24, Terminator and Pinocchio walk into a bar, meet a pretty young lady, then take her back toThis review was originally posted at The Bawdy Book Blog.
24, Terminator and Pinocchio walk into a bar, meet a pretty young lady, then take her back to their hotel room for some hot, raucous book-making and out pops MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza.
MILA 2.0 is action-packed and thrilling, with a grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-throw-you-around plot that doesn’t give you up to another book. I don’t think those words even do it justice! Let’s just say this is one of those books that was made for my DVR, and I can’t wait to watch the show.
Mila thinks she is just an ordinary girl that was uprooted by her grieving mother from Philadelphia to Clearwater, Minnesota (donchuknow!), with no memory of the blazing fire that took her father’s life. All she knows is the lingering scent on his flannel shirt she refuses to stop wearing, that her mother continues to remain distant, and she isn’t allowed to do anything even remotely dangerous. Like take a horse for a nice afternoon trot. Oh yeah, and she has weird dreams sometimes, too.
Driza spends a lot of time building up MILA 2.0 with the personalities of the characters: Mila is a bit of a wallflower, grieving and just wanting to blend in to her new home. She’s made friends with the cooler kids, but some of them are less accepting of her, while others only like her because she’s someone new in a small town, I suspect (I shall call this the Bella Swan Syndrome! Don’t worry, the books are not even remotely alike, so you are safe, Twihaters). Her mother, Nicole, is distant but always the concerned parent, at least for the first half of the story, scolding Mila for going faster than a walk on the horse, or any number of other things that might get her daughter hurt. She often left me scratching my head, because I wanted to know WHY this was so important. Hunter is the prerequisite “New Boy” in Clearwater, moving into town right after Mila does. He seems to really like her, and he does seem genuine, but I am suspicious of him for a number of reasons (view spoiler)[like his parents being out of town all the time or being able to drop everything to fly cross-country for her OR the fact that he moved there right after she does and she’s sort of “wanted.” Not to mention, I think he might be affiliated with the guys who try to nab her from her hotel room while she’s on the run. (hide spoiler)].
I enjoyed the parent-child dynamic between Mila and Nicole. It was obvious that there was something “off” (like, I dunno, someone isn’t a real human, perhaps?) but it was also very apparent that Nicole cared very deeply for Mila, as if Mila were her own.
I did not like Kaylee, but I suppose she served her purpose. In fact, I didn’t like her in a good way, she was one of those Mean Girls from high school. Will we get to see more of her, since it’s pretty much her fault that Mila’s and Nicole’s cover gets blown? Oh the intrigue!
Lucas is someone I want to know more about. I get the feeling that Driza is creating a love-triangle somewhere along the way here, maybe in the second book, and I think it could really work with this story, and the dynamic between Hunter, Mila and Lucas. Lucas is also imperfect, physically, and I really enjoyed that he wasn’t a dreamy guy, there to save the day. He felt real.
“I just want to be a real boy!” Well, Pinnochio, Mila just wants to be a real girl. When Mila finds out she isn’t human, but a very sophisticated Android engineered in a secret lab by the government, she focuses solely on the fact that she isn’t a real person. She can’t believe she doesn’t have a heart, or veins, or organs, but still feels emotions like any real person would. Her skin feels like my skin, her eyes look like my eyes. In fact, my only quibble with this book is with her engineering. Nicole asks her if she is sure she wants to cut her hair, because it doesn’t actually grow. Say what?! You mean to tell me that she has fake skin that feels, smells and looks real, eyes that look real, fingernails, and everything else, but they couldn’t engineer hair to grow? Yeah right. Anyway, I digress. Maybe the only thing extraordinary about her (I mean, other than that she’s a sophisticated robot) is her exceptional beauty. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…. She realizes that she feels things and this is what matters. This is what makes us human. Perhaps she’s far more human than some of the human characters in the novel.
Driza did a fabulous job narrating the internal voices and commands that drive Mila throughout the story. Often Mila sees threats and has to use her Android functions, and I think this could have been hard to do in a first-person novel, but MILA 2.0 reads effortlessly.
