You can see this review, along with a bunch of others, at Fictionators.
I liked this one.
After a life-wrenching breakup with her boyfriend of...more3 stars.
You can see this review, along with a bunch of others, at Fictionators.
I liked this one.
After a life-wrenching breakup with her boyfriend of eight years, Drew Daniels moves back home and gets a job with her mother at a medium-security prison as a Special Ed teacher. Trying to figure out a way to mend her broken heart, she feels like she's hit rock bottom.
She was also staying with her parents because her mother felt she shouldn't be alone after what happened. Especially since those early days without Ben had been filtered through an ugly new lens--one that distorted every day into something numb to be endured. Drew wanted to eat well-balanced meals cooked by her mother and use silverware that hadn't touched Ben's lips on a daily basis. She wanted to feel protected, to have her mother take care of her--the way she did when Drew had the flu as a child and her mother brought her cool washcloths for her forehead and flat 7-Up with a bendy straw.
It doesn't take too long for her to run into old high-school lab partner, Graham Finch. Confined to a wheelchair following a car accident, he's a social worker at the prison. He had a huge crush on Drew back in high-school, but feels like he doesn't stand a chance with her anymore.
Have you ever had one of those moments where you just knew the person you were sitting across from could be happy for the rest of her life, if only she spent it with you? Not like you are personally the key to her euphoria or something, you’re not that ego-centric, but she would be happy because you adore her. You complement one another. You’re on the same team. And you know there’s chemistry there because sometimes she looks at you a beat too long, but it’s a look of affection … of easy, effortless kindness. And you can feel all of this in your gut, in your heart, in your bones, in every muscle fiber and every molecule of your body.
While Drew and Graham rekindle their friendship, both of them date other people. Graham is a perpetual online dating kind of guy, and Drew catches the eye of in-office playboy Joe. He's a lot younger than her, but she doesn't seem to be able to resist him, much to Graham's dismay.
How could she not know his personal goal in life is to give more rides on the baloney pony than a petting zoo sponsored by Oscar Mayer? She's got to know it.
Mandatory Release was a good book--it had moments of humor and a little hotness and it was very authentic. I felt like both Drew's and Graham's feelings and reactions were authentic. Everything that Drew felt about being back home and the kind of life-fail that implies was spot-on. And with Graham, the way everything went back to him being in a wheelchair rang very true, as well. He doesn't want to be defined by being in a wheelchair, but he knows it is what it is. Graham was such a great character with an amazing personality. I loved his internal thoughts and how real he was. He's funny. And smart. And in spite of not always wanting to be, he's a nice guy. There's a moment with him and Joe that was one of my favorite parts:
There's a dangerous beat while [Joe's] face turns purple. "If you weren't in that chair..."
"You'd be in the hospital by now," I finish for him.
I really loved the reveal of what exactly happened to cause the demise of Drew and her longtime boyfriend's relationship. It was totally unexpected, but I would have never, ever guessed it. I also really loved Graham's friend, Kevin.
"Why does this have to be so damn complicated? I mean, you know, right? You know when you've found the one, right?"
"I only have one qualifying question. Do you spit or swallow? Answer that correctly, and you get me for life."
What I didn't love was some of the open-endedness. It's not that I need every single detail of everyone's lives, but I definitely would like to have found out more about some situations, like what happened with Drew's friend, Brooke. I also felt like even though the two of them had known each other for practically their entire lives, there was a smidge of "insta-love" that wasn't explained very well. Being crazy about someone, I get. But not in love with them, especially from the point of view of a guy. I also felt like there was this huge build up to something that only sort of happened. I guess that's real life, right? This book is not a quick read and I felt like a few parts kind of dragged on, but looking back on it, I don't know what really could have been cut out.
If you're looking for a funny story with twists and turns and hope, then check out Mandatory Release. I think you'll enjoy it.(less)
5 stars. And a (hug) for Ruthie Knox for being so amazing.
You can see this review (and lots of others) on Fictionators.
I have to admit that I haven't...more5 stars. And a (hug) for Ruthie Knox for being so amazing.
You can see this review (and lots of others) on Fictionators.
I have to admit that I haven't read any of the other books in the Camelot Series, but that is something that I am going to remedy right away. I asked the lovely Eleanor if I could read out of order, and she said I could but that I had to read the rest asap. Even though I absolutely love About Last Night (with one of my favorite swoony guys), Ride with Me, and Big Boy, I had almost forgotten how much I love Ruthie Knox.
Her words and stories and characters and situations are all just so real. I didn't know anything about Amber and Tony when I started reading this novella, but I immediately identified with and understood exactly where they were in life. I empathized with both of them and wanted to help. That's the power of Ruthie Knox. Don't dismiss her as just another author with hot bare-chested guys on her covers (not that I'm complaining lol). She's a genius, and definitely one of the most under-appreciated authors out there.
Ten years into marriage with three young boys, Tony and Amber are in Jamaica for his brother's wedding. The kids are all restless and Tony's aggravated when he notices Amber looks defeated. He makes a quick decision for her to stay in Jamaica for another few days.
"You can stay," he said. "If you want to."
"I want you to stay here a few more days. Take a break."
"Where is this coming from?"
...Tony took her by the shoulder and firmly steered her back around to face him.
"It was Jamila's idea, but she's right. This vacation sucked for you. I think--I think a lot of things must suck for you, and I can't usually do anything about it."
So, she stays, all alone on vacation at an all-inclusive resort in a luxury suite while her husband goes back home with the kids. He can't afford to miss anymore work, since he owns a construction company and times are hard. He loves his family, but he works eighty hour-weeks and barely has time to connect at all, let alone on any intimate level. At home, his mother-in-law gives him some advice.
"I can't go to Jamaica," he said. "I'll get fired off this job I'm doing in Dublin."
"So you lose the job. Isn't Amber more important?"
Realizing he can't lose his wife, he heads back to the resort, intent to reconnect and fix whatever their problems are. Typical man--sometimes things aren't an easy "fix". Tony and Amber have drifted apart because of life, not because anyone did any one thing wrong.
I loved this story, mostly because of how real it is. As a mom, I know it's hard not to let kids and crazy schedules and homework get in the way of what you want or who you are (besides being a mom). I could also identify with Tony, who felt like everything he was doing was for the betterment of his family. Marriage takes work, and it's easy to get off course. I love the intimacy of this story, and I love the sweetness, too.
"...Because you're my wife, and I love you, and I wouldn't have married you if you weren't also the smartest, most capable, most interesting, hottest chick I'd ever met."
Sometimes, you just need to hear that. I wish I could get my husband to read this. Is that TMI? I guess it's enough to know that I'm not alone in feeling the way I do most of thesome times. Thank you, Ruthie, for reminding us that it's okay to continue to hope and dream and feel lost and want more, even when you already have everything you could ever wish for.(less)
I'm sure this is a great story, but what little I did read scared me. I've decided I have enough horror in my life accidentally stumbling across scary...moreI'm sure this is a great story, but what little I did read scared me. I've decided I have enough horror in my life accidentally stumbling across scary movie trailers so...this is not for me. ♥(less)
I had a really hard time writing a review for this book. I loved the first half. I didn't love the last half, and that's why it gets 2-1/2 stars (I ro...moreI had a really hard time writing a review for this book. I loved the first half. I didn't love the last half, and that's why it gets 2-1/2 stars (I rounded down after thinking about it).
We begin with college junior Jillian Nichols thinking about the guy she hooked up with the night before when she hears some off-key singing coming from her kitchen. She gets out of bed to investigate and is met with a sexy naked Scotsman.
Standing stark-ass naked in the middle of my kitchen was six feet of smoking hotness. I remembered he was cute, and he was. He had a good face. It wasn't the kind that would grace any movie posters, but it was symmetrical with a well-defined nose and a strong jawline. His eyes were a sky-blue and his dark blondish hair was untidy enough to look a little sexy. But his body was another story, right down to his absolutely perfect, carved-by-the-gods-themselves calves.
"Hello, beautiful." He had an accent. How had I forgotten that he had an accent?
The naked Scotman, Liam McAvoy, wants to hang around for breakfast (and round two), but Jillian has a rule--she doesn't do seconds. She basically pushes him out the door and goes about her life. A few days later, after hanging out with her friends and feeling like a fifth wheel with their boyfriends, Jillian begins to wonder if she's missing out on something and if having a boyfriend would be worth giving up her freedom for.
The new semester starts and what was supposed to be an easy "A" in interpersonal communications becomes Jillian's worst nightmare when she's partnered up with Liam. He doesn't feel the same way about her.
"The purpose of this assignment is to teach you to consider the various needs of your partner..."
"I like this assignment," Liam whispered to me.
After Liam wears her down by being adorable, Jillian decides to give them a real chance. There are waffles and making out in darkened theaters and shower sex. It's almost insta-love. There are two major problems, though: one, she has a health issue and is very afraid that once Liam will split once he finds out and two, Liam is in the US on a student visa and has plans to return home to Edinburgh some time in the future. What happens when Liam finds out about her illness?
And that's about when I stopped really liking this story. They were both great at the beginning, and then...I don't really know how to explain it without giving everything away. The characters, namely Liam, at the beginning of this story didn't seem to remain true to character through the end. At first, I loved Liam. He was funny:
"We call them kilts, and we wear them so we can let our enormous cocks breathe."
He was chivalrous and hot and gave her forehead kisses. He affectionately called her "chicken," and he was swoony.
"I want to worship you."
Then, he turned into a douche. And not the kind of douche-type that I love. He sang her a Taylor Swift song. It just didn't make sense to me. I stopped and reread wtf happened, and when it's all said and done--I don't get it. I don't think the Liam at the beginning at the story, who was so hell-bent on getting Jillian to notice him and give them a chance, would just act like such a douche.
Not to mention, there was a Fifty Shades reference in there that totally squicked me out. Not just because it was mentioned (isn't that enough of a reason?), but the easy way that it was assumed that Liam knew what she was talking about. Maybe I hidelive under a rock, but I didn't think college junior Scottish guys interested in pursuing international careers were all that versed in Christian Grey's red room antics. ::shrugs::
And that's what the issue was, really. This story is self-published, and I have to believe that a real editor would have caught these inconsistencies and fixed them or at least asked Sophia Bleu to justify their actions. FWIW, I was happy that I didn't constantly find errors :)
Though the transformation that Jillian's character went through was expected, she annoyed me at times, and I wanted to feel what she was going through more. I liked her, and I found myself rooting for her. Even with the negative things I pointed out, I did like the story and I could have loved Liam. The other characters were interesting, especially Professor Markson. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series (hot for teacher!!), and I definitely think that this book is worth checking out.(less)
I love a man in uniform, and this book fills my needs for a soldier and a cop--in one swoony guy! Becca and Connor were high-school sweethearts who ha...moreI love a man in uniform, and this book fills my needs for a soldier and a cop--in one swoony guy! Becca and Connor were high-school sweethearts who had a bad break up. Connor went off to war, and Becca had plans to go off to college. In order to take care of her little brother, Toby (who is now almost 18), Becca had to abandon her dreams of travel and higher education. Now, she's practically counting down the minutes until Toby graduates so she can start her life. Connor is now the sheriff of their small town and has no plans to leave, ever.
I really liked the pacing of this story and the way things played out. Though the small-town politics seemed a little far-fetched to me, I liked the characters and their town. Connor and Becca realizing they still had feelings for each other made sense, and I liked the way their relationship evolved.
"What are you going to do with me now?" she asked. Her vulnerable state didn't frighten her. She trusted him too much for nerves to interfere with her desire.
His lips curled, as his gaze swept over her from top to bottom. "That's a question I've pondered for nearly half my life. Believe me, I won't run out of ideas."
What didn't I like? A couple of things. I didn't love the reveal of what made Connor and Becca break up all those years ago--I thought it was unrealistic for the couple everyone wanted to be in high school to give up over something so stupid that a real conversation would have cured. And then for his trust in her to be called into question again? DNW
Becca's entire body ached, and it had nothing to do with overextending herself on the rowing machine. She already felt like that finger was pointed at her. Sure, Connor wasn't the one pointing, but she needed him to play a different role than in high school. He couldn't stand by and not defend her. She needed him to believe in her this time.
This story was sweet, and I really liked Becca and Connor. Remember, Bliss titles fade to black, so even though there's some steam, there's nothing gratuitous. I haven't read anything else from Sara Daniel, but I definitely will be checking out more from her now. I think you'll like this one.(less)
I have to start off by saying that I'm pretty sure if this had been fic, I would have loved it. This makes me feel bad,...more3 stars. Or 2-1/2. Or 3. idfk.
I have to start off by saying that I'm pretty sure if this had been fic, I would have loved it. This makes me feel bad, but here's a newsflash: if your character isn't Edward Cullen (fic-Edward, at that), I don't know why you think I think it's okay to let him get away with everything. I don't. I need to have a reason to give a fuck about someone.
With that being said, I liked this story. I think.
Evelyn (Ev) wakes up in Vegas with a wicked hangover and a huge rock on her finger, courtesy of new husband/rock god David Ferris. What starts off as an ohmigodwhatamigoingtodo turns into something more, but not without a tumultuous uphill battle to get there.
David remembers everything about the events leading to their nuptials and is kind of hurt that Evelyn doesn't.
"Then give me something. Tell me what it was like between us that night."
He opened his mouth, then snapped it closed. "Nah. I don't want to dredge it all up, you know, water under the bridge or whatever. I just don't want you thinking that the whole night was some alcohol-fueled frenzy or something, that's all. Honestly, you didn't even seem that drunk most of it."
"David, you're hedging. Come on. It's not fair that you remember and I don't."
"No," he said, his voice hard, cold, in a way I hadn't heard it. He loomed over me, jaw set. "It's not fair that I remember and you don't, Evelyn."
Since neither of them is willing to sit down and actually communicate, the two make a plan to have their marriage annulled and go their separate ways. Unfortunately, the wedding wasn't a secret and the paps start to hound Ev once she gets home. David swoops in and rescues her and...then there's a bunch of crazy drama.
This is another book that could have used an editor. There are typos and story inconsistencies that a real editor would have caught. Notice I said real editor. It blows my mind with all of these books who thank their editors, when my 14 year old could have done a better job (and she has dyslexia).
I felt like the characters were childish. I suppose I would give some concession for David acting like a spoiled tantrum-throwing toddler since he is insanely rich and famous and gets whatever he wants all the time. Ev, not so much.
These two were constantly pushing each other's limits and then were shocked when they didn't know where they stood with one another. You know why they didn't know? There wasn't enough build up of these characters for us as readers to fall in love with them--how could they be expected to promise each other forever? Sure, there were some sweet moments, like "Can you feel what we're doing here? We're building something."
I'd just prefer to see and feel it than be told that they were building a relationship. There are other issues, like weird country music references and the fact that they keep walking out on each other. Oh, and that he needs to take a nap during what is arguably the most important conversation of his life. ::shrugs:: There's also this build up to a big show down that doesn't make sense to me. (view spoiler)[If her BFF was obsessed with his band, why wouldn't she have known who his ex was? Especially if she was the "reason" for the music before? (hide spoiler)]
So, what did I like? Why the 3 stars? I'm a sucker for a bad boy, obvs, and I thought the idea of this story was good. I really loved David's bandmate, Mal, and I think I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. I liked the ending, except the part where she wants to keep her part-time job at a coffee shop. WTF?!? I understand why Christina said she wanted to see what I thought of this book because it's so hard to articulate the way I feel. It could have been amazing, but it wasn't. Here's hoping for more (Mal) in the next one.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)