The Simple Wild (Wild #1) – K.A. Tucker

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Published August 7, 2018

Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.


Just putting this out there. One of my favorite reads of 2019. This was such an emotional and great read for me, I don’t think anything can really live up to it this year.

This book is about Calla who is 26 and has lived in Toronto since she’s been a little girl. Her mother left Alaska with her when she was a toddler because she couldn’t handle the wild, like her father did, a man who’s blood and soul lived and breathed in the Alaska wild. From the time they left, Calla tried to keep in touch with her father, hoping one day he’d get on a plane to see her instead of piloting through the wild to see everyone else but her, and her mother. The final straw came when her graduation rolled around and although he promised, he didn’t show. And since then she refused to even pick up the phone when the Alaska area code would show up.

Calla’s mother had moved on, with Simon and he’s been such a great father figure to Calla, one day when she gets a phone call from a woman in Alaska telling her that her birth-father has cancer and is starting treatment soon, and how he’d like to see her. With Simon’s advice, Calla packs her bags and heads off to the Alaskan wild. Calla meets Jonah who flies her from Anchorage to Bangor to start this journey of truly meeting her father, but Jonah and Calla’s relationship doesn’t start off too great. The two of them begin as not the best of friends. But my goodness, there’s so much to Jonah, so many little nuggets of him that you just can’t help loving more and more. Same thing with everyone featured in Bangor.

Other than the romance portion of this book reeling me in, since it was more of a slow burn than anything which is something I totally love. I live for slow burn romance with that tension and just ugh! It’s so great. The relationship between Calla and Wren was something that like really got me. And I think it’s because I connected to it in a way. My dad always traveled as a kid, he spent like 4 years overseas when I was a kid working with this company in Indonesia, and then he lived in a different state for my whole high school and some of college years, mind you, he and my mother are not separated. He just took jobs that allowed him to take care of his family the best he could. But, I feel like I connected with Calla and Wren’s relationship because my dad was absent a bit in my formative years and now that I’m an adult, married with a kid, he and I connect more often. We have this growing bond and so it made it so easy for me to appreciate all aspects of this book.

It’s such a great read, really well written, and again, probably a 2019 favorite/top read.

5/5 Stars

The Stopover (The Miles High Club #1) – T.L. Swan

The Stopover by T.L. Swan
Published September 26, 2019

I was upgraded to first class on a flight from London to New York.

The food, champagne, and service were impeccable.

The blue-eyed man sitting next to me, even better.

He was suave and intelligent.

We talked and laughed, and something clicked.

Fate took over and the plane was grounded, and we had an unexpected stopover for the night.

With no plans, we made our own.

We danced and laughed our way around Boston and had a night of crazy passion that no woman would ever forget.

That was twelve months ago, and I haven’t heard from him—until today.

I started a new job and met the CEO. You can imagine my surprise to see those naughty blue eyes dance with delight when he saw me across the mahogany desk.

But I’m not that carefree girl anymore. My life has changed, I have responsibilities.

I just got an email.

He wants to see me in his office for a private meeting at 8:00 a.m.

Naughty blue eyes have no place in the workplace.

What kind of private meeting does he have in mind?


So, let’s be honest, if you’ve seen my goodreads shelf, you’ll notice I’ve been reading a lot of romance and smutty stuff. Not sure why or how I got looped into this genre, but I did, and I’m not complaining. I’m not complaining because I stumbled upon many books I enjoyed, and even this one. I seriously enjoyed this book. I was reading so many enemy to lovers books and such, and there were so many books that just went by so quickly that I never fully felt satisfied with the book. With this book clocking in at just over 500 pages it took me a little longer to get through and I was so happy that this book had a slight slow burn and ups and downs that it did.

This story follows Emily who is trying to get home from a wedding in London, is waiting to check in her bags and some guy just flips out on her. So she gets upgraded to first class where she meets a guy who is super smooth, and there’s a crazy spark between the two of them. With inclement weather on the way to New York, the plane touches down in Boston where they spend the night together. A year later Emily gets the job of her dreams at Miles media company and as she goes to meet the CEO, she’s face to face with the man from the stopover.

