What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

Happy Monday, friends! Let’s talk about a few things I’ve read recently! I have to say….these 3 books couldn’t be any more different which pretty much sums up my reading life — very eclectic.

 

The Deal Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

About In A Sentence (ish): Hannah, a girl with a crush on a popular football player at her college, makes a deal with Garrett, a hockey player with a reputation, in which he’ll help her get Justin’s attention and she’ll help him pass his Ethics exam so he’ll be able to stay on the team.

Thoughts: I’m super picky about the New Adult romance books I read so I always go into them pretty nervous. This one was soooo addictive and I really enjoyed it! Totally hooked! I love the hate to love trope. It’s one of my faves of all time. Plus the fact it started with the kind of “deal” that it did? I LOVE THAT KIND OF STUFF. When people who don’t mean to fall for each other do…SWOON. I didn’t always love Garrett but his character grew on me and, while he’s not my type, I found their relationship to be something I was so invested in — especially how they grew into a friendship during their study sessions and then into something more. Some of those parts were my FAVE. I loved their banter and their chemistry! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series because I’m so curious about the other guys they feature. Overall, I can’t really explain why I enjoyed this one so much — it was super fun and sexy. It wasn’t anything new or original in terms of tropes or storylines and it was pretty predictable….but none of that mattered because something about the characters and their stories hooked me. So happy to be able to have another New Adult romance I will happily recommend because I only have a few in my arsenal that I truly loved.

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

[Keep Reading]

What I’ve Been Reading Lately

 

As I said in this post, I got a lot of reading done during my unintentional blog break due to hurting my right wrist. So much so that I have quite the backlog of things to talk about but don’t feel like trying to squeeze in a bunch of individual posts about! So let’s get to some of these:

 

My Brilliant Friend series

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

About In A Sentence (ish): It’s about the ever changing friendship between Lila and Elena as they grow up in Naples, Italy in the 195o’s. (That’s totally simplifying it but there’s so much!!)

Thoughts: One of the ugliest covers I’ve ever seen. Truly. When I went to go read this I hadn’t heard much about it — it was a pick for a book club a new friend invited me to join! I went to get it from the library and there were like 140 something holds for it and I’m like WUT — I have NEVER heard of this book and it came out years ago. Come to find out it has become super popular recently! Anyways, this one was sooo slow to start and it was hard to follow at times — because it jumps around from stories from the girls’ childhoods and there are A LOT of people referenced and sometimes not a lot is actually happening. But then slowly I realized I was SOOO immersed in their story and couldn’t put it down…it just happened without me realizing how much I was falling in love with the story and these girls. The writing is incredible and her ability to construct these characters just impressed me so much. Their friendship is complicated (the competitiveness, the way they would come and go with each other at periods of time, the loyalty) and kind of toxic but I found myself fascinated by it and fascinated by where it will go.  I was fascinated (and saddened often) by all the dynamics working in their poverty-filled neighborhood in 1950’s Naples — which was a GREAT setting by the way! I definitely plan on getting to the next one because this one ends when they are 16 and I know A LOT is going to happen throughout the years…especially based on HOW the novel started. It’s honestly just such a smart book about A LOT of things, not solely a friendship, and I wish I could properly talk about it. It’s just such a masterpiece of a book that it’s so hard to explain what exactly makes it so great because it’s a lot of things!

 

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

Book Talk: God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartoloGod-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on 2002
Genres: Adult Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

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Beatrice is a 29 year old living in Los Angeles where she makes high end jewelry and dates casually. She comes across a personal ad saying, ““If your intentions are pure I am seeking a friend for the end of the world”  and on a whim answers it — something she’s never done. This leads her to Jacob Grace — a 30-something free-spirited writer who is so full of life and passion. There’s a spark between the two that ignites a passionate romance between two people who have big ambitions and dreams that propel them forward away from the dads that have abandoned them.

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Wow. It’s been a while since a book had me up reading until 2AM and then rendered me unable to fall asleep until 4am because I was just feeling a lot of feelings that wouldn’t shut off. Thanks Estelle and Ginger for this solid rec and I’m only sorry I didn’t listen sooner when you told me years ago!

