Friday, January 23, 2015

NEW REVIEW: Beautiful Redemption (The Maddox Brothers # 2) by Jamie McGuire

Beautiful Redemption 
by Jamie McGuire
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

LINKS:
Special early release 1/25/2015: iBooks
Release Date 1/27/2015:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

SYNOPSIS 

If A Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever. But what if he didn't love you, first?
No-nonsense Liis Lindy is an agent of the FBI. Deciding she is married only to her job, she breaks off her engagement and transfers from Chicago to the field office in San Diego. She loves her desk. She is committed to her laptop. She dreams of promotions and shaking hands with the director after cracking an impossible case.
Special Agent in Charge Thomas Maddox is arrogant, unforgiving, and ruthless. He is tasked with putting away some of the world’s toughest criminals, and he is one of the best the Bureau has to offer. Though, as many lives as he’s saved, there is one that is beyond his reach. Younger brother Travis is faced with prison time for his involvement in a basement fire that killed dozens of college students, and the media want a conviction. Travis’s only savior is his unusual tie to the mob. In a deal that will spare his brother, Thomas has agreed to recruit Travis into the FBI.
Liis is stubborn, defiant, and yet somehow softens Thomas’s rough edges, making her the perfect agent to accompany him to the ceremony. Posing as a couple, they must travel to Travis & Abby’s beach vow renewal and give him the news, but when the pretending ends, she finds herself wondering if they were pretending at all.
In the second installment of the Maddox Brothers books, experience firsthand the mysterious world of the elusive Thomas Maddox, and how good love can be when you’re not the first, but the last.

MY REVIEW

Ever since Jamie McGuire first announced she planned on doing a Maddox Brothers spinoff series, I wanted Thomas. From the very start I saw something there, something intangible. In Beautiful Disaster, you could almost sense “it”, hiding beneath the surface, something so much more than just a solemn and cynical nature. He intrigued me. I wanted to know more because I knew there was more.

I even remember voting on Jamie’s Facebook page (way back when) for which Maddox brother she should do first. (Pretend I inappropriately capitalized on the perfect double entendre of “which Maddox brother to do first”). No surprise, I voted Thomas, but then we got Trent. At first I was bummed on a cracker, but after reading Beautiful Oblivion  (click here for review) all was forgiven, and I patiently waited for what I hoped would come next.

It came!

It came!

IT. CAME.

This was the missing link. So far, each story has been its own individual beautifully crafted puzzle piece. Each one printed with a unique depiction. But obviously they all came from the same puzzle, the same picture. Beautiful Redemption flawlessly connected them all together; it formed one complete image. Each piece perfectly linked by this story.

I found this fascinating.

The author intricately wove, and seamlessly connected Beautiful Redemption with the entire Beautiful Disaster/Maddox Brothers series. I believe here in America we call that talent. I think here in the literary world we call that Jamie McGuire.

Well done.

Liis is an extremely strong female character coming out of a failed relationship, realizing that her profession will continue to prevent any new love in the future. She’s okay with this, prefers it even, or so she thinks.

(Enters Thomas)

I think Thomas’s character may be the most compound of all the Maddox brothers. He possesses a heartwarming sensitivity that he constantly shields with a rough and strong exterior, a defense mechanism used to guard his vulnerability. There is something so attractive about an asshole with heart. His loyalty and absolute need to protect those he cares about is just one of the many complex layers of this perfectly complicated character. God I love him!

What I also loved about this book was the almost painful progression of the story. Painful in the most amazing way. Jamie McGuire knows how to write tension; it ‘s something that bleeds from every single page, of every book she writes. In Beautiful Redemption, she instantly gratifies us in the very first chapter, but strategically takes it away with a predictable yet entertaining twist in order to build the sexual tension she’s most famous for.

Though I loved the delicious tension, the push and pull may have been carried out a bit too long which may have robbed from other aspects of the story that I selfishly wanted more of. Though the bad guy drama ends with a bang, I was hoping for a little more of it to be part of the plot, perhaps some more action to compliment the relationship aspect of the book. The ending is great and it escalates to an Everest-like peak, but it was too quick. It wrapped up too fast. Maybe I just wanted more.

I always want more!

But the great part about wanting more is that by my count, we’ve got two brothers to go. I can’t wait!!

READ ON!

