Review: Off the Hook by Laura Drewry

17th Oct 2016 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: Off the Hook by Laura DrewryOff the Hook by Laura Drewry
Series: Fishing for Trouble #1
Published by Loveswept
Pub Date: April 12th 2016
Pages: 242
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Welcome to The Buoys, a West Coast haven where love comes in with the tide. Perfect for readers of Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery, the Fishing for Trouble series features three unforgettable brothers—each of whom is a great catch.
 
Major league pitcher Liam O’Donnell knows his best days are probably behind him, but that doesn’t mean he’s ready to retire and become a fishing guide. Still, after all the time he’s spent chasing his dreams, he owes it to his brothers to pull his weight around the lodge. The Buoys is their father’s legacy, and they can’t let some developer take it from them. The one snag Liam isn’t counting on is a blast from the past: his ex-wife.
 
The moment Kate Hadley steps out of the seaplane, she knows this assignment is going to be trickier than she thought. She has to persuade the owners to sell—and one of them is Liam O’Donnell. Ten years ago, she made the biggest mistake of her life when she married Liam during a fling in Vegas. Now he’s her only lifeline in the middle of nowhere. Kate’s trying to keep things cool, but Liam reminds her of the scorching few nights they spent together—and tempts her to make new memories that are just as steamy as the old.

Off the Hook is the first in the Fishing for Trouble series. In it, we are introduced to a tight knit family that owns and operates a fishing resort off the West coast of Canada. This first book gave us the second-chance romance of Kate and Liam. They are ex husband and wife whom have not seen each other since their brief Vegas marriage ended 10 years ago! These two really pulled at my heart strings because you could equally feel their attraction and their reservations with each other. Neither came from the ideal childhood, but they both worked hard to turn into the adults they are now. Kate wasn’t the fragile damsel that female leads are often portrayed as and I admired her so much for her strength and self-love!

As for the setting, The Buoys, easily made it to one of my top 5 favorite fictional places! I’m almost positive this is my first book set in Canada and I was not disappointed. The seclusion sounded heavenly and its lack of luxury only made it that much more appealing. I can’t wait to get more of this place, these characters, and their stories!

My problem with Off the Hook was with its pacing. It seemed to really drag at times and I felt bored on more than one occasion. The last couple of chapters were a lot better paced so I’m hoping the slow start was just due to the author getting more comfortable with the story line she was creating.

Laura Drewry did an amazing job at making each character stand out. Those characters were easily what captured me the most from this story. I fell in love with them as a whole, but each one had something special that made me like them as an individual. I’m really looking forward to reading Finn & Ronan’s books and seeing this group develop as a whole!

 

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

12th Oct 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: The Hating Game by Sally ThorneThe Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow
Pub Date: August 9th 2016
Pages: 384
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
2) A person’s undoing
3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual.

Trapped in a shared office together 40 (OK, 50 or 60) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything—especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking.

If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date? After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong.

Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

I’m so glad I decided to buy The Hating Game after seeing friends talk about it online because I loved it SO MUCH! I haven’t stopped thinking about the book since I finished!! From the opening chapter, I was enchanted by Lucy’s voice- she was so hilarious but real and I was giggling out loud on the bus, which I rarely do.

The publishing house setting was great, as were the office dynamics and oh my gosh, from the get go you just fall in love with Lucy and Josh and their silly office games. They hate each other soooo muchhhh (wink wink), like genuinely seem to hate each other and get under each other’s skin, that you know it’s going to be great when they stop hating each other.

The secondary characters are fleshed out well enough (loved Helene!), and Lucy and Josh could have been total caricatures but they’re not. She has quirks but she’s not a “quirky girl”. She overthinks everything and collects Smurf figures and misses her family, but she’s intelligent and reaching for her dreams. Josh could have been the stereotypical macho guy with a tender heart but he was so much more than that. He hides his shyness and insecurities with bravado, but he’s such a good person underneath that asshole layer. He’ll really surprise you, in a good way.

I also loved that the drama was believable and not that over the top. Family drama, mild dating drama, office drama, etc. There was some miscommunication but it was always resolved quickly. It helped that Josh knew Lucy really well, including her tendency to freak out in a very I Love Lucy sort of way, so a scene that could have been frustrating (her deciding that stopping by was stupid and she’s going to leave) was turned into something humorous: “Stop. Sit down. I’m making you some tea.” I swear I died when he made Lucy a sandwich, wrapped her in a cozy blanket, and watched ER reruns on the couch with her. Just because. Before anything physical really happens.

One of the best quotes is Lucy monologuing how she realizes that Josh is dangling his upturned hand on the couch like seeds to a skittish chicken (her being the chicken); he knows she needs to go slow (even if she doesn’t want to) and it’s honestly adorable. I loved watching their relationship thaw from enemies to coworkers to friends to Or Something- you’ll get that when you read the book!

This is one of those books that is predictable but you love all the individual elements so much that you don’t care. It’s very well written, from the voice to the characterization to the romantic scenes. And I loooooove the taking care of someone when they’re sick trope, like in You’ve Got Mail! Eep! Delirious medicine talk is almost as good as drunk talk, as far as unfiltered thoughts go ;)

The Hating Game is a pure rom-com and such a delight to read. It reminded me of Sophie Kinsella books but I think I loved it even better. I can’t believe it’s a debut and I can’t wait to read whatever Sally Thorne writes next. It was absolutely hilarious, really really adorable and sweet, and so sexy. One of my favorite books of the year for sure. (I’ve already reread THG since I wrote my review. Take that for what you will!)

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley

15th Jul 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley

Bitsy Words: Dating Sarah Cooper by Siera MaleyDating Sarah Cooper by Siera Maley
Published by Author
Pub Date: July 30th 2014
Pages: 242
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Katie Hammontree and Sarah Cooper have been best friends since the 2nd grade. Katie's welcoming, tight-knit family is a convenient substitute for Sarah when her distant parents aren't around, and Sarah's abrasive, goal-oriented personality gels well with Katie's more laid-back approach to life.
But when a misunderstanding leads to the two of them being mistaken for a couple and Sarah uses the situation to her advantage, Katie finds herself on a roller coaster ride of ambiguous sexuality and confusing feelings. How far will Sarah go to keep up the charade, and why does kissing her make Katie feel more alive than kissing her ex-boyfriend Austin ever did? And how will their new circle of gay friends react when the truth comes out?

This is the kind of fluff I’m always looking for! I read Dating Sarah Cooper in about 4 hours and I really loved it. First of all, Katie and Sarah are extremely likeable despite the very unlikeable fake dating scenario they find themselves in at the start of the book. I loved their voices (especially Sarah) and I really liked the other characters as well. Not all of them were super fleshed out but there’s a good bit of “more than meets the eye” going on.

 

I also adored Katie’s parents and how close and supportive they were of her. One of my favorite scenes is when they reassure her they’ve always “known” about Katie because Katie isn’t even sure what she knows about herself! It was very sweet, but also kind of hilarious and a good turning point. Their quarterly family date night was such a fun idea too!

Not being LGBT myself (but knowing this book comes highly recommended from people who are), I thought Dating Sarah Cooper did a really wonderful job of exploring sexuality, prejudice, and how that all gets confused and fits into high school life. I loved watching Katie’s journey especially, the way she explained and sorted through her feelings, and gosh, this book was just CUTE ok!?! And had some very swoony kissing and really nice friendships. I totally loved it.

 

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Summer After You And Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

11th Jul 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: The Summer After You And Me by Jennifer Salvato DoktorskiThe Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
Pub Date: May 5th 2015
Pages: 306
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Goodreads
4 Stars

Will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?

For Lucy, the Jersey Shore isn't just the perfect summer escape, it's home. As a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in during Memorial Day weekend, crowding her costal town and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Still, she can't help but crush on charming Connor Malloy. His family spends every summer next door, and she longs for their friendship to turn into something deeper.

Then Superstorm Sandy sweeps up the coast, bringing Lucy and Connor together for a few intense hours. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm, and Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and her broken home. Time may heal all wounds, but with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, Lucy's summer is sure to be filled with fireworks.

The Summer After You and Me was such a delightful way to kick off the summer! I really enjoyed it. I grew up 5 minutes from the Jersey Shore myself, about an hour north of the town the book is set in, and it brought back all of these beach memories :)

The book takes place not long after Superstorm Sandy ravaged the East Coast in 2012, so there is definitely a somber tone throughout that’s balanced by the feeling of hope in the air. The town is rebuilding, everyone’s working to get back on their feet; it’s not without setbacks, but Seaside Park is getting there.

I really liked Lucy a lot; her interest in marine life and her academic drive coupled with her love of her hometown was refreshing! I loved her inner monologue, her love of the ocean, and her varied interests. I also loved her relationships with the people in her life. There was a lot of drama, included love triangles, but it felt like very realistic teenage drama. The ache of having seasonal friends, fighting with your parents, growing pains within your friend group, feeling replaced, realizing that you and your boyfriend might not have been meant to be more than best friends, competing with your sibling, and all the other stress that goes along with being in high school.

The thing I liked most is that everyone has these moments where they realize people make mistakes. And it takes work to get relationships back on track but it was refreshing to see them apologize to each other, to be mature and really work on their friendships.

Sometimes the dialogue was cheesy and oh gosh years of missed opportunities is the worst, but the romance was also very sweet although I can’t say I shipped anything very much. I did like Connor and the shared history between him and Lucy. Sometimes the flashbacks got confusing and I couldn’t tell whether I was reading about present day or not.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to contemporary fans. It wasn’t earth-shattering but I could feel the ocean breeze and smell the boardwalk food. It has a unique New Jersey flavor mixed with summer romance and real relationships between family and friends, which was very appealing.

Have you read TSAYAM yet? What other summer books do you love? And have you ever been “down the shore”? Let me know in the comments!

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

24th Jun 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

Bitsy Words: A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon ThomasA Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing #1
Published by HarperTeen
Pub Date: February 24th 2015
Pages: 337
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept. 

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

I enjoyed A Wicked Thing a lot! It was the perfect fairy tale feel that I’m always looking for and I loved the twist, thinking about what would happen to Sleeping Beauty when she woke up. It was well done and felt believable. I really liked the setting at the castle, and the snippets of history, as well as watching Aurora come to terms with her predicament. I loved Aurora as a character but I didn’t feel very connected to anyone else. Rodric is sweet but bland, the king is cliche, and I’m verrrry interested in Finnegan but he was almost too smooth. Banter is always a plus, though. I also wish more happened but it did get exciting in the second half. I can’t wait to read the sequel! Overall, I loved the detailed setting, Aurora’s love of books, and the language; I just wanted more connection to the characters (aside from Aurora, who I thought was fleshed out nicely). If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, it’s worth a shot!

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

10th Jun 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Bitsy Words: The Song of Achilles by Madeline MillerThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Published by Ecco
Pub Date: August 28th 2012
Pages: 378
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Adult Fiction, Historical, LGBT
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their difference, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess.

But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear. 

The Song of Achilles is an absolutely striking novel. The writing is exquisite and lovely; it’s sparse but uses the most wonderful descriptions and turns of phrase. I’ve read and watched my fair share of Troy adaptations but this is the best. It felt fresh and original, accessible, and brought to life these magnificent doomed characters. Ohhhh how you feel for them. The relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is everything you could wish for in a tragic romance. Whether you know the story or not (I did), you can see the twists of fate that bring them closer and closer to impending doom and ugh, it’s horrible not being able to do anything about it!!!

(source)

Madeline Miller humanizes Achilles and makes him a compelling hero worth following, while she raises Patroclus to new heights. There are traces of the gods but it doesn’t feel hokey or intrusive, any more than it is supposed to. Odysseus, Thetis, and Briseis also shine as characters. I felt transported back in time to this incredible story. The emotions are overwhelming and burrowed into my soul. The language is evocative and the action is fierce, the romance tender. Historical fiction fans must read this; I’m so glad I did. I hope we don’t have to wait much longer for Miller’s next novel!

Tumblr is a treasure trove of mood boards, fan art, and on-point fan reactions to The Song of Achilles. Here are a few links to check out:
The Song of Achilles aesthetics
Achilles/Patroclus moodboard
Modern Patrochilles AU aesthetics
The Song of Captain America
Spoilers for Disney fans

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke

2nd Jun 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve TucholkeSlasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published by Dial Books
Pub Date: August 18th 2015
Pages: 385
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

 

Each story draws from a classic tale or two—sometimes of the horror genre, sometimes not—to inspire something new and fresh and terrifying. There are no superficial scares here; these are stories that will make you think even as they keep you on the edge of your seat. From bloody horror to supernatural creatures to unsettling, all-too-possible realism, this collection has something for any reader looking for a thrill.

Short stories and anthologies aren’t really my thing, to be fair I probably haven’t really given them a fair shot until now. I have to admit, I started by reading  my favorite authors first then going back to the others. I’m happy to report that I would give other anthologies like this a chance. Since the book has 14 short stories, I am going to touch briefly on each of them.

The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma

This one was so creepy, like everyday creepy. A male next-door neighbor is photographing young girls in the neighborhood. As if that’s not enough, there is a bird twist to the story that literally gave me the chills.

In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, the story follows Cassidy Evans through her teen years and her obsession with something very deadly in the clearing in the forest behind her house. {shudders}

Emmeline by Cat Winters

Set in Northern France in 1918, a historical story inspired by All Quiet on the Western Front, Nosferatu and Kiss Me Again Stranger. Definitely creeped me out.

Verse Chorus Verse Leigh Bardugo

This was one of my favorite stories. A disturbing inside look into celebrity rehab with a crazy twist.

Hide-and-Seek by Megan Shepherd

Another great story, inspired by one of my favorite movies The Crow. A game of hide and seek with death himself.

The Dark Scary Parts and All Danielle Paige

When your the dorkiest girl in high school and the most popular boy begins to show true interest in you it’s like a dream come true, right? It is until you find out who he really is.

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

Probably my least favorite of all. Inspired by Stephen Kings “Carrie” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and it read just like the movie.

Fat Girl With A Knife by Jonathan Mayberry

Very Mayberry in the zombie sense. Zombies take over a local high school and the girl with the pretty name who isn’t pretty fights them off with a knife.

Sleepless by Jay Kristoff

I couldn’t help but think about how real this story is or could be. Online dating with the worse outcome, almost.

M by Stefan Bachmann

One of my favorite stories in the book. Murder, mystery and revenge!

The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu

Probably my favorite story of all of them. Downright creepy in every sense of the word. Every action has a consequence and when you try to ignore that consequence it will come back and haunt you.

A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman

A plague is killing woman and those it doesn’t kill are being kidnapped and sold, until a determined woman takes matters into her own hands.

Stitches by A.G. Howard

What if you could cut the bad parts off your body and replace them with good parts? If your feet lead you astray, cut them off and replace them with ones that will not lead you astray…this story is wicked!

On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

Revenge is strong in this story. Again, so close to reality and horrible things that really do happen but with a ghostly twist.

Overall I enjoyed the book, even though there were a few stories I wasn’t all that impressed with. I’ve definitely been reminded why I steer clear of anthologies, I always end up wanting more.

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

25th May 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve TucholkeWink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke
Published by Dial
Pub Date: March 22nd 2016
Pages: 247
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

Every story needs a hero.
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

Wink Poppy Midnight is not like any other books I’ve read lately. The story is about three teens, Wink, Poppy, and Midnight. Each of them is very different and has their own story to tell. April Genevieve Tucholke’s writing style is mesmerizing. The whole book read like a lovely poem. This story was beautiful and addictive.

Poppy is a mean girl. She’s cruel and a bully, she has her own little group of followers called the Yellows that she loves to boss around and play games with. Midnight is in love with Poppy, but he doesn’t want to be. He sees the kind of person she is and he is trying so hard to break away from her and her manipulations. That’s when he meets Wink. Wink is one of the Bell children. She has the nickname “Feral Bell” because most of the other kids her age think she’s a little weird. She loves fairy tales and reading about adventures in books. When Midnight moves in next door she thinks it’s a sign that her own adventure is starting.

We follow all three of these characters throughout the book and get to see the story through each of their viewpoints. I enjoyed the different narrators and they all have such independent voices. You could tell who’s point of view it was without seeing the names in the beginnings of the chapters. Midnight is the main character, caught between two girls and trying to start over. I liked Midnight and felt his struggle when it came to Poppy and Wink. He is a nice guy and just wants to be with someone who actually wants him back. Poppy is easy to hate, she’s mean, cruel, and loves to play games. As the story goes on you start to see Poppy as more than just a mean girl and even start to sympathize with her at certain points. Wink is a strange character, she is obsessed with fairy tales and making real life just like a story. She seems too naive and childlike to be real. At time I just couldn’t take her character seriously at all, and she kind of annoyed me.

The messy little triangle between Poppy, Midnight, and Wink is really interesting. Poppy is determined not to lose Midnight, not because she loves him but just because she hates to lose. Midnight tries so hard to stay away from Poppy and he genuinely likes Wink and wants to spend time with her. In the beginning of the book it seems pretty clear that Poppy is the villain and Midnight and Wink might be the heroes of the story. As the book goes on it becomes harder and harder to tell who’s the villain and who’s the hero. The lines get really blurry and it’s hard to trust any of our narrators.

When I finished this book I realized there are no heroes or villains, just people with different motivations. It’s hard to point out who’s right or wrong in the end, everyone has their own baggage and does questionable things. I enjoyed the plot twist, which I didn’t see coming. The writing was enthralling and just drew me in. I loved the lyrical prose throughout the book and it just added to the atmosphere the author was building throughout the story. I recommend this book to anyone who like a mystery and a story that’s a little out there.

And the perfect gif to sum up this story…

 

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher

23rd Mar 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Opportunist by Tarryn FisherThe Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher
Series: Love Me with Lies #1
Published by Author
Pub Date: November 14th 2011
Pages: 278
Format: eBook | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4.5 Stars

Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

Olivia and Caleb, these two are just one crazy and toxic couple. They both do some pretty extreme things in the name of love. Olivia and Caleb meet in college and their twisted story just spirals on from there. It’s hard to talk about details because there are so many twists and turns in this book that really shouldn’t be spoiled.

Olivia goes to extremes to get Caleb back and keep him. After their relationship ends, Olivia feel like she is getting another chance when she sees Caleb in a music store one day and he doesn’t seem to recognize her. She could tell him the truth or she could stick to her scheming ways and try to make things right with him again. Obviously, she chooses not to tell the truth and just go with it. Olivia is definitely complicated, she loves Caleb but she screws things up left and right.

Now lets talk about Caleb, he blames Olivia for a lot of things when he is equally guilty, if not a little more. I can’t say too much about what he does without giving things away, but let’s just say Olivia is not the only manipulative one. I had a problem with Caleb, he’s so quick to blame everything on Olivia but he’s not perfect at all. He made a lot of mistakes in their relationship and instead of owning it he just seems too pass the blame on to Olivia. He’s a pretty shady character himself.

Another major player in this book is Leah, she’s Caleb’s current girlfriend when he gets amnesia.  She is even more manipulative than Olivia and down right evil at times, it seems like Caleb has a type. She is not just sitting around letting Olivia have Caleb, she is fighting for him, and she’s fighting dirty. By the end of the book you just want her gone.

I’ve seen a lot of ranting about the ending of this book but I thought it was fitting. It was exactly how I thought these two would end up. It may not make everyone happy but I think it’s realistic.

Olivia and Caleb are not perfect, it’s hard to even tell if they’re good people. This isn’t a classic love story, sometimes it’s hard to root for them and it’s definitely not a fairytale. The Opportunist is a unique take on a love story where the two main characters are crazy about each other, but have no clue how to make things right.

 

 

About Tarryn Fisher

Tarryn Fisher

Tarryn Fisher is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of five novels, and is currently working on two more (Marrow and the second installment of Never Never). She is the co-founder of Clothed Caption, a fashion blog she runs with her friend, Madison Seidler. Tarryn resides in the Seattle area with her family. She loves rainy days, Coke, and thinks Instagram is the new Facebook. Tarryn is represented by Amy Tannenbaum of the Jane Rotrosen Agency.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

7th Mar 2016 Tamara @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Tamara

Review: The Revolution of Ivy by Amy EngelThe Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel
Series: The Book of Ivy #2
Published by Entangled Teen
Pub Date: November 3rd 2015
Pages: 290
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty--forced marriages and murder plots--for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall's borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy's life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she's fought for.

I loved The Book of Ivy, it was one of the best books I read last year and I was so excited and ready for The Revolution of Ivy. While I enjoyed this book, I liked it a little less than the first book. This was a good wrap up of the story and the plots but it was missing a little bit of excitement I felt in the first one. That being said there were a lot of big decisions and risks taken in the story.

Ivy and Bishop were a little aggravating because they just wouldn’t talk to each other and work things out. They drove me crazy! I just wanted them to figure things out and move forward. A big part of the book is spent with these two dancing around each other and avoiding their issues. After a while it was just annoying.

The new characters Ash and Caleb were a great addition. I really liked them and their friendship with Ivy. I was a little wary at first, but they won me over, especially Ash. Ivy definitely needed some more trustworthy and loyal people in her life.

Life outside of the fence was what I was most excited about seeing in this book. Ivy has never left Westfall, and I knew life on the outside would be rough. I wanted to see how she would handle it. I was pleasantly surprised in this respect because Ivy did go through a lot of obstacles on the outside and it was not easy for her. Honestly, I would have loved a whole book about Ivy adjusting to the outside and leaving Westfall and her family behind but that just wouldn’t have worked for the character or the series. Ivy gets to make peace with some of the issues of her past and her family. All while proving that her awful father and sister definitely never deserved her loyalty.

I’m a little sad the series is over. I wish it was longer, but at the same time I’m glad the author didn’t drag the story out. All of the questions I had were answered and the story wraps up pretty nicely. Not too perfect, but still hopeful for the future of the characters. Even though this book didn’t quite live up to my expectations I still enjoyed it and was happy with how the series ended.

 

 

About Amy Engel

Amy Engel

Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas, California, Missouri, Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Before devoting herself full time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which she says is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV.  :) When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping.

Tamara @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

2nd Mar 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Review: Finnikin of the Rock by Melina MarchettaFinnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Series: Lumatere Chronicles #1
Published by Candlewick Press
Pub Date: February 9th 2010
Pages: 401
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

At the age of nine, Finnikin's world is shattered by the five days of the unspeakable: the royal family of Lumatere is brutally murdered, an imposter seizes the throne, and a curse binds all who remain inside the kingdom's walls. Those who escape are left to roam as exiles.

Ten years later, Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, are summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, the heir to the throne of Lumatere and Finnikin's childhood friend, is alive, and she can lead Finnikin to him. Even as he suspects this arrogant young woman, Finnikin also begins to believe that Lumatere might one day be raised.

I didn’t know what to expect from Finnikin of the Rock except lots of glorious pain and ships, according to my friends. The premise has intrigued me for awhile and I’ve checked it out of the library at least twice without reading it. What can I say, fantasy does intimidate me sometimes! Buying a copy alleviated my fears of having to read it quickly although I ended up reading it in a couple days. I was captivated by Finnikin’s story, and the story of Skuldenore’s kingdoms. Most importantly, Lumatere!

The book was intricate and the world-building was exquisitely detailed. I loved learning more and more about the five days of the unspeakable as the book unfolded, and there was quite a lot of exciting action mixed in with the quiet character building moments. I thought Marchetta did a wonderful job with the politics between the kingdoms, and a good job of differentiating the kingdoms and cultures as well.

The characters were fierce and terribly interesting, down to the bit players. I can’t say much for fear of spoilers but we meet characters in the second half that I REALLY liked, although Evanjalin was my favorite from the start. She was so mysterious and captivating. And there are twists that I never saw coming! I will say that there is also a SUPER CUTE scene that I never expected because of the pain and darkness I was conditioned to expect, but it made me smile :)

I had a hard time connecting emotionally with the first half of the story; I wanted to keep reading and I liked Finnikin and his companions, but I didn’t have Feels. This is the main reason I can’t call the book a favorite (yet) and why I knocked off a star. The Feels came later. Lots of Feels in the last quarter especially. It was an enthralling, exciting, dramatic book with a brilliant juxtaposition between light and dark, and shades of gray, and I cant wait to continue the series (although frankly, I’m scared of what’s to come).

 

 

About Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta

Melina Marchetta’s writing career took off in 1992 when she published her first novel: Looking For Alibrandi. She later turned the story into a film script. The movie Looking for Alibrandi screened in theatres around Australia and the world from 2000.

Melina managed to combine writing with teaching English and History in secondary school for ten years up to 2006, when she committed to writing full-time. During that period, she released two novels, Saving Francesca and On the Jellicoe Road.

Her first fantasy novel, Finnikin of the Rock, was published in 2008. The Piper’s Son (a companion novel to Saving Francesca) was released in 2010. She has written a children’s book, The Gorgon in the Gully, as part of the Puffin Pocket Money series.

Her novels have been published in 17 languages in at least 18 countries. Melina lives in Sydney where she writes full time.

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

26th Feb 2016 Morgan @ Gone with the Words 2016, Bitsy Words, Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge, Reviews, Reviews by Morgan

Bitsy Words: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Bitsy Words: The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Series: The Art of Lainey #1
Published by HarperTeen
Pub Date: May 20th 2014
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be? 

One of my favorite contemporaries from the past couple years is The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes (I’ve read it twice!), so in honor of Valentine’s Day this month, here are a few reasons why:

  • It is very swoony and full of banter, and fake dating, and hate-to-love. Basically all of my favorite romantic tropes.
  • I loved Lainey’s character arc, watching her transform from who she thought she should be to who she actually is. It was very well done.
  • I loved the secondary characters, including Lainey’s spacey family, her friend Bianca, and Micah’s sister.
  • MICAH. I. LOVED. MICAH. He was something else. He’s sarcastic but secretly sweet, he’s mysterious, he’s a baker (!!). And the sizzling chemistry he has with Lainey is undeniable.
  • Time to board the ship!!! I marked a bazillion of my favorite Micah/Lainey moments, including my always favorite soccer scene.
  • There is a minor character that reminds me of Chris Evans, always a plus.

Micah would most definitely not approve, but Does He Know by One Direction totally makes me think of this one particular scene between Micah and Lainey at a music show. It reminds me of Lainey coming out of her shell and how she lets Micah see that side of her, a side that she kept hidden from her ex Jason. So now whenever I hear it, I can’t help thinking of Lainey and Micah :)

Do you agree? Have you read The Art of Lainey? Let me know!

 

 

Morgan @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

3rd Feb 2016 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Review: Soundless by Richelle MeadSoundless by Richelle Mead
Published by Razorbill
Pub Date: November 10th 2015
Pages: 272
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
3.5 Stars

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom. 

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.

Soundless has such a unique concept! It’s set in a Chinese village of 300 residents that sits on the top of a mountain. The conditions of the mountain are less than ideal for farming/gardening and the residents of this village have all tragically lost the ability to hear many decades ago. Being deaf prevents them from descending the mountain because they would never hear avalanches. Luckily, there are mines and the villagers have been able to trade the metals from these mines for food and supplies from the village below via a zip line. As if being deaf was not bad enough, some of the villagers have now begun to lose their sight, which is an obvious must-have for mining. With the amount of metals declining, so has the amount of food, but Fei has miraculously gained her sense of hearing. *cue gasp* Something has to be done before everyone in her village dies of starvation and as the only person able to hear, Fei knows it’s all up to her…. no pressure! hehe

I’ve been wanting to read a Richelle Mead book for ages, but with the Bloodlines and Vampire Academy series both being 6 books I kept putting her off til later. When I saw she finally had a standalone being released I was super excited to check out her writing style and see what all the buzz was about. Although Soundless is not what most would consider a “page turner”, Mead had a way of ending each chapter in such a way that makes you want to read at least the first paragraph in the next chapter just to see what the heck happens next! I quickly realized why she has so many fans.

A fantasy novel that is not only a standalone, but less than 300 pages long? Of course there’s a possibility of pulling that off, but it was done so much better than I thought was possible! Being less than 300 pages did not hinder the world building at all. Richelle did a great job at explaining the history of the village and the reason for why things are the way they are. Although there is no verbal dialog between the characters, they communicate through sign language and Mead made it all flow perfectly. I could vividly imagine the scenes as they were playing out and walked away from Soundless like I had just experienced something magical!

One of my favorite things about this story was the bond between Fei and her older sister, Zhang Jing, because it was something I could totally relate to. I have a sister named Carmen, who I’ve talked about in reviews before, that is my other half, my partner in crime, (for all my fellow Grey’s Anatomy lovers) my person. Although she’s older than me by 2 years, we share a super close bond and I’ve always felt the need to protect her. The way that Fei is willing to do anything for Zhang Jing really gave me all of the feels!

Lately, I’ve been falling for the losing end of love triangles so I was really glad that the “love triangle” (if you can even call it that) in Soundless was super minor and lasts a whole 3.5 seconds!  So if love triangles or insta-love aren’t your thing, you have nothing to worry about here. :)

Halfway through the book I thought there was just no way it could all be wrapped up by the final page, but Richelle Mead pulled it off and really gave Soundless a great conclusion. My reason for this book not scoring higher is because I lacked a greater connection to the characters. Sure, I wanted them to succeed, but when the story was over I wasn’t left wanting more from them. You know those books/characters that will stay on your mind for days/weeks/months long after you’ve put them back on your shelf? Well, this one didn’t do that for me. When I was done, I was simply ready for the next one.

This year I’ve decided to keep track  of the characters I live through and all of the places they take me to. Starting off 2016 as a young talented artist who lives on a mountain top in China and helps save my village is really a great way to kick things off!

About Richelle Mead

Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths. She received a liberal arts degree from the University of Michigan, an MA in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University, and a Master in Teaching (Middle & High School English) degree from the University of Washington. In the end, she decided writing was the way for her but believes all of her education prepared her for it.

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

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Review: Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

11th Jan 2016 Ashley @ Gone with the Words 2016, Reviews, Reviews by Ashley

Review: Wolf By Wolf by Ryan GraudinWolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Series: Wolf By Wolf #1
Published by Little, Brown BfYR
Pub Date: October 20th 2015
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover | Source: Purchased
Genres: Young Adult
Buy the book! | Goodreads
4 Stars

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

(Originally posted by Ashley on Must Love Books)

I’ve said it before, I don’t really read historical fiction. But after reading this book I’m questioning that decision! I’m sure not every historical fiction title has skinshifters but I’m really starting to warm up to the idea of reading more historical fiction, maybe!

With that being said, I’m not a big fan of reading sad and depressing books in which thousands of people die for no reason, I just get really angry. In this particular book though, the main character Yael, was brought to a Nazi death camp with her family. She was chosen for an expirement and was pumped full of mysterious drugs that allowed her to change her eye color, skin color and hair color, basically be anyone she wants to be. Now this puts a new twist to the story because Yael can change into anyone she needs to be to complete her mission (kill Hitler). The story bounces back and forth between the past and the present, which sometimes is bothersome and confusing but I found it to be more mysterious and surprising. I really enjoyed Wolf by Wolf, I thought it had an interesting twist and I didn’t get bored! Of course I got curious about the motorcycles they used for the race so I had to look them up! Here they are.

 

I am glad this book came across my radar, (through November Uppercase Box). I’m not sure this is a title I would have picked up on my own but I am really glad I read it!

 

 

Ashley @ Gone with the Words

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Bitsy Words: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

18th Dec 2015 Rubi @ Gone with the Words 2015, Bitsy Words, Reviews, Reviews by Rubi

Bitsy Words: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Bitsy Words: The Alchemist by Paulo CoelhoThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Published by HarperCollins
Pub Date: May 1st 1993
Pages: 197
Format: Paperback | Source: Purchased
Buy the book! | Goodreads
5 Stars

aulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

This book was filled with quotes I want engraved in my brain for life! My only regret was deciding to read it while taking a bubble bath, because I didn’t have any sticky tabs to bookmark all these amazing quotes.

“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.”

The Alchemist is a story of a shepherd boy named Santiago who sets off on a journey in hopes of achieving what he feels is his destiny. Along this journey he meets several people that help him on his way and others that hinder him. Several times he is faced with having to choose between stopping in his tracks or continuing to his final destination. Santiago’s struggle was very relatable because we’ve all been there. At some point in life, we think we know what we are destined for and are faced with the decision of fighting for our dreams or settling for what is comfortable. Throughout Santiago’s journey, you find yourself rooting for him to not give up but also understanding his reasoning for wanting to stop.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Santiago’s story is inspiring and written in such a beautiful way! It reads like a fairy tale and that only helped to make it even more intriguing. Not only will I revisit this book again before this year is over, but I am positive that I will read it many times to come!

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

 

 

Rubi @ Gone with the Words

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