The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman -- Review

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Title: The Deal of a Lifetime 
Author: Fredrik Backman 
Pages: 96
Publishing: October 31st 2017 by Atria Books
ISBN: 

Synopsis: 

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown delivers an insightful and poignant holiday novella about a man who sacrificed his family in the single-minded pursuit of success and the courageous little girl fighting for her life who crosses his path.

It all begins with a father telling a story to his son on Christmas Eve. But this isn’t your typical Christmas story. The father admits to his son that he’s taken a life but he won’t say whose—not yet.

One week earlier, in a hospital late at night, the man met a five-year-old girl with cancer. She’s a smart kid—smart enough to know that she won’t beat cancer by drawing with crayons all day, but it seems to make the adults happy, so she keeps doing it.

As the man tells his son about this plucky little girl, he slowly reveals more about himself: while he may be a successful businessman, idolized by the media and his peers, he knows he failed as a parent. Overwhelmed by the responsibility of fatherhood, he took the easy way out and left his wife and little boy twenty years ago to pursue professional success. Now he is left wondering if it’s too late to forge a relationship with his son, who seems to be his opposite in every way—prizing happiness over money, surrounded by loving friends in a cozy town where he feels right at home.

Face to face with the idea that something is missing, the man is given the unexpected chance to do something selfless that could change the destiny of the little girl in the hospital bed. But before he can make the deal of a lifetime, he needs to find out what his own life has actually been worth in the eyes of his son. And so, he seeks him out and tells him this story…

Written with Fredrik Backman’s signature humor, compassion, and “knack for weaving tales that are believable and fanciful” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), The Deal of a Lifetime reminds us that life is a fleeting gift, and our only legacy is how we share that gift with those we love.


Review: 

The Deal of a Lifetime is a story about love, forgiveness, and sacrifices. I don't know how Backman always manages to get a tear out of me, but he does it every singe time. This novella is less than 100 pages and I still cried like a baby. Backman's writing is so personal and deep that he makes the reader feel everything the characters are feeling. 

This was a very short novella, so I don't want to dive into the plot (I would just be repeating the synopsis from above), but I will tell you this novella is a must read. Not only does it make you feel ALL OF THE FEELINGS, but the cover art and illustrations inside are also beautiful. Bachman is an auto buy author for me and The Deal of a Lifetime was no exception to that rule. I highly recommend this novel to readers of all genres. Plus, its a small hardback so it would make a great stocking stuffer! 

Rating 4/5 

*Thank you Atria for sending a finished copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

The Speaker by Traci Chee -- Review

Monday, November 20, 2017


Title: The Speaker (Book Two of Sea of Ink and Gold)
Author: Traci Chee 
Pages: 512
Publishing: November 7th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0399176780

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Having barely escaped the clutches of the Guard, Sefia and Archer are back on the run, slipping into the safety of the forest to tend to their wounds and plan their next move. Haunted by painful memories, Archer struggles to overcome the trauma of his past with the impressors, whose cruelty plagues him whenever he closes his eyes. But when Sefia and Archer happen upon a crew of impressors in the wilderness, Archer finally finds a way to combat his nightmares: by hunting impressors and freeing the boys they hold captive.

With Sefia’s help, Archer travels across the kingdom of Deliene rescuing boys while she continues to investigate the mysterious Book and secrets it contains. But the more battles they fight, the more fights Archer craves, until his thirst for violence threatens to transform him from the gentle boy Sefia knows to a grim warrior with a cruel destiny. As Sefia begins to unravel the threads that connect Archer’s fate to her parents’ betrayal of the Guard so long ago, she and Archer must figure out a way to subvert the Guard’s plans before they are ensnared in a war that will pit kingdom against kingdom, leaving their future and the safety of the entire world hanging in the balance.


Review: 

I absolutely loved The Reader, and I had high hopes for The Speaker. I loved all of the characters and I especially loved how there were many different stories going on at once in the first novel. It was so brilliant that I wasn't sure how Traci Chee could write a second novel to top it, but she exceeded my expectations and grew the characters that I loved into so much more. The quiet but dangerous Archer turned into a force to be reckoned with, and Sefia was strong, capable, and everything I ever hoped she would be. We learned so much more about all of the characters, and I loved getting a small glimpse into their lives before they all came together. 

