Friday, 19 December 2014

Lost and Found by Nicole Williams

Title: Lost and Found
Author: Nicole Williams
Acquired: Bought
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: CreateSpace 

For years Rowen Sterling was a trouble maker but her mother has had enough. Before she'll agree to pay for Rowen to go to the art school of her dreams she must stay on a ranch for the summer and prove she can work hard and stay out of trouble. 

Rowen is a city girl through and through and is far from ready for country life, let alone ready for Jesse Walker. 

Review
I had read Nicole Williams' new adult Crash series a year or so ago and loved them. When I was trying to find new books to buy this one came up in a search and as it had her name on it, I bought it instantly. 

Lost and Found is very different from the Crash series and I loved that. I didn't know what to expect from one this. 

Rowen was a great protagonist from the start. She is clearly a bit troubled, has a bit of a wild side and does not want to leave the city, especially on a Greyhound bus. It's even worse for her because she's been shipped off to help on her mother's friend's ranch for the whole summer in the middle of nowhere. Even from stepping off the bus she knows she's out of her depth and stands out like a sore thumb. I liked Rowen. Although she is so full of angst and pain, she is funny and determined. 

Jesse Walker is there to meet Rowen off the bus and he couldn't be more of a stereotypical cowboy in her eyes. Even so, she cannot help but notice how amazingly hot he is in his skin tight jeans. He gives as good as he gets from the very beginning and won't take any sass from Rowen. In fact, he sees the banter as a way to flirt with her. Honestly, Jesse was adorable and I loved him. When Rowen put up walls and pushed him away, he did everything he could to show her he wasn't going anywhere. 

The plot for this book is really all about Rowen's character developing and realising that she doesn't have to act in the way that her mother expects. Jesse manages to teach Rowen that being herself is just fine and that she doesn't have to change for anyone or be anything that others expect. Rowen has also built up a lot of defensive walls before meeting Jesse and I loved watching them slowly come down. 

Lost and Found isn't just a romance story though. Nicole Williams adds in some quite exciting situations along with fantastic back stories for both Rowen and Jesse. This book has some darker elements throughout but they're not over done or too much at any point. Speaking of too much; as a new adult novel there are sexual themes throughout. Once again though they are done in a tasteful manner without too much being given away. 

I actually liked Lost and Found more than the Crash series so I can't wait to get my hands on the next book now. 

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Far From You by Tess Sharpe

Title: Far From You
Author: Tess Sharpe
Acquired: ARC
Genre: YA - Crime/ Thriller
Publisher: Indigo

Sophie almost died... twice. She saw her best friend Mina be shot and killed right in front of her. She's a recovering addict. She's determined to figure out who killed her best friend. 

Everyone thinks that it was a drug deal gone wrong the night that Mina was killed. Afterwards Sophie is forced to go to rehab as everyone thinks it was her that wanted drugs and her fault that Mina was there when she was killed. Sophie had already kicked the habit though even if no one will believe her. Now that she's out of rehab, Sophie has something to prove and she won't stop until everyone knows the truth. 

Review
I have to say that I'm not normally one for thrillers. I don't know why but if I had the choice between that and a romance, I'd pick up the romance 99% of the time. Kirsty (The Overflowing Library) said this one was great though so I gave it a fair shot. 

I was pretty hooked from the beginning. By the end of the second page Sophie has already been in a massive car accident and has also seen her best friend be shot and murdered. That's a pretty intense opening for any book. It also made me really intrigued by Sophie. I mean, who has that kind of life and who has such bad luck?! 

Far From You is told from varying times during Sophie's life. Different things have happened over many years and it is only from this that you get to learn why Sophie is how she is. It also explains her friendship with Mina, her brother Trevor and other characters in the story. Without this distorted way of telling the story, you wouldn't be able to fully grasp the importance of Sophie and Mina's friendship. Although the timelines were a bit confusing at times, it was a fun and different way of learning everything that you needed to know. 

So, Sophie became an addict after the car crash and due to her injuries, took way too many painkillers. Tess Sharpe shows Sophie in very different situations and one minute I thought she was really strong and tough but in another minute she as very weak. I thought that this showed human emotions really well as no one is just one thing all of the time and different situations bring out different things in a person. 

Sophie and Mina's friendship was pretty complicated and there are some good twists thrown in there. Until everything is revealed you would have never seen the big secrets coming and you would never be able to guess who killed Mina or why. The plot was quite slow paced really due to the changing times but it was still exciting and full of suspense. 

I didn't think I would enjoy this one as much as I did! 

Friday, 12 December 2014

Hold on Tight by Abbi Glines

Hold on Tight by Abbi Glines is the 8th book in the Sea Breeze series. 

Six years ago everything changed. Dewayne Falco's brother, Sienna Roy's boyfriend died after wrapping his car around a tree. Since then nothing has ever been the same. Sienna went away with everyone thinking she was mentally unstable but that wasn't the real reason. Dewayne has always felt like he's lived in the shadow of his brother Dustin in more ways than one. Dustin was always the better brother and he also had the girl Dewayne couldn't stop thinking about. 

Dewayne never expected to see Sienna again so when she moves back across the road to say he's shocked in an understatement. Sienna isn't alone but Dewayne can't help but feel for her everything that he did six years ago. 

Review
Hold on Tight was the fourth Abbi Glines book that I read in the space of a week after my really long break from reading and blogging. Her books are so addictive so reading one after another was great. 

This book is a great example of preconceptions about a character and then your mind being changed. Dewayne Falco has always come across as a bit rude, up himself and without a filter in the previous books in this series. I won't say that I haven't liked him before but he hasn't been someone I've cared to know a whole lot more about. I was quick to change my mind about him though. He's such a sweet and caring person and you would never have guessed it from the other books that he has popped up in. 

Sienna is the main female character in this book but unfortunately I neither loved or hated her. I guess you can say my feelings for her were neutral. I found her a little boring if I'm honest. However, I did love her story. Dustin Falco was her high school boyfriend but you could tell that she always had feelings for Dewayne too but could never act on them. When Dustin died she was left pregnant and was sent away by her parents. No one back at home knew about her son Micah so it was a shock to everyone when she moved back, especially the Falco family. The girl has had to deal with a lot on her own but her love for Micah shines through which was wonderful to read. 

What I missed from this book was the all consuming passion between Sienna and Dewayne. Don't get me wrong, they had chemistry for sure but it wasn't nearly as good or as hot as with other characters that Abbi Glines has written. There were some quite different scenes in this book but not completely believable. Some things that happen seemed to go against what the character's personalities and how they normally act so it wasn't totally believable for me. 

Normally if I'm a bit unsure of an Abbi Glines book it's the plot that hasn't done it for me but this time it was the romance which was a first! I guess I'm just used to her writing being a bit more 'something' (can't quite put a word to it) than it was in this book. I certainly didn't dislike it but it was a bit of a come down compared to the last three of hers that I have read. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver

The Parisian Christmas Bake Off by Jenny Oliver is a stand-alone contemporary novel. 

When Rachel finally realises that her relationship is going nowhere and the boyfriend is a complete waste of space, she begrudgingly head off to Paris for Christmas. Her friends have entered her into a competition to become famous chef Henri Salernes' apprentice. She really didn't want to go but finally figured that Paris might be good for her. 

In one week Rachel must face her competition, an incredibly tough and mean chef and do the best baking she can ever imagine doing. 

Review
Let me start by saying I have never watched The Great British Bake Off and I know a lot of people will be drawn to this book because of that. 

Protagonist Rachel is stuck in a bit of a rut. Her boyfriend is beyond terrible and she finally sees that. Her mum passed away not too long ago and she misses her terribly, as does the whole village of Nettleton where she lives. Rachel's mum was a fantastic baker and everyone knows that Rachel likes to cook and bake as well. Just before Christmas one of Rachel's friends lets her know that she's going to Paris (even though she says she doesn't want to) to take part in a baking competition. 

Rachel is an easy character to like because from the beginning of the book you can see that she's been through a lot and just wants something better for herself. When she finds out about Paris and the competition she really doesn't want to do it and even once she arrives she's still unsure. I was rooting for Rachel from the minute she stepped foot in the competition kitchen. It was obvious that she wasn't very comfortable and she also didn't think she should be there compared with the other contestants. 

Jenny Oliver shows a very different view of Paris in this book. There are some very magical scenes at famous landmarks but what I really loved about the book was the descriptions of hidden away streets, the patisserie and the magic of a view from Rachel's window. The Parisian Christmas Bake Off doesn't show the flashy side of Paris but instead it's all about the magic of secret finds and not knowing what to expect. Oliver's descriptions really are wonderful, not only of Paris but of the food being made during the competition. I felt as though I was there with Rachel. 

My only real criticism with this one is the time scale. The book only barely covers Christmas in Paris and a lot happens during this time. Some things, especially the romance, seemed really rushed which meant I wasn't as invested in it as I could have been. I didn't get to know Philippe the love interest nearly enough in the short space of time and I really wanted to. I did 'get' the attraction to him but I really just wanted more. 

Overall, The Parisian Christmas Bake Off is a lovely read with the magic of Christmas, Paris and baking but I wanted more from it. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Bad for You by Abbi Glines

Bad for You is the 7th book in the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines. 

Blythe Denton has always been alone. She was raised by a minister and his incredibly cruel wife but never had any friends. When Blythe finally has the chance to move away and start over she cannot wait but she knows she isn't like everyone else and struggles with social situations.

Krit Corbin is no stranger to crowds being the lead singer in Sea Breeze's most popular band. His life is pretty wild filled with parties and different women every night. When Krit sees his new neighbor for the first time, he knows she isn't for him. Blythe screams innocent and he is far from that. But, when she turns up at his door during a party to ask for the music to be turned down Krit cannot help himself. Once Blythe walks through that door there is no going back. 

Review
After the last book in the Sea Breeze series, Misbehaving, I have to say that Krit was not a character I was looking forward to reading about. You see, he has an extremely addictive personality and he acted like a complete ass towards Jess (from the other book) and I just couldn't like him. I'm not one to skip a book in a series though so I had to read Bad for You. 

The book starts with a prologue that makes it impossible to not feel for protagonist Blythe. She comes from a pretty terrible home where she's constantly put down and told that she's unworthy of being loved. I was so glad to see her get out of that place and start over on her own. However, she isn't used to people and quickly finds herself in unfamiliar situations and surrounded by people she has no idea how to talk to. Blythe was so awkward but in a sweet and endearing way. 

Krit, one the other hand, started out just as bad as I'd imagined him to be. He's a complete player and has this cheeky way about him. He's all about teasing comments and is quite full of himself. I still had him in my head from the previous book as I'd only read it a couple of days beforehand. Something I will say about Krit is that he knows exactly how bad is he and that he should stay away from Blythe. That obviously doesn't happen though otherwise there would be no story here! Anyway, Krit soon finds himself befriending Blythe and the two spend a lot of time together. These scenes certainly showed a different side to Krit and slowly I started to like him more and more. Deep down he's such a sweet and caring kind of guy but like Blythe, he also has a past that haunts him. 

Compared with other books by Abbi Glines I found the plot of this one to be quite slow going. That isn't a bad thing though as she spends time letting her characters really get to know one another. They both have lives separate to one another and plenty of time is spent with both Krit and Blythe on their own as well as together. This really allowed me to get to know each character without them being overshadowed by one another and what was going on with them together. 

Both Krit and Blythe have a lot to overcome in Bad for You and I really enjoyed watching them grow and change. It was really good to see what effect they had on one another and to see how someone can make you want to be different (although without really changing themselves) and to do new and exciting things. 

This was a really good installment in the Sea Breeze series. I didn't think I would enjoy it so much but I ended up really liking it. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Misbehaving by Abbi Glines

Misbehaving is the sixth book in the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines. 

