I'm not sure why, in the spur of the moment, I chose to listen to this audiobook. I had learned enough about the book in the "cheating heroes" threadI'm not sure why, in the spur of the moment, I chose to listen to this audiobook. I had learned enough about the book in the "cheating heroes" thread at Amazon to banish it to my "not in this lifetime" list. But with gloomy weather enhancing a melancholy mood, I decided to embrace depression completely.
Tessa & Nick Russo, it would seem, have a life together that many aspire for yet few achieve. In their mid-30's and married 7 years, they are already enjoying an affluent lifestyle. Nick is a world-renowned pediatric plastic surgeon and Tessa was a professor until recently when she quit working to devote herself full-time to raising their daughter Ruby,4 and son Frank, 2. Tessa & Nick's relationship isn't one of earth-shattering passion fueled by copious amounts of sex as it had been when they were first married, but long work days and small children will do that to any marriage, right? More importantly, with love and commitment they are developing a solid foundation for their children and for their future as a family. Success in their endeavors can be attributed to one important factor...Tessa and Nick love each other.
What's love got to do..got to do with it? What's love but a second-hand emotion?
Valerie Anderson is a part-time lawyer and full-time single mother raising a 6-yr-old son. Her relationship with Charlie's father was over before the guy even knew Valerie was pregnant, so her twin brother Justin is doing his best to provide Charlie with the male guidance and loving attention he would otherwise be without. Aside from Justin, Valerie isn't close to any other adult. She has serious trust issues with pseudo friends and family members, her track record for hooking up with a good man is non-existent and she refuses to associate with wealthy - and therefore - pretentious people. Suffice it to say Valerie is a loner...and very lonely.
So the hero rides in on his white stallion and rescues the damsel in distress.
Dining out on their anniversary, Tessa and Nick are interrupted by an emergency call from the hospital requiring Nick's area of expertise. Tessa understands, as she always does, and goes home. At the hospital, Nick treats the burn victim, little Charlie, while Valerie, wide-eyed and horrified, tries not to fall to pieces. Fortunately, as a pediatrician Nick has excellent consoling skills with children that apparently extend to distraught single mothers. Charlie is going to need plastic surgery and Nick officially becomes his doctor. Nick bonds with Charlie as a father-figure and with Valerie in a way that is anything but fatherly. Pretending to themselves more than anyone else, Nick and Valerie insist they are just good friends; however, the sexual tension between them is palpable and it becomes just a matter of time. When Tessa goes away one weekend to visit an old friend, Nick and Valerie succumb to their desires and f**k the night away.
What you don't know won't hurt you. (Really? What stupid-ass penned that nonsense?)
Tessa knows something is wrong. Oh sure, Nick has been working longer hours than ever before but Tessa attributes that to the crazy clock a doctor lives by. She hasn't been feeling like much more than a mommy since she quit teaching but it had been Nick's idea for her to quit. On the surface, he seems like the same wonderful man she fell in love with years ago, but knowing him so well she senses something is amiss...he's pulling away. She finds his cellphone lying unattended; and though normally she wouldn't give it a second thought, that nagging woman's intuition insists she check his messages...
Oh what would we do without our well-meaning friends?
"I miss you too and no, he doesn't hate you. How could anyone hate you?" Tessa comes up with a hundred plausible scenarios for someone to send Nick this message because she trusts her husband completely. Come on Tessa...you've got more than enough clues. Then, while away visiting her best friend, Cate, Tessa gets a text from one of her newer "society" friends who feels an obligation to the sisterhood to inform Tessa her husband was seen standing "unnaturally" close to Valerie Anderson. Tessa stands firm that her husband is faithful, yet she cuts her weekend stay short and is on the first flight home.
Shame, thy name is Nick.
I'll stop here but believe me I can't think of anything more heart-wrenching than what transpires in the last fourth of this story. In fact, the entire book was tough to listen to. Not only was my heart in my throat most of the time but I had to pull the earbuds out at one point because I couldn't handle what was transpiring. Did I like it? I LOVED it! This is my first book by Emily Giffin and I now intend to read (listen to) every book she has written.. She has the gift of bringing her characters to life...people you can't help but come to know extremely well and thereby care for immensely. I can't wait to become so involved like that again!
The story is told in alternating chapters by Tessa in 1st person and Valerie in 3rd person, with an emphasis on her personal thoughts. Valerie played the martyr well, strong enough to handle motherhood alone yet vulnerable and helpless without a man. Yes Nick was married and had 2 children, but Valerie decided that they were responsible for his unhappiness. As she sneakily cruised by his house (yeah, like a stalker) she decided Tessa was a society snob and probably had a lover herself. Surely, she was anxious to get rid of him. Besides, Nick was wonderful with Charlie and her son needed a father! With all the rationalizing Valerie did to convince herself she was entitled to Nick - along with a healthy dose of hero worship - she came off as helpless and needy, yet vindictive and manipulative. Gah! I hated the bitch! How much pleasure I would have found in rewriting the story to have Tessa beating the crap out of her!
On the other side of the coin, I loved Tessa. She was experiencing some depression when all this began, probably due to the fact that she missed teaching, which meant daily interaction with humans older than 4. I know it isn't hard to succumb to the feeling that you are nothing more than someone's mommy. With a husband at work 12 hours a day, by the time Tessa & Nick had some alone time, all she wanted to do was sleep. But she wasn't a bitch or whiny about what she was saddled with all day, and she was never too tired for sex. I felt bad for her when Nick initially told her she was the one who had changed and caused the rift in their marriage. But Tessa was not a shrinking violet, a doormat or TSTL. As much as she loved Nick, she held her marriage vows sacred and (hell, yeah) kicked his ass to the curb when the time came. There is a major confrontation between Tessa and Valerie, and Tessa's ability to remain gracious at the worst of times is tribute to the good person she is and the woman Nick realizes he can't live without.
And Nick? Well yeah, he betrayed his wife and family in the worst way possible. And what he saw in Valerie we can only speculate, but I think he got caught up in the hero worship thing...being the knight in shining armor to both Valerie and Charlie. Whatever, he crossed the line that can never be uncrossed and lost the complete trust his wife had in him...probably forever. Nevertheless, Nick seemed truely remorseful for what he had done and his grovel was Oscar-worthy. I completely forgave him.
I don't know what I was expecting when I purchased this book but what I got was one helluva dramatic, suspenseful, heart-stopping journey into the seeI don't know what I was expecting when I purchased this book but what I got was one helluva dramatic, suspenseful, heart-stopping journey into the seedy underworld of hijackings and terrorists and the kickass men trained to thwart them. This is the book that defines the genre "romantic suspense" and anyone who enjoys a story that is one huge adrenalin rush from beginning to end will love Forged in Fire. Kudos to Trish McCallan for penning such a powerful debut novel. I'm not even a fan of the genre yet couldn't bring myself to rate it anything less than 5 stars!
LOVED this story!!! Jude Ryder is all kinds of sex-on-a-stick and he loves Lucy with such a Travis Maddox-like intensity, it makes him all the more apLOVED this story!!! Jude Ryder is all kinds of sex-on-a-stick and he loves Lucy with such a Travis Maddox-like intensity, it makes him all the more appealing. If you are into teenage love stories with a hefty dose of angst, then this 2-book series is perfect for you!
The first book, Crash, takes place during Jude & Lucy's senior year in high school. This is when they meet, fall in love, and, unfortunately, are faced with numerous external situations that end up dictating their relationship. The 2nd book, Clash finds Jude & Lucy at separate colleges hoping to maintain their long-distance relationship by relying on their relatively new-found trust. But when a cunning bitch sets her sights on Jude, will that tenuous thread snap and let trust be damned? Apart from what transpires and how it affects Jude & Lucy's relationship, this exciting segment of drama culminates in a brutal chick fight. Lucy may seem fragile because she is a ballet dancer and is small in stature, but you know what they say... "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". That scene still has me smiling!
Of course the road to an HEA for Jude & Luce is long, rough and scarred. But I've come to trust (almost) completely an indie author will bring her protagonists to the finish line in the most endearingly gratifying & sweetest way possible. Nicole Williams doesn't disappoint. This is mature YA at its best!
Whew! I'm emotionally drained, I went thru a box of tissue, and I've got dark circles under my eyes from staying up all night reading...sure signs thaWhew! I'm emotionally drained, I went thru a box of tissue, and I've got dark circles under my eyes from staying up all night reading...sure signs that I loved the hell out of this book!
