BOOK REVIEW: A Different Blue – by Amy Harmon

Title: A Different Blue
Author: Amy Harmon

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 29th 2013
Finished reading: September 17th 2017
Pages: 322

“I keep wishing you had had a better life…a different life. But a different life would have made you a different Blue.” He looked at me then. “And that would be the biggest tragedy of all.”

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I became an instant fan of Amy Harmon‘s work after my first experience with one of her stories. And it’s definitely one of the main reasons I still decided to give A Different Blue a go despite my doubts about the fact it’s classified as a contemporary romance and wasn’t sure if it would be for me. I guess those who follow my blog are already aware of the fact I’m not a big fan of the romance genre in general and to be honest I was quite worried this story wouldn’t be a right fit. But Amy Harmon managed to do the impossible and made me enjoy another contemporary romance read. It did help that A Different Blue didn’t have as much romance as I expected initially in the first place. And even though this wasn’t my favorite story of the bunch I’ve read so far, I still very much enjoyed it. And this has a lot to do with the writing, which was excellent as always and had me hooked right from the beginning. There is no doubt that A Different Blue is a beautiful, raw, strong and emotional story! The plot is interesting and will have quite a few surprises in store… Both the plot and character development were done very realistically and this made it really easy to fully emerge myself into the story. Blue was a great character and even though she isn’t exactly easy to like, there is just something about her that makes you want to keep on reading. And I just love her art and what it symbolizes! I wasn’t a big fan of Darcy though and I could have done without the love triangle… His actions started to frustate me at times and he didn’t manage to charm me. There is no doubt this is still a very good read though and one of the few contemporary romance stories I have actually enjoyed over the years. And A Different Blue has both the wonderful writing and its main character Blue to thank for that.

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Blue Echohawk was abandoned when she was little and raised by a man without a real home. She doesn’t know her real name or when she was born; she simply feels she doesn’t know who she is. The fact that she didn’t attend school until she was ten years old slowed her down, with the consequence she is still just a high school senior at nineteen. Blue is what you call a troublemaker and uses her appearance and tough attitude as an armor. But the cracks are starting to show when a young British teacher decides he is up for the challenge and is determined to get through to her.

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Even though I didn’t LOVE love A Different Blue like the other Amy Harmon books I have picked up so far, there is no denying this is still a very good read. It might have just been the fact contemporary romance normally isn’t my thing in the first place, but the main reasons I couldn’t add the final star were my aversion to Darcy and some of the romance. The writing is flawless and the plot both intriguing, emotional, powerful and realistic. Blue is such a great character and even though she is hard to like, you grow attached to her anyway. Fans of the genre will enjoy this story!  Make sure to have some tissues ready, because you will find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster with this one.


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WWW Wednesdays #155 – September 20th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading both my latest TBR jar pick Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes and my 800+ pages book for this year It by Stephen King. I’m only a few pages into both so I don’t have anything substantial to say yet… Other than that I’ll probably end up finishing It next month since I want to read a few other titles first.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Dollmaker Of Krakow by R.M. Romero (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I was sold as soon as I saw the cover and blurb, and there is no doubt that the writing is just as beautiful as the stunning cover. The Dollmaker Of Krakow is a truly unique story that mixes historical events with a fairytale-like fantasy world and sometimes feels a lot like magical realism. This innocent way of approaching the holocaust is a truly fascinating angle and very well executed; the fantasy elements only add to the overal originality of the story.

2. Beartown by Fredrik Backman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/09
It took me a while to warm up to this story and to be honest in the beginning I wasn’t convinced by the multiple POVs and the amount of characters introduced. I’m not a hockey fan and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the prominent role the sport has in the story… But all those worries disappeared as soon as I reached the second half and found myself fully invested. I don’t want to give away too much to avoid spoilers (since the original blurb had a few as well), but some things will happen that will provoke very strong emotions and these feelings won’t let you go until you reach the final page. The fact that there are so many conflicting emotions will leave you wrecked, but fully satisfied. The ending is quite interesting as well, and will make you wonder about how the story started. All in all recommended despite the not that convincing start!

