Thursday, August 29, 2013

Love Me Back by Michelle Lynn

** 3.5 to 4 out of 5 Stars **

**WARNING:  SPOILERS AHEAD**

Growing up in small-town Belcrest, Maddy Jennings always thought she was destined to be with her childhood sweetheart, Trent Basso.  Throughout the complicated road she has traveled with Trent, someone else has had a strong presence in Maddy's life.  Trent's older brother Gabe has always been someone she could count on, therefore neither of them can be blamed when lines blur from friendship to something more.

However, promises made between brothers threaten to ensure that neither of them will have a permanent place in her life.  When Maddy returns to her hometown for her brother's wedding, she is forced to face both Trent and Gabe for the first time in two years.  While the two Basso brothers fight to win her heart, she is busy struggling with a past that won't seem to let her go.  Whether she wants to or not, Maddy must decide to either forfeit her own happiness or forever tear a family apart.

MY REVIEW...

This book was good.  Not great but I did enjoy it.  I think the problem for me was the back and forth from past to present.  I found myself skimming through a lot of the past because I was so caught up in the present.  Don't get me wrong because this is a good book and this isn't a negative review at all!  I loved the characters for the most part.  Gabe was amazing, always waiting in the wings to get his shot with the girl of his dreams.  I understood where Maddy was coming from but there were times I wanted to punch her in the face.  Trent is a douche.  There just isn't another word for him.  He wasn't worthy of her and through some messed up need not to hurt him she allowed Gabe to be hurt.  I hated her for that for awhile.  There are a lot of ups and downs but they do eventually get there.  What is boils down to is this...One brother wants his hundredth chance while the other brother wants first.  One is deserving and one isn't.  It's a true love triangle between 2 brothers and the girl they both love.  I was happy with the way it ended.



BOOK SUMMARY...

This one is going to be hard to describe so I'm going to do it in two different ways...past and present.

Maddy is 25.  She's beautiful with brown hair and pretty eyes.  She is a decorator living in New York with her best friend Ian.  She hasn't been home in 2 years and now she has to return for her brother's wedding.  She will have to face the two men that she loves.  Both of which have stayed in her life.  She and Trent have been apart for a year this time.

Trent is Maddy's first love as well as her first at everything.  He's a profession soccer player and he travels a lot.  He has blonde hair and blue eyes and he's built like an athlete.  He has been in love with Maddy since they were kids.  His problem is that he knows she's the girl he will eventually marry but he wants to have his fun first.  He's cocky, self centered and doesn't care about anyone but himself.

Gabe is amazing.  He is 28 and Trent's older brother.  He has been in love with Maddy for years.  He has always been waiting in the wings trying not to interfere in their relationship.  He's beautiful with blonde hair and blue eyes.  He's lives in Florida.  He's sweet and funny, sensitive to her feelings and would do anything to make her happy.  He's her rock when she needs it.  He also spends most of his time picking up the pieces when Trent breaks Maddy's heart over and over again.

The Past...

Trent and Maddy see each other for 2 weeks when they are 12 then become best friends.  Gabe is the older brother who always looks out for his "little sister".  She moves away for 3 years and when she comes back things change.  Trent breaks up with his girlfriend the day after she returns and they begin dating soon after.  For years they go back and forth, on again off again.  All through high school she experiences all of her firsts with Trent...first boyfriend, first kiss, first time.  When Trent leaves for college he breaks up with her but he's so good at it he keeps her hanging on.  Gabe is at the same school with her so he picks up the pieces and they grow close.  He realizes that sometime over the months his feelings for her have changed.  His brother also realizes it and makes him promise to stay away from her which he does.  He does let her know a little later that he loves her but he can't hurt Trent that way so they stay apart.  She gets pregnant with Trent's baby but miscarries when she gets into a scuffle with her mother's boyfriend.  They split for the last time one year before she comes home for her brother's wedding.

The Present...

