Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Book Review: Like Fresh Fallen Snow (The Graysons #2) by Tara Wyatt

Release date: October 25th, 2016
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Swerve
Pages: 77

[copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

Description (from Goodreads):

Everyone needs a New Years’ kiss.

Ellie Richards’ New Year’s Resolution: this will be her year, no men necessary. Who needs them when she has a successful website, a great apartment, and plans to ring in the New Year at a ski lodge with her best friend. That’s until Ellie gets stuck in a snowbank and a gorgeous, blue-eyed cop throws a wrench in her plans.

Matt Grayson intended to spend his last day of the year getting everything ready for his move across the country. But when he helps dig Ellie’s car out from the side of the road, something about this cute blonde who spews out pop culture references makes Matt wish he didn’t have to leave the next day.

When fate brings Ellie and Matt together that same night at a party, the sizzling tension between them bubbles like a bottle of champagne. As midnight looms closer, their time together grows shorter. Is their budding romance doomed to be nothing but a night of memories, or can it survive the changes the new year will bring?

Oh how I hope this book would have been longer and thus allowed for more character development! I really think both Ellie and Matt are much more interesting as characters than Luke and Christie from the first book, but unfortunately, their tale just seems like too much too fast.

Ellie is a writer for a website that focuses on all things nerdy. She is funny, a little bit awkward, and definitely a character I would have liked to read a lot more about. Matt is a hot tattooed police officer/detective to be. He is protective, has a sense of humor, and just generally sounds like a great guy. Ellie and Matt meet on New Year's Eve and end up spending the night together, both realizing VERY quickly that what they feel for each other could develop into something more serious.

Like Fresh Fallen Snow feels even more instalove-y than the first book in the series because the events of the story cover only like three or four days. Like Fresh Fallen Snow is only a bit over 70 pages long which makes it a super quick read. It is an okay story (though not really Christmas-related, which is something I expected it to be), but as said, the instalove thing feels a bit too much. 

I am bummed that these characters were not given more time to develop because I think they would have made a great pair for a longer romance novel. As it is, Like Fresh Fallen Snow is one you should pick up if you don't mind instalove and are looking for a quick read.


Introducing Non-Fiction November

November is almost here and while writing a review for a non-fiction book I read recently, I came up with the idea to dedicate the upcoming month here at ReadReadRead for non-fiction books. (EDIT: I know there is some sort of non-fiction November channel going on in BookTube, but I am not participating in that.)

For me personally, non-fiction is one of those genres I always plan to read more from, but there are just so many incredible sounding books out there that I often feel like I don't know from where to start. 

This November, I will share with you reviews of non-fiction books, as well as other features, such a to-read lists, and perhaps also some recommendations for documentaries to watch, since those can be quite easily tied to non-fiction books. Some reviews have already appeared on this blog before and will now be just reposted, others will make their debut. 

Hopefully, this series of posts will manage to introduce you to some books you might not have heard of, and books you definitely want to check out for yourself. 

If you have any recommendations for what I should read in November, please let me know!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Book Review: When Snowflakes Fall (The Graysons #1) by Tara Wyatt

Release date: October 25, 2016
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Swerve
Pages: 88

[ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review]

Description (from Goodreads):

Sometimes the heart needs a little Christmas magic. 

When Dr. Christie Harmon up and moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming to escape a vicious scandal, she expected a quiet, lonely Christmas on-call as a pediatrician at the local hospital. But when she’s treating a little boy with a bump on the head, she doesn’t expect his dad to be so distractingly handsome…or single.

In the wake of his ex-wife’s abandonment five years ago, Luke Grayson has been focused on raising his son Ethan. The scars from the split run deep, and Luke hasn’t trusted another woman to come into their lives. But there’s something about the sweet—and sexy—Christie that has him wondering if something’s been missing.

Can new love help lonely hearts find a way? After all, Christmas is a time for magic…

When Snowflakes Fall is the first book in Tyra Wyatt's The Grayson's series. It is the story of Christie, a pediatrician who meets Luke Grayson. Christie has been forced to leave her old life behind after a scandal and she has used moved to Wyoming when she runs into Luke at the emergency room. Luke has been living in Cheyenne his whole life and for several years he has been a single father for Ethan, a son he had with a woman who ended up running away. Neither Christie or Luke is looking for love, but they quickly realize that they cannot resist the feelings they have for each other.