Tru & Jake were the best of friends for the first 14 years of their lives. But then Jake and his family moved from England to the US and the two lost touch. It is now 12 years later. Tru received a college degree and now works as a music journalist for an indie magazine. Jake started up a rock band, The Mighty Storm, that has become world famous. Now on the European leg of a world-wide tour, the band is in England; and Tru has landed the job of interviewing the man who not only can make panties drop with just a flash of his devastating smile but the best friend that Tru has kept close to her heart for over 20 years. When they meet for the first time, it is like all the years melt away and they still have that special bond between them. Only this isn't an adolescent crush anymore but the he-gets-hard, she-gets-wet, tongues-get-tied, this-is-my-long-lost-soulmate type of crush. There is just one problem...Tru is in a committed relationship with Will, and they are very much in love. Did I say that was problem? Nah, at least not for Jake; because, as he tells her more than once, he always gets what he wants. Poor, arrogant Jake...if that was the case, we wouldn't have a story!
If you happen to be a fan of Thoughtless by SC Stephens, The Mighty Storm is the fix you've been looking for...and Jake Wethers is the man to steal your heart away from Kellan Kyle. While both books basically share the same premise (rock star + girl + boyfriend), the gist of the stories are very different; and in this respect I enjoyed TMS more because, although the results of the triangles were both disastrous and heartbreaking, Tru didn't vacillate between her choices and string us along for several unnecessary chapters like Kiera did. Sure, Tru wagered an ongoing battle with herself (no, not with her inner goddess) throughout the book but I expected & appreciated that because the story was told from her POV. I enjoyed Tru...in fact, all of the characters were likeable. Tru & Jake were the only 2 characters who were thoroughly fleshed out but that was perfect for me. TMS was their personal love story and I like nothing better than when an author focuses solely on the two main protagonists and leaves the sub-plots and secondary characters in the background or out of the story completely.
But truly, what elevates this story from good to great is Jake...hot, hung[image error], arrogant, cocky, talented, tattooed, sexy smart-ass that he was, lived the typical rocker life. He drank too much, got high too often and fucked anything that moved... until the day that Tru walked back into his life. She was his true best friend - his one and only love - and he tried hard to be the best man he could be for her. But even rock gods are human, and the best-laid plans complete with happy-ever-afters aren't as easy to come by as Jake once thought. The last 25% of the book was both heart-wrenching and painful to experience as Jake put it out there like no other hero ever has. Raw anguish, sincere grovelling and pure love...it was all Jake. Believe me, you won't be forgetting him anytime soon!!
“You’re my life, Tru. My everything. And you always will be." “I’ll never be good enough for you, I know that. But I’m no good without you, and if that makes me a selfish bastard for wanting you as badly as I do then so be it because I can’t live a life that doesn’t have you in it.”
Thank you Samantha Towle for giving us this kickass, awesome hero and the touching, beautiful love story that came with him!!!
Well, as you can probably guess from the title, this is a story about a love triangle...a teenage love triangle...involving Henry - the hottest-lookinWell, as you can probably guess from the title, this is a story about a love triangle...a teenage love triangle...involving Henry - the hottest-looking guy in the senior class, Callie - his bitch-on-wheels girlfriend of 4 years, and Riley - the quiet, pretty girl who has fallen head-over-heels in love with Henry and is now his secret "piece" on the side. After spending nearly every night of the summer with Henry (he would climb through her window after her mother had retired each evening), Riley was hopelessly in love. The two of them got on fabulously together...admitted out loud to each other they were in love... and Riley was certain that she had found her soulmate in Henry. Even so, she was well aware that he had a girlfriend; and although Henry claimed that he didn't love Callie, he wasn't breaking up with her either.
The story begins as they are starting back to school for their senior year. Since the three have known each other for 13 years, Riley assumes that she will be able to handle seeing Henry and Callie together like she always has. Actually, she knows she has no choice but to act indifferent towards them...she loves Henry too much to let him go and would rather share him than not have him at all. But all of Riley's practical rationalizing over their odd relationship goes out the window the first time she actually sees Henry & Callie together. She is devastated...so much so that she becomes physically ill.
From the beginning I had Henry convicted & sentenced to suffer the "Lorena Bobbitt" punishment. How dare he insinuate himself into Riley's life (by way of bed) and then ignore her in public! He made her feel like she was his "dirty little secret" and I hated him for it. I had no idea how the author was going to mold this guy into hero material. Fortunately, she found a way and Henry did redeem himself ..but not 100%. There were a few scenes where Henry deliberately hurt Riley's feelings and the reasons were never confronted or explained away. And of course there is always the question, 'If he could cheat with me will he cheat on me?' Nevertheless, I suspended disbelief, shook off all nagging thoughts and bought right into the sweet HEA.
Even though this is a YA romance and I am so not a young adult, I do remember the feelings I had when I was 17-18 and involved with someone...they were very real and just as profound and complex as they have been in adulthood. I found myself truly empathizing with Riley and the inner turmoil she silently struggles to come to grips with. Bottom line: should she follow her head or her heart? Lauren Hammond is like a fountain overflowing with metaphors, and she uses them most effectively by telling this story through 1st person POV. Riley's intense love for Henry and her conflicted emotions because of it are so vivid through description that you can actually feel her despair. At times it became a little overwhelming and I had to stop reading to bring my heart rate back down!
4.25 stars Recommended to readers who thrive on angst
**spoiler alert** What do I think? I think this is a 5-star book that was reduced to 3 stars because of one damn 4-letter word. Nate...with an exclama**spoiler alert** What do I think? I think this is a 5-star book that was reduced to 3 stars because of one damn 4-letter word. Nate...with an exclamation point. Nate! My response was also a 4-letter word...with emphasis...and multiple exclamation points Fuuuuuuuck!!! This book should have been entitled "Blindsided" because that's how it hit (me) in the end.
This was an angst-driven, page-turning, can't-put-it-down-until-it's-over story about Nate & Emi...best friends for 13 years who are looking for love in all the wrong places until they finally realize their one true love is each other. Like many indie authors, Lori Otto has a true talent for telling a heartwarming albeit heart-wrenching romantic story. Unlike many indie authors, however, she tells the story via 1st person POV of the hero exclusively. For once we are privy to know exactly what the male protagonist is thinking...what his feelings are for his partner in each of the many relationships he drifts in and out of...how he equates sex = love, and when he eventually realizes that what he feels for Emi is not merely a sisterly affection but a true, "soulmates" type of love. For once we don't have to suffer through the heroine's whiny rants and tedious he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not petal-pulling drama. Why is she mad at Nate? We don't know. Why does she have bruises on her neck? We don't know. What happened between her & Colin to cause their breakup? We don't know. And personally, I didn't care. My heart and devotion belonged to Nate and if he had an epiphany that Emi was his one true love - great - whatever made Nate happy made me happy. Which brings me to why I brought the rating down...
This is Romancelandia, so if you are an author writing a romance, there are certain laws in Romancelandia you should abide by, with one law in particular...the hero and heroine must have an HEA or at the very least a HFN. It can be a true love (where the couple rides off into the sunset), it can be semi-bittersweet (such as forgiving a cheater and starting over again); and, though rarely seen, it can be bittersweet ( with the H & h going their separate ways...readers have the option to hold out with the hope they reconcile or find someone better-suited for each of them).
This means you CANNOT kill our beloved hero off at the very end of the book and attempt to replace him with someone else in a sequel!
By presenting the story from Nate's POV, you have breathed life into him for the readers. This series may be called "Emi Lost and Found" but this story belongs to Nate. We have been put through the emotional wringer with him for 300 pages - have experienced his highs and lows, successes and failures - and ultimately his complete happiness, with Emi and with himself. And you wipe all that out simply for the shock value? Yeah, we were definitely shocked all right. But when the shock wore off we were disheartened. We felt empty...and sad. We are still sad. And it won't wear off.
3 drooping stars 1 redeeming quality...Lori Otto must have an excellent editor/proofreader as there are no grammatical errors, (punctuation, misspelled words, run-on sentences, etc) anywhere in this book....more
I just finished reading this book for the second time this week and loved it all over again. The story has everything I crave most in a romance...a toI just finished reading this book for the second time this week and loved it all over again. The story has everything I crave most in a romance...a tortured hero that is smokin' hot and jealous as hell, a heroine that sometimes allows herself to be taken care of and isn't always acting ridiculous trying to prove her independence, a vindictive ex that (finally!) gets what she deserves, a little mystery, a lot of great sex (spiced up with some "kinky fuckery") and a HEA with another book to follow! It just doesn't get any better than this!
