Review: The Guy on the Right (Kate Stewart)

The Guy on the Right
Author: Kate Stewart
Publication Date: July 25, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Strike One-My mother named me Theodore after her favorite chipmunk.

Not cool, Mom.

I‘ve spent most of my life answering to Teddy, because I couldn’t make Theo work.

Except for here. College. The place where all bets are off, and I’ve managed to redeem myself.
There’s only one problem, my new roommate, Troy, is football royalty and looks like he stepped off the set of an Abercrombie shoot.

Doesn’t matter, I cook a mean breakfast for his panty parade, and we get along well.
And anyway, this year I got the girl. And she’s perfect.

That’s right. Theodore Houseman, former band geek, now marching band rock star has finally landed the girl of his dreams.

Everything is perfect.

That is, until Troy takes a good look at her.

I’m not going down without a fight. As a matter of fact, I’m not going down at all. As glorious as these days may be for my all-star roommate, Laney is my end game.

I may not know much about play strategy, but I’ve been the good guy my whole life. I’ve been listening and I know exactly what women want. Framed in a picture standing next to me, Troy may seem like Mr. Perfect, but he’s underestimating the guy on the right.

Spoiler alert: In this story, the underdog is going to win.


You know what The Guy on the Right made me think? I miss the romantic comedy movies of the 80’s and 90’s. This book could easily have been a current day romantic comedy movie. It should be because it had everything one of those movies back in the day had. It was so freaking adorable and swoon worthy that I can barely stand it. Reading it made me so happy. Why? Get ready for some serious gushing!

I have only read one other Kate Stewart book and while I thought it was okay, I didn’t search out any of her other books. When I saw the title and cover for The Guy on the Right, I was intrigued. I read the blurb and thought I might want to read it. Then, I read a friend’s review and knew I had to read it. I’m so glad I did because it was so hilarious and sweet and cute.

Theo was fabulous. Who wouldn’t root for an underdog as fantastic as him. He may not have the body or looks his football playing, womanizing roommate has, but Theo doesn’t need those things when he has that awesome personality. Theo was a decent human being, and that’s what made him shine. Band geek does not equal nerd in this equation.

Laney was a hilarious hot mess. She was kind of all over the place in the best ways. She shocked and surprised me as much as she did Theo. One of the things I liked best about her was her ability to look past people’s outer appearances to find out what was inside them. Her self-imposed Batman ban helped that, but I think she would have done that anyways.

Theo and Laney’s relationship had the best start. Their tight friendship was incredibly fun. Attraction always simmered beneath the surface, but I loved that they really got to know each other before they acted on any of it. Everything they experienced together gave this romance a deeper feel. No instant love here.

*LOVE TRIANGLE SPOILER* There was a love triangle that wasn’t truly a love triangle. Troy, Theo’s meathead roommate is mentioned in the blurb. It makes it seem like there could be a love triangle, but not to worry — there isn’t really one. Troy does have a part in things, but “the underdog is going to win.”

I could probably go on an on spouting off things I loved about this book, but I think I’m going to stop here with specifics and just say one more thing. You need to read The Guy on the Right NOW!

Review: Finding Me (Kelly Gunderman)

Finding Me
Author: Kelly Gunderman
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you of everything?

Sixteen-year-old Claire Williams spends most of her days feeling angry and alone. After a car accident took her mother and Claire’s ability to walk, life in a wheelchair is the new normal.
When she’s sent to live with her grandmother, away from school and friends, Claire has a chance for a fresh start. Just when Claire thinks she can handle things, she runs into Todd – the son of the man who caused the car accident.

At first, Claire wants nothing to do with him, but the more time they spend together, the more she hates to admit her feelings. She’s slowly falling in love with Todd.

Now, Claire’s father wants to move and take Claire with him. But she can’t go. Not now when everything is falling into place, and she’s just now finding herself. Claire’s defiant. She won’t leave Greenwood, her new friends, her grandmother, or Todd.

Can Claire find the strength to let her dad go on with his life while leaving her behind to live hers, or will she allow the guilt and shame of surviving the accident pull her back under?


When I first started blogging, one of my first blogger friends was Kelly from Here’s to Happy Endings. When she mentioned she was publishing a book, I was excited to read it. Her book reviews are always so eloquent. I imagined the writing I enjoyed in them would transfer well to a book. Even so, I have to admit I was a little nervous before reading Finding Me since I personally know the author.

