Synopsis Losing your ability to speak at the age of seventeen; it’s not normal or fair. But trauma, has a way of throwing normality out the window.
Dani lives anything but a normal life. Her sister is married to one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Her best friends are rockstar duo AD2. And she has more love around her than most people experience in a lifetime.
But that doesn’t change the fact their parents are dead. Or that it’s her fault.
It seems her new normal is being a mute, living on the inside, unable to actually communicate on the outside. That is until Hollywood’s newest heartthrob Lincoln Greene hires her as his assistant for the summer.
He’s gorgeous, completely unavailable, and unobtainable. But that doesn’t stop her from wondering…if things were different…would he want her?
If she was whole, would he be the other half?
My Review This is my first book by Rachel Van Dyken and I’m ready for more! Her characters are fun, witty, charming, interesting. The plot moves, although it is formulaic. But it’s really the characters that do it for me. Dani is a seventeen-year old mute, having lost her ability to speak after her parents’ death in a car accident that Dani was the only one to walk away from. Lincoln is a 22-year-old Hollywood heartthrob, playing opposite her sister in a movie her brother-in-law is directing.
When Lincoln needs a new personal assistant, Dani is thrown into the job. The only trouble is, she doesn’t speak, which makes for some totally fun text messages. The two have an instant attraction, which of course is forbidden due to Dani’s age and the fact that Lincoln is her boss. But this is romance, so, you know that’s not going to last!
The plot centers around the relationship between Dani and Lincoln, but Dani’s muteness is a big subplot that adds a deeper, more unique level to this story than a typical new adult romance. Set in a small seaside town on the Oregon coast, the characters manage to come across as average citizens instead of mega stars for a good portion of the story. This helps them come across as more relateable than they otherwise would.
Characters The entire cast is fantastic, but Dani and Lincoln are particularly well developed. Dani’s muteness and Lincoln’s parental issues make them both intriguing. The supporting cast is equally interesting, and I suspect that earlier books were responsible for fleshing them out. Even though I haven’t read any other books in the series, I didn’t need to in order to fully engage with the story or the characters in Capture. The author may have told their stories earlier, but the way she presents them here are well-rounded and deep in their own rights.
The Writing Rachel Van Dyken has a unique voice that is youthful, witty, and charming. She does an outstanding job of differentiating the two first-person points of view.
The Ending I enjoyed the ending and thought the author wrapped up the plot points in a satisfying way, while giving us a glimpse into the world of the character we’ll get to know more about in the next book in the series.
Top Five Things I Enjoyed About Capture 1. Dani’s relationship with AD2. Her two best friends are rock stars, but their relationship is grounded and super sweet.
2. Dani’s wit. Her snarky texts are awesome and her personality shines through her written words.
3. Zane. He’s a fascinating character with so much potential. I can’t wait to read his story.
4. The setting. I love the Oregon coast and the locale is perfect for this story.
5. Forbidden romances. Because they offer up SO much opportunity for unresolved sexual tension and conflict.
Bottom Line Capture is a sweet love story with an outstanding cast of characters and witty writing.
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book Title: Capture Series: Seaside Series Standalone Author: Rachel Van Dyken Release Date: August 20, 2015 Pages: 242 Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
Author Rachel Van Dyken
About the Author
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances.
When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!
Today’s theme for 1 Line Wednesday, sponsored by RWA’s Kiss of Death Chapter is Similes or Metaphors. This might be my favorite theme to date. I never metaphor I didn’t like (bu-du-bum, I’ll be here all week). This from Chapter 5 of The Uprising from Evan’s point of view.
I stare at his retreating form, feeling as if I’ve just consumed a buffet full of emotions.
And to celebrate revisions being complete and the final edits before going out to beta readers, I’m including a second one from Chapter 13 from Cyrus’s point of view.
She whispers my name like a plea, and I’m falling, stepping off a ledge into the unknown.
You can see previous week’s themes and lines here.
All Quinn Dorsey wants is a white picket fence fairy tale. But after another failed relationship and her biological clock ticking double time, she’s desperate enough to try online dating. Following a series of worst dates ever, she decides happily-ever-after isn’t in the Tarot cards. Forget Cupid, it’s time to take matters into her own hands. A simple seduction should do the trick, but then everything that can go wrong…does!
…Turn out to be so right
Dak Savage isn’t interested in commitment. He’s been burned by women before – lied to, used, even shot. Hell, he considers women a curse and has one rule he never breaks – don’t pick up women in bars. But when he agrees to a guys’ night out and meets up with the feisty, fast talking Quinn, his rule shatters like a dropped shot glass.
A one night stand turns into a long weekend and as Quinn tries to abandon her ridiculous scheme, she finds herself nose-to-nose and toe-to-toe with the best mistake she’s ever made.
My Review The story started off slow, almost too slow, but when it picked up, it took off at a crazy pace. Quinn’s biological clock is ticking faster than most women her age. She has a genetic condition that throws her into early menopause, meaning her fertile days are numbered. So when her boyfriend of three years dumps her instead of proposing, Quinn get serious about finding Mr. Right. But when one bad date follows another, she gives up and decides single motherhood is for her. After finding out the cost of sperm banks, she decides to just pick up a stranger in a bar and let nature take it’s course.
It takes a good third or more of the book before she meets Dak Savage, and when she does, sparks fly. But Dak isn’t the guy she was going to use as a sperm donor, so things go from messy to disastrous, with a mixture of lighthearted moments and intense, angsty drama.
Although I felt it took too long to develop, the plot has some unique aspects. It’s part romantic comedy, part angst-filled romance, but it works. The lighter moments help offset the moments when I wanted to a) slap Quinn, or b) smack Dak.
The characters are fun, well-rounded, and include enough growth to make them a little different from many characters in the genre. Quinn bordered on annoying a few too many times, and Dak needed to pull his head out of his ass on pretty much a regular basis. Dak’s twin sister, Sim, is awesome and might just be my favorite character in the book. I loved Quinn’s BFF Raynie as well. In fact, I would totally ship Sim and Raynie if they swung that way.
Writing Ann Everett has a fun voice that reminds me a little of Janet Evanovitch, but is really all her own. Her attention to scene settings helps bring the story to three-dimensional life.
Top Five Things I enjoyed about Two Wrongs Make a Right: 1. Quinn’s apartment. Although a lot of time is spent bashing her run-down apartment, the way she decorates it to make it all her own is pure eclectic delight.
2. Raynie. The tarot-card reading free spirit is the perfect foil to Quinn’s usual uptightness.
3. Sim. Dak’s smart-mouthed twin sister brings perspective, giving her brother a much-needed kick-in-the-ass.
4. Quinn’s grandpa. His obsession with his bowels provides some of the best lines.
5. Online dating. While many of the guys Quinn meets through online dating are caricatures, the world of online dating is filled with a lot of landmines, and Ann Everett portrays it with a critical eye and a healthy dose of hilarity.
Bottom Line Two Wrongs Make a Right is an interesting twist on the contemporary romance, filled with humor and heart.
About the Book Title: Two Wrongs Make a Right Author: Ann Everett Release Date: April 16, 2015 Pages: 255 Genre: Contemporary Romance Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon US
Author Ann Everett
About the Author Ann Everett embraces her small town upbringing and thinks Texans are some of the funniest people on earth. When speaking to writing groups, businesses, book clubs, and non-profit organizations, she incorporates her special brand of wit, making her programs on marketing, self-publishing, and the benefits of laughter, informative and fun.
An award winning and Amazon best-selling author, when she’s not writing, she spends her days listening in on people’s conversations at the local Wal-Mart and numerous other gathering spots. She draws from that research to pen her romance and mystery books, full of southern sass, sizzle, and Texas twang.
Synopsis Strutting his stuff on the catwalk in black patent leather pumps and a snug orange tuxedo as this year’s Miss (ter) Harvest Moon feels so very right to Chance César, and yet he knows it should feel so very wrong.
