Love Story Reads


my romance book reviews and recommendations

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April 28th, 2017

Recently Reviewed Books –

Below are the most recently reviewed books. The books will shift as more reviews are done.

August 1st, 2017

Review: You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

SYNOPSIS:
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules and the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don’t get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve’s heart since university. But William’s been in LA for three years, and Neve’s been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he’ll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she’s not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she’s an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she’d better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia’s colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he’s such a man-slut, and so not Neve’s type, she certainly won’t fall for him. Because William is the man for her… right?

MY REVIEW:
Initial Cover Thoughts:
The image didn’t really offer any information on the book but the blurb had me intrigued.

Read and Reviewed:
Not really 4 stars but more like 4.5 if I’m honest. I have to say that I enjoyed this book very much. Sure at times I wanted to smack Neve because she got on my nerves with over thinking things and she came off a lot older than she was, but I enjoyed it.

As per the book synopsis, Neve is a sweet overweight girl who has her eyes on the sophisticated and handsome William. William and Neve part ways due to work and school and Neve takes that time to transform her body and confidence to what she deems is good enough to win William. Throw in the sexy and Max who offers to be aid her and be used as a guinea pig and it’s nothing but laughs, deep conversation, and dare we say.. conflict of the heart?

I loved Max and I really didn’t find anything appealing about William. le shrug. I enjoyed this book and the message and beauty within its pages, but I took half a star off because I felt that all of the characters talked way more mature and sophisticated for their ages even when they weren’t really sophisticated types of character. I imagined them all like 5 or 7 years older to make the story more believable.

The story gave a great message about beauty without really being preachy. Neve’s thoughts were very accurate 80% of the time and she really embodied a real curvy woman. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever felt imperfect or didn’t feel as if they quite measured up. The love story slowly hooks you and you find yourself cheering for the bad boy rather than the poet, or at least I did. Team Max!

Quote Me:

“This book was a beautiful hidden treasure I stumbled across and truly enjoyed. ”
– Girl Jay, Love Story Reads (Blog Review)

A Taste:
“That was the worst thing about having a relationship with someone, even a pretend relationship. You opened up, let someone in, and when it was over, they had all the ammunition they needed to completely destroy you.”

Ten Keywords To Describe This Book:
Unrequited, Love, Pretend, Pancakes, BBW, Real, Insecure, Funny, Smart, Sassy

Book Boyfriend Rating:
8/10

Wishful Thinking:
More Max.. simply because he was my favorite part of this book.

BUY A COPY:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Good Reads Page

RATING:
4 Heart Rating

NOTE TO THE AUTHOR(S) OF THIS BOOK:
Feel free to quote me or any portion of my review to help promote this book. Thank you for writing this piece of work and allowing me to live in your world amongst your characters for a little bit.

August 1st, 2017

Review: I’ll Be Seeing You by Lurlene McDaniel

SYNOPSIS:
Carley Mattea never expected to become friends with a boy as handsome as Kyle Westin–especially not in the hospital. Seventeen-year-old Kyle was blinded when a chemistry experiment exploded. His doctors don’t know whether he’ll get his vision back, and he’s deeply depressed. Carley understands how miserable it is to be in the hospital. At sixteen, she’s had plenty of experience. But Carley is keeping a secret from Kyle. She knows boys like girls who are pretty–and she’s not. Scarred by a facial deformity, she has always used her sense of humor to cope. But now that she’s become so close to Kyle, she’s worried that if his bandages are removed and he sees her, it will be the end of their relationship. Carley wants what’s best for Kyle. But what will that mean for her?

MY REVIEW:
Initial Cover Thoughts:
I read this book as a young teenager and even then I thought the cover was sweet but very outdated.

Read and Reviewed:
Growing up this was on my top 10 list of favorite books. It’s a short novel and although I would have loved at least 100 more pages or a sequel, I can’t help but love this book. I discovered this book as a teenager and read it all in one night, going to school glassy eyed from not sleeping. hehe.

The story of Carly and Kyle is just lovely. Carly represents so many girls.. If you’ve ever been insecure about yourself, lack confidence, been teased for the way you look, or have a sister who is gorgeous and standing next to her you fall short, you can relate to Carly. She’s this beautiful person in the inside who’s outside doesn’t reflect that. Scarred and disfigured from cancer to save her life Carly is the “dog-faced” girl. (And before you ask why she just doesn’t fix her face with plastic surgery; take into account that this book took place in the early 90s and that no doctor wants to risk working on her face from the amount that had to be cut out of her face.)

While in the hospital she meets Kyle who has bandages on his eyes after a science experiment goes wrong. The book follows their new friendship where they get to know one another from the inside. You will feel the teenager inside you jumping up and down as their friendship begins to blossom into something more but can you have a relationship with secrets? Kyle doesn’t know Carly is disfigured and she will do anything and everything to make sure he doesn’t find out. Will he get his vision back? What if someone tells him how she looks? What happens when they are both out of the hospital? These are only some of the questions on Carly’s mind all the time since meeting Kyle and the questions you will be asking yourself as you read. The book is a quick read and is simply lovely. A book that shows us what real beauty is.

As a young girl I read a lot of Lurlene McDaniel as she tackled real life illnesses and problems to young teens like no other. This book is intended for young teenagers but I feel like the message is lovely and everyone should read it once.

*MARKED: FAVORITE READ*

Quote Me:

“This was the first book I read as a preteen that taught me of true inner beauty and made me look for it in the world.”
– Girl Jay, Love Story Reads (Blog Review)

A Taste:
“People can’t help the way they look, just the way they act.”

Ten Keywords To Describe This Book:
Scarred, Beauty, Secrets, Friends, Blindness, Charade, Bullied, Ugly, Cancer, Love

Book Boyfriend Rating:
8/10, he was one of my first book boyfriends. 🙂

Wishful Thinking:
I wish this book were longer so I could have more Carly/Kyle scenes.

BUY A COPY:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Good Reads Page

RATING:
5 Heart Rating

NOTE TO THE AUTHOR(S) OF THIS BOOK:
Feel free to quote me or any portion of my review to help promote this book. Thank you for writing this piece of work and allowing me to live in your world amongst your characters for a little bit.

May 22nd, 2017

Review: Somebody Else’s Sky by Jessica Hawkins

SYNOPSIS:
If I closed my eyes, I could still see them—all blonde sunshine, ocean-blue eyes, and long limbs. The glint of Lake’s gold bracelet. Pink cotton candy on Tiffany’s tongue. My scenery may have changed from heaven to hell, but some things never would: my struggle to do right by both sisters. To let Lake soar. To lift Tiffany up. The sacrifices I made for them, I made willingly.

A better man would’ve walked away by now, but I never claimed to be any good. I only promised myself I’d keep enough distance. If I’d learned one thing from my past, it was that love came in different forms. You could love passionately, hurt deep, die young. Or you could provide the kind of firm, steady support someone else could lean on.

Lake was everything I wanted, and nothing I could ever have. I was nobody before I knew her and a criminal after. The way to love her was to let her shine—even if it would be for somebody else.

Book two in the Something in the Way series.

MY REVIEW:
Initial Cover Thoughts:
I was soooooo excited and anxious for this book. I read and reviewed Something in the Way which is the first book in the series and I just loved it and was awaiting anxiously for this one. I even entered all the giveaways the author had for an early release/arc but no luck. As for the cover design, I didn’t fancy the model much. I felt that I had a different vision of Manning in my head and it just didn’t match up.

Read and Reviewed:
I loved it. I anxiously awaited it and it did not disappoint. I really love how Jessica writes in this novel (I haven’t read any other novels of hers but this series). I felt like I was Lake. I felt angry when she got angry and I would cry when she cried especially during the intense/confrontational type of scenes.

This book is all about dealing with the aftermath of the events that occurred in book one. You need to read book one to really appreciate this story.

Lake is a smart girl but very sheltered and naive with how the world works and it has to do with her upbringing. Manning sees this and the readers can as well. Sometimes I want to smack her and be like things don’t work that way BUT she also touches the inner young girl in me who is still a bit whimsical and romantic and she makes me believe everything can be as simple as she wants it to be. So I’m constantly playing tug of war with my thoughts when it comes to how Lake sees things especially her “relationship” with Manning and the future.

Manning is a good guy who has a darkness in him that is created by a bunch of things but protecting Lake really makes that darkness come out and it scares him. He’s a bit more rough in this book as a man than in the first book. Time, heartache, and guilt have really changed him and not necessarily in a bad way but it’s a change that changes his dynamic with the sisters.

I understand Lake. I understand Manning. I understand Tiffany. I see everyone’s point of view and I understand them all and I still find myself rooting for Lake and Manning even if it may be considered right or appropriate to some.. and then I feel horrible for wishing them together because of how it’ll effect Tiffany.

This book made me cringe, cry, and laugh. Manning made me swoon. Lake made me feel youthful. Tiffany made me see her differently. I feel that if I keep talking I’ll just spoil it so I will stop.

I really enjoyed this book. I think I liked the first one better simply because there was so much nostalgia in that book for me with the summer camp and first love. I can’t wait for the third book.

*SERIES READ*
*TEARJERKER*
*FAVORITED*

Quote Me:

“The second book in a beautiful, emotional, and heart wrenching story full of forbidden desire and innocence.”
– Girl Jay, Love Story Reads (Blog Review)

A Taste:
“If you ask me to choose you, I will – even if it could ultimately destroy me.”

Ten Keywords To Describe This Book:
Forbidden. Love. Nostalgia. Youth. Sisters. Prison. Secrets. Family. Obligation. Heartbroken.

Book Boyfriend Rating:
8/10

Wishful Thinking:
I wish there were more Manning/Lake scenes or that their current scenes were just fuller. I understand why they aren’t but hey, wishful thinking! I also wish the novel was longer and that I didn’t have to wait until October for the third and final book in this series. haha.

BUY A COPY:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Good Reads Page

RATING:
5 Heart Rating

NOTE TO THE AUTHOR(S) OF THIS BOOK:
Feel free to quote me or any portion of my review to help promote this book. Thank you for writing this piece of work and allowing me to live in your world amongst your characters for a little bit.

April 28th, 2017

Review: Something in the Way by Jessica Hawkins

SYNOPSIS:
It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents’ house. Under the sweat and dirt, Manning Sutter was as handsome as the sun was bright. He was older, darker, experienced. I wore a smiley-face t-shirt and had never even been kissed. Yet we saw something in each other that would link us in ways that couldn’t be broken…no matter how hard we tried.

I loved Manning before I knew the meaning of the word. I was too young, he said. I would wait. Through all the carefully-chosen words hiding what we knew to be true, through his struggle to keep me innocent, and through infinitely-starry nights—I would wait. But I’d learn that life isn’t always fair. That no matter how much you achieve, none of it matters if you suffer the heartbreak that comes with falling for someone you can never have. Because even though I saw Manning first, that didn’t matter. My older sister saw him next.

MY REVIEW:
Initial Cover Thoughts:
The cover was sweet and simple. The synopsis grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to get my credit card and order this. It just sounded like such an girly read with a forbidden romance.. totally up my ally.

Read and Reviewed:
I loved it. It had some flaws and sometimes I wanted to smack everyone but I really enjoyed the story and have been highly anticipating the sequel. Why? Because it leaves you with somewhat of a cliffhanger that you want to throw the book or iPad across the room because it’s not May and the sequel is not out yet and you want to know what will happen next. Holy mother of run-on sentences. haha.

The book is true to the synopsis. Lake (16) meets Manning (23), a young construction worker, and she develops a fast crush. The writer wrote her so well. I could read the story and feel like I was Lake and allow the nostalgia of youth and innocence make me see her way of things. She’s a good girl but she’s also naive to the way of the real world and the consequences that await our actions.

Manning is a gentlemen. I feel like that needs to be said because there is such an age difference between them. He’s not creepy or anything.

The sister is a riot. She could be mean, bitchy, kind and then back to being manipulative. But I liked her. As you read the story you can kind of understand why she is the way she is and why the two sisters are so different.

I’d say 1/4 of the book takes place at a summer camp and the nostalgia of 80s and 90s movies (as book one starts out in 1993) was fantastic and bumped this book from a 4.5 to a 5 hearts for me. I would definitely recommend it.

*MARKED: FAVORITE READ*

Quote Me:

“There are not enough stars in the sky for me to rate how much I adored this nostalgic and forbidden read.”
– Girl Jay, Love Story Reads (Blog Review)

A Taste:
“Some invisible tether existed between us. Nobody could see it, not even us, but I felt it. I was sure Manning did, too. As long as we both knew it, that was enough for me. For now, at least.”

Ten Keywords To Describe This Book:
Age, Forbidden, Rivalry, Sisters, Secrets, Crush, Lies, Cliffhanger, Felony, Camp

Book Boyfriend Rating:
9/10

Wishful Thinking:
That the book did not end in a cliffhanger and make me want to throw my book across the room. It made me feel stabby.

BUY A COPY:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Good Reads Page

RATING:
5 Heart Rating

NOTE TO THE AUTHOR(S) OF THIS BOOK:
Feel free to quote me or any portion of my review to help promote this book. Thank you for writing this piece of work and allowing me to live in your world amongst your characters for a little bit.

April 28th, 2017

Review: One Day Soon by Meredith A. Walters

SYNOPSIS:
He found me in blood and tears.
I stayed with him through darkness and fire.

We loved each other in the moment between innocence and bitter truth.
We were the kids easily ignored, who grew into adults we hardly knew.

We weren’t meant to last forever. And we didn’t.

He ran away.
I tried to move on.

Yet I never stopped thinking about the boy who had fought to keep me alive in a world that would have swallowed me whole. He was the past that I buried, but never forgot.

Until the day I found him again, years after believing I had lost him forever.

And in cold, resentful eyes, I saw the heart of the man who had been everything when I had nothing at all. So I vowed to hold onto the second chance that was stolen from the children we had been.

Sometimes fate is ugly. Life can be twisted.
And who we are can be ruined by who we once were.

For two people who had survived so much, we would have to learn how to hold on before we were forced to let go.

MY REVIEW:
Initial Cover Thoughts:
I had no idea what to make of the cover design. I can see an ocean but I have no idea what the rest of it is. haha. The synopsis grabbed my interest because it was equal parts cryptic and poetic.

Read and Reviewed:
Loved, loved, LOVED this book. Truly. I did not go into it with any expectations and as I read it I could not put it down. I read it in one sitting through the night into the morning hours. Hey, I like to absorb the books. I’m really not THAT slow of a reader. But anyways, did I mention I loved it. Because I do. I’ve read it twice in the span of a few months. It was that good.

The story is told in alternating chapters and tells the story of Imogen (Imi) Conner and Yossarian (Yoss) Frazier. One chapter is the present day and the the next is the past and the story moves parallel in both timelines this way. It was a book that did this way of storytelling perfectly. It was like you were effectively reading two really good stories simultaneously. You would be bummed when the present day chapter ended and equally excited to see what was going on with the characters in the past.

I think my excitement is making me a complete scatterbrain. Let me tell you a little about this story and there will be a 1% spoiler in this (I’m not perfect, blame my excitement!) on the premise of the book.

The story starts with a grown up Imogen who works at a hospital and is reminded about her youth and first love, Yoss, when a beaten homeless man is brought in with no identification. When Imogen was sixteen she runs away from home and meets Yoss who has lived on the streets for many years. She stands out like a sore thumb and he takes her under his wing merely minutes after meeting her. Every other chapter I found myself becoming utterly smitten with Yoss. He’s a good guy, a protector. He takes on obstacles and makes it his burden to protect not only Imogen but a few other homeless kids. He’s the humble hero but he’s not perfect.

I won’t elaborate more on the plot because I literally want to spill it and fangirl with you all. The love story is slow, beautiful, and genuine. If you want a love story that will bring you to tears and make your heart pound in your ears, this book is for you.

The book is a bit raw as it shows the things homeless kids have to do to get by. We forget how harsh the world is for those without a roof over their heads when we are sitting in the comfort of our own homes. This book made me sought out more homeless novels and I plan to share my findings in the future.

First time reading Meredith’s work and I plan to check out her other works. Did I mention I loved this book?

*MARKED: FAVORITE READ*
*MARKED: TEARJERKER*

Quote Me:

“A perfect story that will grab at your heartstrings and not let go until the very end. This book was an unforgettable reading experience and the characters of Yoss and Imi will stay with me.”
– Girl Jay, Love Story Reads (Blog Review)

A Taste:
“Yossarian Frazier wasn’t an overly complicated person. He was smart. He was thoughtful. He was generous and kind. He was loyal to a fault. And he was someone who had been forced to make choices that would shatter some people.”

Ten Keywords To Describe This Book:
Love, Beautiful, Heartbreaking, Homeless, Raw, Abuse, Prostitution, Runaway, Teenagers

Book Boyfriend Rating:
10/10 – Yoss, I love you man.

Wishful Thinking:
That the book was longer. The book is long but I just did not want it to end. I wanted more.

BUY A COPY:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Good Reads Page

RATING:
5 Heart Rating

NOTE TO THE AUTHOR(S) OF THIS BOOK:
Feel free to quote me or any portion of my review to help promote this book. Thank you for writing this piece of work and allowing me to live in your world amongst your characters for a little bit.

April 20th, 2017

Review: Duly Noted by H.M. Shander

SYNOPSIS:
PTSD sucks.
Just ask Aurora.
She’s dealt with it for the past two years. Effing car crash.

Resigned to live a mediocre life, she’s coped all on her own with only her friends Percocet and Xanax along for the ride. Broken and damaged, she doesn’t need anyone, thank you very much. Until she meets him.

Shy but smoking hot, Nate Johnson has a mouth as smart as hers, and can handle every ounce of sass she dishes out. Immediately, he’s hooked by Aurora’s sarcastic wit. A man on a mission, he wants to help her over her fear of cars. He needs to, if he’s ever going to have her as part of his world – a passion he’s kept hidden from her. As he succeeds with the impossible goal, he finds he’s curing more than just her PTSD, he’s healing her heart.

But when the unthinkable happens, it drives Aurora away.
From him.
From them.
From the best thing to ever happen to her.
Because sometimes love just isn’t enough.

However, Nate wants her back and he’s willing to give up everything he loves for her. Aurora refuses to have him sacrifice his passion because of her, and dreams up a risky plan to stop him. It’s dangerous. It’s foolish. And if it doesn’t kill her first, it could just save them both.

MY REVIEW:
Initial Cover Thoughts:
The cover was cute and appealing to the love story reader. It made me think the novel would be cutesy and lovey dovey.

Read and Reviewed:
Aurora has PTSD from a car crash and it consumes her life. She can’t go anywhere unless it’s in walking distance. She works at a library near her house and there she meets Nate who is working construction at the library. Once he discovers her PTSD to cars he comes up with his own “baby steps” method of trying to help her overcome her trauma. Does it work? You’ll have to read to find out.

The book was okay read. The synopsis of this book is what attracted me to this book. It didn’t exactly scream “best love story ever” but the overcoming her PTSD together sounded different. I think my expectations for a new kind of love story was a bit high. I went into the story rooting for Aurora and Nate. The problem was that I just didn’t really like Aurora. She was very much about herself and it turned me off the character. She constantly only thinks of herself throughout the book. Nate was persistent in helping her overcome her PTSD, sometimes more than he should have been. The story moves quickly which leaves little room for those breath-taking lovey dovey scenes. It’s almost like the love story borders on semi-instalove because of how fast they became a couple.

The book did have some good points. I did like the character of Nate and his family. The PTSD angle was different and interesting but I feel like it could have been better if the story around it had more depth and conflict. I don’t want to spoil on this so I will leave it at that.

Also the synopsis mentions how they have these smart mouths. I love witty banter and humor. There were maybe a handful of remarks that would be categorized as witty but there was nowhere near enough to categorize the book as such.

Quote Me:

“A different kind of love story..”
– Girl Jay, Love Story Reads (Blog Review)

A Taste:
“They had taken a damaged bird and helped bring her back to life.”

Ten Keywords To Describe This Book:
PTSD, Cars, Trauma, Frustration, Drugs, Conflicted, Motivational, DIY, Secrets, Cheater

Book Boyfriend Rating:
6.8/10 – Sometimes he was too pushy although his intentions were good.

Wishful Thinking:
I wish there would have been more conflict in the story. Most of it was about her PTSD with cars and the ending was rather rushed. I would have liked to see more romantic scenes and really see Nate and Aurora’s relationship grow on a romantic level. I felt like they were just friends with crushes on one another for most of the book.

BUY A COPY:
Amazon| Barnes and Noble | Good Reads Page

RATING:
3 Heart Rating (for me personally it was more like a 2.8 but I’ll round up.)

NOTE TO THE AUTHOR(S) OF THIS BOOK:
Feel free to quote me or any portion of my review to help promote this book. Thank you for writing this piece of work and allowing me to live in your world amongst your characters for a little bit.

March 30th, 2017

Review: Wait For It by Mariana Zapata

SYNOPSIS:
If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.

Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.

Except for a boyfriend.

Or a husband.

But who needs either one of those?

MY REVIEW:
Initial Cover Thoughts:
The design was cute and the photo actually makes sense when you finish the book. I wasn’t sure if I would like this book to be honest. The synopsis didn’t really cut it for me, but I’m a huge Mariana Zaptata fan and have yet to read a book of hers I didn’t love. So I tackled Wait For It the day it was released. I read the entire book in 2 maybe 3 long sittings.

Read and Reviewed:
I loved this book, it was so cute. The little boys were adorable and cracked me up. I love the way Mariana writes. She has this humor in her writing that I can’t get enough of.

The romance is a very slow burn romance which is common in her books and something that I really enjoy. Diana buys an old house with her nephews and Jackson is basically Diana’s sexy neighbor. He runs kind of hot and cold with her which just frustrates her and constantly makes her wonder what she’s doing to get on his nerves. She’s constantly trying not to make things weird which just makes things weirder and more amusing to the reader. I found myself looking forward to all of their interactions in pages to come. His interactions with her boys is great also.

There were a bunch of minor characters that were entertaining from family to neighbors to coworkers.

I added this book into the ‘love and sports’ category because Jackson does play sports and Diana is always at the games with her boys. Their interactions at the games and surrounding the games are a nice chunk of the story.

It actually has cameos from characters from Mariana’s other books Wall of Winnipeg and Kulti which was a nice surprise. This book does a good job of incorporating some of our other Zapata favorites into Diana’s world in Wait For It.

Quote Me:

Wait For It is fun, charming, and destined to be read more than once.”
– Girl Jay, Love Story Reads (Blog Review)

A Taste:
“You two are…savage. You’re honest, and you’re loyal and love the shit out of things. Both of you give everything to what you care about…”

Ten Keywords To Describe This Book:
Family, Neighbor, Stalker, Flirting, Humor, Caring, Sexy, Loss, Baseball, Honorable.

Book Boyfriend Rating:
8/10

Wishful Thinking:
I wish there was more actual physical romance in the book. Like I said earlier it is a VERY slow burn romance which I don’t mind one bit but it left me itching for more physical romance scenes towards the end.

BUY A COPY:
AmazonBarnes and Noble | Good Reads Page

RATING:
4 Heart Rating

NOTE TO THE AUTHOR(S) OF THIS BOOK:
Feel free to quote me or any portion of my review to help promote this book. Thank you for writing this piece of work and allowing me to live in your world amongst your characters for a little bit.

MY RATING SYSTEM:
- I LOVED IT! I marked it as a favorite and will eventually reread it. I highly recommend this book!

- I felt this book was really good. I wouldn't call it a favorite but I would highly recommended.

- This book was a good read. I would recommend it.

- I felt this book was OK. Would suggest it casually if asked.

- I did not like this book and wouldn't recommend it to others.