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review 2018-06-20 12:05
Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis
Rainy Day Friends: A Novel (Wildstone) - Jill Shalvis

This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I had a fantastic time reading this book! I just didn't want to put it down once I started reading. I fell in love with this wonderful group of characters and couldn't wait to see how things would work out for them. This is the second full length book in the Wildstone series but it really reads as a stand alone with little connection to the previous installments beyond being set in the same town. I expected great things when I picked up this book and I am happy to report that it lived up to all of them.

Lanie hasn't had an easy time of things lately. Her husband died only six months ago. That is bad enough but after her husband's passing, she discovered that she wasn't the only wife. She takes a temporary position at the winery in Wildstone as a way to get away and regroup for a bit. She does not expect to be surrounded by a family like the Capriotti clan. 

I loved the characters in this book. The Capriotti family were all wonderful. They were all genuinely caring people that never hesitated to take those in need under their wing. They were all just a lot of fun. I thought that the banter between the family members added a level of authenticity to their characters. Usually when there is a large cast of characters, I have a bit of difficulty keeping everyone straight but these characters were all so unique and had very distinct personalities from the start of the story. I think that Shalvis did a fantastic job with the character development in this book.

I loved Mark and Lanie together. They were just perfect together and complimented each other wonderfully. I like that they were both coming from a place where they didn't want a relationship but couldn't resist the draw towards each other. They had so much chemistry but the parts of the book that really made their relationship feel real were the more touching ones, such as Mark being there for Lanie when she needed him, or Lanie's interactions with Mark's girls. 

This book had no shortage of excitement. I liked River's character but I had a feeling that she would make things interesting as soon as she entered the story. River and Lanie have so much in common and I loved how all kinds of relationships were explored in this story. I felt like we really had the chance to see these characters grow and learn how to deal with some of the hardships that have been a part of their lives.

I would highly recommend this book to others. I thought that this was a wonderfully written story filled with swoony and heartwarming moments. I can't wait to read more from Shalvis and I hope that we get to see some of these characters again in future installments in the series.

I received a digital review copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss.

Initial Thoughts
This was great! I may bump my rating up after I give myself just a bit more time to think about the book. I loved Mark and Lanie together and Mark's family was wonderful. River's situation really added to the story. And those twin girls :) 

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review 2018-06-20 02:25
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine -- she really actually is gonna be just fine
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman
I liked this because I could relate to a lot of parts, but I don't think my star rating should count as a recommendation for just anyone. It's pretty much like a "beach read" - an easy book where everything is obvious, but it got to my heart. I saw every single plot point coming from a mile away, and the only reason I kept reading is I found her charming in the way that something horrible becomes funny ten years after it happens. (This is a coping skill of mine: "Right, life is falling apart, but in ten years, this will make a really funny story." That's sort of how you have to take Eleanor.)

Thanks, Book Club - because I'd not have touched this without you guys outvoting me once again! And I just made the cut-off for actual discussion time too. 

Seriously, this is a decent look at trauma through a non-victim lens. Eleanor Oliphant can be a difficult woman. She's sure she's right about everything, so has no clue why you might be irritated with her lack of tipping, total candor, rudeness, judgmental attitude, etc. It's clear she has some "issues" and the book is basically about how just a little human contact can go a long way toward healing even horrific damage. She really will be completely fine I'd bet.
 
(Yes, of course that's simplistic - that's why it's a beach read and not a psych textbook.)
 
 

 

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review 2018-06-20 01:39
ARC Review: A Little Side Of Geek by Marguerite Labbe
A Little Side Of Geek - Marguerite Labbe

Morris Proctor is a self-proclaimed geek and comic book artist, really tall and lanky, and African-American. Somewhat lonely living by himself, but no interested in his family's attempts at match-making, he spends time with his niece, who's in a wheelchair since an accident, but who features prominently as the heroine in one of his comic series. A somewhat recent relationship with a non-geek who tried to change him has left Morris a bit wary of finding love with someone who's not into the same things he is.

Theo Boarman, short, white, has only recently moved into the apartment above Morris with his younger brother Lincoln, who's still a minor, after both their parents died. Theo is a chef and now co-owns his parents' restaurant with one of his sisters, and relations are somewhat strained with another two of his siblings. Theo is a busy man - there's not much time in the day for dating, while working a full shift at a restaurant, taking care of his little brother, and the responsibilities that generally come with being the oldest of the siblings.

Since they're neighbors, it's inevitable that they meet. Morris can't keep his eyes off the man playing basketball with his younger brother, and Theo is enchanted with the tall dude in a kilt. 

This book is high on geeky references and talks about comic cons and it's very clear that Morris and Theo inhabit two very different worlds. But opposites attract, and neither is unwilling to participate in a little summer fling, because surely that's all it ever can be. 

Except then stuff happens, and their worlds collide and mesh and it surprises both of them how easily they can fit into each other's worlds. There are plenty of supporting characters from Morris' and Theo's side of the aisle, and while there is a bit of angst and some minor misunderstandings, the reason the relationship is slow to come to fruition (frustratingly so at times) is for a couple of reasons - Morris' doubting that a non-geek like Theo will not try to change him or eventually start complaining about how much time Morris spends drawing the comic books or a cons, and Theo just putting too much on his plate and trying to carry the world on his shoulders. 

I didn't entirely buy the romance, to be honest. I didn't feel that they were truly falling for each other for quite a while, but then eventually went with it. Maybe that's on me, and you'll feel differently reading this book. It was nice watching Morris' world through Theo's eyes, and vice versa. Also, some good food being mentioned, though it would have been great to see some recipes at the end of the book. I liked the dynamics between Theo and Lincoln, and see Theo interact with his employees at the restaurant. When he eventually learns to give up a bit of control and trust the people he's worked with for so long, and that it doesn't mean neglecting his parents' heritage, I could even see some growth in him. 

Morris too has to learn to trust, not only his instincts, but another person who sneaks into his heart and thus has the ability to really hurt him. Merging two very different and separate lives isn't easy, but all good things are worth a bit of sacrifice, right? 

I did enjoy reading this, with all his geek speak, and all the references about so-called geeky things.

Bonus points if you know what movie the final quote in the book is from. "Take Me To Bed, Or Lose Me Forever." (Put your guess in the comments, maybe?)



** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-06-19 23:58
Release Day ARC Review: The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever by Andrew Grey
The Best Worst Honeymoon Ever - Andrew Grey

I've never been to Bonaire, but after reading this book, I want to go. There are quite a few sections inside that read like an advertisement for the place, and I want to go. If you pop over to my blog, you'll see a couple of images of the reefs as well, taken by none other than the author.

Here's a link.

Tommy Gordon is getting ready for his wedding, straightening his tie just moments before the ceremony is supposed to start, when his groom-to-be tells him the wedding is off. Xavier (remember the name of the rancid jerkface) has cold feet/second thoughts, and it's goodbye, Tommy. 

Heartbroken, Tommy wants nothing more than to hide, but there's the honeymoon trip, already planned and paid for, and what shall he do with that, amirite? Who wants to go alone on what's supposed to have been the honeymoon?

Tommy's best friend Grayson, who made the suggestion that Tommy take the trip anyway, finds himself and his young son Petey invited to join Tommy in paradise for a bit of snorkeling, relaxation, and enjoying the scenery.

Grayson's had a crush on Tommy for a long while, but he hasn't been a position or brave enough to change the status quo and ask for more.

And off they are, because when you have money, last minute ticket changes are not a hindrance, and thus the romance begins.

Slowly, of course, because Tommy is still mourning what might have been, and kicking his own rear end because he's just so pathetic and worthless that not even a gold digger like Xavier would want him. 

Grayson is no gold digger, just a dude with a heart of gold, and while he has his son to think of, he is all on board with wooing Tommy, with Petey's encouragement. 

I really, really want to go to Bonaire. The descriptions in the book are vivid and enticing, and the author did a fine job transporting this reader into paradise with his words alone. 

Obviously, there's a bit of angst, what with Tommy's self-doubts and Grayson's fears of losing his friend, but they overcome all that. They overcome Xavier showing up at the resort uninvited (the nerve of that guy) and threatening Tommy (the NERVE of that guy), and Grayson making the unwilling acquaintance of a Man O' War (ouchie) and a bit of drama at the end just before all is well and they live happily ever after.

So yeah, this is fluffy fluff, with a wee bit of angst, and beautiful scenery, and would someone please invite me to go to Bonaire? 

It's the perfect beach vacation read, so get this book and enjoy it on a day in the sun.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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text 2018-06-18 15:23
Reading progress update: I've read 99%.
Conversations with Friends - Sally C. Rooney

I closed my eyes. Things and people moved around me, taking positions in obscure hierarchies, participating in systems I didn't know about and never would. A complex network of objects and concepts. You live through certain things before you understand them. You can't always take the analytical position.

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