Contemporary Romance Challenge: October Link-Up

2nd Oct 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Contemporary Romance Challenge: October Link-Up

Oh, hi there!!

Octooooober!! I love fall, I love Pumpkin Spice everything, and I’m glad weather isn’t scorching anymore. I’m also really looking forward to some cozy fall/winter romances. Aren’t you?! :)

If you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge, be sure to do so first HERE. If not, your entries will not count toward the giveaway. I know, right. Mean mom!

If you have August posts or reviews make sure you post your links in the September Link-up, which closes on October 5th!

Monthly Link-Up And Giveaway Details:

  • Your thoughts on each book you read must be posted somewhere, like your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., in order for it to count towards this challenge. Ratings on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc. will also work.
  • Monthly link-up posts will go live the first day of each month so you can add your links throughout the month as your posts go up. Each linky will remain open five days into each new month to allow you some time to get all your posts linked up!
  • In order for us to tell what you’re linking to on the monthly linky, the format for the links you enter need to be as follows:
    • UPDATE POST @ your name/blog name.
    • REVIEW: [BOOK TITLE] @ your name/blog name.
    • MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • Each month we’ll choose a lucky winner from that month’s linky to win a Contemporary Romance novel of their choice (up to US$10).
  • Each link you enter in that month’s linky will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • Challenge and Giveaways are open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible for a prize.)

Monthly Topics:

  • Each monthly link-up post will include a Contemporary Romance topic for you to participate in if you’d like.
  • Monthly Topic posts can go up anytime in the specified month. Link them up as follows: MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • These posts will also earn you an entry in the monthly giveaway as long as you link back to them.

No Topic This Month!

 

If you have any questions, please email Jess ([email protected]) or Danielle ([email protected]). Also, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@gonewiththeword & @loveatfirstpage) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2016 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!

 

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

29th Sep 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Nevernight by Jay KristoffNevernight by Jay Kristoff
Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #1
Published by Thomas Dunne Books
Pub Date: August 9th 2016
Pages: 429
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

Nevernight is a book that will take you on the craziest ride of your life. When I first saw the cover for this book I knew I was going to read it before I even knew what it was about. I was lucky enough to receive an eARC from NetGalley and it prompted me to pre-order both the US and the UK versions; I NEVER preorder anything. With that being said, I’d like to start this review with a cautionary note. Nevernight is a book that lives in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section of the bookstore, not Young Adult. I’ve seen a lot of talk on Twitter/Goodreads and several reviews confusing this idea, please don’t. If Nevernight was a movie it would be rated R for violence, grisly images, language, some nudity and sexuality. Anyhow…on to the good stuff!

“Be advised now that the pages in your hand speak of a girl who was to murder as maestros are to music. Who did to happy ever afters what a saw blade does to skin.”

Mia Corvere came from a wealthy family but after her father is publicly hung for being a traitor and her mother jailed, she begins to live a much different life. While on the run from the very men who killed her father, Mia runs into some trouble and is nearly beaten to death in an alley.  This is how she meets her mentor Mercuiro, he saves Mia and takes her under his wing. It doesn’t take long for him to learn how badly Mia wants vengeance against the men who ruined her family so he begins training her to be an apprentice in the Red Church. This is a church of a different kind, it teaches and trains assassins. Once you’re accepted to the Red Church there are only two ways out, you either die or graduate and be initiated as a Blade.

“Never Flinch, Never Fear and Never Ever Forget” 

There are 28 acolytes fighting for the coveted title of Blade. Of those 28 only 4 can become anointed. Which means everyone will do whatever they have to do to be one of those 4 left standing. The Red Church is unique and has a Harry Potteresque feel to it. Long winding passageways, ghosts and monsters hiding in the shadows and a history that goes back centuries, a potion ‘s professor. But that is where the similarities end. Nevernight is a revenge story and Mia will stop at nothing to avenge her family even if means she doesn’t become a blade.

I loved this book for many reasons. Mia Corvere is a cold-hearted killer on the outside. She has been through some serious shit and her determination is a force to be reckoned with. While she is perceived as heartless, she really isn’t. She ends up being the only acolyte who really cares about her peers and despite her need for revenge. Oh! and she has a familiar, a cat named Mister Kindly who appears shortly after her father’s death.

Even though I stand by my 4 star rating on Goodreads, there were a few things I was less enthusiastic about. The beginning of this book was hard to get into, it seemed a bit slow and I wasn’t impressed with the first few chapters. There are footnotes in this book. Yep, you heard me, footnotes. Since I read the eARC the footnotes were impossible to keep up with, I had to scroll back and forth and by the time I got to the end of the chapter, I wasn’t sure what the footnotes were talking about. To be honest, I stopped reading them. It didn’t seem like they mattered a whole lot to the actual story so I just opted out. Overall though, I am glad I read Nevernight and I will be continuing with the series.

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Twisted Up by Erin Nicholas

28th Sep 2016 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: Twisted Up by Erin NicholasTwisted Up by Erin Nicholas
Series: Taking Chances #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Pub Date: August 23rd 2016
Pages: 295
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Women's Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Avery Sparks is a master at controlling chaos—and she gets plenty of opportunities as fire chief and head of emergency management in her hometown of Chance, Nebraska. The only thing she can’t seem to control are her feelings when she’s around Jake Mitchell, the man who was her first everything the night of their high school graduation. But Jake was so quick to leave Chance—and Avery—behind that she swore she’d move on.

While Avery’s job is to minimize drama, Jake embraces the chaos of an emergency. After enlisting in the Army National Guard, Jake became a nationally recognized leader in disaster recovery. Yet a life on the road has left him restless. So when a class-four tornado wreaks havoc on Chance, he’s eager to return home—and to the woman never far from his mind.

Now, Avery and Jake must team up to help their hometown weather a siege of violent storms. But it’s clear to them both that nature isn’t the only force they’ll have to reckon with. Will Avery and Jake’s whirlwind love affair be an all-new disaster—or can they recover from their stormy past to build a future together?

Twisted Up really took me by surprise! It wasn’t a book I had heard any buzz over so I went into not really expecting anything too crazy. What I got was a small town setting with a whole lot going on and a couple that I fell in love with!

The chemistry between our two main characters, Avery and Jake, is undeniable and perfectly balanced with great banter. I constantly found myself caught between laughing and fanning myself. These are the kind of ships I love to love! Although our male lead is your catalog ordered hero (and is not shy in admitting so), our female lead is strong, independent, and a total bad-ass who doesn’t need any saving. What I liked about this story the most is that Avery really knows how to hold her own and Jake doesn’t complete her – he compliments her! The history between these two had me rooting extra hard for them and I was really pleased with the way it all wrapped up.

I fell in love with the chaotic town of Chance, Nebraska and it’s residents. You would think twisters would be enough to scare anybody away, but I wanted to pack up my bags and move in like yesterday! I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the Taking Chances series and find out what happens with our other hot couples. I have a total girl crush on Bree and have a feeling Tangled Up will really take me for a ride! For now, I’m off to watch the movie Twister because after reading Twisted Up it is simply a must!

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On Morgan’s Fall TBR List

27th Sep 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On Morgan’s Fall TBR List

I am terrible at sticking to TBR lists but I do like to try to read seasonally. Makes me feel festive! The books on my fall TBR are a mixture of (mostly) upcoming arcs, books I own, and books I’ve gotten at the library, all in the spooky/supernatural/fantasy vein for the most part. Quite a few of them work for Fall Bookish Bingo too!

Arcs

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
Rose & Thorn by Sarah Prineas
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Spindle by E.K. Johnston
Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

 

Owned/Library Books

Ruined by Paula Morris
As I Descended by Robin Talley
Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Do we have any of the same books on our lists?

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Giveaway: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

26th Sep 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways

Giveaway: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Giveaway: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri ManiscalcoStalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Published by Jimmy Patterson
Pub Date: September 20th 2016
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Happy Monday, friends! I partnered with JIMMY Patterson Books to share this amazing giveaway of one of the most anticipated books this Fall! And with Halloween right around the corner, nows the perfect time to enter to win a copy of Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco!

Here’s a little more about the book from the author herself:

Stalking Jack the Ripper is without a doubt a new take on the legendary mystery of Jack the Ripper. What drew you to the story of Jack the Ripper, and why did you choose him as a villain?

Unsolved crimes and history have intrigued me since I was a teen. I was fascinated by the Ripper case in particular because of the mystery that still surrounds it. There are so many theories and suspects, and as a writer it’s a wonderfully blank canvas for creating your own backstory. Who was Jack? Where did he come from? What were the circumstances leading up to that Autumn of Terror? I think the most interesting villains are ones that fit into that questionable gray area—the place where we understand their motivation, even if we’re horrified by it.

I chose Jack because I wanted this story to focus on a young woman who turned the tables on him. When I researched case details, I immediately thought about the forensic team behind the scenes. It was one of the first times in history forensics were applied to a case with gusto, so I imagined how interesting it’d be if a teenage girl was involved with stopping this notorious killer of women. From there it evolved into Audrey Rose’s story of how her world and Jack’s converge.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

About Kerri Maniscalco

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside New York City, where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

22nd Sep 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare BlakeThree Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Published by HarperTeen
Pub Date: September 20th 2016
Pages: 416
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown.

If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest.

Three Dark Crowns is dark, strange, meandering, brutal, and fascinating. It’s a great book for fall for those very reasons! I really loved this fantasy world but it’s hard to get completely attached to anyone because the 3rd person present tense is peculiar and makes you feel distant. That being said, I found myself rooting for each queen at different points and I was genuinely shocked and dismayed at various points as well.

I definitely had favorite characters, and the details are fantastic: about the island, about the cities, about the abilities of the queens. It’s one of those books that burrows under your skin and stays with you afterwards. It’s not loud or flashy but it’s inventive and original. I loved how different the triplets Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe were from each other; I also liked the compare and contrast between their upbringing and companions. Nature vs. nurture and all that.

I felt a little meh in the middle; I was going to rate it 3 stars for a while because I thought this was a standalone for some reason. No wonder the pacing felt off to me! It was interesting the entire time but I kept waiting for the story to ramp up. And the ending was fantastic but unexpected for that reason. It was harder to appreciate a slow burn story when my mind didn’t know to expect a sequel. However, I couldn’t get enough once the pace started rolling again towards the end.

It’s a captivating book. Even now, I keep thinking about the story, the characters, the terribly interesting history of Fennbirn Island and their Queens. The world building is so rich! And there is a map! Ellis and I keep discussing our theories for the sequel; there’s so much at play, so much to be answered for, and I can’t wait to see where the story will go.

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

20th Sep 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Blog Tours, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: Heartless by Marissa MeyerHeartless by Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Pub Date: November 8th 2016
Pages: 464
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Heartless was marvelous, enchanting, and oh so heartbreaking. I’ve been looking forward to this book for years and I’m so glad it lived up to my expectations! Marissa Meyers’ Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite YA series and I was interested to see what a new story would look like from her. Heartless feels very different from her previous series but I loved it just as much.

It’s difficult to reimagine a beloved, well-known story but Heartless is done so well. It’s a slow build with a few pacing issues but I was entranced by the writing and the characters from the beginning. The world building is detailed and full of whimsy with clever allusions to Alice in Wonderland. You truly feel that this is a story taking place in the original Wonderland, but it also feels fresh.

Heartless would be nothing without a worthy main character and Catherine is magnificent. I couldn’t imagine how she could possibly become the Queen of Hearts that we all know; Catherine was full of love and ambition, and had such lofty dreams for her bakery, but you could see the hints of passion and temper simmering underneath. And oh how I loved all of the lemon tarts and spiced pumpkin cakes and other scrumptious treats! It made me want to bake everything.

All of the characters were deliciously complex, just like her recipes, although I didn’t care much for her parents or the King of Hearts. I loved the tea party scene with the Mad Hatter, I loved learning about the lands of Chess and Hearts and their history, and I loved Catherine’s relationship with Jest. It could have felt rushed but I like how it played out and it fit the whimsy of the story. Plus Jest was mysterious, fun, and quite romantic. The story and mystery comes to a head (pun intended) in this explosive crescendo that makes your heart break, even for characters you don’t like. It’s marvelous and awful.

If you love retellings in general, Alice in Wonderland in particular, or tragic romances and baked goods, Heartless needs to be on your reading list. It’s worth the preorder! And it’s the rare standalone that I wish would have a companion novel or two. It’s magical.

gwtw-separate-line

Can you believe there’s only 49 days left until the release of Heartless?!

It’s true!! And Fierce Reads is currently holding a sweepstakes so be sure to visit their site to enter!

Enter the win-a-Tea-Party #Sweepstakes! #HeartlessCountdown http://www.thelunarchronicles.com/heartless/#Sweepstakes

 

About Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles. She lives in Tacoma, Washington. She’s a fan of most things geeky (Sailor Moon, Firefly, any occasion that requires a costume), and has been in love with fairy tales since she was a child. She may or may not be a cyborg.

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne

14th Sep 2016 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: To Have and to Hold by Lauren LayneTo Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne
Series: The Wedding Belles #1
Published by Pocket Books
Pub Date: July 26th 2016
Pages: 384
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

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?

This series, you guys! I had never read a Lauren Layne book until From This Day Forward and she has quickly become a must read/auto buy author for me. Usually, I have to at least read a whole book, but she managed to do it with a short novella! It captured me in a way that I instantly knew I would love the entire series. I was left wanting more of this world and was very excited going into To Have and to Hold– Layne did not disappoint! I am positive this series will be one of my top contemporary series of 2016!

Lauren Layne strongest suit is her ability to create characters that the reader can’t help but to fall in love with! She builds the perfect amount of angst between her couples and then BAM! The chemistry between Seth and Brooke was incredible and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next. Brooke was everything that a woman should aspire to be- brave, self sufficient, witty, has a career she excels in, and a lover of chocolate and wine! Seth was the ideal book boyfriend and I couldn’t stop myself from feeling protective over him on different occasions. I loved Brooke, but Seth totally owned my soft spot. I shipped these two so hard!

Although the main plot line was incredible, the supporting characters and their stories are really what gave this great book an extra dose of awesomeness! Not only did we have a fan yourself romance, but we had great friendships too! There was a little bromance and a whole lot of girl time. These are characters that I can’t wait to get more from in the coming books. Also, Etta! She gave me several fits of laughter and was easily my favorite supporting character. Everybody needs an Etta in their life!

Layne has a writing style that you can’t help but to get lost in. The flow of the story is effortless and everything seems like it happens in it’s natural order. There’s no scene that feels forced in order for the story to progress. The dialogue between the characters seems genuine and realistic. You almost feel like you’re there in that wedding dress shop or at the hotel bar along with these characters. Her ability to transport me from my couch in Texas to the streets of New York City gave me life! Most contemporary books are filled with lots of cutesy fluff or need an overly complicated plot twist in order to keep the reader’s attention. Although To Have and to Hold is not one of those books with super heavy content, it’s still a book that I could not put down! It was a simply, light read that wrapped up perfectly and I’m excited to see what happens next!

About Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne used to work in e-commerce. She wore cute shoes and big-girl clothes like an adult.

Then she was like, nope, changed into her pajamas and started writing romance novels.

She believes in sarcasm, weekday happy hours, and happily ever after.

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Leave Me by Gayle Forman

13th Sep 2016 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: Leave Me by Gayle FormanLeave Me by Gayle Forman
Published by Algonquin Books
Pub Date: September 6th 2016
Pages: 343
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention--meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

Leave Me was a very interesting book for me. On one end, I am 28 years old and have no children so my life is a lot more relaxed than that of most around me. On the other end, I am the youngest of 7 children and the daughter of a stay-at-home mom who carried the majority of that weight alone. Although I’ve never been the one tiny mouths depended on, I can recall looking around more than once and wondering how the heck she did it. So even though I couldn’t relate to our main character Maribeth firsthand, I felt for her because I knew she was the unofficial spokeswoman for many women across the world!

“The logistics of their weekends generally made her feel like an air traffic controller, but right now, she just couldn’t keep the planes in the air.” 

Gayle Forman poured herself into this novel and you can feel Maribeth’s frustration jump out at you. The first half of the book was spent with me having the overwhelming desire to shake those around her. It hurt to see a woman who selflessly put herself last get taken for granted by those she put first. I couldn’t necessarily agree with the way Maribeth chose to play things out, but I could understand the thought process behind her decisions.

“I believe you have a healthy heart. The doctors have done their part. But if you want to get better, really better, well you’re going to have to do that for yourself.” 

I really enjoyed the first 3 quarters of this book and the range of characters we met in the process. It was the ending that felt a bit abrupt. I sort of felt like story lines were opened up that this book could have done without (in particular her 2nd doctor) and I would have liked either an extended ending or an epilogue. Either way, I do think that this book was made for the many women who feel taken for granted, unappreciated, and have fantasized about taking a couple of weeks off. I don’t think up and leaving the way Maribeth did is for everyone, but I do believe that Leave Me can serve as a daydream of“what if”.

About Gayle Forman

My name is Gayle Forman and I love to write young-adult novels. Because I do. So thank you for reading them. Because without you, it’d just be me. And the voices in my head.

Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in such publications as Jane, Seventeen, Glamour, Elle, and The New York Times Magazine, to name just a few. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

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Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

8th Sep 2016 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen HooverIt Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Published by Atria Books
Pub Date: August 2nd 2016
Pages: 373
Format: eARC | Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Sometimes it is the one who loves you 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, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

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. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price. 

Colleen Hoover is a literary genius! Her ability to write these stories that completely take over your thoughts long after the book has been put away, is incredible. If you are a CoHo fan, then you more than likely go into her books knowing to expect you’ll question things you never thought you would. It is pretty much a guarantee that you will at some point ask yourself “What would I do?” and It Ends with Us was no exception! I strongly believe that this wonderful masterpiece of a book is best enjoyed by going in completely blind. So if you haven’t picked it up yet, stop looking at reviews and just dive in head first – you’ll thank me later!

This story is raw and not sugarcoated in the least. It never felt overly-dramatized just to add a wow factor. At times, frustration would creep in towards the reaction of certain characters, but CoHo wrote this story in a way that made it easy to understand their reasoning and train of thought. This is a story that needed to be told and after having read the acknowledgments, I don’t think there could have been a better writer for this than Colleen Hoover. Speaking of the acknowledgments, don’t skip over them!

It Ends with Us left me wanting more! Seriously, CoHo, we need some sort of novella, epilogue, 2nd book? *nudges shoulder* lol Something? Anything! C’mon, you know you want to! I’m all for leaving things to the imagination, but your imagination is just soooooo much better than mine!

About Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, This Girl, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, Maybe Not, Confess, and November 9. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

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Morgan’s ARC August & Summer Bookish Bingo Wrap-up

6th Sep 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bookish Events

I can’t believe the 4th Annual ARC August hosted by Read.Sleep.Repeat is already at an end! I finished 7 arcs, so I almost reached my goal of reading 8, including a couple books that had been on my list for awhile. So that felt good! Definitely a success, and better than my first time participating last year when I read 4 arcs. Here are the books I completed, a mixture of e-arcs and print:

My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
The Graces by Laure Eve
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
The Best Possible Answer by E. Katherine Kottaras
Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison

I also participated in Bookish Bingo Summer 2016 hosted by Bekka at Pretty Deadly Reviews and it was a huge success for me! I like that it covers three months at a time (June, July, August in this case) so you can spread out your goals.

I tried a previous Bookish Bingo season but didn’t do too well, so this time I tried to pick books already on my immediate TBR to fit each square ahead of time and it helped a lot! Having wiggle room was nice too. It was motivating to have a plan and work towards it, and it’s made me feel really productive reading-wise this summer, especially when a few of the books worked for both challenges. I’ll definitely try the next bingo card! Here’s what I read for each square:

Number of bingos: 5

Name in Title: Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella
Aussie Author: Melina Marchetta (Froi of the Exiles)
Magic: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Water on Cover: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Historical Setting, 1900s-1950s: Letters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole
F/F or M/M Romance: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley
June/July/August: The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May
Folklore or Myths: Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
Weather Words: The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Part of a 4+ Book Series: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
PoC MC: Disenchanted: The Trials of Cinderella by Megan Morrison
A Book About Books: How To Hang A Witch by Adriana Mather
Over 500 Pages: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
2016 Debut: Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst
Stars w/ S,U,M,E, or R: My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
Yellow Cover: Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Middle Grade: If The Magic Fits by Susan Maupin Schmid
Outdoors: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Food in Title or Cover: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Political Intrigue: The Daughters of Palatine Hill by Phyllis T. Smith
Monsters: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Overall August was my best reading month of the year! 14 books, including some non-challenge books. I’m very pleased. Did you participate in either challenge or have other summer reading goals for yourself? And did we read any of the same books? Let me know!

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani + Giveaway!

2nd Sep 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Giveaways, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani + Giveaway!The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani
Published by SparkPress
Pub Date: 7 June 2016
Pages: 282
Format: Paperback | Source: Author
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3 Stars

Fifteen year old Courtney wants to be normal like her friends. But there’s something frighteningly different about her—and it’s not just the mysterious tattoo her conspiracy-obsessed grandfather marked her with before he disappeared. She's being visited in her bedroom at night by aliens claiming to have shared an alliance with her grandfather. And imaginary or not, they're starting to to take over her mind. “Mental illness is a slippery slope,” her mother warns her.

The last thing Courtney wants to do is end up crazy and dead like her grandfather did. But what about the tattoo? And the aliens trying to recruit her? With her new alien-savvy friend Agatha and her apocalyptic visions, Courtney begins connecting the dots between the past, present and future—of her bloodline, and the ancient history that surrounds it. Is she going insane, like her family claims her grandfather did, or is she actually a "chosen one" with ancestral connections to another world? Either way, Courtney has a mission: untangle her past, discover the truth, and stop the apocalypse before it's too late for everyone.

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman follows Courtney through some crazy and out of this world adventures. When Courtney was seven years old her grandfather tried to drown her in a bathtub. He always spoke of aliens and people being out to get him, and after he died Courtney’s mom wrote him off as crazy. Courtney wants to think her grandfather was crazy too, except she sees the aliens too. Strange things just keep on happening to her, the aliens are visiting her in her dreams at night. So, maybe Courtney and her grandfather aren’t crazy after all. Maybe the aliens are real and it’s up to Courtney to figure out what they want.

This is a sci fi, alien story with some secret society mystery thrown in. Courtney meets a lot of interesting characters along her journey. It’s hard to know who she can and can’t trust. I trusted no one in this story. I thought everyone had ulterior motives, and didn’t know what to believe. Agatha is one of the first people Courtney meets. The aliens also visit Agatha’s brother and she looks exactly like Courtney’s imaginary friend Astra. She is the first one to believe Courtney and not write her off as crazy. All of this can’t be a coincidence.

There is a lot going on in this story and I never knew who to believe or trust. Most of all I felt bad for Courtney, being 15 years old and having to deal with all of this on her own. She isn’t just visited by aliens; she’s also alienated from her family and friends. These events keep her very isolated and alone. It’s hard for her because no one believes her and everyone just wants her to act normal.

The major thing I disliked about this book was Courtney’s mother. I know she’s not supposed to be likable but she was awful to an extreme. She treats Courtney like a nuisance. She believes her daughter is mentally ill and she is constantly shaming her for it or threatening to lock her up in an asylum. She seems to have no desire to actually help Courtney; she just wants her to shut up and act normal. She drove me crazy!

The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman is a great sci fi adventure with some conspiracy thrown into the mix. The bad guys are easy to root against and I found myself rooting for Courtney to figure out this mystery and finally find her place in the world.

I was lucky enough to receive a signed finished copy of this book from the author to giveaway to one lucky reader!

Giveaway

Signed paperback of The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman by Brady Stefani

 

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Contemporary Romance Challenge: September Link-Up

1st Sep 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Contemporary Romance Challenge: September Link-Up

Oh, hi there!!

Well, hello there September!! You’re a sight for sour eyes. Unlike Danielle, I’m looking forward to Summer being over. lol She loves Summer. I do not. I’m hoping my blogging/reviewing mojo comes back with this new month. How has your Summer been?

If you haven’t officially signed up for the challenge, be sure to do so first HERE. If not, your entries will not count toward the giveaway. I know, right. Mean mom!

If you have August posts or reviews make sure you post your links in the August Link-up, which closes on September 5th!

Monthly Link-Up And Giveaway Details:

  • Your thoughts on each book you read must be posted somewhere, like your blog, Goodreads, Amazon, YouTube, Tumblr, etc., in order for it to count towards this challenge. Ratings on Goodreads, LibraryThing, BookLikes, etc. will also work.
  • Monthly link-up posts will go live the first day of each month so you can add your links throughout the month as your posts go up. Each linky will remain open five days into each new month to allow you some time to get all your posts linked up!
  • In order for us to tell what you’re linking to on the monthly linky, the format for the links you enter need to be as follows:
    • UPDATE POST @ your name/blog name.
    • REVIEW: [BOOK TITLE] @ your name/blog name.
    • MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • Each month we’ll choose a lucky winner from that month’s linky to win a Contemporary Romance novel of their choice (up to US$10).
  • Each link you enter in that month’s linky will count as one entry into the giveaway.
  • Challenge and Giveaways are open internationally. (As long as The Book Depository ships to your country, you are eligible for a prize.)

Monthly Topics:

  • Each monthly link-up post will include a Contemporary Romance topic for you to participate in if you’d like.
  • Monthly Topic posts can go up anytime in the specified month. Link them up as follows: MONTHLY TOPIC @ your name/blog name.
  • These posts will also earn you an entry in the monthly giveaway as long as you link back to them.

Favorite Type of Heroes

 

 

 

If you have any questions, please email Jess ([email protected]) or Danielle ([email protected]). Also, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@gonewiththeword & @loveatfirstpage) for challenge updates and reminders! Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ContRom2016 to follow everyone’s challenge updates on Twitter!

 

 

 

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Blog Tour: Results May Vary by Bethany Chase | Review + Writing Playlist + Giveaway!

10th Aug 2016 Jess @ Gone with the Words 2016, Blog Tours, Giveaways, Guest Posts, Reviews, Reviews by Jess, Tunes for Books

Blog Tour: Results May Vary by Bethany Chase | Review + Writing Playlist + Giveaway!Results May Vary by Bethany Chase
Published by Ballantine Books
Pub Date: August 9th 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Can you ever really know the person you love?

She never saw it coming. Without even a shiver of suspicion to warn her, Caroline Hammond discovers that her husband is having an affair with a man—a revelation that forces her to question their entire history together, from their early days as high school sweethearts through their ten years as a happily married couple. In her now upside-down world, Caroline begins envisioning her life without the relationship that has defined it: the loneliness of being an “I” instead of a “we”; the rekindled yet tenuous closeness with her younger sister; and the unexpected—and potentially disastrous—attraction she can't get off her mind. Caroline always thought she knew her own love story, but as her husband's other secrets emerge, she must decide whether that story's ending will mean forgiving the man she's loved for half her life, or facing her future without him.

Compassionate and uplifting, Results May Vary is a bittersweet celebration of the fact that in love and in life, we rarely get exactly what we bargained for.

We’ve all heard the stories: after years of marriage, a husband finally admits to himself and to his wife and family that he’s gay. Most recently you may have read about Trey Pearson, a Christian Rocker, who come out as gay and whose story really touched me. The difference here is that in Results May Vary the revelation wasn’t as honest or heartfelt as Trey’s was.

Results May Vary is about the fallout of a betrayal in a marriage. It’s about how Caroline picks up the pieces of a life she was so secure in and how she comes to terms with the realization that she’s never really known the person she loved and married. But it’s also about all the good that will come after such a devastation.

If you’ve visited my blog in the last year, or even the past six months, you’ve probably seen me say at some point that Bethany Chase’s debut, The One That Got Away, was a favorite read last year. This book is really different than that one. I loved Results May Vary in a completely different way. This is one of those books that really made me think about myself and the people I know, about the experiences in my life and how they’ve shaped who I am now. While reading I wondered, “What if that was my man? How would I react?” Devastated, for sure. But I would hope that above all I’d be kind. Caroline’s journey through this was really heart-wrenching at times, but I really admired her in the end. I was glad that we got to see her go through so many ups and downs because it made her character more authentic. I was very happy with where this story left off and felt content, but at the same time I was left feeling like I was saying goodbye to people I knew in real life. They sure stayed in my mind for a long while after.

Results May Vary is easily my favorite book of the year so far, and I think it’s going to be hard to top at this point. The writing is superb and the emotional depth really moved me. I hope you all run out and get a copy! Or you could try to win the extra one I unknowingly purchased, haha.

gwtw-separate-line

And now, here’s Bethany Chase…

Writing Playlist – Results May Vary

This is an interesting thing to write about, because this book has such a different musical personality from my first book, The One That Got Away. When I was writing that, I was listening to a lot of classic soul and 70’s rock (think Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack), and that made its way into the book in many places. Results May Vary’s playlist is a lot more eclectic, both on purpose and by accident.

  • Sugar & the Hi Lows, “Right Time to Tell You”: This song is gorgeous. The melody and harmonies are about as pretty as it gets, and the lyrics are incredibly apropos to Adam’s situation—the narrator has something to confess, has been waiting for the right time to do it, but no time is ever the right time.
  • Fountains of Wayne’s gorgeous “Valley Winter Song”: This is a quintessential New-England-in-winter song for me. It talks about short, dreary winter days and snowstorms and hanging in there till the summer. (True, perfect fact: the Fountains guys are Williams alums just like Caroline and me.)
  • Band of Horses, “No One’s Gonna Love You”: Really sums up Caroline’s feelings toward Adam in the early part of the book.
  • Amos Lee, “Chill in the Air”: Another beautiful breakup song (in this one, it’s the steel guitar that cinches it), and a nod to Caroline’s predilection for mopey singer-songwriters. I think Amos is fantastic, but the man sure can write a good mopey song.
  • The Grateful Dead, “Fire on the Mountain”: This is one of my personal favorite songs that I was delighted to give to a character. I am only an entry-level Deadhead, but the guitar riff on this song is just so mellow and pretty that I could listen to it for hours. Or, you know, 13 minutes, which is the length of the longest live version of it that I own.
  • The Apache Relay, “Katie Queen of Tennessee”: Very pretty little love song from one of Jonathan’s favorite bands.
  • Jo Dee Messina, “Downtime”: Ruby wasn’t kidding that Jo Dee is the queen of upbeat breakup anthems. I’ve always loved this song because it’s about the process of recovering yourself while you get over a breakup, which is really what the book is about. I especially love the line where she says “Your memory’s taking second to a good book and a nice, long bath.”
  • Duke Ellington, “Jeep’s Blues”: this piece gets a very specific call-out in the book because good lord, is it sexy. I’ve always thought blues is the sexiest music there is. (And this stood me in good stead when one of the questions on my online dating survey was “What’s your favorite music to get you in the mood” and I referenced something about one of the Allman Brothers barn-burners, which impressed the musician who is now my husband.)
  • Rodgers & Hart, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered”: I have an Ella Fitzgerald recording of this song that is one of my favorite all-time pieces of music. Ella’s voice is so beautiful, and the song’s lyrics have this sly, witty charm that—yes, I sound like an old person—you so rarely find anymore. “I’m wild again, beguiled again, a simpering, whimpering child again…” It’s such a great description of being infatuated.
  • First Aid Kit, “Emmylou”: Stunning harmonies in this song, and sweet, upbeat lyrics that remind me of Caroline and Neil. Especially where she says “I’m not asking much of you, just sing, little darling, sing with me” and “Things just don’t grow if you don’t bless them with your patience.”

gwtw-separate-line

Giveaway

Paperback copy of RESULTS MAY VARY by Bethany Chase

 

About Bethany Chase

A native of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Bethany Chase headed to Williams College for an English degree and somehow came out the other side an interior designer. When she’s not writing or designing, you can usually find her in a karaoke bar. She lives with her lovely husband and occasionally psychotic cat in Brooklyn, three flights up. This is her first novel.

Jess @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull

9th Aug 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena BrignullThe Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull
Published by Weinstein Books
Pub Date: September 6th 2016
Pages: 368
Format: ARC | Source: Publisher
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn’t lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don’t belong and seeking escape.

Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they’ve never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.

Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who – befriending them both – tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember’s friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?

This book was a mixed bag for me. On the plus side, The Hawkweed Prophecy grabbed me from the very beginning and kept my interest all the way through. I loved the witchy feel; it was unique, secretive, creepy, and otherworldly. It also celebrated the bonds of friendship and sisterhood. I was intrigued by Ember, Poppy, and Leo, and how their lives were intertwined. It was at times sweet and very sad. There were quite a few characters that all had interesting, complicated parts to play.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a complete emotional connection to the characters, which is where I got lost. Plenty scenes made me emotional, and I felt emotion between the characters themselves- love, jealousy, betrayal, loss…. but not between them and me. It’s hard to explain. There were also a few really disturbing sequences that bummed me out, but the writing is great and it worked for the story. The word choice throughout the book was precise and evoked so many senses and details. There is quite a bit of action in the second half while the majority of The Hawkweed Prophecy is very character driven.

It’s going to be a great book for fall. I could see glimmers of the strangeness of The Raven Boys, the witchiness of Unspoken and Beautiful Creatures, the curses and sisterhood of Practical Magic, and the creepiness of The Glass Casket. The book lost some luster for me in the middle and I wish I personally felt more connection, but I’m glad I picked it up at BEA.

Is this book on your Fall TBR? If you’ve read it already, what did you think?

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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