My Review of An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

I have exactly 3 favorite authors. I LOVE them. I LOVE their writing, and I’ll inhale anything they put out there. Anything. If they’ve got old post it notes or shopping lists lying around that t29637128hey want to stick on eBay…sold. I’ve read all of their books, and for the most part, none of them have dipped below 4 stars.

That being said, there is high probability I’m going to love anything new I read from them.

Suanne Laqueur is one of the aforementioned writers, and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to read her latest work. The fact that it’s her signature style of writing is going to shoot it into 4-star territory right off the bat. Whether or not the book gains a star, loses a star, or stays still at 4 depends on the story itself as well as the execution. It can go either way, but based on my love of The Fish Tales, it’s unlikely it will drop.

It didn’t.

An Exaltation of Larks is not an epic romance like The Fish Tales, but it is epic. It’s a tragic family saga that’s spans three decades.

From the blurb:
Alex, Valerie and Jav meet first in their twenties, with a sudden attraction each finds strange and compelling. When they meet again in their forties, they discover not only is their bond still strong, but their life experiences are strangely similar. All have been shaped by separate 9/11’s, and their unfinished business from the past will change everything they know about love, loyalty and friendship.

Their story is fascinating, sometimes heartbreaking, and real. Their relationships are enviable (and at times, smoking hot) and provide a high dose of romance that kept me swooning.

But, what took Larks from four to five stars wasn’t the romance or even the brilliant writing. It was the feelings it evoked in me from the very first page. Filled with beautiful highs and heartbreaking lows, it captivated me. It also disturbed me, charmed me, broke and fixed me. It exalted me.

I’ve come to the conclusion that reading a Suanne Laqueur book is, and will always be, an involved, emotional experience. It’s not a simple pastime. If you pick up one of her books, be prepared to feel everything.

Her storytelling capabilities are genius. Her writing is poetic. Words spill onto her pages in sentences that make my heart clench and swell, and my eyes water.

I loved The Fish Tales. I miss The Fish Tales. But a few chapters into Larks, and I thought, Well, here you are.

Here I am, it whispered back.

6 beautiful stars!

 

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My Review of All In by Emma Scott

***This review contains spoilers for Full Tilt***

If you’re on Goodreads and haven’t blocked me from hijacking your feed yet, you may have noticed I’ve spent the last few days beta-reading for Emma Scott. If this had been an ARC, I would have inhaled it in one sitting. As it was, I had to keep reminding myself that I was not reading purely for my enjoyment. Even though I did enjoy it. Immensely.

And that is the magic word folks… “ENJOY.” If you’re reading this, like myself you probably LOVED Full Tilt. You probably had one hell of a book hangover. You probably felt oddly motivated and forever changed. But did you enjoy it? Did it not twist your stomach into a pretzel? Rip your heart to shreds? Did you not throw your kindle at your homemadeEmma Scott dart board even though you knew what was coming? (don’t lie, we all did).

Yeah, OK…maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration.

Full Tilt was a piece of art. It was gut-wrenchingly, heartbreakingly, beautiful.

All In is its perfect counterpart.

The Band-Aid on the wound.

The crème brulee at the end of dinner.

The H. E. A.

If Full Tilt broke you, All In will heal you.

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As always, Emma Scott’s writing is absolutely beautiful. If you follow my reviews, you may have noticed I’ve started DNF’ing more and more lately. That is why. She spoils me with her words. If she wrote a book on the effects of watching paint dry, I’d pre-order it.

One thing I love when it comes to a book series is consistency. All In flows nicely from Full Tilt, even though it is a completely different book with a completely different tone. Both books are bright, colorful, and vibrant—not only in their gorgeous covers, but also on their pages. And just as Las Vegas provided the perfect backdrop for Kacey and Jonah, New Orleans does the same for Kacey and Theo. Its old, deep-south vibe is a nice contrast to the vibrant newness of Las Vegas, yet it somehow maintains a similar feel.

My husband took me to NOLA once. “Let me plan the trip,” he said. “You’ll love it,” he said. We went during Mardi Gras and while waiting for a parade to start, he decided to refill our daiquiris. He crossed the street and disappeared into the crowd. THEN the parade started. Just an FYI, nothing good can come from a stranded husband with two daiquiris. My first NOLA experience was reduced to Bourbon Street and our hotel. Thanks to Emma Scott and her uncanny ability to set a scene, I finally feel like I’ve seen a bit of the city. Just yesterday, my husband promised me a do-over. I handed him All In and told him to use it as a travel guide.

Aside from one notable absence *deep breath, long swallow* all the characters from Full Tilt resurface in All In as well as the addition of a few more, most notably Yvonne, who had me in hysterics more than once. As far as the MC’s, Kacey is still beautifully flawed, but following Jonah’s death, she’s lost her way again. She’s broken and struggling, desperate to numb her pain—falling victim to old habits that, this time around, really have their claws in her. Enter: Theo. Without his POV in Full Tilt, he came off guarded, protective, and somewhat icy, but within the very first pages of All In, you discover so much more about him. He’s loyal and selfless. Honorable. He keeps his promises. As far as book boyfriends go, he’s perfection.

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There was so much to love about this book: Kacey’s affinity for eighties movies, Viv’s magic 8-ball, palm reading, beignets, and the steamiest NON-sex scene I’ve ever read. The romance is off the charts swoon-tastic. I grinned. I giggled. At one point I broke into song.

Because I read this in beta, I was able to shoot anything Ididn’t love back to the source…but there really wasn’t anything.And believe me, I pored over the pages, looking. I pointed out every little thing I could find until I felt stupid for trying so hard. Finally, at about 1am last night/this morning, I realized…if Emma Scott is the standard I compare everything else to, is it really such a shock I can’t find anything to dislike?

All In isn’t dramatic. There’s no unnecessary angst. The relationship isn’t rushed; its progression is natural.

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It is simply a love story. And I loved every perfect word.