Saturday, August 23, 2014

ARC Romance Mini-Reviews: I Want it That Way by Ann Aguirre & Talk Sweetly to Me by Courtney Milan


Title: I Want it That Way (2B, #1) 
Author: Ann Aguirre
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: August 26th, 2014

Aguirre's I Want it That Way is a relatively unexceptional piece of literature. It isn't the New Adult Series I'd recommend on a whim but, an important distinction to note is that I also wouldn't warn away from it. For me, it seems to be a new milestone in New Adult literature when I can find a novel that steers clear of slut-shaming, misogyny, rape, or other over-used tropes. Thus, though I hesitate to say it, Aguirre's I Want it That Way belongs to that new milestone of New Adult; not remarkable but a far cry from terrible too.

I Want it That Way is, at its core, a romance novel. Nadia moves into a two-story apartment complex and finds herself living above Ty, the gorgeously sexy single-father who works by day and studies by night. Nadia and Ty have chemistry--they can feel it, even from the vertical separation of a few feet, but with his son and complicated lifestyle there is no place for Nadia in Ty's life. But as Ty spends more and more time with Nadia he finds it more and more difficult to stay away. Just a brief place-holder relationship until The One came along...it couldn't hurt, right? But what if The One was there all along and Ty just won't open his eyes...?

I hardly feel the need to touch upon the love story within I Want it That Way. Just the way I like it it's a slow, tortuous burn and I appreciate the fact that Nadia and Ty get to know one another on an emotional, mental level before they broach a physical relationship with one another. It isn't easy for Ty to let Nadia into his life and, similarly, it isn't easy for Nadia to choose to be with Ty. Ty lives the life of an individual at least another decade older than he really is and for Nadia to adjust to that--and vice versa--is tough. Aguirre leaves no stone unturned, however, in exploring their relationship and its struggles and I found it a delight to read. Moreover, I really enjoyed Nadia's collegiate experiences bleeding into her romance. Whether it be a tiff with her best friend and roommate or lending a shoulder for another friend to cry on, the dynamics of these four roommates and Nadia's role in the midst of it, juggling her school work with her social life with Ty, was not only a balance to have to live through but also to write. Granted, Nadia's experiences as a college student are not the focus of this novel but their presence enhanced the tale and brought Nadia's unique decisions into broader perspective. Perfect for a lazy afternoon or a stormy night, I Want it That Way is quick, entertaining, and satisfying. While you can certainly ask--and expect--more from both Aguirre and New Adult, this is likely the best you'll read of them together.

Title: Talk Sweetly to Me (Brothers Sinister, #4.5)
Author: Courtney Milan
Rating: 4 Stars

I find myself utterly charmed by the notion that the Brothers Sinister novellas shine brighter than their full-length companions. Whether it be The Governess Affair, A Kiss for Midwinter, or--now--Talk Sweetly to Me, each of these three novellas have contained tender, heart-tugging romances whose brevity worked to their advantage. That's not to say I don't adore the novels which make up this memorable quartet (or that I treasure A Countess Conspiracy or The Suffragette Scandal any less), but it simply wears easier on the heart to adore smaller volumes.

Stephen Shaughnessy, the infamous advice columnist for a women's magazine and a self-proclaimed feminist to boot, finds himself falling for the inexplicably brilliant Rose Sweetly. From the surface, Rose appears to be timid, shy, and painfully quiet. Not many know of her nor do they recognize the mathematical genius she possesses--but Stephen has. Initially having met Rose on the street, Stephen finds himself constantly seeking an excuse to bump into her, probe her analytic mind, and emerge from their discussions a different man entirely; one whose world-view has been shifted, ever-so-slightly. When the opportunity presents itself for Stephen to learn from Rose, employing her as his tutor, he eagerly pushes forth his luck. Stephen claims not to be seducing Rose but his every interaction, word, and gesture is simply too sweet to be true...or is it?

