NO Vacancy (All the Little Lights – A Book Review)

Hey, my precious!

I hope you are all well. I want to take a moment to apologize for my tardiness lately. I was pretty sick with a nasty head cold that had me weak, dizzy, and a whole lot of other nastiness, so I wasn’t doing much of anything, but being a blob. I’m sorry, I do still love you and still love ranting about books. I’m starting to get back on track. 

I also want to give a shoutout to my mum, though I’m not sure she reads this. LOL. While I was utterly blobby, she was being mum and helping me take care of me. Love you, mum.


All the Little Lights
Author: Jamie Maguire
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

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Amazon

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated S for sweet and strange, with a plot twist that’ll sneak up on you and leave you gobsmacked.

 

Everything buried will come to light.

Elliott Youngblood is just a boy with a camera, and he captures Catherine Calhoun in his lens on a sad summer evening. After that, he had to know her, make her smile. They have an amazing summer together, but then tragedy strikes in Catherine’s life and Elliott is nowhere to be found, she’s heartbroken.

When Elliott returns, everything has changed. He and Catherine are not the same people they were. He’s a football star and she’s a pariah that helps run her mother’s secret bed & breakfast. Elliott will do anything to get Catherine to forgive him for leaving her alone. And, just when she starts to come around and trust him again, he becomes a prime suspect in a missing person’s case. She refuses to believe he has anything to do with it. But, the dark secret she keeps threatens to dismantle happiness she has with him.

 

The relationship this book gave me was on-again-off-again. It was good and it wasn’t. The main characters, Elliott and Catherine, come with their own unique POVs. I found them to be realistic, but at times they both came off a bit over-dramatic. BUT!!!!! The further I got into the book, the more I got to know each of them, the more that was divulged about why they were the way they were. I find that perspective to be incredible. The author writes so that the characters surprise you, not them. And I was very surprised by the time I got to the end.

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Catherine was more surprising than Elliott. He came across as the great Prince Charming that was unexpected and in some cases pushy and unneeded. It’s totally sweet that he wanted to protect and be there for Catherine. He had a way of saying “I’m in love with you just because.” and it was such a peeve. There’s got to be more, and by the time I got to the more part I didn’t believe it.

I did admire Maguire’s attention to the world she built up around the characters. An old town, filled with nothing but a couple of shops and boarded up spaces is very common. The additional extra of the town being poisoned was shocking. The visual was vivid and strong.

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Bustle

I love Maguire’s storytelling. She does such a fantastic job. I just don’t think it reached my inner bookworm. The book started out slow for me. Some places felt rushed. There were parts that sparked my interest and then the ending was a total BAM! SHOCK! But in some places, it just didn’t reach me. There wasn’t enough to keep me invested with intrigue.

EXCEPT: there was a moment, a split second, that left me confused and ever curious. At the very end. And I will leave this open for discussion because I would very much love to talk about it. So, SPOILER for anyone who hasn’t read this book. à Catherine goes to visit her mother after the Juniper closes and they talk about her going to college, but then her mother says the strangest thing that make alarms go off in my head. You know, those flashing red ones that spin? Okay, so it goes,

“I think it’s nice that you still talk to him.”

Mama looked around and leaned in. “It’s okay. We won’t tell anyone. You don’t have to worry.”

“What do you mean?” (p.406)

That’s what I want to know. What the hell did her mother mean? Do any of you know? Was I just blind? Was it just super creepy and that’s all? GAH!

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Gfycat

If you’ve read the book, let’s talk!

 

Overall

Jamie Maguire is an author I very much enjoy to read from. This book was good, but I won’t say it compares to the others that I’ve read by her. I just didn’t get hooked this time. It was good. Definitely glad I read it, but sadly, I think this will be the only time I read it.

 

Quotables:

“Haven’t you figured me out by now? You go where you want. I’ll follow.” (Elliott to Catherine, p. 267)

“Pain…Love. Can’t really have one without the other.” (Catherine to Mrs. Mason, p. 358)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

 

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

No Such Thing as Chance (From Here to You – A Book Review)

From Here to You (Crash and Burn #1)
Author: Jamie McGuire
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader - From Here to You

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

A woman on the run. A stranger with a secret.

Darby Dixon sits in a Texas church bathroom. The most important choice of her life awaits her. She’s made some bad decisions in her life. For example, getting engaged to an abusive man. Now she has to choose: get married to him or run away and start over. With a positive pregnancy test in her hands, she chooses freedom.

Former Marine Scott “Trex” Trexler has seen the most war-torn places on earth and now he’s settling down in Colorado Springs with a good security gig up in the Mountain Complex. He’s always been waiting to find ‘The One’ and the moment he walks into the Colorado Springs Hotel and sees Darby at the front counter, he knows it’s her, that she’s the one he’s been waiting for.

She knows he’s dangerous. Whether that’s good or bad is unclear. He knows she’s guarded. Wildfires are surging across the mountain and each of their pasts are threatening to surface, showing that what you don’t know can hurt you.

 

This book was really nice. I mean that. It wasn’t McGuire’s typical intense, fire-burning, toe-curling romance that will drag you under, like with the Maddoxes. Which, side-note, the mention of the Maddox twins and them getting a side story in between Darby and Trex’s. This one was down to earth and intense because it was filled with a nerve-wracking tension of fear and watching Darby work on moving forward after the abuse she went through was so real.

Anyone who has an inkling of what it’s like to be abused by somebody you love can relate to Darby. She’s skittish and nervous and completely guarded. And then Trex isn’t willing to let her go and certainly willing to wait to be in her life in any way he can. It’s sweet and also something totally unseen in the world. But, here’s the con of their relationship. They moved way too fast. Trex was already ready to jump in to the Daddy position and everything and that was making me anxious like crazy. Like, baby doll, sloooowwww down. You’ve got forever. Even Darby pointed out how fast he was moving. So freaking weird.

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I really valued the insight that Darby gave to what it’s like to be a survivor of a situation like hers. This is a real thing that happens with people and I feel like it’s not addressed enough. Doing this from the front seat of someone who’s gone through it was impeccable. McGuire did not hold back on details. She was blunt and to the point as is her classic style. I loved it, but with this book it also made me sad. It is real fucking hard to stay strong or find strength when you’ve been beaten down and Darby did it. She got through it and was able to move forward and, though she may be fictional, I praise her.

Scarlet Reader - From Here to You

The setting of the semi-sleepy town was homey. At least that’s how it made me feel. The other characters helped with that, too. I’m definitely shipping Zeke and Naomi now. They’re super cute and coaxing suspicion out of me.

Here comes the sad part. There were times that this story felt bland. There were many filler parts and bits that didn’t seem needed at all to push thee story forward. I felt stuck in places and forced to skim. And again, sometimes Trex was ready to assume a role he shouldn’t that would leave any woman in Darby’s position very skittish. There were just parts that weren’t meshing for me here and there.

 

Overall

This was more of a good book than a bad book in my opinion. There were ticks that got to me, but I loved the way Darby and Trex were written. I’ve never seen a man so head over heels, jumping in the cold-water ready to be in love for the rest of his life. It’s so unreal that it makes for a good tale. High tension and romance filled with a beautiful restart to life. I may have been irked and had to skim here and there, but this is a good read for a plane ride or road trip.

 

Quotables:

“Even if I gave in to my feelings, one of two things would happen: Trex would change, because in my experience, that’s what men did when they got what they wanted, orI would fall for him and in four to six months, my growing belly would send him running, leaving both of us—or maybe just me—heartbroken.” (Darby, p. 117)

“PTSD is PTSD, Darby. It doesn’t matter where it came from.” (Trex to Darby, p. 141)

“It might not be and open wound, but it leaves a scar.” (Hailey to Darby, p. 282)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? End of All Time by Stars of Track and Field.

 

Find Me:

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Thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Secrets Become You (Beautiful Oblivion – A Book Review)

Beautiful Oblivion
Author: Jamie McGuire
Published: 2014

Beautiful Oblivion

Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

You fell in love with Abby and Travis. Now meet Cami and Trent.

Independent and determined, Cami Camlin is a bartender at the local bar, the Red Door, by night and a student at college by day. After a cancelled trip to California to see her boyfriend, she runs into Trenton Maddox and he gives her that teasing grin. Just as tough and rowdy as the rest of his brothers, he works as a tattoo artist at Skin Deep. Cami’s done well in avoiding his flirtatious ways since grade school, but then he insists that they have to at least be friends. Harmless, right?

Yeah. Right.

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With her current relationship on the rocks and her family life in constant shambles because of her alcoholic father, and Trenton being kind and pretty perfect with always there for her, she begins to feel like the two of them aren’t just friends. And that isn’t so bad, but it is. She can’t fall in love with him and not just because he’s a Maddox.

Like all Maddox brothers, Trenton doesn’t take no for an answer and he’ll do just about anything to prove himself to Cami and show her that he’s better than her California boyfriend. But when he finds out her secret, she’s sure that he’ll never want to be with her.

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This is the first in the full-fledged series about the Maddox brothers and is attached to the Beautiful Disaster series. And like Beautiful Disaster, this book was a rollercoaster of secrets and falling in wild love that leaves your heart pounding. Personally, I loved the amount of stubbornness that Cami has and the loyalty she has to everybody she loves, including her troublesome brothers.

One of my favorite things that a book can do is exploring characters’ lives throughout the book instead of gaining all of it at once. Cami’s issues with her family that keeps her in constant avoidance of them, and the crippling guilt that keeps Trenton from allowing anyone else to drive with him in the car is what really pulled me in. Jamie McGuire did an amazing job with how realistic she made these issues and while to some people might not seem like it, all I can say is, if you have never been in any of these situations then you don’t understand.

I feel like Trenton’s issues weren’t explored enough, however. The picture was there, but unlike Cami, he never fully said what happened to him. It was just common knowledge to everyone in the book that he’d been in a car accident with a girl and he was blamed for it. I wanted to hear about it from him.

This book really pulled me in though. I can’t wait to read the next ones because I’m such a sucker for a crazy and steamy romance. But then there’s a big question isn’t there? Which Maddox brother do I choose? I’ll have to have that figured out by the end. Which one do you choose?

 

Quotables:

“I was pretty damn smart. Smart enough to have kept my distance from Trenton all these years. I’d seen him flirt, seduce, and evade since we were kids. There was absolutely no trick Trenton Maddox could play that I wouldn’t be ready for.” (Cami, p. 29)

“I wondered whether continuing  with something that seemed so futile was worth dragging my heart through the mud, and what it meant that he’d come all the way here to only see me for three minutes.” (Cami, p. 50)

“I was in trouble. Big, disastrous, Maddox trouble.” (Cami, p. 83)

“I froze for a moment, feeling like a cornered animal. He’d been giving me the third degree since the server set our dinner on the table, and I was becoming emotionally exhausted. Seeing him for the first time, and then being alone with my thought all day…it was too much. I was a runner without anywhere to go.” (Cami, p. 175)

 

More to come soon…

K.

P.S. Song today? Into Dust by Mazzy Star.

This is Not a Fairytale Romance (Beautiful Disaster/Walking Disaster – A Book Review)

Walking Disaster
Beautiful Disaster
Author: Jamie McGuire
Published: 2011

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My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltHalf bolt

 

In walks Abby Abernathy and she instantly makes it on to Travis Maddox’s radar, but that’s not why she came to college in a sleepy Illinois town and it’s certainly not where she wants to be…until it is. She loses a bet against the playboy and now has to live with him. The more time she spends around him, the harder it is to hold on to the good girl image she’s worked so hard to create for herself. It’s also harder to ignore the feelings that are growing for him. She knows she should resist them and tries time and time again. He’s brash and a jerk and possessive, but more so, he’s caring and thoughtful and protective. One can’t go wrong with a combination like that, but then it does go wrong when her past is brought to light.

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Travis “Mad Dog” Maddox comes from a family of all brothers where he’s always had to defend himself. Known around town for his amazing fighting skills, he spots Abby Abernathy at one of his fights and his world spins out of control. Nobody has ever had this effect on him, and it’s not like the usual “take it and forget it”. He has to know her because underneath this innocent exterior there’s some more, wild and daring. Trying to discover it, he finds himself doing a thing he didn’t think himself capable of. Falling in love. He’s scared though. Can she handle damaged goods like him?

Complicated

I couldn’t do separate reviews on these books because they’re two sides of the same coin. These books are the same story, but from different points of view. I love books that can manage something special like this. Being able to walk through the eyes of two people in one story is amazing. Both of them are so different and you can see the push and pull between Abby, getting away from her past, and Travis, not wanting to lose another person he loves again, so well. I couldn’t feel a single bit of repetitiveness that would lead them to feel like their identical.

These two books were wild and dangerous and so much fun to get lost in. Definitely a toe-curler. The love created between these two characters could start a wildfire. They show that such strong feelings aren’t easy and that’s how it is. Love isn’t easy. It makes you angry and scared and you’ll be wondering if you’re doing it right nearly every day. You may also feel like you belong in the psych ward, in one of those nice padded rooms. It’ll make you crazy. But that’s what’s great about it. Abby and Travis are crazy about each other and I’m crazy about them. One of my favorite ships. Because you aren’t losing your mind then what are you doing?!

I’ve only read three out of the Maddox Brothers series and I can’t wait to finish. I love a good, no, beautiful and complicated love story.

 

Quotables:

“Tell him that I’ll keep my promise. By this time tomorrow he won’t miss me.” (Beautiful Disaster, Abby to America, p. 178)

I saw the same peace in Travis’s eyes that I had witnessed handful of times. And it hit me that just like on the other nights, his content expression was a direct result of reassurance from me.” (Beautiful Disaster, Abby, p. 256)

I wasn’t stupid enough to hope, or strong enough to stop myself from feeling the way I did. Total eye-opener. Not so tough, after all. Not when it came to Abby.” (Walking Disaster, Travis, p.90)

Maybe it was just me. Maybe it was just me and her. Maybe together we were this volatile entity that would either implode or meld together. Either way, it seemed the moment I met her, my life has been turned upside down. And I didn’t want it any other way.” (Walking Disaster, Travis, p. 252)

 

P.S. Song of the day? Untouched by The Veronicas.