Another great story from Sarah Dessen. This one gets a little heavier, a little deeper into some prevalent issues for teens, but this one had characteAnother great story from Sarah Dessen. This one gets a little heavier, a little deeper into some prevalent issues for teens, but this one had characters that I found refreshingly real for a contemporary YA. Annabelle lives in a world where everything and everyone is judged by what they see. How they look. Everything is a presentation that needs to be at its best, and then everything goes to crap, and she's left on the outside looking in. But when you drop your guard, and sit back, it's pretty interesting who you can meet out on the fringes. People like Owen. One of the most interesting and honest boys I've run across in a YA book. This is a guy I felt like I could have known. This one wasn't a romantic hero, or a charming bastard, this one was real.
I loved Owen from first sight because not only is he the obligatory tall, dark and handsome, but he's the sort of handsome you can't catch because you're too afraid to look at him too long. Because he's just this side of scary. And why is he scary? Because. He. Doesn't. Care. He has no interest in popularity or the games so many teenagers play. There is an authenticity about Owen that is both refreshing and liberating to find on the high school stage. He's a reformed bad boy that sits alone at lunch without a backwards glance. He works a radio show at an ungodly hour because it matters to him, regardless if anyone else is listening. He has a thing about honesty and won't tell a lie, even the small ones that most of use without thought every single day. And this big monster of a guy is the only one to reach out to Annabelle after her friends turn on her. He's the one that offers a sandwich, will share his headphones, and who believes in music. The one that teaches her to just listen. Music is an obsession, and he's captivating when he talks about what it means to him. He's also doting to his little sister, because beneath the roughest exteriors there's sometimes the softest of hearts. And us girls just eat up the idea of uncovering one....more
There's just something about the boy from a Sarah Dessen book. Every single one of them feel like a way sweeter version of a boy I knew. The boy I wanThere's just something about the boy from a Sarah Dessen book. Every single one of them feel like a way sweeter version of a boy I knew. The boy I wanted to know when I was fifteen. There's just something to these books; something that snuggles up to the secret corner of my heart that's determined to stay young forever. They feel like this long ago idea of summer. They're cut off jeans, sunburnt noses, sand in my toe rings, raspberry body spray, cheap beer, jelly bracelets, and boys with messy hair that I just want to kiss. These books are a time capsule for a memory I can't quite catch anymore, but when I read her stories, her characters and her setting always take me back to that feeling. I may have never been to the place, but I feel like I've been there, and it's always a great trip back to it for awhile.
The lead female characters always seem to be a little bit like Macy. Smart but socially awkward girls that haven't had THAT summer yet. The one that pulls them out of themselves, teaches them somethings, makes them really experience life for themselves for the first time. And there's always that Sarah Dessen boy at the heart of it. That boy it would have been so good to know at fifteen. And Wes? Wes would have been the best of the best. He's that guy that's just a little bit older, who has just a little bit of mystery to him, has a couple of shadows that contradict the loyal, mannered, sweet guy you know. Like maybe there's something there, something small, in his past but that shaped him quickly. That made him a man earlier than most. I fell in love with him at first sight because I'm ridiculously vain, but through his game of Truth with Macy, that love for him found some real ground to stand on. He's the guy who is gorgeous but doesn't care about that stuff. He's the one you find hanging out not caring whether or not he's where everyone else is. Somewhere along the way, this is the guy that moved past all of that and found himself before the rest of us.
Feeling like you just spent the summer with a beautiful boy spilling your guts and running around with the gang of Wish catering learning about life is a pretty sweet thing, which makes this book a pretty sweet time. ...more
Megan McCafferty gave the Jessica Darling series the perfect finish, and that's not something you can always say about a beloved series. It's tough toMegan McCafferty gave the Jessica Darling series the perfect finish, and that's not something you can always say about a beloved series. It's tough to finish something as loved as these books, and it was hard to turn the last page, but I did so with a total smile on my face and no regrets about putting the book back on the shelf.
