Monday, October 5, 2015

Fortune Favors the Brave

"Fortune favors the brave!
...and the brave make their own fortune!"
--The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas

Genre: YA Fantasy & Historical Fiction
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 432
Publication Date: October 13th, 2015
Source: eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss
Previous Books in SeriesThe Burning Sky & The Perilous Sea
Goodreads Description

In a pursuit that has spanned continents, Iolanthe, Titus, and their friends have always managed to remain one step ahead of the forces of Atlantis. But now the Bane, the monstrous tyrant who bestrides the entire mage world, has issued his ultimatum: Titus must hand over Iolanthe, or watch as his entire realm is destroyed in a deadly rampage. Running out of time and options, Iolanthe and Titus must act decisively to deliver a final blow to the Bane, ending his reign of terror for good.

However, getting to the Bane means accomplishing the impossible—finding a way to infiltrate his crypt in the deepest recesses of the most ferociously guarded fortress in Atlantis. And everything is only made more difficult when new prophecies come to light, foretelling a doomed effort....

Iolanthe and Titus will put their love and their lives on the line. But will it be enough?

With The Immortal Heights, Sherry Thomas brings the acclaimed Elemental Trilogy to its breathtaking conclusion.

You guys!! So I re-read The Burning Sky and The Perilous Sea prior to reading The Immortal Heights and it was one of the best reading experiences ever. These book are so well-written, inspiring, and emotional. There is so much action in addition to the emotional component and the balance is perfection. The same can be said for this final installment. I was so nervous starting because during my re-read because this is one of my favorite series ever and these characters NEEDED to be okay! Okay?! Titus and Iolanthe #TeamFortuneFavorsTheBrave

Ok, without giving too much away, this final book was everything I wanted. Action, suspense, inspiring self-sacrifice, selfless acts, and love...true, deep, soul-crushing love. In so many different forms. I could talk about Iolanthe and Titus for hours but the love in this book is so much more than that. The friendships between Titus and Iolanthe and Kashkari and Haywood and the other rebels we meet is so beautiful. I was in awe over how much they care for one another and how they have each others backs.

But I can't NOT talk about Iolanthe and Titus. Okay...their banter is on.another.level. They are 100% badass on their own, together they are beyond epic, but they never hesitate to show each other tenderness. You never question their devotion to each other and I LOVED this. While I don't think its realistic to make out in the middle of a war zone, I also really dislike when characters don't take the time or moments to show their love. Like this could very honestly be the end of the world, take what you can. I think Sherry Thomas balanced the urgency of their task and their love for one another perfectly. I swooned so hard so many times it was ridiculous. Legit. Iolanthe could kiss Titus on the cheek and I would have to pause to absorb how lovely that was. Their random endearments towards one another and their passionate words just enveloped my heart. It was bleeding all over the place for this couple and I ship them so fucking hard!!! SO HARD! They are some of my favorite, favorite couples! All the stars!!!!

The thought the pacing of the plot was on point. This book picks up right where The Perilous Sea ends and the action is almost non-stop. The trials and setbacks they go through I felt were completely realistic to their situation and I really appreciated their moments of total uncertainty like, 'well, what the hell do we do now?' It felt completely real to me. On the flip side of that, the down moments of revealing plot secrets and moments of discovery were placed intermittently throughout the action and it just fit so well with the ebb and flow of the story.

The conclusion of this series is everything I was expecting. Questions are answered. A theory I made since book 1 was actually correct which I was pretty damn excited about! The feels are there in spades and the action is amazing. Their fight is one for freedom and it is so inspiring and these characters make you want to join a revolution. If you have not picked up this series yet, what are you waiting for?!?!
If you love an amazing fantasy world, an inspiring story, and one of the best romances ever...this book's for you.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Challenge Check-Up--September

Wish I could have gotten a few more re-reads well as fantasy books...I'm embarrassed...How are you guys doing with yours?!

September Re-Reads-- 0 Books
Year in Total: 43

Don't forget to add your link-up! 

September Fantasy Books- 0 Books
Year in Total: 29

September 'Real' Books- 12 Books
Year in Total: 127

Claim Me

"No shame, no fear,
just people letting go of their inhibitions and gong in to...
--Elle Kennedy, Claimed

Genre: Adult Dystopia, Erotica, Post-Apocalyptic 
Publisher: Signet
Pages: 368
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Source: Bought
Previous Books in Series: First in series
Goodreads Description 

The bestselling author of the Killer Instincts novels “knows how to write scorching sexual tension” (USA Today). Now she really sets it on fire in a new series about men and women living on the edge of violence, sex, and life and death.

