Adult Fiction · Chick Lit · Contemporary · Favorite Author · Library Find

You Were There Too by Colleen Oakley

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Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story about a woman who must choose between the man she loves and the man fate has chosen for her in a novel that reminds us that the best life is one led by the heart.

Mia Graydon’s life looks picket-fence perfect; she has the house, her loving husband, and dreams of starting a family. But she has other dreams too — unexplained, recurring ones starring the same man. Still, she doesn’t think much of them, until a relocation to small-town Pennsylvania brings her face to face with the stranger she has been dreaming about for years. And this man harbors a jaw-dropping secret of his own—he’s been dreaming of her too.

Determined to understand, Mia and this not-so-stranger search for answers. But when diving into their pasts begins to unravel her life in the present, Mia emerges with a single question—what if? 

Source: library (support your local library, y’all!)

Mia, happily married and recently moved to a small town, looks up one day at the grocery store and locks eyes with a man who she’s dreamed about for years, a man she’s never met. This sends her on a quest to find out why.

TRIGGER WARNING

Mia has had several miscarriages. It plays a big part of the plot.

Mia’s connection and attraction to Oliver, the guy from her dreams, is helping her to deal with this and her husband, Harrison’s recent distance.

It’s quite an emotional book. I felt so much for Mia and I was pulled in many different directions, wondering if I should hope for her continued marital happiness or this new, possibly better future with Oliver. Oakley doesn’t make it easy for you to know who Mia should be with. There is no clear “winner” in the handsome men who want to be with me sweepstakes.

I sped through this book, wanting to understand and get to the resolution of the dreams and why Mia and Oliver were having them, but also wanting resolution to Mia’s restlessness and heartbreak and relationships.

This is one of three books I was desperate to read this year. I was very much looking forward to it because I am a big fan of Colleen Oakley ‘s book Before I Go. You Were There Too didn’t reach the level of Before I Go for me, but I couldn’t put it down. The characters were relatable and the story was unique. Overall, I enjoyed the book and Mia’s story, heartbreaking and tender as it may be.

4/5

Contemporary · Contemporary Romance Challenge 2016 · for everyone · Library Find · LOL · Review · SERIES · YA · YA Series

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromley (Trouble #1)

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Of course I didn’t like Digby when I first met him. No one does.

The first time Philip Digby shows up on Zoe Webster’s doorstep, he’s rude and he treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to.

But before she knows it, Zoe’s allowed Digby—annoying, brilliant, and somehow…attractive? Digby—to drag her into a series of hilarious, dangerous, and only vaguely legal schemes all related to the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that might be connected to the tragic disappearance of his little sister eight years ago. When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no.

But is Digby a hero? Or is his manic quest an indication of a desperate attempt to repair his broken family and exorcize his own obsessive-compulsive tendencies? And does she really care anyway?
This is a contemporary debut with razor-sharp dialogue, ridiculously funny action, and a dynamic duo you won’t soon forget. (Goodreads)

Source: library

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Addresses Issues/Diverse · Adult Fiction · Chick Lit · Contemporary · for everyone · Library Find · Review

Out to Lunch by Stacey Ballis

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With Aimee gone so tragically young, Jenna barely knows where to turn. Aimee was the one who always knew what to do—not to mention what to wear. The two built a catering company together and had so much in common—well, except their taste in men. Jenna never understood what the successful, sophisticated Aimee saw in Wayne, with his Star Wars obsession and harebrained business schemes. And gained her best friend’s husband…

But Aimee has left a shocking last request: Jenna now has financial custody of the not-so-merry widower. True, Wayne needs someone sensible around to keep him under control, but what was her dear departed friend thinking?

The thing is, as she gets to know Wayne better, his latest moneymaking idea actually starts to intrigue her. Her attractive new lawyer boyfriend doesn’t approve of it—but then, Wayne doesn’t approve of her attractive new lawyer boyfriend. Now Jenna has to figure out what direction her life is going to take next. And she can’t help asking herself: What would Aimee do? (Goodreads)

Source:  Library

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Contemporary · for everyone · Library Find · Review · YA

The Raft by S. A. Bodeen

The Raft

Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft. 

And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.