I don’t want to say a lot about this book although from the official summary on the book you can get a sense of it. It was a love story that kind of took my breath away from its whirlwind nature to start and its ability to be this quiet, fly-on-the-wall view of two people who are just falling deeply and madly in love and how energizing and all consuming that is — the attraction and sex, the intimacy in revealing who you are through your history and your secrets and your every day habits. There is beauty in that unraveling of layers that comes when you start to really KNOW someone. It’s exhilarating even in the quiet and mundane of daily life as habits and routines in the relationship set in. It just felt so real and like romantic in the normalcy of it? Reminded me how there’s just something so magical and romantic in your own love story.

It’s a book you are pretty certain you know how it’s going to end from the first page pretty much (especially if you read the summary on the book) but it takes your breath away anyways and knocks you flat on your ass like you never saw it coming. Like get-out-of-your-bed-in-the-wee-hours-of-the-morning-to-go-cry-in-the-bathroom-so-your-husband-doesn’t-hear-your-wracking-sobs never saw it coming at the end. I had this mounting dread and tension as I read wondering whether or not what is dropped in front of your face in the beginning had any bearing on the story or how it could be interpreted.

It’s the kind of book that reminds you of the most exuberant and thrilling feelings you can feel in this life mingled with the most bone-crushing and soul-shattering ones we know we are destined to feel at some point in this life. The weight of all that honestly made me curl up in a ball and cry in bed. I didn’t know how I felt —  maybe contemplative, depressed, thankful, understood, small, distraught, in love with life? Other things I couldn’t put into words?

 From a non-feels standpoint, I also really LOVED the writing and the voice. It felt refreshing and it was funny, too! I wish it hadn’t been the libraries copy because there were sooo many passages I just wanted to dog-ear.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, feels, characters, romances
nothing

Re-readability: Yes!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes I want to dog-ear the crap out of it!

a8It’s a magnificent love story but it’s so much more. It’s about longing to be understood, loneliness, finding your path in life that fulfills you and the way we all go about filling up that void, or that “God-shaped hole”, inside us all that yearns for so many things. So many poignant things in this book. So many emotions felt. I will be thinking about this for a long time.

review-on-post-it

god-shaped-hole

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

2 Adult Fiction Books I’ve Read Recently

Before I started this blog in 2010 I used to primarily read adult fiction (pop on over here if you are interested in my reading history). I clearly went full force into YA but I still do read adult fiction here and there (some I loved recently: here, here, here, and here). I’m definitely craving adult fiction even more these days (I’d love some recs in the comments) so here’s two I’ve read lately.

 

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas

Amazon // Goodreads
Published: 2007
Big thanks to Racquel for recommending and gifting me this book!

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: 14 year old Liberty moves to a trailer park in Welcome, Texas with her single mother where she meets her first love and the guy who is always in the back of her mind as she grows up. Liberty comes of age in that trailer park and is faced with some things that make her grow up faster than her peers. Soon she finds herself in Houston, as a twenty-something, struggling to make the life she wants happen and she meets a older, powerful man named Churchill who changes everything for her — even her understanding of things that happened in the past.

When I first added this to my TBR I thought it was a straight up romance novel (which remember! I like now!). When I let Racquel know I was starting to read this one she mentioned that it’s part romance, part women’s fiction. After reading it I can say it’s a totally apt description. I REALLY liked this one and could not put it down! We meet Liberty as a teenager and the book spans to her early twenties (good one for YA lovers wanting to try out some adult). I LOVED LIBERTY. She is one tough chick and I loved watching her coming of age story. Life has definitely NOT been easy for her (grows up poor, tragedies, etc.) and she grows up way too soon because of some THINGS. My heart just broke for her but I also felt super proud of her for how she handled it. Her story made me super emotional for MANY reasons — everything she endures, how her past finds her years later, the things she learns, etc. OKAY and let’s talk about the romance? (SIDENOTE: Southern men are so swoony).  HARDY CATES. Her first love. Their romantic tension was INTENSE and I felt the heartbreak she feels when he leaves (somehow I missed that part in the summary). Kleypas writes their relationship so well. SWOON. But the romance with another character later on? SWOON AGAIN. I loved how Liberty has to reconcile this first love that she doesn’t want to let go with the prospective of new love. AND THE ENDING. PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT. This book was heartwarming even though it made me cry a couple times. And the characters? Lisa Kleypas creates the most wonderful main and secondary characters. I JUST WANT TO HUG THEM ALL.

