No sophomore jinx here! Samantha Young's 2nd novel is another heart-wrenching tale set in modern-day Scotland focusing on a tortured heroine and the b...moreNo sophomore jinx here! Samantha Young's 2nd novel is another heart-wrenching tale set in modern-day Scotland focusing on a tortured heroine and the bone-melting, sex-on-a-stick Scottish hottie who loves her. This is a 4-star read compared to On Dublin Street but in the big scheme of things it is definitely a 5! I [image error] Samantha Young!!!(less)
**spoiler alert** I loved this book but I can't for the life of me understand why a woman choosing to sleep with a guy that is a total player for the...more**spoiler alert** I loved this book but I can't for the life of me understand why a woman choosing to sleep with a guy that is a total player for the purpose of making a baby a) thinks she can go through with the affair without engaging her heart, and b) when her heart is involved, thinks the guy - an established commitment-phobe - will not cheat. Unfortunately, the book ended on a cliffhanger, so I won't get any answers for another week or so.
Attention New Adult Authors: If you are having a difficult time writing awesome, believable, jaw-dropping, panty-wetting, kick-ass sex scenes, then ma...moreAttention New Adult Authors: If you are having a difficult time writing awesome, believable, jaw-dropping, panty-wetting, kick-ass sex scenes, then make the best $3.99 investment of your career and BUY THIS BOOK!!! S.H. Kolee will show you how to do it right!!
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.
A new take on the bad-boy rockstar theme. The girl's father is the leader of a bad-ass motorcycle gang so there are all sorts of crazy things going on...moreA new take on the bad-boy rockstar theme. The girl's father is the leader of a bad-ass motorcycle gang so there are all sorts of crazy things going on in this story. The book ends with a cliffhanger but I've got book #2 Heart Song ready to roll. This is great...I can visualize the cast of characters...Katey Sagal as Violet's mother, Ron Perlman as her father, Charlie Hunnam as Travis Phoenix, etc...it's totally Sons of Anarchy!(less)
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.