Pretty Words Book Blog and Book Reviews

Book Blog and Book Reviews

In the mood for a sexy, standalone, contemporary romance?

Check out ShutterGirl by C.D. Reiss

Release date: 5/20/15




I am not hurt.
 I don’t need a second chance with him, or a life I thought I had.
While he was out forgetting me to become a movie star, I was building a career out of nothing. A career as a paparazzi, but a career. For a foster kid who bounced around every home in Los Angeles, that wasn’t easy.
This camera is all I have.
He’s nothing to me. Every time I take his picture and sell it, I remind myself that I did it all without him or his approval, his cinnamon smell or his lithe body. He can light up the screen like a celestial body, but he’s nothing to me. 
He can throw my camera off a balcony, and nothing has to change. We can stay king and queen of the same city, and different worlds. 
Except this is Hollywood, and here, anything can happen.

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The Mistake (Off-Campus Book 2) by Elle Kennedy

My rating: 3.5 Stars

Enjoyed this sweet & steamy read!

This installment is Logan’s spinoff and can very well be read as a standalone. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did The Deal because I found that some of the dialogue and parts of plot felt a bit forced. I’m pretty certain I’m in the minority, however, because most readers seem to be enjoying this one more. That said, there were things I absolutely LOVED about this read, and that’s what I’m gonna focus on.

Logan is secretly hung up on his best friend’s girl. Yeah, not cool, and he knows it. That’s why he goes out of his way to get her out of his system by committing serial-hookups with random girls — a tactic that seems to help, but only for the moment. Until a surprising hookup with Grace changes his world…

Grace is a sweet girl who’s still very much attached to her “V-Card”. She’s anxious to have the label removed, and when she meets Logan, she very nearly almost does … until she learns of his reasons and realizes the MISTAKE she almost made.

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All the Rage by Courtney Summers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

:::5 Stars::: Utterly gripping!

Even better than expected and, after loving Some Girls Are, my expectations were set pretty damn high.

There are writers who tell stories, and then there are those who give their stories a pulse. All The Rage felt alive, and every breath it took was jagged, labored, and suspenseful.

You know all the ways there are to kill a girl? I do.

Courtney Summers knows how to captivate her readers by constructing some of the most flawed characters I’ve come across and boldly placing them in gravely unfortunate circumstances. Yet nothing ever feels over-the-top or put-on.

Her writing has a smooth and natural flow, and maintains an air of sophistication even through its most brutal descriptions. Her beautifully constructed stories beg to be not only read, but emotionally digested. I’ve grown smitten with this author’s unique prose and find myself inhaling her words as easily as air.

The subject matter in this book is dark and intense, dealing largely with rape, abuse, bullying, and all the messy aftermaths. These aren’t spoilers, they are the direct driving forces of this plot. These areas, although vivid and intense, are handled with much respect.

Romy’s anguish was so incredibly raw and real, I felt like I’d somehow swallowed some of it. She suffered a gut-wrentching tragedy and is forced to keep it buried inside—festering and intensifying—because no one has the decency or courage to believe her. Inside herself is where she’ll hide, until she can no longer keep the agony contained.

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The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta

5 Stars…Because an honest and gentle plot is sadly underrated.

This story was a humbling journey, but not just one. It was several little emotional journeys all leading to the same outcome: me in tears.

Not exactly sad tears.

Although they weren’t tears from being overcome by happiness, either.

Nope. This author hits with the power of her words and the unfiltered pictures she creates with them. No sudden deaths, no vicious betrayals…no obvious reasons to cry.

I guess my tears were ones of recognition: of being able to pinpoint the beauty in life throughout such a seemingly basic plot.

But this felt anything but basic, and everything basic — all at once.

I found myself crying for the family members who’ve never been able to express their love for one another — and then suddenly a single, subtle profession feels like one of the most significant things I’ve ever read.

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Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

:::4 Stars, I think?:::

Compelling, but bizarre.

This book is not an easy one to rate, nor was it an easy one to read. Labeling this as “edgy” is too delicate a description. This goes beyond that. The content of this story is so disturbing, I cringed through most of it and felt flat out uncomfortable with the rest.

That’s not to say discomfort is a bad thing. I find great value in any story powerful enough to ignite intense emotions even if my gut is twisting. In fact, I’ve read many deranged books that I’ve loved and will no doubt read again.

This story centers around mental illness, disturbing sexual desires, violent behavior, and is executed in a graphic, vivid nature–elements I am not squeamish towards in fiction.

But I think what pulls Delicate Monsters into a less enjoyable category for me is the fact that I just couldn’t find a way to appreciate the story. This book seemed to have no other point but to shine a very revealing light on the disturbing behavior and sickening thoughts of three very fucked up teens who never seem to march forward.

I didn’t feel the plot moved with solid purpose. Yes, it told quite a vivid story, but offered no reasons or justifications, and finished without an ounce of satisfaction. There was a certain air of mystery, but it was a pretty light coating and there weren’t many significant rise-and-falls in the plot. It all felt like a steady stream of sick, sickish, SICK-ERY.

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The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

4.5 Stars

Another fast-paced psychological thriller that kept me glued to its pages!

If you’re a fan of Gillian Flynn’s twisted, artful, and suspenseful storytelling, I’d recommend checking out The Girl on the Train.

Have you ever gazed through the window on a train and wondered what the people living in those houses you pass are doing with their lives? Perhaps you’ve conjured up your own theories, mentally orchestrating their daily occurrences all while longing to obtain the security you’ve imagined they possess?

Rachel’s life has become entirely engulfed by these sorts of daydreams, zeroing in on one couple in particular — a couple she spots daily out on their terrace during her train ride into work. Rachel sees them as beautiful and happy; peaceful and together. All that she is not.

As Rachel’s once happy life devolves into a nightmare of alcoholism and loneliness, she finds solace in these quiet minutes on the train. But when her path crosses with the “perfect” people of her daydreams, Rachel gets a chilling dose of reality…

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Forever and a Day (Lucky Harbor Book 6) by Jill Shalvis

:•:•: 3.5 Stars :•:•:

Sex first, love later…

I was searching for a light, fun, happy romance with just a bit of steam, and Forever And a Day delivered exactly that.

Grace comes to Harbor Falls looking to have some fun, and not much more. In need of some extra cash, she agrees to dog-sit for the town’s gorgeous doctor, Josh Scott, who also happens to be a single father and the caretaker of his handicapped younger sister.

Josh and Grace seem to get off on the wrong foot, but that doesn’t stop the sparks from flying between them. A sexual relationship ensues, but Josh has no time for a girlfriend, and Grace is intent on keeping things casual since she has no plans to remain in town for long.

This was my first book by Jill Shalvis, and although I enjoyed it for the most part, the writing didn’t necessarily wow me. I did adore the playful connection between Josh and Grace, but the relationship between Grace and her “besties” felt slightly forced and, at times, corny.

The plot was simple and quite predictable, but did manage to hold my interest. The romance between the hero and heroine sizzled and I had fun watching it blossom into more.

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In the Fields by Willow Aster

*3.5 Stars*

Okay, so maybe this wasn’t an overall love-fest for me, but I started out loving, and I ended up loving, so that’s something, right?

Because the beginning of this book was blow-my-mind beautiful, and the ending turned out to be just as touching. But somewhere in the middle I got lost in the tragedy piled upon tragedy, and a few over-the-top scenarios.

In The Fields is a heartbreaking love story set in the 1970’s that represents a time period where interracial couples were not only frowned upon but considered intensely and morally “wrong”.

Caroline and Isaiah meet as kids and fall into a tender young love which they are forced to keep hidden due to their racial differences.

Caroline’s childhood was pretty much non-existent, as she spent her youth neglected by her selfish parents who left her no choice but to mature before her time and take care of herself.

This aspect of the story was executed wonderfully and broke my heart a thousand times over–as storylines involving the abuse of children typically do.

What I didn’t particularly enjoy was the repetitive use of certain plot devices, such as characters running away from one another. Although the initial separations seemed justified, the ones following grew redundant.

That said, this book held many wonderful qualities:
• A strong, intelligent, sweet and humble heroine–and a hero to match.
• Messages of acceptance/never giving up.
• A strong, expansive plot that really felt evolved by the finish.
• And diverse characters who’ll make you love them, hate them, and really feel their presence.

Even with its multiple tragedies, this story still evoked a very peaceful and calming overall feel, and I can see why so many readers have adored this one.

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Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta

:::4 Stars:::

*Wipes tears* This author gets me every time.

Okay, twice. She got me twice. I’ve read two of her books. But that only means there’s more of her brilliance to enjoy…
Oh, yeahhh

Saving Francesca
is a very touching and gentle read that centers not only on common themes such as family, friendship, and love—but thoroughly explores the heartaches of depression and the toll it can take on a family as a whole.

I’ve read many books where the narrator/main protagonist suffers a mental disorder. We get close to the disease…so close we are able to physically feel its anxiety.

But in this case, we’re offered the perspective of a high school girl whose mother has fallen into the dark depths of this illness. And although we’re presented with a solid picture of all sides, the focus refreshingly lies on Francesca (as well as her father and younger brother) and how she finds herself through the cloud of her mother’s depression.

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Where One Goes by B.N. Toler

*4 Stars!*

This isn’t just another romance novel. Where One Goes is an exceptionally beautiful love story that builds a unique world through the elements of love, loss, and healing.

Yes, the heroine communicates with the dead — souls who have yet to cross-over due to “unfinished business”– but this story has more of a spiritual tone than a supernatural one.

Yes, there is a bit of a love triangle, but it’s NOT a threat since one of the heroes is … well, dead.

YES, this book sucked me in, held my interest, kept me on my toes, broke my heart and warmed it all at once, then had me reluctant to turn that last page and say goodbye…and I devoured every single bit of it!

*Some things I LOVED*
– a smart heroine who is just as sassy as she is sweet
– 2 super sexy heroes who happen to be twins, but each have a different persona and set of struggles
– a perfectly executed, sexy, slow-building romance that was 100% worth the tantalizing wait
– adorable jealous moments involving a brooding, broken hero
– the many laugh out loud moments that balanced out the tone
– family and small town togetherness, which I always love!
– a beautifully touching plot that made me feel even after closing the book…

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