Wednesday, March 23, 2016

[Review] Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss, #2
Publisher: Dutton
Publishing Date: Sept. 29, 2011
Format: hardcover
384 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My Review

I read Anna and the French Kiss a while ago and absolutely loved the story. From that point on, I knew I wanted to read the rest of the books in the series. It's taken me a long time to get here, but I finally read the second one, Lola and the Boy Next Door! I actually didn't know anything about this book when I picked it up; I just knew it was the second in the series. And I have to say, I will definitely be reading the third!

This was a really cute book. I loved Lola because she was so different from a lot of other YA characters. She has her own style and doesn't really let anyone change that. And Cricket was a neat character too. I liked that he changed his ways and made things up to Lola. And I also loved that Lola's parents are gay men; it really made the story fun and interesting. Obviously they aren't any different from straight parents, but I have to say that I don't think I've ever read a book with gay parents before. I really just love seeing diversity in books, so I was happy to read this. 

Overall, really fun book. I loved Lola's personality and Cricket was a great supporting character. I even liked Calliope because I could relate to her a bit. I do think this is a great YA series and I'm on the bandwagon with all the other fans! (: 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

[Review] Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: June 23, 2015
Format: hardcover
343 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

My Review

This book has been on my TBR for so long and I couldn't wait to read it. I've read a lot of good reviews about this one and it sounded like something I would enjoy. So when I was browsing the library last week and saw this, I knew I needed to grab a copy while it was available. 

This felt a lot different than the typical young adult novel, but I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it was because of the difficult content of this book, or maybe it was because of Emmy and Oliver's relationship. I really loved how they were such good friends for a long time. They were obviously friends before he was kidnapped, and then when he got back, they became friends again. Emmy helps Oliver exactly how he needs when he is thrown back into his old life. Although everyone thinks he should be super happy to be back home, they all forget that he didn't know he was kidnapped; he thought he had a semi-normal life with his father. Then he's ripped away from everything he knows. 
As their friendship grows, they realize they have feelings for each other in a new way. They slowly explore those feelings and don't jump right into anything. 

I really, really enjoyed this book. I can't believe I waited so long to read it, but I can definitely see what all the fuss was about! I'm really curious to read what else Benway has written. Big fan of this book! 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

[Review] The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Publisher: Mira
Publishing Date: July 29, 2014
Format: hardcover
352 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 5 stars


"I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don't know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will." 

One night, Mia Dennett enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. At first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. 

When Colin decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota instead of delivering her to his employers, Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them. But no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter. 

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a propulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems.

My Review

I was really excited to get a copy of this book for Christmas last year and to start reading it right away. I had heard about this book many times; it sounded really good, so I figured I would give it a try. 

I will admit that I was a little unsure about the book in the beginning. I couldn't remember who the characters were at first (not sure why) and I really wanted to hear from Mia. However, the more I read, the more I got hooked. I really didn't like Mia's dad at all and didn't like Mia's mom at first. As the story goes on, you find out more about her and things fall into place about why she acts how she does. She's definitely more sympathetic than I originally realized and she really grew on me. 

When Mia is kidnapped, I wasn't sure what was going to happen. But as I kept reading, I had an idea of what was going to happen. And I'll be honest. I kind of liked Colin, in a weird way. There was something about him that was a bit sad, though kidnapping someone certainly doesn't make him a great guy. Regardless, I liked him. And I also really liked Mia throughout the whole book. She was obviously one of the main characters, but we never heard from her until the very end of the book. 

The characters are definitely what kept me the most interested in this story. The plot line was great, but I was so intrigued by each character and why they were doing certain things that I couldn't stop reading. And there is a serious twist at the end! I remember reading the end, finishing it, and then just thinking, "Oh damn, what did I just read?!" I still have that feeling when I think about this book! It was seriously great and one of my favorites that I've read not only this year but ever! I can't wait to read more by Kubica! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday 3.15.16

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post an idea for a 'Top Ten' list relating to books, and encourages other book bloggers to respond and participate. All the details are listed on their site. Check it out and join the fun!

This week's question: Top ten books on my spring TBR list!

In no particular order, here are the books I really want to read this spring! Hopefully I can stick to this list a little better than normal (: Some I've been wanting to read for so long and finally picked them up at the library! Others have been on my shelf for a while, and some are completely new to me!

1. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
2. Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway
3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verges

4. The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli
5. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
6. The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty 

7. Missoula by Jon Krakauer
8. Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons
9. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
10. See Me by Nicholas Sparks

What books are on your spring TBR? I think with warmer weather coming, my reading might slow down a bit because I have so many outside projects to do, but I hope not too much! My list keeps getting longer and longer each day when I think of new landscaping projects, but we also plan to buy a new patio furniture set this year, so having a nice place to relax outside with a book will be perfect to round out all the hard work! ;)

Monday, March 14, 2016

[Review] Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf
Publisher: Mira
Publishing Date: Feb. 2, 2016
Format: hardcover, ARC
284 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Goodreads rating: 4.5 stars


Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded. 

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for. 

My Review 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I've read just about all of Gudenkauf's work (just missing 1 I think!) and I'm a big fan. I think The Weight of Silence might be my favorite of hers, but I can't really decide! This book didn't disappoint, either. 

From the minute I began reading this book, I was hooked. From the very beginning, you're thrown into the story. Sarah thinks she knows her husband really well, but once they're in Penny Gate for a few hours, she realizes there are things she really doesn't know everything about her husband. Jack's past slowly comes out throughout the story and you not only have to figure out what happened to his aunt Julia, but what happened to his parents as well. 

Throughout the whole book, I thought I knew what happened. Little things throughout the story made me think I was right. There were a few times I changed my mind and looked somewhere else (should have stayed on that path!) but then I went back to another theory. Turns out, I was wrong. But that's really one of my favorite things about mysteries. I love not being able to figure it out what happened. I mean, sometimes it's fun, but I like being surprised and I really was in this book. 

The characters were all very interesting. Each had their own quirks, each had traits that annoyed me, and then most of them had traits that I liked. Gudenkauf did a great job of balancing these characteristics for each person. Sarah was a great main character and I think the doubts she had throughout the story were very realistic, something This really was a great book. I loved everything about it and was really interested throughout the whole story. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

[Review] Off the Hook by Laura Drewry

Off the Hook by Laura Drewry
Series: Fishing for Trouble, #1
Publisher: Loveswept
Publishing Date: April 12, 2016
Format: ebook
257 Pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


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 just 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. 

My Review

I received a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

I really loved this book. It was so fun, cute, and unique. Plus there's something about second chances that I really love. Knowing that Liam and Kate were married once before and now have a second chance at love, ugh, it just pulls at my heart strings. I really loved that Kate had no idea Liam's family owned this fishing resort, and then when she finds out, she doesn't run the other way. Instead, she sticks though it, though for completely selfish reasons. Regardless, the more she gets to know Liam outside of their Vegas fantasy week and the rest of his family, she puts aside what she wants and really fights for their interests. 

I am really interested in finding out what happens to the other characters in this book, too! They were really great supporting characters and so many fun personalities. I think Drewry has a really great series here and I can't wait for what's next! 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

[Mini Review] Country Heaven by Ava Miles

Country Heaven by Ava Miles
Series: Dare River #1
Publisher: Ava Miles, Inc.
Publishing Date: February 2015
319 Pages
Format: ebook
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N


A down-on-her luck cook uses food’s magical properties to tame a beastly country singer after he hires her under false pretenses to restore his image.

When famous—and infamous—country singer Rye Crenshaw saunters into the diner where she cooks, Tory Simmons is certain she’s got him pegged. He’s a bad boy who indulges himself in all things, women included. But while she couldn’t care less about country music or arrogant men, Rye makes her an offer she can’t refuse when he asks her to be his private chef on his multi-city concert tour. The job is the answer to all her prayers: it will clear out her debt and finance the fresh start she desperately needs.

Rye is certain his sassy new cook is the last woman who’d ever tempt him, but spending time with the wholesome girl next door will do wonders for his damaged public image, whether she likes being forced into the spotlight or not. Her food also happens to be the best he’s ever eaten, both comforting and seductive. But spending time with Tory on the road shows him a new side to her—one that’s as impossible to resist as her food. And when an emergency in his family whisks him home, he does the one thing he’s never risked: he lets a woman into his heart…

Soon the emotions Rye faked for the tabloids become all too real, but will the country heaven he’s found in Tory’s arms survive in the real world?

My Mini Review

This was one of those free books that I grabbed from Amazon because it sounded really cute and fun. And that definitely held true. I loved reading about Rye and Tory and I loved their meet-cute. Even though Rye's manager(s) wanted Tory along for an image reason, Rye really wanted to spend time with her and thoroughly enjoyed her cooking. It was interesting to see how they made each other better in everyday life and when Rye's family needs him, Tory is right there to help. I'm really interested in reading the other books in this series; I think there's a lot of potential here for a great series!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday 3.1.16

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the The Broke and the Bookish. Every week she posts an idea for a 'Top Ten' list relating to books, and encourages other book bloggers to respond and participate. All the details are listed on her site.

This week's question: Top ten books if your in the mood for contemporary romance novels!

1. Running on Empty by LB Simmons 
2. Can't Always Get What You Want by Chelsey Krause
3. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes (not strictly romance but still one of my faves!)

4. Anything But Sweet by Candis Terry
5. Emerge by SE Hall
6. Country Heaven by Ava Miles

7. Once and Again by Elisabeth Barrett
8. Call Me Maybe by Ellie Cahill

9. Loving You is Easy by Wendy S. Marcus
10. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts