Review: Taking Chances by Molly McAdams

15739018Taking Chances
Series: Taking Chances, #1
Author: Molly McAdams
Publication Date: October 12, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Her first year away is turning out to be nearly perfect, but one weekend of giving in to heated passion will change everything.

Eighteen-year-old Harper has grown up under the thumb of her career marine father. Ready to live life her own way and to experience things she’s only ever heard of from the jarheads in her father’s unit, she’s on her way to college at San Diego State University.

Thanks to her new roommate, Harper is introduced to a world of parties, gorgeous guys, family, and emotions. She finds herself being torn in two as she quickly falls in love with both her new boyfriend, Brandon, and her roommate’s brother, Chase. Despite their dangerous looks and histories, both men adore Harper and would do anything for her, including taking a step back if it would mean she’d be happy.


I feel horrible saying this, but I hated this book. Hated it. It really should have been a 1 star review for me. Taking Chances is getting 2 stars for one reason alone:

Molly McAdams can write.

While I hated the story, I still wanted to know what was going to happen. Molly McAdams’ tale twisted and turned so quickly I didn’t know what end was up. It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t take my eyes away from it. It made me so mad because I didn’t want to finish reading the book. I was constantly uncomfortable and crabby.

Taking Chances was one of the worst love triangles I’ve ever read. It started out okay. I thought I was really going to like Harper with her military single dad upbringing, but she quickly became someone I loathed. I never once empathized with her. She just wasn’t a good person. What she did throughout the whole story was really immature and wrong. Her lack of guilt was horrible.

Harper wasn’t the only character I couldn’t stand, though. There was something seriously wrong with Chase. You don’t chase after your friend’s woman. I don’t care if you saw her first or love her or whatever. I’m probably going to get flack for saying that because a lot of readers loved his sweet ways, but he should have backed off.

As for Brandon…I never connected with his character. I felt sorry for the guy, but that was about it.

The only character I rooted for at all was Carter. That definitely didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.

The characters weren’t the only thing messed up about this story. All I could do at the end was shake my head. It was all sorts of crazy.

I don’t know if I would recommend this book at all or not. I guess if you don’t mind cheating and love crazy situations, then go for it. I will say that I think Molly McAdams is a skilled writer, and I will try another one of her books in the future.

Review: Author Anonymous by E.K. Blair

29613610-1Author Anonymous
Author: E.K. Blair
Publication Date: August 29, 2016
Genre: Romance, Erotica, Based on a True Story

Rating: Unrated – Explanation in review.

Synopsis:

*An intoxicatingly risqué stand-alone book.

She’s an author.
She’s a mother.
She’s a wife.
She’s a fraud, a woman marked and bound by her own deceit.

Experience the astounding tale of how Anonymous battled through a year of scandals and betrayals, how her world fell from its axis with a single choice, and how she lost herself between reality and fantasy.

This is a stand-alone tangled in lust, heartbreak, and contrition.

*Based on a true story.


I’m going to start out by apologizing for this review. It is going to be one giant rant. That can’t be helped, so I’m sorry. I’m also going to warn that if you’re not into books with cheating, this one definitely isn’t for you. The entire focus of Author Anonymous is cheating. There’s nothing happy in it either, so if you’re looking for a dark but uplifting romance this isn’t it.

Let’s start with what I actually liked about this book. E.K. Blair deserves 5 stars for her writing. It’s dark, gritty, and unapologetic. I applaud her for being able to portray the characters the way she did. Their actions and thoughts were hard to read, so they had to be hard to write.

Now for the rant…

I wanted to DNF this book so badly. I basically had to force myself to read it. It was morally disturbing to me. I hated the main character Tori. I hated her thoughts, her actions, her truths. Nothing about what she did was okay. I don’t care what her reasons were. I’m a wife and mother. I’ve been married for 10 years, so I can understand some of her complaints about her marriage but nothing excuses her from the choices she made. I try not to be judgemental, but I’m judging here. She knew what she was doing the entire time. It was intentional. She knew she was hurting everyone around her and did it anyway.

It’s hard to explain my thoughts about the male characters in this “love triangle” without giving too much away, so I’ll keep it simple. I hated Alec. I didn’t trust anything about him. He was just as horrible as Tori. Landon was okay. He wasn’t an innocent bystander, but he wasn’t really malicious either. I understood why he did what he did and I was okay with it for the most part. I also want to point out that Landon said something about 40% in that I really agree with when it comes to cheating.

Obviously, reading Author Anonymous was a struggle for me. I was so looking forward to getting to the end and being able to come to terms with what this book had dealt me. I thought I was getting what I wanted until E.K. Blair did something I was not expecting. I don’t know whether to be pissed off at her or call her a genius. Considering how I felt about the story, I’d probably lean towards pissed off. If I hadn’t been reading this book on my Kindle, I would have thrown it at the wall or, better yet, burnt it!

I seriously hope the real Tori is never revealed. I don’t want to know who she is. I have to admit it took guts for her to ask E.K. Blair to write her story and put it out there. Although, now that I think about it, it seems like an attention-getting scheme.

Ugh. So how do I give Author Anonymous a rating? On one hand, the writing was brilliant. If it wasn’t based on a true story, I might have thought E.K. Blair was super creative for coming up with such a frustrating story and character. I do want to explore her other books. On the other hand, I hated this book the entire time I was reading it (except for maybe one or two chapters) partly because I knew it was based on a true story. I really did want to DNF it. I thought maybe I could come up with a middle ground rating, but I didn’t feel like any rating could properly portray my feelings. I guess that means I’m leaving it unrated. I will say that I’m glad that I was able to borrow this book from the Amazon Prime Kindle Lending Library. I think I would have been angry if I had spent money on a book that was so infuriating.

Review: Carnage: The Story of Us by Leslie Jones

Carnage: The Story of Us
Series:
Carnage, #1
Author:
Leslie Jones
Publication Date:
February 14, 2014
Genre:
New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

I love him, from the instant I set eyes on him when I was just 11 years old I have loved him and nothing will ever change that, he owns me, he owns my heart and he owns my body and no matter how many lies are told, no matter how many people conspire to keep us apart, despite the fame and the distance, we will find a way.

“Georgia Rae, when we made love you used to cry” … He waits for me to sing my bit. I try to swallow down a sob but I just end up singing through it…
“I said I love you like the stars above, I’ll love you till I die”

Carnage is an edgy coming of age love story that breaks all the rules and transcends the decades. Georgia and Sean’s story will stay with you long after you read the final word.
An emotional, smoking hot, gut wrenching read.

NOTE: This is part #1 of a 2 part story but can be read as a stand alone.


  ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


I’ve been buddy reading books off the Huffington Post’s Oh, You Little Heartbreaker! The Ultimate List of Ugly Cry Novels this year with a group on Goodreads. Each month we pick a different book. This month, we picked Carnage: The Story of Us.

Ugh. I don’t even know where to start with Carnage. Guess I’ll just warn everyone that this review will most likely sound more negative than positive. The writing wasn’t bad, it was just disturbing to me. It’s going to be hard to explain without giving away major spoilers, but I’ll do my best.

I absolutely could not stand the beginning of the book. I was constantly cringing. I’m not a prude, but it was much too sexually charged for an 11-year-old character in the 1980’s. I don’t care how mature Georgia’s body was. An 11-year-old shouldn’t be thinking about sex. When I was 11 (in the late 80’s!), I was not thinking sexual thoughts like Georgia. And the way Sean spoke to her was just as bad. I can remember some of the stuff 13-year-old boys said back then it was nowhere near as sexually forward. I forced myself to keep reading because there were so many great reviews for this book. I had high hopes things would get better.

Luckily, they did. As Georgia and Sean got older, things got a little more appropriate. The addition of Tiger was my favorite part of the story. It made me forget about the rough beginning. But, sadly, that didn’t last long. 🙁 By the time I got to the ending, something that should have shattered me didn’t. I should have been crying, but I wasn’t.

I guess the real problem I have with the book is Sean and Georgia’s relationship. The whole thing disturbed and/or disgusted me. Even when he was being super sweet, I just couldn’t love Sean. And I didn’t like Georgia when she was with him. Just…ugh.

