Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Undertow by Jen Greyson

by Jen Greyson

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Published by: Alexander Cole Publishing Group - October 24, 2014
Genre: NA, Romance
Rating: 3.5 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Six single girls. One sexy billionaire bachelor. On water. What could possibly go wrong?

When Sangria Henlie's firm takes on a reality TV client, Sangria has no choice but to wade through ridiculous and tedious paperwork, heightening her distaste for unscripted television.

Mateo Darger puts the family shipping business ahead of everything—especially women. Six weeks with six lovely ladies in exchange for one hour of weekly prime-time television? Done deal.

But when Sangria visits his office to brief him about the do's and don’ts of this crazy cruise, the only thing he can think of is her—and by her clipped remarks, she thinks he's an unmitigated ass for taking part in a farcical charade.

At the last minute, he gets her on the boat. But he hasn't thought through his next move. She's furious—and Mateo has six other women to…ahem…impress? Will Sangria let down her guard, or will it be the longest six weeks of Mateo’s blessed billionaire life?

I loved the story. I loved Sangria and Mateo. I wasn't impressed with the run-on sentences. This book would have been a 4 if not for those. I know this is an uncorrected proof and I'm hoping these were edited out. . .

"I think Sangria is great, bummer that Stuart is being a turd about it." The comma should have been a period.

There was also another place in which Rinnae's character was called Sarina. Those things still need edited.

As far as the story and the zing between Sangria and Mateo, it got heated a couple of times and worked well. Sangria's wit and Mateo's ability to read Sangria were genuine touches to the characters. I cared about them and wanted them to get together. The other contestants were less well-drawn and a bit more ambiguous. The author tried to play up Kat as the nasty one and had Stuart telling Sangria that he wanted her to stick to Kat like glue. While Kat was nasty, she really only had one big moment where she let her true colors fly. That was long after the author built up the image of her being catty. Also, the only time Sangria had to be paired with Kat was on the treasure hunt. The bargain that Stuart made with Sangria, saying she had to be with Kat at all times just didn't ring true with what actually happened. The author put ideas out there, but the plot didn't necessarily justify what was said.

I really enjoyed the book overall and would read another novel by Jennifer Greyson. I just think this one needs some more polish.

Definitely, Maybe in Love by Ophelia London

Definitely, Maybe in Love
by Ophelia London

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Published by: Entangled - October 28, 2013
Genre: NA,Pride & Prejudice modern adaptation
Rating: 3 Stars

Spring Honeycutt wants two things: to ace her sustainable living thesis and to save the environment. Both seem hopelessly unobtainable until her college professor suggests that with a new angle, her paper could be published. Spring swears she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.

"Whatever it takes," however, means forming a partnership with the very hot, very privileged, very conceited Henry Knightly.

Henry is Spring's only hope at publication, but he's also the über-rich son of a land developer and cash-strapped Spring’s polar opposite—though she can't help being attracted to the way he pushes her buttons, both politically and physically. Spring finds there's more to Henry than his old money and argyle sweaters…but can she drop the loud-and-proud act long enough to let him in? Suddenly, choosing between what she wants and what she needs puts Spring at odds with everything she believes in.

I love P&P modern takes and since this one was only $2.99 I snatched it up. I also liked that the Darcy character's last name was Knightley. I love Mr. Knightley too, so I enjoyed the homage.

The story followed very close to the original. Her best friend (Jane) fell for Dart (Charles), but Knightley (Darcy) busted that up. Alex (Wickham) used to attend school with Knightley. They were friends until Alex did some questionable stuff, not only to Knightley but to Knightley's sister. There was no deviation from the plot except for the setting. I was okay with that, because I love the story, but there were some things that bugged me.

Page 41 made me sad, because it contained my least favorite dialogue in a book:

"Alex, hey."
"Hey yourself."

I am a "Hey yourself" hater. Do people actually say that in real life?

But then there was the redeemable quote from Knightley to Spring: "Whatever you're feeling about me right this second," he continued, "believe that. Please."


The whole Alex and Cami (Knightley's sister) thing was a bit dramatic as well as the Alex and Julia situation. The author over-dramatized those scenes and made them very unbelievable. I highly doubt that when Dart (Charles) went to rescue Julia from Alex, and he found them naked after having just been together, Dart would have carried Julia to the car and immediately gotten back together with her. Just didn't make any sense. Then there's Spring's excellent retelling of Knightley's letter in which he explains what kind of person Alex truly is: "He takes girls - after he severely impairs them, or finds them severely impaired - to some, I don't know, some honeymoon cabin at the beach. It's date rape but on steroids." I'll let those strange sentences sink in for you for a minute . . .

And as far as I know, the author never explained what happened to Cami's baby.

There were weird examples like those throughout the book.

One major difference between the original and this retelling is that Spring (Elizabeth) was kind of a perpetual b*tch to Knightley without a lot of good reason. Yes, he broke up Dart and Julia, but overall, Knightley was a nice guy in this book. Spring was the one who had a burr up her crawl.

Maybe I shouldn't write reviews when I didn't sleep the night before (like right now) . . .

TTT: Halloween Post!

From the Broke & the Bookish

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Books/Movies To Read Or Watch To Get In The Halloween Spirit OR Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

1. I'd watch all of the Pretty Little Liars Halloween episodes (there are 4 of them by now) - They're always creepy AND the girls always get to wear the best costumes!

2. I'd watch a marathon of The Dead Files for sure.

3. The original Exorcist is a must-see as well! Ok . . . I'm gonna need an old priest and a new priest, stat!

4. The Last Exorcism - That girl used the be a gymnast and she can contort in the craziest of ways. Eep! Apparently there's a second one!

5. Book-wise, I'd re-read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

6. As for who it would be fun to dress up as? Rose from VA!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday Mish Mash

Every Monday I bring you a list of things I like and/or am thinking about. Feel free to join in. If you do, post in comments and I'll read yours. :)

Over the weekend, I saw the movie St. Vincent starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy. I cried through the last 4th of the movie, as it was very touching. If you like Bill and Melissa and if you like feel-good movies where the grouchy guy is really a good person, you should check it out.

