Review: Glen Falls: Book One

Glen Falls: Book One
Series:
Glen Falls, #1
Author:
Malynda Schlegel
Publication Date:
December 19, 2015
Genre:
Fiction, Contemporary
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Synopsis:

Lives intermingle in a city where nothing stays the same.

Alexia Amherst is a writer who prefers to keep people at a safe distance. Her fraternal twin brother Wesley is lost about what to do with his life and harboring a devastating secret he can’t move on from. The two siblings live with their parents, Grant and Sophia, who are a little too attentive for their liking and who have taken up arguing as their latest hobby.

Breanne Emerson, Alexia’s best friend, is an artist and social butterfly who fears she’s going to end up like her mother Virginia who loves to drown her sorrows in booze and men.

Connor Spencer is the mysterious guy who lives alone in his own apartment, away from his family. Like Wesley, he is uncertain about his future, and like Alexia, he doesn’t let too many people close to him. His best friend Travis Jennings believes the key to all of life’s problems is women and endless entertainment.

Jared Clowes is the lonely boy next door to the Amhersts who is tired of going unnoticed and wants to finally start living a life outside of his head.

Join Alexia, Wesley, Breanne, Connor, Jared, and Travis as they struggle with college, jobs, friendship, love, growing up, their family’s lives, and each other.


 ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


Glen Falls: Book One kind of reminded me of a contemporary Game of Thrones without the death, dismemberment, wars and multiple locations. It was filled with multiple interconnected character arcs which alternated smoothly and often. Reading it almost felt more like watching a television show instead of reading a book.

In Glen Falls: Book One, we first meet the Amherst family. Alexia is a brash, verbally combative writer who is just beginning college with her remorseful twin brother Wesley. They live with their parents, Grant and Sophia. Grant is struggling with the possible loss of his father and unhappy with life in general. Sophia is in the middle of switching workplaces and trying to build up clientele. They are in different places and struggling to save their marriage.

Next, there’s Alexia’s best friend Breanne Emerson and her mom, Virginia. Breanne and Virginia’s relationship is strained because Virginia puts her relationships before Breanne. Breanne isn’t willing to share her mother’s attention and is doing everything to get it. The only thing making Breanne happy is her new relationship with Connor.

Connor is a college student with Breanne, Alexia and Wesley. His best friend is Travis and Alexia isn’t fond of either of them.

Finally, there’s Jared. He lives quietly next door to the Amhersts. He likes Alexia, but isn’t fond of how she treats people.

Basically, this book goes back and forth between each character and you get snippets of what is happening in each person’s life and their relationships. It was interesting to read, but each arc took a while to build with all of the switching. The book felt slower-paced than it actually was because of this. It also ended with a mini cliffhanger for each character.

All of the characters were well-developed and complex. Each had a definitive voice and struggles. While I thought their storylines were interesting, I didn’t actually connect with or like most of them. They were all so self-absorbed. I especially couldn’t stand Alexia’s standoff-ish personality. I wouldn’t have wanted to be her friend. The only one I really liked was Wesley. I was very interested in his storyline. I would have liked more of it and less of some of the other characters.

Glen Falls: Book One was a tough book to rate because while I didn’t really enjoy the characters, I liked most of their storylines. In my opinion, it’s a 3.5 star read. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy dramatic books with interconnected characters and plots.

Review: So Much More by Kim Holden

So Much MoreTitle: So Much More

Author: Kim Holden

Publication Date: March 29, 2016

Publisher: Do Epic LLC

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

Love is strange. It comes out of nowhere. There’s no logic to it. It’s not methodical. It’s not scientific. It’s pure emotion and passion. And emotion and passion can be dangerous because they fuel love…and hate.

I’m now a reluctant connoisseur of both—an expert through immersion. I know them intimately.

When I fell in love with Miranda, it was swift and blind. She was the person I’d elevated to mythical status in my head, in my dreams.

Here’s the thing about dreams, they’re smoke.

They’re spun as thoughts until they become something we think we want. Something we think we need.

That was Miranda. She was smoke.

I thought I wanted her. I thought I needed her.

Over time reality crept in and slowly dissected and disemboweled my dreams like a predator, leaving behind a rotting carcass.

Reality can be a fierce bitch.

