I haven’t read that many novels in verse. Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay is my third. I continue to be impressed by the way authors can find a wayI haven’t read that many novels in verse. Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay is my third. I continue to be impressed by the way authors can find a way to say just as much in free verse as most authors can say via traditional writing!
So, Marcie’s dad comes out of the closet. Cue Marcie’s mom dragging her away from Idaho to New Hampshire and falling into a pit of depression. Marcie tries to navigate a place where she has no friends and misses her boyfriend. Then, her dad comes to take her back to Idaho. Now Marcie has to face some decisions that she made that she might now regret…
I loved so much about Sarah Tregay’s writing in Love and Leftovers. I love all the personalities that seemed so well defined after only a couple lines of verse. I love that Marcie and her friends refer to themselves as “leftovers.” I love that the ugly emotions involving divorce and Marcie’s mistakes are not glossed over.
Love and Leftovers reminded me of Forever by Judy Blume in its treatment of teenage sexuality. Very frank and straightforward. Like Sarah Tregay was saying “Hey! This is how teenage girls really are. I’m not sugarcoating anything. Get over it.” Nothing is overly graphic or anything, but y’all. The sexytimes. They are present.
Marcie and the leftovers listened to Bowling For Soup. You guys! Bowling For Soup! My two best friends and I used to constantly listen to them. We would crank them up and sing like crazy people. Sarah Tregay definitely took me back to high school.
Basically, I thought Love and Leftovers was awesome. If you haven’t tried novels and verse, I don’t see a problem trying this one out first. The plot and the characters are fantastic and will definitely help you navigate the different writing form. If you are already a verse fan – Sarah Tregay has definitely written a book you’ll want to read!...more
I have tried reading a couple of other books by Eloisa James, but was never able to finish them. I had heard so many wonderful things about When BeautI have tried reading a couple of other books by Eloisa James, but was never able to finish them. I had heard so many wonderful things about When Beauty Tamed the Beast that I knew I had to try again. Luckily – this time was different! I absolutely loved When Beauty Tamed the Beast. The characterization was absolutely out of the park. Now that I can see what Eloisa James can do I definitely intend to go back and try the other books again!
Obviously When Beauty Tamed the Beast is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Well, I am here to tell you that Piers Yelverton makes an awesome Beast. Not only does he have the personality and appearance issues that you would expect – but there is an added bonus. Y’all, Eloisa James knows what she is doing. I can almost see her sitting in her lair thinking “hmm, what well known love-to-hate-him-jerk can I base Piers on? Who can I choose so that people will have to love him despite all his issues?”
Who do you think she chose?
One word: House. DR. HOUSE YOU GUYS! Have you ever heard of anything more brilliant than that? A character that fuses together the Beast and Gregory House? I absolutely love this guy. He is a smart ass. He is difficult to be around. But yet…if you have seen the TV show, than you know. No matter what House does there is always something about him that makes you love him anyway. Well, Piers Yelverton has that something.
Okay, so now that I’ve rhapsodized forever about him, I’ll keep it short and sweet on the female MC. Linnet Thrynne is awesome too. She craves knowledge and freedom. She doesn’t take crap from anyone: least of all Piers. She manages to get herself into female trouble at the beginning of the book and is therefore banished to be Piers’ fiancee in his castle at Wales with all his sick patients.
She takes to her new life pretty well, considering. I love how she stands up for herself! I also adore the way she and Piers interacted. Some of the best situations and dialogue ever. I love how Eloisa James plays on the plot point that Piers is wounded and unable to er…perform (if you know what I mean. wink wink nudge nudge). Anyway, the way that whole situation worked out absolutely cracked me up.
Clearly, I absolutely loved When Beauty Tamed the Beast. I highly recommend reading to everyone who loves historical romance. Even if you aren’t a big fan of the genre, When Beauty Tamed the Beast might be a good book to change your mind! Put your faith in Eloisa James, y’all....more
I had high hopes for Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern. Y’all, it is a road trip book. Enough said. I love road trip books. Several of my favorite YA coI had high hopes for Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern. Y’all, it is a road trip book. Enough said. I love road trip books. Several of my favorite YA contemporary roads involve them. Needless to say, I was hoping to add Don’t Stop Now to that list. Unfortunately – it let me down in a big way.
The plot of Don’t Stop Now is totally weird. Lillian finds out that her friend Penny has faked her own kidnapping. She decides to track Penny down because the police and FBI are all over the situation. Lillian is freaked out. Can I just say – uhhh. The entire Penny debacle was kinda ridiculous. A plot line made up so that a road trip could come into play is what I got out of it. Lillian recruits her best friend Josh (and Josh’s car and credit card) to take her to Oregon – and Penny. Totally throwaway.
Anyway, putting all that aside. Lillian isn’t the smartest gal I’ve come across. For reasons other than heading out to find Penny herself instead of just telling the FBI where she is. She is wondering whether or not she and Josh should be more than friends. Well, I can take that one: NO.
To be frank (and slightly mean), Josh is a sorry excuse for a male MC. He is a total jerk. (Take my word for it. I’ve already given my copy of Don’t Stop Now away so I can include specific examples.) Lillian was funny, mostly intelligent (other than in her choice of friends) and incredibly nice. Girl: you can do better. I promise.
So, I don’t really much to say about this one other than the negative. The plot and characters completely let me down. Even if you’re normally a fan of road trip books – I don’t recommend Don’t Stop Now. If you have read and enjoyed it – make sure and let me know what I missed! I love talking to people with different opinions....more
The Ideal Man by Julie Garwood was a really nice surprise. I've read several of Julie's other books - both romantic suspense and historical - and enjoThe Ideal Man by Julie Garwood was a really nice surprise. I've read several of Julie's other books - both romantic suspense and historical - and enjoyed them. This book however, I loved.
From the very beginning, the characters felt real. Between their interactions and the constantly moving plot, I immediately felt like I'd turned on the TV. I could picture everything perfectly! (Of course, that might be in part because it begins in a hospital and I've spent way too many hours watching Grey's Anatomy not to be familiar with that setting...) Dr. Ellie Sullivan is just finishing up her residency at a busy hospital. When she is out jogging one day, she witnesses a FBI agent being shot while in pursuit of a criminal duo. This leads her to become acquainted with Max Daniels, the agent in charge of interviewing her. Explosive. Immediate. Attraction. Whoa mama.
Luckily, there is nothing so silly as insta-love. The chemistry is off the charts, but it takes awhile for the rest to come along. I loved the progression of their relationship! Max learns that Ellie has had a lot more stress to deal with than just seeing a shooting - insert crazy life-long stalker here. Max's protective instincts flare up and that, mixed with the sparks flying, means Max isn't willing to leave Ellie's side anytime soon...even if it means following her to her parents' home for her sister's wedding.
I really loved Max! He had just the right combination of dedicated cop and man-being-led-around-by-the-hormones. Seeing he and Ellie battle it out in regards to how they felt about one another was very realistic, very charming, and super sizzling. Their interactions mixed in with the dangers in Ellie's life - both because she has a stalker and because she is a witness - keep the pages turning. I read the book in one sitting: putting it down was not an option! Definitely one of the best romantic suspense books I've read.
So, if you're a fan of romance, suspense and/or mystery - this is definitely a book I declare worth reading! For those of you who have read Julie Garwood in the past and were thinking about passing this one by - I seriously recommend giving it another look. By far the best I've seen from her!...more
The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen is the first book of a new paranormal series about a group of sons of Hell and their hope for redemption throuThe Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen is the first book of a new paranormal series about a group of sons of Hell and their hope for redemption through the Anabo (daughters of Eve). More specifically, the brother named Jax meets Sasha, who turns out to be his Anabo. Attraction and complications ensue, and the even-more-evil-than-the-sons-of-Hell-bad-guys come out to play.
Even though I'm sure I'll go on for longer than this, my review can basically be summed up into one sentence. My belief is that if Stephenie Meyer was a porn star instead of a Mormon, this is the book she would have written. (Of course, she also would have had to have had her Eureka! dream about Hell boys frolicking through a meadow instead of sparkly vampires, but I digress.)
Sasha meets Jax and learns the truth about herself very early on, and even though she is supposedly "terrified" and "repulsed" by him, she still manages to almost immediately engage in a make-out session. Throughout the book, she continues to "not want to be near him" and "just wants to be normal," but still manages to pounce on him on numerous occasions and even goes so far as to ditch the bra fairly early on (before the big sexy scene at the end which I'll get to in a minute). Jax looks at her and admires her strength of character and considers her tough even as a boy basically tries to molest her in the cafeteria while she sits there and cries about it instead of slapping the crap out of him. Oh - but don't worry. Those are tears of anger. Whew. And here I had been thinking it was just because she was a wuss.
Seriously. The characterization in this novel is little more than a joke. Not one character goes beyond being two-dimensional. Sasha's character makes absolutely no sense whatsoever - we are told she is tough and kick ass, yet she cries all the freakin time. We are told she is very hesitant and unwilling to take on her Anabo destiny, but even when she knows that kissing Jax constantly brings her closer to the edge (his spit, you know), she still jumps him like a prime cut of steak. WTF? Also, Jax is supposedly a son of Hell, and we are told that he engages in a varied array of horrible behavior, yet he spends the majority of the novel either mooning over Sasha like a moron in jr. high or being a complete overbearing jerk (see? Twilight!). So, hopefully you see the trend I'm going for her - we are told many things in the story, but never actually shown them. Same goes for the chemistry between the characters, they are supposedly struck mad by the love bug, are constantly all over each other - but I never felt even the smallest flicker of anything. Not good writing my friends, not good at all.
So yeah, this is very much a plot-driven novel. However, the book is pretty long and there are quite a few slow parts that dragged on a little too much. Probably because there were quite a few Sasha/Jax bonding scenes. Since I didn't feel like their relationship made a lick of sense, I was annoyed. But, I did manage to read the entire book, which does say something. If it had really been 100% horrible, no way could I have read the whole thing without throwing it across the room (theoretically since I read it on my Kindle). But then again, I had to put it down several times and never looked forward to picking it back up - it was more determination to see it through. Plus I wanted to get to the promised sexytimes (which yes, was pretty graphic for YA but also very short - I guess even immortal Hell boy teenagers don't have a lot of staying power).
To top things off, the ending of the book was a complete loss. Totally cuts off to rope you into wanting to read the sequel (which I think I'll be managing to resist thank you very much). Not really any resolution.
Anyway, this was obviously not the book for me. I have already seen some positive reviews out there however, so not everyone will agree with me! If you are a huge forbidden love fangirl and/or love Twilight-like relationships don't let me put you off reading the book - you'll undoubtedly enjoy it a lot more than I did. (If you aren't a fan of either of those things, run like the wind...the YA sexytimes aren't worth it.) ...more
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin is the first of (what I think) will be a trilogy. In this book, Gabrielle has estOriginally posted here.
All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin is the first of (what I think) will be a trilogy. In this book, Gabrielle has established a story line and a group of characters it would be extremely difficult not to become invested in.
We are a few decades into the future – and chocolate and coffee are illegal. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) for our MC, Anya, she was born into a crime family. She can binge on chocolate whenever she wants. Of course, downside: her father, the previous boss of the family, was murdered when she was younger. Now she feels in charge of her two siblings and ailing grandmother. Anya’s older brother suffers from a mental disability and her younger sister still has constant nightmares about their father’s murder. Needless to say: Anya has her hands full.
Of course, that was just the stress she was used to. Add in an ex-boyfriend who is seriously poisoned by a stash of chocolate she gave him and her strong attraction to a boy who just happens to be the son of the city’s defense attorney and Anya’s family starts to seem like the least of her problems.
I haven’t read any of Gabrielle’s other books, but her writing style and characterization seriously impressed me. Unfortunately, I still didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I would have liked to be. Maybe it’s because I had to way to relate to anything going on, because goodness knows that is certainly true (considering I grew up on a farm in Oklahoma versus a crime lord’s den in New York City).
But, even though I never felt a deep chemistry or a real sense that I was getting to know the characters, I absolutely devoured the book and fully intend to continue the series. Maybe with a foundation with the characters established, I’ll connect more with them in future books. I hope my thoughts are making sense - I actually feel like my thoughts about the book are a little peculiar since I enjoyed the book so much despite the problems I had with it.
Ultimately, if you’re a fan of dystopians (or even contemporaries really), I think this book is worth reading. Even though I have reservations about the lack of attachment I felt to the characters – I feel very invested in their story....more
I’m not gonna lie – I was equal parts nervous and excited about picking up A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. Her previous trilogy was fantasI’m not gonna lie – I was equal parts nervous and excited about picking up A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. Her previous trilogy was fantastic, and she had a lot to live up to. Part of me was sure she could handle it – and luckily, that part was right!
Ten years ago, some bad stuff went down and the young Marquess of Bourne got a crap deal (literally). He dedicated his life to revenge and his chance has finally come. It means taking advantage of (and ruining the life of) childhood friend Penelope Marbury. Too bad Bourne isn’t too concerned with feelings, or he might care. At least that is what he thinks…
The plot synopsis of A Rogue By Any Other Name had me a little wary. I don’t like jerks, and I don’t like reading books about jerks. No matter how great Penelope Marbury turned out to be, could I handle a book – even one written by Sarah MacLean – that features an unlikable hero?
Then I started the book and just had to laugh at myself. Unlikable? Hardly. I never once stopped rooting for the Marquess of Bourne! His back story was excellent and it was fairly easy to excuse all of his craptastic behavior. Insert sigh of relief here.
Seriously – so many times, the reasons behind rakes and rogues acting like fools are ridiculous. They have wussy, weak and poor back stories that barely make sense. Sarah MacLean doesn’t have this difficulty!
Everything about A Rogue By Any Other Name is excellent, including the side characters. I am already dying to see where the series goes next! I absolutely can’t wait to pick up the next book. Sarah MacLean has me hooked. And while Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is still easily my favorite of her books, I won’t be doubting her mad skills again....more
Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey is the first of a contemporary romance trilogy starring the Kowalski family. I somehow managed to read this and thExclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey is the first of a contemporary romance trilogy starring the Kowalski family. I somehow managed to read this and the third book - but not the second. Of the two I read, this one is definitely my favorite.
Keri Daniels works for a big time magazine, and her editor discovers that she was high school sweethearts with Joe Kowalski...a famous and reclusive author. The Joe Kowalski whose heart Keri might have broken after high school graduation when she left town to follow her dreams. Now her editor is demanding an interview, and her job is on the line. Awkward.
Well, the awkward is just beginning for Keri. Joe decides to make things as difficult as possible and tells Keri he'll only grant her the interview if she comes along on his family's yearly vacation. Enter Joe's completely insane family - including his sister, Keri's ex best friend - and you have got a wild ride in store for you! I call his family insane, but I actually loved them. The characterization is extremely well done...from the main characters on down the line.
This is very much a character-driven novel, and luckily both Keri and Joe have fantastic and complex personalities worthy of carrying the book. Both their interactions together and those with the rest of Joe's family leave nothing to be desired. Keri's initial fumbling and anxiety at being around the Kowalskis turns quickly into her fitting right back in with them like she never left. Now she has to try and decide if she made a mistake back when she was eighteen - should she have chosen her career over Joe?
If you're a fan of contemporary romance, this is a book definitely worth reading! It has a slew of hilarious interactions, but mixed in are several very poignant moments exploring the different relationship problems some of the characters are facing. It has a little bit of everything, and I enjoyed reading all of it!...more
Historical fantasy is one of my favorite genres and one I don't read nearly often enough. It has been hard, in the past, to find well-written works thHistorical fantasy is one of my favorite genres and one I don't read nearly often enough. It has been hard, in the past, to find well-written works that fit the category...slowly but surely, that seems to be changing. Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey definitely fit the bill.
