Source: NetGalley

Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry

Posted February 28, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarryReviewer: Rowena
Only a Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
Publisher: Macmillan, Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 365
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars

Bestselling author Katie McGarry’s trademark wrong-side-of-the-tracks romance is given a new twist in the gritty YA contemporary novel, Only a Breath Apart.

Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Katie McGarry writes really emotional YA books that I have had no trouble falling into in the past. Her Pushing the Limits series is one of my favorite YA series and so I’m always on the lookout for more stuff from her. When this book made it onto my radar, I knew that I wanted it. I also knew that it was probably going to be an emotional read because McGarry does emotion well and I was right. This book made me cry and when I put it down, I was completely satisfied with the story as a whole and loved both Jesse and Scarlett so much.

This book follows two childhood best friends who were ripped apart by betrayal as they come together, years later and realize that their friendship was always meant to be more than friendship.

Jesse Lachlin had a pretty rocky childhood. His mother went from one bad relationship to the next and Jesse was always shipped from wherever his Mom was when things were going good for her to the more stable home at his grandmother’s house when things weren’t good for his Mom. He was no stranger to domestic abuse and he hated that his Mom never found the peace she craved while she was alive. Jesse was a witness to his mother’s murder and carries a lot of trauma and guilt over it. One of the things he remembers most from his Mom was her telling him that their family was cursed and as long as they stayed on their family land in Kentucky, they’d be okay because otherwise, everyone close to them will die.

Scarlett Copeland is planning an escape from her life. She has plans for her future and they do not include staying close to the home that she’s always known where her father is like a ticking bomb, waiting to go off and she vows to be long gone when that finally happens. When her parents informed her that she was not going to college at the University of Kentucky like she wanted but was going to attend the business school in town so that she can stay home instead of live in the dorms on campus, Scarlett knew she was on her own…and that meant letting the boy she called her best friend when she was a kid back into her life because whether she wanted it or not, she needed his help…and he needed hers.

Their journeys were not easy ones and throughout this entire book, both Jesse and Scarlett are put through the wringer. My heart hurt for both of them and all that they went through but boy did I love how they came together in the end. They were stronger together and seeing them want to be strong for each other after their history was just so satisfying. Katie McGarry did her thing with this book. It was packed with compelling characters and an emotional roller coaster that readers will not soon forget. I will say that it took me a little bit to get into the story because the beginning was a little slow but once I got a feel for who the characters were, what they were about, it was so easy for me to fall into the story and I ended up really enjoying it. It’s a good one, guys. I recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Review: Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Posted February 12, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Lake Silence by Anne BishopReviewer: Holly
Lake Silence (The Others, #6) by Anne Bishop
Series: The Others #6
Also in this series: Written in Red (The Others, #1), Murder of Crows (The Others, #2), Vision in Silver (The Others, #3), Marked in Flesh (The Others, #4), Etched in Bone (The Others, #5)
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First Person
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 402
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

In this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy, set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, Vicki DeVine and her lodger, the shapeshifter Aggie Crowe, stumble onto a dead body . . . and find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others–vampires, shapeshifters, and paranormal beings even more deadly. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns like Vicki’s have no distance from the Others, the dominant predators that rule most of the land and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what’s out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger, Aggie Crowe–one of the shapeshifting Others–discovers a dead body, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the man’s death on her, despite the evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, things get dangerous–and it’ll take everything they have to stay alive.

Like many others, I was disappointed when I realized Lake Silence was going to be set in the world of The Others, but wouldn’t feature any of my favorite characters from the Lakeside Courtyard. While there is a passing mention of some of the characters, this novel features a new cast. Soon enough I was wrapped up in the story, however, and I ended up loving it. This read like one of the “Crowgard Cozies” the Lakeside Female Pack was so enamored with.

