#BookReview : Mightier Than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles #5) by Jeffrey Archer #MightierThantheSword #CliftonChronicles #HistoricalFiction

Mightier Than the Sword (The Clifton Chronicles #5) by Jeffrey Archer
Publication date : February 24th 2015
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Genre : Historical Fiction
Pages : 400
Stars : ★★★★☆

A bomb goes off, but how many passengers on the MV Buckingham have lost their lives? You will find out only if you read the opening chapter of Mightier than the Sword.



When Harry arrives in New York, his publisher Harold Guinzberg tells him he has been elected as the next president of English PEN, which will give him the opportunity to launch a campaign for the release of a fellow author, Anatoly Babakov, who is languishing in a Russian Gulag in Siberia. His crime, writing a book Uncle Joe, which gives an insight into what it was like to work for Josef Stalin. So determined is he to see Babakov released, Harry puts his own life in danger.



Emma Clifton, now Chairman of Barrington Shipping, is having to face the repercussions of the IRA bombing her ship.
Some board members feel she should resign while others, including Sebastian Clifton, newly elected to the board, are determined to see she remains as Chairman.



Giles Barrington is now a Minister of the Crown, and looks set for high office, but a trip to East Germany does not end as a diplomatic success, and once again Giles’ political career is thrown off balance by none other than Major Alex Fisher. Fisher decides to stand against Giles at the forthcoming general election. But this time who wins?



Sebastian Clifton asks his girlfriend Samantha to marry him. She happily accepts, but then later changes her mind after she discovers what Seb has been up to behind her back.



The book ends with two court trials: one at the high court in London, a libel case pitting Emma Clifton against Lady Virginia Fenwick; while another, a show trial, takes place in Russia after Harry has been arrested as a spy. Thus continues book five of the Clifton Chronicles, Jeffrey Archer’s most accomplished work to date, with all the trademark twists and turns that have made him one of the most successful authors in the world.

Previous books I read in series:

Book 1 Only Time Will Tell
Book 2 The Sins of the Father
Book 3 Best Kept Secret 
Book 4 Be Careful What You Wish For

Mightier Than the Sword was perfect title for this book. Another stellar book in this compelling series that revolved around two family and their never ending problems. It was about, good vs bad, don’t get greedy, sticking to morals and principles will always be rewarding, fight for yourself at right time, fate, family, love and passion.

Writing was as usual gripping, engaging and fast paced that demanded attention in all chapters. Mightier Than the Sword, told from multiple perspective from Harry and Emma, Giles, Sebastian and Lady Virginia’s POV, was set in Bristol and London, occasional visits in U.S. but this time Harry travels to Russia and Giles to Berlin that changed their life.

Mightier Than the Sword started in 1964 picking up from the end of last book, Be Careful What You Wish For, and ended in 1970. It’s clear from the synopsis, no main character died in the blast on Buckingham’s maiden voyage but I will not tell more or what damage it caused. I was thinking how I should write the review as I don’t want say much but at the same time I don’t want end up saying little. Moreover, lot was going on in this book, turn after turn and many surprises. Each main character was facing enemy in this book and each were given equal attention so I will divide my review in what they were facing, what was good and bad with their situation.

As soon as Emma returned from states she was facing Libel trial filed by Virginia moreover some member of board were plotting against her and that included a new enemy Desmond Muller. It felt like she was running out of luck this time. Desmond was unscrupulous, clever and sharp enemy who gave Emma and company hard time and his timing of final strike was fabulous. For first time I feared for Emma. Court room session didn’t help in reducing that fear as Virginia’s lawyer was brilliant. I was curious to see how she was going to fight both of them at the same time and this time if she lose, she was going to lose big- her position, reputation and company.

Emma evolved a lot over four previous books of this series. Her impression as first woman chairman of public company was formidable. She was admiring, ethical, honest person with high morals and principles. She wouldn’t do wrong with anybody but at the same time wouldn’t let anyone harm her and her family.

Sebastian was fighting Adrian Sloane, his boss who planned to take over Farthings bank. This initial part was tense. Sloane was smart and most dishonest and greedy man. His plan was great, with time in his favor and took over the bank real fast that made Seb resign from his job but he was determined to get back to him. I was curious to see how he was going to fight him with no job and less money.

Seb was exceptionally brilliant but in getting revenge and money fast, living accomplished life, he messed up his personal life. Over the course of this book, he learned and developed a lot. He took one step at a time and climbed financial ladder, took all the opportunity at right time. It was looking like all Cedric taught to him finally came to its fruition when he saw name of Hakim Bishra. I liked that man and I loved how game of fighting Sloane turned from this point.

Giles was not happy family man in this. His son died at age 3 and that broke him and Gwyneth apart. He respected Gwyneth but love was drifting and when he went to Berlin to attend conference as a minister of Crown, he made a mistake that made him resign and once again fight election. Time was also not in his favor as again he had to fight against Fisher. I was curious to see what was the result of election and how would he face consequences of his mistakes. He was best example of sportsmanship and I loved him for being resilient and following his heart. I enjoyed every word and pages when he fought election and later when he supported Emma, but Gwyneth was best and I hope he don’t regret letting her go.

Harry was facing most dangerous situation of all. To begin with he was now president of English PEN and started a campaign for release of Anatoly Babakov, Russian novelist who was imprisoned for 20 years for writing a book on Stalin, titled Uncle Joe. He was curious to find out what was in the book and why Russian government destroyed every copy on publication day of Uncle Joe. He passionately felt for Babakov. But fight for his release meant fight against whole Russian government. First he went to Russia as a guest speaker of PEN- he delivered mind blowing speech (it was as good as Gile’s election speeches) and some work from cabinet secretary (which turned out real interesting). I didn’t know he had photographic memory until this book! Why it wasn’t mentioned before! He discovered location one last copy of Uncle Joe and had to visit Russia again but without protection secretary. Isn’t it just getting just better and better? I was curious to find out how he would locate it and how he would get away with or maybe not? What will happen if Russian caught him? This part was best on whole book.

I enjoyed every tricky situations every characters faced, how they fought their enemies- who won one or two small battle as well that made me worry for characters- and how they came out of it. I loved each of them for not losing hope, sought each other’s help and advice, fought keeping their morals and principles intact that ultimately rewarded them with best result.

I loved reading scenes that were based on historical events like Berlin wall and The Stasi of the East German communist government, imprisonment of Russian writer, and Stalin’s biography through Uncle Joe which was most intriguing.

Climax made me anxious, laugh, curious and awed all at the same time. Harry’s escape, Emma’s trial, and enemies’ plan all was pumping the adrenaline at best. I was holding my breath when finally end neared and then I cursed, ‘Damn Cliffhangers!’ At 3:00 a.m. I got up from bed pulled out sixth book and read few chapters to see the real end. And I tell you it was amazing.

Why 4 stars-

Honestly, I’m tired seeing Virginia and Fisher again. Cliftons and Barringtons are so nice and always do right thing so why they are having lot of enemies? It’s like wherever they go they made enemy. From 1919 to 1970 there wasn’t a year they didn’t face problem! It’s really far fetching.  

Overall, Mightier Than the Sword was gripping, fast paced historical fiction and family saga, full of twist and turn and drama. I definitely recommend this to fans of Jeffrey Archer.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon (IN) | Amazon (US) | Amaon (UK) | Book Depository

What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book in this series or same author? Have you read a book in which character has photographic memory?

Happy Reading!

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#Blitz : Belters by Greg Alldredge @MrAlldredge @Shalini_G26

Hello readers! I’m pleased to be part of blitz tour for Belters by Greg Alldredge, organized by Shalini @Digital Reads Blog Tours. Check out book details and excerpt from this sci-fi in this post.

Synopsis:

While humanity races toward the stars…

…They never expected to find company.

The Earth is dying, fractured by conflict, pollution, and disease. Old divisions make the jump to space. Can they survive?

