Monday, March 31, 2014

Beautiful Wreck by Larissa Brown


Beautiful Wreck

Synopsis:

In a bleak future built on virtual reality, Ginn is a romantic who yearns for something real. She designs environments for people who play at being Vikings. But when her project goes awry, she’s stranded in the actual 10th century, on a storybook farm in Viking Iceland.

Heirik is the young leader of his family, honored by the men and women who live on his land. But he is feared and isolated because of a terrible curse. Ginn and Heirik are two people who never thought they would find a home in someone else’s heart.

When forces rise against them to keep them apart, Ginn is called on to decide—will she give up the brutal and beautiful reality of the past? Or will she have the courage to traverse time and become more of a Viking than she ever imagined?

Review:

Beautiful Wreck was an alright story, though I almost did not make it through the first chapter. It was my one book club pick for this month and the only reason I did get past the first chapter is the ladies in book club said it got better. Thankfully it did. 

The book opens with Jen/Ginn in the future world. The first chapter was horrible. I honestly did not think I would make it through to the second chapter. It was so confusing I had no idea what was going on. I kept re-reading parts trying to figure out what was happening. Really if not for book club I would have just put it aside and never picked it up again. One of the very few books that I wouldn't have finished after starting it. I finally just skimmed the first chapter since it was taking me forever to get through. Then chapter two she goes back in time and from there it gets much better. I liked the back in time parts, I did not like the future parts. They were just not good. 

Once Ginn goes back in time she almost instantly is drawn to Heirik. I really liked Heirik. I loved how he was described like a raven and such. He was a great character. Ginn though I never really felt like I knew. I knew she was in love with Heirik, but I don't really know why. I just never really felt like I knew her and she told instead of showed a lot. Heirik though, even though the story is told from Ginn's POV, I felt like I knew him. He really made the book for me. 

I did enjoy the setting also. I enjoyed Ginn learning new things and seeing the day to day life on the farm. I did enjoy the romance between Ginn and Heirik even if I did not understand Ginn all the time. 

The biggest issue with this book though? The placement of breaks. There were breaks when there shouldn't have been, in the middle of scenes, but no breaks when there should have been so it just went from one scene to the next. It was confusing, especially at first. Ginn would be in the house talking to the ladies, then the next sentence she is riding a horse without a break. I was just like wait a minute, she was in the house just now right? Things like that really disrupted the flow of the story. It took me a minute each time to figure out what was going on and get back into the story. The breaks in the middle of scenes weren't as bad. It just made me pause and think why are they here? 

So the story, after the first chapter, was pretty good. Interesting and a good read. I the end was a little...not as good as I had hoped. I hoped to see more of them being together, making their life together. It was just a bit disappointing. Not necessarily bad, I just wanted more. Overall a good read, and with the editing changes it would be a better read. 

Rating: 3/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads  

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover


Rule: A Marked Men Novel

Synopsis:

Opposites in every way . . . except the one that matters 

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight--A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want--and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess-and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw-even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.


But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails, and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love . . . or each other.

Review:

Oh how I love Rule. He is just all kinds of hot. All of his tattoos and piercings...yes please. I don't even know what to say about this book. I loved it and loved Rule so much. This was my second time reading it and it was still amazing. I feel like Rule could have done anything, been a huge jerk, and I still would have been like that's cool. I still love you. He just was like catnip for me. I melted into a puddle from the start and that never changed. Yes.

Shaw is so sweet. She is kind of the opposite of Rule. Looks wise she is all clean and perfect looking as opposed to Rule's messy fun hair, tattoos, piercings, etc. Rule looks hard core where as Shaw looks like a perfect little rich girl. They are also very different in the way they handle things and live their lives, even though they have similar experiences. Shaw lets her family dictate a lot of her decisions. She dated Gabe forever because her parents wanted her to. And they continued to try and push her together with Gabe even after she told them he is stalking her and being so not cool trying to intimidate her. Thankfully by that time she has Rule, because without him it would have been bad and her family sure wouldn't have helped.

Rule has similar family issues which really just break my heart. His twin, whom everyone thought was dating Shaw, died a few years ago. His mom blames Rule even though it wasn't really his fault. She blames Rule and just takes all of her pain and anger out on him. Rule is a strong person though and does whatever he wants. He doesn't let other dictate his actions and really he probably goes too far in the other direction as an f you to the parents. I can't believe how long he has put up with horrible Sunday dinners that Shaw would drag him to. His mom was really vile towards him and I don't know how he stood it. I really did feel bad for him, though he is strong enough to withstand it. I just wish he didn't have to.

Of course things come to a head one day and the parents try to work things out. Gabe is an issue that gets resolved somewhat. Rule and Shaw have some spotty moments, but everything works out in the end. It was really a great book. Shaw loved Rule since she first saw him, and Rule finally realized what he could  have in Shaw. They were great together and they just were perfect for each other. They helped make each other stronger and it was nice to read about them working through their issues and dealing with all the external stuff they had to deal with. I loved this book. I loved Rule so much. Amazing.

Rating: 4.5/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rome (Marked Men #3) by Jay Crownover


Rome: A Marked Men Novel

Synopsis:

Sometimes the wrong choice can be just right . . .

Fun and fearless, Cora Lewis knows how to keep her tattooed "bad boy" friends at the Marked in line. But beneath all that flash and sass is a broken heart. Cora won't let herself get burned again. She's waiting to fall in love with the perfect man—a baggage-free, drama-free guy ready for commitment. Then she meets Rome Archer.


Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He's stubborn, rigid, and bossy. And he's returned from his final tour of duty more than a little broken. Rome's used to filling many roles: big brother, doting son, supersoldier—but none of those fit anymore. Now he's just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the dark demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer through it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes a blinding flash of color in a sea of gray.Perfect may not be in the cards, but perfectly imperfect could just last forever . . .

Review:

I enjoyed Rome, but not as much as I remember enjoying Rule. In fact I think I am going to go re-read Rule to see if it is as good as I remembered. Rome was good, but I think Cora made me not love it as much as I could have. 

Rome is the story of Rome and Cora. I remembered both of them from the previous books so I was quite excited to read this one. I liked Rome and I liked that he has issues to deal with regarding his time served in the military. I don't read many books with military men and it was a nice difference. Really kind of sad when you think about all of these men and women coming back from the war with so many issues, both physical and mental. It just would be really hard I think. I was glad he started to get some help and had someone to help him through his dark times. 

Cora I liked from the prior books. She is the tough guard dog. She looks out for her boys. When Rome comes home and is just super grumpy all the time she is just like not going to take this. She is protective of her boys and doesn't want them to have to deal with Rome and all of his grumpiness. I thought this is going to be great. Cora is so strong and yes they will work well together. She had a boyfriend years ago who broke her heart, and she is now only looking for the perfect guy (who we all know doesn't really exist. You can only get perfect for you). So I was a little annoyed with her when she got together with Rome, after working out some issues, and was just like he needs to be all in. So he is, he tells her how much he loves her all the time and is there and is all in, and yet she herself is not. She got on my nerves being all he needs to be this that and the other thing, which he is doing, saying, showing her, and yet she won't be this that and the other thing like he needs. She goes on about how she knows she does love him, but she can't tell him because then if things don't work out it will kill her and whatever. It is just like if you love him and don't tell him and he leaves won't that still hurt just as bad? Maybe more since maybe if you were all in and open to him he wouldn't have left? I just didn't like how she was so strong yet so incredibly weak. She annoyed me with her insecurities. She wanted Rome to get help and was happy he was seeing someone, but I just felt like you need help too. You should see someone. I just didn't like her that much. 

I still enjoyed the story just because we has some Rule and Shaw in there and I did like Rome. He was so sweet to Cora and so devoted and worked so hard to not be sucked into the darkness. He saved the book for me. Without him I wouldn't have liked it that much. 

Rating: 3.5/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Friday, March 28, 2014

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich


Takedown Twenty: A Stephanie Plum Novel

Synopsis:

Stephanie Plum has her sights set on catching a notorious mob boss. If she doesn’t take him down, he may take her out.

New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore “Uncle Sunny” Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it’s up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in—not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because—just Stephanie’s luck—the godfather is his actual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail. 

It’s not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client’s mother, a woman who happened to play bingo with Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she’s working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose—and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor. 


With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown.

Review:

I think I am about done with the Stephanie Plum series. While reading Takedown Twenty I kept thinking did I read this one already? No? Am I sure? Then check the publication date. Yeah pretty sure since it came out after I last read one so...it was just the same thing. I was gifted the first three books in this series and devoured them. I loved how fun they were and they were just good reads. Really I read the first 19 in a row, back to back, and by 19 I was getting a little tired of the same old same old. Nothing really changes except who Stephanie is trying to catch. Ugh. But I keep reading them because I remember how much I enjoyed those first books. 

So I was hoping that Stephanie at some point would grow and learn something from all of her mistakes. Apparently not. She is getting older, but she is exactly the same as the first book. She still doesn't know what she is doing so...she really should do something else. Also the Ranger/Morelli situation really annoyed me in this one. She is with Morelli, wants to be with Morelli, but yet lets Ranger kiss her and almost gives in to more with Ranger? Okay. Really it seemed like she wants to be with Ranger, but Ranger doesn't want to settle down so she is with Morelli instead. I mean Ranger is so attractive she can barely contain herself when he is around. I just wish she could definitively choose one of them. The whole back and forth with both of them is just boring by this point, unless they are both on board for an open relationship or something which I don't think Morelli is. 

Then there is Lulu and Grandma who are doing the same things they did in every other book. Lulu eats a lot, grandma wants to get some, they are just...by this point it is just like yes I have read this before. Even though technically I have not read this specific book, I have. In every scene I was like oh is this where x happens? No they are doing slightly different y now, but it is similar enough to x they could have just done that again. It was way too much like the other books that by this point I am bored with the story. I want something new. I want Stephanie to change. I want her to choose. I want her to learn something. I want her to be smarter. I want a different book than one I have already read. I saw there is yet another book coming out in this series. Unless it is the last book I won't be reading it. I am curious how the whole thing will end, curious enough to read the last book, but until then I will just read something else. Something new. Something I haven't already read a million times before. 

Rating: 2/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine


The Promise of Amazing

Synopsis:

Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who's always done what she's supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.

Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how. 


One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.

Review:

If I were younger I might have enjoyed The Promise of Amazing more. It was just a lot of teenage stuff that didn't always make sense, but if I were a teen I might not have minded it. Usually it is fine, either the characters don't seem as young, or they seem realistic, so I don't mind. This wasn't a horrible book, I have read way worse, it just wasn't that good either.

Wren had a boyfriend then they broke up when he went away to college. Apparently that equals humping and dumping (really I thought as soon as they had sex they broke up, but when you find out it is when they are talking about him going off to college well...these things happen). So she is kind of over guys.

