Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.
I really didn’t have any expectations for this book, because I had no idea what direction the story would go. I enjoyed the way everything came together in this installment and everyone’s stories started to intertwine.
This book had action, adventure, intrigue, romance, suspense, humor, basically anything you could ask for. It was very entertaining, there really wasn’t a dull moment. I like how all the characters have their own little quirks and idiosyncrasies, but they’re all relatable and lovable. Even the robots. :) Cress was a bit awkward at times, but understandably so. And I actually like Throne now. I know most people liked him in Scarlet but I definitely didn’t. He finally won me over this time though. I enjoyed getting to see a tiny bit of what Winter is like. It sounds like her installment of this series will be VERY interesting. I can’t wait to read what happens next. The only thing I didn’t like was how swiftly the book wrapped up after all the action. I would have liked to see a little bit more of the fallout. But I guess we’ll have to wait for the next book.
The Paris Connection by Cerella Sechrist
Sparks are flying in the City of Light
Emma Brooks, single mom and managing director at the leading recruiting firm in Paris, was against their merger with an American company from the start. Not only was her firm losing its autonomy, she was losing her well-deserved promotion to Cole Dorset—a handsome, arrogant interloper from New York!
How did Cole’s ex-girlfriend’s dream of moving to Paris become his nightmare? Now he’s got to find his way in a new country, and the woman showing him the ropes wants to string him up by one. But as he gets to know Emma and her daughter, he realizes Paris may have more to offer than he thought….
The Paris Connection was a sweet, light-hearted read. This book is perfect for a little escapism if Spring Fever hits. I have to say this was a little outside my usual reading genres, but it was squeaky clean and enjoyable.
Emma and Cole are a cute couple and it’s fun to watch them get to know each other. I wished Cole had stood up for Emma a little more, actually I wish Emma had stuck up for Emma a little more too. But it all worked out in the end and there is always value in forgiveness and growth in a relationship. I think I may have actually enjoyed seeing Lillian and Julien’s relationship a little more. That was a surprise to me. I just thought they were super cute together.
These days it seems most people (and books) equate “romance” with sex or a physical relationship. This book is more about actual romance. Long walks, candlelit dinner, all that super sweet gushy stuff. It’s pretty sparse on the physical intimacy. This is a great one to pick up if you’re in the mood for something light and sweet.
Releases March 1, 2014 from Harlequin Heartwarming
About the Author
Cerella Sechrist lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. She has won various competitions and a scholarship for her writing, which include devotionals, full-length plays, and novels. She divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. Her novels exhibit her love for both the written word and food in fiction. You can find her online at her website www.cerellasechrist.com where she pens Literary Fare, a food-themed blog for readers. You can also connect with Cerella on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Instagram.
The Paris Connection Tour passport stamp
Making Faces by Amy Harmon
Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.
Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
Initially I was going to give this three stars, but the more I thought about it, I had to bump it down to two. It was okay, but not great. Based on all the 5 star reviews and gushing I’ve heard about this book I expected to be blown away. As it was I was barely moved.
First of all the writing was clunky and choppy. I was surprised when I found out that this wasn’t a debut self-pubbed novel. It could have used some more editing. It felt very much like the author sat down with an outline and specific agenda and filled in the details to highlight those things as she went through. There was no natural flow to the story.
My first issue with the characters were their names. Ambrose and Fern. Really? REALLY?? Even the girl, Fern in Charlotte’s Web wasn’t actually named Fern, that was her nickname. I never got used to them, they continued to sound ridiculous and fake all the way through the story. The characters were too empty and one dimensional to ever fill them out and give them life. I couldn’t relate to Fern at all, because there really wasn’t anything to her. She was the dorky girl who took care of her cousin and was obsessed with Ambrose. Period. There literally wasn’t anything else to her life. We’re told she wrote books but we never see her do anything but work and obsess over Ambrose and take care of Bailey. I wasn’t too impressed by her care of Bailey only because he was her cousin and best friend. Of course she would care for him. How could you not? It’s not like she was some saint volunteering to care for strangers. She loved Bailey and he needed help. Anyone would do that. Why didn’t she go to college if she was supposedly so smart? Night manager at the grocery store? That was her big goal in life? And I’m supposed to believe that fresh out of high school with no higher education and no writing courses, she somehow stumbled into a publishing deal?? Of course all of that was just background filler information because the real goal of her life was AMBROSE. She was such a lost puppy dog about him, so desperately following him around that it really became quite pathetic. There wasn’t really anything noble about her obsession with him. There wasn’t much to Ambrose either really. He was supposed to be this deep thinking poetry quoting hero, but he mostly just acted like a jerk, especially around his friends. Underneath it all he actually seemed like a whiner and a coward to me. I found it really hard to believe and eventually irritating that when he came home from WAR, his biggest issue was his scars. I believe in a situation like that he would be dealing with a LOT more than what he looked like and some silly girl at home. It would have been really nice had Ambrose appreciated her when she was still “ugly” and he was still “perfect” instead of once the tables were turned and they now thought themselves worthy of the other. I also found their relationship/obsession with each other to be a little unhealthy on both ends. What with them talking about how unworthy they were all the time and how they used each other as an ‘escape’.
I didn’t like the way the whole issue of war and the military was handled. Ambrose and Fern are my generation. Based on the 9/11-highschool timeline, they would have been a year behind me in school. I thought it was strange that the boys joining up to go into the military was handled the way it was. I remember that time very vividly. The nation as a whole was in a ‘patriotic’ uproar. At least half the guys I graduated with, including my now husband and my brother-in-law, as well as the next few years behind us were lining up to sign up and “defend” our country. (I won’t go into what I feel about that now and how everything turned out, but….) At the time people were excited, they were upset and they were proud to watch their sons go off to war. Yes, we were naive, but I don’t think ANYONE was naive enough to sign up because they didn’t want to go to college and wrestle. That makes absolutely zero sense. I can see in peace time maybe looking at the military as an escape, but everyone signing up then knew they were going in to go to war. Period. So while I thought everyone’s reluctant attitude was strange, as it was definitely NOT that way in my hometown. I also thought it was strange that Ambrose talked all his friends into going with him because he was too afraid to go alone. Who does that?! You don’t talk your friends into going to WAR! And you don’t go if you’re not fully committed. That was just insanity to me. I think the book treated the boys experience in Iraq rather flippantly. The first invasion of Iraq was some of the worst fighting of this “war.” I know people who are still suffering from PTSD from it. I didn’t think the way Ambrose handled being home was at all realistic. I don’t see someone who would have seen the things he would have seen, coming home and being okay working in a bakery and dating some lovesick girl from high school and then going on to wrestle in college? Wasn’t he like 21? And he was going to enroll full-time in college after having been to war? Not likely. And I know he was wrestling but what was he getting his degree in? What was he going to do with his life? I don’t see wrestling in college being a high priority for an ex-soldier. It was very strange. I would have found the entire plot and romance more believable had the boys died and Ambrose been scarred in just a regular old car accident. The war aspect brought so many other issues into play that just were not handled well at all.
The town was also very weird to me. Does a town like this exist somewhere? They were awfully flippant about teen pregnancy and abuse. I thought it was bizarre that NO ONE from their graduating class seemed to even attempt to attend community college or have any kind of goals for their lives.
Finally I decided what I liked most about this book were the romantic or inspirational quotes. Most of which came from Shakespeare or some other outside source, and not even from the author. A lot of them, no matter how inspiring, were not worked into the story organically either. I regularly read inspirational or Christian fiction, and even so, I thought this book was very heavy handed. There are ways of writing a plot that will inspire people and get your message across without beating people over the head with it repeatedly. This book missed the mark on that. Overall it was a good premise, but poor execution. Incidentally I’m also not a fan of the cover, which I don’t think fits the book at all.