Novel Reaction

Because you can't judge a book by its cover

After disastrously and publicly losing her job, Lily Danville has returned to Cedar Ridge while she tries to find a new job and finally come to grips with the death of her sister and father ten years ago. In Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis,  Lily isn’t back even one day before running into her past crush Aiden Kincaid and of course it would be when Lily isn’t looking her best, stocking up on junk food.

Aiden Kincaid never got over Lily leaving town so quickly after the death of her family members. Priding himself on his control either fighting fires, rescuing hikers, or with his heart, Aiden wonders if Lily’s return will destroy that control and calm one more time or if this time they have a chance at happily ever after.

Second Chance Summer is the beginning of a new series, Cedar Ridge, by Jill Shalvis and I loved it! Set in the mountains of Colorado, the beauty and harsh climate (think big thunder storms, swollen rivers, and potential blizzards) are an excellent counterpoint to the events unfolding in the character’s lives. But with a background this epic you need characters strong enough to stand out and Shalvis delivers that with the Kincaid family. Completely loyal to each other, the Kincaids fight, they are messy, and they eat each other’s food with great relish but at the end of the day they have each other’s backs.

Lily’s character is heartbreaking and lovable but it is Aiden and his siblings that really stole the show. While the strong characters are a draw, it is Shalvis’s humor that makes me love reading and rereading her books so much (which I have reread quite of few of her series numerous times) and Second Chance Summer had me giggling in several places. Any novel that starts off with a fire fighter having to rescue a nearly naked woman from her attempt to get on the front page of the newspaper by threatening to commit suicide and then yelling at the firefighters when she thinks they aren’t saving her fast enough, you know it is going to be a entertaining read. Shalvis’s description of the oldest Kincaid brother had me smiling, “Gray ran Cedar Ridge Resort and knew everything about everyone in town. he was an eighty-two-year-old lady hiding in a thirty-one-year-old man’s body.”

If you have enjoyed Shalvis’s previous novels you will like Second Chance Summer. If you haven’t read any of her books before Second Chance Summer is a great place to start.

You can read an excerpt here.

Cedar Ridge Reading Order:

Second Chance Summer

My Kind of Wonderful (December 2015)

Nobody But You (March 2016)

Rating: Star 5copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Jill Shalvis

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 369

AISN: B00OP5EU8E

Publisher: Hatchette Book Group

Release Date: June 30, 2015

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

paper craneCeony Twill has worked so hard to fulfill her dreams of becoming a Metal Magician but on the eve of her graduation she is asked to become one of the few Paper Magicians and once bonded to a specific type of material she will only be able to perform magic with that material. The Paper Magician by Charlie Holmberg begins with Ceony arriving at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane but not everything is as it seems when it comes to paper magic and sometimes we are lead to where we need to go even when it wasn’t part of our original plans.

When Magician Thane is attacked soon after Ceony’s arrival, it will take all her ingenuity, courage, and determination to save him from the practitioner’s of the forbidden dark arts.

I picked up The Paper Magician because it has been awhile since I read a true fantasy (as opposed to a paranormal/scifi/fantasy mix) and awhile since I read a Young Adult novel. The Paper Magician is an interesting fantasy novel, very different from most of the high fantasy I have previously read. In the world Holmberg has created, you only get a glimpse of the outside world as Ceony spends most of her time in the cottage or in a specific spot trying to save Thane (I’m not going to say too much because it will give away part of the novel) but the rules of magic are interesting and the few characters are well developed but it is Holmberg’s way with words that I really enjoyed. The images she weaves are, dare I say, magical.  Little pearls of wisdom are disbursed throughout the novel and are so spot on, “The ghostly images lasted only a moment longer before fading away, as all unread stories were wont to do.” But ultimately the great theme of the novel is summed up as this “Everyone has a dark side! But it’s their choice whether or not they cultivate it.” The Paper Magician is a fun fantasy novel that is well worth a read and I look forward to reading The Glass Magician. 

You can read an excerpt here.

The Paper Magician Series Reading Order

The Paper Magician

The Glass Magician

The Master Magician

paper magicianRating: Star 4copy

Content: favicon no background

Title: The Paper Magician

Author: Charlie N. Holmberg

Format: eBook

Page Nos.: 226

AISN: B00HVF7OL0

Publisher: 47North

Release Date: September 1, 2014

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

I don’t remember the first time I read The Secret of the Old Clock, the first in the Nancy Drew series, but I do remember devouring the series the way I now devour Godiva Chocolates (can’t get enough and approach cautiously unless you want to be injured for interrupting me). For the first time in my life the main character who went out and solved the problem was a female. Don’t get me wrong, prior to the Nancy Drew series I had read most of the Boxcar Children series but Jessie follows her brother’s lead in that series whereas Nancy leads the way. It allowed me to see that girls should be asking “why” and “what if”, questioning the world around them and paying attention to what is going on. I still have my original copy (which was my mother’s first),  a dogeared well used hardbound edition. I read some Hardy Boys novels but I didn’t devour the series like I did the Nancy Drew series. Although I will admit I really wanted Frank of the Hardy Boys and Nancy to get together (I always felt like Ned was a little wishy-washy for Nancy) and when I was in middle school I LOVED the Nancy Drew-Hardy Boys Super Mysteries.

This week marks the 85th anniversary of the publication of The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. There is a wonderfully written essay by Theodore Jefferson about “The Girl Who Started it All” found here and a nice tribute on The Mighty Girls Facebook page here. I love to see the books I enjoyed in my younger years still being enjoyed today! I also love it when publishers embrace newer (ebooks are not really new anymore but some older published books haven’t been updating older print books into new formats) formats and you can get The Secret of the Old Clock in hardcover, mass paperback, ebook, audible CD and audible download.  In addition to the original novels, Nancy Drew has also been the star of a film (2007 starring Emma Roberts) and an entire series of mystery video games (Jillian, a reviewer here at Novel Reaction, is addicted to them and I think has almost all, if not all of them).

When my younger sister Jordanne and I found the newer artwork at a book story I was seriously tempted to get a new copy just because I love the 1930s outfit they put Nancy in. After writing this, I may just have to dig out my copy of The Secret of the Old Clock and reread it for old time’s sake this week. Did you read the Nancy Drew mysteries? Any other books you grew up reading that made a huge impact on your life?

victorian horse racingMia Carrington has been in love with Vander Septimus Brody, Duke of Pindar, since her painful teens. In Four Nights With a Duke by Eloisa James, Mia knows that the action she is about to take will make him hate her forever but she can’t find any other way to take care of what needs to be done other than to blackmail Vander into marrying her. Vander has always felt bad about how he treated Mia when they were in their teens but that doesn’t give her the right to come to his house demanding that he marry her immediately.

I was so excited to get Vander’s story after really liking him in Three Weeks with Lady X and I feel like Four Nights With a Duke just didn’t quite deliver. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great moments and fabulous, FABULOUS, secondary characters (I adored the drunk great uncle spouting Shakespeare, with only Mia realizing he was quoting the bard and not just being crazy) and the initial scene between Mia and Vander were painfully awkward and well done. BUT (and is a big BUT) I ended up not liking Vander very much and I really didn’t like his treatment of Mia. I get that one of the great tools for a romance novel is mis-communication between the characters but it felt like Vander was just constantly mean in what he said to Mia and how he treated her and I struggled to understand why she would keep going back to him. I get it, the sex was great, but sex alone is not enough to fulfill someone and goodness knows that all Mia wanted was to be loved for herself. I also felt like Vander was unnecessarily crude during the scene where Mia is approaching him to marry her, he was a Duke raised from birth to treat ladies a particular way and I just feel like it was a bit out of character for him.

I did love Mia’s character, I loved that she was a secret novelist and loved the wink Eloisa James gave to other contemporary historical authors Julia Quinn and Lisa Kelypas “P.S. I include herewith not only Miss Julia Quiplet’s works, but a new novel written by Mrs. Lisa Klampas, which I believe you will enjoy.” And I really loved the reference to a Julia Quinn character who was an author “Another Author she knew had caused a character to be pecked to death by pigeons. Pigeons?” It is a stand alone novel but I recommend reading Three Weeks With Lady X before reading Four Nights With a Duke just so you understand the relationship between Vander and Thorn. Four Nights With a Duke is a good one time read but I doubt that I will be rereading it like I do with most of Eloisa James’s other novels.

There is some use of the “F” word.

You can read an excerpt here.

Desperate Duchesses Reading Order:

Desperate Duchesses

An Affair Before Christmas

Duchess by Night

When the Duke Returns

This Duchess of Mine

A Duke of Her Own

Three Weeks with Lady X

Four Nights With The Duke

four nights with a dukeRating: Star 3copy

Content: favicon5 NB

Title: Four Nights With a Duke

Author: Eloisa James

Format: Paperback, eBook

Page Nos.: 384

AISN: B00JBETURA

Publisher: Avon Romance

Release Date: March 31, 2015

Available for purchase: Amazon

Reviewer: Jessica

 

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

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Why Ratings?

It is true you can't judge a book by its cover, you also can't judge a book's graphic content by its cover. NovelReaction's goal is to provide readers with a graphic content so they can make an informed decision regarding the books they want to read. (Also, to have a great place for people to discuss books.) So sit back, pull up a beverage, and read on!

Graphic Ratings*

1 = kissing
2 = kissing, some fondling
3 = descriptive stripping but no sex
4 = sex scene but not descriptive in details
5 = full descriptive sex scene

*I am rating a specific book by an author, not the author's style. If I am aware an author writes a specific way, I will let you know.

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