Contemporary · Mystery/Crime · Romance

Mallicks: Back to the Beginning – Jessica Gadziala

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Goodreads synopsis: A girl raised by monsters.
A man who helped get her free.
A love that spans decades.
Let’s go back to the 80s to see how Charlie and Helen Mallick fell in love.

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My thoughts: Fantastic! Pure perfection. Perfect ending (maybe) on a perfect series. The story about how the Mallicks family started. This is seriously the best one I have ever read by Gadziala. Utter flawlessness! And I loved it all. I loved the history, how they met, follow their life and how they build their company. Follow the growth of their five sons, Ryan, Shane, Hunter, Mark and Eli. I already knew them from their own books but it was satisfying to get all the history. And we did get some deeper explanations on some stuff that just wraps the whole series in a big nice bow. It all makes sense now. There is no words to explain how perfect and wonderful this was. It certainly played on all my strings and emotions. And it left me with a major hangover and wonderful feelings of feel good.

I have nothing bad to say. I wish I could erase everything I read, just so that I had the ability to read it again, for the first time.

Contemporary · Fiction/Science Fiction · Sports/Games

Us against you – Fredrik Backman

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Goodreads synopsis: After everything that the citizens of Beartown have gone through, they are struck yet another blow when they hear that their beloved local hockey team will soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in Hed, take in that fact. Amidst the mounting tension between the two rivals, a surprising newcomer is handpicked to be Beartown’s new hockey coach.

Soon a new team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big match approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt grows deeper. By the time the last game is finally played, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after all they’ve been through, the game they love can ever return to something simple and innocent.

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My thoughts: Wow. Just…. WOW! How am I suppose to put words on my feelings toward this book and author, when Backman constantly amazes me to the point where it is almost gut-wrenching. This man is one great author who can write such deep characters, devastating fates, joy and sorrow but still keep a flake of hope, shining it’s bright, warm light throughout its pages. It is sad, heartbreaking, funny, stirs all your emotions and if you do not cry to this one, you are one “dead inside” person.

Us against you is the sequel to the book Beartown. Equally devastating, equally good. If interested you HAVE to read Beartown first. The sequel is about what happens next and thereby, you do need to get it in the right order.

The book is exceptional, emotional and just.. just.. so wonderful. Even though it is dark and is about a small little town in the aftermath of the darkness that has settled upon them it is one great read. You follow characters that are deeper than you can reach. They fight each other and they fight for each other and hell… my heart hurts for them all for different reasons.

The ending could not be more fitting and yes, without a cliffhanger, it is promising more. The story about Beartown is still not yet finished.

 

Contemporary · Fiction/Science Fiction · Mystery/Crime · Romance · Suspense

The Liar – Nora Roberts

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Goodreads synopsis: When her husband Richard is killed in a freak accident, Shelby Pomeroy is devastated. But she soon learns a horrible truth – Richard was a conman and a cheat, and their life together was a lie.

Returning home to Tennessee, Shelby discovers a new sense of strength and freedom. And hope, too, in the form of handsome carpenter Griffin Lott.

But not everyone is thrilled to see Shelby Pomeroy back in town. And when a shocking act of violence is traced back to Richard’s shady business, Shelby realises she is still not safe from his lies…

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My thoughts: I’m done with the year 2019’s first book. Well to be honest I have been done with it for several days now, but I have just not had the time to write a review. The new year started of with a bang and my to do list have been huge. But anyway, lets talk about the book instead.

Roberts is a very up and down author for me. I often find her to slow, dragging things out and use way to much details in both appearance, environment and dialog. But this one certainly was a pleasant surprise. It is probably one of the most heavy in the dialog details that I have ever read by her, it is huge and at a few moments it is quote boring. But it still works. She have made such a great job with all the characters that after a while you do not think about it anymore.

The characters are so deep and diverse that it feels real through and through. I did not like Shelby in the beginning but she did grow on me when her true self came forward. The relationships are so deep and interesting that it was capturing me in a way that it is hard to explain.

Other than that it was as predictable as you would expect. But I didn’t mind it this time. I would certainly recommend it to a friend. But do not expect anything new, diverse and exploding. Because this is nothing like that. This is one of those feel good books you read with a cup of tea, some lighted candles and just enjoys.

Contemporary · Romance · Young, New adult/College

Leah on the off beat – Becky Albertalli

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Goodreads synopsis: Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

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My thoughts: I didn’t like Leah in the first book, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but I did like Simon and Albertallis way of writing that I wanted to give Leah a shot. However, I still do not like Leah and now I’m leaning to actually hating her. There is not that often characters bug the hell out of me like Leah did. And there is a lot more about the book that I don’t like.

Leah is a bitter, angry, mean, infuriating and unreasonable character who feels sorry for herself and taking it out on others who certainly do not deserve it. I really tried to understand Leah. I really did and to some degree I actually succeeded. Me too have been a teenager with all that it means. So yeah, I do understand, but there is limits to what I feel is acceptable and there was a lot about Leah that I did not accept or even liked.

And the story itself fell kind of flat. There was nothing I liked. No I do not wish to talk about this book anymore. It is just making me mad.

