"And the most valuable lesson I've learned will forever live in my gear, right beside my husband. Love the one who proves to you that happily ever aft...more"And the most valuable lesson I've learned will forever live in my gear, right beside my husband. Love the one who proves to you that happily ever after is only the beginning."
How many times have I professed my love for Tracey Garvis-Graves's work? Every time I read a new book of hers, I'm always thrilled with how much I enj...moreHow many times have I professed my love for Tracey Garvis-Graves's work? Every time I read a new book of hers, I'm always thrilled with how much I enjoy it, though I am never surprised by that fact. Every Time I Think of You is the newest addition to the list. When I picked this one up, I was under the impression it was a romantic suspense, which is logical given that it involves a murder. I don't have the best luck with romantic suspense, usually due to the imbalance between the romance and suspense elements. But I implicitly trust Garvis-Graves, and like the way she put it to me, that Every Time I Think of You is a romance with elements of women's fiction, mystery, suspense and family drama. Now that is a formula I can work with.
So where to begin with the story... To be honest, I'm having such a hard time translating my thoughts into words! The beauty in a greaet book is in discovering it for yourself. And I relished discovering ETIToY. The story centers on the murder of Daisy DiStefano's grandmother, and sets off from that tragic night. The murder is seemingly random, but Daisy has a feeling there's more danger ahead, possibly aimed for her. Journalist Brooks McClain comes into her life, initially looking for a story, but soon drawn to the beautiful single mother and her son Elliott.
She was the kind of woman you might overlook in a dark, crowded bar, but the first one you'd notice when the lights came up. In other words, she was exactly my type.
Both Daisy and Brooks were well-crafted characters who brought life to the story. Daisy is the kind of heroine a lot of readers love: thoughtful, smart, determined and brave. I liked that too. So often in stories in which the heroine is in danger, we're given a woman who sits back while the man saves the day. Or we're given women who charge into danger without thought, only to get themselves into more trouble. Daisy is frightened for herself and her son, makes good choices to make them both safer, but is also proactive about protecting them.
Brooks McClain was a welcome change of pace for me. In this book world of loud, aggressive men, it was nice to have a men who is yes, still strong in mind and body, but also courteous, polished in appearance but not slick, and absolutely well-intentioned. Brooks not only wants to help solve the murder professionally, but also genuinely cares about Daisy's and Elliot's well-being.
Maybe it was because he was always dressed in a suit and tie, but there was something very dashing and chivalrous about Brooks, which I found quite appealing. He seemed like the kind of man who would hold the door, an umbrella, a woman's hand. When I combined this with the fact that Brooks admitted to caring about my safety, I was pretty much a goner.
Brooks is also dealing with his own family tragedy, the once slow, now rapid decline of his mother, dying of ALS. I enjoyed the portions with Brooks's family, though it was obviously bittersweet.
Every Time I Think of You had excellent balance and pacing. The romance develops at a slow, but not sluggish pace, believable given the circumstances. The murder mystery unravels throughout, never leaving me certain whom the killer was, but confident that I was on the right track. We even get Daisy's ex-husband's point-of-view throughout the story. His was disturbing -he's a meth addict- and revelatory, but also sad. The suspense element does not kick into high gear until we're three-fourths of the way through the book, but when everything finally comes to a head, it was gripping and intense. And smart! I should definitely throw in that once again, Garvis-Graves has delivered such an intelligent story. No matter the media, movies, books, television, I usually sit and point out plot holes, especially in movies. I'm not a legal professional, nor a journalist, but it's obvious that Garvis-Graves did her homework on the laws that would be in effect in Every Time I Think of You. If you have a mind like mine, one that just won't shut up, having a book that holds your completely confidence is a treasure.
In Every Time I Think of You, Tracey Garvis-Graves has once again delivered a romantic, suspenseful and intelligent book. She's an author who's work I'm always thrilled to hold, love and highly recommend.
In the future, when I tell people my family history, this is the part where I'll break down and cry.
Nothing in San Francisco makes me feel as good as the way I feel when I'm with you. And every time I think of you, which is roughly every ninety seconds, I remember that you're here and I'm not. (less)
With its intense and emotionally troubled characters, Hurricane Lily was a dark read. Lily refuses to leave her ho...more** 3.5 stars **
My Short and Tweet...
With its intense and emotionally troubled characters, Hurricane Lily was a dark read. Lily refuses to leave her home, is wracked with paranoia and anxiety. Cliff is consumed by thoughts of injustice and anger. A job brings them together, but they'll only stay that way by breaking down each other's walls. This is not my favorite RRM read, but still very interesting. It was intense and sad, but gives us two characters who can be better together, and hope.
(I would also like to point out that Hurricane Lily is loosely connected to The Bridge and Tanya, as Cliff is Henry and Jack's long-left half-brother.)
She wanted to hide behind a curtain and observe him. Without the stress of his gaze, she could stare as much as she wanted. Drink him in. The contours of his face and hands, the strange intelligence in his eyes--she could look to her heart's content and then sculpt him. Her fingers tingled with the desire to touch his body, to learn its shape. And then to get down on the floor and shape it again, in clay.
She should have looked away, or thrown something at him, or run, but she couldn't make herself do it. His body was completely still, and his eyes burned into hers. He looked to her like a starving man, like a feral creature.
He'd seen everything. And slowly, his gaze traveled down the length of her body. At her hands fisted on her belly, her fallen-open legs, her bare feet. The force of his eyes made her tremble in a way she couldn't control. She watched him take that tremor in. And then he came toward her.
For the love of all that was holy, she was about to be fucked by the handyman.
So, Not Yet is the book that broke my reading semi-slump! Over the past month, I've lacked my usual enthusiasm and have been a tough critic. Despite t...moreSo, Not Yet is the book that broke my reading semi-slump! Over the past month, I've lacked my usual enthusiasm and have been a tough critic. Despite the glowing reviews it's receive, I didn't anticipate Not Yet to be THE book, which likely made that reward all the sweeter.
Here are the reasons I loved Not Yet
- Emma's big on life lessons. At pivotal moments throughout the story, we get her "Lessons", as well as Landon's "Lessons Learned", which acted as a balance. Knowing these tidbits were coming filled me with anticipation as I read. Some of the lessons made me smile, and one made the tears pour down my cheeks.
- Landon Washington pretty much charges into Emma's life, and I adored that. He wasn't overbearing or creepy, but simply intrigued and politely persistent. He was virtually impossible not to like, and with his willingness to listen and be Emma's friend, she's forced to start dropping the walls she's fortified her entire life and let him in. Wise beyond his years, Landon is all about the gestures showing his affection. And wow, such character growth from this guy!
- The romance in Not Yet was fantastic! Here, we have a young woman who's lived her entire life selflessly, looking out for her sister, helping her mother. Landon comes bouncing into her life and -though she's absolutely not looking for love with a guy like Landon - Emma falls anyway. I loved seeing a good guy fall in love with a good girl. Landon was a smart and sensitive and treated Emma so well, and that was refreshing. Theirs is a BIG story, spanning time and circumstances that took me by surprise. When the love story forces its way into my heart, and makes me fall right along with the characters, that is an absolute win!
- Besides the romance, Not Yet has a big theme, in that it focuses heavily on people with disabilities. You have Emma's sister Evie, who's a twenty-something with Down's Syndrome, as well as several more characters with various disabilities. Ward didn't make these characters fillers, or as a simply a way to forward the plot, they are important to the story, with wants and issues of their own. Evie wanted the same things other women her age, including Emma, wants: independence, value, love. And then there was Trevor, an autistic boy whom Landon and Emma taught to swim, creating a powerful bond in the meantime. Through Emma's tender, respectful interactions with these two, she enlightens Landon. And when Trevor reaches out, Ohmygosh, the tears were steaming down my face, and I think my breath hitched. And another moment with Amy, a student. Have some tissues handy, guys.
- Not Yet contains a huge twist that I did not see coming. This is a trope that I normally avoid at all costs, so I'm definitely happy I didn't know, or would've missed out on a good story. I actually can't believe it wasn't spoiled for me, but man, am I glad. But anyway, this twist takes Not Yet from a sweet but fairly typical love story, and gave it believable angst, gave it a new heightened layer of emotion. The handling and resolution of the twist was perfect.
-The Epilogues. Yes, epilogues! Not to be missed.
It's so amazing that Not Yet is Laura Ward's debut novel. She has a natural talent for telling a meaningful story filled with romance, meaningful themes, rich characters, and prose that is just so good. I personally cannot wait to see what she brings readers next.
I wanted to tell him more. How good he felt, how much I wanted him to follow me home and kiss me...touch me...hold me. I wanted him to know how big a deal it was to me that he asked questions and wanted to get to know me. But I didn't. That would be opening up too much, too soon. I needed to protect myself better than that. Instead of opening my mouth and letting my emotions pour out, I held out my hand and he grasped it tightly in his. We grinned at one another like a couple of goofy kids before we raced to our cars in the pouring rain.
"I love you. I absolutely fucking love you. So, I will honor your request and not touch you this year. But never bet against me, baby. I play hard and I play to win, and I promise you come [spoiler] - I will be focused on nothing but winning you." I pressed my forehead to hers before I pulled away. "Remember...it's just not yet for us."
Batter Up was super cute. It's a story that I flew through, liked, but still don't have a lot to say about it.
I liked the premise, a baker who can hel...moreBatter Up was super cute. It's a story that I flew through, liked, but still don't have a lot to say about it.
I liked the premise, a baker who can help men find their true love, in the batter. Emma comes from a line of women who've been performing this magic for years. I thought it was adorable that her we have MEN looking for love. Too cute!
Jason and Emma were such a sweet couple. Believe it or not, I was relieved at how quickly they started falling for each other. The chemistry was good, the issue between them made total sense, and the way they ended up was great. But besides Jason and Emma, Brandon (Jason's friend) and Abby (Emma's cousin) nearly stole the show. I think they should get their own story!
Batter Up was sweet, it was romantic and I think it's a good fit for those looking for a bit of magic to spice up their romance.
"I'm not going to ruin you. I want to protect you."(less)
I've been a big fan of the Last Call series. On the Rocks was very good; Make It a Double was even better. Though Savannah hasn't been a largely memor...moreI've been a big fan of the Last Call series. On the Rocks was very good; Make It a Double was even better. Though Savannah hasn't been a largely memorable character in the series, I was looking forward to her story. I've been a fan of Bennett's for quite a while now, and have read nearly all her books. To be honest, though, (and really, I must be) Sugar on the Edge wasn't a total win for me.
My reasons are purely personal, not technical. There was nothing "wrong" with the writing, or the story. My biggest issue: I didn't like Gavin for at least seventy-five percent of the book. He was belligerent, rude and I often hated how he treated Savannah. Now let me add the stipulation that I've gotten extremely picky in my book men, and what I will accept. A year ago, I might've gotten worked up by the jerky hero, now it seems, I'm turning into my mom. God help us all. lol I got that Gavin was in a personal hell, but I still didn't buy it as an excuse to want to "break" women, just because you can. Sure, I like my men strong and even grumpy, but I also like them to be decent. This need to lash out, to fuck your demons away, all makes for an sexy and interesting story, but at some point I wanted them to have a meaningful conversation that didn't come before, during or after sex, I just couldn't get fully on board with Gavin as a great love interest, for me.
To be fair, Gavin does make good changes, and he gives good grovel, which was great and what the story is all about. But I was so personally put off by his actions (especially during a pivotal BIG point of the story) that - fair or not - it didn't work on me.
As for Savannah, I did like her quite a lot. She was kind and easy to warm to. I don't think her voice in the story was as strong as Gavin's, but honestly, Sugar on the Edge was more his story. I would have liked to have seen her develop more on her own, rather than bending herself to be what Gavin wanted. Which was fine, because I think that's what she wanted too. And she did help Gavin's growth, with her empathy and ability to help him move forward. So again, that's what it's all about.
The rest of the Last Call gang weren't present for much of the story, with the exception of Brody. Now THAT, I loved.
Like I said, these are all personal gripes. I absolutely hate that I didn't love the story, but I will definitely continue to series. I guess I would say if the issues I presented work for you, go for it!
Who would have thought it? Brody Markham, only out of prison for just over nine months, having been completely broken and withdrawn from life, was now sitting here throwing out jokes at me. I freakin' loved it.(less)
So this is one of those times where I honestly don't know what to say. What Happens to Guys When They Move to Manhattan was an okay sto...more** 2.5 stars **
So this is one of those times where I honestly don't know what to say. What Happens to Guys When They Move to Manhattan was an okay story overall, but just didn't hit the mark for me. I've mulled it over, and still can't quite pinpoint what happened. Therefore, this is gonna be another short one.
You know when you walk into the middle of a conversation and you have no idea what's happening, only to spend the rest of the story playing catch up? That's how I felt in this case. For me it seemed the story plopped me down mid-stream, and I didn't really establish any sort of connection to Amalia until mid-story. Once I did start to connect, I ended up feeling unenthused about much of the story. It was basically Amalia torn between pining over her boyfriend and the guy she's crushing on. Fine. I get indecisiveness. I get the conflicting feelings. But I didn't know these character enough, she jumped back and forth so easily, that I didn't feel it.
I do have a couple of positives. First, though I felt some of story was tedious, the writing was nice. The big positive though, was the character growth. You know my gripes about Amalia and her love life? She does make some good changes by the end, and I really liked how it ended. To be fair, I believe What Happens When They Move to Manhattan? is a big picture story, part of a larger series. In that respect, I think the author did a nice job.
Favorite Quote My new life however, in this very spacious and immaculate West Village apartment had made me into a caricature of myself. Being that I was twenty-two, and living in the greatest city on earth, I took every chance I could get to go out and improve my social life, which unfortunately included improving my alcohol tolerance.