them. There's a fierce loyalty between them that is lovely to see, and was clear to me from the beginning that this was going to cause problems. 

One thing that confused me were Karou's memories. I accept that they're real and everything, but for whatever reason I couldn't buy the way they were stored away. It just didn't feel right to me for some reason. I did appreciate the lack of connection she feels when she finally remembers them, but still. 

This was one heck of an intense story. It's difficult to know what's going to happen next, although as far as actual action goes I didn't feel there was much. This felt a lot like a precursor to an actual story to me, especially with the large amount of infodumps it contained. 

I did love this, though. I'm not sure I totally agree with all the hype, but it is definitely a book that should be read. It's original, it's stunning, it's a masterpiece. 

THE ROMANCE
I liked the flashbacks of the past romance a lot. Akiva and Madrigal were an spectacular couple, and they really were great together. However, Akiva gets kind of weird and creepy when he meets Karou, becoming a tad obsessive. I think they definitely had chemistry, but that their past lay in between them was clear from the beginning. I think they still might have a chance, but it's a long shot. 

THE WRITING
Laini has unique but spectacular writing. It actually reminds me of Erin Morgenstern's writing in some ways. It's very detail-heavy, and there's a lot, a lot, a lot of description as a result. Still, though this occasionally got tiring this did make the imagery very vivid. I loved the individual voices of the characters even though they were difficult to grasp at times, and there's a certain type of escapism with this writing as well. 

THE ENDING
Well, I can honestly say I never saw it coming. It couldn't have shocked me more. I knew parts of what was going to happen since I made the mistake of reading the synopsis for the second book, but even so. I definitely didn't expect some of what happened to happen. The ending was also a major infodump, which was kind of annoying, but I did still love it. 

WRAPUP
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this book. It was utterly unputdownable, and it absolutely shattered my heart. It was a lovely, aching take of love, but it was also much more than that. This story is so much deeper than it first appears, and a much more intense story than I expected. I recommend it highly and will definitely finish this series. 

fine 
****FINAL RATING: 4.35 RED ROSES****
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Lovelovelove,
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Monday, February 25, 2013
And it's Monday again! I have no idea how weekends always manage to pass so quickly. It's seriously a mystery. But here we are again, at the start of a new week, all set and ready to go. At least we always have Magic Mondays to look forward to, yes?


Chantress (Chantress, #1)
Amy Butler Greenfield
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: May 7, 2013

He looked at me across the warm light of the candle. "You're unhappy," he said simply. "Anyone with eyes can see that." The sudden kindness in his voice undid me. I knew I ought to change the subject and talk about something else…but the words burst out of me.

Okay, so I loved this book, and I'm really excited to be passing it on to you lovely folks. You know how this works by now. Please read my giveaways page, and then enter.



Much love you all of you as always, roses!

Lovelovelove,
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Sunday, February 24, 2013
Some of you might remember my recent post on Thursday, in which I mentioned how stressed I was feeling and how I've gotten so behind lately, not just on my blog but on everything. I also mentioned considering a hiatus from blogging.

Well, like always, you guys were incredibly supportive. Anyway, I ended up talking about this to Kara (who I lovelovelove) on twitter, and she suggested I take a twitter break, saying she's done it before since a lot of her stress comes from twitter. I feel the same way, and I'm so stressed and I'm so behind and I ultimately decided that a twitter break is what I needed.

So, starting Monday (tomorrow) I will be temporarily deleting the twitter application from my phone. I will also not be logging into twitter on any other devices. I'm also going to turn off all email notifications and such. For the week, I will be completely twitter-free. I imagine this will be hard, and I'll probably suffer something like withdrawal, but I really need this time. I'm planning to return to twitter mid-Friday but if not, then I will on Saturday.

For now, I will not be taking a blogging hiatus. I'm going to try to take this time and get ahead like I used to be to relieve some of my stress, and catch up on other work as well. If I do take a blogging hiatus after all, I will be sure to announce it.

I'm not withdrawing completely from the internet, so I'm sure you'll still see some tweets from me, like automatic tweets of my blog posts, and possibly tweets from other social media. I may try and spend less time on those as well, but we'll see how it goes. I will definitely still be visiting blogs and commenting.