This is a science-fiction novel, but a lot of the action is saved for the latter half of the novel. MILA 2.0 is filled with fight scenes, sophisticated government ops, and even a car-chase through D.C. (my stomping grounds, ya’ll!). The build-up from “Am I a human or a robot?” to “I am going to kick the ass of every person in this room because I feel things” is OMGEPIC and I can’t wait for the next book.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Such a fabulous conclusion to the Lila Gray trilogy and still…I want more! Lila Gray, the fae Queen, is on a mission to find the Magi, the race bent onSuch a fabulous conclusion to the Lila Gray trilogy and still…I want more! Lila Gray, the fae Queen, is on a mission to find the Magi, the race bent on destroying all other races (including humans ya’ll), except they are incredibly hard to find and Lila needs to convince the Seelie, Unseelie, Elves and other fae to fight with her or all is lost to these creatures. I keep saying it and I’ll say it again: the Lila Gray series is a great new face in the paranormal romance genre! It’s serious but fun at the same time, and Jocelyn Adams writes her characters with a certain aplomb that makes them entertaining to read and the book hard to put down. I once interviewed Adams and she told me she was a pantser and had no idea where the series was going when she started Glass Man. Yet, all three novels (Glass Man, Shadow Born and now Rise of the Magi) blend together seamlessly to create one great story. Lila Gray is a character that starts out not knowing what she is in the beginning of the series and as she is captured and takes on her role as the fae Queen, learns and grows. Adams does a remarkable job developing her character and strength, so much so that she is the kind of character you can look up to (if you’re weird like me and think characters are real people – and I know you are and do). Adams doesn’t ignore her secondary characters. I particularly liked Andrew’s growth during the novel, from pissy and braying to loved and a strong warrior. The plot: GREAT! Lots of tension and it’s very…pulpy. The last two books focused mainly on the Seelie and Unseelie. Now Adams has brought the other fae into the mix and I loved reading about how they all get together to beat the bad guy(s). Adams continues to incorporate a lot of humor in her writing, and Rise of the Magi is no different. The characters bandied about sarcasm and snark and I laughed and laughed at the innuendos that flew back and forth. They really are a funny bunch! I will miss them (so Jocelyn Adams, that’s a hint to write more Lila Gray books)! For anyone interested in a new fae/paranormal romance series, look no further, because you’ve found it.
This review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog. I received this book for review, but I was not compensated for my opinion....more
I really really really loved Breathe by Sarah Crossan. I was definitely wondering where she would take Resist, and Alina, QuinMeh.
Edited on 11/16/13:
I really really really loved Breathe by Sarah Crossan. I was definitely wondering where she would take Resist, and Alina, Quinn and Bea, especially since this isn’t a trilogy (which is very unusual), just a two-book series, but ultimately, Resist didn’t wow me the way Breathe did.
Parallel was a wild ride and boy, did it give me chills at times. It is one of those novels yoThis review is originally posted at The Bawdy Book Blog.
Parallel was a wild ride and boy, did it give me chills at times. It is one of those novels you really need to pay attention to, because if you blink, you will miss something. I do feel like I missed a few things, and while this is probably not Lauren Miller’s fault, I did find it a bit difficult to keep up with the theories of the story. I’ll get into that in a minute. Parallel by Lauren Miller is a killer debut novel. This is the kind of story that would make a kick-ass television show or movie. Can someone ring Hollywood right now? I’d like to watch it, like, yesterday. The characters were brilliant and easy to relate to (I mean, of course they are….home girl got thrown into an alternate universe, I can relate to the panic she felt, I would feel the same!), and the easy dynamic between them is nice to read. So I said that it was a little difficult to keep up with. I am by no means a scientist. Hell, I can’t pretend to understand string theory or parallel universes, colliding atoms, and all that stuff. So I’m not sure this book was necessarily written for someone like me. It might be a book that, if I read it again, I’d understand it a whole lot more, but as it stands, it took me a long time to figure out what was going on. Longer than, say, someone else might have. But I did eventually get it (I think), and the idea that there are multiple universes out there is pretty fascinating. I really liked that the theme of this novel is truly one’s destiny. At least, that is what I took from it. Sometimes we are given all the options in the world – in this case, Abby is trying to change hers based on what her parallel self is doing in the past – but we still end up where we are meant to be. We might take a circuitous route to get there, but we get there all the same. Lauren Miller’s writing is fabulous. She writes with a dash of gravity, a lot of spunk and a heckuva lot of humor. Parallel is not without its more serious moments: best friend conflicts, rest-of-your-life decisions, starry nights with grandparents. And these moments ground the novel and give it that YA feel without making it feel hokey and fake. I loved the interaction Abby had with all of her friends and family…and yes, Parallel-Abby, too. This novel is for hard-core YA/Sci-fi fans. But I think anyone looking for a fresh read will like it, and certainly, if you like novels like UNRAVELING and Pivot Point, you should pick this up....more
If there was ever an epic conclusion to a dystopian series, you’re looking at it right here. I was a heap of a sobbing mess when it was over and I may never recover!
**This post may contain spoilers from the first two books**
Stay tuned for the blog tour post going live tomorrow!