Maddy and Ian run into Gabe at the airport.  They catch up and ride home together.  She's very anxious about going home because of what happened to her and because she hasn't seen Trent in a year.  Her brother is getting married and it's going to be a week long party in which she is a bridesmaid and Trent and Gabe are groomsmen.  She knows she's going to have to face them and she is scared.

She comes face to face with Trent for the first time at the softball game starting the festivities.  He's still considers her his girl and it's known to everyone.  He tells her to stick around after the game they need to talk.  At the restaurant he spends the evening beside her with possessive little touches until she ends up on the dance floor with Gabe.  There is an almost kiss until Trent steps in.  The sexual tension and connection between Maddy and Gabe is strong.  You can feel it coming through the pages at you.  We see how strained the relationship between brothers is.  The haven't spoken in 2 years and the love they have for this girl is destroying their family.

Trent uses her trip home as a way to get her back.  He wants them together and has no issues with telling her they are meant to be even though he will go back to the same behavior.  Their next stop on the wedding adventure is a theme park.  Trent has a work thing and can't go so it's her and Gabe.  They are having a heated discussion about a misunderstanding when he asks her if she feels what's between them and when she doesn't answer he tells her he's giving up and walks away from her...and she chases him.  They end up in a line for a roller coaster in which she deathly terrified of.  Just as they go over the first peak Gabe kisses her.  He tells her he loves her and has for years and that he's sick of waiting on his time.  He wants her to be with him.  When she doesn't answer he assumes she doesn't feel the same.  She tells him that she does but doesn't think they should be together for obvious reasons.  He then tells her that it doesn't matter what others think because they love each other.  She agrees to be with him but they aren't going to tell anyone until after the wedding.




She had a dinner already planned with Trent and she ends up staying the night with him but nothing happens.  Gabe catches them hugging the next morning and walks away...she chases him again.  He asks her if she still loves Trent and when she doesn't answer he walks away from her.  She realizes in that moment that the love of her life isn't Trent and she just let him walk away from her.



What have I done?  I think I just let the love of my life slip through my fingers.

Her brother tells her it's time to make a decision as does her mother.  They are both at their breaking point and Gabe may have already reached his.  If she doesn't do something soon she will loose them both.  She and Gabe spend the following night making each other insanely jealous.  Outside the club Trent demands she make a choice then and there.  She doesn't and the brothers fight.  Gabe gives up and tells Trent he can have her and leaves.  Gabe shows up later and they go for a walk.  He apologizes for how he acted and tells her that he's madly in love with her and always will be but he can no longer keep doing this.  It's killing him to watch her choose Trent every time.  He tells her he's letting her go and he just wants her to be happy.  I wanted to slap her here because that's 2 times she's let him walk away from him.  Fight for your man!!  Enough already!!



She finally makes a decision.  She has Trent meet her and she sends a goodbye letter to Gabe.  She tells Trent that it's over for good.  So what she actually did was choose herself to try and save the relationship between the brothers by removing herself from the equation.

She and Gabe get into a heated argument at the wedding and she runs outside.  Trent follows her and she lets him have it.  She tells him how selfish he is and how much she loves Gabe...how much she's had to give up because of him and how she should have let him go earlier.  Trent seeing the errors of his ways drags her outside to Gabe.  He apologizes to them both and gives them his blessing to be together.  Gabe heard their fight earlier when he went out to check on her.  He heard her admit that she loved him.  They talk and end up together officially for the first time.

In the epilogue Gabe has convinced her to come to Florida with him.  They go back to NYC to get her stuff and drive to his condo.  She moves in with him and they decide to try for a baby.  Trent couldn't talk to either of them for awhile but he eventually came around.

It's a good book.  I enjoyed it and it relatively short.  I read it in one sitting.  I'm giving it 3.5 to 4 stars because it did drag in places for me...mainly the past.  If you're into love triangles and the girl ending up with the guy she should have been with all along then give this book a try!

My Gabe / Maddy / Trent






Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken

Ruin** 10 out of 5 Amazing/Heart Breaking Stars **

**WARNING:  SPOILERS AHEAD**

**WARNING:  I apologize now for the length and for the quotes.  This was one of the best books I've ever read!**

I'm not your typical girl.  I've been running away from the memories that haunt me for so long that depression has become my only comfort.  I was content in the darkness...until Wes Michals offered to be my light.

I didn't know that time wasn't my ally--that every second that ticked past was one step closer to the end of something that was beginning to mean the end of myself.  He tried to warn me.  He promised me all he was able to offer--each moment as it came--but it would never be enough.

Sometimes when you think it's the end, it's only the beginning.  Wes thought he could save me, but in giving me everything, he ruined me.  Because after one kiss, one touch, I couldn't--I wouldn't ever be the same.

And from that moment on, his heartbeat became my own.





MY REVIEW...

Oh wow...simply wow.  I don't know where to begin.  If you haven't read this book go right now and read it!  It's been awhile since a book grabbed me and every emotion that I have.  This book floored me.  I cried, begged, and laughed until I cried some more.  It takes every emotion you have, drags it out of you, throws it on the floor and then stomps on it while you stand and watch...but then it puts you back together again and shows you that miracles can happen.  I loved the story line.  It was a topic many deal with and few feel like discussing.  What happens when you find everything you've ever wanted but you know you're on borrowed time?  I loved the characters.  Wes was amazing.  So determined not to let his circumstances define him and yet scared at the same time.  He was perfect in every way.  I loved his inter monologues when he was thinking of other men being around Kiersten. Kiersten was stronger than she gave herself credit for and the perfect person for Wes when he needed someone the most.  I have read a lot of books by the author but this was by far the best.  It contains no sex, has many references to God, and the language is minimal.  It's a great read so if you haven't read it do it now...just have your tissues ready because you're gonna need them.

"Don't give up yet.  Sometimes when we think God has written The End, what he really means is The Beginning."



BOOK SUMMARY...

Kiersten is a beautiful redhead.  She's been through the death of her parents and suffers from severe depression because of it.  She's been living in the dark so long it's all she knows.  She's not looking for love but then we never are when we find it.  Her ghosts follow her wherever she goes but she's trying to get on with her life.  She's beginning her freshmen year of college and adjusting to life away from home.

Wes is perfect.  He's beautiful with blonde hair and blue eyes.  He's a senior in college, the quarterback of the football team and oozes sex appeal.  He has a very powerful father and he's wealthy.  He has few friends and he's sort of untouchable at school...almost revered.  He is the RA in Kiersten's building.  He's hiding a huge secret from everyone except the close few who already know.

Wes and Kiersten meet a registration her first day on campus.  She literally runs into him.  She's very awkward and literally counts his 8 pack with her fingers before releasing him.  He's cocky and she peaks his interest immediately.  He tells her he doesn't date freshmen but as the book progresses he can't stay away from her.  They begin a friendship that's  a little one sided since it's obvious he wants more.  And by obvious I mean he flats out tells her he wants more but will settle for being friends.  He nicknames her Lamb because of her innocence.

I had no idea that one look would devastate me.  Weeks from now I would regret that one look, for that reason and one reason only.  His eyes held my ruin.

Her roommate is Lisa and she turns out to be a great friend to both of them.  Her cousin Gabe turns into their best friend.  I really loved his character.  He genuinely cared about Kiersten to the point that he didn't want her to even date Wes.  I think it's possible that he may have actually felt something for her but aside from innocent flirting never acted on it, especially once he began to approve of Wes.

As they begin spending time together on a daily basis it becomes apparent early on that something isn't quite right with him.  He's sick but we don't find out later what it is that he's battling.  I had a pretty good idea from the beginning but it was still hard to take when the truth came out.  He's constantly talking about time limits and time not being on his side.  He's on a ton of meds and he has an entourage following him at all times.  The students think they are friends but in truth they are his doctors.  She gets glimpses of this sickness but doesn't really put any mind to it.  I mean how sick can he be right?  He's the star quarterback with a bright future ahead...



