A few quick reviews of some of the books I’ve read (or listened to this summer). Hopefully these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!
Self-Published in October 2012
Pages: 430 Audio Length: 13 hrs and 19 mins
Source: Won It!
Kara Magari ignited a war when she stumbled into Ourea and found the Grimoire: a powerful artifact filled with secrets. To protect the one person she has left, she strikes a deal that compromises everything she believes in… and things don’t go as planned.
Braeden Drakonin can no longer run from who–and what–he is. He has to face the facts. He’s a prince. He’s a murderer. He’s a wanted man. And after a betrayal that leaves him heartbroken, he’s out for blood.
To survive, both Kara and Braeden must become the evil each has grown to hate.
I was super excited when I won the audio version of this book because I’ve been loving audiobooks lately, and I’d really enjoyed the first book in this series (Lichgates – click the link to read my original review) but hadn’t gotten around to continuing it. I ended up picking up Lichgates for free on Kindle so that I could get the Audible version for just $1.99 and do a “re-read” (well, a re-listen). It was nice to have a refresher before jumping into this second book (one of the reasons I hadn’t picked the series up again is because I tried at one point and just couldn’t get into it because it had been so long since I’d read the first book).
In this second book, Kara has come to terms with the fact that she’s the Vagabond and she’s decided to jump into her task of uniting the people of Ourea wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, not everyone in Ourea is on board. Most people simply want to use Kara, and the betrayals in this book just keep coming. To make things more complicated, she’s falling in love with Braeden, and these feeling can be used against her. Even the original Vagabond isn’t above threatening Braeden and he does everything he can to keep Kara and Braeden apart. The stakes are way higher in this second installment of the series, and both Kara and Braeden are put through some pretty horrible things. The pacing is fantastic in this book, and I often found myself wanting to listen just a little bit extra so that I could find out what was going to happen next. I loved the characters in the first book, but Braeden captured my heart even more in this second installment. And then there’s Kara – I love that every time I thought there was going to be a cliché plot point or Kara was going to agree to something way out of character, Boyce surprised me. Kara is intelligent and strong-willed, but that doesn’t mean she never makes a mistake – she falls prey to trusting people occasionally who she shouldn’t and she gave into demands once or twice – but it all felt very within her character. Toward the end of the book, there’s a major twist that I didn’t see coming at all – it completely changes a LOT of things! Loved this book – 5/5 Stars.
NARRATION: I thought that Kara Kovacich Stewart did a fantastic job with the narration of these books. I especially loved her accents for many of the Oureans.
Published by Loveswept on 6/21/16
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary
In this pitch-perfect novel from the author of When Joss Met Matt (“One of those books that make you forget everything around you.”—Sophie Jordan), a rock ’n’ roll diva must choose between her career and her heart.
After getting kicked out of her own band—by her own boyfriend—Presley Mason finds herself back in Wisconsin, helping her parents run their renowned music store. Instead of belting out powerhouse vocals to sold-out crowds in L.A., she’s stocking shelves and inspecting rental violins. But the shop isn’t all bad: When she’s vacuuming up late one night, she bumps into the guitar teacher with the smoldering amber eyes and the killer tattoo. And that’s when things take an interesting turn.
Presley soon finds that Paul Kellerman is as good in bed as he is on guitar. So why isn’t he stoked to share his band, Jukebox Bleu, with her? Turns out Paul has crippling stage fright, which he’s been self-medicating without much success. But when Jukebox Bleu’s lead singer gets called for military service, the other members beg Presley to front them. Even though she swore never to mix men with music again, the temptation to perform is almost as intense as her chemistry with Paul. Now Presley must decide what’s more important: a second chance at love . . . or rock stardom.
This is one of those times where I don’t exactly know what to say about a book. It was really enjoyable but a little bit forgettable. I honestly wasn’t feeling the connection between Paul and Presley at first because it was sort of insta-lust and started out being mostly about sex. I enjoyed the second half of the book much more though. I felt really horrible for poor Paul throughout the entire book – not only was he dealing with some serious anxiety, but he had to deal with the pain that Presley put him through. I could sympathize with Presley, though – considering her history, it wasn’t hard to understand why she wanted to separate business from pleasure. It just took her way longer to realize that it wasn’t working than I would have liked. But this book gave me all the feels (especially in the second half) and kept me turning the pages furiously because I had to see these characters put themselves out of their misery. Overall, I give this one 3.5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Published by Viking Books in December 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.
This book wrecked me. Completely wrecked me. It wasn’t perfect, but it was definitely worth all the hype. I’m actually going to make this a really short review because I don’t know how to talk about it without spoilers. You might even want to stop reading here if you haven’t read the book and want NO spoilers whatsoever (I had a good idea about what was going to happen because of a review I read, but that didn’t stop me from loving the book).
Not only did I love the characters and the story, but this book truly made me think because of the ending. I honestly wasn’t sure how to feel about how things ended up – morally or emotionally. I was a mess just thinking about it all. But I think that was part of the point, because Lou herself didn’t seem to know how to process everything. She was incredibly conflicted, but her eventual decisions were made out of love.
I think at some point I’ll write a completely spoilerish discussion about this book and the movie because I have some strong thoughts about why I didn’t feel like the movie worked as well as the book and a few of my thoughts about the decisions that were made … but I’ll save that for another day.
Oh, I loved Me Before You. I need to read more from the author. I’d be curious to see a discussion post about the book and movie that includes spoilers.
I read Me Before You a while ago and just ended up sobbing by the end of it! It’s such an emotional rollercoaster! My mum actually just read it the other day, and she was an absolute wreck by the end as well, and she’s gone straight on to read the sequel (although I haven’t read that yet myself!).
I haven’t watched the movie version yet though, although I’ve been meaning to. I’m interested to see how its been adapted, although I can’t see it comparing with the book.
Sometimes, I think Will was a selfish tool for putting his family and Lou through that. But most of the time, I don’t blame him.
These all sound like great reads Nicole. I like that Me Before You wrecked you a little. So good that a book can hook you emotionally like that.
Great reviews. I have Me Before You sitting on my TBR shelf. I need to work up the courage to read it. A lot of people have said that it messes with your emotions.
Yes, yes, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Me Before You movie vs. the book! I loved the book but thought the movie was too simplistic – I agree, I loved the fact that Lou was so conflicted and that everything was uncertain.
And yep, it’s definitely one of those books that stays with you for a while.
I had to click over here just to see what you thought of Me Before You, I gave it 4.5 stars as well, but I haven’t written my review just yet (I’m terribly behind on blogging and reviewing, I plan to spend all weekend glued to my laptop!). Have you seen the movie, or read After You yet? I think I share your sentiments about the first book. I have lots of thoughts. I really SHOULD write that review… R xxx
Me Before You was so incredibly good. It wrecked me too. That ending . . . crazy. I was sobbing. Great reviews.
Wow, it sounds like Me Before You is a complete sobfest! Lol. Everyone seems to love that book, but I haven’t read it yet.