Darkness by Karen Robards

Published: March 29th, 2016

“BOOM. That’s the sound that changes everything for Dr. Gina Sullivan, a renowned ornithologist on a group research grant trip on the remote island of Attu, Alaska. When an everyday outing turns sinister at the onset of one of Attu’s infamous storms, Gina expects thunder and lightning—but what she doesn’t see coming is the small jet plane that drops out of the sky and into the water mere feet from her boat. Even more unprecedented: there’s a sole survivor from the crash, and he needs Gina’s help. But it turns out that rescuing the stranger and getting them both out of the oncoming storm is just the beginning. Because the more Gina learns about James “Cal” Callahan, he of brooding eyes and muscled frame, the more she fears—for herself, and for him. Cal has made a career of trading on government secrets and emerging unscathed—until a routine pickup goes horribly wrong and lands him in ice-cold water. Literally. He knows the plane crash was no accident and that there could very well be an enemy force currently combing the Alaskan island ensuring there were no survivors. Now if only the arrestingly beautiful bird-watcher with the clear-blue gaze would stop watching him, well, like a hawk. Cal convinces Gina to return to base camp and help him covertly get off the island. But when Gina makes it safely back to camp and finds her entire team murdered, all bets are off, and as darkness envelops the island, she must decide: trust a man she barely knows, or go it alone and risk running straight into the arms of a killer?”

This book starts out with the story of Dr. Gina Sullivan and what she has been through in her life. It explains why she’s on this little island of Attu, Alaska studying eagles as they fly by. What Gina doesn’t expect to see is a plane fall out of the sky and into the freezing ocean she was currently sitting on. She races through the wreckage and bares a storm to find James ‘Cal’ Callahan clinging to life. From there, it’s a story of animosity that turns into trust and compassion as Gina and ‘Cal’ fight for their lives versus the elements of surprise.

I liked this book. It was well written, showed true emotion, and was definitely sexy. Karen Robards did a great job with this book. It was a little slow to begin, but once it got started, it definitely picked up. I couldn’t put it down once the real push of finding out what was going to happen occurred. I didn’t have many complaints for this book, other than it was slow in the beginning. Push through the slow part, it definitely gets better.

About The Author:
Karen was born in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. She has been writing since she was very young, and was first published nationally in the December 1973 Reader’s Digest. She sold her first romance novel, ISLAND FLAME, when she was 24. It was published by Leisure Books in 1981 and is still in print. After that, she dropped out of law school to pursue her writing career. Today she is a regular on the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, among others, and is the winner of six Affaire de Coeur Silver Pen Awards for favorite romance author, as well as numerous other awards. She writes thrillers, romantic suspense and historical romances. Her work has been translated into more than seventeen languages. Karen lives in her native Louisville with her husband, Doug Robards, and their three sons. She says: “I read, I write, and I chauffeur children,” she says with a laugh. “That’s my life.”

Rating: ★★★★

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Published: August 13th, 2013

“Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches. In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.”

Let’s just start out by saying Matthew Quick is one of my favorite authors. So when I pick up a book of his, I have extremely high expectations. Every single time I have picked up one of his books, I have not been left disappointed. Leonard Peacock is just a young boy with a messed up brain and heart, that needs some help and guidance. His life was never as beautiful as it could have been, and therefore, he wants to kill his former best friend, and himself. I read this book in two days. Maybe even less than that. I couldn’t believe what Leonard had been through, and I wanted to know more. My favorite characters in this book would have to be Leonard, Walt (Leonard’s neighbor), and Herr Silverman (Leonard’s teacher). They have this unbreakable bond with Leonard, and their bond makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens at the end. Oh, the end, let’s talk about that. The ending of this book will make you freak out. Not so much the final sentence, but maybe the last few chapters. It had me going insane finding out what was going to happen and if things would actually pan out the way you thought. I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t want to.

Rating: A million stars. But in reality, 5/5.

Check out my Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/62155226-lacey

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

 

“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.”

Review:

This book had me crying and laughing within a sentence. It Ends With Us was named Goodread’s Best Romance Novel of 2016, and I honestly can see why.

After I finished this book, I sat there for a while and just thought about it. And that ladies and gentlemen, is how you know you’ve got a good book. If it makes you feel all different emotions within a few sentences, it deserves every award.

Lily might be one of my favorite characters in a book ever. She’s got her head on straight, but doesn’t at the same time. I feel like I connected with her in that way. I bet a lot of other people can say the same. Lily has a “I don’t care” attitude, and I feel like that’s really necessary for the things that happen in this book.

I honestly did not want this book to end. I actually got sad when I hit the last chapter, knowing that it would be over soon. The writing was absolutely fantastic and had me hypnotized from page one. This was my first time reading Colleen Hoover, but I can tell you right now, it definitely will not be my last.

Finding Audrey By Sophie Kinsella

Published: June 9th, 2015

“An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.”

I tried to read this book in Summer of 2016, and I couldn’t find myself getting past page 50. I tried and tried, and felt myself reading the same sentence over again. So, I put it down. I was at my local library when I saw it again, and I said “why not?” and took it home with me. I’m honestly glad I did. This book was very entertaining in every aspect. At some parts, it did slow down, but it picked right back up again. It was extremely interesting looking at the things that Audrey was going through. It makes a person think, “does that actually happen?”. As someone who struggles with anxiety, and knows others who have severe anxiety disorders, it was super awesome learning about Audrey and her experiences. I say to anyone interested in this book: push through the first couple of pages. It really does turn out to be an awesome book. Lastly, I love Sophie Kinsella, and this is her first try at Young Adult, and I think she did a wonderful job.

About The Author:
Madeleine Wickham (born 12 December 1969) is a bestselling British author under her pseudonym, Sophie Kinsella. Educated at New College, Oxford, she worked as a financial journalist before turning to fiction. She is best known for writing a popular series of chick-lit novels. The Shopaholic novels series focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a financial journalist who cannot manage her own finances. The books follows her life from when her credit card debt first become overwhelming (“The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic”) to the latest book on being married and having a child (“Shopaholic & Baby”). Throughout the entire series, her obsession with shopping and the complications that imparts on her life are central themes.

Rating: ★★★★

Here’s my Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/62155226-lacey

Love You Better by Natalie K. Martin

Published: October 1st, 2015

“After a soul-destroying breakup with her ex, Smith, Effie Abbott has met the man of her dreams. She’s had the whirlwind romance and the fairy-tale wedding to the charming and suave Oliver Barton-Cole, and life seems firmly back on track. Things were never simple between Smith and Effie, so when he forces his way back into her life, Effie knows he’s a complication she doesn’t want or need. After all, she has Oliver, a man who loves her better than Smith ever did. But when cracks in her marriage begin to emerge and Oliver shows flashes of a darker side, Effie has to question just how well she really knows her husband, and whether Smith is back to derail her seemingly perfect marriage or save her from it.”

This book was hard to read. I’m not entirely sure of how I thought this book was supposed to be, but I’m definitely glad I read it. Love You Better shows the ache of a true heartbreak, love, and a lot of other feelings that I didn’t know I could endure during a book. I’ve read a few books, and I’m not sure I’ve ever wanted to kill a main character before. I legitimately got so mad that I had to leave the book and come back to it a few times. This story shows things that happen in real life and I think that is what made me so emotional. Love You Better might have not been my favorite book on the planet, but it was written well and had an empowering story.

About The Author:
In January 2014, Sheffield-born Natalie Martin decided to leave her corporate job in London and experience the world—heading off on travels that would take her as far as Cambodia, North India, Goa and Thailand, and would change her outlook on life for good. Whilst travelling in India, her debut novel, Together Apart, became a #1 bestseller on Amazon charts. Love You Better is her second full-length novel and became a bestseller on its release in October 2015. Natalie’s base is now London, but she is very much a modern-day nomad, never quite knowing where she’ll end up next. A trained yoga instructor and lover of all things French, Natalie is still travelling and indulging in her three loves: writing, yoga and surfing.

Rating: ★★★★

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Published: September 10th, 2013

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.  Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan… But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

Okay,  I think I might have set a personal record with this book. I started this book on a Sunday afternoon at 5 PM and finished the entire 445 pages by Monday at 3 PM. Less than twelve hours. I was captivated from the very beginning. I did not want to put this book down.

This story is a journey of a teen girl, Cather, who has a twin sister, Wren, and they are both starting college. Read those names again. One more time. I actually threw my head back with laughter when I figured it out. I need a book that’ll give me the feeling that this book did over and over again. I want to read more, but I am scared that I will compare this book to others.

I am a person who understands the terms in this book. It’s about Cather writing fanfiction about a character named Simon Snow (who I think is supposed to be Harry Potter). Whether you understand fanfiction and the terms that come with it doesn’t matter because this book was fabulous regardless. However, it was even better knowing what Cather, Wren, and Levi (Cather’s love interest gone awry) speak about.

There were many memorable quotes from this book, but one stood out for me:
“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”

I would give this book 100 stars if I could, but for now: ★★★★★

Brown-Eyed Girl by Lisa Kleypas

Published: August 11th, 2015

“Wedding planner Avery Crosslin may be a rising star in Houston society, but she doesn’t believe in love–at least not for herself. When she meets wealthy bachelor Joe Travis and mistakes him for a wedding photographer, she has no intention of letting him sweep her off her feet. But Joe is a man who goes after what he wants, and Avery can’t resist the temptation of a sexy southern charmer and a hot summer evening. After a one night stand, however, Avery is determined to keep it from happening again. A man like Joe can only mean trouble for a woman like her, and she can’t afford distractions. She’s been hired to plan the wedding of the year–a make-or-break event. But complications start piling up fast, putting the wedding in jeopardy, especially when shocking secrets of the bride come to light. And as Joe makes it clear that he’s not going to give up easily, Avery is forced to confront the insecurities and beliefs that stem from a past she would do anything to forget. The situation reaches a breaking point, and Avery faces the toughest choice of her life. Only by putting her career on the line and risking everything–including her well-guarded heart–will she find out what matters most.”

Avery and Joe are lovely in this book. I loved the story of how the met, how romantic Joe is, and how insecure Avery is while Joe shows her beautiful she is. Lisa Kleypas targeted the women that don’t always feel good in their skin with this book. Avery is described to be plump and be bigger than a size 10. I couldn’t really see it with the woman on the front of the cover. However, Joe is described as a big, broad, rugged, Texan man that could easily carry Avery around anytime she liked. I liked that part as someone who struggles with insecurity. It shows that there is someone out there for everyone. I love that kind of classic romance. The story of how the relationship goes is engaging because of Avery’s constant denial and Joe’s constant battle to get Avery on his side. Love this book. Love the Travises series.

About The Author:
LISA KLEYPAS is the RITA award-winning author of 21 novels. Her books are published in fourteen languages and are bestsellers all over the world. She lives in Washington State with her husband and two children.

Rating: ★★★★