Waiting for You by Elle Spencer

I love the books Elle Spencer writes. Ever since her first novel Casting Lacey, I have gravitated to everything she has written. BIG FAN! Spencer does a great job with this book, the story reels you in and holds you captive chapter after chapter.

Lindsay Hall is a renowned artist that paints the portrait of a boy she has never met. Over and over again. She knows him, she feels him, but who he is and what he means to her is something she cannot explain. As a teenager, Lindsey and her bestie hypnotized themself, and Lindsey saw herself in another life. A life where she had a son and a wife, but there is trauma and pain in that life she cannot explain. This moment as a teen has defined her life.

Ren Christopher is stopping for a few weeks to see her best friend before she moves to Paris for a new career opportunity. She is escaping from a stage 5 clinger in her past relationship and needs a clean break and quick getaway. Stopping in to see her college friend, she is mesmerized by a painting at the local Main Street art gallery. The portrait of the boy moves something inside of her, and she has to have it no matter the price.

Ren and Lindsey have this connection in this world and in a “past life”. Lindsey knows it the moment she sees Ren but knows she can’t just divulge that info because that’s a lot and could be seen as crazy. How it plays out is really interesting and will keep you entertained throughout the story.

The supporting characters really add dimension and depth to the story. They are absolutely the gems of this book. Angst and drama, but so is silliness and good humor. You get a lot of emotions are wrapped up in a delightful package. This book is your go-to for drama and fun.

4 out of 5 stars

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One Walk in Winter by Georgia Beers

I want a book that gives me all the feels. When you open up a new book and that delicious anticipation of will this be a good one? Fingers crossed it will be a great one. That is an amazing feeling when it actually comes to fruition. You know pretty early on with Georgia Beers newest book, One Walk in Winter, that you have a special book in your hands.

Hayley Boyd Markham lost her mother two years ago to cancer. Since her mother’s death, she has been lost. No direction, no interests, and far too many nights burning up the Manhattan nightlife to find a band-aid for her pain. Her dad has had enough, after spending thousands on bottle service at NYC club, Hayley has been assigned to take over the manager role of one of the Markham family’s smaller hotels, the Evergreen. Hayley has no interest or experience in the hotel industry. She is an artist at heart. Her father gives her no choice, she is to manage the hotel or be cut-off from her family’s funds for good.

Olivia Santini is the assistant manager of the high-end vacation resort. She works her tail off to provide each and every one of the Evergreen’s customers a world-class experience. She loves the hotel and her staff, and she knows that there is work to be done to make this place even better. What she does not care for is being passed for the manager’s position. She knows it’s not Hayley’s fault she did not get the role, but it stings that once again she has been passed over for a job she has already been doing.

What makes this book rise above the rest is Beers creates amazing chemistry between the two leads. The feelings, the attraction, the anticipation of an epic romance, it all just jumps off the page. I found myself hanging on every word, feverously turning the page for the next interaction between Hayley and Olivia. This is a delightful romance that made me smile and made my heart happy.

5 out of 5 stars

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The Art of Us by K.L. Hughes

When you pick up this book be prepared for your heart to be ripped out of your chest. This book knocked me flat out more than a time or two. You can literally feel your heartbreak right along with the main characters. A fantastic emotional ride that is chock-full of angst and emotion.

Charlee and Alex meet early on in college. There is an instant connection, and they spend the next years blissfully in love, head over heels. When school ends Alex is offered an amazing career opportunity on the opposite coast. They thought they could overcome the distance, make it through this intersnship, but instead, it broke them.

Five years later Alex has returned to NYC. she thought she could handle being back but the emotions and loss of Charlee are overwhelming. Everywhere she goes brings back a flood of memories of better times. The book flashes back between Charlee and Alex’s romance to current day. When Alex and her lost love meet back up the chemistry pops right off the page. Tension, angst, romance this book is deliciously full of it all. I’m not kidding when I say this book pulls at your emotions. A felt my heartbreak with them, I felt their joy, their pain. KL Hughes takes you on one hell of a ride. So good!