Life spreads, as the Moon, Mars, and Ceres all become hubs for human expansion. Earth provides an ever-ready source of bodies willing to risk all for space.

For the wheelchair-bound Jacob, a chance to leave proves a no brainer…

… Freedom waits for him. Zero gravity becomes his great equalizer.

All is not bliss. Secretive corporations call the shots. Humankind struggles to find a place in the dark, free of Earth’s influence.

An unexplained gamma-ray burst threatens the delicate balance. Weapon, alien, or terrestrial, the cause must be discovered.

Three unlikely ships join together in an extraordinary interplanetary adventure. All to seek the truth and discover what lies beyond.

Follow humanity as they make a leap to the stars, long before discovering Far Reach Station.

Excerpt:

Two-liter paint cans were lobbed at the front of the car, covering the front windshield and blocking Lea’s view of the gate into the CBD.

Without help, she would be lucky to reach the safety behind the wall. If the sensors on the car were disabled, she would be screwed. No matter how thick the armor, a determined attack would eventually find a way inside.

A series of pops and white plumes of smoke was the only indication help was on the way. Despite the heavy filtration system of the vehicle, she tasted the sting of pepper spray. Guards on the wall covered her approach.

Never to let passengers stress out over the environment, the car increased the oxygen level in the cabin while turning up the volume of the insipid relaxation music. “Remain calm, the situation is under control.” The inane mechanical voice spoke softly to her.

Today wasn’t the day she’d be pulled from the safety of her ride to be murdered in the streets by club-wielding thugs. Though she expected that might be the way she one day would meet her end.

Lea relaxed slightly. The way to the CBD cleared under the rain of teargas canisters. The defenders of the gate moved to suppress the crowd. A line of plexiglass shields and truncheons marched toward the transport.

On the wall, mounted water cannons poised to strike the mob with high-pressure jets of saltwater.

Lea’s celebration proved to be short-lived. An explosion rocked the car. The storefront next to the gate erupted in a flash, shredding protesters and defenders alike before her eyes. Lea could no longer hear the hum of the drive wheels. The ringing in her ears covered all other sounds. The steady ring of automatic fire pummeled the walls of her chariot.

Get Belters now.

Amazon

Author Bio:

Greg Alldredge grew up reading all the excellent Science Fiction and Fantasy of the past decades. He hopes to add his voice, in a small way, to the giants of the genres. He wants to write stories he himself would want to read and hopes to be successful as a storyteller first.

He is currently living out of a suitcase, with his wife Connie and no pets. They travel too much. Please enjoy the journey.

Author social media: Email | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram @greg.alldredge

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What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book by the same author?

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#BookReview : Just Me by Deidre Huesmann, Roxas James, Kate Larkindale, Medeia Sharif #JustMe @evernightpub #Anthology #LGBTQ

Just Me by Deidre Huesmann, Roxas James, Kate Larkindale, Medeia Sharif
Publication Date : April 17th 2020
Publisher : Evernight Teen
Genre : Anthology / YA / LGBTQ
Pages : 205
Stars : ★★★★★

Love is in the air…


JUST ME is a hand-picked collection of stories about self-discovery and being true to yourself. This LGBTQ+ young adult anthology is not afraid to take on real issues facing today’s teens.

“Witty, fast-paced, and well written.”

Wilde Girls by Deidre Huesmann
Broken Rules by Roxas James
Bullet Me by Medeia Sharif
We’ll Always Have This by Kate Larkindale

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to publisher. ***

Just Me was collection four lovely and refreshing YA, LGBTQ stories. It was about feelings and life of queer young adults that included problems they face in the world, self-identity as queer for first time, their feelings on coming out to world and family, accepting and expressing true feelings, love, friendship and family.

1. Wilde Girls by Deidre Huesmann

Wilde Girls was first person narrative from Aislynn’s perspective. She was fiery and wild girl who expressed her feelings and thoughts openly. I loved character description. Rosella was amazing old lady and I loved her flower shop. That’s where Aislynn met Phoenix, not first time, of course! They had a history, Aislynn hated Phoenix for her crappy behavior in school but as they started working together things changed. Phoenix was passionate fashion designer and all girly, opposite of Aislynn but equally fiery and wild. I loved her confession and development.

This was enemy-to-lover trope with a bit clinched arc but I still enjoyed the story of Aislynn and Phoenix. End was sweet, cute and lovely. A perfect opening story.

2. Broken Rules by Roxas James

Bastian woke up naked after party. He didn’t remember who he slept with until his friend told her and Colin came to talk to him. Narrated from Bastian’s POV in his refreshing voice, made story enjoyable. I loved him, his family and best friend. I didn’t like the way Colin broke his heart. I felt for Bastian and I was angry for him but at the end when Colin stood up for Bastian, I loved him. It was best part of the story.

Broken Rules was lovely romance with heartbreak, and discovering gender for first time, first time reaction and doubts. Importance of giving self-discovery a time and think through all aspects before you come out to world and decide to date.

Only thing was, I would have like to know what was Abby’s issue.

3. Bullet Me by Medeia Sharif

This was my most favorite story. Lonnie was lovely creative girl who was amazing at journaling her life. She had crush on her friend and classmate Ezzie but she never told her. She didn’t came out in her school and family, only her parents knew about her love for girls. She put her feelings for Ezzie in journal. Her journal craze was infectious and I loved her from very first page of this story. When Richie started to mess with her one day, her happy school day turned depressing. His act exposed Lonnie’s feeling. It turned out good for her, but I felt mad at him. What Richie did was horrible. But, I’m glad there was so much positivity in this story.

Bullet Me was really amazing story with message of supporting fellow students, standing up against manhandling, harassment and perverts mistreating girls; about positivity of journaling, how it’s therapeutic, helps in organizing thoughts and feeling.

4. We’ll Always Have This by Kate Larkindale

This last story was so emotional. It was Leo and Jack’s love story that started at heavy and sad time and place, at hospital. Leo was there as her brother Chris tried to kill himslef and Jack was there as his father was dying and he had no one else after his ex-boyfriend left him. While sharing a coffee and night alone, they got to know each other, told their story and felt connection and spark in just two days which brought huge change in both of them.

I loved the way Leo narrated her family’s issues, introduced each brothers and her father, her feeling for Jack and how she felt first time being attracted to a boy. When I knew her whole story, it brought tears in my eyes. Jack had his own issues with his father which was not as serious as Leo’s but I felt for him too. It made me think how parents’ action affect kids in worst way.  Love between Leo and her brothers was amazing. I loved and felt for all characters in this story.

End was great with finding hope and love amidst dark time of life. I wish there was more to this story and I could know if there was happy ending and not just for Leo and Jack but for all Leo’s brothers.

Overall, each story in Just Me was compelling, fast paced, engaging anthology with lovely romance, interesting characters, and amazing message. I highly recommend this book.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon (IN) | Amazon (US) | Amaon (UK)

What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book by these authors? Which is your favorite Anthology?

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Horrible Friends in Books I read

Hello Readers! I wrote this Horrible Bosses in Books I read post a month ago. After few days I had horrible friends list so I thought I will share them as well. I have also started listing horrible parents. I guess I will write horrible- this-and-that series! What do you think? Anyway, here are the worst friends in literature I came across that made me say out loud “thank goodness, I don’t have such friend in my life“, “I hope I never meet people like this“, or best “I don’t want friend, now, I better read a book and have my blogger friends“.

The Twin by Natasha Preston

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This book had worst friend. They are on the top of my list. Poor, Ivy trusted them with life, never did anything wrong or she never meant to look like competitor, she was just best swimmer and worked hard to be best. All it took Iris pointing Ivy’s lap timing to them and suddenly they are jealous and hated her so much that they shut her out and started hanging with her twin. They did horrible things as well but I won’t say it as it will be a spoiler but you get my point, right?

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

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A classic one dating ex-girlfriend. Zach’s best friend turned ex-friend as soon as he found his mother was defending the case of shooter in school. He didn’t just stop there but also started dating his ex-girlfriend as soon as Zach pushed her away. This horrible friend ex-friend didn’t leave any chance making him feel low and kissing his ex-girlfriend in front of him.

The Break Up by Tilly Tennant

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Another classic one, betraying for a boy. Lara’s best friend started loving and dating Lara’s boyfriend behind her back and then expected from her to forgive her. Not just that but when that ex-boyfriend came knocking at Lara’s door and Lara warned her now-ex-best-friend about it, she said nasty things to Lara. Definitely bad! Why a boy has to come in between friendship!

Cupidity by Lucinda Lamont

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So here main character was a horrible friend. Martha betrayed Mae- her best friend since childhood, who gave her roof over her head and supported her in her down time- by sleeping with Mae’s husband! I hated her for this and apparently this was not the best story I read. She kept sleeping with Mae husband and then regretting and then repeating the cycle.

I Know You Remember by Jennifer Donaldson

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This should be on the top of the list because here best friend was a psychopath. I wouldn’t say who and how but know that this is worst kind you see who wouldn’t even hesitate in killing you.

The Accidental Life Swap by Jennifer Joyce

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This also shows it’s lovely cover in this list again. Apparently this book had not just horrible boss but horrible friend as well. Here, that friend was sneaky who not just betrayed Rebecca by telling her secret to her boss but also stole her ideas and job.

And a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills

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This too made it to this list. Again a workplace best friend betrayal case. Here that friend plotted with horrible boss to take Daisy’s job who was sacked for using internet. And later was furious with Daisy for ruining her life.

Kingdom Cold by Brittni Chenelle

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Another case of friend going after her best friend’s fiance and then selling her to enemy. That horrible friend was Milly. She was so unpredictable and shocked me more when she accused Charlotte and called her monster while she should be thankful. Again why boy has to come in between friendship?

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan

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Villain of this series was actually a friend with Percy and Annabeth. It’s safe to say, right? Everybody knows who was the villain and what he did, right? If not I didn’t say who that was. 😁

What do you think about this post and horrible friends I mentioned? Which horrible friends you would like to add to this list? Are there any classic type you came cross often? If so which are those types?

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview #Releasedayblitz : As Much As I Ever Could by Brandy Woods Snow @FillesVertesPub @brandy_snow #AsMuchAsIEverCould #YA #contemporaryromance

Hello Readers! It’s a release day of AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD by BRANDY WOODS SNOW and please to be part of Release Day Blitz. Check out book snippet and my review in this post.

Cover Designer: Jena R. Collins/JRC Designs

As Much As I Ever Could by Brandy Woods Snow
Publication Date : May 26th 2020
Publisher : Filles Vertes Publishing
Genre : YA Contemporary Romance
Stars : ★★★★★

Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.

She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on
collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach. 

All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.


She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit. 

CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s
driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.

As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can’t be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

A summer away at Memaw’s can’t rectify everything that fell apart in a single minute, but that won’t stop my dad from forcing it on me.

My fingers wrench tighter around the handle grip of Dad’s Ford Explorer as he hugs the center line, tires thumping over golden reflectors in waves and shooting vibrations through my seat. I glance over my shoulder to make sure the door lock is crammed to its neck into the tan vinyl interior. Not that it’d make a difference if he were to flip this thing head-over-end into the muddy goop of tidal flats along either side of the road. If a body’s going to exit a car in a hurry, it sure as hell won’t wait for an unlocked door.

These kinds of thoughts never shoved their way into my brain before the accident. Now they circulate like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle.

I sigh and yank my phone off the dashboard. 4:15 PM. Only ten more minutes to get my summer of hell underway.

A notification blinks on the home screen. One new email from Trent Casey and all I can see of it is “CJ, things have changed so much this last year that I think…” Inbox preview cruelty at its finest. A little sneak peek of my on-again, off-again boyfriend kicking me to the curb because I’ve been too screwed up to screw him the past year. Not that I’d screwed him before, or anyone else for that matter.

