Book Review: Love Songs, Detours, Et Cetera (Senior Year Sweethearts Book 1) by Starla Huchton

Love Songs, Detours, Et Cetera (Senior Year Sweethearts Book 1) by Starla Huchton

An Contemporary YA Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (04/14/19)

Summary:

On the first day of her senior year of high school in the small town of Highland, Iowa, Trina gets to school before any of the other students so she can volunteer and help the teachers. Trina bumps into the most popular and best looking boy on that first day. Is it her imagination or is he trying to follow her around school? Trina has one best friend in the entire school and everyone else either ignores her or makes fun of her and her mom. Why would Ethan give her the time of day?

Keywords:

Romance, Love, Friendship, High School, Sewing, Costumes, Musical, Alternative Lifestyle, Family, Best Friends, Senior Year, Volunteer

My Review:

Starla has a way with building amazing characters. I felt like I was Trina. She blends into the background and does her own thing but isn’t afraid to voice her opinion and stand up for herself. Trina drives an old car and has dreams of going places, specifically leaving her small town. Though I’ve never really been in a small town, I felt like I understood entirely the feeling of being unique and standing out in Highland, Iowa. I loved Trina’s interactions with her mom, with her best friend, and with Ethan. Trina’s voice was distinct and she knew what she liked, who she liked, and what she wanted.

The dialogue was clever and realistic and mesmerizing. I couldn’t get enough of it.

The romance was perfectly developed and I loved being inside Trina’s head with her nerves and her anxieties throughout it all. I especially loved Ethan’s reactions to Trina’s anxiety.

Ethan was also well developed as a character. He had a robust life outside of his interest in Trina. He had his own wants and dreams as well as his own faults and problems. I really enjoyed the complication of Emmaline, Ethan’s younger sister in the story as well.

The details of costume building and theater were super fun and I really liked how at this particular high school the theater nerd was the most popular kid in school.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 04/14/2019 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

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Book Review: The Devil You Know by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

The Devil You Know by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

An Urban Fantasy Romance Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (01/29/17)

Summary:

Demons live among us. They shop at the grocery store and work at the local coffee shop. Kendra has been able to see them her whole life. And she’s never told anybody. What good could come of it? She’s used to horns, decaying flesh, and blue skin but when she first meets Nick, she’s caught off guard and she almost can’t keep her secret to herself. His appeal is more than just his good looks, his demon ability makes it hard for her to stay grounded and away from him. She knows she has to stay away from him. But he keeps showing up in her life and she is one debt short of keeping all her secrets safe.

Keywords:

Paranormal, Demons, Devils Romance, Romantic Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Demon World, Affect, Abilities, Jealousy, Business Deal, Partnership, Friendship, Emotion

My Review:

I’ve almost read everything Starla and S.A. Huchton have ever published. I will continue to read everything Huchton publishes. She is an amazing storyteller and has a gift with words, plot, characters, and style. She could fictionalize the dictionary and make it intriguing.

The Devil You Know has both paranormal and urban fantasy elements, two key book characteristics I typically don’t like, but I loved this book. The characters may have been demons (not all of them), but they were alive with approachable human characteristics. The world was set in a typical city, but in a world where there were different types of demons with different characteristics. Huchton gives us just a little bit of the fantasy world in which demons live, but firmly grounds it in a contemporary and familiar world.

The two main characters: Nick and Kendra are both complex and misunderstood. Both will come to new realizations after meeting the other. They both learn and grow throughout the novel. I loved how Kendra was able to change her opinion of Nick as he opened up to her the longer they were together. I guess growing up knowing you are the only one who can see 8-foot tall demons with horns and blue skin would make you more open-minded to other things, but I was pleased with how Kendra dealt with and stood her ground with Nick and the other demons.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 01/29/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.0

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: For the Love of Christmas by Starla Huchton

For the Love of Christmas by Starla Huchton

A Sweet Romance Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (10/30/17)

Summary:

Santa has polar flu and needs a replacement, but Mr. Klaus only has a daughter, Meri, and she hasn’t married yet. Meri loves reverse engineering toys. She loves Christmas. She loves her family. It is up to her to find the new Santa, but she only has a few weeks to find the right man to fit the job. Brett Dunning has not celebrated Christmas in 7 years, since his wife died giving birth to his daughter, Holly. If the magic of Christmas points to Brett, will Meri be able to convince him to give the holidays a chance again?

Keywords:

Christmas, Santa, Santa’s Daughter, Tradition, Family Business, Snow, Holidays, Single Parent, Romance, Love, Friendship, Magic, Holiday Spirit, Choir, Baking

My Review:

This story is a bit unbelievable with the whole’ Santa is real aspect,’ but once you get over that, it’s a wonderfully sweet romance. The characters were simple, yet fully developed and full of personality and quirks. This is a family friendly romance – sweet for the holidays.

Meri is the perfect daughter, friend, and wife. Is it the magic of Christmas and her family history that makes her smell so sweet, gives her super sympathy and loads of patience, and all around makes her perfect? Brett is more down to earth and realistic as a person. He loves his daughter, but can’t get over his love of his late wife easily.

Every scene with Holly in it was beautiful. I loved how Meri and Brett both interacted with her and how alive she felt as a young child. The doting love that both Brett and Meri gave to Holly was wonderful and endeared both Meri and Brett even more to me as a reader.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 10/30/2017 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Tempered Hearts (Hearts of Valentia Book 1) by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

Tempered Hearts (Hearts of Valentia Book 1) by Starla Huchton and S.A. Huchton

A Fantasy Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (08/08/16)

Summary:

Darius, the crown prince, is in an arranged marriage to Arden. Arden is kind and compassionate, but Darius has already given away his heart. In this political match, Arden tries her best to win over Darius. She has an effect on all those around her, but cannot seem to find the way to Darius’s heart.

Keywords:

Monarchy, Rulers, Power, War, Destruction, Rebuilding, Heart, Love, Family, Passion, Peace, Chemistry, Race Relations, Kingdom

My Review:

Again, Huchton nails the dialogue and the speeches. This book feels like a good quality fantasy book with realistic yet easy to understand dialogue. This is a hard fantasy book that everyone, even readers who aren’t typically fantasy readers (like me) will enjoy.

Both the story and the plot were solid. They weren’t predictable, but they made sense. Huchton writes a character driven story and since her characters are perfectly defined, realistic, and interesting the story is also well defined, realistic and interesting.

What really keeps me picking up book after book by Huchton are the characters and their relationships with each other. But mostly the characters. Huchton writes the female main character I’ve always wanted. Strong but flawed, like any good protagonist! I love how much I get into the characters’ heads.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on 08/08/2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

 

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Wild at Heart: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 5) by Starla Huchton

Wild at Heart: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 5) by Starla Huchton

A Fantasy/Fairy Tale Adaptation published through Amazon Digital Services LLC (04/09/17)

 

Summary:

Princess Belinda yearns for the freedom of the outdoors. She wants to soar like a bird or run like a wolf. She feels trapped in the castle. So she leaves. Using an enchanted cloak, which allows her to turn into an animal for thirty minutes, she leaves her home. Traveling for days and unhappy with her human body, she arrives at her sister’s castle. Still restless, after meeting with a hermit who grants her wish for freedom, she can now transform into an animal form for as long as she wants. Freedom at last, but at what cost?

Keywords:

Fairy Tale Adaptation, Contemporary Fairy Tale, Magic, Wards, Glamour, Survival, Family, Love, Romance, True Love, Strong Female, Adventure, Travel, Walking, Wolf, Animal Transformation

My Review:

This book takes a character from a previous book and tells a new fairy tale. I wish I’d remembered more from that previous book as I couldn’t remember much context when Erata came up in the story. Thankfully, most of the story centered around Belinda.

I absolutely loved how Belinda was portrayed. She was flighty and had a head for adventure. She was headstrong and stubborn, rushing headlong into things. She grew so much during this story and it was fascinating to see her change and grow.

Again, all the dialogue and any time a character was trying to teach another character were superb.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services LLC April 9th, 2017 and is available on Amazon here.

 

TL;DR Star Rating: 5.00

 

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Starla Huckton’s Website

Book Review: Dust in the Desert: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 4) by Starla Huchton

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Dust in the Desert: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 4) by Starla Huchton

A Fantasy/Fairy Tale Adaptation published through Amazon Digital Services LLC (05/16/16)

Summary:

“A single grain of sand can shift the course of a dune, which changes the entire desert.” (Kindle Locations 192-193).

Alida was a simple thief. Istara was a dying city. The Sultana would not give up her power, would not go wanting, would not save her own kingdom. What can Alida, a single grain of sand, do to save Istara?

Keywords:

Desert, Dust, Kingdom, Sultana, Power Hungry, Thief, Deceit, Lies, Wit, Dying Empire, Magic Lamp, Djinn, Wishes, Humbleness, Love, Kindness, Falling in Love, Sympathy

 

My Review:

I absolutely loved Alida! She is the exact princess I always imagined myself to be as a little girl. She is so well spoken and clever, exactly how I want a princess to be. This book is exactly what teenagers should be reading! There is so much to take away from Alida in her actions, her reserved temperament, and her ability keep a level head. She is a great role model.

