Book Review: No Time Like Forever by Zoe York

No Time Like Forever (Wardham, #4)No Time Like Forever by Zoe York

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No Time Like Forever really hit the spot. I seek out blurbs that will satisfy a particular reading mood, and this one turned out to be a better fit than I could have imagined.

The author does a phenomenal job of creating chemistry between the two main characters, Chase and Mari. Although the former is initially referred to as Mr. Grumpy Pants, I was pleasantly surprised by the maturity and the depth of emotional growth that Chase demonstrates throughout the novel. Furthermore, I like that the author doesn’t saddle him with that cliché professional-athlete stereotype–you know, the one in which the individual in question is a promiscuous womanizer who can’t, or won’t, commit. Chase is a self-professed “one-woman guy,” and I like this fact about him.

And while Chase is a one-woman guy, he’s not an any-woman guy (an important distinction, I think). Although it takes him a while to come around, he recognizes a woman of substance in Mari, and I like his dedication to winning her over–whatever that takes.

Now, usually, the hero does something to tick me off during the narrative, at least once. When it comes to Chase, however, I don’t think I ever got mad at him. Perhaps, because this novel is written in third person and gives me glimpses into both characters’ minds, I knew he always had her best interests at heart.

The restraint he practices, time and time again, is unparalleled!

I should probably say some good things about Mari too, right? I genuinely liked her as well (although for me it was Chase who made this novel exceptional); Mari is strong, brave, and ambitious.

What I loved most about the novel is the dialogue between characters, their banter, and the manner in which these exchanges are described. They’re masterfully done, both honest and real, enabling me to picture the exchanges as if I were actually present to witness them firsthand.

This experience reading No Time Like Forever has persuaded me to pick up Zoe York’s other works! I highly recommend this one to fans of the new adult and romance genres.

*Copy generously provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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Book Review: Wander and Roam by Anna Kyss

Wander and RoamWander and Roam by Anna Kyss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If I had to sum up Wander & Roam using one word, that word would be refreshing!

Sure, there are many other terms I could have gone with to describe this work: suspenseful or sweet or thought-provoking, just to name a few. But in my opinion, this novel presents readers with so many fresh elements, that uniqueness supersedes its other auspicious qualities.

Lately I’ve read in the NA genre almost exclusively. It’s hard not to notice that novels within it often follow very predictable patterns or formulas. Regarding Wander & Roam, however, Anna Kyss gives us some new material to consider:

1. Readers are given a very different type of hero to swoon over; he’s not a brooding, tattooed, damaged alpha or a commitment-phobe famous musician/athlete. Instead, Sage (love the name, by the way) is introspective, philosophical, and unselfish–almost to a fault. He meditates and studies Buddhism, and his plans for the future involve volunteering and starting a family.

2. The setting and the context of the storyline are unique; I’ve never read anything else like it. Sage and Abby serve as volunteers for a WWOOFing program, in which they assist their host (Susan) in tending her farm based near Sydney, Australia. The existence of such a program was entirely new to me, and I enjoyed what description there was about sustaining that particular lifestyle and preserving/selling the farm’s produce.

3. The author has chosen to imply sex scenes rather than to provide readers with explicit play-by-plays. I think this choice is a wise one, considering the novel’s profound, emotion-laden subject matter. This way, the couple’s physical relationship doesn’t overshadow the deeper issues at hand.

Overall, Wander & Roam is an enjoyable read featuring two likable and deserving main characters. Be prepared, though, because this one ends in a cliffhanger! I’m already itching to get my hands on the next installment.

*Copy generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

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Book Review: Winning the Player

Winning The PlayerWinning The Player by Leesa Bow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Winning the Player is a fun read! It reminds me, somewhat, of Scoring Wilder in that its characters garner media attention due to their sports-related success.

