Review: Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry

Nowhere But Here
Series: Thunder Road, #1
Author: Katie McGarry
Narrators: Marguerite Gavin, Sean Pratt

Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Limited
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.


Nowhere But Here has been out for a couple of years. I’ve seen it around, and wanted to read it. I just hadn’t gotten to it yet. When I saw it was available as an audio book through my library system, I jumped on the chance to listen to it. I’m really mad at myself for not starting this series earlier!

Katie McGarry is a phenomenal writer. The way she puts words together and the story she tells… I’m trying to think of something to compare those to, and all that comes to mind is chocolate. Smooth, silky, and oh-so yummy. The plot of this book and how it was strung together was perfection. I loved the twists, turns, and revelations that were made. Somehow how Katie McGarry made a story involving a motorcycle gang sweet. That’s talent.

I adored Emily and Oz. Their points of view were so distinctive and had so much personality. Emily was this girl who started out seeming really small and scared. I thought she was going to be a delicate snowflake throughout the entire book, but she wasn’t. Emily had more backbone than I expected, and I loved it. It made for so many fun moments! And Oz…I absolutely adored his character. He was such a mature 18-year-old. He was more a man than a teenager. Honestly, his parts were my favorite. The way he articulated his thoughts was just so cool.

The rest of the cast of characters were just as good as the main characters. I liked Emily’s relationship with her parents, especially her father. Their closeness was sweet. I did wish I got to know Emily’s mom a little bit better, though. I also liked Eli, Olivia and that side of Emily’s family. The entire Reign of Terror group won me over immediately. Their family ways were so cool. I’m excited to read more about them in future books.

Why did I wait so long to read this book??? If you’re like me and haven’t read it yet, you need to bump it up your list. Everything about it was amazing. I highly recommend the audio version. The narrators are so good — especially Sean Pratt. I could listen to his voice all day.

Review: Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

Love, Life, and the List
Author: Kasie West
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.


Kasie West is one of my go-to YA contemporary romance authors. I love her writing. It’s cute, heartwarming, and addictive. I’m always excited to start one of her books because I know I’m in for a fun time. That’s exactly how I felt when starting Love, Life, and the List, and that’s exactly what I got.

Love, Life, and the List is all about friendship, love, and growing up. It’s about letting go of the things that hold you back and discovering who you really are. Abby had to do a lot of that in this book. She had to navigate an unrequited crush on her best friend. She had to deal with disappointment and learning how to express her emotions.

I loved how the Heart List helped Abby open herself up to new experiences and find who she was. I also loved that it helped her identify unhealthy relationships she had, and helped her stand up for herself.

The biggest one of those was with Cooper. Cooper wasn’t a character I liked. That was because I adored Abby and saw how destructive their relationship was. Yes, there were the cute times they shared. And, yes, I could see what Abby saw in him. I just didn’t like how he treated her. It wasn’t that he didn’t do nice things for her or treated her horribly. It was because he led her on. I know he wasn’t exactly trying to, but he took advantage of her love for him.

I do have to admit that I liked that Cooper didn’t hold Abby back on the love front. He pushed her to date other guys. I loved that he tried to set her up with Elliot. Elliot was an amazing guy, and I loved what he had in common with Abby. They were cute together.

Love, Life, and the List was almost perfect. Almost. The one thing that drove me nuts was the ending. I can’t say why, but I will say that it didn’t jive with what I wanted for Abby. It didn’t feel like it completely fit in my opinion. The end wasn’t my favorite outcome, but I do have to admit it was still cute.

Overall, I adored this book. It was cute, fun, addicting — all the things I mentioned before. I couldn’t put it down, and I didn’t want to. I am so excited that this is the first in a series of three crossovers. I can’t wait to see who shows up in those books!

Review: Love Me Like This by Bella Andre

Love Me Like This
Series: The Morrisons, #3
Author: Bella Andre
Publication Date: January 24, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Eight years have passed since Justin Morrison first laid eyes on Taylor and fell head over heels in love with her, even though he knew she could never be his. He’s tried everything he can to get over her–including moving to another country–but she’s still the only woman he’ll ever want.

Eight years is a heck of a long time to secretly love someone. Taylor knows all too well how impossible it is to forget a man as sexy, sweet, and brilliant as Justin Morrison. So when he turns up on the doorstep of her Napa Valley bed and breakfast, she can’t help but long for the happily-ever-after of her dreams.

