Summer Loving Review: The Art of My Life

The Art of My Life  16276593

Ann Lee Miller

Kindle Version

★★★★★

Summary:

Cal walked out of jail and into a second chance at winning Aly with his grandma’s beater sailboat and a reclaimed dream of sailing charters. Aly has the business smarts, strings to a startup loan, and heart he never should have broken. He’s got squat. Unless you count enough original art to stock a monster rummage sale and an affection for weed. But he’d only ever loved Aly. That had to count for something. Aly needed a guy who owned yard tools, tires worth rotating, and a voter’s registration card. He’d be that guy or die trying. For anyone who’s ever struggled to measure up. And failed.

Review:

I read this book while on a cruise in Cocoa Beach Florida, which I thought was funny because I was only an hour away from New Smyrna Beach where the story takes place. As you all have probably figured out, I love Ann Lee Miller and The Art of My Life is no acceptation.

I find that all of Ann Lee Miller’s books are relatable in some way, but personally I loved The Art of My Life the most because it was the most relatable to my personal life. There is just something about Miller’s writing that makes me never want the story to end.

The characters are the driving force behind the plot and are extremely real. This was not a story that you could never picture happening, because too many families it is real. Cal has not been dealt the best deck of cards, but he does nothing to turn his life around before he is arrested.

Miller introduces the idea that Cal is never good enough for his mother, which I think may be a common thought in many young adults and teenagers. It is as much a great story for a child to accept their mother, but for a mother to accept their child.

Aly is really the driving force at Cal changing. While he has always had it in the back of his mind he needed to change, what really pushed him over the edge was realizing she was not going to visit him in jail. The feeling of never wanting to miss her again was the motivation Cal needed.

I really loved this book, it was the best in the new Smyrna Beach Series in my opinion. Truly a perfectly written story that captures readers and is real. It is a story that can and does happen to many people, making it reach to a wide audience. It is also the perfect beach read!

 

 

Review: The Rules

The Rules11640957

Stacey Kade

Paper Back

★★★★★

 

Summary:

1. Never trust anyone.

2. Remember they are always searching.

3. Don’t get involved.

4. Keep your head down.

5. Don’t fall in love.

Five simple rules. Ariane Tucker has followed them since the night she escaped from the genetics lab where she was created, the result of combining human and extraterrestrial DNA. Ariane’s survival—and that of her adoptive father—depends on her ability to blend in among the full-blooded humans in a small Wisconsin town, to hide in plain sight at her high school from those who seek to recover their lost (and expensive) “project.”

But when a cruel prank at school goes awry, it puts her in the path of Zane Bradshaw, the police chief’s son and someone who sees too much. Someone who really sees her. After years of trying to be invisible, Ariane finds the attention frightening—and utterly intoxicating. Suddenly, nothing is simple anymore, especially not the rules…

Review:

I do not even have words for this book. (How many times have I said THAT in my reviews?) I am truly in shock from its amazing-ness. I recently took a trip to Barnes and Noble to get some hard copy books to read on my cruise (I just got back) and I stumbled upon The Rules.  Now honestly, I saw this book, read the summary and put it back. But as I wandered around the store, it kind of grew on me and I found myself right back in front of it’s shelf. And that leads us to where I am now, addicted.

I read The Rules in one day. (And the next day I read the second in the series.  The Hunt.) I could not put it down. I was drawn in by Kade’s style of writing. It was fast pace and flowed seamlessly through the many facts and events that occurred. (Previously I read a book where the main character was named Kade, check it out! The Divine Path)

I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, sometimes with tears in my eyes. I mean, you really know a book is great when you are laughing, crying and shocked all at the same time, The Rules  delivers in this respect. The characters are a huge factor in this, Ariane is amazing and I guess Zane isn’t so bad either. (Just kidding I love Zane.)

Anyway, without giving too much away, the plot is nothing like what you expect. There are so many random things that happen as well as completely unexpected facts and events that it is impossible to know what will happen next.

The mixture of the intense, paranoid, on edge feeling that the book delivers to the reader is why I enjoyed it so much. But my favorite part has to be Ariane’s inner monologues. Seriously, Kade is a genious in terms of humor. Ariane says and thinks the funniest things, I found myself laughing while sunbathing on the cruise.

Is it wrong to say that this story was realistic? Because, I get it, it is not, but if things were to go down and alien cross species were produced, this is EXACTLY how I would expect it to happen. Everyone had real reactions including Ariane. I really appreciated the attention to detail that Kade added in order to increase the naive personality Ariane was supposed to have.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I loved this book. It is one of my favorite books read so far this year (Behind Vampire Academy of course!) The Rules was just another case of don’t judge a book by its cover on so many levels.

 

 

Review: The Curse of Nefertiti

The Curse of Nefertiti

Charline Ratcliff 6467448

PDF Version

Summary:

Over three thousand years ago, all of Egypt lies in ruins. The country that had dazzled the world is now completely annihilated, and the Nile runs red with the blood of her people. Nefertiti’s spirit walks the land and looks at the utter devastation she has unwittingly allowed to transpire. In desperation she cries out to the Gods, and they take pity on her. They send her forward into the future, so she may return later to correct her mistakes. This is the story of Nefertiti, of the life she has lived here as Kayla, unaware of her true identity until finally reunited with the man who is the living reincarnation of her murdered husband, Akhenaten. She is faced with a difficult choice. Return to Egypt and save her country and its people or stay here with the man who holds her heart. And if she returns to Egypt, will she remember her life as Kayla, so she may be returned to it before her life becomes forfeit in the past? Charline Ratcliff’s tale is woven with likeable and believable characters, powerful visceral imagery, and a tapestry of combining old with new to create a masterful novel. Her debut novel is a stunning achievement that deftly envelops the reader.

Review:

I really enjoyed this book. The Curse of Nefertiti incorporated all the elements of a good romance as well as the components of a fictional story. The main character, Kayla, embarks on a journey that she doesn’t quite understand, let alone know is occurring. Psychological elements are always appealing in a novel, and Ratcliff included some in the journey Kayla must take.  Before the age of 13, Kayla cannot remember anything. I love the use of ‘amnesia’ in novels to enhance the journey a character must take. In this case, Kayla does not know what or why she is doing anything, but an internal drive, as well as internal voices, are compelling her to do things.

Probably categorized as a paranormal romance, The Curse of Nefertiti also uses historical elements to enhance the story. The romance that occurs throughout the novel was extremely predictable. You know what was going to happen, but kind of enjoyed it anyway. Romance with strong passion is hard to hate. Kayla is also a character that is hard to hate. As the reader, you can relate to her on so many levels. She is a typical women in her early years. Working long hours with not much time for fun or a love life. Those of us who are also working similar hours relate. She has family troubles and romantic issues just like the rest of us, except we are not queens.

I usually complain about stories being too short, or wanting more. But in this case I wish there was less. I felt like the story was great at the start, got extremely boring in the middle, and the plot picked back up at the end. The middle was filled with too much love and romance. Kayla and Paulo’s relationship was understood to be something more from the beginning and i felt that it took up the majority of this 384 page book. The romance building was unnecessary and I found that it really took away from the amazing story line that actually was the focus of the plot.

Something unique about this story is that it is told in first person, from Kayla’s point of view. This really enhances the overall story by allowing us to not only be in her head, but experience the confusion and ‘voices’ inside her head. If this story was written in any other view, it would not have been as effective.

The Curse of Nefertiti was overall, a good book. It was interesting in the plot I you could get past the excessive amount of romance and was quite interesting. I believe it would be a great book for those who love paranormal romance, reincarnation or books infused with Egyptian history. Written for mature audiences.