Tag Archive | Ashburn

Ashburn by Julia Erickson

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Note

I’m posting this review of Ashburn today because Shantelle Hannu (as part of her Author Gems blog series in which she interviews and spotlights various authors and books) is having an interview/giveaway with author Julia Erickson this week, so go check it out! πŸ™‚

Giveaway

GO HERE (or, y’know, to Shantelle’s blogpost where it’s featured. ;)) for the Rafflecopter giveaway to win e-book copies of Ashburn and Diamond! It’s open all week, from today (August 22) until August 28. Hop to it! ^_^

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Hidden Gems: Authors You Need to Discover is a weekly blog event being held every Monday from August 1 to November 21, 2016, by Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart, featuring author interviews, book spotlights, and book giveaways.

Be sure to check it out and follow her lovely blog so you don’t miss any of the delightful posts! ^_^

Title: Ashburn (I.C.E. Agency, #1)

Author: Julia Erickson

review

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I don’t usually read agent-y type books… which is something I should stop saying since this is actually the third agent-y type book I’ve read in the last month or so. XD But still, the point is that contemporary isn’t usually my thing. But I decided to check it out on the recommendation of a friend (thanks, Shantelle!) and was so excited to get to borrow it from another friend (thanks, Sarah!). I really enjoyed this one. πŸ™‚

I loved the characters in this book, and especially how the point of view switches back and forth between Bryce and Cara. Bryce and Cara! Great characters. They’re so sweet together (the growing romance was so adorable), and I absolutely LOVE the bickering dialog between them — it was the best. πŸ˜€ So much fun. Also, the Rapunzel thing was funny. XD …Long golden hair. You’ll have to read it to find out. πŸ˜‰

Bryce is the best, by the way. He’s just such a great character. Definitely a favorite. πŸ™‚ Also, I positively NEED a pair of his agent-y sunglasses! Those would be super handy to have. *thumbs-up* Cara was nice too. And like I said, they’re so CUTE together and I adore their fun conversations — they’re just such a blast to read. ^_^

There was a Christian thread going through the story, which was nice. Also it’s one of the few books I’ve read which was about homeschool graduates. Both Bryce and Cara were homeschooled, which was neat. πŸ™‚ I didn’t really have much in common with them, despite that, but still neat. πŸ˜› The book is also quite clean, for those wondering about that.

Some of the plot seemed to get a little lost in the background at some points so in a way a lot of it wasn’t totally wrapped up (but it didn’t matter by the end, I guess), and I didn’t always agree with the way some things were handled (also, to be honest, the elaborateness of the ending honestly freaked me out, but I’m probably alone there. XD), and other than that I just enjoyed the ride.

Oh! And one of the most cool things of all about this book (you know, aside from the characters and the sweet romance and the banter) was the international chase and mystery and adventure! We travel all over with Bryce and Cara — Georgia to Venice to Paris to Germany… it was awesome to be immersed in all those countries and just gave it an international-spy-thriller feel… which I suppose is exactly what it is. πŸ˜‰

So! A Christian romance spy suspense fun adventure with just the right mix of humor, dialog, romance, and edge-of-your-seat action, it was overall a very fun read for me, and I definitely recommend it if you’d like something kind of light and agent-y to read! πŸ™‚

summary

From Goodreads:

Cara Stephenson, a talented graphic designer at Silver Strand Technologies, never thought she’d see her childhood best friend again… but when he suddenly reenters her life ten years later, he’s a completely different man. What is he hiding, and why should she trust him?

Bryce Reynolds is a man on a mission- a top-secret one at that! He never dreamed the girl down the street would one day become his link to the destruction of Ravenmeister, Inc.- a front for black-market arms and ammunition. Will he crumble underneath the burden of all his secrets?

When the hunt for a missing technology developer in possession of a priceless prototype drags Cara and Bryce on a high-adrenaline ride through the streets of Paris, Venice, and Munich, they must work together to find what they’re looking for… and survive the trip!

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{Goodreads} β€’ {Amazon}

factoids

Genre/Category: Christian / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense / Romance

Age Group: I suppose it’s “technically” Adult since the characters are in their twenties, but it’s clean and would likely be most enjoyed by teens. πŸ™‚

Published: 2014

Pages: 319 pages (paperback)

Series?: Book 1 of the I.C.E. Agency Series, followed by Diamond.

When Read: July 11 – 16, 2016

Favorite Character: Bryce A.K.A. Ashburn because he’s the best. ❀

Source: Borrowed from a friend.


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

July Reading Roundup + Announcements

1 Hidden Gems 2Before I get to the books I read in July, I have a quick announcement to make! A good friend and lovely blogger, Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart, is kicking off an exciting blog event today, which will run till late-November, and I’m excited to tell y’all about it!

It’s called Hidden Gems: Authors You Need to Discover.

In this blog event, Shantelle will be posting every Monday from now till November 21st. Each week she will be spotlighting or interviewing an author and their books, and she’s got a pretty exciting line-up, let me tell you! There will also be a giveaway each week.

We’re also encouraged to blog about/review the books being spotlighted each week, if we happen to know them, so that can also be a fun part of it, if you like! I’ll hopefully be doing so at least once. πŸ™‚

Anyhow, I for one am excited about this event. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun! πŸ™‚ The first post is up already so dash on over there, do! And remember to keep watching (maybe follow her lovely blog? *nudges you that direction*) for the rest of them! πŸ™‚ You won’t want to miss this! ^_^

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On with the show . . .

I finally broke out of my 4-books-per-month streak — YAY! Only by a couple, but still. *cough* I planned to read WAY more but life happened. *shrug*

Anyway, here’s what I read in July . . . I’ve been reading really WEIRD books for me! O_O A historical fiction, 4 contemporary novels (1 alternate history modern fantasy, 1 superhero fantasy, 1 Diana Wynne Jones book which is its own category, and 1 spy contemporary), as well as a steampunk. Fascinating!

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1. The Silent Blade – Jesseca Wheaton

I reviewed this one. Kidnappings and siblings and Ireland and AWESOME Irish names and all that good stuff. As I said in my review, I might have rated it 3.5… but I bumped it up to 4. I’d have enjoyed it more if I’d read it awhile back when I was younger and I had some problems with it storywise, but on the whole it kept me reading and made me happy in the end. ^_^

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2. Twinepathy – C. B. Cook

I reviewed this one too! *huggles book* And, for a briefer review, here’s a little something I wrote up for “advance praise” to go in the paperback version. πŸ˜€ (I think it’s the first time I’ve been printed in a book? ANYWAY IT EXCITES ME.)

Gripping and fun, Twinepathy is an un-putdownable read that swept me off on a thrilling ride. Featuring an eclectic cast of characters who stole my heart, a mystery with a memory-thief which kept me guessing, and original superpowers that had me longing to enter the book myself, this is a fabulous read to lose yourself in. I loved it and can’t wait for more!

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3. The Last Dragonslayer – Jasper Fforde

I… don’t know what to rate this because most of it was a 5 star but I didn’t like the ending, so… I’m currently compromising with a 3 star rating, but I’ll probably eventually end up giving it either a 2 or a 4, depending which emotion (enjoyment or disappointment) wins out in the long run. XD

I loved the first half and assumed it was an automatic 5 star read, but then it got scary… and then the ending was really sudden and not what I wanted. Apparently my problem is that I was really enjoying it and then it let me down. *shrug* Others might enjoy it though. And I did love the humor and it was quirky and fun and imaginative and well put together. But some of the ending upset me, and some of it I didn’t care about. I do want a Quarkbeast though . . .

(You can see the rest of my slightly longer, similarly rambly “review,” with some more hidden in spoiler tags, HERE on Goodreads.)