Raine is in Freedom under the control of her father. Gunner is with the rebels. Vi, Zenn and Jag are also with the rebels and trying to devise a way to bring down Freedom – and the Association – while saving Raine, Cannon and the rest of the rebels and citizens who are not with the Association.
Abandon is fast-paced and quick in a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it kind of way. We’re totally immersed in the story now, there’s no turning back. Traitors have been outed, more questions are asked of our favorite characters, especially Zenn, who struggles internally with what he thinks is right. Zenn and Jag are in the forefront now, leading a rebellion hell-bent on bringing down an entire government.
I actually struggled with this a little bit. Where are the freaking adults already? Kids are not able to do this by themselves.
Anyway, that question does get answered, but I was never fully satisfied with it.
Zenn’s internal struggles are very front and center in Abandon. This novel is more about what he is going to do than anything else. The Association wants him – bad. He has power, they need power. But he has this urge to do what he thinks is right. Only, what is that exactly? I loved his struggle, and I also loved that as an insider, he had tips:
Insider Tip #1: Always do what the boss says. This is how you gain trust.
Insider Tip #7: Suspect everyone. Trust no one. When things go wrong, assume someone has tipped off the enemy.
So as an insider, who is he really fighting for? Elana Johnson left me guessing which side he was playing for up until the end.
Vi and Jag are more interesting in Abandon. Vi has gained back what she lost, and she’s learning she has new powers, but at what cost to herself? Jag is resolving how to deal with this new side of her, and oh yeah, he also feels more betrayed by his best friend Zenn than ever. I think Jag has expectations of other people that are way too high often times. And frankly, he pissed me off a lot, but in a good way, because I know Johnson meant for him to piss me off. I forgive you, Jag.
The love triangle does get resolved, but it left me gnashing my teeth in frustration and sadness, mostly sadness, because the outcome was shocking and not what I would have thought would happen. Johnson, you are a brave woman.
Let’s talk the ending. This one thing happened and I sobbed hard. I mean, hard. I can’t believe it happened and I was a big ol’ mess at the end. The ending is the entire point to this whole trilogy: how far will someone go to fight for freedom, for the ability to choose their own meals, their own mates, their own ways to live? I know I would do anything for the ability to choose for myself.
Overall, I think Abandon is a fantastic conclusion to the series, and Elana Johnson leaves room for more books, with the way it wraps up. All the shiny tech was fascinating and I loved the determination of the characters to fight for choice. That’s my kinda book....more
If you read my review on Intangible, then you’ll know I liked the story, the characters and the fact that J. Meyers pulls from every paranormal spaceIf you read my review on Intangible, then you’ll know I liked the story, the characters and the fact that J. Meyers pulls from every paranormal space (or just about) to create an interesting plot about fraternal twins destined to doom the vampire race.
Sera’s ability is now putting herself and those she loves in even more danger than before, because she doesn’t realize what she’s actually doing when she “heals” vampires, or why they are becoming so demanding in insisting she heal them. Luke is gaining the ability to change the future based on what he Sees in his visions, or even change his Visions. Fey is in charge of protecting Sera, and by extension, Luke. Jonas is…well, he’s Jonas. He’s brooding, he’s dark, he’s dangerous and he’s very much in love with Sera. That much is obvious.
The problem is their abilities. Not only were they prophesied to doom a paranormal race, but now the secret is out and everyone wants a piece of Sera, which puts her in danger. This creates much conflict, especially among the Elves, as well as the vampire race and Jonas’ own coven, and there is a lot of action I really and truly don’t want to spoil for you!
Jonas and Sera? Maybe, finally! I’ve been waiting for this to happen, but is it actually going to? Don’t make me wait forever, J. Meyers! And Fey and Luke? Gah!
The Dark Elves in this story were fascinating to me. They were passed off by the Light Elves as so horrible, but it really felt like they wanted to be healed and free, not confined to the Dark Realm, or be the bastards of Fae society. I actually really felt for them in a strange way. But who knows, maybe I read it all wrong, and they really are jerks and wanted to use Sera for nefarious purposes.
We finally get to go into the Realm and it is beautiful! I loved all the detail and I could picture how vibrant everything would look. It reminded me of the scenes from Snow White & The Huntsman, when she is with the dwarves, and how contrasty and colorful things were there.
There is a lot of action and something is always happening on every page, I was totally engaged the entire time. I will say that it was hard for me to remember some of the details of the last book, because there was so much going on and Meyers didn’t recap much. Just a little of that would have been nice, to get my brain juices and memory flowing again, but overall, I was able to keep up and had a few “aha!” moments as I remembered things throughout the story. I think this is a fab indie YA to sink your teeth into, and you won’t regret it.