RATING

 

RATING-loved-it

 

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Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Amazon// Goodreads
Published: March 2014
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: It follows the friendship and lives of a group of guys from a small town through flashbacks and in the now as they are in their 30’s and life has taken them in very different directions as they’ve all made a life for themselves. They are reunited for a wedding and have to face the ways they have changed AND their friendships have changed  despite their attempts to hold on to what they had. Secrets, betrayals, struggles and the passing of time that has changed them all put a strain on what they had.

I liked this one but not as much as I’d hoped! It also may have been that it took me forever to read it because it was on my kindle and my kindle died and I kept forgetting to charge it. The main thing for me that I LOVED about this one is how it explored male friendships. I loved the friendship of these guys from this small town even despite how the dynamics shift through the years as they grow older and their lives get even more complicated. It’s really rare for me to read a book that gives me these tender male relationships and I really grew to love Hank, Ronny, Kip and Leland and their bond even when things get complicated amongst them. I loved learning about their early friendship contrasted with the men they have all become as two have left and two have stayed. Marriages, tragedy, betrayals, financial troubles, shenanigans…they endured it all. It’s definitely a quieter book and I really liked the character development and the prose. Every character captured my heart some way or another as they were all so complex. It was interesting how we see what  success and happiness is challenged in these very different men. They all seem to think they want what another has or might pity another but they learn the grass ISN’T always greener and things aren’t always as they seem (YEP CLICHES FOR THE WIN HERE). Also, such a great book that reminds you GET to pick who your family is and what HOME really means to a person. Plus, the setting and feel of small town life? SPOT ON. It reminded me so much of where I used to live. It’s funny because I KNOW groups of guys from that small town I used to live in that remind me SO much of these guys. My problem? As distinct as the characters were through the eyes of the others, sometimes I struggled with the actual voices of who was narrating and would get confused with the multi-narration and the shift to the past/present.

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

 

Have you read either of these? I’d love to know what YOU thought!! If you haven’t read them, do you think they are something you are interested in?

A Smattering Of Mini Reviews

Here we are again…I’m woefully behind on talking about books I’ve read and I’ve been reading faster than I can write about them. I mean, that’s  all true. But mostly I’ve just been a little lazy. So let’s DO THIS:

 

 

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

About In A Sentence (ish): An epidemic. Zombies. Kids. I’m not telling youuuu anything. GO IN BLIND.

Thoughts: This one was one of our book club picks! To me, it was like a cross of Station Eleven and The Walking Dead so I REALLY enjoyed it. Perfect blend of action/zombie stuff and the thought-provoking humanity type stuff I like. I was intrigued by the science of the disease and also the humanization of it through Melanie’s POV and her relationship with her teacher. Her humanization makes all the testing for a cure to take back the world seem so morally grey because SHE IS LIKE A HUMAN. And holy CRAPPPP that ending you guys! I was standing up giving a slow clap when I was able to get my shit together.

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

18249312

There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos

About: Mark is grieving the loss of his twin sister’s death and, after reading her journal with the help of her best friend, he embarks on a journey to complete a list of things she wanted to do as he tries to reconcile with the parts of his sister he never knew.

Thoughts: Okay so this was one of those times where I thought this book was BEAUTIFUL, well-written and SO WELL DONE — but my emotions kind of stayed at a relatively low level considering this was story dealing with grief which normally SLAYS me. So I don’t know what really happened THERE (maybe my emotions were in check for once) but I just felt like even though I was dog-earring all these beautiful and heart-wrenching passages I just wasn’t FEELING them so much as I was understanding them. She just NAILED so much about grief — especially how one pulls away and how you feel like NOBODY in the world understands you. Watching him work through his grief as he tries to complete Grace’s list was a bittersweet journey. Overall I really liked it and highly recommend, I just didn’t feel as emotionally connected as I would have liked to be.

Rating

 

RATING-reallyliked

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Love By the Book by Melissa Pimentel

About In A Sentence: A twenty-something expat in London decides to embark on an experiment to date according to the advice from a new dating guide every month.