So can Miranda.

And I can be a fool…

who believes in dreams.

And people.

And love.

Note from the author: Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is recommended for mature audiences only.


★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I feel like I’ve been hit by a semi truck. I don’t think a book has ever taken me through such an array of emotions before. Happy, sad, angry, frustrated, devastated, elated, surprised. Name an emotion, I felt it. I was amazed at the amount of topics Kim Holden was able to cover in this story. It wasn’t the most comfortable story to read the majority of the time, but it was beautiful written.

Most stories begin at the beginning of a relationship. So Much More begins at the end of one. Miranda and Seamus are in the midst of a turbulent divorce. Miranda will do anything to come out on top and be the winner — even if it means destroying the only person who has ever truly loved her. Seamus is taking the divorce hard. He’s putting on a brave face for their children, but it’s taking it’s an emotional and physical toll on him. As they each strive to get what they want from their uncoupling, Miranda and Seamus are forced to confront their pasts together and their futures apart.

So Much More was told in three view points: Miranda, Seamus and Faith. They were well-developed and complex characters. Each had something different and important to bring to the story.

First, let’s talk about Miranda. I absolutely, positively HATED Miranda. I can honestly say I’ve never hated a character so much. She was such a bitch. Every time I read a chapter in her point of view, I would cringe and pray for karma to kick her ass. Reading her chapters made me ill. Did I mention I hate her? I can’t say it enough. Grrr…

Next, there’s Seamus. I loved Seamus. Even at his worst, he couldn’t have been a better person. The love he had for his children was heartwarming. His struggles were real and broke my heart. Seamus’ chapters were hard to read at times because I’ve known several people who have gone through what he was going through on the emotional and physical end of things. I had such admiration for the way he lived his life. He was truly inspirational.

Finally, a ways into the story, there’s Faith. She’s kind of a free spirit who has made the best out of what life has thrown her way. Faith’s positive outlook and loving nature were incredibly beautiful. I loved the perspective she brought to the Seamus and Miranda’s story. She was the light Seamus needed in the storm of his divorce.

The three main characters weren’t the only important ones in this story, though. All of the supporting characters had a major part. They helped shape Miranda, Seamus and Faith’s lives in many different ways. Most of them I loved, a few I loathed. My favorites were definitely Seamus’ kids. Each of their personalities was so special and I felt like I had met them somewhere before.

So Much More was a hard book to rate. It wasn’t the emotionally uplifting story that Bright Side (one of my favorite books EVER) was. I went back and forth several times on how many stars to give it. So much of it filled me with anger and hate. I didn’t like feeling uncomfortable in that way. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t dislike the book. I disliked a character and her actions. The story was actually rather brilliant. Kim Holden approached the topic of a nasty divorce head on and laid it out for everyone to see. It may have been emotionally brutal to read, but in a time in my life where more of my friends are getting divorced than married, it felt real and honest. So Much More is a book that will stick with me for a long time because of all the things it made me feel and, to me, that’s a mark of a 5 star book.

 

ARC Review: Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis

25712281Title: Nobody But You

Series: Cedar Ridge, #3

Author: Jill Shalvis

Publication Date: March 29, 2016

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

SOMETIMES YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN…

After an overseas mission goes wrong, Army Special Forces officer Jacob Kincaid knows where he must go to make things right: back home to the tiny town of Cedar Ridge, Colorado. All he needs to scrub away his painful past is fresh mountain air, a lakeside cabin, and quiet solitude. But what he discovers is a gorgeous woman living on a boat at his dock.

Sophie Marren has nowhere else to go. She’s broke, intermittently seasick, and fighting a serious attraction to the brooding, dishy, I’m-too-sexy-for-myself guy who’s now claiming her dock. Something about Jacob’s dark intensity makes her want to tease—and tempt—him beyond measure. Neither one wants to give any ground . . . until they realize the only true home they have is with each other.


★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Jill Shalvis has been one of my favorite contemporary romance authors for several years now and books like Nobody But You are the reason why. It was witty, heartwarming, sexy and a whole lot of fun.

