Monday, 17 June 2013

The Low Notes by Kate Roth

You know the best thing about not knowing anything about a book before you actually start reading it? The utter joy when it’s not what you thought it would be because it’s so much better.

When Kevin and Nina first meet, I was reminded of when Allie and Noah first met in The Notebook. I know it’s a pretty bold statement, but it’s the way it came across to me. It might have been Nina’s original nonchalant demeanor, or Kevin’s eager text message, but something about these two characters together had me holding out hope for a great love story.

Fast-forward a couple of chapters, and I was knocked down a few pegs because as their circumstances unfold, I realized that this book had serious potential to bruise my HEA-seeking heart.

What made this book really (REALLY!) good for me was the sheer desperation of Nina and Kevin wanting to be together. Their reality was the constant obstacle, but the intensity of what they felt for each other never seemed to waver. Even in those moments where I thought ‘this is it – they’re done’, I could literally feel their heartbreak as they tried to put some distance between themselves.

I think that some readers might initially be skittish about this type of ‘forbidden’ romance and the subsequent age gap. But I found that Nina was written more like an ‘old soul’, so any grimacing moments I thought I might have never materialized. Had she been nonsensical and flippant, I would have despised this story.

Though I love a happily-ever-after like it’s no one’s business, I don’t like it when it comes on a silver platter. Having had the ending draw out the way it did just solidified to me that what Kevin and Nina had was not a ‘you want it because you can’t have it’ type of affair. It was grounded in something deeper that, even with a valiant effort on both parts, neither could live without.

The beginning captured me, the middle gutted me, and the end mended my heart. This is one of those stories that I need in paperback. And if you know anything about me, you know that’s saying a lot.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Strings by Kendall Grey

I’m going to be completely honest and say that the only thing I heard about this book was that the author’s facetious comments offended some people. I read the explanation after the revolt, but I honestly didn’t care. Personally, I didn’t take what the author wrote to heart, and in truth, it should have no bearing on how good (or horrible) a book is. If anything, the ‘negative’ press made me want to read this book just that much more.

I guess there was also a warning at the beginning of this book which I totally by-passed in eagerness to start reading this story. Having read the entire thing, I would seriously suggest to anyone contemplating starting this book that they not follow my lead. Luckily, I didn’t fall into any of the categories, but if you happen to, you should not proceed to Chapter 1.

Letty is honest. She isn’t searching for THE happy ending in her relationships, just A happy ending (!). Then she meets Shades. Hilarity ensues, with a whole lot of raunchy sex. There is one scene that really makes you scratch your head and wonder if the guys from MythBusters can validate any of it to see if it can really be done.

This book is descriptive to say the least, and in no way will appeal to anyone who giggles at the sight of a naked ass on TV. It’s in-your-face sex, a fair dose of humour thrown in, and major a dash of supreme rocker-hotness. All the warnings that the author was considerate enough to provide hold true, and are in there for a reason. Just when you think that there are no more ways to describe anatomic female/male parts, the author unleashes a new ingenious vocabulary.

I think it would surprise many on how funny and clever this story really is. To those who enjoyed the book but not what the author said/meant, get off your high horse and give credit where credit is due. Because this author does know how to write a good book.

The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher

Let’s see.

I started and finished this book while on a Caribbean island. Though it was a nice vacation, I don’t recommend reading this book while ‘trapped’ by water and with no one to talk to about the book.

The Opportunist has been on my TBR list for quite some time, but I never managed to get to it. At the constant urging of two book-junkies (you know who you are!), I finally decided that this was going to be one of my vacation reads.

First of all, I love the authors writing style. I think that alone kept me with the book in the beginning, because it sure wasn’t the warm and fuzzies towards the dysfunctional characters. From the very beginning, I got the sense that this author was less about the beautiful packaging, and more about the realness of people. And I think that’s what my issue was. Having read books where the main ‘heroine’ will always prevail because of her pretty eyes, killer figure, and meticulous hair had distorted my view on what life is really like. This book brought it all back to me. In spades.

Through a set of circumstances, Olivia finds herself at the precipice of a soul-altering decision. Someone with scruples might have made a different choice then what Olivia went with, but love can make you do crazy things - especially when it means a second chance.

Up until the boardroom where the lawyers meet Olivia’s new client, I had been feeling sorry for Caleb. In that split second, I saw him as conniving and manipulative. And then I realized that Olivia and Caleb were perfect for each other. It’s entirely possible to absolutely love two characters because of how much you want to lock them in padded cells.

And then our heroine got on a plane and went to Italy. Holy mother-F***! During that sincere conversation with a fellow passenger, I was silently praying ‘please for the love of books Ms. Fisher, don’t do this to me!’. I saw the possibility of that new ‘relationship’ unfolding and it absolutely broke my heart.

Of course if that didn’t seem to do me in, Olivia’s declaration to Caleb, and his subsequent confession gutted me. But the book wasn’t done, and there was no way I was going to be left with THAT.

Time elapses and the doors opened. And I started screaming. Cursing the book-junkies that told me to read this. Throwing expletives towards the author for making something so un-pretty, but perfect at the same time. And admonishing myself for having waited this long to fall in love with imperfect characters that are so easy to hate.