Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Review: Sofie Waits by Amanda Hamm

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Amber was Sofie’s first friend at a new school and they’ve been inseparable ever since. She’s been the source of countless laughs and occasional dares. She supported Sofie through college and carried her through her mom’s battle with cancer. But if Amber is her rock, Austin is Sofie’s hard place. He’s the only guy she’s ever loved. She can’t tell anyone because he’s also Amber’s brother.

Sofie has spent eleven years trapped between her feelings for Austin and her loyalty to Amber, who would be horrified to find out about those feelings. Now something has happened, something that means Sofie’s feelings for Austin are no longer a secret. Sofie can’t avoid the fallout forever, and it might not be anything like she expected.

My source for book: Review Copy
My Thoughts:
This story is told through alternating past/present timelines, and both timelines also have alternating points of view (switching between Sofie and Austin). Initially I was a bit skeptical about this format, but it was actually fairly interesting to see how things were revealed in one timeline and then became relevant in the other. I do think this format slightly delayed my bonding with the characters due to the shifting times, but I did eventually come to like them all. 

I was quite amused by the obsession that Austin's dad had with croquet and the way he always roped everyone else into it. Quirky stuff like this is something that I always appreciate as it makes stories more memorable for me. I was also very amused by Austin's need to consciously remind himself how truly nice one of his relatives is, despite the fact that she caused inconvenience to his plans. This is SO realistic and something that I (shamefully) can relate to, which I think made it even more amusing to me.

The alternating timelines (past/present) isn't my favorite style of storytelling, but I do have to admit that it makes for a unique reading experience. Overall I enjoyed the story as a whole, though not quite as much as some of the author's other work. Still, I'm glad I had the chance to read it and I'm anxious to continue on and check out the next book in the "Coffee and Donuts" series when it's released.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review: Love in the Details by Becky Wade

Book Cover and Synopsis:
When Josh returns to his hometown of Martinsburg, Texas, to help his best friend get married, he didn’t intend to run into church wedding coordinator—and ex-girlfriend—Holly. He can’t help but pine after the girl he never got over.

Holly broke up with Josh years ago in an attempt to ensure his future success. But she loved him then and still loves him now. As she helps him plan his best friend’s wedding, she can’t help but feel horrible for the pain she caused him. And even though she longs to be with Josh, she doesn’t feel worthy of his big-time lifestyle when she is more comfortable in her small town world. Will Josh and Holly be able to keep things as they are when their true feelings threaten to surface at every turn?

My source for book: Review Copy
My Thoughts:
This novella has some fun and quirky things that I thought were really unique touches to the story. These little things really added some amusement, such as a senior neighbor who always tries to get Holly to bring her things like Depends and Efferdent. I also enjoyed the pact between Holly and her friend to eat at every restaurant in town during one year. This in particular was really clever and I actually feel like a whole novel could be built around it.

As for the relationship between Holly and Josh--which is the main plot--unfortunately it just didn't grab me like I hoped. Personally I'm not a big fan of breakups that revolve around one person sacrificially doing it for the good of the other, and the basis of the story here is ultimately about the long-term effects and results of that situation. I tried but I simply couldn't get as invested in it as I previously have with the author's full length novels. I'm not sure if this is simply due to the novella length or to the overall plot, but I suspect it may be a combination of both.

Overall the novella isn't "bad" by any means, but it's just not exactly my cup of tea and I doubt it will be very memorable for me in the long run. I'm glad I read it though because I do like Becky's work and there's always something fun to be found, such as the quirky things I mentioned above. If you're a fan of Becky Wade then you should definitely give it a try. If you've previously never read any of Becky's work you can still go ahead and give this one a shot, but just remember that her full length novels are even better than this one.

My Rating: 3 stars

Thanks to the publisher (Zondervan) for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley.