For the past two years, I've been totally absorbed in the melodramatic, angst-ridden world of digital romance created (mostly) by indie authors. Their...moreFor the past two years, I've been totally absorbed in the melodramatic, angst-ridden world of digital romance created (mostly) by indie authors. Their stories are usually written in 1st person POV and sometimes - as is the case here - in dual 1st person POV. IMO this is by far the best POV to tell a story from because the reader is privy to what is going on in the minds of both hero and heroine. It effectively does away with the "WTF moments" and thus brings a new vulnerability to the hero that, until now, was a rarity in romance novels. Male emotion - raw, honest and straight from his heart - can be the difference between a good book boyfriend and an Oh.My.God.I.LOVE.HIM! great book boyfriend...
...which brings us to this story and Evan Maxwell.
I only have one negative thing to say about this book so I'll say it now and get it over with. The packaging sucks. As a big fan of new adult romance, I am familiar with how the genre is presented. These are digital books so readers are not walking into Barnes & Noble and picking up this book or that, mulling over the back blurbs, etc., we are checking out places like Amazon where there are already hundreds of books listed under this relatively new genre. With the majority of authors being unknown at this point, the "look" of the book - the appeal of title and bookcover - has the big job of reeling the buyer in. And once we're in, well...we are all pretty much "1-click crazy". Think "new adult" romance and covers/titles like these appeal:
Champagne Toast is every bit as good as these 3 books and fits the genre perfectly, yet the cover and title scream Nora Roberts' Bridal Quartet. Not even what a new adult reader is looking for.
Fortunately for me, I came across author Molly McAdams' review of CT and saw this:
WARNING YOU NOW LADIES: You will swoon. And not just swoon...but SAAAWOON! I actually sighed out loud at one part because I love Evan so much and my husband looked like he was going to go find the guy that gave me that dopey look on my face.
Molly's idea of a swoon-worthy hero is definitely my own (hello Team Brandon) and my number one "must have" in a book, so I bought it. Soooo damn glad I did!
Kate Armour is a free-spirited, part-time college student working at a local bar to support herself. She is beautiful, flirtatious, passionate about photography and a serial cheater in relationships...if that's what you would call the superfluous hookups she repeatedly engaged in. Sex and arm candy were the staples and love wasn't even a consideration. Yet coming from a home seriously deficient in affection, it is what Kate thought she wanted from a man.
Until the day Evan Maxwell walked into the bar.
Evan was in his 3rd year at the local University, working towards a degree in marketing. He had solid goals planned for his future and no doubt that he wouldn't meet them. He epitomized "tall, dark & handsome" as though the term was created just for him; and women were always a big part of his life...though he had never been in love.
Until the day he met Kate Armour.
The attraction between Kate & Evan was instant and mutual. However, Kate had a boyfriend, so the first few weeks of working together they were basically "flirting friends". Soon, however, lines started to blur as they became consumed by desire for each other.
He places the pads of his fingers on my cheek, brushing lightly before pushing my hair behind my ear and placing my long thick hair behind my shoulder. “What are you doing?” I whisper, my pulse racing so fast I feel like I might faint. “Swooning,” Evan smiles softly as he looks me in the eyes. My heart stops. “Oh,” I reply, swallowing hard, attempting to hide my emotions and failing miserably. He knows I want him as much as he wants me. “I want to kiss you, Kate. But, I don’t think I should . . . ” his voice trails as he explores my features with his eyes. “Why?” I ask, completely under his spell. Evan caresses my face gently with his fingers and then cups my chin with his hand. “Do you still have a boyfriend?” I nod with an apologetic glance. “It’s okay, I want you to,” I say, my words betraying me. “Not my style,” he says, shaking his head with a deep frown. He leans in and kisses me gently on the cheek. “Goodnight, Kate,” he says softly before walking into the back room. I hear him saying good-bye to Bree and Vince. Slowly, I slide down the bar until I’m seated on the floor, in a complete daze. Every bit of me is on fire, my skin, my hair, my bones. I didn’t know I was capable of swooning. But, Evan Maxwell has gotten under my skin in a way I never knew was possible. So, if Kate Armour swoons, this is how she does it.
Kate & Evan succumb to their desires that night and sleep together. The next day, Kate breaks up with her boyfriend and she and Evan are immediately a couple. For the most part their relationship is great...fun and comfortable and filled with love. As in any relationship, they have problems that they normally meet head-on and deal with; however, Kate's history of cheating coupled with Evan's quick temper and apparent lack of trust culminate in an explosive "it's-not-what-it-looks-like" scene that proves too difficult to overcome. So, after two wonderful years together, Kate & Evan part ways.
OMG their breakup nearly broke my heart! The author does an excellent job of showing rather than telling, and I truly felt like I knew this couple well...like I was actually living their relationship with them. Kate & Evan have a true, deep-seated "soul-mates" type of love that is so badly shaken I was afraid the damage that had been done was beyond repair. The dual POV works so well here as we get inside Evan's head as well as Kate's and understand that he is every bit as broken as she is, although he does try to move on.
Another Saturday night. Another evening surrounded by friends who are pushing me to move on. Patrick and I are meeting some other friends at a bar. Supposedly, there’s a girl he wants me to meet. Whatever. All I really want to do is show up at Molly’s, take a seat at the bar and watch Kate work. I want to watch her run her fingers through her hair and give the customers attitude. I want to watch her pour drinks and make smart-ass comments. I want to walk in that bar like nothing ever happened. But, I can’t. Walking to my dresser, I pull open the drawer and move the stacked clothes to the side. A small box sits in the drawer. It makes my heart race just looking at it. Opening the box, I see the promise ring that Kate threw back at me last spring. My brow furrows as I put the ring in my hand, like I do every few weeks when I can’t get her out of my head. Holding the ring between my fingers, I stare at the band knowing what this ring once represented. A life with Kate. A future that I let go of way too easily.
Champagne Toast is the emotional rollercoaster that we new adult fans crave. The perfect blend of love & happiness, promises & heartbreak, discovery & hope, and awesome, toe-curling sex. Best of all, it has a believable HEA. That's a must for me and I know for most of you as well. And Evan...mmmmmmmm! What can I say? The guy is book boyfriend perfection!!! Sure we all love the rockstars, the actors, the fighters...all the bad boys that just need to find that special someone to love them. But Evan isn't a bad boy at all (well...maybe in bed...mmmmmm). Yet he is so smokin' hot I dare you to read this book and not rank him right up there with the Kellans & Travis' of book boyfriend landia!
I can't say enough good about this book and really, the only reason I complained about the cover and title is because it diminishes the powerful story inside. Champagne Toast really needs more exposure so that others can enjoy this diamond in the rough. One thing is certain...Melissa Brown knows how to tell a powerful, emotional love story. I'm looking forward to reading more from her.
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" thread...moreI'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.
Another great book in Suzanne Enoch's Scandalous Brides series, focusing on the women of "unfortunate circumstances" that work at the gentlemen's gami...moreAnother great book in Suzanne Enoch's Scandalous Brides series, focusing on the women of "unfortunate circumstances" that work at the gentlemen's gaming establishment known as the Tantalus Club.
Sophia White, the bastard daughter of a duke, has been forced to quit her employment at the Club because her father has surfaced for the first time in her life and demand she marry a country vicar he has chosen, thereby removing the blemish on his "good" name. Fortunately, Sophia has a short reprieve before her impending doom and has been invited to a Christmas house party being hosted by Adam, the Duke of Greaves. On her way to the party, a bridge leading to the estate collapses and Sophia's carriage plunges into an icy body of water. Sophia is rescued by the Duke and taken to his home; however, she is his only guest for 2 weeks, as the fallen bridge makes it impossible for the other partygoers to join them.
Adam has arranged this Christmas party for the sole purpose of finding a suitable wife - not that he wants a wife, mind you - but he will turn 30 in less than 3 months and it is stipulated in his father's will that he must marry before then or lose all of his holdings to his sister's 9yr old son. Sophia is far from a suitable wife but Adam invited her on a whim one night at the Club. She is a beauty, after all, with her brilliant red hair ...but it is her uninhibited, carefree nature that pique's Adam's interest. Deliberately ignoring Adam's attempt to adhere to social propriety, Sophia treats him as if he was her equal...shocking him when she shows up in a pair of borrowed trousers and - gasp! - pelting him with snowballs. Eventually, Adam relaxes and truly enjoys the fortnight he spends with Sophie...both in and out of bed.
Unfortunately for the new lovers, the bridge is repaired and their idyllic paradise is interrupted by 20 now-unwanted guests. Working at the Tantalus Club has saddled Sophia with the false reputation of being a woman of ill repute and she is given the cut direct by all of the attendees except for Cami & her husband Keating (H/h from book #2). Sophia tries to remain unaffected by all the snide remarks from the ladies and the lewd advances from the men, but watching Adam parading around with his potential brides-to-be...loving him yet knowing they both must marry others...the light in her eyes is soon distinguished. Making matters worse, Adam sets his cap on the most beautiful of the purebred ladies and then asks Sophia to be his mistress. Terribly hurt but resigned to her fate, Sophia slips away from the estate on Christmas Day and sets off for Cornwall where the unknown vicar resides.
As always, Suzanne Enoch breathes life into an interesting cast of characters with a worthwhile story to tell. Sophia is lighthearted and fun...one of the few heroines that I've truly enjoyed. She brings the best out of Adam when they are together, and for the first time in 30 years he is content and enjoying life. Therefore, when he realizes the horrible truth of what his actions have done to Sophie, he kicks all of his guests to the curb and tears up the countryside is his quest to find her, beg her forgiveness and bring her home.
Rules to Catch a Devilish Duke is historical romance at its finest. Highly recommended!
The Duke of Greaves - off to bring back the woman he loves(less)
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 ap...moreLOVED 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!
Review of Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber (and recap of Love Unscripted as well)
Love Unrehearsed is the long-awaited sequel to Tina Reber's awesome deb...moreReview of Love Unrehearsed by Tina Reber (and recap of Love Unscripted as well)
Love Unrehearsed is the long-awaited sequel to Tina Reber's awesome debut novel, Love Unscripted. It is the continuation of Taryn Mitchell and Ryan Christensen's love story...a story of doubts and acceptance, of misgivings and trust, of hopes shattered then pieced back together, of total devastation and extreme elation, of closures and new beginnings; and, ultimately, a story of finding blissful peace and life-long contentment from loving someone completely and unequivocally, and having that love reciprocated in spades.
In Love Unscripted, we were treated to all the angst we could possibly hope for in a "new adult" contemporary romance. Taryn Mitchell - a 27-yr-old Rhode Island resident, owner of Mitchell's Pub, smart, understated beauty, recently "un"engaged from Thomas, her significant other of 2 years who she found in bed with someone else - meets Ryan Christensen - a 26-yr-old guy who lives out of a suitcase, world-renown movie star, becoming wise to the selfish, ruthless people in the entertainment industry, gloriously beautiful but without conceit, recently unattached from a woman who sold their personal story to the tabloids - when the two collide on the street as Ryan is literally running for his life from a hoard of crazed female fans. Taryn sneaks him into her bar and for the next four hours they drink beer, do shots, play pool and have a great time getting to know each other. Ryan and his entourage come into the bar several more times as they are filming only a few blocks away, but it is clear they are there because Ryan is developing a "thing" for Taryn and vice versa. Taryn, who has major self-esteem issues, is convinced they can never be more than friends because they come from two extremely different worlds. Ryan, on the other hand, sees the glass half full and pushes for more. After a very enjoyable - and believeable - 100 pages of getting to know each other, the day of reckoning finally dawns.