Thoughts: I wanted to love this one more! I mean, I enjoyed it to some degree but I DON’T KNOWWW. I was hoping for more. I loved the premise because I thought about all the lols and hijinx  that would occur if someone tried to follow dating guide books to the T. And they happened! They just weren’t AS funny or entertaining as I had hoped to be honest. Sure, they entertained me enough (especially the beginning) but I just had hoped for so much more. I also weirdly did not really feel very much for the main character — never felt like I got a grasp of her outside of her dating life. Overall I was entertained enough, especially considering this was loosely based on the author’s own similar experiment, but it wasn’t the amazing laugh-fest I thought it would be.

 

Rating:

RATING-OKAY

 

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Like No Other by Una LaMarche

About In A Sentence: Two teens from vastly upbringings meet by chance and, even though it is forbidden, they forge a connection and their eyes are open to so much beyond what they’ve always known which causes them to question it all.

Thoughts: This was definitely a very underrated book of 2014. It was such a refreshing storyline and romance. I always love forbidden kind of romances and I loved this one to pieces. I loved learning about Devorah’s religion and culture as a Hasidic Jew and I loved even MORE watching her question what she believed to be right for her life and her future after meeting Jaxon who opens her eyes to a lot of things. AND THAT ENDING WAS REALLY SUPER SATISFYING TO ME. *slow claps for THAT* Couldn’t stop reading this one and I want more people to! My heart was totally wrapped up in Devorah and Jaxon’s story!

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Serendipity by Carly Phillips | Book Review

Serendipity by Carly Phillips  | Book ReviewSerendipity by Carly Phillips
Published by Berkley on 2011
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
two-stars

 

 

 

 

Ethan and Faith had a moment in high school but it never went anywhere. Now, many years later, they both are back in town and are in very different situations than they used to be. Faith’s father was brought down after swindling a lot of people out of money and Faith’s family’s fall from grace and wealth has her starting over but the people in the town don’t make that easy. Ethan has become incredibly successful and he’s back to redeem himself to his brothers who definitely are NOT happy to see him. Ethan and Faith reconnect as they both are looking to rebuild themselves in the town that knows all their history but their connection threatens to unravel what they are trying to rebuild.

Hmmm. I was doing so well with romp through the adult romance genre thus far until this one. Betty and I decided to read it together (check out her thoughts) and I probably would have put it down had it not been for that. At least we had some SUPER entertaining texts about it? Even though the cover, in all its Pepto Bismol glory, looked a bit cheesy I had HOPED it would in fact contain a romance that would make me swoon or at least make me throw my panties in the aiiiiir like I just don’t care? I mean there WAS a man on a motorcycle on the cover. But alas, Serendipity did not. It got a little better in the end, when I just kind of ignored those things, but overall I just thought it was okay.

The romance didn’t do anything for me. At all. And it’s a romance novel so it should probably make me feel something, yeah? It really didn’t. It was rather bland for me and just never made me FEEL anything. I liked the idea of it — the rich girl whose family falls from grace and she has to start over and the boy that screwed up and has no climbed his way up and is looking for redemption. Throw in the fact that they had unfinished business from high school and it sounds like a killer plot! I really liked it in theory but I just never FELT anything about it for the most part. It had its moments but overall the romance was a tad cheesy and not my thing. Just glancing on Goodreads I seem to be in the HUGE minority but that’s how I felt.

There was an interesting thread introduced into the story that actually was quite refreshing and heartwarming once I got over how eyerolly the circumstance was. That was the thread of the story that was most interesting to me and kept me from not putting it down. Ethan’s sister, who he didn’t know he had, is introduced into the story and it was SUCH a good storyline but the WAY she was introduced annoyed me — so unbelievable. I really enjoyed Tess’s storyline — she was rebellious and seemingly bratty and was getting into a lot of trouble. I loved her relationship with EVERYONE pretty much. Tess and Ethan especially. The video game scene. THE BEST. I loved how Faith and Tess bond. And I found it HILARIOUS how Tess interacts with the other brothers. Tess was, by far and away, the best part of this book.

