Never Too Far (Too Far #2) by Abbi Glines

Never Too Far picks up about a month after Blaire has fled Rosemary after learning the dark family secret that Rush hid from her. Now Blaire is the one with a secret, a secret that has once again turned her world upside down. Now Blaire finds herself returning to Rosemary, once again placing her trust in Rush, the man she is desperately in love with, but unable to forgive.

Rush is devastated by Blaire's departure and when she returns he is desperate to prove his love for her and earn her trust, even it if means turning his back on his own family. Proving this turns out to be harder than Rush anticipates and the couple face obstacles that will test their relationship's breaking point. Is Blaire strong enough to trust and not run? Can Rush prove that he is worthy of trust? Or will the same forces that drove them apart before win again?

I only have one word for this book - Rush! Rush! Rush! Rush! Thank you Abbi for giving us a glimpse into Rush's head. I loved seeing things through his eyes and it made me love him for more than just his hot body (which doesn't hurt either). If I had to chose one word to describe Rush it would be fierce. Rush is fierce - physically and emotionally. He is fiercely passionate, loves fiercely, and is fiercely protective of what is his, and I love him for it, even if it does turn him into a bit of a hot head sometimes. He absolutely made this book for me. I read this book in about 4 hours. I got so involved in the story that when I paused to look at the clock it was 12:30 am, but at that point I was so close to the end that I had to finish. There was no way I was putting the book down.

I love, love, loved it! I am so looking forward to reading the spin off books when they come out and was even more thrilled to learn today that as a reward for her faithful readers, Abbi is going to be releasing a third book for Rush and Blaire, probably sometime towards the end of summer! I loved this book so much that I think it warrants another reading right away!

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Jonathan Harker, an English solicitor, is sent to Transylvania to meet a mysterious count, who wishes to purchase real estate in the city of London. Upon his arrival, Harker learns that the locals harbor a great fear of Count Dracula, although no one seems willing to share why. After a few days at the Count's castle, Harker realizes that he is essentially a prisoner and as his host's behavior grows increasingly bizarre and frightening, Harker becomes more and more desperate to escape.

Meanwhile back in England, Mina Murray, Harker's fiancee, is left to wonder what has become of him as his communications become less and less. To distract her from her worry, she travels to Whitby to visit her friend, Lucy Westenra, who has just received 3 marriage proposals from a Dr. John Seward, who oversees a sanatorium, an English lord named Arthur Holmwood, and an American by the name of Quincey Morris. While she is there, a Russian ship wrecks on the shore near the town with no survivors except a large dog which escapes and disappears. Shortly after that, Lucy begins to sleepwalk and her health begins to deteriorate. Her fiancee, Arthur, and her other suitors call on Professor Van Helsing when two puncture marks are discovered on Lucy's neck. Van Helsing deduces that Lucy is the victim of a vampire attack. Despite the valiant efforts of her male protectors, Lucy dies, but Van Helsing fears that her soul is not at rest. Mina, having finally received word that Johnathan has been in Budapest suffering from a brain fever, rushes to his side and is ignorant of the fate that has befallen her friend Lucy. The couple, now married, return to England and Jonathan is determined to put the whole ordeal behind him, until one day he see the Count in London. When Mina learns that fate of her friend, she and Jonathan join forces with the others to seek out and destroy Count Dracula.

My love of "all things vampire" began when my mother recommended that I read Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I loved the book and quickly read the rest of the series. From there I read a myriad of vampire series and became a fan of TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood. The character of the vampire quickly became a favorite - from the evil, sexy, dark ones to the brooding, troubled ones fighting their nature and seeking redemption (this type being my personal favorite - Stefan, Angel, Edward). Dracula has long since been on my to-read list, but for some reason I never got around to it and it kept getting pushed to the end of the queue in favor of other books.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was surprised that Dracula himself was largely absent from the majority of the book. For some reason I thought he would be a much more prominent character. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that the story was told through various diary entries and observations of the various characters hunting Dracula. I found myself wanting a little when it came to Dracula himself. I'm so used to seeing inside the vampire's head and catching glimpses of their former humanity, it almost felt one sided to me as we only see Dracula as a monster through the eyes of his pursuers. Not that I don't think he is a monster, his character just lacked some of the complexity and dimension of his later counterparts. I did like how the book continually changed perspective and it was remarkably well done. The story was woven together well and it did not feel disjointed as it sometimes can when switching perspectives.

