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Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Friday, December 30
My rating:
4 Stars…

Quote…"A body is simply a package for the true gifts inside. And you are full of gifts."


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What I loved:
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

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What I loved:
Ms Hoover is a wonderful writer. She knows just how to kick me in the proverbials with her words, and I undoubtedly get all emotional reading her stories. I loved the way she painted Fallon & Ben's relationship, I loved the slow burn, I loved the betrayal, and the angst, and the pain. I enjoy a good plot twist or 2 in my romance reads, and this definitely had those.
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The writing itself is impeccable, emotional, and just the right side of flower-y without making me wince.
Ben was an awesome non-alpha! I loved everything about him, all of the time!

Sometimes, I don't get why a couple can't be together. The obstacles don't make sense to me. Like, if they really loved each other, they would move heaven and earth to be together, right?

Well. I thought the obstacles (granted, they put the obstacles in place for themselves) were believable, mature, and insightful. I really enjoyed that even though these 2 are 18 when we first meet them, their obstacles were valid and I appreciated them.

Fallon was a lovely, flawed, HEA-worthy character.

What I didn’t love:

There was this one plot twist... quite a major one... and I saw it coming the first time Fallon met Ben's brothers. I knew it in the marrow of my bones. So when the truth came out, it was like ok. So? Having said that, at one point early on I thought maybe Ben was a junkie, so I'm not the queen of the knowing stuff that happens in books.

Did Fallon really have to hurt Ben so much? Was that really necessary? And also, why did she get to be so whiny after she hurt him so badly??

The sheer number of deaths this character had to face? That sucked so hard.

Overall…
Quote…And I know without a doubt that there were several times during the past few years that we were madly in love with each other at the same time.

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Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Thursday, December 29
My rating:
5 Stars…

Quote…"In the future... if by some miracle you ever find yourself in the position to fall in love again... fall in love with me."

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What I loved:

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

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What I loved:

In keeping this as spoiler free as possible, there isn't really a lot I can say...
The things I loved were also the things that made this a difficult read. The subject matter is touching, it's shocking, it's disturbing, and at the same time there's an underlying something that slides under your skin and settles in your heart and makes this story painfully wonderful.
I fought against this story so many times - I was a coward, and so I wanted Ms Hoover to change our couple's path and make it easier and less confrontational for me: to change Ryle, to change Lily, to change their circumstances... but in the end everything had to be exactly how it was. That's what made this book amazing. It hurt to read this book, but it was a beautiful hurt.

What I didn’t love:

You know, this all could have been avoided if a certain person hadn't lied about a thing, in the place, in the first place. But again... everything had to be exactly how it was.

Also. Just so you know: This is not a love triangle story. It does not involve cheating. I put off reading it for a long time because the synopsis made it look that way, but don't worry. This story is uncomfortable, but not because of that.

Overall…
Quote…"You're my favourite person."
I felt him laugh a little and it made me smile.
"Out of how many people?" he asked.
"All of them."

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And huge congratulations to Ms Hoover for the GR 2016 Best Romance... totally, absolutely deserved!

Review: Paradise by Judith McNaught

Tuesday, December 6

My rating:
3 Stars… and 1/2

What I loved:

Corporate raider Matthew Farrell had come a long way from the poor, scruffy kid of Indiana's steel mills. A long way from the country club where, feeling like an outsider, he had dared to fall in love with a beautiful blonde named Meredith Bancroft, and known a once-in-a-lifetime passion and betrayal that still haunted his memory... Now world leaders courted him, the media watched his every move, and he was ready to move in on the Bancroft empire.

A cool, poised executive in her family's legendary department store chain, Meredith had once defied her father for the sexually magnetic, intense Matt Farrell -- and their brief, ill-fated marriage was the disastrous outcome. Now, as the Bancroft firm is threatened by a hostile takeover, Meredith is forced to confront Matt. As tensions build between them, bittersweet memories rise to the surface, leaving them suspicious, restless, and uncertain. Will they be able to believe in each other -- and grasp the tender miracle that is before them?

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What I loved:
Matt was a spectacular hero. I loved how rugged he was, how he worked so hard the whole way through to achieve his dreams, and how he grovelled to try and win back his girl. Ok, so he was kind of a manipulative asshole, but I'm ok with that because he didn't actually do anything horrible to her. Most of the time. But when it came to Meredith, he was so deep, and so sweet, and so in love that I just couldn't hate him no matter what he did.
Quote…"Christ!" he whispered, heaving a long, shaking breath of relief. "Thank you."
It was the closest he'd come to a prayer in more than eleven years. It was the first easy breath he'd drawn in over two hours.


On top of Matt (hmmmmmm), I also really enjoyed a lot of the story line. This is an epic read - it spans about 15 years, and we get to know our characters really well in that time. I loved Lisa, and her family, and even the character development of Philip Bancroft, even though he was such a wanker.

So there were a lot of things to love about this story - and if you're not put off by the things I'm about to not love, then this is probably the book for you!

What I didn’t love:
Love triangles. Cheating. Manipulation that is crazy obvious to the reader, but causes 11 years of separation for our couple. Misunderstandings that are crazy obvious to the reader, but cause major obstacles when the couple finally do try to get their shit together. Dishonesty or flat out lying. And a grand reveal near the end that wasn't a grand reveal at all.

Overall…
I am a massive fan of Ms McNaught's regency romances, but as a contemporary, this one fell pretty flat for me.

Review: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Sunday, December 4


My rating:
5 Stars…

Oh sweet Jebus, I LOVED this book!

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What I loved:

Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;
2) A person’s undoing;
3) Joshua Templeman.
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

****

What I loved:
Quote…I made a mistake when I first met Joshua: I smiled at him.
My best sunny smile with all my teeth, my eyes sparkling with stupid optimism that the business merger wasn't the worst thing to ever happen to me. His eyes scanned me from the top of my head to the soles of my shoes. I'm only five feet tall so it didn't take long. Then he looked away out the window.


I have never seen a writing style like Sally Thorne's. It was endearing, and funny, and her descriptions were quirky and beautiful. She's created the most interesting, loveable (even though sometimes Joshua is hateable) characters - I cried, and snort-laughed, and practically begged my Kindle to make sure they got their HEA.

Quote…His body is a temple. Mine will be a hut made of butter at this rate.


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I was feenin' hard for a good enemies-to-lovers story, with good grovel, slow burn, and confrontation, and a whole lot of tension and heat and emotion, and this story totally hit the spot and then some. It was more than I ever would have expected based on the synopsis.

Quote…I nod, but I'm such a little liar.All I want to do is kiss you until I fall asleep. I want to slide in between your sheets, and find out what goes on inside your head, and underneath your clothes. I want to make a fool of myself over you.


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Review: Again the Magic (The Wallflowers #0.5) by Lisa Kleypas

Saturday, December 3

My rating:

5 Stars…

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What I loved:
She gave him her innocence…

Lady Aline Marsden was brought up for one reason: to make an advantageous marriage to a member of her own class. Instead, she willingly gave her innocence to John McKenna, a servant on her father's estate. Their passionate transgression was unforgivable—John was sent away, and Aline was left to live in the countryside…an exile from London society.

…and he took her love.

Now McKenna has made his fortune, and he has returned—more boldly handsome and more mesmerizing than before. His ruthless plan is to take revenge on the woman who shattered his dreams of love. But the magic between them burns as bright as ever. And now he must decide whether to let vengeance take its toll…or risk everything for his first, and only, love.

*****

What I loved:
Quote…"It's now or never, Aline. After I leave tomorrow, I'm not coming back."
"To England?"
"To you."

I really loved this story. I'm a sucker for childhood friends to lovers romances, and second chances, and overcoming obstacles, and all that happy horseshit, and this gave me what I wanted in joyfully obscene amounts. Obscene amounts of happy, not horseshit...
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The feels were real in this one, and I loved every second I was immersed in Aline & McKenna's journey.

McKenna was smoking hot, and perfectly broody, moody and mean. I need me one of those for Christmas.

Aline had a wonderful level of understanding and maturity, and I really liked how the story wasn't based on misunderstandings. Every issue that stood between these two characters was of their own making, and for reasons. For me, that makes for a much easier? read, and doesn't frustrate the shit out of me.

The smut factor in this one was strong, but also intimate and emotional and overall awesome.

Quote…"Open for me," he whispered, and she colored violently. "Open," he urged, the velvety kisses venturing higher.


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Quote…"The feel of you..." he muttered.


I loved, loved, loved Livia's side story - I thought it was genius for Ms Kleypas to include that. I adored it, and was so happy for her. It was one of those things where I was like I wish this was a book of it's own but at the same time, it was a perfect peripheral story to tie in with this one. Ugh. Just. Yum.

What I didn’t love:
I wished Aline had been honest when they had their chat by the river. McKenna shared everything with her, openly, and she really screwed the pooch on that one, I thought.
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Overall…
This story had everything I loved, and classic, impeccable Lisa Kleypas writing on top of that. How could it not be a 5 star read?

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