I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I'm writing a new adult novel set in a summer theatre. Here are 2 cover options. Which do you like better? Obviously they aren't finals, but are ideas.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What She Lost and Found by M.L. Garcia

What She Lost and Found
by M.L. Garcia

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Published by: M.L. Garcia - October 15, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Romance, Sexual Assault, Stalking
Rating: 3 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Her life seemed perfect...

Her best friend since childhood, was like a sister to her. Wherever she'd go, her best friend Christina, was usually nearby. It should have been a wonderful beginning into adulthood during her freshman year of college. Unfortunately, two horrible nights would shake her world to the core.
Innocence would be stolen, lives would be shattered
and a young life is lost. Nothing would ever be the same again for Daniela.

Daniela Franco stopped trusting others after a horrible ordeal she experienced, at the hands of people within her own hometown. With a past that relentlessly continues to control her life, she decides to protect herself by never allowing anyone to get close enough to destroy her world again.

For the past few years, focusing on work and school, staying away from the wild-college parties and keeping a tiny circle of friends, has kept her safe. But life has a way of changing things.

Her secrets from the past begin to slowly resurface, threatening to rock her world again in the dark and destructive ways it had years earlier.
Can Daniela face the demons from her past, when they are determined to finish what was started?
Will the people she has begun opening up to, be able to survive her secrets as well as their own?

With new friendships, chances to build trust again, the possibility of finding love and experiencing intimacy the way it is meant to be,
changes are certain.

Daniela must try to live with what she lost and with what will soon be found...

I was conflicted in rating this book because while the author nailed the behavior of a rape survivor (I am one), there were other aspects of the book I didn't like.

First, I'll begin with the creation of Daniela. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that either the author is the survivor of rape herself or knows first-hand the effects of PTSD. The way that the author revealed Daniela's post-rape personality and habits was spot-on. She described Daniela's fear of busy places, parties, wearing clothing that would show off her body, and her need to keep order and keep to herself. This once social butterfly now had few friends and certainly none of them were male. She also kept herself very busy with school and work, keeping her from having alone time to "think" as I call it. It was very refreshing to read a book about a rape survivor that was so realistic. As a survivor, I often shy away from these books because they're usually very contrived on what someone thinks a rape survivor would act like rather than how they really would.

Another aspect of being a rape survivor is that you think you deserve to be with other people who have baggage. You try to stay away from people you deem "normal" and stay with your own kind, so to speak. Daniela choosing to date Alex when she really wanted to be with Nathan made total sense to me, although I'm sure many readers didn't understand this. Again, it takes being a survivor to understand. It wasn't that she didn't have feelings for Alex; it's just that with his drug dealing baggage, he was a bit more human to her than Nathan. She felt like she would drag Nathan down if she dated him, and she cared too much about him to do that.

One part of the book that was partially a problem for me was the continual abuse behavior Daniela got caught up in. It felt a bit over the top to me until I stopped reading and really thought about it. Statistically, once you've been assaulted once, your chances of being assaulted again are very high. It's almost as if you have a neon sign on your forehead that says "victim." Predators truly can sense a survivor's fear; they can sniff it out. I myself have been assaulted by multiple people since the first time (I was also drugged the first time I was raped like Daniela was). While I was able to convince myself that the constant abuse she encountered was normal, I did feel like a bit too much was shoved into a short span of time. It seemed like a bit too much was being crammed into a semester.

On to the stalking . . . I can also comment on this because I too was stalked by a guy in the past. Again, I'm telling you, once you've become a victim, you are a beacon of light to these people. While I think the author has a good grasp on sexual assault, I felt like she knew nothing about stalking. This part felt a bit contrived. It was also very clear to me throughout the book who was doing the stalking, although Daniela seemed uber surprised when she found out.

Moving on to the writing style. I'm not a fan of present-tense writing, so I didn't like this aspect of the novel. This is a personal preference, though and nothing to fault the author on. I wasn't, however, sold on the sex scenes. I felt like I was reading a sex manual rather than a steamy connection between two lovers whenever this came up in the book. It just didn't do it for me. I also didn't think the book needed to end on a sex scene. It wasn't necessary (yes - I know there was an epilogue, but that happened right after the strangely placed sex scene). I also didn't really buy the way the coeds talked/thought. When I was in college, I never called other coeds "classmates." When introducing friends, I would never say, "Becky, this is my classmate, Tony." It just seemed weird, again like the author has never been in college and doesn't know how people in their early 20s speak. It just felt off.

Finally, the quick summation of who killed Christina and who went to jail for raping Daniela was strange. It was a quick 2-3 sentence blip at the end of the story. Daniela's whole essence is based on those two happenings and I thought it was strange that the author would just slough through talking about those things, getting Daniela's feelings on the results. The book tells us who went to jail, but not why Christina was killed or why Daniela was raped. Was Christina raped and murdered because she found out who raped Daniela? I wanted answers. With the entire foundation of the book resting on these answers, I felt very disappointed that we, the readers, didn't get any.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014: Acting Up

Is anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo 2014? If so, what are you writing about? Wanna be buddies? I'm pookielocks.

I'm going to attempt to work on a new adult romance set in a college summer musical theatre company. Here are my 2 working cover options. I like different aspects of them both.

Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

Obsidian (Lux novel #1)
by Jennifer Armentrout

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Published by: Entangled Teen - May 8, 2012
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Rating: 4 Stars

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring...until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something...unexpected happens.

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Books like this are evil! A well-written, entertaining first book in a series that also contains just the right amount of heat? How can I not buy the second installment?! Since reading the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, I've been hoping another YA series would peak my interest, but figured that was impossible. While I like to read young adult stand alone books, I find a lot of young adult series to be a bit too immature for my taste (which is totally fine since I'm a 30-year-old!). Years before picking up VA, I tried to read about 3 chapters of Twilight and couldn't stomach it for many reasons. I almost didn't try VA because I heard they were similar. Not so. I also read that the Lux series was exactly like Twilight only with aliens, and although I can't definitively say there are no similarities (since I never read Twilight nor watched any of the movies), I really loved Obsidian. Even though it is a young adult novel, it was written with maturity. The characters were full of personality, whether positive or negative, and made me feel things.

Daemon is a total *ss for most of the book, but you soon learn why. Katy isn't as strong a protagonist as Rose from VA, but she is still a unique person. She isn't a sterotypical high school archtype like a queen bee or a nerd. She's herself and a formidable opponent to Daemon. Dee is the only other alien we get to know well in the first book, but I suspect the Thompson triplets will come into play in the other books.

The first book introduces the reader to the Lux, their enemies the Arum, and the main characters. I downloaded the next book, Onyx, and am getting ready to read it right now!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

TTT: New Series

From the Broke & the Bookish

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New Series I Want to Read

I wasn't going to do the TTT this week, then upon reading someone else's post, I bought the first book in the Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout and am devouring it. So . . .

1. Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout
2. Mara Dyer series - I own the first 2 books

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss
by Manda Collins

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Published by: St. Martin's Press - October 14, 2014
Genre: Regency Romance
Rating: 3.5 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Sir Lucien Blakemore arrives at his cousin’s estate for a week long Christmas party, he’s shocked to see Miss Winifred Nightingale among the other guests. Employed by his neighbor back in Yorkshire, the governess with the lovely eyes has always seemed off limits, but she’s visiting here as a guest—and there’s nothing like a little mistletoe to make the spirits bright…

Miss Winifred Nightingale never dreamed a holiday visit with her sister would lead to both ladies spending Christmas as the local lord’s guests. But the big surprise is when she finds the handsome Sir Lucien Blakemore staying there too. Their attraction between is undeniable, but will an old nemesis and a party guest bent on mischief make their first kiss under the mistletoe their last?

Regency? Check. Hot Lord? Check. Christmas? Check. Mystery? Check. This light romance has it all. I did, however, find my interest waning about 70% of the way through. I wasn't all that interested to find out who was trying to sabotage Winnie's betrothal to Lucien. I also didn't think it was plausible that a Lord would just agree to pretend to be engaged to a woman beneath him so easily. Nevertheless, it was a quick, light read.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday Mish-Mash

Every Monday I bring you a list of things I like and/or am thinking about. Feel free to join in. If you do, post in comments and I'll read yours. :)

Mental Health

1. Amanda Bynes - I feel very badly for her and hope she gets this year hold so that she can get help. As an actor with a mental disorder myself, I know there is a fine line between creativity and madness. I'm lucky enough to take medication and attend counseling. It seems Amanda is unable to do that on her own without external help. She is a very talented person and until this past year, she was always an upstanding celebrity compared to the Lindsay Lohans and the Mily Cyrus's of the world.

2. Lark Voohries - Remember the actress who played the vivacious Lisa Turtle on Saved by the Bell? She is now a ghost of her former self. If you look at her face now compared to then, she looks like a blank shell. Her mother reported last year that she has bipolar disorder, but Lark insists she's fine and writes really weird stories/poetry that she published on Amazon. Her use of commas is very strange. Read a sample. It's very sad, and I wish her mother or someone would force her to get some help.
Image from Straight from the A

Pretty Little Liars

PLL has a special airing tomorrow night, so I'm super pumped! Cast & crew will answer fan questions & show behind-the-scenes looks. My friend and I are slightly obsessed with this show. Just slightly. Really - we don't need to go to counseling or be put inpatient. ;) I'm also excited that this year, instead of a Halloween episode, they're doing a Christmas episode.


This weekend, I want to see Laggies. starring Keira Knightley. In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Megan panics when her boyfriend proposes, then, taking an opportunity to escape for a week, hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika, who lives with her world-weary single dad.

My Skylar by Penelope Ward

My Skylar
by Penelope Ward

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Published by: Amazon Digital - June 10, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Skylar was my best friend, but I secretly pined for her. One thing after another kept us apart, and I’ve spent the last decade in fear of losing her forever. First, it was the cancer, but she survived only to face the unthinkable at my hands. Because of me, she left town. For years, I thought I’d never see her again. But now she’s back…and living with him. I don’t deserve her after everything I’ve put her through, but I can’t live without her. This is my last chance because she’s about to make the biggest mistake of her life. I can see it her eyes: she doesn’t love him. She still loves me...which is why I have to stop her before it’s too late.

I just finished Stepbrother Dearest by the same offer the other day. After loving it, I immediately bought this one to read. I wanted to read everything the author wrote after reading that masterpiece of new adult fiction!

While the whole Stepbrother Dearest storyline spanned a good decade and constantly held my interest, My Skylar didn't fare as well. It's not that I didn't love the storyline. I did. I love best friends-turned-lovers books and this one had all of the great elements. My only problem with it is that there was a bit too much angsty drama. Everything bad that could happen to tear Skylar and Mitch apart, did. Cancer? Check. Jealousy? Check. An immature teenager deciding she was sparing her teenage boyfriend an adult life without children? Check. Crazy, conniving, nutso ex-girlfriend that stalks her boyfriend's love? Check. Unwanted pregnancy? Check. The list could go on and on if I let it. What I'm trying to say is that for me, it was all just too much. Too much drama. Too much angst. Too much. Yes, I wanted Skylar and Mitch to get together in the end, but after awhile, it was mostly so that I could just finish the book and check it off my list of TBR.

Don't get me wrong. I loved both characters. Heck, I've even had an ex-boyfriend's new girlfriend stalk me, so I know the contents of the story could be realistic. Altogether, though, it was just too much.

The other thing that turned me off was that the book started out with Mitch stalking Skylar. As a victim of stalking, myself, I did not find that endearing. I found it creepy, and honestly didn't want to keep reading. I'm glad I did and that the backstory of Mitch and Skylar became a positive one instead of the creepy negative one I picked up at the beginning.