For a classic published in the 1890's, it is an easy read. There were a few times when the cadence or the vernacular was a little hard to follow, but it wasn't often and didn't deter from being able to understand what was happening. I'm not sure that my love of "all things vampire" would have been sparked had I started with Dracula. He is just too absent from the story. If you are not a fan of classics, or at least have an appreciation for them, I would probably recommend skipping this one. Although there is a lot of action in the book, I think that the vampire draw might be lacking for some modern readers. If however you are like me and happen to enjoy reading classics and stories about vampires, then I recommend picking this up as it artfully combines the two.


Darcy Goes to War by Mary Lydon Simonsen

I should begin by saying that Pride & Prejudice is my favorite book of all time and because of this I have been hesitant to get into the world of Austen inspired fan fiction. Because I love it so much, any change or deviation feels almost sacrilegious to me. It's hard to imagine that anything could live up to the original. My first voyage into Austen fan fiction did not go well, as Death Comes to Pemberley (click here for my review) left a lot to be desired.

When I saw Darcy Goes to War was free on Amazon, I decided to give it a chance after reading the synopsis and getting a thumbs up from my friend over at Books Hug Back, who is an Austen fan fiction connoisseur. I thought perhaps this book would help me get over my own pride and prejudice and general Austen purist snobbery. After all, imitation is supposed to be the highest form of flattery. I was pleasantly surprise by how much I loved this book and Mary Lydon Simonsen has definitely jumped to the top of my new favorite author's list.

In this re-imagining, Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy are living in England during the Spring of 1944. Britain is in the fourth year of fighting World War II. Elizabeth does her part by driving a lorry and Flight Lieutenant Darcy is a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Their paths cross one night at a local pub and Elizabeth takes an instant disliking to Darcy when he snubs her. Through a series of subsequent meetings, Elizabeth finds her initial impression of Darcy changing, but her guard is up. Falling in love during a war can only lead to one thing - heartbreak. However, Elizabeth and Darcy cannot ignore or fight the feelings they have for one another.

I was instantly sucked into this story and loved every minute of it. There are enough parallels to the original that the characters and story are respected, but this story also managed to be unique in and of itself. Elizabeth retained all of the characteristics that I love about the original - she's witty, independent, and strong-willed. Darcy, who is forever my ultimate literary crush, is just as swoon worthy (albeit less surly) as ever. I loved Simonsen's writing style and it was intriguing to see a modern twist on the story, where forces bigger than just class threaten to pull Lizzy and Darcy apart. The modern setting also allowed for the exploration of new facets of Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship and characters that were not possible before (whole lot of sexual tension!), which added a whole new dimension to their relationship. I didn't think it was possible for Darcy to be any sexier, but I was wrong and I totally dug the whole "fly boy" thing.

Darcy Goes to War is well worth the read, both for Austen enthusiasts and those who are not familiar with the original Pride & Prejudice (which if you are not - shame on you! Get thee to a book store stat!!). This book earns a 5 star rating from me and will probably become one of my favorites to re-read.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a collaboration between John Green and David Levithan and tells the story of two teenagers both named Will Grayson. It is fairly obvious which author penned which Will as the story continually changes point of view between the two characters.

Green's Will (here after referred to as Will) is quite typical of his characters. He's somewhat nerdy, smart, has a biting sense of humor, and proceeds to fall for the first female character introduced. He lives by two rules: 1. Don't care too much and 2. Shut up. His best friend is a giant (equally wide as tall) ironically named Tiny, who is fabulously gay and trying to stage a musical based on his life. Tiny attempts to set Will up with their friend Jane, another typical character of Green's - the smart, quirky female. While Will initially balks at this idea, as it will violate his two rules, as the story goes on he begins to reconsider.

Levithan's Will (here after referred to as will, as in the book) is in many ways a stark contrast to Green's Will. He is a loner, moody, depressed, comes from a broken home, and is gay. will feels hope for his future for the first time in a long while after meeting a boy named Issac online. will travels to Chicago to meet Issac and ends up crossing paths with Will in the most unlikely of places - a porn shop. The night is quickly becoming one of the worst nights in will's life, but all that changes when Will introduces will to Tiny. One chance encounter will have lasting effects on all those involved.

I really liked this book, especially the juxtaposition of the two authors' styles. The weird lower-case style of will's story was initially jarring, but quickly overcome and I think it kind of added to the character. I got the impression prior to reading the book that it was the two Wills that were going to be the cause of inevitable change in the lives of the characters, but now having read the book I think it was really Tiny that changed the lives of Will and will. He is this amazing force that is really at the heart of a story that speaks to friendship and love. I found myself laughing out loud throughout the book and wishing that I could have been in the audience for the debut of Tiny's musical - easily my favorite scene in the whole book. A 4 star read for me.


Chasing Nikki & Finding Chase by Lacey Weatherford

Chase is heading nowhere fast. He was a star quarterback, popular, headed for a bright future. All that changed when his father died tragically in a plane crash. Now Chase lives to forget, drowning his pain with drugs and alcohol. After he gets arrested for under aged drinking, his mother moves him back to the ranch where she grew up, hoping a change in scenery will help them both.

When Chase sees Nikki, he is determined to have her. The only problem is she will have nothing to do with him. She has been burned before by guys like Chase, but he slowly wears her down and she agrees to go out with him. Chase finds in Nikki what he has been searching for since the death of his father - understanding, acceptance, and a reason to move forward. When another accident threatens to derail Chase again, he must make the ultimate decision - give up and return to the numb existence he lived before, or move forward and prove to Nikki and himself that life is worth living.

Chase has kept his vow to Nikki - to keep moving forward - even if he struggles to do so every day. Chase, having won a college scholarship, is heading off to school hoping that immersing himself in football will help ease the intense pain in his heart. He is doing his best to fulfill his promise, but doesn't know how to do it, other than move through the motions one day at a time. He is determined to keep everyone at an arm's length so that he never has to experience the pain of loss again. It helps that Chase's closet friends are all going to the same college. As Chase continues to heal, he begins to feel things that he never thought he would feel again and imagining a future he thought he lost forever. When fate offers him another chance at love, will he be brave enough to seize it?

I love, love, loved this series! What an emotional roller coaster! I fell head over heels for Chase and all his beautifully damaged perfection and was so happy at the end when he got his happy ending. I swear my heart dropped at the end of Finding Chase and I thought I was going to have to write a strongly worded letter to the author, but in the end no harm, no foul. I was even more floored when I read the author's note and found out that Lacey herself went through a similar situation. My heart broke all over again, but her story again proves that what doesn't kill us, does make us stronger. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, even when that reason is not always clear. It often takes some time before you can step back and see how everything is connected, especially when you are in the midst of it, but somehow it always seems to come together in the end. This is a must read for any YA romancers. Just remember to keep your tissues close!!


Paper Towns by John Green

Quentin Jacobsen is nothing spectacular. He is not popular, but he has friends and he likes his life, his routine, and looks forward to the future. Margo Roth Spiegelman is a vivacious force who Quentin has loved from afar since they were kids. Quentin and Margo do not travel in the same social circle and have not really spoken since they were 9 years old. All that changes when one night Margo climbs through Quentin's bedroom window and convinces him to be her accomplice for a campaign of revenge against all who wronged them. Quentin quickly agrees and the two of them set off on an all-night adventure. The next day Quentin awakes to discover that Margo has run away again, leaving behind clues that appear to be for him. Quentin is determined to solve the mystery and find Margo, but as he uncovers the mystery questions arise - how well did he really know Margo? How well does he know himself? Does Margo really want to be found?

Another good one from John Green. The characters are great and there are parts that will have you laughing out loud. I often wonder where he comes up with some of the antics his characters get into, but it makes his characters endearing and likable  They are the misfits that we all cheer for. Like all of his books, there are questions that will make you think and lessons to be learned. In this case, the question of how well we can know another person. Is what we know about them truly who they are, or just our perception to who they really are? And what happens when our perception is different from the reality? Should we continue to force our perception onto them, or learn to like them for who they really are and not who we perceive them to be? Paper Towns is no where near as good as The Fault in Our Stars or Finding Alaska, but it is definitely worth the read for any John Green fan.


This Tangled Thing Called Love by Marie Astor

Twenty-eight year old Claire Chatfield's life is perfect. She has a successful career as an architect and she is engaged to one of New York's most eligible heir-bachelors. She is blissfully happy, but still can't shake the feeling that something is not quite right. When her fiance begins spending long hours at work, Claire starts to wonder if her happily ever after isn't so perfect.

David Lawson is heir apparent to take over his father's company, Lawson Enterprises. The only catch is his father doesn't quite trust him to do it. David knows the perfect way to prove to his father that he is serious - marry Claire Chatfield and settle down with a wife befitting the future head of the company. The only problem is - David is in love with another woman.

Claudia Block is a Hollywood Legend, but her career has long since dried up. She has become notorious for her romantic flings and when she meets David Lawson, the two of them embark on a passionate affair, despite the fact that David is seeing Claire and that Claudia is 18 years older than David.

Alec Brunell, a professional tango dancer, has never wanted for the attention of women. When he moves into the apartment above Claire, he finds himself intrigued by his neighbor, who seems unimpressed by him. He is determined to get past the icy exterior Claire presents to him, even if she fights him every step of the way.

This Tangled Thing Called Love follows the story of 4 people trying to find love. Mistakes are made, hearts are broken, and in the end, each of the four main characters must decide if they are brave enough to seek their own happy ending.

This book was just okay for me. I got the book for free via BookBub (if you're not a member, you should be!). I needed something light after reading the sob fest that is Always and Forever and this looked like the perfect candidate. It was a easy read, but some parts of the story - especially Claire and Alec's romance - felt underdeveloped to me. I was surprised when I reached the last page of the last chapter, thinking I couldn't possibly have reached the end because there was still so much not resolved or explained. The Epilogue does explain most of it, but the ending felt very abrupt and hurried. This is not one to write home about in my opinion. 


Always and Forever by Karla J. Nellenbach

Mia has already survived the worst - Leukemia. Now at 16 she is facing another cancer diagnosis and this time there is no fighting it. Mia will die and she is determined to do it her way - deciding when, where, and how. She devises scheme after scheme to end her life on her terms, only to fail time and time again. She pushes her family and her friends away, hoping to spare them the pain of losing her sooner rather than later. When she realizes that this is not how she wants to go, she finds herself begging - Just a few more days. Just a few more hours. Just a few more minutes - so that she can make things right before her time runs out.

Always and Forever follows Mia through the stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. It is a gut wrenching, sob inducing, cry fest, and worth every minute and tear. It's more than just a cancer story. It speaks to the power of love, friendship, and acceptance even in the worst of circumstances. It is about finding peace and happiness, even when you think there is none to be had. Life is precious and we take it for granted every day. Mia may not have been able to decide when she left, but she did get to decide the where and how - surrounded by those she loved, those who loved her, and in the arms of a boy who will love her always and forever. 

i carry your heart with me by E.E. Cummings

Lover's Embrace ~ Henry Asencio

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)


The Seeds of Wither (The Chemical Gardens #1.5) by Lauren DeStefano

The Seeds of Wither offers a VERY brief glimpse into the life of Rose, Linden's first wife and true love. I don't think you really get anything more out of this short than you do through Rose's conversations with Rhine in Wither, hence the 1 star rating.

The book is not worth the 99 cents it costs and I actually ended up returning it. It consists mostly of a preview of Wither and Fever and the preview of Fever is the same as the one at the end of Wither, so not really worth the money.

The Chemical Gardens Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano

Set in the distant future, the world is reeling from a botched attempt to create the perfect race. Babies born into this world suffer from a virus which has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years and females a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists frantically search for an antidote to the virus with little success. The human race has dissolved into chaos. Orphans are everywhere, crime and poverty are rampant, and young girls are being kidnapped off the streets to be sold as brides, forced into polygamous marriages to bear children, to the highest bidder.

Rhine and Rowan Ellery used to live a happy life with their mother and father in New York City. When their parents are killed when their lab is bombed, Rhine and Rowan, who are twins, are all each other has left in the world. When Rhine is kidnapped and married to Linden Ashby, along with 2 other girls, she vows that she will do everything in her power to escape and return to her brother. Rhine finds herself caught up in a world of illusions and try as she might, she cannot bring herself to hate her husband, Linden. She soon comes to realize that her real enemy is Linden's father, a doctor determined to find a cure for the virus at any cost.

As determined as Rhine is to leave, she also has reasons to stay as her relationship with Linden and her fellow sister wives grows. There is also Gabriel, one of Linden's servants, who she develops a connection with. Rhine has to remind herself daily that the life she lives is a lie. Together with Gabriel, Rhine begins plotting her escape, unwilling to live her remaining days as a prisoner. With the clock ticking and unknown dangers ahead, will Rhine and Gabriel be able to achieve the freedom they so desperately seek?

Rhine and Gabriel manage to escape the mansion only to find themselves trapped again, this time in a carnival, run by a Madame in the red light district, where girls are prostituted out. When Vaughn shows up to collect Rhine, she and Gabriel barely make it out. They make their way to Manhattan, only to discover that Rowan, Rhine's twin, is gone and their family home has been burned to the ground. As a mysterious sickness takes hold of Rhine, Gabriel desperately searches for answers and can't help but wonder if this sickness isn't somehow connected to her father-in-law. On the verge of death, Rhine has no choice but to return to the mansion when Vaughn somehow tracks her to the place where she has been staying. She knows that she will die if she doesn't go with him and Rhine is not ready to die, but she cannot fathom the nightmares that await her at the hands of her father-in-law.

Everything in Rhine's life seems to bring her back to her father-in-law. After spending months in the basement of the mansion, she is finally able to convince Linden that his father may not be everything he thought. With the help of Linden, she seeks refuse at his Uncle Reed's house. Although she is able to attain some level of safety, there is no peace for Rhine. Her brother, Rowan, appears to be leading an underground resistance movement against the pro-scientists, Rhine has no idea what has happened to Gabriel since she left him, and Vaughn seems more convinced then ever the Rhine is the key to finding the cure. She sets to find her brother and in the process discovers things about about her past that will have new implications for her future. These discoveries will leave Rhine questioning everything she thought she knew for sure and to the knowledge that she is destined to play a bigger part in finding the cure then she could ever imagine. While Rhine may have new reason to hope, this hope is not without consequences, and life as she knows it will change forever.

Overall this series is a 4 star read for me, although I liked the first book far better than the other two. I was a little disappointed by the third book...I can't quite put my finger on why, but I think I was just expecting more. There were things in the third book - information about Rhine's parents and their work, for example - that I wish had been elaborated on. I just feel like it was brushed over superficially. The suspense and momentum that was built by the first book just seem to putter out for me over the course of the other two books. Having said that, I think that this series is very imaginative and I loved the idea of the story. The characters are well developed and it was easy to become emotionally invested in them. This is definitely a series that I would recommend picking up.


Beastly (Kendra Chronicles #1) & Beastly: Lindy's Diary (Kendra Chronicles #1.5) by Alex Flinn

Kyle Kingsbury is one of the beautiful people. The type of person who always gets his way, has money, who is charming and confident, and as deep as a puddle. When Kyle plays a mean trick on Kendra Hilferty, a witch, she casts a spell on him turning him into a beast. Now his outside matches his insides. The only chance that Kyle has of breaking the spell is to find someone who can look past the beast and fall in love with him. He has two years to break the curse. Without hope, Kyle retreats from the world, with only his housekeeper, Magda, and his blind tutor, Will, to keep him company.

Linda "Lindy" Owen is a scholarship kid with a drug addict for a father, and is largely invisible to the rest of her classmates. She has always noticed Kyle and thought that there was more to him than meets the eye. When her father breaks into Kyle's house, Lindy's father offers up his daughter in exchange for Kyle not going to the police. Lindy finds herself dropped off on Kyle's doorstep, and while at first she hates her new situation, she soon gets to know Adrian (a.k.a. Kyle). Over the time they spend together, their friendship grows, but will it be enough to break the curse?

Lindy's Diary offers readers the chance to see Beastly from Lindy's point of view. It is told through diary entries, beginning with Lindy first coming to live with Kyle. Both books were equally enjoyable, but definitely for a younger crowd. It really is a classic retelling of Beauty in the Beast, just set in modern times and in New York City. Kyle (a.k.a. Beast) is just as shallow and in need of a healthy dose of humility. Lindy (a.k.a. Belle) is a book loving, sweet soul, but perhaps not a traditional beauty like in other versions. There is still a witch, but instead of a castle, we get a brownstone in Brooklyn.

I have been wanting to read this book for some time and since I am impatiently awaiting the release of the third and final Chemical Gardens book and didn't want to get too involved in something, I decided to pick this up in the meantime. I saw the movie Beastly that came out a few years ago. I didn't know the movie was based on a book and it happened to be on HBO one day, so I watched it. It is your typical pre-teen romance movie, but I liked it enough that when I found out it was based on a book, I added it to my "to-read" list. Those, like myself, who pick up the book after watching the film might find themselves a little confused, as they definitely made some artistic changes - most notably Kyle's transformation into a "beast." In the book it is a much more traditional transformation with him being covered in fur and more wolf like, where in the movie he is just more disfigured with tattoos and scars. Lindy also goes through a transformation - changing from a more average red head to a dark haired beauty in the film.

Regardless if you ever see the film, Beastly and Lindy's Diary are sweet stories and any fan of the B&B tale or hopeless romantics will enjoy it. The characters are well developed and the story flows nicely. It is not complicated and there are no major plot twists, but if you are looking for a good book to relax with, this would be a series I would recommend. At a combined 448 pages, they are quick reads and perfect for a rainy (or snowy) afternoon. 


An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Colin Singleton is a child prodigy with a talent for anagramming, whose only claim to greatness so far is winning a game show called KranialKidz, and being dumped 19 times by 19 different Katherines. After Katherine XIX breaks his heart, Colin sets out on a road trip with his best friend Hassan, an overweight, Judge Judy loving Muslim, and ends up in Gutshot, TN. In Gutshot he meets Lindsey Lee Wells and he and Hassan are hired by her mother for the summer to record the oral histories of those who work or used to work in the factory owned by the family.

Colin believes that the world is made up of two types of people - Dumpers and Dumpees, with himself falling in the latter category. His new mission is proving The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, a theorem that will allow him to predict the future of any relationship. Colin hopes that by proving his theorem he can somehow win back the heart of Katherine and prove that he is more than just a washed up child prodigy. However, he will discover that try as he might, the future cannot be predicted.

