Saturday, November 14, 2015

86 Bloomberg Place Book Series Review

   I stumbled upon this series a year or two ago when I purchased the third book in the series at a used book sale. It ended up on my giant to-be-read bookshelf, and I forgot about it. I recently tracked down the first book of the series and decided to read the series ASAP.
Warning: There may be a *few* spoilers contained in this post, but I tried my hardest not to give too much away.

Series Synopsis
   This series centers on four post-college girls who are trying to make sense of life. The books are I Heart Bloomberg, Let Them Eat Fruitcake, Spring Broke, and Three Weddings & a Bar Mitzvah. In the first book, Megan, Anna, and Lelani apply to live at Kendall's (grandma's) house. They become roommates and start to form friendships even though Kendall is a narcissistic drama queen who keeps threatening to throw them out.
   In Let Them Eat Fruitcake, the girls plan for an upcoming Christmas party while dealing with various curve balls thrown their way. The Christmas season seems to bring the girls closer as they learn more about each other. Anna has to choose between her ex and the current guy she's dating. Megan is trying to survive her first holiday season without her dad. Kendall is obsessing over an unattainable guy, while Lelani's trying to figure out whether or not she should go home for Christmas.
   Spring Broke follows the girls as they make plans for spring break. Kendall is officially broke so she (with the rest of the girls' help) decides to host a garage sale. Lelani considers going home to see her parents and daughter. Anna is trying to convince her family that even though Edmond isn't Mexican, he is still a great guy, and she is old enough to make her own decisions about her life. Megan is still struggling with whether or not she should be dating the cute non-Christian Marcus. The girls, along with Marcus, Edmond, and Gil, all end up in Maui where there is a lot of drama.
   The last book, Three Weddings & a Bar Mitzvah, details the time leading up to a crazy weekend in June. Megan's boyfriend takes off for Africa, and she contemplates their relationship. Kendall is working through her pregnancy and her long-distance relationship with Killiki. Lelani is balancing work, taking care of Emma, and her relationship with Gil and his (sometimes difficult) family. Anna is trying to retain her freedom from her family while trying to figure out if her and Edmond have broken up. All of the girls are also stressing about the fact that two of them are to be married on the same day!

My Favourite Quotes
   "...the Queen B (as in B rhymes with witch)." I Heart Bloomberg page 179. I found this to be very funny and a perfect explanation of Kendall in this book, even though this quote isn't referring to her. This is how Christian authors bypass swearing! ;)
   " 'Amelia is such an idiot.' Of course, she smiled as she said this, giving a dainty little finger wave to Amelia as they drove in opposite directions down the street." Let Them Eat Fruitcake page 85. This is the perfect summary of Kendall. Plus, this whole scene made me laugh and shake my head. Kendall is so clueless for most of the series.
   " ' It's like you're a designer original,' Megan said finally. 'God designed you perfectly and paid top dollar for you.' " Spring Broke page 174. This quote just got to me. Sometimes, I forget how precious we are as God's children. I love books that have a good story line, but also subtly remind me of God's love.
   "He [God] had truly knit their hearts together." Three Weddings & a Bar Mitzvah page 294. This is a perfect end to the series. It makes me think of that one song about friends by Michael W. Smith.

My Review
   I loved all of the books in this series! I wish it could have been longer, but the ending was really great. The first book was more of an introduction to all of the characters. I liked getting the majority of their background info from this book, but still being surprised by revelations later on in the series. The second deals with the stress of the holidays and how the girls are affected. We also see more of Kendall's idiosyncrasies, which get her into a lot of trouble. Anna dealt with some really hard stuff, and I think it helped her grow up a bit more too. There was a lot more going on in this book than there was in the first one. The third book is all about planning and going to Hawaii. There was a lot of shuffling regarding who was going to Hawaii, and who was staying behind. In the end, everyone went and they all had a part in supporting Lelani's confrontation with her parents. Mrs. Potter was atrocious. She made Mrs. Mendez (Anna's mom) look like a saint! The forth book was a really great conclusion for the whole series. We meet most of Kendall's immediate family, which really explained Kendall's previous (spoiled) outlook on life. Most questions were answered, and there was a teary goodbye. Overall, this series was very captivating.
   My favorite of the four books would have to be Spring Broke, the third book in the series. It was also cool to see everyone in a different setting supporting one of their friends. I think everyone really grew on this trip, especially Kendall! Like I've mentioned before, up to this point I found Kendall to be insufferable, but by the end of this book, I actually liked her.
   This series was amazing, and I can't wait to read it again. Are there any new adult series that you love?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Darkness Reigns by Jill Williamson

   I follow many authors through Facebook, Twitter, and their own blogs. Through one of those, I found out that Jill Williamson was looking to put together a launch team for her upcoming series. I applied and found out a few weeks later that I was accepted! I read the book, Darkness Reigns, as soon as I could, and I couldn't wait to share my thoughts on it with you!

   The god of the soil is furious. Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, earthquakes--everything points to his unhappiness. At least this is what the people of Armania in the Five Realms believe.
   Amidst the unsettling state of the world around them, the princes of Armania live their lives focused more on who will claim the throne after their sickly father, King Echad, dies. That is until Prince Wilek's concubine turns up dead--beside her, a bloodied message that seems to have come from the mother realms.

My Review
   This book is a must read for anyone who like clean, fantasy reads. It was extremely hard for me to put down. The plot was enchanting and easy to follow. It was fast-paced and interesting. There was action right from the beginning. The characters were very well-rounded and real, even though this story was on the short side. I often have trouble keeping track of multiple characters, but that was not an issue with this book. Jill Williamson did an amazing job of making the characters easy to follow. Plus, the character list in the beginning of the book was extremely helpful as well. One of the reasons I love this book is because it's hard (at least for me) to find clean fantasy novels. I love books that deal with various mythologies and different realms. There is even a bit of magic in this book as well. One of the best parts of the book was all of the detailed descriptions. "A face like a cabbage" (found on page 136 of Darkness Reigns) was just one of the more remarkable descriptions found in the book. There were only two things that confused me in this book. It often mentioned first sleep, but it was never explained what it is. I'm assuming it meant a nap time, but I wasn't entirely sure. The second thing it mentioned was morning bells. I didn't know if these rang at dawn or a specific time every morning. Other than that, this book was straightforward and a lot of fun to read!
   My favorite character is definitely Mielle. I love heroines who have a lot of spunk and think for themselves. She is not a damsel in distress. Plus, she easily sticks up for Lady Zeroah, even though they literally just met, which shows true loyalty. She is also not afraid to stick to her moral beliefs. I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead for her in this series.
   This book is set to release on December 1st of 2015. 
   I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.