Audiobook Review, General Fiction (Adult), Romance

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient (The Kiss Quotient, #1)The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay so I’m having a super hard time rating this book because the writing was actually really, really good. But, the content was just not for me. So let’s just say, I would give the writing itself 4 stars but the content only 3 stars.

So let’s start by talking about the cover. Look at it. It’s sweet isn’t it? A nice quirky font choice. A play on mathematics with the illustration. A cute little couple kissing. Looks like a cute, quaint love story. Like even maybe suitable for young adults, right? WRONG! I felt like I was listening to soft core porn. I would classify this more as erotica than romance which is definitely not my typical choice of genre.

I would call this book a combination of Fifty Shades of Grey (sans the S&M) mixed with Pretty Woman mixed with Crazy Rich Asians. Stella has Asperger’s. She’s a genius but she struggles socially. So what does she do? Obviously she hires a hot escort to teach her how to date and how to have lots of amazing S-E-X. Cue the erotica.

While this isn’t my typical genre, I did really enjoy Helen Hoang’s writing. It was light, airy, and charming with a naughty side. Had it been all light and airy, I would have loved it. The naughty side was outside of my comfort zone. Call me a prude! But, overall it was a nice chick lit book that I think a lot of women would really enjoy. It’s definitely a good summer book to put on your list for poolside reading.

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General Fiction (Adult), Romance

The Military Wife by Laura Trentham

The Military Wife (A Heart of a Hero, #1)The Military Wife by Laura Trentham

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Out February 5th!  Preorder now on Amazon here!

I got home from work a few days ago and to my surprise, this book was waiting for me in the mailbox, a nice little present from St. Martin’s Press. I love when they send me books from authors I’ve never read. It’s how I’ve discovered some incredible authors I wouldn’t have otherwise had the pleasure of reading.

Anyway, back to the review. Right off the bat, I was drawn to this book simply from the cover. The cover is breathtaking, light, airy, and gives me joy. It’s definitely a book that would draw my eye on a bookstore shelf.

So what’s it about? Harper Lee Wilcox is a widow. Her husband, Noah, died in the service 5 years ago and she is still recovering from the shock and devastation of losing him. Luckily she has the support of several other military wives on whom she can lean. In her interactions with the wives, Harper finds that several of the wives are craving a purpose outside of their wifely duties, prompting a unique business opportunity and a chance to heal Harper’s wounds. Meanwhile, Harper crosses paths with one of Noah’s Navy SEAL brothers, Bennett Caldwell. And their lives become intertwined in an unexpected way.

Complex, devastating, uplifting, real, and beautifully written, Laura Trentham’s latest book is a testament to the challenging lives our military members live and the sacrifices their spouses make along the way. There are so many important topics explored throughout this novel. PTSD. Grief. Loss. Love. Guilt. Redemption. Forgiveness. Second chances. This book has it all. But amazingly, it was not overwhelming. The story lines fit together beautifully and despite being jam packed with content, the story did not get convoluted at all.

I honestly could not put this book down. Laura Trentham is a new author for me. Although she has written a series of romance novels, this is her first in the women’s fiction genre. And in my eyes, this is a fantastic debut in a challenging and competitive genre. I must say I was pretty excited when I saw this denoted as “A Heart of Hero #1″… bring on the next in the series!

The writing really reminded me of one of my other faves, Kristy Woodson Harvey. If you’ve read and enjoyed the Peachtree Bluff series (Slightly South of Simple or The Secret to Southern Charm), you would love this book. It comes highly recommended.

-I was gifted a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Laura Trentham for the opportunity to review.-

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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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