Tag: Simon and Schuster

Guest Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Posted September 14, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen HooverReviewer: Tracy
It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
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four-stars

SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

When Lily Bloom was fifteen years old she met Atlas. He was a senior in high school to her sophomore.  She’s wondering what he was doing living in the abandoned house behind her own.  She makes a point to talk to him and they soon strike up a friendship. It turns out that Atlas’s mother kicked him out because her new husband didn’t like him and since he was 18 she was under no obligation to let him live with her. Lily helps Atlas take showers, as well as get clothes, food and blankets to survive. Their friendship soon becomes love but then Atlas contacts his uncle in Boston and moves there so that he can have a real home.

Lilly’s own home life wasn’t fabulous either.  Her father abused her mother on a regular basis and she couldn’t understand why her mom didn’t take Lily and leave.  She thought of her as weak.

Fast forward to Lily at the age of 22 when she is just back in Boston – her new home – from attending her father’s funeral.  She decides to watch some stars and finds an apartment building near her own that has a great roof deck.  While there she unexpectedly meets Ryle.  Ryle is a neurosurgeon competing his residency.  They tell each other some hard truths – they call them naked truths – but when Ryle gets called away they don’t plan on seeing each other ever again.  Lily wants a husband and family and Ryle thinks marriage is repulsive and wants nothing to do with children.

Six months later and Lily is opening her own flower shop like she’s always wanted.  She hires Alyssa who wanders in off the street and she ends up being Ryle’s sister.  Neither Ryle nor Lily can get the other off their mind.  They end up together but it turns out that Ryle has some issues that cause Lily to really look at him, their relationship and their future together.  When she meets Atlas again after seven years apart Lily has to face her thoughts about him and how their relationship ended.

Let me tell you it’s so very hard to write this review without giving you HUGE spoilers but I’m gonna give it a whirl.

This story was incredibly hard to read at times.  The subject matter is about something that you hope, in your life, you never have to face, but Lily did.  Looking at things about herself and Ryle from the inside of their relationship made her see that nothing is black and white.  She assumed that if she saw the same issues in another couple that her decision would be non-negotiable but seeing things from the inside was different for her.  The way that Hoover made us look at matters from a different point of view was quite heart-wrenching.  While she had me smiling at different points in the book she had me crying at others.

The characters in the story are really amazingly written.  I really loved them all – yes, ALL.  Alyssa with her wonderful personality as well as her husband, Marshall who cracked me up whenever he was on page.  Atlas had an incredible soul – even at 18 years of age and that didn’t change when he was older, either. Lily was an incredible strong girl and woman.  I didn’t ever see her as weak and truly admired her.  Ryle, as much as I wanted to hate him I just really couldn’t.  Despite his issues I still liked him at the end of the book which is saying something, let me tell you.

I want to say that though the blurb alludes to a love triangle there isn’t really one in the book.  I truly hate love triangles.  I try to avoid them at all costs so went in to this book with a sense of trepidation.  I was thrilled with the way that Hoover dealt with Lily, Ryle and Atlas – it was so well done! (I did hate his name, however.  It threw me out of the book so many times it got a bit frustrating, I must say.)

The book was fun and funny at times. It was also painful and sad to read for a whole slew of reasons. A lot of people would stay away from it because of those reasons but you shouldn’t.  It’s not a typical Hoover book but it was definitely worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne

Posted July 27, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: To Have and to Hold by Lauren LayneReviewer: Rowena
To Have and to Hold (Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne
Series: Wedding Belles #1
Also in this series: From This Day Forward (Wedding Belles #0.5), For Better or Worse (Wedding Belles #2), To Love and to Cherish (Wedding Belles #3)
Published by Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars

USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true…but their own.

Discovering her fiancé is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help.

But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again. Lauren Layne has fast become one of my favorite go to author for fabulous contemporary romances and she didn’t disappoint with the first book in her new Wedding Belles series. I was wrapped up tight in this story from beginning to end and I enjoyed the entire ride.

