Top 15 Summer Beach Reads

Top 15 Summer Reads

From a gripping and suspenseful mystery to a breezy contemporary romance – grab a great book and get reading this summer! Here are my recommendations:

The Waking Land by Callie Bates – June 27th

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

If you loved Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (I did!), then you’re definitely going to want to check out this magical new story by Callie Bates:

Lady Elanna is fiercely devoted to the king who raised her like a daughter. But when he dies under mysterious circumstances, Elanna is accused of his murder—and must flee for her life.

Returning to the homeland of magical legends she has forsaken, Elanna is forced to reckon with her despised, estranged father, branded a traitor long ago. Feeling a strange, deep connection to the natural world, she also must face the truth about the forces she has always denied or disdained as superstition—powers that suddenly stir within her.

But an all-too-human threat is drawing near, determined to exact vengeance. Now Elanna has no choice but to lead a rebellion against the kingdom to which she once gave her allegiance. Trapped between divided loyalties, she must summon the courage to confront a destiny that could tear her apart.

Read more here.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I love this book so, so much. You want an ideal beach read? This is the book you are looking for.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

Read more here.

Dating You/Hating You by Christina Lauren

Dating You Hating You by Christina Lauren

Ever since I read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne I’ve developed a warm appreciation for love/hate contemporary fiction. Although, to be fair, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is where I really got hooked. In this new novel by Christina Lauren, Carter and Evie – agents at two competing firms in Hollywood – hit things off at a Holloween Party. But when their firms merge and they end up vying for the same position, all bets are off and their romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage.

Whether these two Hollywood love-hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending or just a dramedy of epic proportions, readers will get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, raucous, and hilarious romance style at its finest.

Read more here.

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy – July 4th

The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Looking for a YA fantasy/mystery? Keep an eye out for Emily Bain Murphy’s debut novel, The Disappearances!

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind. 

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

Read more here.

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland – June 29th

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

Written by YouTube lifestyle personality, Louise Pentland, Wilde Like Me promises to be as lovable and candid as the woman herself.

Single mum Robin Wilde adores her six-year-old daughter and loves her job as a make up artist’s assistant. She has a wonderful best friend and an auntie who is bonkers, yes, but loves her to the moon and back.

But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things just feel … grey. And lonely. She struggles to fit in with the school mum crew. Online dating is totally despair-inducing, and she worries every day about raising her little girl with self-confidence, courage and joy.

What Robin longs for is someone (over the age of six) to share with – someone who’s always on her team.

After 4 years (2 months, and 15 days!) of single-mum-dom, it’s time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life.

Exciting new opportunities are about to come Robin’s way … Perhaps a man, perhaps the chance of a lifetime …

What will Robin do with the possibilities she creates for herself? And what potential will she unlock if she takes the leap?

Read more here.

Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor – August 1st

Sparks of Life

The sequel to one of my favorite reads of last year (which was blurbed by Outlander’s Diana Gabaldon herself), Sparks of Light continues the adventure where Into the Dim left us avid readers:

For the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends, a (maybe) boyfriend, and she’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plot to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the often-treacherous glitterati of 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew discover that among high society, the Gilded Age is as deadly as it is beautiful.

Read more here.

The Girl Before: A Novel by JP Delaney

The Girl Before by JP Delaney

If you like to spend your idle sunbathing hours with a suspenseful thriller (or if you really liked Gone Girl), then you’re going to love The Girl Before by JP Delaney.

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before.

P.S. This book is slated to become a major motion picture directed by Ron Howard, so read it before it hits theaters!

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennet

Alex Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Young adult readers will love this charming “teen spin on You’ve Got Mail”:

Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online by “Alex.” Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new arch-nemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever-it-is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

Read more here.

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A Flynn

An unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved authors: researchers Rachel and Liam are sent back in time from the future, they aren’t the first team of time travelers, but their mission is the most audacious yet: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen.

Another debut novel, this time by New York Times writer Kathleen Flynn, The Jane Austen Project should be at the top of any fiction-loving Austen fan’s summer reading list. Heck, even if you’ve never rubbed elbows with Fitzwilliam Darcy or Elizabeth Bennet, the premise of this novel is sure to capture the attention of all readers.

Read more about the novel here, also take a peak at this great NYT article on publishing by the author here.

The Daughters of Ireland by Santa Montefiore

The Daughters of Ireland by Santa Montefiore

I couldn’t do a beach read round-up without including a proper historical romance. Also one of my closest friends is a massive fan of Santa Montefiore and her Deverill Chronicles trilogy and insisted that I include it. Pick up the first book, The Girl in the Castle, and then dive into the second. Read all about The Daughters of Ireland here.

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

I distinctly remember swapping Sarah Dessen books with my best friend in high school. When I should have been digging into my Italian homework, I snuck into Dessen’s contemporary confections where characters lived sometimes dramatic but otherwise quite simple lives. As a city girl I found so much solace in the novelty of her stories. Now Dessen is back again, this time with Once and for All which promises the humor, romance, and happily ever after that we can’t help but love.

Is it really better to have loved and lost?  Louna’s summer job is to help brides plan their perfect day, even though she stopped believing in happily-ever-after when her first love ended tragically.  But charming girl-magnet Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged now that he’s met the one he really  wants.  Maybe Louna’s second chance is standing right in front of her.

Read more here.

Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave – July 11th

Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave

Author of Eight Hundred Grapes, Laura Dave is back with Hello, Sunshine:

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

This summer read hits shelves on July 11th, read more here.

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

I do not recommend reading the Goodreads reviews on this book. The reviews are generally polarizing – some love it, some hate it. I do recommend downloading a sample before you purchase the book, borrowing it from the library, or browsing through a few pages before you buy it at the bookstore. Ann Brashares, the mind behind The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, has a specific writing style that people tend to really love or really not-love. I love her writing, and I hope you will too.

Read more here.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Deluxe Edition

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Intrigued yet? Released back in 2014, this fun and suspenseful read has been reprinted with loads of new extras including the author’s hand-drawn map of Beechwood Island along with the Sinclair family tree, a behind-the-scenes look at the author’s creative process, and more!

All the details on the deluxe edition can be found here.

The Three Keys series by Dana Alexander

Dana Alexander Series

Technically this is a series and shouldn’t count as a single book, but I’m a rule breaking rebel (not really) and included all three anyways. Toted as Lara Croft meets Lord of the Rings style fantasy/romance series, The Three Keys series is a tale of love that transcends time. The blurb for the books actually reminds me a bit of the Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl storyline from The Flash series.

The balance between good and evil has been shattered, opening a path for a dark lord’s demons and shadows to consume the energy found in humanity.  To New York psychiatrist Dr. Sara Forrester, these nightmares become more than figments of a troubled mind when a powerful entity known as the Soltari calls Sara to duty as their only hope to retrieve three ancient keys hidden thousands of years earlier. But to find the keys she must unlock the gateway to each of them by way of three secret medallions.  As part of Sara’s existence in this life, the alliance that governs the equilibrium between good and evil has blocked her memory from the many past lives she’s lived and the power she holds in order for her to establish a relatively ordinary life on earth.

The last great warrior hasn’t forgotten the love he’s vowed to protect across time and space.  He’s come to earth under the guise of a physician and colleague on an oath to the Soltari not to remind Sara of their past lives together when the mission is engaged.  In guarding every facet of the quest, the Alliance couldn’t risk a love that transcends time to interfere with the task to rescue billions of lives and put a halt to earth remaining as an intended place of human development.  There is no room for distraction where life-threatening decisions need to be made.  If Sara fails the mission, not only will the quest to save lives be lost but so too will the eternal bond of two souls linked for countless millenia.

I’m currently working my way through this series, so count on a more thorough review soon.

What books do you plan on reading this summer?

Book Review: The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

At first I hated this book. I could not connect with the main character, Liza, who I felt was way too uptight and controlling. I was tempted to put the book down (or in this case, my Kindle) but I didn’t and I’m actually pretty darn glad that I finished it. The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill stars Liza Sanders, a drum major who has just found out her band is losing funding. Armed with her clipboard and baton, she finds Destiny – a luxury cruise liner hosting a Spring break talent show complete with a $25,000 prize. Throw in an old friend (a.k.a. new flame), the school jock, and an ex-bestie/current arch nemesis and you’ve got a recipe for YA Contemporary gold.

Kindle-Book-Review-The-Trouble-with-Destiny

You see, when I was in my senior year of high school I finally took Musical Theater, the only art credit that would fit into my perfectly crafted schedule where I attempted to spend the least amount of time in school, little knowing that I would be selected as Stage Manager for our Winter performance. If you don’t know what a Stage Manager is, they’re basically that person that does everything – they have to make sure that everything and everyone has what they need, is where they need to be, and doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I was one of the only senior’s in a sea of freshman, given the burden of stage managing as well as having to perform “Can You Hear the People Sing” from Les Miserables. Suffice it to say it was one of those terrible, horrible experiences that you sort of chuckle about years later, but also still feel weirdly bitter about. In the middle of running around moving people and props on stage I had a classmate open the stage door on my finger, ripping my fingernail up and backwards off of my nail bed exactly one act before I was supposed to perform. The pain in combination with angry stress left me crying angry tears. I still remember going on to perform and hearing my musical theater teacher whisper from the front row “sing LOUDER Krista”. I don’t think anyone could have given a more genuine French revolution-inspired (pardon me, June rebellion) performance.

The-Trouble-with-Destiny-Review

This tale of woe has a point (I promise), you see while I initially abhorred Liza’s over-controlling personality I began to understand her. I could identify with stress and pressure and feeling like you’re the only person who can see “the big picture”. I can identify with giving yourself over to stress in such a manner as you do and say things you instantly regret. For people who are natural born leaders, like I believe Liza is, there is a struggle with trying to get people on the same level of motivation when they are not as invested. Which is why I loved that the story ended the way it did.

Of course, there were some parts that I just couldn’t even – like when she got in trouble with her band teacher. I get how in terms of moving the story along that would be a quick way to get Liza out of leading the band, however, I just didn’t like how it was written, I didn’t like that that was what ended up happening. I also didn’t like her antagonistic relationship with Russ throughout most of the book – I liked Russ instantly, as a reader you know he’s the good guy so every time Liza is mean or just plain rude to Russ it makes you sort of kinda hate her. I went to a city school where I feel like cliques weren’t as big of a deal as they might be elsewhere, so I’m not sure if this sort of resentment has any root in reality but I wasn’t a fan of the sports team-hating on Liza’s part – it felt a little too cliché. Also, the ending is really rushed – like the author is tying up all these loose ends that have been floating around – Liza’s relationship with Demi gets a quick and unrealistic ending, which brings me to the conclusion of this lengthy review…

I realized while writing my review that the issues that I had with the story were all mainly issues with the tendency of the writing to be unrealistic. I mean, would you really do what Liza does? Would anyone? And then it hit me – this book is a literary chick flick for the younger set – does anyone bump into a billionaire in the street, end up interviewing with them, solve their corporate issues with your knowledge of shopping, and magically fall in love? Not often. In the same way no one would really raise enough money for a luxury cruise ship excursion with the entire band in the middle of being defunded, and casually compete to win $25k in between buffet bars, jacuzzi’s, and romantic entanglements? Probably not. But we love these stories just the same, which is why I can gladly give The Trouble with Destiny a tidy recommendation.

Pick up your copy of The Trouble with Destiny here!

Title: The Trouble with Destiny
Author: Lauren Morrill
Pages: 272
Genre: Young Adult, Teens, Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: Random House, Delacorte Press

*I received a digital copy for review via the NetGalley, find more of my reviews and talk books with me on goodreads!

8 Books to Pre-Order In Time for the Fall

The summer of 2015 has already given us a plethora of good reads as well as another Harper Lee book to add to our shelves with Go Set a Watchman, and the fall literary lineup promises to be no less exciting! Check out these highly anticipated books, and pre-order them before they fly off the shelves. Here are 8 books you’ll want to be reading this fall, long after the back to school rush and way into the holidays:

Books to Pre-Order in Time for the Fall 2015 | read more at nyctalon.com

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

My Kitchen Year

For those of you who are fans of food, recipes, food writing or just plain good writing. In this book Ruth Reichl, arguably one of food’s greatest storytellers and former editor in chief for Gourmet magazine, shares how food – and in this case, cooking – helped her cope with the folding of the aforementioned magazine back in 2009. The book contains 136 recipes, pre-order on amazon here, or see the book’s page on RandomHouse.com. The book goes on sale September 29th.

Shades of Doon (A Doon Novel)

Shades of Doon

The highly anticipated third installment of the YA fantasy Doon series by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon is slated to release on September 1st. Shades of Doon continues the story of Veronica and Mackenna (and subsequently Jamie and Duncan) as the girls find themselves thrust out of the idyllic kingdom of Doon and back into their old lives. I personally can’t recommend this series enough and can’t wait to get my hands on Shades of Doon! Preorder on amazon here, or check out the book’s page here.

Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure and Coloring Book

Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford

While technically a coloring book and not a book book, Lost Ocean: An Inky Adventure is the latest in the best selling series of adult coloring books by Johanna Basford and is definitely one worth picking up. Both entertaining and relaxing, Johanna’s previous release Secret Garden has purportedly sold over 2 million copies worldwide! Preorder it here on amazon, it hits shelves on October 27th.

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles)

Winter The Lunar Chronicles

The concluding book of the Lunar Chronicles, if you haven’t yet read this hit series you’ll want to start with Cinder and work your way here. Will Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? This sci-fi fantasy is sure to be a perfect accompaniment to your favorite pumpkin spice latte and softest knit sweater! Set to hit shelves on November 10th, preorder it here.

The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us

Nerdy Nummies

The long awaited cookbook from YouTube star and creator of our favorite Nerdy Nummies, Rosanna Pansino shares her favorite geeky recipes! Sure to satisfy the nerdiest sweet tooth with recipes like Apple Pi Pie and the Periodic Table of Cupcakes – this cookbook is perfect for gifting or keeping all to yourself. The Nerdy Nummies Cookbooks hits shelves on November 3rd, preorder it here!

Why Not Me?

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

As a fan of Mindy, her Project, and her last book – we can’t wait to get our hands on Why Not Me?, a collection of essays that are sure to be both hilarious and insightful. Apparently Mindy tackles hard hitting topics like seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever (we can totally relate). The book releases on September 15th, preorder here.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book 1: The Sword of Summer

Magnus Chase

Rick Riordan has a new series, ‘nuff said. But seriously, fans of Riordans bestselling Percy Jackson and the Olympians are sure to love this adventure in Norse mythology with the story of Magnus, a troubled kid from Boston who finds out from an estranged uncle that he happens to be the son of a Norse god. Magnus is plunged into an adventure the might just cost him his life, preorder it here, it hits shelves on October 6th.

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

The Food Lab

As Serious Eats’s culinary nerd-in-residence, J. Kenji López-Alt focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. If you’re a fan of Serious Eat’s, food-science (or that Alton Brown show, Good Eat’s), food, recipes, and amazing photography, then you’ll want to get your hands on this cookbook. The Food Lab releases on September 21st, preorder here.

What’s On My Kindle: Cinder – Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

I had heard so many good things about Cinder on blogs and vlogs that naturally I chose it as my form of procrastination the week before finals (yep, shudder in yer boots – finals). Unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the beginning. I don’t know if I was restless from doing so much academic reading, but try as I might I couldn’t connect with the story. I normally am not a massive sci-fi fan – aside from Dr.Who – aliens and robots don’t appeal to me as a reader (or viewer). But finally, finally, the week after the finals I sort of fell into it and I couldn’t put it down.

Cinder-Lunar-Chronicles-Review

Basically, Cinder, which is book #1 of the Lunar Chronicles, is about Linh Cinder – a female cyborg mechanic who can boast both an evil stepmother and stepsister (the other sister is meant to be good). There’s also a prince, an evil queen, and an old pumpkin car waiting to become an enchanted mode of transportation. Well, sort of. Here’s the Goodread’s synopsis:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Doesn’t that sound like a good read?! Alright, I actually didn’t think much of the blurb either – but there were so many reviews saying that the book was great that I just had to read it. It’s like peer pressure for book lovers.

Cinder

Anyways, Cinder takes off towards the middle of the book – and there is a certain part where you realize who Cinder is – which is way before she figures it out – and then everything following that will basically have you on the edge of your seat because suddenly everything gets way more intense. As for Cinder herself, as a character I thought she was alright. She has the basics for a great female character – she’s sarcastic, feisty, even a little comedic but she’s also really slow on the uptake and really self-deprecating, which is great for who and where she is during this book but boy am I ready to see who she matures into for the following books (Scarlet, Cress, and Winter).

As a leading male character, I was not overly thrilled with Prince Kai. But to be fair we haven’t really had time to see him develop as a character. I felt like he gave in to Levana so easily, and after being so promising at the beginning of the story he just seemed to quit too fast towards the end. I know, I know, he’s in a no-win situation but I feel like I’d have to side with Captain Kirk on this one – I just don’t believe in a no-win situation. Queen Levana makes all evil stepmothers (including Cinder’s) pale in comparison – she’s cruel, evil, plays terrible mind games, and is pretty much just the Dolores Umbridge of the story. The story ends sort of on a frustrating cliff-hanger – and trust me, it’s not at all like the classic fairy tale (in a good way!).

All in all, I can’t wait to read the next books in the series. I don’t think I’ll pick up the next two until the third one comes out – I’m the sort who prefers to have them all in hand rather than having to wait. If I had to star this, I’d give it 3.75 stars – if you like fantasy or sci-fi then you will love this one!

Pick it up from Amazon for your Kindle here!

Title: Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 448 pages
Genre: Fiction, YA – Teen, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers, Square Fish

What’s On My Kindle: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

It’s been such a long time since I’ve been able to pick up a piece of fiction and finish it. If the book doesn’t suck me in within a few pages, chances are I won’t keep to it. In addition to my literary pickiness I’ve recently been in sort of a fiction reading slump – nothing has really sparked my interest. At least that was the case until this weekend, where I finally got around to opening The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – a book I had downloaded onto my Kindle ages ago, but hadn’t really felt up to reading.

The-Winter-Sea-Kindle-Review

Here’s the description/blurb from amazon:

“History has all but forgotten…In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her…”

Basically, the book centers around Carrie – a writer who is working on a novel about the 1708 attempt to return James Stewart to Scotland and the throne. Carrie’s writing becomes almost entirely based on the memories she seems to have inherited from her ancestor, Sophia – now the main character and heroine of her tale. I’m not going to spoil it all for you, but if you’re in a reading slump this is one of those really great I-stayed-up-all-night-reading books.

The-Winter-Sea

The history woven through the tale ensures that this tale is not purely a romantic novel, giving depth to the story and kindling an interest in the reader (at least this reader) to do a little research of her own into the time period where our main character is meant to exist. The writing of the characters and detail of the setting just make this an entirely engaging story.

Personally, as a reader, I’m not the biggest fan of time travel nor am I the biggest fan of parallel storylines. But it was written in such a way that I became just as invested in Carrie’s life as I was in Sophia’s. And despite the plot twist (at hello, 72% of the way through) I hung on and was rewarded with a satisfying – if not unsatisfying in the way all good books are – ending.

Although there were a few bumps, it still rates for me as a great book, one that pulled me out of a reading slump and one I have happily added to my collection! Find it here on amazon.

*SPOILERS*: If you haven’t read the book, then read no further! This next bit is for readers who have already read The Winter Sea and wouldn’t mind commiserating over it.

First off, I loved the dynamic between Stuart, Graham, Jimmy and Carrie. They read so well to me! It was easy to picture and sympathize with all four of them. Also, I loved that Kearsley wasn’t so heavy handed with the romance – which would have cheapened the book in my opinion.

I also really love Sophia’s interaction with most of the other characters. I especially loved the character of the Countess, and wish that there was more development or storyline featuring her. She came across as such a strong female character, I definitely could see her having a story of her own.

What I Didn’t Love:

Her leaving Anna behind. I mean after she “meets” (and I say that so as not to spoil anyone who hasn’t read the book and has scrolled down too far) McClelland, I get why they ditch Anna – but prior to that, I just don’t get it. In fact after her and McClelland make their plans I still don’t get it – that decision feels far more selfish to me then what I’m guessing the author intended – which leads me to my second point…

What is with the implied incest there at the end??? So weird, so just NO. It really detracted from the book for me. Up unto that point I would’ve even been up for an epilogue – more story to tell me what happened to Sophia – but instead I was like “ew! what!? why? why would you just drop that in there and run?!”. Also, I could’ve done with more interaction between Carrie and Graham and wouldn’t have minded if she ditched the genetic memory storyline altogether – it was unnecessary, as I reader I had already suspended disbelief the second I found out the character was having memories from hundreds of years ago.

Have you read The Winter Sea? What are your thoughts on this book??? Let me know in the comments!