“So… am I to understand that you’re mine?” I asked teasingly. “I can be yours if you want me to be, Taryn,” he whispered. My breath hitched from his words. My pulse quickened and my fingers started to tremble. “Is that your intention?” I asked, still skeptical. Ryan cleared his throat. “My intention is to let you know where my heart is. The rest… the rest is up to you,” he said softly. I took another deep breath. My own heart was thumping in my chest now. “So… now what? Where do we go from here?” “We give it a chance,” Ryan declared quite convincingly.
Finally, Taryn and Ryan become lovers...that swoon-worthy, "bedroom door wide open" scene reason alone to read the first book...and their relationship becomes exclusive. Now the angst begins. Taryn and Ryan deal with one intrusive situation after another - jealously from Ryan's leading lady in Seaside, the papparazzi relentless in their pursuit of pictures and a story of not only Ryan but a very uncooperative Taryn - who guards her privacy zealously - as well, a car accident, a pregnancy scare and a deranged stalker intent on doing away with Taryn so she can have Ryan - are just a handful of problems they encounter. Still, Tar and Ryan continue to grow as a couple and are very much in love. But Taryn's self-esteem issues eventually get the better of her and the angst gets ratcheted up to its peak and finally explodes when she joins Ryan on-set in Florida and becomes convinced he is sleeping with his co-star (who happens to be his ex lover). It is heart-wrenching to watch Taryn suffer, especially because the story is told in 1st person by her. The ending of Love Unscripted is terribly sweet and perfect for the moment but really only leaves Taryn and Ryan with a HFN ending. On to book two.
All eyes were on him as he stood atop the table. It was so quiet in the crowded bar, you could have heard a pin drop. I could hear my heart hammering in my chest as I stared up at him. “We’ve made a beautiful mess of things lately, haven’t we?” He flashed that sexy crooked smile at me, which made my heart flutter. I nodded, agreeing with him. “But it’s our crazy story,” he stated. “It’s been ours, only ours. There’s been a lot of romance, sometimes way too much drama…” He raised his eyebrows and smirked. “Very memorable comedy, a few pulse-racing action scenes…” He shrugged and sighed. “We’ve also had our fair share of suspense and raw terror, and unfortunately gut-wrenching heartache too. “I think we’ve covered it all, everything except for being captured by aliens!” I couldn’t help but chuckle. “But through it all you’ve loved me, unconditionally, and I know how fortunate I am to have your love. “I don’t want to live without you, not for one more minute, not for one more second. I want to spend the rest of my days living my story with you… only you.” He walked to the edge and jumped off the table, landing in front of me. “It is here that I fell in love with you,” Ryan whispered, taking my hands in his. He dropped down on one knee. “And as fate would have it, it is here that I humbly kneel before you and ask you to be my wife. “Taryn Lynn Mitchell, will you marry me?”
Love Unrehearsed begins with Taryn and Ryan engaged and very much in love. But the demands of Ryan's job force their way into the couple's private world right from the start, as he must deal with Marla, the publicist from hell, and David, his manager from the same place, who insist Ryan cannot go public with his engagement. At first Ryan goes along with their plan; soon, however, he understands how much it is hurting Taryn so he basically says "fuck it" and lets the world know he is in love. And he fires Marla...a wonderful turn of events that unfortunately will have repercussions later.
The angst in the second part of this love story is nothing compared to what we experienced in the first part, and because of this I enjoyed Love Unrehearsed even more. LU is basically a story about what it would actually be like for a girl to be in a relationship with someone as famous as Ryan. Less angst, however, does not mean there wasn't any at all because there was indeed plenty. It just played out differently; and, IMO was much easier to handle. The biggest reason for this is that Ryan, and even Taryn, are pretty much secure with their love and in their relationship. Angst presents itself as ramifications of being a movie star when both Ryan and Taryn so desperately want to live a life as close to normal as possible...so much so that protecting their privacy lands each of them in jail on separate occasions! Surprisingly, Taryn adapts to her new life much better than I expected she would. She suffers through two major (and totally unforeseen) personal crisis' that both end well for her, although one is a little bittersweet. Of course, being a woman very much in love with an actor who works primarily in the romance genre would really suck at times...
