The Evolution of Ivy – Review

Bad. Bad. BAD….but so GOOD.

The Evolution of Ivy: Poison is an addicting debut novel from Lauren Campbell.  The main character, Ivy, is a tormented young girl enduring an endlessly painful life.

“I scurry to the back of the classroom, making eye contact with no one, and take my seat.  New outfits, fresh haircuts, and confidence burst from this room, this concrete prison where the kids are wardens, and I’m on Death Row.”

As her future circumstances change, she decides to assume a new identity and remake her life for the better. Her main goal: acquire the love of Brooks, the only boy she ever cared for. Ivy has a take no prisoners approach to her new lifestyle. After all, a person can only be hurt so many times. She refuses to let her plans be thwarted, no matter the cost.

As a reader, I love my fictional characters with a side of crazy.  Crazy people know life, they understand pain, and they don’t live in the traditional ways society imposes. This always makes for an interesting story.  The only thing that kept me from reading Ivy sooner were my hangups about the mature content within the pages. I normally try to avoid the more graphic and gritty novels because it simply makes me uncomfortable and isn’t my taste.  However, I knew I was going to love this story if I could overlook the parts I was apprehensive about.

Everything about this story, especially the characterization and plot were on point. Let’s not forget the amazing cover design by Murphy Rae of Indie Solutions. Lauren’s ability to tell Ivy’s story had me turning pages faster than I expected.  I could have finished the book in a day, but chose to savor it one more, to make the story more memorable. My empathy was triggered for Ivy’s past. It was heartbreaking to read the cruelty she faced, and I couldn’t help rooting for her to get revenge and take back the life she deserved, despite her less than moral antics. The story alternated between Ivy’s past and present, something I love as a reader, as it allows me to connect to the characters in a deeper way. We also were able to hear a bit of Brooks’ voice, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the guy.

This is a sharply written, genre-busting page turner worth reading immediately, especially for fans of psychological thrillers.  I was immensely impressed with Lauren’s storytelling and her ability to put me into Ivy’s mind so thoroughly.  The Evolution of Ivy feels like the work of an author with eons of experience, not the debut novel it is.  I can’t wait to see The Evolution of Lauren Campbell as she shares more of her stories with the world.  I see the title New York Times Bestselling Author in her future. Give me more cray, cray, Lauren!!!

You need to snag a copy of this book now! It is sure to leave you wanting more of Ivy and Brooks.

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Happy Reading,
♥Ashley


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The Red Hunter – Review

My first book by Lisa Unger sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. I’ve had Ink and Bone on my TBR, even planning to read it earlier this month, but didn’t have the time to start it. I’m thrilled I was able to begin with The Red Hunter instead. This book will be sticking with me for a long time.

The story begins with two separate plots, seemingly unrelated, and two women (Zoey and Claudia) who have both faced their own horrors. One uses her past to fuel her drive for revenge and the other finds strength in sharing her history with the world through her blog. As the women work to come to terms with their traumas in their individual ways, simultaneously trying to uncover mysteries buried years ago, their paths diverge, forcing them to face the good and evil of the world head on.

From the get-go of this story, I was blown away with Unger’s writing. Her fingers type gold. There are writers and there are storytellers, and Lisa Unger is gifted in both facets. This story is layered with past perspectives, present moments, and alternating point of views, all seamlessly woven together to allow readers to feel thrilled, empathetic and maybe even worried for what the characters will face next. If the alternating perspectives seem confusing in the beginning, have no fear, it will all make sense in the end. Continue reading “The Red Hunter – Review”

The Bronze Horseman – Review

I finally read The Bronze Horseman, people! That’s enough for a celebration in itself since it has been sitting on my Kindle app for almost a year now! Everyone raves about this book and I just knew I was going to love it intensely. You guys know how much I love a good World War II story. There’s a little part of me that is always anxious to read what I know will be an amazing book because I know I will only get to experience it for the first time, well, the first time. It’s incredible to fully live inside the pages of a book that one loves, but the pain of it being over is sometimes so devastating. It’s like having a friend move to the other side of the world to my empathetic brain. I don’t want to say goodbye. Luckily I have two more books to get me through my sorrows…at least until they are over. Continue reading “The Bronze Horseman – Review”

The Gravity of Us – Release Day + Giveaway!

