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Romantic Times Book Review, April 2013:
"The Year of Luminous Love expertly pulls at readers' heartstrings and wrings emotion. Vintage McDaniel!"
Publishers Weekly, April 29, 2013:
"In Tuscany and Rome, the girls encounter worldly men, explore historical sights, and reassess their priorities...The story's themes of escape, freedom, horse riding, and finding love should have a strong pull for romance fans."
Booklist, May 1, 2013:
"McDaniel’s breathless saga takes readers from picturesque Tennessee horse country to sun-washed Tuscan vineyards, all the while establishing characters worth caring about. McDaniel fans won’t want to miss this age-appropriate Eat, Pray, Love—well, it has the eating and the love at least—and they’ll eagerly await the follow-up, The Year of Chasing Dreams."
School Library Journal, May 2013:
"Will tempt teens seeking a dramatic summer read."
From the Hardcover edition.
Posted May 24, 2013
Love. That is the theme of this book and it is explored in so many ways. It's neat to see the many ways that love can be dysfunctional through the families that hurt one another, and then the sharp contrast of another family who tragedy pulls them together instead of apart and they are close. It also shows the extreme value of friendship and the love it offers.
As usual, Lurlene McDaniel hits the hard and emotional issues, and deals with them with elegance but still in a realistic and easy to relate to way of writing. The characters feel real, and I am able to sympathize with them and want the best for them. It is hard to see them hurting or going through hard things, but I know that the character growth and their journey will be so worth it. They all have their own hard problems, Arie has been sick, Eden used to cut and is in a non-traditional and controlling relationship, and Cialina takes care of her grandma who is sick and from the blurb, we know she is going to die.
Their friendship was a huge draw for me, I appreciated how close they were and how they supported each other. My issue was only that they kept huge secrets from one another at times, and while they may have done it for good reasons, it only caused more pain than they were trying to prevent.
The different kinds of love that they showed was important to, and that relationships can be different things to different people at different times.
I will say though, that if it were just going from the blurb, I don't know that I would have picked this book up, but Lurlene McDaniel is an auto-read and I am glad that I gave it the time.
This is darker than her other works, but still has the same themes and emotional roller coaster type feelings.
The Year of Luminous love has a bittersweet ending that ties up the book well. It leaves quite a few things resolved but open. That is okay though because there is a companion novel that will be released.
Bottom Line: Emotional and powerful novel about friendship, love, grief, pain and healing.
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Posted June 3, 2013
I'm always up for a good Western. If not for the setting, I may not have picked up this novel because of the heavy content, and also because I tend not to pick up novels that advertise dystopic relationships and love at first sight. I'm glad that I gave it a chance because I ended up really liking this novel.
I'm also not typically fond of multiple perspectives. However, it really worked for this novel. Ciana, Eden, and Arie all have something to add to the story. Seeing the world from each of their perspectives help round out the plot, and I enjoyed getting to know them. Some may find this novel overly dark and depressing because they all have issues in their private lives. For me, the girls' problems added to their characters. More importantly, the author made me feel for the characters.
Ciana is the girl who sacrifices herself to protect those she cares about. This also means that she's slow to open her heart, even to her closest friends. She's the girl that I ended up sympathizing with the most. Her life isn't as tough as that of the other girls on the surface level, but she keeps a lot bottled up inside. Arie is the sunny one, the girl that everyone cares about. However, she's been fighting cancer for as long as anyone can remember, and she doesn't know when her time may come to an end. She's sweet and very sheltered because people tend to coddle her, something that she wishes they wouldn't do. Eden is the observant one and a bit of a loner. Being in a difficult place in life, she's seen many of the world's dark sides. I respect her for her personal strength and admire her courage to keep going through life after all that's happened to her.
Plot-wise, there are many threads weaving through the story, and it's almost magical how everything comes together in the end. This is a story about three friends entering the big bad world. They experience many hardships, some most of us will never have to encounter, and yet it's still relatable. At heart, the girls are just that--girls. They want to live, laugh, and laugh. They're not always able to do so, but they make the most out of what life sends them, and they still manage to stay close and happy for the most part.
I recommend this novel to those who enjoy a dark contemporary.
Content: There are some sexual scenes, language, violence, drugs, abuse, cancer, manic-depressive disorder.
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Posted November 16, 2013
Lurlene McDaniel continues writing about relationships, loss, and grief but this time she begins a new series aimed at older readers than with her previous teen novels. The three protagonists have graduated from high school and are spending their last summer together before going out into the world. Each girl has dark issues going on in her life and must rely on the friendship of the other two to help her get through the issue. Because of the age of the young ladies, there is mature content; while not described, it is obvious that sexual activity has taken place. Abuse and drug use also take place. Strong language might be inappropriate for younger readers.
There are a few story lines that didn't set well with me: only one of the girls has what appears to be a good upbringing while the other two you just have to feel sorry for, the loss of virginity by a guy who is in with the girl's best friend, the back and forth romance of each character. While these things are plausible, it felt like McDaniel was trying to put too much into the story. BUT this book is a good selection for older teens who want a bridge between soft teen romance and dystopian novels and adult books.
Posted August 30, 2013