Seth Tyler’s sister is getting married to a guy that she just met and Seth doesn’t trust his soon to be brother in law. Seth and his sister Maya are the heir and heiress to the Tyler hotel riches and it’s not a surprise that Seth thinks Neil, Maya’s new out of nowhere fiancé is after the family riches. He’s got no proof of anything shady, just his gut feeling and after meeting Neil, his spidey senses are on high alert.

After a disastrous wedding that didn’t happen, Brooke left the West Coast for the chilly winters of New York City. Her disastrous wedding that didn’t happen wrecked her wedding planning career in Los Angeles so she’s hoping to take her services to New York City and start up the process of building her work reputation up again. Her first wedding in New York is Maya Tyler’s wedding to Neil Garrett and things would be going fine if it weren’t for Maya’s meddling and grumpy older brother, holder of the family purse strings, Seth. He’s not a fan of the idea that his little sister is marrying someone after knowing them for such a short time. He’s controlling and he quite frankly, gets on Brooke’s nerves. The more time that he spends hovering over Maya’s shoulder, the more fun he’s taking out of Maya’s pre-wedding experiences and Brooke is not having that. If that means she’ll have to meet with him weekly to keep him apprised of everything going on so that he won’t be there and then do a little snooping for him, she’ll do it. She’ll do it for Maya because Maya deserves to be happy during the happy times.

These meetings between Seth and Brooke are fraught with sexual chemistry and the heat between them singed my iPad with each passing page. I loved the way that their romance built up until they were both consumed with each other and their feelings. Their romance wasn’t perfect but it was interesting and entertaining and I was right there with the both of them as they tried and tried again to get things right.

There were times when they both got on my nerves with their bullheadedness over every little thing but in the end, they both won me over and I closed this book with a smile on my face.

I loved Seth. Even when he was being a complete dickhead and messing things up for everyone in his personal life, I loved him. I loved the controlling dumbass because at the root of everything, his intentions were good and even though I wish he had listened to both Brooke and Grant, he came around in the end and I truly felt like he learned from his mistakes. That was some grand gesture too. Total swoon-worthy move that only a freaking billionaire could make. Took me right to my happy place. I loved it.

Brooke was a great heroine as well. She was strong and she was independent and even though I thought it was a little soon for her to be moving on after her disrupted wedding, I came around to the idea because had it been me? I would have jumped Seth’s bone after two weeks instead of three months. LOL.

Overall, this was fun and it was flirty and it was everything that I love about reading a Lauren Layne book. Seth and Brooke were a great main couple and the lead up to Heather’s book was great too. I can’t wait to dig into Heather’s book and meet her noisy hot neighbor. This series started off on a great note with From this Day Forward and it continued to entertain me with this one so I’m on board for it all. Bring on Heather and Alexis. I want them!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries writing as Deborah Martin

Posted July 1, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries writing as Deborah MartinReviewer: Tracy
Stormswept by Sabrina Jeffries, Deborah Martin
Series: Wales Series #1
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: June 28th 2016
Genres: Historical Romance
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four-stars

The first wedding night that Lady Juliana St. Albans spent with the dark and daring Rhys Vaughan was intoxicating, the heady culmination of her new husband’s driving hunger and her own awakened sensuality. When he mysteriously disappeared the next morning, she waited for him in hope and desperation. And when he was finally proclaimed dead in a shipwreck, she bitterly mourned the loss of her love.

The second wedding night that Juliana spent with Rhys Vaughan was six years later, after he returned to claim her just as she was about to wed another. This Rhys was different—bolder, harder, and convinced that she’d betrayed him. Only their blazing passion remains from their years apart. But is it enough to light their way through the maze of mystery, menace, and mistrust—to the love they once shared and would have to find again?

