Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Review: Forever, Jack by Natasha Boyd

Title: Forever, Jack
Series: Eversea #2
Author: Natasha Boyd
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Published: 11/26/2013
Publisher: NPRB
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance

DESCRIPTION
"A feisty small-town girl and the Hollywood star who broke her heart

An all-consuming love threatened by fame

One last chance at FOREVER

Keri Ann Butler's life changed on the night she met movie star, Jack Eversea. She thought she knew a Jack that was very different to the man adored by fans the world over. In the wake of his betrayal and abandonment, Keri Ann has had to pick up and move forward with the life she was supposed to live and has put off far too long.

Suddenly Jack is back, and his explanations for why he left seem more and more plausible, and his declarations more seductive. But being Jack's latest tabloid accessory isn't on Keri Ann's career agenda, no matter how much she is attracted to him. And how can she ever trust him again?

Jack knows he let the only 'real' thing that ever happened to him slip through his fingers. And his hands have been tied to try and stop it. Until Now.

Jack is now fighting to save his relationship with Keri Ann, even as his crazy life threatens to tear them apart. Again. The question is, can he convince her she can have it all? And have him? Forever?"


 SUMMARY
 
This sequel to Eversea picks up exactly where the first book ended: with that huge cliffhanger! Jack is left implementing some major damage control—for his career and his life. He then tries to convince Keri Ann to take a chance on them despite all the disruption it will cause to her simple life. Therein lies the major conflict in this story. How can Keri Ann remain true to herself, deal with public perception and the lack of privacy, and be with the Jack Eversea? How can Jack remain the world famous superstar he is and still be just Jack to his Keri Ann? The story is set in the fictitious South Carolina coastal town of Butler Cove, in Savannah, Georgia, and on Daufuskie Island. The secondary characters are: Jack's best friend, Devon Brown, Keri Ann's bestie, Jessica "Jazz" Fraser, and brother, Joey Butler. I certainly cannot not mention Keri Ann's tenant, Mrs. Weaton, who is a colorful and loveable character! Forever, Jack is a contemporary romance 279 pages in length, and in first person narrative from both Jack and Keri Ann's perspectives, each for several consecutive chapters. For those wanting an epilogue, it has one. If you're a seeker of happily-ever-afters, Forever, Jack  sets one up very nicely! If you're wanting to know if there is a third book, then you may get what you want there, too. Natasha Boyd shared something about that right here.


MY THOUGHTS
 
I first read Eversea a week after it was originally published in June 2012 and had this to say:

"From the suitable and simply stunning cover through the mesmeric story to the dramatic conclusion, I was engrossed in Eversea. I was in a daze and not quite aware of what was happening around me. When I reached the last page, I wished only to continue with the story. (The ending is a cliffhanger.) Alas, the second book in the Eversea Series, Forever, Jack is not expected until November 2013."

Eversea
by Natasha Boyd
Self-published 06/05/2012
Republished: 11/26/2013
Publisher: NPRB

What initially captured my attention with Eversea was the stunning cover, and that allurement continues with the cover of Forever, Jack. Truthfully, I believe them to be the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen. And if Eversea was a five-star read for me, then Forever, Jack feels like ten stars because the things I admired about the first book were doubly enhanced in the second.

What I initially found likeable about Keri Ann and Jack in Eversea was dramatically intensified while reading Forever, Jack, as was my affection for Jazz, Joey, and Mrs. Weaton. All of them have come into their own and have become so much more interesting. The narration and dialogue flows beautifully. Jack, in particular, who was sort of a master craftsman, has become a master with words.
“I don’t know how to go back to where we were, to what we had,” he breathed softly, “to what we were supposed to be.” He paused again. “What we are meant to be.”
As a self-proclaimed voracious reader of romance, many times I've found myself cringing over dialogue that felt inept. Words that a character should never have thought or spoken can ruin an otherwise sexy or romantic scene for me. I can state, unequivocally, that did not happen even once in this book! I never got that "corny" vibe—only a romantic one. I didn't feel the overall story was overwhelmed by any specific element. Each aspect of it—their routine lives—all the different but intertwined relationships—dealing with Jack's fame, and the perfect amount of regional history and culture—all added up to a perfectly blended story I was to loath to set aside for any reason, especially sleeping! Fortunately (or unfortunately), I finished it within a day. I know I don't have to leave my favorite characters or stories behind when I finish, since I am not averse to revisiting them. I reread Eversea immediately before Forever, Jack, which Natasha Boyd released four days earlier than expected! I feel the details she includes are enlightening and enhance the story, rather than making it drag.

Another subplot of some romantic books that I feel is often mishandled is when the hero and/or heroine must weigh the reasons they should or shouldn't be together. I get the necessity of the whole back-and-forth, pros and cons thing, but overdoing it only makes the characters come across as wishy-washy and irritatingly indecisive. In other words, I lose interest and couldn't care less if they get together or not. This also did not happen in Forever, Jack...WHEW! Keri Ann's doubts seem absolutely reasonable:
The idea of Ashley going around saying she and Jack had done stuff just about gave me hives. It didn’t matter that I knew they hadn’t. Perception was fact. I shuddered. What about when he was away on a movie and this happened? Would I be so sure it wasn’t true then? Did I fully trust Jack? Was I a secure enough person?
There were several literary analogies I enjoyed very much, for example this one is from Keri Ann:
I knew I couldn’t have Jack in moderation. I wasn’t capable of it. I’d opened my whole heart to him already, and it had ended in a nightmare. All I could do now was put the deadbolt on, close the shades, and pray for daylight.
The most scrumptious storyline involves the centerpiece of Keri Ann's first art exhibit. Let me tell you, there is a scene from Keri Ann's point of view that gave me the chills and had me squee-ing like mad! A hint: it involves black tie dress, a surprise visit, and Keri Ann and Jack having their first telephone conversation.

Okay, so let's get to the good stuff! The romance. The declarations of love. The sizzling chemistry. The sex. YES!  This more eloquent Jack sure steps up his game! Oh, the beautiful words that boy speaks to his Keri Ann...*hand to forehead swoon* An Eversea-ing example:
"I want to build you a library.”
Uh-oh. Although this may be one of the most romantic gestures a person could make to their lover (of books), it's not the most romantic thing Jack said to Keri Ann. Let's try this instead:
 "...The way I feel about you was never a decision. It just was. I was made to love you. I never fell, I was already there. From the very first moment.”
 Oh, yeah, that'll do. :)

As a lifelong horse lover, I also appreciated the inclusion of them in relation to a movie scouting subplot. I had not heard of Carolina Marsh Tacky horses and enjoyed reading more about them since finishing the book. Although not a fan of horse racing, the little race that Jack and Joey had on Daufuskie Island was written so, um, appealingly I completely forgot I didn't like horse racing. Heh.
Then he [Jack] walked back with a smirk, held onto the mane of his horse, and leaped up onto its back in one smooth motion. Oh. My. God.
To which Jazz "squeaked," and I totally got:
“I think I just orgasmed.”
Things I Liked: The cover, the beautiful turtle and journal graphics, and the rest of the formatting. The sizzling hot, yet emotional connection between Jack and Keri Ann. Mrs. Weaton and Jazz, who pretty much steal every scene they are in! The music playlist that Natasha Boyd includes at the end!

Things I Didn't Like: A teeny-tiny little thing, really. A couple or three times when plurals of "so" and "why" were made possessives. Two more things (well, characters) I didn't like were Audrey Lane and Tom Price, who were both despicable!

I Would Recommend it to: Readers looking for a committed romantic hero and an artistic and strong-minded young woman with sass.


 HIGHLIGHTS
 
“Listen. Not by looking at me, not by remembering who I am and why you don’t believe me. Don’t look at me and see the guy in the media. The guy you think I am after what I did. Listen to me.” ~ Jack

~*~

Forevermore, people would assume she became well-known due to her association with me. She’d be stuck in whatever seedy story Audrey spun for eternity. I can’t honestly think of anything worse. For anyone. ~ Jack

~*~

“It’s typical that someone from California would be the one to show us what a freaking amazing part of the world we live in.” ~ Joey

~*~

“Sometimes I think you were dropped on this earth out of the belly of a mothership. How does that not excite you?” ~ Jazz


My autographed copy received 01/15/2015!



Remembering Mother After Fifty Years

This day marks the fiftieth anniversary of my mother's death. I'm not that much older, so it does indeed mean I was very young when she lost her five year fight with cancer. Each year when there's talk of the anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination this personal anniversary, eight days later, begins a countdown. How many years has it been? Each year adds another, until today it's a momentous number—FIFTY. A half-century ago three young girls lost their mother and their lives changed irrevocably.


My oldest sister remembers her the most, my middle sister remembered her...differently, and I remember her—not at all. 

In commemoration of the short life of the much-loved mother in my non-existent memories—her grandchildren, when they were very young:







In Loving Memory of

Patricia DeCosta Hill

14 May 1930 - 30 Nov 1963



Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review: Remy by Katy Evans

Title: Remy
Series: Real #3
Author: Katy Evans
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Published: 11/26/2013
Publisher: Gallery
Genre(s): Contemporary Erotic Romance

DESCRIPTION

"New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans expands upon the intense love story begun in Real--this time from Remington "Riptide" Tate's point of view.

Underground fighter Remington Tate is a mystery, even to himself. His mind is dark and light, complex and enlightening. At times his actions and moods are carefully measured, and at others, they spin out of control.

Through it all, there's been one constant: wanting, needing, loving, and protecting Brooke Dumas. This is his story; from the first moment he laid eyes on her and knew, without a doubt, she would be the realest thing he's ever had to fight for."

SUMMARY
 
In this self-titled third installment in The Real Series, we experience how dramatically life has changed for Remington Tate since meeting Brooke Dumas. In first person narrative and in alternating points in time—past and present, Remy recounts the story of their first meeting, their intense relationship, traveling and fighting on the Underground circuit, the birth of their child, and their wedding. Most of the book takes place in hotels and Underground rings around the country. At 272 pages, this is an intense several-hour read. Remy's devoted team: Pete, Riley, Lupe, and Diane are present, as are Brooke's best friend, Melanie, and sister, Nora. The final chapter is in Brooke's point-of-view and ends in a perfectly proprietary way!

MY THOUGHTS
 
Remy arrived on my reading device early in the morning and, by 4:30 a.m, I was already several chapters in. This is REMINGTON TATE here folks—sleep does not matter! As much as I am smitten with Remy, I am inexplicably infatuated with him and Brooke as a couple. I think the word primal is most often used to describe Remy; he does rely heavily on his instincts—for survival, fighting, and loving his Brooke. Remy is all about stalking, scenting, feeding, protecting, and mating with his woman! But, here's the thing—Brooke is his warrior woman, his "Little Firecracker" and she is just as protective of her man. That she is willing to fight for him, care for him, and worry about him, makes her his "Mine."
...she loves me, and she’s all I’ve ever wanted. Stronger than I imagined, more female than I ever imagined. Funny and nurturing, vulnerable and sassy. I love her so much my chest hurts...
 The popularity of the alpha-male character in today's erotic romances is astounding. Dealing with assertive and dominant fictional men is...doable. In real life? Not so much. Ah, but the Remington that Katy Evans wrote so deliciously? He is a badass and occasionally, even a caveman, but he never demeans Brooke or treats her cruelly. He is a REAL man and knows how to treat his woman. Besides, theirs is a mutually carnal relationship. Brooke gives as good as she gets! ;)
 
In this series there are several points of conflict; the most powerful one, in my mind, is Remy's conflicting moods—his bi-polar disorder: mania ("speedy") and depression ("black"). His self-awareness serves him well. He takes care of his body, he has a dedicated team, and in Brooke (and Racer) he has the loving family he'd not had before.

Nobody told me I was a fighter, or that I could be a friend, a son, or a companion. All the medics told me was I was bipolar.

The other major conflict has to do with his evil opponent, the antagonist in the series, Benny the Black Scorpion; every time he is mentioned the story becomes ominous. His toxicity knows no bounds when it comes to Remy and those Remy cares about. In this conflict, Remy certainly prevails because Riptide stings The Scorpion into submission in the rather gruesome "anything goes" championship fight.

Things I Liked: I found Remington's narration and inner dialogue captivating, albeit extremely, um, colorful! For a man of few words, Katy Evans did him proud! In general, I don't care for flashbacks and the like, but I feel the story is enhanced by repeatedly alternating between past and present. You know how sometimes romance books about a couple stray away from that couple...a lot? Well, that did not happen here. :) This is pretty much Remy and Brooke all...the...time. ::::::SQUEEEEEE::::::

Things I Did Not Like: The proper noun, "God", not being capitalized many, many times! Several instances of one and two-word sentences, which I had difficulty articulating.

  • I check by the elevators and then angrily push back through the entire crowd, and Brooke. Is. Gone.
  • She could leave me. Any. F***ing. Day. Again.
  • "...You were all I wanted to see. All. I wanted. To see,” I quietly tell her.

I Would Recommend it to: Mature readers (18+) who would enjoy a story with an impassioned and primal couple, lots of dirty talk and expletives, and the whole gorgeous fighter thing.

The Next Installment: Rogue is fourth book in The Real Series and has a scheduled publication date of July 29, 2014.

 HIGHLIGHTS
 
I’ve fought all my life to stay sane. To keep focused, driven, and centered. But tonight, I fight to show one woman my worth. ~ Remy

~*~

I’m drawn to her strength and her sweetness, her bravado that makes me want to push and tease her, that draws me out of my own cave, my own walls, if only just to chase her and bring her back to my cave with me. ~ Remy

~*~

I feel her softly kiss the top of my head as she runs her fingertips through my scalp. This is the way I want to die one day. With her at my side, our bodies touching. I won’t need to say anything, and she won’t need to hear it, because she gets me. ~ Remy

~*~

And my brain goes quiet and my heart is calm and my life is at a standstill, and the pendulum that I am, all the swinging to and fro, finally stops and I feel like I finally found my center. ~ Remy

~*~

“Mind. Body. Soul. All of you for me. All of you mine  .  .  . Marry me, Brooke Dumas.”
~ Remy