3 1/2 Stars, High Romance, Low Language, Moderate Violence

My “oh I need to read that” button

I have been having a hard time finding a book that as I read its synopsis pulls at my “oh I need to ready that” button. I have looked around Pinterest on those if you liked this you will like that type of pins and was getting no where until I saw The Jewel by Amy Ewing. I thought now there is a book that looks good. I’m always a fan of the strong female who concurs all!


The Jewel has many meanings: wealth, beauty, royalty. But for Violet, the Jewel has always meant servitude.

Born and raised in the Marsh, Violet is destined for the Jewel. She is trained as a surrogate for the elite and is bought by the Duchess of the Lake at auction. And she quickly learns that beneath the Jewel’s glittering façade lies the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her life…all while fighting for her survival. But before she can accept her fate, Violet meets a handsome boy who is also under the Duchess’s control. A forbidden love sparks.

But their illicit affair has consequences, which will cost them both more than they bargained for. And toeing the line between being calculating and rebellious, Violet must decide what, and who, she is willing to risk for her own freedom.
As I started reading I’ll admit I was a little surprised by some of the mythical parts of the book that I was not expecting but it definitely gave it a twist, and the intrigue was well written.

As I read,  I started to see some parallels to “The Handmaids Tale” which confession: I have read and is most definitely NOT a clean book. Shhh don’t tell my mother 😮 That being said the jewel in my opinion is a YA version of handmaids tale with some of its own twists.

I enjoyed her writing style and how she made it seem realistic even with the slightly magical side of things. My pregnant, full of hormones self had a hard time with how real and cruel she made the royalty a appear, but it was just an example of how well she wrote it as reality.

I got to a point towards the end where I thought why is this girl being so dumb! To the point where I didn’t know if I wanted to read the next but then she did a really good job of cliff hanging the ending just right so now I just have to find out what happens next. –A.B.

Five Stars, High Romance, High Violence, Low Language, Moderate Religion, Tamara Leigh

Faith, Hope, Love

Confession, I love reading about all eras not just my own. I love being taken to what feels like a different world and imagining what it would be like to have lived then. However, at the end of the story I am always very grateful to return to my own era with all the modern conveniences I live with. It’s one of the reasons I love reading so much. It’s fun to escape to another time and place for a few hours.

It’s very hard to find clean reads for the medieval time period. A ways back I stumbled upon Tamara Leigh‘s Age of Faith series and was pleasantly surprised. I love her ability to tell a story. She weaves all of their lives together effortlessly and manages to discuss heavy and hard topics while infusing her novels with the feel of faith, hope, redemption and love. She just released the 7th book, The Awakening, in the Age of Faith series.

THE AWAKENING: A Medieval Romance (Age Of Faith Book 7) by [Leigh, Tamara]

Even if she must sell herself in marriage to the highest bidder, Lady Laura Middleton is determined to provide her daughter a home and protector. But when Queen Eleanor presents her cousin with four suitors, among them is one who believes Laura betrayed him ten years past. Despite her attempts to discourage his pursuit, he is determined to have her for the dowry needed to save his lands. Should he prevail, how is she to shield her daughter from the enemy who lurks within his walls? And what of her heart? If she reveals the truth of her betrayal, might he love her again?

Beware the Delilah, my son. Beware the Jezebel—advice Baron Lothaire Soames should have heeded as a young man. Now in need of funds, he faces marriage to the woman he lost to scandal. Though he vows to find another way to return prosperity to his lands, his former betrothed proves his only hope and he grudgingly vies to become her worthiest suitor—only to be struck by how little it takes his heart to pick up where it left off. Can he forgive what cannot be forgotten? More, will she forever yearn for the man who fathered her child?”

This book, though dealing with very difficult topics was a good reminder to not judge others, to be forgiving and that God can heal broken things. I am not sure how she does this, but Tamara manages to do it all with out being preachy. Laura, the Heroine, throughout the novel talks about being “awake” now. She went through something that was truly horrible that made her a shell of herself. But little by little throughout the story she wakes up more and more to live her life. I love how she uses that imagery. She also does it with water and how Laura just wants to feel clean.  I love how in the end it is Lothaire, her twice betrothed whom helps her realize she is and always was clean. All of these add up to why I love Tamara’s writing.

This book is a little higher in the violence and romance ratings than we normally read, but not so much to be in our won’t read category. -M.V.



High Romance, High Violence, Low Language, Three Stars

If I was a Super Hero

Confession: If I could have any super power, I would want the ability to tell if those around me were telling the truth or not. I hate being lied to and deceived. I however wouldn’t want to take it so far as to mind reading, I don’t want to know everything people are thinking, I wouldn’t want to filter through all the negativity.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore is a book all about “super powers” or as they call it, being “graced”.

“Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the Seven Kingdoms where selected people are born with a Grace, a special talent that can be anything at all. Katsa’s Grace is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his brutal enforcer. Until the day she meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, and Katsa’s life begins to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.”

There was a lot about this book that I enjoyed. I love stories that show the strength of women. The idea that a young woman who is being used for someone else’s gain can over coming the evil and be an example for good. The author did a good job with conflict in the love and romance, but it was a little on the high side. The writing kept me interested in the story and though detailed I never felt it was wordy. The part I had the hardest time with was the bad guy factor. He was a little to disturbing for me. So keep those things in mind if you want to give it a try. –A.B