Book Review: Perfect Harmony – Emily Albright

synopsis single

Pippa Wyndham is a top cellist―she’d never settle for anything less. Determined to get into the nation’s most prestigious music college, nothing’s going to stand in her way . . . Until her senior year of high school when a new guy from a fancy New York conservatory transfers to her school. 

Declan Brogan’s cocky, and he knows how amazing he is at the cello. He has every intention of knocking Pippa out of first chair and showing her who really belongs on top. Forced together when assigned a duet, their personal competition and mutual dislike transform into a teasing friendship.

Torn between her childhood crush and the boy who threatens her dreams, Pippa finds herself at risk of losing her best friend, her future, and the boy who makes her heart melt. Struggling to make things right, Pippa discovers that sometimes the thing you want the most doesn’t always end up being the thing you need.

 


 

My Thoughts 2

♦ ARC kindly provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review♦

 

`Perfect Harmony` just made my list of Best YA Romance Novels 2018!

The cover is what stopped me in my tracks. The synopsis is what sealed the deal. For some odd reason I felt this novel was going to be a winner. And a winner it was!

Perfect Harmony

I won´t bother summing up the story for you because the synopsis reveals more than enough. So, instead, I´ll focus on sharing my emotions and praises.

 


 

What I Loved

  • The characters. Pippa was a bundle of book Heroine joy. She acted her age, her dialogue was also age appropriate and she´s a cellist. How exciting is that?! She´s a 100% relatable and lovable figure. Declan´s character was made for me. I loved the cocky side of him and the fact that he, too, is a cellist and and and…. He´s just someone I would have chased back in School. * sigh *
  • The relationship between the characters. For me, sparks were constantly flying across the pages ( that´s how much energy there was )
  • The music. There´s just something magical reading about musicians.
  • The pace. Reading this book was hiccup – less ride I fully enjoyed. I didn´t feel bored nor did I come across slower parts that would have pulled the story down.
  • The YA angst! Oooh, how I love myself some subtle angst.
  • The writing. It´s not everyday I get to read a book that´s very well written.

 

Although I loved this book it can´t be ignored that there are a few things that others might find challenging.

 

What Others Might Find Challenging

  • The romance. While a romance was definitely there, it wasn´t one in a classical sense. This can be because the story is categorized as YA and therefore not leaning on the heavy romantic side. The focus is on entirely on the romance. It´s divided between love, life and music.
  • The story is nothing new. Yes, I hate to say this… I´ve read similar YA romances like this one before.
  • The end. Although I´m a fan of the book ending others might not like it.

 


 

Personally, I believe`Perfect Harmony` is a perfect harmonious read that touches all the right buttons.

 

Would I recommend this book? I most certainly would. Anyone looking for a great, cute, light and entertaining Young Adult read will love `Perfect Harmony`.

Would I reread this book? Yes. I would.

 


 

The Cover – 5 stars ( The soft colors are eye friendly. The cover art is a total eye – catcher )

The Story – 5 stars (  The story is in all areas well balanced. Loved the romance. Loved the music. Loved loved loved. )

The Characters – 5 stars ( Perfect )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Completely satisfied! 100% happy that I found another 5 star read and a new author I can add to my fav list!

5 stars

Don´t forget to mark your calendars! 

Perfect Harmony

by Emily Albright

Expected Pub Date: 25 Sep 2018
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Pages: 304
Perfect Harmony

 


 

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Book Review: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

synopsis 2

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare …

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well – until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street, where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.

Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.

But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her . . . down to the very soul.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Years…. It´s been eons when I found this little romantic gem and to this day ( 5 years after publication and purchase ) I´m still going back to this book for a reread (either the whole thing or reread certain parts of the book ).

An unforgettable emotional romance.

Unforgettable indeed! `On Dublin Street` by author Samantha Young belongs to those romances that has a wrecked Heroine and an Alpha sex God who´ll stop at nothing to have and love the one person who doesn´t want him. On Dublin Street

Back in 2012/2013 those stories were so damn popular and the book market was over flooded with romances like this one but none came close to Samantha Young´s story.

I won´t bother with a story description because the synopsis provides enough info to whet a readers appetite. Instead I´ll focus on a little character analyzing and revealing my emotions.

 

The idea of the story isn´t anything new. Woman meets prick. Prick wants woman. Cat and mouse chase. Dramatic moments. More dramatic moments. The big threat followed by a big emotional disaster. A big bang. The end.

But it´s still heart-strings – tugging romantic. How can I not love something as simple yet overly dramatic? You´re right. I can´t. I have to love the overbearing Hero, Braden, and his bossy behavior. I have to love Jocelyn, the Heroine, for being a difficult little booger throughout the whole book. Because these figures made this book right.

 

And in the end, everything was still very dramatic and exciting.

Will they? Will they not? What´s with the sub characters? Will they get their own book? Will we continue to see the characters from this book in other books from the author?

I can answer the 4th and 5th question for you: Yes. There are more books to the series and characters from `On Dublin Street` get their own book. We also get to see the main characters from this book in the following books. Something I really appreciated.


My Opinion Then vs. My Opinion Now

 

It´s been 5 years. Opinions can shift with time and certain world views often change, as do tastes in all areas.  Has anything changed for me regarding this book? Yes and no.

The love I felt for this book 5 years ago certainly has changed. The asshole-ish behavior from the Hero doesn´t appeal to me as it once did. I find it rather annoying to read about ANOTHER cocky, smooth, sharp minded Hero who has it all and so much more. Braden´s behavior is often questionable ( something I blindly ignored back then ). If I were single and I´d bump into someone like Braden NOW I´d definitely have a few things to say to him.

The same goes for Jocelyn, the ever push – away protagonist. I recognized her as a difficult character 5 years ago and today, I just think she´s just pushing it too far. The emotional damage her character has isn´t unrealistic but it dictates her life and affects everyone around her. It´s like having the case of ” If I can´t have fun then I don´t want you to have fun, either. But I don´t want you to know that so, please, continue to try to have fun.” Jocelyn is an exhausting little chica who´s like the Duracell bunny- She goes on and on and on….

What hasn´t changed was: My love for the sub – characters. I loved every bit about them, then, and still do. They make up half the story because they´re weaved into the lives of the main characters.


 Would I, after my POV shift, still recommend this book? I most certainly would. Because the story is great. It´s romantic and challenging. It´s an emotional rollercoaster ride that´ll have your heart melting or boiling. This book is for any NA, contemporary romance reader who loves a classical romantic alpha story with steamy sex scenes.

Would I reread this book? I´ve been rereading it for 5 years. That should say a lot.


 

The Cover – 4 stars ( I have the first released edition with a different cover. The new cover is nothing like the original one but still great.)

The Story – 4 stars ( It´s more a relationship story than anything else. It´s about love and friendship. Trust and loyalty are big subjects.)

The Characters – 3 stars ( Slighty irrational. Slightly overbearing. Slightly too much when the MCs could have delivered the same emotional effect with less )

My emotional state after finishing this read – Still in love. I can´t help myself. I´m sentimental that way. Despite the negatives I still feel myself drawn to this book.

 

My 31-year-old self gave `On Dublin Street` ( On Dublin Street #1 ) by Samantha Young 5+ stars.

36-year-old me is giving `On Dublin Street` 4 out of 5 stars.

4 stars

 

Buy On Dublin Street On Dublin Street

 

 

 

 

Book Review- Belle: A Retelling Of Beauty And The Beast by Cameron Dokey

synopsis 2

Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters’ awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one’s true love. 

During a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood — and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.


 

My Thoughts 2

 

Charming. Enchanting. Easy for the mind. 

 

It was the beautiful cover that got me interested in this book. That, and the fact that I was on vacation and didn´t really want to read a book with 350+ pages. Instead, I picked this 204 page novel with the stunning cover.

As for the story….

Belle` by author Cameron Dokey is a simple and uncomplicated retelling of `Beauty And The Beast`. There´s nothing heavy or highly emotional about this retell. Belle

I would guess that adding overly dramatic scenes would have demanded more pages… so it´s no surprise that this book wasn´t the full-blown romance we´ve all come to love.

While the story was good ( as one would expect it to be. It´s Belle and the Beast! ) it still differed from the versions we have branded into our brains.

Belle´s life is different. The whole story has been worked on, giving us readers an altered Belle with 2 living parents and kind siblings.

The added family theme was a nice change of wallpaper. The details were ( to a certain point ) perfect. All was okay about this retelling version except for the subtle / not so subtle issues.

I´m a fan of details. In `Belle` I received a well-balanced flow of character development and details, which I fully appreciated. As I enjoyed the great story-build-up I also felt the amount of pages I had left to read. A little spooky when knowing there´s actually SO MUCH MORE to the story. I was a little over 100 pages in to the book and I was still reading about everything except for the Beast.

But I had faith. The book might be only 204 pages thin but there was still enough room to add the Hero. And that´s where I began to be bothered. The Hero is usually introduced after the first few pages, if not, then surely after the second chapter. From the point where Hero and Heroine meet there´s some sort of connection development from there on. In `Belle`there was nothing of the sort.

And when Belle and Beasts golden moment arrived I was slightly disappointed. Because it wasn´t as drawn out as I had thought it would be. It was actually short-lived and questionable, to say the least.

Even the big end scene wasn´t drawn out, as it should have been. In fact- The moment of moments was cut short. Belle and her family received lots of limelight and the Beast received a few pages. Correct me if I´m wrong- Doesn´t it add to the dramatic scene when drama is included? Thoughts on this, anyone?

The author has one thing going for her: Her writing style. It´s simple but romantic. It´s colorful and soft. Actually fitting for fairy tales. I found myself falling for her words and enjoying the way she wields them in her story.

What´s missing is balance and pace. Those two aspects drove me bonkers while reading `Belle`.

This is a complicated review to write because on the one side I experienced wonderful characters and great details. Character development plays a huge role in books as it gives a story life. Crappy characters = crappy story ( no matter if it´s a retelling or not ).

But on the other hand, the imbalance and slow pace – turned – fast pace were confusing and made my reading experience odd.

Would I recommend this book? I would. But only if readers approach this read without expecting anything major.

Would I reread this book? Probably not. I´ll stick with the other versions I´ve read.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( Stunning )

The Story – 3 stars ( It´s basically Beauty and the Beast fanfic. I appreciated some parts while I didn´t appreciate the technical sides )

The Characters – 4 stars ( I can´t stress this out enough: character development is everything. It´s what a reader gets in this read.)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Meeh.

3 stars

This book is available on Amazon.com

 

Morgana´s Book Box Instagram Book Feature for `Belle` by Cameron Dokey

 

 

Book Review- The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

synopsis 2

Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself. 

 


 

My Thoughts 2

This is another case of “It´s not the book. It´s me.” Or, maybe the book is my problem…

I liked loved the synopsis. It´s captivating and just screams at a reader to buy the book.

Because it sounds interesting. The story sounds dark and mysterious. It appears to have that certain witchy atmosphere. A promise of legends and curses mixing with reality and…. above all, there´s a promise of something magical.

I can´t say that `The Wicked Deep` by author Shea Ernshaw was a complete the wicked deepdisappointment because there were quite a few parts I really enjoyed about the story. But the other parts? 40% of the story wasn´t as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be.

Was the story dark and mysterious?
Well, it did have a nice dark atmosphere and it did offer a hint of mystery in the beginning. But since the story was predictable the mystery part was flushed down the drain and that made my reading experience less enjoyable.

`The Wicked Deep` is a full blown cliché. While the writing is great the story is rather flat and shallow.

The threat was there but it felt restricted. As if the author didn´t want to go too far with her characters.

I would have liked for the “witches” ( as they were so lovingly sold to the readers ) to have had more spotlight. It wouldn´t have hurt if they had been included in more scenes. They drowned on land as they did when they were forced to drown in the pacific ocean.

As for the main characters- I would have appreciated if Penny hadn´t felt robotic. Bo was a Hero I´d consider to be 2 dimensional. Present but transparent, lacking depth.

As for the end of the story…. It won a smirk from me.



 

Would I recommend this book? I would. I´m sure there are many readers who would appreciate this type of witch book. It´s a nice standalone that´s not too high-toned.

Would I re – read this book? Nope.

 

The Cover – 5 stars ( The cover is stunning. Simple, colorful and the title is catchy.)

The Story – 3 stars ( While there were parts I loved I couldn´t get over the stuff I didn´t enjoy. If it´s said that witches are involved then I´d appreciate reading about witches. If there´s a curse then I would like that curse to have some magical background.  )

The Characters – 2 stars ( All had their own voices. I find it odd, though, when MC are less emotional than sub characters. I also find it worrying when sub characters have more depth. When MCs don´t stand out ( as they should) then I lose interest)

My emotional state after finishing this read – Indifferent.

3 stars

Buy `The Wicked Deep`

 

Morgana´s Book Box Instagram Feature

 

 

9 Irritating Things About New Adult Romance Books

It´s time to reveal the top 9 most irritating things about new adult novels.

But why New Adult? Why not chick – lit or just plain and simple romance? Because romance is a broad genre. If I want to criticize the romance genre I´d be busy for weeks trying to pinpoint what exactly it is that´s bothering me and possibly other readers.

Sure, there are plenty of annoying things about other genres ( especially with Young Adult, Mature Adult, etc ) and I will definitely tackle those points in the near / far future. For now, though,  New Adult is on the menu.

Over the years I´ve been blessed with great NA reads and less great NA novels. But no matter how good or awful I thought the NA book was… They all felt very alike. They all somehow have the same irritating patterns, which is A.N.N.O.Y.I.N.G.

 

Here are the 9 irritating things about New Adult Books.

 

things

 

THE CHARACTERS ARE ALL WELL OFF

I have yet to read about some poor sucker who struggles financially.  They all have cars. They all have a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep in. They never seem to worry about how they´re going to pay next months rent or how they´re going to feed themselves until next pay-day. I´m not talking about college students.

 

 

BLINDING BEAUTY

“He was like a model from the GQ.” “He looked like a greek God.”

“She has thick, long wavy hair.” “Her eyes were the color of honey/the sea/the sky / chocolate.”

Immaculate skin. Beautiful orbs. Professional messy hair. Great style.

Since when have authors decided to create perfect characters when the world is clearly filled with all sorts of imperfect beauty? A guy with a crooked nose / tooth? That can be just as sexy as the sex God with the 8 – pack from down the road. And what about women with short hair? Big feet? A tooth gap? I´m just saying….

 

NO ONE SEEMS TO NEED GAS

Book characters sometimes ( if only rarely ) go grocery shopping. They even order takeout. They do all sorts of normal activities, such as driving aimlessly around town in their cars to “clear their minds” , but getting gas doesn´t belong to those day – to – day life activities. It´s as if their cars only run on love and air.
Or, maybe I got it all wrong and the characters went to the gas station before the book started. Yeah, maybe…..

No.

 

THEY HAVE MORE SKELETONS IN THEIR CLOSETS THAN A DEAD BROOKLYN MAFIA BOSS 

Secrets. They all have major secrets that are explosive and can threaten and effect the happiness of EVERYONE when they´re revealed. The thing that bugs me the most is that these “secrets” aren´t really worth being called secrets. NA readers usually deal with characters that have dealt with something in college or highschool and that… that causes a character to act as if they´ve commited a deadly crime.

 

 

LOVE: THE CURE FOR ASSHOLES

This might be the most unrealistic aspect of New Adult romances. Love conquers all. Love is the answer to all physical and mental illnesses. Love can even convert an asshole character into a soft kitty. Sure, I believe in the powers of love, yada yada yada. But I don´t believe that love can change characteristics. Some of these emotionally charged characters don´t need a girlfriend with whom they can snuggle up with at night. They need therapy. Anger management. A good beating with a frying pan? All is better than having a lunatic roaming the streets.

 

 

THE CINDERELLA MOMENT

The worst. Ever.

There isn´t a NA book I´ve read where the grey mouse ( female protagonist ) doesn´t get turned into a looker by the world´s best stylist ( female protagonists BFF ). I cannot stand these make – over scenes. There´s never anything wrong with a female lead´s wardrobe or sense of style until she wants to go on a date. THEN she´s this fashion mess that needs to be caked in make – up and dressed like a Christmas tree. Why this is necessary… I have no idea. It´s annoying, though.

If I were to go on a date with a guy then he´d have no choice than to accept my jeans and t-shirt and flip-flops because there is no way I would squeeze myself in a short red number for a date. It´s a ” take it or leave it, babe.” situation. And the thought of letting my BFF doctor on me is horrific!!

 

 

MID 20´S VIRGIN

I´m not saying this isn´t realistic because there are women who´re in their 20´s and are still happy virgins but it feels like the whole New Adult female character population are virgins. Why? WHY? Do authors believe this to be acceptable? We´re not talking Young Adults. We´re talking New Adults. It´s perfectly fine to have a female lead who´s already had her fair share of men without making her out to be the village mattress. Let the ladies shag, for crying out loud!

 

 

DRAMA 2.0

Drama is okay. In fact, I expect drama from people in their early – mid 20´s. It´s what they do. There´s not enough daily routine to provide a drama – free life so lots of things are quite dramatic for New Adults. Just don´t make characters over dramatic. That´s far from realistic and can be a turn off.

 

 

CHARACTERS HAVE MORE LIFE EXPERIENCE THAN GRANNY AT AGE 96

I 100% hate this.  I hate hate hate hate…..

Young boy with no living family deals with anger issues. Runs away for years and magically pops back into the picture at age 23 and owns half a city / state / country.

Teenage girl- Physically and mentally abused by alcoholic adoptive parents.  By the sensitive age of 22 the young woman has had 8 jobs, has lived on the streets, has had no luck with men…..  throw in an abortion and more beatings from boyfriend #5…

Again, I´m not saying that isn´t realistic. I´m sure a few mid 20 year olds have been through Hell and back but…. I just can´t.  There are too many book characters going through the same shit over and over and over again. Not every character has to have such a heavily loaded life story.
I get the message. But we´re talking about New Adult romances here. WHY go to such extremes? Because we´re just not reading about over exaggeration here. We´re reading about extreme cases. It´s okay for a character to not have been through so much in their short lives.

 

In all fairness… I understand why authors include all of the points I´ve mentioned. Many of the above work perfect for certain stories in the New Adult genre. I mean- reading allows us to forget about our own personal exhausting lives. We get to live in another world, in a different place and accompany characters on their own crappy paths and find happiness when they do. Readers are able to have moments they probably wouldn´t have in real life.

It´s an escape.

But is the escape worth it? Do we really need another New Adult romance with too much drama? Do readers need to read about characters who have it all and have experienced the worst from the absolute worst?

Yes. In my opinion… it´s worth it… to some degree. As long as there´s a healthy balance in all areas.

Tone down on the drama. Give characters some realistic features. Hell, let them have a job as a barista. Just give them something readers can relate with.
Unfortunately, many New Adult romance novels lack balance and therefore offer little readers can relate with.

 

What are your thoughts on New Adult romance novels? Do you agree with the list or is there anything else you´d like to include? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

Hope you all have a great day!

Share the book love,

Morgana ❤