All The Breaking Waves (Kerry Lonsdale)

waves

From the bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes a gripping tale of long-buried secrets, the strength of forgiveness, and the healing power of returning home for good.

After a harrowing accident tore her family apart, Molly Brennan fled from the man she loved and the tragic mistake she made.

Twelve years later, Molly has created a new life for herself and her eight-year-old daughter, Cassie. The art history professor crafts jewelry as unique and weathered as the surf-tumbled sea glass she collects, while raising her daughter in a safe and loving environment—something Molly never had. But when Cassie is plagued by horrific visions and debilitating nightmares, Molly is forced to return to the one place she swore she’d never move back to—home to Pacific Grove.

A riveting exploration of love, secrets, and motherhood, All the Breaking Waves is the poignant story of a woman who discovers she must confront her past, let go of her guilt, and summon everything in her power to save her daughter.

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I discovered this book through the recommendations that Goodreads makes on its homepage. Something about the cover intrigued me and I am so glad I decided to click on it and read the description.

I loved it! This book has the perfect blend of mystery & intrigue, romance, paranormal, and familial love. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the Drake Sisters series by Christine Feehan, only it is more comprehensive and less focused on a romantic relationship.

For those audio lovers reading this, I fell in love with the narrator (Dara Rosenberg) and would definitely listen to other books she records. Her voice is melodic and she does a great job of performing the different characters. I especially loved her “Nana” voice!

I felt that the plot in All the Breaking Waves is rather predictable but that didn’t bother me at all. I just enjoyed listening to the story unwrap, often lingering in my car a few extra minutes to hear more. In this way, it reminded me a lot of The Alice Network.

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Is there a Girlfriend type and a Wife type?

I heard this phrase a long time ago, that some women are girlfriends and others are wives.

The girlfriend is the hot party-girl, she’s always up for a wild time. She doesn’t want responsibility, at least not in the relationship sense. Maybe she’s a career woman, maybe she just doesn’t want to settle down.

The wife is more nurturing and “homey” (notice that word does NOT have an L in it). She’s more pretty, or beautiful, than hot. If you talk to a woman and can see that she would be a great home-maker, and mother, she’s the girl you want to marry. Because she’s gonna take care of her man and family in the long-run.

This phrase is super biased and totally not PC. But I can’t help but wonder if there is some truth to it. The song Mary was the marrying kind by Kip Moore was on the other day and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

Let’s get personal.

I think I’m the marrying kind. I’m currently single. Unfortunately. But I am definitely a one-man, kids, 2-car garage and white picket fence type of gal. I cook, I bake, I clean. I actually like budgeting finances and folding laundry. And my husband isn’t likely to stray far from our bed 😉

I also totally like “boy” movies. Yes I like chick flicks, but if I only get to watch them during girl’s nights and while folding the laundry, that’s ok. Husband can pick anything but horror movies for us to watch…as long as the movie doesn’t have snakes. That is a deal-breaker. Fast and Furious, Marvel, Bourne, Bond, Mission Impossible, Heist Movies…. some of my favourites.

I am happiest when I am serving others. I possess a generous heart. One of my biggest dreams is to one day be rich enough that I don’t have to work, and can donate my time to others who are less fortunate. I want a husband and family to take care of, to make happy, to surprise with a favourite meal or treat. I expect flowers. Not every week. But once every month or two would be perfect. Little gestures to show that you were thinking of me.

So you see, I’m the marrying kind. Not the girlfriend kind. I don’t sleep around. I don’t drink. I hate being surrounded by people I don’t know. A few are fine, but parties aren’t my thing. I’d rather go to a bonfire. The type that has 20 people max. And family style gatherings with a million kids running around. I want mommy-friends and a strong man at my side.

So if I don’t feel like I’m the girlfriend type, but know that I would make a kickass wife who would always stand behind my guy … I guess that means that I do think there is a girlfriend type and a wife type. And I don’t quite know how to feel about that.

xx

Craving Absolution by Nicole Jacquelyn – a review

Nicole Jacquelyn writes an outlaw MC series that is full of strong-willed, dominant bikers with out-spoken alpha females at their sides.

The third book in the series is Craving Absolution. It features Casper, who was introduced in book 1 as a prospect to the Aces MC, and is now a full-patch member. His heroine is Farrah Miller, the main supporting character in book two and the daughter of the Club President.

craving absolution

Book Blurb:

Farrah Miller and Cody “Casper” Butler have a longstanding relationship that both refuse to discuss.

It isn’t romantic.

It may not even be classified as a friendship.

Casper’s been saving Farrah from herself for longer than he’d care to admit, watching silently as she drowned herself in alcohol. Then, when she finally got her act together, he left. He told himself he was giving her time to sort herself out. He tried to give her space.

But getting shot in the chest can change a man’s perspective, and Casper’s done waiting.

When he shows up on her doorstep one night, everything changes.

He’s the man who’s seen her at her very worst.

She’s his weakness.

He runs when things get hard.

She never lets anyone see below the surface and is terrified of being abandoned.

He knows it’s a long shot, that there’s a good chance she’ll never drop her guard for him—but he has to try. Because a life with Farrah is exactly what he wants—even if he has to fight her for it.

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I really liked Farrah’s character, she was my favourite part of this book. She is a strong chick and is an example of how someone who suffers from panic attacks and anxiety and is completely unsure of herself in relationships, can still be strong and opinionated. Having panic attacks doesn’t make her weak, and it isn’t a character flaw.

IMHO, Jacquelyn is excellent at adding depth and development to her characters, allowing them to change and mature through the events of the story. Often, this is a recurring failure in romance novels so character growth is one of my favourite aspects of the Aces MC books.