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 11, 2015

NEW REVIEW: Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Never….never have I been more pissed!"


Best friends since they could walk. In love since the age of fourteen. Complete strangers since this morning.
He'll do anything to remember. She'll do anything to forget.


Buy Links:

Amazon



My Review
You would think that for once, just once, Colleen Hoover or Tarryn Fisher could write something mediocre, something blah. They could manage to suck at least one time. Once!

Nope.

Their talent is effortless.

When I found out they were teaming up for Never Never, I thought there was a chance that their ferocious ability to write would cancel each other out. A cock fight of talent that would innately void the other’s writing. I was preparing for a mess. Either that or the apocalypse.

I didn’t expect their talents to match each other word for word. Their differences to fit in perfect sync forming a fluent one of a kind experience.

The insurmountable talent these ladies possess falls into the category of things I’ll never understand. Like, why is it that no matter how many times I pee before I get into the shower, as soon as I step in the shower, I have to pee again? How do red lights always know when I’m running late? Why won’t the 5th dentist just cave and say he recommends Colgate too, and why is Wal-Mart taking over the world?

I don’t understand it, and I didn’t expect it.

This book exceeded all expectations.

Believe it or not, I started Never Never without any knowledge of the plot. I didn’t know it was a plus sized novella, or part of a series. The vagueness of this very review is to hopefully provide others with the same blind leap of faith.

Here is what I can tell you.

Never Never is a penetratingly unique and original story that will capture you from the very first paragraph. It is suspenseful and heart pounding. An experience that’s one of a kind. But what I loved most, the very most, is how it made me feel.

This is a love story at its core.


            "I don't care what our first real kiss was. 
             That's the one I want to remember."

There were certain scenes where the love was so achingly intense, but not in an obvious way. In a way that was made to be felt. I would literally experience a flutter in the very pit of my stomach during certain parts; it almost hurt. I spent half of the time with a knot in my stomach, and the other half trying to figure everything out. Thinking I had figured it out, only to be taken in a completely different direction.

My advice is to hold on, the experience is quick. Keep in mind that the plot centers on time. You find out the limitations of why certain things couldn’t have been developed more, even at times I wished for the “more”, but consider the plot. Consider why the authors had to make it work at such a rapid pace.

The creativity of what these authors have done blows me away. They have brought something unique to a literary world that is saturated with repetition. Once you start, you will not be able to stop, and in the end you will be pissed as hell that you have to wait for more.

I cannot wait for more.

READ ON!





Saturday, December 13, 2014

NEW REVIEW: For the Record by K.A. Linde

For the Record by K.A. Linde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With Congressman Brady Maxwell up for reelection and journalist Liz Dougherty about to graduate into a promising career, the ambitious couple’s future is brighter than ever. They share a passion for their work…and for each other. But when Brady holds a press conference to officially introduce Liz as his girlfriend, reporters hungry for a scandal bombard her. Now, her every move is under a vicious magnifying glass, and her life feels like it’s falling apart.

On the road to reelection, the passionate bond between the congressman and the journalist gets tested at every stop. Threatened by shameless media sensationalism and jealous exes, Brady and Liz now have to learn to trust each other despite what they read in the papers.

In the finale to USA Today bestselling author K.A. Linde’s sexy Recordtrilogy, Liz and Brady may be setting off fireworks along the campaign trail, but can their love transcend politics as usual?



My Review
My fingers are stuck…

Sometime reviews are hard, but at the same time the whole concept is pretty damn easy. You type how you feel about a book. Simple, right? Wrong. This is one of those time where I'm a little stuck.

I enjoyed this series. Truly. Off the Record left me begging for more, but I would be remiss in saying that I loved the final installment or that it ended as strong as it started. For the Record moved a little too slowly for me. Throughout the story, I thought something was building, subtle hints of drama to come, the big drama climax, but the issues all seemed to just wrap up. Nothing really exploded or came to head; it was a little anticlimactic.

I did love the conclusion, the epilogue and how the entire series wrapped up, but the plot in this particular installment just left me a bit wanting.

Overall, there is something that I truly loved about this series, something that makes me insanely glad that I had the pleasure of reading it. The politics. Wait….what? I don't really do politics, but K.A. Linde commanded this subject and she did it in a way that was fascinating and entertaining. It was great to read something so different for a change and something that the author is obviously very knowledgable about. It was great to step out and find something completely outside of the box. It brought a realism to the story and enhanced the romance. It made me glad I read it.

This particular book may not have been "the one" for me, but K.A. Linde is a helluva writer and I can't wait to see what she tackles next.

READ ON!

View all my reviews

The Record Series reading order:
Off the Record (The Record #1)
On the Record (The Record, #2)
For the Record (The Record, #3)

Monday, December 8, 2014

NEW REVIEW: You Were Mine by Abbi Glines

Gossip is the ultimate currency in Rosemary Beach, but Bethy and Tripp have managed to keep one big secret to themselves.

Eight years ago, Tripp Newark was dating a rich girl he didn’t like and was on his way to Yale—and a future he didn’t want. The only way he could escape his predictable life would be to give up the money and power that came with his family’s name. And that’s exactly what he planned to do. At the end of the summer, he was going to ride off on his Harley and never look back.

That was before he met Beth Lowry.

It was only supposed to be a summer fling. She was a sixteen-year-old trailer-park girl who served drinks to his friends at Kerrington Country Club. They didn’t run in the same social circles. No one even knew they were friends, let alone lovers. Yet, for one summer, Bethy became his entire world.

But he couldn’t give up on his plan. He needed to leave Rosemary Beach, but he vowed he would come back for her.

Problem was, by the time he came back—years later than promised—it was too late. His cousin, Jace, had already claimed the woman he loved. . . .

~~~~~~

Dear Abbi,

It’s me…again. Guess WHAT!?!!! I just finished You Were Mine, and I have thoughts, lots of thoughts. Good thoughts. Bad thoughts. Conflicting thoughts. Reflective thoughts….THOUGHTS!

Your ability to create a world of intricately interwoven characters developed in such a way that people continue to come back for more…and more…and more, is astounding. The longevity of most of your series is a direct testament to your skill as a writer.  A testament to your ability to “spike” your books with something so intangibly addictive that readers can’t help but fuel a need for more. For that, I salute you.

Some of your books are totally me. Some aren’t. Some I love. Some I like. Some…not so much. Despite my personal feelings, I always find something, and I always go in with an open mind. 

That’s exactly how You Were Mine initially took me by storm. My expectations were cautious and hopeful.

At first I was overwhelmed by how much I liked it. The first half was griping, compelling, and for lack of a better word…really, really good. I was caught up in the past as much as I was anticipating the future. There was something so heartbreaking and intense about Beth and Tripp’s relationship. Their story. But more specifically his devotion and unfailing need to protect Beth. His support was unconditional.

Beth kept him at a distance, pushed him away even, but Tripp let her. He gave her what she needed.  Space. Well, the illusion of space. He was happy being on the sidelines, being there just in case she fell, just in case she broke. His actions were nothing short of selfless. I loved everything about their story. If I am just looking at the first half, it may be my favorite book in the series, but things got a little off after that.

The second half slowed down a bit and I found myself getting bored, almost like I was stuck on a plateau. I can’t really put my finger on exactly what happened but the pacing slowed way down and then the ending sped way up. Then...it ended. It ended way too fast. It just ended. I don’t think I was ready. I felt like time was wasted on those slower parts and then we ran out of time.

It didn’t ruin the book for me, and I am convinced fans of this series are going to love Beth and Tripp’s story. Hell, I loved their story. It somehow set itself apart from the others. I love me some Rush and Blaire, but this was just so emotionally raw. I just wish it would have been executed consistently from beginning to end. I felt like all the heart was in the first half, but the conclusion, the closure was rushed. 

The content was there though, and that alone gets five stars.

Abbi, it’s obvious you have more talent in the cuticle of your pinky finger than most people have in their entire body. I know exactly what I’m going to get out of a Abbi Glines book, and that’s good, but at the same time it almost feels like I’m sometimes reading the same story (great stories), but with different characters. 

I'm a fan, and for you I have the utmost respect. I also remain hopeful. Hopeful of reading that book I don’t see coming. That book that’s a game changer.  That book that’s different from anything you’ve ever done before. That book that doesn’t just step outside your box, but blows the whole damn thing up. Because if anyone can do it, it’s you.

Sincerely,

Your reader
~~~~~~

About the Author
Abbi Glines is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Rosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, and Existence series. A devoted booklover, Abbi lives with her family in Alabama. She maintains a Twitter addiction at @AbbiGlines and can also be found at Facebook.com/AbbiGlinesAuthor and AbbiGlines.com.



