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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jenny Reviews Shades of Summer

Shades of Summer (The Haunting Ruby Series, Book 1)Shades of Summer (The Haunting Ruby series #1)
By Joy Elbel
Release Date: Oct 28, 2012
eCopy provided by author for honest review
Available on Kindle

The Blurb...
Love ... the only thing more powerful than death.
Seventeen year old Ruby Matthews spent the last year of her life crippled by guilt and grief over the death of longtime friend and boyfriend Seeley "Lee" Lucas. Feeling that a change of scenery might snap her back to reality, Ruby's father moves the family out of their home in the Philadelphia suburb of Trinity and into the small town life in Charlotte's Grove, Pennsylvania. Life is better here for Ruby- she quickly makes friends with handsome Zach Mason and his twin sister Rachel. Every moment spent with Zach makes life and love seem possible again. But passion comes with a high price. Things are not what they seem at Rosewood, the Matthews' historic plantation style home. Paranormal activity at the mansion intensifies as she draws closer to Zach . Is it Lee- coming back to claim her hear and maybe even her soul? Or is it something more sinister hiding in the shadows? Ruby must delve into her own past and the history of Rosewood to solve the mystery before it's too late.
    It's no secret I love a good ghost story. It's just something about the paranormal that grabs at my attention and says hey look at me! Read me! Looove me!
So of course, when I was approached about reviewing this book I jumped at it. And I'm very glad I did.

   This book sucked me in from the beginning. I loved it. I laughed and face-palmed several times. I think it's great when a story can evoke a physical response from its reader. It also put me to sleep, in a good way. It was one of those times where you're reading and before you know it it's 5am and you're like "oh crap!" because if you don't go to sleep soon you'll get caught (in this case by my husband who will give me "the eyes" that make me feel guilty for choosing reading over required sleep), and then you're brain just kinda clicks off.  Yeah...

   One of my favorite things about this book was the character Rachel. I would love to have a best friend like her. She is like this perky, nerdy cheerleader person who would pull these references out of left field that made me what to reach through the page and give her a fist-bump. Also, the house that Ruby moves into is pretty epic. Definitely a place I would love to see in real life. It reminded a little of Beast's castle from Beauty and the Beast except, well plantation style.
   I love connections made within stories, whether it be dates or common names/name meanings or similar order of events. I like how things can all be tied back and connected to something. And that's what we get here.  History meet present. Now be friends and mingle! Love it! It's like a game almost, picking out all the connections and trying to guess what's going to happen and what ghost is who. It probably has a lot to do with why I like ghost stories in the first place. History.

   My main complaint however, is with Zach and Ruby's relationship. It became too ... intense, too fast for my taste. I'm not talking physically intense, but emotionally. Ok... I'm all for love at first sight. It's a great thing to believe in and can make for a great story. And I loved watching Ruby fumble over herself whenever she ran into Zach. It made her so personable. And just adored seeing how confident Zach was about his feelings for Ruby even when he just laid eyes on her. He knew what he wanted and it was great how you could just see it even when Ruby didn't believe it and she's the one telling the story. That being said, when the two did become an item it evolved into something way intense, like bypass awkward first kiss and hello I would die for you, you complete me. Their love also felt a little insecure for how strong it was. The last third of the book they were constantly repeating their devotion to each other. I got to the point where I wanted to take them by the hands and say, "You love each other. I get it. Big circle of soul completion going on. Can we focus on gtfo-ing the ghost so you two can have big smoochies?"

  Over all, an enjoyable read and if you like ghosts and romance you should check it out. I know I'm pretty curious about the sequel now after a little teaser at the end of the book.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Violet Fox Blog Tour: Jenny Reviews + Giveaway!

The Violet Fox (The Violet Fox, #1)
The Violet Fox
by Clare Marshall
Recieved an e-copy of the book for an honest review.

Book Blurb from Faery Ink Press

That’s what instinct told me.
But in order to save the secrets of my people
and to protect my brother
I have to become the enemy.
   There are two kinds of people in the land of Marlenia.
The Marlenians, who live on the surface,
and the Freetors, who are forced to live underground.
The war between them ended two hundred years ago, but the Freetors still fight for the right to live under the sun. Fifteen-year-old Kiera Driscoll embodies the Freetors’ hopes as the Violet Fox. In a violet cape and mask, she sneaks around Marlenia City stealing food and freeing her people from slavery.
Then the Elders task her with a secret mission: retrieve a stolen tome that contains the secrets of Freetor magic, something the Marlenians both fear and covet. Kiera must disguise herself as a noblewoman and infiltrate the Marlenian castle before the Freetor-hating Advisor finds out her real identity, before her brother is imprisoned because of the secrets he hides, and before she falls any more in love with the prince she’s supposed to hate.
More is happening in the castle than she realizes, and Kiera is faced with a difficult choice. Will she be loyal to her people and their fight for freedom, or will she be loyal to her heart?

   I must admit I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book. I don't usually get into to fantasy because the story lines get confusing and proper nouns and key words are usually way too complicated to pronounce let alone keep straight without a master key while reading. But I was intrigued by the summary none-the-less.

Over all, I very much enjoyed this book. To me it felt like a nice mix between Robin Hood and Cinderella, more specifically the Ever After version with Drew Barrymore (There's a sweet little scene, if you've seen Ever After you'll catch it).
Now that being said, The Violet Fox and I didn't start off as the best of friends. No, ours was more of a progressive love. . .

I went from,  "Stealing to fede the hungry, that's nice." *drums fingers on table* "Whoa! Chiquita has got some moves. Wait. She just did what to who? Feisty."
 to, "Hm not afraid to tell royalty where they can stick it and yet make it sound polite. You little southern charmer you. Bless your heart. We can be friends."
and ended with a big, "HOLD THE PHONE! He's really- and she- but then this lady- and he and her- but Rordan- and she's gonna- what did he just say?!"
True Story.

I love it when a book keeps me far enough in the loop that I know where I'm going, but still manages to surprise me with a few twists towards the end and that's definitely what we get here.

Kiera is a wonderful character even if she is a bit too reckless. She kept me on my toes because I kept expecting her to get caught. At times though she did come off a bit arrogant. I can understand wanting to show off and best the Marlenian guards day after day, but even Batman knows when to hold back.

I really liked how see Kiera grow through out the story. She starts off as this cape crusader doing what was right for her people, but learns that its not all sunshine and lollipops for the other side either. I also liked Keira and Keegan's relationship. It was a little fast, but sweet. I definitely smiled and giggled more than once, though I really wanted to pull Keegan off to the side at the end and say, "You do remember that time in chapter 1 when you had like 4 lips because of this girl right? You do? Ok, good just checking. Heart you both!"

Over all I definitely recommend The Violet Fox if you're looking for a fun, fast paced read.

Author Bio:

Clare Marshall grew up in rural Nova Scotia with very little television and dial up internet, and yet, she turned out okay. She has a combined honours degree in journalism and psychology from the University of King’s College, and is a graduate from Humber College’s Creative Book Publishing Program. She founded Woulds & Shoulds Editing and Design in 2010 for self-published authors and businesses looking for quality editing and design services. She enjoys publishing books through her publishing imprint, Faery Ink Press, and released her first novella, Within in 2011. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing the fiddle and making silly noises at cats.

Twitter / Facebook / GoodReads / Faery Ink Press

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