Talk Sweetly to Me is a novella of intense longing. From the beginning itself, Milan presents us both with Rose's perspective and that of Stephen's as well. Juxtaposed alongside one another it isn't difficult to see that both parties are already besotted with each other--they just don't recognize the full extent of their affection for one another. Thus, to read of their crackling dialogue, witty banter, and charged movements is only to prolong the agony, the wait, the slow-building sexual tension. Moreover, as can only be expected from a novella with a title of Talk Sweetly to Me, the story is extremely, extremely sweet. Not only is Stephen, known as a notorious rake, a complete gentleman at all times but he never allows Rose to lose sight of herself, which I love. What's more, as a colored heroine Rose adds another dimension to the otherwise Caucasian-dominated historical romance genre. From her early struggles as a woman pursuing the STEM fields to the drawbacks she faces (and witnesses!) due to her race and the color of her skin, Talk Sweetly to Me isn't always laughter and charm. Over such a short expanse of pages Milan manages to pack an entire era, truly, but all with Stephen and Rose's romance remaining sharply front-and-center. Despite the fact that there remains a tinge of bittersweet longing for more of the Brothers Sinister in my heart, Talk Sweetly to Me is a short, all-consuming love story with the sweetest of endings. Truly, the perfect coda to a perfect quartet; I can't wait for more, Milan.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Review: Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes


Title: Into the Darkest Corner

Author: Elizabeth Haynes

Rating: 4 Stars

I remember looking up from this novel, expecting it to be around 11:30 in the night and finding it was pushing past 1 AM. Like the bibliophile I am, though, I told myself I'd just finish the chapter I was reading but it was 2:40 when my traitorous eyes, struggling to stay awake, forced me to close the book and drag myself to bed, only barely remembering to shut the lights off.

I don't read too many thriller/horror novels. I relish the creeping sense of suspense, the hint of dramatic flair, and the embroiled emotions involved with such stories but, seeing as horror movies keep me anxiously awake late into the night, I often convince myself such books will do the same.

Into the Darkest Corner, however, is the perfect blend of thriller, horror, and contemporary fiction--all just with a hint of romance. Make no mistake, Haynes's novel is a dark one. Within these pages you will find graphic and gruesome detailing of an abusive relationship, domestic violence, and rape. Yet, it is an impeccably written and thought-provoking account of the type of day-to-day horrors people experience--and we often want to forget. Into the Darkest Corner is told in alternating timelines of 2004 and 2008. In 2004 Catherine Bailey went to a bar in a red silk dress and began an intense relationship with a man she met there, Lee. In 2008 Cathy Bailey lives alone in an apartment, aloof from her co-workers and neighbors, frantically checking and re-checking her locks for fear of her ex-boyfriend, currently in jail.

With every chapter alternating between Catherine and Cathy, it is impossible not to become utterly sucked into this tale. Catherine is young, friendly, flirtatious, and sexy; she drinks into the night, she finds different men to take home every week, and she discards her loneliness in a sea of friends. When she meets Lee--handsome, intelligent, caring--at first neither she nor her friends can believe her luck. While Lee keeps odd work hours and often dodges career-related questions, their relationship is stellar in every other regard--particularly in bed. Yet, week by week, month by month, Catherine begins to realize that her perfect relationship is not quite as it seems. Lee isn't so much besotted with her as he is obsessed with her, eager to control every aspect of her life from who she meets to when and where she meets them.

Reading Catherine's experience, side-by-side with Cathy's present-day problems as a result of her abusive relationship with Lee, is jarring. Catherine and Cathy hardly seem like the same person but, gradually, we can see how Lee's influence has Catherine become the cautious, timid, and often scared heroine that Cathy has become. Cathy suffers from both OCD and PTSD and the vivid descriptions of her symptoms--their direct influence in inhibiting her day-to-day lifestyle--are depressing. I found it difficult to read, particularly as my mother suffers from mild anxiety attacks on occasion and reading of a much more severe version of a similar illness was truly upsetting. Haynes captures Cathy's life so realistically, though, her facts spot-on as Cathy abhors any slight change to her schedule. Including her new neighbor, Stuart. Stuart is a therapist and recognizes Cathy's symptoms upon meeting her but their relationship isn't easy. In fact, juxtaposed with the ease in which Catherine fell into a relationship with Lee it's downright difficult.