I loved that it was a step away from the diary-style writing. As readers we got to see the events unfold as they happened, and for the first time we got to step inside of Marcus' mind, which was fantastic. A long stretch is just conversation between the two, and the banter between them highlighted everything I've always loved about their relationship and everything we've missed during their rougher periods. Seeing the growth of them as individuals and their relationship reminded me of everywhere we've been with these two, and getting to see it to the end was really...truly...kind of...perfect....more
This one was my introduction to Cindy Gerard, and it's an example of why I love her as much as I do. In the last year I've read a lot of the romanticThis one was my introduction to Cindy Gerard, and it's an example of why I love her as much as I do. In the last year I've read a lot of the romantic action genre. The alpha military guys with a dark side that save the mouthy girl backed by a team of wise-cracking brothers in arms who will eventually get their own love story in an upcoming book of the series. It's a tried and true formula, but to my way of thinking, no one does this as well as Cindy Gerard. She has a knack for writing these male characters honestly. The action feels real. It's not just filler for a romance, one that is always supremely enjoyable, but yet the dark parts are there and you feel stuck in the jungle right with them with one bullet left, a phone that no longer works, and a hurricane on the horizon. She's good with this kind of material on this sort of stage starring these kinds of characters.
That being said, the Bodyguards series stars the Garrett family from West Palm Beach, Fl. Three gorgeous brothers and their fiery sister who all are badasses in their own right with their own demons and who all play a pretty mean game of croquet. They're a tight knit group who are now in charge of their father's security company that brings in, you guessed it, bodyguard duties. Nolan, the brother whose fighting ghosts, past mistakes and the bottle finds himself watching over the local news channel's princess whose getting threatening notes. The actual drama in this one is the weakest of the series in my opinion, but it sets a tone that's hard not to enjoy. Nolan is a treat, and even Jillian isn't as annoying as she sounds in theory. Plus you get introduced to all the others and the final scene of camaraderie makes it hard to say no to the next one.
This one if my favorite of the bodyguards series and rings more like her Black Ops books, which is why I probably love it. That and Ethan. This one haThis one if my favorite of the bodyguards series and rings more like her Black Ops books, which is why I probably love it. That and Ethan. This one had a romance that was different than most. These aren't two people who just met. Oh, no. This one is between Ethan and Darcy, the ex-wife he'd never talk about in the last books. She calls him for help when she gets herself in a nasty pickle, which is actually her getting abducted by a crazy extremist group in the jungle. And who better to save her than her badass former Special Forces ex-husband who just so happens to still be in love with her. Their beginning is told alongside the drama of their current situation, which I really enjoyed. When they finally were on the same page in the present I was already invested in their tumultuous story. As torn as they were, feeling the intense pull that was still there between them. Damn, I love stories like that.
Best parts? Nolan driving the plane. Meeting Manny. The cherry Lifesaver. ...more
In the sixth installment of the Chicago Stars series you get to step into the life of Kevin Tucker's snake of a sports agent. This is Jerry Maguire, bIn the sixth installment of the Chicago Stars series you get to step into the life of Kevin Tucker's snake of a sports agent. This is Jerry Maguire, but better.
I don't know what it is about these two, but I immediately fell for them both. You'll fall in love with Annabelle all on her own. But then you throw her in with Heath Champion and you got yourself one hell of a good time. These two are oil and water, and yet...and yet...there's just something there from the beginning. This is a boy that made good all by himself and now he's a shark of a man always going for the kill. Nothing can slow him down. Not even finding a wife. So what does he do? He agrees to let his client, Kevin Tucker's wife's friend Annabelle try and set him up. She's trying to rebuild her grandmother's matchmaking service and to get away from all the senior citizen's that use it. Snagging the most eligible bachelor in Chicago will make her. The problem? He's picky. And he doesn't want to do any of the work himself. So he brings her on the dates to make sure they're efficient. So what happens when his flighty and funny matchmaker catches his attention better than all the supermodels with pedigrees? Oh, boy.
I'll say it again. I love these two. I love their banter. I love the way they break each other down. I love all the football players and I love Annabelle's grit and Heath's drive. When they finally fall into each other it's just a blast to read. ...more
The second installment of the Chicago Stars series drifts away from the game and instead focuses on Bobby Tom Denton, the pig-headed, cocky, absurdlyThe second installment of the Chicago Stars series drifts away from the game and instead focuses on Bobby Tom Denton, the pig-headed, cocky, absurdly attractive football player who is taking a stab at making movies, because what the hell else is he going to do now that he's injured? Enter Gracie Snow. The prim and proper woman forced to deal with him, and he'll tie her up in so many knots she's left to explode and she'll do so on his turf of honky-tonks, tight jeans, and jukeboxes cranking out Waylon.
SEP does well on a Texas stage, which makes Heaven, Texas a fun place to be with Bobby Tom and Gracie. This one took me awhile to get into because it takes Gracie a minute to shake off her reserved demeanor, but once she lets loose the fun begins. This is a good time read, if only to disappear to Texas for a while and see a girl like Gracie make a man like Bobby Tom go crazy. ...more
There was a time in my life, not that long ago, that I first discovered SEP's books. I read every single one I could get my hands on, one right afterThere was a time in my life, not that long ago, that I first discovered SEP's books. I read every single one I could get my hands on, one right after the other. Each one held its own in my mind for the unforgettable characters, moving and believable romances, chemistry that leapt off the page making you forget you were sitting in some chair reading a book. She stole me away with each one, introducing me to interesting people, taking me to Texas, Chicago, North Carolina and here in Breathing Room to delicious Tuscany.
Okay, we get it. When women are burnt they go to Italy. Tuscany to be exact. Something about the wine, food, and men who scream sex is the perfect antidote to cure the female blues. SEP takes that formula and makes it her own in the form of self-help guru Isabel Favor whose entire life just crashed and burned, and yet she's holding fast to her principles of perfection. And Lorenzo Gage, better known as Ren to those that know him, and to everyone else as the go-to actor for playing sadistic psychopaths. He's the sexy John Malkovich. In real life? He's burnt out, excaping to the family home in Italy, only to run into Isabel, who is just tidy enough to make a mess out of everything.
Nice set-up, no? It could have been a hokey, simple little love story. And in a way, it is. But there's just something about SEP's delivery that makes a story more, one that sticks out in your mind long after you've finished it and read a dozen more with the same presence. It's the way she tackles these two and the way in which they experience this larger than life, but purely simple place. The people she fills her world in, who come to matter as much as the main characters.
As far as I'm concerned if it has SEP's name on it, it's a winner. And this one is no exception. ...more
I read this one a couple of years ago, and in order to exercise a really emotional read out of my system I picked this one up just to see if it could.I read this one a couple of years ago, and in order to exercise a really emotional read out of my system I picked this one up just to see if it could. If the laughs and quirk would be enough.
Of course it was. If I was a betting woman, I'd bet on Crusie every single time.
There's something to her sense of humor, the back and forths that she writes. The way she incorporates a certain kind of music or musician in every one of her books, and some sort of decadent dessert. You'd think this would be a yawn fest bore. A HA HA women are kooky women's fiction romp. But it's not. At least not for me. This is my best friend bitching over dinner and a guy we're rolling our eyes at and he's bantering and he's hot and the sex is hot, but someone is talking over the other and I'm laughing out loud every single time.
This is Min, the unimpressed actuary getting dumped and really not all that upset over it, but logically sort of pissed that her boyfriend has the worst timing ever. And then there's Cal, a little burnt out on women who always want to get married, and there's David, who Cal doesn't know has just dumped Min, but is now betting Cal that he can't get Min into bed in a month. Cal wants to know who is playing Elvis on the jukebox again, and Min wants another drink, and David just wants Min to finally have sex with him and for Cal to finally in his seemingly perfect life lose a bet.
And so it begins with a cheesy theme bar, too many steps up to her attic apartment that looks like it belongs to her grandmother, and the chaos theory of love. Cal and Min's best friends are falling in love with each other, and Min and Cal are just trying to keep away from the other, but there goes the universe continuing to throw them into the same place, and they're falling over themselves, stubbing toes, and banging heads on cabinets just trying to avoid the other, all the while just wanting to see the other again. It's classic Crusie and it's screwball and it's sexy and it's good every single time you pick it up. ...more
Jennifer Crusie is my Babe Ruth. And Welcome to Temptation and its follow up Faking It are her coup de grace to the genre. I'm not exaggerating when IJennifer Crusie is my Babe Ruth. And Welcome to Temptation and its follow up Faking It are her coup de grace to the genre. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that she kills it.
This book isn't melodramatic. That isn't the sort of love story this is. This is sexy mayhem in a small town that's just a little too right. We're not gutting into these people's souls although we may kick around their psyche a bit. And these characters are as real as it gets. But better. You've got the Dempsey sisters, Sophie and Amy, who come from a long line of con artists, trying to play straight with making this video for their brother Davy's ex-girlfriend, Clea, who once left him high and dry for a pretty face with more money. They're hired to make Clea an audition tape about returning home to Temptation, Ohio and running into her high school love, Frank. The video may or may not be porn, and may or may not star Frank's son instead. The whole town is trying to sneak a peek at what they're filming, the water tower looks like a phallic symbol and won't someone just paint it white instead of that flesh tone, city council meetings are turning into a circus over a no-porn ordinance and whether or not to get the damn vintage gas lights, Phin just wants to play pool, and Sophie can't stop quoting movies and just wants to write a dirty scene in this kitchen wallpapered with mutant cherries that may or may not be apples. Then the dead body shows up in a shower curtain.
NO ONE does this stuff better than Crusie. No one can pull off this sort of hot, sexy romance, screwball comedy with the impeccably strong characterizations she does. This is the sort of book you read over and over again. It's the one that when you pick up you have to give in and accept you're going to be up until four in the morning because I dare you to try and leave Temptation before you have to.
Faking it is the sequel to Welcome to Temptation and again Jennifer Cruise knocks it out the park with the Dempseys and now the Goodnights. What I lovFaking it is the sequel to Welcome to Temptation and again Jennifer Cruise knocks it out the park with the Dempseys and now the Goodnights. What I love about theses books is that Crusie creates these characters and families that seem so larger than life, but she makes them as real as any of us. You get them. You want to know them. You're lost to them until the last page, and even then, this is a romance that stays with you. You'll remember a joke and laugh. You'll see a painting and flash back to a scene. You'll see a pool table and crack a smile. You'll want to escape to this one whenever you get a chance, and it'll be as great as you remembered.
This one stars Davy, who we get a glimpse of in Welcome to Temptation, and he's the charming con artist we met and fell for but even better because now he's getting caught in closets with another thief of the night, who just happens to be Tilda Goodnight whose trying to steal a painting back, which may or may not be a forgery that she may or may not have painted, and she's kind of shaky at this seduction thing, but she's still crossing his wires just fine. Clea is on the scene trying to trap herself another husband having stolen Davy's money and he wants it back, but he's suddenly stealing paintings for the Goodnights who live above their art gallery that is about to go up in flames. Davy is spitting movie quotes, the jukebox is stuck on girl groups of the 60s, Tilda's sister, Eve, is a school teacher with a second personality that has all her sex, her daughter Nadine dresses up for the dentist, Andrew was once married to Eve and fathered Nadine, but now he lives there with Jeff and owns the nightclub his ex-wife's alter-ego sings at. They're all hiding a big secret that Tilda is in charge of protecting before the gallery goes under, but that would be just fine for Gwen, the matriarch of the clan, because she's frankly tired of doing crosswords, that one panel of the ceiling is crooked, and she's dreaming of boats. Then Davy shows up and keeps stealing the wrong paintings. Mason and Clea want to find out about the artist Scarlett who may or may not be a fake and may or may not actually be her daughter and then there's the hit man who keeps bringing her pina coladas and might be trying to kill Davy who may be in love with her daughter. Oh, and now Michael Dempsey, patriarch to the Dempsey clan, is at the gallery selling the horrible paintings not even a flood could have moved and teaching Nadine shifty card tricks. Lovable, sexy, loyal con-artist Davy is about to blow a fuse, which wouldn't be so likely if Tilda would just sleep with him already.
This one is another all-nighter. It's perfect in its simplicity. Jennifer Crusie has a knack for not wasting one scene or word, and creating a believable world of screwball comedy, crackling dialogue, laugh out loud scenes, and some of the sexiest chemistry I've ever read. ...more