So that’s just the beginning of all of this. And oh my god does this story turn into a hell of a roller coaster. I couldn’t stop reading, even to the point where my husband was like “uhhh, are you going to sleep anytime soon?” There’s so much between Emily and Jameson Miles, and I couldn’t get enough of it. The way they grow together, clash, burn and even blossom together it’s a great and it doesn’t happen in a quick 300 pages like most of these books do.

Things pick up when Emily finds out someone is selling stories to a rival media company, and brings things up to Jameson and his brother Tristan who run the New York office. They set her up to feed in fake stories to figure out who is selling stories. It really has such a great plot outside of the romance aspect of this which is why I enjoyed it so much. I don’t think I would have if it did. And Emily is also a strong female character rivaling Jameson’s alpha male personality.

I honestly couldn’t recommend this book enough to people who enjoy the romance/smut genre.

4/5 Stars

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler – Kelly Harms

The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
Published May 1, 2019

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.


Amy Byler is a single mom taking care of her 15 year old daughter and 12 year old son, her husband went to Hong Kong for business and never came back, deciding to abandon their family and live on his own and eventually move onto a younger woman. And suddenly Amy is in a drug store and BAM! her ex-husband John is right there by the band-aids. And from there, Amy’s life just starts to change. I wouldn’t even know how to begin to deal with that, but Amy keeps it together and deals with the shit-storm like she always does. Coming back home after being gone for three years, John tries to make things better by offering to spend time with the kids he’s missed over the summer.

With being relieved of her motherly duties, Amy begins to focus on herself. She books a trip to NYC and gets tickets to a librarian conference she’s been wanting to go to. She reunites herself with an old friend who works at a magazine and they come to the idea of “momspringa” where as a mom, one leaves the nest and takes a vacation to get away. Although, conflicted with the feeling of abandoning her kids, Amy comes to terms with “momspringa” and starts coming into her own, learning who she is once again now that her kids are getting older and less dependent on her. She even finds a summer fling in Daniel, the sexy librarian.

This book is SO GREAT. It’s funny, entertaining and really kind of pulls at your heart. It’s such a great book about finding ones self and really figuring out who you are after a time of being lost. I, as a new mom have begun to feel a bit lost in who I am. I spend all day at work, go get my son, head home, put him to bed, and do some chores around the house and that’s pretty much it. I could understand Amy in how she feels like she’s lost her own identity. I feel like that’s why Amy is such a great character. She’s a woman who’s put herself aside for the well being of her family, who has sacrificed as much as she can and still perseveres and finally gets her time to figure out herself and really does take that leap to find out what she wants in life.

There’s a lot of wit, laughter, smiles, and even sometimes I was on the brink of tears or sadness for her, but I have to say, I think this book is actually one of my favorite 2019 reads. I was apprehensive when I first picked it up, but really diving into this book, I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone.

4/5 Stars

Dr. Strange Beard – Penny Reid

Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid
Published July 30, 2018

Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak

Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.

Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .

Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.

But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .


So last year I stumbled across these books. The Winston Brothers series by Penny Reid. And oh. my. goodness. was I hooked. I couldn’t stop reading these and I read 4 books one right after the other until I got hit with the “you have to wait for the next book to come out” train. It was so upsetting, and I didn’t keep track of the release of this book, until the beginning of this year, I was in the mood for a quick little romance, so I checked in on the status of the book, and my lord, it was published! So naturally I decided to devour this book.

I did, it took me about a day and a half to get through this and it didn’t disappoint. You don’t get much of Roscoe in the previous books, to be honest, I feel like he and Billy are the two brothers who you don’t really get much info on as a whole through the series, so I was really happy to get to know more about this character.

I usually feel like the books in this series kind of fall flat in terms of plot, and I felt as though this book was the only book that really had an engaging plot/sub-plot throughout the book. And it might just be that side of me that’s obsessed with crime/drama so it totally hit the spot in terms of plot outside of the love interest plot.

If you enjoy reading romance/contemporary romance, and you’re looking for a new series, please pick this series up. It’s really entertaining, I’ve never felt unsatisfied from any of these books and they’re just really fun to read.

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

13522285 The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
Published: August 27, 2013

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.


 

I started this book and was enjoying it for the most part, but then it started becoming like every other contemporary I’ve read. Which is super frustrating. I really want to enjoy contemporaries and I feel like the world is against me with these books!