Vicki DeVine got a rustic resort near Lake Silence in her divorce. For the past few months she’s been working hard to restore it. Per the terms of the original sale, Vicki has to be very careful in how she renovates. The Others – shape-shifting beings who rule the Earth – were very specific in the deal with her husband’s ancestors and she doesn’t want to do anything to anger them. When her boarder, Aggie (a crow shape-shifter), turns up with a human eye, Vicki discovers a murder took place near her resort. While a human detective wants to pin it on her, The Others protect her. They’ve come to see Vicki as someone who can help teach them about the humans.

Vicki’s marriage was not a good one, and she’s still dealing the trauma of living with an abusive man for too many years. For her, the resort is a refuge. A place to rebuild her life as well as the crumbling cabins and overgrown grounds. I enjoyed Vicki’s personal growth over the course of the novel, as well as getting to know The Others who reside nearby. There are hints of a romance between Vicki and the owner of the bookshop in town, but merely hints. I wonder if Bishop will return to Lake Silence at some point in the future?

I was fully engrossed in the novel, and very much look forward to the next installment.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Others

four-stars


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Review: The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay

Posted February 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlayReviewer: Holly
The Good Ones (Happily Ever After #1) by Jenn McKinlay
Series: Happily Ever After #1
Also in this series: The Good Ones (Happily Ever After #1)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

A romance bookstore owner finds her own happily ever after with a single dad in a new romance series from the New York Times bestselling author of Every Dog Has His Day.

Ryder Copeland is an accomplished architect and one heck of a father...not to mention tall and sexy. He's everything a hero should be, and Lord knows, Maisy Kelly has read enough of her great-aunt Eloise's romance novels to recognize one when she sees one. But like all fairy tales, Maisy can't help but wonder if this Prince Charming is too good to be true...

Ryder is drawn to the shy, curly haired professor who hires him to convert the Victorian house she's inherited from her aunt into a romance bookstore. Attracted to a woman for the first time since his divorce, Ryder finds himself wishing for a future with Maisy that he knows is impossible. Ryder has never wavered from his plan to leave the small town of Fairdale, North Carolina, so he can give his daughter the life she deserves. But suddenly he's not so sure. And the closer he gets to Maisy, the harder it's going to be to walk away...

The Good Ones by Jenn McKinlay is the start of the Happily Ever After series, set in a small South Carolina town. It’s the first book I’ve read by McKinlay.

Lit professor Maisy Kelly is starting over after being passed over for a promotion in favor of her less-qualified, cheating ex. She’s determined to turn the old Victorian she inherited from her much-beloved aunt into a romance novel bookstore. She hires architect Ryder Copeland to restore the house – and add a turret – before the grand opening. Maisy cut her teeth on romance novels and she recognizes a true romance hero when she sees one..and boy does Ryder fit the bill. As a single father and a courtly southern cowboy, he ticks all her boxes. Too bad he isn’t in the market for a relationship.

Ryder knows he isn’t a good fit in a relationship – his broken marriage is proof of that. He can’t even bring himself to say those three little words to his daughter, much less a woman. He might feel deeply, but he’s never been good at expressing his emotions. If ever he was tempted by a woman, however, it would be Maisy Kelly. The shy, romantic really does it for him. But for Ryder, it isn’t just about his commitment issues. He’s moving at the end of the summer when his daughter goes away to boarding school.

This is my first novel by this author. While I enjoyed the writing over all, there were a few quirks that bothered me a bit. Such as the overly descriptive sentences and the overuse of similes. I also struggled with the pacing in the second half of the book. I really liked the premise and the slow-building romance, but I wanted something more to happen in the second half.

The story was cute story. I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Ryder and his daughter had a great relationship. He was a great dad who really cared for his daughter and wanted what was best for her. They didn’t always see eye to eye, but it was obvious to all that they were close and easy with each other. I really loved the friendships Maisy had. Some of the best parts of the book featured Maisy and her girlfriends watching movies, joking and laughing together.

Though I struggled with the pacing in the second half, I enjoyed the humor and sweetness of the story. The strong female relationships and sexy single-dad really worked for me. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Happily Ever After

three-half-stars


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Joint Review: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

Posted February 7, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Three Little Words by Jenny HolidayReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Three Little Words (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #3) by Jenny Holiday
Series: Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #3
Also in this series: One and Only (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1), It Takes Two (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #2), Merrily Ever After (Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, #2.5)
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Gia Gallo is officially in bridesmaid hell. Stranded in New York with her best friend's wedding dress, Gia has six days to make it to Florida in time for the ceremony. And oh-so-charming best man Bennett Buchanan has taken the last available rental car. Looks like she's in for one long road trip with the sexiest - and most irritating - Southern gentleman she's ever met...

Bennett's pretty sure that if there was ever a woman to break his "no flings" rule, Gia would be it. Sure, she's stubborn. She's also funny, smart, and the attraction between them is getting hotter with every state line they cross. While Bennett doesn't do casual, Gia doesn't do "relationships." But if they break the rules, this unlikely pair might discover that their impromptu road trip could turn out to be the best ride of their lives.

Three Little Words is the third book in Jenny Holiday’s Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series and it features the last woman standing, Gia Gallo as she road trips her way to her own happy ending with Noah’s best friend, Bennett Buchanan. Holly and I both got the book for review, so we decided to review it together.

Rowena: Alright Holly, let’s do this. What did you think?

Holly: I hated it. I can’t believe you forced me to read this awful book.

J/K

It was great. It was a quick, light read but really dealt with some darker themes. I loved Bennett so much. He was such a nice guy. What about you?

Rowena: Haha, I was going to say….

I adored this book. I adored this series, really. It was just such a feel-good bunch of books that really worked for me. I loved the friendships between all of the girls and the heroes that fall in love with them were no slouches either. Bennett and Gia were wonderful together and I loved seeing them come together the way that they did. In the beginning, we see Gia acting low key crazy at the airport and having read the other books in this series, that took me by surprise because the Gia that I knew from those books would not have been crazy like that…but then again, I was seeing Gia through the eyes of the people that loved her so it was different. What did you think of Gia right off the bat?

Holly: Since I didn’t read the other books in the series I didn’t have any expectations going in. I’m not going to lie, Gia turned me off in the beginning. Truthfully, I never really felt connected to her. My heart hurt for her at times, but I wasn’t really invested in her as a character. That’s not to say I didn’t like her, because I did. Her snark and attitude had me laughing, and I loved how sharp she was. Every time she spouted off some simple fix for what seemed to be giant problems for people, it made me smile. I guess I just didn’t really connect with where she was at in her life.

Rowena: I get that, especially because I had the same thoughts and I loved Gia. I was a bit disappointed that I connected with her character more in the other books but when Gia stops acting like a freaking brat, I was glad and really loved seeing her get her shit together.

Holly: What about Bennett? Did you love him? How did he compare to the other heroes from this series?

Rowena: Bennett was the bomb. I loved him in Wendy’s book and was super excited when I found out that he was Gia’s hero. He completely lived up to my expectations of him and my heart hurt for him when Gia takes him to Charleston because seeing him deal with the shit that was never fixed in his life made me all soft for him. He really turned his life around and seeing the guy that he was after everything he lived through just made him the freaking best.

Holly: Oh man, I got all melty for Bennett after they went to Charleston. He was such a stand-up guy. I wanted to see things work out for him. I’m glad he ended up with Gia and that she took such good care of him.

Rowena: Do you think that you’ll read the other books in this series?

Holly: I definitely want to read Wendy’s book. I’m not sure about the others. I don’t not want to read them, I’m just not as interested in them as I am Wendy.

Rowena: Honestly, there was a lot for me to love. I loved seeing everyone again and I loved seeing Bennett up close and personal. I also really loved how Gia and Bennett help each other with their individual problems and I’m not going to lie, I wanted Bennett to cook for me after finishing this book. I just know he’d be the bomb. I totally give this 4.5 out of 5, what about you?