There are three things I really liked about When Snowflakes Fall. (1) Tara Wyatt writes well and her prose is easy and entertaining to read. (2) Luke seems really charming and I love the whole "rugged handyman with a heart of gold" thing. (3) The setting seems interesting and for example, Luke's twin brother Matt is a character I definitely want to know more (the second book in the series called Like Fresh Fallen Snow focuses on him). 

There are also three things I wasn't a huge fan of. (1) I think Christie could have been developed a lot more as a character and I think the scandal from her past could have been treated in a little different way. (2) The events take place over like three weeks and I think the emotions and feelings develop a bit too quickly. (3) It wasn't as Christmassy as I expected. 

When Snowflakes Fall is a quite short, quick read and I think the fact that it is only a bit over 80 pages explains why the characters are not as developed as I would have liked them to be. Since this is a part of the series I expect the characters and their stories to be expanded in future installments. If you plan to read only one Christmas book this holiday season maybe pick up something a bit longer so you can get a more full-rounded story, but if you are like me and planning to pick up a number of Christmas books When Snowflakes Fall is definitely a book to consider. It might be quite predictable, but predictability does not really bother me with books like this because I just want to reach a happy ending (which is quite a predictable element of romance novels). 

As some of you might know, I am a MASSIVE fan of Hallmark Christmas movies and I think this story reads quite a lot like a Hallmark movie, just with added sexy times. There's a hot single father who is doing everything he can to protect his son from being hurt, a gorgeous new woman in town who believes a scandal from her past could ruin any chances of future happiness, a small town and a sort of meet-cute that develops into something deep very quickly. 

I am definitely going to pick up the next book in the series because I want to know more about Matt, a hot cop with tattoos. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Review: What Light by Jay Asher

Release date: October 18th, 2016
Author links: Goodreads - Website
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 272

Description (from Goodreads):

From Jay Asher, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Thirteen Reasons Why, comes a romance that will break your heart, but soon have you believing in love again. . . .

"A beautiful story of love and forgiveness."
—Stephen Chbosky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Sierra's family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it's a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other. 

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb's past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

What Light is a love story that's moving and life-affirming and completely unforgettable.

Oh man... What Light was one of my most expected books of 2016, and I had a very hard time controlling my excitement when I got it as a review copy, but now that I am writing my review, my feelings are just kind of meh... I so desperately wanted to like it, but I constantly kept feeling like something was missing.

I love the concept for the story -- Sierra's family owns a Christmas tree farm in Oregon, and ever since she was little she has spent the month before Christmas in California. This means that she has had to leave her friends in Oregon behind, but luckily, her friend Heather has been waiting in California, and they have desperately tried to fit a whole year of activities into one month. 

At the beginning of What Light it is quickly established that this might be Sierra's last year in California. The business is not doing as well as her family would like, and manning the Christmas tree lot in California is not making enough money. Knowing that next year California might be out of the question, Sierra decides to put all in and enjoy her possibly last California-Christmas.

When Caleb, a boy with gorgeous dimples, shows up again and again and keeps purchasing trees from the lot, Sierra gets curious. Then she starts to hear rumors about Caleb's past. Is this a guy she should be spending time with? Can she see past Caleb's history and give him a chance?

The main problems I had with this book are the following:

  • I felt like I was unable to connect with any of the characters. While Sierra didn't really annoy me, she didn't really spark any positive feelings in me either. I did like the fact that she opens up for new experiences and does not judge before hearing arguments from both sides, but other than that, I felt like I was unable to feel anything towards her (and while reading a book like this, that is a problem for me!)
  • The events take place way too fast and I felt like the "L" word enters the game WAY too early
  • All of the supporting characters feel quite one-dimensional and underdeveloped. I, for example, would have liked to see more interaction between Sierra and Heather. 
  • The drama surrounding Caleb feels very rushed.

I love Christmas due to which I kind of regret picking this book up already in October because I believe I might have appreciated the story a bit closer to Christmas. The setting is very Christmassy and the characters engage in Christmas activities, and I think that with a box of Christmas cookies by my side, this reading experience might have been a bit more pleasant. 

If you are looking for a quick, occasionally cute Christmas read, maybe What Light is for you. Unfortunately, it didn't manage to fill my (very high) expectations for it. 


(2.5 hearts)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"There Must Be Something In The Airwaves" (#2)

There Must Be Something In the Airwaves is a semi-regular feature here at ReadReadRead in which I share with you music I am currently blasting from my headphones and falling very much in love with. 

