20 April 2015

Good books: A Cookbook Conspiracy, The Shameless Hour, Once loved & Dropping Gloves

Four new good books are waiting for their moment in the spotlight, this time I have a nice mix of different genres to offer. Three of the books I read as ebooks, one as a print book. Two of the ebooks were just released and I was pretty excited to get them.

I read a lot of ebooks in the last two weeks and I miss my print books, they never give me headaches and I miss the feeling of holding a book in my hands. I have some more ebooks I want to read to keep my ebook TBR pile pretty small, but then it's time to go back to my beloved print books. I'm still working on this reading pile and it's time to finally read all the books and move on to a new one. 

When you like a series, you like a series, sometimes it's as simple as this. And that's exactly the case with the Bibliophile Mysteries series by Kate Carlisle. From the get go, from the first book on I liked the characters, the setting and the writing style, from the first moments on I liked Carlisle's way to write cozy mysteries, her books give me exactly what I want from this genre. Her books have a nice, calm flow, the characters are likable, there are no love triangles or things like that, the mysteries are interesting and the main characters job as a bookbinder specializing in the restoration of rare books is of course a fascinating one. 

This time Brooklyn's sister and Derek's brother play an important role in the story, I'm excited to see if what is going on between them will continue in the next books, I sure hope so. I always love reading about Brooklyn's special family, about the things they create, about the way they see the world.

There were two little scenes that confused me a bit, two scenes in which Brooklyn was unsure about her future with Derek, even though there wasn't any reason for her doubts. I hope that in the next books she will get completely over her doubts and concentrate on enjoying her time with Derek.

I will definitely go on with reading this series, the next book will be out in paperback soon, another new book, this time in hardcover, will follow. If you are a fans of cozy mysteries then I can recommend this series to you, start with the first book, Homicide in Hardcover, and have a good time. 

The Shameless Hour - Sarina Bowen, New Adult, #4 in the Ivy Years series
It's rare for me to read a series in which I love all books equally, the Ivy Years series is one of them. I adore books 1-3 and was of course super excited for #4. And thank goodness that "The Shameless Hour" wasn't a disappointment, not at all.

"The Shameless Hour" focuses on strong, interesting characters who try to stand up for who they are and for what they want, new adults who at times go through hard times, who try to find their place in the world. Young people who realize that leaning on a friend is nothing bad, who learn that friendship can develop into so much more.
Both Bella and Rafe are characters who are very likable, they may not be your typical New Adult characters, especially Bella isn't, but that's exactly what I liked. Sarina Bowen doesn't shy away from showing the dark sides of college life, from showing that especially women can be in danger, from creating female characters that stand out and I like the way she does this.

Rafe and Bella's relationship starts with a bang, develops then into a friendship and the big question is if both will be courageous enough to go on from there, to start a relationship. Of course you know by now that there will be a happy ending, that I demand one when reading romances and that my good books normally always have one. So yes, Bella and Rafe get what they deserve, only the best  of course and that made me very happy.

There are two minor things I missed a bit when reading "The Shameless Hour", I would have loved to have a few more sentences here and there about the main characters from books #1 and #2 in the series, plus the ending of "The Shameless Hour" was a bit too abrupt, especially because one of Bella's issues with her family, a very serious one, was more or less solved within a few minutes, at the ending go the book things seem a bit unfinished and rushed. I also missed a nice epilogue, I'm a sucker for them. So maybe 10-15 pages more at the ending would have been great. 

But all in all this was another great addition to the series and I'm happy that the Ivy Years series is not finished yet, that we will get at least one more book set in this world. You can bet that I will get the book and read it as soon as I have it, because when it's about New Adult romances, Sarina Bowen is one of the best authors out there.

Once loved - Cecy Robson, #2 in the Shattered Past series, New Adult, contemporary romance
If you like your contemporary New Adult books with a lot of serious drama and some over the top developments, then this book and the whole series might be for you. In the center of the series are three siblings that went through hell as teens because of their violent father. They try to go their own way, to leave their past behind and build new, happier lifes.

Robson's writing style made it once again easy for me to get lost in the story, to feel a lot and be always excited to read on. She made some developments work for me, that might not have worked in books by other authors.

I think that the book can be read as a stand-alone, but of course some background info from the first book in the series doesn't hurt. The romance was one I enjoyed a lot, even though there was a lot of back and forth going on. The drama was a bit over the top, but still worked for me in the setting of he story and with the characters Robson created.

"Once loved" is one of those books that is easy to get lost in, that is a quick read. It may not be a book that will leave a lasting impression on me, but I had a damn good time while reading the book and this is something I love. Btw, some people might describe a book like this one as a guilty pleasure, personally I hate this expression, because why should I feel guilty about enjoying a love story? I never feel guilty about liking a book and hope that I never will.

The one thing that bothered me a bit about the book, and that was even worse with the first book in the series, was the ending. It was a tad abrupt, a bit out of the blue. I wanted 10-15 pages more, more closure, maybe a nice epilogue that plays a few years in the future.
But all in all I still enjoyed "Once loved" I stayed up late to finish the book and if you are looking for an engaging NA book with a lot of drama, then this one might be for you. The third and I guess final book in the series will be released in a few weeks and I plan to read it.

Dropping Gloves - Catherine Gayle, #10 in the Portland Storm series, adult, contemporary sports romance
This book can be best describe as a sweet contemporary romance, a romance with very likable characters that after years finally get together and give their relationship a real chance. You can read it as a stand-alone, but of course some background info will be missing that way.

In the center of "Dropping Gloves" are Katie and Jamie . They met as teens / young adults and yes, there was some major chemistry between them. But then Katie decided to leave town and to follow her dreams in LA, so they never explored their feelings. Now Katie is back in town and this time she is here to stay. She has a hard time to come to terms with some of the decisions she made in the last years, she feels at if she might not be worthy of a second chance with Jamie. And Jamie just wants to move on, he waited for so long for something to happen between them and he can't stand it any longer, he tries to leave his feelings behind, but of course it's not that easy.

"Dropping Gloves" is a pretty classic contemporary sports romance and I think that's why I enjoyed the book so much. You have the afore mentioned likable characters, you have a sweet love story, you have some very emotional developments, you have great friends and a family that stands together. Katie and Jamie are a great pair, they deserve to get their happily ever after, they deserve to be happy together. Jamie was one of those heroes that is pretty damn perfect, not too perfect, but close.

The book was at times, funny, sweet, hot and sad, Catherine Gayle created a great mix of lighter and more serious moments, and of course she has a beautiful happy ending in store.

If you like your romances to be sweet, full of very likable characters and cool cats, then this book and the whole series might be something for you.

Happy Reading!

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