Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Review Books

Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid



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.



I’ve enjoyed the three books by this author that I’ve listened to but this one didn’t work for me.
From the beginning, the author introduced Hannah Martin as this flighty or a bit of a mess young woman trying to find herself. She lacks direction and at first glance, she seemed to lack self worth. She goes “home” to live with her best friend Gabby while she figures out life. Two monumental things change the course of her life…or so we wish to believe.
There is an accident and then there is an accidental occurrence. Hannah goes from being a bit of looser moral lady to turning her nose up.

I didn’t buy it and the author didn’t really develop her character enough to make it plausible. Instead, the author began presenting various endings/paths for the heroine and her predicament. Frankly, it was confusing in audiobook. I would have enjoyed it more if the author committed to one path and developed both the plot and the characters towards that resolution. I think i could have gotten invested in the story if it were more linear like that. It was like one of those chose our own ending boosnthar I despised as a kid, this various paths were giving me whiplash and I just didn’t know what was reality anymore

I also didn’t know how I felt about Ethan since it was Hannah’s POV and I didn’t trust her narrative.

I did believe in her relationship with Gabby was the best part of this story. It was solid, reliable and believable. I enjoyed their unwavering support and loyalty towards each other. There were really more like sisters. Regardless, this story fell short of my expectations.

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance

Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin by Mariana Zapata


TITLE: Rhythm, Chord & Malykhin
AUTHOR: Mariana Zapata
Narrator: Carly Robins
TIME: (9hrs, 8 mins)
Blurb: Listening time 9 hours 8 minutes
Twenty-six-year-old Gaby Barreto might be a lot of things (loyal, sarcastic, one of the guys and a pain in the butt depending on which family member you ask), but dumb isn’t one of them. When her twin brother invites her to go on tour as his band’s merch girl, she isn’t exactly screaming at the top of her lungs with joy.

With no job opportunities pounding on her door, an ex-boyfriend she would still like to castrate, and no end in sight to moving out of her parents’ house in Dallas… it would be dumb to say no to the chance of a lifetime. Two bands, three continents, one tour. Spending the next ninety-plus days with three beloved idiots and eight complete strangers shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

If only the singer of the headlining band didn’t have tattoos… a great personality… a fantastic body… and if he wasn’t so funny….

Let’s be real: Gaby never had a chance against Sacha Malykhin.

Gaby Barreto just got dumped by her boyfriend of two years and kicked out of their apartment, all while not having secured employment after graduating with a degree in History.

So when her twin brother invited her to tour with his band as the head of Merchandising, she couldn’t refuse. There she met Sacha Malykhin, lead singer of the other band on the tour, and they became instant friends.

Anyone who has read a Mariana Zapata book knows that she builds friendships, simmering attraction and angst before she introduces the actual romance. So her books aren’t about hot sex and stolen moments but they feature lasting bonds of romance.
That’s why when I wasn’t connecting with the audiobook initially, I put it down. I knew it was probably a mood thing and I was right. When I came back to it, I listened to the book in two days.

Gabby (“Flabby”) and Sacha (“Sassy”) were really cute. Their relationship was sweet and playful. Both characters felt authentic and relatable. I also enjoyed the camaraderie, even though at times it was over the top. Some of the playful instances, like taking a poop in a plastic bag and the name calling felt like High School than a college graduate age adults. That’s why I docked the story half of a star. It was a bit juvenile and got old quickly. I did love the personal growth in how they dealt with the growing feelings between them. They always seemed to be aware of the other and in their own way, take care of the other. I like friends to lover tropes more than my friend’s sibling trope and this book had both. Gabby and Sacha finally got on the same page that was soothing like beautiful music to my sould. (HEHEHEHE!)

On a side note: I am trying to remember how Gabby was portrayed in Kulti because that book was mentioned and Gabby was big into soccer. I may have to re-read Kulti sometime next year.

This book won’t be in my Top 5 Mariana Zapata novels, but it is still an enjoyable read for those who prefer romance over steamy and smutty love stories.

Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, New Adult, Review Books

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren


TITLE: Autoboyography
AUTHOR: Christina Lauren
PAGES: 416 (9hrs, 19mins)
NARRATORS: Deacon Lee and Kyle Mason
PUBLISHED: September 12th, 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

BLURB: Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

I was disappointed. There is so many 5-stars for this book, but it was barely a 3-star for me.

