Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Stray by Joni Johnson | Review

Stray by Joni Johnson
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 22, 2017
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 250
Source: Received ebook from Author for Review
Find on Goodreads

Goodreads Description

Lila Baxter, 17, is abandoned at a gas station in a small town when her father, who was taking her to live with her grandmother, had a lapse in sobriety. Lila is left alone, unsure of where she is, with no money, and no cell phone. Gas station cashier Vance Larson, 18, offers to help the unwanted girl. And how does Lila repay him? By unwittingly unhinging Vance's whole life. Fixing the trouble she’s caused is next to impossible. And will any of it matter when her father returns?

My Thoughts

The synopsis of this novel gives a pretty good summary of what happens throughout the book. In a way I feel it almost gives too much away because the story starts before the information given in the description. The story opens with Lila going to her last day of high school. We get a little look at how her life is but not much. Lila thinks her father is about to kick her out since she's graduated high school but after getting home later that day she finds out he plans to take her across the country to live with a grandmother she's never met. I think knowing ahead of time that Lila would be abandoned at a gas station hut the shock factor of the moment. From the moment the two started on the road I was waiting for the moment Lila would be left.

The pacing of this story is pretty slow. The entire story takes place over about 2 weeks but it felt like it was longer. At some moments the pacing benefited the story, for example it made sure the romance didn't feel rushed, but other times it didn't. There were moments the story dragged and I found myself waiting for he next exciting moment.

I don't know anything about the background of where either of the main characters is from but they seemed real. The characters can make or break a story for me, and these characters made me want to keep reading to see how the story would end. I did feel their were some inconsistencies with Lila. She has trust issues because of the way she grew up, so much so that she didn't allow herself to open up and make friends. The only friend she had didn't really know anything about her life and she refused to tell him even when it could have helped her. However when she meets a complete stranger, Vance (and his mom), while she doesn't completely open up to them right away it seems like she almost completely trusts them.

I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending. I appreciated that there wasn't a perfect ending where everyone got exactly what they wanted because that's not how life is, especially Lila's. However there were some things that didn't quite add up and I had a lot of unanswered questions. One thing that didn't seem right was Lila's age. I know for parts of the story to make since Lila needs to be 17 but when looking at the timeline it doesn't make sense. Lila's birthday is in February and she just graduated high school so unless she skipped a grade Lila should already be 18. This wasn't a huge issue but it's something I noticed. My main issue with this story is all my unanswered questions.

  • Did Carl (Lila's father) leave her on purpose? 
  • If he didn't, was he on his way back to get her?
  • Why wasn't Lila's grandmother ever contacted? Even though she didn't know her, there was some way they could've found her contact information.
  • What did Carl's mother do when he and Lila never showed up?
  • Why didn't anyone contact Carl's next living relative once he was in the accident? Once again, there is a way they couldn't have gotten this information.
There are so many more questions I had but I don't want to spoil any of the story.

Overall, Stray was enjoyable. With some changes I think this story could've been incredible. I would like to see a little extension of the story to be able to see where life goes for Lila, and even Vance and his mother. If this synopsis sounds interesting to you, I think it's worth giving Stray a try.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

April Wrap Up + May TBR | 2017

I'm really late on posting my wrap up for last month so I'll share the video I uploaded on my channel talking about what I read in April. Although I was crawling out of a reading slump I had a pretty good reading month and finished 6 books.

I have five books on my May TBR. It's not a lot but there are some pretty hefty books. At least two of the books are over 600 pages! I've already finished one of the books on my TBR for the month so I'm off to a good start. Wish me luck!

Let me know what you guys read in April and what you plan to read in May. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Until It Fades by K. A. Tucker | Review

Until It Fades by K. A. Tucker
Publisher: Atria Books
Expected Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Pages: 368
Source: eARC from Netgalley
Find on Goodreads

Goodreads Description

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades? 

My Thoughts

I was apart of the cover reveal for this book a bit ago. When I first read the synopsis I knew it was a book that I needed to read no matter what. I like to think I'm still new to the New Adult genre but this book seemed to have everything that I have enjoyed within the genre so far, a passionate romance that made me want a real life version of the male character for myself. Imagine my surprise when it ended up being a lot more than the that.

The story is told in a dual timeline so there is an understanding of how Catherine is currently living and how exactly she got there. I'm not going to go into any details about how Catherine ended up being a single mother working as a truck stop waitress because that is a big plot pint that makes up the story. Catherine's current lifestyle in a way lead her to be in the right place at the right time to save Brett.

The formatting of the story, switching between Catherine's past and present, made the story a little slow at times for me. I understand why it was done and felt it was very effective to reveal important details but I felt that it was done too much. I didn't always care to relive those moments. Instead I would have like to see Catherine open up a little and talk about a few of the moments to get a sense of how she was feeling at the current moment in her life as opposed to when it first happened. Another thing I noticed was that while it didn't seem like insta-love, the romance happened pretty quickly. This might just be my personal opinion but a few months seems fast, especially considering Catherine's trust issues.

Despite those things, this book is more than the surface level the synopsis gives us. It's centered around making mistakes and dealing with the consequences and growing from the experience. It also deals with the meaning of family and friends, reconciliation, and being in love. I highly recommend Until It Fades, especially to those who love the genre.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mister Romance (Masters of Love #1) by Leisa Raven | Review

Mister Romance (Masters of Love #1) by Leisa Raven
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: April 30, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 317
Source: eARC from Author
Find on Goodreads

Goodreads Description

As his alter-ego Mister Romance, Max is a drop-dead gorgeous escort who makes romantic fantasies come to life. No sex, just swoon-worthy dates to die for, and the cream of New York's socialites can't get enough.  Whether they want a dominating billionaire, bad boy with a heart of gold, hot geek, sexy biker, or best friend who loves them from afar, Max can make it all happen, but he's careful to keep his real identity a secret. 

Enter investigative journalist Eden Tate. Having caught wind of the urban legend of Mister Romance from a lovestruck client, Eden is determined to publish a scathing expose on Max and his ability to swindle lonely society women out of their fortunes. 

Desperate to protect his anonymity and his clients, Max challenges Eden to give him three dates. If she doesn't fall in love with him, she can run her story with his blessing. If she succumbs to his charms, the story dies. 

Cynical Eden has no doubt she can resist his fake romance personas, but when the real Max admits he’s falling for her, she has to decide if the professional liar is telling the truth, or if the passionate man with the mysterious past is just one more character designed to con her out of her career-making story. 

My Thoughts

I wanted to put this up a few days ago but I was having a really hard time pulling all my thoughts together into a coherent review. When this book opens up we start getting to know one of our main characters. Eden is 25 and stuck in a job she hates. We quickly learn that she doesn't believe in romantic love and is set to spend the rest of her life single and only using men for her physical needs. After hearing about Mister Romance, Eden is determined to write an article exposing how this man is scamming New York's elites in order to advance her career.

Max, or Mister Romance, wants to make sure his business stays private. In order to do this he challenges Eden to go on three dates with him. If by the end of that time she felt the same as before he would allow her to publish her story. However, if Eden falls in love with him by the end of that time she has to drop the story. Of course because Eden doesn't believe in romance/love she agrees thinking she will soon be publishing her story.

I didn't always agree with Eden and how she chose to live her life but I found her to be such a relatable character. I'm personally a hopeless romantic (in disguise) but I shared Eden's skepticism about Max's business. From the moment Max physically entered the story I knew I would be in love. What starts as an attempt to get a reporter to drop the story about his business quickly changes to altering Eden's opinion of romance and love. The more Eden opens up and learns about his actions and the motives behind them, I started believing and accepting what Max was doing.

Another thing I loved about this story that wasn't really the main focus was the relationship between Eden and her family. There were a good number of parts that made me laugh throughout this book and the majority of them happened with her sister (Asha) and her grandmother (Nanabeth). Even though Eden doesn't believe in romantic love it's clear that she loves her family and will do everything she can for them. I do wish we learned a bit more about Eden and Asha's parents because I still had some questions when it came to them.

Mister Romance was one of those books that immediately grabbed my attention and didn't let go until I read the last word. This is the first book in a series (I'm really hoping it's a companion series) and I hope we get to see these characters again in the future. Leisa has quickly become an author that I'll read whatever she publishes! This is once all romance lovers need to read!