Farrah moves on from barely acknowledging her father’s existence after meeting him in book 2, to reaching out to him and Vera (her stepmother), trying to establish some sort of emotional connection to them and including them in her family. She also embraces a maternal, nurturing role as she takes on being a parent to two children, despite never having a childhood herself and certainly lacking responsible parents growing up.

Although romance novels typically feature a couple as dual main characters, I definitely felt that this one was ‘the Farrah story’. The reader spends most of the pages in her perspective and Casper has little character development in comparison to the vast amount that Farrah experiences. Casper is more the companion piece to her character and a way to move the plot forward. I would have liked to see him grow up a little more and be more in control of himself and his destiny.

I really liked this installment in the series and cannot wait to read the next.

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Craving Redemption by Nicole Jacquelyn – a review

Nicole Jacquelyn writes an outlaw MC series that is full of strong-willed, dominant bikers with out-spoken alpha females at their sides.

The second book in the series is Craving Redemption.

Craving Redemption

Book Blurb:

Asa and Callie had nothing in common. He was an Ace, raised in the club and loyal to it above all else. She was a high school student with braces on her teeth and a narrow view of the world.

They should have never crossed paths.

But when Callie decides to defy her parents, and Asa goes on an errand for the club, their lives collide. He saves her, and she mesmerizes him.

They part believing they’ll never see each other again.
Neither could have predicted the chain of events they’d put in motion.

Now the two have to navigate the dark waters of a relationship built on tragedy and need without drowning in guilt for things outside their control.

How do you love someone when the worst decision of your life was the reason you met them?

—                  —                     —

Craving Redemption is a solid sequel to Craving Constellations, but it wasn’t quite a good in my opinion. I just didn’t buy it.

For most of the book, the characters are not physically together. Either they are living in different states, or Asa aka ‘Grease’ is in prison. Despite this, Callie wasn’t able to overcome the psychological trauma of her past until the end of the book, when she undergoes serious therapy following a second traumatic event that triggers a mental breakdown.

The reader doesn’t get to experience her resolving many of the issues in her behaviour because the book glosses over it to the end, where she is “better” and Callie and Grease have their happy reunion. It seems like she has all this time apart from him to learn to be independent and know her own mind and in many ways she does, but she didn’t take that emotional step to independence and healing which was really the point of her journey in the book.

The second aspect that I don’t quite buy is why Grease feels this commitment and sense of duty towards Callie. He rescues her from a dangerous situation and delivers her safely home, even though he wasn’t the one to endanger her in the first place. When his rescue marks her as a target, because the bad guys think she belongs to the club, he again swoops in and rescues her and sets her up in a new state, with an apartment in his name that he pays for, basically setting up her life and getting her enrolled in the new high school.

I don’t understand the sense of responsibility that he feels towards her. He is a big bad, weapon-dealing, drug-running, murdering outlaw biker bad boy, who is going way out of his way to financially support and care for an extremely traumatized teenager, who is agoraphobic at first. I don’t believe that he feels sexual attraction to her at this point in the story, when he is taking care of her. It would be really messed up if he was because her traumatized brain is so devastated that she is fragile, and child-like in the beginning. They don’t have any established relationship on which these interactions are based …

So why is he helping her, besides a romantic attraction (for when she has ‘healed’) or a sense of duty and responsibility, neither of which I accept.

Despite these failures (in my opinion), the story was still enjoyable and I recommend it to you, because it is part of a great series which is better than just this one book. I still rate it four stars.

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Craving Constellations by Nicole Jacquelyn – a review

Nicole Jacquelyn writes an outlaw MC series that is full of strong-willed, dominant bikers with out-spoken alpha females at their sides.

The first book in the series is Craving Constellations. It features a daughter of the Aces MC who grew up in the club, only to abandon the only family she has ever known while in college. Now she returns five years later, seeking protection for herself and her daughter from her abusive husband, bringing with her luggage full of secrets.

Craving Constellations introduces the Aces MC and sets up several characters to have their own books. It also informs the reader of many of the rules that guide this world; protecting family and the club, keeping loyal to this family and never leaving, the patriarchal rules of respect that guide interactions between members and the consequences for breaking any of these rules. Unfortunately, Brenna has broken most of them and is going to have a rough return to the world that was her home for the first 18 years of life.

Craving constellations

Book Blurb:

“How is it, that someone can make decision after decision attempting to get away from their past and somehow end up right back where they started?”

When Brenna decided to leave the only life she’d ever known, she never thought she’d ever be back. Now, five years later she’s running from her clean cut husband straight back to the motorcycle club that raised her… and the man she left behind. She left with a secret, and as soon as she returns the truth will break her carefully constructed life wide open.

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I loved the poetry of this novel. The idea that Brenna sought to extricate herself from the oftentimes violent world of an outlaw motorcycle club, just to end up in greater danger in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage that sends her running back home for safety is intriguing. It brings to bear the idea of destiny and whether any of us can escape our pre-determined fate. Brenna felt that she kept making the same mistakes, no matter how many times she thought she was choosing differently, which has been a recurring theme in my own life the last several years.

Jacquelyn weaves complicated tapestries throughout her novels, and takes the time to allow her characters to grow and mature. Every time I felt that I knew these characters and their stories, something else will bubble up that takes the reader by surprise. One revelation, which the reader learns with Dragon, settled a hard pit of sadness and anxiety in my stomach. It is at this moment that you realize just how screwed up life has been for Brenna and her daughter and it tears apart their little family and the safety and security she thought they had found.

I highly recommend checking out this series. It is more complex that many other MC books on the market and limits the “club business” aspect of these stories to a minimum, a bonus if that isn’t your thing.

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