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Vengeful in Love
Nadia Lee
Progress: 10 %
The Submission
Amy Waldman
Roadside Crosses: A Kathryn Dance Novel (Kathryn Dance Novels)
Jeffery Deaver
I am Jewish: Personal Reflections Inspired by the Last Words of Daniel Pearl
Judea Pearl, Ruth Pearl
The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

Reading progress update: I've read 10%

Vengeful in Love  - Nadia Lee in, new ceo coercing underling during a takeover of her company. then offers her $1m to date him "“i don’t...
The Second Chance Cafe - Alison Kent A more traditional romance from Alison kent than her usual more erotic romances. I've always adored her voice and this book is no different. It does start a bit slowly but picks up. When I think about it, the word that comes to mind is gentle. It's a lovely gentle story with some awful history for these characters. And Kent's voice is as perfect for this type of book as it is for her more raunchy titles. Looking forward to the next one in the series.
Alpha One - Cynthia Eden This read like a much longer book. I liked the history between Logan & Juliana, and the story.
A Lady by Midnight - Tessa Dare 4 stars

This one started out a little slower than others by Dare. I felt as though I was reading about 2 people who were separate but not together. It didn't have the sparkle and wit of other Dare titles.

Thankfully, it picked up fairly quickly and I could finally recognize Tessa Dare's voice. Charming, witty, beautiful prose. Engaging characters. I would have liked to have seen a little more of the Spindle Cove community we've come to know and love.

The connection between Kate and Thorne is deep and true once made. I higighted one passage that was too long to retype on my phone but suffice to say that Thorne makes Kate feel beautiful. And desired. And though he feels unworthy, he lives and breathes for her. In subtle small ways, and in huge gestures as well.

I liked that he suffered a bit from PTSD and that Kate just accepted it as part of his life experience and loved him through each episode.

Botj their grand gestures at the end ended up making me sigh at the romance but the connection they made was what truly caused my happy sigh.

Also, an epilogue I enjoyed tremendously.

Although I didn't connect quite as quickly as I did with all her previous books, I ended up just as invested and satisfied when all was said and done.
His Scandal - Gayle Callen I enjoy Callen's books. And normally I'm.amazingly forgiving when it comes to historicals. But I had to wonder. The book theoretically takes place in 1588, but it reads exactly like Callen's regencies. If I pretend it was 1829 instead of 1587 then this book gets a 4, just cuz I liked the story itself. But in context? WTH? Definity no 16th century setting or characters.


Smashed - Lisa Luedeke 3.5 stars

Cross posted at I Just Finished Reading...:

I don't often read YA, and there's a really good reason for that which I will note in a moment. But this is a coworker's debut novel. So I really wanted to read it.

The novel takes place in small-town Maine. Katie's dad up and left them - just went out one day and never came back. Katie doesn't know if he's dead or alive, but works on the assumption that he's still alive. Her mom works nonstop and when she's not at work, she is hanging out in Portland with her latest boyfriend, leaving Katie to care for her younger brother alone. Mom comes home only to replenish the groceries. Katie has a lot of feelings of inadequacy mixed up with her dad's desertion.

My father had pulled his truck out of our driveway five years before, after a fight with my mother, and vanished. There had been one card, on my brother’s birthday, then nothing. Nothing. I didn’t know if he was dead, but sometimes believing he was beat the alternative—that he hated us enough to leave and never look back.

She also obviously also feels the pressure of having to be the parent for her 12 year old brother. She has a strong support system, though, in her friends and their parents. The main thing keeping her remotely grounded is the possibility of a hockey scholarship.

Katie's group of friends and their dynamic strikes me as authentic - some of these kids drink (some to excess) and some don't at all. They smoke dope. But overall, most of them are good kids. Sounds typical, I suppose.

Alec is a hotshot football player, whom Katie & her friends have always looked down on as a "player". They aren't buying his "I'm so awesome" bullshit. But one day over summer, when Katie is missing her best friend (vacationing in Europe), Alec approaches her, and she feels something. A pull, an attraction.

She begins an on-again, off-again friendship/relationship with Alec, until his destructive behavior makes her feel uncomfortable. He encourages her to drink constantly, and tries desperately to get her into bed. She constantly flip-flops about her feelings for Alec.

One night, after a lot of drinking, there is a car accident. Alec's car is totalled. It's assumed that he was driving, but it was actually Katie. She lets him take the blame, and that's when more trouble starts.

Katie is overcome by feelings of guilt, but buries them with alcohol. As her behavior becomes more and more self-destructive, she still feels obligated to Alec and though he creeps her out most of the time, she still wonders if maybe he really likes her after all. She is so confused and consumed with guilt that she tries to avoid him at all costs.

Until she can't, and an encounter at a New Year's party turns into rape. Yes - warning: there is a rape in this book. It's not terribly graphic on-page, but it is there, and obvious, and painful.

Following this, Katie comes completely unravelled, drinks excessively, even during school, and withdraws completely from her friends and family.

I felt as though her counselor and/or teachers should have noticed and recognized the signs of trauma. After all, we know that they receive training for this. However, they didn't believe her. They thought the claim of rape was a way to avoid taking responsibility for her drinking. Even her own mother didn't believe her at first.

“He raped me.” She blinks once, stares at me. “Alec Osborne?” “New Year’s Eve. He did, Mom.” I look at her and start to cry. Mrs. Bradford pauses and bites her lip. “You know how serious it would be to lie about something like that.”

God, I hope that doesn't happen as often as I think it does!

Katie is forced into rehab and counseling. And although the rape is reported (at least they followed mandatory reporting laws!), it's a case of he said, she said, and Katie's credibility is nil due to her drinking and Alec isn't prosecuted. Oh how this frustrated me on Katie's behalf. It's a perfect example of real life, though. it happens, and happens often. And the victim-blaming and trauma here is a huge part of why we tell our kids No means No - even if you think it doesn't. Even if she's running hot and cold. She's a teenager, too, and as confused as you might feel, she feels the same confusion. And as adults, we can also be unsure of what we want. We talk about potential situations often, and counsel them on ways they might approach any situation.

During rehab, Katie begins to come to terms with her dad's desertion, her reason's for drinking and a whole host of other issues. And though she loses her scholarship as a result of her self-destructive behavior, in the end, it looks like she'll be ok. However, the book ended rather abruptly and we really didn't get a chance to see how well she does in the real world.

Lisa Luedeke's writing is excellent. Though it's in 1st person (which I hate), I struggled through, and realized why so many YAs are in 1st person. As an adult, it takes you right back to that age, and as a YA, it speaks to you on your own level - puts you in the character rather than being an observer. You feel everything right along with Katie. Luedeke's characters leaped off the page. They felt very real. Spoke like teens. Acted like teens. Felt the things that teens feel - the confusion, the intensity, the despair, the boastful pride - all of it. And therein lies my problem with YA.

I have only really run into this one other time - with Marie Force's Love at First Flight (not a YA). I felt like the situation struck too close to home. I wanted to avoid it at all costs. I have two teenagers. I live in fear that one day they or one of their friends will have an issue with drinking. Especially now that Oldest is starting college. He came home from the Bahamas and my nephew's fraternity house and told us how he was drinking, but luckily he can handle his alcohol. Gah! A parent's worst nightmare!

I read to escape real life. Let me rephrase. I read fiction to escape real life. Reading something that strikes at one of my worst fears - that my kids or their friends might get out of control, addicted to alcohol, or worse - is not my idea of a good time. This was a very difficult read. I can definitely appreciate Luedeke's talent, and those who love YA will probably love this book to pieces. Apparently it's been compared to Speak (which I confess I haven't read, but wow - I've actually heard of!).

It's a difficult but excellent look at teen relations, teen problems, addiction, recovery, and forgiveness. So for fans of YA, this is sure to be a hit. If you love YA, I highly recommend it. For myself? Not so much.
A Few Good Men - Cat Johnson 3.75 stars
Wolf Line - Vivian Arend This was cute. I loved the banter & interaction between Keri & Jared. I have only read book 1, so I will be going back to read 2-4.

I wish it had been a little longer. I know, it's always my biggest complaint about novellas. But I felt like there was so much more development that could have taken place, and the ending could have been more satisfying ratger than a bit abrupt.
Kissin' Tell - Lorelei James 3.5 stars. I adored Tell and Georgia individually. As a couple, the constant gameplaying and lack of communication and trust and doubts started to wear on me, even though it fit both characters.

Parent issues galore, too. I can't help thinking I missed a book, because of Casper's religious turnaround. I like that James keeps him the same bastard he always was, just a religious bastard now. I need to go back and check on books I might have mossed. The last one I read before this was Jesse & Brandt's.

I also liked the relationship between Tell and his brothers. I gotta say, there are so many cousins I can barely keep them straight anymore.

I do love this series though and am looking forward to the next one.
Undeniable - Alison Kent 4.5 stars. Full review to come closer to release date. Suffice to say for now that Alison Kent has written another deeply emotional, authentic, and hot as hell romance. Put it on your TBR list now.
First Do No Evil  - Carey Baldwin Loved Danny. Really liked Sky. Was creeped out immediately by Grant. He was obviously obsessive about Sky. Ick.

Liked that Sky loved her dead fiance but was still willing to open up to Danny. Also liked Katie and thought her mix of angst, anger, & sweetness was just right for a 13 yo girl.

Where it lost me was in Sky's inability to see the creepiness in the things her brother said as well as her blind devotion to him. Even tho she eventually came to the right conclusion. I might be so blindly devoted to ny genius brother, too, but from the outside looking in, I wasn't convinced.

Will be looking for more from this author.
Down To Business (Coleman Engineering #2) - HelenKay Dimon 3.75 stars.

The first third of the book grabbed me and infused me with the same breathless anticipation as Ella and Rob. A buildup of heat, sexual attraction and edginess that was fulfilled with hot up-against-the-wall sex for sex's sake.

There was so much that I wanted to explore more deeply, and it reminded me why overall I don't care much for the super short format. But Dimon does a good job of breathing life into all 3 characters, even in the short format. I'm just greedy and wanted more. More time for more development, more history, more story, and a surefire HEA rather than a probable one in my mind.

I liked this one far better than book 1. I'm eager to find out if book 3 will be Mavis'.
All He Ever Needed - Shannon Stacey 4.5 stars. Another Kowalski book closed with a happy sigh. Full review coming up on my blog closer to release date.
A Private Gentleman - Heidi Cullinan 3.75 stars.
Hometown Girl - Mariah Stewart Like slipping into a warm bath. A few deepfelt tingles and just warm comfort all around. As much as I love her thrillers, I love her contemps just ad much.

And whoa. Did I read the diary entry right at the end of the book? Is she goibg to incorporate her Magellan series into this series in the same way she did the Shields FBI series? Awesome and brilliant.

Also, one other note. I love how each book in this series is bracketed by diary entries from Grace, the longtime resident, newspaper owner and inn owner. They give perspective and a sense of permanence.

If you love JoAnn Ross contemps you will also love Stewart's. Same warm, cozy feeling.
Stowaway - Becky Barker As always, just a couple thoughts. I liked that small town country life was portrayed as a mix of the racist, uninformed crazies and of good, hardworking wonderful people. It's an interesting dichotomy in our country right now, and the book accurately reflected my impressions of the south right now. It's easy to get caught up in the people that make the news and not so easy to remember that they aren't always reflective of the society in which they live. I thank Barker for reminding me of that.

I liked both Keri and Nick, as well as both their families. I liked that their relationship had to build the trust and that they both had issues with that.

The love story felt pretty real to me, even if it was fast. But the HEA didn't come after a couole weeks, thankfully. It gave me the touch of reality that so many rom susp lack - the characters had time to come down off their adrenaline highs, build a relationship over time (and distance) and cement a trust and love.

Well done.