The dialogue between Alida and the prince Shahzadeh Sameer is amazing. It is so mature, eloquent and realistic for their world and their situations. I was captivated every time Alida spoke.

Tension is held constant throughout this book and it contained solid and compelling storytelling.

This novel was published through Amazon Digital Services LLC May 16th, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating:5.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Starla Huchton’s Website

Master of Machines (The Antigone’s Wrath Series Book 2) by Starla Huchton

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Master of Machines (The Antigone’s Wrath Series Book 2) by Starla Huchton

A Steampunk-Adventure Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (02/16/16)

Summary:

“Regrets are the realm of humanity, capitaine, not of machines.” (Kindle Location 3331).

The crew of the Antigone’s Wrath is almost all new, all with deep seated hate for the Brotherhood. All who are left are the Captain Rachel Sterling, Danton the Master at Arms, and one other sailor. To pick up this story, Rachel will need to get help from Silas Jensen again. It isn’t for her that she needs Silas, or is it?

Keywords:

Ship, Magic, Ship, Female Captain, Strength, Fighting, Ring, Gear Head, Lover, Danger, Killing, Technology, Secret Sect, Steampunk, Manipulation, Race, Romance

My Review:

Captain Rachel Sterling was as strong as ever in this second book, but she doesn’t always know herself. I love the way she was commanding as a leader, a true pirate, and able to use every resource available to her to get what she wanted (even wearing a corset!).

This is a steampunk story that doesn’t throw difficult language in your face or too much in the way technically/scientifically. This is a steampunk story for everybody. It truly has a story because the Antigone’s Wrath must race time to get what they want and there are plenty of obstacles in the way!

I appreciated how Huchton acknowledges the shortcomings of the culture while still staying true to the world that we’re familiar with and showing an ideal female role model and how we would like our world to be even if it is not. For example, Captain Sterling says, “The world is filled with misogyny. I find it’s more useful to appreciate and reward kindness than acknowledge and battle every insult.” (Kindle Locations 898-899).

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on February 16th, 2016 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Ride the Wind: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 3) by Starla Huchton

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Ride the Wind: A Flipped Fairy Tale (Flipped Fairy Tales Book 3) by Starla Huchton

A Fantasy/Fairy Tale Adaptation published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (11/02/15)

Summary:

“It’s not about pursuing adventure, so much as seeing the adventure life already is.” (Kindle Locations 892-893).

Lukas is raised to be compassionate and when his mother tells him he needs to care for a magical injured Elk, he only pauses briefly. He promises his future to saving the creature and his word is a bond. Given a second chance to love blindly, will Lukas be able to wait in the dark or will his curiosity and worry get the best of him?

 

Keywords:

Wind, Power, Fairy Tale, Princess, Evil, Confinement, Complicated, Trust, Dark, Care, Promises, Strangers, Romance, Love, Loyalty, Family, Second Chances

 

My Review:

This flipped fairy tale features the prince and his story as he meets the ‘princess.’ I always want the princess story, but I was pleasantly surprised by the boy’s perspective. This is probably because he isn’t the stereotypical loud mouthed, boisterous, save everything in sight overbearing prince. He is a real person who was raised to be compassionate and motivated. He is sheltered, which adds to his odd behavior at times or how willing he is to jump into a ‘forever’ scenario, but he is also grasping at his second chance.

Both the prince and princess have believable and full back stories that contribute heavily to their current situations. The princess Erata and the Elk come from somewhere, they aren’t simply a Rapunzel from the tower. They came from a life before the magical house. They made mistakes to get to where they are now. Even the Prince has made his own mistakes in the past.

I only thought it was mildly odd that the creature in the story was an elk. There are dragons and such and one of the main characters is an elk? It fits when you think about the setting, but is still odd to visualize.

The romance, like any fairy tale, was glossed over. The prince was immediately enamored by Erata, even without seeing her though her main personality trait was timidity (although she saves him from poison). He falls in love hard for her and she timidly for him. I didn’t get as much of an ‘aw’ from their romance but as it has its roots in a fairy tale, having a typical head over heels love at first -sight- romance didn’t seem that far from the norm.

This novel was published through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform November 2nd, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating:4.00

Links for more information:

Goodreads

Starla Huchton’s Website

Book Review: Master of Myth (The Antigone’s Wrath Series Book 1) by Starla Huchton

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Master of Myth (The Antigone’s Wrath Series Book 1) by Starla Huchton

A Steampunk-Adventure Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (09/19/14)

Summary:

“Sometimes fate cannot be avoided.” (Kindle Location 2823).