I do have to admit that the ending, while it didn’t break me like it should have, it did leave me curious enough to want to read the next book Carnage: The Story of Me. The fact that I was still willing to read the next installment lead me to give the book 3 stars instead of the 2 stars I was planning on.

So…Would I recommend Carnage? I don’t know. There are a ton of 5 star reviews out there. Maybe this one just wasn’t for me. I would advise that you should skip reading it if you can’t handle vulgar language, a plethora of drug use, cheating, or violence.

Review: Waking Amy by Julieann Dove

29337681-1Waking Amy

Series: Amy, #1

Author: Julieann Dove

Publication Date: February 23, 2016

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit

Note: I received this book from the author via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Amy Whitfield is blindsided when she comes home and finds a note on the fridge from her husband, Wesley, stating that after four years of marriage, he’s leaving her. Amy was in the midst of trying to spice things up, to bring life back to their boring marriage. It seems now that she was too late.

As Amy sits with her head between her knees, trying to figure out what to do next, a call comes from Mercer General Hospital. The ER nurse is telling Amy’s answering machine that Wesley has been in a car accident.

When Amy arrives at the hospital, she finds her husband in a coma. The doctors say there is no sign of brain damage, and Wesley will eventually wake up. Relieved, Amy sees this as her second chance: the chance to get it right this time. To channel the girl Wesley won’t leave when he regains consciousness… She just needs some help to pull it off. After all, she was voted girl most likely to die a virgin in high school.

Amy would never figure on getting that help from Mark Reilly…Wesley’s doctor! He’s a non-committer, too-cute-for-his-own-good bachelor, and completely the guy Amy begins falling for. It’s a race against time to see who wakes up first—Amy or her husband.


  ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


It’s not very often that I read a romance where the thirty-something heroine is quite as sheltered or innocent as Amy was in Waking Amy. It certainly made for an interesting storyline.

Waking Amy is the story of a woman on the verge of an emotional, sexual and fundamental shift. Amy’s hit rock bottom in her marriage, her husband having left her prior to ending up in a coma. She’s willing to do anything it takes to get Wesley back. In order to make herself more desirable, she asks Wesley’s womanizing doctor, Mark, to help her. As Mark guides on her path of self-discovery, she slowly starts to wonder if maybe she’s trying to impress the wrong man.

Amy was way more naive than any 30-year-old I know. She didn’t show skin, wasn’t really interested in sex and was very conservative. The struggles she went through, how she examined her upbringing and the way she tried to recreate herself was inspirational. But I didn’t really connect with her or like her. Her naiveté kind of annoyed me at times. It gave a snotty tone to some of her point of view. And once I got to know how her relationship with Wesley evolved, I was a little disgusted with her.

Mark I liked. His storyline was my favorite. I loved when Amy stepped in and helped him several times. He had some great witty dialog and was fun to read about.

I didn’t care for the addition of Tom’s character and the love square it created. Amy already had enough going on with Wesley and Mark. He just seemed like extra thrown in to show she decided to take care of herself first.

Waking Amy felt more like Women’s Fiction/Chit Lit than Contemporary Romance. While there was romance to the story, it was mostly about Amy discovering who she truly wanted to be. I liked the story a lot, I just wish I had been fonder of Amy. I am interested to see where life takes her next, but I am a little surprised this is going to be a series. The ending wrapped up the book really well.

I would recommend Waking Amy if you enjoy novels about characters discovering their potential.

Review: Friday Night Players by Michelle DiCeglio

29846905Friday Night Players

Author: Michelle DiCeglio

Publication Date: April 4, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Note: I received an electronic copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Fans of Glee, Pitch Perfect, and So You Think You Can Dance will fall in love with this in depth look at what it’s like to find yourself while pretending to be someone else.

“My heart began to race. Was all this applause really for me? I felt a nudge from behind me and stepped forward. The audience began banging on their tables, and I heard a few cat calls from the side of the stage. The more I let the performance rush linger, the more I realized I wanted to do this as often as I could.”

It’s a typical Friday night for “River Dancer,” who initially joined dance troupe Friday Night Players to get closer to “Siren,” the troupe’s leading female performer. When River learns that Siren is dating another member of FNP, however, he must decide where his loyalties lie: with the troupe or with his heart.


  ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


I’ll be the first to admit I’m a huge fan of both Glee, the Pitch Perfect franchise and So You Think You Can Dance. So when I saw the blurb began with a nod to those masterpieces, I was curious. Would I love Friday Night Players as much as I loved those fan favorites?

Friday Night Players started out with a very strong and mysterious first chapter. I was just as intrigued as River was with beautiful Siren. After that chapter, the story lost my interest until about 1/3 of the way in. I just didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to.

River, as a main character, was kind of a mystery throughout the book. I never really felt like I got to know him. I knew all about his attraction for Siren and what he thought about the Friday Night Players (FNP), but I didn’t really get to know him and what made him tick.

Sultry Siren was a horrible person. I couldn’t stand the love triangle she created between herself, River and Spence. River worshipped her, but she used him. He just chose not to see it because he was so infatuated by her.

The rest of the supporting characters were an interesting bunch. They were a cool and unique family. My favorite was Ginny. She may have been disgruntled, but she stirred things up and brought so much to the story.

Friday Night Players had a really cool performance element to it. The characters’ confidence and abilities shown through in these scenes. I’m just not quite sure I would have compared it to Glee or the Pitch Perfect franchise, though. That made me compare it to those shows and expect an upbeat, funny comedy. Friday Night Players was all about the drama.

Friday Night Players was an interesting, dramatic story. There were parts of it I really enjoyed and other parts (love triangle) that I didn’t. Overall, it’s a fun read for readers who love the performance arts.

 

 

Before the Blog: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

pablo

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Publication Date: January 1, 2008

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Little Bee, a young Nigerian refugee, has just been released from the British immigration detention center where she has been held under horrific conditions for the past two years, after narrowly escaping a traumatic fate in her homeland of Nigeria. Alone in a foreign country, without a family member, friend, or pound to call her own, she seeks out the only English person she knows. Sarah is a posh young mother and magazine editor with whom Little Bee shares a dark and tumultuous past.

They first met on a beach in Nigeria, where Sarah was vacationing with her husband, Andrew, in an effort to save their marriage after an affair, and their brief encounter has haunted each woman for two years. Now together, they face a disturbing past and an uncertain future with the help of Sarah’s four-year-old son, Charlie, who refuses to take off his Batman costume. A sense of humor and an unflinching moral compass allow each woman, and the reader, to believe that even in the face of unspeakable odds, humanity can prevail.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book? 

I remember the back of the cover saying the less you knew about the story the better. It was true. The way the story unfolded was very different and cool at the time I read it. I also remember describing it to my mom and she told me it sounded horrible. It wasn’t, though.

 When did you read this book? 

2008 or 2009, I think. It was BGR (before I was on Goodreads).

Who would you recommend this book to?

Adult readers that enjoy a darker story.

Before the Blog: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

pablo

Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Publication Date: August 6, 2009

Publisher: Orion

Goodreads Synopsis:

The death of Judd Foxman’s father marks the first time that the entire Foxman family—including Judd’s mother, brothers, and sister—have been together in years. Conspicuously absent: Judd’s wife, Jen, whose fourteen-month affair with Judd’s radio-shock-jock boss has recently become painfully public.

Simultaneously mourning the death of his father and the demise of his marriage, Judd joins the rest of the Foxmans as they reluctantly submit to their patriarch’s dying request: to spend the seven days following the funeral together. In the same house. Like a family.

As the week quickly spins out of control, longstanding grudges resurface, secrets are revealed, and old passions reawakened. For Judd, it’s a weeklong attempt to make sense of the mess his life has become while trying in vain not to get sucked into the regressive battles of his madly dysfunctional family. All of which would be hard enough without the bomb Jen dropped the day Judd’s father died: She’s pregnant.

This Is Where I Leave You is Jonathan Tropper’s most accomplished work to date, a riotously funny, emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, divorce, family, and the ties that bind—whether we like it or not.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book? 

I remember thinking it was pretty hilarious when I read it. I thought they did a pretty good job on the movie version released last year, but (of course) the book was better.

 When did you read this book? 

2009 or 2010. I’m not sure exactly. I picked it up at Borders Books when it was on the new(er) releases shelf.

Who would you recommend this book to?

Adults that enjoy a good, comical book.