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4. Archer’s Goon – Diana Wynne Jones (reread)

ALL THE STARS. (Please do NOT let the weird cover put you off!!! Artists notoriously really don’t know what to do with DWJ brilliance and tend to bungle it and make her books look unappetizing which is hugely unfortunate. -_-) I reread this aloud and . . . MY GOODNESS, THIS BOOOOK. ❀ ❀ ❀ I read it last year and it was one of my favorites, and it was even BETTER this time. *collapses* I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s quirky and ridiculous and hilarious and mashes so many genres together beautifully and its about a couple of crazy families (including a family of power-hungry wizards who are a MESS) and it’s set in modern times but I don’t mind and has fantasy/sci-fi/time things and the characters are all precious beans, even the ones you don’t like, and it just had me laughing all the time, plus there’s a writer in the story, which is a bonus, and reading it aloud and doing all the voices was the most fun ever. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUUUUCH. It’s definitely one of my top favorite Diana Wynne Jones books. ❀

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5. Ashburn – Julia Erickson

I keep reading secret agent books! In this case, a secret-agent, Christian/Romance/Spy/International Thriller/Mystery type of book. This one was quite fun and I rather enjoyed it. πŸ™‚ I plan to write up a review for it… hopefully I’ll post it later this month. But the romance was sweet and the excitement was thrilling and the characters were fun, and it had a feature of interest namely that although it’s about a secret agent and a girl who gets swept up in all of that, they were both homeschooled originally. ‘Twas interesting. *nods* (Likely because the author was homeschooled. ;)) Anyhow I liked it and hopefully I’ll review it!

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6. The Rose and the Balloon – Kirsten Fichter

This stoooory! *huggles it* This was a truly delightful Beauty and the Beast novella, and guess what — it just released TODAY! So go read the hilarious post (and the one before) on the author’s blog in which the twins Prince Nicolas and Princess Nicoline from the story take over the blog. It’s so fun. XD And get yourself a copy! Or wait for the ebook! Either way, you need this in your life. ❀ I will be posting an ACTUAL review for it on my other blog sometime this month, hopefully soon, so watch for that. And there’s a blogtour going on this week so that’s fun too! But Beauty and the Beast + steampunk + delightful characters + family + shenanigans = so much awesome! ❀

And that’s what I read this month…

So! Have you read anything good lately? Do you sometimes read outside your usual genre? What do you do when you love a book but don’t care for the ending? TELL ME ALL!

Also I will probably kind of be mostly on an internet hiatus for the majority of August… (I may post a review or two around here and also on my other blog — plus I need to get my Ishness post up there… But other than that I’ll likely be missing.) So I hope you have a FANTASTIC August and I will see you later! ^_^ Happy reading, all! ❀

Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

By the Book Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Shantelle @ A Writer’s Heart for the By The Book Tag! Thanks Shantelle! ^_^ I’m not tagging anyone specific, but if the questions look fun, feel free to snag ’em and let me know if you do it so I can see your answers! πŸ˜€

1. What book is on your nightstand now?

Ashburn by Julia Erickson. It’s fun so far! I don’t usually read contemporaries or thriller/suspense books, but I’m enjoying it. πŸ™‚

2. What was the last truly great book you read?

I just reread Archer’s Goon by Diana Wynne Jones, which was BRILLIANT. I love it to smithereens. ❀

3. If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

Off the top of my head… J.R.R. Tolkien, Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Stephen R. Lawhead, and Mirriam Neal. And so so SO many writer friends I know online, because that would be INCREDIBLE. Time would fail me to list them all here. ❀ And I’d want to know everything. XD And/or just chat. Because that would be fantastic.

4. What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

Um… nonfiction books? XD *surprise!* I don’t really know, though. I have a weird collection of books because my taste is odd and varied. πŸ™‚ Lots of people would probably be surprised at different books I own but it would depend on the person, probably. *shrug*

5. How do you organize your personal library?

The books I’ve read are (usually) organized alphabetically by author. But that changes if I feel like rearranging them by genre. My unread books are usually organized by which I want to read next and by genre.

6. What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around yet?

OH SO MANY. So, so many. *points to ginormous TBR list*

A few off the top of my head: The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson, The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, and The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen.

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7. Anything you feel embarrassed never to have read?

Hum. Not… really? Mostly I don’t feel like I HAVE to read books, or if I do, I’m not really embarrassed that I haven’t, because it just means I haven’t gotten around to them or don’t want to read them? I guess it’s a little sad that I haven’t read Emma by Jane Austen yet, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke, or The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

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8. Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t?

Off the top of my head… The Little Prince, some of Hans Christian Anderson’s stories, and some of the stories in Five Enchanted Roses.

9. Do you remember the last book you put down without finishing?

Ummm. I hardly ever don’t finish books. I can only remember like… 2. So I guess the last one was A Mighty Fortress by Faith Blum. It just wasn’t for me. *shrug*

10. What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

SO MANY! But mostly fantasy books, fairytale retellings, and I’m increasingly drawn to odder things like steampunk or heist books, just because they’re fun. Really though, I’m drawn to any kind of book that sounds interesting. πŸ™‚ IF IT’S GOOD, I’LL READ IT. (I know that’s vague. Shush. Don’t judge me. XD)

Stay clear of… Well, I try to avoid dystopians. They are not enjoyed by me… I also don’t like icky content in my books either, so I prefer clean books. I also don’t like really creepy stories, so thus far I mainly steer clear of paranormal or horror books, and I don’t do zombies in any form. XD

11. If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

Hmm. Previous answers were the Bible, which is a good choice. I’d say the American Constitution would be a good start too. πŸ˜‰

12. What do you plan to read next?

The Rose and the Balloon by Kirstin Fichter (a.k.a. KiriLiz), which is a steampunk Beauty and the Beast retelling novella, coming out August 1st! I’m very excited. πŸ˜€ I’d share the cover but it’s not out yet… however I hear that there may be a cover reveal next week, so I can’t wait for that! ^_^ Here’s a collage the author made from pinterest pictures instead:

How about you? What would your answers be to any of these questions?

Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Random Bookish Post Thing

Hello fellow page-dreamers! I feel like a random bookish post today, so that’s what this is. ^_^

Lately

I actually read 2 books this past week, which makes me feel on top of things. πŸ˜‰ For the last few months I’ve been reading 4 books a month… Not on purpose, it just worked out that way. So it felt really nice to actually read a couple shortish books in a few days. Don’t you just love that feeling when after awhile of a sort of reading slump, you just zip through a few books in a row? πŸ™‚ A feeling of happiness, I tell you!

Current Stack

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Aren’t they gorgeous? ❀

I actually don’t own these… The Last Dragonslayer I’m borrowing from the library, and I’m currently reading that. About half-done, I think, and it’s delightful. πŸ˜€ Trying to read it before it goes back. πŸ˜‰

The other two I’m borrowing from my friend Sarah Holman who was kind enough to lend these to me — I’ve been eyeing Ashburn and The Sound of Diamonds for awhile now, have heard good things about both, and couldn’t pass up the chance to borrow physical copies! I haven’t started them yet but I’m very excited to read them once I finish some review books. πŸ™‚

Blogging in the future

I was looking at my blog post drafts and thinking about future posts… I have a few books I’d like to review and a few bookish tags to do, so I may get to those at some point. Then again, I may be busy reading instead, which, obviously, I would not complain about. XD

Thoughts on reviewing & half-year of this blog etc.

We’re halfway through the year which always makes me look back and reflect… I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten better about reviewing books this year.

It may not look like it, considering I haven’t been posting reviews for everything, but with my Reading Roundup posts, I’ve realized that’s a chance to do mini-reviews of sorts, for… everything I read. Which, if I had planned to do, I would be totally daunted and end up not getting around to it at all. But since I just dash off a couple sentences to a paragraph of brief thoughts about each book, that ends up being mini reviews.

So even if I don’t do an actual review post, I’ve realized I’m kind of reviewing all the books I’m reading this year. Which… is kind of awesome. I am notoriously a longwinded reviewer, and I do still write long reviews for the books I read that require more discussion about them, but I think I’m getting better about not always being super long.

Also, even if I don’t write a long review, I’ve sometimes been posting my little paragraph mini-reviews from my Reading Roundup posts on Goodreads, which makes me feel like a good little bookdragon. πŸ˜‰ It’s nice.

I also used to always procrastinate over reviews and agonize over having to try to make them perfect and all that sort of thing… But this year I’ve been relaxing and just dashing off a few thoughts. I’m really happy about this. I think this blog has been good for me. πŸ˜›

Anyhow, I don’t always post here very often, I know, but I really enjoy having it and it makes me happy. So. Success? I’d say yes. I would totally like to post more reviews but the whole point of this place was to be relaxed and post as little or as much as I feel like… So I guess that’s okay.

So.Β Ta-da! There you have my random rambly bookish thoughts for the day. πŸ™‚

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer