Review: The Next Together (Next Together #1) by Lauren James

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Goodreads Summary:

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different…


My Review

The Next Together was unlike any other book I’ve read! The concept of past lives and destined love hooked me from the start!

Lauren James took the plunge and wrote this book from three simultaneous time periods from the perspectives of three different versions of the two main characters. Pretty crazy right? I admit, at times it was difficult to keep up with! The concept of time and how the past influences the future can get jumbled when the two start to blend. What was the most unique were the documents and IM images scattered throughout the chapters. It added a fun and more detailed take on the story events.

As the plot thickened, I had more and more questions that needed answering. Who was controlling the two characters? Would they finally live through this lifetime? And why was this happening to them? Unfortunately, not all of my questions were answered, and I was left feeling a little unsatisfied by the conclusion. Certain aspects were confusing and unclear, and I felt like I needed so much more to happen before the story could just end. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the characters and the concept, but I wanted more. I wasn’t able to form a real bond with the characters because I never figured out the truth behind their terrible situation!

I can only hope for more answers from the next book! If you are looking for a unique scifi story, then I would definitely recommend The Next Together! The concept is genuinely different, and the transition through time is utterly intriguing.

Buy The Next Together on Amazon! 

 

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Review: And I Darken (The Conquerers Saga #1) by Keirsten White

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Goodreads Summary:

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.

My Review

Ok this is a hard one folks. I wanted so badly to like this book,and I just didn’t. I love Keirsten White, her Paranormalcy series was fantastic! So I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book! There are many possible reasons as to why I didn’t like this story very much. Well for one, I took about two weeks to read it due to my insane exam schedule so the content itself just seemed to drag, but that could also be because it wasn’t super exciting in the first place. It just took so long for something to actually happen between the characters that was genuinely meaningful.

The story follows the perspectives of siblings: Lada and Radu as they suffer through their terrible childhood  while being tossed around like objects by their selfish father. When they find themselves in a city where everyone is a stranger, they accidentally encounter the future sultan and soon become entangled in the politics of the country and the cut throat methods necessary to gain power.

Lada is one of the most infuriating and difficult to like main characters I’ve encountered. From the get-go she is insufferable to everyone around her, including her brother who is the only person who has ever truly loved her. Don’t get me wrong I appreciated her resilience to be herself and defy feminine stereotypes, but to put it plainly, she was a bitch. It was very hard to distinguish genuine emotion from her. Radu’s character didn’t instill anything in me but pity for his very unfortunate situation. And really, his life and hopelessness didn’t improve much throughout the story. Then we come to the romance, in which I essentially felt nothing for! There was no real love there whatsoever!! I just couldn’t grasp on to it.

The conclusion was kind of a cliff hanger, kind of…I’m just not feeling reading the next book. I truly do wish I had enjoyed this story more, but I just didn’t. Sorry for the negative review guys!

Review: Between Two Fires by Mark Noce

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Goodreads Summary:

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart.

Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Reminiscent of classics like The Mists of Avalon and A Game of Thrones, and newer popular titles like Hild, Branwen’s story combines elements of mystery and romance with Noce’s gift for storytelling.

**I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

My Review

I was really looking forward to picking up Between Two Fires after reading Avelynn by Marissa Campbell which has a very similar premise and is set in the same time period: Medieval Wales during the times when Saxon’s attacked constantly. I love this era so so much, especially the times of King Arthur (which are referenced quite often throughout). Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Between Two Fires nearly as much as I did Avelynn, but there is much that I can appreciate about it.

Between Two Fires focuses on the life of Branwen, a 16 year old princess who is wed to an older man in order to secure an alliance for her father. Little does she know that this union will cause quite the domino effect for the rest of the country. Before long she is caught up in feuding territories, assassination attempts and the pressure of giving birth to an heir. On top of all that, she can’t stop running into the illegitimate prince/knight Artagan. Although their relationship is tumultuous in the beginning, Branwen can’t help but fall for him anyway. Torn between duty and her heart, she must make the decision that is best for not just herself but the  entire country.