After a devastating war decimated most of the world, Hudson Lane has only known the oppressive life under her own father’s tyranny. She finally escapes, branding herself an outlaw and hunted by the Enforcers. Her best chance at survival is Connor Mackenzie, an aggressively sensual fugitive who opens her eyes to the wicked possibilities of a world without rules.

As the leader of a band of outlaw fighters, Connor can’t resist the beautiful stranger who asks for his protection. Despite his reservations, he agrees to introduce her to a whole new way of life. But when Connor discovers Hudson’s connection to the enemies of liberty, he wonders how far he can trust the woman who has abandoned all inhibitions to challenge every forbidden desire.

After reading this book, there is something seriously lacking in the book world. That being adult dystopia erotica. FOR REALZ! I am obsessed with the Beyond series by Kit Rocha which has a similar genre so I was beyond excited for this book and it did NOT disappoint!

CLAIMED is a world ravaged by war and natural disasters and a totalitarian government has risen up in its demise. There are people who follow the government and there are people who live outside called 'outcasts.' Connor is reluctant leader of a band of 5 men on the outside who are trying to survive and stick it to the government whenever they can by raiding their supply outlets for food. Connor also has a vendetta against a certain high ranking official that drives him to stay alive in order to one day seek vengeance. Hudson is woman also on the outside...but has she always been there? Her story unravels piece by piece but it is clear early on she is not an outsider.

This outside world is harsh and...overt. There's no such thing as privacy and people take pleasure when they can. Hudson learns this fact quickly when she encounters more people and how Connor and his band of merry men live. It's enlightening and awakening for her to finally be able to feel free to explore her sexuality. I LOVE stories like this! Love love love adore obsess can't get enough of. Women's sexuality is so oppressed and forced down in our culture that I love reading about world's where it is celebrated.

Speaking of sex...uality. This book is hot. I'm talking 5 alarms, take a cold shower, put the kids to bed early kinds of hot. Connor and his boys don't shy away from taking pleasure and very graciously always are in the mood to give it. While this book focuses on Connor, you can't help but notice Pike (mine, bitches back off), Rylan, Xander, and Kade. I already cannot wait to see what shenanigans and type of women these men find to knock them on their asses.

But like I said, this story focuses on Hudson and Connor and I ADORE THEM!!! Hudson is so totally kickass and smart and a NURSE! Holla at ya girl! What starts off as a purely physical relationship *cough* we all know these two are drawn to each other for more than their bodies. Both are stubborn mules, well no, Connor is a stubborn mule and refuses to acknowledge his feelings and Hudson knows she has feelings and is trying to play by his rules the right way. I liked that she didn't seek out trying to change his mind, she just did because she was herself.  Their dynamic is hot and sarcastic with the best side helping of dominance.

The end of this book had twists I didn't see coming and I LOVED how it all came together. Character reveals, emotional declarations, maybe even a stolen helicopter or two brings to you a wild ride at the end. I loved every second of reading this book and I legit read it in one sitting in about 4 hours. Can't stop, won't stop. Connor can claim me any time, day or night. Mine mine mine. 

Backstage Pass
If you love hot as hell love stories, dystopian worlds, and hot men...this book's for you.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Just Live

"The only way to avoid being left behind was to start moving."
--Jojo Moyes, After You

Genre: Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Pages: 368
Publication Date: September 29h, 2015
Source: Review copy provided by publisher 
Previous Books in Series: Me Before You
Goodreads Description

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.
There is something magical every time I read a Jojo Moyes book and that is its ability to make me feel like I'm wrapped up in a warm blanket. What the hell do I mean like that? I mean I'm comfortable. I'm content. I feel at ease. I immediately relax into the cadence of her writing and it defines the words 'leisure reading.' Few books and authors make me feel like I'm at home; Jojo Moyes books do this for me. From the first page, I felt an ease with the story and was quickly enveloped back into Lou's world.

Lou has been struggling for obvious reasons after the death of her love, Will Traynor. She feels like a sham because she hasn't been living the way she knows he would want her to live. She can't seem to move on, she feels lost, adrift, and finds little reason to enjoy life. It's heartbreaking. It's frustrating. It's real. While my feelings were definitely more for the heartbreaking there were moments when I just wanted to shake Lou. Not because I was annoyed with her but because I just wished that was all it took for her to snap out of it. I cannot even begin to imagine what she feels but when I try, I just feel so sad for her. I know it can't be easy and watching her slowly put herself back together was a fantastic addition to the Me Before You story.

After an accident, Lou finds herself at a Moving On support group. She, again, feels a little like a sham because of the brief time she did know Will. I personally believe it's quality not quantity but I really enjoyed these interludes and the scenes of the meetings. It was extremely interesting and realistic to read about the different ways people grieve and try and move on. Because of group circumstances and a little bit of serendipity, Lou meets Sam. There is romantic involvement and how this all plays out I absolutely loved. I felt that it was completely realistic and on point with how Lou's or anybody's first relationship post-trauma would go. There's a lot of stop and go and some hilarious misunderstandings but I loved it. Lou and Sam both have their flaws and I really enjoyed seeing them together.

There is another huge aspect to the plot that I cannot say anything about because hello, massive spoilers but I will say that I loved it. It was unexpected, difficult to read at times because of the emotion involved, frustrating, and absolutely heart-warming. I can see how people might not like it but it would seriously break my heart if people don't react well to this part of the story. It made me tear up multiple times and it just...makes sense and it makes me love Lou so fucking much. It hurts my heart how much I fucking love and adore Lou. *sigh*

Lou's family is also a prevalent piece of the story. Oh, my gosh. They're so fucking hilarious, I just can't. Her parents were my favorite part of the supporting story and I absolutely LOVED watching her interact with her parents and their own problems. The sister dynamic was also on point. While I struggled with feeling their love in Me Before You, this book brought an entirely new depth to Treena and Lou's relationship. I loved their blatant commentary to one another and Treena's tell-it-like-it-is stance on Lou's choices is pretty much spot on with how sisters least it's how me and my sisters are. Absolutely loved this.

While After You doesn't have the traumatic emotional impact Me Before You did--thank God for that--it was extremely powerful in a quiet way. It's a young woman trying to put her life back together after it fell apart when she finally thought her life was going somewhere. It's a young woman trying to find her place in a world that wants you to fail. It's a young woman finding her voice. I love Lou. I can't get enough of Lou. And this story was a perfect complement to Me Before You

Backstage Pass
If you love Jojo Moyes, Lou Clark, and moving on...this book's for you.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

It's You, It's Not Me

I was tagged by Stephanie at No BS Book Reviews for the Unpopular Tag. I don't usually do these tags but this one was too funny to pass up. Let's talk all the shit about the books we didn't click with/praise the books we love that other people don't get. Let's do this. 

1. A Popular Book/Series You Didn't Like
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. *ducks from thrown tomatoes* Sorry not sorry. I couldn't even finish this book. I'll give you all the fact that Jamie is amazing because he is and the only reason I lasted as long as I did which was about 400 pages. Claire is infuriatingly stupid and selfish and I can't read about a character like that. 

2. A Book Series That Everyone Hates But You Love
The Selection by Kiera Cass. Y'all, I adore these books. I love America. I think she is perfectly flawed and realistic for a 16-17 year old. I also think the themes of this book are way more in-depth and intelligent than people give it credit for. Haters gonna hate. 

3. A Love Triangle Where The MC Ends Up With The Person You Didn't Want Them To End Up With or an OTP You Didn't Like
The Unearthly trilogy. I was so sad how this series ended because the romantic aspect, in my opinion, was not dealt with in a mature way. One guy became a complete non-entity when it could have been an amazing relationship but it wasn't given a chance and then how she ended up with the other guy was such a cop-out. SUCH a cop-out. No me gusta. 

4. A Popular Book Genre You Rarely Reach For
Young Adult Contemporary. I have zero time to deal with fluff involving 16 year olds. It's not for me. It might be for you, it's just not for me.

5. A Popular Beloved Character You Didn't Like
Travis Maddox. Um...Beautiful Disaster and me did NOT get I cannot even understand how Travis Maddox is a contender for people's ultimate book boyfriend. I can't. I just CAN'T you guys. There is nothing reedeming or sexy or romantic about this abusive asshole. Don't even get me started. 

6. A Popular Author You Can't Seem To Get Into
Stephanie Meyer. Ya'll I tried to read The Host. I tried. Killing me slowly by torture would have been less painful. Don't even get me started on my thoughts on Twilight. 

7. Popular Trope You're Tired Of Seeing
I'm not a huge fan of second chance romances. I am of the belief that people in your past or your exes are your exes for a reason and rarely see a reason to re-visit that. People do change and grow and it can be done well but it's not a book descriptor that I'll reach to read.

8. Popular Series You Have No Interest in Reading
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. See number 4. Don't try to convince me. I'm ruthlessly set on this. 

9. The Saying Goes, 'The Book Is Always Better Than The Move' But What Movie Do You Prefer More Than The Book
Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice. LOVED this movie and then I read the book afterwards and it is terrible! There is such little plot and so much fluff in the middle. Bo-ring! 

