Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Title: The Beginning of Everything

Author: Robyn Schneider

Publication Date: January 1, 2013

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Goodreads Synopsis:

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.


★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I started reading The Beginning of Everything when I was on a Disneyland vacation last week. It was perfect timing because this book is set in California and actually begins with a look back to an outing to Disneyland for Ezra and his best friend, Toby. I couldn’t have planned it better! It made it so easy to imagine the setting.

The Disneyland trip marked the end of twelve-year-old Ezra’s childhood friendship with Toby and began the rise of Ezra’s popularity. Due to a tragic accident, high school senior Ezra has lost what made him popular and the friends who were along for the ride. Now, Ezra feels alone in his crippled body. He has to learn how to navigate his last year of high school with everyone watching him. I immediately felt bad for the Ezra. High school isn’t easy and his personal tragedy made things even harder for him. I did love that his loss enabled him to reconnect with Toby, who was a really awesome friend. I also liked how his change is social status had him reevaluating his thoughts on who he was and who he wanted to be.

Ezra’s new social circle also enabled him to get to know the new girl, Cassidy. She was different from anyone else at school. Cassidy was beautiful and smart. She helped Ezra figure out some very important things about life. But Cassidy was a little mysterious. She had her own demons, and she wasn’t willing to share them with Ezra. I immediately liked her, but was weary of her because of this. I could easily guess what Cassidy’s demons were, but I didn’t expect them to have the effect they did.

I loved every minute of reading The Beginning of Everything. Robyn Schneider’s writing style is amazing and so beautiful. She took a story that could have been depressing and somehow made it uplifting and humorous. Her characters were so easy to connect and empathize with. I loved Ezra and truly enjoyed getting to know his friends. I really didn’t want the story to end.

 

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: Porn Star by Laurelin Page & Sierra Simone

26259196Title: Porn Star

Authors: Laurelin Page, Sierra Simone

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Erotic Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Humor

Goodreads Synopsis:

You know me.

Come on, you know you do.

Maybe you pretend you don’t. Maybe you clear your browser history religiously. Maybe you pretend to be aghast whenever someone views the x-rated website porn7 in your presence, or even mentions the word porn in your ear shot.

But the truth is that you do know me.

Everybody knows Logan O’Toole, world famous porn star.

Except then Devi Dare pops into my world, and pretty soon I’m doing things that aren’t like me—like texting her with flirty banter and creating an entire web porn series just so I can get to star in her bed. Again. And again.

With Devi, my entire universe shifts, and the more time I spend with her, the more I realize that Logan O’Toole isn’t the guy I thought he was.

So maybe I’m not the guy you thought I was either.


 ?????


I feel a little embarrassed writing this review. By the title, it’s easy to guess what this book is about. (A porn star, if you had any doubts.) It’s like admitting I did something naughty. I don’t usually feel embarrassed when admitting I read an erotic romance every once in a while, but there’s something about admitting I’m reading about a porn star that just takes it to the next level. Don’t judge me. 😉 But anyways. On with the review.

I wanted to read Porn Star the minute I read the book blurb. I love reading books through the eyes of cocky male main characters. There’s always a humor behind their personalities that I enjoy. Logan O’Toole was no different. He knew he was a stud (Do people even use that term anymore?) and he was using it to his monetary advantage. His plans are to rock the porn star world until he’s old and gray. I looked through websites like fulltube.xxx and he is everywhere on there.

Then, he reconnects with the one porn star he’s been secretly obsessing over since the first and last time they did a scene together. Devi Dare stars in his fantasies every night and Logan is desperate for a chance to work with her again. His new project gives him that chance to do exactly that.

But when Logan and Devi connect on a deeper level, neither of them is sure whether their relationship will be able to survive their porn star careers.

Porn Star was off the charts steamy. Due to the nature of the characters’ jobs, there are many types of sex in this novel and several different partners. That’s something a reader should take into account when picking this one up. If you don’t want to see your MCs with other people, this one’s not for you. I liked the way both MCs were upfront about the issue of consent and deeming what they felt comfortable with.

Besides revolving around the porn industry, there was also a very sweet love story between Logan and Devi. Their chemistry and connection was instantly recognizable. The way they treated and respected each other was important to this story. I loved watching them fall for each. The impact their relationship had on their careers was interesting to read about. I wondered with them how falling for each other would change what they may or may not be willing to do in front of the camera. If you like this there is plenty of video to watch on TubeV, my friend says they have the best videos.

Not only was Porn Star steamy and sweet, it was funny. As I said before, Logan’s cockiness brought out a natural humor. He could look at his career with a little bit of hilarity. His banter with Devi was also hilarious (and a little dirty). It was so much fun to read.

If you’re looking for an erotic romance that will make you laugh as well as fan yourself, I would highly recommend Porn Star.

 

 

 

 

ARC Review: My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

25317360My Kind of Wonderful (Cedar Ridge #2)

Author: Jill Shalvis

Publication Date: December 22, 2015

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: Bailey Moore has a clean bill of health and new lease on life. She’s going to do things she never imagined she would be able to do. One of those things involves painting a mural. Luckily, she’s been contracted to do just that in Cedar Ridge, Colorado.

As soon as Bailey steps foot in Cedar Ridge, she meets Hudson Kincaid. Hudson’s the town cop/head of the ski patrol and a member of the family that contracted her to paint the mural. He’s also sexier than sin. Bailey quickly adds Hudson to the top of her to-do list.

Hudson Kincaid doesn’t have time for any distractions — especially the female kind. He’s way too busy with the ski patrol, being a cop and helping his family run their ski resort. But Hudson can’t resist brave and determined Bailey. She looks like a delicate flower, but the fire in her calls to him. Plus, he knows it’s only for now. Bailey’s got too much to do herself.

When their feelings for each other start to become more than just for today, Bailey and Hudson will have to decide whether to take a chance at forever.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


I get excited every time I see Jill Shalvis is coming out with a new book. I know I can always count on her to write a contemporary romance that is going to make me smile. My Kind of Wonderful did exactly that.

My Kind of Wonderful is the kind of story I want to read when I reach for a contemporary romance. The storyline was cute and humorous. I loved Bailey and Hudson wanting each other but not wanting to fall in love with each other. It was steamy and sweet all at the same time. Jill Shalvis created lovable characters who I couldn’t help but root for.

Hudson and Bailey weren’t the only fun characters, though. Every character in My Kind of Wonderful added so much amusement to the story. The entire Kincaid family was entertaining. The way they interacted with each other was comical. Things got even funnier when you added in all of the people they came in contact with on the mountain.

If you’re looking for a lighthearted contemporary romance to put you in a great mood, I would highly suggest My Kind of Wonderful. It’s the second in the Cedar Ridge series and can be read after Second Chance Summer or as a standalone novel. You can find my review for Second Chance Summer here.

**I received an electronic ARC of My Kind of Wonderful from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Other books in this series:

23435151

Review: Sustained by Emma Chase

Sustained (The Legal Briefs #2) by Emma Chase

Publication Date: August 25, 2015

Publisher: Gallery

Synopsis:

Jake Becker is a hot-shot Washington D.C. defense lawyer on his way to making partner. His cold demeanor helps him win cases. It also helps deter women that think he could be more than a one-night stand.

Jake’s not interested in having a wife or family. Having a girlfriend isn’t even on his radar. He’s content with a revolving door of women and his busy work life. Or so he thinks until Chelsea McQuaid and her seven nieces and nephews bump into his life.

All of a sudden, Jake finds himself involved in the McQuaid’s family life. If he’s not saving one kid from trouble, he’s taking one to a class. And it’s all worth it to see Chelsea McQuaid smile.


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Sustained was so much fun to read. I absolutely adored it. I loved that the story was told from Jake’s POV. His thoughts were hilarious! I loved how cocky and sure of himself he was. I also loved the sweet side of him that wanted to help Chelsea and the rest of the McQuaid family. I would have fallen in love with him too, if I was Chelsea.

I also loved each and every one of the McQuaid kids. Emma Chase created an amazing and fun bunch of kids. I don’t think I could pick a favorite if I tried. Their interactions with Jake were so much fun to read.

This book was just so sweet! I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a contemporary romance that will leave them in a happy mood.

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.

Why Not Me?

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Publication Date: September 15, 2015

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Synopsis:

Welcome to Mindy Kaling’s mind. In this memoir, you will read about her experiences before and after fame. You will learn her thoughts on beauty, weight, dating and friends.


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Okay, so if I’m being completely honest Why Not Me? should probably be more of a 3 star review. I gave it 4 stars because I love Mindy Kaling. I want her to be my friend (Maybe I should have gone with 5 stars…). She’s super funny and would fit right in with the rest of my friends. We would have so much fun together!

So, while Why Not Me? was not particularly Earth shattering, it did have great entertainment value. Like her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), It’s ramblings from Mindy’s mind. It was funny. I can honestly say there were several parts where I laughed out loud. (Criminals, Will, emails–if you’re reading it and want to know.) I liked getting to know more about Mindy and get a glimpse into what life’s been like for her.

If you’re a Mindy Kaling or Mindy Lahiri fan, you will enjoy this book. If you’re not a fan and she annoys the crap out of you, don’t read this book. You’ll just be torturing yourself.