Purely Relative is probably a great follow-up novella to the first in the series, P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian. Unfortunately, I went in a little blindPurely Relative is probably a great follow-up novella to the first in the series, P.U.R.E. by Claire Gillian. Unfortunately, I went in a little blind to the backstory, because I didn’t read the first one, and therefore, didn’t know the characters. This isn’t really a bad thing though, because Purely Relative read just fine as a standalone novella (although I still recommend you read the first one – it sounds like there was action and hijinks).
Gayle is a likable protagonist: she’s funny and witty, and definitely self-deprecating in her sense of humor. She definitely looks at the funny side of things, and as her author, Claire Gillian tells her story with a lot of banter and funny. She’s the kind of character that someone like me (sometimes offensive, often inappropriate) can totally relate to, because she’s the same way.
She’s also a total nympho, which leads to laughs, often.
Jon is more reserved, but he plays the typical male role well, and Gillian writes him rather well, if cliche, as the bumbling boyfriend who doesn’t talk, is over-protective and would beat up any man who looked at his woman wrong. Oh, and who also likes to have a lot of sex, often.
These two had so much sex, I’m surprised they were still able to walk by the end! As Amanda said in her review of Tammy Faulkner’s novel, The Magic of “I Do,” some authors write steam and some write sex. I think Purely Relative was more on the sex side than the steam side and I personally prefer steam to sex, although I’m not opposed to sex at all. But I want it to leave me breathless at the end of the scene, much like the characters, and I didn’t personally feel that in Purely Relative. But their sexual hijinks (and references to hijinks past) made me laugh!
I did not feel like the book read right for their ages. They are supposedly in their 20s, but I was reading them as if they were in their early 30s. The tonality of their characters just didn’t fit with 20-somethings for me. That sometimes threw me off, but overall, it wasn’t a large issue, just a minor complaint. Although if their tone didn’t convey their age, their sex-drive certainly did!
I enjoyed the dynamic with Jon’s family, it reminded me very much of my own: loud, obnoxious, over-bearing, and very, very Italian. I guess that’s just how we roll.
The novella ends on a very good note, and this is one for the HEA fans. I think romance junkies should pick up the first and this one as well, because it’s a cute contemporary read.
That’s how This Love made me feel: Slightly scandalous, arousing and so in-my-face, I coulThis review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog.
That’s how This Love made me feel: Slightly scandalous, arousing and so in-my-face, I couldn’t turn away!
Nazarea Andrews has a jackpot of a book in this new adult novel with two adorbs characters, Avery and Atticus, both of whom have had troubled relationships in their pasts and maybe have a hard time trusting others now because of it. They felt relatable to me. Like, I totally got them, I got why they felt they way they did all the time. I understood them, I walked in their shoes. It’s tough to make readers feel that connected, but Andrews does it very well.
I think the thing I loved about Avery was that she is this strong girl/woman, on the brink of the rest of her life, and she is uncompromising. She knows what she wants, and she goes after those things, but at the same time, I think it’s hard for her to admit that she might be wrong, she might jump to conclusions and she’s definitely afraid of admitting to being afraid. But she has these ambitions and this drive to be great and no one is getting in the way of that. Not. Even. A. Hot. As. Fuck. Guy.
And boy is Atticus HAWT. He’s the professor you daydream about, the one you want to rip the clothes from, the one you think about seducing behind the closed door of his office while you sweep student papers from his desk. He strikes me as the kind of guy who’s always been a dreamer, but teaches to get himself by so he can do the things he desires, like chase pirates and research legends. And it’s not that he doesn’t like teaching, or even needs to do it, but I think it’s also something to keep him fulfilled.
I cannot express how much I really just loved This Love and Atticus + Avery. These two are so explosive together, that I spent the first half of the novel twisting my fingers and curling my toes, waiting for them to get a move on already, because I needed that…that explosion of the two of them together. I wanted to see them work, because they felt so damn good together. The potential scandal of it all, you know, professor/student relationships, that also tickled my fancy, because it’s like they are doomed from the beginning anyway, and that made me want to see them make it even more.
The plot is really simple and I liked that. I’m not going to rehash it, because you can get it from the synopsis, but I will tell you that Nazarea Andrews does a fabulous job on selling her characters and making them all feel real. This is a New Adult, and I think that genre sometimes don’t feel real, like people in real life don’t really talk like that or do those things, but in This Love, it’s all very genuine and I had no problems getting lost in the story and rooting for the characters she made me love.
I loved This Love 100%, I read it in one night. And Nazarea Andrews is now on my auto-buy list.