You know, when I read literature from the new adult or romance genres, I typically gravitate toward dual-perspective narratives: This is Falling, All Lined Up, Maybe Someday, The Sea of Tranquility…I could go on. But every now and then, hearing from only one character reminds us how nerve-wracking it is to navigate the dating and relationship scenes. You must decide whom to trust, and you must weigh the risks against guarding your heart.

In Winning the Player, we see main character Aubree tackle both. But I like that she doesn’t let emotion and strong feelings rule her. Instead, she relies upon her own self-respect and upon the guidance of the strong women in her family. She doesn’t have a flippant attitude about sex (unlike her friend Maddy), and she refuses to fawn over Hunter solely because of his success on the field—both of which I appreciate.

And while I like Aubree a lot, I can’t say the same for her love interest. Frankly, I doubted that Hunter could win me over in the end (view spoiler)…and I’m still not sure whether he has.

I mean, you get to know a person’s character through words and actions, right? (Especially since the reader isn’t allowed inside Hunter’s head.) When it comes to Hunter’s speech—well, he does a good job in the end of communicating his feelings, but before that he says some really hurtful things to Aubree that I have a hard time forgiving (e.g. “You’re no better than the others” and “Just who do you think you are, you stuck-up bitch?”). Wisdom shared from Maddy’s mum is pertinent here: “You can’t take back the hurt of what you say after the words leave your mouth.” While I acknowledge that both times Hunter is speaking from place of hurt, lashing out with one’s words is an unhealthy way to deal with conflict. I don’t want this type of thing for Aubree long-term.

As for Hunter’s actions, he doesn’t do enough to overcompensate for his mess-ups, in my opinion. (view spoiler)

One more complaint about Hunter, and I promise I’ll stop: I don’t like that he never tells Aubree the story behind Samantha. Shouldn’t he fill her in since he mentions (at least twice) his desire for them to talk about what she hears from other people?

You know what would clear all of this up? The same story told from Hunter’s perspective. Is that too much to ask? 🙂

Final thoughts:
• I love Gran; she’s a fantastic character.
• I love that communication via Twitter is included as part of the story.
• While I didn’t understand all of the novel’s vocabulary/phrasing, I did appreciate its setting. Winning the Player is the first NA book I’ve read that’s set in Australia, and I appreciate the change of scenery. Plus, I spent a semester abroad there, so many of the references are familiar to me.
• What’s with Aubree escaping to the bathroom at every awkward/difficult encounter?

Now don’t get me wrong: I really enjoyed this book. I may have mixed feelings regarding Hunter, but this novel made me think. I’m protective of characters I love and respect, and I count Aubree among their number. Thanks to the author for crafting such a thought-provoking story!

*Copy generously provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

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Book Review: Cover Your Eyes by Mary Burton

Cover Your EyesCover Your Eyes by Mary Burton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars*

I really enjoyed reading Cover Your Eyes. While I found myself wanting more from the romance thread of the story, I thought the novel’s more prevalent purpose—mystery/suspense—was executed very well. While I made many guesses as to the perpetrator’s identity, the revelation toward the novel’s end still surprised me. The many viable suspects, presented throughout the work, kept me intrigued.

Overall, I really liked the main characters. Rachel is a good mix of hard-nosed and compassionate. Due to her own life experience, she finds purpose in her career that doesn’t have anything to do with accolades or monetary compensation. Regarding Deke, I like that once he got to know Rachel, he defended her against the people who made inaccurate assumptions about her motives. However, to understand the character even better, I would like to have known more about Deke’s failed marriages.

I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s at least one character who I wanted to see or hear from again before the novel’s close. The person seemed to drop off the map after playing a significant role in the plot. On a similar note, the ending felt a tad rushed. A lot is explained in a few short pages, almost giving the reader too much to digest at once.

For fans of the mystery & thriller genre, Cover Your Eyes is an excellent selection. Although this was my first time reading Mary Burton, I’d gladly pick up another one of her books.

*ARC generously provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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