As Taylor and Justin spend beautifully romantic mornings together watching the sun rise over the vineyards–and can’t help but fall into each other’s arms on wickedly sexy nights–it looks like they might finally get their chance at the love they’ve been waiting for. But will the secret Taylor has been keeping shatter everything in the end?


Justin and Taylor started their romance back in earlier The Morrisons books, but they never got together. Things — especially Taylor having a boyfriend — kept them apart. In order to avoid his feelings for Taylor, Justin took a job in Germany. But now he’s back and he’s got a chance to win Taylor’s heart. Only Taylor doesn’t think she’s able to give it to Justin. She’s got a big secret she’s been keeping all these years they’ve been friends.

Love Me Like This is a classic contemporary romance. It’s written in third person dual point of view. Taylor and Justin get to tell their sides of why they never ended up together in college along with their regrets. They also get to experience a second chance to make things right.

In the back of my mind (it’s been a couple of years since I read that last The Morrisons book), I can remember Justin and Taylor. I liked them and was eager to get their story. I remember loving the whole best friends aspect and hoping they would become more. Love Me Like This isn’t exactly what I had hoped for them, though. The past two books in the series were new adult romances. This one is an adult contemporary romance set ten years after college. I really wanted another new adult romance. It was a cute story, but it didn’t work 100% for me. I just have a really hard time believing these two harbored such intense feelings after one kiss and ten years later. That’s a long time to pine after someone you’ve maybe talked to but haven’t seen.

Don’t get me wrong. I still liked Justin and Taylor. I still enjoyed their romance. Love Me Like This was a classic Bella Andre romance. It was a sweet, sexy romance filled with family members from past books slipped in here and there for quick updates. Fans of Andre’s are sure to love it. I just wanted something a little different.

Excerpt Reveal: Memphis by Ginger Scott

Check out the amazing excerpt of Memphis by Ginger Scott! We are so excited about this release!

Memphis by Ginger Scott

A Contemporary New Adult Romance
Release day: February 23
Goodreads

Blurb:

My mom always said it was just something about the way he moved.

The same swagger Archie Valentine wore in the ring when he took his opponents down followed him like a halo everywhere he went. But make no mistake about it—he was no angel. He was like a drug. My mother was his addict.I never understood it…how love could make you blind and convince you to drink the poison. Not until I met Memphis Delaney.

At first, it was the familiar form. He’s a fighter, built like a god from the past, the kind of man the universe doesn’t make anymore. His eyes hide a story, and every time I’m in his presence I want to keep reading him until I get to the end. And then…there’s the way he moves. His boxing is violent but beautiful, and his body is a seductive weapon. When he’s in the ring, he wears the stare of a man committed to the battle until his very last breath.

He could end me; turn me into her. Too much of him will leave me as a shadow, and I’ve lost so much of myself already.

But I have discipline. It came the hard way. Lessons learned, scars left behind, and trust stripped away from life.

I will breathe his air, but I won’t fall for a man like him. The only boxer who’s ever going to break my heart is the one who gave me my name.

EXCERPT:

“Come here,” he says, calling me with a finger.

I wait a second before giving in, letting my arms fall to my sides as I take the few steps from where I am to where he is. His hands wrap around my biceps as soon as I’m near enough and I breathe in fast, just once. His eyes widen a little.

“You’re stronger than you look,” he smirks.

My gaze is held by his when he speaks. He holds it hostage and when I start to look away, his hands slide down to my wrists and he shakes them lightly until I look at him again. His head tilts, and he waits until I get it.

I’m stronger than I look.
“Thank you,” I say, pulling my lip in tight, so afraid I’m not. I’m stubborn for certain. I’m hardened and jaded. I’m not sure if any of that makes me strong.

My muscles bend to Memphis’s will as he threads his fingers through my right ones and lifts my arm, his other hand holding my elbow into my side. He lets go of my fingers and wraps his palm over my knuckles forming a fist and then moves my entire arm forward slowly, stopping when my body lunges with it.

“Here. You lose everything…right here,” he says, stopping my fist where it is then placing the tips of his fingers on my hips.

Memphis’s eyes are intent on where his hand rests at my waist, and he pauses to take a breath, his tongue pinched by his teeth, his lips twitching up at the corners, his eyes blinking fast—all in a second.

I think about kissing him again right now.

“Your weight is already spent, and you haven’t even made impact with something yet. Think about it,” he says, eyes flitting up to mine.

I shake my head a little from the brief stare and silence we share.

“Okay,” I say, following his lead as he brings my arm back and steps behind me.

“You hit me hard, but that was without everything you have behind it. Imagine,” he begins, adjusting his hold on me, his right hand sliding down my arm and covering my hand, feet straddling one of mine from behind, his chest against my back, his breath at my neck and a thousand beads of nerves dotting my skin.

“You’re here,” he says, his voice low and right at my ear.

My eyes flutter when his left hand runs down the side of my body to my hip, and my breath hitches when he grips it more forcefully.

“Your opponent is standing right there. Do you see him?”

I nod.

“Yes,” I say, my voice barely audible.

“He’s cocking,” he says, and I giggle at the word while his nose moves closer to my skin, tickling against my ear. “You’re such a child.”

I clear my throat and wriggle my hips and roll my shoulders, all under his touch.

“You’re right, I’m sorry,” I say, still smiling.

A short breath escapes him in laughter.

“He’s about to swing, okay?” he says, coaxing me to focus.

“Trust me.” His voice falls to a whisper, and my eyes fall closed.

Memphis drives my body, the space between us gone so much that I am lying against him while standing. His hand brings mine up, tucking it close to our bodies. His fingers splay on my thigh, and my leg feels strong. He leans with me, our bodies in sync as we twist to the left, our right shoulders stretching backward, necks rolling until we’re nearly back where we started.

“His balance is off,” he says at my neck. There are no areas of my body that aren’t affected by the vibration of his voice. “You have him. He’s yours. You have balance. His is gone. This is where you win.”

His hand holds my left side still, and his right hand brings me back to swing with a tighter form than I had before. He takes me through the motion once slowly, almost like we’re just part of some intimate ballet performance, then he brings my fist back in and tucks his chin into the side of my neck.

“Again,” he says, this time leading me through the motion faster as his hand slides from its hold on my hip to my diaphragm.

“Breathe out,” he says, and I do slowly at first, but with each swing we repeat, the motion is faster.

My air escapes with my thrust, my body something mechanical now, parts working in unison until I’m able to do it all on my own.

“Keep going,” Memphis says as he steps away. My eyes flit open, and I imagine everything that has ever hurt me. I see their faces—my parents, Enoch, the angry crowds at trials, reporters.

Memphis picks up one of the pads and steps closer as I swing, bending down to hand lift one of my abandoned gloves, eventually holding his palm out for me to pause.

“Put it on, and I want you to hit me now…not like before. Hit me with what you know. Hit me with what you feel, but always there is balance. You can’t give that away. It’s not theirs to have.”

My eyes lock on his as he slides the glove over my knuckles and I form a raw fist with my other hand. He takes two small steps back and readies himself before nodding.

I clear my lungs and consider his words and everything he just led my body through. I was so strong. I’m stronger than I think I am.

My feet shift to find the perfect fit against the mat, and I bring my hands in, fists raised and ready.

“He’s going to swing now,” Memphis says, and I react just as he taught me.

I dodge. The motion so swift and natural I barely remember doing it before my legs steady themselves, my middle twists and my arm swings forward, fist landing in the same spot as it did before only this time my body doesn’t stumble. Memphis does. Inches, but there is reaction to my action.

“Ha,” I breathe out in disbelief. My eyes lift from the fist-shaped dent in the pad to Memphis, and my lips part in awe.

“Yeah,” he says, glancing around to the front of the pad. “You did that by yourself.”

Giddiness takes over my face, my mouth stretching wide with parted lips. Memphis lets the pad fall again, and the physical proof from my force disappears as the padding evens out. It was there, though. I fought back, and left a mark. More than seeing it, I felt it. I still feel it.

“I want to do that again,” I say, blinking as my vision slides from the pad to Memphis’s proud smile.

“Baby steps, Champ. Let me show you a few drills, and then maybe you can punch me one more time before we’re done,” he says, chuckling.

“I wasn’t hitting you,” I say, handing him the glove.

He holds it in both of his hands before bending down to pick up the other glove, pairing them together. His gaze hits mine.

“I know who you were hitting.” Silence settles in for a long second. I don’t have to respond; Memphis doesn’t expect it.

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, A Boy Like You and A Girl Like Me.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

Cover Reveal: Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely

What do you get when you mix a multi-millionaire, a mystery woman, explosive passion, and the perfect night? A brand new standalone romance from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blakely that will have you swooning and asking for more! You’re invited to experience COME AS YOU ARE, a sexy and romantic contemporary romance, that will be releasing on April 16, 2018 on all retailers! Preorder your copy today!

Cover Photography by Rafa Catala with model Jorge Del Rio Romero.

Cover Design by Helen Williams.

About COME AS YOU ARE (Coming 4/16/2018):

I couldn’t have scripted a more perfect night.

For one fantastic evening, at a masquerade party in the heart of Manhattan, I’m not the millionaire everyone wants a piece of. Fine—multimillionaire. But who’s counting all those commas? Not me, and not the most intriguing woman I’ve ever met, who happens to like dancing, witty banter, and hot, passionate up-against-the-wall sex as much as I do.

There’s no need for names or business cards. And that’s why I’m eager to get to know her more, since my mystery woman seems to like me for me, rather than for my huge…bank account.

Everything’s coming up aces. Until the next day when things get a little complicated. (Newsflash — a lot complicated.)

***

He’s charming, brilliant, an incredible lover, and right now I want to stab fate in the eyeballs.

I’ve had one goal I’ve been working toward, and lo and behold, my mystery man is the very person who stands between me and my dream job. A job I desperately need since my hard-knock life has nothing in common with his star-kissed one.

But it’s time to put that fairytale night behind me, and focus on learning what makes him tick. Too bad it turns out his quirks are my quirks, and his love affair with New York matches mine.

And as we spend our days together, I discover something else that feels like a cruel twist of fate — I’m falling for this naughty prince charming, and that’s not an ending I can write to our story.

 

PREORDER YOUR COPY TODAY!

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✦ Kindle Preorder alert (via Lauren’s newsletter) ➜ http://laurenblakely.com/newsletter/

Goodreads

 


COME AS YOU ARE will be narrated by Andi Arndt and Sebastian York! Want to be the first to receive all of the latest COME AS YOU ARE information, including when you can get your hands on the audio version?
Sign up for Lauren’s newsletter and get the details!
✦Lauren’s Newsletterhttp://laurenblakely.com/newsletter/


About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 85 times, and in March she’ll release WANDERLUST, a breathtaking new romance that will sweep you away. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

 

WWW Wednesday: January 24, 2018

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

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


Recently Read

This week I read the Briarwood Academy series. It’s a new adult series that consists of 3 full length novels and one novella. I’ve wanted to read it since I fell in love with Ilsa Madden-Mills other books. Luckily, it was on KU. I also read Miss Mechanic.


Currently ReadIng

I started Moonshot today.

I’m also listening to the audio book version of Caraval.


Reading Next

I haven’t decided what I’ll read next.


What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂

Review: Bad For You by J. Daniels

“If you’re a fan of Kristen Ashley, then you will love this book.” -Aestas Book Blog on Four Letter Word

He didn’t want to be bad. He just didn’t have a choice…

Shayla Perkins isn’t the kind of girl who makes the same mistake twice, especially when it comes to Sean “Stitch” Molina. So when he gives her the world’s biggest rejection, that’s it–she’s done. Until the sexy, silent, unavailable Sean makes Shay a very personal offer. Of course, it still doesn’t mean he’s interested in her. Or does it?

Sean has done things in life. Bad things. And he’s paid the price. All he wants now is to make up for his past by doing good in the present. And no one deserves more good than Shay. Beautiful on the inside and out, Shay is the kind of woman who should be cared for and protected–especially from a man like Sean. He’s tried to keep his feelings for her in check, but a single, reckless impulse pulls them closer than ever before.

Soon the two are sharing their biggest dreams and satisfying their deepest desires. But what will happen if the only way to truly give each other what they want most…is to let each other go?

“The perfect mix of funny, hot and heartwarming. I enjoyed it immensely!” –Mia Sheridan, New York Times bestselling author, on Four Letter Word

AVAILABLE NOW

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON AU | B&N | KOBO | KOBO UK | iBOOKS

MY REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

You know that book that is just so amazing you want to call and tell all your friends to read it? Well, that’s Bad For You. I cannot get over how awesome it was. It had everything: humor, romance, angst, heart, emotion, depth…I could go on and on.

I always thought no other Dirty Deeds book could top Four Letter Word. The connection between Syd and Brian that started this whole series was one I didn’t think J. Daniels could beat. Well, I was wrong. Bad For You surpassed Four Letter Word by far. The connection between Sean (“Stitch”) and Shay was so raw and so much deeper than I expected. Their romance was not light and fluffy. There was so much for them to overcome — especially for Sean. The darkness they had to navigate to get to each other was heartbreaking. Not that there wasn’t humor. There was a ton of it. It’s what helped bring light to this book and to Sean and Shay.

My favorite thing about Bad For You is the way Sean and Shay supported each other. Sean’s support showed up in the sweetest, most unexpected ways. Shay’s was a little more exuberant and entertaining. When it came down to it, the support they had for each other is what helped build their friendship and relationship. I loved the progression of it.

Bad For You is J. Daniels’ best book yet! I absolutely adored everything about it. I feel like I can’t adequately express how outstanding it was. I guess I’ll just close by saying YOU NEED TO READ THIS BOOK!!!

J.Daniels is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Sweet Addiction series, the Alabama Summer series, and the Dirty Deeds series.

She would rather bake than cook, she listens to music entirely too loud, and loves writing stories her children will never read. Her husband and children are her greatest loves, with cupcakes coming in at a close second.

J grew up in Baltimore and resides in Maryland with her family.

Sign up to receive her newsletter and get special offers and exclusive release info: http://authorjdaniels.com/newsletter/

Twitter | Instagram | Website | Facebook | Amazon Author Page |Goodreads | Reader’s Group

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About. 

Honestly, this could be almost any book for me! I hate saying that, but I read so dang much. Don’t get me wrong, I remember pieces of these books, but there are a lot of blank spots. Here are the books that come to mind…


1. The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield

2. Salem Falls
by Jodi Picoult

3. Midnight Bayou
by Nora Roberts

4. A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle

5. Amber Beach
by Elizabeth Lowell

6. Lost & Found
by Brooke Davis

7. Magic Hour
by Kristin Hannah

8. Simply Irresistible
by Jill Shalvis

9. Until There Was You
by Kristan Higgins

10. Say Goodnight, Gracie
by Julie Reece Deaver


Have you read these? Do you remember them?

Review: Ryan’s Bed by Tijan

Ryan’s Bed
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: January 22, 2018
Genre: (Mature) Young Adult , Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I crawled into Ryan Jensen’s bed that first night by accident.

I barely knew him. I thought it was his sister’s bed—her room. It took seconds to realize my error, and I should’ve left…

I didn’t.
I didn’t jump out.
I didn’t get embarrassed.
I relaxed.
And that night, in that moment, it was the only thing I craved.

I asked to stay. He let me, and I slept.

The truth? I never wanted to leave his bed. If I could’ve stayed forever, I would have.
He became my sanctuary.

Because—four hours earlier—my twin sister killed herself.


WOAH. I cannot stop thinking about this book. I actually had a hard time falling asleep after finishing it I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Ryan’s Bed was an interesting book. It definitely fit the Tijan YA mold. Girl who is deeply scarred from an emotional death/family event. She’s tortured by it, but finds comfort in a guy willing to go the distance for her and protect her at all cost. Mackenzie had a little bit of both Samantha (Fallen Crest High) and Alexandra (Broken and Screwed) in her, but that’s where the similarities end. I couldn’t help comparing her story to theirs, but this one was actually very different.

You see, Mackenzie didn’t just lose a sibling, she lost a twin. She lost what she considered to be half of herself to suicide. It sent her over the edge. Mackenzie no longer felt like herself. Her family no longer felt the same. The destruction in the wake her twin’s death felt catastrophic to her. Mackenzie’s grief and anger made Ryan’s Bed a very dark YA read.

I have to admit I had no idea where the story would go even at half way through. Mackenzie was so messed up mentally that I feared there wouldn’t be a good ending. Everything about it was heartbreaking. The sadness of it all consumed me. I didn’t like feeling the way it made me feel…and then there was a subtle reprieve. Slowly, things started coming together in a way I could see some relief.

And then the end came. I have to say I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t prepared.

Ryan’s Bed isn’t a joy to read, but it’s a very well crafted book. If I’m going to be honest, I probably would have given Ryan’s Bed three stars if it wasn’t for that ending. I couldn’t tell where this book was going for the first several chapters. I didn’t know if I wanted to know where it was going at that time. But the progression to the end was good, and then that damn ending was spectacular. So, four stars it is.

You’ll notice I didn’t say anything about the romance in this novel. Ryan’s Bed has a romance, but it’s not the front and center star of the show. Mackenzie’s journey is, and I think it needs to stay that way. All I will say is that I loved Ryan and his support of her.

I can’t end this review without saying that the Author’s Note at the end was worth reading. It helped me process what I had read, and I loved how Tijan’s thoughts about the beginning of this book reflected how I felt. I applaud her for her courage in writing this book.

TIJAN’S ULTIMATE RYAN’S BED GIVEAWAY:

https://tinyurl.com/ryansbedgiveaway

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BUY LINKS:
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Review: Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen

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Midnight Blue, an all-new sexy standalone from LJ Shen is available NOW!

