Sep 18, 2017

Review: Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

Author: Susan Mallery 
Series: Happily, Inc. Series
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Number of Pages: 384

Synopsis:
"Mathias Mitchell's easy smile hides a world of hurt. After the worst kind of family betrayal, he moves to Happily Inc., California—the wedding destination town supplies a steady stream of bridesmaids, perfect for his "no promises, no pain" lifestyle. Yet he can't stop watching for his beautiful, elusive neighbor on the animal preserve behind their homes.

Gamekeeper Carol Lund knows she's not special enough to attract an alpha male like Mathias, so his offer to help her adopt a herd for her lonely giraffe is surprising—and his determined seduction, even more so. But just as she finally welcomes him into her bed, his careless actions crush her heart. Will she give him a second chance to prove she'll always come first in his heart?"

Susan Mallery definitely did it again. She created another amazing story that I just adore. I loved reading about Mathias and Carol's story. They make the most adorable story ever. 

I recalled just wanted to become Carol's friend, well I definitely would want to be her friend if she were real. She's just kind of unique compared to all of Susan Mallery's previous heroines. They've always been these beautiful women who have some level of confidence, but Carol is different. She doesn't believe she's all that pretty or have any special qualities to catch a really great looking guy. Mathias's reaction to all of that is the absolute best. He genuinely cares about her and makes her feel special and happy. 


Mathias and Carol are just the best couple. Their story was so adorable and heart-warming, I just fell in love. While I do enjoy all of Susan Mallery's couple there was something about this couple that had me wanting to read the entire book in one sitting. I wish they did have another book with their life further in the future, or just even a novella! 


The ending of this book was just amazing and I felt so darn happy! Overall this book was amazing and I loved diving into a Susan Mallery novel once again.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
*A copy of the novel was provided by the publisher for an honest review and for the blog tour. 


Getting kicked in the stomach by a gazelle was never pleasant, but at one-thirty in the morning, it was especially hard to take. Carol Lund glared at Bronwen and the gazelle glared right back.
“You don’t get to have attitude, young lady,” Carol told her. “I’m not the one who insisted on going out by the rocks. I’m not the one who got scraped up, yet here I am, in the middle of the night, checking on your leg to make sure you don’t have an infection.”
Bronwen was notably unimpressed by Carol’s presence and dedication. She stomped her front hooves and turned away.
“You say that now,” Carol grumbled. “But just wait until feeding time. Suddenly I’m your best friend. You’re incredibly fickle.”
Carol packed up her supplies. Bronwen’s leg seemed to be healing nicely. With luck she wouldn’t require a second night’s visit tomorrow and Carol could catch up on the sleep she was missing.
She left the gazelle barn and started for her Jeep. The night was clear and cool and there were a million stars in the sky. While Carol would have preferred that Bronwen hadn’t been injured and that they’d both been able to sleep through the night, she had to admit that staring at the perfect sky was a very cool compensation. If she didn’t look at the horizon, or try to pick out individual constellations, she could be anywhere in the world—literally. Because the night sky was a constant.
Oh, sure, there were differences between the hemispheres and at certain times of the year, but still…stars!
She climbed in her Jeep and drove toward her small bungalow, then pulled onto the shoulder before she got there and cut the engine and lights. She got out of the Jeep, sank down onto the ground and gave herself over to the nighttime view.
It was October in the desert which meant warm days and pleasant nights. Rain was an unlikely possibility—that was more a spring-summer thing. The closest town was Happily Inc and it wasn’t all that huge, so it wasn’t hard to get away from the streetlights and into true darkness. Here, on the road, she was flanked by the mountains and the golf course, with the rolling hills of the Happily Inc Animal Preserve just behind her. And the stars.
She draped her jacket on the ground so she could lie down and get the best view of the wonder overhead. She had no idea how long she’d been lying there when a pair of headlights cut through the darkness and briefly illuminated her.
Carol sat up as a swoopy midnight-blue Mercedes sedan pulled in behind her Jeep.

Of all the gin joints in all the world, she thought. She watched a tall, dark-haired man step out of his car and walk toward her. It had to be after two in the morning, yet Mathias Mitchell looked more alert than sleepy. No doubt the lingering effects of the hunt, takedown and getting laid.


#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship, romance. She's best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.

Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her online at SusanMallery.com.

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Aug 15, 2017

Why Complaining About 'An Ember in The Ashes' Cover Changes is Problematic

Look, I hate mid-series cover changes as much as the next person. I was one book away from completing Jennifer L. Armentrout's Obsidian series when they decided to change the covers. It's frustrating. We, as bookworms, take pride in the appearance of our bookshelves and our biggest compliment is "BOOKSHELF GOALS". 

On August 14th, Mashable.com released an article with the new covers for An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. The series was two books in and had two more books to go. People were overjoyed, all those brown girls were finally seeing themselves on a best-selling book cover. That was until the hate started pouring in. 
  
Readers were upset about the mid-series cover change and it was completely disrespectful. I'm not talking about disrespect to the author, publisher, or the cover artist. No, it was disrespectful to every single POC, especially those of brown skin. This wasn't just any other cover change, but a cover change to bring unity and diversity to a very diverse community. This was about showing brown girls (and guys) that they belong in this community, that not all YA is about white protagonists where, sometimes, a brown kids play the nerdy sidekick. With the recent success of books like When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and Soulmated by Shaila Patel, I finally felt like we were starting to gain some wins and become more inclusive. 
  
It's not that these teens who were against the cover changes were necessarily racists or bigots, but it is more likely that they were ignorant in the implications of their tweets. They didn't realize that their tweets were hurting those POC who were finally celebrating and dampening their happiness.

To those who continue to be upset, the display of your bookshelf is not more important than the diversity and inclusivity that these covers provide. Racial equality and inclusivity are always at the forefront. Imagine that one day a young teen of brown skin walks into a bookstore against their will but sees An Ember in the Ashes and is overjoyed. That could very well start the journey of their love for reading as they were able to relate to the character in a deeper way and could picture themselves on that cover.

We should be trying to encourage more people to read and pick up books and hopefully, these covers do just that. Covers are meant to draw readers towards the novel and I applaud and thank any and every person who was involved in the decision to put a brown girl on the cover. 

Congrats to Sabaa Tahir on the new covers!

Aug 14, 2017

ARC Review: Beast by Elizabeth Reyes

Author: Elizabeth Reyes
Series: Boyle Heights #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Number of Pages: 337

Synopsis:
"She holds the power to tame theBeast . . .
or unleash him if he lets her in.
This close to turning his life around and just months away from the end of his probation, all Leo has to do is keep his inner demons in check.
But the Beast within is about to be reawakened.
One interview was all it was supposed to be. An interview with the daunting felon in the work-release program that leaves Allison breathless with anticipation for their next encounter.
Despite the risks of becoming involved, neither is able to fight the inexplicable draw they’re feeling.
Life keeps throwing them back together until the fateful night they stop fighting the inevitable and give into their desires. Suddenly, Leo has even more to look forward to in his new life.
Until his violent past catches up to him.
With the stakes infinitely higher now that Allison may also be at risk, the dormant Beast deep inside Leo threatens to unleash, ruining all the progress he’s made—worst of all any future with Allison."
Beast was another great novel by Elizabeth Reyes in the spinoff series to 5th Street. I loved being able to see all the 5th Street boys and seeing Lila and Sonny. 

As much as I loved Ali in the novel, Beast was the real star for me. We always see the worst in people, and if we heard about someone like Leo who had been in prison, many of us would write him off as a bad guy. Ali was different and it was a refreshing trait compared to her sister Lila, who only saw the fact that he was an ex-con. I especially loved the fact that Ali was a journalist--I was newspaper obsessed in high school. (I was an editor by sophomore year and then was editor-in-chief senior year). I just loved seeing Ali's passion for journalism and uncovering the truth. 

Beast's and Ali's chemistry in this novel is off the charts. I loved Lila's fire in her personality but it never really translated completely into her relationship with Sonny. Ali and Beast just have this..explosion of emotions. I felt like I was on fire while reading and definitely had moments when I had to take breaks. 


(Actual image of me while reading this book.)

The plot line was also somewhat different from other Elizabeth Reyes books. She had Ali is a much more vulnerable situation than any of her other female protagonists. I almost wish that it had actually happened. I know it sounds bad, but far too often it just happens that the male protagonist busts in before anything can actually happen and it's just not realistic. It would have been interesting to see how it all played out, but I also know that Reyes doesn't like too much sadness in her novels. 

This was definitely one of her more memorable novels and it is already been one that I've reread (twice!).

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
*A copy of this novel was provided by the author for an honest review!