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Two Summers by Aimee Friedman

Sunday, July 31, 2016

ONE SUMMER in the French countryside, among sun-kissed fields of lavender . . . 

ANOTHER SUMMER in upstate New York, along familiar roads that lead to surprises . . . 

When Summer Everett makes a split-second decision, her summer divides into two parallel worlds. In one, she travels to France, where she’s dreamed of going: a land of chocolate croissants, handsome boys, and art museums. In the other, she remains home, in her ordinary suburb, where she expects her ordinary life to continue — but nothing is as it seems.

In both summers, she will fall in love and discover new sides of herself. What may break her, though, is a terrible family secret, one she can't hide from anywhere. In the end, it may just be the truth she needs the most.

From New York Times bestselling author Aimee Friedman comes an irresistible, inventive novel that takes readers around the world and back again, and asks us what matters more: the journey or the destination.

Goodreads Summary

I love the ideas of parallel universes and would love to see my other self and the decisions that "I" have made and how they have turned out.  In this book, author Aimee Friedman explores two possible summers that hinge on a phone call.  Summer's dad rarely sees her or bothers to spend time with her.  For some reason, when he offers to pay for her to visit him in France she jumps at the chance.  While at the airport, whether or not she answers the phone call just before getting on the plane determines which destiny she ends up with.

I somewhat liked Summer's character.  I felt bad for her, for the most part.  Her dad was not at all what he seemed and neither were his "artist friends."  I felt like she was let down a lot.  She displayed personal growth throughout the novel.  Her reactions could be extreme, at times, but they often seemed warranted.  The plot was fairly rapid and I enjoyed the switch between the "summer she remained at home" and the "summer she flew to France."  The author was very good at connecting the dots and pulling both sides of the stories together to reconcile them in some way.  Some of the events of the story really bothered me on a moral, "who would do that?" level.  Overall, it was a good summer (pun intended) read.

3 1/2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury

Friday, July 29, 2016
Return to the darkly beautiful world of The Sin Eater's Daughter with a sequel that will leave you awed, terrified . . . and desperate for more.

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin's life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won't reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

Goodreads Summary

I loved this book.  Errin was a kind, thoughtful, and dedicated daughter to her mother.  She had a lot on her plate: her mother appeared to be under a curse that changed her into a monster, her brother was likely dead, and her father has passed away a few years ago.  She was originally an apprentice to an apothecary and still practiced the art.  When she catches Silas unexpectedly in the woods, what would have been a negative encounter turns into a budding love interest.  Silas may have the key to save her mother and Errin will do anything to make sure her mother is well again.  She becomes embroiled in a plot to stop the Sleeping Prince from doing any further harm to the realm.  

Errin was a great character and often made surprisingly intelligent decisions (many YA books have "dumbish" female characters).  I felt like I would have liked her instantly if I met her on the street today.  Silas was an enchanting, mysterious character.  I liked how he broke his vows to pursue a relationship with Errin.  When Errin met "Dimia" we were treated to yet another good character whose past tied into the ending of the book in a fantastic way.  I loved how the author developed the characters and ensured that the reader truly cared for them and their welfare.  The descriptions were elaborate and the chapters flew by.  I would highly recommend this book as a great summer fantasy read.

4 1/2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Nightstruck by Jenna Black

It starts with a cry in the night.

Becket, walking her dog one winter evening, fears it’s an abandoned baby left out in the cold. But it is something else—something evil—and it tricks Becket into opening a doorway to another realm, letting a darkness into our world, a corruption that begins transforming Philadelphia into a sinister and menacing version of itself…but only at night.

The changes are subtle at first, causing Becket to doubt her senses and her sanity. But soon the nightmarish truth is impossible to deny: By day, the city is just a city, but at night it literally comes alive with malevolent purpose. Brick and steel become bone, streetlights turn into gallows, and hungry alleys wait to snare mortal victims. Terrified citizens huddle indoors after dusk, as others succumb to the siren song of the night, letting their darker sides run wild.

Once, Becket’s biggest problems were living up to her police commissioner father’s high expectations and a secret crush on her best friend’s boyfriend. Now she must find a way to survive and protect her loved ones…before the darkness takes her as well.

Goodreads Summary

Becket was out taking her dog for a walk when she happened upon what appeared to be a demonic baby...who disappeared just as she called the police to report the abandoned child.  For Becket, it doesn't end with the baby and things only get weirder.  The buildings' faces and structures are demonized, the streetlights are now gallows with nooses, and the potholes have teeth!  When Becket and Piper are forced into hiding in her house they witness Piper's neighbor being decapitated.  Unfortunately, Piper disappears after the incident and comes back...Nightstruck.  She is part of a gang of Nightstruck people that roam the streets at night and kill and main.  She wants Becket to join her.

Becket's character was nice enough.  I loved her character the best out of everyone else's.  I don't know how she considered Piper a friend though.  Piper was rude, obnoxious, and self-serving before and after becoming Nightstruck.  I loved the love interest angle.  Piper and Luke were dating in the novel, but Becket had a crush on Luke.  She tried to hide it, but Nightstruck Piper figured it out and used him against her many times.  Luke and his mother sheltered Becket when Piper destroyed nearly everything she cared about and Luke and Becket grow very very close.  Their friendship and romance is developed slowly and very satisfyingly over the course of the novel.  I loved the ending and can't wait to read book #2!  

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne: Review and Giveaway!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

She’s going after a second chance at life…

Discovering her fiancé is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Brooke thinks she’s found a fresh start in NYC with the Belles and her first bridal client, a sweet hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

But will she miss out on another shot at love?

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya’s wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving that Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing in his way is the stunning blond wedding planner who’s hell-bent on a comeback mission—and who both irritates and arouses him. Can he persuade her to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

To Have and to Hold will have readers engaged from the start, and wedded to the idea of a summer and fall season filled with Wedding Belles! 


Finding out that your fiance is a criminal right before your wedding has to be one of the most devastating and shocking moments that someone can experience. This is what Brooke goes through and it tears her apart inside and forces her to reset her life, looking for something new to bring her into a better path in life. This all happens while she is trying to bolster her career as a very successful limelight stricken wedding planner. Along comes Tyler who is involved in another wedding. He wants to tear this wedding apart and wreck Brook's pay for this client, all while falling for Brook at the same time.

In many ways this book is typical of Layne's writing. Its a saucy romance, with a good story where a girl meets a guy, and then there is some problem that throws everything into shambles. It is the way that she carries this out every time in a new and creative way that makes her writing so spectacular. The characters have a lot of great personality and jump out of the page as real people that you could see as a friend or family member. Brook is the right combination of successful business woman combined with fun and playful in all the right ways. I thought Tyler was a very forward an almost arrogant to think that he could pull off his plans of cancelling the wedding and still getting Brook to be his at the same time. You'll have to see how all of it plays out by opening this book.

4 Stars 

*Reviewed by Chris*

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sex, Love, and Stiletto contemporary romances and the all-new Pocket Books series The Wedding Belles. She lives in New York with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian., meet the author on Facebook at LaurenLayneAuthor, or follow her on Twitter @_LaurenLayne.

Lauren Layne interviews with THE LIBRARIAN:

We are excited to do a Wedding Belles Bouquet Giveaway to celebrate the publication of the first in the series, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. The Wedding Belles Bouquet will include To Have and to Hold (7/26), For Better or Worse (8/30), and To Love and to Cherish (10/18). You can visit all sites on the Bouquet Giveaway Tour to enter to win–but keep in mind you can only win once! U.S. only. Each winner will receive one copy of each book during the week of its publication date.  Leave a comment with your email for a chance to win!

Sunday, July 24th

Monday, July 25th

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Wednesday, July 27th

Thursday, July 28th

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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes the hellish prison.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all.

Callie herself.

Goodreads Summary

In a world where your future self is able to "send you a memory," how would you react if you saw yourself killing your little sister? Callie is named for the famous genius who discovered that memories can be sent from the future.  She desperately wants to ensure her psychic little sister's safety-it's dangerous to be a psychic in this world.  When her vision is viewed by both the guard and her, she must run unless she wants to be in a small cell for the rest of her life.  Instead of continuing to run, Callie turns herself in for the noble cause of keeping her sister safe.  Instead, she discovers that the very place she believed herself safe in was far from it.  When her crush (who hasn't spoken to her in five years), Logan, breaks her out of her jail cell, Callie must decide how she wants to interpret her vision and if she truly believes that that is her fate.

