Review: Legendary (Stephanie Garber)

Legendary
Series: Caraval, #2
Author: Stephanie Garber
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Publication Date: May 9, 2019
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling and breakout debut Caraval, following Scarlett’s younger sister, Tella, on a journey to the empire’s capital to fulfill a mysterious bargain.


A while back I listened to Caraval. It wasn’t a book I loved, but I didn’t dislike it either. I found it to be interesting and well crafted, but boring because it lagged in places. What made me decide to keep reading this series was the fact that Caraval‘s ending was so good and I thought the narrator really made the story come to life. I also had read some great reviews for Legendary, so I decided to request the audiobook from my library.

I had almost the same reaction to Legendary as I had to Caraval. Tella’s story was fascinating. I liked all of the things she had to go through and decisions she had to make. There was just something that kept me from loving it. This time there wasn’t a lag in the story where I lost interest. It was more that writing was too…flowery? Maybe a better way to say it is overly descriptive. It was also very redundant. The way Tella thought of things over and over and over again drove me a little nuts. It also made it very hard to follow the story at times. I had to stop and think about what happened and where the story was going next after Tella did her ruminating over whoever she had just talked to or what had happened. I just wanted to get to the action!

That being said, Stephanie Garber does paint a beautiful picture with her writing. I do really like the Caraval world and all its eccentricities. The journey Tella went on and the mystery she had to solve was entertaining. Once again, Rebecca Soler did an amazing job bringing it all to life. I just wanted a little less of Tella’s redundant self-talk. I will definitely be listening to Finale when I get the chance.

Cover Reveal: The Heartache Duet (Jay McLean)

DUET COVER REVEAL
The Heartache Duet
Cover Reveal Date: May 31, 2019
RELEASE DATES:
Heartache and Hope (Book 1): June 28, 2019
First and Forever (Book 2): July 12, 2019

 DUET SYNOPSIS:

Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy
she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.

 Add the Duet to your TBR: bit.ly/GRJMacHH
$100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway → http://bit.ly/2Qx3OZq

AUTHOR BIO
Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New Adult and Young Adult romance, and skilled procrastinator. When she’s not doing any of those things, she can be found running after her three little boys, investing way too much time on True Crime Documentaries and binge-watching reality TV.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make her hurt and make her feel.

 Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in her dream home where music is loud and laughter is louder.

 For publishing rights (Foreign & Domestic) Film or television, please contact her agent Erica Spellman-Silverman, at Trident Media Group.

 AUTHOR LINKS
Facebook | Fan Group | Web | Twitter | Instagram |

Review: Sunset Beach (Mary Kay Andrews)

Sunset Beach
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: McMillan Audio
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Drue Campbell’s life and career have recently been derailed. The only thing she has left is the house her mother left her: a ramshackle beach bungalow with a missing roof in the once-sleepy town of Sunset Beach, which is rapidly becoming a hot spot for the rich and well-heeled, who are none too pleased about the shabby eyesore in their perfect neighborhood.

When Drue’s larger-than-life father unexpectedly turns up at her mother’s funeral and offers her a job at his law firm, Drue doesn’t know whether to be grateful or resentful that he has suddenly reappeared. She grudgingly accepts the job sifting through cold callers and shysters looking to get rich quick. But when her attention is caught by a suspicious murder case, Drue finds herself entangled in a decades-old mystery – one that may have dire consequences for Drue and the people she loves.


It’s been years since I read a book by Mary Kay Andrews. I’m not exactly sure why. I guess her books haven’t been on my radar or something because when I saw Sunset Beach available to listen to from my library I jumped on downloading it. I’m thankful I did for many reasons.

Sunset Beach was a fantastic book to listen to. I usually enjoy Mary Kay Andrews’ writing, but there was something about the narrator’s voice that made it even more captivating. There were some points in the story where it might have lost me (so much going on), but Kathleen McInerney’s voice kept pulling me back in. I actually want to find more books she’s narrated to read. That’s how much I enjoyed her voice.

As for Sunset Beach‘s content, I was impressed with the mystery. There were actually two of them. One was an old missing person case Drue stumbled upon relating to her father. I liked how that one took me back in time and slowly revealed itself. The other mystery was a couple of years old regarding the death of a young mother. I liked that one because it added a more intense level of suspense than the first mystery. Drue also stumbles upon this one at her father’s law office and decides to do some detective work of her own. Meanwhile, she’s also working, meeting new co-workers, annoying police detectives, repairing her relationship with her father and his wife, and maybe dating. There was just so much going on.

