Review: Until the Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton

U39727035ntil the Last Star Fades by Jacquelyn Middleton

Published November 8th 2018

Touching, heartfelt and passionate, UNTIL THE LAST STAR FADES blurs the line between slow-burn romance and women’s fiction, and is a must-read for hopeful romantics, devoted daughters, and the moms they cherish. 

COULD YOU BE THE ONE WHO CHANGES EVERYTHING?

In her senior year at NYU, Riley Hope appears to be on top of the world. With a loving mother who makes Lorelai Gilmore look like a parenting slacker, ride-or-die friends, and a long-time boyfriend destined for the National Hockey League, she puts on a smile for the world. But behind it, she’s drowning. Racked with fears for the future, she battles to stay afloat amid life in the shadows of a heartbreaking illness.

And then, Ben Fagan comes crashing into her life. Twenty-three-years-old, British, and alone in the Big Apple after a disastrous pilot season in LA, the struggling actor is looking for an escape: booze, mischief, sex—minimum commitment, maximum fun—anything to avoid returning across the pond. 

As they form an unlikely bond, Riley keeps her reality from Ben so that he remains a happy refuge. But how long can she hold back the truth…and is Ben keeping his own secrets, too?

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I loved the main characters so much and I thought Riley was so relatable. It was so refreshing to read about a character that deals with anxiety and depression, something I definitely relate to but rarely see represented in books.
I was so invested in the story and couldn’t put this book down, which doesn’t happen that often for me. I went out of my way to make time to read this book and it was definitely worth it. Jacquelyn Middleton never fails to write a book that I fall in love with but Until the Last Star Fades is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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Review: Everybody, Always by Bob Goff

36289256Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff
Published April 17th 2018

What happens when we give away love like we’re made of it? 

In his entertaining and inspiring follow-up to the New York Times bestselling phenomenon Love Does, Bob Goff takes readers on a journey into the secret of living without fear, constraint, or worry. The path toward the liberated existence we all long for is found in a truth as simple to say as it is hard to do: love people, even the difficult ones, without distinction and without limits.

Driven by Bob’s trademark storytelling, Everybody, Alwaysreveals the lessons Bob learned–often the hard way–about what it means to love without inhibition, insecurity, or restriction. From finding the right friends to discovering the upside of failure, Everybody, Always points the way to embodying love by doing the unexpected, the intimidating, the seemingly impossible. Whether losing his shoes while skydiving solo or befriending a Ugandan witch doctor, Bob steps into life with a no-limits embrace of others that is as infectious as it is extraordinarily ordinary. Everybody, Always reveals how we can do the same.

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I’ve been searching for around for new Christian books to read and I’ve seen Everybody, Always around a lot and so many people have high praise for it so I knew it had to go at the top on my TBR.

I really liked this book but there was a few things here and there that weren’t my favorite.
I did, of course, love the message of the book. Mr. Goff used each personal story as a lead up for how to become love and really express it, which I really liked. I really enjoyed hearing about his life stories and he’s had some very unique ones.
Sometimes I did feel like the stories weren’t very organized and that the book was more of a memoir, which I didn’t mind but it also wasn’t that I expected when I started reading.
I thought it was interesting how casually Mr. Goff mentioned how upper class his life and activities were through out the book. It’s not something I, or many people, can relate to so I felt a pretty big disconnect. I wasn’t really sure if Mr. Goff really noticed how most of the things he mentions are very privileged. Perhaps it’s just the mild disorganized manner of the stories that unintentionally paints that picture but I’m really not sure.

And I also feel the thing that bothered me the most, was something he mentioned towards the very end of the book. He mentioned how he told witch doctors from Uganda to not kidnap children or he’ll kill them. I was so startled by that and honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It felt extremely out of place from the message of the book.
I’m obviously not saying it’s okay for those witch doctors to kidnap children but saying “don’t make me kill you” is a very bold statement.

Other than a few things, I did really enjoy the book and I think the message is so important. I definitely took away from very meaningful things and I would recommend checking this book out. I listened to it on audiobook with Mr. Goff narrating and I really loved it so if you get chance to listen to the audiobook, I definitely recommend it.

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Review: The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

36135426The Spring Girls by Anna Todd

Published January 2nd 2018

Four sisters desperately seeking the blueprints to life—the modern-day retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women like only Anna Todd (After, Imagines) could do.

The Spring Girls—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—are a force of nature on the New Orleans military base where they live. As different as they are, with their father on tour in Iraq and their mother hiding something, their fears are very much the same. Struggling to build lives they can be proud of and that will lift them out of their humble station in life, one year will determine all that their futures can become.

The oldest, Meg, will be an officer’s wife and enter military society like so many of the women she admires. If her passion—and her reputation—don’t derail her.

Beth, the workhorse of the family, is afraid to leave the house, is afraid she’ll never figure out who she really is.

Jo just wants out. Wishing she could skip to graduation, she dreams of a life in New York City and a career in journalism where she can impact the world. Nothing can stop her—not even love.

And Amy, the youngest, is watching all her sisters, learning from how they handle themselves. For better or worse.