4 out of 5 stars

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The Art of Us by K.L. Hughes

When you pick up this book be prepared for your heart to be ripped out of your chest. This book knocked me flat out more than a time or two. You can literally feel your heartbreak right along with the main characters. A fantastic emotional ride that is chock-full of angst and emotion.

Charlee and Alex meet early on in college. There is an instant connection, and they spend the next years blissfully in love, head over heels. When school ends Alex is offered an amazing career opportunity on the opposite coast. They thought they could overcome the distance, make it through this intersnship, but instead, it broke them.

Five years later Alex has returned to NYC. she thought she could handle being back but the emotions and loss of Charlee are overwhelming. Everywhere she goes brings back a flood of memories of better times. The book flashes back between Charlee and Alex’s romance to current day. When Alex and her lost love meet back up the chemistry pops right off the page. Tension, angst, romance this book is deliciously full of it all. I’m not kidding when I say this book pulls at your emotions. A felt my heartbreak with them, I felt their joy, their pain. KL Hughes takes you on one hell of a ride. So good!

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Twice In A Lifetime by Clare Lydon

Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon takes us on a journey of meeting up with the one that got away. Not just the one either, the first one. That sweet first love that was perfect in every way except for being too early and life came crashing in.

Sally McCall is returning to Chicago to visit her zany, eccentric aunt. Her aunt has a business proposal for her, and Sally being a starving artist cannot refuse anyone’s help even if that is exactly what she wants to do. At the airport baggage claim, something crazy happened, her bag disappears. Apparently, someone had the exact same bags as her, even down to the orange ribbon she had ties on the handle.

Harriet Locke’s life is her work. Her job, introducing artists to retailers has its benefits for sure but that is all her life is. Meetings, emails, and more meetings. After a long flight, deliriously tired Harriet grabs the wrong case. Unbeknownst to her, the case belongs to her first love, Sally. The girl she broke up with when the pressure of college became too much. The girl she regretted letting go for seventeen years.

The book has a mix of backstory and present day. Not too much flashback, though. The chemistry between the Harriet and Sally is fantastic, their dialogue and thoughts are fun and witty. Aunt Paula is a riot, as are all the supporting characters that are nicely incorporated into the story.

The quality of the book is high and I found the likeability of both main characters to be the overall appeal of the story. When I finished the book my thoughts were how adorable was that. Cute, fun, a light read when you just want to zone out and enjoy yourself. There is depth mixed with this happy ever after, don’t you worry. As always Clare Lydon gives you a solid read and leaves you with a smile on your face. I adore her writing!

4 out of 5 stars

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Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon

Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon takes us on a journey of meeting up with the one that got away. Not just the one either, the first one. That sweet first love that was perfect in every way except for being too early and life came crashing in.

Sally McCall is returning to Chicago to visit her zany, eccentric aunt. Her aunt has a business proposal for her, and Sally being a starving artist cannot refuse anyone’s help even if that is exactly what she wants to do. At the airport baggage claim, something crazy happened, her bag disappears. Apparently, someone had the exact same bags as her, even down to the orange ribbon she had ties on the handle.

Harriet Locke’s life is her work. Her job, introducing artists to retailers has its benefits for sure but that is all her life is. Meetings, emails, and more meetings. After a long flight, deliriously tired Harriet grabs the wrong case. Unbeknownst to her, the case belongs to her first love, Sally. The girl she broke up with when the pressure of college became too much. The girl she regretted letting go for seventeen years.

The book has a mix of backstory and present day. Not too much flashback, though. The chemistry between the Harriet and Sally is fantastic, their dialogue and thoughts are fun and witty. Aunt Paula is a riot, as are all the supporting characters that are nicely incorporated into the story.

The quality of the book is high and I found the likeability of both main characters to be the overall appeal of the story. When I finished the book my thoughts were how cute. Cute, fun a light read when you just want to zone out and enjoy yourself. There is depth mixed with this happy ever after, don’t you worry. As always Clare Lydon gives you a solid read and leaves you with a smile on your face. I adore her writing!

