Book review: “The Pact” by Jodi Picoult

the-pact-06-lgTitleThe Pact

Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Contemporary

Published: (first) 1998

My ratingNovel Girl - 5 stars

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♥ ♥ ♥
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For eighteen years the Hartes and the Golds have lived next door to each other, sharing everything from Chinese food to chicken pox to carpool duty — they’ve grown so close it seems they have always been a part of each other’s lives. Parents and children alike have been best friends, so it’s no surprise that in high school Chris and Emily’s friendship blossoms into something more. After all, they’ve been soul mates since they were born.

So when midnight calls from the hospital come in, no one is prepared: Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head, inflicted by Chris as part of an apparent suicide pact. He tells police the next bullet was meant for himself. A local detective has her doubts. And the Hartes and Golds must face every parent’s worst nightmare and question: do we ever really know our children at all?

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Five stars isn’t enough for a book that has the power to make a reader believe so intensely. It’s a testament to Picoult’s talent when you can create a favourite book only to be topped by a latter book by the same author, and then again and so forth.

This is one of those rare books you need to read carefully because if you miss a word, you’re excluding yourself from witnessing one of life’s pure beauties.

Despite my continual praises that Jodi is my favourite author, I think I’ve put down all her books at some point and come back to it weeks or months later. Her books are literally double the size of a normal novel and with the types of storylines, writing, and characters she produces, I’ve struggled to read it in a continual gulp over the course of a few days.

The Pact, however, I read bit-by-bit and chunk-by-chunk every day and it totally absorbed me, every step of the way.

Like most of her stuff, I don’t always admire the characters because I can relate to them or they seem like me, or something I’ve done, etc. Sometimes I feel so strongly about her characters  because I can, yet cannot understand them. She brings such rich flavour, like she’s cooking up a grand dish with herbs and spices and sauces from here and there and creates something you can’t explain but appreciate. The focus of the story — the death of Emily — is how I’d describe that. Her boyfriend, best friend, and soul mate is the one I connected and understood. Both wowed me.

I don’t like revising the book description in my reviews — after all you can just read the blurb for that. I do love expressing just how much I feel for a book and this one, my Novel Girl readers, went straight to my Best Everrr shelf. Let me point out between books I’ve finished reading and couldn’t finish I sit somewhere around 300 overall. Only 47 have made it to this shelf. This book is incredible, and anyone who loves drama, crime shows, family dynamics, but most importantly those rare love stories like The Notebook or Titanic where it’s so pure and rich you pine after it for years afterward, will fall for the outstanding power of this read.

5+ stars! Mandatory reading.

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Book review: “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain

The Paris WifeTitleThe Paris Wife

AuthorPaula McLain

Genre: Historical / Literary

Published: February, 2011

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Novel Girl rating stars-4.5

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Book description:

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wife captures the love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill prepared for the hard-drinking, fast-living, and free-loving life of Jazz Age Paris. As Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history and pours himself into the novel that will become The Sun Also Rises, Hadley strives to hold on to her sense of self as her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Eventually they find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for.

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

My review:

Oh MAN am I torn up about writing a review for this book! Let me break it down because this was an amazing read.

Writing quality: 5+ — had that extra umph
Pace: 4/5 — very slow but mostly beautiful
Characters: 5+ — absolutely real and life-like
Ending — 5 stars

This story was beautifully captured. The setting felt as important as the characters and the plot. The book was perfect in many ways. Ernest was the sun of this story. The narrator drove the story around his life and this unique focus on his character rather than the narrator as the main character gave a unique perspective. He was intense to read, deep and troubled and fierce and selfish. What a character.

So what was the problem? Nothing other than a really, really saddened feeling in me that the main character/narrator, Hadley, Ernest’s wife, showed no backbone or strength in herself when the ending was closing up. She let Ernest stomp all over her, made her feel worthy of being treated like dirt and whether female or male, i need a strong character who pushes back against fears and hardship at the end. Her choice wasn’t what saddened me because I accept all sorts of endings and choices by characters so long as the journey there feels right. And the main character without an admirable spirit against the “bad guy” just hurt me after the whole book of her being Ernest’s wife, and not Hadley.

A book is only as good as its ending so I loved this one but was let down toward the end.

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2013 was amazing because of these moving books

(Side note: i promise I’m alive, just busy with Berto Designs and doing covers and as Rebecca Berto writing books! I love you all though. Forgive my absence?)

