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Adult, Review / August 9, 2016
It Ends With Us by Colleen HooverIt Ends With Us
Publisher: Atria Books
Date: August 2, 2016
384 pages
Genres: Contemporary
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Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

I’ve read quite a few of Colleen Hoover’s stories, some have been hits for me and others misses. I didn’t go into this with a lot of expectations and now that I’ve read it I’m not certain how detailed I should be. This book is an experience, a very painful one. It succeeds at bringing you inside a situation most only observe from the outside. Once there you may not understand why this is happening any better than the characters do, but you will have trouble not feeling their confusion, betrayal, and how miserable a decision can be to make even when it is clearly the only sane one. No one is black and white here, it would be easier to judge and write them off if they were. Instead I was left with compassion, deep sorrow, and satisfaction at seeing the main character, Lily, make a choice that serves as an example of strength, love, and good judgement. read more

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By: Diane
Adult, Review / June 28, 2016
After I Do by Taylor Jenkins ReidAfter I Do
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Atria Books
Date: July 2014
352 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary
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From the author of Forever, Interrupted—hailed by Sarah Jio as "moving, gorgeous, and at times heart-wrenching"—comes a breathtaking new novel about modern marriage, the depth of family ties, and the year that one remarkable heroine spends exploring both.

When Lauren and Ryan’s marriage reaches the breaking point, they come up with an unconventional plan. They decide to take a year off in the hopes of finding a way to fall in love again. One year apart, and only one rule: they cannot contact each other. Aside from that, anything goes.

Lauren embarks on a journey of self-discovery, quickly finding that her friends and family have their own ideas about the meaning of marriage. These influences, as well as her own healing process and the challenges of living apart from Ryan, begin to change Lauren’s ideas about monogamy and marriage. She starts to question: When you can have romance without loyalty and commitment without marriage, when love and lust are no longer tied together, what do you value? What are you willing to fight for?

This is a love story about what happens when the love fades. It’s about staying in love, seizing love, forsaking love, and committing to love with everything you’ve got. And above all, After I Do is the story of a couple caught up in an old game—and searching for a new road to happily ever after.

“Lauren, I love you more than I’ve loved anything in my life. You are the reason I was put on this earth. You make me happier than anything I’ve ever known. I cannot live without you.” He was smiling, and yet the edges of his mouth were starting to pull in and quiver. His voice started to lose its confidence. It became shaky. I noticed a group ahead of us had turned around. The pack of kids a few stairs behind Ryan had stopped and were waiting. read more

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By: Diane
Review, Young Adult / July 13, 2015
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja MillayThe Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books, Simon & Schuster
Date: November 2012
434 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
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I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been in quite a contemporary rut! I tend to stay away from storylines that I know will have me ugly crying through the entire novel. When I’ve picked up a contemporary in the past, I’ve remained disconnected from the characters. I read the book at arms length through a fear of being emotionally unprepared. However, I know I’ve missed out on an abundance of beautiful stories, so I need to get out of this rut! Since many people hold The Sea of Tranquility as one of their favourite contemporary novels, I thought it would be a good place to start. read more

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By: Sarah
Adult, Review / August 10, 2012
The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa GregoryThe Lady of the Rivers
Author: Philippa Gregory
Series: The Cousins' War #3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: October 2011
448 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Historical Fiction
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Readers first met Jacquetta in The White Queen, as mother of King Edward IV's commoner queen, Elizabeth Woodville. The Lady of the Rivers is the compelling prelude to this tale and begins with Jacquetta as a young woman of rare beauty possessing the mixed blessing of second sight.

Jacquetta rises swiftly through marriage to the Duke of Bedford, English Regent of France, who introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Yet the Duke shows little interest in his new bride beyond her ability to divine the future, and Jacquetta's only solace in the great household is the handsome squire Richard Woodville, who is at her side when she is left a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, eventually returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his queen, Margaret of Anjou.

The Woodvilles soon occupy a privileged place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat of revolt from the people of England. When the king slips into an inexplicable sleep, the kingdom is divided into the rival camps of Margaret and her untrustworthy advisors and the followers of Richard, Duke of York, who threatens to claim the throne. Jacquetta must navigate a treacherous path along both sides of the battle lines as the safety of her family and the rule of the House of Lancaster hang in the balance.

I wasn’t as excited about this book when I heard about who it would be focused on, especially since the planned fourth book in the series will feature Elizabeth of York and picks up where the first two books in the series left off, chronologically. I thought visiting Jacquetta was a step backwards. However, I found the book as entertaining and educational as all of Gregory’s historical fiction and it was nice to get extra context into all of the relationships and figures involved this turbulent time in English history. read more

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / May 31, 2012
Silence by Becca FitzpatrickSilence
Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Series: Hush Hush #3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: October 2011
438 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Paranormal
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The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

This one was sat on my shelf for nearly 8 months before I picked it up! My hesitation? Crescendo. I was not a fan of Crescendo. It didn’t have the same originality as Hush Hush, there was the dreaded YA love triangle and the storyline just made me so frustrated.

So imagine my delight when I finally did start reading Silence and found that it was a million percent better than Crescendo! The story was better rounded, we had new mysteries and plots and characters thrown into the mix and the steamy Patch and Nora relationship was back on track! Silence was really great! read more

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By: Alison