Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Throwback Thursday: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Posted September 6, 2018 by Rowena in Features, Reviews | 4 Comments

Each week, I’ll be writing a review for an oldie but goodie that I’ve read through again to see if these books are holding up for me. I’m a different person than I was when I read these books, older and wiser (at least I hope) so I’m curious to see if books that I used to love can stand the test of time.

Throwback Thursday: Just Listen by Sarah DessenJust Listen by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin, Viking Books for Young Readers on April 6, 2006
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 371
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store.

This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

This story follows Annabelle Greene as she makes her way back to school after a summer spent being away from everyone and anyone from school. Including her ex-best friend Sophie. Now she’s back at school and has to face everyone that she hasn’t seen in months and she also has to deal with the fact that nobody likes her anymore.

Annabelle’s life is anything but simple. She’s got family issues she’s dealing with and she’s got to deal with the fact that she has no friends at school anymore except for the kid who’s got anger issues, Owen Armstrong. Annabelle is known for playing popular girls on commercials who have it all together but her real life is anything but. She’s the youngest of three girls and she couldn’t be any more different from her sisters. Her older sister Kristen is the loud and outspoken sister while her sister Whitney is more reserved. Annabelle has the kind of personality where she can fade into the background without too much effort. She’s just there. She’s nice and friendly. She doesn’t do well with confrontation so she goes out of her way to avoid fights.

When her best friend Sophie gets mad at her, instead of trying to make things right or explain herself, she just lets Sophie be pissed off and she kind of caves into herself. She hides from everyone and it’s not until Owen Armstrong comes along and changes her slowly but surely that things start to look up for Annabelle.

Owen good for Annabelle. From his radio show to the cd’s that he made for her and just everything about him was good for her…until she messes things up and chases him away.

The thing about Sarah Dessen is she writes characters and conflict really well. Her stories stand out for me because every single one of her books feels real. I can see these kinds of things happening and in some cases, I have seen these things happen. The characters in her books suffer from the same things that I remember suffering from in high school and all I want is to give them a little nudge in the right direction. I love her characters and even though Annabelle drove me up the wall sometimes, I never once disliked her. She felt like a little sister to me and I just adored the hell out of her.

But what really made this book for me was Owen. Man but I loved that boy. I thought he was such a great character and wonderful addition to an already fantastic story. His radio station never failed to bring a smile to my face and I just adored him to pieces.

The bond that formed between Annabelle and Owen was too cute for words and while this is not my favorite Sarah Dessen book, it’s one of them and Owen was a huge part of that.

Buy the Book

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Final Grade

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday: Gone too Far by Suzanne Brockmann

Posted August 16, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Each week, I’ll be writing a review for an oldie but goodie that I’ve read through again to see if these books are holding up for me. I’m a different person than I was when I read these books, older and wiser (at least I hope) so I’m curious to see if books that I used to love can stand the test of time.

Throwback Thursday: Gone too Far by Suzanne BrockmannGone too Far by Suzanne Brockmann
Series: Troubleshooters #6
Published by Random House, Ballantine on March 2, 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Suspense
Point of View: Alternating Third Person
Pages: 536
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

In her sizzling, award-winning novels of suspense, bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann delves into the adrenaline-rushed world of counter terrorism–and taps into the real passions of its brave men and women. Now in her widely anticipated hardcover debut, she spins a story of action, intrigue, and romance, as a U.S. Navy SEAL and an FBI agent race to unravel a mystery–while confronting their own unresolved feelings for each other. . . .

In his career as one of America’s elite warriors, Lt. Sam Starrett can do no wrong. In his private life, Sam–the king of one night stands–has done little right. Now, he’s waiting for a divorce and determined to stay active in his young daughter’s life. But when Sam shows up at the door of his ex-wife’s home in Sarasota, Florida, he makes a grisly discovery. His daughter is gone and the body of a woman lies brutally murdered on the floor.

FBI agent Alyssa Locke’s relationship with Sam has been overwhelmingly intense and nearly catastrophic, yet it refuses to end. The last time she saw Sam was six months earlier, when they worked together to stop terrorists from assassinating the U.S. President. Much to her dismay, Alyssa is assigned to lead the murder investigation and once again the two are face to face. When explosive information surfaces linking Sam to the still unsolved assassination plot, the stakes are raised. With her reputation hanging in the balance, and her loyalties in question, Alyssa is faced with an impossible dilemma:arrest a man she believes to be innocent, or risk her career.

While Alyssa tries to fight their intense attraction, Sam is determined to heat things up between them once again. And the complex case pushes them both to the wrong side of the law–and on the run to discover the truth. As more agents step into the chase, and with Sam’s daughter still unaccounted for, neither Alyssa nor Sam can predict just how deadly hot this situation is about to become. . . .

A thrilling novel that ranges back into the days of World War II, into friendships, families, liaisons, betrayals, and the code of honor that binds the U.S. Navy SEALs, Gone Too Far is an electrifying experience in suspense–and a brilliant tale of lives lived on the edge.

From the Hardcover edition.

It’s been a long ass time since I’ve read this book and when I think back to how obsessed I used to be over the entire Troubleshooters world and with Sam Starrett in particular, I laugh because it was low key embarrassing. Not that I regret my obsession because Suz Brockmann is a legit author who wrote a fantastic romantic suspense series with characters that to this day, I’m still mad over and Sam Starrett is still one of my top ten favorite heroes of all time and I still don’t care what my friend Holly says about that. And him. Haha.

Re-reading this book was like reading it for the first time because so much of what happened, I didn’t remember. That didn’t stop me from jumping right into the magic that is Sam and Alyssa though. There’s a lot going on in this book and in true Suz Brockmann fashion, she handles it all extremely well. I read the entire thing and was invested in what was happening with everything and everyone. I was taken right back to being scared that the person Sam finds when he shows up at Mary Lou’s house was her, worried about what happened with his daughter and happy when Alyssa shows up and the connection between her and Sam opens up again.

There’s a lot of fast-paced action going on in this book, with Sam and Alyssa trying to get answers and Sam trying to find his daughter, Haley and ex-wife Mary Lou. Throughout the Troubleshooters series, Sam and Alyssa have circled each other and when wrenches were thrown into the mix, they part and try to move on. Alyssa is not happy that Sam Starrett refuses to stay out of her life but I really enjoyed their interactions with each other. I loved seeing them learn about what made them the people that they are now. They both have dark pasts that they overcame and I loved seeing them come to care and accept each other for who they are now and not who they were before.

One of the things that I remember the most about this series is how Brockmann would tell many stories that bring the main story together and that wasn’t any different in this book. I enjoyed seeing Mary Lou use the smarts that she learned from Sam to keep her and Haley safe. I enjoyed the romance between Sam and Alyssa and I just really enjoyed the whole thing. If you’re a fan of romantic suspense novels and military romances then you should definitely give this book a go. It’s good stuff and though Sam Starrett can be hard to take at times, I promise he’s such a compelling and charming character that you won’t help but fall for. Alyssa is his perfect match and this story brings them together in such a great way that I was completely satisfied with the ending. So, so good.

Buy the Book

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE

Final Grade

4.25 out of 5

Troubleshooters Series

four-stars


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Review: The Accidentals by Sarina Bowen

Posted August 14, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: The Accidentals by Sarina BowenThe Accidentals by Sarina Bowen
Published by Indie Published, Tuxbury Publishing LLC on July 10, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

A YA novel from USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen.

Never ask a question unless you’re sure you want the truth.

I’ve been listening to my father sing for my whole life. I carry him in my pocket on my mp3 player. It’s just that we’ve never met face to face.

My mother would never tell me how I came to be, or why my rock star father and I have never met. I thought it was her only secret. I was wrong.

When she dies, he finally appears. Suddenly I have a first class ticket into my father’s exclusive world. A world I don’t want any part of – not at this cost.

Only three things keep me going: my a cappella singing group, a swoony blue-eyed boy named Jake, and the burning questions in my soul.


There’s a secret shame that comes from being an unwanted child. It drags me down, and puts distance between me and the boy I love.

My father is the only one alive who knows my history. I need the truth, even if it scares me.

Sarina Bowen has been a staple on my go to authors for great contemporary romances as well as New Adult romances. Now she’s trying her hand at Young Adult stories and The Accidentals is her first shot out of that particular gate. I’m happy to report that Sarina Bowen continues to shine in whatever writing endeavor she undertakes because I really enjoyed The Accidentals.

Rachel’s father in one of the most popular country singers in the country and she knows every single song he’s ever released, she knows so many little tidbits about him but she’s never met him in real life until her mother dies and she is given over to his care. After years and years from watching her father from afar, she’s thrown into his world while she is grieving her dead mother and she’s floundering. The only thing holding her above water is her acceptance letter to the private school that her mother attended when she was her age. She has been looking forward to going to this school for years and now that she’s finally able to go, she’s hoping for a fresh start that will help her move on from the hurt and the awkwardness of getting to know the one person that should have been in your life the whole time.

This book is told in first person, from Rachel’s perspective and being inside her head wasn’t always easy. She’s going through some really personal things and my heart hurt for her at every turn in the beginning.

There was a lot to like in this book. Seeing Rachel grow into who she was meant to be was pretty great and seeing her find her way in a new place, surrounded by new people both at school and at home was neat too because it really showed how resilient she was. She wasn’t perfect in that I did find myself frustrated with her from time to time but in the end, when it mattered, I really liked her character and who she was.

Sarina Bowen introduced us to a great cast of characters that really made this story pop just that much more. From Haze to Jake to Henry and just everyone that we meet in this book brought something to the story and I was glad to have met them all. There was an interesting mix of characters and that was cool.

As an L.A. native who lives so very close to Manhattan Beach, it was great to see a setting so close to home and picture everything so perfectly in my mind. Sarina Bowen’s efforts with this one really paid off because I enjoyed this one from beginning to end. I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

4 out of 5

four-stars


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