We find out that he lost his brother to a drug overdose and that his mother is also dead leaving only his dad and him.  After a conversation with her uncle in which he tells her to live a little she marches up to his room, knocks on the door and kisses him.  She ends up staying the night with him lying in his arms and talking most of the night.  They are developing a strong bond but it's more than that even though he refuses to entertain the idea of more.  She wakes up the next morning and starts acting weird and he gives it to her straight.

"Oh, I see, you're going to do the whole avoiding thing.  Well, let me shoot you straight.  We didn't have sex, so you're not doing the walk of shame, things aren't awkward, and if you avoid me like the plague, I'll just stalk you."
"That's not creepy."
He shrugged...



She creates a bucket list and he makes it his life's mission to fulfill almost all the details on the list aside from the falling in love and getting her heart broken part.  He gives her a new way to view her parents deaths so she can really begin the healing process.

He'd picked up every little piece of emotional baggage I'd brought with me to college, unzipped it, and cleaned house.

He asks her on a date (just friends) and then he kisses her and I mean really kisses her.

"I'm going to make it so hard for you to forget this first kiss that you don't want anyone else kissing you ever again.  When the guy you fall in love with kisses you--it better put this kiss to shame--if it doesn't, then he isn't the right guy.  Because I'm going to do a damn good job, and I want the guy that earns you, that takes that heart of yours and holds it in the palm of his hands...I want that guy to be able to make you feel things I'll just be tapping into.  Do you understand, Kiersten?"



I mean wow...how will another kiss ever live up to that?!  He realizes that he's created a problem he didn't foresee with the kiss though.  He wanted it to change her life, he didn't count on it changing his too.  He gives her a book that's on her list just like the kiss.  He's falling hard and for the first time realizes he doesn't want to be on a time limit.  He's found a reason to live.  The rest of the date is great aside from a moment where he gets sick.

2 months pass and they continue to spend every free second together which just gives her more time to notice that something is definitely wrong with him, he's loosing weight, his color is changing and he has dark circles under his eyes.  He asks her to spend Thanksgiving break with him and his father.  He also decides he's going to date her for 2 weeks, she'll be his girlfriend for 2 weeks, and by then she'll decide she doesn't want him anymore.  You know this plan will backfire since he can't seem to help himself when it comes to her.  She agrees to go with him and to the "2 week girlfriend" plan.

Gabe overhears Wes talking to his doctors and then Wes admits exactly how sick he really is.  Gabe plays a huge role for Wes here.  He tells him not to tell Kiersten since he's going to be fine.  No one has showed any hope.  He tells him he can beat it.  It being cancer that is growing around his heart by the way.  Gabe is showing him support and hope in that simple sentence and he decides because of that conversation from a guy he barely knows that he's willing to live, to fight to be healthy, and to fight for Kiersten.  That one conversation changes his whole mindset.  Once he gets her home to his house he changes his mind about the 2 week thing and tells her he will give her as much time as he has.  Here is the perfect timing to tell her his secret since she's beyond confused at that statement but he doesn't.  He has 3 weeks until the surgery that will either fix his issue or he'll be sent home to die.  He's been taking experimental drugs but refuses to have the tests done to see if it's working because he doesn't want to know.  He tells her his heart will always belong to her and admits to his dad that he loves her.  She realizes that this guy is her forever.  Noticing how pale he is one night she asks him if he's ok.  He promises to tell her everything after they go to homecoming together and she gets to see him play ball.  She doesn't know it's his last game because he's not physically able to play anymore.



At the game he feels funny while on the field.  He ends up collapsing on the field in front of everyone and his last thought is, "I didn't tell her I loved her."  Gabe hits the field running for him and she's close behind but he and Wes's father stop her and she cries in Wes's dad's arms.  At the hospital they get him stable and he confesses everything to her.  He says those 3 little words and her world drops from under her.  she falls apart and Gabe is there to pick her up off the floor.  Wes explains everything and then asks her to stay with him.

