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Of Noble BirthFrom Goodreads: He Was a Man Who Took What He Wanted. And He Wanted Her.

To escape her cruel stepfather, seamstress Alexandra Cogsworth envisioned sailing far from England…though not as a captive aboard a pirate’s ship. Pirate Captain Nathaniel Kent’s strategy for exacting revenge on his cold-hearted father involved taking a valuable hostage…not a seamstress he mistakenly thinks is his half sister. Yet fate has designs of its own, landing them both on board the Royal Vengeance.

At sea, Nathaniel intercepts and plunders his father’s ships, all the while tormented by his illicit hunger for the tempting prisoner he thinks is his blood relation. And although Alexandra wants no part in this terrifying voyage, to reveal her true identity to the handsome, blue-eyed Nathaniel would invite danger. Not only would she become worthless cargo, but the revelation would surely unleash what she and Nathaniel have been fiercely battling – a rising undercurrent of impossible desire that could sweep them away for good.

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Truth be told, I tend to flock to the YA section of the bookstore, so Novak’s novel, Of Noble Birth wasn’t even on my radar until a review request piqued my interest, and I am very glad for it. Sometimes I miss out on gems like this historical romance because of my gravitation towards YA, and it takes books like this one to remind me to expand my horizons.

Novak’s novel is awesome. It’s not too hot and heavy, which is great for a prudish reader like me, but it does have just enough romance and steamy kisses/smoldering glances to really make it a romantic adult novel, and as one of my first in this category, I have to admit that I really enjoyed it. The story itself is extremely interesting from the very beginning, as readers learn of Nathan’s birth, his missing arm, and his father’s murderous intent due to the “imperfection,” as he deems it. The novel then jumps ahead about twenty years, presenting readers with the now grown Nathan and a new character we quickly fall in love with, Alexandra.

A seamstress, Alexandra gets more than she bargained for when she dons a proper ladies dress in hopes of escaping the notice of her drunken step-father. Unfortunately, she finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Nathan, now a rogue pirate intent on harming his estranged nobleman father as much as possible, mistakes Alexandra for his half-sister. As events unfold, and the mistaken identity plays itself out, both of these main characters, intent on a better life, find themselves suddenly falling for one another, a revelation that neither of them can admit, and their snarky retorts and slow dance around one another is incredibly well-written.

I loved being whisked away on the high seas, and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters as well—though a little gruff and unforgiving, they really do work their way into the readers heart. While a little repetitive at times, and a tad long, the case of mistaken identity was humorous and an enjoyable aspect of the novel—one I liked very much. If you’re like me and usually stick to YA or NA novels, I highly suggest giving this one a go; it’s unique and much fun, especially as Nathan comes to realize his mistake and everything comes crashing down upon him. Spanning multiple years, with up and downs on all fronts, Novak really engages her readers; this is not one to miss. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.  This novel is being re-released on May 27, 2014.

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16431540From Goodreads: Ever since the car accident that killed his twin brother, Marshall Windsor has been consumed with guilt and crippled by secrets of that fateful night. He has only one chance to make amends, to right his wrongs and set things right. He must find a Thin Space—a mythical point where the barrier between this world and the next is thin enough for a person to step through to the other side.

But, when a new girl moves into the house next door, the same house Marsh is sure holds a thin space, she may be the key—or the unraveling of all his secrets.

As they get closer to finding a thin space—and closer to each other—Marsh must decide once and for all how far he’s willing to go to right the wrongs of the living…and the dead.

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This is the story of a young man so wrought with grief that he’s given up living, so set in his own delusion that he wanders everywhere barefoot in hopes of finding a thin space to connect with the dead. For the longest time, I thought I knew what happened that night that Austin died. There are so many instances when Marsh begins to tell the story, only to stop, giving enough snippets to connect all the dots, except for the biggest one of them all that some readers may catch, but I certainly didn’t. This, in and of itself, blew the whole story out of the water, and pushed what I thought to be just a decent read into a higher category for me. I love when I’m floored by the events in books, and this novel definitely left my jaw hanging. Of course, looking back on it, there are so, so many clues throughout, and Marsh even basically admits it at one point, but it went right over my head. Epic.

Basically, what seems to be reality in this novel is just the opposite, and I loved that Casella threw in a little bit of paranormal near the end, because I really thought the story itself was depressing and I was worried for Marsh. Since the accident that killed his twin and left Marsh scarred both inside and out, he’s become an introvert, wishing he could trade places, so sorry for the events and fight prior to the car accident that claimed Austin’s life. He’s lost all his friends, though not for lack of trying on their part; he’s despondent and zones out on many an occasion, and at multiple points in the novel, as he deals with his grief, the reader cannot help but wonder if, perhaps, he’s just crazy.

I really liked that Maddie latched on to Marsh to help him through this extremely difficult time. She has her own dark past as well, though, and watching the two come to trust and help each other was really nice.

Overall, this is a good read. Just remember, not everything is what it seems. Four stars.
4 stars

Beyond Words Publishing has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on September 10, 2013.

 



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