BOOK REVIEW – The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

BOOK REVIEW – The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1) by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #1)
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets--an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

2/2.5 stars. Look, it’s not my thing to mince my words, so I’ll give you my opinion and ultimately, you’ll decide what to make of it anyway : as far as I’m concerned, The Shadow of the Wind is overrated and, to say the truth, a bit of a smokescreen. Despite its obvious qualities, I have to admit that I’m a little baffled of its status given that all the flaws, if found in some random YA book, would be called out without any doubt.

Caricatures as characters, from Daniel the Romantic whose constant whining reminded me of some 18th Century hero (someone saves me from François-René de Chateaubriand, please), to the twisting-moustache villain whose mother, you guessed right, was a crazy bitch (mwahahahaha). As for the women (OMG, the WOMEN), they’re either sexual creatures (often vile and manipulative, because of course *roll eyes*) or solely conceived for the Great Goal of Bearing children (or assuming their care). It’s pretty simple, actually : the good girls are those who get pregnant or are desperate for it, and all women are portrayed through their looks. All of these characters were flat and forgettable in my book.

Blatant sexism pouring through every page, and before you mention it, I KNOW, the society in 1945/1950 wasn’t kind on women. I do know that, yet I don’t believe that the portrayal of sexist behavior had to be so IN YOUR FACE. In the past I’ve read historical novels that let me furious about the way women were treated and categorized into little boxes (mother, virgin, whore, if you’re asking) but in The Shadow of the Wind I never felt that the issue was handled or acknowledged, or barely. It was just THERE. All the time, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to care about characters – Fermin and Daniel, for example – who constantly objectify women, when they’re not busy expressing stereotypes like, “women can’t do Maths”, or, “women who let you touch them the first time are whores”, etc, etc. I read the French translation, so I’m not going to write down the quotes, but they are EVERYWHERE. I felt like drowning.

The instalove, anyone? Far from me the intent of spoiling the story to you, so I’ll just say this : there are three couples in this story, and the THREE OF THEM suffer from major instalove (the kind where people see each other once, talk twice, and share iloveyous). What the hell?! Again, if this book was called The Storm and The Thorns, and some generic YA bullshit, it would have annoyed me, because I cannot feel invested in a romance if there’s neither growth nor depth. Why in the world should I feel differently this time? I do not. Honestly? I couldn’t care less.

The resolution of the intrigue did not satisfy me, because I found the way it was revealed rather lazy. Sure, I did not expect it, but after having remained in the dark during 80% of the book, I was a little disappointed by the avalanche of information that was thrown in my face, in a info-dumping fashion. Even with the interesting (view spoiler), it felt like such a cop-out.

The atmosphere is darkly enticing, captivating, even, and for me the real MC is Barcelona. Indeed I couldn’t look away from the fascinating picture Carlos Ruiz Zafón created, from the vivid slices of life put into black and white letters. I wish the descriptions of Paris would have reached this level of brilliance, but I didn’t really mind. Albeit the difficult times described, reading The Shadow of the Wind made me want to come back there, and I probably will very soon.

The writing, if not free of some cheesy figures of speech – but it could be the translation – is addictive and compelling. From the first page I was hooked, and my interest didn’t falter before reaching the second half (but I already explained why).

► All in all, The Shadow of the Wind was a disappointment for me. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but in the end, the story didn’t convince me, and even the message – no matter how great it was, or wanted to be – felt a bit superficial because spoiled by the lack of depth of the characters.

*shrugs*

FRIDAY STARS – Your Weekly Must Knows 07/22/16

Friday Stars.13

On Fridays, we take a look at what has happened around here in the last week, what’s coming up that we are excited about and anything else that we may have to share!
♥ Enjoy!

Giveaways:
Enter to win giveawayweawaken5 E-copies of WE AWAKEN by Calista Lynne. Enter → HERE.
 
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THE KILLER IN ME TOURWin a finished copy of THE KILLER IN ME by Margot Harrison and some swag (US Only).  Enter → HERE.
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 b3394922-7bf6-4c20-8c4c-1c143bb3ddb3Five (5) Exclusive Print Copies of FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, A Wedding Belles Novella.  Enter → HERE.
 
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Just Finished and Loved:

torn jennifer l armentrout wicked trilogyTorn (A Wicked Trilogy #2) by Jennifer L. ArmentroutJen’s Review

5 Stars!  Torn was an emotional ride that was filled with uncertainty and characters I absolutely loved!  It was everything I was hoping the second book would be and much, much more!

The story continues! In the first book, Wicked, Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart. Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her. But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

 

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this savage song victoria schwabThis Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by V.E. Schwab Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!  Schwab creates the best of the best when it comes to intricately layered males with imperfections. So when August…well…when things start to crumble…I loved this story even more.

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books, This Savage Song is a must-have for fans of Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and Laini Taylor.  Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives. In This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab creates a gritty, seething metropolis, one worthy of being compared to Gotham and to the four versions of London in her critically acclaimed fantasy for adults, A Darker Shade of Magic. Her heroes will face monsters intent on destroying them from every side—including the monsters within.

 

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4 Stars:
False Hearts (False Hearts #1) by Laura Lam → Anna’s Review

1 Star:
Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay Kristoff → Anna’s Review

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We also had our very first discussion post YAY!  We’re calling ours Ramblings, because that’s a better fit for how we talk to each other about bookish stuff 🙂 .  Our first ever Ramblings was about To NA or Not To NA. If you missed it, then you can check it out here.

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Reading Next:

stephen king the stand The Stand by Stephen King
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.  And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail — and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.  In 1978 Stephen King published The Stand, the novel that is now considered to be one of his finest works. But as it was first published, The Stand was incomplete, since more than 150,000 words had been cut from the original manuscript.  Now Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil has been restored to its entirety. The Stand : The Complete And Uncut Edition includes more than five hundred pages of material previously deleted, along with new material that King added as he reworked the manuscript for a new generation. It gives us new characters and endows familiar ones with new depths. It has a new beginning and a new ending. What emerges is a gripping work with the scope and moral comlexity of a true epic.  For hundreds of thousands of fans who read The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King’s gift. And those who are reading The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival.

 

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an ember in the ashes sabaa tahir An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.   Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.   It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.   But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.   There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

 

 

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Upcoming Releases:

ps i like you kasie west P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (Releases 7/26)
Signed, sealed, delivered…   While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!  Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters — sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…   Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.
Chelsea’s 4.5 Star Review & Anna’s 3.5 Star Review

 

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To Have and to Hold To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne (Releases 7/26)
Discovering her fiancé is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.  Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiancé is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning…is theirs?

 

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Check out our list of upcoming releases that we can’t wait for → HERE

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Sales:

$0.99


4.5 Stars!
Jen’s Review

5 Stars!
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4 Stars!
Laura’s Review
 

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New Sale 5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review
 
 
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Chelsea’s Review
 
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Anna’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review
 
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Anna’s Review
Laura’s Review
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

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5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review
Laura’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Anna’s Review
Jen’s Review
Chelsea’s Review

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

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New Sale 4 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

New Sale

4.5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars!
Cheslea’s Review
Jen’s Review

5 Stars!
Chelsea’s Review

Anna’s Review
Freebies:

4 Stars!
Anna’s Review

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BOOK REVIEW – Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW – Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay KristoffNevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1)
by Jay Kristoff
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

MY EYES, O, MY EYES! O, gentlefriends, you may not approve of my decision to rate Nevernight with a severe and lonely star given the fact that I failed to finish it. But I tried, O, gentlefriends, trust me, I tried, yet completing the task of reading all 18,695 pages of this wonder-

There are only 448 pages…

Oh, FUCK OFF, the cat “who is not a cat” (why thank you I KNOW you told me one billion times already – go haunt someone else’s shadow, watch over another balcony with your not-eyes would you even though I don’t even want to know how THAT bloody works)

Truth is, O, gentlefriends, I’m taking my life back. The 42% I read were painfully indigestible and I am very sorry if I offend 99% of my friends who love Jay Kristoff‘s writing but I cannot do this. I CANNOT.