The ending kind of bothered me — yeah, it wrapped up, but it did so rather abruptly and really shifted into the perspective for the next novel — one of Ethan’s brothers. It was a little awkward to me. I won’t be running to pick up the next book but I may pick up another in the series just to see if it was in fact this romance itself or if perhaps I’m not into this author’s books. I may try another one of her books outside of this series just for good measure but we will see!

Serendipity was a bit lackluster for me — I loved the idea of the romance presented but it never quite made me feel anything. I didn’t fall for Ethan like Faith, and most other readers, seemed to. I liked his story and I liked Faith’s story but their romance never clicked for me and plus sometimes it was uber cheesy. The Tess storyline that was woven in was the redeeming aspect of this book for me, despite how ridiculous her entry into the story seemed to me, and kept me reading. This book was just okay for me. It has a very high rating on Goodreads so maybe more seasoned romance readers loved it and maybe you will too — it just was not my favorite.

Serendipity by Carly Phillps

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Have you heard of it? What did you think if you’ve read it? Have you read any of her other books that maybe I’d like better? I’m really curious about the rest of the series but the next book features the brother I didn’t like.

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two-stars

The Duke & I by Julia Quinn | Book Review

The Duke & I by Julia Quinn | Book ReviewThe Duke & I by Julia Quinn
Published by Avon on June 2006
Genres: Adult Historical Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

 

 

 

 

Young Daphne Bridgerton is on her way to becoming an old spinster in her high society circles because she’s not yet married. Her mother is hellbent on finding her a husband but she doesn’t fancy the few suitors she’s had. Simon Bassett, a Duke and an old friend of Daphne’s brother, comes to town and is instantly fawned over by all the society mother’s and their daughters. Both are jaded with the process and come up with a plan that benefits them both — to get into a faux-courtship. It’s a win-win for both of them so Simon can hopefully get a breather from the mom’s wanting him to marry their daughters and will make Daphne more desirable to the men because the Duke is pursuing her and she’ll have more suitors to choose from. As the two get to know each other, Daphne may not be faking her feelings towards the Duke even though he’s made his intentions clear but wants to try to convince him that perhaps they really are the real deal.

My first historical romance and I LOVED IT! I read it as part of my Courting the Adult Romance challenge and I’m so, so happy you guys picked it for me. The Duke and I was so charming and I cannot wait to read more from the Bridgerton family. It was everything I loved about Pride & Prejudice but without more dense language of the time. I don’t think I swooned as hard as I did for during P&P, because I mean Mr. Darcey, but I was smitten. I just love books set in the Regency era — all that prim and proper etiquette, the extravagant balls and high society, the social norms, etc. but desire is still there. LOVE the tension that ensues.

In my general thoughts about my foray into the romance genre, I noted that this one wasn’t as steamy as the Lucky Harbor book (my first read) and honestly I went through more than half the book before there was even so much as a kiss. I love steamy and sexy but I LOVED the tension that just smothered you because of the more modest times in The Duke and I. I think if you are looking for a romance novel filled with super sexy times — this isn’t it. This one is just utterly romantic complete with moments that make your heart pitter patter and swoon in the midst of the obvious tension. There’s sex, yes, but it’s not overwhelming at all.

The Bridgerton family and the sibling dynamics were the kind that you read and remember forever. You feel like you are cozying up with old friends and your heart feels at home. It kind of reminded me of slipping in with the March family from Little Women or a family like that — except some awesome brothers thrown in there. I loved the relationships within the family and how they fiercely loved each other and how they all had their unique individual characteristics that really jumped out at me — rather than just being cardboard siblings. This excites me since the rest of the series focuses on a different Bridgerton sibling!

The most delightful surprise about this novel was how FUNNY it was. I don’t often laugh out loud at books but I actually did with this one. It’s so witty and peppered with humor and it just made it such a feel good read. One of the parts that made me snort laugh unattractively is the first sex scene. OH MY GOODNESS.

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn was so utterly charming and romantic. If you loved Pride & Prejudice or love the Regency era, I highly recommend this if you want an absolutely fun romance novel. There’s so much about this novel that I loved and it made me smile and laugh SO MUCH — the romance, this quirky family, the humor Julia Quinn infuses and that Regency feel. It’s more on the side of swoony rather than steamy though there is a little bit of sex but not at all graphic. Cannot WAIT to read more from this series. I’m restraining myself so I don’t binge read it all.