Claire is a sixteen year old who lost both the use of her legs and her mother in a car accident. She’s forced to change schools when her father dumps her on her grandmother’s doorstep. Starting a new school and making friends is hard enough without the added pressure of being around Todd, the son of the man who put Claire in a wheelchair and killed her mother. Claire’s just made friends and figured out that she might have more in common with Todd than she thought when her father reappears and wants her to move away with him. It’s all more than Claire thinks she can handle.

Claire’s story was emotionally packed. Her world had completely crumbled two years ago, and she was already having to rebuild it a second time since then. All of her relationships were changing. Some were in a good way, others in a bad one. Throughout everything, Claire had this quiet strength. She didn’t always hold it together, but she grew and fought for herself. She was a lot stronger that she thought she was. I loved the progression of her character.

I have to go back to that first comment I made about Claire’s story being emotionally packed. Finding Me was filled with emotion. Moments in Claire’s story brought tears to my eyes. I feel that it’s important to mention this because that doesn’t happen often. I was pleasantly surprised Kelly was able to do that with her first book.

As for the rest of the characters, they were perfect for this story. I loved Claire’s new friends Lisa, Mark, and Dillon. I also liked Todd and how he fit into the forgiveness aspect of Claire’s story. I adored Claire’s close relationship with her grandmother. I even found myself liking bubbly Sara. The only person I didn’t like was Claire’s dad. My dislike for him surprised me because his character was someone I didn’t expect.

The one thing that made me think a bit when reading this book was Claire being in a wheelchair. I had to remind myself that she had been in one for a couple of years now, so maybe some of the daily details of her life in the wheelchair wouldn’t be a big deal to her anymore. There were some mentions of the things that had to be accommodated for, but I guess I thought there would be more frustration or emotional reaction to them.

Finding Me was a great début novel. I was impressed with the writing. Sometimes the writing in a début novel can rely a lot on telling instead of showing, but that wasn’t the case here. It was as good as I was expecting it to be. There was plenty of dialog, the writing moved at a pace I liked, and I was completely pulled into Claire’s world. I can’t wait to see what Kelly writes next.

Review: Letters to Molly (Devney Perry)

Letters to Molly
Series: Maysen Jar, #2
Author: Devney Perry
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Publisher: Devney Perry
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Molly Alcott didn’t expect to open her mailbox one summer morning and find an old letter stuffed between bills and a supermarket flyer. Penned in familiar handwriting, dated over fifteen years ago, the letter was written to Molly after her first date with the man she’ll never forget.

Week after week, new letters appear. Each marks an event in the history of their epic love affair. Each heals a wound. Each holds the confession of the man who still owns Molly’s heart.

The letters are full of promise, hope and love, but truth be told, Molly wishes she could unread them all.

Because the man who wrote these letters is not the one sending them.


Earlier this year I had the pleasure of reading my first book by Devney Perry, The Birthday List. That book made me an instant fan of Perry’s writing. She’s in a special group of authors whose writing moves me, makes me feel genuine emotion. Perry did that with The Birthday List and she’s done it again with its sequel Letters to Molly.

Letters to Molly is a different kind of second chance romance. It’s the story of a divorced couple in their late 30s. They have been divorced for six years when letters Finn wrote Molly during their relationship start showing up in Molly’s mailbox. The letters, along with some other stuff, shake the fragile balance Molly and Finn have set up when they swap kids or interact in social settings.  The letters stir up old feelings that have both Molly and Finn examining their past and what led to their demise.

What did I love about Letters to Molly? Everything.

As someone closer to Molly and Finn’s age, I appreciated that Perry didn’t make them seem like “old” people. So many times authors who write characters over 35 make them sound much older than they are. I still feel like a 20 something sometimes and this book made the characters feel young but also gave them the needed maturity of their age.

I have never been divorced, but I could still find things about Molly and Finn’s relationship to relate to. There were things about Molly and Finn’s story that made me think about how my own relationship weathers hardships and changes with the addition of children, etc. Relationships evolve over time and communication is key. I liked how that was a big piece of this puzzle, and how the letters Finn wrote to Molly made that stand out. Finn and Molly wanting to do better made me think about how I can do better in my own marriage.

One of the things that really got me thinking while reading this book was the subject of blame. Finn and Molly both had ideas of who and what was to blame for the demise of their marriage. Being the age that I am, I have seen several friends go through divorce. It’s easy to point blame at one person for a divorce. I always try to remind myself that there are always two people involved in a relationship. Letters to Molly was a great reminder of that. There are always two sides to a relationship or story. This book did a great job showcasing that.