I tag anybody that wants to do this and air their grievances! BUT I specifically tag Betty, Hannah, and Rachel!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I'll Let You Be My Rake

"The thing about pawns...
is if they reach the other end of the board, they become a queen."
--Lauren Smith, Wicked Designs

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Samhain
Pages: 316
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Source: Gifted to me by the author, thanks Lauren!
Previous Books in Series: First in Series
Goodreads Description

The League of Rogues takes what they want - but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple - find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books.

It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.
Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon - if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler's niece, the difficult debutante's blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love.

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric's shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard - and rob him of the woman he can't live without.

Warning: This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they've gotten themselves into.
The Writing
After reading and loving Lauren Smiths' Surrender series--so, so much!!-- I was super excited to start her historical romances and I was not disappointed! Lauren has such a smooth writing voice, especially alternating POVs frequently, that I almost immediately felt engaged in the story. The action starts in the first chapter with Emily's kidnapping by Godric and from there we have a hilarious story and one of my favorite tropes, captor and captive. While this isn't the typical captor/captive story I read, I loved this one all the same. The story unfolds smoothly and organically. I really loved the pacing and how things played out. The historical aspect was on point and I loved getting to know this world.

The Plot
As I said above, I loved the story. Emily never gives up fighting for her freedom and in the meantime manages to woo the entire League of Rogues. I LOVED her personality and her feisty disposition. She was smart, clever, and snarky. Her banter with Godric and the rest of the club was so funny I was actually laughing out loud at time. The conflict surrounding her kidnapping was intriguing without being far-fetched or annoying. I'm new to the historical romance genre but I already feel like I have a good eye in regards to what works and what doesn't and this plot was perfectly balanced in romance and conflict outside the romantic aspect. The conflict also brought out Godric's possessive and protective side and holy shit I was suh-woon-ing! Rawr Godric...Rawr. Love love loved this broody bastard and I'll gladly be his captive.

The Bromance
The League of Rogues...OMG THE LEAGUE OF ROGUES. While I love the romance and it was hot as all hell, what stole the show for me what the bromance between the League. I LOVED their friendships and dynamic and how much they love each other. Their understanding of one another's needs was beautiful and selfless in the way only true friendships can be. I immediately wanted all of their love stories and cannot wait for the continuation of their lives and stories. It very much reminded me of the Wallflower series by Lisa Kleypas in that the romances are great...but the friendships are what make the story that much more amazing.

Backstage Pass
If you love a clever heroine, a broody hero, and a gaggle of hot charming rogues...this book's for you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Burn, Baby, Burn

"You are what you are. Find a way to live with it."
--Karen Marie Moning, Burned
Genre: Adult Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Pages: 512
Publication Date: January 20th, 2015
Source: Bought
Previous Books in SeriesDarkfever & Bloodfever & Faefever & Dreamfever & Shadowfever & Iced
Goodreads Description

It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing.

MacKayla Lane would do anything to save the home she loves. A gifted sidhe-seer, she’s already fought and defeated the deadly Sinsar Dubh—an ancient book of terrible evil—yet its hold on her has never been stronger.

When the wall that protected humans from the seductive, insatiable Fae was destroyed on Halloween, long-imprisoned immortals ravaged the planet. Now Dublin is a war zone with factions battling for control. As the city heats up and the ice left by the Hoar Frost King melts, tempers flare, passions run red-hot, and dangerous lines get crossed.

Seelie and Unseelie vie for power against nine ancient immortals who have governed Dublin for millennia; a rival band of sidhe-seers invades the city, determined to claim it for their own; Mac’s former protégé and best friend, Dani “Mega” O’Malley, is now her fierce enemy; and even more urgent, Highland druid Christian MacKeltar has been captured by the Crimson Hag and is being driven deeper into Unseelie madness with each passing day. The only one Mac can depend on is the powerful, dangerous immortal Jericho Barrons, but even their fiery bond is tested by betrayal.