Callie's character was kind, strong, and dedicated to her sister, Jessa.  I liked how her relationship with Logan grew during the book, complete with flashbacks to their younger selves.  I liked how she was a little selfish and wanted him to stay with her forever instead of returning back to civilization-that seems far more realistic than the constantly selfless heroine.  Jessa and Callie connect even when they're apart via Jessa's "sender" abilities and Callie's "receiver" abilities. I wasn't surprised by the ending (it was a tad predictable), but I am definitely looking forward to the next book!

3 1/2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano

A sparkling coming-of-age story about self-discovery, first love, and the true meaning of family, perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen.

Seventeen-year-old Sadie Bell has this summer all figured out: She’s going to befriend the cool girls at her school. She’s going to bond with her absentee father, a famous artist, and impress him with her photography skills. And she’s finally going to get over Noah, the swoony older guy who was her very first mistake.

Sadie wasn’t counting on meeting Sam, a funny and free-thinking boy who makes her question all of her goals. But even after a summer of talking, touching, and sharing secrets, Sam says he just wants to be friends. And when those Sadie cares about most hurt her, Sam’s friendship may not be enough. Sadie can see the world through her camera, but can she see the people who have loved and supported her all along?

Set against a glamorous New York City backdrop, this coming-of-age romance is a gorgeous summer read—one whose characters will stay with you long into the fall.

Goodreads Summary

Sadie lives in New York City and she's proud of it.  The City allows for personal growth and new, exciting possibilities of the romantic variety and familial variety.  Sadie believes that there is an order to life and that she has broken it.  She worries that her mistake with Noah will prevent her from finding her one true love.  Sam moves to New York City with his mom to be with her boyfriend.  When Sadie meets Sam she discovers that they simply click.  Sam, however, seems to love to insist that they are merely friends and nothing more.  The Sam issues aside, Sadie is dealing with an artist for a father whose acceptance and approval of her is necessary and nerve-wracking to her. Sadie must balance her budding artistic talent with her potential romance interest and problems with friends, family, and Noah.

I really enjoyed Sadie's character for the most part.  There were times when she made decisions that seemed impossibly stupid; we've all made dumb decisions, however.  I liked that she ended up sticking by her best friend in the long haul despite petty fights and that she pursued Sam.  Sadie's best trait was that she was authentic.  Sam clearly wanted to be Sadie's boyfriend, but he held back due to his circumstances.  I was glad that they were given the opportunity to grow as friends first, but it would have been fun if they had been a couple for more of the book.  True to the Goodreads summary, I really did find this an enjoyable summer read.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior to release May 2017

New York, NY (July 21, 2016)—Random House Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, has acquired the 5 WORLDS graphic novel series by bestselling and award-winning author Mark Siegel, it was announced today by Mallory Loehr, Senior Vice President, Publisher of the Random House/Golden Books, Doubleday, and Crown Books for Young Readers Group. The three-book deal for world rights (excluding France) was negotiated by Michelle H. Nagler, Associate Publishing Director, Random House Children’s Books.

In addition to his author credits, which include the bestselling Sailor Twain, or the Mermaid in the Hudson, Siegel is the founder and editorial director of the graphic novel imprint First Second Books, and he pens the new 5 WORLDS series with his brother, Alexis Siegel, and an up-and-coming team of illustrators: Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun.

The lushly illustrated middle-grade series tells the sci-fi/fantasy adventure of a defiant young girl and the five worlds facing extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts on her home planet, she meets two unlikely companions and discovers there’s more to herself—and to her world’s history—than meets the eye.

“Like so many other children, I grew up gazing at the stars and dreaming of making friends in far-flung parts of our universe,” says Siegel. “Here I am years later working with four fellow dreamers—Alexis, Matt, Xanthe, and Boya—on a five-part story of friendship that defies galactic boundaries. On behalf of our team, I am so excited to invite you to join us to discover new worlds together. We hope you’ll like what you see.”

“Mark Siegel’s talent and expertise in the graphic novel genre are unprecedented, so it isn’t surprising that he and his extraordinary creative team are breaking new ground with 5 WORLDS,” says Nagler. “This is a series that readers will devour and return to over and over again.”

5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior will release on May 2, 2017, followed by the next two books in the series in 2018 and 2019. Chelsea Eberly, Editor, Random House Books for Young Readers, will edit.

Get news updates about the series on Twitter at @5WorldsTeam.

MARK SIEGEL has written and illustrated several award-winning picture books and graphic novels, including the New York Times bestseller Sailor Twain, or the Mermaid in the Hudson. He is also the founder and editorial director of First Second Books. He lives with his family in New York. Follow Mark and the 5 Worlds team on Twitter at @5WorldsTeam.