Jason Stone is sick of being stuck in the shadow of his rock star brother, Jax Stone. Jason needs a break and Sea Breeze is the perfect place to get away from everything. It doesn't take long before he collides with the local bad girl Jess. His plan didn't include falling for someone let alone someone everyone thinks he should stay away from but he just can't help himself!

Review
Jax Stone was the bad boy who started this whole series and I absolutely loved his story. By the time I'd gotten round to reading this book though I'd sort of forgotten that he even had a brother. Ooops. 

Jason is not like his brother at all. He doesn't want the life in the spotlight but knows that it sort of follows his family around. He needs to get away from everything and heads to Sea Breeze to hide out for a while. I loved Jason from the off. Where other male characters in Abbi Glines' books are generally the bad boy types Jason isn't. Instantly you can tell he's different and there's something that bit extra special about him. 

Jess, on the other hand, is the bad girl in town and everyone knows it. It was refreshing to read about a character like Jess as normally the female character is quite sweet and innocent. Jess is full of sass and mischief and I loved her. She had a really hard exterior for many reasons but you know she wants better for herself than what she already has. 

Misbehaving had a pretty exciting plot but not in the sense that a lot happens. You see, the plot is all about Jason and Jess getting to know one another and also getting to know someone that they never thought they'd be interested in. They both come from really different lives and the contrast was something I liked a lot. Both Jason and Jess don't really know how to handle being with the other. 

Just like all couples in an Abbi Glines books, these two have insane chemistry. Jess is the kind of girl who lives life to the fullest and she knows exactly who she is. She's not afraid to be adventurous and daring and I loved that about her. Jason is so chivalrous and a gentleman but he also knows what he wants and goes for it. Jason being who he is means that this book is taken on location a couple of times and let me tell you, there are some pretty amazing trips taken in this story. 

Jason and Jess are two of my favourite Abbi Glines characters so this is now one of my favourite books.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Sometimes it Lasts by Abbi Glines

Sometimes it Lasts is the fifth book in the Sea Breeze series by Abbi Glines and it is a New Adult novel. 

Cage York never thought he'd want anything more than a baseball scholarship but then he met Eva Brooks and his whole life changed. Now he has the girl and the scholarship he is forced to do something he really doesn't want to do, endure a long distance relationship. That might not have been so bad if Eva's father wasn't dying. 

With Cage away Eva struggles and turns to the boy next door for comfort. Jeremy is her late fiance's brother and there's something reassuring about him that helps Eva. Cage and Eva have a lot of obstacles in their way but will they make it to their happy ending?

Review
Now, While it Lasts is the first book in Cage and Eva's story but I didn't love it. It was okay for me but wasn't quite as strong as some of Abbi Glines' other books such as Because of Low. Anyway, I went into this one months after reading While it Lasts so I'd sort of forgotten what had been going on. 

Cage and Eva had a rocky road to start on but at the beginning of this book they're very happily together. However, Cage has just got a baseball scholarship out of town and wants Eva to go with him. She finds out early on that her dad is sick and needs her help so she has to stay behind. I complained that there weren't enough set backs and problems in the first part of their story but I sure got what I was missing with this book. 

The thing I loved the most about this book was the journey that Cage and Eva went on together even though they were apart. Another thing I complained about with the previous book was not enough plot and too much sex but that wasn't the case at all this time around. Both characters have a lot to overcome and they need to do it alone before they can really sort out their relationship. Seeing each character apart was a good thing too because when they're together the chemistry sort of overtakes things at times. 

However, although Cage and Eva being apart was a good thing in a way, there were also aspects that I didn't like. Cage was totally obsessed with Eva and I just couldn't see him walking away from her considering the situation she was in. His actions just didn't seem to fit his character at all times so I was a bit baffled at a couple of different points in the story. Eva also does things really out of character so it wasn't just Cage that was confusing. 

Sometimes it Lasts has a much stronger plot that While it Lasts and the characters were much better in some ways as they were fleshed out more this time around. This one was still just an okay read for me though because I still wanted more.