Audiobook Review: Choices (New Beginnings #1) by Michelle Lynn

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Choices by Michelle Lynn
Series: New Beginnings #1
Release Date: January 25th 2016
Pages: 196 • Format: Audiobook (5 hrs and 31 mins)
Published By: Michelle Lynn
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble

Everyone makes lots of little decisions from the moment they wake up until they sink back into sleep at night. Decisions that have no consequences or expectations. But, what about the rare choices that could change everything? How do you know what is right for you?

Happiness is something you have to choose again and again, each day.

Michaela Matthews wants that more than anything. Standing in her way is a family pushing her down a specific path and the man she loves preventing her from choosing anything different. When she moves to the city for the next step in her parent’s plan, she starts to figure out what she wants – or more importantly, what she doesn’t want. She thinks she has to leave her old life behind to discover a new one. This throws every choice she has made into question. It isn’t until tragedy strikes that she learns that sometimes there is no choice at all. Sometimes you can have it all.

Jason Marks has had the kind of life where things have seemed to just happen to him, no choice involved at all. It’s a struggle for him to keep the past at bay while he tries to move forward. He is no longer the unwanted foster kid. He is a business owner, surrounded by people that love him. But, he isn’t in love. He’s not even sure he believes in it. Not anymore. At least, not until a heartbroken girl falls apart in his arms. It’s enough to make him a believer. Make him a dreamer. Enough to force him to answer that question. Do you give all of yourself to someone who might not choose you in return?

Yes. Yes, you do.

three-stars

I wanted to like this book more, but it just didn’t flow well and the characters kept giving me whiplash. In the beginning, it appeared to be another cliché new adult book with rich overbearing parents who strong-armed their kids to following a life path set by the parents in order to fit into their high society expectations. When the heroine Michaela Matthews refused to marry Ethan Walker, the prized prince of their social circle, it appeared that she finally stood up for herself. However, Michaela waffled a lot between asserting her independence and falling back to the abusive lifestyle her parents crafted for her.

This book’s premise has a lot of potential but the execution left me wanting more. There are two young adults, Michael and older brother Chris Matthews, who were trying to find themselves outside of their parent’s expectations. There was an orphan bar owner, Jason, who was looking for someone to love and belong to. I didn’t feel like this book was developed that well. The characters at first blush were so one-dimensional and stereotypical. But half way into the story, it appears that some of the characters were misunderstood and actually more complex that first believed.
It became clear that this family lacked communication from the dad and mom, to the siblings with each other. The family wasn’t as screwed up as I initially thought so there was room for the author to delicate build those relationships. The book wasn’t paced well and I couldn’t connect to the characters expect the brother Chris and his friend Jason. Chris and Jason drew my emotions in because their pain was more evident.

I can actually envision this being a true-life story and I found the character’s behaviors to be normal. I would have liked the author to take her time with the characters and slow down the pace from subtopic to subtopic. The writing just lacked the finesse to really smoothen these characters and their plight out. I am glad the book ended on a good note. I was pleased with the resolution.

Ezi

Audiobook Review: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon

Audiobook Review: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

Title: The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
Series: TBA
Release Date: May 10th, 2016
Pages: 352 • Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 3 mins)
Purchase Links: Amazon USBarnes & Noble

Swallow, Daughter, pull them in, those words that sit upon your lips. Lock them deep inside your soul, hide them ‘til they’ve time to grow. Close your mouth upon the power, curse not, cure not, ‘til the hour. You won’t speak and you won’t tell, you won’t call on heav’n or hell. You will learn and you will thrive. Silence, Daughter. Stay alive.

The day my mother was killed, she told my father I wouldn’t speak again, and she told him if I died, he would die too. Then she predicted the king would trade his soul and lose his son to the sky.

My father has a claim to the throne, and he is waiting in the shadows for all of my mother’s words to come to pass. He wants desperately to be king, and I just want to be free.

But freedom will require escape, and I’m a prisoner of my mother’s curse and my father’s greed. I can’t speak or make a sound, and I can’t wield a sword or beguile a king. In a land purged of enchantment, love might be the only magic left, and who could ever love . . . a bird?
four-stars

I love Amy Harmon because she just knows how to evoke emotion that just grasps the reader heart and mind. This narrator was perfect for this story. Her voice was melodic and
added emotional depth to each character. The author and narrator were a great tandem of story writer and story teller.

This book seems simple on the surface but it is a lot deeper than people think. It is a look at society and the things that divide and separate class of people. It’s hard to talk about this book without giving away majority of the plot and spoilers. I love the quotes that seem so unpretentious but yet profound. “I wondered if weakness wasn’t just as dangerous. The weak allowed evil to flourish.” or “Silence was a close cousin to invisibility.” This book is sprinkled with similar sayings.

But I think of how as a mother I have “silenced” my children’s words and actions so they can fit and not be subjected to the hate of others. But in silencing them, I inadvertently rob them of their inherent power.

I am used to Amy Harmon in the contemporary romance genre and this a slight departure from that norm was a welcomed change. Don’t get me wrong, the romance is still the backbone of this story despite it being in the fantasy genre. I enjoyed Lark, King Tiras, and Kjel. I did find Kjel to the most complex of them all because he had to work out his set of beliefs in a different way.
I told some friends in a Buddy read that this book was like Fantasy lite, almost the way Diet Coke is lighter version of Coke. For those lovers of fantasy, like Anne Bishop type books, this book will not meet that level and depth, but in terms of romance, I was very satisfied. I did have a number of questions unanswered at the end but I am excited that the story continues on in book 2.

Ezi

About Amy Harmon

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in thirteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written ten novels – including the USA Today Bestsellers, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as The Law of Moses, Infinity + One and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her recent release, The Bird and the Sword, is a Goodreads Choice finalist in Fantasy.