I’m Reading If Only You Knew by Kristan Higgins

If you follow me at all, you know that I discovered Kristan Higgins earlier this year and devoured ALL her books. One. After. The. Other. And I have no regrets.

Except that once I’d finished them, I had to wait forEVER for her next release. Seriously, does NO ONE think of me and my reading needs??

So I was on cloud 9 when this book finally released.

I’m used to the classic KH plot: female lead (FL) is unlucky in love. She’s either never found the MOHD (Man Of Her Dreams) or she’s been married and Done Wrong or married and widowed . . . whatever, she’s not in a good place man-wise and she’s definitely Looking For Love. (These are capitalized because it’s a thing. Trust me.)

And of course eventually, she meets the MOHD, but not in a romantic, swoon-worthy meet-cute. No, it’s usually in a very embarrassing, I-want-to-forget-it moment. And MOHD usually isn’t very interested from the get-go. (There are exceptions, such as when the MOHD has actually been in her life for some time, just has gone unnoticed.)

One of the trademarks of KH’s books are a singular POV–we have no clue what’s going on in the man’s head. None at all. (Again, there are exceptions. The Blue Heron books do include the male POV.) We’re very much at the mercy of the FL’s take on things.

So I went into If Only You Knew expecting something very much the same. And about a third of the way into the book, I messaged a friend who is also a KH groupie that I didn’t like this one. But of course, I kept reading, because . . . well, KH.

And I was glad I did. Because by the end, I’d cried more than once, I’d felt my heart turn over and I’d giggled.

This story is about more than a relationship. It’s about growth and change and finding out what’s real. It’s about sisters, and about mothers and daughters, and about marriage–both when it works and when it doesn’t. It’s about loss and how we deal with it. It’s about when civilized behavior becomes a mode for other people to justify their actions.

Oh, and there’s a love story.

I loved Jenny and Rachel. I adored Leo. <le sigh> I liked the sub-plots (Evander and Kimber), the unexpected twist and I really, really loved the resolutions.

So now I’m in the midst of a massive book hangover. Who’s going to supply me with my next #BookFix?

 

 

I’m Reading CAELUM: An Olde City Angels Book

If you know anything about me, you know I got my start in officially being an author with a group called the Twi-Writers. We met in a Twi-Moms forum, and we formed our own little critique group over the next few years. Out of those writers, some went on to be published (including yours truly), others went into the book review/blogging end and others are still pursuing their writing life.

One of them became very close to me. Mandie Stevens and I live about an hour apart, and I’ve been blessed by her all along the journey. She’s taught me more than I can say . . . even while she’s been on her own writing journey.

So it’s with tremendous joy, pride and some tears that I share this with you today–I’m reading (I actually already READ) Caelum: Olde City Angels Book One.

 

If you like Urban Fantasy, check this out. I happen to know, because I’ve been reading Mandie’s stuff for seven years, that this world is huge and fascinating. Angels, demons, fae, vampires, wolves, spirit walkers. . .all set in a place where history is a character in and of itself.

This is the story of how Eva and Thomas meet. Eva’s a guardian angel who had a couple of bad breaks, including losing a charge who became a vampire. Thomas is her new human liason. This mission they’re on together is huge for both of them, even if they don’t realize all the implications and potential fall-out.

Set in beautiful and mysterious St. Augustine, this story will draw you in and make you demand MORE of the world in which it’s set.

RUN now and buy this book, because you’ll fall in love with the characters.

I’m Reading Philippa Carr’s Daughters of England Books

It’s official. I’m out of new reading.

We knew it was only a matter of time, and it’s happened.

I’ve been inhaling my beloved sports romances, and I’ve discovered I really prefer the college sports books. And since I’m really, really picky, it’s not surprising that I’m having trouble finding new reads.

So what to do? Well, I should just work on my own book, along with two I’m beta reading. (And they are good ones.)

But I need something to read as I’m going to sleep at night, so I dug deep, way back into my reading history and came up with something that helped shape my reading and writing life.

My mother and grandmother were huge fans of Victoria Hold, who also wrote under the names of Jean Plaidy and Philippa Carr. I loved them all, but the ones that stuck with me most were the Philippa Carr Daughters of England series. In it, the author follows one family from early Tudor England up through World War I. That’s incredible–and what a way to learn history!

So right now I’m enjoying The Miracle at St. Bruno’s and Saraband for Two Sisters. If you enjoy historical fiction, I recommend these books.

Until the next NA sports romance comes along.

I’m Reading The Girl I Was Before by Ginger Scott

I’m baaaaack!!

The last six weeks have been filled with releases, promotions, events and other stuff that takes me away from what I really love to do . . . and of course, one of my favorite things to do is share my reading fixes with you!

So last week I was positively giddy, because this book came out. You might remember I fell gaga in love with Ginger Scott’s NA con roms, This is Falling and You and Everything After. I was so excited about this third book, whose heroine was going to be a little tricky: Paige Owens had come across as shallow, vain and selfish in the first two books. (Her twin sister is the lead in Everything After.) I was interested to see how the author would handle this, make Paige likable.

Somehow she does. Not all at once; we don’t find out some deep, dark secret that explains why Paige is the girl she is. We don’t fall in love with her right away. But eventually, slowly, as we see her making decisions and better choices, Paige grows on us.

Houston doesn’t needs to grow on us. We love him from the first time we see him, and perhaps it’s at least partly through his eyes that we come to love Paige, as well.

As with her other books, Scott paints an accurate and believable picture of college life, the people who live on campus and the situations they confront. Happily, we get to spend more time with Ty and Cass as well as Rowe and Nate. It’s like catching up with old friends.

You really should read all three of these books. They’re excellent. . . and I’m hoping maybe there might be more. . .?

I’m Reading the One Week Girlfriend Series by Monica Murphy

<12345>You know my latest reading trend has been New Adult sports romances . . . I tore through Cora’s Rusk University books, Sarina’s Ivy Years, Kristen Callihan’s Off Campus books. . . and my next logical step was Monica Murphy’s series.

To be honest, as I always am with you, it took me a while to get into book 1. I didn’t feel like I could relate to either character until about halfway through the book. I’m happy to say I persevered and was glad to see improvement in all areas in the subsequent books.

Last night I made it to Four Years Later. I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but wow! It was my favorite yet, and I just fell totally and absolutely in love with Owen and Chelsea. I couldn’t put it down.

Owen is a flawed character for sure–the younger brother of the female lead from One Week Girlfriend. Owen’s messing with drugs, drinking too much, letting his grades slip and getting suspended from the football team–and lying to his big sister about their no-good mother showing up again in his life. Still, we know Owen cares; he’s struggling to do the right thing, even when it feels way too hard.

As I’ve said here before–girls in college, if you want to get yourself a hot athlete boyfriend, be a tutor. Because once again, that’s how uptight and super-smart Chelsea–a girl with secrets of her own–meets Owen. She knows he’s not what she needs, but that doesn’t matter–because he’s what she wants.

They go through the typical ups and downs, but as always in these books, there’s a healthy realism. Chelsea and Owen struggle with their demons, but ultimately, they realize that they’re stronger together. (Everyone now, say it: awwwwwww . . .)

Now I did discover there is a follow-up book to their story, called Five Days Til You. I’m not sure I can handle it–I don’t like more angst for my people after they’ve made it to their happily-ever-after. But you know I’ll read it anyway.

If you haven’t delved into any of these series, I encourage you to check them out–great writing, awesome stories and amazing characters. What more can you ask?