Monday, February 23, 2015

Review: Fighting Silence by Aly Martinez


Sound is an abstract concept for most people. We spend our lives blocking out the static in order to focus on what we believe is important. But what if, when the clarity fades into silence, it's the obscure background noise that you would give anything to hold on to?

I've always been a fighter. With parents who barely managed to stay out of jail and two little brothers who narrowly avoided foster care, I became skilled at dodging the punches life threw at me. Growing up, I didn’t have anything I could call my own, but from the moment I met Eliza Reynolds, she was always mine. I became utterly addicted to her and the escape from reality we provided each other. Throughout the years, she had boyfriends and I had girlfriends, but there wasn't a single night that I didn’t hear her voice.

You see, meeting the love of my life at age thirteen was never part of my plan. However, neither was gradually going deaf at the age of twenty-one.

They both happened anyway.

Now, I'm on the ropes during the toughest battles of my life.
Fighting for my career.
Fighting the impending silence.
Fighting for her.

Every night, just before falling asleep, she sighs as a final conscious breath leaves her.

I think that's the sound I'll miss the most.

Each book in this series can be read as a standalone.


5 out of 5 stars

I first became a fan of this author with her Wrecked and Ruined series and when I saw the sign ups for this book, I jumped on the chance to read it.  The books I have read (and reviewed) were all 5 star reads.  I loved the plots, the characters, the way the story flowed off the pages.  I had no doubt that I would enjoy Fighting Silence, but I had no idea that "enjoy" would be a total understatement.

Y' love for this book knows no limits.

Let me put it to you this way...after I finished reading Fighting Silence, I proposed to Aly Martinez.  

She said yes.  And I have the tweets to prove it.

I'm not even sure where to start when it comes to Fighting Silence.   As I've said from the very beginning of my blogging days, I am an emotionally driven reader.  Aly has never let me down in that department, but what I got from Fighting Silence was so much more than I was expecting.  The vulnerability in her added a depth to this story that knocked my socks off.

Till and Eliza.  Maybe it was that their story starts when they are thirteen.  Maybe it is their "apartment".  Maybe it was the fact that they were friends first and foremost.  I don't know how to describe it, but I absolutely fell in love with them as individuals and as a couple.  They make sense, they complement each other, they just work in a way that I celebrated and cried and laughed and fist pumped and unf'd and felt all the feels for them.

I made a comment to another blogger today about how I wasn't sure how to write this review.  How to translate "puffy heart eyes and stupid grins" into coherent thoughts and reasons.  What I should have done was take live actions shots of my face as I read and posted them in chronological order because there were so many cheesy grins and flails and tears...and all of them were integral to the story.  There wasn't a single part of the story that didn't make sense.  It all worked.  It all fit together like this perfect emotional puzzle.

I cannot wait to see where she takes this series.  Till and Eliza...their story ends where it should and I'm content.  But Flint and Quarry - Till's brothers -- they have so much to give and I know Aly will do wonderful things.

I've struggled recently with this blog, not really wanting to read or write reviews and I have seriously considered riding off into the bookish sunset -- but Fighting Silence has reminded me just how much fun it is to get excited about a book and how much fun it is to talk about it.

Thank you, Aly.  I look forward to starting our life together :)


"That wasn't yours to take away," he exploded into the otherwise silent night. His words echoed off the surrounding buildings, each wave slicing me to the quick all over again. "That was our place. Not yours." His voice cracked right alongside my heart.

"Yeah, well, there was a lot of stuff that wasn't yours to take either." I held his gaze, desperately trying to be strong, but as his eyes grew wide, I whimpered.

His long legs strode forward, stopping only inches away from me. He was crowding me, but he still leaned in closer to my face. "There is nothing in this world that was ever more mine than you," he stated. Though it was the absolute truth, I wished with all my heart that it were a lie.

"Till," I cried, swiping the tears from my eyes.

"Why!" he shouted, causing his muscles to tense under the force. "Goddamn it! I needed that place."

Porch lights flashed on from the surrounding apartments, illuminating not only the dark but also my rage.

I shoved my hands into his chest. "What about what I needed? You left! I waited in that fucking apartment for weeks."

