Woo hoo! It's been ages since I've read any erotica, and I mean ages. At least a year and a half (I checked - thank you, Goodreads). And this was erotWoo hoo! It's been ages since I've read any erotica, and I mean ages. At least a year and a half (I checked - thank you, Goodreads). And this was erotica worthy of the name. The characters were great, the chemistry was sexy, and despite a seemingly contrived concept, it was handled in a very realistic way. (I honestly can't see such a situation happening in real life. But if it did, it could happen like this. Really.) There's no handcuffs, ties, switches, gags, or anything of the like. Just two regular people (a salesman and a number cruncher of some kind, if I remember correctly) having some steamy times. It definitely has that touch of P.S. I Love You feel, except here the deceased husband thinks his widowed wife needs to move on by getting laid. And somehow this plot works. I promise. It's funny, touching (emotionally!) and sexy. The characters feel real. And it takes place in Toronto instead of some unnamed city, which gives it a better touch of reality. (Although I don't know that I've ever read any mainstream fiction that takes place in Toronto, so now it's a city full of horny people in my imagination!)
I would recommend this over any other erotica I've read (except maybe Alice Clayton's Redhead trilogy). It just seemed a lot more engaging and emotionally oriented than others I've read, more female fantasy than male fantasy. I immediately went looking to see what else d'Abo has written, and while many don't look like my type of book, there are definitely a few I'm looking forward to trying the next time the genre beckons. And apparently this one will have a sequel, 30 Nights. Woo!
The fine print: received ARC from NetGalley....more
I was pretty disappointed in this collection. The writing was really great, and when I read the first story I thought it was going to be an incredibleI was pretty disappointed in this collection. The writing was really great, and when I read the first story I thought it was going to be an incredible book. And perhaps if I read these stories one at a time as they were published in a monthly magazine, for instance, I would have enjoyed them all as much as the first one. As it was, I started feeling too much overlap in the plots and characters, and the collection's theme ended up feeling like a flogged dead horse rather than a tidy bow tying them all together. So if you're going to read this book, definitely read one story at a time over a long period of time, because individually they're all quite good....more
If I did half stars, this would probably get a 2.5. The story was a good one, and I enjoyed the less traditional, "nerdy" characters. I didn't think iIf I did half stars, this would probably get a 2.5. The story was a good one, and I enjoyed the less traditional, "nerdy" characters. I didn't think it was funny as the blurbs say, but I think you could call it poignant. It moved a lot more slowly than one would expect with the subject matter, but it was still enough to keep me interested. One thing that the blurbs don't mention and that I think adds to the story is that it takes place starting in the early 1960s - sometimes the era is obvious, sometimes it seems like it could be taking place in modern times. The ending seemed abrupt on one hand, but satisfying on the other. One thing I'll definitely say for this book, it really made me want to start doing crossword puzzles again!
That's about all I've got on this one. Not a bad book, but I just don't have much to say about it. So I'll leave it at that....more
I went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I'm going to be generous and go with 4. It reminds me a bit of books like The Bookseller andI went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars on this one. I'm going to be generous and go with 4. It reminds me a bit of books like The Bookseller and My Real Children, where both of the character's timelines seem equally plausible. In The Bookseller, she dreams another life. In My Real Children, it's hinted that it's related to her Alzheimer's. Here, in Maybe in Another Life, both timelines actually happen, because of the physics concept of the multiverse, where each choice splits the individual's timeline into two separate universes, to oversimplify. Very interesting.
I liked Hannah a lot as a character, a sort of wandering underachiever who has made mistakes and is trying to pull herself together and grow up. I felt myself rooting for her and wishing both timelines both were and weren't her "real" life at different times. I liked her relationships with Ethan and Henry, and it was easy to see how each would and wouldn't come about and why they were the right choice for her. Her relationship with Gabby, her best friend, was the best. It's the kind of relationship I think every woman wishes she had.
I got sucked right into this story and couldn't put it down. On one hand it was an easy guilty pleasure-type book, but on the other hand it was quite deeply thought-provoking. My main complaint was that the number of changes between the two timelines were small. (view spoiler)[Namely, Hannah's life impacted Gabby in such a way that Mark left her for his mistress in both timelines. Also, Hannah ends up becoming a mother and nurse in both timelines. So perhaps that's who she was meant to be, and Gabby and Mark were doomed to separate either way, but that leads me to believe that her decisions really only affected her love life and nothing else, including the lives of those around her. (hide spoiler)] So I guess I feel like the plot was too oversimplified to focus on the romance angle.
Overall though, I just enjoyed this great summer read, which different readers will appreciate either as mind candy or a good chewy read.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Now I can't remember why I picked this up, because fantasy isn't usually my go-to genre (like historical fiction) unless it's mindless YA stuff or a cNow I can't remember why I picked this up, because fantasy isn't usually my go-to genre (like historical fiction) unless it's mindless YA stuff or a classic like LOTR. I think that in general I struggle with overly complex world-building because I like to imagine every detail and get frustrated when things that are important to my imagination aren't described. This one was easy, however. It was basically an alternate England (Anglion) in a world where four magical arts (earth, air, water, and blood/battle) are practiced. For some unknown reason, water magic is the one used to summon demons and outlawed in Anglion. They worship a goddess and have female priestess-type people, yet women are limited to earth magic to support their husbands, even special royal witches. Basically a super-sexist society wrapped in an illusion of girl power. Until Sophia breaks the rules with the help of royal guard Cameron.
So. This was way more romance-y than fantasy-ish. Which was fine, but not what I was expecting. There was a fair amount of... love-making (this is not a YA fantasy). There were some lovely descriptions of clothing, and some neat portal magic, and the faintest thread of plot. That's right, it felt like not much happened. A city was attacked, sex was had, ceremonies were preformed, and people stressed out a lot, but there was very little forward motion. The ending definitely set up book 2 (in a presumably 4-book series?), but to me this book could have been edited down a bit and combined with another book or two of material to make a whole. Maybe I just want all fantasy novels to be doorstops, rather than the light froth I got. Still, I enjoyed the light froth! I'll probably read the next one.
The fine print: received ARC from NetGalley....more
I have read every single wonderful book that Kristan Higgins has written (that's 14 now), and I'm so excited that she's likely to get a larger audiencI have read every single wonderful book that Kristan Higgins has written (that's 14 now), and I'm so excited that she's likely to get a larger audience with this more mainstream women's fiction (as opposed to the mass market romance reading crowd), because just like her previous novels, If You Only Knew offers so much more than other books in the genre. While reading, I could feel my heart swell and constrict in my chest, experiencing a roller coaster of emotions with Jenny and Rachel. Higgins' writing illuminates her characters from the inside, exposing their hearts and minds to the reader. She is beyond gifted - words just don't do her justice.
I particularly liked this book for the dual narrative of the sisters - one recently divorced and essentially forced into a friendship with her replacement, the other in a seemingly perfect marriage with triplet toddlers (which sounded like holy hell to me!) until she discovers her husband's infidelity. Their experiences provided a subtle contrast to each other, as did the addition of their mother, the happily and pointedly un-merry widow. (In general, Higgins far exceeds her contemporaries with her use of supporting characters, who add to the story both as plot devices and by fleshing out the main characters' reality.) Their experiences are unlike anything I've personally experienced, yet I connected with them because of Higgins' great skill. She gave them both room to make choices that the reader could alternatively cheer at and cringe over, and those choices felt real too.
Like I said, I can't do her justice so I won't continue to try. However, I will say that as a single woman barely into my 30s, I tend to avoid books about marriage and divorce and parenting because I just don't relate and frankly don't usually care. (For example, I basically quit Jane Green when she moved in that direction from chick lit.) And in another author's hands, this book might have bored me to tears. But thankfully it wasn't another author, and I was absolutely riveted from the beginning. So this book I would have otherwise avoided (without Higgins' name on the cover) ended up being a stay-up-all-night, finish-in-two-sittings kind of book. I don't think I could give a better recommendation than that!
The fine print: ARC received from NetGalley....more
I read this on a whim because it was available from Overdrive at MRL, and I'm so glad I did. I thought it looked chick-litty (it was) and exotic (it wI read this on a whim because it was available from Overdrive at MRL, and I'm so glad I did. I thought it looked chick-litty (it was) and exotic (it was), but it was so much more.
Mili is an amazingly well drawn character, particularly in a novel that could easily be dismissed as a girly book. She was so real to me. It's been quite awhile since I've felt like I've known a character like that, like she's someone I could meet and befriend in real life. She was sweet and clumsy and hardworking and innocent and loving and traditional, but with this feisty spark. And then her love interest Samir - great back story and chemistry between them, and their interactions never felt like they were forced for a plot. They just worked.
I really don't want to give anything away by describing more of the plot, but I will say that everything felt so, so real. Dev's descriptions of everything - from people to clothes to culture and especially food - wow. I could see the sari colors, I could taste the dhosas. I was amazed at the way she worked a romance plot around the meeting of two cultures, modern and traditional. Education, family, responsibility... there were so many big ideas that she slipped in so smoothly. I laughed, I cried, I was seriously impressed,
I really can't say enough about this. I loved it so much that I almost gave it 5 stars. The main reason I couldn't was that one key plot point was a little too convenient. But otherwise, it was nearly perfect. Whether you like love stories or learning about other cultures (or maybe even neither), I can't imagine you'd be disappointed at all....more
I wondered where McNamara could possibly go with this series, but she obviously still has fresh ideas. What a pleasant surprise! I enjoyed the ridiculI wondered where McNamara could possibly go with this series, but she obviously still has fresh ideas. What a pleasant surprise! I enjoyed the ridiculously over-the-top plot - those weddings, the celebrities, the crazy things that happen to Scarlett! My main hang up was wanting to know why Sean was ever good enough friends with Alex to make him his best man. So all in all, another satisfactory bite of mind candy from McNamara. I'm assuming Scarlett and Sean will be having babies next - that should be interesting!...more