Mini-reviews: “Wait for Me” and “In Another Time” by Caroline Leech

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Title: Wait For Me

Author: Caroline Leech

Publisher: HarperTeen/HarperCollins

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository| Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-a-Million

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

I read this a couple of weeks ago, but just didn’t get the chance to sit down and write a review for it until today. I still remember much of the story though, which is a testament, I guess to how enjoyable of a read it was.

I loved the details the author has put into the story, both the historical bits and the added stuff. It all worked well together. The romance was also good. It was as sweet as any first romances. But, I think, what kept the story from being amazing was its narrator and main character herself.

Lorna annoyed me throughout the whole length of the book She was whiny and intractable. Given, there were good moments with her, but just when I start thinking I may grow to like her, she does something again that irks me.

Overall, Wait for Me was a satisfying romance, and it made me want to read more of Caroline Leech’s work, which leads me to my second mini-review…

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Title: In Another Time

Author: Caroline Leech

Publisher: HarperTeen/HarperCollins

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository| Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-a-Million

(Digital ARC graciously provided the publisher via Edelweiss)

Love is worth the fight

It’s 1942, and Maisie McCall is in the Scottish Highlands doing her bit for the war effort as a Women’s Timber Corps lumberjill. Maisie relishes her newfound independence and her growing friendships—especially with the enigmatic John Lindsay.

As Maisie and John work side-by-side felling trees, Maisie can’t help but feel like their friendship has the spark of something more to it. And yet every time she gets close to him, John pulls away. It’s not until Maisie rescues John from a terrible logging accident that he begins to open up to her about the truth of his past, and the pain he’s been hiding.

Suddenly everything is more complicated than Maisie expected. And as she helps John untangle his shattered history, she must decide if she’s willing to risk her heart to help heal his. But in a world devastated by war, love might be the only thing left that can begin to heal what’s broken.

“Love is worth the fight.”

That line from this book’s blurb adequately summarizes Maisie and John’s story, and I absolutely adore both of them and this whole book.

In Another Time has everything Wait for Me had – sweet, first romance, well-researched historical foundations, creative authorial fill-ins – but what puts this one ahead of its predecessor is its balance.

In Another Time wasn’t just about Maisie and John’s fight to be together, it was also about Maisie and her lumberjill friends, and Maisie standing up for herself and what she wants.

It’s a well-rounded, coming-of-age, and I certainly loved reading every bit of Maisie’s journey. I couldn’t put this book down because I just need to know what happens next for her.

I enjoyed reading both books, Wait for Me and In Another Time, but I just enjoyed reading the latter more. I definitely, definitely recommend it to anyone who love historical romance.

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First Line Fridays: “In Another Time” by Caroline Leech

First Line Fridays (feature photo)

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Hording Books.


It’s been quite a week for me reading-wise. I was able to finish two books in the last week only to be held back by my current read. Needless to say, it didn’t work for me. I’m still going to finish it – I have roughly 40-45 minute left – but with the way it dragged, my rating is bound to be not good. I’m gearing up for my next two books though. I have Darius the Great is Not Okay and this book that I’m going to feature today for FLF.

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WOMEN’S TIMBER CORPS TRAINING CENTER,  SHANFORD LODGE, BRECHIN, ANGUS

FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 1942

Maisie’s shoulders were on fire, her palms were torn, and her ax handle was smeared with blister pus and blood. Again.

 

 

 

 

In Another Time is the second book from author Caroline Leech. It’s a YA historical romance set during WWII in the Scottish Highlands. I enjoyed her first book so I’m pretty excited for this new one.

In Another Time releases August 28.

💗💗💗

Rachel

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Come and join in the fun. Visit Hoarding Books to see what other FLF bloggers has to share.

Can’t-Wait Wednesday: “If Only” by Jennifer Gilmore

Can't Wait Wednesday

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Tressa at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted Jill at Breaking the Spine.


Really?!? It’s Wednesday?!?

I keep on checking, looking at the calendar just to see if it’s really already Wednesday. This week has been a busy one at work. The start of the month usually means submission of reports and inventory for me, all of which I was able to cobble up (got to dissect raw data for it first), write and submit just barely beating the deadline. Add to that my being sick the previous week (truthfully, I’m not still a 100% 😷😷😷) and you got one exhausted woman pining for her day-off so she could rest and recharge.

So, yeah, I’m so very thankful that we’ve finally hit Wednesday. Only two more days left of the work week.

My personal rants aside, I’m excited share my CWW pick for this week. It’s one I’ve been waiting for impatiently.

How do you make the decision that matters most?

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Before:

When Bridget imagined her life at sixteen, it didn’t look like this. She didn’t think that her boyfriend would dump her for another girl. And she certainly didn’t think that she would be pregnant. With just a few months until she gives birth, Bridget must envision an entirely new future—one for her baby. But as she sifts through the many paths and the many people who want to parent her child, she can’t help but feel that there is no right decision.