No matter why I’m reading — be for a laugh, a tear-jerker, a deep look at human relationships and society, to be thrilled or kept in suspense — I do it for the emotion. I vary my reading and have read everything this year from award-winning literary fiction to hot smut, so here’s my fairly unbiased opinion of some of the best books you need to read!

. . . in order of last read to earliest this year. NOT by fav. Sheesh, can’t pick just one!

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Making FacesMaking Faces by Amy Harmon

Making Faces is the kind of book everyone must read in their life. A big statement for an empowering, stunning, sad, emotional and hopeful novel.

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UnteachableUnteachable by Leah Raeder

Leah’s writing style fuelled me to keep turning every page and I devoured this book fast. I cried, not because the author wrote a sad scene *that* well but because it was so damn good I couldn’t handle it and I’m about to cry now reliving all those feels. This book was perfect.

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Night Owl (The Night Owl Trilogy, #1)Night Owl by M. Pierce

Holy crapcakes. I made up a word there and aware of the fact I’m gushing and weird but this book is just…a classic book in its genre that will make its mark. It’s full of dirty talk, hot sex, fast sex that starts up right away, but also plenty of emotion, sadness and an original story that will be forever remembered–by me at least.

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My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1)My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I haven’t felt or hurt this much since Harry Potter. This novel has little quips that make you go wow, that’s what happens to me! and makes you laugh when you probably shouldn’t and when you should. It made me believe surely this can’t be a made-up story. It’s powerful and deep and I dare you to put it down. What a masterpiece.

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The YearningThe Yearning by Kate Belle

Some books have happy endings; some have cliffhangers; others have a unique ending that make you think. The Yearning is the last one. It’s categorised as romance, but it read more like poetry at times, was always beautiful and flowed easily, and at other scenes it was more like erotica. What does this tell me? Best. Book. Ever!

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Me Before YouMe Before You by Jojo Moyes

While I wasn’t in love with the end, and things didn’t tie up how I wanted them too, everything stayed true to the story that needed to be told. That out-there move earned this book its righteous place. I commend Jojo for creating such a deep, moving story, one with so many layers, I can’t  begin to describe the story fully and do it justice.

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Ten Tiny Breaths (Ten Tiny Breaths, #1)Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker

I loved the redemption story. In life, we don’t always get happy endings, but TEN TINY BREATHS breaks you into tiny pieces and sews you up better than before. Kacey is one of my favourite female characters, strong and rare in fiction. This book is as funny as it is heart-breaking and sexy and angsty and wild.

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Just Remember to Breathe (Thompson Sisters, #2)Just Remember to Breathe by Charles Sheehan-Miles

This book has been written to perfection from the easy language to the way that seemingly simple writing style grabs your heart, squeezes and then bursts you into millions of pieces. I loved this book for how much the pain got to me, for how much I could tell the main couple felt for each other. Quick to devour, yet deep, this novel will move you.

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Suicide WatchSuicide Watch by Kelley York

SUICIDE WATCH is a read that gets inside your head and takes hold of your insecurities. I adored this read. It really stuck with me. In my head: it’s never so bad as to end your own life because things around the corner may be good, and my heart: book hangover.

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The StorytellerThe Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

As usual: this Picoult novel is a slow burning candle; you have to wait for the scent to fill the room but once it has, it’s under your skin and irresistible. Picoult has a unique way of making you believe even monsters can act kind and selfless at times. This book has truly made me believe this. In one word: moving.

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A Happy AccidentA Happy Accident by Evan Tyler

Surprising, weird, brilliant. Evan Tyler writes with poetic style. This book took me on a journey, one I was anxious to continue and was itching to read more and more of. Want romance, literary-style, or fun that somehow dips into the depths of how we see each other as people and behave in the name of love? Try A HAPPY ACCIDENT.

♥ ♥ ♥

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I hope you find your next best read from this list. What are your suggestions? Comment below please!

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Review and signed giveaway: REAL by Katy Evans

real katy evans
TitleReal

AuthorKaty Evans

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Published: (originally self-published) April 2013

My rating: Novel Girl rating stars-5

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Book description:

A fallen boxer.

A woman with a broken dream.

A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…

Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents…

But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.

I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.

If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

My review:

Real by Katy Evans is a book I’m not going to be forgetting, much the same as the effect Beautiful Disaster did to me. It’s a leader in its class. It wasn’t perfect in my eyes “by the book” but I couldn’t put it down and for every second it made me excited and caught up in love.