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The Gravity of Us, an all-new gripping and emotional standalone from Brittainy C. Cherry is LIVE!

Continue reading “The Gravity of Us – Release Day + Giveaway!”

Cover Reveal + Pre-order – The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

THE QUEEN AND THE CURE

COVER REVEAL + PRE-ORDER
THE QUEEN AND THE CURE by AMY HARMON

Pre-order links:

➔ Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pemj5W
➔ iTunes: https://itun.es/us/Lobbjb.l
➔ Kobo: http://bit.ly/KoboTQATC
➔ Barnes & Noble: coming soon!

 

Release date: May 9, 2017

 

Blurb:

There will be a battle, and you will need to protect your heart.

Kjell of Jeru had always known who he was. He’d never envied his brother or wanted to be king. He was the bastard son of the late King Zoltev and a servant girl, and the ignominy of his birth had never bothered him.

But there is more to a man than his parentage. More to a man than his blade, his size, or his skills, and all that Kjell once knew has shifted and changed. He is no longer simply Kjell of Jeru, a warrior defending the crown. Now he is a healer, one of the Gifted, and a man completely at odds with his power.

Called upon to rid the country of the last vestiges of the Volgar, Kjell stumbles upon a woman who has troubling glimpses of the future and no memory of the past. Armed with his unwanted gift and haunted by regret, Kjell becomes a reluctant savior, beset by old enemies and new expectations. With the woman by his side, Kjell embarks upon a journey where the greatest test may be finding the man she believes him to be.

Continue reading “Cover Reveal + Pre-order – The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon”

The Gravity of Us – Review

Let me start by saying, whatever I write about this book will not be able to do it justice. Last year I was gifted a copy of The Air He Breathes by a lovely person in Colleen Hoover’s CoHorts. I subsequently devoured the novel, along with all of the other books in Brittainy C. Cherry’s Elements Series. Each book was better than the last. Any author that can invoke such deep emotions within me is an author I am going to stick with and read as long as they keep writing.

The Gravity of Us is not an exception and became my favorite of this series a quarter of the way through the book. Graham has to be one of the best male leads in a story. He is deep, angry, and downright mean in the beginning. But, as we learn more about Graham’s past, readers come to understand his guarded personality. Lucy was the light of this book with her carefree spirit and the love she showed to those around her. Continue reading “The Gravity of Us – Review”

Between Shades of Gray – Review

I have been drawn to books detailing the struggles of people during World War II since I have been a child.  For that reason, I wanted a chance to read this book for years. Finally I was able to check it out through Overdrive from my library and was anxious to be transported back in time.

The story begins in Lithuania with Lina, her mother, and younger brother being deported by Soviet officers in a filthy train car to a place they had never experienced before – Siberia. Lina and her family, along with others that become family to her, are forced to work in cruel conditions at labor camps for Stalin’s regime. Lina uses her love for art as a tool to tell the story of the horrors she faced, despite the danger of her drawings being discovered. She hopes her art will help her father make his way back to her family after she finds him in a separate train car going to a different location.

In the first few pages of this story, I was confused about what was taking place because I had not seen the mention of the characters being Jewish. I even stopped reading to ask my husband, who happens to be a History major, if he could clear up my confusion. We were both stumped. Eventually I came to realize through my reading that only one of the characters was in fact, Jewish. The deportations were actually a result of “Sovietization” and the result of Communism in Russia. Citizens from the Baltic states were removed, murdered, or forced into labor camps to further the agenda of Stalin. This was an unfamiliar aspect of history to both my husband and me. Continue reading “Between Shades of Gray – Review”