These ‘about me’ sections, or even sections that inform you about blogs, have never been my forte. Much to my chagrin, I was never taught the unwritten rules of what you are supposed to say. The links at the side of the blog – Twitter and Goodreads, for example – are liable to tell you more than I could ever say in words.

Mostly, this will be a book blog. I read a lot, and I love to share my views on my most recent reads. I try to read a little bit of everything, but if you look closely you’ll notice I will occasionally become obsessed with one specific genre for a short period of time. Old books, new books, yet to be released books – I read them all. If you’re an author looking for advance readers or just wish for more reviews of a book you’ve already released, please feel free to contact me. There is a contact form at the side of my blog – if you scroll down below the Twitter and Goodreads sidebar you will find it – so drop me a message and I’ll be sure to get back to you in double time. After all, finding new authors is what makes the book world go around.

Thanks for taking your time to read this. With a little bit of luck, you will find my blog much more interesting than this mundane introductory section.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Review: Box of Hearts

Box of Hearts Box of Hearts by Nikki Ashton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think Nikki Ashton may have broken me this time.

Earlier this year, I read Nikki Ashton’s ‘Roman’s Having Sex Again’. I loved it. In fact, I came to enjoy it so much more than I’d initially anticipated. Thus, I knew I needed to read more of her work. A month later, I picked up ‘I Wanna Get Laid By Kade’, which Nikki Ashton wrote with Victoria Johns. Again, I was in love. In fact, I’ve gone on the recommend it to quite a few people. Fast forward another month and I jumped into yet another brilliant read by Nikki Ashton. Box of Hearts had all the trademarks of the prior two books I picked up, and yet was so much more at the same time. If I hadn’t already planned to pick up all of Nikki Ashton’s work, this would have been the book to convince me. Honestly, this story is a thing of beauty. I’m an emotional wreck after finishing it, and such a thing very rarely happens to me.

Box of Hearts is deeply emotional in so many ways. It is so much more than a simple tale of second chance love. It’s a story of finding your place in the world; it’s a story of trust; it’s a story of family; it’s a story of redemption. In so many ways, it’s a very real story. To label this as a mere ‘second change love’ is an injustice. There are countless second chance love stories out there, but none have ever hit me as hard as this one. There are so many beautiful aspects to this story, so many things I wish to speak about, and yet I fear I will not be able to cover it all no matter how lengthy this fangirl of a review becomes. Nevertheless, I will try to cover the main things.

The story begins reading very much like a soap opera. We have wedding drama followed by a drastic life change. It was wonderful to read, yet this entertainment high quickly turns into something so much more serious once our female lead moves overseas. Whilst her heart may be bleeding in many ways, she is soon pulled into the lives of those on the Connor Ranch, a family filled with sorrow. Despite the dark cloud following them around, the family truly is a thing of beauty. If you’ve read Roman’s Having Sex Again, imagine Roman’s family but with less crazy. They’re so close; they have their ups and downs; but no matter what happens they come out stronger. I loved each and every character, and I was quickly pulled into their individual stories.

The award for best character, however, has to go to the child. Addy is a truly wonderful character. Yes, I loved our romance leads – but Addy added that little something extra to the story. The deep emotions experienced by the child and how her emotions impact those around her… well, you have to read it to believe it. Nikki Ashton has done a wonderful job at pulling at heartstrings through this child. The emotional depth for a young character that would often be overlooked in such stories made Box of Hearts a thing of beauty.

As I said, though, I loved all the characters. Our leads had such wonderful chemistry, and despite the constant push and pull (something I’m not usually all that crazy about) I was rooting for them. They were both such real characters that worked beautifully together. They both went through so much development throughout the story, and Nikki Ashton does a wonderful job of showing this. I’m positive, at certain moments in the story, there was a fist squeezing my heart, as the emotions that were brought about by the development of a certain character left me feeling so much more than I usually do.

Don’t worry, though, the story isn’t just desperate emotional moments that will leave you with a trembling bottom lip. There are plenty of amusing moments to be seen as well. A certain character in particular will leave you giggling, with Nikki Ashton ensuring her usual light-hearted eccentric family member makes an appearance. It’s not just the two ends of the spectrum – the heart-breaking moments and the laughter – as we experience everything that falls between the two. Throughout, Nikki Ashton manages to hit upon every possible emotion.

There’s no denying it, the book left me an emotional wreck. It was a truly beautiful read, and I cannot wait to see what comes next for this series. I’m so excited to see more of this family, and I’m positive Nikki Ashton will reach all new heights with it.

Despite how much I loved it, however, I couldn’t quite bring myself to give it a five star rating. I’m super harsh with my five star ratings – I know this, and I keep meaning to change, yet I never do make the change that is needed. In my mind, my five star ratings are the elite of the elite, meaning I spend all my time looking for little things to prevent me from handing it out. Thus, whilst I managed to find that little thing, I’m sure many will be able to overlook it and hand out that five star rating. For me, though, this is just a very strong four-point-five read.

What was that little thing that prevented me from rounding the book up to the five star rating? For me, I found a certain character’s story to be a bit too predictable. Although I was ever so slightly off with the specifics, I knew how the story of one of the characters would play out and how this would have a massive impact upon the overall story. From almost the first scene in which this character appeared, I worked out what kind of role they would be playing in the overall story. Whilst it was a vital aspect of the story, and it did play in well, I found myself disappointed in how obvious this turn of events seemed to be.

Nevertheless, I positively adored this one. A truly beautiful read, one I certainly recommend you go ahead and read.

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