After:

Ivy doesn’t know much about her birth mother. She knows that she is now the same age Bridget was when she placed Ivy for adoption. She knows that Bridget was the one who named her. And she knows that fifteen years ago Bridget disappeared from Ivy’s and her adoptive moms’ lives. Ivy wants to discover more about herself, but as she goes to find Bridget, she can’t help but feel that the risks might far outweigh the benefits of knowing where she comes from and why her birth mother chose to walk away.

Don’t you just find that blurb intriguing? I do! I expect this to be an emotional read. Mostly, I think this book will gut me, but that’s good sign right?

If Only hits shelves on July 31st. In the meantime, why not add it to your ever-growing TBR on Goodreads? (Go on, you know you want to😀)

That’s it for me today. I hope you all are faring better this week.

💗💗💗

Rachel

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What forthcoming books are you excited for? Come tell me in the comments section 😉 And check out what other books CWW bloggers have for today on Wishful Endings

Review: “All These Beautiful Strangers” by Elizabeth Klehfoth

36381099Title: All These Beautiful People

Author: Elizabeth Klehfoth

Publisher: William Morrow/HarperCollins

Publication Date: July 10, 2018

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2

Pre-order it:

IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-a-million

(Digital ARC graciously provided by publisher via Edelweiss)

 

Secrets from both the past and present collide to reveal a terrible truth in this suspenseful debut from Elizabeth Klehfoth.

In the last day of summer, Grace Fairchild, the beautiful young wife of real estate mogul Allister Calloway, vanished from the family’s lake house without a trace, leaving behind her seven-year old daughter, Charlie, and a slew of unanswered questions.

Years later, seventeen-year-old Charlie still struggles with the dark legacy of her family name and the mystery surrounding her mother. Determined to finally let go of the past, she throws herself into life at Knollwood, the prestigious New England school she attends. Charlie quickly becomes friends with Knollwood’s “it” crowd.

Charlie has also been tapped by the A’s—the school’s elite secret society well known for terrorizing the faculty, administration, and their enemies. To become a member of the A’s, Charlie must play The Game, a semester-long, diabolical high-stakes scavenger hunt that will jeopardize her friendships, her reputation, even her place at Knollwood.

As the dark events of past and present converge, Charlie begins to fear that she may not survive the terrible truth about her family, her school, and her own life.

Goodreads

All These Beautiful Strangers is a compulsive read sure to make you keep turning the pages.

With three point-of-view characters, Klehfoth weaves a comprehensive story spanning almost three decades. Grace and Allistair’s chapters take readers back to the start of their stories, giving just enough clues to tease. I certainly enjoyed reading both their POVs. Reading their chapters definitely gave me more insight and allowed me to know their characters better. Nevertheless, no matter how interesting their parts were, it is still Charlie, daughter, who is the center of this story.

Charlie is a complicated character and her development is one of the things I liked best in this novel. I disliked her at first, but she grew on me. Acerbic and too full of herself at the start of the story, Charlie becomes more self-aware as the book progresses, unraveling what she knows about herself and her family as she detangles clues and details about her mother’s disappearance.

I gave myself a couple of days after finishing this book before writing my review. It’s a hefty one (500+ pages!) but I enjoyed it so much that I just glided my way through it. Great as that sounds though, All These Beautiful Strangers still has flaws.

Charlie is the story’s main mover, and she’ an effective one. Even though she is a conflicted character, Charlie is still likable and she made me care about what happens to her. Add this to combined elements of Gossip Girl, The Secret History and Cruel Intentions, and you have the makings of a really interesting plot. Klehfoth failed to capitalize on it however. The way she was written, Charlie relied too heavily on coincidences, stumbling on clues rather than actually discovering them herself. It’s a plot fail. Instead of moving the story organically, it only forced events to happen more often than not.

Still, Klehfoth’s writing shines through her flawed plotting. Descriptive and sharp in turns, she knows how to create a clear picture for her readers through her words. Her main characters are well developed with their own distinct voices and nuances. The story is very easy to read and follow even as it goes back and forth in time. It might have moved a bit slow during the first part of the book, but the pace speeds up as the mystery unfolds and drama escalates. The ending is an emotional one, but fitting though, it felt a bit rushed.

Despite its flaws, I still recommend All These Beautiful Strangers to readers who love suspense and mystery. While adults may enjoy this engrossing read, I see this appealing more to older teens. This debut is a great introduction for Elizabeth Klehfoth, already this book has been optioned for a small screen adaptation by the same producers behind HBO’s Big Little Lies. I am definitely looking forward to reading more books from her.

(DNF) Review: “The Death Code” by Lindsay Cummings

Title: The Death Code (The Murder Complex #2)22836576

Author: Lindsay Cummings

Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

Rating: ⭐

With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ended. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close—that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fearlessly fight to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Code introduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I didn’t recommend The Murder Complex, the first book in Lindsay Cummings’ debut duology. But that one ended in a cliffhanger and the curious part of me still wanted to know how things turn out for Meadow, Zephyr and the rest of the characters still alive at the end of book one, so I picked up The Death Code.