I found Tanner to be a bit self-centered and immature. But he was 18 years old, so that should be par for the course, right? Fine. I will cut him slack. But what I had the biggest gripe about was his lack of empathy for others. His parents went out of their way to make sure he was protected or at least his secret. He knew his best friend had feelings for him but he sort of used her as a cover. Was he really afraid she wouldn’t be his friend if she knew he was bisexual or gay? I don’t believe that at all. She kept his lazy butt on course and also kept people from asking him about his dating life. Even his parent mentioned that Autumn had romantic feelings for him. It’s a good thing his bestie didn’t get pregnant. I don’t think he really gave a really deep consideration to what he put her through.

On the other hand, I thought Sebastian’s indecision felt real and was similar to what my Uncle had to consider coming from a deeply religious family. For him, the label of bisexual or gay meant a loss of identity, loss of his parents love, loss of the church community which held him in esteemed and possible loss of his salvation. That’s a lot and Tanner never seemed to get that pain and respect the process of coming to terms of what loving another man cost Sebastian (at least in Sebastian’s thoughts).

I admit it irked me that others were putting creative works of writing and Tanner basically wrote about kissing, hiking etc. He had a diary while others were creating a world of fiction. That was only added to my side eye of Tanner.
I do give him super props for continuing with his plan to college and not letting heartache deter him from trying to live his best life. That showed inner resolve and also respect for the man he loved, that he let him go to figure himself out.

This book would have been much better if the author did a dual PV throughout the whole book. I wouldn’t have minded being in Autumn’s head as well. Those two characters were compelling to me because they are they ones who were struggling with what was versus what they wanted to be. I liked their journey and it felt more authentic than Tanner who seemed to just enough to skate by.

Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Review Books

Ryan’s Bed by Tijan


Title: Ryan’s Bed by Tijan
Narrated By: Thérèse Plummer
Release Date: January 14, 2018
Format: Audiobook (9hrs and 1 min)
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Blurb: I crawled into Ryan Jensen’s bed that first night by accident.

I barely knew him. I thought it was his sister’s bed–her room. It took seconds to realize my error, and I should’ve left…

I didn’t. I didn’t jump out. I didn’t get embarrassed.

I relaxed. And that night, in that moment, it was the only thing I craved.

I asked to stay. He let me, and I slept.

The truth? I never wanted to leave his bed. If I could’ve stayed forever, I would have.

He became my sanctuary.

Because–four hours earlier–my twin sister killed herself.
I didn’t like this title. It didn’t reflect what this story was about. This book was sad yet hopeful look at a family’s struggle to cope with the unimaginable. I hate that publishers are trying so hard to sell books that they use sexy titles/covers that misrepresent the actual content of their work. But the narrator Therese Plummer had just the right voice. It was a mixture of pain, detachment, anger, hope, etc. I heard all of that in her voice and I couldn’t stop listening.

MacKenzie found her twin sister Willow in their bathroom in a pool of her own blood the day before their eighteenth birthday. It was a shocking beginning and the book follows MacKenzie and her family as they deal (or don’t deal) with the grief of suicide.

This book was done well because the process felt real, it felt slow, it felt like they would never be okay sometimes and then other times I thought they had turned a corner. It was painful to read so my heart goes out families who have to deal with a suicide.

I am no therapist but I was uncomfortable with the way MacKenzie latched on Ryan like a life-support jacket. In addition, her parents were so consumed with their own guilt that they knowingly turned a blind eye to her sneaking out to spend the night in a bed of a boy they barely knew. I know that grief can pull families apart or bond them closer together but in this case, the MacKenzie’s parents abandoned her emotionally and physically. They pawned her off to the care of a business acquaintance and that was deeply disturbing to me. Instead of structure and perhaps more family interaction, each person retreated into their own corners like a boxer after the bell.

3.5 star.
I liked Ryan and how gently he treated MacKenzie. He listened, he held her and he comforted her every time she needed him.

He was rock solid, he was intuitive and compassionate. Unfortunately, I don’t feel like I got to know him outside MacKenzie’s pain. Maybe this story was meant to be snap shot in time because the characters were not developed that well. Not the main characters nor the supporting characters. There was underlying bullying at school. It felt like the adults were on vacation. The epilogue really exposed the fact that there was so much more going on under the surface and author didn’t really dig below. It was a good glimpse of a family’s grief but I wanted much more.

The two lessons I took from this story was to consistently listen to and talk with our loved ones. Don’t put labels on them like “the smart one” “the strong one” etc but to really see them and have meaningful interactions. It’s true that people will only share what they want, but if we establish trust, they may just let us into the vulnerable parts of their hearts.

Contemporary Romance, Review Books, Romantic Suspense

Confess (Sin City Salvation, Book 1) by A. Zavarelli


Title: Confess
Series: Sin City Salvation #1
Author: A. Zavarelli
Genre: Dark Romance
Release Date:
Lucian
A life free from sin.
For seventeen years, I have lived and breathed those words. But there is no balm to the war inside my soul.
Until her.
The mysterious beauty too lethal to taste. She’s a thief, a con, the essence of everything I loathe. Still, she lures me in with her lying eyes.
In the dark of night, she came to confess her sins, and in the light of morning, I plotted to steal her away.
She will be my ruination. My damnation. My biggest regret.
So help me, God.
**
Gypsy
A word of advice? Don’t show me your vulnerabilities because I will find a way to exploit them. I learned the hard way to take what I want from life with no regrets.
Until him.
He’s one of the most hated men in America. A soulless criminal attorney. A recluse. And as of five minutes ago, my new husband.
He wants to keep my secrets and collect my tears, but he should know that a wild animal can’t be domesticated.
I don’t know how to love men. I only know how to leave them.
With everything I want. 

What a ride! I couldn’t put this book down. I didn’t know where the author was going with this couple but I enjoyed the journey.

It seemed like a simple and predictable story but the plot and characters were quite complex.

Gypsy Blue was a con-artist who was trying her best to carve out a life with her sister Birdie, while they were on the run.

Her heists and scams put her in the cross-hairs of famed defense attorney Lucian West and now it was time for the blackmailer to become the blackmailed.

Gypsy didn’t like having a taste of her own medicine and it was a constant battle of wills. Unfortunately for her, she was dealing with a man of iron will and he held all the cards, including evidence that could land her prison.

Gypsy now had to learn how to deal with her life as someone else’s puppet. Meanwhile, Lucian got to know Gypsy and saw there was more than meets the eye.

This book was about the healing and redemption of two broken souls that had to learn to trust people again. They had different traumatic events to overcome, but as they became vulnerable to each other, tender moments led to their bonding. These two were endearing and it rugged at my heart strings.

I wish I had just a little bit more on the “why” of the betrayal that occurred. It was glossed over and didn’t quite make sense. That’s why I couldn’t give it a five-star. It was a pretty big plot twist with an un believable motive. The ending was just heartwarming and i felt at peace in the ending.

This one is another winner from A. Zavarelli 💕

I walked into my office and found the tall, leggy brunette waiting for me. She wasn’t the only one either. Beside her, Ace played around on his phone while Birdie flipped through a magazine.

I wasn’t surprised to see her this soon. In all honesty, I’d expected her to show up at my door last night, demanding to have Ace removed from her presence. But it appeared as though they survived the night, just barely.

“May I have a word with you?” Gypsy asked.

“You may,” I told her as I checked my watch. “In thirty minutes. When my lunch is finished.”

Her eyes narrowed, and she planted her hands on her hips as she stood. “You must be joking.”

“I don’t joke,” I responded flatly.

She stalked forward, stopping only when she’d breached the narrow distance that few people ever dared to try with me. She was reverting to her baser skills of seduction, but I doubted she even realized it. The instinct came naturally to her, often rewarding her with whatever she wanted, and admittedly, it might have worked on me too once.

She smelled of coconut oil and sunshine, and it encouraged a vivid image of her lying out on the beach. I could almost bet that if I were to touch her skin, it would be warm too. So warm that it would be easy to get lost in. She probably counted on it, but I was prepared to let Gypsy know from the start how this game would be played. There were only one set of rules, and they were mine.

“Do you want me to throw a fit?” she threatened as her eyes darted around my office. “Because I will.”

Now that was funny. My lips tilted despite my resolve to remain dry as toast.

“Do you think it would be the first time someone threw a fit in here?” I asked her. “I’m sorry to tell you sweetheart, but it wouldn’t.”
“It would probably be the first time someone accused you of holding them hostage in front of your employees.”

I turned and gestured for her to go ahead.

“Be my guest.”

Her lips tightened, and she clamped down on her jaw. After watching her for so long, these unintelligent threats from her were a disappointment. Of course, she wouldn’t make a scene because she had more to lose than I did.

“Thirty minutes,” I repeated. “I’ll have my secretary call for you when I’m finished.”

I walked into my office and shut the door behind me.
A. Zavarelli is a book junkie, cat lover, and traveler when plagued by intense cases of wanderlust. She likes all things chocolate, books that come with warnings, and putting her characters through hell. 
Her tales have been known to flirt with darkness and sometimes court it unabashedly altogether. Revenge themes and tortured souls are her favorites to write and this gives her an excuse to watch bizarre and twisted documentaries in her spare time.
She is slightly obsessed with Theo James and funny animal memes. If you don’t mind these things, you should add her on facebook.
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Blogger Themes, Contemporary Romance, Review Books

I Have Never (First Comes Love #2) by Camilla Isley


Title:I Have Never by Camilla Isley
Series: First Comes Love #2
Narrated By: Audra Cook
Release Date: July 13th, 2017
Format: Audiobook (5 hrs and 38 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Blurb: Twenty-nine-year-old Blair Walker is a girl with a plan, or more like a girl with a list – a list of dos and don’ts to live the perfect life, land a dream career, and marry Mr. Right. But when Blair loses her job and gets dumped by her boyfriend all in one day, she starts to wonder if she’s had it all wrong. And what better way to find out than experience everything the list forbade?

Never lie
Never pick a fight
Never make a scene
Never make the first move
Never make impulsive decisions
Never mix business and pleasure

With hilarious consequences, Blair will discover some items are trickier to tick off than she’d thought.

This audiobook was easy to follow and was a fun listen until I got the end. It was a happy ending but it reinforced that office romances can never remain secret and can make the workplace tense when there is a disharmony.


Blair Walker was a girl who followed all of society rules of how a refined lady should behave. Living by that good girl code led her to losing her dreams to another who was willing to use all in her arsenal to get what she wanted. So Blair decided that she will throw out her list and just live without those constraints.
Life as a rebel led her to entrepreneur Richard Stratton, who was looking for someone to help him grow his online business. Their professional relationship thrived and was smooth until they developed an attraction. That’s when things got awkward. Should they risk it or play it safe?

I liked them together, but I am not a fan of office romances. They have a tendency to get messy when people have fights and/or break up. These sort of relationships are bad for business and it gets co-workers caught in the middle. There is workplace gossip as well as a resentment if there is a perception of favoritism.

I really liked the new Blair until she threw a couple of unprofessional fits at end of the book because of her feelings for her boss Richard. I was embarrassed for her and for Richard. The new Blair was empowered, likable and interesting. Her journey showed development and maturity even though she was likable even with the list too. Both Blair and Richard were fundamentally good people with a great work ethic.

Their relationship worked out in the end but I didn’t like her doing the opposite of what her list would have told her to do. The list wasn’t bad, I think she just needed to learn not to be so rigid. That is what life is about, having some flexibility in some things and being steadfast in others. Both Blair and Richard came to learn that in order to find true happiness, they had to be honest and true to themselves.

If you want an enjoyable and easy read, then I recommend this office romance to satisfy that need.

Contemporary Romance, Review Books

The Space in Between by Brittainy C. Cherry


The Space in Between (The Space in Between, #1)

The Space in Between by Brittainy C. Cherry

Blurb:

She’s scarred by her past.

Andrea Evans is traumatized and guilt-ridden by the death of her fiancée. Tired of the gossiping small town, she travels to New York City to pursue her dream of dance.

He’s uncertain of his future.

Cooper Davidson is a famous photographer and reality television star trying to flee from his own life filled with paparazzi, mental health clinics, and a cheating wife who is pregnant.

When Andrea and Cooper’s paths cross, they realize how damaged and in need of escapism they both are. The two create an arrangement to explore the space in between chaos and order with one another. The rules are simple—no emotional connections, no talking about the past, no speaking of the future, and when one finds order, the other walks away.

All is well until Cooper accidentally falls in love with Andrea.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this audiobook, but I had some issues with the plot and character development. Andrea and Cooper both had life altering events occur, making what seemed like a certain future up in the air. Sadness and anger are acceptable part of the grieving process but I didn’t feel like there was enough self reflection by both characters. While Cooper mentioned it, it didn’t feel like he really examined his own actions that contributed to the problems in his relationship. He was tender, patient and understanding with Andrea and her pain for her loss in a way that he wasn’t depicted as being with his own wife Iris. That surprised me the most. I would have liked to have gotten Iris’s perspective because Cooper’s thoughts of her wasn’t favorable. Also, I would have liked to know a little more about Derek from his own perspective because it wasn’t necessary to villainize him or Iris to arrive at the second shot at love for Cooper and Andrea.

This story does remind us that something beautiful can happen after experiencing a heart-wrenching loss. This young characters got a second chance at love and it
I liked Andrea and Cooper together I enjoyed LaDasha and I hope the author gives her own book to explore her story more because she was a compelling character for me.

View all my reviews