There was constant action and adventure as well as a fair amount of romance and drama. I loved the mixture of rough action with soft and tender moments between Archer and Sefia. There were moments of loss, moments of gain, as well as a few moments that made the reader question the motives of characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the twist at the end of the novel and look forward to where Chee will take us in the next installment. I am a HUGE fan of this series and highly recommend it if you are a fan of YA fantasy novels. Thank you to Penguin Teen for sending a copy of The Speaker in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison -- Review

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


Title: The Dirty Book Club
Author: Lisi Harrison
Pages: 320
Publishing: October 10th 2017 by Gallery

Synopsis:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Clique series comes a novel about the importance of friendship, and, of course, the pleasure of a dirty book. 

M.J. Stark’s life is picture-perfect—she has her dream job as a magazine editor, a sexy doctor boyfriend, and a glamorous life in New York City. But behind her success, there is a debilitating sense of loneliness. So when her boss betrays her and her boyfriend offers her a completely new life in California, she trades her cashmere for caftans and gives it a try. 

Once there, M.J. is left to fend for herself in a small beach town, with only the company of her elderly neighbor, Gloria, and an ocean that won’t shut up. One afternoon, M.J. discovers that Gloria has suddenly moved to Paris with her friends to honor a fifty-year-old pact. And in lieu of a goodbye, she’s left a mysterious invitation to a secret club—one that only reads erotic books. 

Curious, M.J. accepts and meets the three other hand-selected club members. As they bond over naughty bestsellers and the shocking letters they inherited from the original club members, the four strangers start to divulge the intimate details of their own lives… and as they open up, they learn that friendship might just be the key to rewriting their own stories: all they needed was to find each other first.

Review: 

The Dirty Book Club was my first novel by Lisi Harrison, and if the rest of her novels are anything like this one... well then I'm going to need to read them all. Within the first few pages, I was totally hooked. M.J. is such a tragic character and I found myself instantly hoping she would find fast friends and bond to a group just like Gloria's. This novel pulled at my heart and made me think of my best friends constantly. It reminded me so much of an adult/rated R version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, so I immediately gushed to my three best friends about it and promised to buy them a copy for Christmas. 

The story follows along as M.J. trades in her Jimmy Choo's for flip flops and her board room for the beach. We meet lots of interesting characters along the way and watch as friendships are formed. I laughed, cried (a little) and became super attached to all of the characters in this novel. I wasn't super happy about how it ended, but the other 99% of the novel was fast paced and fun. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy women's contemporary fiction. 

Thank you Gallery and NetGalley for sending this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Kiss My Boots by Harper Sloan -- Review


Title: Kiss My Boots
Author: Harper Sloan
Pages: 384
Publishing: July 18th 2017 by Pocket Books

Synopsis:

In this second of the sultry, Western-set Coming Home series from New York Times bestselling author Harper Sloan, Quinn Davis might finally have a shot at her own happily-ever-after—but will she let love in, or will she tell it to go ahead and kiss her boots?

Quinn Davis prefers to live her life quietly. She’s the stereotypical tomboy with two overprotective big brothers who have always been there to protect her, especially from devilishly handsome cowboys with silver tongues. That is, until Tate Montgomery comes riding into town. Their first meeting, however, is far from something out of a fairy tale and only further convinces Quinn that men aren’t worth her time.

The only place Tate Montgomery ever truly felt at home growing up was during the long, sweltering summer months he spent at his Gram and Paw’s farm in Pine Oak, Texas. Now, Tate has returned to his childhood sanctuary seeking a fresh start—but if he’s being entirely honest, he’s not just back for the wranglers and Stetsons. During those summers, Quinn was a friend-turned-young-love who Tate lost when life threw him a curveball and he cut all ties to his past; but all it takes is one glance at the raven-haired beauty he did his best to forget for him to realize just how much he’s been missing….
 

Review: 

I've been looking forward to the second book in this series for quite some time now! I have to admit, the first novel was quite the sultry read, so it probably was a good thing I took a break before reading Kiss My Boots. I needed a little time to decompress... a girl can only read so many sex scenes in one week! But, with that being said, I did love this novel as well as the first. Now I'm looking forward to book three! 

Kiss My Boots is centered around my favorite character Quinn. She just seems so relatable and down to earth and I absolutely love her relationship with her brothers and her best friend. Harper creates such a fun world for these characters in a small sleepy town that still has a little kick to it. But enough about Quinn, let's talk about the sexy main man Tate. Several things to point out here: 1. He's a doctor 2. His name is Tate 3. He's a good ole country boy 4. Do you even need a four? You guys, Tate stole my heart from the first moment we were introduced to him and I knew that I had to know more about him. 

Quinn and Tate have such a strong back story and I loved the flash backs to their past as well as getting to know them in the present. This novel was full of gal pal chats, sex scenes, and emotional family moments and I couldn't have asked for more. I loved it and can't wait for book three! If you're a fan of romance novels with some serious sex scenes, then I would highly recommend this novel. If sex scenes make you feel all weird inside (I'll admit, this is me sometimes) then you might want to skip this one. 

Thank you NetGalley and Pocket/Gallery for sending a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 4/5 

Breaching the Contract by Chantal Fernando -- Review

Sunday, October 29, 2017


Title: Breaching the Contract 
Author: Chantal Fernando 
Pages: 130 
Publishing: September 18th 2017 by Pocket Star
AISN: B01N199JK4 

Synopsis: 

Katerina Dawson knows exactly what she wants from life. And as the new associate at the top law firm in the city, she’s ready to live out her dreams of becoming a criminal lawyer. But going on coffee runs and babysitting kids during the day was definitely not what she had in mind. She knows that anyone else would kill to be in her shoes, but she has to draw the line somewhere. That’s easier said than done, though, when Kat has to confront her handsome boss…

Tristan Channing and Jaxon Bentley run a successful law firm together and the two partners couldn’t be busier right now. When Jaxon suddenly takes a leave of absence, Tristan begrudgingly assumes responsibility of the new associate, the hot new associate, who has curves for days. Needing to keep his distance from her, Tristan sends Kat on needless errands and has her doing work even an intern wouldn’t touch, like picking up his kids. But his plan backfires when he sees his children grow attached to Kat and sees her getting comfortable in his home. It triggers something deep within him, and it feels right to have her there. Will Tristan be able to keep his work and personal lives separate, or will he find that his heart holds the final verdict?


Review: 

Breaching the Contract is the first installment in Chantal Fernando's new contemporary romance series! Some people have placed it into the "erotic" category, and while I do think it had some pretty intense sex scenes, it didn't really make it all the way to erotic territory for me. I enjoyed the fast pace of the novel, but I often felt like something was missing. The characters relationship progressed very quickly, and I really wanted a little bit more of a slow burning romance. 

All in all, the novel was entertaining, witty, and held my attention easily. I liked the length of the novella and it definitely left me wanting more. I look forward to more from Fernando in the rest of the series. Thank you to NetGalley and Pocket Star for sharing this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

Rating 3.5/5

London, Can You Wait? by Jacquelyn Middleton -- Review

Thursday, October 26, 2017


Title: London, Can You Wait?
Author: Jacquelyn Middleton
Publishing: October 26th 2017 by Kirkwall Books
ISBN: 0995211752

Synopsis:

Alex loves Mark. Mark loves Alex. But is love enough?

Since moving to London from the US, twenty-four-year-old Alex Sinclair seems to have it all: a coveted job writing for the theatre, supportive friends, and the man of her dreams—gorgeous Irish actor, Mark Keegan. But in the year since the acclaimed debut of her play, Alex and Mark’s lives have been turned upside down.

Thanks to his role on a smash-hit British TV show, Mark is catapulted to stardom. Alex couldn’t be happier—until her boyfriend’s popularity and insatiable drive to succeed means they’re apart more than they’re together. Forced to share Mark with showbiz heavy-hitters, intrusive press, and unrelenting fangirls, Alex’s hopes for a stable and committed life with him start to fade. Her struggles with panic attacks, career uncertainty, and Mark’s increasingly worrisome behaviour make her wonder: how much more can she bend before she breaks?

A passionate tale of secrets, loss, and ambition, London, Can You Wait? is the eagerly-awaited sequel to Middleton’s debut novel, London Belongs to Me.

Review: 

I was so excited to have the opportunity to read London, Can You Wait. Jacquelyn Middleton has quickly earned her spot on my auto-buy list after reading the second novel in the London Belongs to Me series, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she writes another novel soon! I immediately sank my teeth into this novel the second it showed up on my doorstep and I was thrilled to see that so many of the characters I loved from LBTM were also in the second book. 

Middleton's writing is beautiful and I honestly could go on and on about how much I love it, but when I really sit and think about what it is that makes her writing so great, I just keep going back to the fact that her characters truly feel like my friends. She creates these totally relatable characters that draw you into the story and make you feel the things that they're feeling. I absolutely love that about Middleton's novels and I hope she continues to craft such lovable characters. 

Without giving anything away, let's talk about the characters and the plot just a little bit. Alex is the same old cute blonde we grew to love in the first novel, but this time she is a little more successful in her career and has earned her place in London. She has grown as an individual and I love how she connects with the other characters. Everything is going great for her... until one day it isn't. Lets just say that Middleton really pulled the rug right out from underneath me about halfway into the novel, and I just didn't think I could go on. I'm talking ugly tears and anger. I'm serious Jax, there were tears, and then anger... all directed towards you! Just kidding, I knew you would redeem yourself in the end. And just like I thought, you wrapped everything up into a neat little bow at the end and my world was complete! 

As you might have already noticed, I was a huge fan of this novel. Mainly because I really grew to love and adore the characters. The plot is fantastic and fast paced, but the characters truly made the story. I would highly recommend reading both novels in this series! Thank you so much to Jacquelyn Middleton for sharing these wonderful novels with me! I can't wait to read more from you soon! 

Rating 5/5 






The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1) by Traci Chee -- Review

Friday, October 20, 2017

Title: The Reader 
Author: Traci Chee 
Pages: 442 
Publishing: September 13th 2016 by Putnam
ISBN: 0399176772

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Once there was, and one day there will be. This is the beginning of every story.

Sefia lives her life on the run. After her father is viciously murdered, she flees to the forest with her aunt Nin, the only person left she can trust. They survive in the wilderness together, hunting and stealing what they need, forever looking over their shoulders for new threats. But when Nin is kidnapped, Sefia is suddenly on her own, with no way to know who’s taken Nin or where she is. Her only clue is a strange rectangular object that once belonged to her father left behind, something she comes to realize is a book.

Though reading is unheard of in Sefia’s world, she slowly learns, unearthing the book’s closely guarded secrets, which may be the key to Nin’s disappearance and discovering what really happened the day her father was killed. With no time to lose, and the unexpected help of swashbuckling pirates and an enigmatic stranger, Sefia sets out on a dangerous journey to rescue her aunt, using the book as her guide. In the end, she discovers what the book had been trying to tell her all along: Nothing is as it seems, and the end of her story is only the beginning.
 


Review: 

I've had The Reader on my "to read" list for about a year now and I was finally able to sit down and dive in just recently. This novel DID NOT disappoint! What a great debut novel for Traci Chee! I loved the twists and turns in the plot as well as the changes in point of view. It was interesting to get to know the different characters' personalities and see the same story from a different perspective. 

The novel follows our leading lady Sefia as she attempts to find answers about her family and rescue her Aunt Nin. She begins noticing she has strange abilities and has to learn how to manage those abilities and use them on her quest. I loved Sefia's "never give up" attitude and I thought she was a brilliant and strong character. She stumbled across some other amazing men and women on her journey and I quickly fell in love with her travel companion Archer. All of the characters and settings were described so beautifully and I could picture them perfectly while I was reading. 

There were a few slow portions in the middle of the novel, but not enough to keep me from reaching the end of the story. The last quarter of the book was full of intense action and world building, and I can't wait to see where Chee takes Sefia and Archer next. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who love action/adventure YA novels! Thank you to Penguin Teen and Putnam for sending this novel in exchange for and honest review. I look forward to the release of the second novel The Speaker on November 7th! 

Rating 4/5

 
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