Juliana St. Albans is considered a blue-stocking.  Her and her family reside in Wales but are English.  She hears about a meeting of the Sons of Wales which was a group of men who were opposing the English and the loss of the Welsh language among many other things.  The speaker of the group that night was Rhys Vaughan who is the son of a local squire.  Rhys’s father had gambled against Juliana’s father and had lost their family estate because of it.  Dressed as a lady’s maid she attends the Sons of Wales meeting and can’t help but become completely infatuated with Rhys Vaughan.  He is compelling and a wonderful speaker as well as a gorgeous man.

Rhys stops Juliana after the meeting as he’s intrigued by her as well.  When he finds out who she really is he heads to her house to speak with her father as he’s just positive the father sent her to be a spy.  He’s very wrong and Juliana gets into some serious trouble.  As she’s confined to her room for a two-week period Rhys climbs a tree and visits her.  Juliana should hate him for getting her into trouble but she just can’t.  They become friends and Rhys ends up visiting every night.  They talk about books and poetry and soon find themselves in love.  They plan to elope, which they do, but instead of fleeing afterward as they had planned they get separated and Rhys is impressed into the English Navy.

Now it’s six years later and Juliana believes Rhys is dead.  He still has her heart but she also wants a family.  At her betrothal dinner Rhys shows up and Juliana is thrilled but completely shocked.  Of course when he starts flinging accusations at her that she knows aren’t true she finds she must clear the air.  While she’s incredibly mad at her husband she’s so happy he’s home.  If only he could trust that what she tells him is the truth they could be happy once again.  But Rhys had a very long time in the Navy to think about Juliana’s involvement in his impressment and he’s positive that it was all her idea.  Will they ever work through the lies and find the love they once shared for each other?

This was a really good story.  I liked so many things about it.  First and foremost were Rhys and Juliana.  While I was pissed at Rhys’s attitude for a lot of the book I was still impressed with how he survived all the years in the Navy and then in America.  Even as mad as he was at Juliana all those years he truly never stopped loving her and of course Juliana waited for him for years and years, hoping he would return to her.

The person behind it all made me incredibly angry.  He might have told himself that he was doing what he did for his sister but it was all purely selfish and I disliked him intensely.  The fact that he kept lying and lying straight to Juliana’s face made me want to slap him on numerous occasions.  Then there was his involvement with her lady’s maid and wow – what a bastard.

Anyway, the story was a really good one that I enjoyed reading.  This is a reissue of the original that was published in 1995 so you might have read it way back when.  If you haven’t read it you should and if you have, you should read it again.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Posted May 19, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill SmolinskiReviewer: Tina
Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinski

Publication Date: May 1st 2012
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 320
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five-stars

In the humorous, heartfelt new novel by the author of The Next Thing on My List, a personal organizer must somehow convince a reclusive artist to give up her hoarding ways and let go of the stuff she’s hung on to for decades.

Lucy Bloom is broke, freshly dumped by her boyfriend, and forced to sell her house to send her nineteen-year-old son to drug rehab. Although she’s lost it all, she’s determined to start over. So when she’s offered a high-paying gig helping clear the clutter from the home of reclusive and eccentric painter Marva Meier Rios, Lucy grabs it. Armed with the organizing expertise she gained while writing her book, Things Are Not People, and fueled by a burning desire to get her life back on track, Lucy rolls up her sleeves to take on the mess that fills every room of Marva’s huge home. Lucy soon learns that the real challenge may be taking on Marva, who seems to love the objects in her home too much to let go of any of them.

While trying to stay on course toward a strict deadline—and with an ex-boyfriend back in the picture, a new romance on the scene, and her son’s rehab not going as planned—Lucy discovers that Marva isn’t just hoarding, she is also hiding a big secret. The two form an unlikely bond, as each learns from the other that there are those things in life we keep, those we need to let go—but it’s not always easy to know the difference.

Found this little gem in the library the other day and was in the mood to take a break from the psychological thriller binge that I’ve been on lately. So glad I picked this one up! Objects of My Affection is a perfect book to have when spending a relaxing day reading. l really admire the fact that the author, Jill Smolinski, was able to bring some heavy topics such as mental illness (hoarding, depression, etc..) and substance abuse to the table, but still make the story enjoyable and even humorous at times. The book had just the right balance so that the story didn’t get “heavy”. (for lack of a better word..)

The book is about a woman who is facing her own share of life challenges after achieving her “5 minutes of fame” for writing a book about organizing. Her love life has gone down the tubes, she has just sent her son to rehab, and she is newly homeless when she is contacted by a man who is the son of the infamous Marva Meier Rios – a reclusive painter with a secret hoarding problem. He approaches her with an opportunity that couldn’t have come at a better time….organize his mother’s home while maintaining absolute secrecy about her “problem”. She is given a deadline, a couple guys to help haul things off, and a HUGE assignment. With not much of a choice and the thought of “how bad can this be?” she accepts. What she finds is a eccentric woman who is very used to having her way, and who has a very hard time letting go -of everything!

That being said, I do want to say that this book is SO much more than my little blurb above. Like I mentioned, it does deal with some serious issues as well. The way the author presents them and makes them readable is what I think I enjoyed most about the book. The characters are so real and easy to relate to, and I really enjoyed the various personalities. Just wanting to know what was going to happen next made this a hard book to put down.

At first I thought this book was going to be a fluffy beach read, but I found that it wasn’t that at all. It was a book about people. About people trying to let go but yet hold on at the same time. It was a book that I will remember and bring up in conversation. It would make a fantastic book club read as well. This was my first book by Jill Smolinski, but it won’t be my last. I would definitely recommend it to my “bookie” friends.

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Review: How to Reprimand Your Rockstar by Mina Vaughn

Posted September 10, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: How to Reprimand Your Rockstar by Mina VaughnReviewer: Holly
How to Reprimand Your Rock Star by Mina Vaughn
Series: Domme-Nation #2

Publication Date: July 21st 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 280
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three-stars

In this fun and saucy romance novel, all-star college basketball player Thea dominates on the courts—and off—with a rock star who is determined to win her over.
Thea is a star basketball player at UConn on track to be Rookie of the Year. That is, if she can stay focused on the game. Lately that hasn’t been going so well, as her knee has been bothering her. But that’s not the only thing on her mind…
Ever since rock star Keaton Lowe surprised her in the girl’s locker room, Thea can’t stop thinking about him. On top of his status and enticing ways, he seems to know everything about her. But some of his actions cross the line, and Keaton needs to be punished. Will Thea keep her head in the game, or get distracted by her other favorite pastime—reprimanding her rock star?

The title and blurb for this book are deceiving. The book is written in the first-person from the heroine’s point-of-view. She’s a college basketball star and that’s where most of her focus is. Therefore that’s where the focus of the story is. The music scene is mentioned only in the most casual way. Those looking for a tale featuring a rock star and the lifestyle that implies should go elsewhere. 

The heroine is a Domme. The role reversal was interesting, especially since she was a 19-year-old college student while he was a jaded rock star (I believe in his late 20’s). While seeing her come into her own and the development of their D/s relationship was interesting, I didn’t really connect with either character. The story is rather light, so everything felt kind of superficial. Plus, she has major insecurities (the kind every young woman does; Am I good enough? Is he looking elsewhere? He’s a rock star, does he really want only me?, etc) that seemed to come out at the strangest times. I liked seeing her come into her own, but I wasn’t really invested.

I didn’t get a good sense of the hero, either. I got the feeling there was more going on – some kind of paranormal element – than we were shown. I’m assuming there will be a sequel, but I couldn’t find anything about it on the author’s website.

The lack of depth and connection to the characters really marred my enjoyment, but I am curious enough about the underlying paranormal stuff and the developing D/s relationship to continue, assuming there’s to be another book. 

3 out of 5

This book is available from Pocket Star. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-stars


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