Monday, February 29, 2016

February Wrap-Up

Heyy, so there's this embarrassing fact. I disappeared for a month and a half except for a few scheduled reviews. Heh... Sorry about that. I took a bit of a hiatus and forget to warn you guys. BUT I AM BACK. I also read, like, sixteen books in February, SO THAT'S SUPER EXCITING.
Since this is a magnanimous amount and I am short on that lovely thing called TIME, the covers will be presented below in a collage, and I will give my rating and also my review link, per usual.


Samurai Girl: Book of the Sword by Carrie Asai - I rated this one star. You can find my thoughts here.

They Loved to Laugh by Kathryn Worth - Three stars. This was a school book. No review.

A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund - Four stars. You can find my review here.

Down with the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn - One star. You can find my thoughts here.

Behold the Bones by Natalie C. Parker - Two stars. You can find my thoughts here.

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson - FIVE STARS. My thoughts are here.

You're the One That I Want by Susan May Warren - Five stars. You can find my review here.

Wanderlost by Jen Malone - Four stars. You can find my review here.

The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott - Four stars. You can find my review here.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente - Three stars. No review.

The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen - Four stars. You can find my review here.

Keeper of the Stars by Robin Lee Hatcher - Four Stars. You can find my review here.

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund - Three stars. You can find my review here.

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner - Five stars! You can find my thoughts here.

The Sunken Realm by Serena Chase - Five stars. You can find my thoughts here.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard - Two stars. My thoughts are here.

THAT IS ALL. *bows* Thank you for bearing with me. I will not be posting a book haul this month because life is crazy. BUT, if you're super interested in seeing my purchases, check me out on Instagram @life_books_cats .

Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Daring Sacrifice by Jody Hedlund


In a reverse twist on the Robin Hood story, a young medieval maiden stands up for the rights of the mistreated, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. All the while, she fights against her cruel uncle who has taken over the land that is rightfully hers. Forced to live in the woods and hide with the poor people she's grown to love, she works to save and protect them, but she never anticipates falling in love with the wealthy knight who represents all she's come to despise.

A Daring Sacrifice is a quick, light, easy read with characters that will capture your heart and a love that will fill you with warm fuzzies. It is a promising sequel to An Uncertain Choice, and in my opinion, better. I did enjoy An Uncertain Choice very much, but in this book we see more of the country. We see the forest, the needy, and we have the full character arc of our lead male, Collin. Though the characters did change by the end of An Uncertain Choice, it wasn't enough. In this book, the character change was perfect. I didn't feel jilted nor did I feel overwhelmed. Jody Hedlund has clearly improved her writing and strategies, perfecting them to fit into the YA genre. The plot was tight, the characters inviting.
I loved seeing more of England in this book. It carried the Robin Hood vibe well, not overdoing it as I've seen before. Juliana cared for her people, would risk anything for them, but she wasn't pompous or ridiculous about it. She was simple to understand, an easy character to care for.
The writing is this book in top-notch. I imagined every scene, every moment, like a movie in my mind. I felt deeply for every character.
MY FEW COMPLAINTS BELOW
I did feel like Juliana's archery talents were a bit cliché
The romance was very fast. Usually I'm not a fan of that.
The peasants all lived underground? It was… interesting.
Speaking of the above romance moving fast… The speed of it was uncommon for the time period and they were a little too affectionate.

FOR THE PARENTS -
Cussing – None
Intimacy – Mild kissing, some euphemisms
Violence – Honestly, this is YA. So the violence was fine for YA. But I wouldn't let anyone under thirteen read it, considering there is a rather large amount—too much for middle grade.
13+

RATING: Four stars!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Last Time We Were Us by Leah Konen


A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.

Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July. 

Local teen convict released early.

Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock. 

“Everything is not what you think.”
Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?

“You’re the one person who believes in me.”

Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.


The Last Time We Were Us is an unusual story. It's a contemporary, but it's not your average summery, fluffy contemporary. It starts out a bit like that, but with seeds of something more.
It's a quick, easy read, full of entertaining and loveable characters, along with a bunch of chracter GROWTH and a super cool plot.
I loved out lead character, Liz/Lizzie. She was complex and lovely and easy to care about. She had so many thoughts that I know I've thought before.
Then there's Jason. From the beginning, it's hard to dislike him. He's cute, witty, and Liz's former best friend. Also he's a convicted felon.
The romance was slow and built up to a burning crescendo. It's a forbidden romance, which makes it more appealing as well.
BUT; this book is definitely YA. If an adult read it, they'd think the character an idiot. As a teenager, though, I understand Liz.
I loved the names in this. Liz is more common, yes, but we also have Genevieve, Lyla, Innis??? I love it.
So let's talk about the finale. Don't worrrrry. No spoilers. I don't do that. (be like me)
SO SOMEONE GOT MAIMED. A++ about that. NO ONE ever really gets maimed in YA contemporary these days. I was glad to see some of it in here! :D
Also, I SHIP JASON AND LIZZIE SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSOOOOO MUCH UGH. They are relationship goals. (minus the whole felon thing, plus the maiming thing)… They are so strong as a couple. <3 <3

FOR THE PARENTS -
Intimacy – Lizzie sleeps with two people, but not a ton is shown. It mostly focuses on the emotions. Mild kissing. Talks of sex, also fondling.
Cussing – This has, like, fifteen cuss words?

Violence – It has a fair amount. Plusssssss… MAIMING.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

You're the One That I Want by Susan May Warren



Owen Christiansen has been in a downward spiral since an injury ended his NHL career. But a job on an Alaskan crabbing boat offers a fresh start . . . maybe even a shot at romance with Elise “Scotty” McFlynn, the captain’s daughter.

Used to being one of the guys, to never relying on anyone, Scotty doesn’t believe in happily ever after―especially with someone like Owen. Her instinct is confirmed when Casper Christiansen arrives to drag his prodigal brother home, bringing with him a truckload of family drama―and even worse, the news that Casper is wanted for questioning in connection to a crime back in Minnesota.

But Owen is more than the sum of his mistakes, a truth both he and Scotty discover when she escorts both brothers to Deep Haven as part of her new job on the Anchorage police force. Thrust into an unfamiliar world of family, faith, and fresh starts, Scotty begins to see potential for a happy ending . . . if she’s brave enough to embrace it.

Susan May Warren, Deep Haven—those are auto-buy names for me. And this book proves exactly why. I fell for my least favorite character in the whole series, plus a whole new girl who is just amazing. This book is everything I ask for in a Deep Haven book—funny, emotional, romantic.
This book is the perfect conclusion to the Christiansen Family series.
Over the past few years, this series has been one of my favorites. I have devoured and anticipated each book as it came, and I can't tell you how sorry I am to see it conclude. But if I could have chosen the plot, the end, anything more about this book, I wouldn't change a thing. They say that the author knows best…
Susan May Warren definitely does. This book is written with the suave of a pro, the characters sculpted like perfect pottery(ugh, awful metaphor, I know).
AND THEN THERE'S THE PLOT TWIST. I didn't guess it.
So honestly what I'm trying to say is that this book blew me away and consumed me. Normally, I would say you can read this as a standalone. But don't. The experience is so much better with the history of the Christiansens, and all the characters in this book. Almost every character was from another book, their character and emotions and our understanding of them built on that.
Read the Christiansen series. You won't regret.
But you might just cry when it ends. I know I did.

FOR THE PARENTS -
Intimacy – Mild kissing, mentions of rape and sleeping around. A character has an illegitimate child.
Cussing – None.

Violence – Some mild fighting, mentions of rape, murder.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Way Back to You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott


Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend CLOUDY is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy's insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken.

KYLE is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cared about.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they're barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn's organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out of character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they meet the recipients--the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn's death--the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake.

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way back to her . . . and to each other.

The Way Back to You is the story of grief and finding the beauty amongst the ashes.The main leads are Cludy and Kyle. Cloudy's best friend has died and Kyle was her best friend's boyfriend.
This is a road trip story. Despite how fairly popular they are, this is only my second time reading one. I was not disappointed. The conflicts in this book are all mental and emotional. I loved that about it. It isn't often that we see a book quite like this. I loved the raw anguish of Cloudy and Kyle's grief. As I grew more attached to them, I also grew to love Ashlyn, who I seriously underestimated. Ashley is dead. But she is such a pivotal part of the romance and character growth in this story. She is the source of the conflict. 
Cloudy and Kyle grapple with having suddenly and irretrievably lost her, and the pain of physically watching her waste away and die. They struggle with their growing feelings for each other, as Ashlyn's death has brought them together. Cloudy struggles with having been in love with Kyle for years, but not being able to confess that fact. She loved him first but lost him. Now she has a chance for him, but she doesn't want to betray her friend by taking it. 
This is a beautiful story of grief and love and healing. I definitely recommend it.

FOR THE PARENTS - 
CUSSING - Ehhhhh, there's like fifteen cuss words? so, mild?
INTIMACY - Low high kissing. They each lose an article of clothing but they don't sleep together.
VIOLENCE - None.
INTOXICATION - Kyle is tricked into eating a cookie laced with pot. He gets high.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Wanderlost by Jen Malone


Not all those who wander are lost, but Aubree Sadler most definitely is on this novel’s whirlwind trip through Europe. A romantic and charming YA debut perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han.
Aubree can’t think of a better place to be than in perfectly boring Ohio, and she’s ready for a relaxing summer. But when her older sister, Elizabeth, gets into real trouble, Aubree is talked into taking over Elizabeth’s summer job, leading a group of senior citizens on a bus tour through Europe.
Aubree doesn’t even make it to the first stop in Amsterdam before their perfect plan unravels, leaving her with no phone, no carefully prepared binder full of helpful facts, and an unexpected guest: the tour company owner’s son, Sam. Considering she’s pretending to be Elizabeth, she absolutely shouldn’t fall for him, but she can’t help it, especially with the most romantic European cities as the backdrop for their love story.
But her relationship with Sam is threatening to ruin her relationship with her sister, and she feels like she’s letting both of them down. Aubree knows this trip may show her who she really is—she just hopes she likes where she ends up.

Are you craving a cutesy romance with a swoony hero, meddling old people, and overseas travel? Then this book is for you. I enjoyed almost every second of this book, and it's a quick easy read with a dash of heartbreak. Oh, and it has a G O R G E O U S cover. Interested yet?
I loved to places we saw in this story. Honestly, I want to travel now.
The first 50% of this book is hilarious. I think. To be quite honest, I read that amount at four or five AM so I can't guarentee the honesty of that opinion. To my sleep deprived brain, it was hilarious.
The characters in this book are honestly myfavorite part about it. The complexity of the relationshipsssss! <3 I loved Aubree's relationship with the passengers, plus there's SAM. Who, by the way, is abso-lutely swoon-worthy. The romance in this is a slow-burn. They start out as positively adorable friends, and there's definitely that attraction. But they aren't even a couple until 50 or 60 percent through. I love slow-burn romances. They are AH-MAHZ-ING.
But just a warning. If you're one of those people who can't stand people lying in books—don't read this. But in the end, truth does prevail.
This is a good summery, lay around type of book.


FOR THE PARENTS -
Cussing – Maybe two or three uses of sh**?
Intimacy – Low high kissing, Aubree and Sam almost sleep together but she says no.
Violence – None.

14+

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Keeper of the Stars Blog Tour!

Hello people. An awesome book released. 


Because it's not always love at first sight!

When her mother died from pneumonia, Penny Cartwright was heartbroken. But now, after burying her younger brother just 12 years later, she is devastated. Anger, guilt, and sorrow cloud Penny's mind, and the last thing she wants is to be reminded of her pain---but that's exactly what happens when a stranger comes to town.
Trevor Reynolds has been chasing fame for more than a dozen years, but his musical career can't get off the ground. While on the road, an accident kills his young drummer, Brad Cartwright. Trevor wasn't behind the wheel, but he still blames himself . . . and so does Brad's sister, Penny. Now Trevor finds himself in Kings Meadow, determined to follow through on his final promise to his friend.
Still feeling the pain of Brad's death, Penny and Trevor must learn that forgiveness is the only thing that can heal their hearts. And if they do forgive, something beautiful may rise from the ashes of heartbreak.




OH MY WORD.
HOW DO I DESCRIBE.
This series... This trilogy is positively brilliant. Personally, I didn't LOVE it until I read Whenever You Come Around. That book left me feeling a burning, intense joy for my writing. I related so much to Charity and I was so happy to get an e-ARC of Keeper of the Stars from Liftuse Publicity Tour.
This book does not require you to read Love Without End and Whenever You Come Around first. This book can stand alone. But it is so much stronger when it stands with Love Without End and Whenever You Come Around.
Robin Lee Hatcher has a way with storytelling. The way she weaves it draws me in completely and consumes me. I feel absolutely at home in King's Meadow and I confess to crying when this book ended. No--this book isn't inherently sad. But it is the last of the King's Meadow Romance series. I cannot say I related with the MC of Love Without End, Kimberly. But, boy, did I relate to Charity from Whenever You Come Around. Charity is a writer, faced with a problem I face still. The ultimate writer's block. She wrote one book, a bestseller, but doesn't know how to pick up from there. And then there's Penny. She has lost her brother, a loss that I can completely and absolutely relate to. I've lost siblings I love very dearly. It isn't easy. It's dark and awful and can send a person down a dark path.
Now, I did have a few problems with this book. I did feel that Penny treated Trevor unfairly in the beginning, but her actions are understandable. And it did take me about 15% to really get into this book. But other than that, this was amazing.