The Duke & I by Julia Quinn

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? What were your overall feelings about it? Did you expect it to be so funny?? I totally didn’t. If you’ve read the series, which book is your favorite? I’m so excited to read more from this family! What other historical romances do you recommend now that I think I am in love?!

four-stars

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis | Book Review

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis | Book ReviewSimply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis
Series: Lucky Harbor #1
Published by Forever on 2010
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
three-half-stars

 

 

 

Maddie has just broken up with her boyfriend and lost her job and she’s had it. She’s ready to leave and she does — she heads to the town of Lucky Harbor, a town on the coast of Washington, and deals with the inheritance her mother left she and her half-sisters. When they arrive in Lucky Harbor, after not seeing each other for years, they find out what they have inherited is an inn that is nearly falling apart. Maddie has nothing to lose at this point and sees a new start for herself in Lucky Harbor if she could fix the inn up but her halfsisters just want to sell the inn and be done with it and get back to their lives. She knows it will be a hard sell because the inn is a mess but she tries to persuade them to be a part of this with her. When she hires a contractor to help fix up the inn, she doesn’t realize he comes in the form of the completely hot guy she ran into on her first day into town. Having sworn off men, she tries to keep her distance from him but finds that to be impossible with him around all the time.

I read Simply Irresistible as part of my Courting the Romance Genre challenge for myself. It’s a series SO many of my friends have raved about (namely Ginger being the biggest pusher of this series!). You can read my general impression of adult romance and my experience here but I wanted to save specific book details for my review!

The verdict? I really liked Simply Irresistible. I can’t say it was a favorite but it was super fun and enjoyable and a good contemporary romance to help my romance novel adverse self into the genre. It was steamy (this is coming from someone who has never read a single romance novel so I was NOT prepared for the sexytimes because even the steamiest YA didn’t quite compare) but it wasn’t just sex — there was a ton of story and character development in addition to the romance. I liked that a lot because those are the things that I need in a book — as much as I love romance it can’t just be sex for me.

Simply Irresistible was a lot about sisterhood and I loved that. The sister’s (they are half-sisters) aren’t particularly close and they are so different but they come back together after their mother dies and they are trying to settle her affairs. I loved watching them open up to each other and REALLY get to know each other as they also learned more about their mom. They made me laugh, made me tear up a little bit and made me incredibly grateful for my own 3 sisters. I also love the strength they gained from each other — especially Maddie. As much as this story has to do with sisterhood, it also has a lot to do with picking yourself up after things fall apart and things DEFINITELY have fallen apart for Maddie. When she comes to Lucky Harbor she really has nothing left to lose but she ends up gaining a lot that she wouldn’t WANT to lose. Nobody SAVES Maddie at the end of the day but she draws strength from her sister and a certain hottie tottie male — Jax!

So obviously we have to talk about the romance because, well, this IS a romance novel! I really loved the romance from the start — it was so playful and fun! I loved their banter and then the tension just kept rising. I felt it just as much as THEY did for sure. And yeah, there were definitely some sexy times. For sure. But what I loved is that 1) they weren’t crazy graphic because I’m just not sure that’s my thing and 2) not super corny. Sure there were a few lines were I rolled my eyes (lots of mention of pebbled nipples) but overall I just enjoyed the obvious passion between the two combined with their STORIES. That’s what was so great about this book! And Jax, the swoons are off the charts for this man candy!

I’m excited to continue on with the series because Simply Irresistible was a solid read for me and I LOVED the West Coast town of Lucky Harbor. That is one of the biggest things about this book is that Lucky Harbor is a place I want to go visit and Jill Shalvis creates this town vividly — both landscape-wise and with the cast of characters and the places in the town. I kind of love Lucky Harbor in the way I love Stars Hollow and I can see that love intensifying through the series.

Simply Irresistible was a fun romance that was perfect for my first time reading an adult romance. It was certainly steamy (at least for this romance newb) but it also had a great story, characters and setting. I completely fell in love with Lucky Harbor and the great cast of characters and was definitely smitten with Jax and Maddie’s romance — it was playful, fun and passionate. What I loved MOST about this book, even though the romance was wonderful, was the growth between Maddie and her sisters and all the fun, goofy times they had together in the midst of some hard times. It’s good for your soul to watch them heal because of each other. Pebbled nipples aside, really solid book — it didn’t blow my mind or anything but it was super enjoyable if you are looking for a fun romance that balances story and sexytimes. SUBSTANCE. It has it.

