Review: Letters from Home

Title: Letters From Home
Author: Bethane Strasser
Publication: Nov 25, 2013 by Entangled: Flirt
Reviewed by: Taryn
Rating: 4 stars
Reason for Reviewing: Ebook provided in exchange for an honest review.
An Army doctor, Lena Rodriguez has always been too busy with school or the Army for romance. But the letters she received during deployment have captured her heart. Back home for the holidays, she awaits Christmas morning to meet the man who has turned her life upside down.

When Zack Benson watched his best friend's sister Lena leave for Afghanistan, he knew he had to tell her he loved her. So he sent her anonymous love letters. Now that she’s home, he realizes he's made a tactical error. Lena has fallen for the man in those letters but still thinks of him as a brother. He has to convince her otherwise because if he succeeds, he’ll get the best Christmas present ever. But if he fails, he could lose her for good.
Elena (Lena) Rodriguez, an Army doctor, has been deployed for a year and is about to come home for the holidays. She has received an anonymous love letter every month, plus one for her birthday. Through these letters, the secret admirer has stolen her heart, and she’s anxious to finally meet him face to face on Christmas morning. Because of the small town gossip included in the letters, Lena is pretty sure the letter writer is someone that she already knows--she just can’t figure out who! I liked reading the little snippets from the letters, but I wish some longer parts had been included too so that we could see why Lena was so touched by them.

Zack Benson is best friends with Lena’s brother Mike and has grown up alongside the Rodriguez family. Zack and Lena have a close friendship and have always treated each other like brother and sister. Neither knows the other’s true feelings. Lena has had a secret crush on Zack since her early teens. Zack also has feelings for Lena that he has kept hidden all this time. He regrets waiting so long to pursue a romantic relationship. Zack hopes that Lena will give him a chance once she realizes it was him writing those love letters all along.

Letters from Home is a sweet story of a friendship that blossoms into something more. It’s a novella around 100 pages long, but despite the short length the characters were well-developed. Lena is a hard-working, motivated person who has never given herself the time to date or have a relationship. Zack, a former soldier himself, admires her dedication and understands her sacrifices.

Zack is definitely my type--a tall, handsome, military man with blue eyes and curly brown hair. Oh, and he’s also thoughtful and romantic, let’s not forget that! I love the way he treats Lena. Lena tries to fight her growing feelings for him as she waits for her Christmas surprise from the letter writer, not knowing it is actually Zack.

Just when I thought I had the ending all figured out, the Christmas morning scene surprised me with a dramatic twist. I was a little annoyed at that, but only because I’ve read a handful of books lately that used a similar plot twist.

Overall, I enjoyed this quick and satisfying novella. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for an uplifting holiday romance.

Review & Giveaway: Eramane

Title: Eramane (Eramane Trilogy, #1)
Author: Frankie Ash
Publication: Archway Publishing, 2013
Reviewed by: Stephanie
Rating: 3 stars
Reason for Reviewing: Ebook provided in exchange for an honest review
In the village of Eludwid, seventeen-year-old Eramane Fahnestock goes about her life, cheerfully disregarding a prophecy made to her parents that she would have a great gift. Not yet wed and beset with boredom, Eramane cannot shake the feeling that something exciting awaits her beyond Eludwid. But when she is invited to picnic with a handsome young suitor, Eramane has no idea that her life will soon change forever.

As Eramane prepares for her date, she is suddenly hypnotized by a strange voice that tells her he will be coming for her that night. Unsettled but determined to press forward, Eramane and her suitor, Lebis, head to the woods to enjoy their picnic. As darkness falls on the forest, however, a beast emerges, transforming their beautiful outing into a terrifying scene. Taken captive and carried away to a mountain hideaway, Eramane finds her memories are soon clouded, even as her family frantically searches for her back home.

In this gripping fantasy tale, evil is summoned to the mountaintop, forcing a young woman to discover her magical gifts and exact revenge against a beast determined to destroy everything she has ever loved.
Seventeen year old Eramane is beautiful, strong and an extremely caring soul. You would think suitors would be lined around the corner bakery in Eludwid, but her family has been very picky with who marries their beloved, Eramane. Her mother wants the man she marries to be the man she loves. On this special day, without Eramane’s consent, her parents and brother Samiah set her up with a long time crush Lebis the blacksmith. Just like parents to totally embarrass a teenager. Haha. On the “date” Lebis is handsome and such a charming gentleman to Eramane that she feels like he could be the one for her. Too bad Eramane can’t fully enjoy her date because this voice in her head keeps saying “I will come for you soon”. In what seemed like a moment, she is separated from Lebis and in front of her stands a huge horned-winged beast with glowing eyes reaching outward.

I must warn you that this story is action packed from beginning to end! I read the first few pages and was shocked by the in-your-face events that occur. I had to stop and check the page number to make sure my kindle didn’t jump to the middle of the book. I know what you are thinking though, and no, this wasn’t one of those stories that show you all their action in the beginning and the rest of the book is a yawn fest. I was at the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next throughout the whole story. Now with saying all that, I did wish I could of known a little bit more about the characters and their abilities or gifts like the story explains. I felt at some parts I needed a little more information to fully grasp what was happening. Since their are two more books in this series, I hope this is explained a bit more.

Eramane is just a beautiful character and I most certainly got attached to her story. She also has so much mystery about her that I want to know more about. The struggles she faces are far too much for just any regular seventeen year old to handle, but she has this fierce strength about her that jumps from the pages. I really look forward to seeing how her character develops in the second and third book. Another character I enjoyed was Samiah. He is Ermane’s extremely protective older brother who would do anything for his family, Lord, and village. I loved his courage and felt his sadness when parts of the story got too intense for him. The author did a great job of mixing in different characters within the story while allowing their side to be told and balancing the whole experience as one.

This is a great YA High Fantasy read that will keep you shocked after each unfolding event within the story. Yes, you will keep trying to guess what the heck is going on, but the further you read the more information you gather and understand. I was a page turnin’ maniac while reading this book, lol. Basically, if you love a different type of YA Fantasy with some shocking situations and a lot of action, then stop reading my review and go and purchase your copy right now. On that note, thank you Frankie Ash for allowing us to accompany you on your Eramane Trilogy journey. *Cheers*

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