**I received this book in exchange of an honest review....more
Sophie Jordan is just a badass author, I’m now convinced of it. She first wooed me with her Firelight Series, bringing me into a paranormal romance woSophie Jordan is just a badass author, I’m now convinced of it. She first wooed me with her Firelight Series, bringing me into a paranormal romance world with dragons/humans. Now she’s done it again with the first book in her new series, Uninvited.
Uninvited is touted in its synopsis as The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report (remember that Tom Cruise movie?), and I’d say that’s an apt description. But if I had to really nail it down, I’d also say Jordan pulled from our own world history a bit, too, applying the way Nazis treated the Jews in World War II as an example for this story. It’s subtle, but it is there. In Uninvited, people are tested for HTS – Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, otherwise known as the “kill gene.”
While A Nantucket Christmas is a cute read, it was not my favorite. It’s told in 3rd-person, with varying point of views, beginning with a dog. Yes, aWhile A Nantucket Christmas is a cute read, it was not my favorite. It’s told in 3rd-person, with varying point of views, beginning with a dog. Yes, a dog. And while this could be unique and fun, the dog didn’t really do much for me, honestly.
I Am Forever picks up where What Kills Me leaves off: the Monarchy has just found out that Zee is unkillable. Oh she can be killed, but the entire vamI Am Forever picks up where What Kills Me leaves off: the Monarchy has just found out that Zee is unkillable. Oh she can be killed, but the entire vampire race will die with her. Now the Monarchy must figure out what to do with her: imprison her or bring her into their folds. The answer is obvious and can accomplish two goals.
Zee is immediately renamed and presented to the entire vampire race with a “Do Not Kill” creed placed on her. The Monarchy lavishes her with jeweled outfits that Channing brings to life with sparkling words; I could practically see The Divine step out of the pages into my living room. Wynne Channing paints these details so incredibly well. Some authors struggle with world-building, but not her. Every speck of dust, every last encrusted jewel or dried blood from a tear that ran down a vampire’s cheek is in these pages, and unlike other story-tellers, it doesn’t feel like info-dumping in the least. The details are a part of the story and I love that about Channing’s writing.
I am convinced that Wynne Channing writes the best vampire stories and I Am Forever is no exception. We finally get close to the Empress in I Am Forever and Zee learns more about what it means to drown in a well of the vampire Gods’ blood. She has powers and is only now realizing them. She was super-snarky and fun in What Kills Me, and remains so in I Am Forever, but she becomes so much stronger in I Am Forever that she is finally worthy of Lucas. Of anyone! Through Zee, we learn the history of the vampire race, their weaknesses, their fears and their strengths, and more about the war between the rebels and the Monarchy. It’s politics at its best.
Lucas has a little less facetime in I Am Forever, although he is forever on Zee’s mind. He is as brooding and sexy as ever and if you haven’t read this series yet, you need to start, if for nothing else than this sexy swordsmith vampire with a conscious. He’s adorbs. Zee’s adorbs. Together, they’re adorbs! I was really in love with how obvious he was about his feelings, and she was just blind to it. So. Cute.
We are also intro’d to new characters: Brogan the transexual female maid, San the war page-turned-chaperone, the Transporter. I loved them all because they bring so much more to the story, and really round out everything, and I felt horrible when things happened to some of them.
PS: Channing’s characters are all still really funny even in the most serious of situations! I LOL’d so many times during I Am Forever that I am sure my fiance wondered what was wrong with me! For example:
“Did you see anyone’s dirty secrets?” San blurted. “What? No,” I said. “Because, my lady, I can explain. Fantasies are very healthy – ” I put my hand up. “Oh my God, San. You need to stop right now.” “Uther said it’s just a routine checkup. But they’re obviously not going to check my heartbeat or my cholesterol. What else is there to do?” “I don’t know. How routine is an examination of a god?” He said the last word so disparagingly. “I don’t appreciate your sarcasm,” I said. “Oh, because I was going to update my Facebook status as soon as I got home: Zee’s a vampire. Come see her teeth.” I’m really afraid to give away too many details of the plot, because I don’t want to spoil the story, but suffice it to say, Zee is special, the Monarchy knows she is special and has a lot of power and guess what people normally want to do with someone who has that? Zee has weaknesses and some are not above exploiting those. And unfortunately she might be a little naive, too.
Overall, this is still one of my favorite vampire series (I’m seriously starting to think it might be my favorite!), because it totally tickles every paranormal bookworm bone in my body and I loved it. It’s technically a YA, but adults will get full enjoyment out of it too. It’s full of wisdom, jokes, romance and tons tons TONS of bloody action scenes that had me fist-pumping in the air!
