Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: Concealed

Concealed (Hiding From Love, #2)Concealed by Selena Laurence
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Concealed is the second book in the Hidden From Love series, though I read it as a stand-alone novel. I was given the novel in PDF format by the author.

Alexis and Gabe spent a few passionate and raw months together in Afghanistan but now Alexis is doing her best to forget their time together and return to reality; leaving the fantasies of Gabe as far behind her as she can manage.

Gabe, however, can't forget Alexis, the time they spent together, and the promise she made to him. And when she doesn't meet him as she had said she would, he finds her.

This story is great, even as a series book, it truly does stand alone. Laurence manages to effortless bring her readers up to speed on the backstory allowing for an effortless unfolding of the next portion of this passionate love story. So much so that, at first I didn't even realize that I was reading a series book.

The writing is effortless, witty, and real. I enjoy the dialogue between characters and the alternate points of view. It really does give the reader a great 360 perspective on everything going on.

The love story is both sweet and sexy. This couple has survived far worse together than trying to navigate the ins and outs of a relationship, yet it seems they may both be more comfortable with fighting for their lives than their love at times. And who could blame them?! They face many obstacles in pursuit of their happily ever after.

Gabe is a bit rough around the edges but he's certainly no less desirable for it. He knows what he wants and he's not afraid to go after it. Alexis, on the other hand, is afraid to admit what she really wants. Only when Gabe is transplanted inconveniently into her well planned life, is she able to throw caution to the wind once more and let her heart lead the way.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Book Review: The Guardian

The GuardianThe Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I find myself struggling to come up with a rating and review for this book. Though it came highly recommended, I wasn't able to connect with it as I very much hoped I would.

I believe that my first misstep was that I started LISTENING to the auto  book before finally switching over to paperback to towards the end. Being that it was my first audio book I didn't quite know what to expect. And in the end I'm not sure if it was the story that fell short for me or the narrating. Maybe a bit of both. The reader, a woman--I forget here name--didn't put the inflection on the words or in the way that I would have in my mind. The characters I WANTED to like ended up sounding whinny and unlikable. Once I was reading the book vs. listening I liked the characters a little more. But the story still felt lacking.

I was never really ever all that surprised by what was happening or what was to come and because I don't like this type of story to begin with--where there's some obsessed stalker guy who is a complete nut job--I was left with little else to fall in love with about the story.

Mike isn't the kind of male lead I'm head-over-heals for either, which he would have to be for me to have really gotten into this story. He was kind of minimalistic most of the time. He wasn't romantic or heroic. He was bland and ordinary. He fit in a comfortable spot in Julie's life and that was enough. I'm not asking for a super hero who's a real Tom Cat in bed. But something. Some kind of spark that can be felt in the pages. Because frankly, I wasn't taking Julie's word for it.

As a main character, Julie wasn't horrible but she was pretty plain too. Relatable stories are great. I'm not trying to complain that the story just wasn't exciting enough (because it certainly had its share of suspense) but I guess when it comes to love stories--personally--I want to be swept away. I want to feel and see the fireworks and I want to feel satisfied. Like after eating a great holiday meal. Instead, I'm left with a feeling more closely resembling the slight stomach ache after finishing a burger at your local diner. I'm full, yes. But I don't feel too hot and I might benefit from lying down for a while...

I typically really enjoy Nicholas Sparks, and others might enjoy this book just as much as I've enjoyed many of his other novels. As for me, I think I'm going to indulge in a sultry romance novel next, to fill the recently acquired romantic swoon-worthy void in my fictional life.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Book Review: The Perfect Hope

The Perfect Hope (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #3)The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was definitely my favorite book of the series and I knew from the start that it would be. The number one reason for this fact...and let's face it numbers 2-5 five as well. Ryder Montgomery. He's the most abrasive of his brothers and the hardest to love...but not for lack of yumminess. He's just very shut off and reserved in most aspects of his life. He's still a loving brother and son and respectful to women, though he doesn't make a habit of committing. So I was interested in seeing how he came to finally settle down. As much as a man like Ryder can settle that is.

