Wednesday, December 7, 2016

seriously romantic: reached by ally condie

i know it took me awhile, but i finally finished re-reading the matched trilogy. reached is the conclusion that brings cassia, ky, and xander's stories full circle. picking up right where they left off, they narrate the events of the rising and life after the end of the society. and we get to see the problems of a rebellion that only really signifies a change in leadership rather than a fundamental societal change. so much planning goes into the moment of obtaining power and not enough goes into how to keep it and keep the peace.

in their own ways, cassia, ky, and xander discover that fundamental change is not something easy to attain. as the poet, the pilot and the physic, they represent and are pivotal parts of the rebellion and society. the journey of self-discovery takes them to unexpected places, beyond the boundaries of the society that they knew. and they suffer loss and still find a way to survive.

in reached we finally get to see xander's point of view. as much as people might make of the love triangle, there's no real drama in it. cassia and ky are clearly meant to be together. seeing xander's perspective lets him become something more than a romantic foil. he realizes that maybe there is something for him outside of his comfort zone, and as he falls in love with someone unexpected he becomes someone different in a good way.

cassia and ky are kept apart a lot of the novel, by distance, by illness, but the story ends with them together forging a new future, living among the ashes of a new society, hopeful that what will come next will be something that allows them to forge a new ending to what should have been their story. even though to some extent the end is left open, this is certainly a conclusion to the story, and one i enjoyed.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

seriously romantic: trophy wife by noelle adams

when allison davies collins decides that she's had enough of being a trophy wife, she totally goes for it. she leaves her older, rich husband behind and only takes the clothes on her back and a few personal items. not even the lure of a big payday set up in their prenup for lasting ten years of marriage is enough to make her stay. alison has dreams that she's shoved aside to be the perfect wife. but being the titular trophy wife is not all she wants to be.

so she moves to fielding, north carolina, the small town where her grandmother had a home that she inherited when her parents passed away. while it's not much, it's a place to stay. and allison means to get back to her feet and learn to stand free without the help of a man. she has big plans, she wants to go to school and get a college degree and she wants to set up a jewelry design business. but first she needs a job that will pay enough to keep her independent.

with no actual experience this isn't something that will come easily. and even though allison is determined to do everything alone, her neighbor, rob west keeps popping up, ready with help. and as much as allison tries to refuse his assistance, soon enough she realizes that sometimes it doesn't hurt to have a little help from your friends. but it's a balancing act. she's terrified of leaning too deeply, of becoming someone else's pretty young thing.

rob doesn't see her as a pretty young thing, though he obviously thinks she's gorgeous. and rob has his own baggage—two failed marriages, a hero complex, a fear of being vulnerable—and often his baggage and allison's baggage combine into a perfect storm of insecurity for the both of them. allison is so set on doing things alone, that even when she succumbs to her attraction to rob she refuses to admit it. rob is halfway in love with allison from the get-go, but he understands that she is genuinely afraid to be in a relationship and keeps holding back his feelings because he doesn't want to scare her off. but all the holding back that both of them do gets in the way of how they actually feel. and at some point the whole thing blows up.

luckily we aren't made to suffer too much while the characters get their heads and hearts back on straight. the book spends more time developing the relationship than tearing it down, so when allison and rob finally hash it all out, the happy ending feels earned. (since this is a romance i refuse to see that as a spoiler).

**trophy wife publishes on december 6, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishing - loveswept in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 5, 2016

seriously romantic: worth fighting for by kirsty moseley

worth fighting for continues the story of ellie and jamie from fighting to be free. it's been three years since the events that closed out the first novel, and ellie has spent all of them hiding in europe. jamie is now out of prison and even more enmeshed in his thug life style. because he has nothing without ellie. there's no need to plan for a future when you destroyed it so utterly before it could even get started.

but when ellie's parents are in a serious car accident and she is forced to return to the states, it is inevitable that the two of them will end up in each other's orbits. moseley manages to draw this out, surprisingly. we spend a lot of time catching up with the two characters individually before we see them together again.