3. A Different Blue by Amy Harmon (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
Even though this wasn’t my favorite story, I still very much enjoyed it and I was surprised there wasn’t as much romance involved as I would have expected. Blue was a great character even though she wasn’t exactly likeable and I love her art and what it symbolizes. I wasn’t a big fan of Darcy though and I could have done without the love triangle… But the writing was excellent as always. Beautiful, raw, strong and emotional story!

4. The Mistake by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/09
I’ve been looking forward to this one… And although it’s not my favorite of the bunch, it is still without doubt a very well written and suspensful psychological thriller. The main problem I had was with the main characters, which I found highly unlikeable… Rose and Garreth made me cringe A LOT. But. The writing is excellent and the situation and consequences of grooming very well and realistically described. I liked the idea of the chapters going back between past and present; showing this way both what happened all those years ago and how this effected Rose’s life even after all those years.

5. Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni (?/5 stars) REVIEW 26/09
I’ve only just finished this one as I’m writing this WWW, and I’m still struggling to decide what to make of this one. The writing style is very engaging and made this story into a very fast read. The whole funeral business definitely gives this story a unique touch and actually adds to the plot as well. I’m still not sure about the characters, but I’m hoping to write something a bit more coherent in the next few days or so.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m pickin up Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite next even though it’s recently due next month… I’ve been looking forward to this one. I also want to read Heartless by Marissa Meyer; I’ve been posponing this one for way too long now. Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma… And I have a new TBR jar pick! Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up. I can’t wait to finally read it!


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WWW Wednesdays #154 – September 13th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

At the time I’m writing this WWW I’m still reading The Dollmaker Of Krakow by R.M. Romero, but most likely I will already have finished it by the time this post goes live. Because I’m flying through this middle grade historical fiction/fantasy read. Very unique and intriguing so far… I’m also starting Beartown by Fredrik Backman; A Man Called Ove is one of my all time favorites so I still don’t know why it took me this long to pick it up. Straight after I will continue with A Different Blue by Amy Harmon, because it’s been too long since I last read one of her stories. Gotta love finally reading my own books again. ❤

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Surrogate by Louise Jensen (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
If you are looking for your next psychological thriller, you have just found your story. Because The Surrogate is perfect for any fan of the genre and will leave you both speechless and mindblown by the last page. The story starts out rather conventional and gives you that false security that you have already figured out what is probably going to happen… And then the plot twists bombs start falling and you will discover you were SO wrong about everything. Oh yes, The Surrogate will mess with your mind and you will love every single minute of it. Because this is one brilliantly executed psychological thriller.

2. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab REREAD (5/5 stars) OLD REVIEW
This one was a reread in preparation of the second and final book of the duology and I loved it just as much the second time around. But then again, it’s Schwab we’re talking about and everything she touches seems to turn into gold in the first place. BRILLIANT.

3. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/09
Error, page not found… Excuse me while my mind recovers from the blow. Because WOW. Victoria Schwab wasn’t kidding when she said this wasn’t a happy story… I admire her all the more for it even though this book kind of broke my heart… Bulldozer or not, I loved this story and how things developed. I’m not saying this Monsters Of Verity duology can compete with the Shades Of Magic trilogy, but I like to see them as two completely separate series that both deserve all the love.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m pickin up The Mistake by K.L. Slater next even though it’s recently due next month… I loved her previous books so I can’t wait to dive into this one! ! I also want to read Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin as well as Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Both have been on my TBR for way too long now. And my latest TBR jar pick is still Flowers For Algéron by Daniel Keyes, a modern classic that I can conveniently use for one of the challenges as well and hope to read before the end of this month.