Also, Nina showing up at the hospital and somehow becoming Skylar's best friend confused me. The whole paragraph about seeing someone as lost as her in the hospital, pretending Skylar thought Nina was a hospital volunteer and talking to her? So confusing and I never knew why Nina was there at the hospital that day or why they became BFFs all of a sudden. In looking at other book blurbs, I see that Penelope Ward's first book featured Nina, so I guess if you've read that one, you know more about who Nina is. That said, the author still confused the heck out of me as to why Nina was in the hospital and how they became friends. Just an inconsistency I had to write off to be able to keep reading.

I'm still going to give this one 3.5 stars. I enjoyed the characters, wanted them to be together, and admired their love for each other. I'm also glad I read the whole thing, although I didn't want to finish it at times. I'm also planning to read another of her books, so this one didn't completely turn me off the author for good.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

Stepbrother Dearest
by Penelope Ward

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Published by: Amazon Digital - September 28, 2014
Genre: New Adult
Rating: 4.5 Stars

You're not supposed to want the one who torments you.

Greta is a senior in high school when her step-brother Elec moves in with her mom and step-dad, Randy. Elec is an angry, angsty, tattooed youth. He's horribly mean to Greta, but the meaner he is, the more Greta wants to break through to him. Oh, and have I mentioned that she likes him as a bit more than a step-brother? The novel is a stand alone work that chronicles a span of 7 years, showing their beginning, their last fateful tonight together, and their unwanted reunion 7 years later. Every time these two get together, everything proper is turned on its axis.

I will admit that I almost put the book down after reading the first chapter. The way the author wrote about Greta's immediate sexual attraction to Elec seemed very elementary plot-wise and I was worried the rest of the book would be the same. My fears were TOTALLY unfounded and I ended up loving this book!

The character development of Greta, Elec and Randy was intense and thorough. I felt like I really knew who these characters were. They were real people. The interaction between Greta and Elec was electric yet realistic, while the anger between Elec and Randy was believable. I was rooting for Greta and Elec to be together and for Elec and Randy to make up. I wanted the best for everyone.

The author also had a very unique way of chronicling part of the story. Elec is a writer and she had Greta read an autobiographical story he'd written about his life thus far. That not only let Greta in on the secrets from his past, but let the reader understand things from Elec's side of the story. It was an intimate peek inside a complex man and I loved the way the author chose to tell it.

I want to share some quotes, as I think they will speak for themselves as to how good this book really is. I found myself bookmarking more than an average number of them as I read on my kindle.


"I never had a problem with the way you look at me. My issue is the way it makes me feel when you look at me: things I'm not supposed to feel, things I can't let myself feel for you. At the same time ... nothing felt worse than when you stopped looking at me, Greta."

"I'm not supposed to care. But when it comes to you, what I'm supposed to be feeling has never seemed to matter."


"You were the best thing that ever happened to me. I hope someday I can say you were one of the best, but for now, it's only you."

My chief complaint is that the ending didn't need to have the epilogue. It was a bit strange. The author gave the book the perfect ending, then seemed to randomly tack on another ending to that. I didn't think the epilogue needed to be concluded.

The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel

The Forgotten Girls
by Sara Blaedel

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Published by: Grand Central Publishing - January 7, 2015
Rating: 3.75 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In a forest in Denmark, a ranger discovers the fresh corpse of an unidentified woman. A large scar on one side of her face should make the identification easy, but nobody has reported her missing. After four days, Louise Rick--the new commander of the Missing Persons Department--is still without answers. But when she releases a photo to the media, an older woman phones to say that she recognizes the woman as Lisemette, a child she once cared for in the state mental institution many years ago. Lisemette, like the other children in the institution, was abandoned by her family and branded a "forgotten girl." But Louise soon discovers something more disturbing: Lisemette had a twin, and both girls were issued death certificates over 30 years ago. As the investigation brings Louise closer to her childhood home, she uncovers more crimes that were committed--and hidden--in the forest, and finds a terrible link to her own past that has been carefully concealed.

Mystery/Thrillers are a favorite of mine, so I was glad to be chosen to read this arc.

This was originally written in Danish and the arc version is a translation of the original. My biggest "complaint" about the novel is that being a dumb American, the Danish names and cities were hard for me to pronounce or understand. That language uses different symbols than we do in English and my little pea brain found it difficult to differentiate cities and people at times. In a perfect world, the names and/or cities would have been anglicized so that my brain didn't have to spend so much time deciphering words and could just enjoy the story.

I found the first 50% of the book a bit slow. There was a lot of exposition and the information seemed to elude that there had been other books by the author starring Louise. A quick google search after I finished confirmed that theory. One thing that I felt lacked in the beginning was that I really had no idea what age any of the main characters were. Is Louise in her 30's? Her 40's? How old is Eik? I wanted to know those details so that I could further understand the characters. Also, I knew what Eik looked like, but I didn't know Louise had long hair until almost the end of the book. I wanted a bit more there.

50% into the book and on, the story shifted into high gear, and I loved every second of it. I honestly had no idea how all of the clues fit together and didn't know until the very end who the perpetrator was. The sad part of it all is that this could very well be a true story today. You'll have to read the book to find out what I mean.

Overall, if you think you can get past names like Eik and cities I can't even type here because they involve characters I don't know how to type, you should check this book out. It's a great thriller.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Book Reading Habits Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Keeley!

1. Do you have a certain place for reading at home? I usually read snuggled under the covers in my bed with a cocker spaniel or two on top of me.

2. Do you use a bookmark or a random piece of paper? I've been reading nothing but e-books lately, but when I read a paperback, I dog-ear. Yes, I know you aren't supposed to do that.

3. Can you just stop reading or does it need to be at the end of a chapter or a certain number of pages? It has to at least be at the end of a chapter. If I stop reading in the middle of one, I always have to go back and re-read anyway the next time I pick up the book.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading? Not usually

5. Do you read one book at a time or several at once? If a book is really really good, I'll devour only that one. Usually, though, I read more than one genre at a time so that I get my fix of each. I'm reading a fictional mystery and a new adult at the same time right now.

6. Do you read out loud or silently in your head? Silently

7. Do you ever read ahead or skip pages? If there's too much exposition and I want to get to the aciton or dialogue, then yes.

8. Breaking the spine or keeping it new? Keeping it new

9. Do you write in your books? The only time I ever did this was in high school. My best friend and I shared a Tom Sawyer book for English class and would write notes to each other in it in the margins.

10. What are you currently reading? The Forgotten Girls by Sara Blaedel. It's an arc.

I nominate Charlie at Word to Dreams and Finley Jayne.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Winner Takes It All by Jennifer Dawson

The Winner Takes It All
by Jennifer Dawson

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Published by: Kensington Books - December 2, 2014
Rating: 4 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

For two stubborn people…

Corporate mogul Shane Donovan sees the ultra-cool, collected Cecilia Riley as an ice queen--even if he can't deny that, on the surface, she's a work of perfection his body can't ignore. Forced to spend two weeks in the same house for his sister's upcoming wedding, Shane senses that deep down Cecilia mirrors his need. And he's determined to draw her into a sexy game that will melt away her reserve. . .

Losing is not an option…

Career-driven Cecilia Riley has just enough free time in her schedule to head out of town for her brother's wedding. But her agenda is thrown for a loop by the presence of Shane. Though his over-confident attitude leaves a lot to be desired, his insanely hot body has kept Cecilia up nights. Unsure what game Shane is playing, Cecilia takes the bait, bent on resisting him at all costs.

But as Shane and Cecilia discover, temptation follows no rules…

I'm not ashamed that I was first drawn to this book by it's title, a song from the musical Mamma Mia! It might also be an ABBA song. It looks like her first novel went by the same theme as well. I'll have to read that one too. :)

Much like the blurb, we have Shane, hero to everyone and Cecilia, ice cold and personality-less, or so we think. In this case, opposites attract and boy do they. They not only attract, but explode by the end of the this book. Throughout the story, Cecilia's personal arc is deftly created and demonstrated. While she starts out as a shell of a person, she truly finds herself and what she wants out of life by the end, mostly due to Shane's love. It was pretty apparent which obstacles the author was going to throw in their way, trying to thwart their love, but that didn't take away from each of their personal growth and the heat that brewed between them. It was ultimately a satisfying read and, like I said, I want to read Jennifer Dawson's debut novel as well.

The secondary characters were also well-drawn and enjoyable. I'm hazarding a guess that the next book might be about Gracie and James, although I'm not sure. The author hinted at something between them, and I'd love to read about them too.

French Kissed by Chanel Cleeton

French Kissed by Chanel Cleeton

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Published by: Chanel Cleeton - December 1, 2014
Genres: NA Romance
Rating: 4 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

On the surface Fleur Marceaux has it all—if only the façade matched reality. With one year left at the International School in London, Fleur’s struggling to graduate, her love life is a mess, and she can’t stop thinking about Max, her ex-boyfriend’s best friend. But all of that pales compared to the blackmailer determined to destroy her.

There’s a social hierarchy at the International School, and Max Tucker is outside the velvet ropes. After watching Fleur break his friend’s heart, Max knows to stay away from trouble—despite the crush he’s had on her since freshman year. But when they’re partnered on a project, Max learns there’s more to Fleur than meets the eye, and she just might be worth the wild ride.

The more time they spend together, the further Max falls. And when a kiss awakens a passion Fleur never imagined, she’s unable to resist Max, who she thought was wrong for her, but might be the only thing that’s right.

But will he stand by her when her secrets are revealed?

Have you ever read a story that had you so captivated, you re-read it right after completing it the first time? For me, that story was I See London and my introduction to the intensity that is Maggie & Samir. Not only are they the hottest couple in the literary planet, but they're each well-drawn, unique characters that could hold my interest even if they weren't together. Combined, they are a big fireball of heat. 5 stars!

After I completed (and greedily re-read) I See London, I was granted a sneak peak at the London Falling arc, the sequel and end to the International School books. I couldn't wait to see how the intense love story between Maggie & Samir ended. I finished their sequel in no time and was thoroughly pleased with the result. 5 more stars! It's SUPER rare that I like a sequel at all, let alone rate it with 5 stars. I usually find that they're so off-base in the reprise of the character's personalities they ruin the first installment for me. I tend to not read them and leave my favorite characters behind in that happy after-glow (of reading) one gets when they loved a book.

During what was supposed to be the final book in the series, a strange energy emerged between two of the secondary characters: Fleur and Max. He called her "The Ice Queen" and she hated him for it. A lot of fans felt like there was a story there and one we wanted to read. The author was only too obliging and created a third (and seriously final) book to the International School series, French Kissed starring Fleur and Max.

When I began the book, I wasn't sure if I was going to love it. In between the sparse dialogue between the MCs was a ton of exposition and inner-thought. If what was written truly happened in real life, it would've taken 15 minutes to spit out 6 sentences of dialogue, there was so much introspective thinking written in. That was a bit off-putting and I greatly hoped the rest of the book didn't read like that. Fortunately for me, it didn't!

Fleur and Max are pushed together as partners for a project in one of their classes that will make up 80% of their grade. Fleur needs the class to graduate and Max needs good grades for his future in banking. It's clear that this is the main antagonistic curve ball in the story - two people that "hate" each other forced to get along to pass the class (even though we know they really like each other). The second is the mysterious blackmailer who plagued Fleur in the previous book. Will her secrets threaten the relationship she eventually has with Max?

Although I love Chanel's writing and enjoyed the plot line, I wanted their push/pull to last a bit longer than it did. I guess I wanted a bit of Maggie and Samir, which probably isn't fair as they're different people. Regardless, after one kiss, they pretty much become a couple. I wanted a bit more of a struggle before that happened. I also felt like the reader knew who the blackmailer was (it was pretty obvious in the prior book) and although the things the blackmailer did to Fleur were embarrassing, they weren't anything (I think) that would ruin a relationship between Max and Fleur. I didn't find Max's initial reaction plausible and like his character at all. I felt like the author was trying to create more tension in the story but used a tactic or a reaction that didn't really fit in line with her characters.

Those two critiques aside, I loved the book and devoured it within a day. I loved that we found out what happened to Maggie & Samir as well as Max & Fleur down the road. A very satisfying ending to the series. It also makes me want to re-read London Falling. I think I just might!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

TTT: Places From Books I Want to Visit

From the Broke & the Bookish

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Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit (whether fictional or real)

1. St Vladmir's Academy from Vampire Academy

2. London - Inspired by London Falling & I See London by Chanel Cleeton (new adult)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday Mish-Mash

Yeah - I just totally made that up. I figured I'd start a Monday post that encompasses everything that's going on in my life plus my thoughts on random things. Since I'm a list-lover, it's in list form.

1. Film I Loved: The Skeleton Twins - Milo (Bill Hader) & Maggie (Kristen Wiig) are estranged twins who almost commit suicide on the same day. After not speaking for 10 years, Milo moves in with Maggie and her husband to heal. I really LOVED this movie. It is not a comedy, although there were definitely funny parts and improved scenes. Hader & Wiig were excellent in this drama, showing their growth and acting chops. Impressive. I highly recommend it, although being an empath, I was depressed for quite awhile after I saw it (mostly b/c the plot mirrors my own life). Go see it and tell me what you think.

2. Films I'm looking forward to watching: Laggies starring Keira Knightly & Chloe Grace Moretz. A woman stuck in permanent adolescence lies to her fiancé about going on a retreat and spends the time hanging out with a high school girl and her father instead.

Love, Rosie starring Lily Collins and based on the book Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern. It's only $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle right now! Rosie and Alex have been best friends since they were 5, so they couldn't possibly be right for one another...or could they? When it comes to love, life and making the right choices, these two are their own worst enemies. The UK movie premier is this weekend, but it won't come to the US until early 2015.

3. Films I Want to Buy on Video: Kelly & Cal starring Juliette Lewis. Although I haven't seen this one yet, it sounds really good. I love indie movies & Juliette. Synopsis: Kelly, a punk-rocker turned suburban mom, is nostalgic for a life she can no longer have and uncertain of a future she doesn't yet fit in. Seventeen-year-old Cal is frustrated at his lack of control over the hand he's been dealt. When the two strike up an unlikely friendship, it's the perfect spark needed to thrust them both back to life.

Begin Again starring Keira Knightly & Mark Ruffalo - LOVED LOVED LOVED! Pre-ordered so that I'll get it right when it comes out in November. Synopsis: Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her long-time boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) are college sweethearts and songwriting partners who decamp for New York when he lands a deal with a major label. But the trappings of his new-found fame soon tempt Dave to stray, and a reeling, lovelorn Gretta is left on her own. Her world takes a turn for the better when Dan (Mark Ruffalo), a disgraced record-label exec, stumbles upon her performing on an East Village stage and is immediately captivated by her raw talent. From this chance encounter emerges an enchanting portrait of a mutually trans formative collaboration, set to the soundtrack of a summer in New York City. But, the movie is so much more than that. If you're a music lover or are a musician, I guarantee that you'll LOVE this! I could watch it over and over again!

4. Jesus Christ Superstar (the musical): I'm currently choreographing this and dancing in it. I'm playing a dancing devil. The show runs Nov 13-15.

5. Book News: The arc for French Kissed by Chanel Cleeton is out today! It's the final book in the London Series. So excited to begin reading this today!

6. Disney Autograph Books & Golden Book Journals: I have my own etsy store, Once Upon a Time, Again in which I sell these. If you're going to Disney anytime soon, you'll want to order one of these! I'm super busy with orders right now!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Broken Pieces by Riley Hart

Broken Pieces

By Riley Hart

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Published by: Amazon Digital - February 2, 2014
Genres: LGBT, M/M/M, Romance, Erotic

Can three broken pieces make a whole?

Josiah Evans is the orphan who lost both his parents. He’s sweet, shy, and all heart. He wants nothing more than to be loved.

Mateo Sanchez is the son of a gang leader. He’s seen it all, and never hesitates to do what needs to be done, no matter what it is.

Tristan Croft is the wealthy attorney who clawed his way up from the bottom to rule his own world. He’ll never depend on anyone but himself again.

Three men who couldn’t be more different…and yet, as their lives intersect they find an uncommon balance that calms the storms inside each of them, and ignites fires hotter than they ever thought imaginable.

Told in three parts and spanning over ten years, BROKEN PIECES is a journey of healing for three fragmented souls, finding love in the unlikeliest of places—with each other.

Hmmmm . . . What to say? Where to start? I'm not sure how to rate this one, so I'm not going to. I'm just going to say my feelings.

This year I found I like reading M/M LGBT Romance novels. This M/M/M was something new for me, since I've never really read about polyamory and am not really into it. To each their own, but it's just not for me. I did, however, find the blurb intriguing and along with all the high ratings, thought I'd give this a try.

First, I want to say that the author is amazing at character development, character-driven writing, and moving story arcs. Her writing was exemplary and in no way flawed. In that area, I'd have to give this book 5 stars. Well done.

As for the story, I had a hard time for awhile. I found Josiah to be too much of a wet noodle for me. I honestly wasn't sure what Teo saw in him. Josiah was awkward awkward awkward and it made me mildly uncomfortable to read about him for quite a ways into the story arc. He was also very much a follower seemingly with no convictions or thoughts of his own. He just followed Teo around like a puppy, like a much younger child than he was. All of that said, this was the character the author wanted to create. She wanted to have a sensitive guy be the glue between Teo and Tristan later on in the story. Still, it seemed to me like Josiah grew on Teo like a sea creature. He also attached himself to Tristan like a fungus. I sound harsh - I know I do. I just can't really wrap my head around both of these guys falling for Josiah.

Teo is as tough as it gets and Tristan knows a thing or two about past transgressions. I almost feel like Teo and Tristan are a better match for one another and Josiah just kind of brought them together. In my perfect world, Teo and Tristan would be a couple and Josiah would move to France. ;)

It was also a bit too long for my like.

I gave this genre a try, but it will probably be my last foray. There is a follow-up to this novel, but I'm going to pass.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I'm Not Allowed to Buy Any New Books Until I Read These!!

New Adult

What She Lost & Found - M. L. Garcia - Pub 10/15/14

The Good Girl's Guide to Bad Boys - Katie Hart - Pub 10/16/14

I Need You - Jane Lark - Pub 10/23/14

Faithful - S.A. Wolfe - Pub 10/23/14

Young Adult

Between - Dora Hilburn - Pub 9/30/14

I Was Here - Gayle Forman - Pub 12/8/14

The Walls Around Us - Nova Ren Suma - Pub 3/24/15

Portraits of Celina - Sue Whiting - Pub 4/1/15


Emma, Mr. Knightley and Chili-Slaw Dogs - Mary Jane Hathaway - Pub ?

The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall - Lauren Smith - Pub 10/2/14

The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simsion - Pub 12/30/14


The Same Sky - Amanda Eyre Ward - Pub 1/27/15


Her Last Whisper - Karen Robards - Pub 8/26/14

Forced Disappearance - Dana Marton - Pub 11/18/14

Fair Play - Josh Lanyon - 11/10/14

Wicked Ways - Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush - 11/25/14

The Forgotten Girls - Sara Blaedel - Pub 1/7/15

Macdeath - Cindy Brown - 1/20/15


The Lord Won't Mind - Gordon Merrick - Pub 9/30/14


The Phantom of Fifth Avenue - Meryl Gordon - ?

My Life: I Lived It - Karen Severson - Pub 9/9/14

Lindsay Lohan: Fully Loaded, From Disney to Disaster - Pub 9/24/14

Surviving Mental Illness - Linda Naomi Katz - Pub 3/28/12

Surviving the Angel of Death - Eva Mozes Kor - Pub 10/15/09

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

TTT: Character-Driven Books

From the Broke & the Bookish

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Character-Driven Books

1. Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern - The book is told entirely in notes passed in school, emails, letters, and instant messages. It's the story of Rosie and Alex and their epic struggle to get back in the same city and back on the same page so they can FINALLY fall in love, already! Somehow this is only $1.99 today on Kindle. Better snatch it up!

2 & 3. I See London & London Falling by Chanel Cleeton - Maggie & Samir (and even the secondary characters) are so alive! I felt like a voyeur in the corner watching their lives unfold.

4. Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park - A highly dysfunctional family teaches the student staying with them about love while she teaches them about healing and facing old wounds. Very moving, yet quirky and fun at the same time. I'd love to hang out with every single one of these characters!

5. Then and Always by Dani Atkins - Rachel wakes up from a coma only to find her life is very different than what she remembered. The only person keeping her sane is her trusted friend Jimmy. A beautiful, character-driven story.

6. Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher - Much like #1, Love, Rosie, DCM is a book that exists only in memos and recommendation letters. There is no action. It's all character-driven and centers on Professor Jason Fitger as he wastes away at university, spending 99% of his time writing useless recommendation letters for students and friends. It's HILARIOUS! You should read it.

7. Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay - This is another one that's fueled by letter-writing, although there is actual action in this one. In order to maintain her pre-paid university scholarship, Sam must write to her benefactor who is only to be known as, "Mr. Knightley."

8. The Before Now and After Then by Peter Monn - This is a coming-of-age LGBT love story. It's about finding out who you really are as well as finding love with someone very different from you. Danny and Rusty. Yum!

9. Before You by Amber Hart - Diego & Faith! These are two characters who are trying to play by the rules, keeping who they really are locked up inside. This book is a journey in which they let themselves be who they are and let themselves fall for someone very different.

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

Cold Feet at Christmas

By Debbie Johnson

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Published by: Harper Impulse - November 6, 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A remote Scottish castle on a snowy Christmas Eve. A handsome husband-to-be. A dress to die for. It should have been the happiest day of Leah Harvey’s life – but the fairytale wedding turns sour when she finds her fiancé halfway up the bridesmaid’s skirt just hours before the ceremony!

Fleeing the scene in a blizzard, Leah ends up stranded at the nearest cottage, where she collapses into the arms of its inhabitant – a man so handsome she thinks she must have died and gone to heaven!

And when Rob Cavelli suddenly finds himself with an armful of soaking wet, freezing cold, and absolutely gorgeous bride on the run, he’s more than happy to welcome her into his snowbound cottage this Christmas…

This set-up sounds like many other novels. Bride is ditched at alter - ends up stranded with a handsome stranger - they spend a week exploring their no-strings attraction. This is also the case with this story, but the characters brought so much life to the story that I read it all in one sitting.

Leah is hilarious, quirky and full of life. Rob is secretive, unhappy, and unresponsive. He won't reveal why he's spending the holiday season in solitary confinement, but he also can't deny the feelings Leah has stirred inside him. They're feelings he hasn't felt in years and he decides to take a chance and explore them.

Once the snow has melted enough for the duo to return to their lives, Leah has nowhere to return to. Rob offers to let her come to America with him where he'll help her find a new job and new apartment. The only catch is that they must remain friends - nothing more.

This was an emotional story, focusing on Rob's past and his continuous rejections of Leah as she tries to help him move forward. Ultimately, it's Rob who must make the big gesture and go find an AWOL Leah before it really is too late.

21st Century Rake by Victoria Barbour

21st Century Rake

By Victoria Barbour

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Published by: Victoria Barbour - April 1, 2014
Genres: Modern Day Regency Romance
Rating: 3.75 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rock superstar Asher Corbin is back in Heart's Ease. And he's not alone. This time he's brought the entire cast and crew for his upcoming film debut to the small town for a retreat back in time to the Regency period.

Grace Nolan is thrilled to go to an honest-to-goodness Regency ball. But there she finds herself at the mercy of her deepest fantasy: a scandalous rake fresh out of the pages of her favourite historical romances.

When Grace claims not to recognize the dashing celebrity, Asher seizes the opportunity to step out of his persona and explore life out of the spotlight. But when she finds out his secret, her response plunges them into a game of seduction neither had expected to find.

This was a very enjoyable story. Very British, which I loved. It was a sweet romance in which a rockstar gets to go back to the roots of the real him and a quiet woman gets to dabble in her favorite regency activities and break out of her sexual shell. Oh, and they find love. :)

Grace honestly doesn't recognize Asher Corbin when he's in town to film a regency movie. She meets him as Ted (his real name) and begins to get to know him on a deeper level. Ted is immediately intrigued by Grace but not for the usual reasons he finds himself falling for women. She's different than all of the rest and he wants to spend all his free time in Heart's Ease getting to know her. That won't be easy, because Grace won't even let him kiss her. She wants the perfect kiss and is afraid anything short of that will mar her memories of her time with Ted. Can Ted convince her to take a chance on him and will Ted take a chance on himself? He's spent so many years cultivating the Asher image that he wonders if that's who he truly is. Or, is he really the Ted who adores Grace?

This is a story about personal evolution and finding your match in unexpected places.

Just a Little Crush by Renita Pizzitola

Just a Little Crush

By Renita Pizzitola

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Published by: Random House Publishing/Loveswept - October 21, 2014
Genres: NA Romance
Rating: 4 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Brinley Dawson doesn’t drink, she studies—and despite the accusations of her alcoholic mother, she’s still a virgin. But if Brinley’s life is so put together, why is she freaking out to be going to college with the gorgeous, green-eyed jerk she kissed on a stupid dare in high school? Ryder Briggs can have any girl he wants . . . and the rumors say that he does. So why, after publicly embarrassing Brinley four years ago, is he suddenly acting like he’s interested?

Ryder never forgot Brinley. In fact, those perfect seven minutes permanently raised the bar for what a kiss could be. The truth is, Ryder doesn’t dare get too close to anyone. He knows how that worked out for his parents. But when his roommate takes a shot at Brinley, Ryder can’t contain his jealousy. Now he must do the hardest thing he’s ever done: forget about sex and convince Brinley his feelings are real.

Brinley isn’t sure whether she believes Ryder, but for the first time, her body isn’t playing by the rules. Then she discovers that she’s an unwilling part of a cruel game, humiliating her all over again—and Ryder might be to blame. Has Brinley’s little crush turned into a huge mistake . . . or has she found the one guy worth trusting with her heart?

This was the perfect new adult novel: Naive heroine, but one you care about. Sexy suitor, but one that changes his love 'em and leave 'em ways for the girl he's been waiting to kiss again for many years. There's tension, sexually and within the plot. Everything was great. My only tiny bit of criticism is that the end kind of sluffed off as if the author was ready to be done writing the story of Brinley and Ryder. While they both confronted their parents about past hurts, those scenes felt depersonalized. I dunno. Maybe it was just me.

Brinley and Ryder had their first kiss in high school during a 7 minutes in heaven type of game. He was the popular guy; she was the shy tag-along at the party. But that kiss? It's one that never left either of their minds, or hearts, as time went by. After the kiss, Ryder pulled a high school boy move and embarrassed Brinley in front of the entire party, alienating any chance the two of them had to get together back then.

The book picks up in college when Brinley runs into Ryder at a party. She's not even sure he remembers who she is, but oh, does he. In fact, he's compared every kiss he's had since with the one he shared with Brinley all those years ago.

Soon, Ryder is around every corner, seeking Brinley out, much to the chagrin of her best friend Mason who knows how ladies man Ryder operates. But Ryder slowly works his way back into Brinley's heart. When the unimaginable happens, Brinley must decide who the read Ryder is and if she can trust him.

An engaging, hot (but light) read.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finding It by Cora Carmack

Finding It

By Cora Carmack

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Published by: Harper Collins Publishers - August 15, 2013
Genres: NA Romance
Rating: 5 Stars

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong . . .

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She's having the time of her life . . . or that's what she keeps telling herself.

It's a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you're afraid you won't like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey's loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey's mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

Cora Carmack is my new 2nd favorite new adult authoress! Losing It was wonderful despite some unevenness. Faking It was more even and intense. Finding It? A triumph! This blurb does NOT do the story justice, but I don't think there are any one set of words that could.

They say, "Write what you know," and I'm guessing from the depth of knowledge about the sensitive subject discussed and the grace with which it was presented, the author lived something similar to the underlying theme. So have I. Not only was I a theatre major, but I also had the misfortune to share in Kelsey's past in some ways. I also know what it's like to try to drown yourself in alcohol and sex to numb the pain. What's even stranger? I'm currently writing a new adult novel with the backdrop of theatre with a survivor of something similar to Kelsey. I was already writing it before I read this, "Write what you know," and all . . .

I found myself bookmarking many many sections of this book.

At the beginning, here is Kelsey's state of mind, one I know all too well: "Life was easier when you stopped caring, when you stopped expecting things to get better."

As things progress between Hunt and Kelsey, Hunt pulls out all the feels with this one: "I'm going to kiss you, princess. But not now, not when you're telling me to. Not when it's just something you want to check off a list. I'll kiss you when it counts." Swoon. And the kiss? PERFECT TIMING and so worth the wait!

I also marked down something on page 250 of 307 (kindle version) - something that is so true in my own life, but I won't go into that in this review. Just know that the author's candor and grasp of what shame feels like - dead on.

The entire series is remarkable with each book better than the one before it. If you haven't heard of Cora, zoom on over to Amazon and get acquainted with her!