Author Archives: Luna Lovebooks

Garden of Her Heart by Shanna Hatfield

I am normally not a romance reader. The synopsis for this novel sounded so sweet that I had to give it a try. I am so very glad I did.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

GardenTitle: Garden of Her Heart
Author: Shanna Hatfield
Series: Hearts of the War Book 01
Publish Date: December 7th, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionCan forbidden love blossom amid the constraints of war? The moment the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, life shifted for Miko Nishimura. Desperate to reach the Portland Assembly Center for Japanese Americans, she’s kicked off the bus miles from town. Every tick of the clock pushes her closer to becoming a fugitive in the land of her birth. Exhausted, she stumbles to her grandparents’ abandoned farm only to find a dying soldier sprawled across the step. Unable to leave him, she forsakes all else to keep him alive. After crashing his plane in the Battle of the Atlantic, the doctors condemn Captain Rock Laroux to die. Determined to meet his maker beneath a blue sky at his family home, he sneaks out of the hospital. Weary and half out of his mind, he makes it as far as a produce stand he remembers from his youth. Rather than surrender to death, Rock fights a battle of the heart as he falls in love with the beautiful Japanese woman who saves his life. A poignant, sweet romance, Garden of Her Heart proves love can bloom in unlikely places even under the most challenging circumstances.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

This a touching read full of strength and courage, fear and hate of one race, love and dreams. This is a beautiful clean read that mixes the injustices done to Japanese-American’s during World War II with the hope that love can be found.

Ms. Hatfield does an incredible job of describing what life was like for many Japanese-American’s during this time. She doesn’t sugar coat it. The research that was done on the era and the confinement of a race of people is evident. You get drawn into Miko’s plight from the very first chapter. The eloquent descriptions of people, places, and situations in the book will take you back in time and make you feel like you are in the time period. 

The characters are lifelike and make you feel for them. I loved Miko an American woman who knows where she came from and likes to keep her connections to her heritage – even if it must be hidden. Rock is aptly named as he is Miko’s pillar even as she tries to fight her growing feeling for him. Petey is an adorable neighbor boy who really makes you feel like you are part of the post-Pearl Harbor bombing with his slang and all around good ol’ American boy persona.  And the villain is the most despicable character badge4v5I have read thus far.

This truly is a beautiful story filled with hope even in the midst of so much sadness. Ms. Hatfield shows that she has done her research by creating a lifelike setting and creating characters that fit so well. I have to give this novel 4 stars because it was so good. If you love period pieces or romance you should pick this up.

Other recommendations…

Try out these other historical romance reads: A Loyal Heart by Jodi Hedlund, Ashes on the Moore by Sarah Eden, A Chance at Forever by Melissa Jagears

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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En by Michelle Reynoso

He is real, He has my brother (somewhere), Enlitra is in jeopardy, and I’m the only one it seems who can solve all those things.”

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

ENTitle: En
Author: Michelle Reynoso
Series: Proposed Book One of The Girl, The Pendant, and the Portal Series
Publish Date: February 21, 2018
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Source: Provided by author

Publisher’s DescriptionHigh School senior Faith McDaniels is struggling to find a place to belong. She never knew her father. She lost her mother to cancer three months ago. Now Faith is starting a new life with her brother Eddie in the small town of Madison, but this ‘fresh start’ is more than just a move to a new town and a new high school, it’s the beginning of a series of strange events that puts her on the precipice of discovering that pendants and portals, other worlds, and energy-bending are not just ideas from a fantasy story. It is her life. A life that is about to get even more complicated when Faith discovers her own extraordinary abilities to bend and manipulate energy, a power that can be the bridge, or the barrier, to saving the world of Enlitra and her own world.

But nothing is easy or straightforward in Faith’s life, as she soon discovers her abilities are the same as the fiend who is trying to destroy both worlds. Now Faith must decide how to protect the people she loves without becoming the dark entity herself.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I first met Michelle through NANOWRIMO (if you are a writer and don’t know about national novel writing month you should check it out at nanowrimo.org. It is a great program for professionals and amateurs alike.) and when she finished this novel I asked if she needed reviews. En is a delightful, imaginative tale and I am so glad I asked if I could review it for her and share with all of you.

I will admit that it took me longer than it should have to read this, not because the novel didn’t interest me, but because fae life – like human life – is hectic! When I was able to pick it up I found myself flying through the chapters wanting to find out what happens next. The plot is fairly easy to follow. There are a few instances of jumping from our world to that of Enlitra, but they are not confusing jumps and if they are it is because  Faith herself is confused. This new world is truly imaginative as it is made up of energy and impossible feats can be done.

While I understand Faith’s attitude in the novel, I found it quite irksome. Her brother was just trying to look out for her but she did act as many teenagers would after a parent has passed and being transferred to a new school. I don’t know if I should admit this but I found myself rooting for Tomas instead of Paul. Yes, Tomas was a jerk to Faith in the beginning, but he apologizes and helps Faith several times. Paul just comes off as a jealous jerk at times.

This novel is a great start to a new series and I hope it takes off. I found a few minor errors that more than likely will be fixed for the final (i.e. Faith tries to change an acorn badge4v5into an apple and later when she recalls doing it the acorn has turned into a branch). I can’t wait to find the final copy and read it, and I look forward to the rest of the series as well.

 

Other recommendations…

Check out these other novels where teens travel to other worlds through one way or another:

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Shattered Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima, Sea of Ink and Gold Series by Traci Chee

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

War of the Staffs by Steve Stephenson and K.M. Tedrick

High fantasy mixed with vampires and adventure? What’s not to love?

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

War of staffsTitle: War of the Staffs
Author: Steve Stephenson, K.M. Tedrick
Series: War of the Staffs #1
Publish Date: July 6th 2016, Black Rose Writing
Genre: High Fantasy
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionThe goddess Adois brings a powerful vampire warlock named Taza through the void to turn Muiria into a planet of evil using her powerful staff. Needing an army, he turns a race of dark elves into vampires, but Prince Tarquin is born to fulfill a prophecy to stop Taza.

The prince cannot do it alone. The Wizard Celedant sends him to the Borderers, an elite group of dwarves to learn how to fight, while the wizard begins his search for the Staff of Adaman, the only thing capable of thwarting Taza and Adois’ Staff.

War of the Staffs is the search for two pieces of the ancient Staff of Adaman to counter Adois’ plans. The darkness is rising and using the black power of the Staff of Adois and his army of dark elves, giants, and orcs, Taza will begin a reign of terror the planet will not soon forget.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

While most of the book was centered on classic fantasy elements such as wizards, elves, heroes, prophecies, and good versus evil, there are a few elements that make it original. I don’t think of vampires as a fantasy element but they play a central role in this novel. So does the alternate planes of existence and other planets. These elements put a unique spin on this novel.

I really enjoyed the young Prince Tarquin’s storyline. I like that he must prove himself in the Dwarven army and gains their respect. Along with Tarquin is the Wizard Celedant who must thwart attack after attack from the Warlock Taza and get Tarquin where he needs to be. Although the vicious attacks can get a little repetitive.

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There were parts in this novel that were easy to read and I could make it through. However, there were parts that were slow and I struggled to get through. I had to set it aside a couple of times and come back to it. For this reason, I give this novel 3 dark elves. I am not sure if I am up for reading the second installment, but if it sounds like something up your alley then go for it!

Other recommendations…

Check out these other great fantasy reads!  The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh, Markswoman by Rati Mehrotra

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Intrigue, forbidden love, and dark secrets await you in this second installment from bestselling author Cassandra Clare.

lord of shadowsTitleLord of Shadows
AuthorCassandra Clare
SeriesThe Dark Artifices 02
Publish Date: May 23, 2017, Margaret K. McElderry Books
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Los Angeles, 2012. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to the eradication of demons and being the best, fastest and deadliest Shadowhunter since Jace Lightwood. Raised in the Los Angeles Institute, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian. As Emma hunts those who caused the death of her parents, the trail they’re following leads back to those they’ve always been taught to trust. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with Julian — her closest friend and, because he is her parabatai, the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.


Luna_Lovebooks_100Luna Lovebooks says…

I became a huge fan of Cassandra Clare after reading The Mortal Instruments series. This series is quite engaging as well. The only real issue I had was that it just seemed too long to me. WHAT???? There is no such thing as too long when you are an avid book reader right? In this case you would be wrong. The main plot kept getting interrupted by side stories that caused a lot of things to happen all at once. Some of the side stories were pointless and could have been cut.

One of the things I enjoyed about the first book was that it wasn’t focused on a love triangle. It was more centered around Emma questioning if she really loved Julian or if she loved him because he was her parabatai. I may have been a bit more forgiving if the love triangle in this book was between main characters but it is not. It focuses on Mark, Cristina, and Kieran and at one point, I was began to wonder if Emma/Julian/the Blackthorns were even the main characters in this trilogy anymore because we spent so much time with the love triangle (square if you count Perfect Diego) between Mark/Cristina/Kieran.

While I do think there were way to many POV’s and switching from one to another, I did love the parts about TY, Kit and Livvy. Their parts warmed my heart and made me want more. I will admit that while the ending tore out my heart and stomped on it (you hear me Cassandra? Tore it out and stomped on it!) It was a POW! ending that can’t be ignored.

badge4v5I hope the third installment brings more surprises and wraps up beautifully.  Even though it was way too long and there was an overload of POVs, it still held true to Shadowhunter lore and the original tales. I have to give it four runes.

Other recommendations…

Talon Series by Julie Kagawa, The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins.

 

Stork by Wendy Delsol

A cute start to a new series.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

StorkTitle: Stork
Author: Wendy Delsol
Series: Stork #1
Publish Date: October 16, 2016 by Candlewick Press
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Source: Provided by Publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionSixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance?

Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.


Luna Lovebooks says…Luna_Lovebooks_100

I can definitely say that I have never read anything quite like this. An L.A. city girl is thrust into small-town life with many more surprises thrown in along the way.

The history described in this book is so creative and the mythos is new to me. I enjoyed getting lost in the unfamiliar world of the Stork Society and its unique customs. The symbolism in the dreams that Katla was having, and in the novel in general, were well thought out. I do wish a bit more time was spent on the society itself, but I also understand that we needed to get introduced to the players of the future novels.

Katla can be a bit brat-ish at times but she is only 16 so I will give her a pass. She has high fashion on the brain and, at times, thinks her sense of style is the only way to go. But she takes to her new duties like a champ. The romance between her and Jack can be a bit eye-roll inducing but it is cute none the less.

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There are some plot points that I guessed pretty early but there were many more that leave you with questions that I hope will be answered in future installments. I added this novel to my personal keep shelf and will be on the lookout for the next novel. I give Stork 4 feathers.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

My Life with the Lincolns by Gayle BrandeisEnchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst, Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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