Letters to Molly probably sounds like a really heavy book the way I’m describing it. It was…and it wasn’t. It was actually a very inspiring read. It had heart even when I felt like it might gut me. It was such a beautiful story. I’m so happy Perry’s fan pestered her to write Finn and Molly’s story. I loved it even more than The Birthday List and that’s saying a lot.

WWW Wednesday: August 7, 2019

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Recently Read

I had a great weekend spent with my family at my daughter’s soccer tournament in Portland, OR. I watched a lot of soccer and made a quick trip to Powell’s City of Books. This week I read Letters to Molly (Maysen Jar, #2) and The Guy on the Right.

Currently Reading

My blogger friend Kelly from Here’s to Happy Endings just released a book, so I’m reading it. It’s called Finding Me.

Reading Next

I don’t know what I will pick  up next.

What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Cover Redesigns I Loved or Hated

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is:

Cover Redesigns I Loved or Hated

Loved

Penny Reid’s Knitting in the City Series:









I don’t like how everyone is changing to cartoon covers, but I do feel these ones represent the series and books better.

I Like Both

Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus Series




I like the original abs cover, but the new ones are cute too!

Claire Contreras’s Darkness Series

The new cover is okay, but I definitely prefer the original with the girl on the cover.

Hated

I Can Be A Better You / Bad Mommy

I get the title change, but I really liked the old cover and title.

Staci Hart’s Tonic Series


Staci Hart’s




I like the real people covers so much more.

Series Review: The Ones Who Got Away (Roni Loren)

My blogger friend Ari has been after me to read Roni Lauren’s The Ones Who Got Away series for a while now. With a bunch of ARCs off my TBR shelf and the fact that the third book in this series showed up from the library, I decided to finally jump in and binge read the series.

What’s it all about?

This series is about four friends. Olivia, Rebecca, Taryn, and Kincaid were not friends in high school, but after they survived a high school shooting they formed a bond. Time has gone by and they haven’t quite kept in touch as much as they promised. All of that changes with a documentary to commemorate the anniversary of the Long Acre tragedy. Now they’re back to make good on things they promised themselves and the students lost in the shooting.

The Ones Who Got Away, book #1 – ★ ★ ★ ½

The first book is Olivia’s story. Liv was the poor girl in high school who didn’t quite fit in, was a little wild and looked the part. Back then, she had a secret romance with popular football player Finn. That ended with the tragedy. When the documentary pulls adult Liv and Finn back to Long Acre, they find that their attraction to each other never went away.

Liv and Finn’s second chance romance was sweet. Both had turned into hardened versions of their younger selves. I loved that being together softened some of those hard spots. I also loved how they were given the chance to right wrongs between them and be the positive influences on each other to finally help them deal with their loses and move on.

The One You Can’t Forget, book 2 – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

First we got Liv’s story, now it’s time for Rebecca’s. Rebecca is a divorce lawyer who is good at her job. She works for her dad and lacks passion in her life. That changes when Rebecca is saved from a mugging by a dog and a chef named Wes. Rebecca quickly realizes Wes is man whose ex-wife she helped. Wes and Rebecca don’t like each other, but they have a chemistry they can’t step away from. The more they learn about each other, the more they realize maybe they aren’t the people they thought they were.

I’m not going to lie, I was surprised at how much I liked Rebecca’s story. I wasn’t a big fan of her character in the first book. I ended up really liking her in this book. She and Wes had this great enemies to more thing going on. I loved how much both Rebecca and Wes grew in this story. Rebecca found her passion and Wes learned to let go of his past. There was also an interesting story with one of Wes’ culinary students that I thought made this story even more emotional and important. The One You Can’t Forget ended up being my favorite in the series.

The One You Fight For, book 3 – ★ ★ ★ ★

Taryn didn’t really stand out for me in the first couple of books. I didn’t really remember anything about her. This book made her shine, though. I loved her relationship with Shaw. I can’t believe that Roni Loren was able to pull off uniting the brother of a school shooter and one of the victim’s sisters. It was pretty amazing the way she did that — and in a way that was respectful and honest. I really liked this book.

Overall…

I kind of just gave you a basic wrap up of my thoughts on the love stories of each book. What I left out was the role of the friendships in them. I really loved how the women rallied around each other. They gave advice and pushed each other out of their comfort zones. The event that bonded them was ugly, but the friendships that came out of it were lifelong.