As far back as he can remember, Chance has been “caught between genders.” (It’s quite a touchy subject; so don’t ask him about it.) However, he does not question his sexual orientation. Chance has no doubt about his gayness—he is very much out of the closet at his rural New Hampshire high school, where the other students avoid the kid they refer to as “girl-boy.”
But at the local Harvest Moon Festival, when Chance, the Pumpkin Pageant Queen, meets Jasper Donahue, the Pumpkin Carving King, sparks fly. So Chance sets out, with the help of his BFF, Emily, to make “Jazz” Donahue his man.
An article in an online women’s magazine, Ten Scientifically Proven Ways to Make a Man Fall in Love with You (with a bonus love spell thrown in for good measure), becomes the basis of their strategy to capture Jazz’s heart.
Quirky, comical, definitely flamboyant, and with an inner core of poignancy, Love Spell celebrates the diversity of a gender-fluid teen.
My Review There are so many things to love about Love Spell, but Chance César wasn’t one of them. At least not for me. The story follows Chance as he meets and then falls for Jasper Donahue, who Chance immediately starts calling Jazz. He and his best friend, Emmy, put together a plan for Chance to win Jazz’s heart. And that pretty much sums up my issues with Chance. He doesn’t know Jasper and decides not only to call him Jazz, whether or not Jasper likes it, but to pursue him without even knowing if Jazz is into guys. Plus, Chance constantly talks about his own awesomeness.
Aside from not liking Chance, I got a kick out of the story. It’s filled with quirky characters, witty banter, and real issues faced by teens, including gender identity, bullying, and falling in love. All of it is approached with heart and humor, making it impossible not to love the story despite not loving the main character. But then that was how A Confederacy of Dunces played out for me, too.
The plot centers around the romance between Chance and Jazz and the plan that Chance and Emmy come up with to get Jazz to fall for him. It’s hysterical as Chance tries to take the advice from a woman’s magazine on winning the heart of a guy and apply it to his situation. There are many laugh-out-loud moments involving scents and flavored lip gloss. The entire time, we’re left guessing whether or not Jasper is even interested in boys, right along with Chance.
The characters are what really make this story work. Even though Chance is abrasive, I cannot deny that he’s interesting. Emmy, his best friend, has her own language and is constantly making up new catchphrases, like pie stroll, which is doing something even easier than a cakewalk. Jasper is equally interesting as the potential love interest who doesn’t know what to make of Chance.
World Building The brightly colored world that Chance and his friends inhabit feels like something straight out of a Bryan Fuller television series — I half expected Lee Pace to make a cameo. Although the book is light-hearted, author Mia Kerick does a great job of handling the more serious subjects, like bullying.
Top Five Things I enjoyed about Love Spell: 1. Emmy’s catchphrases. Everything from dooza-palooza to sick- awesome made this such a fun read.
2. The plan. Watching Chance trying to implement the plan was absolutely hilarious.
3. Jasper. I love him. Everything from how great he is with his little sister to how he treats Chance makes him one of the best characters in the book.
4. Emmy. She can be annoying at times, but you never doubt her loyalty to her BFF, Chance (aka Channy).
5. Chance’s sense of style. I may not like his personality, but I have to admit, the dude’s got style!
Bottom Line Love Spell is a romantic comedy with a hilarious cast of characters and colorful dialogue that made me laugh out loud.
Disclaimer I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
About the Book Title: Love Spell Author: Mia Kerick Publisher: CoolDudes Publishing Release Date: June 1, 2015 Pages: 146 Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Author Mia Kerick
About the Author Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Today’s theme for 1 Line Wednesday, sponsored by RWA’s Kiss of Death Chapter is Hooks, or the last line in a chapter, that line that makes the reader need to turn the page. Hooks are not my specialty, so this took a little digging, but also a reminder that I need to do a better job with these! Here is the closing line from Chapter 9 of The Uprising from Evan’s point of view.