Grayson was the popular guy, but he also did lots of not good things. Things that would put him in jail if he got caught. Not the worst things, like killing people, but he really isn't a good guy. Then he gets expelled from his fancy school so he decides he needs to change.

Wren and Grayson meet when Wren is working a wedding he is attending. He is a jerk jock guy and starts choking on a mini hot dog after trying to show off. She does the Heimlich on him and saves him. There is just something magical about the way her arms wrapped around him and...yeah no. Doing the Heimlich maneuver is not sexy. I could see like he was so thankful to her he wanted to take her out to show her how appreciative he is or something. Not when your arms were around me and I was choking it was kind of hot. Sure thing. So right from the start I knew not really the book for me.

Before the choking incident Wren did think how Grayson was kind of a jerk. Then when they meet up again she still thinks it, but he is so dreamy so she can't stay away. It was just odd. Like she didn't seem to like him, she just thought he was hot. Somehow that equaled her falling in love with him. Really I didn't connect much with either character and didn't know why either of them liked the other. Grayson does try to change, and they do start dating, but then once she finds out his past she is put off again. Her friend were all so what? Everyone has a past. He hasn't done that in like 2 months since he started dating you so who cares. It was just another odd moment. I felt like the friends shouldn't really be pushing her towards him once they know what was going on. It just seemed really fake.

Then *spoilers ahead* the ending. Ugh. So Luke kept trying to break up Wren and Grayson because he wants the old Grayson back. He wants Grayson to continue what they had been doing before he got expelled. So it comes to a climax at the end where Grayson has finally had enough, the cops show up and it is not that good. I thought great, finally he is no longer friends with Luke. Then Luke shows up at his door all alright, it's cool, I get it. You are not going back to the way things were. I have moved on. Then they are bff again. I was just like really? After everything that went down you just say cool bro glad to have you back. You are not at all upset that he kissed your girlfriend, threatened you, tried to break you guys up and get you in trouble with the law? You don't care? Okay. But if someone was harassing me for months I wouldn't forgive so easily. So yeah. Not the best book.

Rating: 2/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Joe 2, White Sheets is live!

Joe 2, White Sheets (The Joe Knowe Series) is now available! What an amazing read. Go get it now! Here is my review if you missed it before. Amazing amazing read. I loved it. Get in now on Amazon.

Finding Perfect by Susan Mallery


Finding Perfect (Fool's Gold)

Synopsis:

When Pia O'Brian's best friend dies, Pia expects to inherit her cherished cat. Instead, the woman leaves Pia three frozen embryos. With a disastrous track record in the romance department and the parenting skills of a hamster, Pia doesn't think she's meant for motherhood. But determined to do the right thing, Pia decides to become a single mother. Only to meet a gorgeous, sexy hunk the very same day.

A former foster-care kid now rich beyond his wildest dreams, Raoul Moreno runs a camp for needy children in Fool's Gold, California. After his last relationship, Raoul thought he was done with women and commitment. Still, he can't get sweet, sexy Pia out of his mind—and proposes a crazy plan. But can such an unconventional beginning really result in the perfect ending?

Review:

Finding Perfect was an odd read for me. I couldn't identify with either of the main characters and some of the things that happened were just odd to me. It wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't the book for me.

This book starts with Pia learning that her friend left her her frozen embryos. Pia doesn't understand why she would have done that. They had never talked about it and she doesn't think she is the right one for the job. She pretty instantly knows she has to have her friends kids and raise them as her own. I cannot imagine a friend doing that to me. If we would have talked about it and they knew I wanted kids sure. Not some surprise! I am giving you my embryos! Yey! Now go spend many years taking care of them! It is just very odd to me. I don't get it, and I don't 100% get why Pia would feel the need to do this. Maybe it is just I don't want kids myself, but Pia is just that amazing I guess. Of course she would love to get married and have kids, but this suddenly thrust upon her was just...I didn't like it. I would be a little annoyed with my friend honestly if they did something like this.

Raoul is new-ish in town and after a bad marriage he has sworn off women. His ex did something terrible to him, and it just made him not want to do that again. It takes forever to get to what she did, and yes I would be very angry if I were him but I think he overreacted a bit. I mean people lie and cheat and do horrible things to other people all the time. That doesn't mean everyone does...but he feels how he feels. He keeps meeting Pia for business when she is having a melt down over these frozen embryos. He wants to help her so he offers his services as a pregnancy buddy. He wants to take her to the doctors and help her any way he can. Really he seems like a great guy.

Some spoilers ahead now. So then pretty quick, he proposes to Pia. Not in a I love you and want to be with you forever kind of way, but in a I will always be there for you and these kids kind of way. In a business arrangement kind of way. They had slept together already and both thought it was amazing, but really to just get married to have someone else there? It was a strange scene, and then Pia says yes! I was just like what? Really? I don't get it. Of course she falls in love with him and doesn't want the marriage of convenience, she wants a real marriage so there are issues. Everything works out in the end, but the whole thing was a bit strange for me. I didn't get why she would agree to marry him like that. I just...it wasn't the book for me. The writing was good and everything, but the story was just not something I understood.

Rating: 3/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover


Maybe Someday

Synopsis:

At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.


Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…

Review:

Maybe Someday was not what I expected. Somehow Colleen Hoover made a story that normally I would have hated and made it one I enjoyed. I don't know how she managed that, but I am glad she did since I enjoyed her other books so much. I suppose there will be spoilers since the synopsis doesn't give away the whole story.

Sydney is content with her life at the moment. She has a boyfriend she thinks she loves, but she doesn't want to move further with him. They have been dating forever, but she doesn't want to move in with him or anything. Something is holding her back. Every night she goes out to her balcony to listen to her neighbor play his guitar, and she is drawn to him. Just his music at first, but then they start texting each other and, on her birthday, when she finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her with her bff she moves in with him since she has no where else to go.

Ridge plays his guitar on the balcony every night for Sydney. He is the songwriter for his band, but is currently stuck in writers block. He can't write the lyrics. One night he sees Sydney singing along with his song and he gets her to text him until she agrees to send him some lyrics to one song. Of course they are amazing and he wants to work with her on more songs. When he tells her her boyfriend is cheating on her, she is out in the cold so he lets her move in with him, at least for the time being. They were amazing together right from the start. He is deaf so they text back and forth all the time and it was just...I saw the connection. I loved the connection, but at the same time Ridge has a girlfriend. A girlfriend who is great, who he loves, who he will never leave. You know there is more to the story with her, but she just seems like a wonderful person. It was really hard because on one hand I wanted Sydney and Ridge to be together, but on the other hand Maggie is great so what to do?

I was talking to my husband about this whole love triangle situation and how there are only a few ways this could play out and I didn't think any of them would be good. I was liking the story so much I didn't think it would end in a way that I would like. I normally hate love triangles. This one I understood though. I could see how it could happen. Ridge and Sydney quickly developed a connection, though they tried to fight it. I know Ridge should have had her move out right away to try and stop it, but I get it. It was written in a way that I could see he obviously did care about both of them greatly. Sydney was also very great with everything. She knew she wouldn't get Ridge, and even if she did somehow make him break up with Maggie it wouldn't work. They would just feel guilty the whole time and it would doom the relationship. It was just a no win situation and all and it was just really sad to read. I didn't think Colleen Hoover could write an ending that would be okay with me. It just didn't seem like there was a way to make everything okay. I was wrong. It worked. How everything works out made sense to me. It just worked. I don't know how she did it as I was prepared to hate the ending, but I didn't. It was a great read. Somehow I didn't hate the love triangle and I just was really sad watching Ridge and Sydney try to not have feelings for each other. A great read.

Rating: 4.5/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Monday, March 24, 2014

Silent Fall by Barbara Freethy


Silent Fall (Sanders Brothers #2)

Synopsis:

Dylan Saunders is attending a wedding in the mountains when a former lover appears out of nowhere, luring him into the woods, then leaving him there, drugged and disoriented. When he wakes, the woman has disappeared and Dylan is accused of her murder. Now he must rely on the help of a beautiful psychic haunted by her own dark past-and find the killer before the killer finds them...

Review:

Silent Fall was a lot better than I was expecting it to be. It was well written, the story was interesting, it was just a good read. I was expecting romantic suspense fluff, which is what I thought the first book was (though it has been a while since I read it and I don't quite remember. I remembered the basic storyline, but not much else).

Silent Fall starts off where Silent Run ended, at the wedding. Dylan is there talking to Catherine, the psychic, when a one night stand who was an informant for a story comes up to talk to him. She leads him off into the woods after drugging his drink and wakes up the next morning not knowing what is going on. Someone is setting him up for the one night stands murder, though Catherine still sees her alive so she is not dead yet. Catherine and Dylan try to find Erica, the one night stand, and clear Dylan's name.

This story was fast passed and fun to read. You don't really know who is trying to set him up, or what is going on. I did know most of the surprises before they happened, but it didn't make it less enjoyable. I felt the connection between Dylan and Catherine, and both of their hesitations to do anything about it. They both have pasts that aren't the best and issues to work through, but they compliment each other nicely. The very end, who did it, was kind of a shock. I wouldn't have guessed it, but then I don't know how you would have. Overall a good read, good suspense, good romance, good story.

Rating: 3.5/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Austenland by Shannon Hale


Austenland: A Novel

Synopsis:

Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined. 


Decked out in empire-waist gowns, Jane struggles to master Regency etiquette and flirts with gardeners and gentlemen;or maybe even, she suspects, with the actors who are playing them. It's all a game, Jane knows. And yet the longer she stays, the more her insecurities seem to fall away, and the more she wonders: Is she about to kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr. Darcy of her own?

Review:

I don't really know why I read books like this. Books based on Jane Austen. Retelling, inspired by, prequels, etc. I don't know why I do it. I usually end up hating it. Unless it is just all in the present and only vaguely like her works. I just...I want that same style, the amazing writing and storyline and they usually just don't have that. They are fluff which would be okay, but I just expect more. That is on me I guess. Especially with Pride and Prejudice. That was the first Austen I read so it has a special place in my heart. So yeah.

The book opens with Jane who is obsessed with Mr. Darcy and she is just...I felt like maybe this book was supposed to be more humorous than I found it. Maybe her over the top crazy is supposed to be fun, but really I just didn't get it. She hides her BBC P&P, doesn't really seem to get what a boyfriend is. The beginning of the chapters list out her prior boyfriends and it seems like if a boy so much as says hello to her she calls him her boyfriend. It is like she just wants someone, but doesn't really care that much who it is. She is a bit crazy and desperate and just no. I didn't get her. Not everyone you talk to is a boyfriend.

Then her aunt who she barely knows dies leaving her a trip to Austen land, or what would be Austen land. Then the book gets worse for me. The lady running the place is so strict, but then it is not completely accurate for the times. The actors were just strange and Jane was just...it is just so over the top obvious what will happen if you know P&P. I just thought it was a bit much, but then again not really deep or anything either. It was just a fluff retelling updated P&P which was not very good. I really should stay away from these things. If I want Austenlike I want Austenlike. I want good writing. I want great story. I want better than a light summer read surface fluff. Or I want something more cleverly disguised Austen story in a modern world, but still well written. I do not want this. It is just not for me.

Rating: 2/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Hero by Robyn Carr


The Hero (Thunder Point)

Synopsis:

With warmth and sensitivity, #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr shows readers that falling in love can be the bravest act of all. 

In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need. 

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart. 


Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it...and sometimes, you find a hero.

Review:

After the very disappointing second book in this series I was hoping The Hero would be a good read like the first book was. Thankfully it was and I did enjoyed it greatly.

The book opens with Devon being picked up by Rawley after escaping the Fellowship where she has been living. She has her three year old daughter with her and is really trying to start her life over. She has not had much luck thus far in her life, but she got lucky when she got a ride with Rawley. I really liked seeing him come out of his shell. You got to see more interactions with him and Devon and Mercy, her daughter, and just see how great he is. In the prior books you only got to see the quiet, gruff side of him. So I liked that.

Then Devon and Mercy are so sweet. Devon is not used to everyone being so kind and caring towards her. It is nice that she found a small welcoming town like Thunder Point. Everyone knows everyone and it is like a big family almost.

Of course there is love in the air and Devon and Spencer come together. They are both pretty standoffish at first, both thinking they are not ready for anything. They just can't fight it forever though and they were pretty great together. Yes, it seems sudden for Spencer since his wife just did not that long ago, but since it was a long illness it was like he lost her before that. I can't imagine losing your spouse like that and having a small child to take care of. Of course there is an issue at one point, but it gets worked out pretty quick.

We also get to see more of Sarah and Cooper which was nice. I still really like them together and they continue to grow and live their lives together. This book didn't have as much on the teenagers which I liked (that is why I didn't like the second book - too melodramatic with the teenagers).

Overall a great read. If you enjoyed the first book in the series definitely give this one a read. I like how the books are about lots of people in town instead of just one couple. Good reads.

Rating: 4/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Friday, March 21, 2014

Only Yours by Susan Mallery


Only Yours

Synopsis:

Man's best…matchmaker?
Montana Hendrix has found her calling—working with therapy dogs. With a career she loves in a hometown she adores, she's finally ready to look for her own happily ever after. Could one of her dogs help her find Mr. Right…or maybe Dr. Right?

Surgeon Simon Bradley prefers the sterility of the hospital to the messiness of real life, especially when real life includes an accident-prone mutt and a woman whose kisses make him want what he knows he can't have. Scarred since childhood, he avoids emotional entanglement by moving from place to place to heal children who need his skillful touch. Can his growing feelings for Montana lead him to find a home in Fool's Gold, or will he walk away, taking her broken heart with him?

Review:

I am glad I gave Susan Mallery another chance. I read Only Mine not too long ago and found there was something missing. For some reason I decided to try the next book and I am glad I did. I really enjoyed Only Yours.

I liked Montana right from the start. From the moment Fluffy gets lose and wreaks havoc. She wants so much for Fluffy to be a therapy dog, even though he really isn't cut out for it. She really puts her insecurities on the dogs sometimes, but it is fine. They don't care. Montana is really sweet even if she doesn't have the most self esteem. She doesn't think she is anything special based on horrible past boyfriends.

When Fluffy gets loose he gets into the burn unit of the hospital where Montana finds him and runs into Simon for the first time. It is not good. He is a very strict black and white kind of guy. Very serious. He is not at all happy that Fluffy got into his burn ward. Even though things started off bad, Simon keeps getting stuck with Montana. I found him hilarious at first when he is trying to figure out why he is so attracted to her. Why he seems to have no control and keeps kissing her. It doesn't make sense to him and it was so much fun.

Montana knows he is moving on soon, but she can't help getting involved either. She knows he has issues, and really she is so sweet. She is the first person who really didn't see his scars after awhile. The first person to really try and help him reconcile his past and stop beating himself up for it. She really was a sweetheart.

Of course there were some bumps in the road. Some miscommunication, some things Simon had to work out and work through, some not so happy times, but everything works out in the end. I really liked Simon and Montana was just great for him. Overall a great book.

Rating: 4/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Thursday, March 20, 2014

1984 by George Orwell


1984

Synopsis:

In 1984, London is a grim city where Big Brother is always watching you and the Thought Police can practically read your mind. Winston is a man in grave danger for the simple reason that his memory still functions. Drawn into a forbidden love affair, Winston finds the courage to join a secret revolutionary organization called The Brotherhood, dedicated to the destruction of the Party. Together with his beloved Julia, he hazards his life in a deadly match against the powers that be.

Review:

1984 was my book club read for this month. It seems everyone else had read it before and it was interesting hearing their take on the book from when they were 16 and what they thought of it now. It has been on my to read list for a while, but I hadn't read it in school or anything. It was an interesting read, but the writing didn't engage me that much. I didn't feel for the characters like I should have. Not quite sure why. 

The story is about Winston and Julia and how they rebel against Big Brother. It was an interesting read in that it is still relevant to today. I kept thinking of North Korea during the book and how it seemed like what it is like there to an extent. I kept going back to see when it was written as it could have been written recently which was interesting.

The issue? I couldn't connect with any of the characters. I didn't care what happened to Winston or Julia. The whole love affair with them was so strange to me. I didn't understand it and it was just over the top. The way it was written just didn't work for me. I  can't figure out exactly why, but I just didn't care about the characters. I still found it an interesting read. I just wish I would have connected more.

Rating: 3/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

ARC Joe 2, White Sheets by H.D. Gordon


Joe 2, White Sheets (The Joe Knowe Series)

Synopsis:

Joe Knowe sees things before they happen. Bad things. Just a couple months ago it was a psychopath planning a massacre at the college she attended. Now, she's facing a whole different kind of madman, and one potentially far more dangerous. 

To keep the pending disaster from happening, this time Joe will have to get up close and personal, making herself at home in the lion's den, and attempting not to be swallowed whole. 

Will she be able to keep herself and those around her from drinking the Kool-Aid? Or will they all end up under white sheets? In this second installment of the thrilling JOE series, H. D. Gordon takes you into the heart of a cult, the mind of its leader, and the lives of his followers.

Review:

**Note I received an ARC of this book. Joe 2, White Sheets will be released March 26th. Go buy this book on the 26th! Seriously it is incredible!!**

I started reading Joe 2, White Sheets immediately after finishing Joe last night. I feel incredibly privileged to get an ARC for this book. Since I loved Joe so much I was really looking forward to this one. At first I was a bit taken aback by how different the voice was. Joe is much stronger and determined and just not the scared little girl she was in the first one. I never felt like I just wanted to scoop her up and make everything better in this one. I knew killing the shooter in the first book would change her, but I wasn't expecting to see such a distinct difference. I quickly forgot about all that as the story progressed. Man this book was intense. I feel as though I was holding my breath the entire time waiting to see what happened. My heart was pounding, especially during the Joe chapters, just so worried for her and everyone she cares about. I was really on the edge of my seat. It has been a while since I have read something that made me so tense in such a very good way. I couldn't put it down. Man I am definitely going to need a lighter read after this. It was amazing. Even better than the first one. And I loved the first book. Anyways.

The story starts where Joe ended, with Joe in her aunt's cabin. She has her next vision and it is a bad one. She doesn't hesitate as much or try to push it away as much as she did in the first book. She knows what she needs to do and sets out to start doing it. She tries to keep everything to herself like she always has, but this time Mr. Landry won't let her, at least at first. It is great that she has him and that he is special like her or she could get herself into even worse situations. Really I liked how she is starting to run across more and more special people like her. She still has her too much concern for everyone else and wanting to take on every burden only by herself thing going on in this book. She doesn't want to involve anyone else because then they might get hurt. It doesn't really matter if she does since she has to do this, but she doesn't want anyone else involved. Thankfully she has great people surrounding her and they won't let her bear her burden by herself. Though her lack of including others is slightly detrimental in the end. I hope she learns from this and accepts the help of those that care about her. There are ways to still do what you need to, but still let others have your back.

Part of the reason why the Joe chapters were so intense was the heavy foreshadowing in them.  There was a lot of things like maybe if I would have known at the time then whatever. Or I didn't realize it at the time but the next sentence would seal our fates and so on. It was really intense! I was so worried for Joe the whole time. There was so much everything is going to end horribly written in her chapter I was just like no! I want everything to work out for you! It was great.

This book is written in a similar way as the first. You get chapters from different characters points of view, though a lot more of them are Joe chapters. It was more connected in this one since most everyone is part of a the big group, or part of trying to stop the killer. I will say I wish there were more chapters form Michael's point of view. I kept waiting and waiting for his chapter and almost had to wait for half the book before I got one. I just love him! Not that it needed his POV, I just like him. Then when Joe tries to go off on her own, because she wants to try and make sure Michael and Mr. Landry don't get hurt, man I was wishing I had some Michael chapters. It was so stressful not knowing what they were doing while Joe was in the killers group. It really made it better not knowing when he might show up again or what he was doing. It made me even more on the edge of my seat, but at the same time as I have said I love Michael. I just wanted to know what was happening with him. Really the way it was written was great, and if you would have known what they were doing I think it would have ruined it a little bit.

This book, like the first, doesn't really have a romance aspect which I actually do like. Joe and Michael are dating, Michael calls himself her boyfriend and such, you see them together and getting closer, but it is not really a romance at all. It is about Joe's vision and trying to stop it from happening. It seems like every book I read has romantic aspects, so it is refreshing to read one where there really isn't any (even though I definitely would read just a Joe/Michael romance novel without any visions or anything. I love both of them so much). You don't see them making out, or even kissing much or anything. It is really not a focus which is refreshing. It really is just about Joe and her powers. Oh and her powers do start to evolve and she gets some new disturbing things that start happening. I am very interested in seeing where they go from here.

So I know I am not really talking about what this book is about, the plot besides Joe trying to stop another killer. Well I went into it not knowing anything about it, didn't read the synopsis or anything, and that was great. The synopsis really doesn't reveal that much either so I don't really want to give anything away. I will say Kyle and Kayla, Joe's only two friends when the first book started, are in this one.  I thought the very very end with Kayla was hilarious. I was just like right on! Really this book was amazing. I cannot seem to write enough good things about it. The intense showdown at the end is similar in feeling to the first book. It goes from person to person mid sentence which I like a lot. It just works. I usually don't give very many 5 star ratings, last year I only had 5 out of all the books I read, but this year I have read some really amazing books. This is one of them. On the 26th go get this book. It is amazing. If you have read Joe and enjoyed it, this one is even better. If you haven't read Joe yet go get that and then get this one. Seriously it is incredible.

Rating: 5/5


Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads  


About the author:

H. D. Gordon is the bestselling author of THE ALEXA MONTGOMERY SAGA, THE SURAH STORMSONG NOVELS and THE JOE KNOWE SERIES. She is twenty-five years old and a true lover of words. When not hanging out with her two beautiful daughters, she can be found reading, writing, or just taking in the world so that she can translate it's beauty and wonders into the written word.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Joe by H.D. Gordon - Reread


Joe

Synopsis:

From the author of the Alexa Montgomery Saga, comes a book that will take you into the mind of a genuine psychopath, the lives of six ordinary people, and the world of a very special girl named Joe. 

Joe is seemingly an ordinary college student. She works, studies and reads. But in between these activities Joe has a gift that promises to add a dose of color to her life at any given moment. Joe sees things before they happen. Bad things, and the worst thing she has ever faced is just around the corner. Someone is planning a massacre at the college university that Joe attends, and the only person with a hope of stopping the psychopath is her. 

Oh, the beauty of foresight. More like a curse. Joe has four days to figure out the mystery, make plans to take down the psycho, and save the lives of people. People like you and me. Ordinary people.

Review:

There are some books that I wish I could get that first read experience back for. Some books where the second and third and so on reads are great, but just not as amazing as that first time. Some books that once you know what happens they just don't hold onto me as well as they did that first time. I still love them, but they don't have that magical awesome feeling they had the first time through. Joe is not one of these books. I read Joe for the first time last year and loved it (it was one of my favorite books of 2013). I think it got better on the second read through somehow. Small things that I didn't really care for the first time I found enjoyable. Knowing how it all would end, what would happen to some of the characters (I didn't remember what happened to all of them) made me even more engaged in the story. It made me feel more for the characters than it did the first time reading it. Somehow it was even better on the second read through which I haven't found happens very often. I picked up Joe again to read before reading Joe 2, White Sheets which will be out March 26th! Look for my review of that tomorrow since I was lucky enough to get an ARC copy of it! I am quite excited. Anyways on to the Joe review.

I really like the way Joe is written. On this reading I just felt so bad for some of the characters. I just wished that somehow I could change the ending for some of them. Some of them I didn't remember what happened and I just hoped things worked out. It was interesting seeing how I felt about all of the characters now. The first read through I didn't really like the teacher that much, but I found her chapters more enjoyable this time. It is interesting reading all of these different people's point of views and what happens leading up to and including Monday. It is interesting seeing how everyone intersects in different way, how it is a small world.

Then there is Joe. I just can't help but love Joe. She is so brave and strong, but also fragile. She is the odd girl and she keeps herself cut off from most people, but she is so kind and smart and fun and helps everyone she can. She is really selfless, but really hard on herself. She is just all kinds of awesome, but I also just want to scoop her up and give her all the hugs and make everything better for her. She is just a great character. I love how she has a stutter and is odd and I don't know how she is so normal with how horrible her parents are, but she is also just like a normal girl. She has all of these things that make her her and different, but she is still like everyone else. A little sheltered maybe, but just so sweet. I just love her.

I also really like Michael. He is so good for Joe and so sweet and wonderful. Even though he doesn't know everything about her, he likes what he does know. He knows her well enough to not push for answers. He just seems to get her and it was just really nice. Really he complements Joe well and I hope to see much more of him in the next book.

The only part of the book where I wish I could get back that first time feeling? The main event. What happens on Monday, though it was very interesting on the second reading. I knew what was coming and how it was written already so it just didn't have the same effect. It seemed to go by so much quicker. It was like the first time I read it I was experiencing it. Joe says how it only took 30 seconds, but during it those 30 seconds felt like a lifetime. Then if you go back and watch it you can see how quickly everything happens. That was like the difference. The first time those 30 seconds felt like forever, even when reading it, but this time, since I knew what to expect, it was like re watching it. Everything moved very quickly and was over in a second it seemed like. I got to the end and was like wait it is over? Very interesting that it worked like that. I loved it. Even though that first time was more exciting I liked the differences.

Overall a great read. I love Joe and can't wait to start on Joe 2, White Sheets. If anyone is interested here is my review from the first time I read this book. Definitely go read Joe. It is amazing.

Rating: 5/5

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads  

Monday, March 17, 2014

Conklin's Blueprints by Brooke Page


Conklin's Blueprints

Synopsis:

Recent graduate Becca Stine’s all too perfect and predictable life went spiraling out of control when her supposed childhood friend committed the ultimate betrayal. Following college, Becca attempts to bury the pain by retreating into a dangerous lifestyle with her best friend, Jamie Rae. She decides it’s time to grow up after being irresponsible, broken, and out of control. To Becca’s horror, her only option is to return to her hometown of Grand Rapids. Worried she will forever live in the shadow of her prominent family’s notability, Becca decides moving is her only opportunity to get her feet back on the ground. With her best friend in tow, Becca reluctantly heads home to attempt to live her ideal life. 

Little does Becca know the owner of the architecture firm she lands a job with has an intriguingly mysterious son. Tyler Conklin is infatuated with Becca, yet is apprehensive about a public relationship because of his hidden baggage. Not wanting anyone to know about his slight obsession with her, their potential relationship must be kept a secret. Will Becca put up with Tyler’s untold story for long? Will she tolerate being his secret?

Review:

Conklin's Blueprints is one example of why I have a hard time not finishing a book once I start it. I started this book and really did not like it. I thought about putting it aside, but didn't and it did get much better. I didn't absolutely love it by the end, but it was good. 