Back to those mysteries… Usually I am able to predict what’s going to happen in a mystery or who the bad guy is. That was not the case with Sunset Beach. I had my suspicions about what was going on with both mysteries. I was COMPLETELY wrong. I never would have guessed any of it. I was super impressed with that. Kudos to Mary Kay Andrews for stumping me!

Overall, Sunset Beach was a great listening experience. I think its release is timely with the summer coming up. It would be the perfect beach read.

WWW Wednesday: May 29, 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 hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! This week I did a mini Penny Reid binge read and finished up the books I haven’t read of hers. I read the Elements of Chemistry series and Kissing Tolstoy (Dear Professor, #1). Then, I started a Devney Perry series binge with Tattered (Lark Cove, #1).

Currently Reading

I am reading Timid (Lark Cove, #2)

Reading Next

I’m going to continue my binge with Tragic (Lark Cove, #3).

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

Review: Passion on Park Avenue (Lauren Layne)

Passion on Park Avenue
Series: Central Park Pact, #1
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Stiletto and Oxford series, the first in a sizzling new series following the unlikely friendship of three Upper East Side women as they struggle to achieve their dreams and find true love and happiness in the city that never sleeps.

For as long as she can remember, Bronx-born Naomi Powell has had one goal: to prove her worth among the Upper East Side elite—the same people for which her mom worked as a housekeeper. Now, as the strongminded, sassy CEO of one of the biggest jewelry empires in the country, Naomi finally has exactly what she wants—but it’s going to take more than just the right address to make Manhattan’s upper class stop treating her like an outsider.

The worst offender is her new neighbor, Oliver Cunningham—the grown son of the very family Naomi’s mother used to work for. Oliver used to torment Naomi when they were children, and as a ridiculously attractive adult, he’s tormenting her in entirely different ways. Now they find themselves engaged in a battle-of-wills that will either consume or destroy them…

Filled with charm and heart and plenty of sex and snark, this entertaining series will hook you from the very first page.


Sigh. I have been struggling a lot with books lately and getting into a good reading mood. Since I have loved and adored every single LL book out there, I decided to give Passion on Park Avenue the chance to get me out of my slump. It did, and yet it didn’t.

There were a lot of things that I loved about this book. At the beginning, it reminded me a lot of the movie The Other Woman. The way Naomi formed friendships with Claire and Audrey was cool. I loved how they supported each other even though they weren’t lifelong friends. I adored Oliver. He was such a great guy. The romance between Oliver and Naomi was sweet. My favorite moments revolved around them. I loved Naomi’s back story and how it related to Oliver and his father, Walter. The way she reacted to everything involving Walter was fun. I also liked Walter as a character all on his own. All these things are why LL is a go-to author for me. Her writing is excellent.

I hate to admit it, but there were things that didn’t work for me in this book. That usually doesn’t happen to me with LL’s books. I had a hard time loving Naomi to start with. She was just so off-putting with her need to reach a certain status or have and wear certain things. That’s not something I care about in life, and it sounded too braggy for my taste. I have a REALLY hard time with books that focus a lot on descriptions of clothing, accessories, etc. I am not a fan of being told what name brands are being worn. I get that a little needs to be done based on where this story is set (effluent NY), but I got tired of it really fast. The other thing that didn’t work for me was the whole TV show/Dylan thing. It just felt weird and out-of-place.

While Passion on Park Avenue wasn’t my favorite LL book, I still ended up enjoying it. It had some amazing friendships and a cute romance going for it. I’m looking forward to reading books about Audrey and Claire. I really loved them, so I am hoping to enjoy their books just as much.

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books Released In the Last Ten Years (one book for each year)

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:

Favorite Books Released In the Last Ten Years (one book for each year)

This is going to be tough! I am going to do my best to pick out a book for each year.


1. 2009

2. 2010

3. 2011

4. 2012

5. 2013

6. 2014

7. 2015

8. 2016

9. 2017

10. 2018

Cover Reveal: Superfan (Sarina Bowen)

I am super excited to share with you the cover for SUPERFAN by SARINA BOWEN!

LINKS:

Amazon: https://geni.us/SFamazon 

Apple: https://geni.us/SFapple 

Kobo: https://geni.us/SFKobo 

Nook: https://geni.us/SFnook 

BLURB:

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing woman. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart. 

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

GIVEAWAY

Be the first to read! Three winners (US or Canada) will win early signed paperback copies of Superfan! 

Enter here: https://geni.us/SuperfanGiveaway

EXCERPT

“Would you like a beer?” the cute bartender asks me.

I glance at the pile of mint leaves on his cutting board and hesitate. “Sure,” I say. But the mint looks so fresh and pretty.

“I could make you something different.”

“Beer is great. A cold…”

“—lager,” he finishes. “No glass, no opener.”

When I look up to flash him a smile, my heart does a little somersault. Those kind eyes are smiling at me, too. “Thank you,” I whisper.

“It’s really no problem.” He turns toward the beer cooler. “You’re an easy customer, trust me.”

But I really meant—thank you for remembering. As he leans down to grab a bottle for me, I find myself admiring the strong muscles in his back. Stop it, I admonish myself. It only gets worse when he turns around and places the bottle in front of me. I’ve never seen hands like his. I didn’t even know wrists could look muscular.

Even so. Ogling him is not why I came here. I pull out my keychain opener and remove the cap from my beer.

He discards it, gives me another pleasant smile and then picks up his paring knife again.

I take a sip, wondering when he’s going to mention my show at the Coconut Club. He was there. I saw him.

He separates some mint leaves from their stems and says nothing.

I last about seventeen seconds. “Well?”

“Well?” He looks up. “Sorry?”

“Jesus lord.” I close my eyes and then open them again. This is not going how I’d hoped it would. “What did you think?

“Of…?” His amazing eyes are studying me.

“Forget I asked.” I take a swig of beer.

“Think about what?” He pushes the cutting board aside, and his smile turns knowing.

“My set at the Coconut Club! I saw you holding up that wall in the back. Don’t lie.”

He tips his head back and lets out a sudden laugh. “I’m so busted. I loved your show, but I didn’t expect you to spot me.”

“You loved it so much you weren’t going to say anything?” The sentence sounds crazy to my own ears. I put down the beer. “You know what? Never mind. I’m just being psycho right now. This town is getting into my head.”

“Listen, girly.” He braces both (muscular!) hands on the bar and looks me right in the eye. “I loved it so much that I don’t even know what to say about it. From that moment at the beginning—when you shut that asshole’s maw? To the part where you made a lady cry.” He shakes his head. “I couldn’t look away. And I never wanted it to end.”

I give him a slow blink, just trying to take that in. It’s so much more than I was even hoping to hear.

“Shit, Delilah. If that set doesn’t win you whatever contract you’re looking for, they don’t even deserve you.”

Something warm and unfamiliar settles into the center of my belly. “That might be the nicest thing anyone ever said to me. Which only means you’re still trying to get my phone number.”

He laughs immediately. “Can’t both things be true? Both my musical assessment and my interest in your evening plans?”

“Because you know so much about music.” I flip my hair and take another sip of beer.

“Look. I don’t know shit about music. But I know plenty about talent.” He leans down on a set of forearms I shouldn’t be noticing. “I know that talent sometimes takes a nap at just the wrong moment, but it never stays asleep for long. I also know that luck matters, too. If they don’t give you what you want, it won’t be your fucking fault.”

“Thank you,” I say quietly.

But he’s not done. “I saw something else valuable the other night. You’re good in the clinch. And that counts for double, I swear to God.”

“The clinch?”

“Yeah. You’re not just good at practice.” He pauses, wrinkling up his interesting nose. “What word would a musician use? Okay—you’re not a rehearsal musician. That stage was like your home. Either that or you fake it really well. That’s going to pay your rent someday, I promise.”

“Wow.” It’s like he looked right into my terrified little soul and found the very thing I needed to hear. Those beautiful eyes of his are practically burning me right now, so I have to look away. “Thank you. Really. I really needed that pep talk.”

I make the mistake of looking up at him again, and, for a split second, I see pure yearning. It’s like our souls vibrate at exactly the same frequency. And I have no idea what to do with that.

Review: F*ck Marriage (Tarryn Fisher)

F*ck Marriage
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication Date: May 16, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Two years ago, Billie Tarrow’s husband left her for another woman. Shamed and divorced, Billie retreated to her family home in Port Townsend, far from her old life in New York. After a near-death encounter, Billie decides to return to the city that took everything from her.

But sometimes in the midst of heartache, hope suffocates the pain.

Satcher Gable has carried a torch for Billie for ten years. When she suddenly returns to New York a single woman, he can’t believe his good fortune. But convincing her to walk away from her heartache is proving more difficult than Satcher anticipated. A changed woman, Billie’s only goal is revenge.


I loved Fck Marriage. I devoured it as quickly as I could while simultaneously wishing I wouldn’t come to the end so soon. It’s hard to know what to say about it, what to tell you. Tarryn Fisher’s books are always ones I feel readers have to experience for themselves to understand the full meaning, the whole experience. Fck Marriage was that way.

The title alone seems to say anything but romance. My husband asked me as I was reading it if I was a romance. I said no. He proved to me on Amazon I was wrong, that it was. I told him a Tarryn Fisher “romance” isn’t the type of romance he was thinking of. Sure, it had some romantic parts to it, but the romance isn’t really the point. Or at least to me it’s not. F*ck Marriage to me was a journey of Billie’s healing and taking back her life after divorce. The romance was just extra — and honestly pretty messed up.

Tarryn Fisher’s mind has to be a fascinating place to be. Her words are so blunt and unapologetic. I highlighted a lot of things the characters said or thought throughout this book. There were so many poignant, inspirational, and thought provoking things to take in. My heart broke for the characters. I became sad and enraged for them. I worried about them. I was on edge so many time with what was happening or how it was making me feel. No matter how uncomfortable or heartbroken F*ck Marriage made me at times, it was also building me back up with love and understanding for the characters and their stories. It was weird to be feeling so many contradicting things at once, but also magical. So yeah, I loved this book.

If you’re curious about Fck Marriage, you should read it. It’s not a hate letter to marriage. It’s not overly dark or heavy on the romance. Fck Marriage is more a story about a woman surviving a divorce and heartbreak who is relearning who she is and defining what she wants. Whether you’re married, divorced, or single, there will be something that resonates with you. I know it made me appreciate the relationship I have even more than I already do.

Review: The Mister (E.L. James)

The Mister
Author: E.L. James
Narrators: Dominic Thorburn, Jessica O’Hara-Baker
Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Publisher: Random House Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The passionate new romance from E L James, author of the phenomenal #1 bestselling Fifty Shades Trilogy

London, 2019. Life has been easy for Maxim Trevelyan. With his good looks, aristocratic connections, and money, he’s never had to work and he’s rarely slept alone. But all that changes when tragedy strikes and Maxim inherits his family’s noble title, wealth, and estates, and all the responsibility that entails. It’s a role he’s not prepared for and one that he struggles to face.

But his biggest challenge is fighting his desire for an unexpected, enigmatic young woman who’s recently arrived in England, possessing little more than a dangerous and troublesome past.  Reticent, beautiful, and musically gifted, she’s an alluring mystery, and Maxim’s longing for her deepens into a passion that he’s never experienced and dares not name. Just who is Alessia Demachi? Can Maxim protect her from the malevolence that threatens her? And what will she do when she learns that he’s been hiding secrets of his own?

From the heart of London through wild, rural Cornwall to the bleak, forbidding beauty of the Balkans, The Mister is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page.


So… The Mister… You may wonder what made me want to read this book. To be honest, I was interested in what would come next for author E.L. James. I am one of the people who hopped on the 50 Shades hype back in the day and read all three books plus Grey. I actually liked the first three books. Grey not so much, but that’s okay. I wasn’t sure where E.L. James would go after that and Grey left me doubting whether or not I would like what was next. I did, for the most part.

If you’re wondering if E.L. James’ writing has changed much since her début series, the answer is no. It has exactly the same feel, so if it wasn’t for you then it wouldn’t be for you now. I didn’t find it to be a big deal because I didn’t expect anything else. She had a couple of different tenses going on in The Mister, so that took a while to get used to. Maxim’s POV was in first person while Alessia’s was in third person. By the end, I actually liked that. I think it helped that both of the narrators did a great job narrating their parts.

As for the actual story, I had to admit that I wasn’t immediately into it. It’s all Maxim’s fault. Dude was a manwhore. I don’t particularly like reading about a hero’s exploits with other women, so that made it hard to like Maxim at first. I kind of got the Caroline thing because it had to do with one part of the plot, but still…

Once Alessia was in the picture, it was easier to like Maxim. He seemed more authentic and like a better guy with her. Their relationship was way too insta-love, but I did find it to be cute. Of course, this is E.L. James’ book, so it was sexy as well. Not like 50 Shades, though. It was a more subtly sexy romance. Alessia and Maxim’s relationship would be considered vanilla to Christian Grey.