The plot of finding out about our friendly ghost's story as well was very sweet and while some of the story was predictable, other parts were pleasantly surprising. In a way not only do you get to experience the love stories of the three brothers and their girls but of the past as well. And it's all tied together so seamlessly.

I haven't read all that many Nora Roberts books, though I do have a handful on my shelves waiting to be read, but after completing this series, I definitely plan to read more! Her stories are about so much more than just romance. They're about the people in them. Each and every character has their story told.

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Book Review: The Last Boyfriend

The Last Boyfriend (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #2)The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have to say before reviewing this book that the couple I'm most interested to read about is Ryder and Hope. So while I did enjoy Owen and Avery's story--in equal measure as Claire and Beckett's--it's the final book of the series that has me really excited.

One thing I liked about this story is the fact that you don't just get Owen and Avery's story as a separate piece to a puzzle that fits based on their shared location and relations. You get a continuation of Claire and Becket's love story as well, though only just enough to keep you satisfied with the direction they've gone since the end of book one. You even get a taste for Ryder and Hope's romance as an added teaser. Just enough so that their relationship doesn't seem to stem from nowhere when starting book three.

As for the romance between Avery and Owen, groundwork has been set between them in the form of a past--though juvenile--relationship. And through their differences, struggles, and misunderstandings they fall in love with one another. What starts off as a comfortable and practical step up in their intimacy from friendship to something more blossoms into a full-blown relationship that leaves Owen rattled out of his ability to plan everything and forces Avery to face her biggest fears about relationships.

I enjoyed this story a lot. On top of the romance you also get much deeper into the ghost story which really picks up, providing a very interesting twist. And you also get to watch as the B Boys rebuild this small town through renovations and the whole place begins to take up a warm residence right in your heart.

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Book Review: Second To No One

Second to No OneSecond to No One by Natalie Palmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Second to No One is the sequel to Natalie Palmer's Second Kiss. It's been a few years since I read Second Kiss so I needed a bit of time to catch up as I read where everyone stood in this story and who was who. But once I became reacquainted, the story flowed easily.

The story felt very relatable, which if you read many of my reviews you'll know is a deal breaker for me. While a lot of choices Gemma and Jess make are infuriating at times, at the very least frustrating, I can see how this dangerous slope of misreading and miscommunication can lead them both to very confused places.

There are also quite a few subplots and every character has their own story, their own life that gets explored and explained along the way. Instead of a shallow plot based on only two main characters, the "cast" is very intricately introduced without taking away from the main story or becoming too much to digest.

As a main character, Gemma can be less-than-likeable at times for her selfish behavior but we were all sixteen once, some of us still are, and let's face's a selfish time in all of our lives. And why not? That's when we really truly begin to figured out who we are. We start to see our parents for who they really are. Other than "mom" and "dad" they're people too. Gemma is dealing with all of that in addition to facing heartbreak. As a result, she doesn't always make "the right" choices. And sometimes she comes off as selfish or naïve but in the end that only makes her more real.

To sum things up, I enjoyed this story a lot and I think that it sends nothing but true and valuable messages to its readers.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Kiss Me, I'm Yours

Kiss Me, I'm Yours (Tennessee Waltz, #2)Kiss Me, I'm Yours by Bella Street
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I always love Bella Street's novels and I had no doubt this one would be right up there with the others.

Street has a natural skill for story-telling. She can transport you, steal your heart, and educate you all before you even know what hit you. Her stories have such depth and tangibility they're downright genius. Seriously.

Kiss Me, I'm Yours is a developing love story between two lost souls. Some more lost than, really. Sophie finds herself in the wrong century and Gabriel finds himself at the end of his rope. Only in each other can they manage to make sense of all of it, and just in the nick of time.

I loved the characters and the gradual build up of these characters' stories and struggles. I was fully engrossed and completely swept up in a relationship that was forged out of convenience but grew to be much more.

Street has a story telling ability and flavor all her own. I wouldn't even know what book to compare it to. All I can say is, if you haven't read her work, it's what's missing in your life.

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