Author: Sarah J Maas
Title: Heir of Fire
Genre(s): Fantasy; Young adult; Romance
Utterly gripping chapter of Celaena's journey that will leave you wanting more
This series truly gets better with each installment. This makes me feel both ecstatic and sad because I cannot wait to start diving into the next book AND I will be incredibly sorrowful once I am done reading the series. Thankfully, books are meant to be read more than once ;)
In Heir of Fire readers get the chance to see Celaena during one of her most vulnerable times. Her future, as well as the future of her kingdom is hanging on by a thread that feels as though it will be cut at any moment. Celaena travels to a new place where she encounters an ancient Fae warrior who helps her to harness and better understand her power. During this process, her deepest fears are exposed not only to herself, but to the one training her. She works day in and day out to prevent those fears from taking control of her. However, there are many moments when they become too strong and she falls weak to their impact. It was captivating to read about her change in character from the spicy, audacious, and mouthy young woman we are used to from the previous installments. She is truly teetering on the edge of self-implosion during Heir of Fire, which makes it an incredibly emotional read. There were countless times when I (quite literally) started talking to her out loud, telling her to be strong and to conquer her fears. As I was doing that I realized how truly invested I became in not only Celaena, but all of the characters in this series. Sarah really knows how to make the characters relatable despite it being a fantasy.
This installment also comes with the introduction to many new characters, all who play a vital role in the story and add depth and new dynamics to the plot. The Fae warrior, Rowan, is by far my favorite addition. He reflects Calaena's grit, strength, and perseverance making them the perfect dueling couple. His hatred for her and her portrayed weaknesses is unmatched and he definitely conveys his distaste for her during their grueling training sessions. However, as time goes on and her fears are played out, he learns to admire her strength and ability to pull herself from darkness.
Usually at this point in a series, I tend to become bored because plots often become lackluster and they tend to lose the original adventure. That being said, Sarah certainly knows how to continue the excitement from one book to the next because I find myself enjoying the later installments even more than the original. This hardly ever happens for me. Several subplots are introduced throughout Heir of Fire, all of which contained a new adventure for various characters. I cannot express my love for this series enough. If you are looking for a fantasy series slam packed with character intrigue and development, reasonable twists and turns, perfectly executed plot, and awesome scene descriptions then I would recommend picking this one up!
Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?
The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Times best-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.
Author: Suzanne Wright
Title: Feral Sins - The Phoenix Pack
Genre(s): Erotica; Fantasy; Paranormal; Romance; Shapeshifters
Sexual tension overload with minimal character development
Holy freakin' cannoli. I felt like I needed to go to a confessional (even though I don't practice Catholicism) after finishing this novel with its highly sexualized plot, vulgar language, and lack of character development. Suzanne packs Feral Sins: The Phoenix Pack full to the brim with sexual tension leaving it so dense it was hard to see any other aspects of the story come through. I am all for a hot and steamy read, but I feel this book takes "erotica" to a whole new level leaving readers teetering at the climax, but feeling unfulfilled by the lack of depth and emotional intelligence.
With the overarching plot line involving a hate to love dynamic between the main characters, it felt like too easy of a transition to have Taryn and Trey despise one another in the beginning, only to have them inseparable (literally) in the end. The transition between their dislike for one another to their infatuation seemed a bit hard pressed and only seemed to occur because of their sexual tension. I understand that love stories like this happen in our every day reality, maybe not to the extreme outlined in Feral Sins: The Phoenix Pack, but it can happen. What I had a hard time clinging to was their development as a couple because it is written as though the sex between Taryn and Trey was just that good that it evoked an incredibly strong bond, which ultimately led to them falling in love. There was very minimal explanation about how they adore one another's personalities or anything to do with the very essence of what it means to love a person (not their genitals). I acknowledge this is a very saucy review, but I have higher expectations for the erotica genre because if we are all being honest I think that sexual fiend (no matter how tiny) within us really enjoys a naughty read. But I like my naughty with a healthy side of relationship growth.