I toss the phone in the cup holder and stare over at my dad in the driver’s seat, his eyes fixed and hooded as if in a trance. He hasn’t spoken in over a hundred miles, but I’ve strategically coughed from time to time to make sure there’s at least a reaction to the noise, and he’s not comatose or something. Plus, it’s easier than actually talking, and it warrants no response from him. Win-win.

Dad flips on the blinker, its dink-doonk, dink-doonk, dink-doonk signaling a right turn. Into where I have no idea, and unless Memaw has taken up living in a dilapidated open-air shack, he’s seriously misguided. He pulls into one of the ten open parking slots, demarcated by rows of conch shells instead of actual painted-on lines. How beachy of them.

Dad lets the engine idle, sliding his phone from the pocket of his polo and pecking out a text message without so much as a word or glance in my direction. I unlatch my seatbelt and open the door, easing out onto the hot, gritty sand, which creeps into my sandals and scratches at the skin.

“Where are we?” When he doesn’t respond, I step beside the open door, banging my hand on the window. “Dad, where are we?”

“Edisto Island, of course,” he mumbles, never looking up from his phone, his fingers still moving furiously over the screen.

I point to the rectangular banner draped atop the entrance with what looks like a hand-stenciled Welcome to Edisto Beach, SC! in blue paint. “No shit. I mean, what is this place?”

“Watch your mouth, CJ. I’m still your father.” He finally looks up long enough to glare across his steering wheel at the banner, squinting as if it’s written in some foreign language before looking back at me. He waves his hand around. “We’re obviously at the market.”

The entrance isn’t a single open-close door but one of those garage-style deals that pulls down from the ceiling. Oyster shell wind chimes tinkle in the breeze. I take a deep breath, the briny air expanding in my lungs and coating my skin, and somehow start imagining myself as one of those slugs we used to find on the back porch at home and pour salt over. Almost immediately, their slimy little bodies would foam up and implode, turning into a dried-up crispie we’d flick off in the grass the next day. Maybe that’ll happen to me, and I can simply shrivel up and disappear.

Dad gets out and lifts the back hatch, and I walk to meet him, giving an extra foot shake on each step to loosen the stowaway sand from my sandals.

“But why are we here?”

“This is where Memaw’s picking you up.” He hauls out my two large suitcases and sets them under the overhang. “She’s running late, but she’ll be here within the next twenty minutes.”

“And you’re just gonna leave me here?” I thumb over my shoulder.

He stares at me as if I’ve just asked for an explanation on the meaning of life, standing like a statue except for the front flip of his thinning auburn hair that tousles with the breeze. That hair, along with his chocolate brown eyes and freckles, are the only things we even share anymore. Everything else is gone. Evaporated.

“Don’t be dramatic, CJ. I have a long drive home.” He slams the hatch, walks to his still-open driver door and slides in behind the wheel. The passenger window rolls down part-way. “I’ll see you at the end of summer. Bye.” The words scarcely exit his lips before the window’s rolled up and he’s peeling out of the parking lot on two wheels as if he’s off to a five-alarm fire.

Wow. Truly heartfelt. I think he might miss me. I lock my jaw, forcing my quivering stomach back in its rightful place. Part of me loathes him for just dumping me here. The other part understands, though. He hates me for what happened and wants me gone too.

I can’t blame him for that.

  • Awards, Recognitions, and Reviews:
  1. Second Place, YA Contemporary – NEORWA’s Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest
  2. Second Place YA Contemporary – Music City RWA’s Melody of Love Contest
  3. “A swoonworthy summer read with a hopeful lesson about how to move forward without fear.” – Kirkus Reviews

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to publisher. ***

As Much As I Ever Could was wonderful YA contemporary romance that revolved around CJ grieving loss of mother and sister in accident. It was about getting over loss, giving second chance to life and love, learning to love yourself again, accepting the reality than running away, forgiveness, friendship, family, and racing.

Writing was smooth, gripping, and emotive. Loved the setting of Edisto Island, community, and Memaw’s sea themed house and its description. It made me want to pack my things and move in with her for whole summer. There was everything one want in YA contemporary. There was drama, family issues, friendship, car racing, rivalry, teenage angst, romance, misunderstanding, and development.

As Much As I Ever Could started with CJ’s father dropping her at Edisto Island with her grandmother for summer and left without even a goodbye. She was there until the date of trial in August. She expected to spend summer locked in room with her guilt and try not to think about accident. But it didn’t turn out as she thought. Within few minutes she made new friends (Gin and Bo), met hot dude (Jett) who was trouble, and grandma full of life who gave new house rules- Live life, get drunk, and fall in love. It made me instantly like her grandma. She was fun. When CJ lost bet with Jett, made her spend more time with him, and learning to drive again, slowly they formed a connection and fell for each other. I was curious to see where this new found relationship will take her, can she ever be confident to drive again and what will happen when Rachel’s, (Jett’s racing partner) threat comes true.

First of all I loved that cover and all characters’ name. They were all shortened but I l loved original names.

I loved CJ (Camelia Jayne). First losing mother and sister then estranged father who exiled her to live with grandma she hardly knew, guilt of overcorrecting her car that resulted in flip and ultimately death was gnawing from within and anxiety never left her fully whenever she was in car… She was going through a lot. No wonder she wasn’t ready to love herself or someone else or drive car again. I could feel her pain and fear but I loved it when she gave Jett and Memaw a chance to bring back happiness in life. I felt so sad when she once again had to face her fears, angry at Rachel for implanting that doubt and at Jett for not focusing on his racing properly and saying those nasty words. Her development was amazing. I admired her for listening to her father, reconsidering her belief, making right decisions, and living life once again.

Jett (Jarrett) was great throughout the book. He was handsome, confident and charming hero who loved racing and lived life at fullest. But unlike his racing partners he wasn’t haughty or showoff. He had trust issues because of his family and that caused a bit drama in the middle of the story and at climax. But I liked how he took CJ’s advice and learned from his father’s mistake.

All side characters were amazing. Gin (Ginny Lee) was lovely girl, I would love Bo (Beauregard) as brother and I want Memaw in real. I liked the way Jett’s parents and CJ’s dad changed at the end. I even enjoyed drama Rachel, Trevon and Tyler added to the story. The way CJ made up with Em and that surprising entry of Trent made it interesting. They all were perfect cast and made story refreshing, dramatic, fun, and lovely.

Chemistry between Jett and CJ was natural, hot and swoon worthy. They both felt connection very early in the book but romance built gradually. All moments they spent together, secrets and pain shared was heartwarming.

It was so sad to see fear, misunderstanding, and accident breaking them apart in climax.  The situation was written well. I couldn’t pick a side, they both were right in their own way. CJ’s dad surprised me in this part and I loved his last effort that ultimately break through CJ and helped her in facing the trial. I loved her speech there and what she decided to do. End was perfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Overall, As Much As I Ever Could was compelling contemporary with refreshing characters, summery setting and amazing emotional rollercoaster. I highly recommend this book to fans of YA Contemporary.


About Author:

Brandy Woods Snow is a Young Adult author, journalist, wife, mama of three, Christian, and proud Southerner. Born and raised in the area of Greenville, South Carolina, she still resides in the rolling foothills of the Upstate region, though she plans to one day retire to the state’s famous Grand Strand. Brandy has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing pursuits have always held her heart, she’s built a career as a journalist and editor. Brandy has more than 19 years’ experience and a strong platform that includes articles and columns published in Delta Sky Magazine, Greenville Business MagazineColumbia Business Monthly and Home Design & Décor Magazine (Charlotte and Raleigh). Currently, she also works as the Marketing Manager and an Acquisitions Editor for Filles Vertes Publishing.


Her first novel MEANT TO BE BROKEN was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in May 2018, and she has a short story featured in FVP’s LOVE ON MAIN anthology, forthcoming in February 2020.

When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.

Book Links:

Goodreads

What do you think about the book? Have you read it already or any book by the same author? Have you read any YA book dealing with loss and grief?

Happy Reading!

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