Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Posts Tagged: Authors: J – L

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: Hidden Bodies by Caroline KepnesHidden Bodies (You, #2) by Caroline Kepnes
on 23 February 2016
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adult, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense
Length: 13 hrs and 3 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: You

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Los Angeles, California // Malibu, California // Palm Springs, California // Cabo San Lucas, Mexico // Las Vegas, Nevada // Reno, Nevada

First Line(s): I buy violets for Amy. Not roses. Roses are for people who did something wrong.

Joe is back!

And he’s just as crazy as ever. HIDDEN BODIES is the sequel to Caroline Kepnes’s YOU (my review) which introduces us to Joe, a total sociopath that you just can’t help but love. As a reader, you know that Joe is crazy-pants and that what he is doing is wrong and yet it all seems so logical when you read his thoughts on why he does the things that he does. In HIDDEN BODIES, Joe has moved on to a new relationship “choosing better” as he says with a girl named Amy. As with the previous women that have come into Joe’s orbit Amy is a flawed character and that seems to be what draws Joe to them. Its as if the inevitable betrayal is what drives Joe to choose these women because deep down he really wants to give into his baser instincts of murder.

In HIDDEN BODIES, Amy does a thing that as a reader just makes you gasp as we know what Joe is capable of when he is betrayed. Amy does not. Which makes you feel for Amy but yet at the same time you are also angry at her for not living up to Joe’s expectations. Its really amazing just how much Kepnes’s writing puts the reader on Joe’s side as he’s usually the character we want the hero or heroine of the story to capture and put behind bars. But with YOU and HIDDEN BODIES all you want is for Joe to find peace and happiness. Its a strange feeling to be cheering for the bad guy and yet, how can you not?

HIDDEN BODIES is a fast paced thriller that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Santino Fontana returns to narrate the story and he just becomes Joe. Fontana’s is a voice that is going to be hard for me to separate from this character as it just fits Joe so perfectly. Fontana’s narration style just sets the perfect mood for HIDDEN BODIES and makes it so easy to fall for Joe and to want him to come out on top. To find his place in the world and to be happy. Happiness isn’t easy for our Joe, he’s had a hard life, but by the end of HIDDEN BODIES you think that maybe things will turn out ok for him.

HIDDEN BODIES takes the reader to new places and we meet new characters. Some of whom are even worse than Joe. There are lots of ups and downs and twists and turns and where you end up is no where near where you thought you would. I fell for this story and just loved everything about it. I’m in awe of everything that Kepnes managed to do and know that I am going to want to rush out to grab her next book in hopes that its even half as good as this duology. Kepnes is a master of suspense and in defying expectations and this series is one that you must check out if you love a good mystery.

 

 

four-stars
Divider

Friday, June 24, 2016

Review: In Her Defense by Juliana Keyes

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: In Her Defense by Juliana KeyesIn Her Defense by Juliana Keyes
Series: Time Served, Book 2
Published by Carina Press on 05 Sept 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance
Pages: 272
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Chicago, Illinois // Los Angeles, California

First Line(s): Whoever said it was lonely at the top was wrong.

At first glance, IN HER DEFENSE by Juliana Keyes seemed like it would be the perfect book for me. Strong, intelligent heroine meets her match in a techy guy who helps her to unwind. Caitlin is a high powered attorney who is an uber control freak with a huge chip on her shoulder and she’s one of the most unlikable heroines that I’ve ever read. She is mean to everyone and seems to love looking down her nose at people, including our hero who has the misfortune to have to shut off all her corporate access when she makes a mistake is forced to take a vacation. First off, I think the whole scenario is completely unrealistic and I don’t think that she’d be punished to the extent she was in the real world when she’s one of the firms top lawyers. Though, I do know, that in the real world she’d delegate some of these more menial tasks to underlings and so such a thing wouldn’t have happened.

But we aren’t in the real world. We’re in a romance novel so I can accept a certain level of unrealisticness. But I just couldn’t get behind Caitlin as there was nothing redeemable about her. She did go through some character growth throughout the book and I liked her by the end but it was a definite struggle and I almost DNF’d the book a few times because I couldn’t stand her. I did like Eli, at first, but it seemed the better being human that Caitlin got the worse he became. He was such an asshole by the end that I really didn’t want these two to be together. They just didn’t seem to mesh, at all. It also didn’t help that most of their issues resulted from a failure to communicate and how they over-reacted as a result from misconceptions.

About the only thing that IN HER DEFENSE had going for it was that it was a quick read. Buy oy…it was a struggle. The writing was decent enough and I will probably check out Keyes’s other books but I just couldn’t really get over how poorly written these characters were. They were mismatched and lacked chemistry and everything just seemed so forced. IN HER DEFENSE was a book that just wasn’t for me but I do know many people who loved it so definitely give it a try if you like a beauty meets the beast story, where the beast in this case was Caitlin.

irishdarkblue

IR - In Her Defense

Add Down for the Count by Christine Bell to Goodreads. (Review coming soon)

Add Playing to Close by Kat Latham to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Monday, May 30, 2016

Audio Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Audiobook, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: You by Caroline KepnesYou by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Series: You,
Also in this series: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on 30 Sept 2014
Genres: Abduction, Adult, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Suspense, Thrillers
Length: 11 hrs and 6 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Hidden Bodies (You, #2)

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Bridgeport, Connecticut // Little Compton, Rhode Island // Fall River, Massachusetts

First Line(s): You walk into the bookstore and you keep your hand on the door to make sure it doesn’t slam.

 

My first thought upon finishing YOU by Caroline Kepnes was “what the heck did I just read?” but more than that I was lost in just how good it was. YOU is supremely well written and takes a character, in this case Joe Goldberg, who is a terrible terrible person and makes you LIKE him. Not just that but you kind of sympathize with him and understand why he is doing what he is doing. Which is a total mind fuck since Joe is a deranged stalker who kills people and so shouldn’t be a sympathetic character. From the moment that I started YOU on audio I was enthralled. Santino Fontana *is* Joe Goldberg and he totally brings this character and this world to life. I can’t imagine experiencing this book in any other format than the audio because Fontana is just such a great narrator. He gave me chills and he made me like Joe. Again, Joe is not a character to like so its slightly disturbing and part of what makes YOU such a good book.

I know that YOU isn’t a book that is for everyone and I think that a reader will either love it or hate it. I don’t think that there is any shades of grey with this one. Because Joe is crazy. There is no way around it but the people that he meets aren’t the best either. Not that any of them deserve their fate but when you see them through Joe’s eyes and hear his thoughts you can believe his rationale as it works for him. Even as you sit on the edge of your seat begging the other person to make a different choice since you know what Joe has planned if they make the wrong one. Before I read YOU I really didn’t think it would be a book that I would like but after…well…after I found it hard to leave Kepne’s world behind because she is just so talented and her words so powerful that I wanted the story to last.

You Quote

If you like thrillers and audiobooks that I strongly recommend that you experience YOU in that format. I think that the spoken word is just so powerful at times and with Fontana as the narrator it almost feels like you are sitting across form Joe listening to him tell his story. Which is terrifying since, as I’ve said, he’s a crazy stalker who kills people and not the sort of person that you ever want to cross paths with. Joe is a total sociopath and I just bow down to Kepnes in her characterization of this character. Joe is just so real that you really think he’s in the room with you as this book progresses whispering in your ear and sending chills down your spine. The images that Kepnes’s words evoke are so vivid that if I closed my eyes I could picture each and every one.