Move over, everybody, Wynne Channing has a new fangirl – again. It’s nearly impossible to follow-up “awesome” with “amazing”, but she does it with a superb sequel....more
Beautiful Broken was highly anticipated for me following Nazarea Andrews first University of Branton novel, THIS LOVE. I did like the follow-up and thBeautiful Broken was highly anticipated for me following Nazarea Andrews first University of Branton novel, THIS LOVE. I did like the follow-up and the story about Scout and Dane, but not as much as the first.
Picking up where THIS LOVE left off, Scout is back from rehab and struggling to stay clean. Atticus has sequestered himself off in a cabin in the woods to finish his novel, leaving Dane, his best friend, to handle Scout and see to it that she doesn’t use again. And maybe get a job. And perhaps go back to school or do something useful with herself.
Dane doesn’t want the responsibility, but man, Attie is his best friend, so what is he supposed to do? And besides he’s always been Scout’s savior.
Ultimately, I liked the story, but didn’t connect with the characters like I did in the first novel. With Atticus and Avery, the taboo relationship was hot hot hot! But I didn’t find anything particularly heady about Dane and Scout, except Dane’s reservations that Scout was his best friend’s sister (which I personally don’t even care about).
Both of them of course come with baggage, because what romance doesn’t have this, amirite? I did feel like their baggage, besides Scout’s drug using and rehab, were side stories and not really that important to the overall plot. Not even their own history with each other. I did like getting to know how Dane came into the family though.
We finally get to meet Dane’s father and he was hit or miss for me. I could have taken him or left him and not really cared either way, honestly. Was he abusive to Dane? I don’t know. It could explain why DANE IS SUCH A GROSS PERVERT THOUGH. Dane, it is not sexy to jerk off while watching a teenaged girl sleep. Not. Sexy. At. All.
I know it happens, but… yuk.
Scout grows a lot through the novel, but it’s too fast for my tastes. I think drug rehabilitation takes much longer than she’s given, and I would have liked to have seen more struggle from her. As it was, it was too perfect for me.
Overall, not a bad book at all, these are just my nitpicky details. I still enjoyed the story, and I will certainly pick up more from Andrews, but of the two, this one is not the strongest. It’s really hard to top awesome....more
Tempted in the Tropics by Tracy March was a cute follow-up to her knock-em-outta-the-park romance, The Practice Proposal.
I thoroughly enjoyed The PracTempted in the Tropics by Tracy March was a cute follow-up to her knock-em-outta-the-park romance, The Practice Proposal.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Practice Proposal, so when I was approached by Tracy March’s publisher to review Temped In the Tropics, I jumped and said yes. While Tempted In the Tropics is not the stronger of these two novels in the series, it was still a lot of fun to read and I look forward to returning to the series if she plans to put more out.
like returning to the families of Cardwell Ranch. There’s something about cowboys and Christmas – YUM! And Christmas At Cardwell Ranch is no exceptio like returning to the families of Cardwell Ranch. There’s something about cowboys and Christmas – YUM! And Christmas At Cardwell Ranch is no exception, it was fun, light reading, great for cozying up on the couch, sippin’ on some eggnog or coffee, next to your Christmas Tree.
Lily McCabe is in town helping her brother run his bar during the Christmas season, much like she does every year, when she runs into Tag Cardwell, quite literally, at the bar one night, when one of the bar’s waitresses drunkenly stumbles out into the blustering snowy night with a stranger, never to be seen again.
A Cowboy’s Christmas Courtship by Brenda Minton is a super sweet novel that all holiday and romance lovers will especially adore. This is probably myA Cowboy’s Christmas Courtship by Brenda Minton is a super sweet novel that all holiday and romance lovers will especially adore. This is probably my favorite Christmas book I’ve read yet, actually!
A Cowboy’s Christmas Courtship begins predictably enough: cowboy Gage Cooper is coming home for Christmas when he runs (nearly literally) across Layla Silver and her cows on his way to his family’s ranch. She doesn’t want his help; he’s insisting he give it anyway, and thus begins a book filled with headbutting and sexual tension.
Christmas On 4th Street by Susan Mallery is a sweet romance and perfect for those who want a dose of holiday cheer with their HEAs.
It’s no secret I loChristmas On 4th Street by Susan Mallery is a sweet romance and perfect for those who want a dose of holiday cheer with their HEAs.
It’s no secret I love Christmas books. I have been like this all my life, because they are filled with Christmas cheer and who doesn’t love that? Christmas On 4th Street is no different and I truly enjoyed it. I begin every Christmas book with a bit of dread that it will end up being too sappy for me, and this is not the case here (and hardly ever, so my fear is most often unwarranted!). Instead Susan Mallery took us to Fool’s Gold, California right before Thanksgiving, and that’s where I stepped into the winter wonderland if its pages.
