Monday, 17 February 2014

Review: Louder Than Love by Jessica Topper

RATING: 4.5 napkins

In this powerful debut novel, a young librarian grieves the loss of her husband...and discovers a love that defies classification.

It's been over three years since a train accident made a widow of Katrina Lewis, sending her and her young daughter Abbey back to the suburban town of her youth...the only place that still makes sense. Lauder Lake is the perfect place to hide and heal.

Recluse rocker Adrian "Digger" Graves survived the implosion of his music career, but his muse has long lain dormant. Until Kat hires him to play at her library—not on the basis of his hard rock credentials but rather, because of the obscure kids' TV jingle he wrote years ago. In a case of mistaken identity, Adrian stumbles into the lives of Kat and her comically lovable daughter.
Using tattoos as a timeline, Adrian unfurls his life for Kat. But as the courtship intensifies, it's unclear whose past looms larger: the widow's or the rocker's. Will their demons ever rest, or will they break these soul mates apart?


(Originally posted on Goodreads)

Like I messaged Ms. Topper (I had to *grins*), here is a beautiful story with well-developed characters and written very nicely, to put it succinctly.

It's such a mellow read that packs a lot of emotion, if that makes sense. The H&h's story unfolds nicely as you see Kat first going thru' the loss of her husband, really heartbreaking, then meeting Adrian and their attempt after to build a relationship while saddled with their baggage separately, her with the death of her spouse and him with the aftermath of a music career that took him "to hell and back". I like how the H&h are older, doing their best to handle their situation in a mature way, unlike the usual NA H&h's in their 20's with sometimes OTT drama. The other characters were just as likable, especially Abbey, the daughter. 

If I have a itty-bitty thing to whine about, the pace felt somehow slow at times, and there were a couple of occasions when it felt that things were forgiven quite easily. But in the end, it was a real treat reading it because the writing was exquisite.

- Leftie

Monday, 10 February 2014

Review: Songs of Submission (series) by CD Reiss

Hi there! Leftie here. Long time no write *waves hello* It's been ages, hasn't it? What can I say, life happens, no? I'm quite active on Goodreads where I've been posting all my reviews but I thought it was high time to update things here. The direction of this blog may be slightly(?) changing. Rightie (oh, Rightie, Rightie!) may not be as present here so you'll be stuck with me for the most part *grins*. I figure I'll cover books that really tugged at me or just made me shake my head all over; or not. Also, this most likely will focus on my guilty reads, aka romance, so please consider yourself warned (insert maniacal laugh). So, without further ado...


(All images via Goodreads and all reviews originally posted on Goodreads)

1.) Beg


Strong h, intriguing H, witty interaction, steamy enough... I thought it's a pretty good start for this serialized story, styled like an episodic show like Ms. Reiss said. 

On to series #2!

2.) Tease


Really liking how this story is unfolding. Love the feisty, honest spirit of the h and the H is totes alpha *swoons* And the heat! *fans self* lol

Trying not to let the episodic style get to me... which is probably the only reason why it's not a 5* read for me. It's finished just when I'm really getting into it. But then again, the feeling of anticipation does add something to the reading experience...

On to #3!

3.) Submit


I think this may be my fave portion of the story so far, despite a really sad part in it. Now we're really delving into how the H&h is working out their relationship. 

"-And let’s talk about the rest later. Today, you are the goddess my universe revolves around."

I know that sounds cheesy out of context but in the situation it was used, such a sweet tender scene even though it was really short, I totally fell for it, le sigh... It was nice to see the H attending to the h's needs during that sad time. 

I admit Ms. Reiss almost lost me when I started seeing more and more similarities with other known book(s) in the same genre (let's just leave it at that*g*) but the way Ms. Reiss writes, I was able to overlook it. The smart interaction continues. Fleshing out the characters continues so naturally, as far as I'm concerned. Nothing feels cheesy (which could happen easily I find when you chunk out a story in pieces). The story is still flowing smoothly thus far... Yup, still on board with this one:)

4.) Control


This just keeps getting better and better! I thought Submit was my fave so far but this book just superseded it. Heck, I very well could be saying that again with the next one in the series as I move forward with this story.

First of all, dual POV, yay! The H's POV wasn't as long as the h's but what little there is, I really enjoyed it. He says and thinks the most delicious things*g* The heat b/w the 2 does not dissipate and the relationship unfolds in such a mature manner given their (realistic) struggles. The h continues to be a strong character. 

I know I keep saying things appear to 'continue' because I'm always afraid that the next book in this series will blindside me with something idiotic but I should know better by now, shouldn't I? With Ms. Reiss' writing, I should trust that she won't disappoint at all.

Oh and one last thing, Invictus?! Really, Ms. Reiss? That part alone made me smile, roll my eyes in a took-me-back-in-time good way:p, laugh, and sigh for the imaginative way you wove that into the story. That was too awesome, hot, nerdy, bizarre and sexy all at the same time for words, that's all I'm gonna' say:)

5.) Burn


So they were hardly together in this part of the series, as a couple, that is. Things are starting to get really interesting now as issues are starting to be dealt with, be it the ex(es), how to move the relationship forward, or even the h's career. 

LOVE the texting interactions as always (most fave so far is while they're on the plane*g*), AND the ice cube scene!!!;) 

And this particular ending felt like the biggest of the cliffhangers so far, or maybe it's just me, hmmm...

6.) Resist


HOLY EFFING CLIFFHANGER!!! Thank god for the warning, CDR:)

Yes, yes, as expected in any NA, the drama that surrounds the H&h just seems to keep going and going. Heck, with the baggage that the H carries with him, it's no wonder, really. But in this case, I'm ok with all of it as not one part felt gratuitous for me. The dual POV continues. Somewhere in the middle, I actually got confused, mistaking the H's voice for the h's. Usually, that's not a good sign for me but I realized shortly after, it's bec they're both such strong characters, they both have this level of self-awareness, and the wit and sense of humor is not limited to just one of them; hence, the momentary lapse in my reading the POV. 

The highlight for me in this book is really the h's attitude, her maturity and confidence. And the heat of course (hehe), but that's consistent throughout the series, so... lol

What can I say? Clearly, I'm hooked to Jonathan and Monica's story. At this point, I'm actually debating if I should jump in right to the next book, the last one in the series. I want to know but I'm not ready to end my time with the story yet. Decision, decision... (hashtag) first world problems... HAH!

7.) Sing


Well, I'll be...
To borrow one of my co-worker's 11-yr old son's words, SON OF A BUTTCHEEK!!! In a good way of course, hah!

My feelings about this book are a little bit discombobulated. And to top that, try describing why without spoilers. Waaahh!!

People know by now that this is an 8-part series that turned to just 7-part. "Cry" was supposed to be the 7th and this book is the 8th but Ms. Reiss scrapped the idea and dealt away with Cry. Well! That title could very well have just stayed bec that's pretty much what I did from halfway thru this book to pretty much the end. But I guess that will be too depressing a title for the last one in the series. So yes, just fair warning.

Let's just say this one put me thru the wringer. I love the h's character but the same trait that made me love her made me upset at her at certain parts. Whatever made me fall in love with the H was not just possible to show given the circumstances. The several "imagery" that the h, mostly, created for the H to keep them anchored to each other felt out of place at times, again, given the circumstances. I wondered to myself, seriously? But at the same time, I totally understand. To say that the drama is guaranteed given the 1 event that fueled this book is an understatement. For me, it almost felt like a cheap shot and unnecessary to draw out that long, given how well Ms. Reiss write in the first place. And because of that, I would have loved to see a longer epilogue. BUT despite all that, given the writing, I totally and utterly fell for it. I was with the H&h the whole time and I loved every minute of it!

"Goddess," he said, his breath on my mouth. "Have me, please. I was wrong. You’re not the sea under my sky. You are the sun I revolve around, the stars that mark me, the moon rising through me. I’m lost without you. And if you won’t have me, I’ll break, I swear to God. I know it’s selfish, and I’m sorry. Let me serve you. Have me as yours. Let me live under you."

I think Ms. Reiss took a chance serializing this the way she did but IMO, it worked. It allowed me more time with the characters; Jonathan and Monica are definitely up there in my list of fave romance couples; and Jonathan, definitely up there as well in my list of alpha H/book boyfriend, way up there, just sayin LOL. And considering this trope is like a dime a dozen these days, I think Ms. Reiss managed to put enough flavor to put another spin on it to make it different and her own. Her writing, as far as I'm concerned, is smart, witty, descriptive and lyrical. What more can you ask for, right?

Ms. Reiss is definitely an auto-read for me from now on.

And to accompany this series is a mini-series, Songs of Dominance. Jessica and Sharon, and Rachel are peaks into Jonathan's past and Monica is sorta' an epilogue to their epilogue.

Overall Rating: 4 napkins

If you love romance stories with a bit of edge, I cannot recommend this enough. This is definitely NSFW, but boy oh boy... that's all imma say... HAHAHA

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