1) The metaphors and similes

First, I don’t like them as a whole. While I do believe that they can add a poetic touch to a novel, if I start highlighting them, it either means that :

a) they’re overused ;
b) they don’t make any kind of sense ;
c) they make me forget the story to focus on the prose, as if the writer was tapping me on the shoulder in a “I am so clever, am I not?” fashion.

Some of them made me roll my eyes.

“Mia caught her temper by the collar, gave it a good hard shake. Clearing her throat, she brushed her crooked fringe from her eyes.”

“Mia sighed. Took her temper by the earlobe and pulled it to heel.”

Others earned a well-deserved WTF?!

“Tric gave another half-hearted stab, but the beast had forgotten its quarry entirely, great eyes rolling as it flipped over and over, dragging its bulk back below the sand, howling like a dog who’s just returned home from a hard turn’s work to find another hound in his kennel, smoking his cigarillos and in bed with his wife.”

O_o

“They’re led by a dozen camels, Tric. A noseless dog could follow this trail of shit in the middle of truedark. If they suddenly start trekking faster than a forty-a-turn smoker with an armload of drunken prostitutes, I think we can find them again.”

????!?!!

2) Heavy wordiness and other useless descriptions

This is a matter of taste, alright? But I can’t do this? Not willingly, at least? Look, I graduated in French Literature and hence have had my fair share of wordy books for the sake of being wordy. After five years, I’ve come to the conclusion that this overwritten and purple writing style does not suit me. Words are meant to carry the story, and not to prove how clever and well-read the author is. Again, in my opinion anyway.

“She introduced her boot to his partner’s groin, kicking him hard enough to cripple his unborn children.”

BECAUSE THAT’S A THING.

Nope. That’s a commonplace.

I tend to find commonplaces useless.

“The horizon was crusted like a beggar’s lips, scoured by winds laden with voices just beyond hearing. The second sun kissing the horizon was usually the sign for Itreya’s brutal winters to begin, but out there, the heat was still blistering.”

Many of you might adore this writing. I do not. Oh, and no, before some gentle soul implies it, it is not because I’m “used to YA” or “unable to ‘get it'”. As I said, I can enjoy classics. Just not the ones that make me want to pull my hair out.

3) There are footnotes as a world-building

Call it as you want, when an author uses LONG footnotes to narrate parts of the world-building, it seems like info-dumping to me. And an annoying one, at that. Honestly? I stopped reading them after two chapters : I had a hard time connecting with the story already, and would have DNFed Nevernight way faster if I had stopped every few pages to read these damn footnotes. More generally, I find it lazy to use footnotes when these legends could have been incorporated into the main story.

There’s also a character who speaks like a Shakespeare’s lad, but at this point, I’m not even counting anymore.

As much as I wanted to love Nevernight, whose blurb made it sound so captivating, I cannot stand this writing and it spoiled my read. If you add it to the facts that :

1) The world-building is a mash-up between the Roman Empire, the Venice Republic, Harry Potter and The Young Elites (not a bad thing per se, but again, distracting) ;

2) The heroine already earned her special nemesis whose only purpose seems to glare and glare and glare again ;

3) I don’t care about any of the characters whatsoever (except Tric. I did like Tric) ;

4) I don’t appreciate the so-called wit of that fucking cat who is not a cat (I didn’t laugh ONCE, alright?) ;

5) I am BORED ;

… Well, you’ll understand why Nevernight and me will part ways now, at 42%.

Mark my words, though : this will be a hit. Oh, well. On my minority shelf it goes.

EXCERPT+GIVEAWAY: To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne

EXCERPT+GIVEAWAY: To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne has always been one of my favorite authors. Her books are always so sweet and they never fail to lift my mood-no matter how dour. That being said, I am so excited to be showing off her newest twist on quirky contemporary! Check out below to see an excerpt and an awesome giveaway. Enjoy! <3

EXCERPT+GIVEAWAY: To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1) by Lauren LayneTo Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1)
by Lauren Layne
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis:

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true... but their own.

Discovering her fiance is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin's business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiance is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning... is theirs?

Excerpt:
Hold on. Back up. Back all the way up. What do you mean you’re getting married?”
It was eleven p.m. on a Wednesday, and Seth Tyler was exactly where he always was these days: behind his expansive mahogany desk at the Tyler Hotel Group, suit jacket slung over the back of his ergonomic chair, tie begging to be undone, impeccably pressed white shirt cuffed at the wrists.
He raked a hand through his thick light brown hair in frustration and fixed his younger sister with his best no-nonsense glare, an approximation—like everything else he seemed to do lately—of his deceased father.
When Seth’s father dropped dead of a heart attack eight months ago, Seth had thought the hardest part about his father’s passing—other than the mourning, of course—would be taking over the family company.
Sure, Seth had been groomed for the role. He’d wanted the president and CEO title. He’d always wanted it.
Eventually.
But not yet, for God’s sake.
Seth had no problem admitting that he was a perfectionist, and he’d been bound and determined to take over the family company his way. The right way.
And the right way, as Seth had determined it, was spending at least a year shadowing each of the senior-level Tyler Hotel Group executives. Seth had wanted to learn every possible detail, every in and out of the business, before even thinking about taking over the reins of the Fortune 500 company.
But his father’s heart had had other plans. Mainly, up and quitting during a routine round of golf. And so, quietly, per his father’s wishes, Seth had become CEO two years ahead of schedule.
Not a day passed that Seth didn’t wish his father was still with him, but in truth, taking his place at the head of the boardroom table had been easier than Seth had anticipated. The investors hadn’t freaked out. The executive team hadn’t left in mass exodus. Even Hank’s longtime assistant, Etta, had stuck around, seemingly content to call Seth boss even as she busted his balls about not eating enough vegetables, getting enough sleep, or getting his hair cut.
But if taking over the family company was easier than Seth had expected, there was one ramification of Hank Tyler’s death that Seth hadn’t been in the least prepared for:
A wedding.
Maya Tyler inhaled a long, patient breath, as though preparing to deal with a difficult child. “Well see, marriage, Seth, is when two people fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives—”
“Yes, I’m aware of how marriage works,” Seth interrupted. Although, not as aware as well as he’d like, as it turned out. He wouldn’t be getting any firsthand knowledge of how marriage worked any time soon.
Maya bit her lip. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to remind you of Nadia.”
Seth glanced down at his desk to avoid his sister’s too-perceptive gaze. She wasn’t wrong. He’d gotten to the point where he could go most days without thinking of his ex, but he hadn’t yet figured out how to think about marriage without hearing the incredulous laugh she’d let out when he’d gone on one knee and showed her the ring he’d spent months picking out.
“Can we not?” he said curtly.
“Don’t get pissed. It’s a wedding. You’re supposed to be happy.”
“I’m not pissed; I’m just surprised.”
That was an understatement. Seth had not seen this coming, and for a man who exercised precision in all things, he couldn’t say he was enjoying the shock value of Maya’s announcement. Especially not on the heels of his father’s death. A death that everyone but Seth had seen coming, because Seth had been the lone outsider on the knowledge that was his father’s longtime heart condition.
Apparently, Hank had considered his only son a control freak—had known that Seth would have stopped at nothing to try to halt death in its tracks.
His father had been, well, right. It was hard to admit, but if Seth had known about his father’s condition, he’d have devoted every waking hour to researching experimental treatment and the best doctors.
Hank Tyler hadn’t wanted that for his final months. Not for himself or for Seth.
Still, Seth resented not having the choice. Resented his father nearly as much as he missed him.
But he’d put that behind him. Mostly.
Hank was gone, and Maya was still here. Maya was all he had.
He had known she was dating a new guy—Neil something or other. But Seth hadn’t thought a thing about it. Maya had whipped through a constant string of casual boyfriends since high school, and other than a two-year relationship in college, they had never been serious.
And it certainly hadn’t gotten close to marriage.
What’s worse, Seth hadn’t even met this man that was apparently to be his brother-in-law.
But none of this would have mattered, not really, if Seth’s instincts hadn’t been buzzing that something was amiss with the way this was all going down. Something was off. He knew it down to his gut.
“How long have you been seeing this guy?” he asked.
Maya slumped back in the plush chair facing Seth’s desk with a groan. “Don’t do this. I knew you were going to do this.”
He frowned. “Do what?”
“The big brother thing,” she said.
“Hard not to, what with me being six years older and all,” Seth said.
He didn’t add that he was doubly obligated to be protective given Hank’s death just months earlier. Maya had definitely been Daddy’s Little Princess. She still got tears in her eyes every time their father’s name was mentioned.
Maya leaned forward, her pale blue eyes much like his own, although her blond hair was lighter than his, thanks to her frequent trips to the salon.
“I love him, Seth. I know you’re jaded these days, but Neil is exactly the type of guy we women spend our entire lives dreaming about.”
Seth bit his tongue to stop from saying that he bet Maya was exactly the type of girl that guys like Neil dreamed about, too. Young, pretty . . . and filthy rich.
Or so Neil likely thought.
 
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About Lauren Layne:

Lauren lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart–cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian. 

Five years ago, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan. 

She writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush, and in her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books. 

When not bringing The Sexy, she likes to blog about her Instagram addiction, and why mean girls are the worst!

 
               Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram
 
 
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Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 
And click here to follow the rest of the tour! 😀

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RAMBLINGS – To NA or Not To NA

TO NA1

I think it’s safe to say that NA is one of those genres that we all scratch our heads about (Anna : I personally face palm a lot, but what do I know) (Chelsea : She’s a bit dramatic). On the one hand, there’s so much potential. These young people are going out into the real world and about to begin their lives…and love is always in the air (Also, sex. What? Sex is important right? (Ummmm….). Plus, it gives us that relateable feel. Everyone wants to read about the trials and tribulations of young adults who are finding themselves (especially because let’s face it, finding ourselves is a lifelong goal). But too often in this newly coined genre do we see the same tired tropes that make us all rage (*cough* slut-shaming, magic dick, you name it *cough*)  (I don’t mind the magic dick or slut shaming *cough*). I have seen an increase in people who are giving up on the New Adult genre completely (and at an alarming rate) and this makes me so sad. I know it’s (very) (Extremely) hard to find them, really, but there truly are some amazing books that people miss out on because

A) they aren’t looking in the right places (can I say here or would it be too conceited? Kidding, kidding) or

B) They have picked up one too many that turned them off so it’s the final straw (♬ ♪ THE FINAL COUNTDOWN! Okay, no idea where THAT came from) (Looks to the sky for guidance because friend is going crazy)

C) They never find what works and what doesn’t work for them, thus making it possible to find some winners in a sea of losers (an ocean seems more like it – Hell, a UNIVERSE of losers) (Pretty much)

SO, this is where Anna and I got the idea to make a post showcasing the winners that JUST might help you restore your faith in this dwindling genre again (Well, and I’ve been helping a couple friends try to rediscover what COULD be good about NA) (and I’ve been bitching about NA for so long that everyone and their grandma are tired of my whining). We hope you like (love, we gotta be hopeful) (They are soooo goooddd) the books we have highlighted-these are what worked for US, and they really are the best of the best, in our (not so) humble opinion.

TO NA2

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar  → Anna’s Review

5 Stars! These raw, multi-layered and messed-up characters grab you, remind you of random anecdotes from your past (also that cupboard there? Don’t open it), drive you to call your mum because really, it’s been a while, tear up but NO YOU DON’T FREAKING KNOW WHY SO WHO CARES THAT YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT SURF, you’re having a moment there and – Well, realistic fiction, anyone? (I need to read this so bad…)


Love Show by Audrey BellAnna’s Review 

5 Stars! No slut-shaming. No asshole as a hero. (So loyal, our baby OMG POOR BOY!) A driven and independent MC. Neither love triangle nor instalove. Fantastic banter. Jack!! Don’t let go! JACK! I love these guys to pieces.