The plot feels super flat, like nothing really dramatic happens and it just feels like a semi-rip off of Paper Towns (figuring out the why this girl you’re dating all of a sudden stops consistently coming to school) and Looking For Alaska (tragic event that ends up looping to a close a the end of the book).

I enjoyed both of those books, but The Beginning of Everything really didn’t have much to offer. Ezra wasn’t that great of a character, and Cassidy was even worse I do believe. I found no common ground or ties to any of the characters and just found the whole book pretty bland.

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Review: Me and Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

12700353Me Earl and The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Published : March 1st, 2012

“Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.”

I’ve always wanted to read this book. And I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t read it sooner. I always saw it on the shelf at the store and I thought it was such a beautiful cover buy, but when I heard what it was about I knew I had to get it and I knew that I had to read it.

A good friend of mine from high school passed away from cancer two years after we graduated in 2009. So he passed away the year this book was published, actually, he passed away a month before it was published. So I always try to find books that can embody the feeling of losing someone at that age, in that way.

I never thought I would find a comparison of those feelings in this book. Which surprised me so much. I loved this writing style of seeing everything through Greg’s eyes. How this was his work of “non-fiction” and him really speaking through his feelings. He’d honestly tell the reader how he felt bad about what he said or how it was rude or inconsiderate and I really appreciated that insight into a character.

But I also loved how when it came down to it, it got to the raw feeling of how much it sucks to see your friend just not have any fight left after going through the grueling sickness that is cancer. It made my heart swell with feeling when I read how Greg truly felt about seeing Rachel go through all this. And it just hit a spot within myself where I really appreciate the truth of it. Because when I was 19, that’s how I felt about my friend and his cancer.

So needless to say, I appreciate this work for what it is. I thank Jesse Andrews for the laughter and fun and the swift read that Me and Earl and The Dying Girl is, but I also thank him for making a book that finally grasped what it truly felt like to go through something like that at that age. Probably a top 3 read of 2015 for me so far.

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Review: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang

18163646Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang
Published : September 9, 2014

Summary: “On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher”

Fist off I’d like to say that I personally, haven’t read If I Stay by Gayle Forman yet, but I’ve heard that if you like that book, that this is something very similar to I recommend it to those people.

I’d also like to start this review with a disclaimer that I’m not the biggest contemporary fan. I picked this book up on a whim from my daily BookBub e-mails that send me e-book deals. So I think I got this book for like 99 cents or something and I didn’t really expect to like it. But holy crap it kind of hooked me from start to finish. I’ve been having a crazy few weeks with moving my boyfriend into his new home, job searching, interviews and just helping out my mom whose recently come home from a five month stay at the hospital. I’ve been in a reading slump/had no time to read.

So last night I thought, well, I’m not in the mood to keep reading The Goblet of Fire, and I’m not really in the mood for Egg & Spoon. So I dove into this hoping for the best.

And Amy Zhang just wrote this is such an interesting way that I couldn’t put it down.  This book is written in a non-linar way (so it doesn’t go chronologically it jumps from past and present). And it’s about this girl Liz who decides to end her life by crashing her car. And her classmate finds her and the book just goes back and forth between Liz’s wrong-doings and her life and relationship between her mother, her friends, her enemies, her classmates, her teachers, and so on and so forth. The book though is written in a narration that isn’t Liz. At first I thought it was her dead father but when they started referencing the dad, I knew it wasn’t him. But the narrator ends up being Liz’s imaginary friend from when she was a child.

I really enjoyed this book because it just kind of made you question how your actions really effect other people. And why do you do the things you do/done. It kind of pushes the limits and had you sit back for a second and just kind of question yourself and what you’ve done and if you have done anything negative, why and how did it effect certain people. I think Zhang wrote this book with a better purpose than just a story and entertainment, and I have to tip my hat to her.

I admit I did shed a few tears towards the end but, overall this book has my good graces and many rounds of applause. The narration was great, the writing was wonderful, light and easy to just breeze through. Almost as though each and every single word was chosen so carefully. Each character was broken down slowly and almost to a point where they were just completely stripped and you knew the ins and outs of everyone and each person was just so different and had their own little world of issues and strengths and weaknesses.

All in all this book was just, pure genius. Complex yet simple, and beautifully thought provoking and heart-wrenching.

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