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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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FridayFinds_bringOntheInkHosted by Should Be Reading @ http://shouldbereading.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/friday-finds-july-19/

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

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I didn’t post Friday finds last week so I want to rave about a new series I found first – I’ve already found and read book one and on to book 2 – amazing if you like a little romance – great writing and not to much heart wrenching let down in the story!

Rule (Marked Men, #1)“Rule” by Jay Crownover – The Marked Men Series

Now – I like a guy with some ink – so this was right up my alley, but if if that’s not exactly your type – the characters are warm and loveable and real.. Rule is my new book boyfriend – and I guess I’m making it blog official…

The second book – which i just got and already started is:

Jet (Marked Men, #2)

Same Author – this guy is a hunky singer and inked – I think I might combust here.. Whoa!!

Now – some finds I had — via the web and that i’ve added to my blog tour participation:

The Infinite Moment of Usby Lauren Myracle – now I’ve never read anything else by her but I’m super excited about this and I literally shrieked when it came in the mail yesterday — yippee!! I”m flooded with good reading right now! SO let’s see how it goes…

Starry Nightsby Daisy Whitney – this is in transit to me right now from the last blogger, so lets see – preface seems good – but keep posted!

Lastly:

Wild Cards (Wild Cards, #1)by Simone Elkeles – also on the way to me, super excited about this too!

 

I feel like there have been some others – but I’ll save those for next week I guess – for right now Happy Friday – let me know what you’ve found and if you’ve read anything I have found – Love to hear from some of the Marked Men series fans out there!!

Happy Friday!

Kelley

 

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ARC Review of “Left Drowning” by Jessica Park

So I was super exicted to read this –  I hope you all enjoy my review and most importantly – READ this wonderful book!

Title: “Left Drowning”

Author: Jessica Park

Published by: Amazon Children’s Publishing

Publish Date: July 16, 2013

Left Drowning

Overview of Story Thanks to GoodReads:

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?
Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.

My Thoughts:

If you can’t already tell – I’m in love with this. When I got the ARC – I was one day into reading before I realized that it was a book by Jessica Park ( I know – you are thinking – Doesn’t she pay attention to this? But really I don’t – If the story sounds great, then I go with it and look at the author later or when I write the review – I try to really read based on the merit of the story and then of course known books I see coming out by my favorites I will check out) and when I realized that she wrote this I was SUPER excited. The writing in the story seemed familiar to me – and then it all made sense. So – the book. I really loved it. The story was intense, the feelings so real I could feel them sometimes with the characters.  I laughed, I cried, and I cheered the characters on at certain points. This is the first time in awhile where I was literally brought to tears by a book and laughed within the same amount of time – and this has it all! I remembered reading “Flat Out Love” and loving the humor in the story, even amoungts such a heartbreaking story, and this one had that same aspect. You would feel intense sorrow for the characters but then something light would ha.ppen and you would laugh. It’s a great combination.  The storyline and message was absolutely powerful and intense.  It was a page turner and a book where I was also sad to see it end, I could definetly read more about these characters.  I liked that the storyline felt real, that is always important to me too.  My best summation of what I felt like the book portrayed was that it showed how much strengh it takes to let go and trust someone, and learn how to love, learn how to allow yourself to be loved.  Now, the romance was of course super intese, hot, romantic, and sexy.  It was..a leap from the “sexy scenes” in “Flat Out Love” but I’m a big girl and I enjoyed it!! I loved the title because most of us have had tough times in one way or another, but difficult times and I personally can understand what she said when she felt like she was drowning.  I thought the story was about more than drowning though, because the characters do learn to swim, to survive in the end. You see all of their strengths and their weaknesses, but strength prevails and leaves the characters stronger than the start of the story.

Characters:

I’ve already  gushed more than necessary, but I really loved the characters, even the ones in the circle around the main characters. Blythe and Chris were amazing, real, and I felt their feelings like they were mine. I could relate to them and I think that made the story that intense and “feelable.”  Estelle and Eric and Zack you didn’t see or hear as much, but when you did, it was rememberable. I did wish we got to know them more, and would love to see a second story following any of their storylines.  Now Sabin – awww – I loved him. What a great character and how I felt for him at the end, he broke my heart in many ways. I was cheering for him, and for him to find his own happiness, and I especially loved the last chapter and his part in that (don’t want to give anything away).  Sabin is someone I would love to have as my brother. Something else i loved that Park did was bring the characters together, I love how she met Sabin and Chris in the same day but different ways and these ways showed the difference in their character.  I love that when she realized who they were to each other, it fit. Her family unit sort of found her and then James at the end. When Chris and Blythe were not together, when she found out he was with someone else – I cannot even tell you how hard my heart broke, I literally had a tear in my eye for Blythe. Her sense of rightness above all and that they would be together in the end honestly soothed me even, allowed me to continue reading. Now the ride to the house in the summer with her and James when I wasn’t sure if she would go to Chris’s big event or NOT – killed me, when she told James to pull off and then saw the siblings running across a parking lot – I had butterflies in my stomach. I was cheering for them all. And I loved knowing them all. Park builds beautiful characters and family units, I read “Flat Out Love”, “Flat Out Matt” and also “Relatively Famous” and in every story I loved the characters and most of all their connections – to their loves and to their families and friends. She is able to write beautiful connections and create a beautiful story with real/full characters.