FOR THE PARENTS - Mild/low high kissing, no violence, nothing graphic, no cussing, no drinking.


Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/20EmYLy

Read a sample chapter: http://bit.ly/1X0pYQ6


Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heart-warming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. The winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over sixty novels.

Connect with Robin: websiteTwitterFacebook








Also there's a giveaway. Enter it. Click the photo :D


Thursday, February 11, 2016

THE GET-TO-KNOW-ME TAG

Hello, readers! Though I've been blogging for years, you don't completely know me. So here's a tag to help. I was tagged by the amazing and glorious Carlyn Ross
Look! It's me!
VITAL STATS
Name: Lucille Grace Buller (ugh)
Nickname: Lucy. Which is the only thing you can call me :P Or Lu, I suppose. Also #LU is a nickname.
Birthday: April 27, 2001
Place of birth: Newton, KS.
Star sign: ummm, not sure what this is :P
Occupation: I am a student. But I write. And reading counts as an occupation.



APPEARANCE
Hair color: Brown. But I wish it was red.
Hair length: Long. Like, to my hips?
Eye color: Brown. 
Best feature: Definitely my hair. I love my hair. Also my cat. :P
Braces: Nope.
Piercings: In my ears.
Tattoos: I currently have a temporary tattoo on my arm?
Righty or lefty: Righty.
FIRSTS
Best friend: First I remember... Taylor Frahm? She was my best friend when I was, like, 6 or 8. She was probably sixteen? Eighteen?
Award: Ehhhhhh, no.
Sport: I like to think that I can play basketball.
Real holiday: When I was little, our family used to vacation in Toronto, Canada every year.
Concert: CONFESSSSION TIME... I ehehehe I've never been to a concert. *hides*
FAVORITES
Film: I love the Book Thief, If I Stay, Hugo, Whisper of the Heart, The Cat Returns, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, and Pirates of the Caribbean.
TV Show: Merlin. BECAUSE I LOVES IT. Also.... Doctor Who sometimes. And Robin Hood. And ARROWWWWW which is a new obsession. :D
Color: Blue. Like sky-electric-ish blue.
Song: AJDWIJDIUND. How do I choose. Alone Together by Fall Out Boy or Heartbreak Girl by Five Seconds of Summer or SO MANY CHOICES. OR ADAM YOUNG'S NEW SCORE????
Restaurant: I like Jason's Deli a lot. Or Chipotle.
Shop: Book stores, duh.
Books: THE BOOK THIEF. THE TALES OF GOLDSTONE WOOD. THE SELECTION SERIES. THE LUNAR CHRONICLES. ANYTHING BY KASIE WEST. ANYTHING BY BRANDON SANDERSON. THE FIRST TWO THRONE OF GLASS BOOKS.
Shoes: I only own one pair of shoes O_O<3
CURRENTLY
Feeling: Meh. Kind of hot actually. My cat stole the fan.
Single or taken: Single.
Eating: Raisin-cinnamon bread.
Thinking About: Cats. Books. Blogging.
Watching: Re-watching Doctor Who.
Wearing: A purple tanktop and black yoga pants. 
FUTURE
Want children: Some.
Want to be married: Duh.
Careers in mind: Photo journalist, journalist, librarian, publishing person... Mostly publishing person. Also a writer.
Where you want to live: WALES.
DO YOU BELIEVE IN
God: Yes
Miracles: Sometimes.
Love at first sight: Maybe?
Ghosts: Probably not.
Aliens: Maybe?
Soul mates: Yes.
Heaven: Yes.
Hell: Yes.
Kissing on the first date: No.
Yourself: Depends on the day.
I TAG: Sarah @ Dreams and Dragons 
And whoever else sees this! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund


Katharina von Bora has seen nothing but the inside of cloister walls since she was five. In a daring escape, Katharina finds refuge with Martin Luther and seeks his help to pair her with the noble, wealthy husband she desires.
As class tensions and religious conflicts escalate toward the brink of war, Martin Luther believes that each day could be his last and determines he will never take a wife.
As the horrors of the bloody Peasant War break out around them, the proud Katharina and headstrong Martin Luther fight their own battle for true love, in one of the greatest love stories of history.