Now...I think it's time for me to move on to the aspects of the novel I did enjoy. Suzanne has a keen eye for fantasy as it was clear throughout the book how shape shifters are different from mortals. There was a clear distinction between how a pack functions as it's own micro-society compared to the outside world. Suzanne also wrote from the perspective of the individual, as well as their wolf, which was a format I have not seen before. Additionally, the supporting characters were even more likable than Taryn and Trey! Several of them added a good dose of humor that made me laugh out loud. Overall, Feral Sins: The Phoenix Pack is a quartz in the rough. If you're down for a hyper-sexual couple that quickly shift gears from hating one another to finding it impossible to stop fornicating then this book is for you! If you need a bit more depth and strive to read books that do not blur the plot with sexual tension, then you might want to take a pass on this one.
If your inner wolf and your body react rather enthusiastically to a psychotic Alpha male who’s own wolf has a tendency to turn feral, it can’t be a good thing, can it? Entering into a bargain with him wouldn’t be good either. Unfortunately, Taryn Warner, a latent wolf shifter, doesn’t have many options open to her right now. Okay, she has no options. Basically it comes down to whether she’ll do what it takes to escape the arranged mating with the sick SOB that her father set up. As the answer in this case is yes, it looks as though she’ll have to agree to Trey Coleman’s deal… she’ll have to mate with him instead.
Having always disliked shifter politics, Trey Coleman hadn’t bothered trying to form alliances with other packs. Now that his uncle – a wolf with many alliances – means to take Trey’s territory and his pack, he has no option but to form some alliances of his own very quickly or he’ll be easily outnumbered in the upcoming battle. He figures that the easiest way to do that would be to mate with a female whose Alpha is powerful and influential. There’s only one problem with that – he would then be stuck with her, and the last thing Trey wants is a mate. When he hears of Taryn’s situation, he offers her a deal – if she falsely claims he’s her true mate and allows him to claim her, he’ll save her from her arranged mating and then let her leave after the battle with his uncle is over.
Sounds like a pretty straightforward deal...but soon Taryn and Trey realize they got more than they bargained for. Their mating instincts to protect and possess are weighing on them, they crave each other’s touch and company, and their inner wolves don’t like it whenever they’re apart. Add in that they’ll have to deal with this for an entire three months until the day of the battle finally arrives, and they’ve got themselves a recipe for disaster – or maybe for something quite the opposite.
Warning: This novel contains an extremely sarcastic Alpha female, a broody possessive Alpha male, bitter in-laws, voyeuristic enforcers, a whole lot of dirty talk, and steamy bedroom battles for dominance. Reader Advisory: This book also contains a graphic ménage scene - not for the faint-hearted.
Author: Sarah Williams
Title: The Outback Governess
Genre(s): Contemporary romance
Sweet family-focused romance with a rustic vibe
This is the second novel I have read by Sarah Williams. She also wrote The Brothers of Brigadier Station, which is a steamy and sensual romance that takes place in the outback of Australia. After reading that book I was super excited to read The Outback Governess, which follows a young woman as she begins her new post teaching two little girls and a little boy with autism after their mother passed away. I found the overall feel of the novel to be sweet, caring, and sensual. Paige comes across as a lovely young woman who truly has a passion for teaching children. It was amazing to watch her affection for Logan's children grow at such a quick rate and I also enjoyed reading how the children took to her so well after losing their mother so young. This part of the book was so incredibly touching, especially learning how compassionate and competent Paige was with Scotty, despite his difficulties with having autism. Sarah's descriptions of Scotty's autism were so on point for a high functioning individual. She created a character with all the hallmark symptoms, so it made that aspect of the plot feel genuine and authentic.
Logan suffered a tragic loss when his wife passed away at an early age from cancer. He buried himself in his work and it became clear that it was difficult for him to engage with his children after her passing. Initially, Logan comes across as cold and aloof when it comes to his family. I found this somewhat irritating because I have a huge soft spot for kiddos. However, this start gave his character a lot of room to develop over the storyline and he definitely fulfilled all the expectations I had! His relationship with Paige also started out rocky, but his children and the love they both shared for them ultimately healed a lot of their difficulties. Overall, I found The Outback Governess to be the perfect summer romance if you are looking for something lighter in density. What I mean by this is the story was told in a quick way, therefore making it a fast-paced read.
That being said, this is what I did not like about the book...Compared to Sarah's other work, I found it hard to be fully committed to these characters. I am not sure if it was because there was not enough pages (under 180) to get all the necessary details down, but I felt like I was lacking a connection despite how much I enjoyed their story. As I mentioned earlier, it came across as sweet. There were so many moments where I wanted to have a greater reaction, but the characters briefly had a description of their own emotional reaction. This made it hard for me to connect and feel what the characters felt.
When special-needs teacher Paige, takes up the position of Governess for three young children in the Queensland outback, she has no idea just how much and how quickly she would come to love the dusty, dry country, and the family who desperately need her.
Logan was heartbroken when his wife died, leaving him to raise their three children with the help of his aging parents on their remote cattle station. To avoid the constant reminder of the love he lost, he works on a mine in Mt Isa, meaning he only sees his family week on, week off.
But then tragedy strikes and Paige and Logan are forced to work together to look after the children, alone on the station. As well as being their teacher, Paige also becomes a substitute mother and teaches Logan how to be a parent again. A role he has avoided since losing his wife.
Can Paige bring the family back together or have the wounds of the past cut too deep?
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Title: Save the Date
Genre(s): Women's fiction; Chicklit; Romance; Fiction
Relatable and inspiring story of perseverance and love
If you are looking for a book that will make you laugh out loud, feel frustrated, feel hopeful, cry, and feel inspired then look no further. Save the Date is an expertly written tale of a woman who has faced much adversity and still manages to strive for purpose and success. The main character, Cara Kryzik, has experienced significant loss in her life in a variety of ways. However, she shows such strength as she pushes through the tragedies and maintains focus on her goals. Her character is strong-willed, passionate, kind, insightful, and inspiring. If you enjoy reading about women who push through anything and everything that comes their way then I think you will find Save the Date and Cara's character to be right up your alley.
The setting of this book takes place in Savannah, Georgia. This happens to be one of my favorite cities, so I found that aspect of the plot to be fun. Mary Kay did the southern lifestyle justice with her authentic perspective of ladies who lunch, southern belles, and handsome gentlemen. Her description of the city itself was spot on as well, which made the novel feel more genuine...almost as if I was truly watching a scene unfold in the historic district of downtown Savannah. The supporting characters were such a hoot and added a lot of depth to the plot. Mary Kay's portrayal of southern brides and their mothers was right on the dot. It was hysterical to read about the situations Cara encountered as the florist when it came to pleasing her privileged brides. For the entirety of the book, I found myself rooting for Cara and hoping she would find love that would lead to her own wedding. Her relationship with Jack Finnerty will keep you entertained and hopeful. He has his own turmoil to navigate through, but his southern charm and desire to please Cara made him a winner in my book.
The thing I did not like about this book...Over the years I have read a lot of Indie books from authors who I know could not afford expert editing. However, those same authors paid a lot of attention to minor mistakes and developed novels that were edited in a way I could expect for a professionally published novel to be. There were so many grammatical mistakes and oversights that Save the Date had that I could not go without saying. This rating would have been five stars if it were not for those mistakes. I will note the majority of them were towards the last quarter, but they were significant enough that I would have to reread a paragraph because the error changed the entire meaning at times. For me, this is unacceptable and frustrating when I spend money to purchase a book that was not given enough attention to detail.
Up-and-coming floral designer Cara Kryzik is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for Savannah society nuptials. The only problem is, life seems to be conspiring against her. Cara's implacable father, "The Colonel", doesn't believe in Cara's business savvy and is about to call in his twenty-thousand-dollar loan. Then, on the morning that someone steals her dog, Cara's refrigerator goes on the blink, turning twelve thousand dollars' worth of gorgeous blooms into road kill. And if that's not enough, the dog-napper, Jack Finnerty, turns up at her latest wedding and then mysteriously leaves her stranded on the dance floor.
All this turmoil will be solved if Cara can pull off the lavish Trappnell-Strayhorn wedding. The payday will solve all her problems—even the looming problem of a celebrated florist named Cullen Keane who is moving into her turf from Charleston. But the wedding is in six weeks, the bride is acting strangely (even for a bride) and the stepmother of the bride is becoming Cara's biggest headache. What Cara needs is to focus, but that's not easy when Jack is turning up at every wedding in Savannah (the man seems to know everybody), with Cara in his sights and seduction on his mind.