I have been interested in getting to know our hero, Jacob Kincaid, since I first heard of his disappearance from the Kincaid family in Second Chance SummerMy curiosity was peaked even more after getting to know his twin in My Kind of Wonderful. Jacob didn’t disappoint. He was ruggedly handsome, a little cocky, loyal and kind of sweet. Jacob wasn’t perfect, though. He had his insecurities where he stood with his family.

Jacob couldn’t have found a better match than he did in Sophie Marren. She was a sexy, redheaded spitfire who had turned her back on love after a failed marriage. Sophie was adrift in life, trying to find out where her path should go. Luckily, it lead her right to Jacob.

While Jacob tried to make up his disappearance from their lives to his family, Sophie was just trying to make it day to day. Sophie didn’t let Jacob hide from his past mistakes and Jacob helped Sophie find her way. They were unbelievably cute together and their sexual chemistry was hotter than hot.

I absolutely adored Nobody But You. I didn’t want to put it down, but I also didn’t want it to end. I loved it that much. I’m really, really hoping we get another Cedar Ridge novel. I would love a book about Kenna.

Nobody But You is a must read for contemporary romance readers and Jill Shalvis fans. It can be read as a standalone, but having the background from the first two books might make some of the family dynamic more clear.

**I received an electronic copy of Nobody But You from NetGalley and the author in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Elastic Hearts by Claire Contreras

elastic heartsTitle: Elastic Hearts

Series: Hearts, #3

Author: Claire Contreras

Publication Date: March 20, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

Victor Reuben.
Most sought out divorce attorney in LA.

Nicole Alessi.
Soon to be ex-wife of Hollywood’s biggest star, Victor’s latest client and his boss’s daughter.

In such a high profile divorce, they can’t afford any extra drama. Luckily, neither one of them has anything to hide.
Unless you count the mind blowing sex they had…
Once…
Twice…
Three times all those years ago.

As long as they leave the past where it belongs, they’ll be fine. But with her wearing those tight dresses and him giving her those heated glances, keeping their hands to themselves is proving to be more difficult than either one of them realized.

It won’t be long before the paparazzi start to smell smoke, and where there’s smoke…


 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


The first book I ever read by Claire Contreras was Kaleidoscope Hearts. I saw Colleen Hoover recommend it on her Facebook page when it was released and decided to read it because I was just getting into reading the New Adult genre. I loved Kaleidoscope Hearts. It was so emotional and brilliant. It made me fall in love with Claire Contreras’ characters and her writing. I was so excited when I saw Elastic Hearts was being released. I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for Estelle’s brother, Victor.

Elastic Hearts was a different type of second chance love story than the first two books in the series. It wasn’t based on an old, deep connection between the main characters. Victor and Nicole’s connection was based on a couple of hook-ups they had a few year ago. Now, they were being thrown together in a lawyer-client situation without anyone knowing about their connection or attraction. They had to pretend it didn’t exists. I liked this change. The secrecy around their hook-ups relationship made the story more exciting. It also put me on edge a couple of times wondering if they were going to end up in trouble.

Victor Reuben is going to be many ladies’ new book boyfriend. (I call dibs!) He was just right parts cocky and sweet. Victor knew what he wanted from life and went for it. When his wants changed, he wasn’t afraid to admit it and go for it — even if he did it cautiously. Nicole was a fun surprise. I expected her to be more confident than she was having been married to a movie star. Her little insecurities made her very relatable. I loved watching Victor and Nicole trying to keep things professional. I’m so happy the story was told in dual points of view, so I could see what was going on in each of their heads.

Elastic Hearts is one of my favorite New Adult releases of 2016 so far. It put a smile on my face the entire time I was reading it. It was witty, smart and sweet. I didn’t want to put it down and I’m sad it’s over. (Although, I can’t wait to see what’s going to come next from Claire Contreras!)  I would highly recommend Elastic Hearts and the entire Hearts series to New Adult readers who enjoy emotional stories filled with amazing characters.

 

Review: Dancing on a Moonbeam Part 3 by Kate Perry

28953771Title: Dancing on a Moonbeam Part 3

Series: Bedford Falls, #3

Author: Kate Perry

Publication Date: March 9, 2016

Publisher: Firelight and Fairydust Unlimited

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit

Goodreads Synopsis:

Eleanor Westwood and her neighbor Max have a deal to help each other—one they sealed with more than a kiss.

