Release Day Review: Tethered Souls by Beth Flynn

Tethered Souls
Series: Nine Minutes Trilogy Spin-Off
Author: Beth Flynn
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My family has secrets. I’m always the good girl, doing what’s necessary to keep my loved ones safe. I’ve kept the darkest secrets from everyone I know. As painful as it is to hold them all inside where they live and gnaw away at me, that’s where they must stay.

I haven’t seen my closest childhood friend, Christian Bear, since I was a teenager—he hasn’t changed a bit. He’s still temperamental and plays by his own rules with the law following two steps behind him.

Christian remembers me. But he doesn’t know the first thing about me anymore. I should’ve shared my feelings with him the day before I moved away with my family, promising him I’d stay in touch. It broke my heart when he didn’t keep his end of the bargain. As a consequence, we haven’t spoken in years. Even though Christian and I have always had undeniable chemistry, I won’t let him shatter my heart a second time.

Christian has shown up in my life again with secrets of his own, and demanding answers. That doesn’t mean I’m willing to give them. He’ll know my secrets when I’m ready.

Our secrets, the risks we’re taking, and the danger he imposes make it impossible to know what our future holds.

Either our tethered souls will bind back together, or our secrets will separate us forever.


Tethered Souls is a very hard book to write a review for. It’s one of those books that has so many twists and revelations that I fear I might say too much. I don’t want to give anything away because it’s always best to discover them on your own. That being said, I’m going to do my best to give Tethered Souls a proper review.

Tethered Souls is a spin-off novel in the Nine Minutes series. To properly appreciate it, you will want to have read the entire Nine Minutes Trilogy and Iron Tiara. While the majority of the story is brand new to the reader, there are nods to the past set up in the previous books. The connections between the past and the present are what makes this book and its surprises special.

Mimi and Christian’s story was pretty much what I was expecting from the start. There were a lot of parallels between their love story and the ones of their parents. Things felt a little redundant in the beginning, but that was part of the magic of the story. History had an interesting (and dare I say fun) way of repeating itself. As their relationship grew, Mimi and Christian’s love story felt more like their own. They had their own situations to overcome, and crazy scenarios to deal with. The more I got to know Mimi and Christian, the more I loved them and their story.

One of the things that I appreciated about this book was that characters from Beth Flynn’s previous books were still heavily involved in Tethered Souls. Some of the best chapters were from characters tied to Mimi and Christian’s lives. I was kind of expecting for some of them to show up, but definitely not in the way they did.

As much as I loved Mimi and Christian’s story, my very favorite thing about this book was the last bonus chapter. WHAT WAS THAT BONUS CHAPTER?!?! It was voiced by an unexpected character and left me scrambling to remember. Ugh! I feel like I need a whole book to explain that one chapter. I feel like I had a memory associated with it, but I couldn’t be sure. I tried searching all of the previous books for the information I desperately wanted and still need. I couldn’t find anything!!! I’m utterly frustrated days after finishing Tethered Souls because I still don’t have any answers. I’m hoping one of my friends will be able to tell me what I’m missing after they read it.

Tethered Souls was great addition to the Nine Minutes family. I love the way it continued to build on the past books in new and exciting ways. The amazing revelations and surprises continue to shock and awe me. I’ll never get enough of these characters and their stories. I can’t wait to see what Beth Flynn has in store for them next!

Mini Reviews: Salt to the Sea & More Than Word

Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Narrators: Jorgeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war’s most devastating yet unknown tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning , Erik Larson’s critically acclaimed #1 New York Times bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff–the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray,, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

Review:

Salt to the Sea is my first Ruta Sepetys novel. I was so very impressed by it. It was such a heartbreaking, beautiful story. I loved the way it switched back and forth between the characters. The way their sad stories intertwined was special. I truly loved listening to the way the narrators brought life to the story. Whether you read or listen to this book, you’re in for an amazing book.


More Than Words
Author: Mia Sheridan
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed herJessica’s first real, dreamy kiss—and then disappeared from her life without a word.

Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire.

But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need—and something that looks dangerously like love.

Review:

Years ago, I read Archer’s Voice. That book broke me. I have several other of Mia Sheridan’s books, but have yet to read them. I guess I’ve been scared of the emotional impact. I decided to brave her writing again with More Than Words. There were several things I loved about this book. That initial connection between Jessie and Callie was so sweet. I loved that fate brought them back together, and that they got more than one chance to be together. I also loved how Jessie’s job and her interpretations paralleled with her relationship with Callen. The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was Callen’s womanizing and drinking. I guess I’m just over that in romances right now. It made it harder for me to emotionally connect to Jessie and Callen’s relationship. Other than, I enjoyed reading More Than Words.

Review: One Baby Daddy by Meghan Quinn

“What are you doing now that your team is out of the running for the Stanley Cup?”

Forget.

I need to forget. I need an escape.

Only one person isn’t falling for my reputation as the NHL’s Golden Boy; she captured my attention the minute she called me out for snooping through my best friend’s house. She didn’t want to hear my reason–she only wanted to playfully give me a hard time.

Adalyn is bold, sassy–and the perfect escape.

She’s everywhere. In town and in my dreams, and suddenly I need to spend every waking moment with her.

And I do, making this summer the best off-season I’ve ever had.

But in the midst of getting lost in Adalyn, what I don’t expect is to get her pregnant.

And what I definitely don’t expect is having to fight for her affection.

Review:

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

Hayden is a special character. He’s the one that pops up as a supporting character in a book but manages to high jack the reader’s attention. When I met him in Three Bling Dates, I wanted him to be the winner. I just loved him so much. He was a confident professional hockey player, but he was also a really good guy. His character stood out. I wanted his book, and I was sad that I had to wait to for it. I needed to know everything about the woman who stole his heart.

I had a feeling Hayden’s lady was going to be someone from a previous book. When I realized it was Adalyn from My Best Friend’s Ex, I was so excited! I loved her from that book. She’s so smart and sassy — and Racer’s best buddy. I had forgotten that Hayden was also Racer’s friend, so this all made them falling for each other that much sweeter. (I’ll take as many Racer cameos as I can get!) Her back story was fun. It’s what I pictured going into this book knowing her character from before.

Hayden and Adalyn’s love story was super swoon worthy. Adalyn made Hayden work for her affection, and I loved every minute of it. Their relationship wasn’t perfect or easy thanks to a trade and an unplanned pregnancy (not spoilers if you’ve read the first book and this blurb), but the hard parts of this story made the easy parts even sweeter. Oh, and I can’t leave out how funny parts of this book were. It’s Meghan Quinn, you guys. There’s always laughs with her writing.

I mentioned Racer above, but that’s not the only character making an appearance in this book. Emma, Tucker, and Smalls make appearances. So does Emma and Adalyn’s nursing school friend Lance. Oh, and Calder and Rachel from Back in the Game. It’s a smorgasbord of old friends.

I couldn’t get enough of One Baby Daddy. It was almost everything I wanted Hayden and Adalyn’s story to be. (My only want was it to be longer so I could have more time with my new favorite couple and their baby.) I love it when series collide, and this book did that in the best way possible! Now, if I could just get books for Hayden’s twin brothers…That’s not too much to ask, is it?

“Would you mind zipping up the back of my dress?” She walks toward me, her flowery scent floating in my direction, spiking my yearning into overdrive.

“Uh, yeah . . . sure.”

She turns around, and looks over her shoulder. The back of her dress is completely open, the zipper undone to just above the curve of her beautifully round ass.

Shit, all that smooth, tan skin, covered by nothing but the velvety fabric of the dress. Is she wearing underwear? She’s not wearing a bra and I see no panty line.

Clearing my throat, I ask, “Are you wearing underwear, Adalyn?”

From over her shoulder, she smiles shyly. “Yes, it’s small though.”

Of course it is. Why wouldn’t it be?

Not being able to stop myself, I take a second to float my fingertips up her spine. From the initial touch, her back arches and a small gasp releases from her lips, but before I can think about stopping, she melts into my touch. Stepping closer, I place my hand on the back of her hip, my thumb pressing into her ass while the other hand explores the bare expanse of her back. Her head falls to my shoulder. Her lips part, and when I snake to the front of her dress, her breath hitches.

Eyes closed, I take in ragged breaths, my fingers inching closer and closer to her front, my cock painfully hard.

It’s been so goddamn long—and being with Adalyn has only spurred on my need—but I want to make sure we’re in a good place before we commit to anything. I want to make sure she’s ready emotionally because the minute I bury myself deep inside her, I know there will be no turning back. She will be mine forever.

But maybe for now, I can just have a little touch . . .

My cock pressed against her butt, she expertly grinds her backside into me, her hands moving to my neck, pulling my head down to hers. I kiss the side of her neck, using the hand that’s gripping her hips to guide her with her grinding in just the right place.

Fuck, that feels good.

I grunt, the sound vibrating over her sleek neck. My hand on her stomach, she arches wanting more of my touch, silently asking me to move north.

And I fucking comply. Inch by slow inch, I guide my hand to just below her breasts. When I halt my pursuit, a displeased groan escapes her.

“Hayden, please.”

I squeeze my eyes shut, trying to find the willpower. Her fingernails dig into my scalp, spurring me on as she turns her head and finds my lips.

She kisses me.

Hot.

Wet.

Needy.

Her lips gliding across mine, her tongue diving into my mouth, her moans are vocal and sexy. Her delicious ass, pressing, grinding, undulating against my rock-hard cock makes me want to do so much more, makes me want to taste so much more.

Moving my hand higher, my fingertips graze the bottom of her breast. Soft. Round. Smooth. I caress her right below her nipple, never touching, just teasing . . . tempting.

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

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Review: Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson

Lies You Never Told Me
Author: Jennifer Donaldson
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Gabe and Elyse have never met. But they both have something to hide.

Quiet, shy Elyse can’t believe it when she’s cast as the lead in her Portland high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Her best friend, Brynn, is usually the star, and Elyse isn’t sure she’s up to the task. But when someone at rehearsals starts to catch her eye–someone she knows she absolutely shouldn’t be with–she can’t help but be pulled into the spotlight.

Austin native Gabe is contemplating the unthinkable–breaking up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend. She’s not going to let him slip through her fingers, though, and when rumors start to circulate around school, he knows she has the power to change his life forever.

Gabe and Elyse both make the mistake of falling for the wrong person, and falling hard. Told in parallel narratives, this twisty, shocking story shows how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences that not everyone will survive.


The picture above is of the ARC I received of Lies You Never Told Me. I felt it was important to include this picture because this cover’s claims are true. Lies You Never Told Me was shocking, thrilling, scandalous, unforgettable, and jaw-dropping. I didn’t see the ending coming until I was reading it. It was so cool that the ARC was marketed this way.

I was impressed with Lies You Never Told Me. This is Donaldson’s début novel, but it didn’t feel that way. The writing felt like it was written by an author with numerous novels under her belt. I loved her writing and flew through the book in one sitting. The story was so complex and addictive. I loved the way it was told from a couple of different characters points of view. It kept me guessing as to how they were all related and what all the lies were. The twists kept coming and I loved it.

I’m going to leave my review at that. Lies You Never Told Me is just one of those books you have to read yourself. The less you know going into it, the better. I would caution you to avoid any spoilers. Just jump right into it. You’ll be in for a fun ride.

Blog Tour: Bane by L.J. Shen

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Bane, the highly-anticipated next standalone in the Sinners of Saint Series by L.J. Shen is LIVE

Bane

Naked surfer. Habitual pothead. A con, a liar, a thief and a fraud.

Last I heard, he was extorting the rich and screwing their wives for a living.

Which is why I’m more than a little surprised to find him at my threshold, looking for my friendship, my services, and most puzzling of all—looking humbled.

Thing is, I’m on a boycott. Literally—I cut boys from my life. Permanently.

Problem is, Bane is not a boy, he is all man, and I’m falling, crashing, drowning in his sweet, perfect lies.

Jesse Carter

Hot as hell, cold as ice.

I wasn’t aware of her existence until a fat, juicy deal landed in my lap.

She’s a part of it, a little plaything to kill some time.

She is collateral, a means to an end, and a side-bonus for striking a deal with her oil tycoon stepdad.

More than anything, Jesse Carter is a tough nut to crack.

Little does she know, I have the f****** teeth for it.

REVIEW

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

When I read Scandalous (Sinners of Saint, #3), I was so focused on Trent and Edie that Bane wasn’t really on my radar. I knew he wasn’t necessarily a good guy, but he also wasn’t a bad one. I did not expect him to be who he was in Bane for some reason. Yes, he was that bad guy with a good side. He was more, though. His back story was not what I expected. It was deeper and darker. I didn’t always love Bane, but the way he took care of Jesse made me root for him. The surprising sweetness in his actions combined with his shameless cruelty made him a surprising savior.

Jesse was a new and deeply troubled character. She was in a constant state of pain. Jesse had every reason to be the way she was. I ached for her. There’s no other way to describe how I felt about her. L.J. Shen did an amazing job of making me feel her pain.

I loved every part of Bane and Jesse’s unconventional romance. Nothing was easy. Bane wanted to help Jesse for both the wrong and right reasons. She didn’t want anything to do with him, yet he was the only one who soothed her ache. It was messy and raw and thoroughly spellbinding to read. I loved every minute of it. If you’re a fan of darker, angst filled romances you won’t want to miss this book.

EXCERPT

Bane

Then.

A liar.

A con.

A godless thief.

My reputation was a big wave that I rode, one that swallowed everyone around me, drowning every attempt to fuck with what’s mine.

I’d been known as a stoner, but power was my real drug of choice. Money meant nothing. It was tangible, and therefore easy to lose. See, to me, people were a game. One I’d always known how to win.

Move the rooks around.

Change the queen when necessary.

Guard the king at all fucking times.

I was never distracted, never deterred, and never jealous.

So, imagine my surprise when I found myself being all three at once.

It was a siren with coal black hair who robbed me of riding the biggest wave I’d seen that summer. Of my precious attention. Of my goddamn breath.

She glided from the ocean to the beach like nightfall.

I crouched down, straddling my surfboard, gawking.

Edie and Beck stopped beside me, floating on their boards in my periphery.

“This one’s taken by Emery Wallace,” Edie had warned. Thief.

“This one’s the hottest masterpiece in town.” Beck had chuckled. Con.

“More importantly, she only dates rich bastards.” Liar.

I had all the ingredients to pull her in.

Her body was a patch of fresh snow. White, fair, like the sun shone through her, never quite soaking in. Her skin defied nature, her ass defied my sanity, but it was the words on her back that made my logic rebel.

It wasn’t her curves or the way she swayed her hips like a dangling, poisonous apple that warranted my reaction to her.

It was that tattoo I had noticed when she swam close to me earlier, the words trickling down the nape of her neck and back in a straight arrow.

My Whole Life Has Been Pledged to This Meeting with You

Pushkin.

I only knew one person who went gaga over the Russian poet, and, like the famous Alexander, he was currently six feet under.

My friends began to paddle back to shore. I couldn’t move. It felt like my balls were ten tons heavy. I didn’t believe in love at first sight. Lust, maybe, but even that wasn’t the word I was looking for. No. This girl fucking intrigued me.

“What’s her name?” I snatched Beck’s ankle, yanking him back to me. Edie stopped pedaling and looked back, her gaze ping-ponging between us.

“Doesn’t matter, bro.”

“What’s. Her. Name?” I repeated through a locked jaw.

“Dude, she’s, like, way young.”

“I will not repeat myself a third time.”

Beck’s throat bobbed with a swallow. He knew damn well that I didn’t mess around. If she was legal—it was on.

“Jesse Carter.”

Jesse Carter was going to be mine before she even knew me.

Before I even knew her.

Before her life turned upside down and her fate rewrote itself with her blood.

So here was the truth that even my lying ass wouldn’t admit later on in our story—I wanted her before.

Before she became business.

Before the truth caged her in.

Before the secrets gushed out.

I never did get to surf that day.

My surfboard broke.

Should have known it was an omen.

My heart was going to be next in line.

And for a small chick, she did one hell of a fucking job obliterating it.

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About LJ Shen

LJShenL.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.

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Release Day Review: Pieces of Eight by Whitney Barbetti

Pieces of Eight
Series: Mad Love Duet, #2
Author: Whitney Barbetti
Publication Date: May 9, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Six was always there, even when I didn’t want him.

But he couldn’t hold me together, and I couldn’t be his penance.

Loss is a phantom limb. No one can see it, but the ache torments you in the night, distracts you during the day, and leaves you fragmented. I’m half a heart, half a soul, and nothing could cure the pieces he’d left behind.

Losing him was safer than loving him. Because the love that kept us coming back again and again was nothing short of madness.

But then, isn’t mad love the most honest?


Pieces of Eight is the conclusion to the Mad Love Duet that begins with Six Feet Under. (If you haven’t read Six Feet Under,  you check out my review for it here.) The books must be read in order.

Six Feet Under has been in the back of my mind since I finished reading it several weeks ago. The entire thing was so painful and thought provoking to read on its own, but the preview in the back of the book for Pieces of Eight blew my mind. I had an urgent need to read it. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect, though. Would it be as torturous as Six Feet Under? Well, it was and it wasn’t.

Pieces of Eight felt like Mira’s redemption. Despite all of her mistakes, Mira had grown and was continuing to grow in ways I never saw possible. I didn’t hate her like I did in Six Feet Under. I appreciated the maturity she developed. Mira’s story was very beautiful and inspiring. That’s really what this duet was about: Mira.

Not that Six got left out of this book. This book was very much about Mira’s relationship with him.  I finally felt like I got to know a little more about Six and his love for Mira. His motivations surprised me. I ended up having more respect for him than I had before. Their relationship was the torturous part of the book, though. The state of it made me uncomfortable and sometimes sad.

Honestly, I’m not sure what else to share about Piececs of Eight. It has left me a little speechless, and in a good way. There were so many amazing surprises in store. They blew my mind. All my thoughts are jumbled in my head. I can’t stop thinking the entire duet. The journey Whitney Barbetti took me on was so amazingly raw and deep. This is definitely one of the most emotional series I’ve read this year, and it’s high up on my list of favorites. The Mad Love Duet was so good.

Mini Reviews: God-Shaped Hole, The Art of Running in Heels, & Beneath the Truth

God-Shaped Hole
Author: Tiffanie De Bartolo
Publication Date: May 1, 2002
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If your intentions are pure
I am seeking a friend
For the end of the world

When Beatrice Jordan meets the unpredictable Jacob Grace, the two wild souls become instant allies. Together they discover an escape in each other’s creativity and insecurities, while running from secrets they cannot seem to shake – or a fate that could throw them to the ground…

Review:

Huh… I’m not really sure what to say about God-Shaped Hole. I had a hard time deciding if I loved or hated it. I’m leaning heavily toward loved. It was so…odd. Well, not really. It just made me feel odd. The characters were kind of off-putting but somehow endearing. I can’t even explain it. It’s definitely one of those books that left me thinking after I finished it. I imagine I felt somewhat like Beatrice did in the end.

If you’re curious about this book and thinking of reading it, the writing is really good. It reminds me of a “lighter” Tarryn Fisher book. That’s high praise from me.


The Art of Running in Heels

Series: Chinooks Hockey Team
Author: Rachel Gibson
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Running in five-inch stilettos is an art form

Leaving your fiancé at the altar on live television is a disaster. Lexie Kowalsky thought she was ready to get married in front of millions of people, but at the last minute she fled the set of television’s hottest reality show, Gettin’ Hitched. Wearing a poofy white dress and a pair of five-inch sparkly shoes, Lexie hopped a float plane for Sandspit, Canada. She figured no one would find her there. But she was wrong.

Sharing her flight was the Seattle Chinooks biggest star, Sean Knox. Lexie wasn’t just a reality-show runaway, she was his pain in the butt coach’s daughter. She was chaos and temptation and definitely off limits, but getting her luscious body out of that wedding gown, he couldn’t resist getting her in his bed for one amazing night.

Then a photo of Sean and Lexi breaks the internet—and suddenly they’re both swept up in a crazy plan to spin the whole story. But you can’t run from love—

Review:

It’s been years since Rachel Gibson released a Chinooks Hockey Team novel, and I had forgotten just how much I loved this series! I was really impressed with how it moved into present day. It incorporated some of my favorite characters along with awesome new ones. I loved Lexi and Sean’s romance. The reality T.V. show and hockey aspects of this story were so much fun! I laughed so many times at all of the crazy things that happened. If you’re a fan of the this series, you’ll love returning to it. If you haven’t read Rachel Gibson before, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

P.S. I feel like I need to point out that this book is written in third person. Normally, that’s not my favorite style of writing, but Rachel Gibson makes it work. I didn’t even notice it! That shows what a great writer she is.


Beneath the Truth
Series: Beneath, #7
Author: Meghan March
Narrators: Sebastian York, Andi Arndt
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Meghan March
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From author Meghan March comes the final sexy stand-alone set in the Beneath world of New Orleans.

I used to believe there were lines in life you don’t cross. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Until I learned people don’t always practice what they preach. I turned in my badge and gun and walked away from everything. Then I got the call no one wants, and I’m back in New Orleans. What I don’t expect is for her to be here, too. Another line you don’t cross? Don’t touch your best friend’s little sister. She’s always been off-limits. Too bad I don’t follow the rules anymore.

Review:

Beneath the Truth carried on the Beneath series tradition by keeping things a little suspenseful, a lot sexy, and wonderfully narrated. I liked getting to know Rhett Hennessy better. Ariel was the perfect match for him. I loved that she was his best friend’s younger sister. That was cute. The romantic suspense part of this book was done well, and parts of it shocked me. Overall, this was another fun addition and great ending to the series.

Review: In Bed with the Beast by Tara Sivec

In Bed with the Beast
Series: Naughty Princess Club, #2
Author: Tara Sivec
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he’s a grump with a secret and an extra room…can love find a way?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places – the local library.

But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.

Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?


Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie ever. When I received an email offering to let me read In Bed with the Beast before it’s release, I took it as an opportunity to revisit two characters I love in a new way and to read a new-to-me author. I was pleasantly surprised.

Tara Sivec’s writing was fun in an over the top way. The story was cute, but silly. Belle was a sheltered young woman with an uptight father. Beast wasn’t a beast in looks, but in his gruff personality. Belle leaves her father’s house to explore grown up life, and Beast ends up sweetly taking her in. He has rules for Belle to follow and, well, some of the story imitates but does not copy the original. This take on Beauty and the Beast was extremely entertaining.

Belle made me smile. She was book smart, brainy, and unaware of her beauty. When she got nervous, she rambled off crazy facts. She did it often and at the funniest moments. (Belle almost reminded me of Janie Morris from Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid, and that’s a good thing.) The only one who really appreciated it was Beast. He was a stoic man until it came to Belle. I liked what hid between his tough exterior. Beast was surprisingly sweet and kind. Belle and Beast were so cute together!

Not only did I enjoy Belle and Beast, but all of the other Disney-like characters who popped up in this story. All of my favorite characters from Beauty and the Beast are mentioned in hilarious, magical ways. I also liked Belle’s feisty friends, Cindy and Ariel (I’m sure you can guess which Disney favorites they come from). I wouldn’t mind reading their books in this series as well.

In Bed with the Beast was a Beauty and the Beast retelling that I haven’t read before. The story and characters had this over the top humor that didn’t poke fun at the original tale, but made light of it. I truly enjoyed the experience of reading it.

Series Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading the Pushing the Limits series by Kate McGarry. I’ve wanted to go back and read this series ever since I read the Thunder Road series. Rather than do individual reviews, I’m going to one big review for all of them.
Here we go!


Pushing the Limits (#1) ★ ★ ★ ★

I was impressed with Katie McGarry’s début novel. It didn’t feel like a début. It was so well written. Echo and Noah were adorable. They both had major family issues they were dealing with. Echo was recovering from an injury that she couldn’t remember. Her injury and memory loss unsettled her family, and caused all kinds of conflict between then. Noah lost his family, and he would do anything to get back the members he can. Echo and Noah were so different, but they related to each other in an important way. I loved how their relationship bloomed, and how they grew together and individually. I was especially fond of Noah. Pushing the Limits was a great start to the series.

Crossing the Line (#1.1) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Lila and Lincoln’s story wasn’t long enough in my opinion! I really, really wish Crossing the Line had been a full length novel. I loved Lila and Lincoln. How they met and kept in contact was so special. I wanted to know even more about their family lives and what made them who they were. They had such great back stories! I also wanted more of their futures.

Breaking the Rules (#1.5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I don’t know why, but this was the hardest book in the series for me to read. It was hard to go back to Echo and Noah’s relationship. I loved those characters so much, and I guess I wanted to believe they got their happy ending after Pushing the Limits. It was hard to see them struggle again. I don’t mean I didn’t like the story because I did. I loved it. Echo and Noah’s story went in a direction I liked. Breaking the Rules was bittersweet to read, but I loved what Noah and Echo learned about themselves and their relationship.

Dare to You (#2) ★ ★ ★ ★

Dare to You is one of my favorite books in this series. I loved Beth and Ryan’s journeys. Both needed to take a look at their lives and families. Beth needed love, support, and guidance when it came to her mother. Ryan needed the same things, but in a different way. He needed to figure out what his dreams were outside of how he had been raised. Beth and Ryan learned so much together, and that’s what made this book so special.

The only reason this book wasn’t a 5 star was because of all of the mystery around what was behind the door in the apartment. I easily guessed it, but I expected it to be something even worse. I don’t know. I just wasn’t a fan of that part of the story for some reason.

Crash Into You (#3) ★ ★ ★ ★

Here’s the thing… I loved Isaiah and Rachel together. Everything about their relationship was so sweet and cute. I adored how he treated her and stuck by her. I also loved getting to know Rachel’s family. There were several of her brothers I would love to read more about. What I didn’t love about this book was the street racing thing. That’s a personal preference. I’m just not into it. It didn’t have too much of an impact on my enjoying this story, though. Isaiah and Rachel were just that perfect for each other. 😉

Red at Night (#3.5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Katie McGarry kills me with these Pushing the Limits novellas. I love them so much, but I always want more story from them!!! Stella and Jonah had such a great, little story. I loved their connection to each other and how it changed both of their lives.

Take Me On (#4)★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Take Me On was another one of my favorites in this series. Haley and West’s story was so much fun to read. I loved seeing the transformation in both their characters throughout the book. West’s were more apparent during the book, while Haley’s came more toward the end. They learned a lot from each other, and it made their relationship stronger. I especially loved West’s discoveries about himself and his family in Take Me On.

Chasing Impossible (#5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This series got better and better as it went along. I loved Chasing Impossible! Logan and Abby totally surprised me! I knew they had great chemistry and already had a little bit of a relationship. What I wasn’t expecting was their back stories! Both surprised me. I loved what the newly revealed did to the story. Chasing Impossible was so much fun to read! This was definitely my favorite book in the series.


Overall, Pushing the Limits was an amazing series. I loved every moment I spent with it. I could go on reading books about every single character in it. I highly recommend reading it.

Mini Reviews: Playing Hurt, My Way Back to You

Playing Hurt
Series: Aces Hockey, #6
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He’s playing hurt. She’s laying low. And they’re both flirting with disaster.
 
“Kelly Jamieson is my go-to author for hockey romance.”—Jami Davenport
 
Chase: The last thing I’d ever want to do is let my team down. After overcoming my bad-boy reputation, I was dominating on the ice. But things aren’t going so well this season, and even my parents think I’m partying again. Now I’m really worried about my career. The only bright spot in my life is the Twitter flirtation I’ve struck up with pop princess Jordyn Banks. Turns out she’s a huge hockey fan—and she’s willing to wager a date on her favorite team. . . .

Jordyn: Even though I’m an L.A. fan now, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Aces, since I grew up in Chicago. Then I lose a bet to Chase Hartman, and suddenly I’m up close and personal with a pro athlete who’s anything but soft. Not only is Chase the hottest guy I’ve ever met, he’s secretly super sweet. As if I had time for a relationship . . . yeah, right. But when I suddenly have nothing but time on my hands, he’s the only one who understands. Now, with both of our careers at stake, Chase is tempting me to put my heart on the line too.

Review:

Playing Hurt is my new favorite Kelly Jamieson book! I absolutely loved how Jordyn and Chase’s interactions started over Twitter. Their flirting was cute and funny. I could imagine a real relationship starting between two celebrities exactly this way! It was so much fun! Once they actually meet in real life, the story gets even better. Chase and Jordyn really had to work to make their relationship work with the spotlight on them. It wasn’t easy. I enjoyed how each had their own struggles and things to deal with. Their growth individually made their relationship stronger. I loved how it all played out. Playing Hurt was truly a delight to read.


My Way Back to You
Series: Second Chances Duet, #2
Author: Claire Contreras
Publication Date: March 15, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Book 2 in the Second Chance Duet . . .

Love isn’t always about timing.
Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and roll with it.

I admit I wasn’t ready.
I know you don’t want to look at me, let alone talk to me, but please, let me explain.
Let me tell you all the ways my heart broke when you walked away.
Let me show you what our years apart have done to me.

Give me a chance to find my way back to you . . .


My Way Back to You begins a while after the cliffhanger from The There Was You. It’s a little disorienting for a couple of chapters figuring out where the story was now, but once I had everything straight I was pulled into the story. I liked it a lot better than the first book. That book was one big set up for this one. I wish they had been one book with some of it condensed down because My Way Back to You was really the fun, meaty part of the entire duet. I really enjoyed reading this one. The only thing that I would have changed in this one was that there should have been more time of anger between Rowan and Tessa. They forgave each other too quickly and easily in my opinion. Still, it was a good read.