If you know me well, you’ll know I love romantic comedies - bonus points if they happen to beFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
If you know me well, you’ll know I love romantic comedies - bonus points if they happen to be set in England. Sweet Pursuits fits both of these categories. Set in the small town of Saffron Sweeting, this book follows Bella on her quest to win back her ex, the ‘love of her life’, who not only dumped her, but took off to America without a backward glance...until several years later when he returns to England for his job. Bella, having never moved on, is determined to win Owen back by shedding some weight, sprucing up her wardrobe, and reminding him of the good times they shared.
I’ll admit, at first I had some issues with Bella wanting to lose weight to get Owen back. I’m generally against people changing to impress someone else, but I hung in there, having a feeling Bella’s misguided attempts would eventually turn into something more. They did. I grew to really admire Bella - she was smart, funny, and determined, the type of heroine who’s capable of saving herself from distress, albeit with a bit of help from loyal friends, both old and new. She learned a lot through the course of the book, and grew as a person. It was a pleasure to watch, and it inspired me in my own quest to become healthier and stick to my goals.
Besides Bella, Sweet Pursuits had a great cast of characters. There were a lot of people to keep track of, which threw me a bit at first, but as each character’s personality began to shine through, it was easy to keep up. Each character added something special to the story, and it was nice to see Bella opening herself up to new people as well as new experiences.
Funny and charming, Sweet Pursuits is the type of chick lit I love. With a smart, well-rounded main character, a fun ensemble cast, and a plot that kept me interested, I'd definitely recommend Sweet Pursuits. ...more
If I could rate this collection based solely on Hot Winter's Night, it'd get 5 stars without question. I loved Kit and Goldie's story - it was funny,If I could rate this collection based solely on Hot Winter's Night, it'd get 5 stars without question. I loved Kit and Goldie's story - it was funny, romantic, sexy, and had so much heart. Lia Riley never fails to amaze me. I didn't enjoy the other two stories though, so I'm torn! Rating and full review to come....more
In the acknowledgments of Three Simple Words, AJ Pine refers to the book as a ‘love letter to romance’. That’s exactly what this book felt like: a love letter to the romance genre and to the people who love it. Three Simple Words has everything I love most about romance: a strong, smart heroine; a sexy, swoonworthy, and flawed hero; and plenty of banter, sexytimes, and real emotion.
Annie not only believes in happily ever afters, she wants her own. She wants the type of love she reads about in books...which just happens to be the type of love Wes doesn’t believe in and didn’t include in his best-selling book. His novel is loosely based on his own experiences with romance, sex, and his aversion to the whole concept of ‘happily ever after’. He and Annie seem like complete opposites, but there’s this spark between them they can’t deny. What ensues is a lot of familiar romance tropes rolled into something special and fun. While there were familiar elements, which was an added bonus to the ‘love letter to romance’ feel the book had, the story and characters felt fresh and unique, and I was captivated from beginning to end.
One of the things I liked best about this book was how involved the characters from the previous books were. Each book can technically be read as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading each of them, and in the order of publication. This book in particular is tied in more tightly with the others because of certain events. There was one truly lovely scene that made me cry, but I don’t think it would have as much of an emotional impact to people who hadn’t read the first two books. I loved seeing Jamie, Brynn, Holly, Will, and Jeremy be such a big part of Annie and Wes’s story. Pine has a knack for writing ensemble casts - I felt like I was part of the group from her If Only... series, and now I feel like I’m a member of the Kingston Ale House group, too.
Three Simple Words is a book I know I’ll be recommending often to people who are looking for well-written, fun, sexy romance. It made me laugh out loud, tear up several times, and swoon. The characters weren’t perfect - they were flawed and they made mistakes, which made them feel real and made me root for them even more. Three Simple Words is my favourite in the Kingston Ale House series, which is saying a lot because I loved the first two books!...more
Viviana is having a rough few months. Her ex-boyfriend spread her nude selfies around the school, she’s feeling an immense amount of press
Viviana is having a rough few months. Her ex-boyfriend spread her nude selfies around the school, she’s feeling an immense amount of pressure to do well in school, her dad has moved out and barely contacts them, and her relationship with her mother is strained. She hopes for a quiet, relaxing summer, but between her anxiety, a job that’s more stressful than she anticipated, and the fact her best friend is moving away and they spend half the summer fighting over a boy, things aren’t going as planned.
On the surface, The Best Possible Answer is a fun, light summer read, but it balances out the lightness with some serious issues like mental illness, lies, cheating, bullying, and school/parent pressures. While I appreciated that this book tackled so many big, real-life problems, at times it felt like there was too much going on. For such a short book, I think it was ambitious to address such huge issues but do it quickly and with a healthy dose of fluff in between. If it had focused more on a few of the issues instead of so many different things, it wouldn’t have felt like such a hodge podge of ‘big issue’ elements thrown together.
That being said, I liked Vivi a lot and found her easy to relate to and sympathize with. She wanted to make everyone happy - her parents, her little sister, her best friend, her teachers - and it left her anxiety-ridden and struggling to cope. I think a lot of people, especially teens, will be able to relate to this. I liked that the story featured a strong female friendship. Vivi and Sammie fought and had disagreements and misunderstandings, but they loved each other unconditionally. If one needed the other, even during a fight, they were there for each other without question. This is the type of female friendship I’d love to see more of in YA. I do wish we’d learned a bit more about Sammie since she was such an important part of Vivi’s life, and it would have been nice to see more from them other than just talking about Evan, but it really was great to see such a strong friendship.
The Best Possible Answer was a fun, thought-provoking read. It was different from anything I’ve read, and I appreciated the overall message of not letting your past or your mistakes define you or hold you back. Vivi had plenty of growing pains through the course of the story, but she came out stronger and smarter, and with the knowledge that it’s okay not to be perfect - what matters is that you remain true to yourself....more
AJ Pine has done it again! Pine became one of my favourite authors last year, and with her nFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
AJ Pine has done it again! Pine became one of my favourite authors last year, and with her newest book, Six Month Rule, she continues to make me fall for her characters and stories. Six Month Rule has sexy, funny, feel-good romance written all over it, and it was exactly what I needed. Plus, can I just say: hot British guy in a three-piece suit? SOLD.
I appreciated that Six Month Rule took a familiar trope - office romance - and made it different from the norm by not focusing on the ‘forbidden romance’ aspect. Even though there were stakes involving Holly’s job in particular, the conflict was focused elsewhere, which was a nice change. Holly and Will were both driven people, focused on their careers and their futures. Because of that, and because Holly has discovered relationships fizzle out quickly for her, she created the six month rule - no relationship can go past the six month mark. In those six months, she can have great sex, have fun with the guy, but not develop serious attachments or have romance get in the way of her career. Then Will came along. Will, who's charming, a bit distant and mysterious, and as passionate about his job as Holly is. And sexy. Let’s not forget sexy. (Did I mention the whole hot Brit in a three-piece suit thing?) I loved how their relationship progressed from reluctant colleagues to something more, then something much more. There were so many layers to the story and to these characters, which made them easy to root for individually and together. I couldn’t imagine how things were going to work out for them, which made for an extra element of tension that kept me captivated.
Holly is hilarious and adorable. She's this mixture of single-minded businesswoman and quirky girl next door. She said and did things that made me laugh and shake my head (in a good way - that affectionate way you do with your closest friends when they’re being weird and you’re reminded just how much and why you love them), but then she’d think or say something that made me want to hug her really tightly. I loved how she opened up to Will and slowly let him see parts of her true self, even when he held back. Will was a fantastic character, too. I loved that he wanted to make up for past wrongs without being the tortured, brooding hero. He was exactly what Holly needed.
If you’re looking for a charming, lighthearted, feel-good romance with real emotion, plenty of steam, and swoons aplenty, you need to read Six Month Rule. Even though this is technically a standalone and you don’t have to read The One That Got Away, I highly recommend that one as well. Jamie and Brynn are great characters, and it was like reuniting with old friends when they appeared in Six Month Rule....more
Last year when I read Fly With Me, the first book in the Wild Aces trilogy, I fell completelyFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
Last year when I read Fly With Me, the first book in the Wild Aces trilogy, I fell completely in love with Noah, Jordan, and the cast of characters. I thought I couldn’t possibly love the next book, Into the Blue more, and yet Thor and Becca captivated me as much as Noah and Jordan did. Again, I didn’t think I could love the final book, On Broken Wings more than the first two, but I did. It’s hard to choose since all the books and all the characters are amazing, but Easy and Dani’s story might just be my favourite of the bunch. This whole trilogy grabbed my heart from the beginning, making me laugh, cry (and I do mean cry...like, ugly cry at times), swoon, and fall in love.
I knew On Broken Wings would be emotional. Considering I sobbed like a baby when Joker died in the first book, I was sure it would be painful to read about Dani moving forward with her life. Pair that with how much Easy loved Dani and was completely prepared to never act on his feelings, and I was sure I was in for an emotional ride. I wasn’t wrong. Within the first few pages of On Broken Wings, I was already tearing up, and I cried several times throughout. Dani’s grief really resonated with me. She and Easy both had grief and guilt to deal with, and had to find the strength to move forward with their lives even when it hurt like hell. I found myself nodding along in agreement to a lot of the things Dani was thinking and saying about grief. Cleeton captured that feeling - the sadness, the anger, the regret, the confusion - so well.
I’ll admit, I was a bit worried how things were going to be handled in regards to Easy and Dani’s relationship, since Dani was a widow, and Easy had been a close friend of Joker’s. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say I thought it was handled really well - with respect and care - and was one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve read in a long time. It was both heartwarming and heartwrenching, and I loved every moment of it.
On Broken Wings is the perfect end to an amazing series. With a complex set of characters, beautiful romances, and real emotion, the Wild Aces trilogy has become an all-time favourite. The characters in this series have a special place in my heart and won’t soon be forgotten....more
Brenda St John Brown knocked it out of the park with her 2014 New Adult debut, Swimming to Tokyo, and she’s done it again with A Brit on the Side. Being obsessed with all things British, I couldn’t wait for this book, and it didn’t disappoint. Right from the beginning, I wished I could be at Castle Calder with Bea and the gang, working for the summer and falling for a cute Brit.
What I love best about St John Brown’s books is the complex, believable characters. These characters - as well as their dialogue, actions, and situations they’re in - are so real. They’re flawed and realistic, which made me love them even when they did things that pissed me off. Bea was a fantastic character; she was strong to begin with, but over the course of her summer in England, she learned and grew so much. I appreciated the way the author tackled Bea’s body issues - as someone who’s always been overweight and self-conscious about it, I connected to that aspect of Bea’s character. It was fun and rewarding to watch her gain independence and confidence, learn important lessons that were often difficult and painful, and also watch her fall for Jasper.
Speaking of Jasper...Oh, Jasper. *sigh* I loved how he wasn’t perfect. He wasn’t full of smooth, romantic lines or grand gestures. He was just a regular guy, and he made mistakes, did and said some stupid things, and even made me doubt him at times, but ultimately I loved him, partly because of those things. I enjoyed his relationship with Bea and how it wasn’t easy. The will-they-won’t-they pull added nice tension, and there were some hella sexy and steamy moments between him and Bea that I sure enjoyed!
Besides Bea and Jasper, A Brit on the Side was full of wonderful side characters. Everyone had a purpose, which I appreciated. Going back to what I was saying about St John Brown’s ability to write complex characters, she’s also spot on with her portrayal of realistic friendships and relationships. There were ups and downs, bumps in the road, things that made you wonder if everything would turn out okay, and I loved that because it reflected real life. It was easy to immerse myself in the world of Castle Calder and imagine I was friends with these characters. In fact, I got so emotionally invested that I happy-cried like a baby through the last chapter of the book.
Full of layered, realistic characters and situations, plus as many giggles as swoons, A Brit on the Side is the perfect summer escape. ...more
The first book in the Wild Aces trilogy, Fly With Me, is one of my favourite books of 2016 sFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
The first book in the Wild Aces trilogy, Fly With Me, is one of my favourite books of 2016 so far. I was eager to carry on with the series, but couldn’t imagine loving the second book, Into the Blue, as much as the first. Not only did I love it as much, I might love it even more. It’s hard to say because they’re so different, but they’re both incredible in their own rights, and Into the Blue has definitely earned a spot on my favourites list right alongside Fly With Me.
Cleeton did a fantastic job of setting up the Wild Aces trilogy with the first book. We got a look at what it’s like to be a fighter pilot, to be in the military, and to be a partner to someone in the military. We got the highs and lows, the complications, and the triumphs. In Into the Blue, we still got to see elements of that life, but it was more of a straight-up romance than a ‘fighter pilot romance’. Cleeton also did a great job of setting things up for the final book, On Broken Wings.
I loved Becca and Thor, together and separately. I’m a sucker for a well-written second chance romance, and this one is my new favourite. It was absolutely beautiful. Becca and Thor had so much history, so many past hurts from their childhoods and from each other, but also great memories together, plus that lingering sense of love and family they found with each other as kids. They also had sizzling chemistry; this book was hella sexy. There was a perfect combination of emotion, steam, and humour. I couldn't put this book down, and I would have happily continued reading about Becca and Thor forever. I loved how everything was wrapped up perfectly without feeling too perfect/neat or unrealistic. Everything came together in a way that felt right and had me happy sighing and wiping away a few tears.
Into the Blue was a beautiful, engrossing story about second chances and true love. It was sexy, funny, sweet, romantic, and emotional. After just two books, I feel like I’m part of the Wild Aces family, and I can’t wait to see more of these amazingly complex, real characters....more
I try really hard not to set my expectations too high with books anymore because I feel like I’m often disappointed when I built a book up in my mind. That being said, after reading Splintered and Unhinged by AG Howard, I couldn’t help but get excited and set high hopes when I read the synopsis and saw the gorgeous cover for The Architect of Song. Once I started reading, I knew within a few chapters that I was right to get excited about this book; Howard has a magical way with words and an ability to weave a beautiful story that’s dark, haunting, twisted, unique, and ultimately hopeful.
Part of my initial curiosity about The Architect of Song was the fact the main character, Juliet, was deaf. My brother is deaf, and having grown up surrounded by deaf people, I was interested to see how Howard would tackle the disability, especially in a Victorian setting. As sad as it was, it made sense that in that era, Juliet had to hide her deafness rather than be pitied or seen as ‘less than’ by society. Her feelings of isolation and her aversion to people other than her uncle and her maid, paired with her grief over the death of her mother, came across well and made me sympathize with her immediately.
There were so many elements of this story that kept me enthralled. It was a wonderful combination of mystery, romance, paranormal, and historical fiction. I liked the sense of not quite knowing who to trust, and how even as you pieced together parts of the mystery there was still so much to unravel. The night I started the book I had trouble falling asleep because the ghost element of the book - while probably not scary to most people - freaked me out! Then once I was over the fear, I couldn’t stop thinking about the characters whenever I had to set the book aside. I wanted to know what was going to happen and how things would work out. I also really enjoyed the gypsy lore in the story. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything with Romani characters, and I found the bits of history and customs fascinating. It was just one of the many things that set this book apart and made it sparkle.
The Architect of Song is a story that will stick with me for a long time. I finished reading it a couple weeks ago and still think about it daily. I became so emotionally invested in the characters that they were like real people by the end (so much so that I was a sobbing mess in the last couple chapters). This story has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for something with a paranormal twist, historical fiction, romance, or mystery.
Captivating, atmospheric, romantic, and beautifully written, The Architect of Song is a must read. ...more