What really pulled me into the story and kept me reading wasn’t the romance. It was actually Alessia’s character and her past. It was mysterious and I liked how it unfolded. The dangers she faced made for an exciting plot. I also liked learning about her life in Albania and the differences between life in London.

Besides Maxim’s womanizing ways and the insta-love thing, my only other complaint would be about the ending. I couldn’t tell if this was the end for Maxim and Alessia or not. Things felt both concluded and open-ended — like there could maybe be more to come… or not? Personally, I was curious as to what might come next. I could have used an epilogue or maybe 2 more chapters. That’s what makes me think E.L. James might have a second book up her sleeves. I guess we’ll see.

Overall, I found The Mister to be an entertaining read. It wasn’t my favorite book, but it kept my interest and I ended up liking the characters.

Review: Marriage for One (Ella Maise)

Marriage for One
Author: Ella Maise
Publication Date: May 9, 2019

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Jack and I, we did everything backward. The day he lured me into his office-which was also the first day we met-he proposed. You’d think a guy who looked like him-a bit cold maybe, but still striking and very unattainable-would only ask the love of his life to marry him, right? You’d think he must be madly in love.

Nope. It was me he asked. A complete stranger who had never even heard of him. A stranger who had been dumped by her fiancé only weeks before. You’d think I’d laugh in his face, call him insane-and a few other names-then walk away as quickly as possible. Well…I did all those things except the walking away part.

It took him only minutes to talk me into a business deal…erm, I mean marriage, and only days for us to officially tie the knot. Happiest day of my life. Magical. Pop the champagne… Not. It was the worst day. Jack Hawthorne was nothing like what I’d imagined for myself.
I blamed him for my lapse in judgment. I blamed his eyes, the ocean blue eyes that looked straight into mine unapologetically, and that frown on his face I had no idea I would become so fascinated with in time.

It wasn’t long after he said I was the biggest mistake of his life that things started to change. No, he still didn’t talk much, but anyone can string a few words together. His actions spoke the loudest to me. And day after day my heart started to get a mind of its own.

One second he was no one. The next he became everything.
One second he was unattainable. The next he seemed to be completely mine.
One second I thought we were in love. The next it was still nothing but a lie.

After all, I was Rose and he was Jack. We were doomed from the very beginning with those names. Did you expect anything else?

 

I’m a little speechless when it comes to Marriage for One. Or maybe a better way to say it is overwhelmed? I don’t know. I’m still wrapping my head around everything that went down. There was a lot. Marriage for One was a long book with a lot of little plot twists. It wasn’t what I expected at all. It wasn’t like any of the books I have read by Ella Maise. That’s not a bad thing. I feel like I can see how her writing is evolving, her craft getting stronger and maturing. What surprised me about this book was somber tone throughout the story. There were a lot of ups and downs, but things felt surprisingly even and sullen throughout the book. It’s really hard to explain, but it wasn’t a bad thing. I liked it.

Another thing that surprised me was I felt like I could never quite get a handle on what was truly going on — things were constantly changing or something would happen that would throw me off. It happened the most from Jack’s side. He was kind of a mystery. Which is weird to say because he had his own point of view. Ella Maise was just really good at keeping me slightly hanging and guessing as to what Jack’s true intentions were. That was rather perfect with Jack’s intensely quiet personality. I think Jack was supposed to be a hard character to love, but (much like Rose) I was drawn to him from the start. I think I was just as surprised by his care and concern as Rose was.

Rose was more forthcoming with her intentions and truths, but she was also very good at ignoring things. I was surprised by some of the things that happened to her even when I could see them coming. I really loved how her feelings for Jack changed and shifted throughout the book based on how he acted or what happened. I felt like I was with her trying to guess what his every action or reaction meant.

Jack and Rose’s relationship was bumpy and filled with uncertainty until it wasn’t…but then it was again. It was so complex and I was obsessed with it. I am not doing a good job of getting my thoughts across, but I loved them together. They were so different, yet they complimented each other so well.

I’m just going to leave things like this: Marriage for One is a book you have to experience for yourself. It’s a slow burn romance that navigates some strange times, some infuriating times, some tragic times, and some incredibly sweet times. It’s filled with emotion that consumes you. I really loved reading it, even if I made a mess out of trying to explain how I felt about it.