 

Contemporary · Romance · Suspense

The ghost – Jessica Gadziala

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Goodreads synopsis: Sloane has everything she thought she ever wanted- a great career, a great apartment, great clothes, a life she had worked hard for.

Until one night, one chance encounter, one decision that changed everything.

With no options left, she enlists the help of Quinton Baird & Associates, who promptly inform her that she has to leave it all – the career, the apartment, the life she had worked so hard to build for herself – behind.

If all that wasn’t enough, her entire future – and life in general – was in the hands of a man whose coworkers called ‘The Ghost.’ Because that was what he did; he ghosted people, hid them, gave them new lives, made them impossible to find.

With no other choice, she agrees to his terms, climbs in a car with him, and travels almost clear across the country toward her new life. But the long hours on the road – and even longer hours in cabins and hotel rooms – together start to show her things. Like how unhappy she had actually been, how hollow her life was, how much she had denied herself in the name of superficial success.

And maybe, just maybe, how much she was starting to see how wrong first impressions can be, and how much a person can begin to mean to you when you decided to let them in…

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My thoughts: Such a sweet story. You mostly knows what to expect while starting a Jessica Gadziala book. Sweet, funny, sexy, sometimes a little angst filled, exciting and a lot of hot. And this is certainly not an exception. But I did miss a little more suspense. I know I’m always say that about her books and I do know she is not that type of author. But I’m that type of reader and little more suspense either in the case or in the relationship would have done it for me. But it is still not in any way a bad book. I really loved it. I loved Gunner and Sloane. How due to preconceptions, their relationship started off on the wrong foot and when they finally realized that not everything i s what it seems, it really started to hit it off.

There is a lot of tension in this one. Tension in the case, the situations and between the characters. But still it is easy and fun to read. Maybe because you already know how it will end but that doesn’t bother me. You get to know some of the other characters and oh my, my heart is breaking for Kai. He has his own book next in line in the series so I do someday in the near future get to know what will happen.

Contemporary · Humor/Funny · Romance

Beard in mind – Penny Reid

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Goodreads synopsis: All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

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My thoughts: Penny Reid is still in the top five, favorite female authors, after this wonderful gem of a book. God damn she is a good writer! She writes such funny, heart-warming, sad, happy and lovable stories that I have no words left to describe it. It is just pure enjoyment to read her books.

The series about the Winston brothers is funny and light but often has one thing that is more of a serious note in it. Reid mix it well and makes it such a part of the story that it is so significant to the whole of the plot. One book has more focus on oppression, another has on hate and malice and this one has sickness and unprocessed feelings. It makes you think and for me personally I do recognize myself so much in Shelly. And Reid has done a wonderful job with writing about something as hard as OCD. Shelly is such a unique person and I love the way she has been written. It is in a way that you do not like her at first but love her at the end.

Beau is just beautiful. I love how the most of the book is from Beau’s point of view and about his feelings. It is like he is the girl but it is so much more rational but still not. It is wonderfully refreshing to read a book mostly from a guy’s point of view and the small chapters from Shelly was enough for me.

However I do have one small problem with the book. And that is that somethings do not feel finished or has a satisfying ending. Maybe there will be more about the situation in the coming books but other things went so fast and suddenly the book was over. Some serious happenings and discussions was never written, only explained after it had taken place. Like a side-note. I was just left hanging, wondering and feeling that it was not done. There is no cliffhanger to explain my feelings. But still it just felt incomplete.

Contemporary · Romance · Suspense

At Peace – Kristen Ashley

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Goodreads synopsis: Violet Winters once had it all but lost it when her husband was murdered by a criminal madman. During a cold winter night Violet has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down. And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but Violet can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love. But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone and he breaks Violet’s heart.

Crushed by Joe’s betrayal, Violet comes to terms with the fact that, no matter what signals he gave, Joe was not theirs to win. But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters home. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight Violet’s pull, she’s under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

Joe needs to win her back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe. But, having had it all once, can Violet endure losing Joe?

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My thoughts:What a piece of crap. Utterly worthless and I’m so disappointed. But I guess it was about time I read a book by KA that I did not like. She is such an awesome author but even the best can’t be best all the time. So far I have read 14 books written by her and this is the first time I read one that I can’t stand. Not even a little bit. I hate the characters. I hate the story. I literally hate everything about it. It bored me to hell and Violet kept driving me nuts. Come on, you are a grown woman, stop acting worse than your own 14 year old daughter. Honest to god I think her 16 year old daughter was more of an adult than her. And to think about all the shit she has been through. No. Just No!

And Cal or Joe or what the hell everyone is calling him. Yeah I understand his situation and I do think, most of the time he was the grown up in the situations. But still, when a woman says no, it means no. He was constantly on the border between okay and not okay and if this was true and real it would have been a very unhealthy relationship. I’m open for a lot in this world but one girl playing two guys and one guy acting like he can take what he want and be a douche and suddenly not be a douche anymore just makes me cringe. Especially when the other guy is so nice and wonderful. Talk about playing the stereotypes. I have had enough and I will not spend more time ranting over this book. I know KA is a great author and I know she can do better than this. Like everyone you sometimes have a bad day. Well this time she just had a bad book.

Contemporary · Romance

Lady luck – Kristen Ashley

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Goodreads synopsis: Is love in the cards?

Since birth, Lexie Berry has had nothing but bad luck. Orphaned at an early age, she had a rough childhood and a boyfriend who was murdered. Now the beautiful, stylish Lexie is determined to change her luck and her life. But first she’s got to make good on a promise: to pick up Ty Walker from prison. One look at the gorgeous ex-convict and Lexie knows she’s in trouble-and already thinking about taking a walk on the wild side . . .

For five years, Ty was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he wants revenge on the people who framed him. Yet when the high-stakes poker player sees the leggy Lexie, he suddenly has other desires on his mind. Realizing that Ty is innocent, Lexie tries to stop his plan for vengeance and help him become a better man. But as Ty battles his inner demons, dirty cops and criminals plot to take him out. Can he and Lexie find a way to escape the past?

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My thoughts: I love, love, LOVED it. It is so incredible that I do not know how I will be able to put it into words.

I can’t understand how Kirsten Ashley keeps spit out fantastic books with wonderful characters without it ever being boring. I’m serious! Not once in it was I feeling bored. I should have. It is 500+ pages with a lot of things happening, a lot of characters and a lot of details. But no, never and it was amazing.

I love Lexie and how goofy she is. She made me smile more times than I can count and was genuinely funny. KA did an astonishing work with her and she is (on top of mind) my favorite female character so far. And Ty is just that brilliant, hard, grumpy mountain man but it didn’t took long for Lexies goofiness to bring out that warm, sticky core you just know is there because, come on, it is a KA book after all.

The storyline and plot fits perfectly with the history of the characters and nicely in with the previous books. It is some suspense, a lot of romance and a real feel good book. It is such a winner and one of those “You just have to read it”. It is an emotional roller coaster but it is so worth it in the end.

Contemporary · Fiction/Science Fiction · Romance · Thriller/Horror · War/Military

The woman left behind – Linda Howard

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Goodreads synopsis: Levi Butcher is singularly devoted to his work. As team leader for the GO-Team, his unwavering focus is on the mission. Levi knows all too well that one minor distraction can hold deadly consequences. But with the soothing, sensual voice of “Babe,” the team’s communication expert, constantly in his ear, keeping his concentration on the dangerous work at hand is becoming extremely difficult.

Jina Modell definitely doesn’t feel like a “Babe,” especially when she’s working with the gruff, no-nonsense Levi. When the base where she’s stationed is attacked, Jina manages to escape but the rest of the team, working some distance away, is exfiltrated, thinking Jina died in the explosion-leaving her stranded. To survive, she’s got to figure out how to get back to safety before she’s discovered by the enemy.

Levi would never willingly leave a soldier behind, especially a brave woman whose sweet voice haunts his every thought. Once he discovers Jina is alive, the tenacious warrior will walk into fire to save this intriguing woman who has captured his heart.

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My thoughts: The woman left behind is simply Linda Howard at her best. It is deep, complex and captivating. I love all the characters. I love Jina and how strong she is and I love pretty much everything about it. I do missed some small things which is the reason for not giving it a five star rating. But it is a great story with an exciting plot and I can definitely see myself rereading this one in the future.

I did not expect the book to be as slow as it was however. Not a bad slowness per say but half the book is mostly about all the training and growing attraction between Jina and Levi. I would have liked to have the whole “left behind” part to come in a lot earlier and that it was maybe a bit longer. It was over so fast and then we were back to the “slowness” again. However Howard won some points with keeping the plot interesting and the depth was always there which made it feel like you fell deeper and deeper into it all. And I did really love the way it made me feel.

Simply the best.

Contemporary · Romance · Sports/Games · Young, New adult/College

From Lukov with love – Mariana Zapata

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Goodreads synopsis: If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

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My thoughts: I want so badly to give this book a five star rating. It was so good, I’m serious. It was! But there was a couple of things that totally ticked me off and no matter how much I tried, I can’t ignore it. But first, lest talk about the positive things.

God I Love Jasmine and Ivan. They are such funny characters and their constant banter toward each other is never to much or excessive. And it certainly makes the sport part of the book a lot more fun to read. Sport books can often be tedious due to all the technical talk. But that never happened here. I love the side stories and how much deeper characters Jasmine and Ivan are. Nothing is as you first think it is and it is a wonderful story to follow. I don’t know what it is but Zapata is a queen when it comes to writing books. They are complex and deep which just makes your heart warm, fuzzy and you feel so good after ending the book.

The two things I did not like however is how slow start it was and that it was a lot of writing between the characters talk and somewhat repetitive. But when the story finally kicked off, that was no longer a problem. The second thing is the romantic aspect of the story. You, who follows my reviews, knows that I love slow burn romance but come on, here you could have kicked it up a notch at least 100 pages earlier in my opinion. I would have liked to seen more of it and due to the slowness off it, the book ended to fast.

But still, god damn this is a good book. Perfect middle of the week read when everything else feels dull and boring.