Married By Morning

Married by Morning by Lisa Kleypas

3.5 – 4 stars 

“There are some experiences in life they haven’t invented the right words for.” 

Lisa Kleypas is such a fun guilty pleasure read! Historical romance isn’t normally my go to, but sometimes you just need that escape from reality. Leo and Cat were the couple I was looking most forward to in this series, and 3/4’s of this book I loved but the last 1/4 was a little bit too rushed and sweet for me.

A true story of hate to love, Leo and Cat have spent most of this series squabbling until they discovered a hidden attraction that shocks them both. That and a secret past, this book has all the tropes romance readers are looking for.

I enjoyed this book but I think I am gonna take a break from HR for a little bit. But I hope to read the last book in this series sooner rather than later.

“I know I’m a bad bargain. But I’m begging you to have me anyway. Because I want a chance to make you as happy as you make me. I want to build a life with you.”

He fought to steady his voice. “Please come to me, Cat, because there’s no surviving you. You don’t have to love me back. You don’t have to be mine. Just let me be yours.” 

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Tempt Me at Twilight

Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas

3.5 stars 

“In the fairy tale you mentioned last night, I would probably be the villain. But it’s possible the villain would treat you far better than the prince would have.” 

Not bad…. but also not amazing. I’ve been on a Lisa Kleypas binge and I’m on the Hathaway’s series. I actually am liking it more than the Wallflowers (please don’t throw the tomatoes!) but this one wasn’t as good as the others. I’m not saying it was bad either, but it fits perfectly into a 3.5 rating where I did enjoy the book, but it’s nothing special to me.

The premise is amazing, a secretive rich hotel owner falls in love with Poppy Hathaway and will literally do anything to have her. Tricked into a marriage she didn’t expect, Poppy tries to make the best of her situation, but may be dealing with a man she doesn’t understand.

I thought this was a sweet story, but it really could have been developed a lot better than it was. It went from distrust to love way too quickly to me. I felt we could have gotten more on Harry’s background to understand how he was. But it felt like one sob story and one confession and suddenly everything was resolved.

I am very much looking forward to the next book because it’s Leo and Miss Marks, hopefully it lives up to my expectations.

“I want you any way I can get you. Not because you’re beautiful or clever or kind or adorable, although devil knows you’re all those things. I want you because there’s no one else like you, and I don’t ever want to start a day without seeing you.” 

The Darkest Minds

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

2.5-3 stars 

“The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.” 

This is one of those reviews where I really don’t know what to say. Darkest Minds is a book I had my eye on since it published in 2012, I always meant to read it but never made the time. Fast forward to 6 years later and the movie is coming out so I finally made the time and…… meh.

Starting this book my rating was at a 4 stars, then midway in it was more a 3.5. Then by the end I was so disenchanted. I’m still wavering on my rating, it’s between a 2 and a 3 because I enjoyed parts of the book but not others.

I would relate this book to a teen X-men story, but that feels like an insult to the X-men universe. This is about a bunch of teens who suddenly develop powers during puberty and the world goes crazy and locks them up and murders some of them. Ruby has been in the equivalent of a work camp for 6 years before she gets the opportunity to break out and ends up with a group of teens with other abilities looking for a safe place.

My biggest issue with this book is it’s structured really poorly. The plot is all over the place and both romantic storylines felt so completely forced to me. This book has the potential to be a 5 star read, but it was about 200 pages too long in my opinion.

For the most part I enjoyed it, so if you are interested I say go ahead and read it. I’m just a lot picker than other people.

“We’ll just have to try to make better mistakes tomorrow.” 

Seduce Me At Sunrise

Seduce Me At Sunrise by Lisa Kleypas

4 stars! 

“Hell was not a pit of fire and brimstone. Hell was waking up alone, the sheets wet with your tears and your seed, knowing the woman you had dreamed of would never come back to you.” 

Lisa Kleypas delivers every single time!!! Book 2 in The Hathaways series lived up to my expectations, and believe me they were high. After reading the first book, this was the couple I was dying to read about. I loved Merripen and Win, they had such a beautiful and angsty story!

You know how you pick up a book and read the first page? Normally I set the book down, but with this book, I read the first page and could not tear my eyes away. I’ve never experienced anything like it! This book literally had me hooked from the beginning and I devoured it whole.

This is a story of unrequited love, and a story of fear of love. It was more Hathaway centric than the first book was, that one seemed to be half Wallflower series and half Hathaway. While I like being in the Wallflower world, I am loving getting to know the Hathaways and all the side characters whose books I will be reading ASAP!

I know I am late to the Lisa Kleypas train, but if you are even a wee bit curious, pick up one of her books now!

“The worst part about loving someone, Merripen, is that there will al­ways be things you can’t protect her from. Things be­yond your control. You finally realize there is something worse than dying… and that is having something hap­pen to her. You have to live with that fear always. But you have to take the bad part, if you want the good part.”
Kev looked at him bleakly. “What’s the good part?”
A smile touched Cam’s lips. “All the rest of it is the good part,” he said, and went.” 

Mine Till Midnight

Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas

4.5 stars! 

Lisa Kleypas has become my go to author when I am in a book slump. I always enjoy her stories!!!

Mine Till Midnight is the beginning of the Hathaways Sisters series, and while it doesn’t explicitly say so, you need to read The Wallflowers series beforehand because SO MANY characters overlap and I feel you would be confused if you didn’t.

This book is about Amelia, the sister who is always looking out for her family as they experience one bad stroke of luck after the other. While looking for her brother, Amelia meets Cam Rohan, a half Roma man who helps run a gambling house. There’s an instant attraction, but the two of them know their outlooks on life will keep them apart. Or will it?

Seriously hot this book. I was shocked, but I felt the chemistry was perfect and things were instense between Amelia and Cam. I do wish we had gotten like a prologue, a little bit more of these two at the end but I am sure I will see them in the next books in the series, and I cannot wait to start them!!!

The Wishing Spell

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer 

 

THIS WAS SO CUTE!

I have to say, I’ve been very skeptical about this book because to me, one of the kids from Glee wrote it. But now I have to say, I am totally impressed! Chris Colfer is a great author!

I decided to pick up this book because there is not a day that goes by at my job that I am not asked for a book in this series (seriously, everyday they want The Land of Stories, second only to Harry Potter and Dog Man). That and a recommendation from a friend had me purchasing this from a local independent bookstore.

The Wishing Spell is about a pair of 12 year old twins Alex and Conner who after a recent family tragedy are having a hard time coping with their new life. When their grandmother comes to visit them, she gives them her fairy tales book The Land of Stories. But what happens later is crazy, the twins fall into the book and find themselves amongst famous fairy tale characters! They must find a way home, and the only way is to get the wishing spell.

I really enjoyed this, I thought it was really cute. I love retellings of stories we all know because I love to see what authors do with the stories and the characters. Colfer has a great sense of humor and a very good voice (by this I mean his writing). He effectively created a cool fairy tale realm with characters we love and made them his own. He could have done a better job with the more action type scenes but this is his first book and I’ll cut him a break.

If you have a child in your life, give this to them. Or you can be like me and just read it for yourself with no shame just cause ya want to.

The Kiss Quotient

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

3 stars

I want to reiterate, 3 stars for me still means I liked it, this is not a negative review 

This is the story of Stella, a woman with Asperger’s who has trouble connecting with men romantically. When her mother begins to pressure her for grandbabies, she decides she needs to face her fears. To do this, she hires an expert. Or well, an escort. Stella hires Michael, a dreamy escort who seems very understanding of her needs. But he has some secrets behind his reasons for being a male escort, and he doesn’t want to get too close to anyone so they can find out.

The Kiss Quotient is a book I was very excited to read, mostly because it has an autistic main character and an Asian male lead. I think this is a great debut novel and I love that we got a male Asian lead, you rarely see those in the romance genre. I also liked Stella because while many people may not have Asperger’s like her, I feel she’s a relatable character that many women will identify with.

This book was steamy and sweet at the same time. My main issue with it was I felt the plot structure was all over the place and it made the story very choppy for me. This also made the characters seem very indecisive on some things which is a pet peeve of mine in books. But overall I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing what else Hoang has to deliver in the future.

ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Chaser

Chaser by Kylie Scott

3 stars 

I think this might be the end of Kylie Scott and me. I loved her early books, but the last few I haven’t really connected with and I’m starting to feel like I’m picking on her when I don’t enjoy a new book.

First things first, what I liked about this book and why it’s a 3 star rating and not lower. Single mother trope, reformed bad boy trope, and the special appearance of Stage Dive. I liked that this book was from Eric’s perspective because we got to see his growth, but I wish we had dual POV because Jean fell so flat as a character.

I didn’t feel the connection between Jean and Eric, I felt more of a connection or bond that he had with her daughter. I really enjoyed his interactions with the baby. Nell ragging on him the whole book got on my nerves, but even more so when she suddenly changed her mind and was all Team Eric.

Also a pet peeve thing that probably doesn’t bother other people but bugs the shit out of me, the author is writing American character but through this whole series has them referring to things with Australian or British terms. It takes me out of the book because people who grew up in the USA wouldn’t say these terms unless raised with a strong British background. But, it’s probably just me who is annoyed by that.

Anyways, this book was a great escape from reality, I think lots of readers will love it but it didn’t really rock my world.

Circe

Circe by Madeline Miller

4 stars! 

“When I was born, the word for what I was did not exist.” 

Circe is a retelling of the Greek Goddess of sorcery. From her birth and through thousands of years of her life. In her early life, she discovers a strange power within her and she finds she can transform her enemies into monsters. Fearful of her power, Zeus has her banished into exile, to spend her immortal years on an island alone.

As the years go by Circe faces those who come to her island, some are friendly and some are foe. In this, we get her side of the story and see that things are not always as they seem.

“You cannot know how frightened gods are of pain. There is nothing more foreign to them, and so nothing they ache more deeply to see.” 

Madeline Miller is a writer I love, her book The Song of Achilles is very close to my heart. So when I saw that she had written another novel I was very eager to read it. I didn’t remember much about Circe and after I started I admit I needed to look her up for a refresher. One of my favorite thing about Miller is her writing style and the way she bends the English language to her will. All the words flow so elegantly across the page, I love reading what she has to say.

Circe was a very interesting character, but also a passive one at least to me. I felt a lot of her life was watching things happen to other people, and while she was involved, it wasn’t until the end that she felt like the heroine of her own story. I liked seeing Miller’s take on all of these famous characters and how the stories we thought we knew might be a little bit different than we think.

A beautifully written book and an interesting story, if you like the classics and retellings you should pick this book up.

“It is a common saying that women are delicate creatures, flowers, eggs, anything that may be crushed in a moment’s carelessness. If I had ever believed it, I no longer did.” 

Ramona Blue

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

4 stars! 

“I hate this idea that boys are thinking about sex nonstop and girls are thinking about – what? Stationery and garden gnomes? No.” 

I attended Apollycon this year and had the pleasure of meeting Julie Murphy and listening to her talk on a YA panel. She had talked about Ramona Blue and after hearing what she had to say, I was intrigued and decided to check it out from my local library. Julie had said this book was her own personal screw you to the movie Chasing Amy (which I haven’t seen but have heard of).

Ramona Blue is about a very tall teenage girl with blue hair who has always known she was a lesbian. After a summer romance with a girl named Grace that doesn’t end well, she finds herself resigned to the fact that she will never leave her small town. Starting her senior year, a childhood friend Freddie moves back to her town and the two reconnect. Their friendship is effortless, until Ramona realizes she has feeling for him, that combined with issues at home throws her into an identity crisis.

“You’ve never dated any guys?’
I shrug. ‘Haven’t even kissed one.’ And then I add, ‘Well, in recent years.’
‘Then how do you know you don’t like guys?’
‘I don’t know, Freddie,’ I say, trying to hide my irritation. ‘How many boys did you kiss before you realized you were straight?” 

I really enjoyed reading this book. Sexuality is fluid, and I think this book did a good job of portraying that. I think it also covers how difficult it can be to be bisexual and all of the stigmas and judgments that come at it from both sides, straight or gay. I think Julie covered this topic really well and at no point did anything personally offend me.

Julie Murphy has a writing style I connect with very well, and I am excited to read more by her in the future!

My Oxford Year

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

3 stars 

This is a book that’s been getting a lot of great buzz, a lot of my book friends really loved it and I’ve been hearing good things all around. I was a fan of Julia on the show Once and Again and I had the pleasure of meeting Julia at another author event for a book she narrated and she’s absolutely lovely. All those things combined, I was very eager to read this book and really wanted to love this book and I had high hopes. And while I didn’t love it, I enjoyed it and I think this was a really great debut from this author.

There were a lot of moments when we as readers were supposed to feel a lot, and I felt a bit like a sociopath in those moments because I didn’t really feel anything and I knew I was meant to. Plus, a lot of the dialogue and some of the vocabulary was way above my head and I felt, well, unintelligent at moments while I was reading this book.

I think Julia Whelan is a fantastic writer, I think she delivered a very interesting and engaging story. I also think a lot of readers will love this book and I while I didn’t love it, I will be recommending it quite a lot because I think many of my friends and close ones would really enjoy this story.

Fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid, Jojo Moyes and Sally Thorne, this is your next book to pick up!

A copy for review was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss

Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

4 stars! 

This is the book that made me realize Becky Albertalli is a one click author for me! I had no clue this book was happening but the minute I found out I ordered the hardcover from Barnes and Noble so fast my head was spinning! I love being so excited about a new release that I drop EVERYTHING just to read that authors next book.

Leah on the Offbeat is a sequel to Simon Vs the Homosapien Agenda, except this book is about his best friend Leah. Leah is an artsy, sarcastic bisexual girl, she’s just not out to her friends yet. The majority of this book takes place at the end of senior year of high school, a major turning point for many teens. Leah’s group of friends finds itself at odds, and Leah ends up realizing she has stronger feelings for someone in the group and doesn’t know how to feel about it.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I liked Leah as a character, it was great to see this world from her perspective and the other characters too. I think many readers might not like Leah because she’s not a typical heroine, but I loved her because she wasn’t a typical heroine and was her own person, good parts and faults.

If you love banter filled and character driven young adult novels, this is the book for you!

Loving Mr. Daniels

Loving Mr. Daniels by Brittainy C Cherry

4.5 stars! 

“Leave the past behind you so the future can find you.” 

Once upon a time…. a friend recommended this book to me. Well, four years later and I finally read it!!!!!!! See, I eventually get to books on my TBR!

Loving Mr. Daniels is about two broken people who have lost family members closest to them. When Ashlynn moves in with her dad, the last thing she expected was to fall for a Shakespearean inspired musician. And she’s even more surprised when he turns out to be her teacher.

I know what you’re thinking, that you’ve read this book already. Yes, you’ve read this trope, but Cherry puts her own beautiful spin on it and I loved this book. Bravo Ms Cherry! I do wish she wasn’t so good at making me cry, but I think that’s a testament to her writing skills.

I hope you all give this book a chance! I did, years later and I loved it! It’s never too late!

“I love you slowly. I love you deeply. I love you quietly. I love you powerfully. I love you unconditionally.” 

The Gravity of Us

The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C Cherry

4.5 stars 

“She was the girl who felt everything, and I was the man who felt nothing at all.” 

The Gravity of Us is the story of Lucille and Graham, an optimist and a pessimist. Circumstances throw them together and Graham ends up needing Lucille even if he doesn’t want to admit it. While Lucille drives him crazy, over time she begins to grow on him and a mutual attraction develops.

“It’s just funny, isn’t it? How the main characters never know about the adventures they’re about to go on.” 

It’s funny because I don’t normally enjoy very sweet books. And this book is so sweet, but it wasn’t cheesy. And I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much, because I was able to enjoy the sweet and it didn’t make me overdose on it. And while this book was sweet, it was also full of FEELS. ALL THE FEELS. Not the angsty feels, but many feels and I enjoyed that very much.

What stuck for me most and what made this 4.5 was the beautiful story, the beautiful words, and the beautiful characters. No one was perfect, but they were appreciated for who they were. The romance was built on respect and friendship and that made such a strong foundation. A wonderful slowburn romance.

Amazing book and it didn’t take long to read, so I recommend you carve out some time and read it asap!

“I imagined what it would be like to be happy, and I think you are the definition of happiness.” 

Rock Chick Regret

Rock Chick Regret by Kristen Ashley

3.5-4 stars 

Expectations. I normally don’t go into books with them, but I had read that this book was very angsty and I was so excited to read it. Well…… it really wasn’t all that angsty. Maybe the first 10% or so? After that not so much. And while I still enjoyed this book a lot, I was a bit let down because of the expectations I had going into this book.

This book is about Hector and Sadie. Sadie is the ice queen and daughter of a drug lord and Hector is the agent who brought her father down. Hector and Sadie were almost a thing, and then Hector made a mistake and expected Sadie to come back to him. Sadie finds herself in trouble and that’s when Hector comes to the rescue.

This story has a very brutal beginning and while it was a lot, I loved that aspect of it. The rest of the book was sweet but a tad bit too long (as is per Kristen Ashley’s style) which I normally don’t mind, but in the 60-70% I found myself skimming. A very sweet ending that I think lots of readers will love. Actually I think readers will love the WHOLE book. My angst expectations held me back a bit to a like and not a love.