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Review of “Louder Than Love” by Jessica Topper – On sale now!

Louder Than Love

Title: “Louder Than Love”

Author: Jessica Topper

Publish Date: September 17, 2013

How I got the book: I got this book via Egalley from NetGalley – In Exchange for an honest review

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Summary From GoodReads:

In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband…and discovers a love that defies classification.

It’s been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth…the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian “Digger” Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids’ TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.

Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it’s unclear whose past looms larger: the widow’s or the rocker’s. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?

My Thoughts….

What initially drew me to this book was the title and the beautiful cover (see above), but what made me WANT it was the summary. The summary and the title and covered lived up to all of my expectations and more! Jessica Topper did an amazing job with this book. The characters, the plot, the voice – all great. For a debut novel, I think she just did a great job and I really enjoyed reading this amazing love story! The whole book is written from Kat (or Katrina’s or Tree’s) POV, and although I wish I could have seen into Adrien (or Digger’s) mind during some points, I enjoyed being inside her head for the most part. I can say, I am getting rather spoiled by all the male POV written stories though, and the tell tale sign was me reading this and in certain moments, thinking… WOW I wish I knew what HE was thinking right now – which is great because it tells me I’m invested in the story in my point of view.  Anyway – it starts out with Kat and her story (which broke my heart!!) and then I met Abby and she was…adorable..even from a book page – great personality written for her. I have to stop here and tell you one of my favorite scenes of her is her little “child’s nightclub” on the porch where she dances and dj’s with other neighboorhood kids- the image of them dancing around with their juice boxes in the air – that had me really laughing.. When Kat first meets Adrien that is also an interesting moment and night. Really the story just had me from the first chapter, I was invested in finishing this from there.. The story while something that isn’t “brand spanking” new put an edge on the theme and I love rock and roll boys with good girls, so that absoutely left me wanting more – even at the end.  I liked that the author wrote in friends for the main character, but didn’t let them take away from the most important part of the story, sometimes I feel like the back story characters take on more focus than they need to and it distracts from the main point. Topper did a great job keeping the supporting characters supporting without them being too flat or boring, it was just enough – and it has been awhile since I’ve felt that way about a story. I also didn’t feel like it was overwhelming, it was just the right amount of sad, happy, love, and heart break emotions – it encapsulated the best first parts of a relationship and put that under tight constraints with the character’s back-stories in mind, and just did a great job telling the story from start to finish. So, before I gloat anymore, we will just say it was great! Now on to the characters –

The Characters –

I’ll start with Kat – Katrina, or Tree depending what you like, but I’ll call her Kat. I thought she was really brave, after all she had been through, to keep moving for one, and to survive more importantly. She was solid. She wasn’t perfect, as none of us are and admitted her own weaknesses within the story, but at the same time she was ok with herself and forgiving – and just kept moving – no matter what. What happened to Kat, to me, would have broken more people, so to see her even out there trying again when Adrien came into the picture – was warming to my heart and a testament to the love that she could give even from the begining. One of my favorite parts in the end is where she talks about all the different types of love she has, and how she has room for all of them in her life, not just certain ones. I’m scared to say more because I feel like that will give away plot points, but once you read it, you will understand what that means…

Now let’s talk Adrien, or Digger Graves. Second name hilarious, first – intense. He is HOT. I can start with that, all his manliness was written to just jump off the page, I swear I could almost smell him in some scenes. He is also a trooper. He had been through so much, and you could tell when they first met, he ws still really going through heck and back – but the first meeting even, it’s like you saw a light go off inside of him – it changed him. His interactions with Abby – including the pancake breakfast – stole my heart – and made me ache for a man like that to be the father for my own child when that time comes – I mean..how sweet! I loved how deep his back story was, and how he had become a good guy just with that edge of bad boy. The development of his character was great – I’m a huge Digger fan – I can tell you that for sure!

My Take-Away From It All:

Loved, loved, loved it! 5/5 Stars on this one Jessica Topper — Great first book. She hit the romance and the feelings “spot on” as Adrienne might say in his brittish accent. You could feel the loss and grief and then in the end, the utter happpiness and contentment. It had a little bit of everything – tossed in with the most adorable 4 and a 1/2 year old I have EVER read about – Abbey.  It also had those HOT, and very adult moments that I really enjoy without being cheesy or staged or… too adultish, and I really liked that too. Their entire romance felt real, not scripted, and not unrealistic. He wasn’t a prince charming, and she wasn’t a princess. They were both normal people with baggage, and yet they still found each other – but you will have to read to see how it all ends up – that’s my task to you!

When it comes down to it, I just really love a good LOVE story, and this my friends, is a great one. So, September 17th will be here before you know it – go out and check this one out! I’m going to put the link for Kindle to pre-order below and I hope you will at least check it out. It’s worth the cash and I would even verge to say worth a re-read and you know that is a big reccommendation in my book! I’m also going to give you a quote below – I think it sums up the whole book actually and yet doesn’t give anything away – so check it out and then check out the book!

The Quote:

“You’ve got this…this love-no, it’s louder than love. It’s passion and beauty built up inside you that deserves to burst out.”

Where You Can Buy NOW:

http://www.amazon.com/Louder-Than-Love-ebook/dp/B00AR49H2Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1378761620&sr=1-1&keywords=louder+than+love

Happy Reading!

Kelley

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ARC Review of “Wild Cards” By Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)“Wild Cards” by Simone Elkeles

Published by:

Publish Date: 10/1/2013

How I got the book: I got this book from an ARC Tour Site – Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review

What It’s About:

*Courtesy of GoodReads

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain–people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

What I thought:

When I saw this book, I knew instantly I wanted to get it asap and read and review for my blog.  I have never read anything by this author, but I’ve seen so many good reviews on her previous work so I was excited to check it out for myself and I always love firsts in a series because I know there is more to tell!  When I started this book, it did start out a little slow – but i really enjoyed seeing the story in “360” – so from both sides. I loved seeing the different interactions and what plays out inbetween for both of the characters. The story was based on amazing characters and it absolutely sucked me in once I got going.  The story was smart, flirty, and fun. I was really drawn to this book specifically  because I really enjoy strong female characters. While both characters had their own flaws, I really loved that Ashtyn was a strong female and how cool was it that she was the kicker for her highschool football team – and captain – and girly – and talented – Can you say awesome?? Not that Derek wasn’t smart, hot, and talented himself but we will get more into that in the character review. I thought the storyline was genuine and not unrealistic — I hate nothing more than a story that is so much of a story i can’t even imagine in my mind this in real life, and this book was very real to me – I thought the story was natural and flowed well – nothing forced or…inconsistent. Basically, I thought the story rocked. Let’s talk about the characters and the romance that sizzed off the page from the first time they met!

The Characters:

Ashtyn is the bada** girl captain of her awesome football team. She’s an amazing kicker, girly, fun, and strong minded – Eckeles definetly knew what she was doing when she wrote this character. Derek is also without exception – deep. He is smart, funny, hot, talented, loyal, and has a good heart. This guy gave up football because he thought he let his Mom down – a teenage guy who loved it more than anything – to punish himself – SWOON! Both characters absolutely suffered from trust issues and honestly struggled with allowing themselves to be happy to some extent. Derek and Ashtyn both refused to allow themselves happiness because they blamed themselves for something out of their control. I loved watching them both work through the trust and just general relationship “learning” as they grew in the story. I loved that Derek was loyal to Ashtyn from day one (even though he might not want to admit that). One of my favorite scenes is the begining where he gets the FB photo of the guys who TP’d Ashtyn’s house in the first few chapters (if you read you will know what I’m talking about) – to me this was both funny and showed his big heart and loyalty – even to someone who was basically –a jerk to hiim.  To say that these two had some romance would be an understatment – I’m surprised the book didn’t combust while I was reading it – it was sizzing! One thing I will praise Eckeles for is writing the romance to be hot/steamy – but still appropriate and not “erotic”. Her kissing scenes and the make out moments were amazing! I love a story that makes you reminiss back to your life at that point – and this did that for me. I loved football games on Friday nights and those “make out” sessions when you could steal a moment alone. I really loved their road trip too – just them getting to know each other. Now, I did have some frustrating moments witht the book, at times i did want to tell Derek to “man up!”. But I digress – and I don’t really want to spoil anything so I’ll get to my overall review now!

My Take-Away Thoughts:

Read this – get it – read it maybe again – and wait for the sequel to come out. I haven’t read anything by Eckeles, as I said before, but I will be reading her work now. I am alreaday looking forward to checking out some of her other stuff now and cannot wait to read this sequel too – when can we expect that?? If you know – share!  The story linked both narrators in a cool way allowing you to see the full story. The main characters and support characters for that point had depth and were full. The story was as funny and real as it was hot and steamy! Overall, I give this a 5/5 review – so I highly reccommend it! If you like steamy, hot, sweet, real romances – check it out. And I also think that it’s a great summer read, while it’s not “deep” with issues, it does have depth to it, a perfect mix (if you know what I mean..).

Overall, I really enjoyed – so get out there and give it a try. Mark your calenders for October 1st and check this out – or pre-order now on Amazon!

Before I go, I have one last thing – AWESOME quotes!! Check them out below and let me know what you think – are you excited to read?? Love feedback!

Awesome Quotes:

“I never believed in love at first sight, until I met Derek. Its all consuming and delicious and wonderful and exciting.  At the same time, it makes me nervous and self-conscious and emotional.  Love exists.  I know it does, because I’m madly, deeply, hopelessly, in love.”

*Swoon – right?? So sweet.. the Love Exists — wow.. Sometimes you get profound stuff from the strangest places and this fun teen romance really hit home for me with that..

“I look at my grandmother and for the first time since my mom died I realize what I want.  I want to be there for Julian and Brandi, the family I never knew I wanted.  I want to be close to my grandmother even though she drives me nuts.  I want to show Ashtyn what it means to be loved unconditionally- because she’s the only girl I want to be with and I don’t ever want her to feel alone again.” – *Again – SWOON!

“Ashtyn Parker, I’d do anything for you.” He cups my head in his hands and leans in close.  “I love you.”

Well that’s it for me folks – hope you enjoyed and love to hear feedback!

Happy Tuesday!

Kelley

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“Infinite Moment of Us” is an infinetly sweet and very real read – ARC Review

The Infinite Moment of Us“The Infinite Moment of Us” by Lauren Myracle

Publish Date: August 27, 2013

Publisher: Amulet Books

Genre: YA Comtemporary

How I got the ARC: From Around the World ARC tours in exchange for an honest review: http://aroundtheworldarctours.wordpress.com/267-2/

The Story:

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now… not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them…

Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers

My Thoughts on the story:

When I started this book, I was not 100% invested to be honest and had no real expectations – but once I got through the first 3 chapters I couldn’t put it down. The back and forth of the teenage emotion during such a…wonderful time – but confusing time in life, was great. I really enjoyed seeing the book through both Charlie and Wren’s eyes – via the alternating chapters describing the story in each of their 3rd person narratives.  I think Lauren Myracle did an excellent job capturing that tumutoulous time in a teenager’s life when everything is changing and you are growing up almost too fast.. All through highschool, at least personally, I felt like I couldn’t wait to graduate, get out on my own — then graduation came..and I remember thinking –wow.. Where did all the time go? Am I ready for this? Throw a first love into the mix and all of those new feelings -and this made for an amazing summary romance story. The doubt about whether that boy will like you back, the butterflies in your stomach – the feeling when you know that person likes you as much as you like them – and it’s an amazing feeling – I really enjoyed reliving all of that. Of course, all love comes with some type of doubt- and I think the reality of the situation and the real feelings made the story that much better. There is no perfect tale of romance – well for most people – there has to be some kind of…. peril, something to overcome to know it’s really real, and this story had that. The story also  had some heat and romance, and i liked the way Myracle wrote this in an innocent, first love way. While they fell in love, they also gave their bodies to each other and I know this will be touchy for some readers, but I thought it was done skillfully and tastefully. There is so much sexualtiy in the media associated with teens in a negative light – Myracle took that subject and wrote it in such an innocent and real way – it was trusting and responsible and romantic – but not overly sexual.. It was a true representation to me about beign in love and sharing that experience for the first time.  I also enjoyed that the entire book was not just about the romance, it was about a major part of a life change and a decision about the future for both characters.  While the story was based on the love portion, the other parts stood out as well – the friendships, the life plans, the family dynamics – were all great and added to the realness of the story.  I don’t want to put any spoiler’s in here, so all I will say is that when I closed the book I was happy with the ending. You see Wren go from unsure high school senior – to someone much more real and full going out into the world – and you see Charlie grow with her too. You see them get their moment together – their moment in time.

The Characters:

Wren and Charlie fall in love in the book, but I see so much more happening here. There are two characters that truly go through a summer journey without ever leaving their home town. Both characters overcome insecurities and deep histories of doubting themselves to be part of this relationship. You also see Wren grow from someone very insecure really living for her parents – to someone brave and smart who chooses her path in life by going to Guatemala versus her parent’s plan for her to go to Emory. I thought it showed so much about her character that her choice for “herself” was to go somewhere and give back to others – and with so much “me” in this world to see someone have that mindset was very refreshing. Charlie also grew too though. He had to overcome deep insecurites and learn to trust Wren with his heart. Seeing both the characters grow throughout their summer – watching them fall in love so helplessly and completely was wonderful. I really believe that Myracle captured first love “right on” and the characters were full and round and wonderful!

The Take-Away:

“The Infinite Moment of Us” is an awesome summer jouney. It is a wonderful story of first love – unforgettable and romantic! This is possibly one of the best summer romances I have read. Wren and Charlie open their bodies, hearts, and minds to each other and experience their moment in time. It is a witty, sexy, and romantic tale of summer love – no better way to describe it. If you like YA romance, I highly reccomend this story. If you like sweet, innocent romance that still holds heat and realness – read it! This story held special meaning to me because it reminds me of my first love – that I am married to now. I love that butterfly feeling – the newness and excitement, and I love the gut feeling when it’s right – Lauren Myracle did this story real justice and I highly reccomend it!

Once you read it – share how you liked it! I hope everyone will check it out – now for the quotes—

Quotes I loved:

“I love you to forever.”

“She gave herself over to Charlie and the night and the world, full of mysteries.”

“You’re my home Charlie.  Thanks for finding me.”

“We’ll see each other tomorrow”, he said.  “I am still here and so are you.  You’re right where you belong.”

Kelley

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