ARC Review: Do You Feel It Too? by Nicola Rendell

*I’d like to thank the publisher for providing an ARC of the book via Netgalley for my honest review.*


A hot summer night is perfect for feeling your way in the dark…

For urban-legend hunter and television host Gabe Powers, it’s business—investigate the most notorious haunted places in Savannah. Then he meets his new sound engineer, a dewy Georgia peach who may just turn this gig into (im)pure pleasure. All it takes is one night for them to conjure floor-rattling, wall-banging moans…but they’re not from the ghosts.

Blame the rippling abs, the cocky swagger, the granite jawline, the whole muscle-bulging package, but Gabe is bringing out good-girl Lily Jameson’s dirty side. Damn her code-of-conduct contract—this isn’t just a molten-hot fling.

There’s just one kink in the relationship they’ve been avoiding: soon they’ll be going their separate ways. Lily’s home is in Savannah, and Gabe is a globe-trotter at heart. For them to be together, they’ll both have to upend their so-very-different worlds and face their fears in the process. And suddenly things don’t feel so Georgia peachy keen at all.


It was instant attraction for Gabe and Lily. In fact, we begin the book with Gabe noticing Lily at a festival in Savannah. He plans to accidentally come across her and make it a meet-cute with her. What ends up happening is not what he planned but it sure is meet-cute. What follows is a lot of sexual tension and a couple of steamy encounters, and before you know it, they’re in love.

Things I liked:

The juxtaposition of the wanderer hero and grounded heroine. That made for an interesting conflict.

Having Savannah as the setting provided a mystic vibe to the book. The possibility of a ghostly encounter at any moment was thrilling. There was also some comic-relief and sub-plots that didn’t really catch my interest.

I loved Gabe and Lily both as individuals and a couple. Neither of them were repressed emotionally. They were open about their feelings most of the time. Especially Gabe who was a swoon-worthy alpha guy. He was relentless and unapologetic in pursuing Lily, and respectful at the same time.

Things I did not like:

Insta-love. Not my thing. And Gabe and Lily fall in love pretty fast. Too fast!

I like it when the main characters are willing to go to any extent to make their relationship work. And I could buy Gabe – the forty year old bachelor – willing to give it his all to make things work with Lily. I could accept that they had chemistry and he didn’t want to nip it in the bud. And oh boy, did they have chemistry!

But my problem was with the “love”. Having chemistry with someone and willing to make it work is one thing. But falling in love within a couple of days of meeting each other and taking major life decisions based on that? I guess I’m too cynical to buy it. And Gabe was willing to give up a huge part of what made him who he was for Lily. I could see why Lily would be hesitant.

I also wasn’t a fan of the sub-plots and comic moments. But Gabe and Lily were adorable enough for these things to not have mattered as much, I guess.

Don’t mind me. You’re gonna love this book if you don’t mind insta-love and steamy scenes.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆

Publication Date: 20th November, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book in – Goodreads | Amazon

ARC Review: Unwritten by Tara Gilboy

*I’d like to thank the Publisher for providing an ARC of this book through Netgalley*


Twelve-year-old Gracie Freeman is living a normal life, but she is haunted by the fact that she is actually a character from a story, an unpublished fairy tale she’s never read. When she was a baby, her parents learned that she was supposed to die in the story, and with the help of a magic book, took her out of the story, and into the outside world, where she could be safe.

But Gracie longs to know what the story says about her. Despite her mother’s warnings, Gracie seeks out the story’s author, setting in motion a chain of events that draws herself, her mother, and other former storybook characters back into the forgotten tale. Inside the story, Gracie struggles to navigate the blurred boundary between who she really is and the surprising things the author wrote about her. As the story moves toward its deadly climax, Gracie realizes she’ll have to face a dark truth and figure out her own fairy tale ending.



This was such a different foray from my usual reading choices

Unwritten is a children’s book. More specifically, middle grade. But I was really fascinated by the synopsis and ended up requesting for an ARC.

It sort of follows the idea of “Enchanted”, a movie I adore.

12 year old Gracie gets vision or what her mother calls glimmers of a different world. She dreams of fires. It turns out that she was a part of  a fictional world, an unpublished novel by a writer who’s real. That book even has an evil queen. Her mother with a group of accomplices escaped from the world of those fictional pages when Gracie was just one year old. According to her mother, the writer of Gracie’s book had written her to die as a child. That is why, her mother escaped that world to escape that cruel fate.

