Review: Deeper by Robin York

18525821 I have been waiting for this release as I am a big fan of this author when she writes as Ruthie Knox of contemporary romance novels. I was surprised to see this New Adult debut of hers was around 400 pages long which is a bit lengthy for this genre. Pretty much before the book starts I was immediately taken aback by the line “it sounds so drama llama”. The book is set in college and that made me think of a pre teen girl or my grandmother trying to sound cool. But moving on.

Caroline Piasecki is in college and has just discovered that her life is pretty much over because her ex boyfriend has ruined it by posting some pretty horrible sex pictures of her online. She can barely go to class because everyone on campus has seen them and she’s frozen just hearing all of their taunts in her head- both real and imagined. She throws herself into her classes and tries to put things out of her mind.

West Leavitt is a bad boy in terms of doing what he wants and not caring who says anything about what he does. This is not an unusual trope for a romance to use and definitely not one I’m opposed to reading. However, this is part of where the book started to move a little off the mark for me. West is obviously supposed to be a bad boy with a heart of gold. He has a little sister at home in not great circumstance he worries about constantly and he is gentle with Caroline, not caring about the online pictures, helping to restore her confidence. However at odds with this is West’s career as a drug dealer throughout the book as well as his mild violence.

I just couldn’t put all of the pieces of the book together into one great New Adult book for me. I did enjoy the flirtatious scenes in the bakery and the romance scenes were great – both unsurprising since Ruthie Knox is a great adult romance author. I was also drawn in enough to want to know what happens in the next book since this looks to be a series. This book did not have an HEA or in my opinion a satisfying end which IS kind of common in New Adult books and something of which I’m not a fan.

I’ll be reading more of this author in the future because I’ve read many, many of her books which have been 4 and 5 stars for me. If anyone reads this book and feels differently, comment and let me know why I’m wrong. I welcome the opinions 🙂

3 Stars

~ Clio

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Blog Tour w/ Author Guest Post & Review: Live by Mary Ann Rivers

Live-Mary-Ann-Rivers

Mary Ann Rivers (2)

Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.

Ten Things About Mary Ann Rivers

*I have never really decided what to do with my hair, though I pine for a statement look.
*I sometimes listen to the same song all day long.
*I play the cello.
*I’ve kept some kind of journal or diary for thirty years (I am 39).
*I’ve gone to see all the presidential candidates I’ve voted for speak in person.
*I’d rather have drinks with three or fewer people than go to a party.
*I once surprised a burglar in the process of breaking into our home. I had got up to go to the bathroom. He ran away, so I assume I was completely terrifying in my t-shirt and underpants.
*Writing is the primary way I entertain myself, if I have a choice. I’m always writing something.
*I’ve been reading romance since I was ten-years-old. When I was eighteen, I wrote to Jude Deveraux, and she wrote back (this was before the internet, so I wrote her in care of her publisher).
*I’m married to a Shakespeare scholar who is semi-famous (for Shakespeare scholarship).

BOOK REVIEW

18630722 Mary Ann River has a way with words. Yes I know she’s an author and that should be kind of obvious but her way of words just kind of leaves me breathless. They work their way deep inside you and just kind of settle there and resonate with you. I’m still thinking of The Story Guy and Snowfall – her first 2 novellas I read last year. Every once in a while a particular scene of Brian and Carrie pops in my head because it was so beautiful or I think of Jenny and Evan and their scene in the car. So when her first full length novel came out I was so freaking excited!

The Burnside Series is about a family of siblings in a town in Ohio, both parents have passed away and they are generally pretty close. Destiny, who goes by Des, is feeling pretty broken at this point in her life. Her father passed away last year, her sister’s health is getting scarily bad and her unemployment is also reach the dangerous point. Des has even begun driving her father’s old limo around to pick up some extra money. She spends most of her free time at the library, looking for jobs. During that time she falls in lust with a gorgeous Welsh man, whom she would never dream of approaching. But when he approaches her to help stop her tears one day she’s startled.

Hefin is some sort of Welsh god. For some reason I just fell in love with everything about him immediately. This is not always true of all romance heroes – many times that needs to be kind of drawn out but not with Hefin. He comes across as quiet, charming and sweet but without the cockiness of some typical romantic tropes. But from the beginning he is also just as broken as Des seems to be – he came to the US to get married, not knowing anyone. The marriage did not work out and left Hefin feeling homesick. To that end he is leaving and Des and he both are completely aware of this at the outset of their romance.

Their romance is tentative and beautiful, made more so on both parts because they set out on the journey both knowing it would end with Hefin leaving Des in Ohio. From here we get to see different parts of Des and her interacting with people both in her neighborhood and in her family. I’ve read that Rivers wanted to make both of those an integral part of the whole series and I’m so glad because the interactions with neighbors and the history that will bring going forward is definitely something I look forward to.

What makes this whole book work overall is the writing style and the characters. The writing is lyrical and poetic and touches on different topics such as grief, divorce and illness. I was thrilled not to be disappointed since I had such ridiculous high hopes for this book. I look forward to the next book in this series which comes out in May and will be Sam’s book – Love.

I received this ARC via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

5 Stars

~Clio

Buy it Now Live (The Burnside Series): The Burnside Series

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Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905 In my little twitter-sphere and Facebook world this book has a TON of hype behind it and in general I really hate to read books with a lot of hype. Because almost always I end up feeling just meh about the book or movie and then think well there is obviously something wrong with all of these other people because that was just not that great! So I tend to just read my own thing and it all works out just fine. But there was an insanely good price drop and I couldn’t resist buying it because that IS the way into this book lover’s kindle. Also I did read Attachments at the recommendation of Vi who has about a 98.4% track record of recs for me (and I loved it). Then I read Eleanor and Park and I loved it too. All that to say basically fine, I succumbed to the hype, I’m weak. Whatevs.

How do you not like the Internet? That’s like saying, ‘I don’t like things that are convenient. And easy. I don’t like having access to all of mankind’s recorded discoveries at my fingertips. I don’t like light. And knowledge.’

I started to read and fell in love with Cath, the main character, immediately. But it wasn’t fair because the author somehow made her exactly like me in every way but completely different at the same time. Cath and her twin sister, Wren, go to college after spending their whole lives being together. When Wren decides not to be roommates with her Cath is kind of crushed but finds solace in her hobby of writing fan fiction for the series Simon Snow. But not just any fan fiction, like really epic fan fiction that has hundreds and hundreds of followers online.

So while her college life is just not going that great – her roommate seems to hate her and has a boyfriend(ish) who is always around, Cath’s professor thinks fan fiction is plagiarism, and she can’t seem to make any friends – her fan fiction is the only thing that seems to make any sense. Like always.

“I feel sorry for you, and I’m going to be your friend.”
“I don’t want to be your friend,” Cath said as sternly as she could. “I like that we’re not friends.”
“Me, too. I’m sorry you ruined it by being so pathetic.”

There is so much going on in this book it would be so easy for it to just fall apart if something wasn’t done well but it was, just ridiculously done well! There is a beautiful family story being told here. Partly with the twins and dealing with going to college and the ramifications of being apart for the first time. Cath can’t understand what Wren is doing and can’t comprehend why she doesn’t want to be around her anymore. But at the same time she can’t see what Wren herself is going through. They’re both grappling with bigger issues of leaving their father at home alone, and dealing with their mother who left them and how they want to handle her possibly entering their lives again. Neither can understand how the other wants to deal with it.

On top of that is the coming to college story, Cath dealing with being introverted and not being able to even go to the cafeteria by herself to eat. This was part of the book that made my heart ache for her because I was having flashbacks to my freshman year in college, dealing with a hated roommate of my own. Going hand in hand with the college and coming of age story is of course the falling in love for the first time which was so awkwardly well done. Cath falling in love and acknowledging how incredibly weird yet awesome this was for her was hilarious and heart breaking to see.