I don’t care how other women would handle watching their man fake sex with another woman; I twitched when Jonathan yelled “Action!” yet again. Ryan’s mouth on her jaw, her lips, grinding her into the bed like he was actually fucking her looked so real that the heartache seared its way up my throat. It’s pretend. It’s fake. The sheet covering them slipped and a good sliver of Ryan’s ass was now in full view. No matter how many times I repeated my mantra it still didn’t keep the bile from rising up.
But Taryn hangs on to her sanity and eventually coaxes Ryan back into the "fake sex" and everything else acting entails when he reaches a point in his life where he feels that the sacrifices are too great for doing the job that he truly does love. Tina Reber did an outstanding job of portraying the everyday life of a famous man and the woman who loves that man unconditionally. I've read both books twice and can't wait to find a quiet weekend to sit down and read them again. *sigh* Ryan is that perfect hero who is so much fun to read about and Taryn is the ideal woman for him. Their journey to reach happily-ever-after was not an easy one; yet despite all of the situations that could have broken them apart and all of the temptations to stray that were presented to Taryn as well as Ryan, not once did either of them falter. From the day they agreed they were in an exclusive, committed relationship they remained that way; and because of this Ryan had my total heart. Love Unscripted & Love Unrehearsed together present one of the most heartwarming and truly enjoyable love stories I have ever read!
Being a big fan of Beautiful Disaster and Thoughtless/Effortless, I'm always looking for a book that will give me the same adrenaline rush I felt when...moreBeing a big fan of Beautiful Disaster and Thoughtless/Effortless, I'm always looking for a book that will give me the same adrenaline rush I felt when I read those. Taking Chances was that book for me. It has the incredibly sexy, tatted, buzzed-head hero who makes a living as an underground fighter like BD and the heart-wrenching love triangle between a sweet girl and two equally awesome frat brothers who are both in love with her like T/E. Can Romancelandia get any better for me? Not likely.
Harper Jackson has just started her freshman year at San Diego State University. Being raised by a strict, emotionless father on a military base in North Carolina, she is completely overwhelmed by her over-zealous roommate Bree and the craziness of living in the dorms on campus. Bree's brother, Chase, is the first guy she meets; and, although they fall into a routine of trading snarky remarks with each other, Chase's chiseled, tatted body and surfer good looks have Harper secretly swooning despite her vow to steer clear of the obvious "man-ho". But then she meets Brandon, the sexy "Travis Maddox look-alike" and it is love at first sight for both of them. Unfortunately, Brandon lives in Chase's frat house and it becomes a messy love triangle that escalates to disastrous proportions.
I can't say anything more in detail without giving away the story, but it is an amazing, heart-wrenching, soul-searching journey that Harper embarks upon in her first year of college. It is a long book - just short of 500 pages - but I was so caught up in Harper's dilemma with her two awesome men that I read the book in one sitting. Yes, it is that good!
This is Molly McAdams debut "new adult" novel and I'm excited for her to write more because she has that special "gift" of bringing her characters alive and making her readers feel as though we know these people personally. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all lovers of a good romance but especially to those who are still in a state of limbo after experiencing Travis Maddox and Kellan Kyle. But heed this warning: Have a box of tissue handy...there are a few situations that will have you tearing up and one incident that will tear your heart to pieces! *sniff*
This is Beautiful Disaster from Travis' POV and I loved it even more than its predecessor. Really...the book boyfriend mold was broken when Travis Mad...moreThis is Beautiful Disaster from Travis' POV and I loved it even more than its predecessor. Really...the book boyfriend mold was broken when Travis Maddox was created! They just don't get any better than him. *sigh*(less)
While this is definitely one of my top ten favorite ebooks, the audiobook version of On Dublin Street is nothing short of fucking spectacular, and is...moreWhile this is definitely one of my top ten favorite ebooks, the audiobook version of On Dublin Street is nothing short of fucking spectacular, and is easily my favorite of the 400+ audiobooks I have listened to thus far. It is the only book listed for the narrator, Paula Costello, so hopefully it is her debut narration and we'll be enjoying many more books read by her in the future.
