Audiobook Review, Romance

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

Every BreathEvery Breath by Nicholas Sparks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We have all read/seen The Notebook and fallen in love with the romantic writing of Nicholas Sparks (if you haven’t seen the movie, just do it…. Ryan Gosling… that is all). So of course when I saw he was coming out with a new book, I added it to the list at the library.

Every Breath is a romantic and heartwarming love story about two people who have an instant connection, but are plagued by life’s unfortunate circumstances and poor timing. When Tru and Hope happen upon each other on a quiet North Carolina beach they are immediately drawn to each other. But, when they must part ways, their lives will never be the same. Nicholas Sparks dares to ask, “Can you ever really move on from the love of a soulmate?”

While I found this book an easy read with a very charming plot, it was inevitably pretty predictable (dare I say, cheesy?). But, it’s a romance so what did I really expect, right? I adored both of the main characters and appreciated their flaws and internal struggles. The North Carolina setting was the perfect location to set this novel, with its relaxed, beachy feel. Overall, it was a success, and while it was a nice enough story, I didn’t find it to be anything Earth shattering.

The two fabulous things about this book were the introduction and epilogue. I loved that the inspiration for this novel was based on real events discovered by Nicholas Sparks on the very beach in North Carolina he writes about. And while I sometimes found the events in the novel a tad unrealistic, I had to keep reminding myself that it was at least somewhat based in fact. I think the information provided by Sparks added a wealth of charm to this book.

The audiobook was a super fast listen, if you’re looking for something light and fresh on a shorter car ride. Listening on double speed, I got through it in about four and a half hours.

Will I be raving about this one in the months to come? Probably not. It is honestly a tad forgettable. But it was still an enjoyable read, particularly for avid romance readers.

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Audiobook Review, Romance, Science Fiction, Thriller

The One by John Marrs

The OneThe One by John Marrs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You guys! I absolutely adored this book! And this isn’t one I’ve seen blasted across the internet on various social media platforms. I just kind of stumbled upon it through recommendations of friends.

The premise of the book was super interesting. What if you could take 23&Me and match.com and put them together into one mega dating app? Submit your DNA and be matched with your one and only soulmate. Would you do it? Follow the stories of four people who took the plunge. Experience the good, the bad, and the ugly.

As a woman who met her husband on match.com seven years ago, the content of this book really tickled my fancy. I thought the concept was such an interesting idea and enjoyed the variety of plots that evolved from it. Each story had an original spin and each had a super exciting twist or two.

This was a great audiobook with a lot of excitement that held my attention. I couldn’t get enough and found myself walking around the house with headphones on waiting to see what happened next (not the first time…).

If you haven’t checked this one out, I would highly recommend it. It is certainly unique and entertaining.

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General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Romance

Giant by Edna Ferber

GiantGiant by Edna Ferber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, how did I happen to read a book published in 1952? Let me tell you. While reading Where the Crawdads Sing, I could not stop thinking about how it reminded me of my Grandma Tocco. I felt compelled to send her a copy to read. In our conversation about Where the Crawdads Sing, my grandma said to me, “Have you read anything by Edna Ferber? She’s one of my favorite authors!” As I hadn’t, she recommended that I read Giant so I added it to the list.

I’m not going to lie, I almost did not get past the first 4 or 5 chapters. The writing is so different from anything I would typically read which is likely a product of the decade in which it was published. Let’s just say that the writing is very “vintage.” It was not a quick read. If I were to read it aloud, the language just would not roll off the tongue.

However, I stuck with it and started to develop relationships with the characters. I began to understand the relationships of the characters and their motivations. And eventually, I was invested in their stories.

Giant is about the life of Leslie and Jordan “Bick” Benedict on enormous Reata Ranch in the heart of Texas from the 1930s to the 1950s. And if I can say anything about this book, it oozed Texas. The ranches, the cattle, the size, the culture, and the economic transition from one rooted on agriculture to one thriving from oil. It was Texas through and through.

What did I not like about it? It was slowwwwwww and longggggggg. There were times when I felt like the book could have benefited from editing out about 100 pages and moving the story faster. It would eventually pick up, but then would fall back into a lull. And I guess I was a tad confused about the ending. The story just kind of stopped. I was hoping for more resolution.

Overall, it was not my favorite book ever but it was definitely not my least favorite book ever. It will live in that in between area of “just okay.” Sorry Gram!

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General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction, Romance

Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane #1) by Kristin Hannah

Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane #1)Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First book review of 2019! And it’s a good one!!

How could I NOT love a Kristin Hannah book? Honestly.

After reading The Nightingale, The Great Alone, Home Front, and Night Road (so much goodness), I figured Firefly Lane was the next logical choice. And my girl Kristin Hannah did not disappoint yet again.

Firefly Lane was something entirely different from the heaviness of the aforementioned titles. It (for the most part) was a coming of age story about friendship above all else. Beginning in the 1970’s and spanning into present day, Kristin Hannah tells the tale of fourteen-year-old quiet, reserved Kate who meets her new neighbor… life-of-the-party, “it girl” Tully. In time, Kate and Tully become best friends, seeing each other through important life events, supporting each other through obstacles, and sometimes fighting as friends often do. As time goes on, Kate and Tully’s lives split along two separate paths but they always seem to come back to each other. I hate to give more of the plot away because that’s the brilliance of the story so I’ll leave it at that.

To be honest, when I started reading this book I thought to myself, “This is not a typical Kristin Hannah. I don’t have this deep, emotional feeling that I’ve come to love from her writing.” But, boy was I wrong. Wait for it. Wait for it. BAM! It just hits you in the face like a runaway train. And I thought to myself, “There it is!” The magic. The thing that keeps me coming back for more. And of course, the tears. All the tears.

This review would not be complete without mentioning the nostalgic elements that Hannah so perfectly placed throughout the prose. There were tiny glimpses into 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s pop culture that weren’t too in your face, but caught me reminiscing about my own childhood in the 90’s and stories my mother told me about her childhood in the 70’s. I loved those little touches.

This is the first in a series of two books, the second titled Fly Away. Trust me, it is in line to be read very soon so I can continue experiencing this magnificent story.

If you haven’t read Kristin Hannah before, this is a great first choice. Or any of the books I’ve already mentioned. Or all of them. I won’t judge.

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Audiobook Review, Holiday, Romance

One Day in December by Josie Silver

One Day in DecemberOne Day in December by Josie Silver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick for December, y’all! I love my girl Reese and try to read all of her book club picks because I’ve never met a pick I didn’t like. And One Day in December is no exception.

This book in several words… cute, charming, Hallmark-esque, perhaps a tad cheesy, and heartwarming.

So what’s this book about? Girl on bus sees boy on street and it is love at first sight. Bus drives away and girl spends the next year of her life pining over stranger we shall refer to as “bus boy.” I know… I know… super unrealistic but bear with me. Girl gets introduced to best friend’s new boyfriend. And you guessed it! Bus boy. Girl and boy spend years in angsty (dare I say slightly depressing) turmoil waiting for their lives to align so they can finally be together.

Funny that the author, Josie Silver, should mentioned the movie The Holiday at the beginning of this book because it was similar in nature. The main character reminded me of Kate Winslet and her slightly sad, depressing life until Prince Charming (Jack Black) walks in. And it continues to be a little sad and depressing until she finally gets her fairy tale ending.

I will say this book wasn’t super mind blowing in its content. It’s a simple holiday romance novel that I could see being made into a made-for-Netflix movie one day. But it was a super quick read and perfect reading for the holidays.

Reese strikes again! Definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a nice wintery, holiday romance.

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