He didn't budge, but my bare feet slipped, sending me toward the ground. Impossibly fast, Till's hand snaked out and caught my arm. I didn't let his chivalrous gesture douse my fire. I had six months’ worth of words to say to the man I was irrevocably in love with.

"You took what you wanted. Then you left me."

"Doodle," he whispered.

I had been perilously close to the edge of insanity, and with one single word, he’d pushed me over.

I lost it completely.

Pounding my fists against his chest, I screamed at the top of my lungs, "It's Eliza! My name is fucking Eliza! Not Doodle!" I spun to march away, but Till's arms folded around me, lifting me off my feet to restrain me.

I was miniscule compared to him. There was no use in fighting, but I still kicked my legs, irrationally desperate to get away from him—but only because I knew I couldn't keep him for forever.

"Stop it!" he growled into my ear. "I know your Goddamn name—probably better than I know my own."

 Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.  
After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Fading Out (Living Heartwood #3) by Trisha Wolfe

Love means fading out so another shines brighter.

Right clothes. Right school. Right fiancé. As a Wyndemere, Arian's expected to abide by the rules. The most important: be perfect. But Arian's seemingly flawless life is far from it. An embarrassing expulsion from her parents' alma mater spirals an already unhealthy obsession out of control, exposing a dark truth.

Faced with having to attend a small private college after a stint in rehab, Arian's just ready to coast under the radar and repair some of the wreckage, but her father's looming control is like a vise choking off her air supply.

When a run-in with Braxton's beloved star quarterback, Ryder Nash, puts Arian squarely in the crosshairs of his devoted teammates, the last of her controlled, orderly world unhinges. As the pranks and paybacks escalate, Arian and Ryder's rivalry takes a passionate turn. And once Arian glimpses beneath the all-star-athlete exterior Ryder projects, she realizes he's far more than just a jock.

As their relationship intensifies, outside forces feel the threat. Outrunning their pasts doesn't mean history won't repeat itself, but Ryder can't let that happen. He's just one Championship game away from breaking the mold. Only one moment, one choice, might change everything.


4 out of 5 stars

Fading Out is the third book in the Living Heartwood series and the third book I've read by Trisha Wolfe.  I've been all in since the very beginning -- which is saying something because I'm notorious for not seeing things through to the end.

What I like so much about these books is that yes, they are a series, but no - they don't have to be read AS a series.  Make sense?  There are characters that carry over from previous books, and characters that show up in future books, but they're not an integral part of each book.  So if you want to pick up with book 3...pick up with book 3.  You'll be fine.

And I love that.   (I think a big part of it is the fact that I don't like to be told what to read so knowing the flexibility is there is a definite plus).   Not to mention that Trisha Wolfe doesn't shy away from the tough topics.  Her books are New Adult, but they aren't just fluffy lovey dovey romantical unicorns and rainbows.  There is just the right amount of darkness to balance out the romance. 

Now...on to the characters.  

I loved Arian from the start.

As the mom of a daughter, I wanted to hug her and tell her that she is beautiful.  I wanted to fix all of her issues and feed her all the things -- healthy things, but all the things. 

As a person who has struggled with self-esteem issues for most of my life, I totally got her.  Guarded with a strong sense of self-preservation with the few parts of her life she could control...I totally related.   And I admit, my first impression of Ryder was that he was going to be an ass and I didn't want to like him.

But yeah, that didn't last long.  He managed to finagle his way into my feels and I started to crush on him a little bit.  And then the two of them together...perfect.  The tension, the chemistry, the swoony moments, the tenderness, the humor...all woven together through dual points of view to tell a story that grabbed my attention from the very beginning and is a solid part of a series I recommend to anybody looking for a good read.



From an early age, Trisha Wolfe dreamed up fantasy worlds and characters and was accused of talking to herself. Today, she lives in South Carolina with her family and writes full time, using her fantasy worlds as an excuse to continue talking to herself.
For more information on Trisha Wolfe and her works, please visit:
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

14 Days of Fictional Swoon Blog Hop

Today, I am super excited to be posting as part of the 14 Days of Fictional Swoon Blog Hop, hosted by Fic Fare and Swoony Boys.  In addition to our super amazing hosts, there are over 20 other blogs participating and talking about all things swoony.

So, on to the good assigned topic:  Fictional Boy That Caught You Off Guard.  I have to admit that when I first started thinking about my list, I was a bit worried about my ability to come up with one.  I mean, I read for the swoons and heart flutters and feels -- so if that's what I look for in a book, what are the odds that I'm going to be taken by surprise, right?  So yeah, I was worried.

But then I started bouncing a few ideas around in my head and sent messages back and forth with my bookish other half and not only did I come up with one, I came up with 10.  And I probably could have found more.   But I'm stopping at 10.  For now.

So, without further ado and in no particular order, here are the boys that caught me off guard:

Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) -- holy arrogant.  Until he isn't.  We won't discuss how many years it has been, but I still remember the aha moment when I realized that I had misjudged him.  

Jonah Griggs (On the Jellicoe Road) -- At first, I hated him.  I was prepared to continue as I fought through the confusion that almost made me put this book down and not finish reading.  And then...well, he's on my list for a reason.

The Darkling (The Grisha trilogy) -- I mean, he's the bad guy.  But I can't help it.  The tingles...I have them.

Soren (The Original Sinners series) -- If you had told me before that I would pledge my eternal devotion to a character like Soren, I'd have never believed you.  But I do.  Forever.  And I can't even talk about the fact that the series is almost over.

Park (Eleanor & Park) -- he is everything.  But I wasn't expecting him.

TJ Callahan (On the Island) -- It took me a LOOOOONG time to get the courage to read this book because the premise freaked me out.  I obviously got over it :)

Will Traynor (Me Before You)  -- Even knowing his situation, the way he was hateful to his family and to Lou infuriated me.  But then they go on an outing and he says things about red dresses.  I think it may be time for a reread.

Daniel Rush (Covet) -- he isn't married to Claire.  Usually that is a huge red flag for me.  

Theodore Finch -- (All the Bright Places).   I blame the book drought from hell for this one.  I fully expected to have take 3 weeks to read a chapter and then have to reshelve it but then I met Finch.   I finished this amazing book in days, and now have it on my Kindle, a hard copy and the audiobook.   Surprise!

Hector (Fire & Thorns trilogy) -- I didn't even realize I loved him until I did.  He is a sneaky one :) 

So there you have it.  My list as it stands today.  And to think that I was worried that I wouldn't be able to pull this off  :)

Leave me a comment and let me know who is on your list.  Then go check out the other fun bloggers taking part in the hop and see what they have to say about all the fictional swoons.  And if the swoons aren't enough, each blog is hosting their own giveaway as well as participating in a hop-wide scavenger hunt.   Did you find my hidden words?  Did you?

14 Days of Fictional Swooning Schedule

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

So....about January.

I'm not even sure what happened. 

I was cruising right along, ahead of my 2014 reading goal, all my Christmas shopping was done, the kids were done with school, I had everything under control, and BOOM. 

I got slammed by the book rut of all book ruts. 

I tried everything.   Switching genres, reading locations, rereading tried and true favorites.  Nothing worked.

The book world wasn't completely off my radar -- I added multiple titles to my to-read list and I discovered a love for audiobooks (oddly enough though, only recordings of book I have already read can hold my interest).  I considered signing up for countless review tours and I DID sign up to be a part of a blog hop - more on that later.

I just couldn't find it in me to actually read.  

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like I was miserable and suffering.  I had a great holiday season with my family and friends, watched my daughter play a lot of soccer and witnessed my son discover a love of competitive swimming. 

And I knitted.

And knitted.


 And knitted.

 And knitted.

But then bookish friends came to the rescue and held my hand while I found my way back.  And I started a book and finished it in three days - which is HUGE after what I've been living for the past 6ish weeks.

So I think...maybe...that you'll be hearing from me again soon.  Before March.  Maybe even this week, if things continue the way I think they will.   I miss reading and blogging and writing my thoughts about the words and characters I get to fall in love with.  And if I'm being realistic, how many hats and scarves and gloves and cowls can one girl need?

My fingers are crossed, my Goodreads is open, and the books stacked up on the table beside me are whispering my name.  February is when I find my way back.  I can feel it!