Belonging (Temptation #2) by Karen Ann Hopkins | Book Review

Synopsis

I left everything I knew behind.

But it was worth it. He was worth it.

No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren’t even allowed to see each other. Not until I’ve proven myself.

If I can find a way to make it work, we’ll be NOAH & ROSE

together forever.

But not everybody believes this is where I belong.

Review

This is the continuation of Noah and Rose’s story.

Rose is serious about committing herself to being an Amish and to do so, she should stay in an Amish community, practice all their traditions, believe and be immersed in their culture until such time that she will be baptized in the Ordnung church so she and Noah can come out and Noah and openly court her.

My take on this dilemma is that although Rose is so much in love with Noah, she’s not too committed in becoming a real Amish. She may be baptized in Ordnung but it doesn’t necessarily mean that she has to believe all their beliefs. If I remember it correctly, she has a hidden motive in joining the Amish. She was secretly hoping that Noah will eventually be the one to give in and convert into English instead of her embracing the Amish culture. And I guess, one of the factors that have made her decide was because of Noah’s accident. She feared losing Noah so as long as she has him, she can make it through.

But when she became accepted by the Ordnung Church, doubt crept into her mind especially when Noah kept bugging her about marriage. I think this is when Rose’s thoughts were swarmed with worries and doubts. Would she survive if she got married to Noah? How about her future? How is she going to deal with the fact that she’ll be married in a church in which she doesn’t believe their beliefs and practices? This book will test their commitment to each other even when Rose’s family will stage an intervention that will either make her realize she’s ready to commit or will make her realize that she should never had set foot inside their community.

Belonging will show the readers how our understanding of one’s culture affects our perception of the people practicing that culture. If people are really loyal and firmly believe in a culture, they’ll stand up for it no matter what and it’s already imprinted in our hearts and minds when we’re young, it is hard to see it at someone else’s perceptive. We become blinded and we only see what we want to see.

Will Noah and Rose give up on their love for each other or will they find their way back into each other?

One thing I mostly perceived about the Amish community by reading this book is that, they’re very anti-feminist and it seems so unfair. They put their men on a very high pedestal when in fact the only difference is that men have balls and women certainly don’t. Just look at this dialogue:

“First things first, Martha – Rose, you are a young woman, and you will act accordingly with our customs. As spoken in First Timothy, ‘A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.’ Therefore you will not be interrupting me again, and you will always show respect to the men in this community. The womenfolk will fill you in on all the details about following our customs and being obedient in time. Do you understand?”

Although Noah loves even the wildness of Rose,

“I realized that I would love this girl forever, whether she was difficult or not. It was her wildness that was most endearing to me of all.”

There are still times when he thinks of ways to trap Rose into their community without him asking for her opinion.

“For Rose’s sake I didn’t want her to be with child, but for my sake, I silently prayed that she was.”

There’s this on character that stood out and in one way or another planted the seed of doubt in Rose’s mind. It’s Cynthia, who is a Mennonite.

“And if your Amish boy isn’t willing to compromise, he might not be worth sacrificing your life for.”

And of course, Hunter. I like this guy and how I wish for Rose to just choose him over Noah.

“The problem is, I care way too much. And as much as I’d like to walk away from you, and not have to deal with this infatuation you have with a guy from another lifetime – I can’t and I won’t.”

Quotable Quotes

Sometimes, not saying anything is even worse than chewing someone out.

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: This review copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Cache a Predator by M. Weidenbenner | Book Review

Synopsis

Officer Brett Reed will do anything to gain custody of his five-year-old daughter, Quinn. But when the man-hating judge grants Brett’s drug-addicted ex-wife custody and slaps him with a protective order for losing his temper, he fears for Quinn’s safety. Who will protect her now?

When Quinn is found abandoned on the streets, Brett’s worse nightmares turn toward a dark path. The child is placed in a temporary foster home until Child Protective Services can complete an assessment. It should only take a few days.

But a lot can happen in a few days.

Especially when there’s a deranged psychopath on the loose, someone who’s attacking pedophiles, someone who wants to protect children like Quinn, and someone who’s planting body parts in geocaching sites.