A lot, and I mean a lot happens in this book, which you would think would make the story go by faster, but I couldn’t help but feel like it dragged on a little too much. There was just a lot of repetitive events going on. I also felt  like I was watching Game of Thrones at times because I couldn’t keep up with all the names. I’m not saying that I disliked the story over all, I just wasn’t overly engaged by it. I really liked Branwen’s character and her relationship with Artagan, but I wasn’t a fan overall of the plot. However, I could definitely tell how much time and effort went into making the history accurate. There were certain aspects of the story that were great, so if I could just cut and paste parts, I would have probably been more pleased. Oh well. I’m still glad I read it.

If you are in to medieval historical fiction with a splash of romance, then I would recommend you read Between Two Fires out on August 23rd. Pre-Order on Amazon here!

 

Review: The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs

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Goodreads Summary:

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Revolution, and featuring a cast of iconic characters such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Marquis de Lafayette, The Hamilton Affair tells the sweeping, tumultuous, true love story of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler, from tremulous beginning to bittersweet ending—his at a dueling ground on the shores of the Hudson River, hers more than half a century later after a brave, successful life.

Hamilton was a bastard son, raised on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. He went to America to pursue his education. Along the way he became one of the American Revolution’s most dashing—and unlikely—heroes. Adored by Washington, hated by Jefferson, Hamilton was a lightning rod: the most controversial leader of the American Revolution.

She was the well-to-do daughter of one of New York’s most exalted families—feisty, adventurous, and loyal to a fault. When she met Alexander, she fell head over heels. She pursued him despite his illegitimacy, and loved him despite his infidelity. In 1816 (two centuries ago), she shamed Congress into supporting his seven orphaned children. Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton started New York’s first orphanage. The only “founding mother” to truly embrace public service, she raised 160 children in addition to her own.
With its flawless writing, brilliantly drawn characters, and epic scope, The Hamilton Affair will take its place among the greatest novels of American history.

 

****I received an Advanced Reader Copy in exchange for an Honest Review****

My Review

I have to be honest and say that when I first began this book I was a little hesitant. American historical fiction is never my first choice when choosing my next read. However, I was very curious to gain further understanding  about all the hype surrounding The Hamilton play. I realize the two things are very different from one another (I honestly can’t figure out how you make it a musical but whatever).  I’m definitely glad I read it, but I can’t necessarily say that I loved the experience.

As I said, I’m not big on American History, I don’t hate it, but it was never my preferred “era” to learn about in school. The Hamilton Affair is written in chronological order and alternates perspectives between Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schulyer. One of things I really appreciate about the book is the way Cobbs discreetly squeezed in historical events from the American Revolution in between telling the story of the lives of these two very different people. Keeping that in mind, and based on the way the book was structured, at times it felt more as if I was reading a timeline rather than an actual story, especially because half the chapters had larger time gaps in between them then others. I admit, I was more intrigued by Eliza’s perspective than Alexander’s, probably because he does something ( I won’t spoil it for you) that I was super pissed about!

The romance between Elizabeth and Hamilton was definitely my favorite part of the book, there were some really sweet moments between them. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of time spent that included both of them being in the same place, but I think that their individual experiences were needed to be told separately in order for the point to be made. I really felt like I was immersed in their heads and in the world of the revolution. Cobbs did a splendid job of accomplishing that. Even though I knew how the story was supposed to end based on US History, I wasn’t nearly as prepared for it as I thought I would be based on previous events that occurred just before the final chapter.

I appreciated The Hamilton Affair, and I think if I was a big history buff I would have really enjoyed it. Therefore, I would most definitely recommend reading it if you are a fan of the play (though I have not seen it) or if you are a fan of American History books.

The Hamilton Affair releases August 2nd (tomorrow)! Pre-order it on Amazon here!