Rating: ☆☆☆ Audience: YA Historical fiction Length: 346 pages Author: Ruta Sepetys Publisher: Speak Release Date: February 12th, 2013 Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
Okay, time to break the news.
This is not one of my favorite books by Sepetys. I’m still catching up on her backlist titles and was hoping this would be another hit, but was left wanting so much more.
I didn’t think the plot was big enough. It was mostly a focus on Josie trying to get into college (which isn’t the most exciting thing ever). Her life has a lot of craziness to it and while it bled over into her decisions and overall choices it was taken down by the LACK OF COMMUNICATION.
Oh goodness, drives me up a wall when everything could be easily fixed by a simple sentence. This was the case for Josie. I loved her tenacity, braveness, and desire to rise above what her mother has put her through. I wish she would have just told others about what was happening. By hiding it to further the story it made things drag out.
I also wish the romance would have been taken out too. Or had more added to it. There wasn’t much background on the two suitors and things would randomly happen between them without build-up. I was left desperately begging for more between them and wish there was more follow through.
I do love how easy Sepetys books are to read. They are quick, shorter chapters and make me want to read them. I love that this book is focused on 1950s New Orleans. Such a unique time period choice for historical fiction (which was an initial reason I wanted to read it). The flavors and history of the French Quarter really came alive through the writing.
I read this as an ARC! I picked it out because it was supposed to be reminiscent of The Scorpio Races. It did have some things that reminded me of that book (namely, the magical horses). I really enjoyed this one.
Winterwoodby Shea Ernshaw
As my second Ernshaw book, I just don’t think the stories and I mix. I once again found myself a bit bored and waiting for something to happen. The romance needed more umph too.
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ Audience: Contemporary Romance Length: 400 pages Author: K.A. Tucker Publisher: Self-published Release Date: February 18th, 2020 Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
From the internationally best-selling author of The Simple Wild comes the continuation of a woman’s journey to Alaska and a life she never imagined for herself.
Calla Fletcher returns to Toronto a different person, struggling to find direction and still very much in love with the rugged bush pilot she left behind. When Jonah arrives on her doorstep with a proposition she can’t dismiss, she takes the leap and rushes back to Alaska to begin their exciting future together.
But Calla soon learns that even the best intentions can lead to broken promises, and that compromise comes with a hefty price—a log cabin in interior rural Alaska that feels as isolating as the western tundra.
With Jonah gone more than he’s home, one neighbor who insists on transforming her into a true Alaskan, and another who seems more likely to shoot her than come to her aid, Calla grapples with forging her own path. In a world with roaming wildlife that has her constantly watching over her shoulder and harsh conditions that stretch far beyond the cold, dark, winter months, just stepping outside her front door can be daunting.
This is not the future Calla had in mind, leaving her to fear that perhaps she is doomed to follow in her mother’s fleeing footsteps after all.
Thank you to the author and Social Butterfly PR for an eARC. All opinions are my own!
I stayed up way too late to finish this book because I was on cloud nine that I received an ARC for this book. One of my most highly anticipated books of 2020 and it did not disappoint.
I know some people won’t love this second book because it’s not the angst filled romance that The Simple Wild was. This is what made me love this book in its own way. Watching Calla and Jonah having to work together and actually get a chance to be a couple. I was waiting for this book to destroy me and I had my throat in my heart so many times as I read this.
Calla was still a great character. I loved her arc from book one and really loved this one too. She had a lot to go through moving to Alaska and being by herself (yes, Jonah is there, but it’s still far away from family/friends) for the first time. I really felt and understood her emotions. Jonah was still my favorite gruff bush pilot. Yet I got to see a whole new side of him. He was much more open and had more emotions on the surface that I was SO HERE FOR. I love both of them opening up about their struggles of figuring out life in the wilderness together.
There’s not the romance in this book that you’re expecting. Don’t worry. There’s plenty of steamy moments, but it’s one of a couple expressing love to each other and holding on to the connection they know they share. What I love about them though is that there was actual COMMUNICATION between them. They both would hold on to emotions and thoughts too long (as we all do), and after an outburst would actually have a constructive conversation about what was happening. I desperately was holding onto the fact that I knew there must be a happy ending by the last page. I wanted more Calla and Jonah throughout the book. The lack of Jonah at times made the conflict resolution that much more satisfying.
The Roy story line seemed a bit random at first to me. I didn’t know quite where it fit into everything else until close to the end as I got to know the entirety of the background behind him. I can’t help but love grumpy old men who are softened by something. Calla was that something. Her tenacity to just be there for him made their tentative friendship something strong.
I am obsessed with the writing about Alaska. To me, it really is a mythical place and somewhere I had never considered visiting. The description and love of their home that is depicted through all of the characters makes me want to visit someday (though I can’t say I would ever get into one of those tiny planes, NOPE). The flow of the story kept a steady pace. I liked that it would move through months at a faster pace yet the chapters never seemed rushed.
That ending was everything I didn’t think I needed. I love the sweet tenderness between Jonah and Calla. Love that Calla had really given Alaska a chance and were becoming a true part of the community. I felt wholly satisfied with the conclusion and am so thrilled we got this sequel.
Overall audience notes:
Language: some strong throughout
Romance: everything from kisses to love scenes; scenes being fade to black to mildly explicit
Trigger warnings: plane crash, mentions of domestic abuse (a side character referring to their past)
K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.
She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.
K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family.
Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2 Audience: Contemporary romance Length: 310 pages Author: Kelly Siskind Publisher: Everafter Romance Release Date: April 23rd, 2019 Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
Falling for your surly boss is a rotten idea. Letting him saw you in half is even worse…
Beatrice Baker may be a struggling artist, but she believes all hardships have silver linings…until she follows her boyfriend to New Orleans and finds him with another woman. Instead of turning those lemons into lemonade, she drinks lemon drop martinis and keys the wrong man’s car.
Now she works for Huxley Marlow of the Marvelous Marlow Boys, getting shoved in boxes as an on-stage magician’s assistant. A cool job for some, but Bea’s been coerced into the role to cover her debt. She also maybe fantasizes about her boss’s adept hands and what else they can do.
She absolutely will not fall for him, or kiss him senseless. Until she does. The scarred, enigmatic Huxley has unwittingly become her muse, unlocking her artistic dry spell, but his vague nightly activities are highly suspect. The last time Beatrice trusted a man, her bank account got drained and she almost got arrested. Surely this can’t end that badly…right?
WHERE CAN I GET A MAGICIAN LIKE HUXLEY?
This quick romantic comedy is a hidden gem in the genre. I absolutely adored this and it took me a day to finish because of it!
Beatrice is effervescent and optimistic about most things in her life. Being betrayed by the men she’s known (including her Father) she ends up in New Orleans, single, without a job or a home. But then she meets…HUXLEY. Oh their chemistry is dynamite y’all. Sparks flying every which way it could light up a night sky.
I couldn’t get enough of their banter and flirtatious moments. It was purely them meeting and getting to know each other that formed their friendship turned romance. I usually prefer a stand-out trope (like enemies to lovers) but this worked in such a magical way I was smitten with them. I love that Huxley took care of Bea and helped her get on her own two feet. Not only that, but Bea helped Huxley see the glass half full rather than empty. These two peas in a pod really completed each other. THEY’RE JUST SO PRECIOUS OKAY? Trust me on this.
Huxley and his brothers, Axel and Fox are also what brother goals are made of. These three had an incredible dynamic too. I love the different personalities and banter that made up their daily conversations. They all kind of grew up (even though everyone is in their late 20s and 30s) as they started to take care of each other. Huxley as big brother never got a chance to take a breath and his brothers (plus Beatrice) helped him step back and enjoy the finer moments of life.
The only reason I took off a half a star was a personal preference. I didn’t love that there was a whole chapter and a half dedicated to the sex scene. It was a bit much and a bit too detailed for me. It’s easily skipped over though so if this also isn’t your scene I promise the rest of the book is gold.
I liked the plot of this as well. It was different than other rom-coms I’ve read before. I felt there was a bit more at stake and it upped the drama overall. It never over took the romance, but wove seamlessly with it.
Overall audience notes:
Language: some strong language
Romance: kissing, make outs, flirting, innuendo, Chapter 23 & beginning of Chapter 24: detailed love scene; Chapter 30: fade to black with a little detail
Violence: physical, being held at gun point
Trigger warnings: gambling addiction, gambling in general