Fifty Shades Darker is E.L. James' 2nd book in her Fifty Shades trilogy. While the first book Fifty Shades of Grey is a great read and introduces us to His Awesomeness, otherwise known as Christian Grey, it is also a much darker story. Seduced at age 15 by a friend of the family, Christian's sexual expertise at age 27 is strictly limited to the only type of relationship he has ever known...that of Dominant & Submissive. When Anastasia Steele interviews Christian for a college newspaper, he is instantly taken with her. Ana is quiet, docile and beautiful..everything Christian wants in a Submissive. So he proposes a contractual deal with her; but for once in his adult life, Christian isn't getting what he wants. Book #1 lays the early groundwork for the tumultuous relationship these two find themselves in through both books. As Christian freely admits to, he is "fifty shades of fucked up" and Ana doesn't disagree. Even so, their sexual chemistry is palpable and their encounters rock right off the pages! (Gawd, what I wouldn't give...) Add to this, their bantering (done best through their emails to each other) is just so damn cute you will be left with no choice other than to love the heck out of them both!
Note: Reading Fifty Shades of Grey first is an absolute must to truly understand and appreciate Christian & Ana's entire story, so don't embark on this amazing journey haphazardly and start with Book #2. (That would give Christian twitchy palms!)
So while Book #1 gives you the beginning of Christiana (haha), Book #2 Fifty Shades Darker focuses on the strengthening of their relationship, as Ms. James takes you to the heart and soul of their union. Although Christian and Ana are polar opposites, you won't have to suspend disbelief to accept their relationship as the author thoroughly fleshes these two characters out. You will witness first-hand how love triumphs over sexual preferences, extremely different lifestyles, outside interferences and all of the other idiosyncracies that would normally provide just cause to terminate a relationship. You will cheer right along with Ana's "inner goddess" who throws caution to the wind when it comes to claiming her man outright. Coming together is a hard-fought battle for Christian and Ana but staying together will be forever. If you really love romance, then this is one special, adorable couple you can't possibly live without knowing!
PS: Once again, have the tissues handy for there are some truly poignant scenes!
Thoughtless is a compassionate but heartbreaking story of three people caught in a contemporary love triangle. I read this book last Sunday, and I donThoughtless is a compassionate but heartbreaking story of three people caught in a contemporary love triangle. I read this book last Sunday, and I don't know if it was because Andy Whitfield passed away, or because it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11...maybe a bad case of the "Sunday blues" or simply because the angst was ratcheted up so high in the story. Whatever the reason, when all hell broke loose in Chapter 23, the damn burst. Reading with blurred vision is such a bloody nuisance but I had to finish the last three chapters to see if somehow, despite the cheating, deceit and lies, all 3 protagonists were able to find a measure of peace & happiness in the end.
Kiera and Denny, both in their early 20's, have been an exclusive couple for 2 years. When Denny is offered an intern position with a prestigious ad firm in Seattle, Kiera applies for and receives a scholarship to the University of Washington. Leaving small-town life behind they travel across the country...moving in with a close friend of Denny's from when he served as an exchange student in high school. Enter Kellan Kyle...an extremely good-looking, sexier-than-hell lead singer in a local band...and new roommate to the transplanted Ohioans.
What follows is an extremely intense story of a young woman who is torn between her love for two equally-deserving men and their unwavering love for her. There is no menage here, where in a fantasy world Kiera would keep both Denny and Kellan. This isn't erotica, yet the sexual tension is so prevalent and so fine-tuned you'll be buzzing with expectation. Told through Kiera's POV, it is a simple day-to-day story made complex by the unexpected attraction between Kiera and Kellan and the powerful, emotionally high-charged atmosphere that settles among these two as well as the unsuspecting Denny. Fortunately, even with the limited POV,the author won't ever leave you scratching your head and wondering 'what just happened here?' She leaves nothing to speculation and plays the entire drama out in explicit (although somewhat lengthy) detail.
As you can probably guess, there is cheating in this story. And while the idea of cheating in a romance novel might totally turn you off, at least the circumstances that prompt the cheating are not due to the overplayed drunkenness or selfishness or the big misunderstanding...they are simply due to inexperience, vulnerability and the inevitable loss in the struggle to follow one's head and not one's heart. As such, there are no bad guys in the story. Unfortunately, this greatly restricts the reader's ability to justify the cheating; and because of the devastating outcome, it was hard for me to forgive Kiera and be truly happy for her.
This book is angst at its best. I was riding the emotional roller coaster of a lifetime and had to physically unwind & stretch cramped muscles whenever I took a break. But I loved the fact that a story could totally consume me like Thoughtless did...blubbering tears and all. The author, S.C. Stephens really has the ability to express feelings and emotions and internal struggle. She gets to the heart & core of the characters and thoroughly fleshes them out...so much so you will feel like a personal friend to Kiera, Kellan & Denny. Their story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and you will live every moment with them.
I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!