but ellie and jamie are too explosive to keep away from each other. when they do get back together, conveniently after ellie has broken up with her british fiancé, the sparks fly and they cannot keep their hands off each other. but the joy that the first book had is missing. they are older and more aware of how fragile love is. they are scarred. and that makes sense given everything. i still had issues with the characters' ages, i still think the author should have aged them up in the first book so that they were older here. these characters felt like 25 year olds, but they were only 21. but when i didn't sit and think about it, you know, it is one of those details that doesn't really matter. most of the time it was easy to forget how young they were supposed to be, so you could just roll with the story.

i also still struggled with how easy it was for jamie to be part of the criminal underworld, essentially running his own gang, and then turn around and give it up when it came to that. maybe i'm just scarred by years of watching general hospital and seeing how impossible it was for sonny and his associates to ever leave the business, but there is no way it is as simple as jamie makes it out to be. or as easy as the author makes it for jamie. even though there's that ridiculous showdown with jamie's rival gang, everything still happens too easily in my opinion.

but everyone gets their happy ending. so the minor quibbles are easily forgotten.

**worth fighting for will publish on december 6, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/forever (grand central publishing) in exchange for my honest review. 

simply kicking off a release week blog blitz: worth fighting for by kirsty moseley


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: WORTH FIGHTING FOR
Author: Kirsty Moseley
Series: Fighting To Be Free, #2
On Sale: December 6, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD
eBook: $3.99 USD
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Here's everything you need to know about the sequel to FIGHTING TO BE FREE. My review will be posting shortly.

Sometimes in life you have to walk away . . .

Leaving Jamie Cole was the hardest thing Ellie Pearce ever had to do. Somehow, she moved on. She made a new life in a new city with a new man. So when a family tragedy calls Ellie back home, she believes all her old feelings for Jamie—the hunger, the heat, the heartbreak—are safely behind her. But the second she lays eyes on him, the intensity of their connection is as strong as ever.

Sometimes you stay and fight . . .

Jamie knows pain. He's felt it fighting in the streets, and he felt it fighting to survive in prison. Yet nothing he's experienced has been as painful as the day Ellie left—until the moment she came back. This time Jamie is determined to hold on to Ellie forever. But as much as she still loves him, she can't ignore the dark world he's now a part of. Jamie has enemies. Dangerous ones. And after seeing Jamie with Ellie, they know exactly how to take him out . . .



EXCERPT

’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Alfred, Lord Tennyson, said that in some poem in the 1800s. In my opinion, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, was full of shit.

Maybe Lord Tennyson had never truly loved someone; maybe he’d never cared for someone else more than he cared for himself, because if he had, if he’d loved someone so deeply he’d been willing to die for them, how could he have written such a horseshit line? I’m merely speculating, of course. I’m no academic, so I know nothing about the guy other than that one quote. So how then, you may ask, does my opinion so vehemently disagree with his?

Because I was in love once.

Only once.

And I lost her.

And I would give any fucking thing in the world to have never loved her at all. No, it most definitely is not better to have loved and lost.

Fuck love. And fuck Lord Tennyson.

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THE FIGHTING TO BE FREE SERIES

1. Fighting To Be Free
2. Worth Fighting For

Series Page on Goodreads





ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kirsty Moseley has always been a passionate reader with stories brewing in her head. Once she discovered Wattpad, she finally posted a story. Seven million reads later, she self-published her debut novel, The Boy who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window, which later became a finalists for the 2012 Goodreads' Choice Awards. Kirsty lives in Norfolk, England with her husband and son.
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Sunday, December 4, 2016

seriously romantic: stroke of midnight by andie j. christopher

in stroke of midnight we meet the hernandez family, alana the eldest daughter is the responsible, dependable one. she's been picking up the slack for everyone else in the family, especially her older brother, javier, who has fallen to pieces since his acrimonious divorce. on the other hand, her flighty sister, carla, is determined to make sure alana has a little fun. it's new year's eve and it time to let go.

to get her sister off her back, alana agrees to go out. when she jokes to her sister that she hopes to pick up a stranger for one night of hot sex, she never imagines that her words would prove prophetic. but when she meets cole roberts the attraction is instantaneous and neither can resist the pull. cole has recently broken up with his long-time love so the last thing he wants is a relationship. a one night stand with a smoking hot chick sounds perfect to him.

and then things get complicated, obviously because this is a romance. it turns out that his hot chick is his buddy's little sister. and since he's in town visiting javier specifically, his path is going to cross alana's more than once, and the pull between them only grows making this one night stand veer into relationship territory awfully fast.

even though things move pretty quickly between the two leads, their chemistry is pretty amazing, so you buy it. this is an excellent escapist way to ring in the new year.

**stroke of midnight will publish on january 3, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (lyrical shine) in exchange for my honest review. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

seriously romantic: shadowdance by kristen callihan

i've read some reviews of shadowdance where people weren't in love with this book because of how awful the hero is to his leading lady. i'm not going to make excuses for him (ok, maybe i am), but i'm acknowledging that jack talent is completely awful to mary for a good three-quarters of the book. but he's been a jerk to her for the previous two books too, so this pattern of behavior isn't surprising.

what the book gives us is insight into how messed up jack is. how it actually kills him to be this relentlessly awful to her. that if he didn't feel so unworthy, so broken, so tortured, so guilty, so undeserving of her goodness, he would take her in his arms and never let her go. but it's been ingrained into his psyche that mary is not for him. even when her spirit calls to him. and since she's a gim, you can imagine how strong her spirit is. especially since their souls bonded when she rescued him from torture, and this bond makes it so that they are always aware of one another.

jack has been working alone since joining the sos as a regulator. but he's been charged to track down a killer and has had no luck in the two years the case has been active. when mary gets information that leads her to suspect that jack is the killer she convinces poppy to let her into the field as jack's new partner. you can only imagine how poorly jack takes this news. but there are hints of his kinder nature throughout the novel. yes he does and says terrible things, but when it really matters, when mary is in danger or overcome, jack comes to her rescue every single time. when she really, really needs his kindness he gives it.

mary can't forget the moment she found jack all those years ago. she doesn't understand why, no matter how badly he treats her, why she keeps coming back for more? what is it about jack tallent that makes him so irresistible? their connection pains her. his actions, his words, they all pain her. but she also understands how broken he is. she knows. she knows. so as the case complicates itself around them she finds that she has to trust him.

when they finally start being open with each other, when they finally confess the truths that they've been keeping from each other and bare their bodies and hearts and souls, it's achingly painful. shadowdance isn't a light and easy book. jack and mary are characters who have suffered. even in their love for each other they suffer. and honestly i love a happy love story as much as the next girl, but the ones that stay with me are the ones that overcome the biggest obstacles. what jack and mary share is more than love. it's beyond that. it's forever and it's being together and it's imperfectly, perfectly them.

i had been looking forward to the story between these two characters since they were first introduced in moonglow. and it was totally worth the wait. and i'm aching to get my hands on evernight.

Friday, December 2, 2016

seriously romantic: in your arms by shannyn schroeder

sean o'malley plays the part of a rough around the edges, overgrown man-child, bad boy. in fact, he's everything that emma long avoids when it comes to relationships. when it comes to one-night stands, however, she's a little more open to the idea of a bad boy. and when their paths cross in your arms the sizzle starts up between them immediately. except that emma doesn't get quite what she expects from sean.

he is more than just the bad boy. i mean, in some respects sean is a slacker and he is definitely a man-child, but no one has given him a reason to be different. until emma he's never wanted to try to be different. and this is the one thing i found frustrating about the novel, she wants him to be different but assumes he can't be and never really gives him the chance to prove himself. he has to fight for all of his chances. and yes, he messes up a couple of times, some with more reason than others, but he also is the one consistently putting himself out there and getting no credit for it.

when emma and sean are together though, you see why they work as a couple. the chemistry is just right. the way they fit in each other's lives is also seamless. i've never seen two characters work so hard to deny the fact that they were in an adult relationship. it was fascinating.

and when they finally make it to being on the same page, you see all the good places they can go. here are two people who were meant to be. and the author does a really nice job of developing and growing the characters both within and outside of the relationship.

**in your arms will publish on december 27, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/kensington books (zebra shout) in exchange for my honest review.