When Brooke Trappnell spirals into a shocking crisis and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must come to the rescue and figure out what she really believes in. Is it love? Is it her own strength? In the end, for everyone, "Save the Date" has more meanings than one. Told with Mary Kay Andrews's trademark wit and keen eye for detail, Save the Date is one you won't want to miss.
Author: Deanna Browne
Genre(s): Science fiction & fantasy; Action & adventure
A perfect concoction of a well-manufactured plot, engaging characters, and setting descriptions
When I first began reading Hooked I felt like I was in a mixed world that was inspired by Divergent and Ready, Player One. Ari (our main character) is a teenager trapped in a society that has been taken over by virtual reality. However, she does not fit in well with this facet of the world for many reasons. Ari's father was caught in a virtual reality coma, which leads her to fearing the same thing may happen to her. Additionally, she is incredibly bright and intuitive, therefore making it difficult for the virtual reality scenes to feel authentic for her. During the beginning of the book, readers learn that Ari tends to run away from anything that makes her uncomfortable. In a way this is her defense mechanism or coping strategy when things become too much for her to handle. Surprisingly, she finds herself in a position of power when the day of her assignment comes. Ari's character is one that I found myself rooting for because she naturally goes against the grain of what society expects of her. She has a different perspective from her peers and this makes her stand out.
Looking at the novel from a bird's eye view made me realize how scary it would be to live in a world that was ruled by virtual reality and neglected the basic ideal of what it means to be alive and to be human. I think Deanna did an amazing job at pulling this theme throughout the book without making it sound preachy. Readers will get a glimpse into the dangers of living on the edge of human reality and virtual technology. Additionally, the dynamic characters made it a fun ride as they each contributed to the plot and to the world that was created.
What I did not like about this book...I think there were some aspects that seemed a little dry when it came to inspiration. For example, when Ari is given her assignment I felt I was literally reading Divergent. I obviously don't know if this story was inspired by that series, but I would be surprised if it was not. This part could have used a little more creativity from my perspective, but it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.
I would highly recommend Hooked if you are a fan of technologically savvy young adult dystopian novels.
When virtual reality surpasses people’s wildest dreams, many struggle to remain in the real world. Sixteen-year-old Ari has watched the financial and emotional cost of virtual reality addiction for years as her father continues barely existing in a VR coma. Unfortunately, her only option to help her family escape poverty is if she studies the one subject she hates and fears: virtual reality programming.
Despite her misgivings, Ari soon develops a rare talent that makes her question everything. Now she must hide her ability or risk becoming a priceless commodity that governments and corporations will fight, steal or even kill to possess. As officials tighten the shackles surrounding Ari, she rebels against her imposed future and searches for a way to save those she loves. Yet, running proves impossible, when the government is always one click away.
Author: Jack Lauriger
Title: Clarissa Awakening
Genre(s): Contemporary; Women's fiction; Sensual erotica
A quick beach read with a relatable plot
When Jack first reached out to me for a review I was really excited to dig into Clarissa Awakening because I've never read a novel from the perspective of a female lead that was written by a man. I think it is quite a difficult task to write from any perspective that is vastly different from one's own and Jack was able to accomplish this in a way that felt effortless. As I was reading, there was no indication that Clarissa's character was written by a man and her womanly qualities never felt diminished or out of touch.
Clarissa is a strong female lead as a mother, wife, and hard working employee. She is in the process of navigating motherhood, a dwindling intimacy between her and her husband, and a difficult work force with big changes. A majority of the novel follows Clarissa as she makes her way through the journey related to each area of her life. Jack paints a truly domestic picture of Clarissa's life, which made her feel relatable and that I wanted to root for her progress. There were several scenes that made me laugh out loud, specifically when she is caring for her children. The overall vibe of this book felt very light, which makes it a great weekend or beach read. I found Clarissa's sexual exploration of herself to be genuine and Jack's scene descriptions of those situations felt easy and authentic. I would definitely classify them as sensual eroticism, as they were not "hardcore," but still descriptive enough to cross the line from sweet romance to erotica.
What I did not like about this book...There were several supporting characters that could have added so much more quality to the novel and plot. However, those characters were more talked about instead of having their own dialogue. This made it hard to connect with not only them, but with Clarissa and her life. If these characters had participated more through dialogue and their own points of view, the novel would have been more enriched and felt more alive. Additionally, there were several times when Clarissa had flashbacks or descriptions of her past occurred. There was not a smooth transition between the present and past; therefore, I often felt confused about the timeline and which part of her life I was reading about. More clear distinctions of the scene would have been helpful to follow her journey more easily.
Women’s romance – summer read vacation companion. A storyline which threads a perfect blend of provocative humour mixed with just the ocassional erotica. The launch of a six series of books.
Clarissa, the central character, a supporting wife, mother of two growing up children and successful career person, wakes one day to the reality that her life was once different; a time before a life dominated by responsibilities and social correctness. The pivotal moment is as she recalls her train journey shared with an incidental elderly woman.
Just as Clarissa calls her present life into question, things take a sudden and unexpected turn when she’s asked by her bosses to spend six months abroad. From that moment Clarissa’s life changes dramatically. The introduction to new friends has her embarking on a journey of intimate rediscovery; a journey which, by the end of the series, will ultimately introduce her to an entirely new and lasting understanding of personal happiness and fulfilment. A private life is a happy life.
Author: Julie Coons
Title: This Does Not Leave This House
Genre(s): Nonfiction; Autobiography; Memoir
*Not suitable for children under the age of 18
A bold and emotional telling that will leave a big impression on readers
I do not normally review autobiographies, but when Julie reached out to me with a description of her book, I could not resist taking a deeper look into her tumultuous past and how she overcame so much adversity. This book is most certainly not for the faint of heart, but I also know the experiences Julie outlines are incredibly common and should be talked about more in society. Rape and abuse are things we all cringe at and feel sorrowful about, but it has also become a taboo subject that does not receive the amount of attention it deserves. People who take a stand against these crimes and reveal their own experiences are incredibly brave and that is exactly what Julie did.
Julie illustrates her life events from the time she was a small child until she became an adult. Readers gain insight into the life of a victim and the consequences that occur of the mind, body, and soul when one is abused and taken advantage of. She creates vivid and painfully detailed descriptions of what she endured that at times made it difficult for me to read through. But the outcome of her bravery and strength to move forward was well worth the sorrow I had from reading about the abuse. This book is a true testament to the endurance a survivor must have to not only overcome their past, but to rebuild themselves into what they want to be and not what the abuse has shaped them into.
I would highly recommend for everyone to read this book to gain a greater understanding of what survivors of abuse go through. This is a harrowing story of a woman who was taken advantage of by multiple people, who was not shown the truth and goodness of love, and who despite all her adversities triumphed and came out on top. The memories of abuse will never go away, but they can be great teachers to motivate and influence us to make positive changes.
How does a little girl survive an abusive mother, Catholic school, rape, and a near-death experience?
Raised by an abusive, narcissistic mother (who once tried to trick her into having an abortion), Julie Coons was also raped in college by a stranger and later married an abusive man who threatened to kill her if she ever tried to leave.
Suffering from physical and mental torment resulting in very low self-esteem, Julie often felt so completely alone during the many struggles of her life that she tried to take her own life.
This book is her true story—telling all the secrets she was never allowed to tell to encourage and motivate others to heal their own lives and break the cycle of abuse.
Her story shows that there is hope and life after abuse.
Now that the secrets are finally out, Julie has found freedom.
So can you.
This Does Not Leave This House is a raw, poignant, and secret-revealing memoir written to lead a movement to break the silence of abuse and finally end its vicious cycle. With strength and resiliency, Coons provides a voice for the silent abused, letting them know they’re not alone. Justice and hope can prevail. The abused can become victorious.
Warning: Not suitable for children under 18
Author: Audrey Carlan
Genre(s): Romance; Contemporary
An erotic adventure with an admirable relationship and fantastic supporting characters
From the very first chapter of Body I could tell I was going to enjoy it. Gillian and Chase had an instantaneous chemistry that set the tone for the rest of the book. They meet at a board meeting for a non-profit charity organization that Gillian works for and Chase has a large influence over. During this time, Audrey created a humorous entry of their relationship that made it feel relatable and endearing.
Gillian's character is incredibly dynamic and I had a great time witnessing her journey. She has a dark past that creates a lot of obstacles for her and her intimate relationships, but she works incredibly hard to overcome it. Her independence shines through as she is dedicated to her work and maintains a solid relationship with her "soul sisters" throughout the development of her relationship with Chase. She also has moments of incredible vulnerability that make me like her even more. Gillian, despite her incredibly difficult past, is open to finding a loving relationship. Additionally, she is fiercely protective over her girlfriends and her long-time friend, Phillip. Although there were moments when Chase became jealous of Phillip, Gillian stood strong and worked hard to keep that relationship active.
Oh Chase. What is it about super wealthy young men who are awesomely handsome and know exactly how to please a woman? Do these men actually exist? I don't know the answer to that, but I do know they are fun to read about! Any fan of the 50 Shades of Grey saga will enjoy Chase's over-protective, domineering, and control freak side. However, in my opinion, Chase is a more evolved version in so many ways. He is very supportive of Gillian's friendships with her soul sisters and does not get in the way of her maintaining those relationships. Instead, he is almost as protective over them as she is because they mean so much to her. Chase also has a haunting past and it has certainly impacted his development. However, he does not have the same level of difficulty as some other male characters in the erotica genre. He has little to no desire to punish Gillian, instead he takes his time worshipping her body and appreciates the effects it has on him. Now, he definitely has the possessive qualities that make his persona and love making steamy, but Audrey developed his character in a much more well-rounded manner than I am used to seeing!
I have to point out that a lot of the erotica I have read seriously lacks in supporting characters. Body was not lacking in this department at all! All of Gillian's friends added a lot to the plot and to her and Chase's relationship. They each have a distinct personality and place in the storyline. On several occasions their interactions with Gillian and Chase made me laugh out loud. Audrey did such an amazing job at integrating Gillian's entire life into the story instead of just focusing on her and Chase.
As for what I did not like about this book...there were several situations that were repetitive as she was explaining what things meant. For example, Gillian and her girlfriends have the Trinity symbol tattooed on various parts of their bodies and Audrey explained what the Trinity symbol means several times. It felt more like a history lesson on repeat than an integration into Gillian's story. Additionally, she put Chase in several situations that made him look like he was not truly invested in Gillian, which was fine. However, they never really talked about it and cleared the air. Chase just tells Gillian how much she mean to him and Gillian never accurately conveys what she witnessed and how it made her feel. So those incidents felt disingenuous and off.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys steamy erotica with heartfelt characters and a solid plot.
Men ruin women.
Especially men like Chase Davis. Good looking, intelligent, rich and powerful. I never stood a chance.
I didn’t want to want him.
I didn’t want to need him.
I didn’t want to fall for him.
He wouldn’t take no for an answer, and I let him consume me. Arrogant, confident, controlling, demanding … intense.
When he entered my life, I was finally healing after having barely survived the men of my past. My soul sisters told me to take a chance. To let someone in. I let him in, and he surrounded me with a light so bright I was blinded by the truth...
Men don’t ruin women. They devour them in every way that counts.
Warning: This book is designed for audiences 18+ due to language, graphic sexual content, and themes that some may find disturbing. BODY is book 1 of a three-part trilogy. Book 1 has a “Happy for Now” type ending.
Author: Andi Dorfman
Title: Single State of Mind
Genre(s): Memoir; Autobiography; Nonfiction
Somewhat amusing, but repetitive and tiring plot
Before I begin this review, I want to say that I really enjoy the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise because I genuinely have a fascination and appreciation for watching people fall in love. I read Andi's first novel when it released a few years back and I really enjoyed her candor regarding the nature of her engagement and how she rose from a toxic situation into a new and better version of herself. Unfortunately, I cannot say I had as good of a time with Single State of Mind.
This book follows Andi from the moment she arrives in New York City as a newly single and broken-hearted woman in her mid-20s. About the first quarter focuses on her finding her first apartment...well really about finding all the wrong apartments before she finally settles on something that was way out of her budget. During this portion of the book I felt as though I were listening to a girlfriend drag on and on about not finding the perfect home in a place where rent is 4 times what I pay in Florida. Honestly, she came across as high maintenance, annoying, and bitter. Let's just say if I were in the situation with a girlfriend who was complaining to the degree Andi was, I would give her a high dose of reality. This is not to say that some of her stories about the various apartments she came across weren't hilarious. Because there were certainly moments that made me laugh out loud. But the humor was quickly over-shadowed with her pretentious attitude.
For the rest of Single State of Mind, readers follow Andi as she attempts to go on a journey for love. I say "attempt" because it really feels like we are following her as she decides to hook up with any hot man in sight. There doesn't seem to be a true desire for her to fall in love, rather her desire seems to involve sexual escapades with a multitude of athletes and physically attractive men around the country. Now I am all about a woman getting what she needs physically, but when said woman tries to play it off as finding love when it is clearly a search for a string of rebounds to get her ex out of her system, I tend to get a bit frustrated. I don't like being sold a story when the plot takes me in a completely different direction. It definitely comes across that during those two years in Andi's life, she lacked most insight into herself and what she was actually seeking. It was somewhat difficult to bear witness to at times, because from an outsiders perspective it was crystal clear she was not on the hunt for a loving, compassionate, and long-term relationship. Again, this is all fine, but it was how she presented her journey that bothered me. Additionally, in "her search for love" I found myself in total understanding of why a lot of the men took off. She comes across as completely one-sided in these relationships and her expectations for perfection are out of this world. There were of course hilarious moments that again made me laugh aloud, but as for the overall feel of this book, I was not a fan of her attitude or the lack of personal awareness.
Andi Dorfman, breakout star of ABC’s The Bachelorette and New York Times bestselling author of It’s Not Okay, returns with this new collection of her adventures as a still-single gal surviving and thriving in New York City.
Sharing moments like finding her first New York apartment (the front door broke so she had to use the fire escape), her first dates on “celebrity Tinder” and finally, watching her ex-fiancé propose to another woman on Bachelor in Paradise, Andi Dorfman doesn’t shy away from pulling back the curtain on the life of a reality star who’s returned to reality.
Dorfman’s supremely relatable personality has inspired incredible devotion from her fans, who follow her every move on social media. Filled with a mix of romantic mishaps, city adventures, and, of course, plenty of insider Bachelor details, Andi’s new book is Sex and the City for the reality TV generation.
Author: Ruth O'Neil
Genre(s): Fiction; Mystery; Thriller
Character rich and thrilling plot
This novel starts out with a harrowing description of a woman who lost her husband and must take on the difficult task of facing her wretched mother-in-law. Ruth makes Gemma's character come to life with artfully crafted insights into her pain and suffering from the loss of her husband and the realization that she is now alone. While reading the introduction I could feel the agony as if it were radiating off the page. It is very clear that Ruth has an expert eye for character creation as she makes it seem effortless for her readers to connect with the lives she has developed.
Another aspect of the beginning that had my own head spinning was Indiana's introduction. When Gemma started to see her throughout her husband's services I honestly thought Indiana was a hallucination brought on from the stress of her loss. However, as the story developed, readers get a first hand look into the mischievous woman and how she came to be the way she is. Throughout the entire plot Indiana maintains a mysterious persona that left me captivated and dedicated to the story until the very end.
I also really enjoyed the dynamic between Gemma and Indiana in that Gemma is an emotionally insightful individual who you want to root for, while Indiana is antisocial, yet incredibly charismatic. The two play off each other well, creating a powerful and thrilling addition to the plot. What I wished more from this novel was a greater level of care for setting details. The character development was incredibly rich and having more elaborate descriptions of the scene settings would have rounded it out for me.
I thoroughly appreciated Befriended and I think anyone looking for a captivating thriller with strong female leads will find this more than suitable.
Some secrets never leave us alone...
Gemma Peacock’s life was perfect – or at least, she thought it was. She had a home she loved, a job she enjoyed, and a husband she adored. The only cloud on the horizon was the continuing tension between Gemma and her mother-in-law, but that’s the same for everyone, right?
After the death of her beloved husband, Ritchie, everything begins to fall apart.
Indiana Manors’ life, on the other hand, is far from perfect – but she knows just what she has to do to fix it. Befriend Gemma Peacock – and destroy her.
Befriended is an exciting, contemporary thriller that will keep you on the very edge of your seat. This book will toy with your emotions time and time again – and keep you coming back for more.
Currently Reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
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