Book Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

cvr9781476743554_9781476743554_hrHopeless by Colleen Hoover

Release Date: December 19th, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 408
Price: $16.00

“Not everyone gets a happily ever after. Life is real and sometimes it’s ugly and you just have to learn how to cope.”

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

As a Colleen Hoover fan, this book was quite a disappointment. The plot was all over the place. First, I thought it would be a cute love story where Dean was a good guy with a bad boy past. Nothing about the book was as it seemed. Sky’s entire background was a hot mess. It was one reveal after another of things that, as I mentioned earlier, seemed to have nothing to do with the plot.

As Hoover novels go, this one was low on my list. I was missing the usual spark that her novels contain and that steamy sexual tension between the characters. There was some in the beginning, but when things got weird, I just did not understand what was happening. I really didn’t want to keep going, but I paid for the book, so I felt like I owed it to my money to trudge on until I finished. With all my disappointments, I can’t say that Hoover isn’t a good writer. I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read by her so far besides this one, so that’s saying something for her. I will still look forward to reading her other novels, but this one wasn’t her best.

Rating: 2 Stars

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Book Review: Perfect Timing by Laura Spinella

17165610Perfect Timing by Laura Spinella

Release Date: November 5th, 2013
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 384
Price: $15.00

“That’s what happens when you wear the triple crown of fame-talent, looks, and filthy rich. With this, you can add the fantasy element of wickedly untamed.”

Isabel Lang buried her past long ago, leaving behind the blissful and painful memories of Catswallow, Alabama for a sweet life in Providence working at a radio station. Her life has been set up wonderfully, a great boyfriend who wants her to succeed and a job that brings her joy. But everything changes when Isabel requires help from an unlikely source to keep her job and potentially her sanity.

Aiden Roycroft and Isabel Lang were best friends in the small town of Catswallow, Alabama during their childhoods and teen years. Aiden was the golden boy, handsome and musically gifted. All the boys wanted to be him, and all the girls wanted to be with him. He was trouble, but to Isabel, he was a best friend and someone she could trust.  They shared in the secrets that their families tried to keep in the past and reveled in the memories they had with one another. But when Aiden is accused of a vicious crime, the two flee to Las Vegas where Isabel’s future unravels and crumbles before her.

Seven years later, their friendship is just a long drifting memory. Isabel is content with her life with Nate Porter, a handsome and perfect doctor who plans on giving her the ideal life she has longed for and working hard on running a radio station. Plans change and life becomes jumbled when the new station management demands more ratings putting everyone’s jobs in jeopardy. Everything seems hopeless until Isabel decides to call on a lifeline from the past and contact the only rock star she has ever known.

I love Spinella’s way of weaving the past and the present. Her characters are always so wonderful and quirky; they jump off the page. There were some uncomfortable moments in the story and it may *TRIGGER WARNING* some things for people, so be careful. I feel like Spinella’s love stories are honest in the fact that things are messy. Life is chaotic, and everything doesn’t work out the way you planned, but eventually good things happen. I know that consistently having a happy ending bothers some people, but honestly, I feel like it gives me hope for my own life. I loved this book, and I will be looking for more of Spinella’s writing.

Book Review: Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

23314731Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Release Date: July 21st, 2015
Publisher: Caped
Pages: 400
Price: $4.99

“I had an odd thought just then, that I should only ever whisper her name, and that she should always be close enough to hear it.”

Hot rugged men. Sexy ginger beards. Bikers. Brothers.

Identical twins Beau and Duane Winston might look exactly alike, but where Beau is friendly and sociable, Duane is brooding and reserved. Which is why recent college graduate, Jessica James a level headed good girl, has had an unhealthy infatuation with Beau for most of her life. His smile makes her weak at the knees and her mouth rendered useless. Whereas Duane has always been someone who aggravated Jessica to no end. She can’t stand him, and she is relatively sure he feels the same.

Except after a case of mistaken identity, Jessica finds herself dreaming of Duane instead of Beau. She’s spent her entire life dreaming of Beau that she finds herself in quite a pickle when it turns out to be the opposite. Jessica is completely unprepared for the reality that Duane is quite interested in her, utilizing his hot hands, hot mouth, and scorching looks. Jessica can hardly keep herself together around him, muddling her good girl instincts. But when Duane seems to have gotten himself in some trouble with a local biker gang, things begin to heat up in a different way.

Jessica’s infatuation with Beau diminishes and she is soon compelled towards Duane who has always been her adversary. She’s willing to risk everything to be with him, but is he willing to risk the same?

My initial yearning to read this book was because the title sounded cute and immediately conjured images of hot rugged red heads. Not a bad picture, let’s be honest. The sexual tension in this book is pretty delicious. Duane is hot and needy and damn if I didn’t wish a few times that I was Jessica. They sizzled on each page and their love grew slowly over time whereas their lust was present almost immediately. Duane was sweet, despite his bad boy image. All the Winston boys were precious in their own ways, adding their own flare to the story. The book was just a simple, cute, light read that gives you a shot of romance and tons of lust.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Book Review: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

17788403Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Release Date: March 18th 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 384
Price: $9.71

“However, I’ve learned that the heart can’t be told when and who and how it should love. The heart does whatever the hell it wants to do. The only thing we can control is whether we give our lives and our minds the chance to catch up to our hearts.”

Sydney is enjoying a pretty great life. She’s in college, living with her best friend, working a steady job, and she has a wonderful boyfriend, Hunter. Or so she thinks. Her life is altered when she discovers that Hunter has been cheating on her with her best friend—leaving her unsure of her future and her living arrangements.

Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge who sits on his balcony every night strumming his guitar. She can’t stop listening to his music, nor can she stop looking at him. When Ridge offers Sydney the spare room in his apartment until she can get back on her feet, Sydney accepts, not realizing that the chemistry between her and Ridge is something that neither of them can keep fighting.

There is something special about this book that really hits your emotions. Sydney and Ridge had such amazing chemistry together. Their music was beautiful and every lyric on the page was heartbreaking and lovely. There was a lot more emotion and depth in this novel than in the past novel I had read by Hoover. There was so much feeling and a range of emotions that your heart broke for Sydney but it filled with their love. It was a bit heart wrenching and I did cry. But it was so worth it. As I mentioned previously, there was a rather large musical component to this book, with lyrics included on the pages that Sydney and Ridge collaborated on. There is something synonymous with books and music, at least for me, since as a writer I tend to listen to music as I write to help me really dive into the emotions of my characters. This was a cute read, definitely gut wrenching, but a step up in terms of emotional depth from Hoover.

Rating: 4 Stars

Book Review: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

BJMC_BeautifulDisaster_Cover-e1333664180331eautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Release Date: May 26th, 2011
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 432
Price: $8.92

“You know why I want you? I didn’t know I was lost until you found me. I didn’t know what alone was until the first night I spent without you in my bed. You’re the one thing I’ve got right. You’re what I’ve been waiting for, Pigeon.”

Abby Abernathy has reinvented herself as a good girl. Leaving her childhood behind for a new start at Eastern University where no one but her best friend America knows her past. She doesn’t drink or swear, she owns the appropriate number of sweaters, and she just wants to blend in. Her plan works until she runs into Eastern Universities Walking One-Night stand.

Travis Maddox is hot. He’s a fighter covered in tattoos and impeccably built. He’s everything that Abby wants to avoid, and yet, she gets pulled in by his charm. Unable to separate herself from his appeal, Travis tricks Abby to spending more time in his life through a bet. If Travis wins, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live with Travis in his apartment for the same amount of time. Never one to back out of a bet, Abby agrees. What Travis doesn’t know, is that he met his match.

Pardon the pun, but this book was an actual disaster. I really enjoyed it in the beginning because Travis and Abby had such insane chemistry and neither of them would do anything about it. But as the story progressed and they got closer, it just seemed like Travis was too possessive. He was always on top of her about one thing or another, like he owned her, which was not attractive. He was a whiny baby at times and got drunk and mouthed off when Abby showed she had a life outside of their relationship. It just became this constant jerk between them being happy and in love to them being completely devastated by one another. The book became really annoying after a while and I just wanted it to be over. I had high hopes for this book, but the characters and their interactions just became too frustrating to really care about by the end. It’s really frustrating when you like a book in the beginning only to hate it as you go through. Unfortunately for this book, that feeling started way before the book over and I’ll probably get rid of it soon.

Rating: 2 Stars

 

Book Review: Ugly love by Colleen Hoover

17788401Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Release Date: August 5th, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 337
Price: $15.00

“Love isn’t always pretty. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it’ll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you’re back to square one, and you lost your heart somewhere along the way.”

Tate Collins is studying to become a registered nurse when she moves into her brother Corbin’s apartment until she can find a place of her own. With a crazy schedule of rotations and class, Tate doesn’t have time for love. A detail her brother is all too thrilled about, since his job as a pilot often has him away from home for days on end. Everything goes according to plan until Tate runs into one of Corbin’s friends/co-worker, it is then that she trips and falls into a situation she never could have expected.

Miles Archer is a god. No, not Greek mythology or deity, he’s just chiseled and sculpted in all the right places, oozing charm and arrogance which makes him utterly appealing. He has no room for love or relationships and he guards that part of himself with as much ammunition as he can carry, until he realizes his undeniable attraction with Tate.

Their chemistry fizzes beneath the surface and they concoct the perfect arrangement. No love. No feelings. No emotions. Just sex. What could possibly go wrong?

Armed with two rules Miles gives her at the very start of their affair:
Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.
Tate has to decide if no strings attached is something she can really handle, especially when it seems like all her strings begin to attach her to Miles.

Things get messy.
Wounds are opened.
Promises get broken.
Rules are destroyed.
Love gets ugly.

I really enjoyed this book. There is nothing profound in this story, nothing that will stick with you or alter your life in amazing ways. It’s just a good book. Of course you have drama and sex, but you also have a really attractive male character that makes your heart leap and your pulse jump. The writing is simple and very straightforward. Unfortunately, the characters don’t have a lot of depth. Yes, we get Miles’s backstory, but again, we don’t dive deep into that time in his life. We get his emotions at face value, but nothing deeper. Despite this, I still thought it was a good book and I would recommend it to those readers who like romance or even a quick beach read. I’m looking forward to other Hoover novels because sometimes you just need some steamy literary sex to get you through the day.

 

 

Book Review: The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

the winter roseThe Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Release Date: January 1st, 2006
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 736
Price: $16.00

“Her grey eyes sparkled with passion as she spoke. Sid looked into them and for a second he glimpsed her soul. He saw what she was – fierce and brave. Upright. Impatient. And good. So good that she would sit covered in gore, shout at dangerous men, and keep a long, lonely vigil – all to save the likes of him. He realized she was a rare creature, as rare as a rose in winter.”

India Selwyn Jones has a mission. In 1900 England, she plans to open a clinic for all those suffering and poor in the East End. Having just graduated from the London School of Medicine for Women, India is privy to the privileges she has kept most of her life. Yearning to make a difference, India refuses warnings and advice that heeds her to take root in a medical facility in a fashionable neighborhood. It is here that she meets the infamous Sid Malone, one of London’s most notorious gangsters who dapples in everything from opium dens to gun shipments. He is rich with money, power, but most of all secrets from his past that haunt him.

It is with Sid that India becomes enchanted, along with life in East End and with the idea that she could help save lives along the way. It isn’t just India who feels a magnetic pull towards Sid, but he feels it too, worrying that she would throw away her dreams or worse end up in the center of one of his messes. When loyalties are tested and villains emerge, India and Sid have to choose to save themselves, each other, or their dreams.

Unbeknownst to me, this is the second book in the Tea Rose series by Donnelly. I purchased it several years ago, but it sounded like a standalone book. I wasn’t confused really by anything that was hinted at, I was really able to dive right in and understand what was happening and who these characters really were. Donnelly is one of those authors that I continuously come back to. The first book I read of hers was a wonderful YA book called The Northern Light, it was my first introduction to the idea that I could be a writer and it made me love literature and words with such a fierce passion. In a way, that book started my identity and my journey as an author and a writer. Her characters are always wonderful and achingly heartbreaking. India felt so tangible, such a modern woman in a time when woman were still show pieces and breeders. She had such bravery and intelligence. She gave all of herself to her craft and to her dreams, but most of all she never stopped believing in something better. Sid *sigh* he was a heart stealer. He had this tough exterior that I wanted to crack and when I was let inside, I was surprised to find the heart and the soul of a young boy who had shut out the world long ago. I was enveloped in these characters and I felt so close to them. Donnelly will always get high praise from me.