Big Sky Christmas was such a super cute book. I really fell in like with the characters and now I want to read more about the others.
Here we have theBig Sky Christmas was such a super cute book. I really fell in like with the characters and now I want to read more about the others.
Here we have the magic formula again: Cowboys and Christmas and really, what’s not to love about that? Winnie Hays has returned to Coffee Creek after the death of her fiance, Brock. She now has a son, Brock’s son, since she had just gotten pregnant when he died during an unfortunate auto accident the night before their wedding. The driver of the vehicle? Sexy cowboy Jackson Stone.
Love me some cowboys and Christmas, so it is of course no surprise I picked this up off of Netgalley during my Christmas book binge (as I like to callLove me some cowboys and Christmas, so it is of course no surprise I picked this up off of Netgalley during my Christmas book binge (as I like to call it). I read A Cold Creek Noel last Christmas and was swept away by the Bowman clan in Pine Gulch, Montana. This season, RaeAnne Thayne gives us Ridge Bowman’s story and I was excited to find out more about the gruff rancher who has been raising his tween daughter by himself since his ex-wife walked out on him when Destry was only an infant.
Sarah Whitmore has come across some property that she thinks belongs to the Bowman family and she wants to return it – in person. So she treks from sunny and warm San Diego to the bitterly cold Montana to hand-deliver it, when Ridge mistakes her for someone else. An accident happens and she ends up stuck on the River Bow ranch through a brutal snowstorm and Christmas, which means… getting to know hottie Ridge and his daughter, Destry.
A Cold Creek Christmas has all the makings for a sweet romance, and it technically was, but it lacked that special zing Thayne’s last book easily delivered. There was almost no humor in this one, and I didn’t feel much connection to the characters this time around. I didn’t NOT enjoy the story, because I pretty much always love Christmas romances, but this one was not my favorite. I didn’t see a spark between the characters and it really felt very…clinical.
This is the kind of book I could forget at the beach or someone’s house and not be upset I lost it. I’m certainly glad I finished it, but it’s not one I would have missed.
I did really like that this book resolved a lot about the murders of the Bowman parents from many years ago. It is nice to get that closure, and now I wonder if RaeAnne Thayne is done with the series? Because that has been central, from what it appears, for a long time.
As far as Christmas novels go, it mentions Christmas, but the holiday element is more of an afterthought to me, except for a few key parts. I like it to take more of a front seat usually. I think most will enjoy this book, especially if you are invested in the series, so don’t let this review sway you away from it…I did still enjoy reading it!
Folks, this right here is how you re-tell great literature.
My favorite classic that I ever read was the Great Gatsby. Admittedly the last time I readFolks, this right here is how you re-tell great literature.
My favorite classic that I ever read was the Great Gatsby. Admittedly the last time I read it was in high school, which was a long time ago, and the specific details escape me now, but the general tone of the novel stuck with me. Sara Benincasa did a fabulous job drawing great parallels between the classic novel and her re-telling of Great Gatsby.
Naomi has been sent to the Hamptons to “summer” once more with her mother, who is on the cusp of breaking into mega-fame as a famous baker. She hates summering in the Hamptons and she doesn’t particularly care for her mother, who is mostly just a social-climber more concerned with Naomi making the right kind of friends than good grades. Naomi prefers her down-to-earth life with her basketball coach father in Chicago (and I don’t blame her).
But this summer proves to be different: she becomes closer with Delilah Fairweather, daughter to a congressman and socialite, Delilah’s boyfriend Teddy Barrington and Teddy’s friend Jeff His-last-name-escapes-me. The four of them sort of become the odd double-daters: Delilah and Teddy fight in restaurants, while Naomi watches uncomfortably and Jeff pokes fun at the situations.
Enter Jacinda Trimalchio (nice nod to one of Fitzgerald’s original title ideas!), fashion blogger extraordinaire. Jacinda is mysterious, wealthy and without her parents, a sure-to-be-hit in that town. She’s also very interested in getting to know Delilah Fairweather, and while she seemed very nice throughout the entire novel, it was obvious she had an obsessive quality.
There is so much in this story that depicts the darker side of being wealthy and rich: people want to know you, they want to get close to you, you date individuals based on their pedigrees and not because you particularly like them. GREAT showed rich talking down to the poor, even when they were being nice. I don’t mean this to sound preachy at all, but the protagonist’s point of view called out often how she noticed these things. And if I remember correctly, these themes were in Gatsby as well.
The characters are all vibrant, not flat, and when I think of them, I think of someone I would see on an outrageous TV show or movie, somewhere I would say to myself, “this can’t be real life.” But things like “Hinge at the waist!” mockery does happen. Ultimately, the darker side prevails, which you can guess if you’ve read Gatsby. It was fascinating to see the parallels, and the LGBT twist as well.
