Publisher: Shadow Mountain

The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum (Mini Book Review)

Posted March 18, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 4 Comments

The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum (Mini Book Review)The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
Series: The Hourglass Door #1
Published by Shadow Mountain on May 1, 2009
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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5 Stars

Abby's senior year of high school is going according to plan: good friends, cute boyfriend, and college applications in the mail. But when Dante Alexander, foreign-exchange student from Italy, steps into her life, he turns it upside down. He's mysterious, and interesting, and unlike anyone she's ever met before. Abby can't deny the growing attraction she feels for him. Nor can she deny the unusual things that seem to happen when Dante is around. Soon Abby finds herself drawn into a mystery whose roots reach into sixteenth-century Florence, and she uncovers a dangerous truth that threatens not only her future but the lives of those she loves.

Wow! I loved this book so much that I finished it in less than 24 hours. Lisa Mangum’s writing style is beautiful. I found myself re-reading passages because they were incredibly captivating and magical. She described everything in such intricate detail and left me feeling like I was actually there. The plot is extremely interesting and mysterious. It had the potential of being extremely confusing, but Lisa wrote it in a way that every detail was explained, leaving no stone left unturned. And her take on time and time travel is original and exciting. I loved reading about it.

Dante is a swoon-worthy love interest. I mean, he’s Italian… and he’s romantic, and he’s been around for quite a while. He’s got a very interesting past, including being Leonardo Da Vinci’s apprentice. His concern for Abby is sweet, not obsessive or stalkerish. The love story between the two of them is slow and believable, and beautiful. You can just feel them fall in love, and I savored every minute of it.

I really only have one complaint: several of the characters speak to Abby in Italian and there’s no translation anywhere. I had to have my laptop with me so I could translate the lines. Let me just say right now free internet translations frequently make no sense.

I read this series as the books came out. I was one of the first in line for this book, and each one in the series ends in quite a cliffhanger! Well, except for the last. Haha. All three books are out now, though, and all three are favorites of mine. This is one of my very favorite romance stories, and I definitely think you should read it if you’re looking for an exciting, romantic, time traveling story with a mysterious Italian inventor and the modern-day girl he sweeps off her feet. The world they explore together is unique, intriguing, a little dangerous, and utterly magical.

5 Stars

My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by B. Wilhite (Book Review)

Posted January 13, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 3 Comments

My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by B. Wilhite (Book Review)My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite
Published by Shadow Mountain on March 3, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 181
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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4 Stars

Sarah Howard's first year at the university is everything and nothing she expected especially when a very cute boy named Ben in her Art History class starts to show interest in her.

Sarah feels like she's an average, normal, everyday girl. So, when Ben (to whom she secretly refers as Adonis because she thinks he could be a Greek god) begins to take interest in her, Sarah is in denial. For one thing, last year she was deeply crushed and humiliated by Jesse James a guy who she thought liked her.

She's determined not to get burned again. But in her heart of hearts, what she really wants is a Jane Austen kind of romance. Ridiculous, right? That kind of romance doesn t exist anymore . . . or does it? Sarah is smart and fun to be around and even pretty, despite her Medusa-like red curls. She even plays the guitar. (So does Ben!) Yes, Sarah is everything Ben has wanted. He's crazy for her, but Sarah is just not getting it. She's playing hard to get, and if she s not careful, she s going to lose a real hot gentleman -- her 21st-century Mr. Darcy.

So, this is kind of a mini book review! It’s a REALLY cute story. This is the kind of story that will instantly improve your mood and make you smile. I was actually laughing out loud and then reading parts of it to a co-worker. I never laugh out loud when I read, especially while I’m at work!

Sarah compares her life to a romance novel. I do that a lot too! I read a ton of romance books or books with romantic overtones, and always find myself looking for a novel romance in my own life. I identified with her a lot for this reason. And even though she reads a lot of these novels, she’s not very good at handling her own romances! I love her internal dialogue and her flip-out sessions over the latest conundrum. My only complaint is that she was SO clueless about how this guy felt about her. Her best friends were drilling it into her head that he liked her. He was moping right in front of her face when she called him a “good friend.” College freshman girls are not THAT clueless, especially if they are romance novel junkies. I just wanted to shake her! Almost the last half of the book was a total miscommunication, when all I really wanted was more cute romance and conversations between the two of them. I’ll admit, though, the miscommunication was pretty funny and kept me turning the pages to see what happened next.

My Ridiculous, Romantic Obsessions is a quick read that will only take you an hour or two to get through, but will leave you smiling. It’s definitely a book I needed in order to pull myself out of the dark supernatural/dystopian rut I was in. I absolutely love YA contemporary, and this one is one of my favorites!

4 Stars