If it sounds vague to you, that’s because it is. Gracie’s mother is not very forthcoming about the details. She has told Gracie only the bare minimum – that she was destined to die and that’s why she had to be brought to the real world – to keep her safe. But Gracie has a lot of questions which her mother doesn’t want her asking. Her mother wants to let go of the past. But Gracie’s glimmers and nightmares won’t let her move on. That’s why when she gets the opportunity to meet Gertrude Winters, the writer who wrote her story and whom her mother despises, she leaps at the chance. But because of her desperation to find out the answers to her story, she sets things in motion that could put her future in jeopardy.

There is something very fascinating about the concept of characters from books crossing over  into the real world. There were enough twists and unexpected reveals to make the idea work too.

I liked how the book made us question the idea of villains, fate and parallel worlds. This story seemed to be a take on one of my very favorite quotes by Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter –

‘Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?’

I liked the character of Walter and how he wanted to find the scientific rationale behind everything. Characters that are science nerds are always a welcome addition to any book.

Of course, it wasn’t all perfect. I think, the execution could’ve been better. There was lack of proper character development and world-building. Maybe, because it was for children, this book felt too short to me. I felt like more time could’ve been spent on building the world and establishing the plot. But a shorter length meant a tighter story line and fast pace, which I can’t really complain about.

I’m just pleasantly surprised that I ended up liking the book as much as I did. Goes to show that trying something different every once in a while isn’t always a bad thing.


My Rating: ★★★★☆


Publication Date: 16th October, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Amazon


 

ARC Review: A Year Of Extraordinary Moments by Bette Lee Crosby

*I’d like to thank the Publisher for providing an ARC of this book through Netgalley*

 


From USA Today bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby comes a heartwarming novel about letting go of the past to make way for a brighter future.


Tracy Briggs has finally gotten her act together. She’s focusing on her own life and helping her hearing-impaired son learn to talk. With her sister married and exploring a new career, Tracy has begun to run the family’s magazine business and feels her life is pretty much perfect. That is, until her son’s deadbeat dad shows up in Magnolia Grove asking for a second chance.

Now that her son is getting the help he needs and a promising new romance with his teacher is in bloom, Tracy wants to keep her life just as it is. But her ex isn’t taking no for an answer. And when a spirited elderly woman enters Tracy’s life in an unexpected way, she’ll have to work harder than ever to keep her new life on track.

Torn between the past she knows and the uncertain future, Tracy must decide what is best for both her and her son, learning along the way that ordinary choices can bring extraordinary possibilities.



 

This one was a surprise

I had expected this book to be from a singular point-of-view, after reading the synopsis. The blurb made me think that Tracy would be the focal point of the book. But it totally defied my expectations.

Tracy did not even feel like the main character. I think it was Alice, the dying grandmother of Dominic. Dominic is a deadbeat guy who left Tracy soon after she gave birth to their son. This is a character who I found to have very few redeeming qualities. He is a chronic liar and a self-involved guy who was insecure even about his son getting more attention than him.

At the beginning, I thought this book would be about the redemption of Dominc. I found that to be intriguing because like I said – I didn’t find many redeeming qualities in him. But no, this book wasn’t about his redemption. I still can’t narrow it down to one story or an arc or even a character this book was about.

But as I mentioned before I got distracted by my own train of thought, if I were to pick a main character, I’d have to mention Alice. This is a woman who has only a few months to live because of Cancer. Her only wish before she dies is to see her grandson mend his ways and move his life to the right track. She feels that it would be possible if Dominic reconciled with Tracy and his son Lucas – both of whom she only heard about through town gossip but never from Dominic himself. Dominic is tight-lipped about it when she asks him about it. So she takes it upon herself to make some much needed changes.

On the other hand, we have Tracy.  She’s a great mother to Lucas who is deaf and has recently just started hearing because of Coachlear implants. She has her mother, an elder sister Meghan and a friend Gabriel as her support system. I must say, it took me some time to warm up to her, even though she had all the makings of a genuinely nice character from the very beginning.

The first time we meet her, she is insistent on not letting her friendship with Gabriel become anything more. In the next scene, Gabriel asks her out and she enthusiastically says yes. What a whiplash! I would’ve liked a better transition from point A to point B. But like I said, I do slowly warm up to her eventually.

I also would’ve loved to see some insight into what made Tracy fall in love with Dominic in the first place. There was barely any romance in the book but I didn’t mind that. But I’d have preferred a bit more depth in the love story we do see.