If you want to get in touch, there are ways. Some of you I talk to on google chat, and I'll still do that, though perhaps not so much. You can also always feel free to email me. I'm not going to vanish. I will miss you all, and even now, before my break, I'm starting to realize how much I count on seeing your tweets even if I don't talk to you every single day. I really do love you all.

See you. :) xx

Lovelovelove,
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September Girls
Bennett Madison
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 21, 2013
When Sam's dad whisks him and his brother off to a remote beach town for the summer, he's all for it-- at first. Sam soon realizes, though, that this place is anything but ordinary. Time seems to slow down around here, and everywhere he looks, there are beautiful blond girls. Girls who seem inexplicably drawn to him.
Then Sam meets DeeDee, one of the Girls, and she's different from the others. Just as he starts to fall for her, she pulls away, leaving him more confused than ever. He knows that if he's going to get her back, he'll have to uncover the secret of this beach and the girls who live here.



PREORDER SEPTEMBER GIRLS!
  
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Of Beast and Beauty
Stacey Jay
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 23, 2013
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret...
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.
PREORDER OF BEAST AND BEAUTY!
  
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Invisibility
Andrea Cremer
David Levithan
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Stephen has been invisible for practically his whole life — because of a curse his grandfather, a powerful cursecaster, bestowed on Stephen’s mother before Stephen was born. So when Elizabeth moves to Stephen’s NYC apartment building from Minnesota, no one is more surprised than he is that she can see him. A budding romance ensues, and when Stephen confides in Elizabeth about his predicament, the two of them decide to dive headfirst into the secret world of cursecasters and spellseekers to figure out a way to break the curse. But things don’t go as planned, especially when Stephen’s grandfather arrives in town, taking his anger out on everyone he sees. In the end, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how big of a sacrifice they’re willing to make for Stephen to become visible — because the answer could mean the difference between life and death. At least for Elizabeth.
PREORDER INVISIBILITY!
  
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Lovelovelove,
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Saturday, February 23, 2013
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Happy Saturday, everyone! I have another blog tour stop today, which I am very excited about. Today the stop is for Root Bound, a delightful fantasy. For my stop I'll be reviewing Root Bound and including giveaways.


Root Bound (Emma and the Elementals, #1)
Tanya Karen Gough
Publisher: Baba Yaga Press
Release Date: June 3, 2012
Source: Blog Tour
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
How far will you go to find your way home?
Emma and her father are always on the move, travelling from place to place as her father’s work demands. Their new home, however, is different. There’s a frightening woman who lives down the hall: she bears an uncanny resemblance to a witch. A mysterious light comes from her apartment, and a small boy seems to be trapped inside.
School in this town is no happy place either, with an odd principal and a gang of girls who make tormenting Emma their special project. And strangest of all is the fact that there seem to be brownies - basement brownies, in the air vent in her bedroom.
Haunted by visions of her mother, Emma travels through the brownie burrow to the valley of Hades to visit with the goddess Ceres, following a series of clues that lead her across the sea of memory to the centre of the world.
There, on an inhospitable rock floating in a sea of steaming lava, Emma must find a way to release her mother from the sea of memory and restore magic to both the brownie burrow and the human world above.




CATCHALL
I was actually very pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this. I expect a lot out of my fantasies, but this one was tons of fun and a very quick and pleasant read. I had a awesome time reading this and swallowed it in three sittings. And the only reason I stopped at all is because i was in school. But if I could have, I would have read through this all at once. It captured my attention from the first pages and didn't let go.

THE HEROINE
EMMA
Emma is our very spunky heroine. She's used to moving around a lot, being at the bottom of the food chain at school, being nothing special. But in her latest home, she's starting to realize that se's more than that. She's very determined to do what's right, and while she starts off as much of a realist, she slowly comes to step up to the new reality she's found herself in and I really admire that. She's very caring of others, and many of her acts are selfless.

There are other important characters, but as I was writing this review I discovered it's really difficult to speak frankly about them without being spoilery, so.

THE PLOT
When she moves into her new home, Emma immediately notices something seems off about it. Almost like it's–alive. This freaks her out for obvious reasons, but she thinks she must be imagining things. Then she starts to see little people, but convinces herself that she is dreaming. However, her denial can only take her so far.

I loved the way the entire process worked. It was realistic, and Emma's reactions seemed fitting, although she did adjust rather quickly. However, being thrust into the new world as she was, that only makes sense.

The plot moves fairly quickly too, so there's a lot going on. It can get confusing if you don't follow things carefully, but it was a lot of fun.

Something I wasn't expecting: a lot of mythology, particularly of the Greco-Roman variety. It was woven into the story as well, and the way it was done was really clever and original. The mythology and the fantasy were both equally elements of the novel, and there were some concepts that I can't remember seeing before that I loved.

THE ROMANCE
There's actually no romance in this book, but I'm hoping there is in the next!

THE WRITING
Tanya's writing is highly enjoyable. It's third person, but even so I managed to get a strong grip on Emma's character and thoughts. I loved the descriptions of the fantasy world too, which felt like just enough without being infodumps. There was a certain smoothness to the writing, and it had a type of spontaneous feel to it that was unique.

THE ENDING
Actually, the ending really threw me off a lot and I didn't like it. This random thing happened that made absolutely no sense to me and kind of just ruined the whole end for me. It really wasn't explained to my satisfaction and just felt random and left me wondering where the hell the missing pages were. But seriously, yeah, not a fan. The ending was easily the worst part of this book, but then when it gets to the very final pages it kind of makes up for it.

WRAPUP
I really did love Root Bound, and I'm actually really, really looking forward to see what the next book brings to the table. I'm interested to see what will happen next, especially with a certain character! I'm going to have to keep an eye out. I highly recommend this book and suggest that y'all go and read it. It should really be more feel known.


fine

****FINAL RATING: 3.65 RED ROSES****
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Tanya Karen Gough was born in Montreal, Quebec and raised in New England, where she developed a healthy appetite for ghosts and things that go bump in the night. An avid reader from a young age, she quickly worked her way through Alice in Wonderland, the Magical Monarch of Mo, Andrew Lang's Fairy Books, all of the Tintin comic books, Nancy Drew, and most of the other books in the children's library.
Finally, at the tender age of 10, she produced this poetic masterpiece:
"Whene'er you get a wandering leg
And feel that you must roam
Remember this and don't forget
The best place is at home"
To date, she has moved more than 25 times. Along the way, she earned two degrees in English Literature, taught overseas, became the owner operator of the Poor Yorick Shakespeare Catalogue, and contributed to a number of Shakespeare-related publications. Root Bound is the first of four books in the Emma and the Elementals series.





And now, time for the giveaways! There are two of them today for this stop.



GIVEAWAY #1

One ebook copy of Root Bound!


a Rafflecopter giveaway




GIVEAWAY #2

One signed paperback of Root Bound!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That's pretty much everything, my gorgeous, gorgeous darlings. Oh, but here's the full tour schedule. I hope you enjoyed this post! I hope you all are starting lovely weekends. *blows glitter kisses*


Lovelovelove,

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Friday, February 22, 2013
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Hi darlings! Today it's my stop on the tour for Pieces, the sequel to The Breakaway. For my stop I'm going to be reviewing The Breakaway. I also have an excerpt of Pieces!

First I'm going to spotlight the book itself.

Pieces (The Breakaway, #2)
Michelle Davidson Argyle
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Release Date: February 14, 2013
Staying in love can mean running away...
Two years after watching her kidnappers go to prison, Naomi Jensen is still in love with one of them. Jesse will be released in a few years, and Naomi knows college is the perfect distraction while she waits. But when her new friend Finn makes her question what is right and what is wrong, she begins to wonder if Jesse is the one for her...until she discovers he's out on parole. Naomi must sort through her confusion to figure out where love and freedom truly lie-in Finn, who has no connections to her past, or Jesse, who has just asked her to run away with him.

*A note about Pieces: although it follows the continuation of Naomi's story, it is more of a companion than a sequel and can be read without reading The Breakaway.


The Breakaway (The Breakaway, #1)
Michelle Davidson Argyle
Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Source: Blog Tour
When Naomi Jensen is kidnapped, it takes her parents two days to realize she's missing. Escape isn't high on her list of priorities when all she has to return to is an abusive boyfriend and parents who never paid much attention to her. For the first time in her life she's part of a family-even if it is a family of criminals. But she's still a captive. In a desperate attempt to regain some control in her life, Naomi embarks on a dangerous plan to make one of her kidnappers think she's falling in love with him. The plan works too well, and when faced with the chance to escape, Naomi isn't sure she wants to take it.



CATCHALL
The Breakaway was a haunting–and yet compelling–read. It's the kind of book that creeps up on you months after you turn the last page. It definitely deals with some tough, unconventional stuff, but everything is handled so well. I really did like it, despite its flaws and the fact that it gave me the creeps.

THE HEROINE
NAOMI
Naomi isn't a very strong character, and she's extremely difficult to relate to. She's lulled into a new life so easily with her kidnappers, and she believes her parents don't love her, much like any teenager. She has extremely questionable decision-making skills. I just couldn't connect to her or her voice. Her thought processes also didn't make much sense to me and she was kind of annoying.

THE LOVE INTEREST
JESSE
I don't like Jesse. I don't care that he's not really a bad guy, he's still a freaking kidnapper. He also kind of just goes along with everything for the longest time, making him kind of a pushover. He didn't appeal to me as a character at all, and while I think he's redeemable I don't think he redeemed himself. He made a lot of bad choices and while I think he can make them up it's going to take a lot more than what he did.

THE OTHER KIDNAPPERS
I did leave out Steve because there's really not much to say about him
ERIC
I truly, truly do not understand how Naomi can care for Eric. Yeah, Stockholm can be strong stuff, I'm sure. But he threatened to kill her. And he got out a gun, and he was going to, and she still cares for him. As far as I'm concerned he's a sociopath and should be locked up for life.
EVELYN
Evelyn was sweet and genuinely caring, but she was also a major pushover. She got caught up in Eric's messes but instead of leaving him to it she decided to just go along with it. I think she might be redeemable too, but that's not a story for us to know.

THE PLOT
It starts right off with the action, launching straight into the kidnapping itself. But especially in the beginning, there are tons of flashbacks. And Naomi starts to wonder which life is better. The one in which she lives now, kidnapped, or the one before? That seems like an easy question. But Naomi feels like she has nothing to return to.

Naomi's kidnappers want to make her feel at home so that she doesn't want to leave. And eventually, it begins to work. There's irony in the way it all ends, and the story certainly took directions that I didn't expect multiple times.

The Breakaway was a bit predictable, but not so much that it got overly frustrating. I knew how it was going to ultimately end, but the path it took to get there is not one I expected. I was pleased by the way everything turned out and though Naomi did a lot of things that were really dumb I tried not to pass too much judgment.

This is very different from things I've read before. Kidnapping is not a common theme in my favorite books, but I really enjoyed this book and want to read more like it now.

THE ROMANCE
I'm not there's any way to not find this romance rather disturbing. It's classic Stockholm syndrome, and Naomi certainly has that. She finds herself feeling connected to Jesse even as she knows how wrong it is. And I can't say I blame her. I also hesitate to call it love. I think she might be in love with the idea of him, a savior. And I think he truly cares about her. But it's just not enough.

THE WRITING
I really like this writing style, but Naomi's voice is so weak that I really couldn't enjoy it the way I wanted to. Michelle's writing is simple, and it tells things as they are. It worked for the story, but there were way too many times where Naomi thinks to herself and it just really got on my nerves. Even so, I love the way she describes things in such vivid detail.

THE ENDING
The Breakaway ended on a very open note, leaving the reader not sure what was going to happen next but without being an actual cliffhanger. Naomi is going to have a lot of developing to do as a person, and her kidnappers are going to have to face the consequences of their actions. All in all, it was a satisfying ending.

