Publisher: Macmillan

Guest Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Posted January 2, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Under Currents by Nora RobertsReviewer: Tracy
Under Currents by Nora Roberts
Narrator: January LeVoy
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 436
Length: 14 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.

As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her Be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.

When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…

This is a difficult review to write.  Not only because of the subject matter, but because I don’t want to add spoilers into it.

You’d think that the Bigelow family was perfect.  They had a big beautiful house, lots of money, the father is a doctor and the mother doesn’t even have to work!  The children are darned near perfect as well!  But behind closed doors no one knows the abuse that the wife and children suffer at the hands of the Dr. Bigelow – a monster. The mom does nothing to help her children as she’s fine with the abuse as long as he doesn’t hit her face.

WTF?

When the son of the family, Zane, is 14 years old his father goes a bit nuts and hurts every family member.  When the daughter calls the police, their father blames everything on Zane stating that he went crazy.  The police believe the father because he’s a doctor and why would he lie? Ugh.

The story eventually moves on to Zane’s adulthood and him falling for a new woman in town. She also was abused by her husband and is looking for a new life.  Zane is now a lawyer and has just moved back to town after working in a large city for years.  The story is about them falling in love and adjusting to their new lives.  Of course there can’t be a HEA without a villain to try to ruin it all.

This book is told in four parts. The first part was incredible, though very hard to listen to.  The abuse was graphic and hard to hear, but it was written incredibly well and narrated perfectly.  Unfortunately, parts 2-4 fell flat for me.  There were definitely things happening but there was too much every-day life being told.  I get that books need that, but not for 3 parts of the book, imho.  The parts that had to do with the villain were predictable and not that exciting.

The romance (and I use that term loosely) was truly unimaginative. I guess I just expect more from Roberts.  I know this isn’t classified as a romance, but if you’re going to include one in the book then it needs to be done well and I just can’t say that it was.

Overall it was a decent read, but not one I can highly recommend. That said, I adored the narrator, January LeVoy. Strong voice, great characters voices, and just a pleasure to listen to.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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What Are You Reading? (+ Julia Chapman Giveaway)

Posted July 12, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 6 Comments

Casee: I’ve done quite a bit of Kristen Ashley reading/listening this month. KA just does it for me. I wasn’t too excited to listen to one of her audiobooks because they are so long, but I am so glad I did. Complicated was amazing on audio. I loved it. I also read Fire Inside and Walk Through Fire from KA’s Chaos series. I’m currently reading Wild Like the Wind by Kristen Ashley. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I’m not a fan of the heroine so far.

I’m listening to Hard Sell by Lauren Layne. I didn’t think I would really care for this book because I didn’t like the characters in the first book of the series. It has been surprisingly good.

Holly: I did a lot of re-reading this week. I read Wildest Dreams, Fantastical and Midnight Soul by Kristen Ashley. I listened to How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper. The ebook was on sale with the audio addition, so I bought it. Then I had to listen to it again. Jonathan Davis isn’t my favorite male narrator, but I love Amanda Ronconi.

For new-to-me books, I listened to Mister O by Lauren Blakely. It was a cute Best Friend’s Sister romance. I’m taking a break from Blakely now so I don’t burn out. I read Untamed Delights by Suzanne Wright, the final book in the Phoenix Pack series. I’m sad to see it come to an end. I read Wait No More by Stephanie Nicole Norris, an Amazon rec. I liked the base romance, but the plot frustrated me some. Still, I’ll look for more of her books in the future. I also read The Whole 30: The Official 30-day Guide To Total Health And Food Freedom by Melissa Hartwig. It was an interesting read.

Rowena: I only read a couple of books this week but both books were quality reads and I’m very happy with both of them. I read Wolf Rain (Psy-Changeling Trinity #3) by Nalini Singh and I read Lauren Layne’s new release The Prenup. I really enjoyed Wolf Rain but I FLIPPIN’ LOVED THE PRENUP! I didn’t know what to expect because I kept hearing that Lauren Layne was going away from her steamy romances and because I LOVE her steamy romances, I was a little hesitant to start this one but I shouldn’t have worried because Lauren Layne delivered another emotional roller coaster of a romance that didn’t suffer any without the sex scenes, IMO. I enjoyed it so much that I cried. It was so stinkin’ good.

Now, I’m reading Beginner’s Luck (Chance of a Lifetime #1) by Kate Clayborne and I’ll probably listen to Like the Wind by J. Bengtsson for some buddy reads before I jump into my review pile for the month. Wish me luck!

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Julia Chapman Giveaway)Date with Malice by Julia Chapman
Series: The Dales Detective #2
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: October 19, 2017
Format: Print
Source: Publisher
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 400
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

"It’s dark in the Dales this winter . . .

When Mrs Shepherd arrives at the Dales Detective Agency on a December morning, quite convinced that someone is trying to kill her, Samson O’Brien dismisses her fears as the ramblings of a confused elderly lady. But after a series of disturbing incidents at Fellside Court retirement home, he begins to wonder if there is something to her claims after all . . .

With Christmas around the corner, Samson is thrown into a complex investigation. One that will require him to regain the trust of the Dales community he turned his back on so long ago. Faced with no choice, he enlists the help of a local – the tempestuous Delilah Metcalfe.

Against the backdrop of a Yorkshire winter, Samson and Delilah must work together once again if they are to uncover the malevolence threatening the elderly residents of Bruncliffe. Could the danger be perilously close to home?"

