Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Moment of Everything by Shelly King

The Moment of Everything* * * * * 

In the tradition of The Cookbook Collector comes a funny, romantic novel about a young woman finding her calling while saving a used bookstore.

Maggie Duprès, recently "involuntarily separated from payroll" at a Silicon Valley start-up, is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly's Used Books, a Mountain View institution, waiting for the Next Big Thing to come along.

When the opportunity arises for her to network at a Bay Area book club, she jumps at the chance -- even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley's Lover, a book she hasn't encountered since college, in an evening. But the edition she finds at the bookstore is no Penguin Classics Chatterley -- it's an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers.

Witty and sharp-eyed in its treatment of tech world excesses, but with real warmth at its core, The Moment of Everything is a wonderful read.


Review:

Sometimes stories just kind of sneak up on you.  I knew I would probably enjoy this book.  But I was not prepared for how much I was going to love it. 

Our story begins with Maggie and her landlord, Hugo, sitting in the only two chairs in Hugo’s used bookstore, The Dragonfly.  Here were learn that Maggie is unemployed and instead of spending hours on hours searching for a new job, she is spending hours on hours reading romance novels, hanging with Hugo and barely tolerating his employee, Jason (who is none too amused that Maggie is hogging that other chair). 

Maggie’s best friend, Dizzy, is only interested in the next big thing.  He’s happy going from position to position and company to company.  And he’s more than happy to have Maggie along for the ride.  After all, they’ve been conquering Silicon Valley together since they left college.  So when he hears that a number of execs at his current company (the one that he and Maggie started up) have a book club and have room for a couple new members, he convinces Maggie to join.  This will be the perfect networking opportunity since Maggie’s college degree is in literature and she can wow them with her knowledge.  Well, she does wow them.  Just not necessarily with her degree.  Because the copy of Lady Chatterly’s Lover that Hugo found for her in the bookshop is filled with notes from two lovers.  And those notes are what help her engage the book group and then spur Maggie’s unconventional project meant to impress and convince them to give her job back.

Using the intensely romantic notes written by Henry and Catherine in that old beat up copy of Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Maggie embarks on a campaign to make The Dragonfly a successful money making venture.  As much as Hugo hates The Man, he allows Maggie to use his store to further her career opportunities.   You can tell he sees possibility in Maggie’s quest.  Not the possibility of making money but the possibility of Maggie finding something she really loves. 

Maggie grew up in a home where she felt unloved and emotionally neglected.  It didn’t help that every moment of her mother’s day was planned in advance to make Maggie’s father (her greatest love) happy.  Needless to say, Maggie has a dysfunctional and complicated view of love.  Her experience is that it is controlling and that it asks too much of people.  But through the friends she makes while promoting The Dragonfly she learns that “for a love big enough, the sacrifices aren’t sacrifices,” and the complications can be worth it.

I loved so much about this story.  The irreverent humor towards technology and corporations that only someone with experience could write and understand.  Hugo’s many relationships.  Rajith and Maggie’s romance that was not the focus of the story but was still absolutely essential in the telling of it.  The beautiful and affirming words whispered in Maggie’s ear by someone close to her.  I won’t tell you who or what because spoilers…but I will say that the words and the situation made me cry a decent amount of tears. 

The Moment of Everything left me with a feeling of rightness.  I kept thinking, “This.  This is what I want my life to be.”  Okay, maybe not EXACTLY like in the book.  I mean, I’m not willing to trade in my Executive Officer for a Rajith (not because Rajith doesn’t have a certain appeal because, trust me, he most certainly does).  But what I loved was Maggie’s inadvertent search for love and fulfillment and how and where she finds those things. 

This book also left me with a fun to do list:

  • Read Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  • Buy a vintage bike
  • Find more used book stores
  • Eat some ramen for the sake of nostalgia
  • Spend hours visiting thrift shops and used books store so I can scour the pages of ancient books for secret messages from secret lovers
  • Buy and run a used bookstore

Now to just find the time….

If you are look for a beautiful and fulfilling story about a woman searching for love in all aspects of her life then I highly recommend you pick up The Moment of Everything by Shelly King.


Nat

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (118)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that highlights future releases that we are excitedly anticipating.


In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4)
Title: In Your Dreams
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publication Date:  September 30, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin

Emmaline Neal needs a date. Just a date—someone to help her get through her ex-fiancé's wedding without losing her mind. But pickings are slim in Manningsport, New York, population 715. In fact, there's really only one option: local heartthrob Jack Holland. Everyone loves Jack, and he won't get the wrong idea…. After all, Jack Holland would never actually be interested in a woman like Em. Especially not with his beautiful ex-wife creeping around, angling to reunite ever since he rescued a group of teens and became a local hero. 

But when the wedding festivities take an unexpectedly passionate turn, Em figures it was just one crazy night. Jack is too gorgeous, too popular, to ever end up with her. So why is she the one he can talk to about his deep, dark feelings? If Em is going to get her dream man, she'll have to start by believing in him…









He's So Fine (Lucky Harbor, #11)


Title: He's So Fine
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

For Olivia Bentley, Lucky Harbor is more than the town where she runs her new vintage shop. It's the place where folks are friendly to strangers-and nobody knows her real name. Olivia does a good job of keeping her past buried, not getting too cozy with anyone . . . until she sees a man drowning. Suddenly she's rushing into the surf, getting up close and personal with the hottest guy she's ever laid hands on.

Charter boat captain Cole Donovan has no problem with a gorgeous woman throwing her arms around his neck in an effort to "save" him. In fact, he'd like to spend a lot more time skin-to-skin with Olivia. He's just not expecting that real trouble is about to come her way. Will it bring her deeper into Cole's heart, or will it be the end of Olivia's days in little Lucky Harbor?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

****



From HarperTeen:


Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion.  Everything changes when she meets the gorgeous, enigmatic Finn, who introduces her to the secret world of Albion's nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn't - power, money, status...and magic.  But Finn has secrets of his own, and the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess them.  Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits, can stop him.










Illusions is quite possibly my favorite Kiersten White book to date.  It is a funny, heartwarming, wrenching, romance mixed with a mystery full of twists and turns, all leading to a shocking conclusion that will leave you in awe of Ms. White.  

Jess is strong-willed and determined to use her intelligence to make something of herself, quite possibly by sheer willpower alone.  She left Melei to go to a private school in Albion, only gaining admittance because of a family connection.  Her father, an Ablion man, had visited Melei to research a book, so Jess is neither fully Melei or Albion and fits into neither place.  She's strong, but she's stubborn to a fault and distrustful.  

Finn is a mystery.  He clearly appears noble and comes to her aid in a moment of trouble, but doesn't reveal much about himself and beyond a strong attraction, strange things seems to happen when Jess is around Finn.  The two keep crossing paths until Finn decides that it is best that they are not friends.  When Jess receives a mysterious invitation to a ball, she assumes it is from Finn.  

Once it becomes clear that he cannot avoid Jess, Finn is willing to give her his heart, but he's driven by loss to complete the tasks for which he came to Albion.  Thrust into a world of magic and danger, Jess is more confused than ever.  Once Jess finds out the truth about Finn, the two of them become completely adorable.  Finn is so awkward and Jess clueless.  It's is a so much fun to follow their journey.   

I won't give away any spoilers, I will only say that you will be on the edge of your seat to finish this one.  Illusions is a great read - you should all go read it now!  

~Shel





Monday, September 15, 2014

Wicked by Jennifer L. Armentrout Cover Reveal!

JLA!  JLA!  I feel like we should be chanting in anticipation of the seriously awesome Wicked cover reveal!  I know Jennifer will likely have a post filled with Supernatural gifs, but well, I'm just not as cool.  

So, here are the details for Wicked, the first in the NA paranormal Wicked Trilogy, coming in December 2014:

WICKED Pre-Order:

WICKED Synopsis:

Things are about to get Wicked in New Orleans.

Twenty-two year old Ivy Morgan isn’t your average college student. She, and others like her, know humans aren’t the only thing trolling the French Quarter for fun… and for food. Her duty to the Order is her life. After all, four years ago, she lost everything at the hands of the creatures she’d sworn to hunt, tearing her world and her heart apart.

Ren Owens is the last person Ivy expected to enter her rigidly controlled life. He’s six feet and three inches of temptation and swoon-inducing charm. With forest-green eyes and a smile that’s surely left a stream of broken hearts in its wake, he has an uncanny, almost unnatural ability to make her yearn for everything he has to offer. But letting him in is as dangerous as hunting the cold-blooded killers stalking the streets. Losing the boy she loved once before had nearly destroyed her, but the sparking tension that grows between them becomes impossible for Ivy to deny. Deep down, she wants… she needs more than what her duty demands of her, what her past has shaped for her.

But as Ivy grows closer to Ren, she realizes she’s not the only one carrying secrets that could shatter the frail bond between them. There’s something he’s not telling her, and one thing is for certain. She’s no longer sure what is more dangerous to her—the ancient beings threatening to take over the town or the man demanding to lay claim to her heart and her soul.

About Jennifer L. Armentrout:

# 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki.

Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.

She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

Links:


Without further adieu, I give you the Wicked cover...


This cover puts the awesome in awesomesauce!  I cannot wait to read Wicked!!!!

~Shel

A Peek In The BiblioBin #116



Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the lovely ladies at Tynga's Reviews.

Stacking the Shelves is a way for bloggers to share what books they have won, received for review, bought from the bookstore, borrowed from the library or friend, etc.

Share with us what you've been reading or have recently discovered!


For Review:



Rock Courtship (Rock Kiss #1.5) by Nalini Singh

Side Swiped (Off The Map #2) by Lia Riley



Purchased:



Rule (Marked Men #1) by Jay Crownover (Kindle)

Jet (Marked Men #2) by Jay Crownover (Kindle)

Rome (Marked Men #3) by Jay Crownover (Kindle)

Nash (Marked Men #4) by Jay Crownover (Kindle)




On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1) by Samantha Young

Winger (Winger #1) by Andrew Smith




Friday, September 12, 2014

The Boy I Love by Nina de Gramont

The Boy I Love
* * * 1/2

When the boy you love asks you to keep his greatest secret, do you? A thought-provoking, achingly complex novel about prejudice and the many meanings of love from Nina de Gramont, author of Meet Me at the River, which Kirkus Reviews called a “must-read.”

Sixteen-year-old Wren has been content to stay in her best friend Allie’s shadow. It doesn’t bother her that Ally gets the cutest guys, the cutest clothes, and even a modeling gig—Wren is happy hanging with the horses on her family’s farm and avoiding the jealousy of other girls. But when Tim, the most intriguing guy in school, starts hanging out with Ally and Wren, jealousy is unavoidable, but not the kind Wren expects. Because even though Ally is way into him and Wren hasn’t flirted, not one little bit, it becomes increasingly clear that Tim prefers Wren’s company above anyone else’s.

Tim’s unexpected devotion comes at the exact time Wren’s home life is about to be turned upside down. But at least there is Tim...always a gentleman and ever dependable. But as his own seemingly perfect world comes spiraling down around him and he tells Wren his biggest secret, Wren must decide what she’ll really do for love



Review:

Wren and Ally will do anything to spend the school year together.  So when Ally’s family moves away from Cutty River, Wren’s parents allow her to switch schools so that she can attend Williamsport High School with Ally.   Ally, with her sights set on the cheerleading team and a new boyfriend, is determined to be one of the popular kids.   Wren, other than being determined to be involved in theater, took a much more laid back approach to her new high school.  

The outcome in this scenario is pretty predictable.  Ally does not make the cheerleading team.  And not only does she not get the boyfriend, the boy she likes seems much more interested in Wren.  What isn’t predictable is Wren and Tim’s relationship.  Yes Wren is attracted to Tim.  And yes, she might be willing to have a relationship even though her best friend has a crush on him.  But Tim unexpectedly confesses a secret to Wren and in her effort to help Tim and keep his secret, she and Tim become inseparable.   Ally doesn’t believe they are not dating and drops Wren like a hot potato.  And because Wren has promised not to tell anyone Tim’s secret, she is unable to explain to Ally why she and Tim have become so close. 

On top of the devastation of losing a best friend and gaining a new one that is emotionally struggling, Wren is having issues at home.  Her parents have lost funding for their horse rescue which means they will likely need to sell the farm that has been in her father’s family for generations.  That means giving up not only the home she loves but also the horses.  One of which Wren is particularly close to.

In the end, Wren has to learn to handle the difficulties life keeps dumping on her while still staying true to herself, her friends and her family. 

My only complaint is that I found the title of this book misleading.  I did not feel the primary focus of the novel was Wren’s relationship with Tim.  Yes that was one of the things Wren is struggling with in this book.  But it’s not her only struggle.  The struggle with her parents and losing their home is just as prominent in this story as her relationship with her friends.  This is a story about a girl experiencing many struggles.  Some completely normal for a sixteen year old high school student.  Some not.   

As is usually the case with books I enjoy, what I loved most were the characters.  They weren’t always particularly likable but they were such honest portrayals of human imperfection that it was hard to not love them anyway.  Wren is only sixteen and the author portrays her voice perfectly.  That blend of young teen on the verge of becoming an adult is both pretentious and awkward.  But in the most engaging way.  And even though the story is told in the first person, Wren’s voice is powerful and eloquent enough to allow the reader to know the secondary characters.  The secondary characters I found to be the strongest were Ally, Tim and Wren’s mom.  Which make sense as those were the people that were closest to Wren. 

 If you are looking for a lot of romance this may not be for you.  BUT …f you are looking for a thoughtful YA novel about friendship, family and love then I definitely recommend The Boy I Love.   

Nat


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh


****
From TKA Distribution:
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh stuns with a sizzling contemporary romance…


A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…

Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media's harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.

A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that's all it was meant to be…

Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he'll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn't only her body that's become addicted to Fox, but her heart…





I totally get now why Nalini Singh's books are so popular. This was my first exposure to her and I will definitely read more. Rock Addiction was melt your e-reader hot. Fox is a rock god, an international superstar that gets what he wants. He has no lack for admirerers or sex. Women throw themselves at him wherever he goes. He revels in his music and being able to do what he loves.
Molly hides in the shadows and wants nothing to do with the spotlight. After living the darkside of infamy and its devastating results, she wants nothing more than to live a quiet life, but who can resist the opportunity for a night with the world's hottest rock star?

Rock Addiction portrays a dark, possessive kind of love story. Fox is dominating and rough around the edges, having also been deeply scarred as a child. While I have no problem with an alpha male, Fox's need to possess and control Molly was a little too much for me, but bearable because it was an honest portrayal of how a man with his background may react. My real issue was with the progression of Molly's character. She has every reason to want to avoid Fox. In the beginning her character feels true to her backstory – a driving need to be completely self-reliant, wary, untrusting and avoiding entanglements, but then she hooks up with Fox and it's like she protests half-heartedly to being with him because of her deep-seated fears, but then miraculously puts them all aside to be with someone she doesn't know. I admit, I didn't buy it – the transition was too quick and effortless for what she had been through.

The true beauty of Rock Addiction (aside from our bagging the rockstar fantasy) was the supporting cast of characters, including the other members of the band and Charlie (Molly's BFF). Singh's foreshadowing is fantastic! I can't wait to read the rest of this series to see how things turn out for the rest of the gang.

If you are looking for a steamy New Adult and like your fictional boyfriends dominating and possessive, then Fox and Rock Addition are definitely for you.

~Shel