I found Her Best Laid Plans while searching for books set in Ireland. Between the cover, theFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I found Her Best Laid Plans while searching for books set in Ireland. Between the cover, the ‘Cosmo Red-Hot Reads’ label, and the fact the book is a novella, I was expecting more sex than story. I figured it’d be a quick, sexy read, and while there was some super hot sex in this book (like SUPER HOT OMG), it also had a great plot and fleshed-out characters.
I really liked Jamie and Connor. I sympathized with Jamie and her reasons for visiting Ireland and needing a break from real life. I appreciated that while she and Connor had instant chemistry, it never felt rushed or forced. It can be really hard to find a balance in novellas, and I think McKenna did a fantastic job. It felt like Jamie and Connor actually got to know each other, and while they promised no strings or expectations beyond Jamie’s visit to Ireland, it was easy to root for them and hope they’d find a way to make it work. Then there were the sex scenes. Holy wow. The ‘red-hot reads’ is definitely accurate. I was glad the book wasn’t all sex all the time, but I sure did enjoy Jamie and Connor’s sexytimes!
If you’re looking for a quick, sexy, funny, sweet read I highly recommend Her Best Laid Plans. I thoroughly enjoyed this story from beginning to end....more
After reading and loving Deirdre Riordan Hall’s Sugar, I was excited to read Pearl.Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
After reading and loving Deirdre Riordan Hall’s Sugar, I was excited to read Pearl. This was a book that was full of heartache and tough subjects, but it was also beautiful, hopeful, and inspiring.
Pearl hasn’t had an easy life. As the daughter of a has-been rock star who’s more worried about her next fix than about her own daughter, Pearl has been left to fend for herself for a long time. The streets of New York City and her love of fashion are her only escapes. When she and her mother end up homeless, Pearl’s uncle steps in to deal with his sister and send Pearl to boarding school. This is the first opportunity she’s ever had to experience a somewhat normal life, and she’s determined not to mess it up.
This was a very character-driven novel, and Pearl had a great voice. She was smart, creative, observant, and she wanted so badly to find a place she belonged. She absolutely broke my heart at times. It can be hard enough to fit in and have a normal life, but when your past is as rough as hers and you’re worried that’s all you’ll ever be, or worse, that you’ll turn into the very person who made life so difficult, it can seem like a hopeless situation. She was a very real character - she made mistakes, she wanted to be loved, she had varied interests and big dreams, she was sexually active (I appreciated that, and how it was handled - it wasn’t some huge, life-changing thing, it was just a natural part of the story). I connected with her easily, and rooted for her from beginning to end, whether I wanted to give her a big hug or smack her upside the head.
The side characters in the book were equally interesting. Pearl’s new boarding school friend, Sorel, was incredibly volatile. She was like a teenage version of Pearl’s mother, which I suppose is why Pearl didn’t just write her off entirely, even though she should have because she was so toxic and treated Pearl like crap. Despite disliking Sorel and wishing Pearl would stay away from her, I understood why she didn’t, or couldn’t. On the other hand, Pearl’s roommate, Charmindy, ended up being a really great friend. They had little in common and came from completely different backgrounds, but Charmindy taught Pearl a lot about friendship, and it was a truly beautiful thing to watch. I also loved Shale, Pearl’s art teacher, and the lessons he taught her, not just about art, but about life. And then there was Grant...I didn’t think I was going to like him at first, but he grew on me and I ended up loving him. He was exactly the type of guy Pearl needed, and I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t perfect, but it was realistic, which made their relationship easy to root for.
If you enjoy realistic, character-driven novels with beautiful prose and an overall hopeful message about life, love, forgiveness, and self-discovery, Pearl should be on your to-be-read list. While it deals with tough, often painful subjects, it does so in an open and honest way, and is ultimately a lovely and important coming-of-age story....more
I have a confession to make: until a few days ago, I was a comic book virgin. I know, I know,Find this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
I have a confession to make: until a few days ago, I was a comic book virgin. I know, I know, don’t revoke my Nerd Card just yet. As much as I love superheroes, I never got around to reading comic books, mostly because I had no idea where to begin (and partly because my BFF knows way more about superheroes than I do and I was worried if I started, I'd bombard her with never-ending questions and drive her nuts). Imagine my shock and pleasure when I was contacted by a member of Women Write About Comics and asked to review Midnighter for Midnighter Week. Apparently word of my nerdiness and my support of all things LGBTQ spread (yay!), and within a few days I had a lovely, shiny package of comic books for review from DC Comics.
Being almost completely unfamiliar with Midnighter and with Grayson, the story it spun from, I was worried I’d be lost, but I had no trouble getting into the story. I was instantly intrigued by Midnighter, a man who knows little about his own past before he was bioengineered to have enhanced abilities, superpowered healing, and a computer-like brain that allows him to see every possible way an opponent might attack, thereby rendering him pretty much unbeatable in a fight.
I love that Midnighter is who he is, whether he’s kicking ass or being a normal guy, sitting in a bar having a drink, talking to friends, dating, etc. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading - he was so brutal and lethal, I thought I might have trouble separating his superhero persona from the ‘real guy’ but I ended up really liking him and sympathizing with him. There was a nice mixture of him being badass Midnighter and being a regular guy, which I appreciated. He was confident, competent, cocky, smart, and had a dark sense of humour. The detailed artwork did a good job of reflecting his personality, and there were some pretty epic fight scenes. I liked how the artist gave snippets of what was happening within the big picture, so the reader could see things from different perspectives, and see certain things in sharper detail.
Overall, I think Midnighter was the perfect comic book for this newbie. It was fast-paced, had tons of action, great twists, humour, and more depth than I expected. I won’t lie, ‘gay superhero’ is what drew me to the story initially, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I anticipated. When I saw that I only had a few pages left, I was so into the story I was disappointed there wasn’t more. I can’t wait for the next installment!...more
When I read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut, Forever, Interrupted in 2013 I knew she was going tFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
When I read Taylor Jenkins Reid’s debut, Forever, Interrupted in 2013 I knew she was going to become a favourite author. Three years and three books later, TJR is still blowing me away with her ingenuity and storytelling ability. One True Loves is a beautiful, unique, honest, heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful story about true love, family, loss, and finding the strength to continue living even when your whole world is ripped away from you.
Jenkins Reid has this amazing ability to take a story that should seem unrealistic and make it completely believable. One True Loves is no exception. I was hooked from the first page, and I felt like I went on an emotional roller coaster by Emma’s side. I enjoyed watching her fall in love with Jesse, grieved with her when she lost him, and felt so much pride when she slowly started growing stronger and living again, especially when she opened her heart to Sam. It was interesting to see Emma at different stages in her life and to essentially watch her grow up over the course of several years. And did she ever grow. Just thinking about all she went through makes me tear up and it also makes me proud because she felt like a real person and her struggles and triumphs rang so true.
As with TJR’s other books, One True Loves is a love story in every sense of the word. I loved Emma’s relationship with her family and how it evolved realistically over the years. Emma’s relationships with Jesse and Sam were both enjoyable to read and made me run the gamut of emotions. And, like with TJR’s other books, this one made me think about life, family, love, what true love really means, and how we change over the years in big ways and small.
One True Loves is another beautiful book from Taylor Jenkins Reid. It’s an emotional journey that will put your heart through the wringer but also patch it back up. I think this book will be very healing for people who have suffered or are suffering from grief. As emotional and bittersweet as it is, it’s also hopeful and left me smiling through my tears....more
Royal Marriage Market is a fun, lighthearted modern fairy tale. I was completelyFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
4 - 4.5 stars
Royal Marriage Market is a fun, lighthearted modern fairy tale. I was completely captivated by this story from beginning to end.
Told alternately between Elsa and Christian, it was nice to get inside both characters’ heads. Their lives were fairly similar - they were destined to rule their respective countries, and their families were manipulative. They cared about their countries and their royal duties, but drew the line when it came to arranged marriage. They both saw their parents’ loveless marriages and wanted more for themselves, not to mention they didn’t want to be part of such an archaic tradition. Both characters were complex and easy to connect with. Their encounters ranged from funny to sweet to sexy to romantic. I loved that they had running jokes from early on in the story. It helped me not only connect to them, but it also made it easy to root for them, because underneath the surface of trying to keep their relationship friendly, it was obvious they were falling for each other.
This is the second book I’ve read lately where instalove was done right. Usually it feels contrived, but Lyons did a great job of making Elsa and Christian’s relationship believable. It was so much fun watching them fall for each other and wondering how they could possibly make things work.
If you’re looking for a book that’ll make you laugh and swoon in equal measure, Royal Marriage Market is a must read. It’s the perfect escape from reality when you want something sweet, light, and enchanting. This was my first Heather Lyons book, but it won’t be my last!...more
Leading Lines is the third book in the Pippa Greene series. Pippa is a young photographer navFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
Leading Lines is the third book in the Pippa Greene series. Pippa is a young photographer navigating high school, family life, the death of her father, her first love, and family secrets. I adored the first book in the series, Rule of Thirds, and liked the second book, Depth of Field, but it was so different from the first it felt like reading an entirely different series. I attributed this to the fact Pippa’s boyfriend and best friend, who had featured prominently in the first book, weren’t in the second book. They were back in the third book, but this time it was Pippa herself that prevented me from loving this book.
I have mixed feelings about Pippa. On one hand, her voice feels authentic and the situations she’s in are realistic. I like flawed, realistic characters, and I get that teens are often driven by emotions and hormones...but Pippa is a bit over the top at times. I understand her hurt and anger over the secrets her mother kept, and I know from experience how hard it is to lose a parent, but if I’d treated my mum the way Pippa treats hers, I’d have had my ass handed to me. I was also really irritated by the stuff with her boyfriend, Dylan. I didn’t mind their instalove in the first book, but didn’t like or understand his complete absence in the second book. Then he’s finally in this book but he treats Pippa like crap and she just takes it for half the book. I could understand the reasons for them growing apart - or, more aptly, him distancing himself from Pippa - but Pippa’s behaviour and attitude rubbed me the wrong way a lot of the time. With so much changing in her life, she didn’t want her relationship with Dylan to change; she wanted them to grow together, but they were growing separately while growing apart, and it was painful and confusing for her. I felt for her there, and as annoyed as I got I could admit it felt realistic in many ways - hence my mixed feelings!
One of my complaints about the first two books was the cliffhangers endings and how nothing was wrapped up in the second book. Things were mostly wrapped up neatly in this book, although I believe the series is continuing. I liked that Pippa had some growth and eventually realized she needed to change things and carry on with life. I also liked that there were a few small unexpected things throughout the story. Again, this is where my mixed feelings come in - Guertin crams a lot of stuff into very short books (all of them are around 200 pages), and while some things irritate me, it’s more personal preference things that might only bother me, while the other part of my brain says ‘but you have to admit this is realistic for a 17-year-old’.
If there is a fourth Pippa Greene book in the series, I’ll read it out of curiosity. Even though I didn’t enjoy Leading Lines as much as I'd hoped to and had mixed feelings about Depth of Field, I really enjoyed Rule of Thirds, and I think Pippa has potential to grow into herself and become a well-rounded character. ...more
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler is an absolutely gorgeous story. The only otheFind this and other reviews at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler is an absolutely gorgeous story. The only other book I’ve read of Ockler’s so far is Twenty Boy Summer, and I couldn’t imagine loving another book of hers more than that, but I did. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids completely enchanted me and stole my heart from beginning to end.
Elyse d’Abreau’s is defined by two things: the sea, where she was born, and her beautiful singing voice. Her identity is wrapped up tightly in music and the sea. Except that both have betrayed her in a way, leaving her with no voice and scars that are both physical and emotional. She leaves her home and family in Tobago and moves to Atagatis Cove, Oregon. She needs to figure out who she is without her voice, without her music, without her family, and what her future holds now that the future she thought she had has been ripped away from her.
I adored Elyse. She was smart, strong, and brave. The lessons she learns through the course of the book range from small, quiet things to huge lightbulb realizations. She learns so much about herself, as well as lessons about family, friendship, love, and life. I loved her relationship with Christian and that he was more than he appeared to be. Elyse needed someone like him - someone to see her, listen to her, and really be there for her. Their tentative friendship and then blossoming romance was a joy to watch. There were other stellar characters in the book, too - Elyse’s aunt and cousin, Lemon and Kirby, her new friend Vanessa, and my personal favourite, Christian’s little brother Sebastian. That kid was ridiculously cute, plus so intelligent. I loved his passion and excitement, and how easily he accepted Elyse and never seemed to notice her differences. All the side characters had a purpose in the story and added something special. They each had something to teach Elyse, and they helped her in many ways.
Besides the unique story and the fantastic characters, the writing was beautiful. This story was so full of emotion and made me feel so many things. I laughed and cried. I loved how sex-positive the story was and that Ockler didn’t shy away from portraying a healthy, safe sexual relationship. I also enjoyed the slow unfolding of what happened to Elyse to make her lose her voice. It, along with many other aspects of the book, was heartbreaking. I also loved learning about Trinidad and Tobago and what life was like for Elyse there. It was so vivid and descriptive, I could picture it all perfectly.
On a personal note: My brother is deaf, and while he has some speech, he won’t talk in front of everyone. Growing up with him and being surrounded by other deaf people, I can easily imagine how frustrating, saddening, and even maddening losing her voice must have been for Elyse. To not be able to speak, whether it’s a simple hello, or pouring your heart out, is huge. When some people realize you can’t speak, they dismiss you, assume you’re stupid, or don't want to be bothered trying to communicate. I’ve seen all of this firsthand. Unless you’ve seen or experienced it, it might be hard to understand, but I think Ockler did a fantastic job of showing Elyse’s situation and the effect it had on her.
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a beautiful story about conquering fears and finding your voice. These characters and their story will stick with me for a long time. This book is not only one of my favourite books of 2015, it’s earned a spot on my list of all-time favourites. ...more
Hot, hot, hot! I liked how there was a story within a story, and I also liked how Aubrey got her...inspiration. ;-) I need to read the second book prontHot, hot, hot! I liked how there was a story within a story, and I also liked how Aubrey got her...inspiration. ;-) I need to read the second book pronto!...more