 

Fuel the Fire (Calloway Sisters #3) by Krista and Becka RitchieAnna’s Review

5 Stars! Strong female characters. PLURAL. Frienship. No miscommunication or stupid drama, but a couple (His tear stained cheek…) who fight battles as a TEAM. My heart is full. I am so proud of Connor and Rose that it’s getting ridiculous, but I don’t even care. They’re my perfect match.

 

Second Position (District Ballet Company #1) by Katherine LockeAnna’s Review

4.5 Stars! I wish I could have stopped crying but alas, I guess that’s what happens when you read such a poignant and beautiful story. What a surprising and lyrical gem.

 

 Boomerang (Boomerang #1) by Noelle AugustAnna’s Review

4 Stars! Ethan and Mia’s story may contain some kind of instalust, they never fell into instalove but on the contrary, they… Okay, you’ll see. What I loved the most about this book was the female friendship it pictured (because YES, that is RARE) and alright, alright, the chemistry off the charts 😉


 

tona31


the deal elle kennedy
 The Deal (Off Campus #1) by Elle KennedyChelsea’s Review

5 Stars! Okay so, this is a cliche book, with a cliche plot, with some cliche things…but people, this was popular for a reason-It’s cliche done well. And I’m willing to bet you’ll fall just as hard for Garret as I did. 😉 (alright, alright, I did like them, alright)

 

all broke down cora carmack  All Broke Down (Rusk University #2) by Cora Carmack → Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars! GAH. Okay, this was literally the best because I didn’t think it would be good. I had it on my iPad just sitting there, then I picked it up randomly one night and it was not at all what I expected. A respectful male lead who doesn’t stray at the first sign of trouble and a plot that, while it’s been done before, is done in a way that I can’t help but love. I don’t know…this just felt different to me.

 


i'll meet you there heather demetrios
 I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios → Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars! Ugh, this borders the NA/YA line, but I don’t care. The content is more NA in my opinion and, frankly. it’s too perfect not to mention. This book is far from perfect-It’s characters even farther from perfect. But the journey they travel to find who they are and where they belong…it’s so fucking beautiful. An absolute favorite and I will absolutely never forget Josh and Sky (me neither)

 

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love show audrey bell
 Love Show by Audrey Bell → Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars! I have to thank Anna for this one…I would never have read it in January had she not made me read it. Jack is utter perfection and this story isn’t your typical NA drivel-It was literally almost flawless. Key word? ALMOST. Something happened at the end that always bothers me, so that will always stay with  me-But I still will never forget this book and how much I ADORED it. (Especially Jack. Always Jack) (NEVER LET GO)

 

 
kiss the sky
 Kiss the Sky (Calloway Sisters #1) by Krista and Becca Ritchie→ Chelsea’s Review

5 Stars! Alright, alright, I know-Anna did FTF…and I was going to, too. But I decided that since we had a couple in common, it’s only fair to showcase the FIRST book in this wonderfully addictive spin-off series. The third book MAY (coughs loudly in an unladylike fashion) (“unladylike” is such bullshit anyway) be the best of Connor…but there’s just something so SEXY about the chase in this first installment. Connor is..he’s..I mean..I can’t…OKAY I FUCKING LOVE HIM, and seeing him try and protect Rose and finding how much he really DOES love her when he’s not capable of love…I CAN’T EVEN. FTF may be epic, but this is where the real feels begin (INDEED) (*nods firmly*).


I also wanted to add Isn’t She Lovely and  Broken by Lauren Layne, but their pictures aren’t formatting correctly. So I will just say that they are what made me fall in love with NA, and while ISL might start out a little bit too much (it was her first novel) it evens out and made me fall for this author and her amazing way of dealing with NA and making men I instantly fall in love with. The book names are highlighted to take you to my review 🙂

So, did any of these books pique your interest? Which ones? Let us know in the comments because, as always, we LOVE to talk about our favorite books. Let us know if we helped you open up to NA again or we possibly found your next favorite! <3

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