Friday, April 22, 2016

Forever Together by Jade Whitfield

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. My first impression of this book from the blurb was that it was going to be a great book. After a few chapters in I hated it. Here I was reading a story of twenty year olds that were still acting like they were in junior high. I was so annoyed with Brady, one of the main characters, the only thing that kept me going into the book was Liv's nasty little sarcastic comments to him. I loved how she despised him because that's exactly how I was feeling about him. Then, about a fourth of the way through the book I caught myself laughing out loud. Then before I knew it I was literally laughing out loud at every corner of this book.

This is a story of a girl who returns home for summer break and is determined to continue avoiding everyone, from her ex boyfriend to her best friend (Liv). While away at college for six months that was really easy, she soon realizes that it is not going to be so easy now that she is back at home. Before she knows it, she is caught up between helping her best friend plan her wedding and trying to convince herself that she doesn't want to be back together with Brady; while he, on the other hand, is doing everything he can think of to show her they are sole mates.

So, like I said, Whitfield presents us with these really immature characters. First, we have Cindy, who is going around and using phrases like "guy who starts with B" (not wanting to use Brady's name). I get it its only been six months since they broke up and she is still heartbroken by him but really your twenty not sixteen. Then there is Brady. He's going around using terms like "my boy" and "good in the hood". All I can picture in my head is my 14 year old ex, who's like the whitest boy I know, trying to be all gangster with his pants sagging and wannabe badass jock attitude, but everyone really knows how pathetic he is. Then add a little bit of metrosexual to him with his fancy little puppy and I'm about to loose my mind over how annoying this guy is. Thank God the author threw in Liv who was able to keep me interested with constantly putting this boy in his place.

In Brady's determination to win back Cindy's heart, they go through a lot of different adventures. All of which have me laughing out loud. Then, Cindy gets herself and her friends arrested while out for a bachelorette party and I was laughing so hard I was crying.  Whitfield did a great job of building up my emotions about why they broke up in the first place that I was begging her to just tell me already. Sadly, when I finally get the answer, I was disappointed -- just not as much drama as I was hoping for. Other than the build up around why they split up, the plot is really simple. There wasn't really anything out of the ordinary; boy likes girl, girl likes boy - boy acts like an idiot and has to make it up to the girl. Normally stories like this aren't told with a sense of humor so that was a nice change.

By the end of the book, the characters seem to be finally be shedding their last bits of "teenagerism" and we see them becoming adults that will hopefully be able to have a functioning relationship beyond all the sex. We see as Cindy puts on her big girl panties and confronting little issues that never had to be made into a bigger issues - and she starts picking up bits of Liv's attitude. I find myself wanting to congratulate Cindy on finally being able to stand up for herself. Plus of course Brady. He is also able to redeem himself between Caitlyn Jenner jokes (thank you Whitfield!!!) and throwing an even bigger 'dickwad' into dumpsters. He learns how to treat a woman and brings himself to man up and give her what she wants instead of only what he wants. I would recommend this book to people, however, it would come with a warning to just power through the first few chapters, a promise that it will get better, and to try to look past the author's writing errors (spelling, grammar, etc.).

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I really want to give it a 4 but the lack of editing forces me to bring it down.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

Beautiful Christian twist on Beauty and the Beast. It was a great story of how the two main characters had a relationship with God. Annabel was the daughter of a wealthy merchant who died and left her and her family in a unpleasant situation. Not taking the necessary actions they needed to lead Annabel into servitude of the rumored to be not-so-nice Lord Ranulf, who has convinced himself that he will never love again after suffering such heartache. Annabel is determined to complete her years of service and head off to a nunnery as she is anxious to read the bible for herself and convinced that God cannot be so angry with his people and that all he wants to do is punish them (based off the preaching of her great Priest). However, God has different plans for her and Lord Ranulf. They are faced with decisions of following their own path or following God's will.

I don't think "the beast" was portrayed very beastly. For me, I think his demeanor was actually a lot nicer than the normal 'lords' for the middle age setting (only based off of other books and movies). As a Christian, however, I can see where he would come off as not being a very nice person. The rumors of him made him out to be a horrible person but his actions never really followed through on that.

I think the story unfolded rather quickly to say that the love between the two characters could be considered legit. I mean who really figures out that they are in love with someone by the end of two weeks. Or the other man who was interested in Annabel proposes to her on the second walk together. I guess to see the feelings to be taken more seriously I would have like this story to be played out over a couple months or so.

As a Christian story the author did a great job showing the bitterness being eased. Lord Ranulf was very bitter but the closer his relationship grew with Annabel God was able to heal him. Sometimes it takes another person for God to reveal to you his plans and Dickerson did a marvelous job keeping both characters' focus on God. It did seem that they were the only Christians in the book. During the church scene the rest of the village seemed to not be interested at all and besides Annabel and Lord Ranulf there was not talk of God until she confronted the whole village in order to protect him.

I did enjoy this book. I am a softy for the middle age times. It's focus and reminder of God's forgiveness was a great focal point. I would recommend it to any of my Christian and non Christian friends. I have enjoyed Dickerson's first two novels in this series and I am anxious to read the rest of them!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars