Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Release Me by J. Kenner

Damien Stark could have his way with any woman. He was sexy, confident, and commanding: Anything he wanted, he got. And what he wanted was me.

Our attraction was unmistakable, almost beyond control, but as much as I ached to be his, I feared the pressures of his demands. Submitting to Damien meant I had to bare the darkest truth about my past—and risk breaking us apart.

But Damien was haunted, too. And as our passion came to obsess us both, his secrets threatened to destroy him—and us—forever.

Initial Thoughts:
I was given an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was recommended for Fifty Shades lovers, so naturally I had to read it.

The Pros:
The pageant world upbringing that Nikki had reminded me of Toddlers and Tiaras and how miserable those poor girls are. I have never read a book that contained that element.

Nikki is a flawed heroine. Her self-mutilation was a very, very real element of the book. How she struggled then, and how she struggles now were a big part of the book.

Nikki's friends Jamie and Ollie are good additions to the story line. While we don't know too much about them, Jamie brought comic relief at time, while Ollie provided us a doorway to Nikki's past.

I LOVED that Nikki was a brilliant woman. Her double major science degrees put her in a class that I have yet to read about in a romance novel. She is not your normal "too stupid to live" heroine. She fights everyday, and she's better for it.

There was plenty of witty banter back and forth to keep the reader entertained. I loved that although some of the subject matter was dark, the author was able to keep it light enough for it to not be a heavy read.

I couldn't put this book down. I HAD to know what happened next. Book crack. Definitely.

The Cons:
Not a huge fan of Damien. I feel like he wasn't described well enough physically for me to put a picture in my head. When I don't have a picture in my head of a character, I have a really hard time connecting with them. He was also so closed off, while Nikki was so forthcoming in her confessions. One sided relationships bother the crap out of me. 

The payment for the painting. It made Nikki seem like a prostitute. Yuck.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
Loved it! If there isn't going to be a sequel or this isn't turned into a series I will seriously cry. I have so many questions! If you liked Fifty and the Crossfire series, you will love Release Me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Last Call by Jennifer Schmidt

Novalee Jensen thought what happened in Vegas would stay in Vegas, but two years later, her Vegas indiscretion shows up in her bar. Novalee’s fears come true as the sudden appearance of the stranger brings questions everyone wants answers to, and the secret she’s kept to herself for so long is exposed.

Dean Philips is on a mission to find his wife and bring her back to Nevada, all without exposing his own secrets and lies. Lies that could not only cost him his fortune, but also the woman he’s yearned to know since that fateful night two years ago.

Initial Thoughts:
I was given an ARC of this book by NetGalley. Vegas + secrets + lies = I'm in.

The Pros:
This book was heartwarming. Novalee is just so sweet. She's been handed a rough deck of cards in her life, but she's made it out on top.

Dean's progression from miserable drunk to heartthrob was a fun ride to be on. His love for someone he barely knows (even though she's his wife) was confusing yet romantic at the same time.

The fact that they stayed faithful to each other for 2 years even when they both thought the other person didn't know about the marriage = soooo cute.

I liked that even though Novalee had no biological family, she had a family in her friends and patrons.

The Cons:
The plot line was hardly original, and it was a bit predictable.

I doubt I would have taken Dean back after all his lies, but this is a romance novel. Sins are always forgiven.

The Wrap Up: 3.5
A quick, cute read. Nothing out of the ordinary, but a good choice for a book that doesn't require you to think too much.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Prince by Tiffany Reisz (Original Sinners #3)

Two worlds of wealth and passion call to Nora Sutherlin and, whichever one she chooses, it will be the hardest decision she will ever have to make. Unless someone makes it for her…

Wes Railey is the object of Nora's tamest yet most maddening fantasies, and the one man she can't forget. He's young. He's wonderful. He's also thoroughbred royalty and, reuniting with him in Kentucky, she's in his world now. But this infamous New York dominatrix is no simpering Southern belle, and Nora's dream of fitting into Wesley's world is perpetually at odds with the relentlessly seductive pull of Søren—her owner, her lover, the forever she cannot have. At least, not completely.

Meanwhile Nora's associate Kingsley Edge is only too happy to take her place at Søren's feet during her hiatus. Søren is the only man Kingsley has ever loved, and their dark, shared history has forged a bond that neither the years—nor Søren's love for Nora—can break. But a new threat from an old adversary is forcing Kingsley to confront the past, reminding him that he must keep his friends close, and his enemies closer.

Initial Thoughts:
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley. I am a big fan of Reisz's books, the first two books in this series (The Siren and The Angel) blew me away and I was so excited to review her next.

The Pros:
Nora is the ultimate heroine. Or anti-heroine. I don't care. She's awesome. 

I loved that this book took us back and forth in time. Seeing the pasts that made these characters the way there are adds SO much to the story.

Wes. Oh Wes. I want to marry you.

I was not expecting Kingsley to be a major character when I started this series. Boy was I wrong, and I am so glad I was. The relationship between him and Soren is insane/amazing/deep. 

Classified as erotica, I was not expecting the mystery/thriller aspect of this book. It's an excellent addition to the series.

The giant WTF moment at the end. I had a hunch around the middle of the book, but I thought, "No. There's no way. There's absolutely no way." Wrong again! 

The Cons:
I'm team Kingsley. I'm not a big fan of how Soren treats him. 

At times, the book was a little slow moving. Normally I can't put Reisz's books down, but there were a few chapters that I was kind of "ehh" about.

The story line with the horse insurance thing seemed a little boring and unneeded.

The Wrap Up: 4.5/5
The mystery/thriller action bumped this from a 4 to a 4.5. I WANT MORE! I can't wait for The Mistress to come out. I was SO glad that Nora made the "right" choice. (When I say "right", I mean what I think is right, many other readers hold a different opinion!)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reflected in You by Sylvia Day (Crossfire #2)

I'm giving away copies of Bared to You (Crossfire #1) and Reflected in You (Crossfire #2)!  See bottom of post for details.

Gideon Cross. As beautiful and flawless on the outside as he was damaged and tormented on the inside. He was a bright, scorching flame that singed me with the darkest of pleasures. I couldn't stay away. I didn't want to. He was my addiction... my every desire... mine. My past was as violent as his, and I was just as broken. We’d never work. It was too hard, too painful... except when it was perfect. Those moments when the driving hunger and desperate love were the most exquisite insanity. We were bound by our need. And our passion would take us beyond our limits to the sweetest, sharpest edge of obsession...

Initial Thoughts:
I loved Bared to You (read my review here), and the BlogHer Book Club offered me free copies of both books to review. How could I say no to that?!

The Pros:
This book is based around a concept that is really hard for a lot of people, especially me. Trust. Can Eva and Gideon trust each other through all that is happening around them?

I identified with Eva. Love can make us feel like we're going crazy. There were many parts of the book that I was like, "Oh girl, I've been there".

Bared to You was very Fifty Shades-esque. This one? Not even close. And I mean that it in the best way. This book is the older, more sophisticated cousin of Fifty.

This was what I like to call "book crack". I couldn't put it down. The drama was a little outlandish at times, but this is a romance novel, when is a romance novel not dramatic.

The introduction of rocker Brett Kline was an interesting plot turn. I may have been rooting for him for a few pages...

The Cons:
Anyone else pick up on the is she pregnant/is she not story line? It was unnecessary and didn't add to the story.

Although I understood what Gideon was doing, why did he have to do it in that way? Weren't there any other options?

Both Gideon and Eva are addicts. I think that the psychiatrist's advice was warranted. They are addicted to each other, and it's not always in a good way.

Eva "getting back" at Gideon with Brett. Her thinking he was cheating does not equate to her needing to kiss another man to prove a point. Childish much?

Eva calling Gideon "ace". It was annoying.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
Loved it. Although the book has some flaws, it is one of my favorite romances. Is it December yet? Entwined With You... I cannot wait to devour you.

Favorite Quote:
"It's my place to stand beside you, and support you, and yes, just f*cking look pretty on your arm sometimes. It's my right, my duty, and my privilege, Eva, just as it's yours in reverse."

Buy Reflected in You by Sylvia Day on Amazon.


Win copies of Bared to You (Crossfire #1) and Reflected in You (Crossfire #2)!
Winner will be chosen November 15th.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 1, 2012

About Last Night by Ruthie Knox

Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.

Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine—even her name turns him on—with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.

When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

Initial Thoughts:
I was given a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It had come up a few times on my recommended lists but I had hesitated on buying it. For some reason (probably my Catholic roots), I hated the name Mary Catherine and that made me not want to read it? Ridiculous, I know.

The Pros:
Holy crap was this an emotional read. I read it in one sitting. Could not put it down.

Although Cath has made mistakes, it really does appear that she has learned and grown from them. In a lot of romance novels, people's mistakes are either forgiven or forgotten. Not this one. Cath learned the hard way and she's not going to let herself make the same mistakes again.

Um, Nev is perfect. Minus his family thing, he is absolutely perfect. Patient, caring, and kind, he's what every little girl (and some boys!) dream of.

The steady progression of their romance was refreshing. And the fact that the ending doesn't go as most romance novels go. I don't want to spoil it, but I was really pleased with it.

The Cons:
The name Mary Catherine, as I already said.

I wanted to know a bit more about Cath's background. Is she still close with her aunt and uncle who took her in? I felt like it was such a big part of her that was just explained in a few pages. It wasn't enough for me.

The fact that she had zero friends was off-putting. I know she said she works a lot, and she had some sort of relationship with Judith, but it seemed strange that she had no friends.

The Wrap Up: 4.5/5
Something about this book... I just loved it. It had the right balance of emotion, romance, and intelligence.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Librarian by Logan Belle

Inspired by the story of the iconic Bettie Page, Logan Belle’s sizzling erotic novel explores the transformation of Regina Finch from shy librarian to the object of one powerful man’s all-consuming desire.

Regina Finch, brilliant and bookish, has worked her way up to her dream job as a librarian at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. But her discovery of the sordid sexual adventures of a rakish, young billionaire among the hallowed halls and sacred stacks of the library unleashes a confusing blend of repulsion and desire that threatens to consume her. It is only through her introduction to the work of Bettie Page—the world’s most popular ingenue-turned-fetish-model—and Page’s own sexual awakening that Regina can hope to discover her sexual prowess and seduce the man she loves.

Initial Thoughts:
I was given an ARC of this novel through NetGalley. Also, a book about a librarian? Sold.

The Pros:
I absolutely adored that Regina was a librarian. People see librarians as grandmother type figures that are uptight and stuffy. This book blew that stereotype out of the water.

The reverence that the author paid the New York Public Library was amazing. I felt like I was right there in the library with Regina and Sebastian. 

The author touched on the all too real subject of our nation's libraries closing. This is a SERIOUS issue and more attention needs to be paid to it.

I loved the character of Carly. In the beginning of the book I didn't care for her much, but as the book goes on and her relationship with Regina grows, I also grew to love her.

The relationship between Regina and Sebastian was not your typical BDSM relationship that you see in many novels these days. The padlock Tiffany necklace instead of a collar was a nice touch.

The Cons:
While I feel like Regina's character was well developed, I thought Sebastian's was underdeveloped. 

The ending felt cut off and short. It left a lot of questions unanswered.

I didn't like the name Regina. Maybe because I had a nun in school named Sister Regina. Who knows.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
This was not your typical romance novel and I loved it. I will definitely be checking out other books by this author.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chasing Shadows by S.H. Kolee (Shadow Series #2)

Warning: Spoilers for Seeing Shadows, Book #1 of the Shadow Series, are contained in the description below. Chasing Shadows is a direct continuation of Seeing Shadows.

Caitlin Kile is on the run. Her life was shattered in one terrifying night, and now every decision she makes is a decision between life and death.

The only thing she knows for sure is that she's tired of being scared. She's no longer a victim of shadows; she's their executioner.

But who can she trust? And who can she save? Everybody Caitlin has ever loved is at risk and she'll do anything to protect them, even if it means her own death.

Initial Thoughts:
I was given a free copy of Chasing Shadows by the author for review. You can find my review of Seeing Shadows (Book #1 of the Shadow Series) here. The ending of the first had a big cliffhanger and I couldn't wait to find out what happened in book two.

The Pros:
Talk about suspense! I finished this book in a night because I couldn't stop reading until I knew what happened.

Caitlin is not one of the typical "too stupid to live" heroines. She is determined to do all that she can to keep herself and her loved ones safe. 

Once again, I enjoyed the not so typical paranormal storyline. Vampires and werewolves bore the crap out of me lately.

The twist ending. I was speechless. It totally came out of left field for me!

The Cons:
I didn't like the possessive, angry side of Simon. Not attractive.

I would have liked to see more from the supporting characters like Sarah.

I was confused at the end. I am guessing that my questions will be answered in the third book, like my questions from book 1 were answered in this book.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
A great follow-up to the first book. I can't wait for the third!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Lucky Break by Kelley Vittolo

She’ll gamble her heart on the best friend she left behind… One lucky break is all struggling actress Sidney Williams needs. But when living the LA life becomes too much, she heads back to the small town of Shamrock Falls for the vacation she needs to get her life on track—and immediately runs into Kade Mitchell, her former best friend and the boy next door she’s always regretted leaving behind. Kade, the new owner of Lucky’s—once the most popular bar in Shamrock Falls—is determined to bring the place back to its former glory, and seeing Sidney again is a distraction he doesn’t need. Sure, the chemistry between them is explosive, but Kade can’t let himself fall into a fling with his best friend—not when he knows she’s soon heading back to the glitter of Tinseltown. Now, with the possibility of her first major acting role looming, Sidney must decide if her lucky break is in Hollywood or right where she left it—in Shamrock Falls.

Initial Thoughts:
I was given a free copy of this book from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley. I'm a sucker for hometown stories like this one.

The Pros:
Kade. Oh Kade. So, so sweet. I just wanted to hug that boy. And maybe more... :)

I liked that she wasn't too broken up about her LA boyfriend dumping her. He seemed like a total tool.

Having a support system in place when you return home like Sidney does with Rowan and eventually Kade is invaluable. 

Sidney doesn't look poorly upon her hometown even though she has been exposed to the bright lights of LA. 

It seems like in a lot of books that I read that as soon as someone "makes it big", they think less of their hometown. This book was thankfully not like that.

I loved the flashbacks to their childhood. It really brought together the picture of who these three people were then and now.

The Cons:
It was a bit too simplistic for my tastes, but it had a good story line.

I wish it was a bit longer. I could have used a little more Kade!

I think having Aunt Mae play a larger part in the story would have provided some much needed comic relief.

The nickname "Peaches" made me gag.

The Wrap Up: 3.5/4
A decent, quick romance read. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't something that I couldn't wait to tell my friends about.

Buy a copy of Lucky Break by Kelley Vittolo on Amazon.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends. Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

Initial Thoughts:

There was so much buzz around this book I just had to read it.

The Pros:

This book was like Castaway with a dash of Mrs. Robinson. In the best possible way.

The description of the island and the characters was flawless. I felt like I was there with Anna and TJ on the island. Also, I think that the author did a phenomenal job of writing about events that really would happen if you were a castaway. Sharks, storms, chickens, you name it, she thought of it.

The growing romance between TJ and Anna was natural, not awkward in any way, shape, or form. It was a beautiful love story. It wasn't creepy, just sweet.

The idea that the cancer could come back at any time haunted me throughout the book. At every page turn, I was like "omg. is the cancer back?".

This book is a self-pub but I found no mistakes and the writing was phenomenal.

The Cons:

I'm not a huge fan of dual first person narratives.

The Wrap Up: 5/5

One of the best books I've ever read. Seriously.

Favorite Quote:
"'What's it like being with her? Is it true what they say about older chicks?'
'She's not that much older.'
'Uh, okay. So anyway, how is it?'
'It's incredible.'
'What's she do?'
'She does everything, Ben.'"

Get your copy of On the Island on Amazon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In Your Dreams by Amy Martin

Sixteen-year-old Zara "Zip" McKee lives for three things: basketball, books, and bailing out of tiny Titusville, Illinois, where the junior high and high school are in the same building and everyone's known everyone else since birth. But when Kieran Lanier moves to town and passes out on her desk on his first day at school, Zip's life gets complicated in a way she never dreamed. Kieran has narcolepsy, and although he sometimes struggles to stay awake, he has no trouble capturing Zip's heart and trusting her with his most guarded secret--he sees bits and pieces of the future in his dreams. But just when Zip thinks that maybe she can handle having a boyfriend who sees things before they happen, her budding relationship with Kieran gets a jolt when Kieran's parents reveal that his sleeping disorder is not what it seems and may be putting them in harm's way. And when Zip begins to have unsettling dreams, she must decide if she can live with knowing the future in advance when she's afraid of what might happen.

Initial Thoughts:
I was given a free copy of In Your Dreams by the author to review.

The Pros:
I really thought there was going to be some sort of paranormal twist. I kept waiting for it to pop up, especially with Kieran's condition. But it never happened. And I loved that. It seems all YA books these days have to throw some paranormal action in it, even if it makes no sense.

I liked the mystery/crime component to the novel. Not everyone is who they appear to be.

Kieran and Zip's relationship was every bit of what I remember being like at 17. The realism was a great touch.

I liked how quirky Zip's mom was. Definitely not your typical mom.

The Cons:
I felt like Zip's friends should have been more well defined. We didn't find much out about them, nor were they mentioned in the book very many times. So few, that I struggle to remember their names and I just finished the book last night.

I'm a visual reader. I like to make pictures in my head of how everything looks. Given the descriptions of the characters in the books, I had a hard time visualizing them in my head. A little more detail on looks/personalities would have been good.

I liked an atypical heroine, but it felt like Zip could have cared less how she looked. For some reason, that bothered me. Talking about sweaty gym shorts, etc. kind of turned me off.

I'm not sure how I felt about the narcolepsy. It was a little odd.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
A really decent YA novel that is going to be a series. If you're sick of the vampire/werewolf/etc. theme in today's YA novels, this book is for you.

Favorite Quote:
"I can live without the dreams. The best one already came true anyway."

Get your copy of In Your Dreams on Amazon.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley (Dream Man #1)

While drinking cosmopolitans, Gwendolyn Kidd meets the man of her dreams. Then she takes him home. Then she wakes up alone. But her fear that she lost her dream man turns into a relationship with a mystery man when, night after night in the dead of night, he comes back for more. Hoping it will blossom into something real, she lets him. But she doesn’t even know his name. Gwen’s struggling with the decision to end their crazy non-relationship when her sister-from-hell, Ginger’s best friend pays a visit and warns Gwen that if she and her sister don't get smart, they'll both get d-e-a-d, dead. Gwen has no clue what’s going on but she’s used to Ginger’s antics and decides to lay the problem on her sister’s biker boyfriend's doorstep. Bad choice. She hits the Denver Underground radar with a big, loud ping. This means Gwen’s Mystery Man, Cabe “Hawk” Delgado has to step in to keep her safe. But when Hawk gets a dose of Gwen in the daylight, he makes the decision that he finally wants real with Gwen. However when Gwen gets a dose of badass, bossy, straight-talker Hawk in the daylight, she decides she’s done. Thus begins the head-to-head of the Commando vs. Cosmo Girl as Hawk woos Gwen in his own unique way, Gwen survives firebombs, drive-bys, kidnappings, hot pursuits by biker hotties and gorgeous police detectives and discovers the heartbreaking reason why Hawk kept her at arm’s length. And as all this happens, Gwen finds that her sister’s troubles are serious trouble and she must decide who to keep alive: her sister-from-hell or the man of her dreams.

First Impression:
I really liked the Colorado Mountain Man series, so this series was next up on my list. And it had a martini on the front. I like martinis.

The Pros:
This book was pretty much the Colorado Mountain Man series set in Denver. If you liked CMM like I did, you'll like this one too. If not, then this isn't the one for you.

Hawk. HAWK. I mean, come on. His name is Hawk. Can't get much hotter than that.

I liked the underlying theme of family, and what family means.

Tack seemed scary at first, but he was actually a good guy. He looked out for Gwen when she needed him, and didn't push any boundaries.

Epilogue. Incredible. Loved it.

The Cons:
Gwen was a bit stupid. But we can't have a macho man without a tad stupid heroine, right?

Ginger Kidd. Seriously? Of all the things you can name a person, Ginger Kidd? 

I wasn't a huge fan of Mitch Lawson. Something about him just annoyed me.

The whole mystery man aspect in the beginning of the book was a bit too weird for me. Sneaking into her house? She never knew his name? But he knew everything about her? Creepy.

The Wrap Up: 3.5/5
Another solid Kristen Ashley novel. It has all of her normal themes: macho men, kind of stupid heroine, action, kidnapping, sex. I docked it a half star just for the whole creepy stalkerish beginning.

Favorite Quote:
"You live in your head too much, you curl up and shut shit out and spend so much time doing it, you forget to live your life. You can't live your life in your head. That isn't living."

Buy Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley on Amazon.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Initial Thoughts:
This has been on my wish list on Amazon since I got my Kindle a year and a half ago. It had great reviews, but as soon as I saw the word "vampire" I was turned off. It felt like everyone and their mom had a vampire book out last year. I went through my wish list recently and decided that it was time I gave it a try.

The Pros:
It felt like this book was a mixture of Harry Potter, a romance novel, and a dash of Twilight. I think that's good? Pretty sure it's good.

The historic detail in this novel was fantastic. I'm a big historical fiction fan, so this was awesome for me.

Harkness is a fabulous writer. No Stephenie Meyer nonsense here. Her descriptions left you feeling like you were in the book, not just reading it.

We read about vampires and witches all the time. Harkness adds daemons to this list. No werewolves. No fairies. No hobbits. Thank god.

I liked the scientific aspect of this book. Taking supernatural beings down to a DNA level was fascinating.

The Cons:
I was confused about the daemons. What were they really? Do they have a different lifespan than humans and witches? Do they live forever like vampires? What were their talents, other than being slightly inclined to higher IQs?

The book had a slow start. Slow starts are not good for me. I tend to lose interest and walk away from the book. Luckily, I stuck with it, which was rewarding in the end.

Diana is an intelligent woman (she DOES have a PhD in something fancypantsy after all), but she acts like a child multiple times in the book,

Matthew was a bit overbearing for my taste. And I like macho men in my novels. So that's saying something.

The Wrap Up: 3.5/5
I liked the book, but I think it could have been trimmed down a little. It was a monster sized book (just under 600 pages!) and I think the attention to detail, while good, could have been cut back a little. Less overbearing with Matthew, and more strength from Diana, and this book would have been perfect.

Favorite Quote:
"My life now has a beginning, middle, and an end. Everything before you was a preamble. Now I have you. One day you will be gone, and my life will be over."

Buy A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness on Amazon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #1)

Indy Savage, cop's daughter, rock chick and used bookstore owner, has been in love with Lee Nightingale, once bad boy, now the man behind Nightingale Investigations, since she was five years old. No matter what ingenious schemes Indy used to capture his attention, Lee never showed an interest and Indy finally gave up. Now Indy's employee, Rosie, has lost a bag of diamonds and bad guys are shooting at him. When Indy gets involved, Lee is forced to help. Complicting matters, Lee has decided he's interested, Indy's decided she's not. But she can't seem to keep Lee out of her life when she's repeatedly stun gunned, kidnapped and there are car bombs exploding (not to mention she's finding dead bodies). Indy's best bet is to solve the mystery of the diamonds before Lee. Lee's challenge is to keep Indy alive and, at the same time, win back her heart.

Initial Thoughts:
Kristen Ashley has become one of my favorite authors, and Rock Chick is the first in her bestselling Rock Chick series. Badass girls and macho men? I'm SO in.

The Pros:
I loved how this story has a history. It's not a boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, boy realizes he can't live without the girl, they live happily ever after, kind of story. Indy and Lee have known each other their entire lives. That adds a special something to the book.

Nightingale Investigations... can I work for you? And hang out with your bevy of macho men hotties?

Indy and Ally are hilarious. And huge troublemakers. This book had me laughing at many points.

Kristen Ashley's use of language varies between characters. It feels like they are really speaking to you.

The Cons:
Indy could be annoying at times. I wanted to just grab her by the shoulders and say "STAY OUT OF IT!"

I didn't quite get the whole "Rock Chick" thing. Are they groupies? Are they not? Are they stuck in the days of 80's hair bands?

The Wrap Up: 4/5
I really liked this book. Funny, action packed, with a side of romance. I couldn't wait to read the next in the series.

Favorite Quote:
"Your grandmother used to say that you were two souls separated in heaven. She mainly meant you were both trouble and deserved each other."

Buy Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Knight by Kristen Ashley

Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams. Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight. Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone. Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him. Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her. But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.

Initial Thoughts:
I have grown to LOVE Kristen Ashley books. I have read the entire Colorado Mountain Man, Mystery Man, and Rock Chick Series. I'm currently working my way through the 'Burg series, but this one by her caught my eye, so I took a break from the 'Burg to read this one.

The Pros:
This book was completely different than Ashley's other novels. It was a refreshing change of pace for her.

Ashley left behind her normal Denverite speak for this one. I can't decide if that's good or bad, I think I've grown to like it.

Knight was MUCH hotter than KA's other novels. Much. Much. Much much. 

There were some really sweet quotes from Knight that made me go all "awwwwww!" 

The Cons:
Anya calling Knight "Daddy". Um. Ew?

It felt like a Fifty Shades knock off, and not in a good way.

Knight's actual  business was SHOCKING. And how could Anya stay with him after that? She barely even thought about it.

The whole novel felt a little rushed. Maybe she should have broken it down into two books and took a little more time on character development.

The Wrap Up: 3/5
I think I like Kristen Ashley's typical novels better. This one just seemed a little too forced for me, and the "Daddy" bit creeped me right out.

Favorite Quote:
" 'Wars fought over a face like this,' he murmured like he was talking to himself, my heart stopped beating and his thumbs moved lightly across my cheeks. 'A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it,' his eyes came to mine, 'poison his brother to possess a face like this.' "

Buy Knight by Kristen Ashley on Amazon now.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Gamble by Kristen Ashley

Nina Sheridan’s on a timeout adventure in the Colorado Mountains. She needs distance from her clueless fiancé, distance to decide whether she wants to spend the rest of her life with a man who doesn’t care enough to learn how she takes her coffee. Arriving in a blinding snowstorm at the A-Frame she rented, she comes face to face with the most amazing man she’s ever seen. Minutes later, when he kicks her out of his house, she goes head to head with him. Beyond angry because she’s flown half a world away to start her timeout adventure, not to mention her sinuses hurt, she heads back down the mountain and ends up in a ditch. Unable to extricate herself, she gives up, hopes for rescue and falls asleep in the backseat. The next morning she wakes up in the amazing man’s bed and she’s sick as a dog. Holden Maxwell spends days nursing her back to health and then he spends the next two weeks trying to convince her to take her Colorado adventure further, in other words, make it permanent and take a gamble on him. Nina has a tough time fighting her attraction to Max, especially when it seems all Max’s friends, her mother and stepdad and the whole town want them together and both she and Max get embroiled in the murder of Max’s ex-friend and the town of Gnaw Bone’s most detested resident – a man everyone has motive to kill, especially Max.

Initial Thoughts:

This book kept popping up at the top of my GoodReads recommendations, but I kept putting it off. Much like I did with Gabriel's Inferno by Sylvain Reynard, and we all know how wrong I was in putting that one off. I think the cover of this one bored me. What can I say? I'm a visual person.

The Pros:

"Macho, macho man. I want to be, a macho man." That's what I had in my head the entire book. HEL-LO. 

Max is the ultimate macho man. And sweet at the same time? Too good to be true. It IS a romance novel after all.

For some reason, Nina being partly British was interesting to me. I like their accents. I am vain.

Max taking care of Nina while she was sick, without knowing a thing about her, was so sweet. 

This book is funny! I now call girls I hate "she bitches from hell" thanks to Nina's lovely comments about Max's ex.

The side story lines in this book are so well thought out, they could be stand alone stories. 

Epilogue! I love epilogues. I crave closure in books, and I love when I get to see everything come full circle.

The Cons:
Max's deceased wife probably should have been discussed much earlier in their relationship. That just isn't healthy.

At times, the book got a little outlandish and hard to believe. But it's fiction, so whatever.

I didn't love the "Duchess" nickname. It kind of freaked me out.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
A great, LONG, romance read. There are some steamy scenes thrown in here and there, but this book has some serious substance with some lasting life lessons. A must read!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gabriel's Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

Professor Gabriel Emerson has embarked on a passionate, yet clandestine affair with his former student, Julia Mitchell. Sequestered on a romantic holiday in Italy, he tutors her in the sensual delights of the body and the raptures of sex. But when they return, their happiness is threatened by conspiring students, academic politics, and a jealous ex-lover. When Gabriel is confronted by the university administration, will he succumb to Dante's fate? Or will he fight to keep Julia, his Beatrice, forever? In Gabriel's Rapture, the brilliant sequel to the wildly successful debut novel, Gabriel's Inferno, Sylvain Reynard weaves an exquisite love story that will touch the reader's mind, body, and soul, forever.

Initial Thoughts:
You can read my review of the first book, Gabriel's Inferno, here. I love love LOVED that book, so reading the follow-up was a no brainer. 
The Pros:
Okay. Let's get this straight. Sylvain Reynard is a PHENOMENAL writer. Each sentence felt like poetry.
As in the first novel, the continued references to literature, art, and architecture were not only interesting to read about, but I felt like I was actually learning along the way. Imagine that, LEARNING from a romance novel! (Although, I did learn the geography of the Portland area through 50 Shades...)
The scenes in Italy were straight out of a fairy tale romance, even with a villain :)
The fact that Gabriel and Julia had to face responsibility for their actions was refreshing. Many novels you think, "you would never get away with that in real life!" and in this one, they didn't get away with it. They had to face devastating consequences.
Julia finds strength through the challenges she faces, growing from the immature college student, to a mature woman.
Like in the first, passion is key in this novel. Everything from a simple kiss to the sex scenes conveyed the passion they felt for one another.
What happened to Paul? What happened to Christa? I felt like there were a few ends that weren't tied up.
Julia kind of made me a little crazy in this book. She seemed a little immature.
Gabriel made a few rather large decisions about their relationship without consulting Julia. Not cool, buddy. The protective man-ness can only be considered hot up to a certain point. Then it's just annoying.
The Wrap Up: 4.5/5
Another outstanding read from Sylvain Reynard. It was almost as good as the first, but really, how can you top that?
Favorite Quote:
"She is not my equal; she is my better. She is my sticky little leaf."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Insanity by Lauren Hammond

Sometimes love...can drive you crazy. Adelaide Carmichael and Damien Allen couldn't be more opposite. Adelaide's mother abandoned her when she was ten years old, leaving her to be raised by her abusive and alcoholic father. Damien on the other hand came from a wealthy family, was a local celebrity, and seemed to have a bright future ahead of him. Despite their differences, Adelaide and Damien were young, wild, and fiercely in love. And they had a plan. They were going to run away. Be together forever. And their plan was set in motion, until tragedy struck and for some reason, Adelaide wound up in The Oakhill Institution for the insane. Adelaide has no idea what she did to wind up at Oakhill, but she knows one thing for sure... She wants out. And after Damien follows her there to aid her in escaping, Adelaide slowly begins putting together the pieces of her memory that are missing. And it doesn't take Adelaide long to figure out that sometimes... That one true love never dies.

Initial Thoughts:

A romance set in an insane asylum? I'm in.

The Pros:

The flashbacks between her life then and her life now painted a brilliant picture of psychiatric care in the past.

The characters inside the insane asylum were so interesting.

Her Romeo and Juliet-esque romance with Damien was cliche, but sweet.

How she dealt with the monster that is her father for that long, I have no idea.

Is she crazy? Is she not? This books keeps you guessing.

The Cons:

There were parts of the book that left me really confused. I know there are multiple books in the series, so 

I'm hoping my questions are answered in future books.

It was hard to read about some of the "treatments" they used back then. It left me haunted.

The Wrap Up: 4/5

Wonderful start to an eerie series. It really gives you a history of psychiatric care and what love can do to a person.

Favorite Quote:
"I love her son like he's the oxygen in my lungs, the plasma in my bloodstream, and the rapid pulsating beat of my heart. Sometimes I feel like I love him so much it aches when I'm not near him. It's like tiny pricks from a sewing needle jabbing into me repeatedly. I miss him so much that since yesterday my heart has felt like a towering inferno and there isn't any water or a fire extinguisher around to put it out. I'm burning, burning, burning. I want to burn eternally."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher

Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

Initial Thoughts:
While perusing my Goodreads for new book suggestions, I saw a lot of people had given this book 5 stars, so I gave it a go.

The Pros:
The psychological aspect of this book was what kept me reading.

The author really demonstrated how every choice you make affects your future. Olivia has a lot of her choices thrown back in her face.

That's about all I can come up with for Pros.

The Cons:
What the hell is wrong with Olivia? And Leah? There was not a sane girl to be found in this book.

Also, what is wrong with Caleb? I still can't understand his motives.

The flashbacks got confusing after awhile.

There wasn't enough of a plot line for me to even consider liking this book.

The Wrap Up: 1/5
Probably the only book this year that I really didn't like. It was just too effed up for me to even remotely understand what was going on. 

Favorite Quote:
I didn't have one.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Backstage Pass by Olivia Cunning

Five stunning guys, one hot woman, and a feverish romance... For him, life is all music and no play... When Brian Sinclair, lead songwriter and guitarist of the hottest metal band on the scene, loses his creative spark, it will take nights of downright sinful passion to release his pent-up genius... She's the one to call the tune... When sexy psychologist Myrna Evans goes on tour with the Sinners, every boy in the band tries to seduce her. But Brian is the only one she wants to get her hands on... Then the two lovers' wildly shocking behavior sparks the whole band to new heights of glory...and sin...

Initial Thoughts:
This was one of the "must read after Fifty Shades" books that were recommended to me. The cover looked a little steamier than I was used to, but I figured it was worth a try.

The Pros:
Character development. You got to know each of the characters so well in this book. I figure that's because each guy is going to have his own novel, but it made the story so much richer by giving you info on all the people involved in the storyline.

This book had an actual plot. Yes. You read right. An erotic romance with an actual plot. And it was GOOD.

Myrna is a smart, no-nonsense lady. I liked that.

Brian = biggest sweetheart I could ever dream up. He has the biggest heart.

I love me some rockstar romances, and this was the epitome of it.

This book was FUNNY. There was a lot of moments that had me laughing out loud.

The Cons:
The name Myrna. Really? I get that she was supposed to be sexy librarian-like but the old lady name was really "ew" to me.

They probably could have toned down the sex a bit. There were parts where I was like "uhhh... again?".

"Master Sinclair" was a little creepy. It was an alter ego that didn't fit Brian at all.

The situation with Brian's parents seemed forced. It probably could have been left out.

The Wrap Up: 4/5
Probably the best erotic romance I've read since Fifty Shades. It didn't quite have the plot line pros that Fifty did, but it wasn't just smut.

Favorite Quote:
"I need a million dollars to pay the ransom on my kidnapped poodle."

Friday, August 24, 2012

Scandalous by Ella Steele

Millionaire Jack Gray earned his fortune creating erotic art for a discerning clientele. He doesn’t use a brush to depict these hauntingly beautiful portraits—he uses bare skin. A sterling reputation is the only thing standing between Jack and poverty as he skirts the thin line between fine art and cheap sensationalism. To ensure that his character remains beyond reproach, an assistant observes his sessions. While interviewing for a new assistant, Jack hears her voice—Abby Tyndale—the girl who got away. The last time Jack saw her was over a decade ago. After years of romantic tension she had nearly kissed him, but then disappeared without a trace. He hasn’t seen her since. Until now. When he learns that his lost love joined the clergy after she fled to West Texas, his heart sinks. She’s forbidden, forever set apart by her vows. Jack’s life quickly spins out of control as Abby grows closer to him, and worsens when his client list is stolen. The financial blow alone is damning, but it’s the scandal brewing beneath the surface that he fears the most. Jack and Abby’s livelihoods rely on their reputations. A single scandal will destroy them both. While fearing a contrived scandal, they have courted a very real one as their romance reignites.

Initial Thoughts:
The cover was beautiful. I hadn't seen a cover like that ever before. Also, the aspect of Abby being "clergy" was oddly interesting.

The Pros:
I had never read a romance novel involving a nun. This was new. And intriguing.

The art aspect in this book was really interesting to me. As a former (and sometimes current) artist, I really liked the way they described Jack's process of creating his art. Also, the fine line between what is considered pornographic and art is explored in this novel.

Abby deals with her past, present, and future when all of it collides when she returns to NYC. After initially balking at the idea of that, she faces it head on.

The reason why Abby was forced to take a "sabbatical" is amazing. I loved it. 

The Cons:
I felt like the novel moved too fast. The author could have turned this into a really great love story if she would have just taken her time.

Typos. You guys know how I feel about those.

The ending? Confusing. Rushed. Not well thought out.

Jack wasn't described well enough to be considered a true romance heartthrob.

The Wrap Up: 3/5
Decent, quick romance read. If you're looking for in depth romance, you won't find it here. But this is a great beach read.

Favorite Quote:
"Before I could speak, a voice came from the shadow at the end of the room. "So that's where you went? Texas." That voice. It made my stomach flip. My body was instantly covered in goosebumps, every hair standing on end. Something inside my chest ached when he spoke. Although I hadn't heard it in years, I recognized his warm playful tone instantly. I'd know him anywhere."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

When Hollywood It Boy, Reid Alexander, arrives on location to shoot his next movie, his goals are the same as always—film another blockbuster hit and enjoy his celebrity status to the fullest while doing so. His costar is a virtual unknown with whom he had blazing hot chemistry during her auditions. The universe is lining up nicely to grant whatever he wants, as usual, until he’s confronted with unexpected obstacles on location like a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for the first girl to spark his genuine interest in years. Emma Pierce just got her big break after more than a decade of filming commercials for grape juice, department stores and tampons, and more recently, bit parts in made-for-TV movies. Nailing the lead role in a wide-release film sent her agent, father and stepmother into raptures, and should have done the same for her. The Problem? Emma is experiencing a building desire to be normal, and starring in a silly, modernized adaptation of one of her favorite novels—opposite the very hot Reid Alexander—isn’t going to advance that aspiration. Graham Douglas doesn’t fear playing the part of a nerdy dimwit; when it comes to choosing film roles, if it pays, he’ll do it. Besides, his friend Brooke Cameron snatched up the role of the bitchy hot girl and could use his help as a buffer, because her ex is the star. Graham has no problem keeping a handle on the situation, until he finds himself attracted to Reid’s costar, Emma, the girl Reid is pursuing full-throttle with his standard arsenal of charm, good looks and arrogance.
Initial Thoughts:
I loved Easy by Tammara Webber, and wanted to read another of her books.

The Pros:
The storyline was fun and engaging. There were twists and turns and lots of cattiness.

Graham is a legit good guy, unlike Reid. He's also a bit of a mystery, which leaves you wanting to know more.

Hollywood storylines always have a bit of glitz and glamour that makes me turn pages a little faster.

The evolution of Emma from innocent commercial girl to Hollywood star was fun to follow.

The Cons:
Reid was a disgusting slime ball.

Brooke knows no bounds of her bitchiness. 

The storyline was a bit overdone. It seemed very much like the A List by Zoey Dean.

The Wrap Up: 2/5
Just another cutesy YA novel. Nothing too special here.

Favorite Quote:
"Oh no! My wings are effed up!"