I feel like need to point out this entire series is written in third person. That’s not my favorite, but it worked because Roni Loren is a talented writer. I didn’t even notice it. That’s high praise from me.

The only thing that I would complain about in these books is that they were slower reads for me. There were lulls in each book that had me pushing myself to read. I don’t know if it was the length of the books or just me at the moment. These were all very emotional and maybe binging them took more out of me than I expected.

Finally, my favorite thing about this series is that it wasn’t about the actual shooting. It was about the aftermath years later. I was shown how the characters tried to move on, their challenges, and feelings about everything. That was smart because it brought to attention something that isn’t done in books on the subject very often or at all.

Now, I just need that fourth book to come out…

Review: Drummer Girl (Ginger Scott)

Drummer Girl
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication Date:
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC from WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He was the words.
She was the rhythm.
Together, the told one hell of a story.

Drummer Girl is a mature YA/New Adult romance by Ginger Scott. This book
features garage bands, drug use, sexual situations, and honest talk
about mental health. Full blurb to come.


I like to read Ginger Scott’s books because I never know what she’s going to throw at me. Each book is something new and completely different. Her writing is always amazing, but it’s her stories that hit me hard.

Drummer Girl surprised me in more than one way. I knew it was going to be about music, but I didn’t realize it was going to deal with mental health. The combination of the two made for an explosive story. I liked the narrative Ginger Scott created around it. Some parts were brutally honest, while others almost secretive. There were things I didn’t see coming, but probably should have.

I have to admit that while I really liked Drummer Girl, I wasn’t 100% sold on Jesse and Arizona’s relationship. I wasn’t sure whether or not it was a healthy relationship for either of them. I was surprised by how accepting their parents were of it. That being said, I loved how they communicated. They didn’t hold back. Plus, they truly supported each other.

One of my favorite things about Drummer Girl were the friendships. Ari and her best friend reminded me a bit of the relationship I had with one of my closest growing up. We were different in some of the same ways, but had that same close connection. I also really liked Jesse’s friendship with Rag. Rag had Jesse’s back when others wouldn’t have.

Another great thing about this book was that both Jesse and Arizona’s parents were involved. Since this story was in Arizona’s POV, we mostly saw her parents. I didn’t like how they were at first. I understood their protectiveness, but thought they were a little too overbearing. By the end, they had won me over — especially her dad.

Drummer Girl is one of those books I like even more the longer I think about it. When I was wrapped up in the story, I felt a little off-balance and not sure what to think about it. Having finished it, I know that was the genius of Ginger Scott’s writing. She made me feel Arizona’s feelings and I didn’t always realize it right away.

EXCERPT:

Drummer Girl, Copyright Ginger Scott 2019

“That’s the first time I’ve played that song. I like it. We should add it to our set,” he says, pulling the strap from around his neck before setting his guitar at the foot of his bed. “What do you think?”

He twists so our knees are touching and our shoulders are squared.
“I think you’re a showoff, one. And two…I totally think we should close with that at our gig. People love retro shit like that at shows.” I don’t really know what people like at shows because the only kinds I’ve ever been to have been for high school marching nerds or jazz geeks. I probably don’t even deserve to utter the word gig yet. I’m a gig virgin. I do know movies, though, and if this life was a movie, our band would close with that.
Jesse’s eyes linger on my face, making me warm.
“Okay then,” he says, finally. “And I’m not a showoff.”
His lips pucker with his smirk and mine follow suit until a laugh seeps through.
“You so are!” I shove at him playfully, and his hands wrap around my wrists and shove back gently but don’t let go.
“No, I’m a great example. That’s a totally different thing,” he says, pulling me toward his chest until my fingertips meet the hard surface of his pecs under a well-worn white T-shirt.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just a synonym for showoff how you’re using it. In fact, now you’re just being arrogant!” I gripe back through laughter, a wry smile playing at one side of my mouth. Jesse remains quiet, though. His head leaned a tick to the right. My lips vibrate with this sudden change in atmosphere, and without even helping myself, I bite my bottom lip. There is just enough light in the room to see these small things we’re doing, these…signs. At least, I’m giving a sign. I hope I’m not imagining Jesse’s.
At least three full breaths pass between us without words. I count mine, and I guess how many he takes because really, I can’t see much beyond the dark centers of his eyes and the top curl of his lip. I wait for him. Even though I’m dizzy and happy and excited, I don’t want to be eager and desperate. I wait for him to move closer…to do something.
I wish for him.
“Would it be okay if I kissed you now?”

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

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