Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway | Love May Fail by Matthew Quick -with Audiobook Notes

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
Published by Harper

Publish Date: June 16, 2015
Source: Book - Publisher, Audio - Purchased
Find It: Goodreads / Amazon 

"It doesn't matter how I got here. What I do with the puzzle pieces that are now in front of me—that's what matters.
Save Mr. Vernon.
My three-word quest.
Why I'm here in this time and space."

Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself back in South Jersey, a place that remains largely unchanged from the years of her unhappy youth. Lost and alone, looking for the goodness she believes still exists in the world, Portia sets off on a quest to save the one man who always believed in her—and in all of his students: her beloved high school English teacher, Mr. Vernon, who has retired broken and alone after a traumatic classroom incident.

Will a sassy nun, an ex–heroin addict, a metalhead little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt Portia's chances on this quest to resurrect a good man and find renewed hope in the human race? Love May Fail is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be. 

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

My Thoughts:  Every time Matthew Quick releases another novel into the world, I feel like it's Christmas or maybe even my birthday. I wasn't too sure where Love May Fail was taking me when I began it - this author is instant-read for me and it had been a while since I'd read the summary - but this is where I get to trust the author and enjoy the ride. I love this and it paid off. By the end of the book, I found myself working hard to stay at my emotional baseline (I failed) and truthfully I ended the day much better for having made this story a part of it.

The story begins with Portia Kane, who ends an unhealthy marriage to a wealthy man. She travels home to her mentally unwell mother, immediately remembering why being home is so difficult in the first place. Portia has decided to pursue a dream that she buried long-ago: she wants to write fiction. Nobody made a bigger impression on her than one of her high school teachers, Mr. Vernon. Portia learns while at breakfast with her mother (phew, such a chore) that Mr. Vernon is no longer teaching after something huge happened to him while teaching, and this effectively drove him from the classroom.  Now he just lives a private life with his dog and his cane out in the middle of nowhere and his world is a much different place. 

Portia thinks this is awful. Portia, with some encouragement, makes it a mission of hers to get Mr. Vernon back in front of a classroom...basically without regard to whether or not Mr. Vernon wants to be back in front of a classroom. 

Ahem. Good luck, Portia!

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Ahhh. So there are a few things that I can expect when I read adult fiction by Matthew Quick: Colorful, interesting characters in both the main and secondary casts. Humor infused throughout the storyline to break up all of the serious, because the serious is there, because life is serious, and because the characters have ya know, things going on in life. (We all do.) My heart to feel squeezed when I'm finished with the book, like the story is actually hugging me. I'm being serious. 

This is Portia's story, her journey if you will, from one place in her life to another. But it is also the story of three other people: Mr. Vernon, Chuck Bass, and Sister Maeve. These people are all connected in the craziest, most amazing way and even though it takes patience to see their story come full circle, IT IS SO WORTH IT. The story is told in four points-of-view, so there are four unique voices telling the tale. I tried not to have a favorite, I really did - but ultimately I could not help it. 

I fell so hard for Chuck Bass, the 90's hair-band-loving ex-drug-addict/family guy. Chuck struggles to be somebody now that he's clean. He's an amazing uncle to his sister's child and once he reconnects with (and falls for) former classmate Portia Kane, he worries that he may never really be enough, at least compared to the wealthy husband she used to have. His story is fantastic, his actions are fantastic, and the love he has is so great, particularly the love he has for his nephew. 

I love the other characters too. Two characters in particular that I love that did not get their own POV's are Portia's mother and Sister Maeve's nun-friend. I just tend to love character-driven stories and I'm always so amazed at what Matthew Quick gives us. I felt such a connection to this one because I too have that one teacher in high school that was so, so inspiring to me and really set a course for my whole life. He's the one that I think of almost, if not, every single day because of the difference he made in my life. That teacher is a super-huge topic of conversation in my house between my husband and I because he made a huge impact on him too. I'm not sure how Mr. Quick manages to write to the very core of me with all of his books, but he just does, and he did it again, and I loved it. It wasn't only with the high school teacher part of the story; it was with the issues of relationships, with family, with following your dreams, with taking care of people we love, with so many things inside of this book. And yet it never, ever felt too heavy. 


There is a whole lotta story in this book, and it is such a good time. 

I know I keep talking about these characters and how much I love them, but I think that this book is so character-driven and heartwarming because of the people that make up the story. The thing that I love most about all of these characters is that they are all flawed, in need of connection, and seeking something more. I think the author did a great job with presenting these very-developed parts of these people, and I appreciate this because I feel each of these things too, just a little differently (and, you know, not fictionally). We all have different stories and this is theirs. 


Ultimately, to me, this book is about chance and also second chance. And love, all types of love. This book made me feel good, but there were points throughout that made me tear up and take a deep breath or two. That's how life is, right? YES. 

This is all exactly why I'm such a fan of this author's work. It feels very realistic to me and yet there is humor. There is humor to real life, see. 

I recommend Love May Fail by Matthew Quick for fans of second chances, great relationships, and great characterization. I love that Mr. Quick's books are all so different and yet they are all so very distinctly his voice. I think that fans of his other books will likely enjoy this one. I purchased this book in audiobook format as well because this will be a reread for me. 


Audiobook Notes: The audiobook format of Love May Fail by Matthew Quick is published by Harper Audio and is 12 hours and 5 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by a full cast, which works in particular in the case of this book's structure given that it is written in four parts, representing the four different storytellers. Each of the narrators are new to me and I liked them all very much. I have to say that listening to the story added another depth to it - I expected this - and it made certain characters practically leap off of the pages. In particular, I enjoyed Portia's mother even more because of hearing her, I think. I bought this audiobook to go along with my paperback and I loved this decision. I recommend this audio for those considering Love May Fail as a first-time read or a reread. I'll be listening in future rereads for sure. 


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Love May Fail will appeal to fans of:

Adult Contemporary Fiction 
Romance: No Triangle. 
Great Characterization
Humor
Alternating POV's
Second chances. 

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick
is currently available for purchase.

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Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Find Matthew Quick:  Website /  Twitter / Facebook 

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Thanks to the generosity of HarperCollins 
and Author Matthew Quick, I am able to offer one copy of 
LOVE MAY FAIL to a lucky reader! 

(US Only) * (Ends June 15) 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Review | Crave by Melissa Darnell

Crave by Melissa Darnell
Series: The Clann #1
Published by Harlequin Teen
Publish Date: October 25, 2011
Source: Publisher
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon 


Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.


For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences. (Goodreads) 


Crave by Melissa Darnell

My Thoughts:  Crave by Melissa Darnell is the first book in The Clann Series , featuring Savannah Colbert and Tristan Coleman. Savannah and Tristan were the best of friends when they were younger, but their families forced them to end their friendship when they were still very young. They were not given exact reasons why. To this day, the descendants of The Clann continue to harass and bully Savannah both at school and outside of school, to the point she is practically an outcast. 

The Clann is a group of powerful witches that live scattered among the population of Jacksonville, Texas. 

Half-witch, half-vampire Savannah lives with her mother and grandmother, both witches that were exiled from The Clann in years past. They have been forbidden to teach Savannah any magic at all. Savannah has never understood the reason for the way Clann descendants treat her. Thankfully, she has one or two good friends and her dancing to keep her grounded. 

Early in the story, Savannah misses several days of school because of a strange sickness. When she comes back, there is something different about her - her friends can't quite discern the reason for this change. Savannah also notices that nearly everyone is responding differently to her, some with excessive admiration which she finds very uncomfortable. Over time, she also notices other changes occurring, for example: her ability to dance has gone from not-very-good to better-than-anyone-else-at-school, and she eventually develops bloodlust. 

Tristan is part of The Clann's head family - he is also a powerful witch. After having a crush on her for years, he hates that he has to stay away from Savannah. He nor the rest of the descendants have any idea that Savannah is part-vampire; they are only following the instructions of The Clann by staying away from her. Tristan's feelings toward Savannah grow to a point where he cannot deny them any longer and he chooses NOT to stay away from her, no matter the cost. 



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I was initially drawn to Crave because the cover is so pretty. Admittedly, I've had this entire series on my Kindle for a few years. I put off reading it only because I saw some mixed reviews of this first book when it first released and I wanted to start the series without any influence. I think this was a really good decision. I ended up reading thru the entire book in just a few hours because I got caught up in the story. This is not the deepest paranormal story that I've ever read, but I found it very entertaining. 

I liked Savannah. Reading her, I felt like I got a good handle on her character, what she had dealt with over the past few years, and what she was dealing with presently as her entire life began to change. Savannah's story didn't have a big coming-of-age feel to it; it felt more like a transition from thinking she is one thing to learning she is truly something different. Savannah is pretty honest with readers about how she feels by way of her thoughts and her dialogue - not all of her family/friends were privy to her entire thought processes, which made the story more interesting. Sometimes Savannah made some not-great decisions and I felt a little frustrated with her, but certainly this allows for some character grown across the series. Savannah has great friends and a great family and she appreciates these people. I love these well-written relationships. 

Also regarding Savannah: (scroll over to read, may be kind-of spoilery for some)With all of the changes associated with her turn into part-vampire, it seemed like Savannah was either slow to realize she was becoming a vampire or slow to want to admit this - this put her friends and family in danger. I couldn't really tell which, but it kept jumping out to me that perhaps she should realize what is going on over and over. I mean, I didn't like the story any less, but I did think this about her more than once while I was reading.

I like Tristan too. At the end of the book, I feel like I know Savannah more, but I do like Tristan very much. I like that he wants to make his own plans for his future instead of move ahead with what his parents have laid out for him. I like the fact that he pushed back against the Clann rules that didn't feel right to him, especially the rule about contact with Savannah. I like that he sticks up for Savannah when she is being bullied by members of his own Clann. He is respectful of Savannah and I love this.

Both Savannah and Tristan are different people at the end of this book than they were at the beginning, and I'm curious about where the rest of this series will take them. 

The romance between these two is very slow, built on top of a crush that already exists for both of them. For a couple of reasons, 
Savannah was unsure of Tristan's intentions. Because he really liked her, he was patient and respectful -- he took his time proving to her that he was not like the other guys, that he liked her truly, not because of her new, special, unusual circumstances. He also proved to her that he had always liked her and that his feelings were genuine and deep. 

Crave was a fun read. It felt convenient plot-wise, yes. But in truth, I have never gotten tired of this type of story and I was transported someplace else while I read this, which is the main reason that I read anyway. FURTHER and even better, I think that my entire house could read this book - it felt safe for all-ages readers. I would recommend Crave to readers that enjoy young adult paranormal stories with romance. 

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Crave will appeal to fans of:

Young Adult Paranormal with Romance
Romance: Slow. No triangle. 
Alternating POV's

Crave by Melissa Darnell
is currently available for purchase.

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More by Melissa Darnell:




 
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