Place(s) Traveled To: Manchester, England // Sao Paulo, Brazil // London, England // Banbury, England // Northampton, England // Budapest, Hungary // Stavelot, Belgium // Monza, Italy // Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
First Line: Two pink lines.
REVIVED by Samantha Towle is the companion book to REVVED (my review) and stars a character that we briefly meet in that book, playboy racer Leandro Silva. Leandro is a rival of Carrick in REVVED but after an incident that happens at the end of that book the two end up becoming really close friends which means several cameos. Leandro's lady love is a woman named India who is a therapist, a single mum of a teenager and a brother whom I adored. I'm usually not a fan of kids in books but I did like India's son and how he interacted with all the characters, especially Leandro. Leandro meets India because she is his therapist (*scandalous*) as he deals with some residual PTSD. There is an instant attraction between them but they keep things professional as any sort of relationship is verboten.
I liked how in REVIVED, India and Leandro built up a solid friendship during their therapy sessions and how once they both realized that their feelings were too strong to ignore they broke off the professional portion of it. Giving the formulaic breakup in a romance a whole new twist. They also didn't become an item right away and spent several months apart as India was afraid that he liked her because she helped heal him and he was respecting her wishes. (Oh sweet, adorable Leandro how I loved you!) Leandro is by far a favorite character of mine even if I didn't find REVIVED as addicting to read as REVVED. And I think that was because of India and some of the things that happened because of her job. For while a relationship between them is not allowed when they are therapist/patient if that relationship is severed and enough time has passed then they can embark on a romantic path without risk of India losing her licence. At least, here in the US, as I did ask a therapist friend of mine.
Even though there were things in REVIVED that bugged me, overall, I did like this story. I loved Leandro's and India's relationship and thought they had some pretty solid chemistry. I loved how Leandro reacted with pretty much everyone and I just adored this bad boy that was a bit meh on in REVVED. I liked who he became around India and I liked who she became around him. I enjoyed how he interacted with her son and acted as a father figure for in addition to his Uncle Kit. REVIVED was a fast read and I was sad when it was over. I liked this world that Towle created and have missed it since I finished this story.
If you like sexy, redeemable bad boys and the smart sassy women who love them then I think that you'll like REVIVED. This book can be read separately form REVVED but I think knowing REVVED and Carrick only adds to this book. While REVIVED isn't a perfect book its makes for a great beach/escapist read. I enjoyed this world and the characters and hope that Towle will write other books with some of the secondary characters. I'd love to see Kit get a happily ever after along with some of the others. Definitely worth picking up.
DNF at 30% - This one is just so meh and flat for me and more time is spent in flashbacks than in the present. I don't feel any spark or tension betweDNF at 30% - This one is just so meh and flat for me and more time is spent in flashbacks than in the present. I don't feel any spark or tension between these characters & all the flashbacks just keep taking me out of the story. ...more
Place(s) Traveled To: Monte Carlo, Monaco / Sao Paulo, Brazil / Luton, England / Bedfordshire, England / Melbourne, Australia / Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia / Shanhai, China / Barcelona, Spain / Buckinghamshire, England / Budapest, Hungary / Marina Bay, Singapore / Santos, Brazil / Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
First Line(s): I look up at my mum. She looks worried, and she's holding my hand tight.
I probably wouldn't have picked up REVVED by Samantha Towle if it wasn't for my friend Sarah who devoured it and couldn't recommend it highly enough. Since she and I both can't get enough of book crack sexy time reads I knew I needed a copy for myself and was gifted one by my super lovely Secret Sister, Michelle. I read REVVED on my way to Greece and it was the perfect book for that 9+ hour flight. REVVED is a quick, brain candy sort of story that really helped to distract me from the fact that I can't sleep on an airplane even though I want to really really badly.
There is a lot of chemistry between Carrick and Andi and there is totally some instalust but I love how they try to build and maintain a friendship before giving into what they both rally want. For you see, Carrick and Andi work together and Carrick is a wee bit of a man-whore. He's also arrogant as all get out and definitely knows all the right buttons to push on Andi, his mechanic, to get her all sorts of riled up. But what I love about Andi is that she's smart and sexy and gives every bit as much as she gets which means that sparks are literally exploding off the page with each and every scene.
There is a lot of angst in REVVED, especially from Andi who didn't always seem to know what she wanted. She'd run hot and cold and push Carrick away. Yet despite that I just loved their story. Carrick and Andi made my heart ache and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see how their happily ever after would play out. Not only did I love Carrick and Andi but all the secondary characters really helped to flesh out and give life to this world that Samantha Towle has created. I'm only sad that because REVVED is about Carrick and Andi that we didn't get to spend as much time with these secondary characters as I would have liked.
REVVED is a well written, fast paced story that is a great escapist read. You get to travel the world and get totally lost in the relationship of Carrick and Andi. They are funny and annoying and everything in between. If you haven't heard of REVVED but like hot, sexy reads then you are definitely going to want to add this one to your TBR pile!
***This review contains some spoilers. Read at your own risk.***
Labor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne is a book that Andi of AndiABCs has been telling me to read for a while. So much so that she eventually gifted a copy of it to my kindle and when I needed a happy book to read I decided this was the one. Labor of Love is set in New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina and the city is still rebuilding. Enter in Dawn and her friends Jenna and Amber who all take time out of their summer to be part of a home building project. Dawn is a last minute addition to the trip as her initial plans included spending the summer with her boyfriend tour various water parks. That is until she catches him cheating on her and she decides to join her friends instead. One of the first things the girls do in New Orleans is to visit a psychic who tells them all things that they are unsure they want to hear but it leads them all down unexpected paths.
One of the things that the psychic tells Dawn is that she's going to meet someone soon and fall in love. As she's anti-boy and anti-dating at the start of the trip she doesn't believe it. Then she and her friends meet Brady, Tank and Sean and sparks start to fly between them all. No, not a crazy menage but they all pair off into almost too perfect to be true groupings as each guy seems to be the perfect match for each girl. Even Amber who struggles with her feelings for Sean as she has a boyfriend at home. Dawn is attracted to Brady and vice versa but the two are both reeling from hurts and so they make a pact to only be together for the summer. No strings, no long term commitments just experience the here and now with no feelings involved. Which we all know is just a recipe for disaster waiting to happen because feelings always come into play in these situations and someone always ends up getting hurt.
The hurt, and break up of the non-couple, is brought about by the actions of Amber, who I never really liked, and Dawn because sometimes you are your own worst enemy when it comes to a situation. Amber, freaking out over her feelings for Sean decides to run away from New Orleans and return to Texas where she's disappears for most of the book. Things are lighter and happier during that time without all of her angst getting in the way. But then she returns and she brings with her Drew, Dawn's ex, because she thinks they should get back together. No matter that Dawn said that would never happen no matter how sorry he ever said he would. But Amber knows best and is all confused when Dawn gets mad at her for pretty much telling Drew that she was pining for him and wanted him back. And this is about where in the book I started to heavy sigh and roll my eyes and wish that Amber never came back to New Orleans.
There is drama and angst and of course Dawn and Brady break up because their is a misunderstanding and Brady is thinking he's reliving a scenario with his last girlfriend and doesn't want to repeat it. What I did like was that Dawn owned up to her mistakes and then worked to rebuild the trust between her and Brady. She never pushed and she also communicated her feelings and more importantly apologized for her actions. There was a lot of growth on her part and it was good to see in a book. It was also good to see that Brady didn't immediately forgive and forget immediately.
Overall, Labor of Love was just an ok book for me and this may have been the time in which I read it which was really sad. The characters seemed a bit wooden at times but I did grow to like Dawn and Brady and their story. There were things I didn't like and had issues with and this one took me far longer than it should have to read but it wasn't a terrible story. While it won't ever be my favorite Rachel Hawthorne it does make me want to continue reading her backlist titles.
