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.

The Bronze Horseman was a book that reinforced my love of reading. It made me feel as if I was living the life of my characters. I stopped seeing words on the pages, forgetting about grammar, and only imagined the movie playing in my mind. When the characters were cold, I was cold. When they were starving, my stomach was rumbling. When their bodies were completely devastated, I felt physically drained. I felt the love, the agony, and the anger at Communist Russia and Nazi Germany, I felt as if I was in Leningrad in the 1940s. Only a great story, a great writer, can transport someone to a place they will never have a chance to witness personally and truly take them there with their words. It is pure magic.

While some people find fault with the characters personalities, I didn’t mind feeling annoyed with them, even sometimes angry. When I’m reading about such a heartbreaking time in history, the characters shouldn’t be flawless. I need them to be human for the story to be truly captivating.

The love between Tatiana and Alexander was epic. It compares to that of Claire and Jamie in Outlander. It is a true, soul-wrecking love story. The kind of love people only hope to experience in their lifetime. A love that ruins a person for all other people.

I can’t say enough good things about this novel. I want more, but I want to soak up this story and live in it a little longer before I start the next book. I am fortunate to be reading this novel with some former high school classmates for our book club, and will get to discuss it all over again with them in May. It will do my heart good to talk about Tatiana and Alexander again!

If you’re waiting for the chance to start this book like I was, get started now and fall in love with Tatiana and Alexander. Be transported to the war-torn Russia in 1941-1943.

Happy Reading,
♥Ashley

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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.

“She was all over the place: flighty, random, passionate, and emotionally overcharged. It was as if she was fully aware of her faults, and she allowed them to exist regardless. Somehow those faults made her whole.”

One of my favorite things about this story was the depth of each character, including the secondary characters. This wasn’t a story about physical appearance and hot people falling in love, instead it was about who the characters were as people, how they came to be the people they were, and them slowly falling together. Oftentimes in reality, when people are broken or hard to be around, we never get to see the resolution or the changes they may make in their lives, but The Gravity of Us gave readers the satisfying conclusion of seeing the growth of characters.

I think the most beautiful aspect of the story is not in the book itself, but in the author who wrote it. Anyone that can write such a dazzling story, which makes a heart ache and mends it back together again; anyone who can make readers feel fiction must have a heart of gold themselves. One has to know the heart to write from the heart. After meeting Brittainy in December of last year, I know she has such a sweet spirit and can’t wait to have her sign this incredible book for me someday as well.

I don’t want to give too much of a summary of the story because I do not want to give anything away. I went into the book completely blind, knowing it would be beautifully written, and was not in the least bit disappointed. I daresay this book is my favorite of the 33 I have read so far this year. I wish I could give you each a copy now, but you’re in luck –  The Gravity of Us is available for pre-order now for just 99 cents. Release day is set for April 13! Make sure you snag a copy now!

As always,
Happy Reading,
♥Ashley

Note: While this is a series of novels, each book can be read as a standalone.

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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”

Confess – Review

IMG_9678editedColleen Hoover is without a doubt one of my favorite authors. I found out about her and her books through a book recommendation column on my favorite German radio station in 2014 while still living in the US. Ha! I didn’t know that that particular recommendation would affect me and my love for reading so much. Sure, I was an avid reader back then (at least that’s how I saw myself as, since I read about 7 or 8 books a year), but finding out about Colleen and that genre tenfolded my book reading number. Maybe I should write a thank you note to that radio station? 🙂
Everytime Colleen announces a new book, it goes to my TBR straightaway. I don’t need a blurb or a cover; it’s Colleen Hoover, so of course I will read her new release. What CoHort wouldn’t? Confess, which was released in March 2015, was one of those books. Almost two years later, the novel was picked up for a scripted TV show by Awestruck and – guess what?! – it releases today! Yay!
In honor of today’s release, I decided to re-read Confess and publish this review for you. I made it as spoiler-free as I could. Continue reading “Confess – Review”

Preston’s Honor – Review

prestonshonorMia Sheridan can always be counted on to craft beautiful, intense love stories, and she does not disappoint with Preston’s Honor.  Out of the wonderful 17 books I’ve read in 2017 thus far, Preston’s Honor is my favorite.  I was drawn in from the first chapter, immediately making it a book I didn’t want to put down.  The times I had to do boring adult-y things, I was reliving every word of this story and dying to know what was going to come next. For me, Preston’s Honor is up there with Archer’s Voice as one of Mia’s greatest works, something not to be taken lightly.

Going in, I didn’t know a single detail about this story except for the Gemini connection as it is A Sign of Love novel, which made me suspect the story would feature twins. I was a little nervous there may be a love triangle involved, but my fears were unfounded.  I know Mia writes some of the most alluring novels I have ever read, so it was an easy decision to reach with grabby hands for her newest book.

One of the things that made this book so exemplary to me was being able to relate so personally to Annalia.  Her character came to life for me.  I felt so drawn to her, devastated for her, and proud of her at times.  The heart-breaks and desolation Lia felt throughout the story were described so vividly I felt as if I was there, feeling that pain, wanting to comfort her.  I despaired with her and shed empathetic tears for her through much of the novel.

“As it turned out, financial strife   even financial desperation    was much easier and more pleasant than emotional despair.”

The flashbacks leading up to present time, then merging together were one of my favorite aspects of reading.  I love a good back story, as it leads to a deeper connection for me with the characters.  I like to know the details that made them the “person” they are and to be able to see their growth in the present and future.  Another facet of this story I found surprisingly touching was Lia’s Mexican heritage and the grief her mother faced as an immigrant.  I enjoyed how Mia was able to weave this into the story so effortlessly, while being able to teach readers an important lesson in the process    simply, we are all human no matter where we come from.  I love that readers are able to get a look into two social classes melding together, to show how we really are the same deep down, despite the actions of some of the crappier characters (i.e. Alicia and Mrs. Sawyer) in the book.

Just like the last time I read a Mia Sheridan novel, I want to pick up everything she has ever written and completely binge on it.  She awakens emotions in me that have been dormant for years, and makes me cry over things I would never expect to freaking sob over.

This book is releasing in 3 short days!  I highly recommend 1-clicking this beautiful story.   Continue reading “Preston’s Honor – Review”

God-Shaped Hole – Review

When Tarryn Fisher recommends a book, I read it, like a good little sheeple should. I’ve had God-Shaped Hole on my TBR for a while, but when I saw Tarryn and Tiffanie’s live Facebook video a couple of weeks ago I bought it, finally.
Now let me start by saying, I cannot give this book a star-rating. It doesn’t feel right for this book because of Jacob:

“He believed that any work an artist puts forth which contains the truth as he or she sees it is worthy of consideration, and any commentary of the work beyond that is nothing more than pure individual opinion and should not be considered relevant to the work itself.”

With that said, let me give my irrelevant opinion. Going in, I didn’t know what to expect since I rarely read blurbs or reviews prior to reading a book. The prelude gives us an idea of what may be to come, but even with this knowledge the story still has the ability to rip readers’ hearts and guts out and stomp all over them. I will not be recovering from this book for ages, and I mean that in the best way possible.  God-Shaped Hole is funny, smart, and heartbreakingly real. I’ve never read a love story that felt as realistic as this one. Beatrice and Jacob’s relationship wasn’t the perfection that is often depicted in most contemporary books. Their arguments were how they play out for real couples    full of pride and pettiness.  Their character traits made them seem like people I know. I loved how at times, Beatrice wanted to give in to end a stand-off, but her pride wouldn’t let her.  How many times do we as humans want to say, “I love you, you idiot. Let’s be happy again,” but our egos get in the way?  Beatrice was a girl after my own heart, with her genuine personality and hate of materialistic people and the culture of Los Angeles.  I remember going on vacation to California and being most excited to visit LA, then feeling ridiculously let down afterwards. What is with all of the hype? San Francisco, on the other hand, is where it’s at. Continue reading “God-Shaped Hole – Review”