Source: Library

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Addresses Issues/Diverse · Adult Fiction · Contemporary · Library Find · Review · Romance

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer

Nowhere But HomeQueenie Wake, a country girl from North Star, Texas, has just been fired from her job as a chef for not allowing a customer to use ketchup. Again. Now the only place she has to go is home to North Star. She can hope, maybe things will be different. Maybe her family’s reputation as those Wake women will have been forgotten. It’s been years since her mother-notorious for stealing your man, your car, and your rent money-was killed. And her sister, who as a teenager was branded as a gold-digging harlot after having a baby with local golden boy Wes McKay, is now the mother of the captain of the high school football team. It can’t be that bad… Who knew that people in small town Texas had such long memories? And of course Queenie wishes that her memory were a little spottier when feelings for her high school love, Everett Coburn, resurface. He broke her heart and made her leave town-can she risk her heart again? At least she has a new job-sure it’s cooking last meals for death row inmates but at least they don’t complain! But when secrets from the past emerge, will Queenie be able to stick by her family or will she leave home again? A fun-filled, touching story of food, football, and fooling around.

Source: Library

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Adult Fiction · Contemporary · Library Find · Review

She’s Gone Country by Jane Porter

She's Gone Country

Shey Darcy, a 39-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband until the day he announced he’d fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey’s ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bullriding champ and she’s got her hands full. It doesn’t take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness–and maybe love–in the present.

Source:  library

Characters:

Shey Darcy is a former internatational supermodel and now a full time mom, separated from her husband of 17 years and recently relocated from New York to her hometown in Texas.  In Texas, she has her mom, though they don’t really see eye to eye, her brothers and sisters-in-law, and Dane Kelly, her first love.  And looking at Dane still gets her heart racing and her mind wondering what it could have been like if she had never been shipped off to boarding school when she was 16.

Cooper, Shey’s youngest, has really taken to the cowboy way of life and wants to get into the rodeo game, despite the fact that he’s too old and too tall.  Bo, her middle child, has a history of depression and reminds Shey of her favorite brother, Cody, who killed himself several months before.  Hank, the oldest, is not happy in Texas and wants to go back to New York and Shey is upset because she doesn’t want to lose him, but she knows she cannot keep him tethered where he doesn’t want to be.

Dane Kelly is six years older than Shey, which explains why her family shipped her away when she was sixteen and in love with him. In the meantime, he’s been married and divorced and had a child. Now he’s a successful businessman, raising bulls for the rodeo.  Though Shey doesn’t want to become involved with him because she is still confused about her marriage and Dane and her brothers are feuding, she can’t deny the fact that he still does it for her.  They keep getting thrown together because it’s a small town and they’re connected in a way that makes it hard to push aside their attraction.

Conflict:

There is so much going on in Shey’s life right now. She doesn’t know if she’s going to be staying in Texas or return to New York so the boys can be with their dad.  There isn’t any way to save her marriage, but she feels lost and lonely and confused about the separation. Her family, though they mean well, particularly her mother, are far too opinionated about what she should do. Add that to the fact that her sons are teens (or nearly) and they have their own issues and Shey struggles to allow them room to grow and be themselves.

Overall Thoughts:

To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this book. I don’t know why, maybe because Jane Porter is a new to me author, but I liked the premise of the book, so I took a chance.  I fell in love with it in the first chapter.  Shey was such a tough, self-sufficient woman and the mother in her spoke to the mother in me. All of the issues she has with her sons hit me hard not because I’ve gone through it, but because I understand how helpless she felt through all the obstacles that were in her way to be the best version of herself for her sons. Shey kept getting pushed down but she kept getting back up, and a lot of it was her natural resilience, but it was also so that she could be a role model for her sons.  There were a few times I nearly cried because of the stuff she went through because I felt as frustrated as she did. But Shey always got back on the horse and put on her happy face.  And bravo for her and all the women who do it everyday.  I really cannot say enough how much I liked this book and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it.

Pecans: 5/5

Adult Series · Dystopian · Library Find · LOL · Memes · Paranormal · Review · Romance · Top 10 Tuesday · YA Series

Top 10 Tuesday #40

Top 10 Books We’ve Read Since the Birth of Our Blog…

(and that we probably wouldn’t have known about otherwise if not for the blogging community)

Dixie:

1)  The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steivater–This should teach me to judge a book by a author’s previous books (not that I’ve read her Shiver series, because it wasn’t my type of book.)

2) Divergent by Victoria Roth–As a romance reader, I probably would have passed this one right up.  Dystopian books would, to me, be depressing and boring.  But I’m glad I gave this one a shot.  It’s brilliant & very well written.

3) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor–Another book that’s not in my favorite genre of romance, this is a fantasy that has a dystopian feel, in that it feels like any number of people will die at any given moment because of a war between Angels & Chimera.  A beautifully written book with a lot of romance, ironically.  Love this series.

4) The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz–Recommended by Brittany at Book Addict’s Guide (thanks, girl!), I picked it up at the library and finished it & quickly started on two of it’s sequels (the third of which I’m reading now).  I had actually never even heard of it before.  It is funny and interesting (it’s about a family of PIs). Not enough romance, as of now, for my taste, but I can’t stop reading them. 

5) You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning–I don’t remember where I got this recommendation, probably from someone I’m friends with on Goodreads, but it was such a great, romantic book about a girl finding out who she is after she loses a ton of weight.  LOVED IT and I will work my way through Sarra Manning’s books.

~*~

Maggie:

I’m just going to say I’m sorry now for sounding like a broken record.

1) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – NERDVANA

2) Touch of Power by Maria V Snyder – YES!

3) Possess by Gretchen McNeil – After her debut I’m 100% comfortable in moving her straight to “keep” stack. 

4) The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa – How can you not love these?!  The woman made me love faeries!!! 

5) Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – I think this was my best library find to date.  I doubt I can do better. 

BONUS:

Don’t Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough – Absolutely adorable.

All of the books I’ve picked I can guarantee you I wouldn’t have found if it wouldn’t be for us starting the blog, making blogging buddies, and for really utilizing goodreads “Recommendations” tab.  J  There are soooo many new authors and books that I have discovered and I’m thankful for my blogging partner Dixie for sharing her time with me and for all of our blogging friends who nerd out with us and not only recommend books but let us borrow them as well.

Dystopian · Library Find · Paranormal · Review · Romance · TGIF · YA Series

TGIF #42

Unexpected Books: Which books did you have reservations about reading, but ended up loving once you did?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I picked this one because thought it sounded great but I usually don’t do well with what I deem  “guy books”.  Color me surprised I LOVED everything nerdy about this one have been campaigning to get more people reading it.

 

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – When I saw that Dixie was doing a read-along for this one I decided to as well.  I had heard about this series in the past, added to my TBR list and then removed it.  There were massive, the series was far underway, and isn’t YA.  This is the same reason I haven’t started Game of Thrones yet (though I have started watching the series).  Though there were some rough moments when reading I truly love this one and have most of the series already on my nook ready as soon as I can squeeze them in. 

 

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier – My only reservation on this one is that it was originally in German and I know some books (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for example) that I just can’t get into because I do not like the way they translated.  I LOVED THIS ONE.  I liked to so much I went and copied the German blurbs from goodreads and translated them on Google to find out what the rest of the series is about.

~*~

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefveter–This is not something I had ever intended to read, but faced with a long car trip by myself and a limited selection, I picked this and another book up thinking that if I didn’t like it, I could play the other one.   I don’t even remember what the other book was, but I really enjoyed this and would find myself sitting in the car after I got to my destination to find out what would happen.

I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga — I am not a big fan of horror, but I am fascinated by serial killers, but that usually is satisfied with documentaries.  This book, about the son of a serial killer who was made to be his father’s protege, was really intriguing and fast paced and stirred up all kinds of emotions and ethical dilemas. I loved it and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta–Tee over at YA Crush reviewed this one and it’s not really my usual fare, but I was intrigued.  I rushed through that book so fast.  It was truly amazing.  Of course, it’s from Ms. Marchetta, who gave us Jellicoe Road and Saving Francesca, so I shouldn’t have been surprised. 

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson–I’ve read some of her books before, but they’re more contemporary teen romance.  I liked them a lot, but this book seemed a big departure from her usual stuff.  I should not have been concerned.  Sure, it’s different, but it’s so GOOD, ya’ll!  I gave it five stars.  It’s definitely something to be reread.

Divergent by Veronica Roth–Another dystopian?  Really?  Is that what the world needs?  But oh, this book…I just loved it sooo much.  There’s the what-if factor (cause this could totally happen), romance, intrigue, drama…it was everything I like in a book, even though I was wary of reading another book that could compete with the Hunger Games, which I loved.  How can you really improve on the Hunger Games?  You don’t.  You tell your own story, like Ms. Roth has done here.  Good job.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor–I knew nothing of this book going in.  I don’t like to read reviews before I read the book.  I don’t know what I was expecting but the premise seemed interesting.  I was blown away by not only the story, but Ms. Taylor’s style of writing.  Definitely one of my favorite books last year.