4 out of 5 stars

Drawn Together by JD Glass

I love when I read a book that just makes your heart sing. Whatever the genre may be, it’s a great feeling when you find a book that you just connect with. They same cannot be said, obviously, when the book is just not your favorite. This, unfortunately, is the case with Drawn Together by JD Glass. Let me explain…

Zoe Glenn Edwards is one of or main characters. A graphic artist, who is very well known and respected in the comic book world. Her drawings are amazing! A loner by nature, Zoe connects through digital media with a relatively famous author to collaborate on a new book. The author’s writings move her so much, they take her art to another level.

Dion “D” Richards is that author. Dion is beyond flattered that the superbly talented Zoe Glenn would want to work with her. Through their project, these two become besties, even though they have never met in person. To her wife, Kerry’s consternation, Dion cannot help the connection she feels to the other artist.

My first issue with the book is character related. Never once do you know what Zoe looks like or what her backstory is. Dion’s character is much the same, maybe slightly more, but not nearly enough. Character development is essential for me to connect and to “see” the story. In Drawn Together the characters are very flat. Over and over I was told how a character feels, but you don’t feel the connection. Other than being talented in their craft, and working well together, you never know why these two are drawn together. The book starts out as gushing emails/texts/blog posts about their amazing work relationship. Then you have the same emails/texts/blog posts about how they are now BFF’s. Literally, the same conversation about how you’re my best friend happens over and over and over again. Like eleventy billion times. STOP! Best friends don’t do that…maybe once or twice, maybe if you have had way too many pints, but come on it was supreme overkill.

Second, this book is pretty dark. If I had known that from the plot description, I would have passed on it. I didn’t, so I went in pretty blind. Okay, I can put on my big girl pants and deal, but there are so many cringeworthy moments that are left as loose threads, oy vey. First, is the story these two are working on. The story characters are twisted. You have suicide attempts, cutting, physical/emotional abuse and quite frankly a rape scene that made me want to puke. I had zero clue it was coming, and talk about a WTF moment. Still makes my stomach hurt. That isn’t where the darkness ends either, the main characters have a lot of that in their own tale as well. Kerry, Dion’s wife is a straight up psychopath. [ She is a master manipulator, serial cheater, she drugs her wife continuously as a control method, she’s abusive and Oh this is the big one, she may have had her wife sexually assaulted to have a hero moment (with her father’s help no less). You’ll never know because this is one of the loose threads of the book. (hide spoiler)]

Third, when out two mains finally get together, they exude ridiculousness. I love you, turns in a baby this, baby that. Stop, stop, stop it now. It’s not cute, it’s back to that your my best friend weird. Cringe!

To be quite frank, I’m surprised I finished this one. I like the plot idea of two artists collaborating, and add into the use of digital media as a forum for their connection, but it just didn’t work character wise for me, and the gritty/darkness didn’t help the matter at all.

2 out of 5 stars

  • Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

To Purchase: Drawn Together

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Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee

Communication is key to any relationship, am I right? Whether you are friends, family or lovers, open dialogue is vital to building and maintaining a healthy, solid foundation. In romance books, a common trope is miscommunication/no communication between the two leading ladies. I think this is a delicate balancing act if you too heavy handed, it just leads to the reader’s frustration and basically a lot of eye rolling. Create angst and tension, but don’t make it so unrealistic that it just becomes ridiculous. So how is Capturing Jessica by Jane Hardee, well, let’s just say lots and lots of eye rolling took place during my read.

Michael is a highly revered sculptor that is on the precipice of really landing major contracts. While her art has become wildly popular, her personal life is has intensified up to almost painful levels. She is desperately in love with her childhood best friend, Jess. Unwilling to chance their friendship, for love, Michael buries her feelings and turns to binge drinking when Jess is approached by any would-be suitors.

Jess, is your girl next door type, a sweet, thoughtful elementary teacher who literally everyone adores. Jess feelings for Michael, come about after a night out celebrating a mutual acquaintances birthday. Her feelings become pronounced and she begins to reach out to Michael in a multitude of ways, showing her interest and affection for the artist. Michael has the incite of a door knob and sees none of this, much to Jess’s dismay.