The books opens with Becca recapping her life up until now which was not much fun to read. It was written in such a dry, boring way that I didn't really care. I was just like can we get on with it? I don't like telling, I much prefer showing, and it was such a big chunk of telling me. I just really don't like that. Then we get to the present and it continues with this telling not showing thing and I just thought this might not be the book for me. Once she meets Tyler and they start to interact more there is more showing and it did get much better. 

Tyler obviously has issues. Major issues. He had a messed up relationship with his nanny, he hates his dad and pretty much doesn't talk to his mom, he just has issues. He obviously likes Becca, but doesn't really know what to do about it. He is not used to being touched, or being able to touch others, and he struggles with things that are in a normal relationship (since he has never had one). Becca gets annoyed with him all the time and I got annoyed with her for that. She freaks out when he won't or can't do something she wants him to, but never once thinks about what she is asking of him. When he does open up to her, she still doesn't understand why he won't tell his dad. I know some of it is her own issues, especially since her last boyfriend cheated on her with her supposed bff. 

As for the bff...why in the world is Becca friends with Ashlynn? She lets her walk all over her and says nothing. She decided when she moved back to Grand Rapids she was not going to let people walk all over her, yet those who previously did she still does. It annoyed me to no end that she would stick up for Ashlynn and let her do whatever, when the people who actually cared about Becca got the short end of the stick. If the people who actually cared about her did or said anything she instantly called them out and was pretty terrible to them. It was just like why not get rid of the actual horrible people instead of trying to alienate the people who are nice to you. Ugh. She drove me crazy at times. 

Becca also has issues, as seen above. She has trust issues, issues with food, with her self esteem, everything like that. Tyler understands and tries to be helpful. He doesn't push her to eat junk, or a ton or anything, though he does say at one point that if she stops eating then they have problems. I understand where it all comes from. Her mom is horrible, always saying how she needs to loose weight and maybe she shouldn't eat this or that. Plus Ashlynn is always like that as well, so between the two of them hearing how fat you are and how you need to work on your figure your whole life really can mess you up. How you are not pretty and thin and perfect. So Becca does try to become perfect, even though she doesn't need to. I did feel bad for her that she had so much negativity in her life, but she also frustrated me at times. 

The last part of the book was really frustrating for me. The fact that Becca could have so much in her life that has caused her to act certain ways, but at the same time won't acknowledge what Tyler is going through annoyed me. He is trying. He is obviously trying, and when he opens up to her and she is just like whatever, I don't care about anything you have told me you are obviously horrible and no, it was just...I just wanted to scream at Becca. Tyler is not the bad guy. If you can keep Ashlynn in your life, who is toxic, why not let Tyler in who is just trying so hard. I felt so bad for Tyler. 

Overall it started off bad, got much better, then had an annoying last part, though it did end on a good note. So not my favorite read ever but I was enjoying it after the first few chapters. 

Rating: 3/5
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I Have People by Taylor Dean


I Have People

Synopsis:

Missing any memories? 

Holly Sinclair is happily married to the love of her life, Gabriel. Young and in love, Holly hopes to have their first child soon. Of course, Gabriel wants to wait till Holly’s health is restored, much to Holly’s dismay. She feels perfectly fine. So what if she just woke up from an eight-month coma? So what if some of her memories are missing? She remembers Gabe and that’s all that matters, right?

That is, until HE enters her life again . . . she forgot about HIM.

Review:

I Have People was a good read. It opens with Holly being pushed over a railing by someone who obviously had been abusing her. She had tried to get away from this person and he had found her again. Then cut to Holly waking up from an 8 month coma. She needs Gabe, her husband. She doesn't remember everything, but she remembers him. She remembers how sweet he was and how happy they were and everything.

Gabe shows up and it is obvious something is not right. Gabe and Angela, Holly's bff, keep having secret talks and don't know what to do. Gabe is a bit standoffish as to the physical intimacy and I spent the first part of the book trying to figure out who Gabe is and why he is so hesitant. He is super sweet to Holly though. Recreating all of their first dates as Holly remembers them. Going on their honeymoon again and renewing their vows, though with an actual wedding ceremony like it was the first time. Then they get on with their life, growing super close, until Holly answers the door one day to find him. Cal.

Then cut to two years ago and you get the back story. I could see the abuse and why Holly would stay, but at the same time it was really light and felt like it just skimmed over it a bit. I am trying to figure out what it was about it that was just a bit...not as believable for me. Yes it was bad, all abuse is. I believed it, but it just seemed like Holly was strong enough to leave Cal after he first hurts her, yet she stays for some reason. I understand the cycle of abuse and everything, but she didn't seem as upset by the things Cal did as she should have been. Maybe that is it. Maybe that is what I didn't see as much. She is strong and I don't know. Something about that section just felt like it was holding back. Like it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I have read other books with abuse where it is just heartbreaking and horrible. Where you just want to do anything you can to help the abused. I didn't feel that way with Holly. Yes I wanted her to get out of that relationship, but I felt like she could take care of it herself. I really think she could have if she wanted to. Not that she wanted the abuse, but because of her past and not having a stable family, or any family, she stayed. I get that, but it wasn't as hard to read as some abuse stories. I hope that made sense.

So then once we get back to the present Holly was a bit crazy. I understand her feelings, but her whiny attitude got on my nerves a little bit. I was just like you have great things now! Embrace them! It was interesting who Gabe is and what happened with everyone. I did like Gabe. He was so sweet and kind and wonderful to Holly. He was a really great guy. Overall I did enjoy the book, I just felt like it could have been a little more. Gone a little deeper, created more of an emotional connection, made me feel a little stronger for Holly. Still I did enjoy the book.

Rating: 3/5
Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads