Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Waiting On You (Blue Heron #3) by Kristan Higgins

           Waiting On You (Blue Heron #3) by Kristan Higgins 
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Does being nobody's fool mean that you're nobody's love?

Colleen O'Rourke is in love with love... just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell, her first love, broke her heart... an experience Colleen doesn't want to have again, thanks. Since then, she's been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.

But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who's ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they've got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.
Review: 
There are certain things people love to read about. Maybe it’s about summer love or a love blooming during a road trip but for me? It’s childhood romance. There’s just something so…innocent about young love that makes my heart flutter. Maybe it’s because when you’re love, you aren’t always emotionally hurt and you’re not in the big, scary world allowing the romance to blossom.

Colleen O’Rourke and Lucas Campbell were high school sweethearts but one day, Lucas broke Colleen’s heart. While she’s always tried to move on, there was something about that love that hindered Colleen’s ability to find true love for her. If you don’t already know, Colleen has a great track of getting people together but not for herself. She’s confident and sarcastic and loving and loud but underneath all of that is a girl aching for love, even if she won’t openly admit it. I loved Colleen because that’s how I am (sans the high school romance and broken heart) because I often hide my true feelings behind something else.

Lucas was such a sweetheart and I couldn’t help but fall for him. He’s had a rough past but was able to make the best out of it. Lucas had to grow up too fast so it was vastly more mature when he was younger than expected. I did, however, still feel as though some of his actions later on in the book were uncalled for. I can understand, also, that he still cares for Colleen but I felt his attitude that Colleen would be waiting for him a little bit…annoying. He didn’t always feel that way but when he did, I felt as though his ego go the better of him.

Some flashbacks allow the reader to see how Colleen and Lucas meet and fall in love and I loved every minute of it. Even the heartbreak was (heart wrenching) but important to read about because it helped give Colleen and Lucas more background (clearly). But there was something about their adult love that seemed off for me. Maybe because they were both adults and a lot had happened to both of them to change them in unexpected ways, but I didn’t feel as though the spark from their childhood came back. Maybe it was because they didn’t get enough time to work out their issues (a specific issue that happened with Colleen and a member of Lucas’s family that was blown way out of proportion and I didn’t like the way Lucas reacted), but I didn’t feel the spark.

Overall, I enjoyed Waiting on You for the most part but the romance felt a little bit off. Maybe because the love between these two characters already existed and it needed rekindling but I just couldn’t love it. In all honesty, I think it had to do with the fact that neither Colleen nor Lucas talked about their issues with each other. There were too many loose ends but I did enjoy reading it nonetheless.  
Recommendation:
I liked this book. I would have loved this this book but it's missing a few things. I would re-read this book if I wanted something good to read. I would recommend it to some people but with reservations. 

I absolutely loved Lucas in this book and even though the romance was a little lackluster, I enjoyed 
Cover Comments: 
WHAT'S UP WITH THIS COVER?!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Adult Review: The Perfect Match (Blue Heron #2) by Kristan Higgins

             The Perfect Match, Blue Heron #2 by Kristan Higgins
Release Date: December 1, 2013 
Publisher: Center Point, Harlequin 
Source: Library  
**This is the large print version!**
What if the perfect match is a perfect surprise? Honor Holland has just been unceremoniously rejected by her lifelong crush. And now -- a mere three weeks later -- Mr. Perfect is engaged to her best friend. But resilient, reliable Honor is going to pick herself up, dust herself off and get back out there . . . or she would if dating in Manningsport, New York, population 715, wasn't easier said than done.
Review: 
The very first point I want to make with this review is that I am utterly happy that I did not read the Blue Heron books in the order they were published. These books can be read as standalones but being in a series, characters overlap. While I enjoyed The Best Man, the first book in this series, I did not enjoy The Perfect Match as much and had I read them in order, I don’t know if I would have continued on with this series. There was something missing from Honor Holland and Tom Barlow’s love story.

Admittedly the marriage for convenience plot is one I haven’t read that many books about but I was curious to see how this one would go. I knew certain events that would happen but their execution fell flat. For example, we all know that the main love interests will have some sort of disagreement but they won’t be able to stop thinking about the other person. Slowly, they begin to realize their love for one another. Distance makes the heart grow fonder and all that. In this case, I just didn’t care when Honor and Tom were apart. There wasn’t enough of a spark between these two characters.

I did, however, appreciate Tom and his loyalty to Charlie, his unofficial stepson. When so many people (did) would put aside a teenage boy, Tom stepped in. I loved seeing their relationship grow and develop into a father son love. It was also nice to see Charlie open up and allow others in. I should also mention that Tom is British and as I cannot help but love the accent, I couldn’t help but love Tom. There is more to Tom then just his accent; he’s broken and has shielded his heart from love. He was not expecting Honor and this idea made reading this book far more enjoyable. There are certain times when I wish he had acted differently but those are minor problem.

I didn’t think I would love Honor as much as I did but I had this connection with her that I didn’t expect. I’m not the most serious of my family but I am rather the black sheep who doesn’t let anyone faze me. Honor, the no-nonsense member of her family also seemed to have this trait and it changes when she tells the guy she likes how she feels. It’s Honor’s response after being rejected by this guy that showed me how similar we are: even if we’re hurting inside, our outside appearance is a neat and clean as any other day. Seeing Honor open up to Tom and allow herself the ability to love again was wonderful.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Certain aspects were annoying (Brogan and Dana; who lied about something rather big which made me dislike her even more then I did before), others were heart wrenching (I feel for ya Charlie!), but in the end, I didn’t feel as thought there was enough spark between Tom and Honor. This might be because they are both such serious characters and maybe if my timing had been different, I would have loved this book.  
Recommendation: 
I liked this book. I would have loved this book but it's missing a few things. I would re-read this book if I wanted something good to read. I would recommend it to some people but with reservations.

This isn't the best in the Blue Heron series by far but it is still a fantastic story and one I think everyone who loves Kristin Higgins books should read. I know many, many people who loved this book and all reading experiences are different for all people! 
**This book is a 3.5 but rounded up to a 4 on Goodreads.**
Cover Comments: 
The dog is the best (and cutest!) part of the cover. I don't hate the cover; it's just incredibly cheesy and doesn't stand out in the immense sea of adult romance novels. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Adult Review: The Best Man, Blue Heron #1 by Kristan Higgins

             The Best Man, Blue Heron #1 by Kristan Higgins
Release Date: June 1, 2013
Publisher: Center Point, Harlequin 
Source: Library  
**This is the large print version!**
Sometimes the best man is the one you least expect….

Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she's ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family's vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there's some great scenery there….

Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief - and best friend of her former fiancé. There's a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it's not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she's having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rosé, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk down the aisle.
Review: 
The Best Man, Blue Heron #1 Before even considering reading this book, I read the 3rd and 4th books in this series and fell madly in love with Kristin Higgins. When Keertana told me that this was her favorite of the bunch, I knew I had to read the rest of the series. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Best Man but it wasn’t to read it in less then two hours. I basically flew through this book and I have to say, I absolutely loved Faith Holland and Levi Cooper. This book was a lot of fun, a little heartbreaking, and overall

While this book might seem as if it’s just a light, fun romance novel, there is much more to it then just that. For one, I did not expect to care for Faith Holland as much as I did. It’s one thing to be left at the altar but it’s another to not realize something that was apparent to everyone. Faith, though, left Manningsport broken and sad and came back a little stronger. While it’s evident to see the transformation Faith has gone through, I loved that she was still vulnerable. Seeing Levi Cooper brought back all sorts of feeling, some good while other bad, but seeing Faith struggle to accept and understand what happened made her seem so…real. She wasn’t perfect and her flaws allowed me to care about her.

There is just something about Levi Cooper. He’s the bad boy with a heart of gold but a little bit awkward also. You can’t help but fall in love with Levi and I sure as heck loved reading about him. Growing up poor and living in a trailer, Levi has always been accustomed to working hard for what he wants and needs. His attraction to Faith and his unwillingness to give in to his feeling resulted in many awkward and intense situations where the sexual chemistry was almost palpable. His obvious love for his younger sister made my heart leap; there’s just something so sexy about a man being emotional.

From the sounds of this review, I make The Best Man out to be a quick, light hearted read and while, yes, it is light and a quick read, there is a surprising amount of heart in this novel. Faith often has to deal with her seizures and her mom’s death, the later having a heavy effect on her life. The reader is able to see Faith’s inner turmoil regarding the situations and events of her life and it’s hard not to feel for her. On various occasions, I wanted to give her a big hug. Yet the most defining moment of this novel came near the ending where Levi immensely helped Faith move on from her guilt. That single event cemented my love for these two characters.

Overall, I loved The Best Man. I can’t decide yet if it’s my favorite of the bunch but I can see why so many people love this book. Kristin Higgins ability to take a boring, cliché idea and turn it into something more special and more original surprised me on many levels. In the end, I have decided that I can’t get enough of Kristin Higgins and the people of Manningsport, NY (as a side note, now I wanted to visit the Finger Lakes).  
Recommendation
Best Friends Forever
This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. I might re-read this book, possibly more than once. I would recommend this book to lots of my friends and some of my colleagues.

Guys, I loved this book far more then anticipated and I think everyone should start this series off with this book. There's just something so wonderful about this book (like of like wine; see what I did there?) that just makes you want more and more and more.
**This is a 4 our of 5 stars on Goodreads.**
Cover Comments: 
Oh, hi there, extremely cheesy looking cover. WHY do so many adult romance books have such terrible covers? Luckily the words were far better. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Adult Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

             Romancing the Duke, Castles Ever After book 1 by Tessa Dare 
Release Date: January 24, 2014
Publisher: Avon 
Source: Library  
In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .

As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one. 
Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince? 
No, no, and… Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.
Review: 
This book is the reason I have read the majority of the adult books I've read for the past few weeks. There was just something so addicting about this book that I simply did not want to stop reading it (literally...I read it in about two hours total)! Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare used all of the cliches there are in the romance genre but the way she told the story was done with acute mastery. Basically, I loved all of the clichés because they worked in a way I wasn't expecting them to.

Izzy was such a perfect protagonist that I don't even know. There's just something about a young woman who is strong and fierce but also vulnerable. She has to show all sides of herself no matter what. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling writes:“If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” THIS is why I loved Izzy as much as I did. No matter what her situation in life was, Izzy was always, always kind to people. People who didn't as much money as her or people who were far richer, she was kind and compassionate. But Izzy's kindness wasn't a weakness, it was her strength. It allowed her to empathize with all people and allowed her character to shine. 

Guys, my favorite Disney Princess is Belle and Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney. EVER. And one of the biggest reasons for this is because I love the Beast and Belle's love story because the Beast isn't the best looking or the nicest guy around but Belle's able to get past his roughness. And this is why, I think, I loved the romance in Romancing the Duke. Random, Duke of Rothbury, is scarred and disabled and not the nicest guy around but our girl Izzy is able to get past that by simply being herself. I love that Izzy got to know Ransom better NOT because she pities him but because she's a nice person who is also lonely. Both Ransom and Izzy saw something in each other that went past their attraction for each other; it was their mutual understanding of the other. This allowed both characters to treat the other as an equal and this was utterly refreshing. 

Overall, I really loved this book. It was one step from being perfect because even though I loved what I got, I wanted more...seriousness. There were plenty of times where the story line could have had more depth but it only scratched the surface. But that didn't stop me from loving this book, however, and I found myself thinking about the characters well after I finished the last page. Romancing the Duke was the perfect read for a time when I needed something to make me happy and to get back into reading. It was fun, light and heartwarming.

Recommendation
Best Friends Forever 
 This book is pretty great but it’s missing something that would make it extremely special. You might re-read this book, possibly more than once. You would recommend this book to lots of your friends and some of your colleagues.

Really, this was a perfect "I-need-a-fun-light-read-that-I-will-enjoy-and-can't-stop-reaidng" type of book.
Cover Comments: 
If you're looking for a light, fun, yet heartwarming romance that will put a smile on your face, IGNORE THE COVER. IGNORE IT AND PICK THIS BOOK UP ANYWAYS. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bout of Books 11 Sign Up, Goal, and Challenges!

Bout of Books
Hi there everyone! It's been a while since I've actually made a post that wasn't scheduled but I finally decided that I would challenge myself once again and join in on the Bout of Books read-a-thon! What is the Bout of Books read-a-thon? Well, here's the official blurb from the blog:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

I'm moving back to college on the 24th so much of this week will be spent packing (oh gosh) and getting ready for classes to begin on the 25th (OH GOSH). Nonetheless, I do plan on reading at least 5 books! I won't create an actual TBR pile because as a mood reader and sticking to a TBR pile is very hard. I do, however, like having options and I have a bunch already.

*I will be updating all of my reading on this post.*
GOALS
*Read at least 5 books during the read-a-thon! 
*Participate in at least one Twitter chat
*Participate in 3 challenges (at least!)

UPDATES
Monday:
Read/Finished today:
Currently reading:
Books I've read:
Books:

CHALLENGES 

Wanna join the Bout of Books? Sign up here. This post has the schedule for the read-a-thon and share your goals here

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Review: I Want It That Way (2B Trilogy #1) by Ann Aguirre

Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin 
Source: Publisher via Netgalley 
Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.
Review: 
I am, it seems, the only person who didn't truly love this book but I have accepted that I will often be the black sheep of the book blogging community. Immediately after finishing this book, I gave the book a 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. It was so good, I thought. But of course, as I allowed my thoughts to marinate (is that a strange word to use?), I came to the conclusion that I did not in fact love this book as much as I thought. I had issues with the plot and the various plot points, the characterization, and various other aspects of this novel. In the end, I Want it That Way by Ann Aguirre was nothing new in the new adult arena and offered nothing fresh or special.

I Want it That Way is the story of Nadia, who I believe is twenty-one and a college student, and Ty, her neighbor and single dad who is also her love interest. Immediately, from the second they meet, Ty and Nadia have a pull to each other. He is standoffish when they meet for the first time but as time goes by, they begin to know each other and their attraction intensifies. From the very beginning, I could not help but roll my eyes at their romance. It just seemed so insta-love to me and I initially did not understand Ty’s behavior. It’s one thing if your neighbors are being loud and obnoxious but if they’re simply moving in and struggling at that? There was no reason for him to be so upset. And this, of course, begins Nadia and Ty’s love story. Their attraction is immediate and when Nadia is not anywhere near Ty, she is thinking of being with him and kissing him. It was, in the end, too much for me. I wished that Nadia spent half of that much time thinking of her best friend and her roommates and possibly her college education.

I did, no matter how negative this review might seem, like Nadia and Ty. I couldn’t actually resist Ty because he was such a sweetheart and a great guy who was dealt an interesting hand: Ty’s son is the highlight of his life but the situation surrounding the mother of his son has a negative turn to it. I could understand Ty’s hesitance in the beginning because for any woman to have a relationship with him meant becoming a mother-like (and possibly a stepmother) figure to his son. And Nadia was a strong willed character and while I didn’t always appreciate her actions (in the spoilers section), I understood her pain and wanted what was best for her.

One of my biggest issues I had with this novel was the random introduction to little plot points, none of which see a closure to the best of their ability: *SPOILERS BELOW* Firstly, there was the issue Nadia was having with her best friend Lauren. They’ve been friends for a very long time and by the time the book begins, Lauren doesn’t act like herself. Once Ty comes into Nadia’s life, Nadia seems to on occasion think of Lauren. Nadia and Laruen have been friends since elementary school (if I remember correctly) and it seemed odd to me that Nadia wouldn’t further pursue the issue. Lauren ends up going back home and Nadia learns THEN that Lauren was unhappy. It bothered me that Ty would become such a big aspect of Nadia’s life for her to forget about her best friend.

Furthermore, the story line concerning Ty’s ex-girlfreind and the mother of his son was incomplete and it felt as though Ty was not completely over her. The story line seemed to being when Nadia first learns about the mother but does not truly get resolved. I’m not saying she needed to be present but Ty, in my opinion, did not have the closing he and Nadia deserved. I felt as though Ty still have lingering feelings for her. *SPOILERS END*

I haven’t even gotten to my biggest complaint: what exactly is the point of having such explicit sex scenes? I honestly do not understand the point of it and it’s one of my biggest issues with NA books. It seems that the majority (of the ones I’ve read) have such explicit sex scenes that I begin to feel uncomfortable and I am not easily uncomfortable.

Overall, I wasn’t as impressed with I Want it That Way as I wanted to be. The book sounded fabulous and I so wanted to enjoy this new adult book but alas it was not meant to be. I did like Nadia and Ty and Sam, Ty’s son, was my favorite character. I rooted for both of these characters love even if it was almost insta-love. I know plenty of people have enjoyed this book and I would recommend this book to people who like the recent releases of new adult novels.  
Recommendation:
Cover Comments: 
Typical new adult cover. 
 
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