Review: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

TitleThe Book of Ivy
Author:  Amy Engel
Publisher/Year:  Entangled Publishing 11/11/14
Length:  227 Pages
Series:  The Book of Ivy #1

Overview

What would you kill for?

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and return the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

My Thoughts

I’m a fan of this genre, looking into the future when we know that man kind will wipe out society as we know it, and when things return back to what it was like before technology, with different rules in place to keep peace, it makes you realize that maybe we’re all going to be lost and up a creek without a paddle if that day ever comes.

So we start this story in a point that’s roughly 10 years into the future from where we are now, which is kind of scary. Nuclear war has wiped out much of America, and there are so few people left that we know of because of what happened, and that means that there are only a few left to live in a town that was itself once divided.

There was war in this town to determine how it would be run, some were for democracy and some were for one ruler who was president and set the laws. That side one, and what it means is that there are families who draw a line in life. As a result of this divide, there’s a tradition that every year olds marry someone from the other side in the hopes that war will be avoided since it means that everyone would be warring with their loved ones, and there’s hope that marrying people off at a young age will allow for a higher chance to have more children who are healthy and can revive the country.

The president’s son has managed to delay his marriage because he’s the President’s son, but as such, he has to marry the daughter of the founder of the losing side. The irony here is that the Westfalls, the losing side, have a daughter that’s the same age as Bishop, but he delays his marriage to wed the younger daughter. As we all know, it’s always the younger daughter that’s been the spare in life, and that means that her value is unexpected, undervalued, and well, everyone thinks she’s less worthy. Everyone except for Bishop. We learn his motivation later in the story and it gives you hope.

Ivy is our leading lady, sixteen and forced to marry a man she doesn’t know, whom she hates because of who he is and what his family has done to hers, and at the same time, there are pieces of this tradition that give her freedom. That get her away from what her father and sister have been forcing her into, and gives her the opportunity to grow her own wings.

Bishop is the son of the President, a boy that everyone looks to as the future of society, and a boy who has different feelings on how things should be than his father, but he’s biding his time so that he’s able to make changes.

The development of their relationship is on par with what we see in other stories in this genre. Bishop isn’t what we expected and as such, he gives Ivy time to adjust, gives her a chance to get comfortable with him, to let some type of relationship grow and develop and hopefully make it into a marriage that’s more than in just name only.

The challenge here though is that Ivy’s family has revenge in their minds. They want to take power back from Bishop’s family and the only way to do that is for Ivy to kill Bishop and then for her father and sister to kill the President and take power over. The journey that we go on here is one where we hope there’s a way to change minds, or to avoid doing things that will go too far, but we also know that will never happen.

There are similarities of this story and several others though where there’s a fence that surrounds their community. The fence is the edge of civilization, and outside of that is deemed unsafe, uninhabitable and that’s where they put people out who break laws. From what we’ve seen in other stories, there’s far more out there than anyone knows, and it’s far more civilized, but that’s not for book 1 i don’t think.

What we worry about here though are the hopes and dreams that both Ivy and Bishop share. They both crave to know what’s out there, to see the ocean and to be free. That means that some how we know that they will go outside the fence but we don’t know the circumstances and if they will succeed, survive etc. What we do know though is that this story lets us off at the fence. One on one side and one on another, with limited hope of resolution or success. Too much is at stake for anyone to go against beliefs, but too much is at stake to sit and do nothing.

So on that note, i can’t wait to get into the second book here since i’m really curious how things will turn out. People are planting ideas, people are planting lies, and those who are in power are abusing it for their own worth. I can’t wait to see what’s next. Enjoy!

Review: Sweet Nothing by Jamie McGuire and Teresa Mummert

No-Brainer

Title:  Sweet Nothing
Author: Jamie McGuire and Teresa Mummert
Publisher/Year: Jamie McGuire 11/1/15
Length:  251 Pages

Overview

It is enough to break any man: watching what could have been my future slip away before it was ever in my grasp. The possibility of losing someone I loved before she was even mine is something I never would have imagined—certainly nothing I’d ever wish on anyone. I went to her every day and waited. Waited for the impossible, for a sign, for her to look at me … hoping sinners are granted miracles, too.

Just one glimpse of him was all it took. In the next lane, at a stop light, was the man I would fall in love with and marry. People talk about love that takes time—the kind you fall in to. We were more like a crash and burn. When our lives intertwined, I knew I would never be the same. He was the man I would cherish the rest of my life, who would father my children. In an instant our life together began, and in an instant it would end. The late nights; the excuses; the lies. And in the blink of an eye, it was like we never were.

For the first time, experience a heartfelt, jaw-dropping novel by New York Times bestsellers Jamie McGuire and Teresa Mummert.

When you think you know what’s happening, you’re only half way there.

My Thoughts

I’m a HUGE fan of Ms Mcguires so i was really excited that i was going to get another book from her mind.  What we have here though takes us to a place that is so unexpected and quite confusing.

We have our leads, Avery and Josh – who are both working in similar situations to one another and that’s what in essence brings them together.  Josh is a paramedic and Avery is an ER nurse so their paths cross, but they are so different that it’s inevitable that they are going to come together.

Josh has a bit of a reputation in the hospital that he’ll seduce and sleep with any nurse, and we know that Avery has been rather stand-offish.  with that in mind, you KNOW that when and if they get together, it’ll be explosive!

It takes an accident to bring them together, and it’s how the saying goes, you don’t know what you have until you lose it, and that’s really where our story takes shape.  it almost goes too smoothly throughout their romance, finding that they have their own haunted pasts that get them to where they are in life, and then coming together with such honesty and passion that it gets better and better.  Throw in a few issues w/ Trust from Avery and well, you get the typically lovely romance story.

It’s not until the last few chapters that you really get thrown for a loop.  Honestly, i had a lot of trouble really understanding what was happening, we see Avery waking up from an accident and we learn that there’s so much that she’s confused about which makes us even more confused.  Then there’s the whole issue with Josh and what his role is during these final chapters as well.

I had to check out a spoiler forum from one of the authors to really understand where the direction came from for this finale and i think that i get it now, but it wasn’t at all what i was expecting although i should have been.  The other sad bit is that i was hoping that this was an intro to a story since we learned so much about Deb and Quinn throughout but it doesn’t sound like that’s in the works.  I hope they change their minds.

On that note – it’s really a sweet story and one that really falls into place in Jamie McGuires library.  I’m def interested in seeing what else the other author has to read as well – Teresa Mummert is someone worth paying some attention to.  On that note, have a great rest of your sunday and GO JETS! (sorry – couldn’t help it!)

Review: Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3) by Tehereh Mafi

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Title: Ignite Me
Author:  Tehereh Mafi
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins 2/4/14
Length: 416 Pages
Series: Shatter Me Trilogy #3

Overview

One day I might break
One day I might break free

Nothing will ever be the same.

The fate of Omega Point is unknown. Everyone Juliette has ever cared about could be dead. The war could be over before it ever really began.

Juliette is the only one standing in The Reestablishment’s way. She knows that if she’s going to survive, The Reestablishment cannot.

But to take down The Reestablishment and the man who very nearly killed her, Juliette will need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together to bring down their enemy, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew—about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam—was wrong.

One day I might break
One day I might break free

Nothing will ever be the same.

The fate of Omega Point is unknown. Everyone Juliette has ever cared about could be dead. The war could be over before it ever really began.

Juliette is the only one standing in The Reestablishment’s way. She knows that if she’s going to survive, The Reestablishment cannot.

But to take down The Reestablishment and the man who very nearly killed her, Juliette will need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together to bring down their enemy, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew—about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam—was wrong.

My Thoughts

I was sooo excited when this final installment in the trilogy finally became available in my library.  it’s like after all that we have gone through with these guys, discovering that there are people out there that have super powers, a complicated love triangle, assumptions of people’s deaths – i knew that we were going to get a great story out of Ms. Mafi.

We pick up right where Fracture Me leaves us off.  Omega Point has been destroyed, Juliette has been killed/kidnapped depending on who you are talking to, and there are very few survivors among the Omega Point folks.  It’s chaos, and destruction all around.

One of the over-arching things that we get in this book is the sense of self that Juliette finally has.  She’s come to terms with what she is and finally realizes that she’s not weak and insignificant.  She comes into her own, and decides that she is going to take action since she’s the one with the most strength, (mental and physical) and she’s going to somehow get her friends to help her.  The decision is to overthrow the Re-Establishment which is no easy task.  Warner is on her side, but Adam, well, that’s an entirely different story.

This love triangle between them makes things so much more complicated.  J knows how she feels about Adam, which isn’t quite the same as he feels about her, and Warner has proclaimed his love for her, but J isn’t sure if that’s what she feels or if she’s in a place to be able to reciprocate.  That’s definitely one of the big themes of the story as well.

Kenji, Kenji, Kenji …..he brings a certain level of humor and levity to this story which is really needed at times since there’s so much despair that we get through this story.  I actually laughed out loud.  His sense of humor is so overt that it’s a welcome distraction. He also continues to be a certain strength that’s core to the story that I’m glad that the author decided to continue to focus on him.

So….what we really have is a final installment where there’s a coming of age of a sense, knew information coming to a head about family ties, secrets revealed, and a whole lot of stress about who’s going to survive, which side will win and what that means for the friends.

I really enjoyed where this story took us, but i do have to say that the ending left me a little wanting.  It felt kind of like it was open – based on the last few lines that were written.  I just wonder if it was done on purpose – so that we could get an additional novella or something, but the acknowledgements in the back didn’t imply such a thing.  There were also a few questions left out there for me, and a few things that were a bit too tidy.

1) how come James was always so safe and innocent?  Yes, he’s 10, but i feel like 10 year olds these days know a lot about what’s going on around them, and if this is in the future, 10 is like the new 16

2) who was that guy with Anderson on the ship?  why did J recognize him?

3) what’s going to happen next?  i feel like there’s a good story there

Anyway, i’m really happy that i took the journey with this story if for no other reason than to see J and Adam and Warner grow up.  There’s an added level of maturity in this installment since we see a relationship go to another level – in a PG-13 sort of way 🙂  I hope you guys enjoy it as much as i did!

Review: Between Boyfriends by Sarka-Jonae Miller

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Title:  Between Boyfriends
Author: Sarka-Jonae Miller
Publisher/Year:  Liberty Co 11/7/13
Length:  296 pages

Overview

At first glance, twenty-one-year-old Jan Weston has it all: a gorgeous boyfriend, fun friends, and wealthy parents who take care of all those pesky credit card bills. Then her boyfriend dumps her, her friendships fall apart, and her parents cut her off. Suddenly without money, without a man, and without a plan, it’s time for Jan to grow up. Determined to get her life back on track, Jan decides it’s time to make it on her own. Can she find her way as a single lady in San Diego? Can she fix her friendships, her job prospects, and her hair? And can she keep her vow that she’ll never date again, even after she meets a guy who just might be perfect for her?

My Thoughts

You get what you expect here, a coming of age/maturity journey of Jan an early 20 something who’s really coming to terms with who she is and what she’s made of her life so far.

This story starts off with Jan getting dumped by her boyfriend of 8 months and she falls into a bit of a depression.  What opens her eyes though is that while she’s wallowing, she goes into her bathroom to clean herself up and realizes that she’s got tons of reminders of exes of her past in her cabinets and drawers.  i.e. brushes, gels, shampoos, all sorts of things.  What this does for her is makes her realize that maybe she’s been with people for so long that she doesn’t know who she is or what value she has in life and decides that she’s going to remain single indefinitely.  Her ‘best friends’ think that it’s something that can’t be done and wage a little bet on it even.

One of the challenges here for Jan is that she’s really had quite an easy life.  Her father pampers her and gives her whatever she wants.  i.e. financial support since he’s not the emotional support kind of guy.  Where this becomes a problem though is when Jan’s mother finds out what Jan has really been up to – dropping out of state college and going to massage school and makes her pay the money back.  This layered on top of everything makes life really hard for her.

I think that throughout this story you want to root for a big change in Jan, and expect that it’ll happen but hope that it won’t be too easy so that she’ll learn a good life lesson.  She goes through stages where she starts to alienate friends and is even ok with it, but finds her way back to being healthy and smart.

I can’t say that this story was earth shattering and game changing, but it was a nice young adult read that shows you the challenges that a spoiled girl has in life when she wants to become something more…something better.

ARC Review: Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harbison

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Title:  Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger
Author: Beth Harbison
Publisher/Year:  St Martin Press 7/9/13
Length:  247 pages

Overview

Ten years ago, Quinn Barton was on her way to the altar to marry Burke Morrison, her high school sweetheart, when something derailed her. Rather, someone derailed her—the Best Man who at the last minute begged her to reconsider the marriage. He told her that Burke had been cheating on her. For a long time. Quinn, stunned, hurt, and confused, struggled with the obligation of fulfilling her guests’ expectations—providing a wedding—and running for her life.

She chose running. With the Best Man. Who happened to be Burke’s brother, Frank.

That relationship didn’t work either. How could it, when Quinn had been engaged to, in love with, Frank’s brother? Quinn opted for neither, and, instead, spends the next seventeen years working in her family’s Middleburg, Virginia, bridal shop, Talk of the Gown, where she subconsciously does penance for the disservice she did to marriage.

But when the two men return to town for another wedding, old anger, hurt, and passion resurface. Just because you’ve traded the good guy for the bad guy for no guy doesn’t mean you have to stay away from love for the rest of your life, does it? Told with Beth Harbison’s flair for humor and heart, Chose the Wrong Guy will keep you guessing and make you believe in the possibilities of love.

My Thoughts

Beth Harbison has  become one of my favorite Contemporary or Young Adult authors because the stories are simple enough to follow and digest, even believe, but there’s a sense of romanticism to them and you just want to root for what seems to be the underdog.

In this story, we are taken through Quinn’s journey both past and present.  we’re given flashbacks of her life with Burke pre-wedding disaster, and then we get to see what her life has become through the decade that’s passed.

What i really enjoyed here is that we see that she’s a strong independent woman, but she hasn’t been able to really get past what happened to her.  She’s constantly reminded of Burke because she lives in the same town and sees his family (grandmother at least) who she adores, and that’s a constant thorn in her side.

Of course there’s the sexy hot older brother that played a key role in the disaster of her wedding day, and it’s always curious to see what will come of it.  What i also enjoyed here was that there was a great story to bring everyone back together.  Romance, another wedding, and the fear that something less than transparent was happening.

All throughout this story, we get the hilarious gay best friend Glenn who has made it his life’s goal to shake some sense into Quinn and gets her to do a different task a day for a month in the hopes that it’ll bring her to reality.  Does it?  that’s a VERY good question.  All i can say is that things don’t always go as planned – and it’s quite entertaining.

So my questions

1) What happens with Quinn and her jadedness?

2) Should we be worried about Dottie and Lyle?

3) who do you like more for Quinn:  Burke or Frank?

4) Is Glenn really happy?

so, nothing too deep, but rather entertaining to say the least.

Review: Requiem (Delirium book 3) by Lauren Oliver

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Title:  Requiem
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishers 3/5/13
Length:  267 pages
Series: Delirium #3

Overview

This exciting finale to Lauren Oliver’s New York Times bestselling Delirium trilogy is a riveting blend of nonstop action and forbidden romance in a dystopian United States.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway inPandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

With lyrical writing, Lauren Oliver seamlessly interweaves the peril that Lena faces with the inner tumult she experiences after the reappearance of her first love, Alex, the boy she thought was dead. Sophisticated and wide-ranging, Requiem brings the Delirium trilogy to a thrilling conclusion.

My Thoughts

You guys can only imagine how long i was waiting for this book to come out – i was sitting on the edge of my seat to get it and trying to get through my re-reads of books 1 and 2 so that i was fully up to speed with what was going on.  finally – 2 days ago i started reading Requiem and i’m not quite sure what i think about it.

So at the end of Pandemonium (book 2), Lena and Julian find out that they were pawns for Raven/Tack and the resistance.  it was known that they would be captured by the Scavengers who were working for the DFA (how backwards). ….so lena wasn’t very happy with the situation all around.  Amidst all this though, she found that she had growing feelings for Julian and started to develop their relationship a bit.  The challenge being that Alex still holds her heart and Julian was basically giving his to her.  Teenage Angst right?

So, at the beginning of Requiem, we’re at the camp where Alex is now part of the group, and there’s all sorts of uncomfortable ness going on.  Alex is hurt that he held on to the thought that Lena was waiting for him and when he walks in and sees that it’s not the case, he’s bitter.  Mind you Lena WAS holding on to the hope that Alex was some how ok yet she assumed he was dead since she saw him get shot and captured at the end of Delirium.  All that being said, lots of confusion and no one is happy.

So, throughout Requiem, we have the cooling off of the Lena/Julian relationship, the avoidance of Alex/Lena, and then a new girl comes along that steals Alex’s attention which pisses Lena off so then we have Alex/Coral.  Lena is quite jealous and that’s something that manifests itself throughout the story as well.

What i liked about this story though is that we go back and forth not between ‘now and then’ like we did in book 2 but between Lena and Hana since their stories are going on at the same time.  Hana’s been ‘cured’ and she’s slated to marry Fred Hargrove who is the new mayor of the town (his father was the old mayor but was killed in the Incidents).  In any event, Hana’s life isn’t as glorious as it once was…yes compared to material things it’s just as grand, but the cure didn’t work as it should and she’s not happy in her situation.  she’s also finding out things about her life and her match that are unsettling and cause her to re-evaluate just about everything.

As we go back and forth between the stories, i keep wondering if they will intercept.  i assume they will but the stories go on completely different journeys.  you learn things about each person that you didn;t expect and you get to see a bit more background of other characters which is nice.

While we’re watching things unfold in both worlds, we see that Portland is the meeting point.  The Resistance are planning an attack to breach the city that Lena grew up in and met Alex in, and Hana is still living there and is planning her wedding.  Things go down in Portland – that’s for sure.

To sum it up though, i’m a bit upset about how the ending netted out, and i’m wondering if there will be a book 4 since i think that the ending fell quite a bit short.

BEWARE OF POTENTIAL SPOILERS IN MY QUESTIONS BELOW 

1) What happens with Lena/Alex?

2) What happens with Julian?

3) What’s next for Hana?

4) What about Grace/Bee?

5) what happens to Fred?  did he stay home like Hana asked?

6) really – what happens with Portland and the cities?  and what role will the resistance play in the future

Review: Uglies (Uglies Series Book 1) by Scott Westerfeld

We all clearly know by now that i’m a HUGE fan of all things dystopian and while i’m waiting for January 22nd to roll around so i can read the follow up to Legend by Marie Lu (book 2 being Prodigy), i stumbled across Uglies which is in fact quite a good book 1 of the series.

Tally Youngblood is our lead female and we meet her when she’s on the cusp of her 16th birthday – the turning point for EVERYONE in civilization because that’s the birthday when you are turned from being an ‘ugly’ to being a ‘pretty’.  The mindset here is that one of the key drivers to the downfall of past civilization (namely ours at present) is that people didn’t look the same and therefore there was a lot of jealousy and things weren’t fair.  see….we know this to an extent, yet in Uglies – they actually take a step towards making everyone the same.

So…Tally is one of the last in her class to turn 16 so she’s quite lonely in ‘Uglytown’.  Her best friend Peris (a guy actually) has already turned and she’s constantly wondering if he’s going to care about her, if e misses her and if there’s a future for them…as friends or whatever.  So as she used to do quite often and as she does a bit now still, she sneaks across the river to ‘New Pretty town” – the part of the city that they have set aside for folks that have JUST been turned pretty – aka.  ‘new pretties’ and tries to see if she can find him.  What she finds is that yes, Peris does recognize her, and she him, and he ‘says’ that he can’t wait for her to turn, but that he doesn’t want her coming back to the city until she’s pretty.  This leaves Tally feeling even more rejected.  So – to make her escape back to Ugly town (because it’s a HUGE CRIME to be in Pretty Town when you’re an ugly) she has to pull a trick, causes alarms to sound, and rushes back to her home.  On her trip, she encounters Shay, another girl who’s the exact same age as her, and is in the same habit of sneaking across the river to see how things are.

Shay is our next main character.  Shay has this idea in her head from many of her friends that there’s an alternative to turning pretty and that in fact it’s a really bad thing to become pretty.  She’s heard from friends and seen for herself that there’s a group of people who’ve runaway and gone to live in the Smoke.  she herself hasn’t actually been to the Smoke ,but she’s met people who are from there and even knows their ‘leader’ David.  She tries to convince Tally that it’s much better to go to the Smoke and teaches Tally all she can so that Tally will come with her.

Alas, this is all for naught since Tally actually WANTS to be pretty and wants to join her friends in New Pretty Town.  Shay decides to runaway any way and from that point on, no one’s life is the same.  Shay leaves directions for Tally in case she has a change of heart and kind of prays that it’s the case since they’ve grown close in such a short time.

See….Special Circumstances has been watching the situation with Shay and her friends – noticing that there were bunches of runaways and hearing about The Smoke.  They in a sense FORCE Tally to work with them to find the Smoke and tell her that they won’t turn her pretty unless she helps them find the Smoke.  So…she agrees….and that’s when things get exciting for Tally.

So here are the questions on where the story goes:

1) What happens for Tally?  Does she make it to the smoke?  Does she help out Special Circumstances? Does she turn Pretty?

2) Now that we’ve met Shay, David and Peris, what is their story and how does it unfold?

3) What’s the deal with the Pretties?  Are they all Happy all the time?

so…now my only sadness is that Pretties (book 2) and Specials (book 3) aren’t available in Nook book ebook from Barnes and Nobles so i have to figure out a way to get my hands on the next installments cause i REALLY want to know how things unfold.  It’s definitely going to be interesting based on how the last few chapters of Uglies unfurled.  There were many twists and turns that i was expecting, yet that didn’t take away from the anxiety.

Review: Gabriel’s Inferno (Gabriel’s Inferno #1) by Sylvain Reynard

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Title:  Gabriel’s Inferno
Author: Sylvain Reynard
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Group (USA) 9/4/12
Length:  560 pages
Series: Gabriel’s Inferno #1

Overview

From national bestselling author Sylvain Reynard comes the haunting, unforgettable tale of one man’s salvation and one woman’s sensual awakening . . .

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well-respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.

When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.

An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love, and redemption, Gabriel’s Inferno is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man’s escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible—forgiveness and love.

My Thoughts

alas i’ve found myself back into a ‘romance’ inspired series, but i have to say that i left these 2 books significantly more intelligent than i went in.  with Book 1’s title Gabriel’s Inferno, i had visions of Dante’s inferno, and i was completely on target with that one. it’s really nice to read a story that has as much passion and depth as a dante inspiration.  i also love that we’re immediately introduced to the characters as the modern Dante and Beatrice.

so here’s how it shakes down:

Gabriel – he is our brooding male lead, also known as ‘Professor’.  he’s young, handsome, powerful, smart, and well of course very very troubled.  He’s got a past that we don’t actually get the entire picture of even through both Gabriel’s Inferno or Gabriel’s Rapture.  we get a glimpse, but not the whole story.  he’s adopted, troubled, and tries to turn his life around – question is – does he succeed?  that’s why you must read.

Julia is our female lead – and the girl that we always want to root for in these types of stories.  she’s very innocent of course, and even a virgin (big surprise there right?) but she comes into her own skin as these stories progress.  We know that her life wasn’t the easiest as she was growing up either, and that’s kind of what shapes her whole story.

interesting fun facts that we find out in book 1:

1) Gabriel and Julia met when she was 17…..because her best friend is Gabriel’s brother.  but….Gabriel has no idea who she is when she turns up in his graduate level seminar.  reason?  (you must read to find out)

2) Gabriel has a tattoo over his heart with initials or a name…what’s the story there…and how does that relate to the ‘bursary’ that he bestows on Julia when he tries to help her out financially?

Gabriel’s Inferno brings these characters together through a bit of a round about way.  she enrolls in his class, and he doesn’t know who she is at first…and of course she won’t tell him.  it takes his sister/her best friend visiting to uncover some of that….yet – it’s still not that easy.  we know that Julia is in love with him, and has been for years, but does that ever get resolved?

Gabriel’s Rapture – book 2 takes us on a continuation of their tale, picking up at a really juicy spot actually.  and i’m not saying juicy from a sexual aspect.  there’s a lot going on that book 2 does a really good job talking about.

**potential spoiler alert**

so we know from the first book that there’s an issue with professor/student relationships and we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop all book 1.  we find that to some extend the shoe drops in book 2 – but how and how does that effect each of the characters?

what i lOVED about Gabriel’s Rapture is that it took you in a direction that you expect, but the story there is so unexpected.  i’m used to things being tied up in a nice little bow right off the bat and in this case, you’re really forced to keep from skipping to the end of the book to find the resolution since there’s so much greatness going on with both Gabriel and Julia separately.

anyway – i read that there may be a book 3 in the works and if that’s true then i’m thrilled.  Professor and the Student really were great at drawing me in, and i can’t wait to hear more of their tale