I'm not quite sure about this book. It kept me reading, had a sort of shippable romance, but it felt… lacking. I haven't read all of Jody's books, but I have read a lot of her recent ones (i.e. An Uncertain Choice, Unexpected Love, Hearts Made Whole, Undaunted Hope (and a less recent one which I forgot the name of :P)). I am a Jody Hedlund fan still, but this book…
My main problem with it is simple. Jody's books dance on the line between sweet love and steamy love. Luther and Katharina's love felt like the latter. I mean, I get it. Married people are steamy. But this book was about Luther proving he had sweet love for Katharina when I felt that what held their relationship together was the steamy love. I don't consider myself an expert on love, but seriously. This didn't feel like love. Their romance felt more like… lust?
HOWEVER. I still liked this book. Historically, it felt very informative and accurate. The storyline rambled a bit, but I won't judge because I've written tons of rambling storylines. The characters were strong, the writing absolutely wonderful. Definitely a four star read for the writing and characters. But kicking off a star for the romance.

FOR THE PARENTS -
Intimacy – This book has much more mature content than any other Hedlund books I've read. Low high kissing, several suggestive scenes, and euphimisms. I wouldn't recommend it to another 14 year old, so maybe 16+?
Cussing – None.
Intoxication – Some.

Violence – Low high. A lot of mentions of rape and blood and violence and kind of sort of graphic at some parts??

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Heir War by Jill Williamson


Part 2 of Jill Williamson's Epic Fantasy Series The Kinsman Chronicles 
With Prince Wilek still searching Armania for a murderer, his brother Prince Trevn finds himself pulled deeper into the dangerous politics of who will be Heir. Trevn, though, is far more interested in his studies with a local priest and the attentions of a young honor maiden.

The book that he has been copying during his lessons is not the book that teaches of the god of the soil. Instead, it teaches of a one true God. If accurate, then it means there is no soil god to satiate. There is nothing they can do to save their world, and all of King Echad's sacrifices have been futile.

The Heir War is collected together with parts 1 and 3 in King's Folly.

Goodness! This book just gets better and better as it goes on! Now, please don't continue if you have not read Darkness Reigns. This review will contain MILD spoilers for that book.
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Now, for those of you reading on.
If I thought Darkness Reigns was good, this book was so much better! I know I said this in my last review, but I'm just going to rehash it. Jill's writing is some of the best I've ever read. It's warm and fuzzy and homey even if it's making you cry and murdering all of your favorite little characters.
And then there's the characters. Ooh, yes! They were wonderful. I really loved Charlon's inner conflict. She had a very interesting character journey and though she's a evil character, I really cared about her. She was driven by absolutely human wants and needs and fears and I don't think her heart's gone quite bad yet.
I would take a moment here to talk about my favorite character, but I couldn't choose one! Jill creates such complex stories and all of her characters shine in their on three-dimensional way. However, I can give special mentions of who I like the most.
Mielle – Because I loved her character voice (which was used more in DR but less in tHW) and how she just helps and loves Trevn.
Trevn – Because he feels and loves and is amazingly well-written and just a guy I'd love to be friends with if he were real.
Willet – I think Willet is technically one of our main characters? So he's definitely a wonderful guy and he's sweet and nice. I really like him.
Sorry that I didn't give much detail on why I like some of these characters! I think one of the reasons is that I feel like these people could be my friends if they were real. And I honestly wish they were! They would make amazing friends.
Overall, I loved the plot, characters, and writing. This book is an amazing read! I was riveted and it left me wanting more. Luckily, I've got the next book on hand to start! (Confession: I already started the next book!)
Five out of five stars!

FOR THE PARENTS -
Like I said for Darkness Reigns, it is part of the culture for the powerful men to have multiple wives, mistresses, and concubines. So that is a big part of the book.
There is mild kissing, and if my memory is correct, it is implied a character sleeps with a different character? Nothing shown, though. Very clean.


*DISCLAIMER: I received an ARC copy of this book in serial form in exchange for my honest opinion.