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Tina's Reading Space

Book reviews, random musings and all things bookish. 

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Review: She's a Spitfire

She's a Spitfire - Chloe Liese

This story picks up right where He's a Brute left off, so make sure you read that one first. The history of Zed and Nairne's dynamic is important to the story. Full disclosure, I didn't read book 1 first and that may have skewed my enjoyment of She's a Spitfire a bit. I did go back and read it and it helped me enjoy/forgive some aspects that I didn't initially like. This review is my thoughts having read both books now.

 

I have to say I really enjoy Nairne as a character. She is smart, feisty, determined, loyal, and doesn't take shit from anyone. Even in the face of thinly veiled threats she manages to let Zed know that she cares. Nairne knows what she is and isn't capable of and doesn't let that stop her from enjoying her life and following her dreams. She is the epitome of handicapable.

 

Elodie is one of my favorite sidekicks. Not only does she fiercely protect her best friend, she also calls her out when she's being unreasonable. Best friends need to call you out on your shit and know you'll be friends afterwards. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Nairne and Elodie and I think it was very well written.

 

Zed is not my favorite person. Despite his deep devotion and moral compass I just can't get behind how he talks to Nairne. I understand it's part of their dynamic and they enjoy each other but it is definitely not my cup of tea. To each their own.

 

Overall I did enjoy the twists and turns of this suspenseful story. It was a fun exhilarating journey with two people who love to hate each other. Zed and Nairne's passion for each other and for life is enough of a story, add in some mafia ties and a stalker and things get heated pretty quickly. I recommend this book if you don't mind some crass language and some very stubborn main characters. 

Review: What We Do for Love

What We Do for Love - Anne Pfeffer

This story gave me a lot of feelings. There is a lot to unpack emotionally and I think mostly it just felt real. The writing style and flow of the story felt very much like having a chat with a girlfiend over coffee. It was as if I was just hearing a story from a friend, if that makes sense.

 

Let us start with Nicole, oh Nicole. Since the story is told from her perspective we definitely get to know her the best. Her insecurities, her worries, and her fierce love for the people in her life. Not only is this a heartfelt story about a mother's love for her son but also the love she extends to someone who needs it more than anyone realizes at the time. My heart was with Nicole through the whole story, rooting for her and hoping everything worked out for the best.

 

My other favorite character was definitely Daniela. She is a thoughtful, lost teenager looking to find her way through a difficult time. Her fierce determination and helpful nature came through in every facet of her story.

 

There are some surprises along the way so don't you worry, I won't be spoiling those for you. This story is about love in many forms and it will certainly grab at your heartstrings. So grab a cup of coffee, settle in and enjoy.

Review: I Spy the Boy Next Door

I Spy the Boy Next Door - Samantha Armstrong

Every story has its up and downs and I'm still a little on the fence of where I land on this one. There were parts I really enjoyed and parts that left me a little unfulfilled. Let me try to capture my feelings.

Mallory is an interesting character. While I sympathize with the whole home-schooled, live in a bubble, upbringing it seemed overused as an excuse for her naivety. One of her main character traits is her impulsiveness: sneaking out, drinking, fights, snooping, etc. which seems contradictory to her very sheltered outlook. For me, it seemed like two extremes that didn't quite make sense in my brain. I understand the venturing out for the first time excitement, but with her anxiety and panic attacks I feel that she would have more trepidation doing all these things. The fact that she was spying on her neighbor for 5 years while pining for him is a bit creepy as well, but let's hope that was just her naivety and social anxiety.

Despite the slightly weird "I know you've been spying on me for years" vibe that Troy has, his character is very well written. He is guarded and has several reasons to be. There's a lot of family history that makes him who he is and I really enjoyed the reveal of his angst and guarded-ness with Mallory. Forbidden fruit you might say.

There were some surprises and I did enjoy how things ended up between Mallory and her friends and family. There were some plot holes that never quite got filled but overall it was an interesting coming of age story. Learning about life, love, and how sometimes are parents are right.

Review: Hitched by Britni Hill

Hitched - Britni Hill

This is a lovely conclusion to the Western Palm series. We get to revisit life with all of our favorite characters as they embark on the next phase of their lives. Marriage, babies, jobs, etc. Such a fitting conclusion to these friends stories. Make sure you catch up on the rest of the series before starting this one of course!

Reading progress update: DNF at 50%

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman

I gave up. I just couldn't keep up with everything going on and it was very slow at times. I think it'll make an interesting show but I'm calling it quits at 50% on the book. 

Review: The Sweetest Match

The Sweetest Match - Abby Tyler

You know those stories that remind you of home? There's nothing earth shattering or huge plot twists but they are just a pleasant happy book. That's The Sweetest Match

 

Set in a small town in the Midwest, we meet cake decorator Sandy. Recently emerged from hiding in the outskirts of town since her teenage pregnancy, Sandy is cautious but optimistic about running into all of the people who shunned her years ago. Enter the match making old bitties. 

 

Andrew has had a crush on Sandy since high school and is excited to spend time with her again. With the help of the town busy bodies, the two of them are paired up to work on the school centennial. As with most new relationships, first impressions and baggage are hurtles to overcome. Luckily for Sandy, Andrew doesn't shy away easily. 

 

I wish the book included a little more history from Sandy's perspective. They touch on it occasionally but I think it would round out her character and make the story just a little more interesting if we heard more about her mother and what it was like staying out of town all those years. The story could use just a little more character depth, otherwise, I really enjoyed it. 

 

This is a feel good story with small town humor. If you've ever lived in a small town you know that there's a lot of gossip and not a lot of secrets kept. Luckily for Andrew and Sandy, they get their happily ever after. I'd recommend this story if you're in the mood for a sweet romance. 

Polar vortex
Polar vortex

As you can see it's too cold to leave the house. I get to entertain my 2 toddlers all day. There isn't enough coffee for all this nonsense. 

Reading progress update: I've read 25%.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman

I'm having a hard time getting into this book. We're reading it for book club and I WANT to finish it but it's just feeling like it takes forever to read because I'm just not into it. I like the premise and the characters are interesting I just don't like the constant voice changing... Ugh. 

Updates, goals, and other ramblings

Hello my book loving friends. It has been entirely too long since I have enjoyed your company and I hope to remedy that in the near(ish) future. So much has gone on this past year it's hard to quantify in a short update but I will try to keep it short. 

 

So, on the lighter side of things, my days are very busy chasing my 2 toddlers around. Peanut started preschool last fall and Batman will be 2 in April. My how time flies! As you can imagine, wrangling a one and three year old keeps me busy. Cooking, cleaning, play dates, school events, shopping... it's exhausting and fun and everything in between. Unfortunately by the end of my day (or sometimes even the middle of it) I am left with little energy for myself and the things I enjoy. I know, I know, self care is important. I do try to get out regularly without the kiddos and my husband is supportive with all that. Mostly I just struggle with focusing on a book. Putting on a mindless movie or a tv show I love is just easier mentally most days. I'm hoping to improve on that in 2019. Now that Batman is sleeping though the night semi regularly and my sleep schedule is getting more regular I'm hoping my energy levels improve and I can enjoy reading again. 

 

On the harder side of things 2018 was rough. My husband was in 2 serious car accidents that totaled our cars (he's fine, thank goodness) and 2 minor accidents that involved repairs on the car. In addition to the paperwork/insurance nonsense there was a lot of  stress involved. The last part of the year just felt unbearable as I was dealing with one thing after another. Everyday I felt anxiety about what would happen next, and it sent me into a spiraling depression. There was a lot of little stuff that kept stressing me out too, but I don't want bore you with all the details. Then my grandfather died. I suffer from depression regularly, but this situational depression hit me harder than most and it's taken me a few months to get back to feeling okay. And I mean okay, not great or happy, but okay enough that I'm not in constant fear of the next proverbial shoe dropping. As you can imagine reading was not a high priority during this time. It took all of my patience just to get through the day. 

 

I'm happy to report that things are getting better. Now that the holidays/traveling/car situations are over I'm looking forward to settling into our routine again. Toddlers will still be toddlers but I'm feeling more and more like myself every day. Which works out because Bout of Books is starting this weekend and I think it'll be a great way to jump back into the reading game. 

 

I guess the point of this is to say that if you're struggling and reading isn't your thing right now, that's okay. Books will be there when you come back. Mental health is important and there's no pressure. I felt bad that I wasn't contributing to the book blog with my partner and it just added to the stress I was under. Luckily my partner is super awesome and supportive and never ever made me feel bad about my lack of reading. So there it is. Your insight for the new year, YOU DO YOU. 

 

Also, I'd really like to meet my reading goal this year. Life may get in the way but when I do make time to read I always feel better after. So yes, more reading less stress. Cheers to 2019!

Book swap
Book swap

It's a little late but my stranded island book swap box finally arrived today. We were supposed to meet up while I was visiting a few weeks ago but both my toddlers came down with a stomach bug and we had to cancel most of our vacation plans. Boooooo. But as you can see it was worth the wait. First aid kit and the razor really made me laugh. I never thought about the convenience of a razor before. So thanks Jessica!

Review: Fragments of Ash

Fragments of Ash - Katy Regnery

This was my first venture into the Modern Fairytale Collection series and I really enjoyed it. Truth be told, I didn't quite get the feel of the Cinderella story but I can see how they're related. This book is not for the lighthearted romantic there's a lot of dark sinister themes going on behind the scenes.

 

The slow reveal of the family secrets using Tig's diary is such a unique way for Ashley to learn about her mother's life. There is so much heartache and struggle, it really paints a vivid picture of what life was like for Tig under Mosier's thumb. Finding love in the hardest of circumstances is a theme I can always appreciate.

 

Ashley as a character is heartfelt and naive, I was rooting for her and also sad for her. The burdens of the life she had already lived and the potential life ahead of her were hard to feel excited about. Julian was a breath of fresh air after their initial awkward meeting. The slow budding friendship and romance was perfectly aligned with the story. It was heartfelt and real and kept the pages flying by.

 

The only reason this story isn't a 5 star for me is that the ending was a bit predictable. I still really loved the story and would recommend this readers who enjoy a suspenseful story with a happy ending.

Book Review: The Point

The Point  - John Dixon

This story started off strong. We meet Scarlett as she's blowing off her own high school graduation, much to her mother's dismay. She is a rebellious, angry, angsty teen who is struggling with her future plans. When she gets into trouble, her only option to avoid jail is to join the military program at West Point. 

 

Of course this isn't just a regular program at West Point, Scarlett has special abilities that the military is interested in. Posthumans are in their own program where they are learning to control and focus their powers. As is standard for Scarlett, she isn't that interested in doing what she's told. I liked her rebelliousness and bending of the rules despite her angst ridden feelings. 

 

I really enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book, where we learn all about Scarlett and her experience with other posthumans. My frustration with the ending is mostly that is feels so different from the rest of the story. We are quickly introduced to the enemy and there's a showdown of sorts. Very movie-esque in its hastiness. 

 

If you're looking for an interesting science fiction story that feels a lot like X-Men or the show Heroes, I think you would enjoy this book a lot. It definitely leans more towards Young Adult genre, but not in a bad way. 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not monetarily compensated and my opinions are my own

Book Review: Inconvenient Wife

Inconvenient Wife - Natasha Boyd

Where to begin? This was another fun, interesting romance by one of my favorite authors. While not quite living up to the laugh out loud moments of the first book in this series (Accidental Tryst) I really enjoyed the tension building of this friends to lovers story. Gwen, or Gracie, and Beau have a definitive chemistry that most couples strive to find. Friendships are great, but when they can be more it can be even better.

 

I know this particular trope gets kind of a bad rap in the romance reading community, but I assure you that Boyd does a fabulous job keeping the story moving without falling into a repetitive pace that leaves the reader with that "will they just get it on already" feeling. I found myself reading easily and excitedly to find out what would happen next. There's a lot to unravel and I really enjoyed the other characters contributions to the story.

 

Beau is an idiot. I mean that in the nicest way possible. He does all the wrong things and seems to not understand women at all. For having a best friend that is female, he hasn't learned anything useful to his endeavor. It was hard to like him at all at first, but there are a few redeeming moments that saved his character for me. Apologies are important people, that's all I'm saying.

 

Gwen is fierce and gentle. She seems like someone I'd like to get a beer with and swap awful dating stories. I immediately related to her and it was easy to be in her corner from the beginning. Not without faults, her stubbornness made for an interesting middle of the story. The ending is probably one of my favorite parts, all thanks to her.

 

If you're looking for a fun romance with a bit of angst and a happy ending, you should definitely grab this book.

Best box ever
Best box ever

Thanks to the lovely Bookish Blerd I got all this great stuff today. Just look at those book covers, I can't wait to see what magic they hold. Happy early birthday to me! I love when our book box exchange lands on my birthday week :-)

A year later...

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things - Jenny Lawson

So according to BL, I started reading this December 16, 2017. That means it took me 9 months to finish this wonderful book. Since Jenny Lawson discusses her struggle with depression and anxiety disorders at length (in the best, funniest way possible) I had to take several long breaks when my anxiety and depression were not putting me in the right head space to enjoy reading it. But really, this book is hilarious and just what I needed during these past two weeks of total chaos in my life. 

 

I am not exaggerating when I say my "vacation" was surrounded with nothing but Murphy's law. Car accident, cancelled concerts, delayed flights, stomach flu, etc, etc. All unrelated to this review, but whatever, I'll do what I want. Furiously Happy does remind us to laugh at the absurdity of our lives and most of all, to remember that the lows eventually get better. 

Review: Miss Behave

Miss Behave - Traci Highland

If you're in the mood for a light, funny book then you should pick up Miss Behave. The inclusion of Piper's advice column from the paper really made me choke on my drink a few times from laughing so hard. Highland does a wonderful job making Piper into a totally relateable and charming character.

 

This wonderful gem has a little bit of everything for you, family craziness, overbearing mothers, naked runs in the forest.... you won't want to miss a moment of Piper and Mr. Brookes chaos. Each new development in the story makes you laugh out loud and question your own sanity. Piper has a sarcastic wit that I would adore in a friend, and Mr. Brookes is a great match for her personality. Their banter and flirting is absolutely hilarious and swoon worthy.

 

I can't wait to read the next installment of the Anderson Family series. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy fun, romantic, sarcastic lead characters.