I am currently working on my master's thesis and spending a lot of time in my apartment writing/doing research on my laptop. I usually use Spotify for listening to music, but I noticed a while ago that I still haven't used my free trial of iTunes Music. After activating my free trial, I have tried to introduce myself to new artists and new albums by artists already familiar to me, and I thought today I would share with you some of the albums I've been listening to a lot in the past few weeks. 

Remember Us to Life by Regina Spector

All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend by Aurora

Dig Your Roots by Florida Georgia Line

Ripcord by Keith Urban

Emotion - Side B by Carly Rae Jepsen

22, A Million by Bon Iver

Pageant Material by Kacey Musgraves

Cartwheels by Ward Thomas

What have you been listening to recently?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Looking Back (#1)

Ever since I've started blogging I've read an average of 100 books a year and reviewed about 90% them. Blogging has introduced me to awesome books, shocking books, life-changing books, disappointing books, and so much more. To shine a light on books that I loved, but maybe haven't talked about in a while, I thought I would look back and share with you a few books that impressed me in one way or another.

Magnolia by Kristi Cook
Read in December 2014 | Review | Goodreads

The Next Door Boys by Jolene B. Perry
Read in November 2011 | Review | Goodreads

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger
Read in December 2014 | Review | Goodreads

Have you read any of these titles? If yes, what did you think of them? Are any of these on your TBR?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Book Review: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Release date: April 5, 2016
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 336

Description (from Goodreads):

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

This book broke my heart and then proceeded to put it right back together! 

I picked Tell Me Three Things from my local library shelf at a time I had not been reading for several weeks. Well, I had been reading, but only things related to my thesis. As a big waffle fan, I must say it was the waffle pieces on the cover that drew me towards this one, but as a fan of contemporary YA as well, the synopsis sounded like something I could enjoy. And oh boy, I really did enjoy it (I think having waffles while reading it could only have made it better!)

Jessie's mother has died and now she is forced to move across the country to California to live with his father than his new wife. Jessie feels like everything she has become to known has "hers" has been taken from her and cannot imagine how life in California could make any difference. Her new "stepmother" is aloof, her stepbrother seems to be ashamed of her, and new school is like something out of a teen drama - filled with drama and extremely difficult to navigate. 

When it seems like things could not get worse, she receives an email from a mystery guy that could chance everything. The guy, SN, is someone who goes to school with her but demands to remain anonymous. While Jessie is first freaked out by this anonymous messenger and is determined it is something trying to make fun of her (we're all seen teen movies with a plot like that!), she eventually realizes that she might need help just to survive at her new school. 

As Jessie befriends SN online, she slowly starts to find her place from school. She befriends Dri and Angie, starts to work in a bookstore with Liam and is paired up with the mysterious Ethan to work on an English assignment. As she spends more time with these people, the social circles of the school start to mix up and occasionally Jessie begins to find herself involved in drama she didn't want to be a part of. Luckily, SN is there to help her out and to cheer her up.

I absolutely loved Jessie as a character. She felt so real because throughout the book she is vulnerable, strong, brave, clueless, silly, funny, confused, determined, and so much more. As someone who has lost a parent, I was able to relate to the feeling of having to go through the worst possible thing that you could imagine happening to you as a teenager. While the parent I lost was my father, the emotions of absolute grief and realizing that your parent won't be there for the future milestones of your life were something I felt a real connection with. The struggle she goes through when she has to enter into a new kind of family setting is also something I found easy to relate with. I think all of this relatability made me very vulnerable while reading this book, and there were several times while reading this that I found myself sobbing alone in my bed. 

Don't get me wrong, though, Tell Me Three Things is not purely a sad book. There is actually quite a bit of happiness causing moments here, like the forming of new friendships, the rekindling of old ones, and witnessing intense crushes and maybe even falling in love. 

One of the best parts of this novel is the mystery of SN's identity. It probably does not come to anyone as a surprise who he actually is (at least it didn't come to me), but I enjoyed reading about the drama that surrounds its reveal and the feelings Jessie goes through as she thinks about how her relationship with SN might change if they actually meet each other. 

There are no love triangles here, so even those YA contemporary readers who hate love triangles might enjoy this one. 

Maybe it's because I had not read for a while, or because I was able to find myself from this book so easily that I ended up enjoying this so damn much. Overall, it is a well-written, incredibly paced young adult contemporary novel that can make you cry both happy and sad tears. At least for me, those are always the best kind of books.