It’s a world where staying alive is a constant struggle, the line between good and evil gets blurred, and every alliance comes at a price. In an epic battle against dark forces, Mac must decide who she can trust, and what her survival is ultimately worth.
The Setting & The Story
Y'all, I was SO excited to read Burned after finishing Iced. I love being back in this world. It was my absolute favorite thing about reading this book. I fell into an easy lull while reading and enjoying the characters and being back in Mac's head. I love her newly established street cred as ultimate badass, even though she's got some problems to work out with that. I also really loved where we went with the Unseelie King and his concubine. These chapters were few and far betwee but what we did get, I loved to see. It was desperation and love mixed with obsession and desire and regret, LOTS of emotions that I didn't think I had with this storyline! And Dani...that's all I can say about that...but I love...
The Pacing
Due to spoilers and this being the 7th book in the series, I can't say too much about the good without ruining the plot for those who aren't as far or who haven't read it. While I overall really liked the book and the world and the story, I found myself falling out of the story quite a few times. I think these books have overall become too long. Iced and Burned do NOT have to measure up to the length of Shadowfever because, duh, Shadowfever was 'supposed' to be the final book, let it be long. Now I feel as if there is a certain expecation that each book after that needs to be over 400 pages long. Not necessary. Give me the meat of the story without all this erroneous detail. I WANTED to love Burned but it didn't keep my attention as much as I wanted it to even with the major plot point being super engaging.

The Plot
While I overall enjoyed the plot, I found a few components lacking. First, Barrons and Mac...WHERE IS THE HEAT!? I suffered through the worst case of blue balls for FIVE BOOKS...FIVE! I love a slow burn but now you're torturing me slowly. Not to mention the cold blue balls I had from Iced (see what I did there?). KMM, I love you, really I do. But cut the shit. Give me some romance and just a little PDA. I know Mac and Barrons aren't gonna dry hump like teenagers in the hallway in public but give me something. Speaking of them, I also really disliked that while it took FOREVER and a year for them to get together, we didn't see any tender moments. The writing made it sound like they're basically glorified fuck buddies who refuse to actually acknowledge the other in public. It's weird.

The Secrets
One final vent, again, I really liked the book, this is more of a frustration with the series as a whole. I need more info, KMM. I still know nothing about the Nine. I want a history please, thank you. I want more info on, now. I'm over this unknown still. We get scraps and we are 7 books in and thousands of pages invested. We deserve something better.
Reserved Seating
If you love this series, alpha males brooding, Fae, disaster zones, and a lot of myster...this book's for you.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Some Secrets Are Better Left Kept

"It's important to believe in something bigger than yourself."
--Jennifer Laam, Secret Daughter of the Tsar

Genre: Adult Contemporary, Historical Fiction. Alternative History
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 344
Publication Date: October 22nd, 2013
Source: Gifted to me by the lovely Erin Lindsay McCabe
Previous Books in Series: Standalone

Goodreads Description

A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter—smuggled out of Russia before the revolution—continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences

In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets a mysterious man who may be heir to the Russian throne. As she sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through a winding path of romance and deception, the ghosts of her own past begin to haunt her. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra. After conceiving four daughters, the Empress is determined to sire a son and believes Lena can help her. Once elevated to the Romanov’s treacherous inner circle, Lena finds herself under the watchful eye of the meddling Dowager Empress Marie. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer. Determined to protect her son from the Nazis, Charlotte escapes the city, but not before learning that the officer’s interest in her stems from his longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy. Then as Veronica's passion intensifies, and her search for the true heir to the throne takes a dangerous turn, the reader learns just how these three vastly different women are connected. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is thrilling from its first intense moments until its final, unexpected conclusion.
The Settings
This book takes place across three time periods and three different settings. Tsarist Russia, Occupied Paris, and present-day Los Angeles. This was the best part of the book for me. I loved being immersed in this history and taking a secret look into the lives of the Romanovs. Having read a non-fiction book about Nicholas and Alexandra, I was pleasantly surprised to have the focus be on the positive attributes of Alexandra. The look we get in the Winter Palace, the streets of Paris, and the heat of Los Angeles was what kept this book going for me, as well as the subsequen history at the time. The ominous feeling of knowing the fates of the Romanovs years before tragedy happened is a perverse fascination for me and thus why I read historical fiction.
The Characters
I liked the characters, I didn't not like them but they were forgettable. I really love when books have multiple story lines especially over different time periods but this book is not a great example of that. The characterizations felt superficial, watered down, and rushed. I felt zero emotional connection to any of the three women featured and I really wanted to. I feel like if this was about a 600 page book with more build-up and description, this story would have really soared. But with the constraints of only being a 344 page book, we basically got a novella of each story...which sucks because the idea is really fantastic.

The Pacing
Along with my thoughts about the characters above, the pacing ties into this as well. When I'm not invested I kept falling out of the story. The first 100 pages flew by and I was excited to read but then I kept getting distracted while reading. Not wanting to keep going, and by the end of the book I just wanted to be done. I felt the romance aspect of the present-day story was insta-love rushed and it just didn't feel organic to the story.
Standing in Line Outside
If you love Tsarist Russia, superficial characterization, and rushed plots...this book's for you.