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WWW Wednesdays #153 – September 6th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading The Surrogate by Louise Jensen… One of my most anticipated thriller releases and so far it’s GOOD. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is that I simply haven’t had much time to read in the first place. I’m also starting my reread of This Savage Song to prepare myself for Our Dark Duet. It’s finally happening!!! Although I will be sad to see this duology finished…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW TODAY!!
I’ve tried really hard to like Never Let Me Go, but I’m convinced that this book/author and me simply aren’t a right fit. Especially since this book has received so much praise over the years… I personally really struggled with both the prose, plot and characters and I had a hard time making sense of it all. It’s almost as if the readers are clueless students as well and quite a lot of key information is left out in the beginning. In the end Never Let Me Go wasn’t my cup of tea, but since most people did enjoy it don’t let my review stop you from picking it up.

2. Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/09
I’m a big fan of the Erika Foster series and book number 5 was definitely one of my most anticipated releases. The wait was worth it, because Cold Blood was definitely everything I  hoped for and more. Suspenseful, fast-paced, a kickass character, thrilling plot, another serial killer thriller and entertaining read in general. This book has only reconfirmed my love for this series and I’m already waiting impatiently for the next one! Oh yes, I’m seriously addicted to Erika Foster adventures. They simply read like a train. ❤

3. I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/09
I was actually really looking forward to this book, but I guess I should have known after reading the blurb. The thing is: I normally like stories that are unconventional. Call me weird, but I find a dose of crazy to be rather refreshing every once in a while… But I wasn’t prepared for I Am Behind You. Because this story will definitely give you an overdose of crazy. The plot is basically absurd and doesn’t make sense and I was clueless even after reaching the final page. I didn’t manage to connect to the characters or writing style and overall unfortunately I had a really hard struggle with it. The fact that it took me about three times as much as normal to just finish it will say enough… Definitely not a story for me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab straight after This Savage Song! I also want to read A Different Blue by Amy Harmon soon… I love her books so far and can’t wait to read this one. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin is also high on my list. My newest TBR jar pick is Flowers For Algéron by Daniel Keyes, a modern classic that I can conveniently use for one of the challenges as well. 😉


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WWW Wednesdays #152 – August 30th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m finally continuing with Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro despite the fact I just couldn’t get into the story the first time around… I’m planning to finish it before the end of the month for a challenge even if I’m still struggling with it. I’m also about to start I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist, one of my last! pending Netgalley ARCs before I can finally fully concentrate on my own books again. It’s a horror story and sounds pretty promising despite the very low Goodreads rating. Fingers crossed!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Missing Girls by Carol Wyer (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
The Missing Girls is a true detective thriller winner for quite a few reasons. Fast-paced, well written, a healthy dose of suspense, one creepy serial killer, plot twists, an interesting character… This third book of the DI Robyn Carter series has all that and more. I really liked the way the social media and cyber bullying theme is incorporated into the story and how it shows the dangers of using those apps. The story definitely ends with a bang though and I will be waiting impatiently to find out what will happen next. Recommended!

2. Little Fire Everywhere by Celeste Ng (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/08
Even though I ended up giving Little Fires Everywhere a slightly lower rating than expected, there is no doubt that this was still a very good read. Both the writing, character development and twists were very well done and turn Little Fires Everywhere into an excellent contemporary fiction read with a healthy dose of drama, secrets and lies. The flashbacks to the past are interesting as well as the way as some sensitive themes as abortion are incorporated. And I just loved the photography elements! Fans of the genre will love this book.

3. The Accident by S.D. Monaghan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 01/09
Action-packed, thrilling, suspenseful, crazy, rollercoaster ride… All words that apply to The Accident and its plot. Fans of action thrillers will devour this story and will especially love the final part, which almost reads like one of those popular action movies. That said, I personally did have some problems with the credibility both of the characters, their actions and the plot in general. It felt almost like too many different angles where squeezed into an already eventful plot and it started to have the opposite effect on me. I wasn’t a fan of the characters either, but I can also see how the right person would love this book.

4. Monsters Of Men by Patrick Ness (3/5 stars) REVIEW 03/09
I was so sure I was going to enjoy Monsters Of Men just as much as the previous two books, but I guess my instincts were wrong. It wasn’t the prose. Besides the slang I still find annoying, the writing was just as strong as ever. I still love Todd and Viola just as much as in the first books. And it wasn’t the fact that Patrick Ness is basically an expert at breaking my heart and crushing my feelings either. I had one big problem with Monsters Of Men: ‘The Return’ and his newly introduced POV. This POV is more lyrical and in a way very beautiful, but unfortunately it left me mostly confused and I had a hard time figuring out the who and what of the things mentioned in those chapters. I actually found myself starting to skimread them at some point… Definitely not a good sign. It’s the main reason I had to lower the rating considerably despite my overal positive opinion about the rest of this final book.

5. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (4/5 stars)  REVIEW 05/09
I kept the summary supershort since I’m positive just about everyone will already be familiar with this classic in the first place. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is surprisingly easy to read for a classic and quite short as well; I was able to fly through it in a blink of an eye. There isn’t much of a plot to talk about and basically nothing really makes sense, but in the end this story was able to bring a smile to my face and sometimes that is just the most important thing. I do realize now most of the retellings are way more detailed than the original story… Something that has truly surprised me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

No matter what happens, I’m going to pick up Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab next.  I’ve been suffering for way too long already and it’s been a miracle I haven’t run into spoilers so far in the first place! I also want to read A Different Blue by Amy Harmon soon… I love her books so far and can’t wait to read this one. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin is also high on my list. My newest TBR jar pick is Flowers For Algéron by Daniel Keyes, a modern classic that I can conveniently use for one of the challenges as well. 😉


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WWW Wednesdays #148 – August 2nd

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently flying through Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard. The writing style makes it a very readable story even though the plot itself hasn’t blown me away yet… It’s not a bad read at all, just nothing I haven’t seen before in a YA contemporary. Suzanne’s character is quite interesting, although I could have done without the high school cliches and jealousy (even though it’s only in small doses thankfully). I also picked up The Ask And The Answer by Patrick Ness, but I haven’t gotten around rereading my review of book one to properly start it. Those who will have read The Knife Of Never Letting Go will probably understand why I wouldn’t want to relive certain scene, so I’ve decided not to do a full reread. I also managed to read another chapter in Dutch of Sister by Rosamund Lupton … One chapter is better than no progress at all right? 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Americosis Vol 4 by Haydn Wilks (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
No cover displayed since it’s basically a swearword… It might just have been I wasn’t in the right mood when I read Americosis Volume 4 and that’s why I rated it slightly lower than the previous three… But I did feel the excessive swearing and graphic scenes started to get out of control. It does read like a train and is basically an explosion of action and absurdness right in the middle of a dystopian America. The right person will probably love Americosis, but it is without doubt an acquired taste. The storyline set in the future was fascinating though!

2. The Lost Book Of The Grail by Charlie Lovett (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I really wanted to like The Lost Book Of The Grail and there were certain elements I did enjoy very much. The history of Barchester and its secrets is fascinating and I’m sure many will appreciate the bookish quotes and references. The pace is incredibly slow though and the plot feels both a bit chaotic and lacks action. I also had problems connecting to the characters and felt they lacked character development or at least originality. Such a shame!

3. The Girls In The Water by Victoria Jenkins (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/08
I wanted to read this one as soon as I saw the cover and this story definitely didn’t disappoint. Both the writing style and pace made it really easy to read this serial killer thriller and the case itself was intriguing. Lots of plot twists and potential suspects to keep you guessing and I always like that! I wasn’t completely charmed by the characters, but that would be my only complaint. Looking forward to book two!

4. Love May Fail by Matthew Quick (3/5 stars) REVIEW 04/08
I picked this up looking for something different and I definitely got what I wanted. I’m still not sure what to make of this book, as there were things I did and didn’t like… The writing style and tone are very unconventional, blunt, brutally honest but also refreshing. There was a lot of swearing involved though… I’m not sure I actually liked the characters, but I could appreciate the well incorporated themes such as mental illness, depression, suicide, midlife crisis and hoarding. I think it’s the first story I’ve read with a hoarder as one of the characters!

5. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/08
I have been wanting to read one of her books for ages and was actually going to pick up one of her other titles first, but decided to tackle The Lying Game first due to mixed reviews. I started with caution, but soon found myself hooked due to the writing style. Even though this story isn’t as fast-paced as I would have liked, it was the writing style that still made me thoroughly enjoy this story and the mystery around what happened all those years ago and what the friends are hiding. I can’t say I liked the character (actually despise Isa for how she treats her baby daughter), but the story itself was intriguing. I can’t wait to read her other books now!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up Hide And Seek by Richard Parker as soon as I finish Beautiful Broken Things, most likely later today, since I’ve been in the mood for a thriller and I liked how intense his other book was. I also want to read Midnight At The Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan… And A Different Blue by Amy Harmon is high on my list as well. I’ve been eying her other book The Bird And The Sword as well, but decided to read this one first since it’s a stand-alone. I also have a new TBR jar pick! Number 35 since I started using it: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. I’ve been wanting to read this title for ages so I saw it as a sign it was about time I did when I opened the paper. Looking forward to be reading it soon!


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ARC REVIEW: Making Faces – by Amy Harmon

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Title: Making Faces
Author: Amy Harmon

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 12th 2013
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Finished reading: January 28th 2017
Pages: 405
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“I don’t think we get answers to every question. We don’t get all the whys. But I think when we look back to the end of our lives, if we do the best we can, and we will see that the things we begged God to take from us, the things we cursed him for, the things that made us turn our backs on him, are the things that were the biggest blessings, the biggest opportunities for growth.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Spencer Hill Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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It’s been over two weeks since I finished reading Making Faces and I still find it difficult to put my thoughts properly on paper. It doesn’t happen all that often, but Amy Harmon was able to give me another book hang over with this little masterpiece. I’m ashamed to admit I have only recently discovered her work, but I’ve already become addicted to her lovely prose and diverse plots. Making Faces is no exception. I had already heard great things about this book and I basically broke down the request button as soon as I saw it was available at Netgalley. All the raving reviews were absolutely right: this story is simply brilliant. I fell in love with both the characters, writing style and plot and this story will definitely stay with me for quite some time. Sure, some of it might be a little cheesy if you think about it critically. But if you have characters like Fern, Bailey and Ambrose, it is really easy to put those thoughts aside. I loved the war veteran elements as well; it’s such an important topic and definitely deserves more attention, especially as they are often misunderstood by society. As you might have guessed already, I simply adored Making Faces and I can definitely recommend it to any contemporary fan. I promise you that you will fall in love with the characters and their story! This new edition published by Spencer Hill Press later this month has some nifty bonus content as well.

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Ambrose Young’s looks and talent have made him really popular during his high school years. He isn’t just tall, muscular and good at sports, he also seems to have walked right off the cover of one of those romance novels. Fern Taylor should know, because she has been reading them since she was thirteen. Fern has had a crush on him for years, but she isn’t exactly the ‘prettiest’ girl in town and she doesn’t think Ambrose would ever look at her that way. But life isn’t just about physical attraction and works in funny ways. After the 9/11 attacks, Ambrose and his four friends decide to join the cause and were sent off to war. Only one comes back… And the whole town struggles to deal with the loss; each in their own way.

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I kind of feel I’m not doing the story justice with this summary, but I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot… This line in the blurb describes the general idea behind Making Faces beautifully though: “a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us“. It’s contemporary romance with a healthy dose of realistic fiction, a cup of tears and mixed with lovely characters and a very important topic. I basically loved everything about it and this story has confirmed Amy Harmon is one of my new favorite authors.


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