NONE OF THE ABOVE by I.W. Gregorio is a book that I wanted to love and I think that I may have gone into it with too high expectations. In the end, I ended up being disappointed in NONE OF THE ABOVE but I do think that its a important book to exist in the world. NONE OF THE ABOVE is about a girl, Kristin, who learns that she's intersex or a person who has both male and female chromosomes. Outwardly she looks like a girl and has been raised as a girl and its not until she's 17 that she learns that she has male chromosomes. This is shocking news to her and her father as they never suspected and while much of the first part of this book is Kristin dealing with her diagnosis I felt that this book often stayed on the surface of emotions. At first, Kristin was freaked out and in denial and this was all normal reactions. But then in a blink she was ok with things and it just didn't seem real.
Then there was the whole side story line with the faux BFFs, Vee and Faith, and I think that this annoyed me more than anything else in this book. Why is it so hard to depict real and genuine friendships in a book? Instead we always have these cases where the MC will confess a secret and then the friend is turning on her and in this case, someone told the entire school something that Kristin wasn't ready to divulge. And maybe its just my poor memory as its been a bit since I listened to this book but I don't think we ever learn who was behind the leak. Just that Kristin was outed before she was ready and then had to deal with her diagnosis as well as the cruelty that humans so love to inflict on other humans.
Throughout it all I'm glad that Kristin was able to find people who were truly her friend and saw her for who she really was. Which is why part of the ending had me wanting to through my iPod out my car window because of the WTF-ery of it all. I liked the romance in the book and wish that there could have been more of it. I think that if there was more of these positive moments that I may have liked the book a little more. But even with my issues with some dislikable characters I do think that NONE OF THE ABOVE is an important story to have in the world. There are real teen going through what Kristin did and while there is some ugly in this book there is a HEA and that is an important thing to have when going through something so emotional.
I hope that NONE OF THE ABOVE is the first of many of its subject matter. The more books that are made available the more people can see that there is nothing freakish about Kristin being intersex and maybe the bullying she faced in school won't happen to a non-fictional person. This may not have been a book I loved but that was more for the faux BFFs than for anything else. I listened to NONE OF THE ABOVE on audio and I enjoyed the narrator, Caitlin Davies. She did a great job bringing Kristin and this world of Gregorio's to life. Davies is a new to me narrator but I liked her style and her pacing and I'll definitely listen to a book read by her in the future.
Shelley Coriell's Welcome Caller, This is Chloe has been on my radar since before it was published back in 2012. But life being what it is I never picked up a copy and then sort of forgot that it was on my wishlist. Then within the span of a couple of days two different people gifted me with a copy and so I took that as a sign that I needed to read it sooner rather than later. Welcome Caller deals with a common YA book trope in that the main characters BFF turns on them and the MCs social world sort of collapses. Chloe is a popular girl and unlike most popular girls she is genuinely nice so it made me wonder why she was ever friends with Brie in the first place. As Brie seemed to be hateful just to be hateful and her reason for turning on Chloe is so superficial that I thought that my eyes might roll out of my head.
Eye rolls aside though I really did like Chloe and I enjoyed her story. I liked her new guidance counselor and how she sort of tilted Chloe's world upside down by making her do a project that was a bit outside her comfort zone. Because by doing so she learned a lot about herself and her capabilities. I also really liked all of the characters at the radio station. They were quirky and unique and really fit well together. And then of course there is the love interest, Duncan, who is sure to find fans with those who liked Patrick Sheldon or Corey Livingston.
While I did like that Chloe was a nice girl there were times when she was a bit too passive about the things going on around her. There were times when I wish that she'd stick up for herself more like when there was an issue with her Grandmother and Chloe was held responsible even though she'd done nothing wrong. Not to mention that I also wish that she stood up to Brie more although I do like how Brie didn't have the total dominance that she thought she did on the school. That being nice does count for something.
Welcome Caller This is Chloe was a really sweet read and just what I needed at the time. It was a fun story and I loved Chloe's radio show. I enjoyed her growing friendships with the rest of the misfits and her relationship with Duncan. This book made my heart ache in all the good ways that I love. There are also some serious moments to the story that really helps to round thing out and make this even more realistic than some YA books out there. This book may be 3 years old but its still fun and timely and I'm only sorry that I didn't get to it sooner. It was fast paced and well written and I really need to check out other books by Coriell. Welcome Caller This is Chloe is a book that I'd recommend to all who like realistic contemporary fiction.