Review: The Raging Ones by Krista & Becca Ritchie

The Raging Ones
Series: The Raging Ones, #1
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In a freezing world, where everyone knows the day they will die, three teens break all odds.

Franny Bluecastle, a tough city teen, dreams of dying in opulence, to see wealth she’s never known. Like the entire world, she believes it’s impossible to dodge a deathday.

Until the day she does.

Court Icecastle knows wealth. He also knows pain. Spending five years in Vorkter Prison, a fortress of ice and suffering, he dreams of life beyond the people that haunt him and the world that imprisoned him.

Mykal Kickfall fights for those he loves. The rugged Hinterlander shares a frustrating yet unbreakable connection with Court—which only grows more lawless and chaotic as their senses and emotions connect with Franny.

With the threat of people learning they’ve dodged their deathdays, they must flee their planet to survive. But to do so, all three will have to hide their shared bond as they vie for a highly sought after spot in the newest mission to space. Against thousands of people far smarter, who’ll live longer, and never fear death the way that they do.


I requested The Raging Ones from NetGalley solely because it was written by Krista and Becca Ritchie. I didn’t even read the blurb. If I had, I might not have requested it. I’m not a science fiction or fantasy fan. I try to avoid books in those genres. I’m happy I didn’t read that blurb because I would have missed out on something wonderful. Krista and Becca Ritchie may be known in the contemporary romance world, but they’re taking the YA science fiction world by storm with The Raging Ones.

The writing in this book was exceptional. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the science and fantasy details of the story. I was immediately pulled in and engaged with the setting and characters. I loved the plot. It was so different from anything I’ve read before. I adored Franny, Mykel, and Court. They had such a special connection and how it was woven through the story was so cool. The supporting characters were all very interesting and had important roles to play.

I loved everything about The Raging Ones. If I could have stayed up any later, I would have read this book in one day. It was that fascinating to me. I loved how the action built. The ending — well, let’s just say I didn’t see that coming. It was perfect! I cannot wait to read the next book in this series! Bravo, Ritchie twins!

Review: Four Day Fling by Emma Hart

FOURDAYFLING3

Four Day Fling
Author: Emma Hart
Publication Date: July 24, 2018
Publisher: Emma Hart
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Imagine this.

You’re ready to leave after a one-night stand, and you’re figuring out how to—shock horror—leave your number and ask him to be your fake boyfriend for your sister’s wedding this weekend.

When he wakes up.

Well, that happened to me. And over coffee and omelets, I found myself a date.

Which was how I ended up arriving at the wedding with a guy I knew nothing about.

I didn’t know his last name, or how we met, or how long we’d been dating. I didn’t know where he grew up, what he’d majored in in college, or how many siblings he had.

I sure as hell didn’t know he was Adam Winters, hotshot hockey player, and not only my father’s favorite player, but my little nephew’s freakin’ idol.

Which means I’m in trouble. Big, big trouble.

My mother is suspicious, my sister is bridezilla on crack, and my grandpa will tell anyone who’ll listen about his time in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

Four days.

I have to keep this up for four days, and then Adam and I can return to our regular lives, where we don’t have sex whenever we’re alone, and my family aren’t interrogating him over his intentions with me.

At least, that’s the plan.

And we all know what happens to those.


I have to be completely honest. I read Four Day Fling without reading the blurb beforehand. I didn’t feel the need to because I love Emma Hart’s writing. That being said, I was just as shocked to find out Poppy’s wedding date was a famous professional hockey player. It made the story that much funnier for me — and Four Day Fling was hilarious.

Poppy was a mixture of snark and awkwardness. She was a hot mess and I loved her for it. From her t-shirts with sayings to the way she dealt with her family, Poppy was a character who made me laugh. I adored her and her crazy ways. I found her to be a refreshingly blunt character who had confidence along with real life insecurities. It was fun reading about her falling for Adam.

Adam was all cool confidence. The guy knew how to go with the flow. His willingness to accept all the crazy going on added to the enjoyment of this story. I loved how Adam loved what other people saw as Poppy’s flaws.

Poppy and Adam made a great match. The way they navigated a wedding and Poppy’s crazy family as a fake couple was hilarious. I couldn’t get enough of this story. I didn’t want the four days to end…and when it did…the story continued to in a way suited to both Adam and Poppy.

If you’re looking for a fun romantic comedy to enjoy on this beach or just take your mind off things, Four Day Fling is the perfect book.

Now, in case you’re wondering what reading Four Day Fling is like,
here is an EXCERPT:

“Ready?” Adam strolled out of the bedroom, playing with the button on his shorts.

“For lunch with my mother?” I turned and stared at him, expressionless. “I’m thrilled.”

He laughed and adjusted the short sleeve of his white shirt. “It’s what—an hour? Then she’ll be back snapping at your sister’s ankles. Surely you can give Rosie a break for sixty whole minutes.”

“Oh no. I’ve done that guilt trip my entire life. I’m not getting it from my fake boyfriend, too.” I waggled my finger at him before turning back to the mirror to finish my make-up. “And yes, I can give her a break, but it doesn’t mean I need to be happy about it.”

“Do you ever get along?”

“Yes. When I’m in Orlando and she’s in Key West.”

“I mean when you’re together.”

“In the same room together, or having a conversation together?”

“Now you’re just being awkward, Red.”

I brushed a final stroke of mascara over each of my eyes, then stopped, wand in hand, and met his eyes in the reflection of the mirror. “Given how you ended up here, I would have thought you knew that awkward was my default mode.”

“That was cute-awkward. This is attitude-awkward.”

“How do you know there’s a difference?”

He pointed at himself. “Four sisters. I grew up with attitude-awkward. I could recognize it blindfolded with hands cuffed behind my back from two hundred miles away.”

“Wow. Someone’s cocky.”

“I thought we established that the night we met.”

My cheeks flushed. Damn it. Why did I have to blush like an idiot? Oh, that’s right. I was a redhead and so pale I was a distant relative of Casper the Friendly Ghost, which meant you could see my blushing a mile off.

“You’re adorable when you blush.” Adam grinned.

“Thank God,” I drawled. “That was my life goal. Be adorable. Now, I can get it in neon lights over my bed.”

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Series Review: Losing It by Cora Carmack

Losing It
Series: Losing It, #1
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrator: Phoebe Strole
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Virginity.

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible—a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half a brain would ever believe.

And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theater professor.

She’d left him naked in her bed about eight hours earlier. . . .

I hadn’t read this book before now because I didn’t think I would like it. I’m not a fan of the whole student-teacher forbidden romance thing. As a parent, those type of romances disturb and concern me. Losing It didn’t bother me, though. Cora Carmack did a very good job of not crossing over a line I couldn’t handle. This student-teacher romance worked for me for a number of reasons.

  • Bliss was a college senior. She was an adult a few years over the age of 18.
  • Garrick wasn’t too much older than her. He had recently graduated from college himself.
  • Bliss and Garrick’s relationship went slow. Based on the title, that seems false. It was truly a very slow burn romance.
  • There weren’t a lot of scenes where I worried they were going to get caught. The ones that were made me laugh. They were actually kind of funny.
  • I also think that listening to the audio version of the book made a difference. It was like being even more in Bliss’ head and feeling her feelings.

All of these things made the student-teacher concept easier on me. It also helped that I loved the writing and the characters. This book really surprised me, and in a good way. I truly wanted Bliss and Garrick to be together.

The only things that bugged me were lack of depth/growth of the characters and the switch from the entire book being in Bliss’ point of view to Garrick’s for the epilogue. I wanted Bliss to learn something more and to get a greater insight into Garrick. As for the narration switch, it was mostly because the narrator. He talked so much faster than the person who did Bliss. It was a shocking change. That wasn’t that big of deal, though. I got used to it. Overall, Losing It was a good classic NA read.


Faking It
Series: Losing It, #2
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrators: Emma Galvin, Dan Bittner
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

Review:

Faking It was definitely more my style than Losing It. I really enjoyed this take on the fake relationship trope. I liked Cade in Losing It, and was happy he got a chance at real love. He was slightly broken, but his heartache was nothing compared to Max’s. I loved what Cade was able to bring to Max’s life. It was really sweet.

Faking It felt like a standard new adult romance. It had two broken characters who didn’t realize they were looking for the wrong thing until they found each other. The story had a little angst, but it wasn’t over the top. Faking It is definitely a must read for new adult fans.


Finding It
Series: Losing It, #3
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrators: Soneela Nankani
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong . . .

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She’s having the time of her life . . . or that’s what she keeps telling herself.

It’s a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you’re afraid you won’t like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey’s loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey’s mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

Review:

Finding It was my least favorite book in the series. It had several things stacked against it. I like books set in countries outside the U.S., but books where a character travels around don’t always work for me. This one did at times, but didn’t at others. I also didn’t immediately fall in love with Kelsey’s character. I didn’t like her or the decisions she made at first. It took me almost until half way though the book to start to be interested in her story. It waswhen she let me in on her secret. Then, I could at least start to understand her. I was seriously considering DNFing the book prior to her revelation. Even after I considered it. I think I just needed more of Kelsey and Jackson sooner. If I would have been reading instead of listening, I honestly would have skimmed to get to the heart of the story faster.

Overall Thoughts:

I had put off reading the Losing It series because I mistakenly thought it wasn’t for me. After reading Cora Carmack’s other NA series, I decided to take my chances. I’m happy I did. The first two books in this series were well worth reading. The last book wasn’t for me, but I’m sure others would enjoy it.

Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

All Your Perfects
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart. The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past. This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?


All Your Perfects is an emotional journey through a marriage on the brink of collapse. It’s split into two parts: the past and the present. These two time frames aren’t split into part one and part two, but alternate every other chapter. As Quinn and Graham meet and fall in love in the past, their relationship is splintering and falling apart in the present due to infertility. Quinn and Graham will have to decide if the foundation they built in the past is enough to save their future together.

Oh, man. This book. It made me feel so many, many things. It was completely frustrating to feel Quinn and Graham’s love for each other blossom in one chapter and then immediately after feel their despair in another. The ups and downs took a toll on me emotionally. If another author had written this story, I might not have liked it. Colleen Hoover worked her magic. All Your Perfects had the same vibe as some of her earlier books. That’s the only way I can think to describe it. All the ups and downs led to something magical, something I am not sure many authors could pull off successfully and not make me hate them.

I’ve never dealt with infertility. I can only imagine how utterly devastating it would be. I’ve never dealt with a marriage in crisis. I don’t even want to think about how horrible that would be. Even though I’ve never dealt with either of these things, I did take away something important from All Your Perfects: communication. My relationship with my husband may be easy, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do a better job communicating my thoughts and feelings with him. This book was a good reminder that people can’t read minds and it’s important to keep an open path of communication with those you love.

Despite being put through an emotional wringer, I ended up truly loving the experience that Colleen Hoover gave me in All Your Perfects. I think so many people (and their relationships) are going to be impacted by this book. It’s definitely worth reading.

Review: The Hardest Fall by Ella Maise

The Hardest Fall
Author: Ella Maise
Publication Date: April 18, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The first time you meet someone, you make eye contact. You smile, say hello. Should be simple, if you’re anyone but me. The first time I met Dylan Reed, I found myself making eye contact with a different part of his body. You see, I’m very good at being shy, not to mention extremely well-versed in rambling nonsense and, unfortunately, rather highly skilled at making a fool of myself in front of a guy I’m attracted to.

At the time, I knew nothing about him and thought none of what I said would matter since I’d never speak to him again. Turns out, I was very wrong. He was the star wide receiver of the football team, one of the few players expected to make it into the NFL, and I ended up seeing him all over campus.
I might have also propositioned him, run away from him, attacked him with a cooking utensil…and…uh, maybe I shouldn’t tell you all of it. It’s pretty normal stuff, things you’d expect…from me. Eventually, the time came when I couldn’t hide anymore—not that he’d have let me even if I tried.
Before now, he never knew I was secretly watching him. Now that we see each other every day, he knows when I have a hard time looking away. It doesn’t help that I’m not the most subtle person in the world either.

He smiles at me and tells me he finds me fascinating because of my quirks. I can’t even tell him that I think my heart beats differently whenever he’s around.

He thinks we’re going to be best friends. I think I have a big thing for him, and the more I get to know him, the more I don’t care that I’m not allowed to be his friend, let alone fall for him.

The thing is, that’s exactly what I’m doing—what we’re doing, I think.

Falling.

Hard.


The Hardest Fall has been on my to-read list since it was released back in April. I loved the cover and the blurb. It seemed like a book right up my alley. Knowing it was from the author who also wrote two books I really enjoyed, To Love Jason Thorn and To Hate Adam Connor, made me that much more excited to finally get to read it.

I adored Zoe and Dylan. Zoe was this shy, quirky girl who was embarrassed by just about everything. Seeing her through Dylan’s eyes made me love her more than I already did. Dylan was a refreshing take on the college football star. He was a nice guy who was into monogamy. You don’t see that often in new adult romances. I liked that he was a decent human being from the get go. I also liked what a hard worker he was.

Zoe and Dylan’s relationship was so sweet! It was a slow burn romance in all of the best ways. I got to see their relationship revolve from acquaintances to friends to more in a time that felt real and not rushed. That’s another thing you don’t find often in new adult romances. What I really loved about their relationship was how they treated each other.

