Letters to Cora by Colleen Nye
Letters to Cora was a surprise for me. When it started off, I wasn't sure that it was my cup of tea. It was a slow start, a bit predictable in the beginning. Nell, the main character, just sounded like a middle aged woman going through a midlife crisis. However, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It surprised me and kept me intrigued, pulling me to read more and more until it was done. The story was well put together and flowed easily. It wasn't hard to follow or understand. I only had one question left unanswered by the end of the book but the answer to the question didn't affect the outcome of the story or how it ended. At the end of the day, I really enjoyed the love story as well as the surrounding story. I would definitely recommend reading this story.
Spoilers will begin.... now.
The cover of this one didn't really catch my eye at first. There's nothing eye popping to me. But after reading the story, all the little pieces fit together and make it a beautiful representation of the book in itself. It's simple, but at the same time, its complex in its references to the story and the overall feel of the book.
We start the book learning a lot about our main character Nell. And I mean, a lot. At first glance, it simply sounds to me that our lead character is simply going through a mid life crisis. She's lost a lot, her husband to another woman, her kids to their own grown up lives. It simply seems as though when she purchases the manor across the globe on pure whim, she's going through some type of mid-life crisis. Because let's face it, rarely do people just get up and do such outlandish things on a regular basis. So, she buys this decrepit and falling apart manor, flies cross country and begins (and finishes) an enormous amount of repairs in a ridiculously short period of time.
It's in working on a exterior fence type wall that she finds the first letter. A letter to a woman named Cora from a man named Joshua. She chalks it up to just a letter hidden and never received until she receives the second and then the third, all in the same place, even after she's made sure that there is nothing else behind the stone. Something weird is going on here... This point in the story was repetitive for me. It was a cycle of work on the wall, find a letter, read it and swoon/worry over the love story and write, since Nell is an author, about the story she finds going on in the letters. But this cycle was much less drab than the first few chapters and I found myself enjoying watching Nell live this new life she had created.
It's after this that we're introduced to Elijah and Reid, two historians in the town, the latter of which is related to the Joshua in the letters. And our love interest for Nell. The two hit it off immediately, yet cautiously, which is understandable considering their respective backgrounds. And then we go into another cycle of research, receiving letters and the couple slowly falling for one another over the course of just a couple days.
So, as it turns out, no one is playing tricks on Nell or anything of the sort, she’s receiving communication from a ghost. We see some fun scenarios between Joshua and Nell and learn about his heartbreaking story. Cora and Joshua’s story truly is heartbreaking. But it’s believable and I think that it the most heartbreaking part. These people could have really lived. They could have experienced and gone through this tragic story. But if it were me in Nell’s shoes, I don’t think I would have been as accepting of ghosts as she was.
But at the end of the day, everyone receives a happy ending that they deserve. At least in my opinion they do. Colleen Nye has a good story here. Although it started off slow for me, it became something I couldn’t put down. It pulled me in and kept me intrigued and engaged until the very last page.
I received an ARC for this book and voluntarily read and reviewed it. I really enjoyed this book. I’m a sucker for details and this story had good detailed descriptions. It allowed me to picture myself in the scene, imagine that it’s happening right before my eyes and lose myself in the story. I was not fond of the time jumps though. I would have preferred to read everything in order rather than in flashbacks, I think there would have been more of an impact for those scenes if they had been done in real time. The characters were well thought out, flawed and still human. They were consistent and I enjoyed getting to know Gunner and Kelly and watching their relationship unfold. This book had little surprises around every corner, keeping me both intrigued and on the edge of my seat. Everything in the book came together quite well in the end and I’m pretty sure this story touched every emotion I could possibly have while reading. There were a few spelling errors in the story that I came across. I thought this might just be another typical MC romance, but I was pleasantly surprised as I read. Kudos.
Spoilers will begin.... now.
So, the cover above is different from the cover that was provided on the ARC I received. I'm actually not sure which one I like better. I think I like the model and background on the cover of the ARC I received better, but I like the title, tag line and the author's name display better on this cover. I love that the model has real tattoos, not the fake photo-shopped tattoos that disappoint me every time I see them on a cover model.
So, we meet our male character first and he's Cam "Gunner" Wilson, an over six foot tall, hunky piece of man, all around ladies man and mechanic and member of the Horned Devils Motorcycle Club. We get a little taste of how much the ladies love him, as well as a little preview of his ego, which I mean, is like a qualification for these romance stories. He's gotten his claws in just about every woman his town has to offer and he learns through one of his old conquests that there's new meat in town.
By the end of the first chapter, I have discovered that I really enjoy Fox's writing style. I'm a sucker for details and she includes enough to allow the reader to imagine themselves in this world she's created, but not so much as so drag it out with unneeded information. She has found that happy medium that allows us to picture her scenes as though they are happening real time, right in front of us. Le sigh, I wish the stories in books were my real life, well, some of them.