WRAPUP
The Breakaway was a very heavy read, but it was very enjoyable. I really, really liked it and am definitely going to read Bonded at some point, since it looks similar but I hear that it's even better. I would recommend this to most readers. It's not light reading material by any means, but sometimes you need something with substance.


fine

***FINAL RATING: 3.35 RED ROSES***
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There were always dragons, but never as dark as the ones before her now. She stood in a burning valley so hot that ash fell from the sky like slow-drifting snow. The dragons had started the fire, their scales blackened, skin peeling, their eyes hard as diamonds. She watched four of them land in front of her. Thick smoke curled to the darkening sky.

“I want to leave!” she screamed, but their only response was to open their mouths and breathe flames at her. She didn’t feel the pain, but when the fire cleared and she held out her arms to see the damage, she saw her skin was like dragon skin—black and peeling in jagged pieces. Falling to her knees, she grabbed a handful of dirt and threw it at the dragons. Their mouths turned up in sneers, showing their pointed, blood-stained teeth.

You read too many fantasy novels, she could hear Jesse’s voice in the back of her head.

They don’t love you, her mother said.

Remember why you fell in love with him.

She stopped at the memory of that last set of words, trying to remember who had said them to her. The dragons moved closer, and then she remembered it was Finn who had said the words. She saw the saltshaker on the table as he pushed it around in circles.

With a start, she sat up in bed, realizing all the journal entries were still fresh in her mind. She had finished reading them hours ago and then stumbled into the bedroom to find Jesse already asleep. She had crawled in with him and drifted off, but the nightmares made her toss and turn. Jesse stirred beside her now, his toned arms reaching out for her. Morning sunlight fell across the bed.

“You alright?” he asked, pulling her close.

“I think so.” Lying back down, she snuggled into him. He smelled like spicy soap from his shower earlier. She took in a deep breath, savoring the feel of him holding her.

Remember why you fell in love with him.

Shut up, Finn!

She wanted to scream the words into the silent bedroom, but couldn’t. She loved Jesse because he loved her. It was that simple. He sacrificed things for her. He wanted to make her happy, and she wanted the same for him. She had left everything to be with him.

A knock on the front door made Naomi jump. It frightened her to think of who might knock on their door so early in the morning. Jesse stirred again, mumbling something she couldn’t understand.

“You want me to get it?” she asked, almost afraid to wake him.

Groaning, he sat up and blinked. His hair had dried in spikes. “Where the hell is my phone?” he asked. “Why are the curtains wide open?”

He was always cranky when he was woken up too early. “I wanted to look at the stars as I fell asleep.”

Turning to her, he blinked again. The sun made his green eyes pale. “How did that go, then? Last night? Did you read it all?”

“Yes.”

“And?”

She looked away. “I was so tired I’m not sure how much of it stuck.”

“It’s all in your head now. You can start sorting through it and face it all.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

Another series of knocks. Jesse cursed and got out of bed. He was in his boxer shorts, and pulled on a pair of sweats before grabbing his phone off the dresser. He walked out of the bedroom. Curious, Naomi slipped out of bed and peeked down the hallway as Jesse looked through the peephole. She asked herself if she cared that he had lied to her about his parole, that he was a fugitive. Did it matter? Her stomach clenched.

“What is it?” Jesse asked, opening the door a crack. His body blocked her view of whoever was on the other side. There was an answer. A man’s voice. A shudder went down Naomi’s spine.

“No,” Jesse said, “she’s here.”

(Intense, right?)


Michelle lives and writes in Utah, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains. She loves the seasons, but late summer and early fall are her favorites. She adores chocolate, sushi, and lots of ethnic food, and loves to read and write books in whatever time she can grab between her sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. She believes a simple life is the best life.






 I think that's pretty much it for today! Oh, but you can find the full tour schedule here! Some of the stops are hosting giveaways, too, so be sure to check those out! Much love to all of you, like always, and thousands of glittery kisses.


Lovelovelove,

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I'm a university student and ballroom dancer who spends too much time curled up with a good book. Red roses are my favorite and I love a good love story.

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