YOU was a fantastic listening experience and one that I wish I could experience again for the first time. This is seriously one of my favorite reads of the year and I like it more the more I think back on it. YOU is the sort of book that stays with you long after you read it and is a really hard experience to describe to others. I could not stop listening to this book and think its unlike any other story out there. Its totally riveting and I really can’t wait to see what Kepnes comes up with next. If you haven’t experienced this book yet then you need to move it up your TBR pile. I don’t think that you’ll be disappointed!!

irishdarkblue

IR - You

Add Stolen by Lucy Christopher to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

As of this posting, there is only one book that I can think of that makes a good read-a-like for YOU. If I think of something later then I will update this post. Or if you know of I good read-a-like then let me know in the comments and I’ll credit you and link back to your review!

five-stars
Divider

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Defending Taylor by Miranda KenneallyDefending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Jesse's Girl
Published by Sourcebooks on 05 July 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Breathe, Annie, Breathe, Jesse's Girl

Place(s) Traveled To: Franklin, Tennessee // Murfreesboro, Tennessee // Brentwood, Tenneessee

First Line(s): When I was a little girl, Dad installed a gumball machine in our house.

It’s taken me awhile to come up with the right words to fully express my thoughts on DEFENDING TAYLOR by Miranda Kenneally and even these words don’t seem completely right. DEFENDING TAYLOR is everything that you would expect from a book by Miranda Kenneally but its also so much more. All off Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks books have some sort of theme to them, and not just the various sportsing that is mentioned either. For me, the main theme in DEFENDING TAYLOR is one of second chances. Its about making mistakes and learning to live with the consequences no matter what they are. Its about standing your ground when you think you are right even when telling one simple truth can change everything.

Taylor isn’t always the easiest character to like or even to understand at times but by the end of the book you can’t help but to sympathize with her and the tough choices she makes. What she did might be hard for some to understand but its something that happens all the time. Sometimes you make a tough choice thinking that the consequence won’t be that bad and if they are then you have to live them. I think that Taylor is very brave for what she did because her choice wasn’t an easy one and her family certainly didn’t make it any easier. Even though they could have done so. I really wasn’t a fan of Taylor’s family in this book so was really glad when she reconnected with Ezra as she needed a friendly face around.

Defending Taylor Quote

While at its heart DEFENDING TAYLOR is about making choices it also contains two of my favorite book tropes: second chance at love and friend of a sibling. Ezra is the BFF of Taylor’s brother and once upon a time they almost got together. When you learn their backstory it just makes your heart ache for what could have been. And while things could have been cleared up if the two just talked to each other there was pride and hurt feelings that got in the way. Plus, the timing then may not have been right as both of these characters needed to go through some things  before they were ready for their HEA.

DEFENDING TAYLOR is a book that I found hard to put down once I started it. I may not have always agreed with Taylor and her life choices but I did understand them. In the end, the thing I wanted most from DEFENDING TAYLOR was more. I wanted more story, more Taylor, more Ezra and just more of everything. Keanneally has a gift for writing feel good, heart achy stories and if you are a fan of her words then you don’t want to miss this one. If you haven’t read anything by Keanneally before then DEFENDING TAYLOR might be a good place to start. Its definitely a book that you want on your shelf this summer.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Defending Taylor

 

Add Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Click here for my review, Click here for Andi’s review)

Add Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen to Goodreads. (Click here for Andi’s review)

four-stars
Divider

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: The Dead House by Dawn KurtagichThe Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 15 Sept 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Somerset, England

First Line(s): I curse anyone who reads this book. If you touch it, hell will be waiting. Screw you. Happy reading.

THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich is the a YA debut murder mystery story. Its told using mixed media or “found” documents after there is a fire at a boarding school that resulted in the deaths of a couple of students and another,Carly, to disappear without a trace. Twenty years after the events in question Carly’s diary is found and that is the main source material used to tell this story. The reader quickly learns that Carly isn’t your average teenager. Because at night she’s no longer Carly and she becomes Kaitlyn. The two girls, though they share a body, are two very different people and they lead two very different lives and yet they somehow manage to coexist. It is never clear throughout the telling of THE DEAD HOUSE which personality is the original and which is the alter.

THE DEAD HOUSE is a quick read because of its format and I thought that the story was well written and engaging as I was reading it. However, the more time that passes between my reading of the book the more story itself fades into the background. When I finished THE DEAD HOUSE I wasn’t sure what to make of the story and now a few months later I am still unsure of it. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of resolution and it felt a little open ended as if there might be a sequel at some point in the future. I also expected THE DEAD HOUSE to be a creepier story than it was and maybe the audio version incorporates the creep factor in better. Though I’m not sure how well this mixed media style would work in audio form.

The Dead House Quote

Overall, I was left a little underwhelmed with THE DEAD HOUSE. It was interesting and yet at the same time its also forgettable. I feel like I’m missing something when I see all the rave reviews of this story. Because for me there wasn’t a whole ton of substance. We got the facts and nothing but and we never really got a solution to the mystery at large. Who was Carly/Kaitlyn really? Where did she go after the fire? Or was she a victim that was never found? In the end I was left with more questions than answers so was left thinking that the whole story was just average.

Other than the main mystery of the fire, there are several other things going on from potential paranormal aspects to cults and mysterious events that happened years before the fire. There is a lot of detail given and yet not a lot at the same time. THE DEAD HOUSE is a weird little novel that I liked but didn’t love and maybe it is one that I should re-read to see if its one of those stories that makes more sense the more its read. Although, I really don’t have a whole heck of a lot of desire to re-read this one. THE DEAD HOUSE wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I was expecting either and so maybe that’s part of where my disappointment comes in. If you liked mixed media and ghost stories then maybe you’ll like this one too.

irishdarkblue

IR - Dead House

Add The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender to Goodreads.

Add Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFeversDark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Series: His Fair Assassin, Book 2
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on 02 April 2013
Genres: Action & Adventure, Assassins, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical, Historical Romance, Illnesses & Injuries, Love & Romance, Politics & Intrigue, Road Trip, War & Military, Young Adult
Pages: 385
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift, Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Nantes, Brittany/France // Rennes, France // Morlaix, France //Tonquedec, France (1489)

First Line(s): I did not arrive at the convent of Saint Mortain some green stripling.

When GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers (my review) came out back in 2012 I devoured it. While I was wary at first I totally fell under the spell of these Medieval assassin nuns. I then later received an ARC of DARK TRIUMPH and my first thought was to pick it up immediately and read it but it was far out from publication date and so I put it aside. And there it sat on a shelf until last year when a friend and I made a pact to do a co-read of it. DARK TRIUMPH picks up right around when GRAVE MERCY ends but switches POV from Ismae to Sybella. Sybella was an interesting character in GRAVE MERCY so I was looking forward to her story. However, I didn’t quite fall for DARK TRIUMPH as deeply as I did with GRAVE MERCY and I think that’s due in part to the POV change.

I just didn’t find Sybella to be as likable as Ismae nor was she as nuanced a character. Yes, Sybella was a strong heroine that overcame a pretty shitty upbringing but I just didn’t care about her the same way that I did Ismae. I also really didn’t buy the romance in this story. There was just so little development in that area that I just didn’t feel any chemistry when Sybella and Beast finally declared their love for each other. Though I really did like Beast, he was an bright and entertaining light throughout the story. I liked the camaraderie that he and Sybella shared but there just wasn’t enough of them together for them to form that much needed spark.

Dark Triumph Quote

But what bothered me the most about DARK TRIUMPH was how repetitive it was. I get that some recap is needed to refresh fans from what happened in GRAVE MERCY but Sybella just kept thinking the same thoughts over and over again. So much so that there was very little in the way of plot development in DARK TRIUMPH. This book was all hurry up and wait and there was very little action. It was very much a middle book in a series and was more filler and fluff than anything of substance. As such I found this one really easy to put down and stay down while I was reading.

When I did pick it up I was I found myself in the story but I had to force myself to pick it up each day. And I did that mostly so that I could finish around the same time as my friend. There were times where I was tempted to skip over parts and I feel that if I had done so then I wouldn’t have missed very much at all. Most of the action/plot that happens in DARK TRIUMPH comes at the end. The rest is just waiting around for something to happen. There were just so many missed opportunities in DARK TRIUMPH that just left this one lacking for me. As such, while I do plan to finish the series at some point, I don’t have the burning need to rush out and see how it all ends. What say you readers, does the HIS FAIR ASSASSIN trilogy end with a bang or a fizzle? Leave a comment or catch me on social media and let me know if I should prioritize MORTAL HEART or not.

irishdarkblue

IR - Grave Mercy

Add Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Scarlet by AC Gaughen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Finnikin of the Rock to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

three-stars
Divider

Monday, April 11, 2016

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyUs by Elle Kennedy, Sarina Bowen
Series: Him, Book 2
Also in this series: Him
Published by Self-Published on 08 March 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, New Adult, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 328
Format: eARC
Source: Publicist
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Deal, The Mistake, Him, The Score, The Year We Fell Down, The Year We Hid Away, The Understatement of the Year, Blonde Date, The Shameless Hour, The Fifteenth Minute, Coming in from the Cold, Bittersweet, Steadfast, Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1)

Place(s) Traveled To:  Toronto, Ontario, Canada // Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada // Quebec City, Quebec, Canada // Chicago, Illinois // Nashville, Tennessee // Saint Paul, Minnesota // Dallas, Texas //  San Rafael, California

First Line(s): Vancouver is a beautiful city, but I can’t wait to leave it.

When it came to reading US by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy I was torn. On one hand, I wanted more story for Wes and Jaime after the end of HIM (my review) and on the other I have a severe dislike for direct sequel romances. I really really really don’t like when my happily ever afters are toyed with and so often in a direct sequel there is just unnecessary angst, drama, and pointless breakups. I just don’t see the need to have a story told in 600 pages and two books when authors can always show the beloved couple in cameos in companions if (s)he decides to stay within a certain world for other books. In the end though, my love of Jaime and Wes was bigger than my dislike of sequels so I picked up US and devoured it in quick succession.

US picks up not long after HIM ends and follows Wes and Jaime as they live a mostly closeted life during Wes’s first year playing professional hockey. As you can imagine, this isn’t an easy arrangement for either of them as it makes it difficult to form friendships when you are keeping such big secrets from other people. Where HIM had this magical falling in love quality there was just a little bit too much reality in US. Life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and relationships can be hard, especially when there is so much strain to keep secret. So you can imagine that there is a lot of angst and drama within the pages of US and while its all very realistic it really hurt my heart at times. And not in the happy gooey way that I love its the sad and depressed sort of heartache and I didn’t want any of that for my boys.

Us Quote

US also introduces the reader to many new secondary characters all of which had a good presence when they were on the page. The biggest of all was Blake who I absolutely did not like at the start of the book. But as he’ll mention to Wes and Jaime, he grows on folks, and its so true because by the end I adored him and hoped that he and Jess (Jaime’s sister) would get a book. Because my of my did those two have some sparks!! I was also glad of Blake by the end because he added in some much needed light and laughter into the story that was a little to real and depressing. US is a good story and I like how it tackled some serious issues in regards to loneliness and depression but it was just a little too real for me to love as much as I did HIM.

While I didn’t love US I was glad that the angst and drama, while a bit much at times, all stemmed from real issues and wasn’t over something silly like most new adult reads. There was no easy fix here, like one character keeping a secret that wouldn’t amount to much if they just talked to their partner. There were real issues and it all worked and fit with the story. I also liked how there was no pointless breakup. Yes, Jaime and Wes hit a rough patch but they work through it and move on until they find their joy once again. Both in life and in each other. Its nice to see a book that shows that couples can survive troubles and come out stronger on the other side. Though my original statement still stands, I hate when my happily ever afters are messed with so while I loved parts of US I would have been happy with cameos in companion reads over a full on story.

irishdarkblue IR - Him

 

Add Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add Come Back to Me by Mila Gray to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

three-stars
Divider

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Thicker Than Water by Brigid KemmererThicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer
Published by Kensington on 29 December 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Police or Firemen, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Garretts Mill, Virginia // Crisfield, Maryland // Washington D.C

First Line(s): I hate this suit.

When I picked up THICKER THAN WATER by Brigid Kemmerer I was expecting a murder mystery. I wasn’t necessarily expecting an action filled book but I was expecting something a little more than what I got. For me, THICKER THAN WATER, while well written, was very slow. I liked the main characters of Thomas and Charlotte but oh my stars did I have issues with pretty much all the secondary characters! Charlotte’s family was off the hook crazy in some of their reactions and the fact that they could just fly off the handle and make snap judgments with no proof and get away with it bugged me so very much.

I also didn’t fully buy a romance between Charlotte and Thomas. There was no real spark between them in a romantic sense but I did buy them as friends. So it made her betrayal all the more shocking and upsetting as Thomas really only had one person in this entire town who believed in him. I can’t even imagine how hard life must have been for Thomas and I got why he couldn’t leave as he had no real options to do so. But his isolation and accusations made this story all the more heartbreaking to read.

Thicker Than Water Quote

Where THICKER THAN WATER totally falls off the rails for me was in the mystery. There really wasn’t anything to it and there wasn’t a ton of investigation into it either. The conclusion just also left me shaking my head as it just all came out of nowhere. Because what I didn’t know when I picked up THICKER THAN WATER was that there was a paranormal element to the book and it just made for a weird little story. The paranormal aspects only added confusion and clunkiness to this story and it just didn’t seem to fit. There was no explanation for it or when these kids had these powers. This lack of detail also contributed to my dissatisfaction with the ending of THICKER THAN WATER.

I liked THICKER THAN WATER well enough when I was reading it but I found this story easy to put down. And once it was down there was nothing driving me to pick it back up again. The words in THICKER THAN WATER were pretty enough but there wasn’t a whole ton of substance to them. This book was very light on details and explanations and it just left me feeling all meh about it. THICKER THAN WATER is also a tad bit open ended in its conclusion. While the main mystery is solved there are enough open threads that there could be more stories set in this world and these characters. If there are, I’m not entirely sure if they would be stories that I would pick up. I just didn’t like this one enough to really care on what happens next with this crew.

irishdarkblue

IR - Thicker Than Water

Add I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga to Goodreads. (Click here for my review)

Add The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: In Real Life by Jessica Love

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: In Real Life by Jessica LoveIn Real Life by Jessica Love
Published by St Martin's Griffin on 01 March 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Music & Musicians, People & Places, People of Color, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To:  Unknown, California // Las Vegas, Nevada // Henderson, Nevada // Fontana, California // Primm Nevada

First Line(s): My best friend and I have never met.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up IN REAL LIFE by Jessica Love other than it sounded like a really cute story. After reading the first chapter I was hooked and didn’t want to put this book down. I loved Hannah’s voice and I loved her relationship with her sister Grace and her BFF Lo. Together they were fun and adorable and I wanted to be in the car with them as they road tripped it to Las Vegas. Their relationship isn’t perfect and there where times I wanted to shake Lo and Grace for their behavior, especially towards Hannah, but overall I loved their dynamic because it was real. Friends and siblings aren’t always going to get along and there are times when you are shitty to each other but that the love that binds them isn’t there. Love does a great job highlighting all these various shades of the friend and sibling relationship.

Love also does an amazing job with Hannah. As I said above, I loved her voice. She’s smart and pretty and awkward and all the things that so many people will be able to relate to. She makes a crazy decision to finally meet her BFF Nick, who she might also love, and jumps in whole heartedly even though she isn’t entirely sure what she’ll find at the end. I loved how Grace and Lo supported and encouraged her in this as Hannah was a little too straight-edged at times but that is in part because of her upbringing as a Korean-American and in part because her sister and Lo do enough crazy and they need Hannah to help ground them.

In Real Life Quote

 

IN REAL LIFE is a quick read and one that made my heart ache. Oh how I hated some of the things that happened because I wanted Nick and Hannah to meet and admit that they’d fallen madly in love. But then, if that was the story then it’d be pretty boring and I’d have very differently feelings. Instead, IN REAL LIFE has some secrets and twists and turns and heart ache as these characters all do and say things that makes you want to shake them. As a reader, I became totally invested in this story and felt so many feels. And even though there were times I wanted to shake Nick or Hannah or Lo or Grace I also adored all of these characters. I wanted everyone to find their Happily Ever Afters and I hated for IN REAL LIFE to end. Seriously, I need more words!!

For me, IN REAL LIFE is very much like ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS only instead of a boarding school in France there is a road trip and Las Vegas….though each book has the Eiffel Tower so see, the same! lol Hannah and Nick face many of the same obstacles as Anna and Etienne. Hannah and Anna are both girls out of their element and so a little shy and don’t want to take risks for fear of change. But they are both brave and while it takes time they each make a leap in order to take charge of their happiness. I think that Anna and Hannah would be good friends.

I picked up IN REAL LIFE expecting a cute story and I got that and so much more. I loved this book and I know that its one that I am going to be re-reading. Its a wonderful story and if you trust me at all then you are going to want to have a copy of it on your shelf.

irishdarkblue

IR - In Real Life

Click here to add Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Click here to add PS I Like You by Kasie West to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)

four-stars
Divider

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: The Score by Elle KennedyThe Score by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus,
Also in this series: The Deal, The Mistake
Published by Self-Published on 11 January 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Love & Romance, New Adult, Social Issues, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 249
Format: eARC
Source: Publicist
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Deal, The Mistake, Him, Us

Place(s) Traveled To: Hastings, Massachusetts // Brooklyn, New York // Manhattan, New York

First Line(s): Can we talk? 

Nothing makes me all bouncy with excitement like a new Elle Kennedy book and so I jumped at a chance to read THE SCORE which is the newest book in her Off-Campus series. THE SCORE stars Dean, the roommate of the male leads in THE DEAL (my review) and THE MISTAKE (my review), and Allie who is Hannah’s BFF, also seen in THE DEAL. Allie is just getting over a breakup with her long term boyfriend after a night that involved Tequila she ends up sleeping with resident man-whore Dean, king of the one night stand. And like all good man whores he falls hard when he finally meets his match. I loved the chemistry between Dean and Allie and loved how their story progressed. I was engrossed from the first page and I found that I couldn’t put this down once I’d started. It made my heart ache in all the ways that I love and I may have let out a happy little sight when I finished.

There’s just something about Allie and Dean that really works in THE SCORE and I loved reading about them, learning their backstories and see their journey to their happily every after. As with most New Adult stories THE SCORE comes complete with a break up moment and while not a pointless one as in most it seemed to lack a certain something. THE SCORE was filled with some great moments, Kennedy really built a great relationship with Allie and Dean and then you have this moment. Its sad and tragic and just seemed to come out of nowhere. It lacked….something….and just left me a bit underwhelmed. Then there was that moment at the end that just seemed so forced and while it acts as a lead in for THE GOAL (goodreads) I am not sure if that is a story I want to read based on the characters involved. Well, one character in particular.

The Score Quote

One thing that I really liked about THE SCORE was all the cameos in this book as Dean’s teammates really make me laugh a their antics and its always fun seeing how old friends are doing. I love seeing the friendships that exist in this book continue throughout the various stories as they really help to flesh out the world. Even those characters that you don’t really care for. Elle Kennedy’s THE SCORE is a Mary Poppins sort of book which means its nearly perfect in every way. THE SCORE has its flaws but they don’t keep you from loving the score and characters and world that Kennedy has created.

THE SCORE is a book that can be read independently, just as any of the Off-Campus books can, but the whole story becomes richer when you read them all. This is one of those series that I can’t help but recommend to all who enjoy a good new adult romance. Kennedy writes smart, funny characters and really knows how to write the sexy times. I know that I will be entertained by an Elle Kennedy and even though I’m currently on the fence about THE GOAL. I was once on the fence about ALL BROKE DOWN as well and we all know how that turned out (my review.)

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Score

 

Add Rule by Jay Crownover to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Whisper to Me by Christina Lee to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

four-stars
Divider