Bette Lee Crosby’s writing style is not what I’m used to. I think my issue with this book was that I never became a part of it. I know it sounds odd but I felt like an outsider throughout the book. Do you get what I mean? But I’ll just chalk it up to the “It’s not you, it’s me” factor.

This book was a good read about families, relationships and flawed characters. An extra star for being able to surprise me, which is a rarity.



My Rating: ★★★★☆


Publication Date: 16th October, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Amazon

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2018 TBR

 

Fall is here and so is Top Ten Tuesday list of ny TBR of Fall 2018. It’s a weekly thing hosted by ThatArtsyReaderGirl. So this list will include both upcoming releases I plan to read as soon as they come out and also already released books I hope to start this Fall.

Fingers crossed!

So, without further ado, here goes my list –



Upcoming Releases That Actually Come Out This Fall

 

                            

Vengeful| V. E. Schwab : Is there anyone who is NOT excited about this release?

Release Date: 25th September, 2018.
Get it here – Amazon

Muse Of Nightmares | Laini Taylor : I love Laini Taylor. I loved Strange the Dreamer. And I need a happy ending for Lazlo and Sarai.

Release Date: 2nd October, 2018.
Get it here – Amazon

Kingdom of Ash | Sarah J. Mass : I’ve been low-key following this series. I’ve probably even forgotten half of what happened in the first few books. But I do plan to give a reread to the previous books. Because I’m sorta looking forward to the conclusion.

Release Date: 23rd October, 2018.
Get it here – Amazon

Consumed| J. R. Ward : I love books about firefighters. Make it a female firefighter and I’m sold.

Release Date: 2nd October, 2018.
Get it here – Amazon

That Night | Amy Giles : I was really intrigued by the synopsis. Hopefully this book will live up to the expectations that I have.

Release Date: 2nd October, 2018.
Get it here – Barnes & Nobles

A Year Of Extraordinary Moments | Bette Lee Crosby : I actually received an ARC of this book. I hope to be reading this in the coming week. I have liked what I’ve read by Crosby so far and hope to like this one too.

Release Date: 16th October, 2018.
Get it here – Amazon



Books Already Released That I Intend To Start Soon

               

The Great Alone | Kristin Hannah : I’ve heard such good stuff about this book and the author in general that I can’t wait to dive into this!

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine | Gail Honeyman : I’ve been meaning to start this for months now. Hopefully, putting it here will give me the kick I need to start it!

Children Of Blood And Bone| Tony Adeyemi : Another book I’ve been delaying to read. I have no excuses for not having started it yet. I really need to start it asap!

Vicious | V. E. Schwab : You can’t make me start a book I’ve been delaying if a sequel has been announced. That was the case for Vicious. But now that the sequel is almost here, I’ve got no excuse to not start this soon.


So, there you go! I hope I can actually read all these books and enjoy them! Can’t wait to see everyone else’s lists!

 

ARC Book Review: Dangerous Exes (Liars, Inc. #2) by Rachel Van Dyken

*I’d like to thank the Publisher for providing an ARC of this book through Netgalley*

 

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel van Dyken’s scorching series, revenge is a justified pleasure…

Isla made one teeny little mistake. Now she and her PI company, Dirty Exes, are being targeted by one seriously angry and furiously sexy ex-quarterback. Jessie freakin’ Beckett. But there’s no way some NFL superhunk is going to take her business away. If only he didn’t make her so hot—and bothered.

Jessie wants payback for a ruined reputation. His plan? Top secret. His hard-to-hide arousal for Isla? Not so much. Especially when they let down their guards and sneak a kiss. Like any juicy scandal, it goes so viral, so fast, that only a good lie can combat the bad press. Mortal enemies in a fling? No way. Um…this is love!

Actually…could it be?

Isla’s not faking it. Jessie can’t. As the game of let’s pretend gets real, Jessie forgets all about revenge. That’s the problem. His plan is already out of his control. Now it could undo everything they’ve been trying to build. Coming clean may be the only thing that can save it.


 

My first mistake going into the book was that I hadn’t read the previous book in the series and hadn’t thought it necessary.

Although, this book features a different couple at its center, these characters were a significant part of the previous book. Also, the plot here takes off based on events from the first one. Thankfully, I did catch on quickly enough. But the number of references and mentions to the first book made me regret having skipped it.

This book had a combination of enemies-to-lovers and fake-relationship, two tropes I tend to enjoy. Both Isla and Jessie used to be friends until Isla’s one mistake cost Jessie his reputation. Now Jessie is out for blood.

But they both have one thing in common – having been burned by their respective ‘exes’. And a fake relationship might just be what they needed to move on. The love-hate dynamic to their relationship was really entertaining.

There were hilarity and craziness abound. Jessie and Isla were both fun characters. I also liked the parts about Isla’s Chinese heritage and her Go-Pooh. It made for some refreshing comic moments.

This was one of those books which are not meant to be taken too seriously. Sure, it might not be the most original plot out there, but I still had a lot of fun reading it.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆


 

Publication Date: 30th October, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Amazon

ARC Book Review: Emma And The City by Amy Hilliges

*I’d like to thank the Publisher for providing an ARC of this book through Netgalley*


WHEN ARROWS FLY, CUPID BETTER GET OUT OF THE WAY . . . OR RISK BEING SHOT
~~~

It-girl and blogger Emma Worth appears to have it all: beauty, brains, connections and a fabulous Manhattan apartment. Emma makes it her business to tell others what to wear and who to date because she knows best. Obviously.

Despite her designer outfits and glitzy New York lifestyle, something’s missing . . . If she only knew what it was. That is, until a hot A-lister swoops into her life and sends Emma’s pulse racing and fills her head with red-carpet fantasies.

Emma’s neighbor Adam Knightley is disapproving, telling her she needs to fix her priorities and stop chasing celebrity pipe dreams. The man would look hot on a red carpet himself if only he’d stop frowning for more than five seconds.

When Emma’s matchmaking backfires and her meddling causes mischief, what’s a girl to do? Try to lie her way out of it, of course. Anyway, who cares, right? Because Emma’s finally getting the kind of attention she deserves. Except in her fantasies, things looked a lot different. And it didn’t feel this heartrendingly painful . . .

Love her or hate her, Emma is back––with a sexy makeover, 21st-century problems, and another chance to redeem herself in this grippingly entertaining, thoroughly original retelling of the Jane Austen classic.


Jane Austen’s Emma is one of my all-time favorites. In fact, she even might be my favorite Austen heroine, despite all her flaws and imperfections.

Suffice it to say, I was excited about reading this retelling.

I’ll just say this before anything else – Emma and the city doesn’t even come close to living up to the original. And I didn’t even expect it to. That’s simply impossible. And no author should even aim for that. All I wanted was the author to give her own fresh twist to the old story. And she sorta did. But I couldn’t bring myself to like it or even find it fresh.

I won’t even bother comparing this retelling with the original. Even on its merit, Emma and the city felt weak to me. Okay, here goes my rant. (And a few Clueless gifs)

I’ll start with what I found unbelievable. You can’t just have a dynamic like Emma-Harriet in a modern age setting without bringing changes to it. For those who haven’t read the original, there Emma takes Harriet – a girl from an unremarkable background – under her wings and guides her in navigating the high society.

In this retelling, Emma helps her old nanny’s niece Haley settle down in New York after she moves there. And that’s all fine and dandy. But Emma also takes dating decisions for Haley and feeds her a false narratives about her neighbor Zak’s interest in him, based on her own assumptions. That felt like an unbelievable for me in this setting.

Hilliges’s Emma comes across as a delusional and obnoxious busybody with no sense of boundaries and not a single apologetic bone in this book. At least Austen’s Emma was written as an unassuming and well-intentioned lady but this Emma was too haughty for my liking.

Although I did like some of the modern twists – having Knightley divorced, Emma’s issues with her father, inserting a celebrity spin to Churchill-Fairfax’s story. But, most of it felt too mechanical to me, as if they were engineered just for the sake of following the trajectory of the original.

In other words? Execution left a lot to be desired.

I have to be honest here. Even disregarding any comparisons with the original, I couldn’t but compare this with other retelling I’ve read this year and how much more I enjoyed them. Emma and the city falls far behind on that mark too.


My Rating: ★★★☆☆


 

Publication Date: 18th September, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Kobo

ARC Book Review: Perfect Harmony by Emily Albright

*I’d like to thank the Publisher for providing an ARC of this book through Netgalley*


Pippa Wyndham is a top cellist―she’d never settle for anything less. Determined to get into the nation’s most prestigious music college, nothing’s going to stand in her way . . . Until her senior year of high school when a new guy from a fancy New York conservatory transfers to her school.

Declan Brogan’s cocky, and he knows how amazing he is at the cello. He has every intention of knocking Pippa out of first chair and showing her who really belongs on top. Forced together when assigned a duet, their personal competition and mutual dislike transform into a teasing friendship.

Torn between her childhood crush and the boy who threatens her dreams, Pippa finds herself at risk of losing her best friend, her future, and the boy who makes her heart melt. Struggling to make things right, Pippa discovers that sometimes the thing you want the most doesn’t always end up being the thing you need.


It’s books like these that make me wonder if I’ve become too old for high school stories.

First things first – the cover and the synopsis made me think that music would be play an important role. I was wrong. Music was simply used as a plot device for Pippa having to spend time with Declan. It was also an excuse for Pippa’s sudden outbursts about her future and Declan being a threat to her.

Sure, we read about them playing cello and getting lost in it. Pippa tells us that music means everything to her. We also see her say that she gets lost in the music when Declan plays. Except, there’s only her talking and thinking about music. We read about her love for music, but we don’t feel it.

Look, I have no problem with music being used as a plot device. But if I am about to read about a protagonist whose whole life is about music, it’s not wrong for me to expect more than just casual and unfeeling proclamations about what music means to her, right?

Don’t even get me started on the love triangle (or triangles, rather). Pippa has a serious crush on Noah, her brother’s best friend. She starts off hating Declan, her new choir rival. And then suddenly after playing music together alone a couple of times, she starts to have feelings for him too? And we don’t even get any proper insight into what causes this shift in her feelings. No, we see her suddenly feeling jealous of her friend Quinn who goes out with Declan. So, out of the blue, we see two boys fighting for Pippa.

And then we have Quinn who is confused between Philip, Pippa’s brother and Declan, for both of whom she suddenly starts having feelings. And she shares her confusion with Pippa. The same Pippa whose brother is one of the two guys. The same Pippa on whom Quinn knows the other guy to have a certain serious crush on. These two friends sure had an interesting few weeks with their topsy-turvy feelings.

A lot of other things happen. But I think I was long past caring at that point.

Pippa was a superficial character that I couldn’t muster a single feeling for, at any point of the book. Quinn was not any better. Declan was probably the only saving grace. He was sweet and the only consistent character throughout. A waste, really.

 


My Rating: ★★☆☆☆


 

Publication Date: 25th September, 2018.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)
You can find this book on – Goodreads | Amazon

TAG : 3 Days, 3 Quotes (Day 3)

I was recently tagged by Mariam for this challenge. Today’s the last day and I wasn’t any less confused about which quote to select. I’ve decided to go with another book that’s really close to my heart. Perks of Being a Wallflower is a gem that’s got so many quotes to boast over! Everyone should give this book a try if they haven’t.


Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote each day).
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers each day.

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower


So, this was really fun! I’m glad I got to do it! 😀


I’ll tag Bookandmorebd| Lindsey| dgbookblog

No pressure if you have already done it or don’t feel like doing it. If you want to do it and I haven’t tagged you? Please go ahead and do this thing anyway! Can’t wait to see all your favorite quotes. 🙂

TAG : 3 Days, 3 Quotes (Day 2)

I was recently tagged by Mariam for this challenge. It’s Day 2 and this thing hasn’t gotten any easier. Today I’ll go with a quote which was probably the very first to have left a lasting impression me.


Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote each day).
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers each day.

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

―Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone


Well, I did love many quotes that came before this one in the book itself. But this one might have been the first quote to have actually made me stop and think, in my living memory.

Of course, anyone who knows me knows what a humongous influence Harry Potter has had on my life, growing up. I could have gone with any of Rowling’s quotes in the books and it’d still be considered a favorite of mine. It sorta even feels like cheating on the other quotes from the books to have selected this over them.

……Okay, I think I need to stop now before I ramble any more. See you on Day 3.


I’ll tag  – Tukunjil | Mahjabin | Starrfairy


TAG : 3 Days, 3 Quotes (Day 1)

I was recently tagged by Mariam for this challenge. Thank you for the tag! I gotta admit though, it will be difficult, because I’ve got too many favorite quotes to choose only 3 of them. But, that makes it more fun, I guess.


Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote each day).
  • Nominate 3 new bloggers each day.

 

“It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!”

 

Friedrich Nietzsche          


I have so many favorite quotes by Nietzsche, it’s almost impossible to select one from them. There’s another favorite that I’d like to cheat and enter in here –

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.”

And another one –

“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”

Okay, I’ll stop here.


I’ll tag – Meowread | Jaywalker | Bristy