How to describe it, like really. *thinks* I know almost everyone has heard of this book and lots are still deciding whether to read it or not. I’ll make a recommendation here. If you love possessive guys, alpha males and hot romances, go for it. If you like to stay grounded and like stories driven by powerful women or by life-changing choices, maybe this isn’t for you. Sure it’s a romantic read but it will capture all your feels so get ready. Honestly I’m not sure how long it will take to recover from my Remy disease. He is clearly just a fictional character but my outlook in men as sexy and hot as him is now forever ruined. Katy Evans created one amazing man right here. Seriously days later I’m still swooning.

I just can’t . . . I can’t get over him, and Brooke–the couple together. Oh man, i loved she had some ferocity and he had a tonne of ferocity. I loved the over-used language as much as i cringed at it. Yes, I am aware Remy is male, and not partially male, but all male. I get how sexy he is and how much his fans love screaming, “RIIIIPTIDEEEEE” and all those other overused words and phrases but really? I am a sucker for an intense romantic connection and all these things amped me up more, and made me deliciously excited to read this book forever (sadly it finished).

I got caught up in the Remy obsession and will always love this book so, so much. Seriously makes me wonder if I could ever read a more amazing lead male in a book. le sigh.

Huge 5 stars and straight to my Best Everrr shelf.

If you were wondering, this is like exactly what he looks like.


 photo Remy.jpg

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Abbi Glines paperback giveaway: Fallen and Never Too Far + review

The world has heard of the publishing sensation that is Abbi Glines and now Novel Girl has a treat for you! I recently read Fallen Too Far and wanted to not only share my review but offer BOTH Fallen Too Far and Never Too Far in a paperback flash giveaway (only open for 4 days!

PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is only open to residents with an Australian, US/Canada or New Zealand address.

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My Review:

Fallen Too FarGenre: Contemporary Romance

Age group: New Adult

Published: December 14, 2012

RatingNovel Girl rating stars-3.5

 

Fallen Too Far is a hot and quick contemporary romance for New Adult lovers and anyone wanting something light to read perhaps on a drive or short plane trip.

Blaire and Rush are typical good girl/bad boy characters, so if you’re craving more of these sorts of reads Fallen Too Far is super easy to get hooked into and you won’t want to put it down. Blair and Rush are hot together.

However they’re also extremely hot and cold going back and forth with their decisions about being together which didn’t work for me. I was disappointed Abbi didn’t take me deeper into their characters to understand them below the surface and the story went so fast I couldn’t never get deep into it.

Overall great quick read and enjoyed myself.

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Review: “White Trash Beautiful” by Teresa Mummert and giveaway!

White Trash BeautifulTitleWhite Trash Beautiful

Author: Teresa Mummert

Age group: Mature New Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Published: (original indie publish date: September 19, 2012) Publisher version: July 9, 2013

RatingNovel Girl rating stars-4.5

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Book description:

A word-of-mouth bestseller that’s captivating readers with its honesty, grit, and headstrong heroine, White Trash Beautiful is a story for anyone who has ever felt trapped in life, cheated by love—and longed for something more. . .

Cass Daniels isn’t waiting for her knight in shining armor. She knows that girls like her don’t get a happily ever after. Not if you live in a trailer with your mom, work at a greasy spoon diner, and get leered at by old men. Maybe that’s why she puts up with Jackson—her poor excuse for a boyfriend, who treats her like dirt. Cass has learned to accept her lot in life. That is, until he walks into her diner. . .

His name is Tucker White, and he’s different from any man Cass has ever known. Tall, tattooed, and bad-ass gorgeous, he’s the lead singer of the rock band Damaged. From the moment they meet, Tucker sees something in Cass he just can’t shake. Something beautiful. Something haunted. Something special. And he’s determined to find out what it is—if only he can get her to open up and let him in. . .

My review:

Author, Teresa Mummert

Author, Teresa Mummert

I heard of White Trash Beautiful late last year when it was first self-published and hit the charts big. I received a review copy from her publisher recently to review the novel and was excited. The cover had a re-do, and apparently 100+ pages of new material were added. This book excited me before I even started.

It took exactly a few pages to realise I had no hope of pulling away. That first chapter ended in a way that drew me into the next. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that after each scene I am torn between reading another or getting up and putting it away for a bit. I knew if I read another chapter, I’d be like an addict, thinking, “Oh, Rebecca look at how quickly you can finish the next chapter. Won’t take long at all. Just do it!”

I listened to my heart and devoured this novel. It’s a short one, fast faced but never lacking in substance.

Before I go on to talk about my feelings for the main character, Cass, I can absolutely sum up that she’s someone you don’t want to stop reading. Ever. This is even though she had traits that kept going on, and on, and made me frustrated. She needed to get a backbone, and stand up to the violence against her. In the same breath, Teresa Mummert had me in a spot, all right. I couldn’t imagine Cass telling the cops or changing her life—she didn’t have a way out. The poor girl was stuck, and though it killed me and infuriated me to watch her being abused by her boyfriend, and then left neglected by her mother, I understand it had to happen. Bravo, Teresa. Great job.

I believed in the character, even when my head was fighting at me not to.

But during all of this bad, bad stuff thrown at her, I was awarded by an amazing guy. Tucker comes out of no where and at first seems like another sleeze bag. Took little time for me to fall for him. Tucker is—dare I say—perfect? Cass is poor. Dirt poor and lives pay cheque to pay cheque. Tucker spends time with her, gets her to come ’round and realise he’s with her for a chat and the company, not to get a root. He buys her things and watches out for her. Even after all the heroism he never comes across as “saving” the poor Cinderella from her poor, horrible life. He’s on her level, her equal, and just doing what’s right, which is moving and powerful to watch unfold as Cass has nothing fair or right in her world before him and other than him.

The romance in this book is very, very slow building. It’s not hot and heavy but rather feels incredibly real and well-worked for in the end. Refreshing to read, actually! There’s so much I loved about this book. Yeah, the way the ending tied up I foresaw and happened how I expected, but I still loved every moment and that counts as a big winner in my book if I’m left really satisfied in the end.

Highly recommend White Trash Beautiful and I’m excited to read book #2, White Trash Damaged. ♥

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Book review: “Finding Bliss” by Dina Silver

FindingBlissTitle: Finding Bliss

Author: Dina Silver

Age group: Adult

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published: July 16, 2012

Rating: Novel Girl rating stars-5

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Book description:

Chloe Carlyle has always longed for the perfect family.

Growing up with an alcoholic single mother, she has seen her share of heartbreak and disappointment, and is striving to build a new legacy for herself. After graduating from college, she takes a job working as a summer girl for the Reeds—a wealthy, accomplished family that personifies her American dream. Her summer takes an unexpected turn when the Reeds’ eldest son Tyler, the star quarterback for Notre Dame, shows up and turns her life upside down.

An ambitious young woman with a wry sense of humor, Chloe never imagined herself as the type to succumb to the looks and charms of the hometown hero, but she falls hard for Tyler, and is devastated when they part ways at the end of the summer. As she heads off to law school, Chloe tries to convince herself this was just a fling, but she can’t quite get over him. It’s not until Tyler contacts her out of the blue late one winter night that everything changes.

After doing everything in her power to build the perfect life, Chloe soon learns that there are things beyond her control. She must draw on inner reserves of strength as her life takes unpredictable—and sometimes heartbreaking—twists and turns, and she finds herself faced with decisions she never thought she’d have to make. Poignant, heartfelt, and emotional, Finding Bliss is a reminder that you don’t have to live a fairytale life in order to have a happy ending.

My review:

Favourite quote:

“Your mom is like the Titanic: if you stay with the ship, you’ll go down too. Those people who clung to the boat ultimately perished. You need to get yourself on a lifeboat and get as far away as you can.”

Author, Dina Silver

Author, Dina Silver

I’m going to start referring to her books as “Dina Silver books” from now on in the same vein as “a Picoult book” is used. This is my third Dina Silver book and I love it. It makes me feel warm inside when I close the last page. I close my eyes and fall away into my mind and go over all my favourite bits. The cherry on top is I love recommending Dina Silver books because she writes stories for women that make your heart happy. And they’re all great.

Finding Bliss is apparently a spin off book from her debut novel, One Pink Line. To be honest, I forgot this and only remembered that at various parts. In my opinion, this is more of a standalone than a connected book where I would recommend you read the first book beforehand. Seriously, that’s one less thing holding your back. Just dive into this novel already!

Chloe is one of the few female characters I adored and respected. You don’t read Dina Silver books, scratching your head, wondering where the personalities went with all the female leads, or why the guy is so hot and amazing…but what happened to the girl!? Where she just follows and bends to his needs. Nope. The main character Chloe is identifiable for every woman who’s been married, divorced or is a mother. I love watching her grow because she causes me to *feel*. Pain, love, excitement and she grows in this story.

Dina Silver’s writing is evocative yet gives the stage to the story. You don’t realise how big and flashy her writing is, but how vivid each scene is, drawing you in. I couldn’t pick a part I got bored or even wanted to put down my Kindle.

Basically, I love this fresh story. A woman who grows and changes, overcoming her troubles. It’s simply beautiful.

✭✭✭✭✭ big stars!

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Author links:

Website/blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Pinterest  |

Buy the book:

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Rebecca Berto is the author of the dark contemporary novella, Precise, and the New Adult Contemporary Romance, Drowning in You.

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Book review: “Such a Rush” by Jennifer Echols

such_a_rush_final_coverTitle: Such a Rush

Author: Jennifer Echols

Age group: Young Adult/New Adult

Genre: Contemporary / Romance

Published: July 10, 2012

Rating: Novel Girl rating stars-3.5

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Book description:

A sexy and poignant romantic tale of a young daredevil pilot caught between two brothers. 

When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.

Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.

But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.

By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they’re determined to keep the banner planes flying.

Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.

My review:

Favourite quotes:

“Love isn’t something you have to deserve.”

“It’s easier to remember your lies if they’re close to the truth.”

Author, Jennifer Echols

Author, Jennifer Echols

I was soo looking forward to this book and it resulted in a good read. Such a Rush is well plotted, bit-by-bit hooking you in more and more with aspects of the story.

For me, I absolutely loved the first moment poor main character, Leah, from a trailer park with a scummy, careless mother realised she would learn how to fly planes and fly her out of her crappy home, even for just a little while. She was 14. Also, at 14, I see her interested in Grayson although she’s quiet about it and he goes on his merry way without her noticing.

The whole book, Jennifer Echols writes in a compelling style. It’s paced exactly right so you’re never bored.

The only issue was my interest. The style was too “plain vanilla” for me, and I only read on as fast as I did because the story was interesting, but reading the writing, I wasn’t too interested since there wasn’t much of a style to “wow” me.

I usually connect with a variety of characters, but the MC in Such a Rush was just “okay” for me. Maybe it was again that writing style that didn’t develop her for me so I could fully connect, but she was a good narrator, and interesting to watch, but I didn’t feel for her as I wanted to.

The brothers, Grayson and Alec, are great to drive the story. Their personalities bounce off each other. I ended up liking the non-main brother more so and I’m not sure why–maybe it was he had more standout qualities and the other was too wooden. The other brother kept doing this thing that annoyed me! Even at the end of the book, he hadn’t changed. That really disappointed me that his character issue was still present that late on and it meant I didn’t see as big as a transformation in his character as I wanted to see.

But despite those things, this is an excellent book, well plotted. I’m in two minds about the rating. It high stars for many parts of the book.

I didn’t expect to love the strong influence of small planes as much as I did. I truly felt transported when I read about the rush and the love Leah, the MC, had for planes and flying. It was beautiful, and it’s probably even more important than the romance. This book wasn’t all too romantic, and I still loved it regardless that it came second to flying. It felt right.

This book is a good, honest look at how it tells the story. I’m interested to read more Jennifer Echols books because this is a great book, and I can see why so many others fell in love with it, even if it wasn’t for me.

3.5 stars

***

Author links:

Website/blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |

Buy the book:

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Fishpond (free shipping in Australia)  |  The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)  |  Barnes & Noble  |

♥♥♥

*NEW* Sign up to reveal Rebecca’s cover for her next release here.
Rebecca Berto is the author of the Dark Contemporary/Literary novella, Precise and the New Adult Contemporary Romance,
 Drowning in You

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Book review: “The Karmic Connection” by Libby Mercer

The Karmic Connection Artwork

Title: The Karmic Connection

Author: Libby Mercer

Age group: Adult

Genre: Chick Lit

Published: April 25, 2013

Rating: Novel Girl rating stars-4

***

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Book description:

What is the universe up to?

Guilty of nothing more than working too much – or so they say – Adam Stowe is dumped at a “wellness center” in the middle of nowhere by a couple of concerned colleagues. When he meets Lorraine, the beautiful and bewitching yoga instructor, his spirits start to lift, but once he discovers what a flighty fruitcake she is, they drop back down to subterranean levels.

