Review: Off Campus by Amy Jo Cousins

Off Campus
Series: Bend or Break, #1
Author: Amy Jo Cousins
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBT+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Warning: This book contains cranky roommates who vacillate between lashing out and licking, some male/male voyeurism, emotional baggage that neither guy wants to unpack, and the definitive proof that sound carries in college housing.


To be honest, I’m not sure how to explain how I feel about Off Campus. I enjoyed reading it, but there were some things that bugged me a bit. I think in order to simplify this review, I’m going to give you a list of likes and dislikes.

What I liked:

  • Tom’s simple way of describing his attraction to both male and females.
  • Tom’s confusion on his relationship with Reese, and what he went through to come to terms with the changes in his life.
  • Tom’s support of Reese, and the tenderness he showed him.
  • The way Reese stood up for what he needed.
  • Tom and Reese’s connection.
  • Reese’s dad. I loved that guy so much!
  • Cash. Another guy I loved so much.
  • The way Tom and Reese figured things out and the ending.

What I wasn’t super fond of:

  • The third person narration. It kept me from completely connecting with the characters.
  • The games Reese played at the beginning. I understood the reasoning behind what he did, but it did kind of make me wonder why Tom was eager to jump into something with him.
  • It felt like there was almost more sex than story at times. And while I like sex in my books, I’m not a huge fan of reading about one of the main characters with other people.
  • Jack. I don’t know why I wasn’t a fan of his part of this story. It just seemed like extra stuff the story didn’t necessarily need.

So, obviously, the good outweighs the not so good in Off Campus. I thought it was a great story exploring sexuality and how the pressure to “come out” can be completely overwhelming for a person. It wasn’t the best M/M romance I’ve read, but it’s a good one. I enjoyed it, and I will hopefully continue reading this series at some point.

Review: Sweet Soul by Tillie Cole

Sweet Soul
Series: Sweet Home, #4
Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date: December 14, 2015
Publisher: Tillie Cole Ltd
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

One shy lost soul.
One silent lonely heart.
One love to save them both.

Life has never been easy for twenty-year-old Levi Carillo. The youngest of the Carillo boys, Levi is nothing like his older brothers. He isn’t dark in looks or intimidating to everyone he meets. In fact, he’s quite the opposite. Haunted by a crippling shyness and the tragic events of his past, Levi spends his days with his head buried in his books, or training hard for his college football team. Too timid to talk to girls, Levi stays as far away as possible and completely on his own… until he saves the life of a troubled pretty blonde, a troubled pretty blonde that might just be the exception to his rule.

Elsie Hall is homeless. Or at least that’s all anyone ever sees. Everyday is a fight for survival on the cold streets of Seattle, everyday a struggle to find food and keep warm. Alone in life—a life that’s dangerous and cruel—her will to keep going is an ever-losing battle. In her world of silence, Elsie has given up hope that her life will contain anything but constant struggle and pain… until the beautiful boy she has severely wronged comes to her rescue at precisely the right time.

New Adult novel—contains sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.


I’m so happy that Sweet Hope was not the end of the Sweet Home series, and that little Levi Carillo got his own story. His life throughout the series took some drastic turns. I was excited to get to know his feelings about his past, and who he was to become as an adult. Sweet Soul shed light on what a great guy he was. I was so impressed with his character.

Even though I knew going into reading that Elsie was homeless, I had no idea what her path to homelessness was. Her story was so sad. It made me so happy that she and Levi found each other.

Sweet Soul was such an emotional story. Both Levi and Elsie had been through hell in their young lives. Their stories were different, but the darkness of their pasts gave them an immediate, intense connection. I could understand their how they fell for each other so quickly. They saw themselves in each other. Their relationship was really beautiful. I loved the inner strength they gave each other.

The only tiny complaint I have about Sweet Soul involves the climax and what happens after. There’s a party involved, and I would have liked to have known what happened between Levi, Elsie and his friends after it. There wasn’t really a resolution to what happened. There was an emotional resolution for Levi and Elsie, but I also wanted one for what happened.

I’m really sad my binge read of the Sweet Home series is finished now that I’ve read Sweet Soul. I’ve loved this series so much. At least I have the rest of Tillie Cole’s books to read. I think a binge read of her other series will be in the near future.

Cover Reveal: Say I’m Yours by Corinne Michaels

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SayYours Amazon

Say I’m Yours
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: Okay Creations
Photographer: Perrywinkle Photography

SayYours AmazonFrom New York Times Bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new second chance standalone romance.

I spent twenty years waiting for Trent Hennington to open his eyes and see me. But it was all for nothing. He chose to keep himself guarded and let me walk away, proving that my time and efforts were wasted.

I’m done being invisible.
It’s time to move on.

A single dance sets my new reality into motion, and I welcome it. After all, Cooper Townsend is perfect. He’s kind, sexy, and attentive–everything a girl could want.

I thought I got it right this time.
That my heart could mend, and I would be happy.
Apparently, some things really are just too hard to walk away from.

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Corinne Michaels is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of The Salvation Series and Say You’ll Stay. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.

Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha heroes are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.

Newsletter | Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page | Corinne Michaels Facebook Group

 

 

Review: Sweet Hope by Tillie Cole

Sweet Hope
Series: Sweet Home, #3
Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date: March 28, 2015
Publisher: Tillie Cole Ltd
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My name is Ally Prince and I’ve always been unlucky in love. I don’t know why, I just always… have.

When all of my best friends were falling for their soul mates in College, I was left behind. I was Ally, the pretty cousin of superstar quarterback, Romeo Prince. I was Ally, the best friend to the most amazing group of girls I’ve ever known—a title I loved, but one I became tired of ‘just’ being. And I was Ally, the one on which they could all rely.

But to me, I was Ally, the girl with the heart no one had claimed… And I was, Ally, the girl, who underneath it all, was heart-breakingly lonely.

I LOVE love; the thought of it, the nervous excitement of falling for Mr. Right, the desire of someone becoming my entire world… of me becoming theirs. I’ve always wanted passion, heart-stopping, epic, life-changing romance… I’ve always wanted the fairytale… I’ve always wanted it all.

It just never seemed like I would get it.

For the past few years I’ve thrown myself into my career as a museum curator. I’m the best of the best, the person every museum wants to hire, so when an opportunity came up to move to Seattle, I jumped at the chance. My cousin and my best friend lived in Seattle and I needed a change.

I needed a new beginning.

I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone in the Emerald City. I wasn’t expecting to work closely with the reclusive new sculptor my all-important gallery design was centered around. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to fall for him… heart-stopping, epic, life-changing love…
My real life fairytale come true.

But, like in every fairytale, there’s a villain, a dark and tortured soul… I just didn’t know that the villain and the hero in my story would end up being one and the same.

New Adult Romance Novel—contains adult content, sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.


With each book I read in the Sweet Home series, the more impressed with Tillie Cole’s writing I become. Each ones gets a little deeper and darker in theme, and pulls me in more and more. Each new book also becomes my favorite in the series.

Sweet Hope was a little different from the first two books in the series. It gave the reader a change of time and scenery. The story no longer took place in college, but in the characters’ late 20’s. Instead of Alabama, Sweet Hope was set in Seattle. Personally, I loved that change. This Washingtonian could picture the setting in her head.

Another thing I loved about this book was the main characters. I really enjoyed getting to know Ally better in Sweet Hope. She was always the happy, bubbly sorority girl in the previous books. I never would have guessed the depth of her character. It was fun to see another side of her.

I know this book has been out for a while, but I still don’t want to give away Ally’s love interest. I hadn’t read any of the reviews and I was pleasantly shocked. All I’m going to say is that he’s a tortured soul who doesn’t believe he deserves redemption. His darkness was the perfect contrast to Ally’s light. The intensity of their relationship could have set off fireworks. I absolutely loved them together.

I can’t leave out that I loved catching up with all of the characters from the previous book, too. It was fun to see where all of them had ended up, and how they were doing. I was surprised to find myself falling deeper in love with Austin (Sweet Fall) in this one.

I don’t want to give anything else about this story away. I’ll just say it’s quickly become my favorite of the series. It’s definitely one you should experience yourself — just make sure you read the first two books in the series first. You don’t want to miss out anything this series has to offer. It’s pretty dang amazing!

Review: Sweet Fall by Tillie Cole

Sweet Fall
Series: Sweet Home, #2
Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Publisher: Tillie Cole LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the USA Today Best Selling Sweet Home Series, comes Sweet Fall; a tale of heartache, beating the odds and finding strength in the most unlikeliest of places.

We all have secrets.

Secrets well buried.

Until we find the one soul who makes the burden of such secrets just that little bit easier to bear.

Lexington “Lexi” Hart is a senior at the University of Alabama. Surrounded by her best friends, her loving family and having fulfilled her life-long dream of making the Crimson Tide cheer squad, everything is going exactly as she always dreamed it would. But beneath her happy exterior, demons lurk, threatening to jeopardize everything Lexi has worked to achieve. When events in her life become too much to cope with, Lexi finds herself spiraling down into the realm of her biggest fear. Lexi falls hard, victim once again to the only thing that can destroy her and, on the way, finds herself falling straight into the dangerous tattooed arms of a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.

Austin Carillo, starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide, must get picked in this year’s NFL draft. He needs it. His brothers need it. Most importantly, his mother desperately needs it. Brought up in a world where the poor are forgotten, the sick are left to fend for themselves and no hero miraculously appears to pull you out of hell, Austin had no other choice but to make a living on the wrong side of the law—until football offered Austin the break to get his life back on track. But when a family tragedy drags him back into the clutches of the gang he believed he had left far behind, Austin finds himself falling. Falling back into criminal ways and falling deep into a suffocating darkness. Until a troubled yet kindred spirit stumbles across his path, where Austin quickly finds he is falling for a young woman, a young woman who might just have the power to save him from his worst enemy: himself.

Can two troubled souls find a lasting peace together? Or will they finally succumb to the demons threatening to destroy them?

New Adult/Contemporary Romance novel—contains adult content, sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.

Can be read as a stand-alone novel.


I was not expecting Sweet Fall to be the book it was after reading Sweet HomeSweet Home was an entertaining sports romance filled with over the top drama. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t quite fall in love with it. It didn’t touch me the way Sweet Fall did.

Sweet Fall was a very special book in my opinion. It took a couple of really tough topics, eating disorders and gang activity, and melded them together seamlessly. Each topic received the attention it was due along with some really great insight into what dealing with those issues involves. I was so impressed with the way Tillie Cole portrayed something she knew so much about. Her strength in sharing her innermost thoughts was commendable. Another thing I loved about Sweet Fall was its first person, dual point of view narration. So many insights were gained through the characters’ thoughts and actions.

Lexi was a girl trying to conquer her deepest fears and secrets. On the outside, she was a bright and bubbly goth cheerleader. On the inside, she was just trying to make it through the day. Lexi didn’t want anyone to discover what she was hiding and took lengths to make sure they didn’t. The only person she was able to share her true self with was the one person she knew she shouldn’t: Austin.

Austin’s football greatness may have him on the way to the NFL, but first he has to outrun his gangster past. He’s given up that lifestyle to play college ball, but the lifestyle is hard to escape when it had a hold of his family back home. There are so many pressures Austin’s dealing with, and shockingly, the only one he can find comfort in is the last person he should: Lexi.

I loved Lexi and Austen together. Both had battles to fight, and I loved the strength they gave each other. Their connection to each other was perfect. Everything Lexi and Austen shared with each other was special and their stories were inspiring. Every moment of their story felt important, and I can only imagine it touched a lot of readers.

Sweet Fall was a special novel that deserves high praise. It’s one I would recommend to readers who like a sweet love story filled with tough issues and a little bit of angst. Reading the first book in the series, Sweet Home, is not necessary, but it would be helpful because there are some spoilers to that book in this one.

WWW Wednesday: February 15, 2017

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading but is now hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So here we go…


Currently reading:

I’ve made a little bit of headway on Ready Player One. I’m on disc 5 out of 13. I feel like I’ve finally got to all the action and meat of the story.

I’m currently finishing up All the Ways You Saved Me (Love Unplugged, #1).


Recently finished:

Yet another week of a crazy amount of reading. I’m not sure how I’m getting this many books read. I think it’s maybe because they’re all romances and most of them are sports romances. They all felt like quick reads. This week I read:

Sweet Hope (Sweet Home, #3)
Sweet Soul (Sweet Home, #4)
The Cad and the Co-Ed (Rugby, #3)
Under the Bleachers (Up in the Treehouse, #2)
The Baller: A Down and Dirty Football Novel
Touching Down
Off-Campus (Bend or Break, #1)

Click on the book titles to read the reviews that I have already posted.


Reading Next:

 

I’ve been “saving” an ARC of A Boy Like You. because I love Ginger Scott and don’t want to be waiting for her next release. It’s time to dig in, though; and I can’t wait!

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Best Man by Barbie Bohrman

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Today I have the gorgeous cover reveal for The Best Man by Barbie Bohrman! Check it out and grab your copy March 28th!

FINAL_The Best Man FOR WEB

Title: THE BEST MAN

Author: Barbie Bohrman

Genre: Contemporary romance

Release Day: March 28th

About The Best Man:

Veronica Webber is single again after being in a loveless marriage way past its expiration date. For the first time in a very long time, she feels free and after being burned so badly by love in the past, any thought of romance is the last thing on her mind.

In walks a man from her past, Trevor Allen, a tall, dark, and handsome womanizer who is usually all about the bottom line. For Trevor that bottom line has always been made up of the countless notches on his bedpost. But when he sees Veronica after so many years, he can’t help but be drawn to her and know her again… even if that means being friend-zoned from the start.

As this unlikely pair spends more and more time together, they quickly realize that there might be something between them that goes past “just friends.” But there’s just one tiny detail that makes this situation slightly more complicated… Trevor was Veronica’s ex-husband’s best man at their wedding nine years ago.

So when past mistakes and indiscretions come back to haunt them, will their happily ever after end before it even gets started?

Or will the best man win this time.

Add on Goodreads!

FINAL_The-Best-Man-PRINT-FOR-WEB

Exclusive Excerpt:

I couldn’t pinpoint how I had been feeling for the past couple of days, but I was just… I don’t know. Off my game, I guess was the best way to put it. And the worst part was I knew exactly when and why this all started for me.

Ever since I’d seen Veronica off from my apartment this past Saturday, I couldn’t shake her from my thoughts no matter how hard I tried. And trust me, I had tried. But then my mind would wander and then the next thing I knew, I would remember how beautiful she looked as she peeled away a layer of insecurity at a time during our night out. I’d recall how she exuded that confidence at the karaoke bar that I found so alluring in any woman, but in Veronica, it was off the fucking charts sexy. And then I’d be reminded of how I slowly undressed her with care and put her in my bed for the night. All of her flawless, soft skin on display, the way her long legs stretched as I pulled her skirt off of her and the barely there lace panties she had on. As if all of that wasn’t enough to torture a mere mortal man such as myself, when I helped to remove her sweater and I got a damn good eyeful of the matching bra, it had taken every ounce of effort to not run the backs of my knuckles softly and slowly against the swells of her breasts. My dick was getting hard just thinking about it all over again. The images were still as vivid as if it had happened a minute ago… and I knew I was a piece of shit for thinking about any of it. For picturing Veronica over, around, and under me; for imagining her plump lips wrapped around my dick; for knowing how sweet she would taste against my tongue and how hard I could make her come.

“Fuck,” I muttered under my breath and ran a hand down my face. “What the hell is wrong with me?”

I should have gone out for lunch with Jack. Maybe the momentary change of scenery would have helped to keep my mind busy because studying up on the new client was quickly becoming a distant memory. Maybe the one thing Jack said was right though… I needed to get laid. And since Veronica was obviously not an option, I had to go elsewhere for the relief my dick was so sorely in need of. Because there was no way that my sanity could afford to wake up one more day this week with a case of blue balls. I was but one man.

My mind was racing through a mental catalog of women I knew that I could request the pleasure of the company of their pussy. They were women that knew without any prompting that I was the kind of guy you didn’t bring home to meet your parents. I had always appreciated those women the most; the ones that didn’t need the introduction or the “talk.” All they wanted or ever needed from me was a fuck. And that worked out perfectly as far as I was concerned.

Let’s see, I could call either Patsy, Bridget, Mary, Liv…

As soon as Liv’s name popped into focus, I knew she was the one I needed to reach out to. We had met at some sort of meet and greet for under-thirty-entrepreneur-shindig when I was technically under thirty some time last year. She was a tall, leggy blonde with perfect tits and an ass that I could bounce quarters off of. Liv and I had hit it off that first time we met, fucked, whatever. What made her different than other women was that right off the bat, she was the one to tell me that she had no intention of wanting any kind of relationship. Ever. So since that first time we slept together, she had been someone I knew I could call on to take the edge off. She hadn’t let me down yet, and I sure as hell hoped that she wouldn’t tonight.

I shot off a quick text to Liv:

Can you meet me later?

It didn’t take too long until I saw the familiar three flashing dots and then her response:

I can. Where and when?

Smiling, I knew I was in good hands and texted her back the name of a bar that was walking distance from my apartment that we could meet up at and the time. She was quick with her response:

See you there.

About Barbie Bohrman:

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Barbie Bohrman dreamed of becoming an author. Long after she had given up, a book club’s prologue contest enticed her to give it one more go. What emerged were the beginnings of her debut novel, Promise Me. Now she’s living her dream and writing stories that entice readers to escape and break away from reality. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to get through the books on her Kindle (more than a thousand at last count) or watching Lost or Seinfeld. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

Connect with Barbie:

FB~ https://www.facebook.com/Barbie-Bohrman-Author-170019943145037/

GR~ https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6875784.Barbie_Bohrman

Twitter~ @BarbieBohrman

Instagram~ @barbiebohrman

Website~ www.barbiebohrmanbooks.com

Amazon Author Page~ https://www.amazon.com/Barbie-Bohrman/e/B00DJASPA0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1482419573&sr=8-1

Enter Barbie’s Giveaway:

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