Tag Archives: Fiction-Adult

Review | Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

Title:  Where We Belong

Author:  Emily Giffin

Publish Date:  July 24, 2012

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Website: N/A

Imprint: N/A

My Source:  Purchased at Target

My rating: 4 Stars

The author of five blockbuster novels, Emily Giffin, delivers an unforgettable story of two women, the families that make them who they are, and the longing, loyalty and love that binds them together.

Marian Caldwell is a thirty-six year old television producer, living her dream in New York City. With a fulfilling career and satisfying relationship, she has convinced everyone, including herself, that her life is just as she wants it to be. But one night, Marian answers a knock on the door . . . only to find Kirby Rose, an eighteen-year-old girl with a key to a past that Marian thought she had sealed off forever. From the moment Kirby appears on her doorstep, Marian’s perfectly constructed world—and her very identity—will be shaken to its core, resurrecting ghosts and memories of a passionate young love affair that threaten everything that has come to define her.

For the precocious and determined Kirby, the encounter will spur a process of discovery that ushers her across the threshold of adulthood, forcing her to re-evaluate her family and future in a wise and bittersweet light. As the two women embark on a journey to find the one thing missing in their lives, each will come to recognize that where we belong is often where we least expect to find ourselves—a place that we may have willed ourselves to forget, but that the heart remembers forever.  (Goodreads Summary)

My Review:

I have read every book Emily Giffin has written and as I read this one, I came to the conclusion that Emily Giffin’s fiction is my reality. From Baby Proof to this book, Where We Belong, I could have had my name in every book as I have experienced each and every story on some level. Wow! I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

This book is about adoption and the struggles the adoptee goes thru with trying to find where she fits in, the struggles the birth mom goes thru because of the secrets she kept, and even the struggles the families go thru with jealousy, insecurity and even loss. As the mom of three adopted children, this story touched a nerve. (in a good way) I was very worried that this would be another story painting adoption in either a negative light or painting adoption in an overly romanticized light where everyone lives happily ever after with no regrets, or conflict. I was pleasantly surprised with this story, thank you for that.

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Review | One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

Title:  One Breath Away

Author:  Heather Gudenkauf

Publish Date:  June 26, 2012

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Website: N/A

Imprint: N/A

My Source:  Purchased at Target

My rating: 4.5 Stars

In her most emotionally charged novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores the unspoken events that shape a community, the ties between parents and their children and how the fragile normalcy of our everyday life is so easily shattered.In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.  (Goodreads Summary)

My Review:

This is the third book by Heather Gudenkauf and she doesn’t disappoint! She is still one of my favorite authors. Her style of telling a story thru the lives of several characters gets better and better with each book I have read. (and I have read them all).

She had me guessing throughout the book and what I especially liked was the fact that she had me guessing up until the end. Good job! Each character tells their part of the ongoing story as it happens. Sometimes you get a flashback, sometimes you get the present. The transition of the story from character to character was very well done. Not only did you know what was going on (a school was taken hostage by a man with a gun) thru the eyes of every character involved, you also got to know what each character was like, who they were.

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Review | Love the One You’re With by Emily Giffin

Title: Love the One You’re With

Author:  Emily Giffin

Publish Date: May 13, 2008

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Website: N/A

Imprint: N/A

My Source:  Purchased at Target

My rating: 4 Stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof delivers another captivating novel about women and the choices that define them. This is the story for anyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I’m with when I can’t forget the one who got away?

Ellen and Andy’s first year of marriage doesn’t just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she’s living is the one she’s meant to live.

Love the One You’re With is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life.

(Goodreads Summary)

My Review:

I have had this on my shelf for four years and can’t believe I hadn’t read it sooner. This book really resonated with me. While it wasn’t exactly something I went thru when I first got married I remember having some of the same feelings Ellen had regarding an intense love. The wondering what if things ended up differently.  Don’t get me wrong, I love how my life turned out. I just remember a time, early on, wondering about that one person I had an intense relationship with and how it didn’t work out.

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Review | At Last by Jill Shalvis

Title: At Last

Author: Jill Shalvis

Publish Date: July 01, 2012

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Website: N/A

Imprint: Forever

My Source: NetGalley

My rating: 4 Stars

HER LOVE HAS COME ALONG . . .
Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she’s looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. And even though she’s tempted to kiss that sexy smile right off his face, she won’t make the mistake of getting involved with the town heartthrob.

A former cop whose life went south, Matt doesn’t let anyone get too close. But something about the feisty beauty caught his eye the moment he first saw her in the diner. After a hot night under a starry sky, Matt can’t deny their attraction-or the fact that for the first time in a long time, he feels the stirrings of something more. Now it’s up to Matt to help Amy see that, no matter what is in their past, together they can build a future in Lucky Harbor. (Official Summary)

My Review:

At first I didn’t realize that this was number 5 in the Lucky Harbor series and was a little worried that I hadn’t read the previous books. But, I have to admit that while nice it isn’t necessary to have read the previous books in this series. The author uses each book to describe one out of a group of women who are all friends and who find love in Lucky Harbor. Every woman appears in each book but the story itself relates to only one woman at a time. What I also loved was that the author doesn’t spend a lot of time in the book rehashing who is who, what is what, or why it’s why. Thank you for that! This installment is about Amy, the tough chick who had a rough upbringing and doesn’t trust men easily. She meets Matt, the hot forest ranger, when she gets lost on a hike and he is instantly attracted to her. With some convincing, he gets her to admit she is equally attracted to him and from there the story just gets better. I enjoyed the book and the chemistry between Matt and Amy. If you are looking for a fun, light summer read, this is your series!

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Review | Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Title: Beautiful Disaster

Author: Jamie McGuire

Publish Date: August 14, 2012

Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Website: http://www.jamiemcguire.com/

Imprint: Atria

My Source: NetGalley

My rating: 3.5 Stars

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. (Official Summary)

My Review:

This is another coming of age book where the two main characters are in college. Abby is trying to start a new, different life than what she grew up with, Travis is everything she is trying to get away from. The chemistry is undeniable between the two of them and even though Abby says she only wants to be friends, you know this is bound to turn into something more. The bet is fun – not believable at one point but still fun. Hey it’s fiction, you can’t expect everything to totally be believable all the time right? Travis has some control issues, if he were a real life character, I’d be worried about how jealous and angry he gets when Abby dates someone else. Again, I know this is fiction but what worries me is that the audience is clearly young women and I worry that they may think that this type of behavior is acceptable in a boyfriend/lover. I enjoyed reading Abby’s character – she was very relatable, not indecisive to the point you want to shake her or so insecure you just want to slap her. She knows who she is and what she wants. I like when young women are portrayed this way. Travis, he is a bit much with the control/jealousy but he is likeable. Maybe that isn’t a good thing if you want young readers to not confuse ficion with reality. Overall though, I couldn’t put this down. It is a fun, light summer read.

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Review | Seven Day Loan by Tiffany Reisz

Title: Seven Day Loan

Author: Tiffany Reisz

Publish Date: July 01, 2012

Publisher: Harlequin UK

Website: http://tiffanyreisz.com/

Imprint: Mills and Boon Spice

My Source: NetGalley

My rating: 3.5 Stars

A trained submissive, Eleanor will do whatever her master commands…even spend a week with a stranger. Daniel has been a recluse since his wife’s death, and Eleanor’s lover thinks spending time with her will be therapeutic—especially since Daniel is also a Dom. Despite her defiant streak, Eleanor can’t resist giving in to Daniel’s erotic demands. But while she’ll let him have her body, she’s determined to keep a guard around her heart. Even if Daniel wants to make Eleanor his permanently…. (Official Summary)

My Review

This story takes place 10 years prior to The Siren and I liked that Eleanor is just as sarcastic, funny and jaded as the older Nora is in The Siren. Eleanor is told she is spending the week with a friend of her master/lover even though she doesn’t want to. She does have hot encounters with Daniel and begins to develop real feelings for him. (He also falls for her) She really liked the emotion/attention she got from Daniel, something that she doesn’t get from her Dom, Soren. The emotional connection between the two main characters is what I liked the most. The only downside is that the book was way too short. The author suggests that you read The Siren prior to reading Seven Day Loan and I do have to agree with her. Things would make better sense if you do – Seven Day Loan is just too short to understand what drives Eleanor. If you get the chance, head over to the author’s site. She has 8 prequels to The Siren and 2 sequels to Seven Day Loan that are also very good.

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Review | Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens

Title: Thoughtless

Author: S.C. Stephens

Publish Date: September 3rd, 2011

Publisher: S.C. Stephens, via Smashwords

Website: N/A

Imprint: N/A

My Source: Borrowed from a friend

My rating: 3 Stars

For almost two years now, Kiera’s boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she’s ever wanted: loving, tender and endlessly devoted to her. When they head off to a new city to start their lives together, Denny at his dream job and Kiera at a top-notch university, everything seems perfect. Then an unforeseen obligation forces the happy couple apart.

Feeling lonely, confused, and in need of comfort, Kiera turns to an unexpected source – a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he’s purely a friend that she can lean on, but as her loneliness grows, so does their relationship. And then one night everything changes…and none of them will ever be the same. (Goodreads Summary)

My Review:

Just finished Thoughtless and I am looking forward to reading the second book in this series but I am hoping it goes beyond what I just read. This is a classic love triangle story but the main character, Keira, got a little annoying. I understood that both guys were great/wonderful in their own way (one guy was safe while the other guy was exciting) and Keira had a tough time deciding between the two. But, some of her back and forth indecisiveness got very tiresome. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book/story just got a little tired of Keira.

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Review | The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

Title: The Siren

Author: Tiffany Reisz

Publish Date: July 24, 2012

Publisher: Harlequin

Website: http://tiffanyreisz.com/

Imprint: HarlequinMIRA

My Source: NetGalley

My rating: 3 Stars Overall

In the world of kink authors, she’s the top.

Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she’s sure it’ll be her breakout book…if it ever sees the light of day.

Zachary Easton holds Nora’s fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it’s no deal.

Nora’s grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him…or returning to his bed?

Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple. (Official Summary)

My Review:

I really need to give this book two ratings. I do not generally like to read books that glorify infidelity, student/teacher relationships where the student is a minor or any relationships where one person is in a position of power and abuses that power to seduce a minor. I typically will put these types of books on the DNF shelf. However, I did finish this book even though some things came to light about 82% into the book. So, my first rating is strictly based on the storytelling. My second is based on certain content. My final rating is the average of the two.

My first rating is 4 stars.

Looking at this book’s story, and writing, I have to say I liked it. It was different than most romance novels I’ve read. The heroine, Nora isn’t your typical doe-eyed virgin who can’t make a decision if her life depended on it. Instead, Nora is strong, funny in a sarcastic way, and she is somewhat damaged. There is a reason she is the way she is and it is solely because of the one man she only truely ever loved. She has two other men in her life and they are the antithesis of what she is and knows. I think she really wanted to be “normal”, have “normal” love but didn’t quite know how to get to it so, she grasped onto the two men she thought she could have that with. Unfortunately, both those men were unattainable for various reasons. This story isn’t a romance, there is no happily ever after in the sense we are used to and this made the story very interesting for me. It is also an erotic/bdsm novel and I liked how it wasn’t in your face all the time. The premise of the story was that Nora wanted to write a breakthrough novel different from her mainstream erotic fiction and I really felt the author doing the same with her own writing. I appreciated that while some things were graphic, it wasn’t so graphic that I lost what the story was about. In fact, my favorite quote in the book was when Zach, Nora’s editor, would tell her “show, don’t tell” when he would read her manuscript. The author really made a conscious effort to practice what her fictitious editor was preaching.

My second rating is 2 stars.

About 80% in we learn the entire story between Nora and her one true love Soren – how they came to know each other. That is where the story didn’t work for me. Without giving anything away, I just felt things could have been different, it didn’t need to be the way it was.

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Review | Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

Title: Into the Darkest Corner

Author: Elizabeth Haynes

Publish Date: June 5th 2012

Publisher: Harper

Website: N/A

Imprint: N/A

My Source: Purchased at BN

My rating: 4 Stars

Catherine has been enjoying the single life for long enough to know a good catch when she sees one. Gorgeous, charismatic, spontaneous – Lee seems almost too perfect to be true. And her friends clearly agree, as each in turn falls under his spell. But there is a darker side to Lee. His erratic, controlling and sometimes frightening behaviour means that Catherine is increasingly isolated. Driven into the darkest corner of her world, and trusting no one, she plans a meticulous escape. Four years later, struggling to overcome her demons, Catherine dares to believe she might be safe from harm. Until one phone call changes everything. This is an edgy and powerful first novel, utterly convincing in its portrayal of obsession, and a tour de force of suspense. (Goodreads Summary)

My Review:

Whoa! I don’t know where to begin. First off, this book is very dark – a woman is brutally attacked by someone she loves. The story gives you, the reader, some insight into what the attacker did to her mentally and how she is dealing with it in the aftermath. If you are not into reading about this kind of abuse – mental and physical, don’t read this.

This was recommended to me and while it is not typically the type of book I would read, I have to admit that I liked it. I kept wanting to read on. I don’t know if it was because of the flashback style of writing or the way the author really engaged me into the aftermath of the trauma Cathy went thru (she was seriously OCD). The writing style was so descriptive, especially regarding Cathy’s OCD but I never felt it was too much. I really started to feel for her – how trapped she felt and became. While this story could have verged on the predictable side, it didn’t. It really kept me on my toes all the way to the end.

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Review | Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard

Title: Gabriel’s Rapture

Author: Sylvain Reynard

Publish Date: May 22nd 2012

Publisher: Omnific Publishing

Website: N/A

Imprint: N/A

My Source: Borrowed from a friend

My rating: 3.5 Stars

Professor Gabriel Emerson has embarked on a passionate, yet clandestine affair with his former student, Julia Mitchell.

Sequestered on a romantic holiday in Italy, he tutors her in the sensual delights of the body and the rapture of sex. But when they return, their happiness is threatened by conspiring students, academic politics, and a jealous ex-lover.

When Gabriel is confronted by the university administration, will he be forced to share Dante’s fate? Or will he fight to keep Julia, his Beatrice, forever? (Goodreads Summary)

My Review:

I can honestly say, this continuation of Gabriel and Julia’s story was just as sensual and seductive as the first. It was just as – if not a little more romantic BUT it was frustrating more moments than I wanted. (Pun fully intended!) The author’s style and language is very romantic and made for a very pleasurable reading experience. My only complaint, one of the things I really enjoyed in the first book was Gabriel’s personality. When he was being a jerk I found him irresistible, intriguing but in the second book he seemed to be too much of a gentlemen. (I’m trying to not give too much away) I wished the author described some of Gabriel’s sexual frustration more – it would have made him more relatble

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