Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Recent Reads

I don't have much of an intro today, so without further ado, here are the books I read last month! 

4.5 stars

From the authors' website:

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy-tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.Which is how she gets into trouble.

Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love — her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself — will have been for nothing.

What I thought: I loved this book. It's pretty much modeled after Will and Kate's relationship, but with a bunch of deviations. The story felt familiar but not completely, and it was interesting to read about what it may be like to have been in Kate's position while they were dating and engaged. I was not a big fan of Nick, but I liked Bex. I read this 462 page book in one day. I couldn't put it down! Definitely read it, even if you're not a big fan of the whole royal couple thing.

S.J. Before I go to sleep
4.5 stars

From the author's website:

Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.

Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems.

What I thought: Though this book was a bit slow at times (which is why I took off a half star), it was still so good and a real page-turner. I felt so bad for Christine, I can't imagine living that way, and I really felt nervous and upset sometimes for her. I was shocked at the big twist and I love love loved the ending, it's definitely a must-read! Oh and I didn't realize this was a movie too until I was looking for the picture of the book online for this review, and so I looked up the movie description and yuck, I definitely don't want to see that! It sounds pretty different than the book and I hate that.

3 stars

From the author's website:

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate number of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance from the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-­‐Night Stand.

Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby wants—and needs—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the ultimate college campus charmer. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his appeal, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’s apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.

What I thought: **I read this and the next book concurrently so I will review them together below.

3 stars

From the author's website:

Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

What I thought: So I did a weird thing with these two books and read them concurrently since they basically told the same story but from the viewpoints of different characters. I did this at the suggestion of an Amazon reviewer who left a reading schedule (i.e. Read Book 1, Chapter 1&2, then Book 2, Chapter 1, and so on...) so I followed that. It was rather annoying to have to keep switching, but it actually made sense. The author really should have just shoved it all together into one book, in my opinion. But anyways, onto the books. They were strange. The couple was SO ANNOYING. They fought all the time and it seemed like a pretty unhealthy relationship. There were weird things added in, like underground fighting rings, poker, the mob, and a fire, which seemed like a but much for one (well, two) romance novels. Not really my favorite cup of tea, but it did keep my attention and I read them both in just over one day, so I must have liked them enough to keep going. The ending was wrapped up so nicely which I usually really like, but it almost seemed too neat and tidy, if that makes sense. Decide if you want to read at your own discretion (which you obviously would anyway but you get what I'm saying.. I think). 

4 stars

From the author's website

From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Do comes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him. 

What I thought: I really wanted to give this book more stars, but I actually debated between giving it a 3.5 and a 4, mostly because of the ending, oh, and a weird multiverse theory that was introduced late in the book that seemed super far-fetched. I liked the concurrent story lines, and though it seems like it might be a bit confusing, it really wasn't at all. It was an easy, fast read (I finished in less than a day), and it kept me interested the whole time, even though some of the characters (the men, mainly) were pretty one-dimensional. I liked Hannah and Gabby and their friendship a lot, but I just did not like how the book ended, and that's always a hard thing for me to get over in books.

Life According to Steph

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  1. I remember liking Maybe in Another Life, but I couldn't remember what it was about at all until I reread your synopsis and went to look back at my review-- but i had the same feelings about her relationships, they were kind of boring, but it still worked.

  2. I've always thought that The Royal We sounded so cute, but I haven't had the chance to actually read it yet! Hopefully I'll get around to it this year! I actually read Before I Go To Sleep, and I felt so bad for the character, but I just didn't like the book that much. I think that the slow parts were just too slow for me. S.J. Watson does have another book out right now though, and I really want to read it!

  3. The Royal We is on my list, I love the royals and I always wonder about Kate.

  4. This post is great. "The Royal We" is next on my list once I finish "Girl on the Train"! I have been looking for a list of great books. Now to get reading!

  5. Okay fine, I'll add The Royal We. I didn't think I would like it but your description has me thinking I was wrong.

    I really liked Maybe in Another Life! Maybe because I find it oddly relatable - I was all set to do one thing with my life but I didn't, and that has led me here. I do wonder about the other possibilities, though. I agree that the men were eh. What part of the ending didn't you like, though?

  6. hmmmmm. beautiful disaster is on my list, but i hate when sequels are the same story from a different point of view, and i don't think i have the patience to read them both at the same time like you did. not sure.
    maybe in another life is on my list, i read another one of her books and didn't love it, but didn't hate it.
    i LOVED the royal we. LOVED it. wish i could forget it so i could read it again.

  7. Before I Go Sleep was a big hit for me, but the movie is trash! Even starring Nicole Kidman and Collin Firth I couldn't get into it. SJ Watson has another thriller called Second Life that was even better than Before I Go to Sleep in my opinion. Seriously it blew my mind completely.

  8. Taylor Jenkins Reid is always a must read for me. I actually just got an ARC for her new book (it's on NetGalley). I can't wait.

    Beautiful Disaster has been on my TBR FOREVER. I keep forgetting about it.

  9. I looooved Before I Go To Sleep so much! Definitely going to read his other book, Second Life, ASAP!

  10. I read both of those Travis books. I liked the first one much better. I think I remember reading the review of the person who read them concurrently. Interesting way to do it for sure!

    I read Before I Go To Sleep a few years ago and loved it. It actually kept me up one night to finish it.

  11. Before I Go to Sleep sounds like 50 First Dates. I need to check it out! I know everyone loves The Royal We, but I care nothing about William and Kate. Though I love Kate's fashion. So I just don't think I would care about the book either. I don't know, what do you think?

  12. Before I Go to Sleep and The Royal We have both been on my list for a while (and I already have The Royal We on my Kindle), so it sounds like I need to read them soon!

  13. The Royal We is not a book that I'd normally select for myself. Sometimes, I like to step out of my comfort zone, and SO many people have loved that book that I am intrigued.

  14. I really want to read The Royal We, I just can't seem to find it anywhere :( I've also read a lot of reviews about Beautiful Disaster and I can't decide if I want to try it out or not.

  15. Ugh, so I read Beautiful Disaster and thought it was okay....(totally, and completely unrealistic) and then my MIL gave me the second one because she thought I might like it, and what the hell?! WHY in the world did the author think that she needed to write the same story twice. I basically could have guessed all things he was thinking from the first book. Needless to say, I read about a quarter way into it and it got donated in my last Goodwill bag lol. I could see reading them both at the same time, but again, why not make it ONE book lol? Sorry, rant over. And sorry, first time ever commenting on your blog lol! (creeper)

  16. I really want to read maybe in another life. Glad you liked it!

  17. I'm not a big royal watcher/fan but The Royal We sounds really good. Going on the reading list! I'm not sure about the disaster duo. I've read books before where the author split what could really be one book into two and it seemed more like a money grab, than two good books. They are on the maybe list. :)


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