We meet our female character in the next chapter, at the local bar. Gunner and a couple of his Horned Devils brothers, including President, Silverback, are enjoying a couple rounds when she walks in. Silverback identifies her as Kelly Powers, the new girl in town, here for nursing school. The descriptions here hint that there is something more going on with Silverback and the Powers. But we'll get more into that later. Gunner makes his move and she brushes him off. Their whole exchange put a smile on my face. It was nice to not see a woman practically falling on the floor begging for sex. During their conversation, Gunner is interrupted by his best friend, Durango, with a mission from the MC, and that ends the first interaction between our lovely couple.
Gunner's mission involves staking out an unsanctioned drug deal. As it turns out, of of the drug dealer parties that they are staking out happens to be Kelly's father. WHAT?!?! Then of course, to keep the suspense, the next chapter is from Kelly's POV. Way to make me wait! I was nearly going out of my skin with anticipation to see how Gunnar would react. I knew there was something shady going on with Kelly's dad Russell, but I never saw what happened coming. I never imagined it was a big as it was. While I stewed over that, Kelly discovered her dad's stash of guns and cash. Daddy isn't so innocent anymore. Not in the least. Russell Powers is one mean son-of-a-bitch and that's putting it lightly.
Apparently, Russell Powers reach is far beyond what anyone can imagine and he threatens the Horned Devils and while the rest of them try to rebel and stand up for themselves, Silverback lays down at the mans feet. There's something more going on than Gunner and the rest of his brothers know about. So, Russell Powers wins. The Horned Devils are now basically at his beck and call and Gunner is going to marry his pretty little daughter and father a child with her. This man is certifiably insane.
Then comes the time jump. I hate time jumps, most of them anyways. This was one of those I wasn't fond of. We skip over the next four weeks and we're in the church for Gunner and Kelly's wedding. We get some back and forth flashbacks that I don't believe do the scenes justice. Had they been done in order, I believe it would have had more of an impact. I would have liked to see those flashbacks scenes in more detail. When all is said and done, the two are married and about to embark on some crazy ride called life in a new house, provided by Kelly's father. I was disappointed that I didn't get to find out what it was that Russell told Kelly before dropping her off at their new home.
Slowly, our against their will couple, settles into some semblance of a routine. It's actually quite alluring to watch the two of them really begin to fall for one another, despite their quirks and "old married couple" fights. The couple's first intimate moment was intense and well described, but not too over the top. And despite the fact that he's quite the ladies man, he took well care of her and didn't expect anything in return. Once they acquire condoms, the two of them enjoy their romps as they slowly get to know one another. I think the way the author handled it was great progression in both of the characters and the plot line.
Eventually, after giving Kelly her first ride... on a motorcycle, the two have sex in the desert and only Kelly knows that the condom broke. She keeps the information to herself. Dun. Dun. Dun. Those types of things are usually the cause of big blow outs and confrontations between couples in books. Especially since she is pregnant, confirms it and still doesn't tell him. Yikes. And they're putting together a plan to escape Russell's clutches and messed up plans. Double yikes.
These plans are put on hold when Russell calls Gunner in for a mission, along with a few members of the Horned Devils. But this is no regular mission. Come to find out, Russell's goonies are meant to exterminate the Devils. I really almost cried when Durango died. Like, did you really have to kill him, Nicole? You're killing me here. The only one to escape is Gunner and he is injured. With Kelly's help, the two of them escape getting murdered in their house and take refuge out in the desert.
Eventually, Power's flushes Gunner out by taking the rest of the Horned Devils and tying them up out in front of his house. Kelly ignores Gunner's wishes and travels to the house anyways, overhearing a conversation in which her father confesses that the marriage was nothing more than to get Kelly out of his hair and that he also had a hand in Kelly's mothers death. She smashes a rock into his head and Gunner ends his life.
Our story ends with Kelly having their baby. A girl, which they name Durango Rose. I'm all for the name dedication and odd names, but Durango as a first name, for a girl? Eh, I wasn't a fan. I also wasn't a fan of the way he just took Silverback back into his life like nothing ever happened. I understand his reasons why, but I still hated how easy it was. And I wish I knew more about Silverback's relationship with Powers and how that all started. The Horned Devil's are planning on turning their business around as well. All's well that ends well.
I loved this story. It was so well planned. It wasn't an standard MC Romance. It was more. It had more surprises, more unexpected things. The characters weren't perfect, but they worked well. The plot was intriguing and engaging. I would definitely recommend this story. But I still haven't forgiven you, Nicole Fox, for killing off Durango.
This story was a trip. After reading, a part of me still thinks both characters were/are weak, childish and petty. Another part of me understands why they each acted the way they did. I’ll admit, I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this story. Was it worth it? I like to think so. The love story is there, overshadowed a bit, but it’s there and it's important. I believe that there was a method to the madness in the way the story was written but I’ll admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the Present and Past back and forth. However, the flashbacks were necessary to understand everything, I just think they could have been handled a different way. The story had everything. It had love, it had heartbreak, fear, sadness, anger and every emotion you can think of packed inside. The ending of the story brought everything together and blew my mind. There were a number of spelling errors in the book that I did notice. But there is no doubt that I will be picking up the second book in India and Oliver’s story.
Spoilers will begin.... now.
The Love and Hate Series by Joanna Mazurkiewicz. The cover is pretty simple, just a black background with a male figure on the front, his face hidden by shadows, underneath his hood. It lends an air of mystery to the character portrayed. Other than that, it's pretty basic. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with basic. Sometimes, its the better of two choices.
Our story starts with our main character India and her best friend Dora arriving at their college, Braxton. Dora is a party animal, that much is obvious. It's also revealed within the first few pages that India has some type of toxic past. Not even on campus for five minutes and she's nailed in the head by a rugby ball. Ouch. Turns out the guy who chucked the ball at her head is her past come back to bite her. But he's grown up now, cut his hair, formed some muscle, a regular, modern day sex on wheels.
This is where we start our back and forth, past and present rhetoric. I wasn't a fan of it. I think some of it was unnecessary and ill placed. I will admit that some of it was needed and it helped to not only understand the story but to also move the story along.
So starts the game. Well, Oliver's game.
So, once upon a time, India dated Oliver's older brother Christian. Christian was an asshole. Plain and simple. He dated India for one reason only. To keep her and Oliver apart. Because let's face it, they've always been head over heels for one another. Christian is holding a party and during the party, he rapes and beats India, then brings her home with a threat lingering above her head. After he drops her off, he gets into a car accident and dies. After that, India changes, becoming nothing short of a bitch to Oliver, pushing him away, embarrassing him and just making his life a living hell all through the rest of high school, in order to cope with what happened to her. Eventually, she gets her life back together, kind of, and stops being such a bitch. A little too late, in my opinion, since Oliver has already left for Scotland.
As it turns out, Oliver has come to Braxton and his plan is to get revenge on India for the way she treated him in high school. He threatens to make her life in Braxton hell until she leaves, and he does succeed in some aspects. But India isn't going anywhere despite his threat. Sure enough, he knocks her down, again and again. Nevertheless, the more time India spends around Oliver, the more her old feelings for him resurface, no matter how terrible he treats her. In comes Russell, another Rugby player and despite the fact that India thinks he's secretly working for Oliver, even though he is not, he pursues her.
On another note, Dora is dating Oliver's best friend Jacob and I just adore them together! At this point, I can't tell who my favorite pairing is. India and Oliver or Jacob and Dora.
India is a rower and during a rowing competition, she gets distracted by seeing Christian's ghost, well, an imaginary ghost of Christian, tips her shell and goes into the water, almost drowning because she can't swim. *insert eyebrow raise here* She's a rower, but can't swim? You didn't think it was a possibility that you would ever end up in the water? Something is off here...
Anyways, Oliver decides to end his pranking on India just before winter break. On winter break, India travels home, where she visits Oliver's mother, who she became close to in an attempt to ease her conscience for the things she did to Oliver. She spills her guts, telling, for the first time, what happened with Christian. Eventually, Oliver and India make peace, sort of, as he agrees to consider her apologies. Slowly, the two re-establish a friendly relationship and all seems well. Until, India is assaulted by two men, conjuring up her memories. She then spills what happened to Dora, finally.
Oliver hears about the assault, checks on her and then suddenly, they're making out. They almost take it further, but Oliver stops it. They settle into a relationship. Talk about a quick turn around. But they both seem happy. India takes out the two letters she'd written to Oliver about what happened to her and then finishes penning the last. Finally ready to share what happened to her at the hands of his brother. Then Oliver is hurt by Russell, which Russell says India will eventually thank him for. Shortly after his release from the hospital, Oliver receives the news that his father has passed away.
Our story ends with Oliver and India out on a date. India has mailed her letters to Oliver, revealing everything, and he will receive them in a couple of days. They both confess their love for one another and out of nowhere, Oliver turns, saying it was all a game, another prank, another bet, to make her fall for him. His buddy is there recording and India's heart is broken and shattered all over again. Whattttttttttt? I did not see this coming. I thought everything was going pretty well between the two. It wasn't perfect, but no relationship is. My heart broke for India and I hate Oliver. But their story continues and now I will have to see what happens!
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