Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Book Boyfriend: Jax Blackwood from Fall by Kristen Callihan

Posted January 4, 2019 by Rowena in Books, Features | 6 Comments

Each week, I’ll be spotlighting a different book boyfriend from the books that I read. Some book boyfriends will be new to me book boyfriends and some will be oldie but goodie book boyfriends. I’ll be showing all of the love to these book boyfriends and you’ll read all about these guys here.

This week’s boyfriend is Jax Blackwood from Fall by Kristen Callihan. Jax is one of the founding members of the popular band, Kill John. He sings alongside the lead singer, Killian James. If you’ve read Idol and Managed then you’ll remember Jax as the band member that suffers from depression. I was super curious about how this book would turn out for me because it deals with something that I’ve dealt with in my personal life and I was low key scared going into it.

I’m happy to report that Kristen Callihan really nails the issue of depression and the toll it takes on the person suffering from depression but also the people in their lives. Jax was severely depressed and I thought Callihan did a really great job of making the readers understand and love Jax through the ups and the downs.

Book Boyfriend: Jax Blackwood from Fall by Kristen CallihanFall (VIP, #3) by Kristen Callihan
Published by Kristen Callihan on October 23, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 436
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

The first time I met Jax Blackwood things went a little sideways.

In my defense, I didn’t know he was Jax Blackwood—who expects a legendary rock star to be shopping for groceries? More importantly, a blizzard was coming and he was about to grab the last carton of mint-chocolate chip.

Still, I might have walked away, but then he smugly dared me to try and take the coveted ice cream. So I kissed him. And distracted that mint-chip right out of his hands.

Okay, it was a dirty move, but desperate times and all that. Besides, I never expected he’d be my new neighbor.

An annoying neighbor who takes great pleasure in reminding me that I owe him ice cream but would happily accept more kisses as payment. An irresistible neighbor who keeps me up while playing guitar naked–spectacularly naked–in his living room.

Clearly, avoidance is key. Except nothing about Jax is easy to ignore—not the way he makes me laugh, or that his particular brand of darkness matches mine, or how one look from him melts me faster than butter under a hot sun.

Neither of us believes in love or forever. Yet we’re quickly becoming each other’s addiction. But we could be more. We could be everything.

All we have to do is trust enough to fall.

From the very jump, I was rooting for Jax because he really goes through it and we only saw a tiny bit of it all in the previous books. We really see how Jax’s actions affect the other band members along with the band’s team of managers, publicists and what not. So going into Jax’s book, I was really excited to get what it’s like for him. Then when we meet his heroine and witness their meet cute, I was super pumped to get their story. I thought it was the cutest thing ever and when Stella lays one on Jax, taking him by surprise, I laughed out loud.

What I really liked about Jax was how far he comes from the beginning of this series until now. It was not easy for him and seeing him during his highs and his lows brought back memories of my friend David so yeah, I cried a lot while reading this book but it’s okay because it was really good. I loved seeing Jax come full circle and really heal from everything. I’m glad that he really fixes things with his bandmates, Killian in particular and this scene, right here. I really loved it.

“I don’t need you to fix me, Stella. I need you for everything else. I need your smiles, your laughter. I need you to be my best friend, my lover, my all. I need to take care of you, touch your skin, make you dinner, give you pleasure whenever you’re in need.”

I lean in, emotion clogging my throat. “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I’d happily spend the rest of my life trying to be the best thing that has ever happened to you too.”

This book made me cry but Kristen Callihan does such a great job of putting the reader back together that I was not even mad that I looked like I went ten rounds with Mike Tyson in the ring after I finished this one. Jax is sensitive and he really puts you through the wringer (as he does with Stella) but I really loved the support group that he had and that he made sure that he got better for himself but also for the people in his life. I loved that he didn’t need Stella to fix him in the end, that he was working on fixing himself and seriously, this book was a good one so if you’re a fan of the other books in this series and haven’t read this one yet. Fix that. It’s great, I promise!

Hero Casting

This guy really is the perfect casting for Jax. I pictured this guy every time Jax was on the scene so yeah, I didn’t need to re-cast him to a new celebrity or model. This guy is perfect.

Buy the Book

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Are you a fan of Jax Blackwood? What do you think about him and his book? Who is your favorite book boyfriend this week?

four-stars


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Christmas Movie Round Up

Posted December 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

It’s that time of year…the time of cheesy Christmas movies that I can’t get enough of. I haven’t been watching as many Christmas movies as I usually do but I’ve watched a few. Brenna has been watching a movie a night before she goes to bed so she’s got me beat but I’m sure I’ll fix that. Here’s a quick rundown on the movies that I’ve watched in the last week or two.

The Holiday Calendar (2018) | Netflix
Starring: Kat Graham, Quincy Brown, Ethan Peck
Director: Bradley Walsh
Rating: TV-PG
Run Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
Genre: Drama, Romance
Release Date: 2 November 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5

A struggling but talented photographer inherits an antique holiday advent calendar, the contents of which seem to predict the future. Will this magical calendar lead her to love this holiday season?

This was a super cute movie that had me grinning from beginning to end. Bonnie Bennett from Vampire Diaries and Derek from Star were the perfect best friends to lovers pair and though the premise of the movie was kind of cheesy, I thought Kat Graham did a wonderful job as the main lead. Quincy was a great love interest too. What a cutie!

The Princess Switch 2018) | Netflix
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Sam Palladio, Nick Sagar
Director: Mike Rohl
Rating: TV-PG
Run Time: 1 hour, 41 minutes
Genre: Romance
Release Date: 16 November 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5

A Chicago baker (V.Hudgens) is competing in a Christmas baking competition in Belgravia. There she bumps into the prince’s fiancee. They look alike and switch for 2 days. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

I saw this movie just a couple of days ago and enjoyed it so much. I thought this movie was fun and it was great to see Gunnar from Nashville as a dashing young Prince in this movie. Vanessa’s British accent was a lot of fun too. I thought Kevin’s daughter was adorable and enjoyed both of the couples stories. It was so much fun watching them all fall in love. Cute!

Christmas Wedding Planner (2017) | Harlequin
Starring: Jocelyn Hudon, Stephen Huszar, Kelly Rutherford
Director: Justin G. Dyck
Rating: PG
Run Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes
Genre: Romance
Release Date: December 2017
Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Wedding Planner, Kelsey Wilson, is about to have her big break: planning her beloved cousin’s lavish and exclusive wedding. Everything is going smoothly until Connor McClane, a devilishly handsome private investigator, shows up and turns Kelsey’s world upside-down. Hired by a secret source, Connor quickly disrupts the upcoming nuptials but wins Kelsey’s heart in the process.

I saw this movie on Netflix and I guess it’s a Harlequin movie, which…okayyy Harlequin. This was a quick watch with a cast that I haven’t seen in too many movies. Actually, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone in this movie outside of this movie. I thought the heroine was pretty extra over every little thing and the hero made me want to smack him upside his head a little bit there but for the most part, this was a cute movie. That ending though, talk about cheesy! Still, it was cute.

Christmas with a View (2018) | Harlequin
Starring: Kaitlyn Leeb, Scott Cavalheiro, Vivica A. Fox, Patrick Duffy
Director: Justin G. Dyck
Rating: TV-PG
Run Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Genre: Drama, Romance
Release Date: December 2018
Rating: 3.25 out of 5

This Christmas, Thunder Mountain Ski Resort is abuzz when celebrity chef Shane Roarke is named the new head chef. Clara Garrison isn’t as excited and is instead focused on getting resettled after her failed attempt at opening a big city restaurant. With their paths constantly crossing, will their shared passion for cooking bring them together or will secrets keep them apart?

Another Harlequin movie, I didn’t even know that Harlequin made movies. Where the heck have I been? Anyway, this was another cheesy but cute movie that I had fun with. The two main leads were great though the heroine leaned toward silly from time to time but still, this was fun and I thought the hero’s backstory was cute. He went to the place that he knew his parents were and found love for himself there. Awww.

Christmas Joy (2018) | Hallmark
Starring: Danielle Panabaker, Matt Long, Lucia Walters
Director: Monika Mitchell
Rating: TV-G
Run Time: 2 hours
Genre: Family, Romance
Release Date: 3 November 2018
Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Joy Holbrook is an intuitive market researcher in DC who has captured the attention of the account’s CEO and is about to get a sweet promotion, just in time for the holidays. She receives an urgent phone call from home and she rushes back to Crystal Falls, NC to help her Aunt recover from surgery and is reunited with her former crush, Ben. To keep her Aunt focused on healing, Joy volunteers to take Ruby’s place with the town’s legendary baking competition, the “Cookie Crawl,” much to the amusement of Ben who knows Joy has absolutely no idea of the Herculean task before her. Though Joy initially refuses Ben’s attempts to “co-captain,” she begins to soften and let him in, all the while remembering that there truly is no place like home.

