A gripping fantasy, I am just turning the pages as quick as I can when it comes to this series! I've no idea why I waited so long to read these books to be honest. I left the first book knowing that our heroine Kelsea was facing many obstacles, but I never expected the story to take the path it has taken. In fact, at first, I wasn't sure what to think.

Series: Queen of the Tearling, #2
My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Fantasy 
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It's hard to know what to think when a character changes as significantly as Kelsea does. She was always fierce, passionate even, but I never thought of her as reckless in the first book. Or heartless. But I did in this novel. While she continues to seek ways to protect her people above all else, it's clear there's something changing inside her and it's more than her looks.

Kelsea is becoming beautiful. I don't know why exactly, but as she sees more and more of the past, she begins to become beautiful. It's some sort of magic I suppose, but why the change is happening, why she is seeing the past, is unclear. I'm hoping the third book answers some of these questions for me because it's obvious a larger story is being weaved here, and that Kelsea is very central to the fate of her land, not because she is queen but for some other reason. There is something about her. Yet, I wasn't sure I liked her in the book. She seemed more insecure somehow, and some of her actions smacked of pride and one time, of cruelty. I still admire her determination not to have her people sold as chattel to a foreign nation, but the changes in her were upsetting for me; I suppose I hadn't yet realized that she is flawed.

Again, I give props to this author for a masterfully told novel, and for addressing so many social issues that are so relevant in today's society. And for creating characters that have depth like Kelsea. Heroes and leaders aren't perfect, but it's important they are just and Kelsea continues to impress me in her strength and choices. For the most part, for even her mistakes are made with only justice and the good of her people foremost in her mind.

Happy Reading,
Jewels
The Queen of the Tearling was I book I really loved. And being one of my first reads of 2018, I can say that I'm off to a strong start. This novel masterfully blends fantasy and own history and I was quite impressed by how much this world drew me into the story.

Series: The Queen of the Tearling, #1
My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Fantasy 
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I listened to this book on audio and it was absolutely gripping. I'd love to read it again so it's going on my to be read again list. It was really that good. Gripping from the very beginning, this is a novel full of action and political manoeuvrings featuring one of the strongest heroines I've run across in a while. Kelsea is full of fury for the injustices her mother, the late Queen of the Tearling has delivered onto her people, and Kelsea is determined to be a just ruler and one that defends her people from the tyranny of the Red Queen.  And she is totally kick ass. I love her fierce nature and I love her level headedness--at times the fire inside her erupts, but mostly Kelsea is a thoughtful, intelligent queen and I found her extremely well balanced.

Many of the other characters are equally compelling, and the problems of the day that face Kelsea are daunting enough (and horrible enough) that the entire novel has a sense of direness to it. Kelsea has drawn a line in the sand and now she must face war. The amazing thing about this novel is that is the problems Kelsea faces--many of which deal with both human rights and more specifically, women's rights--are vastly in line with many of the problems we face today on a global scale. It was a failing economy that brought about many the laws and traditions that now oppress the Tear people, and that Kelsea must change for the good of her people.

We don't know much about the Red Queen other than she is a sadistic sorceress who has the Tearling in a death grip. She, like many of the nobles of the Tearling, has no regard for human life, no empathy, no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I suspect the next book will give us a deeper understanding of her, but I cannot say I think I will ever empathize her. She is evil manifest.

Which makes this novel a simply devastating read. You have injustice on a scale so great that it stings too sharply to be ignored, a young and righteous queen who wants to put things to right in her kingdom, and enemies unknown as well as the powers of the Red Queen to contend with, and the vastly superior army she commands. You wonder when war will break out, if Kelsea can keep her position as Queen, and you just keeping turning those pages. By the end of this novel what you have is an epic tale unfolding with a strong female at its centre, and societal issues that will speak to the modern reader. All wrapped up in a fantasy novel, which I think is the perfect vehicle to touch on many of the issues that this novel addresses.

A gripping and compelling novel and I cannot wait to start book two.

Happy Reading,
Jewels

I just finished up my first read of 2018, and it was a new novel by Rachel Brimble. If I Want You is unlike other novels of this genre in my opinion. It focuses on the disappearance of a little girl, but the history of the heroine is at the genre of this abduction.

My Rating: ❀'s
Genre: Romantic Suspense
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The novel opens with Tori witnessing the abduction of a little girl, which brings back her memories from her own abduction as a child. I loved how this character was portrayed. Rather than being weak, she is strong. Nor is she entirely closed off to others, though she does hold them at arm's length. She is determined to do everything in her power to bring back Abby Brady, and I admired her tenacity. She stood up to the police, followed her own leads and never let her past break her. She even let overprotective Mark Bolton into her investigation, and into her heart.

Mark was divine. He had a lot fear in him which is partly what made him so overprotective of everyone he loved, but I think his character was naturally irreproachable which made him all the more compelling. A strong, sweet and honest man with some overprotective instincts is very dreamy after all. Even when things were not always going well for him and Tori romantically, he was honest with both himself and her and never really wavered from either his feelings or intentions towards Tori. So, yeah, divine.

I was gripped from the opening pages by these characters and plot. How was Tori involved? Was it likely her abductor had returned? How could he be plotting against Abby and Tori? How did he know anything about what Tori was doing, who she was seeing? It gave me a lot of pause, knowing he might be around. And the letters left for Abby gave me serious creeps. The writing certainly kept me in a state of suspense, especially those last chapters where so much was happening. Rachel Brimble threw in quite a bit of twists and turns there! A fabulous romance with just enough steam and a very gripping crime story to be sure.

I would like to thank the author for providing me with a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review. 


Happy Reading,
Jewels
Happy 2018 dear readers! And thank you for tuning into My Devastating Reads. I know I have not been around much to share book reviews with you. My life this past year, and especially the last six months has been full of stresses unexpected surprises and change. My focus has shifted a lot, but and that affected this blog. And that really bugged me. I made resolution after resolution to do better. but I think I still didn't give this blog, which is my baby, my first blog, the attention it needed. That is going to change.


2018 is going to be a blast. Everyone says that about new year; each new year is filled with hope and promise. But I have settled into a new lifestyle, new job, and I am feeling fabulous. I feel ready to make a plan and so I've made a plan. Being not much of a plan maker, this is a big deal for me. My plan is this. I have always wanted this blog to succeed. It doesn't have to have ten of thousands of followers, but I have always wanted it to be appreciated by readers who find romance and reading meaningful, even at times devastating. Reading has changed the way I think, has made me more empathetic and open minded and allowed me to delve into worlds and peoples I would otherwise have no connection with, and so reading will always be my passion. I have other passions now, and my blog Pretty In Crochet is one of them. Setting up that blog, crocheting pieces, polishing it's look has been a labour of love just as My Devastating Reads has been. I am so glad to have both of these forums to share my passion for creativity with you.

But I acknowledge that this blog has suffered in the midst not only of the changes and anguishes of the past year, but also because Pretty In Crochet needed the attention of every newborn blog. However, now in 2018 I hope both blogs will run smoothly thanks to my plan. My plan for 2018 here at My Devastating Reads to post a book review at least once a month. That's all I have been able to manage for a while, so it seems a good place to start. But, I will be featuring other posts as well throughout the month and hope you find those fun and informative. Many will be familiar, one or two will be new.

Happy new year dear readers! My next post will be a book review so stayed tuned!

Happy Reading,
Jewels
Hey everyone! It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! The past several ones have been very busy ones for me. Lots of changes, all for the good. But busy means less blog time and I again apologize about that. I hope the new year ushers in more blogging for me because I miss it. I especially miss the reading attached to it! But, since it is beginning to feel a lot of Christmas, I thought it time to share a few great holiday reads with you, as well as a few I'm looking to reading.


My favourite holiday read would have to be The Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber. You all remember this from my book review last year right? If not, I am here to tell you again that his is a wonderful, sweet and melt your bones romance. Worth the read at any season in my humble opinion. 







Another fabulous one is A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas. I read this a few years ago now, (and am still quite proud of that review) and I still remember being charmed and closing the book with that special le sigh feeling. Not to mention a smile on my face because I always finish reading Lisa Kleypas' novels with a smile on  my face. She has magic flowing from her pen, and I love her books. So if you love a good historical romance and are yearning for a holiday read, this will not leave you disappointed. It is a novella, but you'll adore every word. 




I think I picked up this novel last year for a mere .99 cents. But I haven't read it. However, I am looking forward to reading it. The premise sounds light and sweet, and I have to say, the cover captivated me. But the reviews are strong, and this novel was a RITA Award by Romance Writers of America Nominee for Best Contemporary Romance Novel (Short) in 2016. So I'm even more intrigued and eager to read this novel. This could be the one I squeeze in before Christmas day....






I bought this book ages ago because I like Sarah Morgan and a holiday read was something I was in the mood for. It was Christmas time after all, but I didn't get to this novel that year and I keep waiting to read it because I like reading holiday romances around the holidays. Anyway, this one is on my list. It sounds sexy and I know Sarah Morgan can weave holiday magic into this story. So it's right up my alley. You might be seeing this reviewed on the blog soon...great, now I have too many holiday books to read! 




That's the scoop everyone! I hope you are enjoying whatever you are reading. And that you have a very merry Christmas. 

Happy Reading,
Jewels