GREAT is fab. Even when I loathed the characters, I still really liked them, because Benincasa writes them so well. And I think I’d drown myself in a lazy river pool if I had a mother like Naomi’s. Between the parties, Naomi’s self-reflections as she gets sucked further into the rich-kid world while acquiescing to her mother, the drama between Delilah, Teddy and Jacinda, I just couldn’t put it down. I did want to know what happened “after”, but I guess that’s sometimes just left to the readers’ imaginations.
It is extremely rare that I find a book I would happily read again. I used to be a serial re-reader, until I had the bibliophile “problem” of too manyIt is extremely rare that I find a book I would happily read again. I used to be a serial re-reader, until I had the bibliophile “problem” of too many books and not enough hours in the day to read them all. It was Steph @ Cuddlebuggery who insisted that I read The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. ”It’s epic!” she exclaimed (and she may have held her dagger to my throat, too… we don’t discuss that). I realized two things: Steph’s dagger is plastic and The Winner’s Curse is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Now, I could get into all the details, like how the writing is like poetry, or how Marie Rutkoski builds us a world that is as beautiful as it is dangerous, with lavish jewels and aristocrats, and dark alleys and murder. Or I could tell you that the protagonist, Kestrel, was a character I liked from the start, because she was deeply thoughtful and saw a world different from that of her peers. Or I could say that Arin, despite his character flaws and inability to make a freaking MOVE already, was the perfect hero in this story because he understood, like Kestrel, that the world isn’t black and white.
I could do and say all those things, but I’m just going to leave you with this instead:
I just didn’t find myself getting into ASK AGAIN LATER by Liz Czukas, for a number of reasons: no story development, no world-building, lack of characI just didn’t find myself getting into ASK AGAIN LATER by Liz Czukas, for a number of reasons: no story development, no world-building, lack of character development. It really only got two stars from me because of some light humor.
Heart doesn’t date guys because she has this hang-up about her mother. So not dating resolves everything that could potentially go wrong, even though she knows it’s BS, and so does everyone else. She’s nice enough, I suppose, but just your average teenager who doesn’t really stand out.
But here we go with the whole trope of “the average girl is always the center of attention” again! This is seriously starting to become overdone, guys. There is nothing spectacular about her: she’s not a nerd, but she’s not popular. She doesn’t date, she’s not slutty, she has divorced parents, her dad isn’t rich, her brother is neither a loser nor a genius (nor is she). She is the girl you forget about unless you are forced to pay attention to her. And while not every guy is tripping over their feet to get to her (thanks for that, by the way, because that story is old, too) – and yes yes, I know average chicks get guys too, because hello, I am one – I just don’t see how her life day story was interesting. And that’s all it was. One day in the life of Heart while she decides who she is going to go to prom with.
Except there is this weird alternate universe thing, so was it sci-fi or was it…? I don’t even know what to call that, but I didn’t like it. The story of prom is told in “Heads” or “Tails” and each one is a reality she lives and the perspective jumps between them. Heart is propositioned by two boys, and decides to break her “no-dating” policy to give a pity date to one of these two (OH PLEASE GIRL) dudes: a friend and her brother’s jock friend. A pity date for a jock from an average girl actually deserves an eye roll:
Anyway, so the tale is told in both perspectives and what would happen if she chose one or the other. I do give props to Czukas for merging the storylines together so that they meshed well. The message that you can’t avoid fate was pretty clear and that was actually neat. I am willing to bet that wasn’t easy to write, but it was a bit painful to read, not gonna lie. This is not because I dislike alternate realities; I actually really like them. But in contemporaries? PASS.
I just feel like this could have been so much better than it was. It wasn’t horrible, don’t get me wrong. Parts of it were cute and funny; in fact the first page is what grabbed my attention, because it was so well-written. It just unfortunately dropped off quickly from that, and it’s all because of the (lack of) plot and the characters. There is no world-building, and it’s not like you need a lot, because after all, this is a contemporary (or something, I’m still not sure with that whole alternate reality thing going on), but some details would have been nice. There was little character development for anyone. Heart is really the only character who experiences any kind of growth…in one freaking day, which is rather unbelievable. And it’s never explained why she’s so freaking great. We’re just supposed to accept that she’s the chosen heroine of this story and that’s it.
There are sadly no surprises, either. I knew who she was going to end up with at 7% into the book. Blah.
I guess I just like my novels with a little more in them and this wasn’t it. Some will really like this because parts are snarky and fun, but others will find it lacking. Probably a good read for the much younger YA crowd, like middle school....more