Release Day Review: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: August 7th 2018
Links: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.

Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.

It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

The Simple Wild is now one of my new favorite reads of 2018! I almost cried at the end of this book, while I was taking public transportation. That’s how intensely emotional this book is, since I rarely ever cry while reading. I fell in love with Calla, her family, Jonah, flying, and Alaska in this phenomenal read. This is definitely my favorite K.A. Tucker read to date and I highly recommend this beautifully written book – it’s the kind of read that you won’t be able to forget.

City girl Calla Fletcher never thought she would travel to a remote town in Alaska of all places, but when someone who works with her estranged father tells her that he has terminal cancer, she packs her bags to go see the man who abandoned her for over two decades, who always chose his job as a pilot over his daughter, before he’s truly gone from her life.

At its heart, The Simple Wild is about relationships and taking chances. Calla is woefully unprepared for the wilds of Alaska – but what city girl wouldn’t be? But she takes the chance to go see her father and reconnect with him after decades in the hopes she won’t have any regrets about their relationship by the time he’s gone. She takes a chance on Alaska, on its unforgiving nature and the close-knit community that the Alaskan small town has. And she takes a chance on a surly, gorgeous pilot named Jonah, who she can’t help but go head to head with. But even after letting all these new experiences and people into her heart, can a city girl at heart and the wilds of Alaska truly mesh?

The Simple Wild quite simply wrecked me. As soon as I picked it up, I couldn’t stop reading Calla’s heartfelt story. I felt for this girl, the way she tries to make a new relationship with her father, the way she stands up to Jonah and falls slowly in love with him. I never expected to fall in love with Alaska, but K.A. Tucker writes the place in a way that makes it come to life. I am beyond impressed with this breathtaking story and highly recommend it for those who want more in their contemporary romances!


lacey


Also by K.A. Tucker

Standalones

 

He Will Be My Ruin: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
Keep Her Safe: My Review • EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Burying Water series

Burying Water by K.A. Tucker Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker Chasing River by K.A. Tucker Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

#1 ~ Burying Water: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Becoming Rain: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Chasing River: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Surviving Ice: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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ARC Review: Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker

Keep Her Safe by K.A. Tucker
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: January 23rd 2018
Links: EbookHardcoverPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Making a Murderer meets Scandal in this story of police corruption, family secrets, and illicit affairs from bestselling author K.A. Tucker, celebrated for her “propulsive plot twists and searing seduction” (USA TODAY).

Noah Marshall has known a privileged and comfortable life thanks to his mother, the highly decorated chief of the Austin Police Department. But all that changes the night she reveals a skeleton that’s been rattling in her closet for years, and succumbs to the guilt of destroying an innocent family’s life. Reeling with grief, Noah is forced to carry the burden of this shocking secret.

Gracie Richards wasn’t born in a trailer park, but after fourteen years of learning how to survive in The Hollow, it’s all she knows anymore. At least here people don’t care that her dad was a corrupt Austin cop, murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Here, she and her mother are just another family struggling to survive…until a man who clearly doesn’t belong shows up on her doorstep.

Despite their differences, Noah and Gracie are searching for answers to the same questions, and together, they set out to uncover the truth about the Austin Police Department’s dark and messy past. But the scandal that emerges is bigger than they bargained for, and goes far higher up than they ever imagined.

Complex, gritty, sexy, and thrilling, Keep Her Safe solidifies K.A. Tucker’s reputation as one of today’s most talented new voices in romantic suspense.

I’m a big fan of K.A. Tucker’s NA romantic suspense series, the Burying Water series, so when I heard she’d be writing more romantic suspense, I had to get my hands on it! I don’t normally read this genre, but I do for K.A. Tucker – and this latest novel of hers had me captivated and on the edge of my seat the whole read through.

As the son of the highly decorated chief of the Austin PD, Noah Marshall has lived a privileged life… until his world is turned upside down when his mother reveals pieces of a dark, guilty secret she’s kept for years, right before she kills herself. Noah is now burdened with this secret, and goes on to right his mother’s wrongs and get to the bottom of this mystery. He’s led to Gracie Richards’ doorstep, the daughter of a disgraced, supposedly corrupt cop. Up until that point, Gracie has lived a life opposite of Noah’s privileged one, but it turns out they share a history neither of them expected. The two embark on a journey to uncover the truth and unravel the mystery beneath the tragedy and lies of what happened fifteen years ago.

Keep Her Safe was unputdownable. The mystery and suspense had me glued to the pages, because I HAD to know what would happen next. I’m usually the type of reader who can guess what happens in a book, but all I can say about this one is that K.A. Tucker took me by surprise constantly. Noah and Gracie themselves were fantastic characters – I loved them and empathized with them. Though the suspense was the star of this show, their romance is definitely something to take note of. It’s slow but sweet, and it meshed perfectly well with the mystery and suspense. If you’re a fan of this genre or K.A. Tucker, I highly recommend you pick Keep Her Safe up!

4 hearts
lacey


Also by K.A. Tucker

If you love romantic suspense

Standalone

He Will Be My Ruin: EbookHardcoverPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Burying Water series

Burying Water by K.A. Tucker Becoming Rain by K.A. Tucker Chasing River by K.A. Tucker Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker

#1 ~ Burying Water: My Review • EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Becoming Rain: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Chasing River: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Surviving Ice: My ReviewEbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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Release Day Review: Swear on this Life by Renée Carlino

Swear on this Life by Renée Carlino
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: August 9th 2016
Links: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From USA TODAY bestselling author Renée Carlino (Before We Were Strangers), a warm and witty novel about a struggling writer who must come to grips with her past, present, and future after she discovers that she’s the inspiration for a pseudonymously published bestselling novel.

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

Once again, I’m probably in the minority for Renée Carlino’s latest release. As much as I wish I could’ve loved this book, I didn’t enjoy it at all. Back when I read Before We Were Strangers, my first book by this author, I didn’t see the appeal and I wasn’t a fan of the writing, so I was hesitant to read Swear on this Life. But the blurb hooked me in (as always), and I ended up disappointed nonetheless. The writing was mediocre, I didn’t care for the characters, and the second chance romance (which is one of my favorite tropes ever) failed to make me feel anything but annoyance. Looking at the ratings, I’m sure most readers will enjoy this book, but honestly, I’d only recommend SotL to those who loved BWWS.

“I love you, Emiline. I loved you before I even knew what it meant.”

The premise of this story is amazing – the heroine, Emiline, reads a bestselling book only to realize it’s a book about HER life… and the childhood she shared with her one and only love. She figures the author of the book must be Jase Colbertson, the lost love she hasn’t seen in over a decade, and she gets pissed. She can’t believe he would share to the world such private details about her not-so-savory childhood. Luckily, he’s about to show up in San Diego for a book signing, and she has to decide whether she wants to confront him or let the past stay in the past.

My main problem with this second chance romance is how much focus is on the past. We’re given passages from Jase’s book (which honestly didn’t read anything like a top bestselling novel) and we learn about Emiline’s past through them. Her past is sad, tragic, and pretty predictable, but what really killed it for me was how LONG and drawn out it was. Every time I read the passages from the book, I already wanted to get back to the present and the upcoming reunion (which fyi, doesn’t happen until over halfway through the book). I didn’t even end up liking the scenes where Em falls in love with Jase as a young girl, because the Jase from the past is NOTHING like the Jase from the present, so I had no real point to invest my time in his past self.

Unfortunately, the present couldn’t save the novel for me. Emiline, who is in her late twenties, acts like she’s a teenager, one even more immature than she was as a child. She also has a long-time boyfriend, Trevor, whose character I really saw no point in existing other than to take even more time for Emiline and Jase to get back together. And the reunion with Jase? Such a let-down, because guess who’s grown up to become a smug, smirking manwhore, like every other boring hero ever? Can you tell I don’t really like those kinds of heroes? I honestly didn’t see why Jase was acting so smug, when Emiline had every right to be angry with him and not fall directly into his arms and crotch when they saw each other again.

And this is slightly spoilery, but what kind of man tells the woman he’s supposedly loved his whole life that he’s currently fucking another woman, his agent who he sees practically every day no less? Obviously, he stops when he reunites with Emiline, so what exactly is the point of saying it anyway?

So this book was disappointing, but I can’t say it’s a surprise. I felt the same disappointment and annoyance with the author’s previous book – I really don’t think Renée Carlino is for me. I’m not a fan of her writing – it’s all telling, no showing, except for those rare paragraphs that are pretty deep and meaningful, which throws me off. I’m probably going to give up on her books now and let others enjoy it, no matter how enticing her future stories sound.

2 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Also by Renée Carlino

Sweet Thing by Renee Carlino Nowhere but Here by Renée Carlino After the Rain by Renée Carlino Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Sweet Thing: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Nowhere But Here: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
After the Rain: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Beofre We Were Strangers: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads


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ARC Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: August 2nd 2016
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

“Life is a funny thing. We only get so many years to live if, so we have to do everything we can to make sure those years are as full as they can be. We shouldn’t waste time on things that might happen someday, or maybe even never.”

It Ends with Us is probably Colleen Hoover’s most important book to date. It’s got such a powerful message within its pages – one everyone needs to hear. I’m keeping this review short and sweet, but I do want to stress that the theme of this novel deals with a heavy subject that may be a trigger to some people. That being said, I would still definitely recommend this book to everyone because the meaning behind the story is such an important one. This isn’t your typical love story – it’s so much more than that. I wouldn’t even say this is a romance at all – it’s just about love. It’s about all kinds of relationships and love and the loss of both. I really don’t have the words to describe this book justice – just read it for yourself!

Imagine all the people you meet in your life. There are so many. They come in like waves, trickling in and out with the tide. Some waves are much bigger and make more of an impact than others. Sometimes the waves bring with them things from deep in the bottom of the sea and they leave those things tossed onto the shore. Imprints against the grains of sand that prove the waves had once been there, long after the tide recedes.

The first half of the book, I’ll admit, bored me to tears. I didn’t connect with the main characters (the only ones I liked were two of the secondary characters) and I wasn’t that into their blooming romance. But literally right at the halfway mark was when things EXPLODED, emotionally and psychologically. I could sort of see it coming, but the impact of it was something I couldn’t have predicted. The second half of the book left me raw and aching – I’d give this section of the book 5 stars alone. It was incredibly written and told, despite the delicate topic. Colleen Hoover’s writing seems to get better and better with each new release, and you can see that so clearly in It Ends with Us.

Did I love this book? Yes and no. I really don’t know how I feel about this – but I will say that I’d still highly recommend everyone read it. It Ends with Us is not a book to be missed – it’s like nothing CoHo has has written before, but it’s still got her kind of heart and humor that’s present in all her books. And if you’re worried about the slow pacing of the first half, just keep reading like I did! I promise, the end of the book will be so worth it (though a tear or two might be shed!).

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Also by Colleen Hoover

Slammed by Colleen Hoover Hopeless by Colleen Hoover Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover Confess by Colleen Hoover

Slammed: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
Hopeless: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Maybe Someday: My ReviewEbook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Ugly Love: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Confess: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
November 9: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads


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ARC Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Links: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

From the author of Maybe in Another Life—named a People Magazine pick and a “Best Book of the Summer” by Glamour and USA TODAY—comes a breathtaking new love story about a woman unexpectedly forced to choose between the husband she has long thought dead and the fiancé who has finally brought her back to life.

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

I’m a little bummed right now because I really, really wanted to love this one more. One True Loves sounded absolutely amazing, and I hadn’t read Taylor Jenkins Reid before, but I’d heard great things about her books. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t connect well enough with the story and characters. It was as if I was reading this book from a distance – watching everything happen, but not emotionally connecting with anything. It sucks! I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t really love it either, so it ended up being an okay read. The writing is stunning though, and I am more than likely to pick up another book of the author’s just for the writing.

Years ago, Emma’s high school sweetheart-turned-husband went missing while flying over the Pacific for a job. She and Jesse hadn’t even made it one year in their marriage before everything fell apart and Emma lost the love of her life. Now, in her thirties, she’s been able to pick herself up and move on. She reunites with an old friend, Sam, who contributes a big part to her healing and moving on, and she eventually falls in love with him. Now engaged to the new love of her life, Emma is finally happy again… until she receives a phone call telling her that Jesse is alive. The past and present collide as her old love and new want her to choose what life she wants to live, and with whom. But how can she choose between two loves and two lives? Is there such thing as only ONE true love?

By loving the two of them, I am no longer sure about either. And by being unsure, I might just lose them both.
Romantic love is a beautiful thing under the right circumstances. But those circumstances are so specific and rare, aren’t they?
It’s rare that you love the person who loves you, that you love only the person who loves only you. Otherwise, somebody’s heartbroken.
But I guess that’s why true love is so alluring in the first place. It’s hard to find and hold on to, like all beautiful things. Like gold, saffron, or aurora borealis.

The premise of One True Loves hooked me in, I’ll admit. I was dying to see how things would play out, who Emma would choose. Sadly, the way the story was organized really put me off. We are told the stories of two completely different relationships at different times in Emma’s life in a normal-sized book, and the length of the separate romances wasn’t long or developed enough for me to connect with. I never loved Jesse, I never loved Sam, so I didn’t really care about who Emma would choose in the end. Maybe if the book were longer, I’d be able to connect with the men more, but throughout the book, I never really became invested in any of the romance.

It breaks my heart to be loved like this, to be loved so purely that I’m capable of breaking a heart.

I also got annoyed at the choices Emma made during her hesitation about who to choose. I was a little disgusted at how she went from Jesse to Sam, then Sam to Jesse, and then all over again, without caring about how they feel. She constantly hurts these two men who would do anything for her, and I just couldn’t like a heroine who knows she’s hurting the men she loves, and does it anyway. And in the end, things wrapped up too neatly and nicely – I’m happy with who she chose, but I would’ve really liked to see Emma work to deserve the love of the man she ended up with.

TJR’s writing, however, is phenomenal. A little formal, yes, but it’s a unique style and very different from what I’m used to reading. I just wish she’d structured the story in a better way that could’ve made me connect more. The moral of the book though, comes across very, very well, and I appreciated that there was a deeper meaning to OTL than just a simple love triangle. Overall, this book just didn’t work that well for me, but others might enjoy it more than I did!

3 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Also by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  

Maybe in Another Life: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
After I Do: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads
Forever, Interrupted: Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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