“You’ve read the books?”
“I’ve seen the movies.”
Cath rolled her eyes so hard, it hurt. (Actually.) (Maybe because she was still on the edge of tears. On the edge, period.) “So you haven’t read the books.”
“I’m not really a book person.”
“That might be the most idiotic thing you’ve ever said to me”

“How do you feel when I smile at you?” he asked – and then he did smile at her, just a little.
Not like myself, Cath thought.
“Like an idiot,” she said softly. “And I never want it to stop.”

All of this being tied together of course was the fan fiction. I’ve never written fan fiction and barely read some so I’m not super familiar with that world but wow does the author just pull you right into it and make you feel like you’ve lived in it your whole life. There have been comparisons made of Simon Snow to Harry Potter and that is obviously what my mind went to as well. I loved the snippets and I loved reading pieces of what Cath wrote throughout the book.

Somehow Rainbow Rowell managed to take all of these different pieces of these huge stories together into one and make a complex book that made total sense. I’ve seen many books fall apart trying to tie just two of these themes together so I’m still not quite sure how she managed to do this but in my opinion she was very successful. Besides combining all of these into one she also made me laugh. This is an extremely quotable book and I love that.
5 Stars

~Clio

Buy it Now Fangirl

Review: Coreyography by Corey Feldman

17286694 I would not have normally picked this book up in a million years. I’ve never been a screaming fan of Corey Feldman and the intense cover photo is kind of a turn off for me since it seems very exaggerated for one and for two because it seems kind of reminiscent of a famous Michael Jackson pose which struck me as odd. But my best friend read it and she convinced me that it was surprisingly well written and that it reminded her of MY favorite celebrity written memoir, Stories I Tell My Friends by Robe Lowe. So after that I had to read it.
And I’m very glad I did! While Rob Lowe’s memoir is still my favorite autobiography I’ve read to date, this one definitely did not disappoint. The novel was well written and throughout the book Corey comes off as very genuine and forthcoming. He reveals much about his personal life and his family life when he was starting out as a young child star. He was pretty clear about his parents bad choices and selfishness but he is also clear that he doesn’t care about holding a grudge about anymore.
One theme that ran throughout the book that was quite shocking to me was the sexual abuse that both he and Corey Haim endured from their childhood on. Corey Feldman makes claims that this is rampant in Hollywood and that he knew of many cases of this happening. He does name his abuser but he says that one of his biggest regrets is that he wasn’t able to help Corey Haim do the same before he died.
This was a fascinating book and glimpse into Hollywood life of a star when he was at the top of his game and when he was definitely struggling and at the bottom.

3.5 Stars

~Clio

Buy it Now Coreyography: A Memoir

Review: The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison

16171291 Jodi and Todd are a co-habitating couple of 20 years that seem to be in love and to have a lot going for them on the surface. They have a beautiful home, a dog they love and careers they both enjoy. However, Todd is a cheater and Jodi is aware of it but neither acknowledge this. Both choose to let the affairs be below the surface and continue on with their beautiful life. Until one of his affairs has long reaching consequences for all of them.

This book has been compared to Gone Girl in articles that I’ve read so I was intrigued and wanted to read it as I really love suspenseful novels like that. However this seemed much less like a chilling psychological thriller and more of an exploration of a relationship and what it devolves into after 20 years together.

This book has alternating points of view in each chapter – one from “his” and one from “hers”. The POV’s didn’t bother me at all and I enjoyed parts of it but there was very little dialogue which made some of the chapters seem very boring and dry to read. The story lacked emotion to me – while emotions should be running high in parts of the book, I just wan’t feeling it. I didn’t love or hate any of the characters, they just seemed a little too flat for me to care that much about.