At some point we don't get to see Wes and Gabe have become best friends and Gabe is not taking this well at all.  He's prayed that God would pass it on to him and spare Wes's life.  Kiersten tells Gabe that he will keep fighting, and he will live.  They are in the hospital for days and the surgery has been moved up.  He has an amazing nurse who is positive and encouraging.  She even tells him that his heart is beating strong than the day before.  The day before the surgery the four of them (Wes, Kiersten, Gabe and Lisa) spend the day hanging out in his room and just being close friends.  He has a huge support system that he didn't even know was available to him.

But beating this for her?  Yeah, I'd fight demons for her.  I'd fight the darkness in me, the sickness.  I'd fight that damn tumor.  I'd live.  Because I sure as hell wanted a 2014 with that girl in my arms.

He and Kiersten have a conversation about her list later that night.  He apologizes for not being able to help her finish it and she tells him it's already done...including the falling in love and having her heart broken part. They confess they love each other.  He then tells her he's going to marry her some day and they set a date for 1 year from his surgery date.  That will be the day he marries her.  Gabe will be his best man.

She has absolutely no idea what she does to me...She's my medicine, my cure, my everything.  If only hearts could heal that way--through someone else's beating.

The surgery happens and things are tense.  After 5 hours the doctor comes to talk to them and explains that the tumor near his heart had shrank to 1/4 of it's original size.  They were able to remove it all and he's going to live a healthy normal life.  The doctors are baffled.  That ladies and gentlemen is what we call a miracle.  When he wakes up we find out that he knew he was going to be fine before he went to sleep.  His nurse was there and right before the drugs pulled him under he saw the ring his dad gave his mother on their wedding day on the nurses finger (it was his mother).





2 months later he pulls her on to the field at half time of their bowl game and proposes to her in front of the entire school and she says yes.

MY RATING...

This book it an easy 5 stars but it deserves so many more.  Simply amazing.  Read this book and you won't be disappointed!  I loved everything about it and I can't think of a single thing that I found wrong with it.  Go.  Read it now!

My Gabe / Kiersten

  

Favorite Quotes...

Note to self, when a girl's smile makes you forget your own name--you're in some deep shit.

"I can tell you have a good heart because the minute I met you, I wanted to fight for it."
"That's how you can tell when someone has a good heart?  When you want to start a war?"
"Nah.  When you want to be the one to make it beat."

Three months ago I wouldn't have been strong enough to go through this.  Now?  Now I felt like The Hulk--I'd hold his hand through it, we'd walk through the battle together and in the end, we'd still be holding hands.








Friday, August 23, 2013

Love Exactly by Cassandra Giovanni

** 4 out of 5 Stars **

** WARNING:  SPOILERS AHEAD **

Emma Walker was a writer who'd lost herself to someone else's anger--who had given up on ever feeling like herself again.  

Evan Levesque was a rock-god--the one all the woman wanted, but he'd never gotten used to the loneliness between the stage and real life.  

With just one cup of coffee they'll begin a journey of self-discovery at each others sides, but can Emma handle Evan's fame while dealing with her own demons?  Emma's checkered personal past, a bad relationship that haunts the edges of her memories, threaten to make everything implode on them when Evan takes matters into his own hands.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they'll destroy my soul

Can Emma handle being put back together and facing who she's become because of it?

MY REVIEW...

This was a quick and easy read.  The plot is straight-forward.  The characters are easy to get to know and to like.  This book is about a rockstar who doesn't particularly like the things his stardom comes along with.  It's also about a girl who is a shell of a person and is searching for herself.  I loved Evan.  He knew what he wanted and nothing was going to take that from him.  He was willing to fight for it even if he had to fight alone at times.  He didn't care to admit that he needed her.  There aren't a lot of ups and downs with this one.  It's instant love and how they survive his lifestyle and her hang ups.  It's a quick read that can easily be read in one sitting and it leaves you feeling happy at the end.  It does however have a very abrupt ending and no epilogue.  I would have like to see how they end up in the future.

