Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review: Chasing Impossible by Katie McGarry

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Series: Pushing the Limits Book #5
Format: ebook
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift with pre-order
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Tough and independent, 17-year-old Abby lets very few people into her inner circle. It’s common knowledge in her Kentucky town that she deals drugs, but not even her closest friends know why. But when a deal goes south and Abby’s suddenly in danger, she finds herself reluctantly forced to lean on daredevil Logan—a boy whose restless spirit matches her own.

Logan has his own reasons for wanting to keep Abby at arms’ length. But he never expected to find in her the one person who might help him face the demons he’s tried so hard to run from.

Together, Abby and Logan will have to make a decision: let their current circumstances weigh them down forever…or fight for the future they both thought was impossible.


Review

Abby's story got this for free because I pre-ordered and registered my copy of Nowhere but Here. More publishers seem to be doing this. And then, I proceeded to put off reading it. I've wanted an Abby story since I met her and I was afraid of being let down.

I did really enjoy the read. I just love Abby so much. But it was nice getting to know Logan, too. This was definitely a super high-stakes story which caused me a huge amount of stress. Now, this is standard for a Katie McGarry, but I had no idea how this story would be resolved. But she handled everything in a completely believable and realistic way.

My only complaint was that I was confused a lot. Abby and Logan both lie or mis-lead a lot so it affects their word choice. So, I was having to constantly decipher what they were saying. It just got frustrating sometimes. I wonder if it would be easier to understand during a re-read. I'm sure I'll find out some day.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

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Series: On The Island #1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 346
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Penguin

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

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.
 
Review

I read this hoping it would be a fast-paced pick-me-up and it was. There are definitely some strong emotional parts and I cried, but it was exactly what I needed.

The writing was addicting and I didn't want to put it down. And Ms. Graves did a spectacular job of growing her characters. So much time passed in such a short book, but it worked.

Considering so much of this story takes place on a deserted island it shouldn't be a surprise that it's high stakes. I definitely cried and had some strong emotions. But there were too many times for convenient things to happen. I get why she did the things she did, but they still bothered me a little.

This wasn't a perfect book, but I certainly enjoyed it. And I would like to read more books by Tracey Garvis Graves in the future.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review: Shadowland by Meg Cabot

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Series: Mediator Book #1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal,
Publisher: Harper Teen

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

There's a hot guy in Susannah Simon's bedroom. Too bad he's a ghost.

Suze is a mediator - a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy. There's a ghost with revenge on her mind... and Suze happens to be in the way.
 
Review

I really loved this series when I was younger, so I was super-excited to see a new book was being released. Naturally, I thought this would be a great time for a re-read. But I was afraid adult me wouldn't like it as much as teenage me. Fortunately, it was still enjoyable.

The writing is easy to read and fast-paced. It's pretty funny and isn't very dated. Contemporaries can always be odd when it comes to word choice or fashion that way. And Suze is a snappy narrator who talks directly to the reader which I love.

Suze is definitely a little stubborn and judgey. She's very strong which comes from that, but she also needs to be a little open-minded. Overall, I enjoy her and the other characters. Father Dom is an amazing foil to her. And her little step-brother Doc/David is adorable. Then, there's Jesse who is sweet and dreamy especially for a dead guy.

I don't remember a lot of what happens in this series so I am eager to go on a journey with Suze again. And Jesse. Always Jesse.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, March 21, 2016

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Series: Me Before You Book #1
Format: Paperback
Pages: 369
Rating: 5 Stars (I think...)
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Adult Fiction,
Publisher: Penguin Books

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.
 
Review

I've been putting off this review for about a month. I'm just so confused about my feelings. I don't even 100% stand behind my rating. So, this will probably be short and disjointed.

THe writing was beautiful. It definitely made me think and I particularly enjoyed Lou. Oh, and the feels were very strong with this one.

But I was incredibly conflicted through the whole thing. I even had to take a break and put it down. I don't want to have a moral argument with anyone especially since I don't know where I stand, but this book kind of calls for that discussion. Part of my issue is that sometimes I felt like I was being emotionally manipulated.

Going in, I was super-excited by the traveler, but now I'm not sure if I even want to see the movie trailer. And I'm really torn about reading After You. If you have a strong feelings either way let me know.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Friday, March 18, 2016

Review: My American Duchess by Eloisa James

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Stand Alone
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 400
Rating:  4.5 Stars
How I Got It: Purchased
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Avon

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads

The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford— an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fianc├ęs.

But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.

The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honor clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear:

All is fair in love and war.
 

Review

I feel like I haven't read an Eloisa James books and this was a great retrun. It was a well-written romance with fantastic characters. And I definitely recommend it whether you're new to romance or a veteran.

After reading the synopsis, I thought this would be an antagonistic romance, but it isn't. Trent and Merry are immediately attracted to each other and actually get along. It's actually really nice to see characters who have such a solid friendship especially in a historical.

Merry is great. Now, I'm a sucker for the American girl in a Regency historical. And she's a great example. She isn't obnoxious, but is true to herself and has strong opinion. It was interesting to see her struggle with fitting in or being a part of English society.

Then, there's Trent. It's really nice to read about a hero who isn't afraid of marriage. He definitely is strongly opposed to love and strong emotion, but his upbringing explains that. He's also very respectful to Merry and the other people in his life. He's kind of a betay-alpha male. I'm kind of confused about how to classify him.

This definitely reminded me why I like reading historical romances so much.

Thanks for reading!
Holly

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

February Wrap-Up (2016)

The last few months have been weird, but February was especially weird. I don't know why, but I feel very unsettled. I'm hoping it's just cabin fever and I'm ready for the winter to be over.

I don't really believe in reading slumps, because I think that implies there's something wrong with not reading. And the second half of the month I didn't really read at all. It probably doesn't help that I've been working like crazy.

Honestly, I'm still not completely in a reading mood, but I've been trying to do some re-reads. I don't like to feel pressure when it comes to reading and re-reads help with that. I am happy with the books I've read and am definitely ok with a slower pace.

These are the books I read this month and their ratings.

Lighting the Flames by Sarah Wendell-4 Stars
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My American Duchess by Eloisa James-4.5 Stars
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Shadowland by Meg Cabot-4 Stars
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Timeless by Gail Carriger-4 Stars
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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes-4.5 Stars
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On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
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Addicted to You by Krista and Becca Ritchie-5 Stars
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Ricochet by Krista and Becca Ritchie-5 Stars
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Addicted for Now by Krista and Becca Ritchie-5 Stars
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Trade Me by Courtney Milan-5 Stars
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Thanks for reading!
Holly

Monday, March 14, 2016

Review: Timeless by Gail Carriger

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Series: Parasol Protectorate Book #1
Format: Paper back
Pages: 409
Rating: 4 Stars
How I Got It: Gift
Genre: Historical, Steampunk, Paranormal
Publisher: Orbit

Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads
 
Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a dampener on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?


Review

I can't believe this is over. I really enjoyed spending time with Alexia and her gang. And I enjoyed the introduction of Prudence and I am excited to read more about her. This was a nice conclusion to the series and satisfied me.

Honestly, I don't have much to say and what I want to talk about is spoilery.

You've been warned.

I love that a couple years have past and Prudence isn't just a baby. And Ivy had twins. The next series better feature them.

Then, there's Biffy and Professor Lyall. There story was done so beautifully. I've liked them as individuals so of course they are great as a couple. This is probably the only thing that kind of left me wanting. But they are immortal so there is always time.

Thanks for reading!
Holly