Cache a Predator is a novel about a father’s love, justice, and the unhinged game of hide-the-cache.

Review

Death was like a low-pressure system. It could occur in any season, causing storms in people so great it changed them.

Brett is a policeman who is having trouble accepting that the court gave the custody of his daughter to his mentally sick and drug abusive ex-wife, Ali. Although he was advised not to go anywhere his daughter, he finds it difficult especially when his ex-wife can’t seem to take care of her. She was locked up in her own world, wallowing in self-pity, when she has a duty to look after her child. He can’t believe he ever married her.

As he was busy thinking about ways to make the court believe that the custody could be given to him, a call came up at their police headquarters regarding a man who was found out drenched in blood at his lower extremities and without a penis already. Then after a few days, they received a call from geo cache hunters regarding a rotting human part put in ziplock and were included in geo cache boxes. The victims grew more in number as well as the geo cache hunters who found the rotting treasures. As the investigation went on, it was found out that the victims have a record of child sexual abuse. In short, they were perverts.

One thing I liked about this book was the fact that the author has written a suspense/detective crime novel with a very unusual plot. There are so many books in this genre and this was the first time I’ve read about something like this. The author incorporated the suspense part with the value of a family in the story. The two elements didn’t overlap instead they supported each other and that made this book stood out. At some points, the emotions Brett evoked towards his daughter overwhelmed me. He depicts the ideal characteristic of the ideal man women dream to catch.

It turns out that the psycho penis mutilator had been a victim of sexual abuse. All his victims were rendered unconscious by using chloroform on a rag. He injects them with anesthetic, uses a rubber tourniquet to cut off the penis circulation and use something like scalpel to amputate it.

The psycho really thinks of himself as a do-gooder and wants to notify the whole area about the sexual offenders that roams their town. If this is the case then, Brett is also in danger since a rumor is spreading regarding him as a sexually abusive father and since they haven’t had a clue as to the psycho’s real identity, they don’t know what’s going to be his next move. Though I applaud myself for identifying him even before the police.

This story is like an advocacy to stop sexual abuse. As portrayed in this book, the victims may end up with serious mental problems if not dealt with. To the abusers you don’t know what you put your victims into. They’re lucky if they got to live their lives after the abuse but some are not as strong-willed as the others and end up mentally damaged for life.

Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: This review copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins | Book Review

Synopsis

Your heart misleads you.

That’s what my friends and family say.

But I love Noah.

And he loves me.

We met and fell in love in the sleepy farming community of Meadowview, while we rode our horses together through the grassy fields and in those moments in each other’s arms.

It should be

ROSE & NOAH

forever, easy.

But it won’t be.

Because he’s Amish.

And I’m not.

Review

“My boyfriend was from the 1800s.”

One thing I like about this book is that, I learned new information that I can share with others too. This is absolutely a very unique story and it was the first time that I heard about the Amish community. What would happen if an Amish boy falls in love with an English Girl? But before anything else, let me first tell you something about the Amish Community. How do they live? Who are they? Why is it a possible dilemma when Amish goes into a relationship with someone outside the community?

Who are the Amish?

The Amish (sometimes called Amish Mennonites) are members of an Anabaptist Christian denomination who are especially known for their separation from society, for living in isolated Amish communities, for the rejection of most modern technology, and for their distinctly conservative dress.

In the United States, Amish communities are mostly found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana.

  • Religious services are held on a rotating basis in family homes and barns. A large wagon, filled with benches for the service and dishes and food for the meal that follows, will often be pulled to the host’s property.
  • Amish children attend one-room schools run by the community and they attend school only through the eighth grade (this was deemed acceptable by a 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling).
  • Amish young adults are expected to find a spouse and be baptized. But in accordance with Anabaptist doctrine, this must be a free and personal decision. At this point, some young people choose not to join the church and instead live the rest of their lives in a different community or wider society. If a young man joins a Mennonite church or other less exacting religion, the Amish will often say “he got his hair cut.” If a young person abandons the faith altogether, they say that person “went English.”
  • Everyday life and customs in the Amish community are governed by an unwritten code of behavior called theOrdnung. The Ordnung began as a basic outline of Anabaptist faith in the 16th century, and since then, details and new rules have been added that help define what it means to be Amish. It now governs everything from clothing and child bearing to occupational activities and how the weekend is spent.
  • Shunning (Meidung, “avoidance”) was the practice that set the Amish apart from the Mennonites several centuries ago, and it remains the fundamental way in which the community deals with disobedient members.
  • The use of electricity is fervently avoided by Amish, because it is a prime connection to the world that could lead to temptations and worldly amenities detrimental to the community and family life.
  • The Amish are especially known for their distinctive self-made clothing, which is essentially that of 17th-century European peasants. The distinctive attire reflects the Amish resistance to change, respect for tradition and interpretation of biblical instructions against conforming to the ways of the world (e.g., Romans 12:2). Its plainness also reflects the great importance of humility in Amish communities.
  • The Amish do not live in complete isolation and are often seen making regular trips into their local town for groceries. They reject the use of automobiles and use either bicycles or horse-drawn buggies instead. The buggies are box-like and usually black, but some are white, gray, or even yellow, and many groups can be distinguished by their chosen color of buggy.
  • The Amish may be reserved and humble, but they are not always solemn and enjoy common pastimes and games. Volleyball and softball are popular with many Amish families, but they are played strictly for enjoyment and not in a spirit of competition.

Source: The Amish

The story was good but I just can’t take and believe that there are still these kind of people left in this world. Just when I thought that my country is a bit conservative,I was surprised to find out there exist more conservative people than us.

If you’re into the you-and-me-against-the-world theme, then this is for you.

Meet Rose Cameron. She’s new in town. Her dad uprooted the whole family and decided to accept the job as head of ER in another town. Ros is the epitome of an American girl. Independent. Blonde. Not afraid to say what she had in mind. Bold. Bubbly. She has th future ahead of her. She’s a ballet dancer and she’s also a highschool student. She hated her dad for bringing them to a forsaken place until Mr. Amos Miller and his sons came and introduced themselves as their neighbors. She suddenly thinks that maybe it won’t be that bad after all.

Noah Miller.As much as I wanted to hate him, I understand that he was brought up the Amish culture. It really pains me because he is such a good guy and he really has pure intentions toward Rose.But, the way he easily judged the customs of the other people is really unfair. I actually hated him in this book because between the two of them, Rose has a lotto sacrifice in order for their relationship to work. It was only in the last chapters that his character has grown on me.

Let me share some of his dialogues that made sigh and frustrated towards him and made me want to shake him and smash his head so I could put some sense into his head.

“If Rose were Amish, it wouldn’t be a question at all. She’d be strictly disciplined in what she could do and diligently watched over by the entire community. But instead, she was off dancing in some big city and probably staying out late with her friends.”

Duh, is a girl not entitled to have some fun? Yeah, girls in Amish community aren’t allowed to do that, but she’s like any ordinary American like most of th population of US.

“A woman’s hair is a very seductive thing, Rose. It invites unwanted attention from men – other than the woman’s husband, especially hair like yours. ” He sighed heavily, staring at me.

“Can’t you men control yourselves?”  I asked sarcastically.

“It’s not a matter of control, Rose. It’s that a husband doesn’t want other men looking at his wife, covering her. A wife should reserve her beauty for her husband, and no one else.” He instructed me as if I were mentally challenged, too ignorant to understand the fundamentals of life – his way of life anyway.

“It’s so much more comfortable having my hair down. Women shouldn’t have to be tortured just so their husbands can have their wife’s hair all to themselves. That’s just…dumb,” I argued. I was disappointed with myself for not coming up with a better word,  but at the moment my annoyance with Noah was growing, distracting me.

There. Rose explained it herself.

“I’m sorry, Rose. I deserve your slap – I really did. It’s just that I love you so much, and I can’t begin to think of my world without you in it. I was so frightened when you didn’t immediately agree to become Amish. I just felt that if you really love me, you’d give up your English life so we could b together.”

What the hell?! She can say to same to you. You are the man. You should be the one doing that. She has a lot more to lose. You might lose the support of your family? That’s your problem.

“Last night was the first time I’d felt anger toward her. I wanted to grip her shoulders and shake some sense into her, make her understand that the best thing for both of us would be if she became Amish….In the English world there would b so many forces at work to make our relationship more difficult. Like her going of places whenever sh wanted to or dressing in her tight clothing. I couldn’t deal with all that. I didn’t want to.”

***

“Another idea has briefly penetrated my brain – getting her with child. My folks and her dad would be forced to allow us to marry.”

***

“I don’t see any other way for us to be together. So if you don’t want to try that option, and you don’t want to become Amish…then I guess it’s over between us.”

***

“When given the choice, Rose picked her comfy, materialistic world over me. And even though it still hurt like hell, I knew what I had to do to get over her.”

***

“The other thing that slammed into  my sight and caused a ripple of anger to bubble up inside me were the short jean shorts she wore and the pink sleeveless top that hugged her breasts tightly. Granted, her shorts weren’t as skimpy as the blonde girl, but still, they were incredibly inappropriate. Th shirt didn’t leave much to the imagination either.”

Do you feel me? I felt like a fuming bull ready to charge towards Noah.

animal-graphics-bull-609783

Sam Cameron.He may be a 6’2″ football player but when it comes to his sister, he’s a softy. Though at times thy tackle each other.

“I wish Mom were here to handle this. But, I guess,since she’s not, I’ll have to fill in for her.”

Isn’t that sweet?

Justin Cameron. He’s such an adorable sibling to Rose. He may be a bit young but he sure has a lot of advice for her sister.

And of course, David Cameron. Their father. He’s a really cool and good father. Rose had him wrapped in her finger and her father can’t say no to her pleadings.

“If you think I’m going to let my daughter drop out of school to live in your anti-feminist world, you’re delusional.”

Exactly my point Mr. Cameron!

Over all, I’d give it a 4.  The story was good. I enjoyed it even though I can’t fully accept Noah for Hunter. Now that the foundation of the trilogy was established, I’, curious as to how the author will make the two survived the relationship. For this book, I’d give a 5 for Rose’s character. She’s not afraid to commit even going as far as converting into Amish just to be with Noah.

Quotable Quote

“I think a lot of guys are as afraid of us as we are of them. The only  time they begin to open up is when they know for sure that the girl they like is into them, too.”

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: This review copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Moon Dwellers (The Dwellers #1) by David Estes | Book Review

Synopsis

In a desperate attempt to escape destruction decades earlier, humankind was forced underground, into the depths of the earth, creating a new society called the Tri-Realms.

After her parents and sister are abducted by the Enforcers, seventeen-year-old Adele, a member of the middle-class moon dwellers, is unjustly sentenced to life in prison for her parents’ crimes of treason.

Against all odds, Adele must escape from the Pen and find her family, while being hunted by a deranged, killing machine named Rivet, who works for the President. She is helped by two other inmates, Tawni and Cole, each of whom have dark secrets that are better left undiscovered. Other than her friends, the only thing she has going for her is a wicked roundhouse kick and two fists that have been well-trained for combat by her father.

At the other end of the social spectrum is Tristan, the son of the President and a sun dweller. His mother is gone. He hates his father. Backed by only his servant and best friend, Roc, he leaves his lavish lifestyle in the Sun Realm, seeking to make something good out of his troubled life.

When a war breaks out within the Tri-Realms, Tristan is thrust into the middle of a conflict that seems to mysteriously follow Adele as she seeks to find her family and uncover her parents true past.

In their world, someone must die.

Review

Hmmm. So let me tell you what finally pushed me to read this book. The series is always in the list of books to read if you love Hunger Games in Goodreads. The author is gorgeous and is really very accommodating towards his fans. He always interacts with them and answers their queries. His book is featured and included among the 15 books to read if you’re a fan of Hunger Games in a known website.  15 Series to Read if you Enjoyed The Hunger Games. The books that made the list are pretty high caliber and were highly publicized like Divergent, Delirium, and Matched Trilogy. So it got me thinking, was it really that good? So yeah, I really had to read it. Plus David Estes announced recently that had found an agent and there are some movie outfits interested in his books.

So. Moon Dwellers. Oh well, it was good. As in really good. It’s really different from the other dystopian novels I’ve read. So before anything else, let me first tell me you about the setting of this novel.

The Setting 

They say the meteor was the size of Texas. Any life left on the surface of the Earth when it hit was wiped out by either the shock wave caused by the collision, or the resulting tsunamis unleashed across the world’s oceans. Humans were forced to move underground.

Politicians, doctors, scientists, and farmers received a free pass, but all others just got a number. The number gave them a one in a hundred chance of getting selected to move into the underground facilities. All the rest were destroyed.

It is now 499 PM in their world. Their time is measured from the day the meteor hit. PM means Post Meteor. The time before Armageddon is referred as Before Meteor or BM.

Because the new world required more structure, they created and changed the political system. The first Nailin was elected as President in 126 PM. His name was Wilfred Nailin. Congress decided that elections should be held every five years instead of four, with the opportunity for reelection after the first term. But because of his greediness, he wanted to secure his family’s future by passing a law that allowed positions to be handed down from generation to generation within each family, so long as Congress and the President unanimously approved it.

Soon, however, the gap started to widen between the classes. The wealthy began to take more and more liberties. Elected officials continued to abuse their powers do the disadvantaged complained. That’s why the Tri-Realm was created.

The Tri-Realms were created from 215 PM to 255 PM. First the Moon Realm was executed, using the advancements in mining technology, to create massive caverns deep beneath the original caverns, to build more cities in. Natural caves were used as a starting point, widened and heightened to the extensive side required to house thousands of people. Heavy beams of rock were used to support the cavern’s roofs, which were prone to cave-ins. Middle and lower class citizens were used to do the work, having been convinced by large salaries and the opportunity to “advance our civilization for the good of humankind.”

Once the caverns were complete, the workers were forced to take their families to live in them. Then the work on the Star Realm began, digging even deeper below the Earth’s surface. Fewer resources were allocated to excavating the Star Realm, and therefore, the caverns were smaller, more confined, more densely populated. The poorest citizens were sent to live in the deepest caverns.

Each of the Tri-Realms was split up into eight chapters, and each chapter into between two and six subchapters depending on its size, each if which was populated by between ten and a hundred thousand people.

Over time, taxes were increased annually for the moon and star dwellers, as those living in the Moon and Star Realms were called, until the Sun Realm was receiving significant resources to improve their own caverns. Life was good for the Sun Dwellers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for anyone else.

The U.S. Constitution was legally abolished in 302PM.

A Nailin has been in power for more than 350 years.

The Characters

Adele Rose is a Moon Dweller who was sent to the Pen and was sentenced to stay for life inside the place when Enforcers captured her parents. She doesn’t know if they’re still dead or alive but she certainly doesn’t believe they’re still alive. She has been living in the Pen for six months. She keeps to herself. She doesn’t give a damn about the bullies because she can surely fight and break them and she doesn’t make friends not until Tawni and Cole approached her.

Tristan Nailin. “He captures the attention of young, naïve females. Blond, curly hair. Seventeen but already over six feet tall. Strong, solid frame. A princely face. Big, navy blue eyes. An addictive smile, with right-sized lips and ivory teeth.” He’s the heir to the presidency. He’s a Sun Dweller and had grown up in a privilege world. He’s a puppet of his father and was brought up to follow his father’s commands but lately, he doesn’t feel contented. He wants to do what he really wants. He feels ashamed of his life because he knows his father’s actions are not fair to people. His feelings against his father intensified when he saw Adele. He felt empowered. Though he ran away to rescue her, he also wanted a change. He wanted to stop the inequalities in the Tri-Realms.

Tawni. She’s a daughter two Sun Dweller spies and she decided to run away because she can’t take how other people are living while their family lives of by betraying the community where she lives in. She was bullied when she was a kid and if not for Cole, she would still have been bullied until today.She’s a daughter two Sun Dweller spies and she decided to run away because she can’t take how other people are living while their family lives of by betraying the community where she lives in. She was bullied when she was a kid and if not for Cole, she would still have been bullied until today.

Cole. Oh Cole! Why oh why David? My heart breaks for this guy. He was portrayed as a murdered by the Enforcers when in fact his family was wronged. They killed and attempted to rape her sister and they also murdered his parents. After which he was sent to imprisonment for life contrary to what he told Adele. That scene at the last part tore me up. I envisioned a love triangle among him, Adele and Tristan. I just can’t believe you did that David! I feel frustrated.

Roc. The only friend of Tristan who despite the fact that he cannot fight a battle decided to accompany his master to an Unknown place. That’s a courageous act for him. Although I still doubt his loyalty.

Elsey. She’s Adele’s sister and despite her age, she thinks like a matured teenager. She’s a real help towards the end especially when the group felt a bit down to fight.

Tidbits about the Tri-Realms

The Pen – according to them pen is named for play pen, like a young child’s little safety enclosure, full of toys and bright-colored bobbles and trinkets but it really means penitentiary.

The Max – maximum security for adult prison

Moon Hall – where the local politicians gather to do whatever it is that they do.

The mine is the pinnacle of the Moon Realm. Almost all of the employed work at the mine.

Electricity is rationed, such that the Sun Realm receives eighty percent of it, of course, with a paltry fifteen percent going to the Moon Realm, and a measly five percent to the Star Dwellers.

The age of accountability is eight years old.

The symbol of the Sun Realm is a fiery red and orange sun with wavy hat lines wafting to the sides.

Since moving underground, the people improved night vision due to long exposure to dim or no lighting. Their sense of hearing and smell have been heightened, making them less reliant on their slightly improved sight. Their skin paler and dustier. Their lungs are more resistant to the constant intake of rock dust. The average life expectancy is about twenty years shorter than when humans lived above ground, but no one really talks about it. They have adapted to their environment.

Adele preferred to call the Tri-Realm – Deep, Deeper, Deepest.

Stewards – name for prison guards

Camp Blood and Stone – where prisoners are made to work in some of the most dangerous mines in the Moon Realm.

Lonely Caverns – network of caves interconnecting the Realms

Overall, I really love the book. I’m looking forward to more exciting and adventurous book two.

Quotable Quotes

Sometimes, girls, you have to hit your lowest low just before you hit your highest high. It makes you appreciate the good things so much more.

There are some things more important than your own life. Like friendship, and love, and trust, and goodness.

Rating: 5/5

The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret #1) by Jessica Sorensen | Book Review

Synopsis

The girl he thinks he loves needs to disappear. I don’t want tonight to be irreversible, so I pull away, breathing him in one last time.

Ella and Micha have been best friends since childhood, until one tragic night shatters their relationship and Ella decides to leave everything behind to start a new life at college, including Micha.

But now it’s summer break and she has nowhere else to go but home. Ella fears everything she worked so hard to bury might resurface, especially with Micha living right next door. Micha is sexy, smart, confident, and can get under Ella’s skin like no one else can. He knows everything about her, including her darkest secrets. And he’s determined to win back the girl he lost, no matter what it takes.

Review

“He is my best friend, my soul mate. In a perfect world, full of roses and sunshine we’d be together, but this world is full of broken homes, drunken fathers, and mothers who give up easily.”

This is one of the most followed stories this year and just like and just like any reader, curiosity got me to read this book. Well, not just that. I was also waiting for the follow-up book because cliffhangers and I are not really best of friends.

So the story starts with Ella on top of the railing of a bridge while it was raining. Just when she was thinking of jumping onto the water, Micha was there to stop her. He wanted to profess his feelings for her but Ella loses control and ended up kissing him.What Micha doesn’t know, was that Ella is already saying goodbye.

8 months later..

Ella is now enrolled in college and taking up arts. She has learned to bottle up all her emotions. She changed her style. She learned to control her tongue. It’s like she’s a totally different person from who she was before. She doesn’t party. She doesn’t date. She turned into a wallflower.

It’s their school break so she’s packing up and going home. Lila, her roommate, decided to tag along.

Micha is just starting to put back the pieces of his life together. He was a mess when Ella left him. He stopped playing his guitar and stopped singing and writing songs. And just when he’s ready to accept it and move on, Ella comes back. He was suddenly hit by the realization that no matter what happens, he will still love Ella and this time around, he won’t let her go without putting up a good fight.

Ella and Micha are partners-in-crime. They took care of each other ever since they were kids. They were neighbors and as such, they knew how fucked up their childhood was. Ella’s mom has a bipolar disorder. Her dad loves to drink. Every time they’re not themselves, Ella is there to fix things. Their roles were reversed. When she was fifteen, her mom committed suicide and her brother and father both blamed her for it because she was supposed to look after her that night. Instead, she went partying with Micha. Her father became an official drunkard and would always pass out at the bars so Ella always come to pick him up even if he always made it a point to tell her that it was her fault that his wife died. Micha on the other hand, has a mildly normal childhood, except for his dad who left them when he was just a kid. He always envisions him to one day look for him and ask for his forgiveness.

This is a story of how love helped two people deal with their hard life. Micha is every girl’s ideal man, and Ella is so lucky to have him. Ella is such a bad ass and I’m glad she toned down her Stepford-wife-fashion-style. I kind of love it when she tries to provoke some equally bad ass man that always lead to troubles. Micha is always there to save her ass. Despite Ella’s issues, Micha still took a chance on her.

Lila and Ethan kind of rubbed on each other. I’m sensing a friction between the two. I know there’s a book for them too that will come out later this year.

Ella and Micha’s story will continue on “The Forever of Ella and Micha.” This will detail how they’re going to make their relationship work – with Ella studying and with Micha joining the band.

Rating: 4/5

 

Love Among Pigeons by Abria Mattina

Synopsis

Frank invites the Kirk family home to Smiths Falls for Thanksgiving weekend. Holidays are always a trial for the family that lost their daughter and sister, but Frank is hopeful that this Thanksgiving will be the exception. He has some happy news to share. If only he wasn’t so reluctant to talk about it.

Review

This is a perfect companion novella for the Wake. After all the stress Wake caused me, I of course, deserve a breather. This book really cracked me up that sometimes I end up snorting because I can’t control laughing. I so love Willa in this book. It seems like she finally found her old self. I really love her sense of humor. She manages to turn something serious into something really funny. In fact, I have several dialogues involving her.

When she went home to celebrate thanksgiving with her family, she got home late and unfortunately, she heard sounds that should have been private. Apparently, Douglas is already living with Frank. And she got home during a time when Doug and Frank are doing it. LOL! That’s really funny.

“Were you tired when you got in? Did you go to bed right away?” Frank stares at m probingly. I know what he’s getting at.

You need a sturdier bed frame.”

Frank scrubs a hand over his face. “God, you heard?”

“Relax. I hear it’s only gay if you make eye contact.”

Frank doesn’t seem amused. I put my hands up in surrender. “Just trying to make light. I have no intention of bonding with you over our shared love of penis.”

Another conversation I can’t forget is when Frank paid her to come out for him. And here goes their convo:

“Dollars. Give me a hundred dollars and I’ll tell them for you.”

“I wasn’t serious.”

I hold out my hand. “We both know you were.”

Frank glances at my hand and smirks condescendingly. “Sorry, I don’t keep hundreds stashed in my bathrobe.”

“You can pay me later.”

I get up to clear my bowl. Frank shakes his head slightly, still smirking. I think the idea of paying me to come out amuses him.

“What would you say to them?” he asks.

I pause to clear my throat. “I would say, beloved parents…Gotta lay it on thick, y’know? It is my great pleasure to inform you that your favorite son is very much in love with someone quite special.”

Frank rolls his eyes.

“…and he’s also an incurable cocksucker.” I narrowly dodge the spoon he whips at my head.

So there. The only problem is, I kind of craved more Jem and Willa moments. It seems like life is just starting out for them. I so wanted another book for them. I also liked the fact that Frank is finally free to express his gender after 11 years of hiding his relationship with Doug. I didn’t expect his parents reactions. They’re quite open-minded about the matter and had already known about it for years. That kind of sucks for Frank because it turns out that he just wasted 11 years of his secret rendezvous with Doug.

Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: This review copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wake by Abria Mattina | Book Review

Synopsis

Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.

Review

“I am not invincible. I have desires. I want to be touched and held and told that I’m worth something. I am not pitiful. I am better than you can imagine. I have talents. I have successes and failures. I love my life. I sometimes feel dissatisfied with the world. I come from a place of love, not death. I am special. I matter. I can be the most interesting person in the room. I can blend in and that’s okay. I’m a somebody. I’m a nobody. I feel deeply and I want to be allowed to show it. I don’t want to be judged. I can be judgmental. When you give me platitudes you belittle my feelings. I’m brave. I’s scared. I’m wandering. I have plans. I will be the best me I can be. I am not who I think I am. I am not who you think I am; I am who I think you think I am, so think well of me, please.”

This is the story of  a cancer patient who is in remission who has now turned from social butterfly to a socially repulsive person and is close to giving up until he meets the sarcastic emo new girl who just transferred to the school he was studying at.

What’s nice about this book is that:

  • It details how a cancer patient lives. It gives the readers a perspective on what goes on in the life of a cancer victim and what goes on in his head, what he exactly feels about his appearance and how he sees the world.
  • It also shows how families are affected when dealing with cancer.
  • Even though it is long, is was understandable. It wasn’t boring. The length actually helped readers be absorbed to the book. I actually stayed late just to read it and when it was finished I clamored for more.
  • Even though it was a cancer-related book, it wasn’t sad all throughout. Though it made me cry at some point, it also made me crack up with the snarky remarks between Willa and Jem, and the banterings between and his siblings.
  • There was just something about this book that speaks to me.
  • There is also the fact that all the characters were amazing and has made an impact in the story.

JEM HARPER – He was a cancer patient who is currently in remission but still felt sick. He has to wait 1 year before he can gain back his strength. He was once a social butterfly but since he was diagnosed, he found it hard to bounce back to his normal routines. He’s tired of being stared at because it makes him visible to the crowd. He feels pathetic and doesn’t want to look at the mirror because he’ll just be reminded of what he looks like before. He wants to be treated normally, not with utmost care because that makes him feel so fragile and people think he won’t handle it. He just wishes for his cancer to vanish as soon as possible.

WILLA KIRK – She came back in their town after her own parents banished her from their house. She came to live with his brother, Frank. She suffered from serious depression and she came to a point wherein she almost killed herself. Because of that, she was placed in a psychoward for 3 weeks. This was triggered by the death of her older sister, Thomasina, from cancer. And when she came back, all the memories she left behind flashed back.

She meets Jem. Despite her reluctance to be friends with him, she still accepted him and in spite of the hurt it may cause her, she gave them a chance. She saw Jem as a way to make peace with her past.

Their story proved that love comes at the right time in extraordinary ways. It shows us that when you really need it and when you’re ready to accept it. You may battle with your inner self to give it up, but the more you relinquish it, the more it forces its way on you. Jem and Willa’s relationship were not all about rainbows. They had a very rocky start and many times they wanted to give up, but their love was stronger and it stood the test of time. Willa is a very dauntless girl who in spite of everything, stood by Jem’s side. Underneath her callous attitude is a very passionate woman who cares about her loved ones. Her passion manifested in how she cooked for Jem, how she cleaned him up when he got sick, how she comforted him when he’s upset and how she encouraged him when he wanted to give up. Jem is so lucky to have found her. Whatever connection they have, is something to be cherished forever.

The Harper family is a picture of an impeccable family who have found courage towards each other. Their bond was not weakened by Jem’s illness, hence, it was what glued them together. I admire their family. This is what a family should be like – a family that can stand all the struggles they undergo in life and are still there to support each other. Elise is a picture of a very valiant woman who can still find happiness in the most difficult times of their lives. Though sometimes, she also possess naivete and playfulness of a child who is so obsessed with Harry Potter. She’s the sunshine in their home who provided the light when they were in their darkest. Eric on the other hand was the one always left out. He prefers his solitude when dealing with Jem’s illness. He cannot stomach seeing him sick. But, he remained the constant in their home. He was the strength and the axis when Elise can’t take it any more.

Wake is a very moving novel and for a debut author, she did great. This deserves a five star rating. Thanks Abria for the ebook copy. 🙂

Quotable Quotes

Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: This review copy was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.