November 2014 Recap

Nicole Read

Ashley Read


Nicole's Pick

Ashley's Pick

November Reviews

Other November Posts

    What's New With Nicole

    November was SO BUSY! The first weekend I went down to the Baltimore area to visit Ashley. She hosted a Halloween party and I was the Jasmine to her Aladdin crew. The next weekend I flew to Charleston for YALLFest! It wasn't my first time visiting - I went a lot as a kid - but it was the first time I've been back in about 8 years and I missed it! It is one of my favorite US cities and when you put a bunch of my favorite authors in it... well, it doesn't get much better than that! And then I came home to a promotion at work! But with both work and school being so demanding lately, I've basically had to say goodbye to all of my free time. So I apologize for my longer-than-usual periods of silence but I will be back in full swing soon! Just a couple more weeks until this semester ends!

    What's New With Ashley

    November was a crazy month!  Justin and I checked out probably 30 potential new houses and everything was just alright.  Then one Sunday ago we went to an open house and it was THE house!  We put an offer and they accepted so hopefully all continues to go well :)  We are just drowning in paperwork and home inspections now.  Now that Thanksgiving is over we are getting ready to host a cookie bake off.  Justin and I are going to make Snickerdoodles but still need one more recipe, so if you have an awesome cookie recipe, let me know! 


    Stacking the Shelves (100) Nov 29th

    Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.


    Nantucket Red by Leila Howland

    Title: Nantucket Red
    Author: Leila Howland
    Series: Nantucket #2
    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
    Release Date: May 13, 2014

    Summary from Goodreads:
    Cricket Thompson's lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she's headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years.

    When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated. It's hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy.

    But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn't just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she's been trying to ignore-her own heart.


    When I first learned that Nantucket Red was Cricket's story of personal growth, and not a continuation of her romance with Zack, I lost a little enthusiasm to read it. I am not really sure why, since I enjoyed Nantucket Blue for more reasons than the romance, but that is why it took me so long to pick it up, despite all of the promising reviews. Until one fateful Saturday when I had no idea what to read next and so I wondered over to my bookshelf... and well, the rest is history.

    I definitely regret waiting so long. I forgot how easy Leila Howland's narration is to read. I loved being back in Cricket's head while she faces some difficult questions about her future. Even though I am well past 18 and college is behind me, the changes and the doubts that she faces are relatable to me still. I enjoyed watching her try to navigate work, boys, friends and life in general as she tries to figure out what she wants for herself, and not what others expect of her. I also simply adore Cricket. She's as down-to-earth and honest as they get. And it was wonderful to be back on Nantucket, even as I freeze my butt off here in New Jersey. It's true that islands make you feel like anything is possible.

    And I needed this book for closure. At the end of Nantucket Blue there were still quite a few things in Cricket's life that needed fixing, her relationship with Jules and her father to name a couple. And I am happy to say that this book works on those relationships, among other things. I think Cricket gets the ending that she deserves and readers get the ending that they've been waiting for.

    So even though this book wasn't really a romance, and it was a difficult to see Zack with a wench, it had everything else to make for a great story. It wasn't the book I was originally looking for, but it ended up being the book I wanted. I highly recommend it!


    For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

    Title:For Darkness Shows the Stars
    Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1
    Author: Diana Peterfreund
    Publisher: Balzer + Bray
    Release Date:June 12th 2012
    Pages: Hardcover, 407 pages
    Source: Library
    Summary from Goodreads:
    It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

    Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

    But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

    Inspired by Jane Austen's Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


    While I do know the summary of Persuasion, I have never actually read it. I had a rough idea of what I thought I was getting into but For Darkness Shows the Stars was so much more that I expected!  It blended an epic love story with science fiction in a different world.  I really enjoyed how Peterfreund handled the flashbacks; the reader is able to get a sense of history and see how Elliot and Kai's relationship was in the past.  The reader gets to read the letters exchanged between the two throughout their youth.

    The characters' past help develop the characters and really force the reader to feel the tension between Malakai and Elliot in the present.  The tension is almost too hard to handle, it was difficult to feel the hurt and sadness that Elliot was facing. The love story between Malakai and Elliot was full of stubborn actions, hurt feelings, and rough tension yet it was beautiful, powerful, and ultimately heart warming.

    The strong and well developed characters made it science fiction easier to handle.  At first I felt like I had to pay great attention to detail to make sure I was understanding the society and world the characters lived in.  After I had a handle on the overall science fiction concepts introduced, I was able to appreciate the uniqueness of the re-telling.  My only other reservation was the ending, I felt like the last chapters were a bit rushed; I had to deal with the tension between the characters for so long that I wanted more from them at the end.

    Overall, I highly recommend For Darkness Shows the Stars, it was a beautiful retelling full of love and strong characters!  The science fiction took me a bit of time to wrap my head around but in the end it really did enrich the story.   I may even pick up Persuasion after this to see all the parallels.


    Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

    Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten list is
    "Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR"

    Nicole's Top Five

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