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Book Review: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire

NOTE: I feel it is important to clarify that this book is actually part of the “Wicked Years” series. However, I have never read, nor do I plan to read, the rest of the books in this series. As such, I have decided to review Wicked as a stand-alone novel.

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
In Baum’s land of Oz, animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens, Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability and the Tin Man becomes a victim of domestic violence. Green-skinned Elphaba, future Wicked Witch of the West, is smart, prickly and misunderstood; she challenges our preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil.

Review:

I have never watched the musical Wicked; however, it is on my bucket list and has been on my “MUST SEE” play list for YEARS. It just never fails that when it comes to my area that I can’t make it to the show and I won’t be going to Broadway anytime soon so I decided to read the book in the hopes it would satisfy my craving.

Yeah, that was my first mistake.

I really feel like I should have read the book reviews about this book before I decided to read this book. If I had, I probably would have saved myself the hours it took me to drag myself through this book :S

I just didn’t enjoy this book. It was boring, and just plain weird at times. I also feel like it didn’t answer any of my questions about why the Wicked Witch becomes “Wicked” in the first place. I can see why the events Elphaba has gone through in life would make her “wicked” but it wasn’t enough to convince me. I felt like I should finish the book and sympathize with her character but when I finished, I was indifferent to her. I think the recent Disney movie, Oz, does a WAY better job at explaining the pre-story to the Wizard of Oz than this does.

I only finished this book for the sake of my pride and in the hopes that it would get better. I think for the most part it got a little more interesting for Elphaba once she reaches university but it still wasn’t enough to make me happy that I continued to read the book. I really should have put it down.

From what I have learned, this book is nothing like the musical and thank goodness or else I would be very concerned and curious about how it is so successful!

Conclusion:

This book is definitely more for adults, but I still wouldn’t recommend it for anyone unless they enjoy reading bizarre stories. If you want an interesting prequel for the Wizard of Oz, I highly recommend watching Oz: The Great and Powerful recently released by Disney–much more enjoyable and makes much more sense!

Rating: 1/5
Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Adult, Prequel, Fantasy,
Recommended for: no one, but it is geared more for the 18+ crowd

Series Review: Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence | Mystic City Series

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breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite read of 2012 (Mystic City)
Series: Mystic City
Author: Theo Lawrence
# of Books: 3 (Mystic City, Toxic Heart, Body Electric)
Complete?: No, Body Electric will be published TBA
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool

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**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

I won’t lie, the only reason I picked this book up or at least considered reading it was because of the “fans of X-men” line–I can’t help but be a little curious about a book when a publisher uses that line. So I went in with weary expectations, only to come out of it all with my mind blown and me counting down the endless number of days until the sequel.

This book was FANTASTIC! One of my favourite reads this year for sure!

It just had everything I want in a book: A rich, twisting plot full of drama that wasn’t very predictable (there are clues along that way that you pick up on but there were some things that I happened that surprised me!); a dash of romance; a strong female lead; mystery and a whole lot of suspense and action. I had a very hard time putting this down at the end!

It can be worrisome when a book is compared or suggested to fans of another series. I often find the new books are carbon copies of the “fans of BLANK” books so it can be disheartening when you actually read it and it doesn’t meet your high expectations. I can happily say that this book was unlike anything I have read–sure it takes similar plot concepts from other stories but the way that they are weaved all together makes this book totally original and a joy to read.

UPDATED (July 24/14): I finally was able to get my hands on a copy of Toxic Heart after a very length wait (only know I will have to wait for the third book :P). While the plot isn’t as intricately woven as it was Mystic City, I found it managed to keep my attention right from the get go. It does suffer a bit from the “book-two-of-a-trilogy-slump” but there were still some mystery elements and good plot developments. Aria started to irritate me just a smidgen at the start of the novel but I quickly got over that once I was a few chapters in. Overall, it was a good followup to its predecessor and sets the stage for some awesome plotlines in the next installment!

Conclusion:

I know that this book gets mixed reviews on Goodreads but I think for those who want to try something a little different, this one is worth a shot! It is hard to say anything else without giving too much away but fans of dystopian who love a good mystery plot will LOVE this! If you get a chance pick it up so you can join me in the misery that is waiting for the sequel 😛

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Black City by Elizabeth Richards (Black City Trilogy, #1)

Synopsis for Mystic City (from Goodreads):
For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.

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Series Review: Beautiful by Jamie McGuire

Series: Beautiful

There is a spin-off series called the Maddox Brothers

Author: Jamie McGuire
# of Books: 2 (Beautiful Disaster, Walking Disaster)

There are 2 novellas: Mrs. Maddox (#1.5) & A Beautiful Wedding (#2.5)

Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm

Thoughts:

NOTE: As of July 19th, I have not read Walking Disaster. Once I have, I will update this posting.

I read Beautiful Disaster immediately after finishing Taking Chances by Molly McAdams and I think that affected my review of this series. The books are very similar in some initial plot points–especially with a hero in the underground fight world and a heroine with a poor relationship with her father (but I mean “Daddy-issues” are nothing new in these types of books)–and in how the “sequel” is a retelling from the hero’s POV of the first book’s events. And because I didn’t overly enjoy Taking Chances and because they were similar, I think I enjoyed this book more than I would usually because I wasn’t as annoyed with the characters as I was in the similar Taking Chances story.

Where Beautiful Disaster differs is that the characters are a little stronger and less annoying. There also isn’t a love triangle where a girl is torn between two boys that she loves–though there is a bit of a “love triangle” in this book but I feel it is mostly one-sided. I liked Abby as a character though sometimes I didn’t get her thoughts/actions. She is very stubborn and I found that to be frustrating. But if she wasn’t so stubborn, we probably wouldn’t have a novel at all so c’est la vie 😛 I was also expecting a bigger and darker “secret past” based on the synopsis but it didn’t really meet those expectations. Travis was a little over the top for me, but I don’t have to date him so that’s A-ok with me 😛 but his alpha male ways could really put off a reader if they don’t like the possessive alpha hero.

I liked the relationship between Abby and Travis. What I really respected were the times when Abby could recognize when the relationship wasn’t going in a healthy direction and she wanted to take it slower because everything does happen so fast at the start. But for the most part, I could see why they liked each other and I appreciate the fact that they got to know each other on a personal level before they jumped into bed together (though Travis moved really fast!).

Overall, I really liked this book. There were a few times a chuckled to myself from the wit and there were some extremely adorable moments between Abby and Travis.

I read on the author’s site that they are planning on making this into a movie. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I will probably end up watching it anyway for curiosity’s sake. I think it will be hard to do based on the possessiveness of the relationship (because it isn’t that healthy) but if they can make Fifty Shades a movie, then you can definitely do this one!

I’m looking forward to reading Walking Disaster. I’m starting to notice the trend of having the follow-up novel as the alternate POV for the main characters but as I haven’t really read any, I can’t comment any further on it. I think it is a great idea because I do like having alternate POVs in my New Adult reads–it just helps getting the perspective of the character and better understand their actions/reactions.

I will update this post once I get my hands on Walking Disaster!

Conclusion:

A really cute and fast read. I had a hard time putting this book down! I could definitely see why some people might not like it because Travis is very alpha male and Abby can be extremely stubborn. The writing is nothing fabulous but the story is very addicting for some reason. I’m looking forward to Walking Disaster and whatever spin-off novels come our way.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: Taking Chances by Molly McAdams (Taking Chances, #1), Broken at Love by Lyla Payne (Whitman University, #1) and If You Stay by Courtney Cole (Beautifully Broken, #1)

Synopsis for Beautiful Disaster (from Goodreads):
INTENSE. DANGEROUS. ADDICTIVE.

Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match

Series Review: My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron | My Favorite Mistake Series

 

Series: My Favorite Mistake
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
# of Books: 2 (My Favorite Mistake, My Sweetest Escape, Our Favorite Days)
Book Order: Connected + Direct Sequel (Our Favorite Days)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Tragedy, Romance
Heat Rating: really warm

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: That I have not read the second book in the series, The Sweetest Escape, and have no plans to do so in the near future.

I went into with this book with high hopes and came away a little disappointed. It was super cute but it was a little too much at times.

I didn’t really like Taylor. At first I thought I would like her because she takes no shit from anyone but I often found like it was a little over the top. Because you don’t know Taylor’s secret, you don’t know why she acts the way she does. When you find out, it makes more sense but I still feel like she was a little abrupt with her thoughts and actions. If it was toned down a touch, I would have liked her more.

Hunter was a little too good to be true. Instant-love connection, understanding bad-boy, jaded background and nearly every other stereotypical “hero” aspect. I liked him enough but sometimes I just wanted to roll my eyes a bit at things he did. I would have appreciated a little more character development from his end.

I think that was my main issue with the book–nothing was overly refreshing or new to me. I had read similar stories before that seemed to have a higher level of maturity so this book wasn’t up to that level which left me disappointed.

One thing about this book is that it is only told by Taylor’s POV. The summary gave me the impression that we would be getting to see Hunter’s POV but we don’t. It would have been nice to have had his POV but it was a nice change from the shifting POVs most New Adult reads have.

Conclusion:

I enjoyed the banter between the two of them and it was a super easy and quick read. It was nothing too exciting but it was a nice way to pass the time. Those just starting the genre and don’t want too heavy of a story will like this one.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Wait for You… by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Wait For You Series #1)

Synopsis for My Favorite Mistake (from Goodreads):
Taylor Caldwell can’t decide if she wants to kiss her new college roommate or punch him.

On the one hand, Hunter Zaccadelli is a handsome, blue-eyed bundle of charm. On the other, he’s a tattooed, guitar-playing bundle of bad boy. Maybe that’s why Taylor’s afraid of falling in love with him, or anyone else. She doesn’t want to get burned, and even though her other roommates adore him, she wants him gone before it’s too late.

Hunter himself has been burned before, but the fact that Taylor calls him out on his crap and has the sexiest laugh ever make him decide maybe love isn’t a lost cause. They make a bet: if she can convince him she truly loves or hates him, he’ll leave the apartment–and leave her alone. The problem is, the more time they spend together, the less she hates him, and the more she moves toward love.

But when the man who holds the key to Taylor’s fear of giving up her heart resurfaces and threatens to wreck everything, she has to decide: trust Hunter with her greatest secret, or do everything in her power to win that bet and drive him away forever.

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Series Review: Whitman University by Lyla Payne

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Broken at Love by Lyla Payne | Whitman University

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Synopsis for Broken at Love (from Goodreads):
When a knee injury ends twenty-year-old Quinn Rowland’s pro tennis career, he’s not only dumped by his hot Russian girlfriend but ordered to attend college by his disinterested billionaire father. A rich kid who’s not used to being disappointed by life, Quinn and his sociopathic half-brother Sebastian create a frat house game intended to treat girls how they see them—as simple game pieces to be manipulated for their pleasure.

College sophomore Emilie Swanson knows Quinn’s reputation—after all, he did send one of her sorority sisters into therapy earlier in the semester—but the game and his charm bring them closer together and soon she starts to believe there’s more to Quinn than people think.

But what if the more is something darker than a game of toying with emotions and breaking hearts?

Quinn and Emilie might be falling for each other, but there are secrets he’s not ready to tell—and lifestyle changes he’s reluctant to make. She willingly stepped on the court, but if Emilie finds out she started out as nothing as a pawn in Quinn and Sebastian’s twisted game, she might never forgive him.

To his surprise, Quinn finds that he might finally care about someone more than he cares about himself…even if that means letting Emilie walk away for good.

breakdown

Series: Whitman University
Author: Lyla Payne
# of Books: 5 (Full Series Order Here)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Alternating & Single
Publication Dates: March 2013 – November 2014
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Thoughts on Broken at Love:

I was really excited to read this book. I don’t know what it is, but I love stories about people falling “accidentally” in love and with this one, there seemed to be a darker element to it so that really drew me in.

Unfortunately, while I really liked this book, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It wasn’t as dark as I thought it was going to be–I think I was hoping for a Cruel Intentions kind of book–so that was a little disappointing as that is NOT what we get. It focused more on them trying to become a couple and Emilie helping Quinn deal with his issues (though there is a bit about Emilie with hers) than their past or the twisted brother Sebastain.

Another thing that didn’t really do it for me was Emilie. I find Emilie is a character that confuses me as I think parts of her thought/action processes conflict with each other. She knows Quinn’s reputation and saw her roommate fall apart from a relationship with him but she still plays right into his hands. She even says at one point that the whole thing seemed planned yet still she flirts and kisses him, and then seems surprised when she learns the truth :S From how she acted in the first two chapters (leading up to meeting Quinn) I guess I just assumed she would be a different, smarter character than what we were given. Other than that, she was a nice girl who really cared about Quinn despite everything that happens.

I really liked Quinn’s character though. I understand where he was coming from and it was apparent to me why he liked Emilie as a person. I enjoyed his POV chapters. I think you see Quinn deal with his past more so than Emilie and I liked that aspect of the book. The hopeless romantic in me likes to read about stories where love heals 😛

To focus on the writing of the book, I really liked the delivery of the POVs. I find that when we have two POV characters we often get alternating chapters between the two, where one picks up where the other left off. Here, we got alternating chapters but you might have Quinn’s POV for chapter 5-7 and then Emilie’s for 7-10. I liked this change and I think it helped the story flow better. I also think the writing was pretty mature as well (ie. they didn’t sound like they were in high school) and the story wraps up nicely within this book.

The next book in the series, By Referral Only, we get to see Emilie’s best friend Ruby fall in love. From the little doses of Ruby we get in Broken at Love I’m looking forward to reading it and am hoping that the love triangle hinted at in the synopsis isn’t actually going to be a real one!

updates

–September 3, 2018– Book #2: By Referral Only

**I DNF’d this at 18% (start of Chapter 5)**

I actually liked Ruby when we met her in Broken at Love? Wow, I surprised myself by I immediately disliked her by the end of Chapter 1 in this instalment…

Ruby was just a little much for me as a narrator. Some of her thoughts are a little rude; she isn’t the most mature person and she has an overall negative energy about her. But perhaps her worst aspect is that she’s SUPER hypocritical: she judges people while not wanting to be judged (example: premise of the referral service); and for being upset that guys only want sex when that’s all she wants too. It hurt me a little to be stuck inside her brain because her logic isn’t always the most sound…

I’m all for embracing female sexuality and I love that Ruby isn’t afraid to get what she wants in that respect. The premise of the referral service is what kept this book on my TBR for years. It’s an interesting one and I love the double-standard aspect of it. That wouldn’t fly at all if it was girls that were the subject of critic. But not much is done with that (and from what I gather from other readers, it really doesn’t later on in the book) and I think that’s a shame because it would be a great conversation (especially with the #metoo movement).

Series Rating: DNF

Broken at Love 4/5 | By Referral Only DNF

overall

If you like melodramatics and wish-washy characters OR want a guilty pleasure read, this might be the series for you!

Read if You Like: drama, steamy romances
Avoid if You: need strong characters

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Series Review: Young Love by Amanda Heath

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

This Beautiful Thing | Young Love Series

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Series: Young Love
Author: Amanda Heath
# of Books: 4 (This Beautiful Thing, Fire in Her Eyes, Norma Jean, Wrong Kind of Love)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Drama, Romance, Forbidden Love
Heat Rating: really warm

Thoughts on This Beautiful Thing:

Disclaimer: I stopped reading this series after This Beautiful Thing. Find out why below…

I nearly put this book down after the first chapter (which is 3 pages on my Kobo) for three main reasons:

  1. the characters
  2. the story
  3. the writing itself.

Let’s start with the characters. The book alternates between Teagan and Delcan first person POV. When I read Teagan’s POV, I feel like I am killing brain cells. She is not what I enjoy in a leading lady and if she was a person in my real life, I would avoid her at all costs. I’m not even sure how to describe what it is that irks me about her. She is just one of those characters I can’t stand. I guess it’s because she seems to be a bit of a drama queen and lacks logic in her actions. She gets angry without hearing the full story and assumes something else and then goes, “you’re right I never thought of it like that, I’m sorry”. She flips sides like a coin and it’s not something I enjoy in my characters. Delcan’s POV is slightly better to read so I enjoy the break that happens when I read his story.

Which brings me to the story. It’s stereotypical and because the characters are very immature it comes across as juvenile. It felt like I was reading a story about high school seniors from 90210 and not about college students because all the issues were really petty. The best way I can think to describe the story is as a soap-opera–which I don’t mind watching on TV, but I don’t enjoy reading about it. It takes things to extreme levels–levels that don’t need to be reached in order to make this story enjoyable.

I think the reason this book came across as juvenile is due to the writing. It’s not the best writing I have had to read and (this sounds awful but) it seems to me like a teenager wrote this after watching too many soap-operas. And there were A TON of grammatical and spelling errors. When I read eBooks, I let the occasional typo slide by–I mean it happens–but these are obvious mistakes that everyone learns in grade school (“to” instead of “two”; “its” instead of “it’s”; no commas; using the completely wrong word; etc.). (Which is a problem I see with eBooks as anyone can self-publish books and sell them online without getting someone to edit it). I think part of the reason I only continued to read this book was to see how many errors I could find (FYI, I lost count). Needless to say, the constant errors really turned me off this book.

The next book in the series, Wrong Kind of Love features a new set of characters as the leads but are characters we are introduced to in This Beautiful Thing. I don’t think I am going to pick this one up because it seems to be about a love triangle. I already hate love triangles and I’m not a fan of the first book so it just seems like a no-brainer to avoid book 2 at all costs. Not even the many hints near the end of this book will tempt me to see what actually goes down in the sequel.

Conclusion:

This is one of the worst books I have read all year. I’m glad I only spent a dollar on it, otherwise, I would be getting a refund. It had an interesting concept but failed to deliver.

Rating: 1/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for This Beautiful Thing (from Goodreads):
Teagan Harper doesn’t have much experience with guys. Her twin brothers have made sure of that. Until one night at a college party she gives them the slip, finding herself in the arms of the most amazing guy she has ever met. Now she’s on a mission to find him since she ran from his bed. And forgot to ask his name…

Declan Sage has had control over his entire life. But that is all about to change when the girl who ran out of his bed turns his life upside down. She is about to throw that control out the window. But he’s pretty sure that’s a good thing seeing as she stole his heart…

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Fresh Fridays: Fate on Fire Series by Wendy Knight

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Feudlings by Wendy Knight | The Fate on Fire Series

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Series: Fate on Fire
Author: Wendy Knight
# of Books: 2+ (Feudlings, Feudlings in the Flames)
Complete?: No, book 2, Feudlings in the Flames, will be released later in 2013
Genre: Teen, Magic, Romance, Action

Thoughts:

I will admit that I was hesitant to read this book based on the synopsis. I find that I am not a huge fan of “witch/spell” type books so that was a worry. I was also worried it was going to be more of a romance with some action and seeing as it is targeted more for teens, the presumed teen angst nearly turned me off from reading it. But that’s what happens when you assume!

This book was definitely more about action than romance. Yes, it is there but there was so much else going on that it nearly took a back seat. It started off slow but it really picked up when you learn more about the world Wendy Knight has created. It’s simple yet complicated at the same time so it is easy to follow along.

At first, I wasn’t a fan of Ari. She was a little too angst-y for me but when you learn more about her past it makes sense why she feels the way she does. (Nothing worse than a whiney, spoiled heroine but that is not the case here!). As for the rest of the characters, I really liked them and can’t wait to see more of them!

Conclusion:

Definitely check this book out if you enjoy star-crossed romance with a lot of action; magic; smart characters and strong female leads!

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for Feudlings (from Goodreads):
Nothing makes a new school suck worse than discovering the guy you’re in love with is your prophesied nemesis.

Ari is the most powerful flame-throwing sorceress ever, and her people’s last hope in an ancient war. But she’s also a seventeen-year-old girl, and in her free, not-hunting-nemesis times, she jumps from school to school, trying to figure out regular people her own age and pretending she’ll get the chance to graduate.

Shane lives a double life. He goes to school and masters the art of popularity, hiding the fact that he has a fate with a slim chance of his survival. He’s destined to end a 300 year-old war by killing or being killed. He knows he’s hunted by a powerful enemy who’s not afraid to die. Only problem? He has no idea who that enemy is.

When Ari shows up at Shane’s school, angry and sullen and determined to keep him at arm’s reach, neither of them realize they are supposed to be killing each other, not fall-ing in love. Until Ari does realize it, and she almost dies – by Shane’s hand.

Book Review: A Black Tie Affair by Sherril Bodine

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):

Fashion curator Athena Smith will do anything to get her perfectly manicured hands on the Clayworth family’s celebrated couture collection for her exhibit. So when she’s called in to make sure the gowns are the real deal, she’s ecstatic…until a dress she’s examining turns out to be loaded with toxins (talk about killer threads!) and Athena faints, only to wake up face-to-face with the One That Got Away, notorious Chicago bachelor Drew Clayworth.

Drew still believes Athena betrayed him all those years ago, and he’s sure he can’t trust her. But when the priceless gowns go missing, she offers to help track them down. Reluctantly allied in the quest, Drew and Athena are soon stunned by the barely restrained passion still sizzling between them…and memories both bitter and sweet. Is their new partnership just a business arrangement? Or is this something more than…

Review:

I wanted to read this book because on the Goodreads Page it stated that fans of Jennifer Probst would love this one. Not sure who feels this way, but I sure didn’t. This was nothing like a Jennifer Probst book!

Therefore, it’s no surprise that I wasn’t overly impressed with this book. I’ve never read Talk of the Town which is set within the same universe (just before the events of this book) but it isn’t required to read it before this one.

I was hoping it would be more suspenseful with the crime but it wasn’t. I’m not even sure the crime was fully resolved (if it was I missed it completely). The romance built slowly and it was mostly mild sexual tension until the last few chapters.

I liked the characters enough. They were well developed, but I found that I was more interested in the secondary characters, like Athena’s sisters and Conner than I was in Athena and Drew.

I feel like this book would have been better as a short novella. It felt like it dragged (which is something to note considering the ebook is 170 pages in length–not very long at all) but it mostly just built up everything for a sequel (which I gather is All I Want is You). I plan on reading the sequel, but not with as high of hopes as I had for this one.

Conclusion:

If you want a quick, warm romance about reuniting with the love of your life, this is the contemporary romance for you.

Rating: 2.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Contemporary Romance; Second Chances
Heat Rating: lukewarm
Recommended for: quick contemporary reads
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Book Review: Before you Go by Clare James

PLEASE NOTE: This is now a part of a connected series. This review will be updated appropriately shortly! (May 12, 2014)
 Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Paralyzed by the past and terrified of the future, Tabitha Kelly is broken.
After a public sex scandal at her college, Tabby moves to a new city with a new school, convinced she can start over. But she soon realizes the changes are not enough. Tabby must take action to help her heal and move on from the past.
And though it sounds crazy, she believes a one-night stand is the best way to take back what’s hers.  If she can choose where, when, and most importantly, who … maybe she can regain control.
First, she needs a willing participant.
She finds more than that when she meets Noah Adler.
Unfortunately, she can’t go through with it. And when she tries to forget about the plan—and the guy—it becomes impossible.
Noah quickly weaves his way into her new life and her heart.  But as he comes dangerously close to discovering her secret, Tabby’s at risk of losing it all.

Review:

I’ve been on a New Adult binge lately and this was just one of the many I have devoured in the last few weeks. Unfortunately it wasn’t one of the best I have read, but I definitely enjoyed it.

What stopped me from giving it 4 stars was the fact that it seemed rushed in parts. Despite the book only being ~115 pages on my Kobo, it still felt like a full novel. It was just that in some parts, things I would have liked to have seen more developed were over quickly (mostly stuff with her mother) or appeared suddenly. The ending I thought was also a bit rushed and I would have liked to have seen a cleaner finish (maybe some more about Jules and Foster??) but I was satisfied with what was given.

I liked the characters and I liked the plot. Both Tabby and Noah were relatable and I could see the chemistry between the two. Their feelings weren’t “love at first sight” which is a major bonus for me and it added to the realistic and believable storyline presented. I could easily see how the situation Tabby was in could happen in today’s society and I appreciated how it was handled.

UPDATED (May 12/14): There is now a sequel that will focus on Jules and Foster called More. I will probably read this though it will be at the bottom of my “to-read” list for quite some time.

Conclusion:

I would recommend this to anyone who wants a quick New Adult read filled with characters coping with their past and a cute couple. It reminded me a lot of J. Lynn‘s book Wait for You only shorter and lighter on the subject matter but I book I also recommend nonetheless.

Rating: 3/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New Adult; College; New Student; Emotional Abuse
Heat Rating:  warm
Recommended for: 18+
Similar Books: Wait for You by J.Lynn