Another thing I loved about this book were the other relationships in it. Zoe had some strong friendships and they created some special, memorable moments. Dylan also had great friendships with his team that were spotlighted. All of the supporting characters strengthened Zoe and Dylan separately and together. It was cool.

The Hardest Fall surpassed my expectations. It surprised me with its twists and turns. I wasn’t expecting them! To be honest, Zoe’s secret had me a little stressed out! I was worried things were headed in a direction I wouldn’t like. Ella Maise took this book from average to exceptional with her plot line. It kept me on my toes! I highly recommend reading it if you’re a fan of sports, new adult, or college romances. It was an incredibly well written book.

Series Review: Pucked (Book #’s 4-6) by Helena Hunting

Earlier this month, I posted mini reviews for the first three books in the Pucked series. Today, I’m back with mini reviews for the next three books. You can find my reviews for books 1 – 3 HERE.

Forever Pucked
Series: Pucked, #4
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Publisher: Helena Hunting
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Being engaged to Alex Waters, team captain and the highest paid NHL player in the league, is awesome. How could it not be?

In addition to being an amazing hockey player, he’s an incurable romantic with an XL heart, and an XXL hockey stick in his pants. And he knows how to use it. Incredibly, orgasmically well. Alex is the whole package and more. Literally. Like his package is insane. Total world record holder material.

So it makes complete sense that Violet Hall can’t wait to nail him down to the matrimonial mattress and become Mrs. Violet Waters.

It’s so romantic.

Violet is totally stoked to set a date.

Eventually. At some point. Likely before the next millennium. Or when Violet stops getting hives every time someone brings up the wedding, and their mothers stop colluding on stadium sized venues. Whichever comes first.

Review:

Back to beavers, MCs and Area 51. Once again, those terms overshadowed Violet and Alex’s story. This book was a fun addition to their story from book one. I loved the situations they were put in. I liked how they each grew individually and together. I just wish there weren’t so may beaver and MC references.


Pucked Under
Series: Pucked, #5
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: July 7, 2016
Publisher: Ink & Cupcakes, Inc.
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Randy Ballistic and Lily LeBlanc are head-over-heels, bed-breakingly, screaming orgasmically in love. But even they have their challenges, mostly outside of the bedroom.

With the off-season coming to a close and the boys gearing up for training camp, one more weekend of fun is the perfect way to welcome the new season.

The entire crew piles into vehicles and drives to Alex and Violet’s Chicago cottage for a few days of relaxation—and hopefully a chance for Randy to shake the anxiety that’s been plaguing him.

Accidental wardrobe malfunctions, typical Violet inspired overshares, and a whole lot of private time round out the perfect weekend getaway.

But the moment they return to the city all of Randy’s angst resurfaces with the arrival of a surprise houseguest.

Review:

I adored this novella. Lucy and Randy are my favorite couple in this series so far. They’re story is so cute and sexy. I liked how Randy’s family added the drama to this book and how it all turned out. My only complaint about this one was I wanted it to be longer!


Pucked Off
Series: Pucked, #5
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Ink & Cupcakes, Inc.
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance.”

I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.

Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.

I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.

At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.

I shouldn’t want her.

But I do.

I should leave her alone.

But I won’t.

Review:

This was my favorite book in the Pucked series. I could really see Helena Hunting’s growth as an author in this one. I adored Lance and I’m so happy he found that special woman for him. He deserved her and to be happy. Their story was so sweet. My only issue with this book was that I felt the evil person in it needed to be dealt with in a harsher, legal way. Other than that, this book was perfection!

Review: Always Been You by Sadie Allen

Always Been You  
by Sadie Allen
Cedar Lake Series, Book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Design: Oh So Novel
Release Date: July 19, 2018
Synopsis
Emma Taylor ran away from home in a cloud of dust, taking the pieces of her broken heart with her. Fifteen years later, she is back to care for her grieving father and to face the boy who once broke her heart. 
Brazos Huntswell was dealt a bad hand. Life hasn’t turned out the way he envisioned it in high school. He’s a single father to a moody teenage girl and trying to make a go of the cattle ranch his father left him.
Trouble is brewing in the town of Cedar Lake, and people are turning up dead. Will Braz and Emma be able to weather the coming storm and take a chance on forever? Or will a ghost from the past destroy that chance… permanently?
Add to your Goodreads TBR List:
Buy Links:
 

Review:

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

My thoughts are a little jumbled for Always Been You. I really enjoyed Sadie Allen’s writing, but there was something that didn’t work for me. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I’ll do my best.

I would categorize Always Been You as a romantic suspense novel. There was a second chance love story between the main characters, Emma and Braz. There was also a murder mystery happening in their small town of Cedar Creek. I liked both aspects, but they also distracted from each other.

Emma and Braz were great characters. I liked them individually. They each had a lot going on in their own lives. Emma was a teacher and was encouraging her father to live again after losing her mother. Braz was a rancher and single father. I loved their relationships with their families. It was the best part of the book. I especially loved Braz’s relationship with sky.

As for Emma and Braz together… I didn’t connect with their relationship. I have a hard time believing second chance love stories where the characters pined for each other for years and years without seeing each other. It doesn’t feel natural to me. I understand having that regret or person in the back of the mind at times, but I don’t get not moving on. Emma more so in this aspect than Braz. What made it even harder for me was their reconnection felt like instant love. I didn’t feel like I ever really got to see them get to know each other as adults with the amount of time they spent together. I wasn’t sold on their love. I think I could have been if their relationship was the main focus of the book.

As for the murder mystery, I liked that. I am not always a big fan of romantic suspense, but the suspense part worked for me. I could kind of see what was coming, but it was still exciting. My only complaint with this part was that there wasn’t a complete conclusion — probably because there is already a book two in the works.

I hate that this review sounds negative. I actually did enjoy reading Always Been You. I wanted to know what was going on with the murders and how things would work out for Emma and Braz. I still do. I will definitely read the second book to find out what else is to come in Cedar Creek.

 
About the Author
 
 
Sadie Allen lives in Texas with her husband and three young children. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, catching up on her favorite shows, or chasing her family around the house.
Social Media Links:
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Blog Tour: Broken Love Story by Natasha Madison

Title: Broken Love Story
Series: Love Series #3
Author: Natasha Madison
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Kindle Unlimited

 

Samantha: 
 
I had the perfect life; a husband who loved me, and two kids who were my world. 
 
Until someone else answered his phone and my perfect life shattered. 
 
When he died, I was left with answers he couldn’t give me and a box full of lies. 
 
He left me broken. 
 
 
Blake: 
 
I fell in love when I was fifteen, knowing she was the one. 
 
For five years, she was my everything—my every breath, every heartbeat, every thought. 
 
She made me promise to move on, promise to find love again, but I broke those promises because I can’t move on. 
 
Two broken souls brought together by tragedy and heartbreak. 
Can a broken love story be fixed?

Review:

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

I am a fan of Natasha Madison’s writing, but the Love Story series hasn’t been my favorite of hers. I’m not sure exactly why. It’s filled with great characters, interesting plots, and big emotions. There’s just something I haven’t connected with — until now. Broken Love Story was my favorite of the three books.

What was it about Broken Love Story that made it so good? For starters, there was the fact that the first two books set this one up beautifully. Some of the same events occurred as in the first book, but from a completely different perspective. I didn’t feel like I was re-reading the same book. Samantha and Blake’s story felt fresh and new.

Then, there was the way I connected with the characters in Broken Love Story. I felt a deeper connection to Samantha than I did to Hailey. Her anger made more sense to me than the way Hailey reacted, I guess. I also loved how Samantha’s relationship with Blake came about. It felt natural. Blake was a good guy from the start who wanted to help. There wasn’t any real tension or jerky moments. That was refreshing. I liked how supportive he was. Blake had his own troubles in the past, but they didn’t encroach on the present really, and that made his quick fall for Samantha easier to believe. He was ready for a relationship.

All of the supporting characters were very well written. I adored Samantha’s daughters and Blake’s parents. I hated Eric’s family. The way they all interacted was perfect.

The only thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars was a shocker near the end. I wasn’t expecting it, and it went a little overboard in my opinion. It was entertaining, though!

Overall, Broken Love Story was a great read. It was an emotional story of healing and fining love again.

Samantha

Standing in front of the full-length mirror in my room, I smooth down my black skirt. My blond hair is tied up in a ponytail, my cheeks are sunken in more than normal, and the blackness around my eyes indicates I haven’t slept well since this whole thing happened. Since I found out that not only did my husband die, but that he also married someone else. 

I sit on the made bed and look down at my wedding band. My thumb of my right hand touches it, and the lone tear that falls out of my eye lands straight on it. “Mommy.” I look back at Lizzie, who is standing in the doorway wearing a black one-piece dress similar to mine with ballerina flats. 
My mother-in-law went shopping yesterday and bought us all new outfits for today. “We need to put our best foot forward,” she said as I watched her walk in with the six bags. “We can’t let people talk.”

I turned around and walked out of the room, going upstairs. Shutting myself in my bathroom with my back against the door, I cried quietly, trying to hide my sobs. “We can’t let people talk,” I whispered to myself. The hatred I had begun feeling when I remembered my husband.

Lizzie walks to the side of my bed and sits next to me. “I hate this dress,” she says when I put my hand around her shoulder and bring her to me, kissing her head.
“I know, baby,” I whisper, “but after today, it’s going to be all over.”

“That’s what Grandpa A said.” She mentions the name she calls my father-in-law. Grandpa A because you can’t get better than an A. 

“Is everyone ready?” I hear Ethan yell from downstairs. “The limo is picking us up in twenty.”

“Let’s go, baby,” I tell her, getting up and holding her hand while we walk downstairs. My in-laws are both sitting in the kitchen. My mother-in-law in a black skirt and top while my father-in-law has on a black suit. “Where is Daisy?” I ask them.

“Elliot is upstairs changing her. She spilled milk on her dress,” Judy tells me, looking at Lizzie. “You look like such a big girl.” She blinks her tears away.

Elliot comes down the stairs with Daisy on his hip, smiling at me when he walks in. “Okay, you girls go sit in the living room while us grown-ups talk,” my father-in-law says, and the girls both know to leave the room. When he knows they are both out of earshot, he starts. “Today is going to be tough, tough for us all, but we have to stand together. We have to be the family that we are.” I lean against the counter while he talks. “The situation with the other one has been taken care of, and she has been served papers.” I look at him and then at Elliot and Ethan, both of them looking down when our eyes meet. It’s almost as if they feel guilty for meeting this woman. My father-in-law continues, “After all this is done today, we are meeting with the lawyers in person, so we can go over the will, start the paperwork for the insurance, and make sure she doesn’t touch a thing that belongs to him.” I stop listening at this point, turning to look out the window at the backyard.

The swing set that he built in one day to make sure the kids could use it when he left the next day. The patio set he had delivered to us, so I could have somewhere to sit while I watched the girls while he was living with another woman. I shake my head, walking out of the room. I sit on the couch, and the girls come to sit next to me, one on each side. “Today is going to be really hard,” I whisper to them, “but we have to be strong for Daddy.” They both look at me, their eyes exactly like their father’s. “But, if at any time, you need to leave or you need me… I don’t care who is talking to me or who is around; you come and get me.”
“Grandpa A said we had to sit and wait,” Daisy whispers just as Elliot comes into the room and kneels in front of us.

“What is this meeting about?” he asks, smiling at us. The circles around his eyes are just as black as ours. He hasn’t left our house since this happened. 

“Mommy said if we need her that we can go to her,” Daisy says, looking at him and then me, “even if Grandpa A said no.”

He leans in, whispering, “You can come to me too, and I’ll make sure that you get Mommy.” 

“Okay,” Lizzie and Daisy both whisper at the same time, and then the doorbell rings.
We get up, put our jackets on, and one by one file into the black limo that has come to take us to the funeral home. We arrive before everyone else. “We get an hour with him, and then they will open the door,” Adrian says as Judy grabs her tissue and dabs her eyes. 

I look around the funeral home. I’m not sure what I’m looking for, not sure where he is. I haven’t seen him since he kissed me goodbye four days earlier. His last words to me were, “Call you when I can.” That phone call never came.

I follow my in-laws to the big brown door that is closed. “I want to go in before the girls.” Everyone turns to look at me.

“We can keep them in the lobby,” says the lady who greeted us at the door. She told me her name, but I just didn’t listen. 

I nod at her as she turns to ask the girls if they want hot chocolate. Daisy’s eyes get big as Lizzie turns to look at me. I nod my head, giving her permission, so she can go with the woman.
The doors open, and I don’t even know what to expect. I’ve never been to a funeral. Never known anyone well enough to pay my last respects. Judy and Adrian walk in first, followed by Ethan, and Elliot waits with me. I step foot into the room, and it’s so cold that I shiver. The smell of flowers hits me right away, making me turn my head. The number of flowers and wreaths shocks me; the whole room is almost full. Some wreaths blocking others. Rows and rows of brown chairs line the room, all facing toward the front of the room. My eyes land on the brown wooden casket at the front of the room. The open half showing you the white satin inside. I walk down the aisle toward him, and then my eyes land on him. Eric. I can’t take another step forward because my knees give out, and I fall. Elliot isn’t fast enough to hold me up, and my knee lands with a thud. But the pain doesn’t matter because nothing could take the place of the pain in my heart. The sound of wailing fills the room as I look up at my dead husband. 

I feel arms around me; I feel myself lifted; I feel myself almost floating. He isn’t the Eric who kissed me goodbye; he isn’t the Eric who I made promises to; he isn’t the Eric who made all my dreams come true. This isn’t him.

The man with makeup caked on his face isn’t my Eric. My sobs overtake my body as I look at him, expecting him to open his eyes. Expecting something, anything but this. “I want the casket closed,” I say, my voice soft. “I want it closed.”

“Samantha,” my father-in-law starts, “it’s—”

I shake my head. “I don’t want the kids to see him like that,” I say softly. I know that for me they wouldn’t even consider it, but for the girls, they would move heaven and earth. “They need to remember him alive and smiling, not like that,” I say, pointing at the casket.

“Dad,” Ethan says after me, “I agree.” 

“Me too,” Elliot says from beside me. “Close it.”

He just nods at us, then walks to the man standing in the corner. The man looks at him as they have a hushed conversation and then just nods his head. “Do you need some water?” Ethan says to me, and I nod. I don’t bother listening to what else he says; instead, I get up and go to the casket. Standing before the brown box, I look at him, really look at him. You see some bruising under the makeup, and his nose is a little swollen. His hands are folded over his stomach, resting on his black suit. The suit he wore when we got married. Why? I ask him in my own head. Why did you do it? I ask him, hoping I can hear him whisper something to me, whisper anything back. To answer my questions, to give me something; anything to make me understand why he did what he did. Why he left me with so many fucking questions and not one answer. 

The man comes over to close the casket. Eric’s face disappears slowly, the shadow filling his face till the casket finally shuts. “I’m sorry for your loss,” the man says, nodding at me. “If at any time you want it open, we can open it back up.” I turn around now, looking at the chairs that will fill up as soon as the people start coming in. Ethan consoles my mother-in-law, and Elliot stands where we were just sitting, his hands in his pockets. 

“I’m getting the girls,” I tell them and then walk out with my head held high but my shoulders slumped. Defeated is a word that you use so many times not really understanding what can actually defeat you. I know now, my husband dying, him cheating on me, my kids without a father, my dreams of growing old with him gone. Beaten straight down to my core, straight down to my bones. 

I walk over to them as they look up. “Let’s go, girls,” I tell them as they both get up and walk to me. Lizzie takes one hand, Daisy takes the other, and we walk back into the room that holds a piece of our hearts. The room where their father lies, with no answers and no tomorrow.

We stand in that room for four hours while people come up to me and give me their condolences. I nod my head and play the part of the grieving wife. I am the grieving wife, but I’m also the wife whose husband didn’t love her enough to just be with her. The wife who knew her husband was slipping away but couldn’t catch it in time. The wife he said he would love and protect. The wife who stands here between his girls wishing that for one second he suffered horribly. The wife who has to pick up the fucking pieces and lie to her girls about what a great guy he was. The wife who, at the end of the day, just wasn’t good enough. 

We listen as people tell us how amazing he was, how much he loved his family, and how much he loved his girls. The whole time, I’m yelling on the inside, ready to stand in the middle of the room, throw my head back, and yell at the top of my lungs. But I don’t do what I want. I don’t tell them what a fraud my husband was. I don’t tell them that it was almost all lies. I don’t tell them that the day he died, they called his other wife and not me. I don’t tell them that I wasn’t the one with him when he died.

I stand here thinking about this other person—his other wife—and wonder how she would handle this. How she would be with my in-laws. Would she just let them control her and do everything for her? Would she want it to be open and weep for him beside the casket instead of standing next to it? 

I look around the room at all the people who came to pay their respects, and my eyes find someone I’ve never met before. Someone I’ve never seen before, and our eyes connect. His green eyes stare into mine as I watch him nod to me and turn to walk out. As he walks out of the crowded room, I strain my neck to watch his back. I don’t have long to think because Elliot comes up and whispers, “It’s time.”
When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…
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Review: In Harmony by Emma Scott

In Harmony
Author: Emma Scott
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from NetGalley. This review is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In Harmony…gives a voice to the voiceless…”

The root of all madness is an unbearable truth…

At seventeen, Willow Holloway’s life was torn apart. The happy, driven girl is gone, and she is left wracked by post-traumatic stress her body remembers even if she does not. When her father suddenly uproots the family from their posh penthouse in New York City to the tiny town of Harmony, Indiana, Willow becomes more untethered and lost under the weight of her secret. On a whim, she auditions for a part in the community theater’s production of Hamlet and unexpectedly wins the role of Ophelia—the girl who is undone by madness, and her love of Hamlet…

Isaac Pearce is from the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ The town bad boy. Girls pine for his attention and guys are in awe of him. That he’s an acting prodigy only adds to his charisma. Isaac utterly disappears into his characters; the stage is the only place he feels safe from his own traumatic home life. He wants nothing more than to escape to Broadway or Hollywood and leave Harmony behind for good.

No one can play Hamlet but Isaac, and when the director pairs him with Willow in acting class, they clash again and again—neither willing to open their hearts to anyone. But clashing leads to breaking, breaking leads to the spilling of terrible secrets, and soon Isaac and Willow find Shakespeare’s words mirroring their lives. When they are cruelly torn apart, neither know how this play will end—with madness and heartache? Or healing, love, and the discovery of who they are truly meant to be.

In Harmony is a standalone YOUNG ADULT/NEW ADULT love story, and is intended for readers 18 and up. PLEASE NOTE, this book contains sensitive material such as physical abuse, and the aftermath of sexual assault (off the page). Reader discretion is advised.


It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Emma Scott. I have to admit that I had to wait until I was ready to pick up a book that I knew would be emotionally taxing. Emma Scott’s books always hit me hard. She makes me feel so much, and I knew that In Harmony was going to be one of those books that would bring tears to my eyes. It totally did.

In Harmony is a story about two broken young adults. Willow is not herself. She hasn’t been since her world was changed over a year ago. Willow hopes that moving to Harmony, Indiana will make things easier. Maybe she can get back to the girl she was before. Isaac is the town’s bad boy. He doesn’t mind the title. It keeps people from bothering him while he’s working on getting out-of-town. His one chance to leave his horrible existence behind is his acting. When Willow and Isaac are cast in a play together, they find a comfort in each other and a chance to heal.

This book was so beautiful. I can’t really even come up with the words to explain it. Willow and Isaac had been through some horrid things. I hated that they had been through so much. It made my heart hurt. I loved the comfort and trust they found in each other, and how meeting each other changed their lives for the better. It was just such an incredibly important story.

I know this review is short, but I’m so overwhelmed with the feelings this book gave me. In Harmony was truly a special book. I highly recommend reading it.

Reviews: Kings of Rittenhouse & Shameless King by Maya Hughes

Kings of Rittenhouse – A Shameless King Prequel
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse, #0.5
Author: Maya Hughes
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Declan and Mak have been at each other’s throats since sophomore year and now it’s time for the party to end all parties for the seniors of Rittenhouse Prep.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Long live the Kings…

Review:

A new college hockey romance? Yes, please. As far as prequels go, this one was epic. It snagged my attention and never let go. It made me pre-order the first full length book in the series, Shameless King. I loved the drama and the introduction to all of the characters. I know I’m in for a fun ride with Mak and Declan. Funny thing, though, I’m almost more interested in finding out what Emmett and Avery’s story is! I have a feeling I’m going to be waiting a few books for that epic saga.


Shameless King
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse, #1
Author: Maya Hughes
Publication Date: June 11, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Declan McAvoy. Voted Biggest Flirt. Highest goal scorer in Kings of Rittenhouse Prep history.
Everyone’s impressed, well except one person…

After a blow out in high school, Makenna Halstead and I were happy to never have to cross paths again. Except life has a way of knocking you straight in the teeth with a puck when you least expect it. She hasn’t just returned to my life, she crashed into it like a wrecking ball…into my college kingdom, into my class, and smack dab into the seat next to mine. My new lab partner to be exact.

For years we hated each other… I may be King on the ice, but she is the Ice Queen. She has no problem calling me out, doesn’t back down, and her piercing blue eyes have me picturing more than than just my arms wrapped around her.

Now we’re stuck with each other and there’s no getting around that fact that we have to work together. My hockey career hangs in the balance. Problem? Oh, yeah.

I can’t deny it. I want her. More than I ever thought I could want a woman. I’ve got one semester–only four months–to convince her everything she thought about me was wrong.

Will my queen let me prove to her I’m the King she can’t live without?

Only one way to find out…

Review:

With the strong start set up in the prequel, it was easy to jump right into Mak and Declan’s book. It was an incredibly fun and addicting enemies to lovers romance. Their bickering and obvious attraction to each other was so entertaining. Once they took the step toward being something more than frenemies, the story took on a sweet and sexy tone. I liked that. I also liked both of their back stories and the emotion they brought to the story line.

I loved everything about this book except for one thing. Mak and Declan were college seniors. I feel like I missed out on three years of fun with them. I was hoping all the books would be set in the college atmosphere, but I know they won’t be. That makes me sad.

Overall, Shameless King (with its prequel) was a great beginning to what’s shaping up to be a fun new adult series. I’m looking forward to reading more about these kings.