This movie was so much fun. I adored most everything about this one. Killer Frost from Flash was such a treat in this one. I really like her acting and I thought she did a great job in this one. Both her and Jack from Jack & Bobby (old TV show) were fun to watch and I wanted them to win the Cookie Crawl too. There’s some cheese, some light-hearted moments and loads of fun that I didn’t mind the cheesy stuff. Cute!

Have you watched any of these movies? What did you think of them? Any Christmas movies I should add to my watch list? Share your favorites in the comments below!


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Buddy Review: Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Posted December 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Once and For All by Sarah DessenOnce and for All by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin, Viking Books for Young Readers on June 6, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 358
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

You guys, before we jump into our monthly buddy review of Once and For All by Sarah Dessen, please join me in wishing one of my favorite book pimps, Ames, a very happy birthday as today is her special day!!

I hope you have a brilliant day because you’re a brilliant friend and deserve all the brilliant things in the world. Big hugs from California and don’t freeze too much in that Canadian madness that is winter. Love you long time, Ames!

Here’s some birthday Bana for you sweets!

Now…on to the review.

Louna Barrett is working the summer before her first year of college for her mother’s wedding planning business. She’s busy preparing for events and spending as much time with her high school friend Jilly before she’s off to another city for school. She is in no way looking for any kind of romantic entanglements, even though Jilly keeps trying to get her to put herself out there. Louna had an amazing boyfriend but that relationship ended in tragedy. But when Louna meets Ambrose at a wedding, will she be ready to open herself up to new possibilities?

Ames: All right Wena, what did you think of Once and For All.

Rowena: I enjoyed this one. I thought it was a good one to read after coming back from a long Sarah Dessen hiatus. I enjoyed getting to know Louna and while Ambrose was a bit much at times (all of that girl juggling), I still really liked him as a character. I thought he was good for Louna too. The bet was fun and meant to get them both out of their comfort zone, not meant to hurt anyone at all so I was okay with it.

What did you think?

Ames: I had mixed reactions to this. First of all, its been a looooong time since I read Sarah Dessen. Like maybe 3 or 4 years. But having starting this book, I felt like Louna was a ‘typical’ SD heroine – and by the end of the book she really is. However, I liked the world Sarah created for us, with Louna’s wedding planning mom and all that went along with it. I really enjoyed that. And Ambrose was a fun character. I love that he rescued a dog and I agree, the girl juggling was a bit much but he was a great guy underneath it all.

My main complaint comes with the relationship between Ambrose and Louna. Yes they had a bet (that was fun, I liked that) but I honestly didn’t feel any sparks between them. I didn’t see the way Ambrose acted towards her as a guy who was interested. So when the big reveal came at the end? I was like “WTH, for reals?” So I think if there had been a bit more there, I would have believed it more. Also, the way she freaked out? That was over the top for me.

Rowena: Yes, I agree about how interesting the world of wedding planning was and I thought Dessen captured that part of the book really well and you’re definitely right about Louna being a typical Sarah Dessen heroine because I felt the same way about her character. I remember thinking while I was reading the book, “Here we go, another Sarah Dessen heroine that is going to annoy the snot out of me” but in the end, I liked her so it was all good for me. I did think that the whole Ben thing was pretty dumb. Like, really, really dumb.

Other than that though, I could feel the vibes from Ambrose for Louna…or maybe my romance-loving heart pictured it all there because I wanted them to get together? *shrugs* Either way, I still enjoyed this one. Was there anything else that you didn’t care for?

Ames: Seriously, if I hadn’t read the blurb and realized Ambrose was supposed to be the love interest, I wouldn’t have expected it. I felt like William telling Louna that Ambrose was into her even made me realize he was…I honestly didn’t see it before William said something. AND what made Louna different to Ambrose from all the other girls? What made her someone he wanted to commit to instead of just enjoying all the beginning parts of a relationship…I wanted more in regards to that relationship. However, I didn’t hate the book.

I thought Crawford, Jilly’s younger brother, was super cute. The way he called out Jilly for not wanting to spend time with Ben and Louna had me cracking up.

I’m giving Once and For All a 3.75 out of 5. What about you?

Rowena: I thought Ambrose was taken with Louna from the very beginning. I could see his interest in her when she walked right up to him at his Mom’s wedding and dragged him away from that girl he was talking to. He wasn’t used to girls being mad at him, well girls that weren’t related to him so I bought his interest and crush on her from the jump. I think because the entire book is from Louna’s POV, it’s harder to get what Ambrose feels and what he thought. I would have liked Ambrose’s POV.

I adored Crawford and the rest of Jilly’s family. It would have been nice to get more from them as I thought they were more interesting than Louna’s family but all in all, I can’t complain. I enjoyed it all so I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Final Grade

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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