3 stars

~Clio

Buy it Now The Silent Wife: A Novel

Review: Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane

18169700 I hadn’t read the first Associate’s book when I read this one but the synopsis appealed to me so I went for it anyways. I loved this book from the beginning. Peter’s position as a Linguist breaking down everything from phrases to song lyrics to its’ smallest parts made pieces of the books almost poetic. Laney and Peter have such heat between them almost immediately and between the poetry and the heat I was drawn into the book and captivated.

Peter Macmillan is a Linguist working for The Associate’s trying to bring down a criminal and will use anyone or anything who gets in his way. Laney does just that. Laney gets under his skin incredibly easily and he find himself drawn to her and unable to maintain his normal cool facade. Laney is in hiding herself from her ex and doesn’t allow herself to get involved with anyone but can’t seem to help it when it comes to Peter.

I really loved the humor between these two. It was a nice balance between the seriousness of the situation they were in and even in the middle of the danger the humor was still there.

“You bleeding?”
“No. I’ve shifted to the coagulation and infection stage. I’m running them concurrently.”

I was laughing at some parts and holding my breath at others. The author did a great job at keeping me at the edge of my seat for this romantic suspense read. The writing is very colorful and vibrant as in it seems to jump off the page. The talents of the heroes are cerebral as well as physical which I absolutely love as a change of pace in a romance book. I highly recommend this book as a different type of romance novel.

This was a surprising read for me. In a very good way!

I received this ARC in return for an honest review.

5 stars

~ Clio

Buy it Now Off the Edge (The Associates)

Review: The Countess Conspiracy by Courtney Milan

13489925 Something great over the Holidays I discovered was a lot of random giveaways from authors! So, I won this book directly from Courtney Milan herself via Twitter. I’ve been reading romance book a ton over the last year or so and just kind of assumed I had read this author. I’ve definitely heard of her and seen her beautiful book covers. So I was kind of stunned when I checked and realized I had not read a single Milan book! I triple checked and realized this series of books (The Brother Sinister) could be read as stand alones and not in order as the characters all know each other but are not super intertwined. So I dove right in.

I absolutely loved these characters. They felt incredibly real to me. Sebastian Malheur has a reputation of a rake and a womanizer of sorts. His brother is ill and he is unsure at leaving his son with Sebastian if he should pass, the excuse he gives originally being that Sebastian would be too busy to spend time with the boy. In response to this tender hearted Sebastian immediately chooses to stop a charade he’s been living so he can be at his brothers disposal. He soon learns that he still is not up to par for his brother and this crushes him.

Sebastian is a scientist who scandalizes society with his theories on genetics. He gives speeches and presentations which draw huge crowds and wild criticism. Generally, none of this bothers him as long as Violet Waterfield is accompanying him. But they share a secret he feels he can no longer keep – none of his scientific discoveries are actually his, they are all hers. Violet is horrified to learn he will no longer keep her secret. She doesn’t think her mother or sister will support her or her scientific ways since it is not proper for a lady. She doesn’t have to worry about her husband as she is a widow.

Meanwhile Violet is struggling with being exposed as the one behind Sebastian’s scientific discoveries. She is trying to understand if her family will stick by and support her. She has always felt lacking in every way except science and when she comes to realize that Sebastian wants more from her she doesn’t know if she can handle it.

I love Violet, her exacting ways and watching her trying to figure out emotions. Sebastian was the kind of hero that I adore – completely flawed, with real problems, but very patient and in love with the heroine. The two maneuver their individual family problems on their own and together and both was heart breaking and touching. The romance and courtship of these two was ridiculously pleasing and sweet yet didn’t lack passion.

This set me off on an immediate Courtney Milan read. I am now caught up on this whole series, including novellas and have started on her other back list books. So far what I can tell is that The Brothers Sinister books are truly great. The characters are all quirky and have interesting things about them and the books all seem unique to me. I completely loved this book the most though!

5 stars

~Clio

Buy it Now The Countess Conspiracy (The Brothers Sinister, Book 3)