ALEXIS SIEGEL is a writer and translator based in London. He has translated a number of bestselling graphic novels, including Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat, Pénélope Bagleu’s Exquisite Corpse, and Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese (into French).
XANTHE BOUMA is an illustrator based in Southern California. When not working on picture books, fashion illustration, and comics, Xanthe enjoys soaking up the beachside sun. Follow Xanthe on Tumblr at @yumbles and on Twitter at @xoxobouma.

MATT ROCKEFELLER is an illustrator and comic book artist from Tucson, Arizona. His work has appeared in a variety of formats, including book covers, picture books, and animation. Matt lives in New York City. Follow him on Tumblr at @mrockefeller and on Twitter at @mcrockefeller.

BOYA SUN is an illustrator and coauthor of the graphic novel Chasma Knights. Originally from China, Boya traveled from Canada to the United States and now resides in the charming city of Baltimore. Follow Boya on Tumblr at @boyasun and on Twitter at @boyaboyasun.

Random House Books for Young Readers is an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

“A magical journey, as fun as it is beautiful!”
Kazu Kibuishi, #1 New York Times bestselling creator of Amulet

“Epic action, adventure, and mystery will draw you in, but the heartfelt characters and their seemingly impossible journey will keep you turning the pages.”
Lisa Yee, author of the DC Super Hero Girls™ series

“This stellar team has created a gorgeous and entrancing world like no other!”
Noelle StevensonNew York Times bestselling author of Nimona

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Keep Me In Mind by Jaime Reed

Monday, July 25, 2016
A girl who doesn't remember. A boy who can't forget her. A wise, witty, and heartbreaking love story for today's YA generation.

Ellia Dawson doesn't recognize the handsome boy who sits in tears by her hospital bed. But he's telling her that he's Liam McPherson, her boyfriend. Boyfriend? Ellia thinks in shock. She has no clue who Liam is, let alone whether or not she once loved him. She remembers her family, her friends, and the fact that she wants to be a fashion designer. But Liam is a big blank in her life.

Meanwhile, Liam is devastated that Ellia, the love of his life, who suffered an accident while they were running together on the beach, has lost her memory. He is desperate to win her back, rebuild what they once had, but Ellia keeps him at an arm's length. She's much more comfortable with a new boy she meets at the hospital, who understands more what she's going through. So Liam begins writing the story of the two of them, piecing together the past in the hopes of having a future with the girl he loves.

Told from alternating perspectives, this is a lyrical, clever, and surprising novel from Jaime Reed.

Goodreads Summary

I can't imagine waking up in a hospital bed missing years off my life.  Ellia had an accident that resulted in her forgetting her intense relationship with Liam and at least 2 years of her high school life.  Liam is absolutely crushed that she doesn't seem to recognize or know him.  Ellia spends the book putting together the pieces of her life and trying to discern who is telling her the truth about the night she lost her memory.  

I understood Ellia's parents' concerns, but I felt that they were overblown and somewhat nutty.  The way her dad hated Liam seemed so excessive and more like a projection of their worrying that she wasn't a perfect angel.  I liked Ellia's character, but I honestly preferred her friend.  I loved how devoted Liam was to her and was very sympathetic with his efforts to try to get to know her all over again and reinforce their relationship.  I love happy endings and though the ending was somewhat happy I was still a little disappointed.  Overall, it was a fun read.

3 1/2 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Mabel and the Queen of Dreams by Henry L. Hertz

Sunday, July 24, 2016
Little Mabel is an expert at not going to sleep. She knows all the best bedtime-avoiding excuses. "I'm thirsty." "I need to use the bathroom." "Will you tell me a story?" Luckily, Mom's quiver of bedtime tales includes the story of the Fae Queen, who paints children's dreams and can only visit when their eyes are closed. Inspired by Mercutio's soliloquy in Romeo & Juliet, in which he details how the tiny fairy queen influences people's dreams as she passes by in her flying chariot, the soothing story evokes images of an ant in a worn gray coat and a hazelnut-shell chariot with a roof of grasshopper wings. Told in lyrical language that adults will also appreciate, the story helps parents get their kids to sleep. For ages 0-6. 