Which is a problem, because what was supposed to be a simple deal becomes so much more as Eleanor lets Max dance his way into her heart. It should be win-win, except Eleanor isn’t sure she can ever be triumphant in love…


5 / 5 Stars


Dancing on a Moonbeam Part 3 is the conclusion of Eleanor and Max’s story. (You can find reviews for Part 1 here and Part 2 here.) Eleanor is still trying to find herself. She thinks she wants to run a dance studio, but everyone else thinks she should be choreographing. Her relationship with her daughter Lily is still on the outs and she’s worried they’ll never reconnect. Eleanor’s also worried about giving her heart to Max, who she knows will be returning to L.A. soon.

Max’s dream to compose movies is about to come true. Only, he’s not sure if it’s what he wants anymore. He finds himself falling more deeply in love with Eleanor every day…and her daughter Lily, too. Will he be able to return to L.A. and leave them behind?

This mature second chance romance was sweet and inspiring. Max and Eleanor’s relationship felt real and was relatable. I loved the way Perry worked Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are into the story. It was perfect and suited her Max so well. Kate Perry couldn’t have wrapped up Dancing on a Moonbeam more perfectly.

**I received an electronic copy of Dancing on a Moonbeam Part 3 from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

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

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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.

If You Only Knew

If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins

Publication Date: August 25, 2015

Publisher: HQN Books

Synopsis:

Wedding dress designer Jenny Tate had what she thought was going to be her happily ever after. She had the perfect job, the perfect husband and (hopefully) soon the perfect children. But Jenny’s happily ever after imploded when her husband Owen surprised her by asking for a divorce. Now, a couple of years later, Jenny’s stuck with the perfect ex-husband and a new best friend (Owen’s new wife). Her goal of having a family like her sister Rachel’s is down the drain.

Jenny still wants a happily ever after. Putting some distance between her past life in New York, Jenny moves back to her hometown. She’s starting a new boutique and hoping to find love.

Rachel has the perfect life Jenny’s always dreamed of. Her husband, Adam, is a handsome and successful lawyer. She’s the perfect housewife and stay-at-home mother to three beautiful little girls.

Her life is exactly as she wants it…until one text ruins it all. Rachel no longer knows what to believe. Is her husband having an affair or is it a wrong number? Rachel’s always said she would never stay with a cheater, but will she change her mind if her husband isn’t as perfect as she thought he was? Is she willing to walk away from the perfect life they have created together?

During this time of transition, Jenny and Rachel find themselves leaning on each other more than they ever thought they would. Their strengths will help each other make the tough decisions they never thought they would have to make.


My rating: 5 stars


I was kind of scared to read If You Only Knew. That probably sounds lame, but I had a feeling Kristan Higgins’ journey into Women’s Fiction (That’s actually a genre? Is there a Men’s Fiction, too?) was going to tug at my emotions. I wasn’t ready to (maybe) feel sad.

Now that I’ve read it, I’m glad I let If You Only Knew sit on my Kindle a month before reading it. Not because it wasn’t a good book. It was great. It had the sad stuff I was worried about, but it also had the humorous dialogue I’ve appreciated in Ms. Higgins’ past novels. It’s more a case of perfect timing.

The reason I’m glad I waited to read it is more personal. I’ve hit the time in my life when I have several friends going through marriage problems. There has been adultery, emotional affairs, conflict and loss. It’s been hard to watch friends deal with the emotional ups and downs, as well as the fall out. I ache for my friends.

I also ached for Rachel in this book. Her thoughts captivated me. For her, there was no decision that wasn’t going to hurt. Nothing would ever be perfect again. Not that things would never get better. They would never be the same. And that’s okay. The message of If You Only Knew hit home with me and my feelings this week. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Rachel is not the only POV in this book, though. There’s also Jenny. I found her POV, while sometimes sad, to be the humor I needed to round out this novel and keep it from being totally depressing. I could totally see her as a character in one of Higgins’ hilarious Blue Heron novels.

So, who would I recommend If You Only Knew to? This book is geared toward adult women. The characters are in their mid-thirties to forties. I think women in that age range or higher will probably be able to relate to If You Only Knew best. Or anyone who has gone through or is going through a crisis in their marriage.