You Were Mine by Abbi Glines
Paperback: Atria Books | ISBN 9781476776071 | December 2, 2014 | $15.00
eBook: Atria Books | ISBN 9781476776088| December 2, 2014 | $7.99


eBook  Links

Paperback Links

Find Abbi Online
Twitter: @AbbiGlines
Instagram: @AbbiGlines
Rosemary Beach Club Buzzroom: www.bit.ly/RosemaryBeachClub (will be updated with YWM and holiday content by 12/1)

 Rosemary Beach series reading order:
1) Fallen Too Far (RUSH)  Review     Rush Too Far (Fallen Too Far, Rush's POV)
2) Never Too Far (RUSH)  Review
3) Twisted Perfection (WOODS)
4) Forever Too Far (RUSH)
5) Simple Perfection (WOODS)
6) Take a Chance (GRANT) Review
7) One More Chance (GRANT)
8) You Were Mine (TRIPP) Review


Monday, September 1, 2014

That Boy: New Covers, A giveaway, & an exclusive sneak peek at That Baby by Jillian Dodd


My entire body is shaking with excitement as I type this post. One of my favorite series of ALL TIME has gotten new covers. Beautiful covers. Covers that take me all the way back to February of 2012 when I discovered That Boy and by default, Jillian Dodd. THANK GOD FOR THAT. I have been waiting years, years I say, for this amazing story to continue. Now I can see it, almost touch it. IT'S COMING SPRING 2015!! That Baby not only has a cover, but an exclusive excerpt for me to share!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!! Check out these amazing new covers and don't forget to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of That Boy and That Wedding. If you haven't read this amazing series. Do it. DO IT NOW!

READ ON!!

That Boy (That Boy #1) by Jillian Dodd
My Review

Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo








That Wedding (That Boy #2) by Jillian Dodd
My Review

Links:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo






That Baby (That Boy #3) by Jillian Dodd
Release Date: Spring 2015

Excerpt
I wake up stilling feeling kinda crappy, but I don’t puke! I’m thinking, Thank you, God, but, still, where is Mother Nature when you need her?
Still no period, and I’m starting to believe that maybe I am pregnant. Phillip says that since I am still sick or whatever, that he will unpack, while I watch and tell him where I want stuff.
So we do that.
And I can’t help it. The thought actually crosses my mind that it might be cool if I were pregnant. I know the timing is not right at all, but Phillip is so amazing, so sweet, so good to me. It seems kind of selfish of me to want to hog all that love and keep it for myself. He’s going to be a great dad and a wonderful husband, of that I have no doubt.
And this afternoon, when he drives twenty-two miles to get me what Danny dubs as the best chicken noodle soup in Kansas City, I almost want to cry because I feel so lucky and loved.
We sit at our new kitchen table and eat warm, soft dinner rolls, and the amazing chicken soup together.
I know I look like shit. I haven’t showered or brushed my hair in two days, but Phillip doesn’t seem to care. He still looks at me like I’m the most beautiful girl in the world.
I’m so seriously lucky.
I also seriously have to pee.
It is at this point in my life that I realize Mother Nature has a very warped sense of humor.
My period has arrived.
And I should be relieved. I should be jumping with joy happy.
I should go out screaming, Phillip, it’s okay!!  My period is here!! Lets celebrate!
But that’s not how I’m feeling.
I feel, well, I’m still trying to wrap my head around how I’m feeling. Because the way I’m feeling is a shock even to myself. I’m feeling, um, well, I’m feeling quite sad actually.
I’m feeling let down.
And I have no idea why.
I walk back out to the living room and tell Phillip quietly, “I just got my period.”
He looks kinda crushed, and I just start bawling.
I know most of us women get a little weepy feeling when our hormones are doing whatever it is that they do when we get our periods. I always tend to feel fat, ugly, and sorry for myself. When I went on the pill in college, that seemed to help those symptoms lessen, and I’m lucky that I rarely even get cramps anymore.
But this is more than hormones, this is sadness.
I can’t believe I’m thinking this, but I think I might be sad I’m not pregnant.
And I can see disappointment written all over Phillip’s face. He really looks like he could cry.
I start blubbering to Phillip, “I’m sorry, Phillip, I’m sorry I let you down, I know you wanted me to be, and I wasn’t sure, and now I’m like so sad that I’m not, and I love you, and blabber, blabber, blabber.” I don't even know what I’m saying.
Phillip holds me tight and just listens. When I’m done blathering on, he says, “It’s okay. I’m not mad, but I will admit I got a little excited about the possibility. Maybe we learned something?”
“Like what?” I sob.
“That maybe we don’t need to wait? Like maybe you are ready, we’re ready?”
“Yeah, maybe we are."




a Rafflecopter giveaway

NEW REVIEW: One More Chance (Rosemary Beach #7) by Abbi Glines

One More Chance by Abbi Glines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


BUY LINKS:

After fighting his way into Harlow Manning’s heart—and revealing a side of himself no one had ever seen before—Grant Carter destroyed his own heart by giving in to his greatest fears and doubts. Months later, he’s stuck in a miserable routine. Work relentlessly. Beg his best friend Rush for news about Harlow. Avoid all other friends. Leave nightly voicemails for Harlow, pleading with her to come back to Rosemary Beach. Fall asleep alone. Repeat.

Miles away, on her brother’s Texas ranch, Harlow can’t bring herself to listen to Grant’s voicemails. Though she wants to be with him, and knows he regrets letting her go, she doesn’t know if she can trust him. When he discovered the truth behind her sheltered upbringing, it shattered their relationship, but the secret she carries now has far greater consequences. Can she risk giving Grant one more chance, or will the gamble ultimately destroy her?

Dear Abbi,

So here we are…again. Corresponding after the completion of one of your books….again. A book for which I have but one very important thing to say.

I. WAS. RIGHT!

Damn that feels good!! Right, right, right. I guess what I'm really trying to say is…I WAS RIGHT!!

If you remember, I made a few bold predictions in my review of Take a Chance. Predictions blanketed with my faith in you Abbi, and the direction you'd hopefully take us (i.e. Grant) in One More Chance. I wanted to go there. You took us there. And for the naysayers with their Grant hating nay saying, you will definitely be silenced after reading One More Chance. It's time to give Grant one more chance. This entire book encompasses the idea--One. More. Chance.

Prediction #1

"I personally love the disappointment I felt towards Grant because it left an incredible amount of room for growth, and I can't wait to experience the evolution of his character."

I can now say, without a doubt, that you brought this evolution to fruition in One More Chance. His growth was the ultimate experience and I couldn't be prouder.

Prediction #2

"I know he's capable of so much more. I want to experience the more. I have no doubt that you'll deliver the more."

You delivered the more. Grant was more. The relationship and emotion between him and Harlow was more. The heartfelt and emotional style in which you wrote this book was more. Everything was more.

Prediction #3

"I think the problem here was that I just needed more time with the characters and their story, more time to become involved."

I started One More Chance involved, and I stayed involved. I loved how you didn't drag out the drama between Grant and Harlow. No ad nauseam back and forth. No ridiculous love triangle. It was a story about second chances. You gave Harlow and Grant their second chance.

"I am very much looking forward to what's to come, and I have much faith that those things I felt were missing early on in this series are definitely coming. They're coming!"

They came.

Even though I didn't know, I knew. You did this Abbi. I can honestly say, I am satisfied. Satisfaction you provided. And for that, I thank you! You continue to addict me, and I can't wait for the next ride.

Sincerely,

Your Reader

Rosemary Beach series reading order:
1) Fallen Too Far (RUSH)  Review     Rush Too Far (Fallen Too Far, Rush's POV)
2) Never Too Far (RUSH)  Review
3) Twisted Perfection (WOODS)
4) Forever Too Far (RUSH)
5) Simple Perfection (WOODS)
6) Take a Chance (GRANT) Review
7) One More Chance (GRANT)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ABBI GLINES is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of theRosemary Beach, Sea Breeze, Vincent Boys, and Existence series. A devoted booklover, Abbi lives with her family in Alabama. She maintains a Twitter addiction at @AbbiGlines and can also be found on Facebook and at AbbiGlines.com. 

"Only Abbi Glines can pull off a heart-wrenching love story like this."
– Tammara WebberNew York Times bestselling author

Another Abbi Glines Favorite








View all my reviews