One Man Guy had mThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
One Man Guy had me laughing from the first page. It was a really cute, different coming-of-age and coming out story.
Alek was funny, smart, sarcastic, and for the most part, he knew what he wanted. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for the things he believed in, which I liked. His parents were pretty old school and he had a seemingly perfect know-it-all brother he had a lot to live up to, and while he tried his hardest, he also wanted to have a normal life with some fun and some of the things he wanted. He was realistically flawed, making him easy to root for.
There were some really great aspects of this book: diverse characters, a unique LGBT storyline, and New York City. I really enjoyed learning about Armenian culture and food. I liked how Alek’s heritage was a big part of the book because it was such a big part of who he was. I loved that this wasn’t a typical LGBT story. A lot of the LGBT books I’ve read seem to have similar storylines, mostly best friends suddenly discovering they have feelings for each other. The coming out process is either really easy or super angsty, but One Man Guy was somewhere in between, and I liked that. Everyone’s coming out experience is difference, and I thought Alek’s journey of self-discovery was realistic and well done. As for New York City…I love books set there. One Man Guy wasn’t actually set there, but Alek and Ethan ventured into the city a few times, and I felt like I was right there with them.
When I found out Alek was only 14, I had reservations about reading One Man Guy. I love YA and most of the books I read are YA, but 14 is a bit young for my taste. It’s a long time since I was 14, plus my nephew is almost 12, which isn’t that much of a difference, and I don’t like thinking about my nephew dating (even though he does) and getting serious, and maybe doing some of the other things characters do in books. Most of the time, it was hard to believe Alek was that young, and at times when I remembered he was only 14 I would shake my head. I know kids are advanced these days, but it felt inconsistent because Alek would act like a sullen 14-year-old one minute and then he’d act much older.
Despite enjoying the LGBT storyline itself, I didn’t really feel the relationship between Alek and Ethan. For some reason, I had trouble investing in it and connecting to it. I liked Ethan for the most part, but I would have liked to see more from him than just the gay skateboarder kid who liked music and NYC. I appreciated that he drew Alek out of his shell and made him take chances, but there’s a difference between drawing someone out and being a bad influence, and I could never quite decide which side of the line Ethan fell on. Also, some of the dialogue between the two was awkward, and the slang Ethan used was distracting at times.
Overall, I enjoyed One Man Guy. It was laugh-out-loud funny, mostly realistic, and at times touching. I would recommend it for fans of YA, especially those looking for a good LGBT book, diverse characters, and a unique storyline....more
From the moment I read theThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
From the moment I read the synopsis of The Clockwork Scarab, I knew I had to read this book. Sherlock Holmes’s niece and Bram Stoker’s sister? Steampunk? Count me in! With great elements of historic fiction, steampunk, mystery, humour, and timey-wimey goodness, this book was a lot of fun.
I really liked both Mina and Evaline. Mina was like a teenage girl version of her Uncle Sherlock - highly intelligent, observant, and antisocial. She’d been through a lot in the last few years, and it made her different from other girls her age whose lives basically revolved around social engagements and courting. Evaline was a kickass vampire hunter with super-human speed and strength, but a debilitating weakness at the sight of blood. The girls were very different (yet also very similar) and didn’t like the idea of working together; they each had their own strengths and weaknesses, and they slowly learned that they balance each other out and could work well together if they got over their desire not only to work alone, but also to prove themselves to other people.
Because Mina and Evaline were so different, the dual POV telling worked perfectly. Each girl had a distinct voice, and it was fun to get inside their minds and see their ‘process’, as well as learn firsthand their strengths and weaknesses. The girls were the perfect choice for this investigation - they knew they’d be underestimated and overlooked just because they were women and it was the 1800s, and naturally women couldn’t be useful for anything but looking pretty and attending parties and balls. They used that to their advantage, and were very clever in the schemes they came up with.
I loved the steampunk element of this book, and thought it was really well executed. In an alternate Victorian London where electricity has been outlawed, the city is powered by steam. I was fascinated by the inventions, and I liked how Mina was really into gadgets and was always coming up with ‘cognoggin’ solutions to problems. I felt immersed in the time and place, able to picture it all clearly.
As for the mystery, I was fully engrossed. I liked how the Egyptian mythology was worked in, and thought it was a really unique idea. I’m always fascinated with books about secret societies, and the whole steampunk/Victorian London element made it all the more interesting and mysterious.
Now let’s talk romance. There were three boys in this book - a mysterious and charming thief, an intense and handsome Scotland Yard inspector, and an accidental time traveler from the 21st century. The romances weren’t a main focus of the book, which I appreciated, because the book was more about the girls coming into their own, learning to be partners, and trying to solve the mystery. There was just enough romance to make things interesting, show a different side to each girl, and to make me curious how things will turn out in the next book(s). The (potential) love interests challenged the girls - usually in very amusing ways - and even though I'm a total romance junkie, I liked that there was just a touch of romance and it didn't consume the whole book.
I know The Clockwork Scarab is the beginning of a series, but it felt like there were too many loose ends left at the end of the novel. Nothing was really resolved, and while that makes for more interest in the next book, I was left sort of scratching my head and thinking ‘that’s it?’ There were far more questions than answers. Also, while I liked the time travel element, it felt like it was thrown in and never really expanded. I liked Dylan but we didn’t actually learn anything about him, so he sort of felt like he was just there and not really part of the story.
The Clockwork Scarab was an exciting story with great characters, a wonderful setting, and fascinating elements of mystery, steampunk, and time travel. Mina and Evaline were memorable characters, and I can’t wait to see what they get up to next in The Spiritglass Charade. ...more
Whenever I find out a bookThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
Whenever I find out a book I truly loved is getting a sequel, I’m equal parts excited and wary. I adored Nantucket Blue, and hoped Ms Howland would write a sequel. I figured if she did write one, it would be from Jules’s perspective, since she seemed to have a story of her own to tell. When I found out my hunch about a sequel was right, but that it would continue from Cricket’s perspective, I was thrilled, but I’ll admit to being slightly worried. I was afraid Nantucket Red wouldn’t live up to Nantucket Blue, a book that broke my heart and stitched it back together again and made me swoon repeatedly.
I didn’t need to worry. Simply put, Nantucket Red was incredible. It was great to reconnect with Cricket, Jules, Zack, and Liz, and meet a variety of new, equally memorable characters. These characters were so real, I felt like I was right there with them, experiencing their triumphs, heartache, and mishaps.
There was so much to love about Nantucket Red. Besides wonderfully complex characters who experienced a lot of growth, the writing was fantastic, the setting was rich, and there was so much humour, romance, and heart. There were moments that had me laughing myself silly, moments where my heart broke, moments that made my heart soar, and moments of pure pleasure where I couldn’t stop smiling. I’ll admit to ugly crying toward the end - not because anything sad happened, but because I was so damn proud of these characters and their growth, and I was sad to say goodbye to them.
Cricket had some really tough life lessons to learn through the course of Nantucket Red - lessons about love, heartbreak, family and friends, and the sometimes-terrifying real life stuff that comes after graduating high school. I connected with her story so much because it felt so authentic. Cricket always knew what she wanted to do in life, she had goals, and she worked hard. I admired her so much for that. But when things became unclear and she had moments of doubt about a future that had always been certain, I wanted to hug her tight, and I always wanted to hug Ms Howland for creating a character like Cricket, who experienced the ups and downs, uncertainties, and fears that often come along with that time in a person's life. I kept thinking 'YES, this is real life, this is what it’s all about, it’s messy and frightening and you don’t always have the answers'.
There’s so much more I could say about Nantucket Red. I could gush for hours. It all comes down to one thing, though: read this book. This is contemporary YA/NA at its finest. It’s honest and real and funny and sweet and beautiful. These characters and their stories have a very special place in my heart, and they won’t soon be forgotten.
Dark Metropolis wThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
Dark Metropolis was not what I was expecting, but in a (mostly) good way. It was original, fast-paced, and wonderfully creepy.
The synopsis makes it seem like the book is Thea’s story, but Thea was only one of three main characters, the others being Nan and Freddy. Each of them had a major role to play in Dark Metropolis, and the story was told from all three of their perspectives. I thought this would get confusing, but it never did, and I actually enjoyed getting to see things from each of their points of view. While I liked all three characters, I never really connected to any of them, which made it hard to connect to or invest emotionally in the story at times.
While parts of the story felt like they were glossed over - world building and some plot points - the plot was overall very original. It was fascinating and horrifying at the same time. I liked the different magical elements and the consequences of the magic. We were thrown into the story without much back-story or world building; it had a 1930s feel to it, and yet at times it felt futuristic. The lack of world building didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book because the plot was strong enough to make up for it, but I did find myself asking questions throughout the story and never really getting answers to some of them.
Dark Metropolis is full of twists, surprises, and magic. It was gruesome at times, and had an overall feeling of something sinister lurking on the next page, ready to jump out at you from the dark. I think it could have stood on its own as a standalone, but apparently it’s the first in a series. I’m curious to see what happens to Nan, Freddy, and Thea next. ...more
Avery and Nora bonded as kThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
Avery and Nora bonded as kids over the fact they were both adopted. They were best friends until high school, when they grew apart and started hanging out with different crowds. Avery became popular, while Nora preferred to stay far away from the spotlight. They still spoke to each other, but they weren’t close anymore. When Nora dies of an overdose, Avery is left with a lot of guilt. She thinks she should have made more of an effort with Nora, and she feels like she might have been able to do something to stop Nora from killing herself.
Avery had a very distinct voice, which I liked. I thought she was well fleshed-out and the author did a great job of capturing the voice of a seventeen-year-old girl. While I didn’t love Avery, I feel like I understood her in a lot of ways. Her entire life was basically spent doing things to make other people happy and impress them. She didn’t know who she was beyond the adopted daughter of incredibly intelligent people, a cheerleader, the girlfriend of a popular guy, and a good student. She was very focused, but none of it was really for herself - she wanted to make her parents and teachers happy.
I thought Avery’s grief was very realistic. She was sad but she was also angry - at herself, and also at the people around her, who never gave Nora a chance in life but were acting as if her death was their loss. I liked the memories of Nora and Avery as kids that were sprinkled throughout the book. I’ve known my childhood best friend for 25 years, so it made me nostalgic; we’re like Avery and Nora in a way - the only thing we have in common now is a shared past, but that bond will always be there.
I liked Brody - he was sweet and understanding - but I didn’t feel like we got to know him very well. I kept hoping for more - from him and from his relationship with Avery. I appreciated that they were friends first and things moved slowly between them, but I never really connected with him.
The one part of this book I loved was the ending. Not necessarily the actual end, but the last couple chapters. Avery learned a lot in a short space of time, and I appreciated her growth and how strong she was. It was really the only time I connected with the story and truly felt anything.
Year of Mistaken Discovers tackles a lot of tough subjects - suicide, adoption, finding your place in life. It was fast-paced, and while I was glad it didn’t drag, it felt like several things could have been expanded a bit. It didn’t draw much emotion from me, and I was never really all that invested in Avery’s story. While there were moments I really enjoyed, much of the book fell flat for me. ...more
I want to start out by sayThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
I want to start out by saying I have so much respect for Jessica Verdi. She’s not afraid to push boundaries and write stories that are bold, brave, and different. When I read her debut novel, My Life After Now, I thought ‘the world needs a book like this’ and I feel the same way after reading The Summer I Wasn’t Me. I can’t wait to see what Ms Verdi comes up with next.
After Lexi’s dad dies, her mother falls apart. Things become worse when she finds out Lexi is gay. Hoping to make her mother happy again, Lexi agrees to go to New Horizons - a camp that teaches young people how to beat the ‘sickness’ of homosexuality. *insert initial ragey-ness here*
The whole idea of ‘de-gayifying’, and homosexuality being something you can 'overcome' made me so angry. I spent a good portion of the book with my mouth hanging open in shock and horror at the things that went on at New Horizons. The teens were told that a trauma in their lives caused them to be gay, and the camp focused on the importance of gender roles - girls wearing pink, boys wearing blue, girls being able to cook and clean, and boys being able to play sports and fix things. The idea of homosexuality being a ‘sin’ is nothing new, but these people took it to a whole new level, and it made me both sick and sad, because even though the book is fiction, places like this do exist, and a lot of churches/religious people do hammer those points home.
I really liked Lexi. She wasn’t afraid to be her own person, and she pretty much knew what she wanted from life. I admired her desire to make her mother happy, even though it would have meant changing who she was, living a lie, and possibly never being truly happy herself. She was mature and selfless for someone so young, and she came across as genuine and believable. Lexi’s group at camp consisted of Carolyn, Matthew, and Daniel. They were all well fleshed out, and each of them had something to teach Lexi. I especially loved Matthew - he was funny and caring and not afraid to be himself.
The romance in this book is so sweet. I love the way the characters bonded and grew a friendship that slowly turned into more. The ‘forbidden love’ aspect worked really well because of the situation the characters were in, and it made their interactions all the sweeter, while sometimes having that sexy exciting feeling of doing something you know you’re not supposed to be doing.
The Summer I Wasn’t Me made me feel so much. I spent quite a bit of the book being angry because of the situation Lexi was in, but it made me connect with her and the story even more. There were moments of humour and sweetness to balance the parts that were rage-inducing, heartbreaking, and sickening. This book is powerful and emotional. It’s a must read whether you’ve struggled with who you are or you’re completely comfortable with yourself. It’s full of beautiful messages about acceptance, friendship, and love. ...more
Side Effects MayThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
Side Effects May Vary is an unorthodox love story. If you’re looking for sunshine and roses and a romance that will make you swoon, Side Effects May Vary isn’t it. But if you’re looking for something honest, real, bold, and sometimes even a little uncomfortable, this book may just be for you.
I was oddly fascinated by Alice. She’s the kind of character we normally see as a secondary character - a mean girl. I didn’t like her and she didn’t have many redeeming qualities, but there was part of me that appreciated her for her honesty. She was who she was, and she made no apologies for that. She was mean-spirited, vengeful, selfish, indecisive, and a user. I actually can’t think of many characters I’ve liked less, but she was one of those characters I loved to hate because so much of what she said and thought was so shocking, I wondered what she would think, say, or do next.
Harvey, on the other hand, was absolutely adorable. He was so sweet and caring, and would do anything for Alice…and she knew it. She knew he’d always had feelings for her and she used that to her advantage every chance she got. There were times I wished Harvey would grow a backbone, but a part of me understood how hard it was for him - he was so in love with Alice and had been forever, so it was hard for him to say no to her or do anything that might make her unhappy, especially when she was really sick.
I liked the dual POV and the ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ format. I thought it might get confusing but it didn’t. This was actually the perfect story for a dual narrative, since Alice and Harvey were so different. I think the story would have been skewed if it had only been from one perspective.
I’m still not sure how I feel about the ending. Part of me liked it but it was way too abrupt. I kept flipping back and forth on my Kindle, thinking I’d missed a page somehow. I don’t mind open-ended endings, but I would have liked a little more.
Side Effects May Vary is different from any other contemporary YA book I’ve read. While it has all the elements of a great YA contemp - friendship, family relationships, ups and downs, hardships, heartache, humour, romance - it has something different and special that I can’t quite put my finger on. From what I’ve seen so far, people are largely divided on this book, and I can understand why - disliking or even hating a main character can be a pretty big deterrent - but this book has so much heart. It has a lot of life lessons and emotion crammed into its pages, and it shows you that it’s never too late to change, become a better person, or do the right thing. ...more
The Trouble With Kilts isThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
The Trouble With Kilts is the final book in the Balmorie novella series, and I’m sad to say goodbye to the MacLarens and the Walkers. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed their love stories and watching them come full-circle.
Riley and Jamie are both hurting. Riley’s marriage has fallen apart, and Jamie has returned from war with both physical and emotional wounds. Both Riley and Jamie are combative and bitter, but they find peace with each other and help each other heal.
I liked that this story was a bit different from the other two. All the stories were basically insta-love (they’re romance novellas, after all, you kind of expect the romance to happen fast), but this one followed a different formula from the first two, which I appreciated. It wasn’t love at first sight for Riley and Jamie - they barely wanted to be in the same room at first - and I loved watching them warm to each other and slowly realize that they would be perfect for each other.
Like Dev in A Scot Like You, Jamie had a vulnerable side, which I loved. He was this big, strong guy, a hard worker and someone who seemed really tough, so when he showed those cracks in his armour, it melted my heart and made me fall for him even more. I thought he and Riley were a great match for so many reasons.
The Trouble With Kilts is funny, romantic, sexy, and sweet. Getting to see all the MacLarens and all the Walkers happy was really heartwarming. I don’t know how anyone could read this series and not fall in love with these swoony Scots....more
I loved Mad About Plaid, tThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
I loved Mad About Plaid, the first in the Balmorie novella series, but I loved A Scot Like You even more. There was just something about Kate and Dev, separately and together, that really got to me.
loved Kate’s spunk and her fiery personality. I liked that she wasn’t easily embarrassed, especially since she got herself into some situations that would have made me want to crawl in a hole and never come out. Dev is quiet and solitary; he’s haunted by the things he saw and the things that happened during the war, and now all he wants is some peace and to get on with his life and the new family business. Kate streaks into his life (literally) and is exactly what he needs in so many ways. Dev was incredibly sexy - definitely my idea of a Scottish fantasy - but I loved that he was also vulnerable and willing to open himself up to love even when he originally thought he just wanted to be on his own and have time to heal.
Other things I really enjoyed about A Scot Like You: how the dogs were worked into the story. I learned new things about service dogs, and I liked that Kate was passionate about animals and learned new things about herself when she met Dev and his dog Hildie. I also loved Fran and Hamish (who we met in the first book), a couple who worked at the estate and were like family to the MacLarens. They were funny and sweet and added more depth to the story.
Funny, romantic, sexy, and touching, A Scot Like You is a definite must-read for fans of contemporary romance. ...more
Disclaimer: Molli Moran is one of my best friends. She’s my brain twin and critique partner, and while that might make me seem biased, I can honestlyDisclaimer: Molli Moran is one of my best friends. She’s my brain twin and critique partner, and while that might make me seem biased, I can honestly say I’m not. Because we’re so close, I hold her to very high standards because I want to see her succeed. I saw snippets of As You Turn Away from beginning to end, and I had the pleasure of beta reading it. I saw this book go from good to great, saw Molli grow as a writer before my eyes. I’m so proud of her for writing such a beautiful, heartwarming debut.
As You Turn Away is a story about love in its many forms - love for family, love for friends, love for yourself, and that special love between two people that can change your life. This book had so many great themes and messages: love, healing, hope, the importance of family.
One of the things I loved most about this book was that it wasn’t easy. There were realistic obstacles both from the outside world and from within the characters. Jonah and Quinn both grew a lot through the course of the story. They were both broken in their own ways, and while their love story was beautiful, I appreciated that they didn’t ‘save’ each other; they helped each other, taught each other how to heal, and became stronger together and separately. They learned the importance of loving yourself before loving someone else, and that healing is a process.
One of my favourite aspects of the book was the relationship Jonah had with his family. I definitely wish I were part of the Walker clan (preferably by marriage, heh heh). There aren’t enough books with an emphasis on family relationships, especially healthy family relationships. The Walkers had their issues - the boys fought and they had problems, but ultimately they loved and respected each other and knew they needed each other. Jamie, Jonah’s nephew was a real scene-stealer, and I wanted to just squeeze the little guy.
With a rich southern setting, As You Turn Away is a story filled with hope and love. It made me laugh, cry, and swoon. There need to be more books like this in the New Adult category. Molli Moran is definitely a talent to watch out for. ...more
There’s just something aboThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
There’s just something about books that centre around travel. Done well - as Wish You Were Italian was - you feel like you’re right there with the character, experiencing the new places, people, culture, history, and food. Wish You Were Italian was an adventure I felt I lived right alongside Pippa, and I didn’t want it to end.
I loved Pippa. She was adventurous and brave, but also very down to earth and real. Her voice was authentic, and I found myself connecting to her easily. She’d always wanted to go to Italy, but with her family, not on her own, and not to spend the entire summer stuck in art classes. She’d been looking forward to a summer at home with her best friend Morgan, since it was the summer before senior year, which meant probably their last full summer together. When Pippa arrived in Rome, instead of carrying on to Florence where she was supposed to be attending classes, she decided to take a small detour…a detour that turned into a plan to skip art school and spend the summer how she wanted to.
This book was…well, it was pretty damn close to perfect. I’m having trouble finding the right words because I loved it so much I just want to gush. It was laugh out loud funny, romantic, and just really fun. I felt like I was in Italy with Pippa, seeing and experiencing everything she was (gelato and pizza and hot boys, oh my!). I connected with her love of photography, and felt that we got to see the beauty of Italy through a photographer’s eye, which meant big and small details, and I loved all of it.
I also loved the journal Pippa’s best friend sent with her, full of tasks for Pippa to complete. It was Morgan’s way of being there, and it was often what pushed Pippa to do things she might not normally do.
Then there was the romance…I don’t know what to say without getting into spoiler territory, but there was definitely a standout boy to me, and I loved him. He was sweet and funny and smart and driven. He was good for Pippa, and watching their relationship grow was one of my favourite parts of the book. Pippa learned so much through the course of the book, both on her own, and with the help of the new friends she made along the way.
Reading this book reminded me of the feeling I had when reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. If you know me at all, you’ll know Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favourite books EVER, and comparing anything to it is pretty much the highest compliment I can pay. Even though the stories are completely different, they have similar elements, and they both gave me that giggly, happy, smiley, swoony feeling I’ve rarely experienced while reading. After reading Anna and the French Kiss (twice), I didn’t think any book would be capable of making me feel that way again, but Wish You Were Italian succeeded. So thank you, Kristin Rae, and well done!
Wish You Were Italian is definitely one of my favourite books of 2014. It had me giggling, swooning, raging, and even tearing up a time or two. It stirred up my wanderlust, and made me yearn to take an adventure like Pippa’s…and meet some of the boys Pippa met! It was magical and charming, and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for a fantastic contemporary young adult read....more
I think this book would have been much better as a novella. It felt so repetitive with Kayla constantly going over how much she hated Christmas and elI think this book would have been much better as a novella. It felt so repetitive with Kayla constantly going over how much she hated Christmas and eluding to whatever trauma happened in her childhood. She and Jackson were SO aware of each other but I never really FELT the chemistry, we were just told every few seconds that there WAS chemistry. I gave up at about 200 pages but then decided to read the last couple chapters out of curiosity, and...meh. It was cute and the romance junkie in me should have loved it but I didn't. It was a good concept, but between the repetitiveness and the instalove, I really do think it would have worked better as a novella. No rating for this one since I didn't read the whole thing, but I won't be carrying on with the O'Neill brothers series. ...more
For years I’ve had this faThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
For years I’ve had this fascination with Jack the Ripper. I know I’m not alone in this. So whenever I see a book that has anything to do with Jack the Ripper, I get excited. When I saw the cover for Mayhem, I assumed it dealt with Jack because of the man with the cloak and top hat - classic Jack, right? So I was both surprised and pleased when I learned that it did deal with Jack in a way - the fact that it took place during his reign of terror - but it was actually about the Thames Torso Killer, a madman who committed equally heinous crimes at the same time, but who I’d never heard of before.
I loved the dark, gritty feel to this book. I really felt immersed in the seedy, dirty side of late 1800s London - the poverty, the opium dens, the filth and debauchery. People were terrified and yet intrigued over the fact that not one, but two serial killers - two madmen - were on the loose. If you weren’t a prostitute, you knew you were at least safe from Jack, but the Thames Torso killer didn’t seem to follow any set pattern or go after a ‘type’. There were newspaper articles from the time between some of the chapters, and I thought that was a nice touch. The book was obviously well researched and planned, and it showed.
While I enjoyed the characters, I found it hard to keep up at times with the changing POV. Dr. Bond was the pain POV, but then we also got several other points of view, and while it added to the story in some ways, it also made it a bit confusing. There were times when I forgot who certain characters were because there were so many of them I couldn't remember all their names at first.
For the most part, the book was quite fast-paced and held my interest, while also keeping me guessing. There were times I was so immersed in the story, I could hardly turn the pages fast enough, and if something distracted me I’d practically jump out of my skin. I found the paranormal twist interesting and strangely believable, and thought the author did a great job with the execution.
Any element of horror isn’t usually my first choice in books (I’m a total wuss), but I thoroughly enjoyed Mayhem. It encompassed the best of horror, historic fiction, supernatural, and mystery.
Gruesome and thrilling, Mayhem is a must-read for fans of historic fiction set in 1800s London, and fans of Jack the Ripper and other mysterious serial killers. ...more
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t eThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t expecting to love 16 Things I Thought Were True. It sounded really good, and I’ve heard great things about Janet Gurtler’s books, but I thought it would be something cute and fun to break up the feels-heavy books I’ve been reading lately, along with several books that have left me with a ‘meh’ feeling. And while it was cute and fun, it also packed an emotional punch I wasn’t expecting.
Morgan was a very complex character. She was raised by a single mother who smoked and drank too much, she had two older brothers who were clearly her mother’s favourites, and she had no idea who her dad was. Her mother always refused to talk about him or even give Morgan a hint if he was dead or alive…until she had a heart attack and her guilty conscience forced her to tell Morgan who her father was and where she could find him. Meanwhile, Morgan had been completely ostracized at school and work because of a video her ex-best friend posted of Morgan dancing in boys' underwear. She did her best to hide out, lie low, and not draw attention to herself. In her mind, the only friends she needed were the ones she’d made online.
Enter Amy and Adam. I loved these characters - and Morgan - so much. At first I didn’t think I was going to like Amy; she talked non-stop and said every little thing that came to her mind. I thought she would be obnoxious and annoying, but I ended up loving her. Her blunt honesty was refreshing, and she had this innocence about her that made me just want to wrap my arms around her and squeeze her. Adam was one of those boys who was perfectly imperfect. He was a jerk at work because he needed to be, otherwise people wouldn’t respect him as their boss since they were all the same age. But underneath that, he was sweet and caring, and so good to and for Morgan.
The interactions between Morgan, Amy, and Adam were absolutely hilarious. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much while reading a book. Their conversations were ridiculous and realistic and made me wish I were friends with them. The road trip was definitely my favourite part of the book. Even though it wasn’t the main focus of the story, it had all the elements of a great road trip - food, music, laughter, crazy situations, and meaningful moments. And, like any good road trip book, the characters learned a lot - about themselves and about each other.
The life lessons Morgan learned through the course of the book weren’t always easy. Some of them were painful, and many of them changed her life. I wasn’t expecting to form such a strong connection with the characters, but I did. I felt their triumphs and failures. I laughed with them and cried with (and for) them. These characters and their story will stick with me for a really long time.
Quite simply, 16 Things I Thought Were True was amazing. I ran through the gamut of emotions with this book. I laughed as hard as I cried, and I came away with a smile on my face, despite the tears I shed (and there were a lot of them). This book is a must read for fans of contemporary young adult, road trip books, books that have strong messages of friendship and love, and…well, really just anyone. I know I’ll be recommending this one to just about everyone I know. ...more
This is such a cute novellThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
This is such a cute novella that I think will appeal to all romance lovers, especially those who like a hunky Scot…or three.
Ian MacLaren, the oldest of the MacLaren clan, and an ex-military man, is in the process of getting Balmorie Estate ready for the public as a guest house, and he needs help spreading the word. That’s where Riley Brooks, travel writer, comes in…except Riley is busy trying to save her marriage, so she sends her cousin Lucy in her place.
Lucy is like a walking disaster. From the moment she arrives in Scotland, nothing seems to go right. I really liked Lucy. It was obvious she loved her family and would do anything for them. She’s a bit lost and aimless, looking for her place and purpose in life, and the last thing she expects is to fall in love in Scotland, or find what she’s meant to do with her life.
I loved that Ian was so dedicated to restoring Balmorie. It’s exactly the kind of place I’d love to stay in when I visit Scotland…and I wouldn’t mind meeting a sexy Innkeeper like him! I’ve always had a not-so-secret fantasy of going to Scotland (or Ireland or England) and falling head over heels the way Lucy did, so Mad About Plaid appealed to me in a lot of ways.
If you’re looking for a quick romance that’s both sweet and steamy, I’d definitely recommend Mad About Plaid. ...more
Sweet Nothings iThis review was originally posted on my blog, Ramblings of a Daydreamer. You can find it, and many more reviews at the blog.
Sweet Nothings is a hilarious and poignant look inside the life of a woman whose husband of almost two decades leaves her unexpectedly, sending her entire world into a tailspin. Ruby is nothing if not reliable and practical. She’s passionate about her job as a baker, but the passion stops there. She’s a great mother and she thought she was a good wife, but when her husband leaves her for another woman, she realizes she was never truly happy with her life.
I really liked Ruby. She’s got a strong voice, and her thoughts are very candid which I loved (for the most part). I felt like I really got inside her head and got to know her - what drives her, what’s important to her, what she wants in life for herself and her family. Her life was sort of like a comedy of errors; things would be going along great and then BAM disaster strikes and she’s left to pick up the pieces. She’s strong and resilient, and I admired her as a woman, a mother, a friend, and a businessperson.
Sweet Nothings starts out strong - I was completely engrossed from the first page - and it carries on strong until about the middle when it starts to lag a bit. It feels strange saying this since I’m a total romance junkie, but it was the romance in the story that fell flat for me. I didn’t like how aware Ruby was of Jacob every second he was around, and she talked incessantly about her vagina’s reaction to him, which I really could have done without. It was funny at first but got to be tiresome pretty quickly. I was actually ready to set the book aside and not finish it because I couldn’t imagine how it could possibly carry on for another 100+ pages, but I fought through, and I’m glad I did. It returned to the style I loved in the beginning of the book, and finished strong.
Ruby’s not the only great character in this book. I really liked her children -they’re believable, and I loved the relationship Ruby has with them. It’s not perfect and it’s definitely not all smooth sailing, but it’s realistic, and I enjoyed that. I liked Ruby’s best friend and business partner, Izzy, and I liked a few of the other minor characters, Shane in particular. The love interest, Jacob, is a real conundrum - in some ways he’s good for Ruby, and in other ways I wondered what she saw in him. I found it hard to get invested in their relationship, even though they have moments I really enjoyed.
Overall, it was a joy watching Ruby grow throughout Sweet Nothings. She learns so much about herself and life in general, proving that you’re never too old to grow and change, even when things seem insurmountable or when it feels like you’re too old to lead a different life from the one you’ve always led. Funny, touching, and genuine, Sweet Nothings is a must-read for fans of women’s fiction....more