With plenty of sass, romance, and drama, The Spring Girls revisits Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women, and brings its themes of love, war, class, adolescence, and family into the language of the twenty-first century.

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I’ve tried several times before to enjoy a book by Anna Todd, she seems like such a nice person and I really want to jump on the hype wagon that is her books, but The Spring Girls is no different from her other books.

I felt like the writing was poor and needed better editing, the characters are shallow, boring, and unlikable, and the plot could use a revamp or two.

After about 20%, I decided to speed read through the rest of the book, hoping it would get better towards the end but it didn’t.
I haven’t read Little Women since I was a kid so I don’t remember enough of it to compare to The Spring Girls so I can’t really speak on that aspect of the book. I did think the idea of a modern Little Women was really cool but this book just didn’t do it for me at all.

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Swoon Reads

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Hey y’all! Today I’m so excited to be partnering with Swoon Reads to tell y’all all about their super cool approach to publishing! #ad

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One of my absolute favorite things about Swoon Reads is that they let readers have the power to get books published! Through a collaborative, participatory approach to publishing, Swoon Reads opens up a whole new approach to publishing and lets readers see behind the scenes.

From submitting original manuscripts to voting on which cover makes it onto the IMG_4631finished books, Swoon Reads involves the community in every step of the publishing process. Through Swoon Reads’ online platform and app, bookworms have the opportunity to build and engage with an online community of fellow readers and writers

Writers submit their original, unpublished manuscripts to the Swoon Reads community. Then readers who sign up online or download the app can rate, comment, and share their favorites. Swoon Reads uses that feedback to help decide what to publish. The best part is it’s all completely free.

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From diverse books like Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann and To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin to high stakes adventure books like The Soul Keepers by Devon Taylor, Swoon Reads has books for everyone’s tastes.

Thank you to Swoon Reads for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

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Taylor’s Gift Guide for Bookworms

With the holidays just around the corner, I’m super excited to be partnering with Redbubble to bring you my quick guide to shopping for the bookworms in your life (or yourself because sometimes you need to treat yo self).

If you’ve never heard of Redbubble before, it’s honestly one of my favorite online stores and truly a life saver when it comes to getting gifts for everyone on your shopping list. Redbubble was created in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia and has since become a platform for over 400k artists and designers across the world to showcase their unique designs for millions of shoppers. No matter what kind of design you’re looking for, chances are, Redbubble has it.

Now when it comes to shopping for the bookworms on your holiday list, it can be tricky. Buying books isn’t always an option because we might already have that book and no one wants to spend hours in a bookstore guessing what kind of book someone might enjoy.

I took to Redbubble to find some of the best designs to gift your favorite readers this year.

Between the Pages 

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Throw pillows are the perfect gift for anyone and a design like this one is a great match for any reader, no matter what kind of books they like to read.

Read More Books

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This is one of my favorite designs in my guild. I think it’s perfect for a mug but honestly, you could get it on anything.

Keep ReadingAlice

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Pouches from Redbubble are absolutely one of my favorite things to give. They’re so versatile! They work great as makeup bags, to keep things contained and organized in purses, and a ton of other things.

Hustle definition

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Laptop sleeves are a great gift for anyone on your shopping list but if you know any writers, these have their name all over them.

Books and Cats and Tea

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I think we all know at least one person that this “Books and Cats and Tea” design was basically made for. I’m a big fan of mugs (because who doesn’t want a super cute mug?) so I think this design is perfect for a mug.

BookshelfBetter than the MovieNow I lay me down

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Prints from Redbubble are very high quality and reasonable priced. They’re also perfect for readers who want to liven up their shelf area like I did.
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If you’re looking for a few smaller, filler gifts, stickers are where it’s at. They can be stuck on pretty much anything and are an easy way to show some reader pride.

The Reader’s Path

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Notebooks like The Reader’s Path design are perfect for anyone who needs to take notes for school or to quickly jot down ideas.

If you’d like snag any of the things on my gift guide or any of the thousands of other awesome designs on Redbubble, you can use “TaylorReads15” for 15% off your order (code is good until December 22)

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Cover Reveal: Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

I’m so excited to be apart of the cover reveal for Nadine Brandes’ newest novel, Fawkes. Nadine’s Out of Time series is one of my favorite of all time and I’m so blessed to be able to call Nadine a friend. Nadine such a talented writer and is a wonderful person as well. I’m excited for the world to see Nadine’s newest novel!

 

Fawkes by Nadine Brandes

 

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did it. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow the Igniter King James and his Parliament sky high.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Expected release: July 10, 2018

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Enter to win an Advanced Reader Copy of Fawkes

 

About NadineNadine Brandes

Carol Award winner and two-time Christy Award finalist Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She’s been known to eat an entire package of Oreos by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living and other worlds soaked in imagination. When she’s not taste-testing a new chai, she and her hubby are rockin’ shalom, dorkiness, and board games with college students in the midwest.

Nadine’s website

 

Out of Time series

 

21795840A Time to Die

 

How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside.

In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence.

What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

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24466484A Time to Speak (Out of Time #2)

What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?

Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow. 

The Council is using Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes. Parvin and Solomon team up to rescue the people. Instead, they find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?

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27230665A Time to Rise (Out of Time #3)

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

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Review: Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

32991569Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Published September 19th 2017

If you could change your story, would you?

Jane has lived a mostly ordinary life, raised by her recently deceased aunt Magnolia, whom she counted on to turn life into an adventure. Without Aunt Magnolia, Jane is directionless. Then an old acquaintance, the glamorous and capricious Kiran Thrash, blows back into Jane’s life and invites her to a gala at the Thrashes’ extravagant island mansion called Tu Reviens. Jane remembers her aunt telling her: “If anyone ever invites you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you’ll go.”

What Jane doesn’t know is that at Tu Reviens her story will change; the house will offer her five choices that could ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But every choice comes with a price. She might fall in love, she might lose her life, she might come face-to-face with herself. At Tu Reviens, anything is possible.

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Unsolicited ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher

I wanted to like this book so much. I tried and tried to get into this book but it’s just not happening.
I’ve spent months trying to get through this book but the writing style is so odd, it threw me off. I don’t want to say it’s bad writing but… it’s not for me at all. I spent a lot of this book confused, especially the first few chapters, and I actually double checked to make sure this wasn’t a sequel because I felt like I started in the middle of a series.
I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I struggled to even like any of the characters.
I know some people who really enjoyed this book but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how they managed to get through this book. Jane, Unlimited wasn’t for me at all but maybe you’ll like it more than I did.

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Review: Keepers by Sacha de Black

33297377Keepers by Sacha de Black

Published November 2017 

Eden’s life is balanced…
…until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.


Three boys.
Two murdered parents.
One deadly choice.
 

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I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review

This book is everything I want from a YA fantasy. It has awesome characters, great world building, a well thought out plot, and lots of action.
The world of Trutinor is so creative and such a refreshing change from the majority of YA fantasies I’ve been reading lately. Sacha built such an amazing world and she did it in a way that was easy to understand and I was able to picture everything clearly.
I absolutely loved the main character, Eden. She was so well written and complex.
There is a love triangle but I, hater of all love triangles, didn’t mind it at all. There’s just something about how Sacha wrote it that was so well done.
Overall, I really loved Keepers. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read this year and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. If you’re looking for an action packed YA fantasy, I definitely recommend Keepers by Sacha da Black.

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Review: Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

33413926Retribution Rails by Erin Bowman

Expected publication: November 7th 2017

REDEMPTION IS NEVER FREE
When Reece Murphy is forcibly dragged into the Rose Riders gang because of a mysterious gold coin in his possession, he vows to find the man who gave him the piece and turn him over to the gang in exchange for freedom. Never does he expect a lead to come from an aspiring female journalist. But when Reece’s path crosses with Charlotte Vaughn after a botched train robbery and she mentions a promising rumor about a gunslinger from Prescott, it becomes apparent that she will be his ticket to freedom—or a noose. As the two manipulate each other for their own ends, past secrets are unearthed, reviving a decade-old quest for revenge that may be impossible to settle.

In this thrilling companion to Vengeance Road, dangerous alliances are formed, old friends meet new enemies, and the West is wilder than ever.

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An ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Very rarely does my most anticipated books live up to my own hype but Retribution Rails lived up to my hype and more. It was everything I hoped it would be.
This book follows two very different characters. Reece is a well know outlaw and Charlotte is ambitious and trying to provide for her newly widowed mother. The two of them are unwillingly have their paths crossed and adventures follow.
Charlotte and Reece are such well written, complex, and amazing characters. I loved them so much.
Each of them had great qualities and wonderful character development.
The writing style was just as fantastic as it was in Vengeance Road. Erin is such a talented writer and I’ll always read whatever books she puts out.

Retribution Rails’ plot is completely different from Vengeance Road so it wasn’t repetitive at all. Even though RR and VR are companion novels, you can definitely read each on their own (But I totally recommend reading both because they’re so good).

Overall, Retribution Rails was everything I hoped it would be and more. I loved everything about it and I’m undoubtedly going to be rereading it soon. If you’re looking for something fresh, creative, and extremely entertaining, I highly recommend Retribution Rails.

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Review: Renegades by Marissa Meyer

28421168Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Expected publication: November 7th 2017

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both. 

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An unsolicited ARC of this book was sent to me by the publisher. 

Marissa Meyer is a master at writing a bomb YA book. Each new masterpiece she puts out is so creative and actually adds to the Young Adult genre. I was fully expecting to love Renegades and Marissa did not disappoint.
I loved the concept for this book so much. It was really creative and I don’t see a lot of books in the same vein as Renegades in YA.
I also really enjoyed the characters, especially the main character, Nova. She was a lot of fun to read about and such a well written female character.
There was a lot of action through out the whole book and I didn’t think it was slow at all. The plot definitely kept my attention and I absolutely loved how the plot didn’t focus on romance. I’m pretty sure the next book in the series will have more romance in it but for being the first book in a YA series, Renegades was impressively bare of any unnecessary romance.

Overall, I would definitely recommend grabbing a copy of Renegades. It’s one of the best YA books I’ve read in a long time and I think it’s well worth your time.

 

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