Tony turns to glance at us, a slow smile spreading across his face. Holy shit…we hit the jackpot!
You can see previous week’s themes and lines here.
Today’s theme for 1 Line Wednesday, sponsored by RWA’s Kiss of Death Chapter is Coffee. Seriously, coffee. Anyone who’s read The Union series knows that my main character, Evan, has a love affair with coffee. The hardest part was finding the right line. This is Cyrus’s first taste of coffee in the Union from The Uprising, book 3 in the series.
Setting my cup down, I turn to Ev. “I don’t get what it is you love about this stuff. It tastes like burnt piss.”
You can see previous week’s themes and lines here.
For the Game (Playing for Keeps #2) by Amber Garza
Synopsis London Miller is a survivor. She’s suffered through more than her share of heartache and struggles, but with Cooper in her life, she feels strong enough to overcome anything. Even with him away at college, she knows he is in her heart – and her life – for the long haul.
Cooper Montgomery is a winner. Losing has never been an option for him. Not in baseball, not in school, not in life. He’s worked hard to gain a spot on the Fallbrook Falcon’s baseball team and it should be the best time of his life. He’s living his dream and now that he has London, his life finally feels complete.
When unexpected obstacles arise, both London and Cooper are faced with new challenges that threaten to tear them apart. They’ve fought so hard to be together. Can London survive what fate throws her way? And can Cooper win when there is more at stake than just the game?
My Review For the Game is the second and final book in the Playing for Keeps series by Amber Garza. It picks up after For the Win, with Cooper away at college and London still recovering from cancer. This installment seemed to lack much of the angst that I loved in the first book. There’s very little conflict and the conflict that does exist is resolved too quickly to really build into something tense. I missed that this time around, although it was nice to see how both Cooper and London are adjusting to life apart. I just would have like a little more, okay a lot more, conflict.
The main plot is still about Cooper and London’s relationship. Living so far apart, they both have doubts to deal with — London has the uncertainty of her health, and Cooper has to prove himself as a pitcher on the college level, adjust to life on campus, and accept he’s no longer top dog. There is a sweet subplot involving London’s dad, and surprising one involving the plane crash that took Cooper’s parents.
It was interesting to see Cooper go from being this cocky high school phenom to just another pitcher at the college level plagued by self-doubt. I thought his journey was authentic and it showed us another side of him that helped make him more three-dimensional. I didn’t like how London went from being tough and independent to needy and unsure, though. I mean, I get why she changed the way she did, but I didn’t like her nearly as much as I did in the first book.
World Building Living just 20 miles south of Fallbrook, California, I’m really hoping that the Fallbrook Falcon’s are a fictional college team based there. The transition from the Bay Area to a small college town was well done. The campus, the dorms, the parties, it all came across in vivid detail.
Ending I thought the ending was okay. Everything was wrapped up, but as I said above, the conflict was resolved too easily for my tastes.
Top Five Things I enjoyed about For the Game: 1. Baseball. The details of Cooper’s struggles with the game on the next level, his insecurities, and the way his mental state impacted his play, were some of the best parts of this story.
2. Parker. Cooper’s college catcher is what friends should be and I loved his loyalty.
3. Skyler. London’s next door neighbor and defacto best friend gets a little more page time, but I’d still have loved to have seen more of her.
4. Ace. A fascinating character that could really have driven a lot more conflict.
5. Charlotte. Another interesting character that could have been used to create a lot more conflict and tension.
Bottom Line For the Game was a sweet continuation of London’s and Cooper’s story, but there was far too many sweet moments and not a lot of drama to take the story from good to riveting.
About the Book Title: For the Game Series: Playing for Keeps #2 Author: Amber Garza Release Date: February 15, 2015 Pages: 189 Genre: Young/New Adult Romance Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars Links:Goodreads | Amazon
Author Amber Garza
About the Author Amber Garza lives in California with her amazing husband and two hilarious children who provide her with enough material to keep her writing for years.