BOOK SUMMARY...

Emma is an aspiring writer and works as a reporter for her local paper.  She's fed up with life and doesn't like things the way they are.  She was once an amazing writer but is suffering from severe writers block.  She was in an abusive relationships 5 years prior that damaged her self-esteem.  She's beautiful and talented and doesn't see it.

Evan is a rockstar.  He has hazel eyes, he's built and tattooed everywhere.  He keeps his life out of the papers for the most part.  He's tired of the rock and roll life and wants a normal girl to settle down with.

Evan and Emma meet over a spilled cup of coffee.  She's not paying attention to where she is going and runs into him.  He offers to replace the coffee at a coffee house across the street and she accepts.  That's all it takes and he's hers.  He belongs to her in every aspect.  He goes to a basketball game she's reporting. They share a really sweet and gentle kiss as she gets to know the man behind the scenes.  The problem is they are on borrowed time.  He's leaving in a few hours for the next stop on his tour.  They begin a long distance relationship.

She hasn't seen him in a month and barely talks to him on the phone.  She is covering a music festival and is set to interview a guest musician.  It turns out to be Evan and we find out that he couldn't stay away any longer so he cancelled tour dates and is spending a week with her.  They make promises to each other and the relationship works.  He encourages her to pursue writing again without pushing.  He's slowly pulling her out of the dark place she's been hiding in so long.  He comes in and out as the months pass.



She finally tells him about the abusive relationship she was in as a teenager.  He attends a basketball game with her at her old high school.  Once arriving they realize her ex is the basketball coach.  After some provoking on the ex's side, the ex ends up on the ground because of Evan's fists.  He's very protective of her.  He feels the need to fight back for what she went through before he knew her.  He meets her parents the following morning and they approve of the 8 month relationship their daughter has been having with a rockstar.  He leaves for 2 months to finish his tour following that morning.

When he returns things are tense.  They are recording a new album and he's stressed.  He recieves a call from the label and needs to go home to deal with some stuff.  The record company thinks Emma is a bad influence because he moves the recording to where she is when he gets off the tour.  He also starts fighting for what he wants instead of letting everyone else run everything.   She begs him not to leave but he promises her he will be back.

He finally comes back a few weeks later but something is wrong.  He takes her on a weekend getaway but he's acting different.  They get into it about the label.  He asks tells her the band was nominated for a Grammy and asks her to go.  She refuses and when she turns around he's gone.  She's hurt him really badly. He left a note telling her he isn't mad and that he won't let anyone come between them.  She watches thhe show on tv and you can see how hurt he is.  He should be happy when they win but he isn't.  He tells her on national tv that she's the only one who matters and that he loves her.



It's 2 months before he comes home again.  She meets him at the airport to surprise him finally not caring that everyone will know who she is.  They fight on the way home because he wants to read her book.  She finally tells him the reason she won't let him is because he will know how much she loves him.  He tells her he already knows.  They go to dinner and her ex is there.  Evan looses it and she gets mad and so does he.  They fight at the apartment and he leaves.  He returns a little while later and crawls into bed with her begging her not to let her ex destroy them.

They go to another awards ceremony and he proposes to her on the red carpet after a reporter asks him how long he thinks the relationship will last since isn't famous.  He says, "forever" and then hits one knee.  That's where the book ends.  We didn't even get to hear her response :(



MY RATING...

I'm giving it 4 stars because it ended abruptly and there was no epilogue.  I wanted more.  Overall it was a great book, easy on the emotions, and fulfilling.  He was willing to do anything to be with her, at times I think he was willing to give up everything just to keep her with him.  It was a sweet little story and I recommend it to anyone looking for an easy read about a rockstar!

My Evan / Emma

 

Favorite Quotes:

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words...they'll destroy my soul."

"Tell me something..."
"Tell me why it feels like you're a part of my soul?"
"Because you're a part of mine."