But I really, really loved Stuart. First and foremost, he never "saves" or "heals" Cathy. If anything, he gives her the encouragement and support that she needs to seek help and follow her treatment. Moreover, their relationship isn't centered around Cathy's illness but rather around her. Reading Catherine and Lee's volatile relationship is like seeing a painting; the end result without knowing the work that went into it. Even when Catherine likes Lee, before he begins to hurt her, Lee hardly takes the time to get to know the real her, the one beneath the party-going and fun exterior. By the time he should, it's already too late and Catherine is terrified, desperately seeking a way to escape. Suddenly, their entire relationship becomes about Catherine's fear; the desperation she feels as Lee isolates her from her remaining friends and alienates her, alone and hurting. In contrast, Stuart seeks to know Cathy as an individual and as they fall in love, despite the stumbles and mistakes in their courtship, we know it's real; it's genuine and it's here to stay.

Into the Darkest Corner, however, thrives off of suspense. First, it's the suspense in Lee and Catherine's relationship--the unanswered questions. How did Catherine get away? When did they catch Lee? What mistake did he finally make that allowed Catherine to escape? Due to the short, alternating chapters it is never possible to forget Lee. Even when Cathy is moving on and having a good day, we remember Catherine from four years ago and the trauma she suffered--pain that still lives on in the form of scars on Cathy's body or simply the mental torture she's had to live with day-after-day. One of the strongest aspects of this novel was the fact that Lee charmed his way into Catherine's life and systematically turned her friends against her. None of them, let alone her best friend Sylvia, could understand how Catherine could be unhappy with Lee. So what if he was intense? So what if he wanted to know where she was and what she was doing all the time? Didn't she know how lucky she was to have a man whose world revolved around her? Wasn't that the type of man every girl was trying to find? It's a real slap into a reality, both because Catherine's long-time friends choose to believe her short-term boyfriend instead of her and, moreover, because Lee is the kind of man girls are told to find--and that's terrifying. Not the abusive traits, of course, but the bare-bones structure of him is built from the perfect man of our dreams.

All of this only serves to make Lee so much more scarier than he could be otherwise, particularly as he doesn't look or act like an abuser; he just is one. Haynes builds a growing crescendo of suspense, here, as present-day Cathy must cope with the fact that Lee is about to be released from prison--and she's confident he's going to come after her. She doesn't know when he'll find her or how long it'll take him, but she knows that one day she'll wake up, check her apartment, and find Lee there in some form or the other. And that's absolutely terrifying.

Into the Darkest Corner was a novel I couldn't disentangle myself from. I became so worried and protective over Cathy, wanting her to find her own footing in life while simultaneously wanting to whisk her away to Mars so she could escape Lee once and for all. I haven't felt so emotionally attached to a character in awhile and it felt good, frankly, to care so much for this fictional woman and want everything to go right in her world, just for once. I love these stories; the ones that make you forget you're reading and transport you into another reality altogether. Cathy, Stuart, Sylvia, Lee...they're characters I may forget, admittedly, but the overwhelming amount of information shared in this novel about these types of abusive relationships and the suffering they can cause--that I won't forget.

I'd never read or heard of Elizabeth Haynes prior to this novel but, if her writing and command over characters are anything to go by, Into the Darkest Corner certainly won't be my last read by her.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Release Day Review: Storm Siren by Mary Weber


Title: Storm Siren (Storm Siren, #1) 

Author: Mary Weber

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Release Date: August 19th, 2014

The more I ruminate over Storm Siren the less I find to enjoy about it. I found Weber's debut to be remarkable when I originally read it, mainly because I had read the novel in a single sitting and the adrenaline rush that comes from finishing an action-packed book is difficult to beat. It makes it hard to think and upon finishing Storm Siren I was concerned for the future of the series but, still, very much in love with the characters and journey I'd found inside. Now, having put a considerable amount of time and distance between myself and Storm Siren I am able to discern that this novel, while an excellent debut, is by no means flawless. What's more, the narrative lags seem more and more evident upon reflection and I find myself in the tenuous situation of not quite knowing whether or not I'll be picking up the sequel after all.

Storm Siren begins with a clap of thunder as Nym, an Elemental, is forcibly sold at an auction and, upon witnessing the cruelty of a master towards his young slave, retaliates in anger. In Nym's world Elementals are killed at birth and, what's more, are born male. Thus, Nym is an anomaly; she shouldn't exist. With a well of power she is unable to control, however, Nym is dangerous and has accidentally murdered dozens over the course of her short life span. Wracked with guilt and loathsome of her own gifts, Nym finds herself bought by Adora, a noblewoman and court adviser who promises to train Nym. Under Adora's command Nym finds Eogan, the handsome trainer who is immune to Nym's powers and claims to be able to help her harness it.