Holly: I enjoyed the book overall. Gia wasn’t my favorite, and I wasn’t that invested in the other couples since I didn’t read any of the other books, but the friendships the girls (and the guys) had and the way Bennett was made the book for me. I’m giving it 3.75 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

Bridesmaids Behaving Badly

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Fearless King by Katee Robert

Posted February 5, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fearless King by Katee RobertReviewer: Jen
The Fearless King (The Kings, #2) by Katee Robert
Series: The Kings #2
Also in this series: The Last King
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Fake boyfriend. Real danger.

Journey King is an expert at managing the family business. But when her father returns to Houston hell-bent on making a play for the company, Journey will do anything to stop him, even if that means going to Frank Evans for help. Frank deals in information, the dirtier the better. Rugged and rock solid, he’s by far her best ally—and also the most dangerous.

Frank knows better than to get tangled up with the Kings. But something about Journey’s rare vulnerability drags him deep into enemy territory . . . and into her darkest past. Pretending to be her boyfriend may be necessary for their plan to work, but Frank soon finds helping Journey is much more than just another job—and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

The Last King by Katee Robert was one of my favorite books of 2018, so I was beyond excited to get a hold of The Fearless King. I wasn’t disappointed!

Frank Evans appeared in book 1 as Beckett’s best friend. He’s a real estate mogul and general financial powerhouse in Houston, and he has an extensive network of information gathering and general badass employees across the city. In other words, he gets things done. Journey King is Beckett’s estranged cousin, and after Beckett drove her mother out of town in the last book, the energy company the family runs has been scrambling to adjust. Journey and Frank clearly have some unacknowledged attraction, but they try to stay far away from each other. When Journey’s father shows back up and puts their control of the company in jeopardy (and terrorizes Journey in the process), she turns to Frank for help.

This series is not too melodramatic or cheesy to be tolerated, but it does include piles of drama for a rich Texas family. For me, it strikes the right balance between soap opera and romantic suspense. You do have to suspend a bit of disbelief, however. You have to believe that these families could really be so cold and calculating, and you have to believe that there won’t be any serious legal or social consequences for anyone at the end of the book. I was down with it; you may not be.

Journey’s father is a straight up garbage human being. Trigger warning: Journey and her siblings were physically abused by their father as children. There are no graphic descriptions given; in fact, no one says much beyond acknowledging the abuse (and mentioning it was not sexual). The book is not abuse porn! In some ways, though, the lack of description makes it a bit harder to understand Journey’s terror. She is clearly terrified of her father and has suffered severely because of the abuse for her entire life. Her father’s mere presence sends her into an emotional and physical tailspin, which is what leads her to seek help from Frank. We just have to trust that something very, very messed up happened in Journey’s childhood.

My favorite part of the book is Journey’s growth. She starts the book constantly calling herself “the weakest link.” She believes she is broken and incapable of standing up to her father as a result of his emotional abuse. He conditioned her to believe she was weak. As the book goes on, however, Journey starts to believe in herself again. She realizes she has a role to play in protecting her family and Frank, and that gives her a sense of purpose and courage. I just loved seeing her transformation! I also love that while Frank’s support is a comfort and helps her see herself through new eyes, he is not the one who “fixes” her.

I also appreciated that this book acknowledges that Frank, an African American, faces racism, and that that racism has shaped his choices and his personality. His father went to prison unfairly because of a justice system biased against him, and Frank is always aware that no matter how much money he makes, he will always be looked down on by racist Houston socialites. Kudos to Katee Robert for not glossing over Frank’s skin color and for acknowledging that racism exists, even in Romancelandia.

While I’m not quite as in love with this book as I was with book 1, I am 100% here for the King family and this series.

Grade: 4 out of 5

The Kings

four-stars


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