Torn Away was one of those books that I read the description before, requested it, and then forgot what it was supposed to be about by the time I got...moreTorn Away was one of those books that I read the description before, requested it, and then forgot what it was supposed to be about by the time I got around to starting it. Of course, the title is fitting, but if you don’t know what the storyline is going to be about then the title doesn’t give much away. I wanted a book that I could read through quickly and considering Torn Away is only 288 pages, it kind of fit the bill for that.
Since I wasn’t fully prepared for what this story was about, Torn Away kind of caught me off guard. Jennifer Brown doesn’t drag out the beginning of the book before the tornado yet it didn’t jump right into it either. There was just enough setup for me to get invested in the characters and then have two of them torn away. Everything about this book felt so real to me. From Jersey’s typical teenage behavior in the beginning, to her thought process during and after the tornado, to the grief she feels, and the little things she salvages from her wrecked home. Begging her stepfather, Ronnie not to send her away, and begging her best friend’s mother to let her stay with them for a while and so on and so on. The entire process felt genuine.
It was just that genuine feel to Torn Away that had me connected and devouring the pages one after the other. I’m not the easiest person to make cry, but I teared-up at least twice while reading Torn Away as I went through the myriad of emotions right along with Jersey. I was happy with where Torn Away ended, but the process of getting there wasn’t always fun.
Torn Away is one of those books where you know that this COULD happen to you in real life and has happened to someone out there, but despite the number of people affected by natural disasters statistically speaking the chances of something like this happening to you are low. It’s kind of like those books about dating a movie or rock star. Sure real life people out there actually do end up dating and marrying famous people, but statistically speaking it happens so infrequently to make those books feel improbably. I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Torn Away hooked me quickly, put me through the ringer, and spit me out. The whole process happened pretty quickly--I read this entire book in less than 24 hours. Torn Away gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Torn Away? What did you think? Let me know!
Let me start off by saying that not everyone is going to like Very Bad Things. There’s insta-love (aka love at first sight). There’s talk of being sou...moreLet me start off by saying that not everyone is going to like Very Bad Things. There’s insta-love (aka love at first sight). There’s talk of being soul-mates. There’s cheesiness. There’s ridiculously fast happy endings. But you know what? Sometimes I just need these types of books. Sometimes I like cheesy. Sometimes I need an unrealistic love story that’s going to hook me until I read every page. And Very Bad Things fit that bill for me.
Very Bad Things is told from alternating POVs between Nora and Leo. Nora is a high school senior. She’s the class president, a star debater, she’s got an IQ of 160. She’s a beauty queen. She’s a talented pianist, and she’s on track to go to Princeton. But Nora doesn’t really want any of that anymore. She only wanted it before to please her mother who demands perfection from her. But Nora’s been through some very bad things in her life and she doesn’t want to pretend anymore. Leo has recently moved to town. He’s older than Nora and solely responsible for raising his younger brother, Sebastian. And he’s terrified of letting anyone too close because he knows how quickly they can be ripped out of your life.
Nora and Leo have this moment when their eyes meet across a parking lot. I think there’s a lot to be said about the circumstances surrounding the events taking place that contribute to said moment. And I can definitely understand having a moment with someone, feeling connected, and then seeking them out after that, but it’s a bit of a stretch to say anything more than that took place within the moment. Nora is pretty set on the idea of Leo from then on out. Yet Leo fights the relationship tooth and nail for much longer than I expected.
The secondary characters could have used a bit more page time. Sebastian and Mila especially since they had the biggest roles outside of Leo and Nora. But even Cuba felt like he could have been explored more. I had many questions about Mila and Cuba. And Sebastian was just such a likeable character that I’d love to learn more about him. I’m excited to say that book 2, Very Wicked Things is Cuba’s story and I look forward to delving deeper into his character. Of course, we’ll have to wade through the man-slut to get to the good stuff, but I’m invested at this point.
Very Bad Things only had two or three graphic scenes, and as new adult books go this is pretty tame.
Truthfully, Very Bad Things isn’t one of those books that I want to dissect too much. I’m not expecting anything too deep, too philosophical, or too poetic or beautiful from a story such is this one. It was good enough that I was interested to keep reading. Very Bad Things gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read Very Bad Things? What did you think? Let me know!
When the opportunity came up for me to read and review Losing Control, I jumped on it. I’ve read three other books by Jen Frederick earlier this year...moreWhen the opportunity came up for me to read and review Losing Control, I jumped on it. I’ve read three other books by Jen Frederick earlier this year and enjoyed each one (Undeclared, Unspoken, and Unraveled). So reading Losing Control was a no-brainer for me.
I really enjoyed reading about Victoria. She’s not what I would consider the typical leading female character. She has a learning disability which causes her trouble with reading and writing. Often times authors write about female leading characters who love to read because often times authors themselves love to read, but I loved that Victoria pretty much avoided reading as much as possible. She’s not normally bothered by her struggles or disabilities, but it can be a sore subject. Victoria is still a very smart character. She’s observant and perceptive, not a pushover. Aside from that, Victoria has a close bond with her mother who has just been re-diagnosed with cancer. Because her mother, Sophie, can’t work due to her treatments, Victoria has taken on the financial burden as well as the responsibility of caring for her mother. She’s sacrificed and compromised her moral standard in order to do what pays the bills. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a prostitute, she just delivers packages that she’s aware are probably illegal. I loved that Victoria was a bike courier. That’s something we don’t have in small towns, but it added authenticity to Victoria’s story.
On one delivery (a legal one), she runs into a handsome man, Ian Kerr. Ian and Victoria do have an insta-lust relationship that Ian later explains might have been insta-love-ish on his part. At least one of those “I knew you were special from the moment I saw you” kind of things. Ian’s a bit of a mystery. Victoria knows that he has dealings with her step-brother, Malcolm, who is also her boss for the illegal deliveries that she does. But yet Ian doesn’t seem like a criminal. She’s hesitant to let her guard down around him. As luck would have it, Ian just so happens to be filthy rich. And he wants to lavish his money upon Victoria. Of course, Victoria doesn’t want any of it, but what kind of man would he be if he didn’t want to share his abundance with her?
Ian’s dealings with Malcolm aren’t illegal exactly, but they are unsavory. Ian struggles with asking Victoria to participate in his plan, but he’s trying any way he can think of to get her to accept financial help from him. I loved seeing his genuine care and concern for Victori but also for her mother, Sophie.
I do have to say that Losing Control was pretty graphic. It was funny because as I was reading Losing Control the "dirty talk" was cracking me up. There were moments when what was said just wasn’t anything that would have been attractive to me...like at all. It took Ian and Victoria a while to work up to this place in their relationship, but boy once they did…it was "on like Donkey Kong." Like…all the time. Just a fair heads up there.
Losing Control gets 4 stars from me. Likeable, different characters. The plot that was interesting, not entirely original, yet not overdone. I loved that Losing Control didn’t have the characters making stupid decisions at the 70% mark just to create some kind of conflict. As a matter of fact, I really enjoyed the entire last 30% of the book just as much as the beginning. And I’m looking forward to checking out Taking Control, book 2, as soon as I can! Have you read Losing Control? What did you think? Let me know!
So Husband and I have been watching Dexter on Netflix, right? And we literally just finished Season 4's finale about the same time that I was around t...moreSo Husband and I have been watching Dexter on Netflix, right? And we literally just finished Season 4's finale about the same time that I was around the 70% mark for Push. Season 4 has an epic finale and despite wanting to return to Push to see how it all ends, I needed to see Episode 1 of Season 5 for some closure on Season 4's ending. Wow. Just wow. I say all of that to say that I saw some similarities betweenDexter and Push.
Without giving too much away we know from the description that David's previous six girlfriends have all gone missing. That's a pretty huge coincidence. When I initially read the book description my first thought was "well there has to be something going on that we don't know about that would explain this." But as Sherlock Holmes says, "There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact." So when I started Push and the prologues (both Emma and David's) were set at a specific event in the future, I was discouraged. Emma's prologue didn't set her up to be a character that I was excited to be reading about. From the prologue she seemed too passive. And David's prologue...well I'll just say that it left me feeling like I was reading about a train wreck--slow and steady, but headed toward an unavoidable, deadly conclusion. And one that I wouldn't be excited reading about. Initially, I felt like the prologues set me up to dislike this book and these characters.
Yet, I still felt like I must be missing some pieces to the puzzle. "There's something I'm missing," I kept repeating. It felt like Claire Wallis was giving me too much information and thus I began to question the information I was given. You know that feeling where all the evidence points in one direction and you have to wonder if the obvious conclusion is just well...too obvious.
Another Dexter-like quality was Emma herself. She reminded me a lot of Deb, Dexter's sister. She's all harsh edges and foul language. Emma had a rough childhood. Her father died when she was young, and her mother pretty much married a loser who made it his life's mission to make Emma's life miserable. Now living on her own and working, Emma's trying to move on from her past. She has issues, but I connected with her. She tries so hard to never be vulnerable, but David comes in and worms his way under her protective shell.
David shows up claiming to be the apartment complex's handyman to fix her kitchen. And well he keeps coming back. He somehow manages to get inside her apartment multiple times without Emma actually opening the door for him. He's got an air of mystery around him. And because of the prologues, I was constantly wondering how truthful he was being with Emma even though he seemed genuine.
Claire Wallis periodically includes a chapter from each of David's previous girlfriends as well as flashbacks to Emma's past. These parts were initially frustrating for me because they took me away from the present, and Emma and David's building relationship. Yet these chapters proved to be so valuable and shaped the way I thought about the characters, the current events, and the inevitable conclusion. The more I read and the deeper I delved into these chapters, the more I recognized patterns of similarities as well as contrasts between David's past girlfriends and Emma.
Overall I was impressed with Claire Wallis's decisions. She did a good job weaving hints into this book. She repeated descriptions in a way that wasn't annoying as they can sometimes be but instead as a clue. She foreshadowed nicely. And she does a great job of tying all of the pieces together from start to finish. I highly advise paying close attention to the wording when you're reading this one. Also, remember how I mentioned that the prologues initially had me dreading what was to come? The further I read into Push the more I realized that the prologues were perfect because they offered a reference point for all of the information to come which added an air of mystery to this story when I initially thought they were too revealing. Bravo, Ms. Wallis!
I will say that while certain scenes weren't too graphic, you definitely don't wonder what's going on. That and Emma's (I keep wanting to call her Deb, you guys! Dexter!!! *shakes fist at the TV*) crude mouth were borderline for me. Not quite too much, but I could have done with just a little less at the same time. But that's a personal preference.
Either he can play his little game and say something that is going to send me over the edge, or he can say something that pulls me back from the brink.
But now...now, he is taunting me, bringing me close and then pulling back.
"...he did look more like a man with food poisoning than a man in love..."
The idea of David ironing is an absurd turn-on.
"They let the bottom drop out. Or maybe they even caused it. But I am not them."
And, of course, my favorite quotes are spoilers, so I'll keep them to myself. Also, be aware that this book does appear to be the first in a series. I'm not sure how many books are intended, but I'm assuming at least one more since "to be continued" was at the very end--there better be at least a second book. I need more.
Push gets 4.5 Stars. I debated on just giving it 4 Stars, but this book has stuck with me. This is as close to a book-hangover I've had in a while. Maybe it has something to do with that traumatic Dexter season finale coming at the same time as this book. Don't be too judgemental with the prologues. They might seem to give too much away, but they're necessary and just right the way that they are. Please check out Push if you haven't.
Have you read Push? What did you think? Let me know!
I saw The Kiss of Deception for review and was immediately pulled in by the cover. Then after reading the description I settled on requesting it becau...moreI saw The Kiss of Deception for review and was immediately pulled in by the cover. Then after reading the description I settled on requesting it because it sounded exactly like something I would enjoy. You just never know when you request a book for review if it’s going to be a winner or not. And well, I kind of put off starting The Kiss of Deception because I still didn’t really know much about it. I didn’t know any other bloggers who had read it—until well I did. Then I started noticing it popping up. And I was hearing nothing but good things about it—though nothing too specific. After seeing Anna Reads feature it in her Top Ten Books Read So Far This Year post, I figured now was the perfect time to start it.
The Kiss of Deception was so much more than I expected it to be.
We start out the book with our princess, Lia, who is being forced into an arranged marriage in order to forge an alliance with another kingdom. This happens all the time, right? Well maybe not now, but throughout history. And yet, Lia doesn’t want this marriage. She wants to marry for love. She wants to be wanted. However, she’s the First Daughter. And First Daughter has a lot of burdens, responsibilities, and gifts that come along with it. Yet she just wants to escape the traditions and duties of being First Daughter and just be a regular person—free to make her own choices and live her own life. Maybe even fall in love. And so Lia decides to run—on the day of her wedding.
The prince she was supposed to marry is initially angry—at himself—for not having thought of running first. I’m not exactly sure what the prince was desiring to run from exactly since he doesn’t spend much time thinking about how he never wanted to be forced into a loveless marriage. But he does think about how he’s been trained to be a soldier but isn’t really battle-tested. In truth, he’s been protected for most of his life. He decides to chase after Lia in hopes of just watching her for a bit—maybe even telling her off for running.
While on the road and tracking Lia, the prince runs into an assassin that has been sent on a mission to kill Lia. Of course, the prince doesn’t know his new travelling companion is an assassin. And the two ride together into the town where Lia has found her refuge working as a tavern maid. Lia meets both the prince and the assassin at the same time. They give her names, but here’s where things start getting even more interesting—you, the reader, do not know which name belongs to which character—the prince or the assassin. So we’ve got the name Kaden and the name Rafe, but you don’t know which name belongs to the assassin and which belongs to the prince. Of course, Lia has no idea that there even is a prince or an assassin. I found this to be brilliant. I wanted to root for the prince, but I didn’t know whether the prince was Kaden or Rafe so I wasn’t sure if he was "winning" or not. Of course, while reading I was constantly on the lookout for clues as to which character is which, but Mary E Pearson did this so well that I really just couldn’t tell. Even when I felt strongly one way, I was always questioning what I thought I had figured out. Sentences that would lead me to think “surely this applies to the assassin” could also be applied to a prince who happens to be a solider. And any sentence hinting at revealing deception to the princess obviously applies to both. And so on and so on. Now that I know which is which for sure, I know 100% that I’m going to have to go back and re-read this book.
Not only did I find the character-confusion to be intriguing and masterfully done, but Mary E Pearson writes some beautiful and poetic sentences. I wasn’t struck with the writing style constantly as I have been in the past with authors such as Lauren Oliver, Ally Condie, Maggie Stiefvater, or Michelle Hodkin, but plenty of sentences and passages stood out to me as being lyrical, poetic, and just all-around powerful sentences. From the dedication (which I even highlighted in my kindle—“For the boy who took a chance, For the man who made it last…”) to the opening sentence of the book (“Today was the day a thousand dreams would die and a single dream would be born.”), I was impressed over and over again.
More of my favorite quotes:
-I closed my eyes against the thought, knowing that soon the day would cleave in two, forever creating the before and after of my life, and it would happen in one swift act that I could no more alter than the color of my eyes.
-…as I faced the last step that kept here from there.
-My dress streamed behind me, now wedding me to a life of uncertainty, but that frightened me far less than the certain life I had faced.
-There are some things you can never pay back.
-…as Aunt Bernice noted, a little exaggeration was always expected when describing weapons, victories, and body parts.
-Some truths refuse to be hidden.
-“The truths of the world wish to be known, but they won’t force themselves upon you the way lies will.”…”And sometimes it prowls low here, heavy in your gut.”...”That is the truth wishing to be known.”…”It’s listening without ears, seeing without eyes, perceiving without knowledge.”
The Kiss of Deception was so enjoyable. It was unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved the mystery and being kept in the dark. Now…I must find time to re-read this book so I can go back and see all of the puzzle pieces I missed and the ones that I misinterpreted. The Kiss of Deception easily gets 4.5 stars from me. I can easily say that this book will make me Favorites of 2014 also. Have you read The Kiss of Deception? What did you think? Let me know!
I went through a spell a while back when I read several emotionally heavy books in a row, and that caused me to be in a bit of a reading slump. So I t...moreI went through a spell a while back when I read several emotionally heavy books in a row, and that caused me to be in a bit of a reading slump. So I turned around and read a couple of lighter books that I could blow through quickly to help me get out of that slump. I’d been eyeballing Jane’s Melody for a while because it sounded like a book that I would enjoy, yet I kept holding off on starting it because it seemed like it might be emotionally heavy with Jane’s daughter Melody having recently passed away.
Now, I’m not a mother yet. And obviously therefore haven’t experienced the love a mother feels toward her child. By default, I haven’t experienced what Jane has, but I do know several mothers who have. Having said that, I expected there to be more intense grief within the pages of Jane’s Melody. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sure I wanted more grief, but I expected it given the circumstances.
The description tells you that Jane and her young musician have an age difference—about fifteen years. Age differences don’t typically bother me because my husband is twelve years older than me. But Jane kept getting stuck on how much older she was than Caleb. It made her insecure despite how frequently Caleb told her that it didn’t bother him. There was one instance in particular where Jane’s insecurities over her age cause her to behave in a way that had me cringing. I believe I was actually blushing and embarrassed for her. This was the only time the age difference made me feel off balance.
Caleb was a great character to read about. He’s one of the good guys. I found it difficult to reconcile that he was a perfectly decent guy with intellect and skills yet he was homeless when Jane first met him. Sure, being a street musician won’t always pay the bills and there’s something to be said for following your dreams and doing what you love, but then he readily accepts Jane’s plan to offer him a place to stay in return for working around her house. The two sides of him—the before Jane version of Caleb, and the after Jane version—were at times hard to believe.
I was trucking right along with Jane’s Melody, enjoying it—blowing through it really—when I got smacked at the 70ish% mark with stupidity. Jane’s insecurities cause her to do the whole self-sacrifice/self-sabotage thing. She acts like she’s making her decisions for the greater good of their relationship—for Caleb’s good--out of love and all that jazz. When really she’s just hurting them both. The whole thing is stupid. But without said stupidity there would have been no conflict for this book—or at least their relationship—that needed solving. I felt like this being the author’s chosen conflict almost cheapened the book. I mean you’re telling me that the woman who has survived the death of her child can say that she might not survive a breakup. If you wanted to play the angle that Jane felt as if she’d already experienced too much loss then that at least would have been believable. But what actually happened in the book wasn’t that approach and just not exactly believable for me.
I will also say that Jane’s Melody was pretty graphic. I have a lower tolerance for this than some, but Jane and Caleb were at it like every third scene it seemed like. Each encounter wasn’t necessarily graphically detailed, but some were. I would just caution readers who might have a low tolerance for this.
Jane’s Melody ended with one those perfect red little bows tied around everything. Meaning...happily ever after. Everything was clean, neat, tidy, and happy. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a happily-ever-after just as much as the next person, but this one was a little too neat and pretty. I’ve found lately that books in a series where book 1 ends nice and neat with everything resolved doesn’t always lend toward me being excited about the next book in the series. I know more conflict is to come. It has to. The book description for the sequel, Jane’s Harmony, essentially leads the reader to believe that what was wrapped up in the perfect happily ever after ending of Jane’s Melody will need to be reopened and dissected in order to create needed conflict to move this story into the next book. I don’t really enjoy rehashing details I feel have already been handled. This obviously might be a chase of me jumping the gun and making too many assumptions, but all that leaves me feeling reserved about starting Jane’s Harmony any time soon.
Favorite quote: "I remember reading somewhere that you have to learn to learn yourself before you can love someone else. But I don't think it's true. I think you have to learn to forget yourself before you can love someone else."
Jane’s Melody didn’t take long to hook me. It was an enjoyable read until the climax and major conflict. At that point I began rolling my eyes a bit. Mixed with my graphic tolerance and other minor issues I had leave me giving Jane’s Melody 3.5 Stars. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t overly good. I can see many people enjoying this book immensely though. Have you read Jane’s Melody? What did you think? Let me know!
I’ve enjoyed the Woodlands series so far, but I have to say that neither Unspoken nor Unraveled have lived up to Undeclared for me. I just loved and r...moreI’ve enjoyed the Woodlands series so far, but I have to say that neither Unspoken nor Unraveled have lived up to Undeclared for me. I just loved and respected Noah as a character so much.
We met Gray in Unspoken when Bo makes a trip back to California to visit his Marine buddies. And in Unraveled we learn that the time is coming for Gray to either re-enlist or re-enter civilian life. Gray is being pulled in both directions. He’s got his grandfather, a career Marine veteran, telling him to stay in, and his father, also a career Marine veteran, telling him that there are other possibilities out in the world for him. Gray isn’t sure what to do. On the one hand, he loves the Marines and the men he serves with, on the other hand, he’s been given more responsibility that scares him with its weight and importance. So he’s given 45 days of leave to get his mind straight and to make some decisions. He decides to go visit Noah and Bo, and thus meets Sam who further complicates his decision making process.
Sam married her high school sweetheart young. He decided to join the Army before they married, but it didn’t seem like that was enough for him. Will was always pushing the edge of danger and he decided to take on one of the most dangerous jobs the Army has to offer. Will dies in Afghanistan leaving Sam a very young widow. The description made Sam seem like she’d decided to never fall in love with another military man, but I just really didn’t get that vibe from her. I mean in some ways she did resent Will for joining the military and she half-heartedly tried to use Gray being in the military as an excuse not to feel something for him, but that argument didn’t hold up for long.
Gray might not have exactly been the cookie cutter new adult male character, but he had a couple of traits that left me keeping some distance between myself and him. Sam was the same way. Gray and Sam both are afraid of putting themselves out there and getting hurt again. Sam’s husband, of course, died as was mentioned before, and Gray’s ex-girlfriend cheated on him. I can understand where the issues come from for both of these characters. While Will “left” in a permanent way, he didn’t exactly choose to die even if he chose to put himself into dangerous situations. Gray’s ex-girlfriend didn’t die, but she chose to hurt him by being unfaithful. Death feels like a more weighty thing to overcome, yet being hurt by the willful disregard for one’s feelings is a hard thing to overcome as well. In the end, Sam does a better job opening herself up to Gray, yet she also jumps ship a little too prematurely when the waters get the slightest bit stormy.