Violet lives in the late 19th century with her mother and a couple of servants (including the delectable Colin). Her mom is basically a crook - she goes around pretending to be a medium and drags Violet and Colin into her schemes. They have to help her put on the "show" that convinces people she is legit. When they are invited to a house party with upper crust guests, Violet's mother is thrilled - thinking that it'll open the door to a lot of other work. Unfortunately - the work starts a little early for Violet. Is that a real ghost following her around for once?
I loved the plot of this novel - Violet's path to discovering the identity of the ghost followed by trying to help her find peace leads to a lot of interesting discoveries about herself and the people around her. It also leads to some legit creepy scenes - she has both other ghosts and living people on her trail. She doesn't go it alone though, her good friend Elizabeth is an eager participant in the adventures. Also, she can always count on Colin to do his best to keep her safe.
Colin is one awesome dude, of the patiently-waiting-in-the-wings-he-has-wanted-her-forever variety. He watches while Violet's mom tries to make her marry for money...then decides he isn't gonna stand for any of that. Their developing romance from what was obviously a life-long friendship was very satisfying; I loved them together!
So, the combination of historical details, paranormal creepiness, romance and family drama made for one heck of a great read. I definitely recommend picking this up! ...more
Compromised by Kate Noble is a really fun historical romance novel. It is the type of book that, as you read, gets more and more frustrating and you wCompromised by Kate Noble is a really fun historical romance novel. It is the type of book that, as you read, gets more and more frustrating and you want to yell at the characters to "FIGURE IT OUT ALREADY!" I love the type of plot line in which the characters are determined to do (or be) one thing, as the reader is quickly made aware that they should be doing the opposite. I think it's a really great way to get readers invested in the character's lives incredibly quickly - you can't help but want to see how long things take to get right!
Max Fontaine falls into insta-lust with one of two sisters, Evangeline. He falls into insta-annoyance with the other, Gail. He and Evangeline quickly find themselves in a compromising position that forces him (although he is, in fact, willing) to propose. As they try to get to know each other, Gail is always along for the ride acting as her sister's chaperon. Max eventually discovers that Gail's personality might be even more alluring than Evangeline's beauty - but it's too late to do anything about it. Right?
Like I already said - this was so much fun to read. Gail's personality really is very addictive: she is extremely witty and hilariously abrasive. Evangeline was a little harder to like, just because her character was much more subdued....but she is by no means a villain. Max's character had to grow on me a little bit, since he was initially so shallow (immediately thinking he loves Evangeline just because she is beautiful). However - it's really hard not to fall for him after seeing his reactions to being in Gail's company. It isn't just their chemistry that's electric - the way their personalities switch between clashing and melding is very charming to read.
Overall, this novel is very appealing: lighthearted and fun. The characters will quickly grow on you and you'll have to keep reading to find out how their stories turn out! If you're a fan of historical romance, Kate Noble is definitely a must-read author....more
I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Karen Rose is literally as good as it gets in writing romantic mystery/thrillers. No one can do what she cI've said it before, but I'll say it again. Karen Rose is literally as good as it gets in writing romantic mystery/thrillers. No one can do what she can. She puts you straight into the lives of the MCs and victims, making them feel like characters you've been reading about for years. At the same time, she puts you in the mind of the killers with chilling success. As you continue to bounce back and forth between different POVs you'll become so addicted to her books that you won't be able to stop until you've read them all.
You Belong To Me is no exception. I think this is the first book she has written that isn't connected to all her previous works, but I didn't miss having familiar names and places. I am intrigued by some of the other characters introduced, so I'm glad she is setting up a new series of connected books.
Lucy Trask, the female MC, actually had me constantly back and forth as to whether I liked her personality. But, eventually, enough of her history was revealed that it became easy to forgive her for all of her personality issues. Even if I hadn't ended up liking her, it is really refreshing to have an author unafraid to present her characters warts and all versus making them all unbelievably perfect. Although, J.D. Fitzpatrick was pretty darn wonderful. The tough-yet-sensitive-cop character type that will never get old.
I love how we get bits and pieces of the story, some that seem completely unrelated, at a time so that it takes awhile before the bigger picture becomes clear. Then, once we know the who and why - she throws in a curve that will take you by the throat until the very end. The story that starts with Lucy's older brother in high school, continues through his seemingly accidental death and through to the current day and the twelve victims a killer bent on revenge leaves behind will leave you second guessing everything and everyone you come across while reading. If you're a fan of the romantic suspense genre, you definitely can't pass this one by!...more
When I picked up The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas, I knew I would enjoy it. I enjoy young adult contemporary reads that focus on loss. What I didn’tWhen I picked up The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas, I knew I would enjoy it. I enjoy young adult contemporary reads that focus on loss. What I didn’t expect was to find that The Survival Kit stands out as one of the best of the genre! Y’all, Donna Freitas has written one awesome story. She should definitely not be so under the radar.
Rose’s mom has died, and around the time of the funeral Rose discovers a survival kit. Her mom was famous for them. It is filled with small items with some kind of personal significance. The kit ends up being a big step towards Rose’s healing process. The one thing I didn’t absolutely love without reservation in The Survival Kit was actually this kit. Some of the items seemed to have a bigger impact on Rose than could really be sensibly explained. Still, seeing Rose pick up each item (one at a time) as the story progressed always made for interesting reading.
Another thing that helped Rose a lot in The Survival Kit was Will, the family’s gardener. They go to school together, but had never really interacted much before. Will has faced a similar loss though, so they bond a lot through the fact that no one else understands the grieving process as well as each other.
Will is hockey star, extremely sensitive and incredibly hotttt. Y’all, I loved me some Will. He is definitely one of the biggest highlights in The Survival Kit. The romance was a slow burn, and it was sizzling hot. They had great chemistry! It made long talks in Will’s truck just as steamy as kissytimes in other books. Donna Freitas rocked the romance.
Rose and her family definitely have a lot of issues to work through once the tragedy is past. It doesn’t make for easy reading, definitely tough to see characters you care about suffer! Rose’s grandmother comes to help them out, and she is not a comfortable woman. She is tough and won’t let her family get away with anything! She was a great addition to The Survival Kit.
If you’re a fan of contemporary romance, I seriously can’t recommend picking this up enough. The plot, characters and romance all work together to make an incredible story! The Survival Kit was my first book by Donna Freitas, but it definitely won’t be my last....more
Variant by Robison Wells was a really great surprise, y’all! The entire book was very mysterious and sinister – for most of the story the reader has nVariant by Robison Wells was a really great surprise, y’all! The entire book was very mysterious and sinister – for most of the story the reader has no idea what direction the book will take. There are several plot twists, and a couple of them literally slapped me on the face. I haven’t felt so in the dark about where a story would take me in a long time, and it was a great feeling! I loved not being a step ahead.
Benson Fisher gets a scholarship to a boarding school and thinks he has really made it. He grew up in the foster system and definitely got the crappy end of the deal. Right now he is basically being used as free labor and he absolutely jumped at the chance to get himself into a new situation. Unfortunately, the second he is dropped off at his new school he discovers things are not right.
No adult supervision. Cameras and microphones everywhere. Three equally dangerous factions, join one or find yourself completely unprotected. Breaking the rules = detention that you don’t come back from. No way out. This is not your mama’s boarding school.
Benson is shocked at the way the majority of his peers are accepting of their prison sentence – how can people be okay with being trapped away like this? He refuses to give in and get used to it. At times, he does find himself enjoying life. Intense, all-out paintball wars, really awesome food, some great people (including Jill, who makes a lot of things seem worth it)…but the second he catches himself happy he forces himself to snap out of it. He continually searches to find a way out, which basically alienates him from almost everyone. Nobody wants to get grouped with him since they all think he is headed straight for detention (death).
The first half of the book is pretty much summed up by Benton getting used to the other students and life trapped in the school…and his constant search to find a way to run. Then all of a sudden the twists come – you won’t see it all coming. Promise.
I highly recommend this to fans of dystopians and science fiction. A complete breath of fresh air, a thrill ride and a story well worth becoming invested in. I’ll definitely be eagerly awaiting the sequel!...more