Overall Rating:

Now, I haven’t gotten my rating system 100% defined yet but this book is a 5 THUMBS up! Buy it, read it, keep it, read it again! This is something I could really see myself reading again, and again. I am kind of cheesy with books like this – I will read books over but more than that I read parts of books over and over.  If there is a part I love, I flag it and sometimes when I need it, I’ll just flip to that section and read it again..

In the end, read this and you will love it!  I just cannot tell everyone enough. It comes out on July 16th, across all media forms.  I am super thankful to Netgalley who gave me the ARC so I could review it. So, please pick it up. “Left Drowning” is a beautiful, intense, romantic story with amazing depth and breadth…the story is about drowning, but also about learning to swim again.

Quotes I adored in this story:

“He puts his hand on my cheek. “You were left drowning.” I nod again.  “And you’re struggling to breathe.” I am.  It’s a constant struggle to stay near the surface.  I have just enough air to stop me from totally going under, but not enough to thrive.  “So do it.  Breathe.  Just Breathe.” He turns up the volume and strokes my hair.

“You have the here and the now, ” Chris says.  “You have a future.  Deal with the past so you can stop looking back.  It’s just pain.”

“You need songs that make you feel.  Some make you strong, some make you weak.  Some build determination, some tear you apart.  But you need all of those.”

“I am overwhelmingly in love with you,” Chris says as he matches my steps. **GUSH**

“We run through the remnants of our pain, and more importantly, we run for our present and for our future.  Together we kick heartbreak’s ass.”

So if you love that, get the book and read it! And tell me what you think!!

Happy Reading!

Kelley

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“Left Drowning” By Jessica Park comes out today!! Check out this exclusive Excerpt!!

Left Drowning by Jessica Park Excerpt

Hey Everyone! If you read my blog at all, you know I LOVE Jessica  Park and her writing and I was able to get this exclusive excerpt of her new book — out TODAY — for everyone to check out, so I hope you enjoy! I’ll also be reposting my review later in celebration of the day today – so check that out later this morning! Check out the link above for the excerpt from the book!

Left Drowning

 

 

Happy Tuesday and enjoy!!

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“Forever You” By Sandi Black – Review

Forever You (Forever Trilogy, #2)

“Forever You” By Sandi Lynn

Published: June 4, 2013

How I received the book: Purchased from Amazon for Kindle

Summary from GoodReads:

New York Times bestselling novel, Forever You is the highly demanded sequel to USA Today’s Bestseller, Forever Black.

Connor Black’s life consisted of his company and his use of multiple women. There was never going to be love, relationships, or a fairy-tale life. Emotionally dead and damaged, that stemmed from a personal tragedy, Connor Black vowed never to feel any emotion or fall in love with a woman. That was true until Ellery Lane walked into his life by accident and changed his life forever. He begins experiencing feelings and emotions that he never felt before and finds himself being drawn into her world.

You took the journey with Connor and Ellery as their love, courage, and strength were put to the test. You watched their worlds come together through her eyes in Forever Black, and now it’s time to take the journey through his in Forever You.

What I Thought:

I read “Forever Black” and absolutely loved it, so I was more than excited to hear this was coming out and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. When I first started reading it – I was so glad to be back in their life. I liked how this story was from his point of view and whild it covered key moments from the first story, it also took you further and into the “now” in the book anyway.. If you know the story, you know it is a story of learning to trust somone and overcome true fear that has been so deeply seeded it’s impossible to imagine getting it out of the way. In this case, you get to see what really happened to Connor and why he was the way he “was” before Ellery. I found that whole back story and the sudden change in his life when she came into it wonderful.. It was like he was in love before he even realized it.. It’s always interesting to see things from a male POV – one of the things i really enjoy about literature right now as more and more  authors are doing this.. It seems not funny, but…curious to be that women see falling in love as a grand experience and men find it horrifying or impossible..haha. Either way guys, we get you one way or the other and if it’s right – well it’s right? I really again, don’t want to give any spoilers but I really enjoyed reading more of their story and seeing Connor’s history as well.

The Characters:

I already went through the characters in my first review for “Forever Black” and I will link that review below – so I won’t go over everything, but I do want to go over some things I learned about Connor from reading this book. I really saw into his deep fear that he was bad for Ellery, that he would hurt or destroy her if he got too close and his real fear this was a possibility. I saw a strong person at the same time, who saw a therapist to try and help himself and who did the best he could in an unimaginable situation.. I cannot imagine carrying the burden he did for so long – and I think that he deserves at the very least his happily ever after. Just like in life, I believe no one is perfect – but each of us is perfect for someone else, meant to balance them out – and that describes Connor and Ellery more than any other way I could describe. You see how far Connor really grew in this book and I loved that – seeing the change Ellery brought in him, even if it terrified him at the moment. The fact he loved her enough to take the leap says it all – he is a good guy!

The Take-Away:

My take-away from this book is to get it. I think the cost is like $2.99 and it’s well worth that for the read. If you are a fan of the first book, then you better get this like..today! If you haven’t read the first book, check that out first and then come back to this. I think this is definetly something you want to read in order, because without that you will be missing key information that could ruin the story for you. The only negative I had at all was that some of the writing seemed..disjointed, kind of skipping around – and would rush from topic to topic without fluency. I love Sandi’s writing so it was something I did notice here – and maybe that’s the way Connor’s brain was supposed to come across, I just like books to really …flow… However, I still really  enjoyed the book and would absolutely reccommend it to anyone who enjoys this type of writing.

Quotes I Loved:

“If I had one last breath left, I would use it to tell you how much I love you, because I do, and I always will.”

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“I noticed her smile when I called her beautiful. It made my heart do something weird which I can’t explain because I’ve never felt anything like it before.”

Hope you will give it a try – it’s a great read and be on the look out for “Forever Us” this fall!

Kelley

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Tuesday Teaser – Teasing you with “The Marriage Merger” by J Probst for July 9th

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• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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My Teaser today is from “The Marriage Merger” by Jennifer Probst which I’m thoroughly enjoying while trying to finish in a hurry so I can get to my ARC from a blog tour before Saturday.. Breath..That was a mouth full!

The Marriage Merger (Marriage to a Billionaire, #4)This book just won’t end for me – I’m loving it but I just haven’t had the time to read it.. Hoping next week I’ll be teasing you with something new and this review will be done too! (I made a rhyme – i must be losing it, really…)

“Wolfe needed to know there was something else out there.  Something good and whole and pure.  Something worth fighting for.  Living for.”

It’s definetly a great read and I love Jennifer Probst – keep tuned for my latest review!

Kelley

 

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Sunday Salon – July 7th

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Happy Sunday Everyone! And welcome to the Sunday Salon —

This week I thought I would discuss my current reading habits – well they have been terrible, no other way to say it. I just got a new job at work, which of course means more of the work to do so I can “pull my weight” — so I’ve left myself with very little time to read/review/etc.. I have been “trying” to keep up with posting and letting you guys know what I’m up to and reading – but I have NEVER taken so long to read a book. I think I’m going on 2 weeks with my current book and not done still!! The sad thing is I really, really love the book and the writer – it’s just – i can’t find the time to finish it..

Yesterday, in lieu of all of this – I took some time yesterday to prioritize my TBR list and make some  new goals for the blog and try and get caught up on reviews. I made some awesome headway and really feel like I’m over my hump and can get back to what I love most – reading! I also got 2 reviews done –wow! So now i’m pumped up and excited to get this going again —

Share– have any of you gone through a “slump” with reading and blogging? Had trouble making the time to actually do the reading between work, the reviews, and keeping up the blog itself? Happy to take any advice on how to manage everything – I think I got into blogging before I fully understood the time requirements, and while I don’t regret it for one second, I just need to find a way to better balance. The one thing I have discovered is the publish later feature on WordPress -so when I have time, like yesterday, I can write a few things and set them up to post, I don’t even have to remember to go back and post them – how awesome is that?? If I can do this each weekend, then through the week is enjoy other people’s blogs, comment, read, and post my stuff to Twitter and Facebook and other MiMi sites – haven’t found a way to “pre post” that stuff yet..

Anyway, I had a great and productive weekend and just wanted to gush a little bit over the “little” learning I had this weekend from WordPress and the cool new things I could do, plus my “epiphany” of how to manage things, at least for right now..

Hope you guys had a great Sunday and will have an Awesome Monday!

Kelley

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