Thursday, March 27, 2014

Barefoot Summer and Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter (Chapel Spring Series #1 & #2)

Had it not been for NetGalley approving me for book #2 in the Chapel Spring series, Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter, I might never have discovered Denise Hunter as an author.  I can literally count on one hand how many Christian authors I enjoy reading, and now I can Denise Hunter to that list!  YEAH!

In book #1, Barefoot Summer, the love story of Beckett & Madison is shared in such a sweet & innocent way - filled with love, forgiveness, real-life struggles, loss, anger - and woven evenly throughout is a gentle undertone of Scriptural truths and how that looks like in day-to-day life.  It didn't feel cheesy or hokey as most Christian fiction can, but it was RIGHT up my alley in every way.  I devoured this book in just a short amount of time and then dived into book # 2 of the Chapel Springs Series, Dancing with Fireflies.  I have to say out of the two, I enjoyed Dancing with Fireflies more.  The message of trusting God through a difficult circumstance is so powerful and in this story, even quite controversial.  I don't want to say too much, cause the surprise of it is what makes it so great in the discovery of a good book!

Madison's family, the McKinley's are easy to fall in love with - and I loved that this family is further explored through Book #2 by learning more about Jade and Daniel.  And since it's a fairly large family, I know there are sure to be more books to come, and I can't wait to get my hands on those copies in the future as well! Not to mention, I've already added all her other printed works to my To-Be-Read pile (and there's 20, so it might take me a while) ;-)

'Barefoot Summer' Description: Madison’s heart closed the day her twin brother died.

Since losing her twin, Michael, in a drowning incident, Madison has rejected the faith he lived by. Instead, she’s devoted her life to fulfilling Michael’s dream—winning the River Sail Regatta in their small Indiana town, Chapel Springs.

As she trains for the regatta, Beckett O’Reilly is teaching Madison to swim. But he’s keeping a painful secret from her—and as they grow closer, that secret threatens to upend their lives . . . and the lives of both their families.

'Dancing with Fireflies' Description: Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she'd never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He's loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she's back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she's hiding secrets from her family, and she's strangely attracted to the man who's always called her "squirt." Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

Ratings: - both ****!!
Recommend - Absolutely! I think anyone would love these books.

*I received a complimentary copy of the e-book version of Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter through NetGalley for an unbiased review from the publisher. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The difficult thing for me when it comes to series, is trying to remember what the heck happened in the previous books months or even years ago when I read them.  Ugh.

Thankfully, I stumbled upon this blog where a group of ladies recap the individual books in a series so you can refresh your memory before diving into the next one, while spending half the time trying to remember who is who and what on earth is going on.  Seriously, save yourself some confusion and stress and just visit this site: Recaptains
Nowadays, there's just too many dystopian series out there that somewhat overlap in plots and characters and it's super easy for me to get all tangled up in them.

Back to Allegiant - hmmmmm....I don't know why but the last book in a series always for me seems to be the most disappointing.  I'm grateful to have the closure of what happens in the lives of Tris and Tobias (aka Four), but really?  Ms. Roth really?  I just can't.  It would give too much away.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this series! The premise of different factions and how people think or live according to their strengths and weaknesses, was extremely fascinating to me.  If you haven't given this series a try yet, you won't regret it!  PLUS, the first book in the series, Divergent, will be coming out in theaters in one week!!  I'm so excited, I can't wait to see it!

Description: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent

Rating: ***

Recommend: If you enjoy YA Dystopian fiction, then you have to add this series to your To-Be-Read List!