Goodreads Summary

There are a lot of children's authors out there trying to make the next big bed time story book for the kids out there (maybe the parents too). "Mabel and the Queen of Dreams" is a great imaginative book that appeals to all ages even though it is aimed at children. The descriptive, colorful, and tastefully fun language that is used to tell the story makes this tale jump out and become a realistic dream world that the parents will love to read, and the kids will love to listen to. The excuses that Mabel uses will have you laughing right along with your kids as you read them into dreamland. The illustrations are pretty amazing as well, and will definitely add to the reading experience as your children are engaged with the story. This is definitely not one to pass up.

4.5 Stars

Reviewed by Chris

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Frost by M.P. Kozlowsky

Cinder meets The Walking Dead in a chilling futuristic fairy tale that will reboot everything you thought about family, love, and what it means to be human.

Sixteen-year-old Frost understands why she's spent her entire life in an abandoned apartment building. The ruined streets below are hunting grounds for rogue robots and Eaters.

She understands why she's never met a human besides her father. She even understands why he forbids her to look for medicine for her dying pet. But the thing is, it's not her real father giving the orders . . .

It's his memories.

Before he died, Frost's father uploaded his consciousness into their robot servant. But the technology malfunctioned, and now her father fades in and out. So when Frost learns that there might be medicine on the other side of the ravaged city, she embarks on a dangerous journey to save the only living creature she loves.

With only a robot as a companion, Frost must face terrors of all sorts, from outrunning the vicious Eaters . . . to talking to the first boy she's ever set eyes on. But can a girl who's only seen the world through books and dusty windows survive on her own?

Goodreads Summary

I loved this book.  It definitely gave me that Walking Dead feel.  Frost is a girl who has little to no contact with the outside world besides her robot, Bunt.  Bunt is a robot that her father uploaded his conscious into with limited results.  Sometimes, Frost can talk to her father and sometimes she is talking only to Bunt.  She has a pet Broot who most people would fear and avoid, but she has tamed with kindness and humanity.  Humanity is an aspect that is lacking for most people besides Frost and Flynn.  Frost loves her pet and he provides love and affection.  Bunt cannot easily provide these things.  When Frost leaves her safe abandoned apartment building to find the Battery-a safe haven.  She runs into trouble and beasts-both of the human and eater variety-that she never expects and is unprepared for.

Frost's character was well-developed and one of the only characters the reader even reads about for quite a while.  She is brave and intelligent and not quite what she looks like.  She learns that she is multi-faceted and has different aspects of herself that she did not know she possessed.  Her father hid a few things from her.  Flynn and Frost entertain a budding though doomed romance.  Flynn was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise contaminated and corrupt world.  I loved the world-building and the feeling of despair that permeated the novel.  Frost was forever hopeful, but most of humanity had either given up or wanted to become robots.  The Eaters were downright scary.  Eating of their own tongues and eventually their arms if they can't find humans or animals to consume... It was the stuff of nightmares.  This book is highly recommended to young adult/adult readers.

5 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

Like a River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

An epic novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope. The city of Kiev was bombed in Hitler's blitzkrieg across the Soviet Union, but the constant siege was only the beginning for her citizens. In this sweeping historical saga, Kelli Stuart takes the reader on a captivating journey into the little--known history of Ukraine's tragedies through the eyes of four compelling characters who experience the same story from different perspectives.

Maria Ivanovna is only fourteen when the bombing begins and not much older when she is forced into work at a German labor camp. She must fight to survive and to make her way back to her beloved Ukraine.

Ivan Kyrilovich is falsely mistaken for a Jew and lined up with 34,000 other men, women, and children who are to be shot at the edge of Babi Yar, the "killing ditch." He survives, but not without devastating consequences.

Luda is sixteen when German soldiers rape her. Now pregnant with the child of the enemy, she is abandoned by her father, alone, and in pain. She must learn to trust family and friends again and find her own strength in order to discover the redemption that awaits.

Frederick Hermann is sure in his knowledge that the Fuhrer's plans for domination are right and just. He is driven to succeed by a desire to please a demanding father and by his own blind faith in the ideals of Nazism. Based on true stories gathered from fifteen years of research and interviews with Ukrainian World War II survivors, Like a River from Its Course is a story of love, war, heartache, forgiveness, and redemption.