Do you want to read Between the Lines? Click here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Point of No Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart. Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’

Initial Thoughts:
I read Slammed, and some part of me needed to complete the story. I guess that's just the OCD in me.

The Pros:
The addition of Kiersten and her mom was the best part of this book.

The author managed to make me use "butterflying" as a curse word. Hilarious.

I liked how the two families came together to form one non-traditional family. Will being present for both boys at Dad's Day at school was particularly heart warming.

The Cons:
The crash storyline. I didn't like it.

I was disappointed to see that the book was written from Will's POV. I'm not sure why.

Layken acted a tad bit childish for a girl who asked to have a lot put on her.

The Wrap Up: 3/5
I appear to be the only person on Goodreads who wasn't completely enamored with this series. It just fell flat to me.

Favorite Quote:
"He's got one of those intelligent phones. He's trying to twit the president."

Will you retreat or march forward with Point of Retreat? Click here to march forward.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she's losing hope. Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope. Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.
Initial Thoughts:
I thought this book would be like another Thoughtless/Effortless which I really liked.

The Pros:
I liked that Layken was a strong girl. She had to up and move her entire life after her father passes away. She looks after her little brother, as her mom is running "errands" or "working" constantly.

I really liked Layken's friend Eddie. She provided comic relief to the story.

I loved the interaction between the two brothers. It reminded me so much of my own little brother at that age.

The slam poetry in the book is something I've never seen before, and that's saying something.

The Cons:
The whole Will being a teacher thing threw me off. Even though the author "explained" it, it really didn't see feasible. 

The chances of Will and Layken being in the same situation are next to nothing. I don't like when books aren't realistic.

The writing style wasn't my favorite.

The Wrap Up: 2/5
This book wasn't really my cup of tea. If you like YA romance though, it might be good for you.

Favorite Quote:
"There are three question every woman should be able to answer yes to before they commit to a man: 1. Does he treat you with respect at all times? 2. If he is the exact same person twenty years from now that he is today, would you still want to marry him? 3. Does he inspire you to want to be a better person?"

Click here for your copy of Slammed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

32 Candles by Ernessa Carter

John Hughes's "Sixteen Candles" grows up in this wry and satisfying romantic tale in which an ugly ducking becomes the swan she always dreamed of and gets the prince--but will she be able to keep him?
Initial Thoughts:
I am a lover of all things John Hughes, so this book was a must read for me.

The Pros:
I absolutely adored the style of writing in this book. It was funny and intelligent. There were many laugh out loud moments, yet moments that left me teary eyed.

Davie works HARD to get away from her past. But then her past shows up knocking on her front door. You have to admire the girl's work ethic.

The way Davie idolized John Hughes' movies reminds me of myself when I was little. I wanted to be the girl who drives away in Jake's red Porche.

The way that Davie suffers silently through being bullied in high school is heartbreaking, but she never retaliates. All the horrible things that happened to her were bricks in the road to her self discovery.

The Cons:
What she did was not cool. Not going to lie. It bordered a bit on psychotic, but after the things she went through, I don't know that it was completely out of line.

An epilogue would have been nice. I want to know what happened!

Finding out who Davie's father is was a shock to the system.

The Wrap Up: 4.5/5
This is one phenomenal book. Smart, funny, and tugging at your heartstrings, thrown in a bowl and mixed with 80's nostalgia. 

Favorite Quote:
"I will never let a man hand me an Invitation to Crazy."

Get your own 32 Candles here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war. A timeless story of enduring passion, The Bungalow chronicles Anne's determination to discover the truth about the twin losses-of life, and of love-that have haunted her for seventy years.
Initial Thoughts:
Uh, the title of the book is The Bungalow. Which means I was sold from the get go.

The Pros:
This is wonderfully executed historical fiction. I was so involved in the characters lives, that by the end of the book I was so sad to be finished.

The way that the author paints a picture of the island really makes you feel like you were there with Anne.

I learned a lot about WWII and how bases were during this time.

The dynamic between Anne and her best friend, Kitty, changes throughout the book which kept me guessing.

There were so many twists and turns that this book was nearly impossible to put down.

The way the story was told from the past and the present was very interesting.

The Cons:
I didn't like who Anne ended up "choosing".

Gerard's character was vastly underdeveloped.

I couldn't get a feel for how I really felt about Anne's mother. 

Kitty's motives were unclear. Why did she do all of those horrible things? What changed her so much?

The Wrap Up: 4.5/5
I loved this book. I finished it in one sitting. After I finished, I had that heavy heart feeling. The one I get after reading a truly great love story.

Favorite Quote:
"He was there, of course - in uniform, shyly smiling at me as the waves fell into the shore. I could hear them - their violent crash, followed by the fizz of a million bubbles kissing the sand."

Click here to get your copy of The Bungalow.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.
Initial Thoughts:
This came up on my recommendations on Goodreads, and I can't say no to a good psychological thriller.

The Pros:
Holy cow. This book was INTENSE.

Poor Christine. I felt so bad for her throughout the whole book. Can you imagine waking up and not remembering so much of your life?

The revelations throughout the book kept you guessing.

The surprise ending was so crazy I could barely wrap my head around it.

The Cons:
The ending was a bit far fetched.

It reminded me of the movie 50 First Dates, which was a comedy, which is probably not what I was supposed to be thinking about while reading. I kept thinking about the penguin from the movie.

Parts of this book were so slow moving that I debated putting it down, but I trucked on because I knew that in a few pages something else would be revealed.

I didn't like the story line about her son. It seemed so cruel, but really everything else in her life was just as cruel, but that part really stood out to me.

The Wrap Up: 3/5
A pretty decent thriller. It definitely gave me the creeps, but didn't leave a lasting impression in my mind.

Favorite Quote:
"With him everything is a test, affection is measured, that given weighed against that which has been recieved, and the balance, more often than not, disappointing him."