I’m over drunken mistakes in books. It’s like the new adult male character. This being used as a plot point and the major form of conflict/catalyst for the story is so overused that I want to beat my head against the wall. I personally don’t drink so I guess I find these drunken mistakes to be an easy out for writers. But I get so sick of characters turning to alcohol, whether it be to “fix their problems”—which is never does—or just to escape them—which also never happens. I was telling Husband after reading this one that I understand books have to have conflict because otherwise what’s the point in reading them other than seeing the characters overcome said conflict, but is it too much to ask that these characters who claim to have some kind of epic love for one another put a little faith and trust in each other? For instance, if character A must end up drunk and make a stupid comment that character DB decides to act on, can’t character C ever say “You know, I just don’t believe A would have done this to me. This must be a misunderstanding,” and then wait to find out what character A’s explanation is before jumping into “I never want to see you again,” freak out mode?
I still find myself getting hooked into these stories by Jen Frederick, but I have to say that I’ve felt less and less connected with the story and with the characters with each passing book. I know that Finn’s story is coming next, Unrequited, and I have hopes on who his leading female character might be. I just really hope that I can connect more emotionally and the characters perhaps connect a little less physically with each other. As I said initially, Noah and Grace still remain my favorite characters and my favorite story of this series. Even throughout Unraveled, the parts that involved Noah reaffirmed my affection for his character and the sound head he has screwed onto his shoulders.
Unraveled gets 3 Stars from me. It was a quick read, but I was feeling less connected and more frustrated with these characters and this story than any of the others in this series so far. Have you read Unraveled? What did you think? Let me know!
I enjoyed Undeclared so much. It followed up a book that I was particularly frustrated and disappointed in, and coupled with that was the personal con...moreI enjoyed Undeclared so much. It followed up a book that I was particularly frustrated and disappointed in, and coupled with that was the personal connection I have to a relationship developing through writing back and forth. We meet Bo in Undeclared because he’s Noah’s best friend. They went to war together, and they’ve been best friends since the 7th Grade. Where I loved the fact that Noah was all about Grace and any woman not Grace wasn’t really worth a second’s consideration, Bo is the typical new adult leading male that I get so tired of reading about. Luckily we didn’t really have to experience any of Bo’s exploits once he set his eyes on AM, but my point is just that this was a slight letdown from how excited I was about Undeclared.
We meet AM for the first time in Unspoken. I was wondering if Bo would hook up with any of the female characters we met in Undeclared, but he didn’t. And this little fact was a bonus. AM’s the girl who rumors have gotten out of control with and 99% of the rumors out there about her aren’t true. I think we’ve all probably been subjected to untrue rumors going around about us, or if not us then someone we know, so it was easy to relate to AM about this. And because of the rumor mill and Bo’s hook-up history, AM is hesitant to allow herself the opportunity to try a relationship with Bo.
Unspoken revolved a lot around stereotypes, contrasts, and perception. What you see (or hear) isn’t always what you get. Men and women are different, behave differently, and are viewed differently.
I will say that about 50% through the book, this couple decided to push their issues preventing their relationship aside and try out this relationship thing they’d been nosing around. But after that, the remaining 50% of the book revolved around their physical relationship. A LOT. Pretty much every 3rd page type of thing. I know the romance genre isn’t known for its realism, but COME ON!!! On top of that, the climax, resolution, and ending of the book just didn’t feel paced correctly to me. I was expecting the major conflict to come later than it did, so when I was at 80% and everything seemed to be wrapped up in a nice, pretty bow, I wondered what else was to come. And the remaining 20% was just wrap up and filler type stuff.
Along with that, but kind of a separate thing, are you guys getting a little tired of the “three years later” epilogues? I find that I am. Maybe it’s because a book I read not too long ago and this one just had too many of these. It’s like “one year later” and you read a couple of pages, and then “three years later” and then “eighteen years later.” These epilogues that jump down the road into the future multiple times have gotten to be too frequent, especially when there are multiple jumps in one book. It’s enough for me when the book has a HEA (happily ever after), I don’t need every detail spelled out to me. Sometimes leaving a little something to the reader’s imagination is better than spelling everything out.
My favorite quotes:
“AM, Thor here. I’m coming over and bringing my hammer.”
“You know we’ve got it bad when a naked and gyrating Channing Tatum can’t solve our problems.”
I did a few deep knee bends, tried to lift the car, and then rested my head against the roof, battling back all sorts of images in my head.
I have another quote I wanted to add, but it’s too much a key to the whole shebang. So I’ll let you experience that one on your own. Also, I will say that I’m looking forward to Finn’s book (book 4, Unrequited).
All in all, Unspoken was a quick read. I liked Bo and AM’s story, but I found that the book kind of dragged on a little longer than I would have liked with multiple jumped into the future. Unspoken gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read Unspoken? What did you think? Let me know!
P.S. - A bit of a side note but...Can I just say that it is becoming a pet peeve to hear about characters who all of a sudden realize they are crying or screaming or whatever? It is getting to be in every book I've read recently. Annoying. Plus I've never experienced that. I always know when I'm crying or screaming or making various other random noises.
First off, I absolutely love the part of Grace and Noah writing each other for four years while Noah was deployed in the Marines. My own husband and I...moreFirst off, I absolutely love the part of Grace and Noah writing each other for four years while Noah was deployed in the Marines. My own husband and I started our friendship off through writing back and forth and of course that eventually led to more. Anytime a book carries an aspect that is so familiar to my own experience, I just love that.
I loved Noah. When he was getting close to finishing his time in the Marines, he realizes that he’s a bit of a broken man. He suffers from PTSD and he’s basically got no direction in life after coming back to civilian life. So he friend-zones Grace. He send her a letter basically telling her that he doesn’t want to meet her. He does this so that he can spend time in therapy overcoming his PTSD, going to community college for 2 years saving up so that he can get accepted into the same college Grace attends. He basically has to get himself ready to be with her. I mean I’m not saying he couldn’t have told her the truth about his plan, but I fully respect his desire to get himself to the right place to be able to pursue a relationship with Grace the right way. And he does whatever he has to do to prove to Grace that he’s a safe bet for her. I loved how Noah doesn’t fit the mold of typical new adult male. He isn’t interested in any girl besides Grace, and there’s never a time when I had to worry about him making some stupid mistake and slipping up with another female. He came to Central on a mission, and that mission was to win Grace back.
I could relate to Grace. After having her heart set on meeting Noah and being with him after his deployment was over, it broke her heart to receive his letter about just being friends. She looks for him in every dark haired boy she meets. And so when he shows up at Central without a word she’s beyond surprised. Why would a boy who doesn’t want a relationship with her travel across the country to go to the same school as her? Yet she can’t really trust him or trust herself with him. He broke her heart once. Isn’t it possible that he will break it again?
The story pacing felt just right. I liked the backstory that felt like Jen Frederick had explored enough to know all the intimate details, but yet didn’t shove backstory or too many flashbacks in my face. I felt invested in the side characters, specifically Lana and Bo. I’m so glad that book 2 is about Bo. It’s hard to tell from the description of Unspoken who the main characters are. And I can’t wait to see if there are any other characters she delves into deeper in future books.
Undeclared felt like the perfect book for me at just the right time. Coming off of a book that I was extremely disappointed with, Undeclared exceeded just about every expectation I had for it. I was highlighting and making notes left and right. But the good kind of notes. I’m so glad I took a chance on Jen Frederick and checked out this series. I was really impressed with how well she knew her characters and how each character behaved in a way that felt genuine and separate from each other.
The Marines may have made me a man, but Grace made me human.
You never date a guy who can wear skinnier jeans than you.
"Trust me to know my own feelings. Don't assume you know what's best for me."
"I have a boyfriend," I heard her say. ..."I had tacos for lunch," he replied. "What?" ..."I thought we were talking about random things of no importance."
"You have to give yourself room to fail, Grace.”
“I’ve just been waiting for you to come around instead of forcing myself on you.”
I’d learned so much from trying and failing. It’s something I wouldn’t fear again. Funny how facing down your greatest fears actually made you stronger.
And of course there are others I want to share, but they’re just a little bit spoilery. I highly recommend Undeclared by Jen Frederick, and I can’t wait to check out the others in this series. Undeclared gets 4 stars. Have you read Undeclared? What did you think? Let me know!
That cover is HOT, right? It's not just me? Tan body. Tattooed arms. Black and silver DC shirt. Hat on. Can't see his eyes. Lips...more*sigh* Oh Blindness...
That cover is HOT, right? It's not just me? Tan body. Tattooed arms. Black and silver DC shirt. Hat on. Can't see his eyes. Lips slightly parted. Earring. Scruffy day old beard. HOT!
I had such high hopes for this book--the cover being the main reason. But also, I loved the tutoring and ex-motocross star concepts. But sadly I was let down. The further I read into this book the more frustrated I got. I was huffing and puffing, and highlighting and making notes. If any of my friends read this one off my kindle, they're going to get a kick out of my notes like "judgmental much?" and "oh boy, shoot me now," etc. At one point Husband goes "Just put it down. You know you don't HAVE to read it, right?" And I got angry and threw a temper tantrum and said "I know I don't HAVE to, but I WANT to. I'm just not happy with what's happening, or the characters, or where this is headed. Or well...anything. But I want to know how it ends."
My frustrations began early on and continued to build. The biggest frustration I had was with the main character: Charlie. The description does give you the warning that Charlie doesn't really know who she is. And boy that couldn't be more true. At a mere Location 45 she goes on this big rant about other people and their motives--basically making extreme assumptions about the motivation behind the behavior of others. That was my first irk. I gritted my teeth, made a "you don't know that" note in my kindle, and kept moving forward.
Next Charlie makes a judgmental comment about her boyfriend Trevor's stay-at-home-mom. Granted, in this instance, Charlie does end up being pretty right on, but still. It kind of felt like a jab at stay-at-home-mom's worldwide. She's not just judgmental towards people offering condolences to her for the loss of her father, or stay-at-home-moms, she's also judgmental towards Cody himself and every other female that exists in the world.
Aside from being judgmental, Charlie is jealous, immature, and vindictive. When not receiving enough attention she pouts and throws tantrums. When any other female showed Cody (who happens to not be her boyfriend) any slight attention she retaliates by throwing herself at his stepbrother, Trevor, who is her boyfriend. Not cool.
Charlie expects Cody to behave in a way that she doesn't require of herself, and that's something I can't respect. She wants him to remain single, but she refuses to break things off with Trevor despite essentially feeling numb and dead inside when she's with Trevor. I find it utterly despicable that someone would choose to voluntarily continue a relationship with another person when that's what they feel on the inside. Is being alone so terrible that you risk tying yourself to someone you feel disdain toward and thus condemning them to a loveless relationship by default as well? She pitches fits. She throws tantrums. She lies. She cheats.
I had hoped that maybe this type of behavior would stick to Charlie herself. Maybe she's still trying to find herself as the description says and that's all there is to it. Well...not exactly. As much as I hoped Cody would be above her behavior he pretty much has a couple of moments when he behaves no better. These two hurt each other on purpose. Knowing full well in the moment what they are doing, and yet choosing to let hurt pride and wounded feelings dictate how they behave towards each other. It made mecringe. And groan. And sigh. And want to throw my kindle across the room.