Captain Sterling tries to get rid of a ring that possess a strong magic, but the person who gave it to her is beaten to death in front of her. A society known as the Brotherhood is after Rachel Sterling and the ring and Rachel needs answers. Her specialized ship takes Rachel and her loyal crew travel to the far reaches beyond Singapore tailed by men of the Brotherhood. Rachel will get caught up in the passions of a gearhead commissioned by the Brotherhood, a young girl and daughter of a powerful man who wants to study abroad, the lovely and loyal first mate Iris with a love of magic, and the Master at Arms Danton who swears to kill any member of the Brotherhood they come across.

Keywords:

Ship, Magic, Ship, Female Captain, Strength, Fighting, Ring, Death Machine, Gear Head, Apprentice, Lover, Danger, Killing, Technology, Secret Sect, Steampunk

 

My Review:

I loved every female. They all had their strengths and great personalities. And there weren’t just females in this story. Though Mr. Mustache was a bit over the top in his prejudices, and made to be quite unlikeable, there was Danton the Master at Arms and Silas and the apprentice boy. Huchton really knows how to pack a book with great characters without being overwhelming.

As I happen to share the Captain’s first name, I felt an extra pull and connection to Rachel Sterling. Everyone has their idealized self and role model in books and movies and Rachel Sterling is a great one to choose. She isn’t just strong or just feminine or just smart or just perfect. She has her flaws. She makes choices that lead to things happening that could have gone better had they been avoided. She can fight but doesn’t always win. She is like the female Han Solo, a bit stupid when it comes to love but everyone’s favorite character.

The tech wasn’t too scientific/techie. The steampunk elements weren’t overpowering. Huchton does a wonderful job at balancing many elements in this story.
My only real critique is that the cover was not as engaging as Starla Huchton’s covers usually are. It took me a while to pick this one up because I was under the incorrect assumption that it was a dull mystery novel.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on September 19th, 2014 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.50

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads

Book Review: Spark (The Chronicles of ISLE Book 1)

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Spark (The Chronicles of ISLE Book 1)

A Romance/Adventure Novel published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (09/28/15)

Summary:

“Superheroes give up most of their right to be selfish when they become what they are” (Kindle Locations 162-163).

Candace Bristol and her water power are back… Decades later and the story isn’t about her and her romance with Jackson anymore, it’s about their daughter Phoebe. A Natural superhero with both mother and father superheroes, Phoebe is destined to be a super and grew up both sheltered from the outside world and raised within the superhero community. Feebs trained before she knew what her power was, but she always knew she would be a superhero, she never had a choice in the matter. All she wants is to be in control of something in her life, but even her gifts awakening is a scary surprise for her. But it wasn’t all that bad, she did meet the intriguing Foster at the bonfire party Sammi, her best friend, convinced her to break the rules to go to. Now that Phoebe is 18 and has been presented to the world, her life will throw her into the fast lane of being a super and she can barely keep herself together and in control. Add in a mysterious illness dropping veteran supers left and right and Feebs feels like her entire life is crashing to pieces around her. Where will she turn for support now?

Keywords:

Genetic manipulation, superheroes, tough, instability, romance, love, hormones, leader, kick-butt female, sex, training, choices, control, fire power, second generation

 

My Review:

Everything Starla Huchton writes turns to gold. I’m serious. If you like romance in your young adult adventure/sci fi/fantasy novels then you will love Huchton’s novels and Spark ((The Chronicles of ISLE Book 1) is no exception. This is the type of book you don’t want to put down and you won’t because it’s just that good.

The romance is mesmerizing and only a little cheesy, but every little romantic moment will make you go ‘awww.’ Huchton not only gives her characters reasons to love each other, she gives them a reason to fall for each other in the first place. They have heightened hormones that turn them toward each other and accelerate the process of getting intimate and falling for one another. They are put into situations where they have to trust and rely on one another and build an emotional connection. They are unique and super and that’s just attractive. Phoebe had almost no contact with boys outside of the superhero extended family she grew up with and the first boy she meets is the one she falls for and not just because he likes her back. This is a relationship built upon mutual attractive qualities.

The storyline is both familiar and exciting. ISLE is the decades later continuation of ANGEL and we get to see some of the same characters from the previous trilogy as adults. This is not their story, but there are similar elements as the last story. There are still supers and a threat that must be understood and contained. It is now up to the new generation and the Independent Superhero LEague to save the day.

This novel was published by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. on September 28th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.

TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75

Links for more information:

Starla Huchton’s Website

Goodreads