For Lorraine Jameson, Luna Wellness Center was a beacon of solace when her life was falling apart, and she can’t stand the way Adam’s toxic energy is poisoning the peace. He embodies everything negative about the life she discarded eighteen months ago. Despite being fiercely attracted to the arrogant man, she’s determined not to let Adam Stowe anywhere near her heart.

Adam and Lorraine couldn’t be more unsuitable as a potential couple… so why is the universe so dead set on uniting these two?

The Karmic Connection is a different kind of love story with a cast of quirky characters and a mystical, magical New Age-y flavor.

My review:

“The beauty of nature, the sound of silence, the thrill of chaos, the joy of meeting someone new and fascinating, of connecting with someone familiar and beloved, of creating something of your very own, of challenging yourself physically, of feeling connected to the world. Life offers us such an enormous array of wonderful possibilities, but so many of us are focused on one thing — namely our careers — that we don’t bother to accept them. We feel that we’ll have plenty of time to take advantage of everything life has to offer, but that might not be the case. Life can be cut short. come tomorrow, it could all be over. Finito.”

Author, Libby Mercer

Author, Libby Mercer

I became a fan of Jodi Picoult when I read My Sister’s Keeper and I became a fan of Libby Mercer when I read Unmasking Maya. In The Karmic Connection I wasn’t disappointed either.

It’s this thing. Loveable main characters—and more. Both Adam and Lorraine are compelling and easy to attach to. Often characters are made polar opposites in characteristics so there becomes story conflict and tension and blah blah. But with Libby Mercer’s style, I didn’t think, “Oh, the author made the characters polar opposites to attract attention or cause drama in the story.”

Adam is a typical city guy and I saw most of me in him. He wasn’t a believer of energies and auras and the like. He is a busy worker, believing in his busy routine and climbing the career ladder. Lorraine is far from the city life, working in a retreat where people like Adam come once they combust from stress or the like, or people with issues who need to reconnect (or just connect) with their spiritual and earthly side. She, as you may guess, isn’t wound up like him and acts much differently.

Once they see each other they’re both instantly attracted but there’s no love at first site. The Karmic Connection is full of tension and waiting, and hoping that Adam and Lorraine will get together. I won’t spoil but I waited much longer than expected for that “first moment” together and for their relationship to start getting closer *like that*.

I see Libby Mercer having a long and hugely successful career. It’s likely she’ll always publish books that will far exceed my initial thoughts, and will always surprise me with a story that absolutely captures my heart and one that I find loving every bit of every scene of each story.

Highly recommened, funny, romantic and easy to devour.

***

Author links:

Website/blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |

Buy the book:

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Barnes & Noble  |

♥♥♥

*NEW* Sign up to reveal Rebecca’s cover for her next release here.
Rebecca Berto is the author of the Dark Contemporary/Literary novella, Precise and the New Adult Contemporary Romance,
 Drowning in You

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Book review and giveaway: The Devil’s Kiss trilogy by Gemma James

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The Devil's Kiss trilogyTitle: The Devil’s Kiss trilogy

Author: Gemma James

Genre: Erotica BDSM

Published: May 8, 2013

Length: book 1: novelette; book 2: short novella; book 3: short novella

Rating: Novel Girl rating stars-4.5

***

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Description:

“Who am I, Kayla?”

I met his gaze—maniacal eyes possessing me—and shuddered. My heart feared him, but the gate of my sexual need was manned by him, owned by him. And he knew it.

“You’re my Master.”

Kayla Sutton faces a question no mother wants to face: what would you do to save your daughter? Broke and desperate, she siphons thousands from the company she works for in order to pay for her daughter’s life-saving treatment, but when Gage Channing discovers her theft, she is shocked to learn that her domineering boss has no intention of turning her over to the police. Instead he issues an ultimatum—submit to him, or go to jail.

As her daughter’s life hangs in the balance, Kayla must dig deep to find the strength to fully submit, to travel down the path of pain and pleasure. But when her past catches up to her, prompting a free fall into forbidden territory with a man she once fiercely loved, she knows her only recourse is to come clean about her transgression and beg her Master’s forgiveness . . . only she never imagined he’d have such a horrifying punishment awaiting her.

She faced sexual servitude in Ultimatum. In Enslaved she was seduced into craving it. Now she must find the strength to either accept the part of her that craves him still, or walk away for good . . .

NOTE TO READERS: THE DEVIL’S KISS TRILOGY is a novel with a BDSM edge and contains material that is only suitable for adult readers. If dark and edgy erotic fiction isn’t your kind of read, you might not enjoy this story. Approximately 52,000 words.

Ultimatum review

Book #1

Book #1

Rating: Novel Girl rating stars-4

Ultimatum, for 12,000 words, is a novelette yet so big in bang. I admit I went into it expecting whips and pain and erotic sex scene after scene with no story but…

…stupid me didn’t count on Gemma James planting a seed of a twisted, engrossing story that would take me through this trilogy.

It was a few things that got me hooked in this book. Mother, Kayla and terminally ill daughter, Eve are in a situation to make any person feel heavy and sad. This then is in the forefront of your mind when Kayla—ultimately—has no choice but to start a contract with Gage for cruel, twisted, sex for his own self-pleasing sexual desires because it gives her the money she needs. It’s crazy and Gemma made me squirm exactly how I think she intended me to. She also made me feel the confusing pleasure at times, when after the beating Kayla endured, she received sexual gratification.

Then there was Gage who had my emotions tumbling as if in a dryer. Man, he is a character I’ll never forget. He’s intense—sadistic and sexual, he’s damn intense.

A light read, Ultimatum almost made the coveted 5 stars, but was a tad short to completely satisfy me.

Enslaved review

Enslaved - Gemma James

Book #2

Rating: Novel Girl rating stars-5

If Ultimatum felt like a paper-cut, Enslaved was like a deep cut. So much more intense.

The sex was hotter, the BDSM was crueller, and so was Kayla’s feelings for her boss and Master, Gage. Her daughter, Eve received a large lump of money to help with cancer treatment in book one, but now comes a huge deal. There’s a new treatment available with extreme benefits to combat her cancer and give her a strong chance to live, but it’s a huge sum to pay.

Kayla has no choice. She goes right back into Gage’s torture dungeon (seems that way) and submits herself to his wicked ways. Meanwhile, when she’s out in the world afterwards, she keeps running into her ex, Ian, so she still loves.

This book is hot and capturing to read, and also a bit longer than Ultimatum, but it’s the huge twist at the end that had me choking on my breath and trying to tap away at my Kindle pages faster to devour every word until the end to find out what happened.

Enslaved is a huge step up from book one. It satisfied me and then knocked me off my feet in a good way and had me shouting at my lungs over social media for my friends to buy it.

Retribution review

Book #3

Book #3

Rating: Novel Girl rating stars-5

The title says it all really. It’s stepped up to the max in this last instalment. We finally see the prospect of Gage, her sexual torturer and pleaser, getting his comeuppance.

I love that Kayla now has the upper hand. I felt like chanting, “Go girl power!” in my head while reading, but it wasn’t all like that. Gage is evil through and through, and Kayla is questioning soon enough if she had any power over their contract and his hold on her at all.

In this last instalment, I really connected with the three main characters, Gage, Kayla, and Ian. Part of it was another bombshell that Gemma James hit me with, and I saw these characters becoming real in my head. With so much on the line between Eve’s recovery, Kayla’s choice to walk away from Gage or not, her retribution, more dark and dangerous secrets, and Ian’s presence in her life, I couldn’t help but chant, “perfect, perfect, perfect,” over in my head as I finished up this book.

Gemma James threw some crazy shit at me, and I feel proud I survived this book. My only disappointment is the ending. It’s not a cliff-hanger and given the type of series, it isn’t a sweet HEA; it’s something else. But it fitted the series.

***

The series

Wow. I am floored. All in all, the length of these books put together barely total a small novel, yet each standing on their own grow to a huge satisfactory read.

I highly recommend this series. I get peeved at features in BDSM erotica books, and this one had them, too, but as a non-reader of the genre I rate the series in total 4.5 stars and totally mind-blowing. LOVE. And highly recommended.

***

Author links:

Website/blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |

Ultimatum (book #1) links:

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |

The full trilogy links:

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |

***

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♥♥♥

*NEW* Sign up to reveal Rebecca’s cover for her next release here.
Rebecca Berto is the author of the Dark Contemporary/Literary novella, Precise and the New Adult Contemporary Romance,
 Drowning in You

Follow Novel Girl blog by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page to stay updated.