What Are You Reading: Date with Malice by Julia Chapman

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann

Posted June 17, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: If It Makes You Happy by Claire KannReviewer: Holly
If It Makes You Happy by Claire Kann
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
dnf

High school finally behind her, Winnie is all set to attend college in the fall. But first she's spending her summer days working at her granny’s diner and begins spending her midnights with Dallas—the boy she loves to hate and hates that she likes. Winnie lives in Misty Haven, a small town where secrets are impossible to keep—like when Winnie allegedly snaps on Dr. Skinner, which results in everyone feeling compelled to give her weight loss advice for her own good. Because they care that’s she’s “too fat.”

Winnie dreams of someday inheriting the diner—but it'll go away if they can't make money, and fast. Winnie has a solution—win a televised cooking competition and make bank. But Granny doesn't want her to enter—so Winnie has to find a way around her formidable grandmother. Can she come out on top?

I discovered this book while browsing NetGalley. I don’t usually read YA, but the cover caught my eye (I absolutely adore it..that girl is super cute) and the blurb was interesting, so I decided to give it a try. It started out great. I like Kann’s writing style – simple, yet beautiful. The story flowed well and I was really feeling Winnie, her family and the town.

Sadly, things went downhill around page 40. I thought I was getting a fun story about a girl trying to save her granny’s diner, but that’s not what this is. Part of the problem stems from the stream-of-consciousness writing style. The chapters don’t really seem to go anywhere. Every thought Winnie has is on paper for us to read, so the chapters feel like rambley thoughts, rather than a story that’s headed somewhere. The blurb mentions a baking contest, but aside from a slight mention, there was little of that in the first quarter of the story. Winnie is supposedly happy with who she is, but suddenly the entire focus of the story shifted to her weight. The sudden shift in focus took me by surprise and turned me off the story.

This may have worked better for me if I’d gone into with different expectations. As it is, I wasn’t invested enough in the story or the characters to continue.

Rating: DNF

dnf


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Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

Posted June 6, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene GooReviewer: Rowena
Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she's just performed her hit song "Heartbeat" in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She's about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She's in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She's very cute. He's maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.

Last year, I read Maurene Goo’s The Way You Make Me Feel and I really enjoyed that one so when I came across this book while browsing Netgalley, I knew that I was going to request to review it. I was mostly interested in seeing what Goo does with that fall in love in one day scenario and even though I didn’t read The Sun is Also a Star, I did see the movie and the whole scenario didn’t work well for me there. After reading this one, I’m thinking of going back and reading The Sun is Also a Star because, in my opinion, that scenario works better in print than it did on screen.

I will say that though I enjoyed the story, it took me a little bit to get into the story because to start things off, Lucky, the k-pop superstar decides to sneak out of her hotel room to grab a burger after she took some pills to help her sleep and she gets lost. She runs into Jack, who is, of course, trying to break into the paparazzo scene. At first, Jack doesn’t know who Lucky is so he helps her out because she seems to be struggling but once he found out who she was, he doesn’t reveal what he is and the night really kicks off because Lucky is really determined to get a hamburger. I will say that I was not a fan of this, it rubbed me wrong but over the course of the story, Goo does a great job of turning things around for me.

One of the things that I really enjoyed in The Way You Make Me Feel was how Goo brings L.A. to life. She does the same thing here. I’ve never been to Hong Kong but I could see everything that Jack and Lucky saw and taste everything that they ate while they explored the city so clearly. Goo does this really well and though I didn’t enjoy this book nearly as much as I liked The Way You Make Me Feel, I thought Goo did a great job of showing us readers the realities of being a k-pop star.

Overall, this was a quick read. The beginning was a little slow and there were times when I wanted to smack Jack and Lucky around but all in all, this was a cute read.

Final Grade

3.25 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: You’d be Mine by Erin Hahn

Posted April 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: You’d be Mine by Erin HahnReviewer: Rowena
You'd Be Mine by Erin Hahn
Publisher: Macmillan, Wednesday Books
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 New to Me Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

This book came to my attention while I was browsing Netgalley. I thought it was going to be a fluffy contemporary YA romance and since that’s my YA jam, I requested it. The book was a lot deeper than I was expecting but I thought the entire story was pretty solid and I’m glad that I read it. I enjoyed getting to know both Annie and Clay, seeing their relationship blossom on the road and I just liked it all.

Country Superstar, Clay Coolidge is spiraling out of control. It is obvious from the very beginning that something happened to this guy and he’s not handling it too well. On the verge of losing his summer tour, Clay has to get an unsigned artist that his label is anxious to sign on board to be his opening act if he wants to go on tour. So he flies out to meet Annie Mathers.

Annie’s going through her own shit, dealing with the death of her parents and it’s probably not a good idea to go into the same business that they were in but music is a calling for her and she’s really good so when Clay comes knocking, she goes where the music takes her.

It’s only natural that on a tour, you get close to the people that are on the tour with you. Clay and Annie were drawn to each other and I thought that Hahn handled their relationship well. Clay could come off as such an asshole, an irresponsible one at that but I never wanted to give up on his character. I thought he came into his own in a real and believable way and I really enjoyed getting to know him but I also really enjoyed getting to know Annie too. Their romance was pretty great too. It wasn’t the main focus but I still enjoyed it. I loved seeing them grow together, closer and closer in friendship until he couldn’t survive her just as much as she couldn’t survive him. 🙂

I’m a huge country music fan so I enjoyed this and adored the song “You’d be Mine” too. This book is big on friendships, hardships and growing pains and if you’re into deep contemporary YA’s, I recommend you try this one out because it’s an enjoyable read with great characters, heavy themes with a satisfying ending. Check it out!

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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