10 stars - 5 for Samantha Young's amazing imagination & creativity and 5 for Paula Costello's talent for bringing to life the gang down On Dublin Street!
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 tha...moreWhew! 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!!!
Hardy Bradford is a high school senior who, by outward appearance, has it all going on. Tall, with dark hair, light eyes and rockin' a 6-pk, he's the...moreHardy Bradford is a high school senior who, by outward appearance, has it all going on. Tall, with dark hair, light eyes and rockin' a 6-pk, he's the picture you see when you look up "swoonworthy". He's the quarterback "on fire"...the one being scouted most actively by the top colleges in the country; and his girlfriend of several years, Cheyenne, is the best-looking female on the planet. Although Hardy knows his future as a football pro is more for his father than for himself, and Cheyenne - handpicked by his father as well - is NOT the girl of his dreams, he is content for now...until he meets Miracle St. James.
The first time Hardy lays eyes on Miracle she is sitting on a park bench. He is mesmerized by her emerald green eyes, her sweet smile, her seductive voice. Does her skin feel as soft as it looks, he wonders. Hardy is oblivious to anything but this beautiful girl in front of him until Cheyenne walks up and asks him if he is "into bald chicks now." The spell is broken and he walks away...but he doesn't forget. Five months later, Hardy is ecstatic when he discovers Miracle is now attending his school. Like a moth to a flame, he is drawn to her beauty...her sweet disposition...her joy in experiencing the little things in life that most people take for granted. Unfortunately, everything good that is Miracle is overshadowed by everything bad that is Cheyenne...and Hardy feels no remorse when he kicks Cheyenne to the curb. Yeah!!!
What follows is a touching story about two young people who are fortunate enough to find their lifelong soul mate in each other. The question is...how long is lifelong? Miracle had been diagnosed with cancer the year before, but treatment had been successful and she was clean; however, as the result of high med dosage, chemo, etc, she lost a kidney. Now tests on her surviving kidney are indicating problems...
Hardy is probably the best YA hero I have come across to date. He realizes early on that Miracle is the love of his life; and, while a few of his decisions are probably not too smart (like knocking her ex unconscious with little forethought) he is completely exonerated of any wrongdoing in my book. Miracle holds his heart; therefore, her happiness and well-being are foremost in his mind and affect every decision he makes. At one point Miracle calls Hardy her hero, and he realizes that is exactly what he wants to be...her protector, her lover and her savior...forever. But while Hardy envisions forever to mean he and Miracle sporting white hair & playing with their grandchildren, the heartbreaking truth is that Miracle might not live to see her 19th birthday. My heart went out to Hardy...he had so much conflict at home to contend with, his scholastic future was unclear, Cheyenne kept trying to break him down...yet despite all that, he stayed focused on Miracle and his quest to fill her life with happiness.
Please don't think you can read this story without shedding a tear. If you can, then you are probably made of stone.
Staring deeply into her eyes, Hardy prayed that all he felt for her would show, that she could see what he couldn’t find the words to say. When her lips curved into a tremulous smile, he cupped her face in his hands and pressed his forehead to hers, closing his eyes. Hardy whispered, just loud enough for Miracle to hear, “Someday I’ll marry you, Miracle. And maybe someday after that, I’ll deserve you.”
Although Fragile is told in 3rd person with an insight to only what Hardy is thinking, I felt like I knew Miracle just as well. The author, M. Leighton, must have poured her heart and soul into creating Hardy & Miracle because they were living, breathing people from the first page to the last. The dialog flowed smoothly and all characters used to build the story were thoroughly fleshed out. Best of all, I was told nothing and experienced everything. That is the make-it-or-break-it issue for me when I read a book and Ms. Leighton's presentation kicked ass! Indie authors rock!