I did not finish it.

The Death Code was, more or less, like its predecessor in that both books had the same problems. Though there were definitely more effort put into worldbuilding and character development, it still felt patchy and half-cooked.

The first part of TDC was the best part of the whole duology. Continuing where TMC left off, we find Meadow and Zephyr separated – Meadow captured and, together with Sketch, imprisoned and tortured by the Initiative; Zephyr, meanwhile, found safety with the Resistance. Things became more interesting when Lark’s twin sister, Sparrow, finally surfaced.

However, in the second part, things started to get weird.

After being rescued by the Resistance, Meadow, Zephyr and Sketch venture out of the Perimeter. They are captured by a group of outsiders who, because of lack of food, eats human flesh (😲‼️ 😲 ‼️) Just before being cooked, the trio were (again) rescued. The man brings the trio to the New Militia – a group built upon what remained of the US military (at least that’s how things seemed to me).

Getting a short history lesson from the General, one of the NM’s leaders, Meadow finds out more about the world her mother ruined. The general then asks Meadow to join the NM and fight with them. She agrees seeing this as her only way to rescue her family who are being held captive by the Initiative at the Ridge, another experimental site which was said to be more brutal than the Shallows.

I stopped reading 66% into the book. The weak writing was just too hard to ignore. Add to that the stilted character development and the wonky worldbuilding.

I really wanted to like this duology because the idea behind it was interesting and I honestly think Lindsay Cummings could have done more with it. Instead, she gave readers something unoriginal. Both TMC and TDC strayed too close to the lines drawn by earlier YA dystopian series -The Hunger Games, Divergent, Delirium, The Maze Runner – almost to the point of copying them. It was just something I couldn’t ignore.

This duology was a big let-down for me.

Review: Lindsay Cummings’ “The Murder Complex” (The Murder Complex #1)

13576132Title: The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex #)

Author: Lindsay Cummings

Publisher: Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

Publication Date: June 10, 2014

Rating: ⭐

 

 

 

 

I remember the hype this book garnered pre-publishing. A bloody, survivalist futuristic thriller — I was all for it.  I quickly added it to my Want-to-Read shelf on Goodreads, but somehow I kept pushing in down my priority list.

Now, I see why my gut told me to hold off.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Goodreads

The Murder Complex is the problematic love child of every other YA dystopia.

“Kill or be killed.”

That is the running idea backing The Murder Complex. Set in a futuristic Florida where murder is used to control a burgeoning population, TMC tried to be unique and edgy, but only ended up being a confused, hyped-up mess.

This book has a lot of problems, starting with one of the most basic part of any story — worldbuilding.

TMC gives up bits and pieces of its world thru the narrative of both main characters, Meadow and Zephyr. In hindsight, this could have worked upping up the intrigue factor and pushing any reader to continue turning the page if only to find out the what, why and how of the protagonists’ world.

This method, however, fails to work for the author and this book. Instead of setting up a fascinating world, the scattering of information necessary for worldbuilding only created a disjointed and incohesive- sometimes outright confusing – telling of things.

Another major problem I had with this book were the characters. They were both unrelatable and unbelievable, especially the female MC, Meadow. She was written as this badass teen-aged ass kicker trained by her father to kill. Strong, mentally tough, always succeeds, and, if her male counterpart Zephyr is to be believed, beautiful. In short, she’s an impossible character, and I just couldn’t find it in myself to care for her even after I finished reading.

There are a lot more, but I won’t go over the rest. Overall, The Murder Complex disappointed. From the worldbuilding to its characters down to the romance, TMC is so fraught with problems that, sadly, I cannot recommend it.

 

 

Cover Reveal: Lindsay Cummings’ “The Murder Complex”

I am a day late but, hey, better late than never, right? (That’s what I told my professors then. It rarely works but it’s worth the shot, eh?)

Anyway, I have been stalking Lindsay Cummings’ blog for some time now. She has a book coming out next year and it sounds pretty darn awesome. I’ve always been into dark, haunting, blood-soaked dystopias and her debut novel, The Murder Complex, hits all the right spots.

Here’s a little tidbit from Goodreads:

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision. The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is-although he doesn’t know it-one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

And yesterday, Lindsay Cummings has put a face to this baby.

Murder complex front jacket

Isn’t it gorgeous? To add more to your excitement, the lovely author is giving away some cool stuff – signed ARCs, The Murder Complex bookmarks and #booknerdigans shirts. Want to join? (I know you want to.) Just click on the image below.

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The Murder Complex will be released on June 10, 2014 but if you can’t wait for that check out the prequel The Fear Trials to be released May 27 under Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins.

You can pre-order both books already.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     The Book Depository     IndieBound

Also, get to know the author more from these links.

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