John Green is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and this book does not disappoint. It is laugh out loud funny, and I mean literally. I was reading this book in a waiting room while getting my oil changed and literally started laughing out loud. I'm sure the other people in the waiting room thought I was nuts, but this is another great one by John Green. Colin, with his anagramming ways, is completely endearing, and Hassan is hilarious. I was initially worried when I picked this book up and realized there was math involved, as math and I have never really been on friendly terms, but it really doesn't matter. You do not have to have any mathematical understanding to follow this book. It's a fun story about the realization that the future really isn't predictable, no matter how much math is involved.


From Ashes by Molly McAdams

Cassidy Jameson's life changed forever on her 6th birthday when her father suddenly dies from a heart attack. Not only did she lose her father, but she lost her mother as well as she drowned her sorrow in alcohol. After her mother remarries, Cassidy becomes the victim of daily physical abuse at the hands of both her drunken stepfather and mother. Through it all, Tyler Bradley has been Cassi's rock and best friend. He was the one who patched Cassi up, the one who kept her secret. He was the only one that Cassi could count on and trusted. When Tyler leaves to attend college in Texas, there is no way that he is leaving Cassi behind, and the two of them head to Texas where they will be living with Tyler's cousin, Gage Carson.

Gage Carson was not what Cassi expected, knowing that his family owned a ranch in Texas. She had been expecting a Stetson-wearing cowboy, but she wasn't expecting the instant and electric connection between herself and Gage from the moment they met. Gage is instantly drawn to Cassi and desires nothing more than to make her his. The problem is that Tyler has staked a claim. From the outside it would appear that Cassi and Tyler are a couple, but Cassi has never felt that way about him. For over a year, Cassidy and Gage dance around their feeling for each other, as Tyler does everything in their power to keep them apart.

When Cassi and Gage do get together, their honeymoon phase doesn't last long. When an accident and a family tragedy sends Cassi running back to Tyler and California, it looks like it might mean the end for Cassi and Gage's relationship. Cassidy will have to face down the down the demons of her past if she ever hopes to have any type of future with Gage. The question is...will Gage be waiting for her when she returns?

I have to admit that I was hesitant to pick up this book after experiencing complete and utter emotional turmoil at the hands of Molly after reading Taking Chances. I just wasn't sure I could survive another book like that! While From Ashes was not emotionally devastating like Taking Chances, it was still an emotional roller coaster. Molly McAdams is a master at creating love triangles and she has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary romance writers. Although this triangle turned into an unnecessary (at least in my opinion) rectangle at one point, I was happy with how the story ended.

From Ashes does deal with some series issues, including domestic violence, so if you are not into that, don't pick this book up. I find it interesting that most of the contemporary romance novels I pick up lately deal with such heavy issues - rape, abuse, cutting, suicide, alcoholism. However, I find myself continually drawn to these characters that are so tragically broken and so beautifully redeemed by love. I'm not sure why these stories appeal to me so much, and it goes deeper than the guy's god-like perfection. Perhaps it's the light driving out the dark? Or maybe it's how truly loving someone and letting yourself be truly loved by someone makes you vulnerable, and through that vulnerability allows you to trust someone else with every flaw, every imperfection, everything that you keep hidden from the world, and accept the beauty of it all. I'm not sure, but as long as authors like Molly McAdams write books like From Ashes, I'll keep reading them (and probably re-reading them).     

The Faith and Fate of David Ghent by Maren Dille

I'm excited to announce that on March 4, 2013 Book Lover's Paradise will be hosting a stop on Maren Dille's Blog Tour for The Faith and Fate of David Ghent. Check out The Official Site of Maren Dille for more details concerning the Blog Tour.

Check back on the 4th for an author spotlight and book review!