The cheesy factor was also a bit extreme. I admit: I like cheesy. But I have a line, and Blindness crossed it. "In that millisecond, I soak them in, and I feel like I'm home." This is said in response to her first glance into Cody's blue eyes. It's a bit of a stretch for me to believe you can feel at home looking into a complete stranger's eyes for the first time. "I won't admit it to him, but the pain--that seconds ago was killing me--is gone. All I can feel now is the grip of his hands along my arm and the beat of his heart near my shoulder." Again, I like cheese...but this is in response to getting burned from an exhaust pipe on a car. A four-inch wide burn as it is described in the book. And yet miraculously all of that pain is gone? Yeah, I'm buying what you're selling.
So let's talk pacing. What I expected to happen in this book based of the description and the beginning was pretty much done around the 60% mark. There was a lot to remain. And most of that was where the heaviest sighing came into play. The conflict was so beyond cliche that I wanted to pluck my eyeballs out. Without revealing too much detail, Trevor's dad basically tells Charlie that he'll ruin Cody's big dream if she breaks off her relationship with Trevor for Cody. Of course, being the wonderfully benevolent, self-sacrificing, and unselfish person that Charlie is (can you feel the sarcasm radiating off of me?), she'd never let Cody's dream be taken away from him. So she willingly forfeits her relationship with Cody to stay with Trevor. And of course she can't explain this to Cody. Cody thus thinks she's a horrible person and rants and raves and acts out of pain towards her--yada yada yada. Yet when Cody finds out the truth, he essentially turns on Charlie again. I just don't buy any of it. It's too easy. This tactic is overused as a point of conflict, and I seriously contemplated putting this one down for good, despite being around the 75% mark and being so close to finishing.
Now that I've completely turned you off from this book probably, let me say that I do think that Ginger Scott shows promise as an author. Despite writing characters that I despised, conflict that was too easy, and romance that was a little too cheesy, she managed to pull me in. Even though I wanted to put this book down, I was hooked. I had to know what was going to happen. With a little polishing and digging a little deeper into knowing who her characters are and finding conflict that is a little more believable, natural to the events taking place, while not being too easy, I think Ginger Scott has a good career ahead of her. I hope that she will continue to grow as an author.
Blindness was nothing that I was expecting. I couldn't connect to the characters and the conflict had me rolling my eyes, but I found myself hooked nontheless. I can only give Blindness 2 Stars, but I could also look at that cover for days at a time. Have you read Blindness? What did you think? Let me know!
Sometimes you just never know what you’re going to get when an author contacts you about reading and reviewing their book. I’ve both been pleasantly s...moreSometimes you just never know what you’re going to get when an author contacts you about reading and reviewing their book. I’ve both been pleasantly surprised and extremely let down in the past. That’s compounded when I can’t get much information on the book via Goodreads because it hasn’t been reviewed very much. I try to never read reviews of books that I’m planning to read, but I will skim the ratings to try to get a feel for others' reactions. The description for He Belongs with Me had me intrigued, but the way Sarah Darlington marketed this book to me is what sold me. She answered all of the questions that I had without giving me too much detail, and that was ultimately the tipping point for me letting her know that I was interested in reading and reviewing He Belongs with Me, which is her debut novel.
He Belongs With Me stars identical twin sisters as the description states. Maggie has been deemed “the good twin” and has a close relationship with her father and long ago became best friends with Leo. Clara on the hand was deemed “the reckless twin” and feels cut off from her father, from her sister, and from Leo who she grew up watching be friends with her twin sister. I immediately connected with Clara. It wasn’t that I felt like we were similar or anything like that, I just felt kind of sorry for her. She’s misguided a bit, impulsive, given to running from her problems rather than standing up to facing them, but the way everyone else seems to think about her had me backing her team. Maggie on the other hand had me curling my nose up most of the time. Maggie’s concerned with outward appearances. She’s been popular most of her life but has few really close friends. Yet it was the way that she talked about Clara both in her own head, out loud to other people, and to Clara herself that kept me from connecting with her. While both twins narrate and both have their own stories unfolding and developing, I felt like the majority of He Belongs With Me revolves around Clara. And that I was just fine with.
The secondary characters were fleshed out pretty well, specifically Leo and Dean. Leo grew up with both Maggie and Clara. As the description says, he became Maggie’s best friend and Clara’s nemesis. It was always crystal clear which of the twins Leo had his heart set on, and I love that he didn’t waver from that decision at any point. Dean is a bit more of a mystery, and I don’t want to spoil any of his story in my review. Maggie and Clara’s father is pretty present. Their mother passed away when they were younger. Clara’s best friend Stephany was a nice edition that smoothed out some of Clara’s rougher edges. And Anita did the same for Maggie.
Ultimately because Sarah Darlington’s pitch is what won me over, I want to share with you guys what she shared with me.
Dual POV between Maggie and Clara (the twins) Is there a HEA (happily ever after)? YES! Two of them! Cliffhanger: No this is a standalone. Cheating? No –Thank goodness! Love triangle? Tricky question…as much as it seems like this book would be a major love triangle…it kind of isn’t. M/F action? YES! Sex and language: Some of both. Though nothing too too dirty. I aim for tasteful with just a little bit of grit.
He Belongs with Me was a little “pretty” in the dialogue, conflict, and conclusion, but I feel like Sarah Darlington shows a lot of promise as a new author. I think with every book she’s able to write she’ll probably be able to dig deeper, polish her narrative, and spit out some really quality work. That being said, I did have a few minor critiques with the dialogue, conflict, and conclusion that I mentioned, but I’d still give He Belongs with Me 3.5 Stars. I look forward to seeing more to come from Sarah Darlington and would recommend this to readers who are looking for a quick book they can get into with two happily-ever-afters. Have you read He Belongs with Me? What did you think? Let me know!(less)
You guys! Finally a lighter book in this series. I mean don’t get me wrong Nova and Quinton: No Regrets isn’t quite a happy-go-lucky book, but it’s de...moreYou guys! Finally a lighter book in this series. I mean don’t get me wrong Nova and Quinton: No Regrets isn’t quite a happy-go-lucky book, but it’s definitely so much more hopeful than Breaking Nova or Saving Quitnon. Man those two books were draining. I was hesitant to read Nova and Quinton: No Regrets initially just because I still felt like I was recovering from Saving Quinton, but my SNL read it before I did and said it was much lighter. So I went ahead and picked it up. And I have to say that it took me no time to read it. I was plugging along and would look at my progress and notice I’d read 30% here and another 30% there. Took less than 24 hours to finish.
Like the previous two books, Nova and Quinton: No Regrets alternates narration between Nova and Quinton. Nova and Quinton: No Regrets is about what happens after leaving rehab. It’s about a boy’s struggle to stay sober. To finding meaning in his life again. To let go of the past that was drowning him. To stop punishing himself. It's about a girl who tries so hard to help people. She wants to save everyone. And she takes on a personal responsibility for what happens with everyone around her. Every life she touches, she’s acutely aware of her impact on that life.
Quinton isn’t sure how much of Nova he can handle in his life, but he knows that she was the one person who wouldn’t give up on him. He can’t just let her go. He knows they have a connection, but he doesn’t know if he can act on that connection. He knows that he has to get his life together alone before he has anything to offer Nova. On the other hand, Nova has gotten her life together, but she still struggles with life’s tough breaks. She knows that she wants a relationship with Quinton, but she can’t pressure him. While long distance relationships are often killed by the distance, the physical distance between Nova and Quinton brings healing to both of them. They have to be separate entities before they can become a unit. They both have more growth to do alone before being together will work.
The secondary characters weren’t as present as they could have been considering Nova and Quinton aren’t actually physically together for the majority of the book. Tristan does have a fairly present role though, and I enjoyed getting to know him better—so much that I preordered his short story, Tristan: Finding Hope. And while I was at it, I went ahead and got Delilah: The Making of Red which I’m afraid will be just as heavy, if not more so, than Breaking Nova and Saving Quinton.
Overall, I enjoyed Nova and Quinton: No Regrets much more than any of the other books in this series. While the others might have pulled some heavier thoughts and feelings from me, this book was filled with hope, which was much needed. Nova and Quinton: No Regrets gets 4 stars from me. Have you read Nova and Quinton: No Regrets? What did you think? Let me know!
Let me preface this review by stating that I think I’ve been in a reading slump—at least I was when I read Above. Part of the reason why I went ahead...moreLet me preface this review by stating that I think I’ve been in a reading slump—at least I was when I read Above. Part of the reason why I went ahead and picked up Above was because it’s outside of what I typical read and I thought it might actually help me get OUT of my reading slump, but I think it only ended up contributing. That’s not because Above was a bad book but because this book was taxing emotionally for me and that seems to be the cause of my reading slump. I’ve read several books lately that have taken a lot out of me emotionally, and Above was one of them.
I’m finding that putting words to how I felt while reading Above is a bit difficult. I requested Above initially because of the description and the reference to being similar to The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I haven’t actually read The Lovely Bones but the movie was really good. And after having read Above, I can see why the comparison was made. But Above isn’t exactly what the description says. It is, but it’s more. Everything that I expected to take the entire book happened within the first 30-40% which left the longest portion of the book with me having no idea what to expect.
I connected to Blythe early on in Above. I loved Isla Morley’s stream of consciousness writing style with the early parts of Above and the beginning of Blythe’s captivity. I understood all of the thoughts and feelings that Blythe experiences and even the progression of her thought process. My heart broke for her over and over again—which obviously led to me feeling drained emotionally. However, once Adam comes into the picture, I had a harder time connecting to Blythe. Her decisions didn’t always make sense to me after that. Dobbs, well, he was an interesting character. He’s everything you would expect from a person capable of kidnapping a teenage girl and a conspiracy theorist. But yet there’s more than meets the eye there, and I like how Isla Morley played with the concept of his conspiracy theories not being so far-fetched. I also found myself both connecting and struggling with Adam. I’m having a hard time explaining why since I feel to discuss this aspect in much detail would be spoilerish. I’ll just say that since Adam didn’t have a normal childhood experience it was more difficult for me to predict his responses and behaviors as well as understand him in general.
Isla Morley’s writing was both beautiful, thought-provoking and a struggle for me at the same time. As I said earlier, I enjoyed the stream of consciousness type of writing early on, but towards the latter half of the book there’s just too much description for me. I needed more action or dialogue and less scenery description. Some of my favorite quotes:
The minute hand and I go for long walks around the numbers.
His eyes have chase in them. I cannot be the half-dead thing with no run in me.
He can hold a silence as though it were a bag of water. I do to it what a pair of rusty scissors would.
I have to talk, just for the sake of ears.
It is a terrible thing, how hell is already becoming so familiar to him.
I want to tell him it’s in all of us to harm someone else, even those we love. We deceive them or betray them or we throw things at them. How else are we to know they bruise or bleed? How else are we to know the relief of being forgiven?
I am not resurrected; I am merely aboveground.
There is no acclimating to a thing like trust. It presents itself, and there are but seconds to accept or reject it.
It is not for me to pardon. It is for me to hold the hand of [a] sinner, so that mine, too, may be held.
Death for everyone, I now realize, comes right in the middle of things.
Above gets 4 Stars from me. Have you read Above? What did you think? Let me know!(less)