Goodreads Summary

Kelli Stuart crafts an intriguing historical fiction that intertwines three unusual characters in one tale.  The horror and hatred of the Holocaust and World War II is wrapped up in the compassion of strangers who did not let the Nazi dictator sway their inner compass.  The story taught me a few new historical facts such as the occupation of Ukraine by Nazi Germany.  Four perspectives come together to tell the story.  I hadn't been taught too much about the occupation of Ukraine and so many of the details were so sad and interesting all at the same time.  The four main characters are sadly based off of real lives that the author intensively researched.  The character I connected the most to was Luda.  She had such a hard life and it must be an impossible task to be pregnant with your rapist's child.  I felt horrible for her.  Anyone who reads this book will certainly have strong feelings throughout the novel. The stories within this book will not be easily forgotten and this book is aimed towards an older audience.

4 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

Goodreads Summary

Adelaide aka Elizabeth (her real name) made this entire novel for me.  She was intelligent, brave, and put others before herself.  When faced with a match made for financial reasons and security, Adelaide seizes the chance to take on her maid's name and enter the Glittering Court as her maid.  The Glittering Court helps lower-class ladies make matches with high-powered gentlemen.  When Adelaide meets Cedric, who initially chose her maid to be part of the Court, she knows that he's someone she could really like eventually.  She makes friends with Tamsin and Mira and excels in all of her courses.  Tamsin is headstrong, opinionated, and slightly controlling.  Mira is exotic, lovely, and clever.  The trio engage in fun dialogue and hilarious scenes together.

When Adelaide catches the eye of one of the wealthiest man participating in the Glittering Court, she isn't sure she wants to make the match.  After all, didn't she enter the Glittering Court to choose her own husband?  The romance between Cedric and Adelaide felt raw and real.  I loved how their affections for each other developed slowly over the course of the book and did not overtake Adelaide's character.  Adelaide's strong love for her friends and Cedric gets her into trouble more than once and causes strife between the friends, but it all works out in the end.  I was a little bit surprised by the ending, but could see it coming for the most part.  I hope there is a second in the series because I am dying to know what Tamsin confided in Adelaide at the end of the novel and what Mira was secretly leaving to do at night.  I really enjoyed this novel and finished it in one sitting.

5 Stars

This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan: Review and Giveaway!

Friday, July 22, 2016

In this compulsively readable historical novel, from the author of the critically-acclaimed Two Sisters, comes the story of two young women—one in America’s Gilded Age, one in scrappy modern-day California—whose lives are linked by a single tragic afternoon in history.

1888: Elizabeth Haberlin, of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, spends every summer with her family on a beautiful lake in an exclusive club. Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains above the working class community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the private retreat is patronized by society’s elite. Elizabeth summers with Carnegies, Mellons, and Fricks, following the rigid etiquette of her class. But Elizabeth is blessed (cursed) with a mind of her own. Case in point: her friendship with Eugene Eggar, a Johnstown steel mill worker. And when Elizabeth discovers that the club’s poorly maintained dam is about to burst and send 20 million tons of water careening down the mountain, she risks all to warn Eugene and the townspeople in the lake’s deadly shadow.

Present day: On her 18th birthday, genetic information from Lee Parker’s closed adoption is unlocked. She also sees an old photograph of a genetic relative—a 19th century woman with hair and eyes likes hers—standing in a pile of rubble from an ecological disaster next to none other than Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. Determined to identify the woman in the photo and unearth the mystery of that captured moment, Lee digs into history. Her journey takes her from California to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from her present financial woes to her past of privilege, from the daily grind to an epic disaster. Once Lee’s heroic DNA is revealed, will she decide to forge a new fate?

Goodreads Summary

I never knew that this event occurred in history so that alone makes me glad I read this book.  I did enjoy the overlay of the past and present and thought the author did a pretty decent job of ensuring it was not confusing or contradictory.  I could sort of guess where the ending was headed, but it was a nice surprise anyway.  Lee and Elizabeth were both strong female characters who tried to do what is right.  I think Elizabeth pushed Lee in the right direction.  

I did enjoy the characters though I wish I had gotten to know them better.  I really felt "in the past" when reading from Elizabeth's point of view.  The author's attention to detail was very good and the plot moved fairly quickly after I got my footing in the beginning.  I do wish that the book paid more attention to the actual flood and the politics behind that.  Although I enjoyed the book, this felt like a quick read to me which doesn't usually happen with historically-based books.  A reader who enjoys historical fiction or someone who wants to learn about an event in their country's history they liked did not know about would enjoy this book.

3 1/2 Stars


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This product or book may have been distributed for review, this in no way affects my opinions or reviews. COPYRIGHT © 2014 LIVE TO READ