EYE ROLLS like a mo fo! Frustration, frustration and more frustration. The lack of even basic communication between the characters was astounding. You have two emotionally stunted protagonists, one way more than the other mind you, and it became hard to give a damn whether these two find their way to happy ever after. Basically, Jess needed to give Michael a high five, wish her the best and run for the hills.

2.25 out of 5 stars

Capturing Jessica
by Jane Hardee
Link: http://a.co/dS1W1nA

 

The House at the End of the Street by Stephanie E. Kusiak

Ghosts, I have never encountered one. I am not sure I really want to. I have quite the chicken heart and having a ghostly encounter, to be honest, gives me the heebie jeebies. With this being said I would usually pass on a ghost story, but the fact that it was written by Stephanie  Kusiak made me override this immediately.  Her book Loved and Lost is one of my all-time favorites, and therefore her books are on my automatic read list.

Caitlin Cassidy is a newly divorced author that has decided to lick her wounds the only way she knows how, she heads home. Packing up and leaving Los Angeles was harder than she ever imagined it would be. Her marriage is over. A life she was 100% committed t, but could not make work. In her devastation she decides to buy an old abandoned home and restore it to its former glory.  The thing about the home is there is a ghost that lives there. Caitlin knows this because the ghost saved her life when she was a little girl, and that moment has stayed with her forever.

Natalie Hargrove is the ghost that remains in Caitlin’s house. Once an accomplished painter, Natalie had it all. A great family, a beautiful lover, amazing friends, but she lived in a time where she couldn’t be open and honest about who she was and who she loved. Upon telling the truth to her loved ones it all came crashing down. Natalie turned to the bottle in her despair and she fell to her death falling down her grand staircase. Natalie should have never met Caitlyn but she did, and now they are roommates.

I will tell you this book made me cry. I am not really much of a crier, I try to repress those feelings most of the time, but this book brought out the waterworks. While this book is on the short side, it does not lack for emotion. There are times parts of the story are rushed or glossed over, but what you do have is simple and beautiful. The interactions between Natalie and Caitlin are power packed, and with heavy emotion. The two women and their journey was incredible, not like any other story I had read before. I was enthralled, completely captivated by Natalie and Caitlin. This is an amazing story of lost souls and love. Stephanie Kusiak does not disappoint with this one!

5 out of 5 stars

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Where the Light Plays by C. Fonseca

I struggled with this one, and I hate that! I hate the feeling that I am not giving a book justice, especially one that is obviously well written. I’m going to put it down to the fact that it just wasn’t my cup of tea, you that’s what I’m going to do.

Andi Rey is an artist living near Victoria, Australia. Andi paints beautiful works of art and is currently working to finish her first solo exhibit. For extra income and to support her art she freelances as a graphic designer.  Andi has been unlucky in love, she is not willing to take a risk with her heart on just anybody.

Dr. Caitlyn Quinn is an Irishwoman who has come to Australia to assist her grandaunt in cataloging her art collection. She just happens to be vacationing at a beautiful home near Andi’s. These two strike up a friendship through their love of paintings, wine, great food and the beach. They only problem as their attraction to each other grows, so does the looming fact that Caitlyn is just  in Australia for a few short months.

I have no doubt that there will be people that read this book and love it, 4 and 5 stars all the way. These people are not going to be me unfortunately. Technically there is nothing wrong with this book. I would absolutely say that this book is well written, there were not mistakes in grammar or spelling. The setting was staged well, the characters were developed, so yes, this book is technically sound. What I did not find is any emotion to the book. The characters were dull and the dialogue was dry. I also felt that there were way too many secondary characters that had insignificant roles. Literally, I was trying to keep up with all the different names thrown out, and why they were there. I literally trudged through the entire thing wondering what the point is to this book. There wasn’t much to the story, and obstacles the character’s had to overcome were tired. This book was way too long for how little happened, but hey this is just my opinion.

2.5 stars out of 5

I was provided this book by Ylva in exchange for an honest review.

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