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Midnight Blue
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: January 18th

It should have been easy.

I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death.

I was cherry-picked especially for him. Responsible. Optimistic. Warm. Innocent.

The worst part is that I should have known better.

Alex Winslow. British rock star. Serial heartbreaker. Casanova with whiskey eyes.

“Don’t get near the devil in a leather jacket. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”

Sounds familiar? That’s because it was a headline in a tabloid the second time he got arrested.

Guess what? I didn’t listen.

I signed the contract.

World tour. Three months. Four Continents. One hundred shows.

My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god.

Problem was, my soul wasn’t enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too.

Then he took my heart.

Then he took my all.

Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Midnight Blue was a darker, angst filled romance. It’s about two people who do not want to fall in love with each other, but cannot fight the pull between them. Indie is a sweet young woman who took a job baby-sitting a volatile rockstar on tour to help erase her family’s debts. Alex Winslow is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic bad boy with only his career to lose. Using Indie is just a game to Alex. She’s his muse, his hanny, and hopefully his next lay. That doesn’t stop Indie from wanting him even when she knows shouldn’t.

You know how sometimes you read a book and you’re struck by the beauty of the words in it? That was Midnight Blue for me. It was a powerful book. Every emotion conveyed was so raw. I don’t know if it was the fact that some of those words were song lyrics or simply because they were so heartfelt. There was such beauty in this story — even when what was happening wasn’t so beautiful.

I wouldn’t say that Indie and Alex’s love story was my favorite. Alex hurt Indie in ways that were almost unforgivable. Their romance wasn’t one for the ages. It wasn’t perfect. But that’s what was special about it. Alex and Indie had painful pasts. Falling in love didn’t magically fix everything, but it showed them that there was more to life than their losses. That was the beauty of Midnight Blue.

I liked Indie’s character. There was something about the way she admitted her shortcomings and wrong decisions that I could relate to. She was also a little quirky, which was fun. It fit her past perfectly, and the rest of the story as well. Her demeanor and style gave Alex the perfect ammunition.

I didn’t like Alex for most of the book. Dude was messed up in all the wrong way. I got it, but it hurt to read his thoughts at times. My favorite part of Midnight Blue was the last 20% of it. This, to me, was the most important part of the story. It was more Alex’s journey than Indie’s at this point, and there was such an honesty to it. His acceptance of his struggles and truths were so well done. I didn’t care for Alex until I got to this point. He proved to me he was more than an arrogant rockstar, and was worthy of Indie’s love.

Overall, Midnight Blue was a well written, emotion packed romance. I could feel the angst coming off the pages. If you’re looking for a rockstar romance with an edge, this is the one for you.

Excerpt:

Nat’s words came back and haunted me like a bad haircut from the eighties. An irrational need to check the goods took over me. It wasn’t like he minded. According to the rumors, his dick had seen more cameras than Kendall Jenner. Slowly—so painfully slowly—my eyes drifted down his sinewy body. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Whatever I had in mind, though, didn’t come close to the real thing. Thick, long but not atrocious. With thin veins running through its length.

“Nice view?” he groaned, tucking his junk back into his briefs. His profile was glorious. Strong jaw, pouty lips, eyes like sex…

My eyes snapped up when I realized he was talking to me. “I wasn’t…”

“Looking? Yes, you were. Next time take a picture. It lasts longer.” He rolled his zipper upward and flushed the toilet with the toe of his boot. He turned around and squirted soap into his palm, washing his hands almost violently—rubbing between each finger and scratching his knuckles like he wanted to shed his own skin. When he was done, he looked around for a towel.

I cleared my throat, scrambling to regain my wits. “Longer than the glimpse or longer than your performance?”

Casually—so unbearably casually—he wiped his wet hands over my purple dress. I gasped, moving sideways. It looked like he was about to open the door and get out, but before I had the chance to yell at him for using me as a human towel, he slammed me against the wall, bracing both his arms above my head and pinning me to my spot. I let out a shriek of surprise at the sudden proximity.

Alex Winslow is touching me. Willingly, my surprisingly pitiful brain squealed.

Heat rolled off his body, making my back arch and my breath catch in my throat.

“Let’s make one thing clear—I could fuck you to a point of numbness without even breaking a sweat if I wanted to. Now, careful, New Girl. If you don’t keep your distance from me, I think I just might.”
MidnightBlue-AN

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About LJ Shen:

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

LJShen

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