***OOHH and Simply Irresistible is currently $2.99 for the Kindle.***

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? Did you like it or no if you’ve read it? If you’ve read further into the series, which book was your fave? What other contemporary adult romances can you recommend to this newbie?

three-half-stars

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie | Book Review

20130709-165427.jpgBook Title/Author: Arranged by Catherine McKenzie
Publisher/Year
: William Morrow 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance – “Chick Lit/Romantic Comedy”
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Spin, Forgotten, Hidden

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I got this out from the library!

 

 

 

 

 

Anne Blythe is by all means a successful — she’s in her early 30’s, she’s got a great job as a columnist for a magazine, she’s working on a deal for her book and she’s got a great social circle. The only thing she is missing is that special someone to share her life with. She’s had her share of bad relationships and the latest one ended in her leaving him because he cheated. On her way to start her new life alone she comes across a business card for what appears to be a dating service for when she decides she may be up for dating again. Anne hits rock bottom when her best friend gets engaged and she feels like she is going to be forever alone so she decides to call the dating service and see what happens. What Anne finds is that it is actually a very exclusive service that isn’t there to get you a date but rather to find you a husband — it’s an arranged marriage service that comes with a hefty price tag. She thinks it is absurd at first but after a lot of thought and research she decides to give it a go and soon she’s on her way to Mexico to meet and marry her husband.

I read Arranged by Catherine McKenzie on the beach and it was SUCH a perfect beach read. I originally had her novel Spin as a pick on my Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag list but it came into the library too late so I picked this one up since it was available! It was so FUN and such a deliciously good page turner and I enjoyed every single page!

Arranged is told in 3 parts and I don’t even know which one is my favorite. Part 1 is learning about Anne’s love life and her finding out about this whole process and agreeing to it. I was certainly plenty intrigued about the whole service and how it works though I, like Anne, was very skeptical. Part 2 is Mexico which was equally, if not more,  compelling as she meets her husband. As a reader, I was so eager to see if there would be chemistry between them and how awkward it would be. Part 3 is life AFTER the resort and that is where it gets to be even more of a juicier page-turner.

It was easy for me to feel for Anne. Sure, I met Will when I was 21 but pretty much all my friends were in serious relationships and I was just bouncing around so I always felt like an old maid. I know lots of people in Anne’s position — she’s in her early 30’s, doesn’t have a serious relationship and all her friends are getting married and having kids. It’s hard to feel like you are stuck in a whole other universe while all your friends are “moving on.” I felt that when we were the only unmarried couple in our group. I could feel Anne’s desire for what her friends had — true love — and I love how this story was so honest & funny about the things we do to find love. While most of us probably have not considered  arranged marriages, we’ve all done something or ignored something in our quest for love.

The writing was very accessible and straightforward which was perfect for a beach read and had characters that were easy to relate to but not in an obvious way. I was taken off guard by something that happened in Part 3 (I didn’t read the summary of this book closely) but after that I found that it remained pretty predictable to what I expect like how it is when I’m watching a romantic comedy and I didn’t mind that. I rooted for Anne the whole way through to find her true love and her story, while unconventional, was something I could relate to and loved watching unravel.

Ultimately Arranged was the fun, breezy romantic comedy I had hoped it would be for a beach read but I was really impressed with the smart and honest insights into the ups and downs of finding someone to love and loving– desire, loneliness, being vulnerable, trusting after you’ve been hurt, etc. It satisfied the need for a romantic page-turner filled with some laughs but also tackled the subject of marriage and love in an insightful and honest manner. It was a very unique and unconventional love story and I enjoyed it so much! Definitely recommend if you are looking for a fun romantic comedy or a good beach read!

 

Arranged-Catherine-McKenzie


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Did you like it, dislike it or feeling mixed about it? Did you see THE BIG THING coming? I just didn’t (but I also didn’t read the summary). Have you read any of her other books?? Which one should I read next? I have Spin from the library now so I’ll probably start there!

 

three-half-stars
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