Nym's journey is a compelling one, particularly as her entire childhood has been spent being bought and sold from one owner to another. With her white hair Nym cannot escape the features which mark her as Elemental and nor can she escape her gift. Storm Siren stands out in large part due to the gradual arc Nym experiences. When she is first bought by Adora Nym resists training with Eogan. Not only does she lack faith in his promises but she doesn't believe in herself either. Thus, to watch her grow with every experience, get up from every set-back, and move forward from a past that has been haunting her is admirable.

Yet, as Nym conquerors her inner demons and finally finds self-confidence, the world around her grows weaker and weaker. Nym, having lived the life of a slave, has traveled extensively throughout the land of Faelen. Not only does she understand the downtrodden lifestyle of these citizens better than she comprehends the opulence of Adora's world but her bond to her country could have easily been felt. Unfortunately, it wasn't. Weber swiftly shifts the focus of the novel from Nym's past as a slave to her present as an Elemental. I found this to be a necessary direction for the novel as a whole but, as far as world-building went, Storm Siren lacks a comfortable balance. Weber provides readers with just enough information to understand the immediate situation on hand. Whether it be the politics, society, or class structure of this realm, Weber is careful to always impart the bare minimum. Thus, while I could follow the story line perfectly, I felt cheated of truly immersing myself in an original and intriguing universe. Towards the end of Storm Siren the political machinations at hand, which have been building throughout the narrative, truly reach a climax and, in those instances, a deeper understanding of the prior bonds, political struggles, and unspoken relationships between the characters would have been invaluable.

Nevertheless, the world-building aside, I didn't find much else to fault with Storm Siren. Granted, Adora's characterization veered on cartoonish, at times, for she is cast as a villain and desperately wants Eogan for herself, threatening Nym if she gets too close to him. Moreover, the conclusion of Storm Siren leaves much to be desired, forcing readers to remain hanging on a cliffhanger of deadly proportions shortly after a massacre that upends the former direction of the plot. I cannot bring myself to be satisfied with a novel that leaves too much up to chance, to fate, to imagination. I needed more concrete answers, particularly after reading an entire narrative composed of character growth and politics and war. Truly, I suspect this is a series to binge-read, back-to-back, or simply drive yourself crazy with curiosity.

For all those qualms, I still enjoyed Storm Siren immensely. Eogan, the mysterious trainer whose job it is to help Nym, is a bundle of surprises and the steady romantic arc built between him and Nym is both tantalizing and heart-breaking. What I love best about Nym and Eogan's relationship is the fact that it is multi-faceted, full of hard truths and unexpected hurdles, but it still remains wonderfully rewarding. Their companionship gives and takes strength in equal measure, which I appreciated, and I only wish for an even greater dose of swoon. In addition to Nym's romance with Eogan, however, another crucial relationship at the heart of Storm Siren is the friendship shared between Nym and Colin. Much like Rossi's Under the Never Sky, there is no love triangle caused by the presence of two men in Nym's life. Instead, while Eogan's support and faith gives Nym the strength to find her self-confidence, Colin's friendship and laughter allows her to embrace life once more and emerge from the shell she once was. Both these bonds are fierce, just as is the respect between Eogan and Colin as Colin, too, is Eogan's student. Together, the three of them are an unstoppable force to be reckoned with and their relationships bring them only closer, not farther.

There is much to love and cherish within the pages of Storm Siren but for fantasy lovers for whom world-building is a deal-breaker, I'd recommend waiting on this one. Its cliffhanger is nasty, the ending is remarkably uncertain, and though Storm Siren begins with such a promising tale I remain in the dark as to where this story is headed next. Sure, I'm curious, but I'm also wary. Storm Siren is a strong YA Fantasy debut but, coming off of the Grisha trilogy, Weber leaves more to be desired. Quite a bit more.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

ARC Review: Visions by Kelly Armstrong


Title: Visions (Cainsville, #2) 

Author: Kelly Armstrong

Rating: 3 Stars

Release Date: August 19th, 2014

Note: Mild spoilers for Omens, the first book in this series follow. I do not believe that the brief spoilers will ruin the series but you can read my review of Omens here.

It is always ever-so-slightly disconcerting to pick up a sequel and read a novel far altered from your expectations. I adored Armstrong's Omens when it released last year, both because of its unique paranormal plot line and its psychologically consuming characters. While neither of these traits have diminished in strength throughout this sequel, they have altered in some capacity. Granted, some are for the better--certainly--but some, sadly, for the worse.

In Omens Olivia, the protagonist of our tale, discovers that she has been adopted and that her biological parents are notorious serial killers, the Larsens. Working with her attorney, the elusive Gabriel Walsh, the two prove that the final two of eight murders committed by the Larsens were falsely accused. Thus, when Visions was announced I immediately assumed that the course of the series would be to continue to prove that Olivia's parents had not, after all, committed a single murder and their daughter would work to contribute evidence to that cause. Instead, Visions presents us with a different sort of mystery on our hands, one far removed from Olivia's true parentage but linked, rather, to the small town she loves: Cainsville.

When Visions begins Olivia witnesses a dead body in her car. One which bears an uncanny resemblance to her. Yet, when Gabriel arrives on the scene the body is missing and no evidence can be found. This body continues to plague Olivia, its head turning up unexpectedly in her bed one night only to vanish just as quickly. Soon enough, Olivia is able to identify the body as belonging to Ciara, a young girl who is distantly related to the town of Cainsville. But as Olivia begins investigating the truth behind Ciara's death and its unexpected link to her, she stumbles upon a secret she just may have been better off knowing. Because both Cainsville, and its residents, are not as they seem...

While I found that aspects of Visions could have easily been omitted--this book is, after all, a hefty volume--the plot is impeccable as always, well-timed, atmospheric, and unique. Perhaps what I love most about Visions is that it reveals a plethora of layers, both the characters we've come to know and the story line we've come to love. Since it touches only briefly upon the subject of the murders Olivia's parents are accused of it can be difficult to find ones bearings amid this novel. While Olivia is diligently tracking down the truth behind Ciara's murder, I couldn't help but seek the connecting draw behind the entire tale. It isn't until the end of Visions that Armstrong hits us with explosive reveals but the hints are present over the course of the narrative and the manner in which Omens bleeds into Visions, creating an even stronger story line than the one before, is remarkable.

Yet, while Armstrong excels in plot she sadly fails in the romance department. Omens seemed to establish a slow-burn romance between Olivia and Gabriel--my absolutely favorite kind--but early in Visions their friendship takes a deep setback. At this point in the tale, Olivia is no longer in shock or grief regarding the truth of her parentage. Thus, as a young woman, she is once again prepared to fill her life with the social standings she needs, boyfriend included. Gabriel, on the other hand, who remained an aloof enigma in Omens, is, by no means, prepared for a relationship as yet in Visions. We grow to learn of his traumatic past and the emotional scarring has left him in a position where he doesn't even view Olivia in a romantic light. While Visions continues to establish the strong connection forged between them and the strength of their friendship shines through and overcomes hurdles, neither Gabriel nor Olivia view each other as anything more than a close, reliable friend.

Consequently, it should come as no surprise to find that Olivia becomes romantically involved with Ricky, the biker we briefly met in Omens. Only, I was surprised. Rationally, I can reason the need for this romance and, certainly, Ricky is a balanced counterpoint to Olivia. Not only does her respect her independence but he never becomes jealous and supports Olivia's friendship with Gabriel. Yet, I honestly felt as if the love scenes in Visions were more than just a little unnecessary and theirs wasn't a romance I enjoyed, frankly. What I do appreciate about Armstrong, however, is that Ricky plays an important role to the plot as a whole beyond simply being Olivia's boyfriend. Moreover, the citizens of Cainsville are against Ricky and Olivia's fling and it is made evident that Ricky and Olivia are not a couple who are here to stay. Thus, while Visions lacks a love triangle the focus on the romance lacked authenticity and I couldn't engage as thoroughly as I'd wanted to as a result of it. Moreover, it completely took me by surprise so, hopefully, future readers can better prepare themselves for an assault of romance in this installment.

Ultimately, Visions excels as the paranormal thriller it is. Armstrong's research is on-point and enriches the atmospheric quality of these novels and, with the manner in which this installment wrapped up, I'm certainly expecting to see both the murder mystery of Omens and the paranormal twists of Visions converge in the next novel. While I remain a twinge nervous about the direction these characters are headed in, I look forward to their arcs; their growth is genuine, their personalities memorable, and their relationships authentic. Not my favorite Armstrong novel by a long-shot but, obviously, a must-read for fans of Omens.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Boomerang by Noelle August


Title: Boomerang (Boomerang, #1) 

Author: Noelle August

Rating: 4 Stars

If Julie James's Practice Makes Perfect had a half-child, Boomerang would be the result. And, since Practice Makes Perfect is my favorite James novel, of course I fell for Boomerang. For those of you who don't know, Practice Makes Perfect chronicles the blooming romance between two lawyers who compete for exactly one prestigious position in their firm. Boomerang, similarly, is the love story of two young, ambitious, and disastrously attractive interns competing for one job opening at Boomerang, an up-and-coming dating site.

Noelle August's debut New Adult novel--an effort co-authored by Veronica Rossi herself--doesn't break new ground in the genre yet, it's still massively entertaining. Boomerang opens with our protagonists, Mia and Ethan, waking up in bed together. Unknowingly, the two wound up celebrating their internship positions together, not knowing that they'd soon be competing for a job. Or, for that matter, that their new company would have a strict policy on inter-office dating. Both Mia and Ethan know they have chemistry--the sparks just won't stop flying!--but for Mia, Boomerang is the opportunity she needs to launch her career as a filmmaker and for Ethan, Boomerang equates to the salary he desperately needs to earn in order to pay back his student loans and afford grad school after his dreams of becoming a soccer star were shut down due to an injury. But, the real question here isn't who will land Boomerang's exclusive position--it's whether Mia and Ethan can abide by company rules and keep their hands off each other...or not?

Alternating from Mia and Ethan's perspectives, Boomerang is the type of romantic comedy that hits all the right queues: targeting the humor, hitting the laughs, and keeping the storyline short and sweet without dragging it longer than necessary. It's a self-aware novel--rare, but necessary, in this particular genre--and though there are a variety of typical tropes such as petty jealousy, they are dealt with in such an honest and forthcoming light that, as readers, we find ourselves charmed instead of irritated. What's more, the characters have valid reasons--beyond plot-spun dilemmas--to prolong their happily-ever-after. Both Mia and Ethan have been burned by their past relationships and coping with the aftermath of those tragic romances have molded these two into different, more cautious, individuals. Thus, to jump into a relationship--real life consequences and job hunt be damned--isn't quite as easy as it seems for Mia and especially for Ethan with his financial difficulties.

In the small details, Boomerang shone. Mia, the daughter of a famous photographer and a self-made father, wants nothing more than to rise to success on her own two feet. Unlike typical protagonists following this storyline, her goal isn't to escape from the shadow of her parents but rather to find her own artistic voice separate from theirs. It seems like an identical concept, but the subtle differences truly make a change. Mia's ambition, her love for film, and particularly her drive to chronicle her Alzheimer's suffering grandmother on video are all such raw, true glimpses into who she truly is, teasing at the type of naivety and emotion found only amongst the New Adult age group, that Boomerang benefits from it. Ethan, as well, struggling under the burden of not having quite enough to live by comfortably but, at the same time, not wanting to trouble his parents represents a much more relate-able lifestyle. One line, in particular, where he remarks that his parents are currently putting his younger brother through college and really can't afford to pitch in for day-to-day expenses like his rent--those thoughts felt all-too authentic. Now, heading off to college myself with a younger brother in the house, these are the tragic thoughts I know will plague me some day as well.

While Boomerang still stumbled in areas, namely the sexual tension between the love interests steaming up the page far more than the actual sex did (kind of a bummer, not going to lie...), I found this debut to be full of charm and oozing with promise. Mia thinks to herself, at one point, that being out of college and in the "real" world, sustaining a job and building a career, still feels like playing at adulthood. For me, Boomerang hit the nail with one-liners like these which mirrored my own tumultuous and confused thoughts about growing up all-too-well. (Seriously, internships feel like dress-up! I traveled to NYC for a research internship all of last summer and sitting on the train every morning with actual adults who made money and paid taxes felt far too surreal.) Needless to say, I'll be picking up the companion novel to Boomerang once it releases and I certainly hope Noelle August continue to write honest, open, and downright entertaining romances--I certainly won't be tiring of them anytime soon.