Review: How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo

How to Kill a Rock Star
Author: Tiffanie DeBartolo
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Written in her wonderfully honest, edgy, passionate and often hilarious voice, Tiffanie DeBartolo tells the story of Eliza Caelum, a young music journalist, and Paul Hudson, a talented songwriter and lead singer of the band Bananafish. Eliza’s reverence for rock is equaled only by Paul’s, and the two fall wildly in love.

When Bananafish is signed by a big corporate label, and Paul is on his way to becoming a major rock star, Eliza must make a heartbreaking decision that leads to Paul’s sudden disappearance and a surprise knock-your-socks-off ending.


I’m late to the Tiffanie DeBartolo party. I read God-Shaped Hole only weeks ago, and just now finished How to Kill a Rock Star. These books were published over fifteen years ago. I’m sitting here wondering what took me so long to find out about and read them.

I am seriously impressed with Tiffanie DeBartolo’s writing. It’s addictive. I find her characters odd, gritty, and somewhat unlikable. Yet, I loved them. I adored Eliza with her fear of flying and love of music. I rooted for Paul with his pancreas pain and fear of selling out. Their oddness was so perfectly suited for each other. Their love story was almost uncomfortable to read, but overwhelmingly entertaining and endearing.

How to Kill a Rock Star was beautiful in an extremely weird way, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

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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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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Review: 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.

BANE_AVAILABLE NOW

Download today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US I Amazon Universal

Add to GoodReads

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.

Bane Teaser

Start the Series of Standalones Today!

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Add to GoodReads

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.

Connect with LJ Shen

Facebook I Twitter I Pinterest I Instagram I Website

Stay up to date with LJ Shen by signing up for her mailing list

 

Review: Bad Boy Brody by Tijan

One punch took him from Hollywood’s Golden Boy to Bad Boy Brody.

The media didn’t care he was grieving his brother’s death. They descended on him, but to change his reputation, his manager got him a deal.

Act in an indie film, one that already had Oscar buzz, and he’d get the movie roles he needed to secure his future.

He took the deal.

Yet he wasn’t prepared for the real-life people behind the script. He wasn’t prepared for the murder the movie was based on. And he really wasn’t prepared for her, the biggest secret of all.

She was wild. She was beautiful. She defied gravity.

But was she the leading role that would tame him?

REVIEW:

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

Wow! I was really impressed by Bad Boy Brody! That’s not exactly surprising because I love Tijan’s books. This one was just different.

I loved pretty much everything about Bad Boy Brody. I was immediately sucked into the story. There was an air of mystery surrounding the death of Morgan’s mother it made me curious about the making of the movie. When Morgan popped into the story, I was even more enthralled by that mystery because Morgan herself was a mystery. I loved discovering her along with Brody. I am not a fan of horses, but I loved how they were used regarding to Morgan. I’m not sure I’ve read anything quite like that before. I really loved Morgan’s character and everything that went along with her.

Brody was a great character, but he wasn’t as important to me as Morgan was. His reasons for being a bad boy were understandable. Once he started dealing with his issues, his true colors shone. Brody was a good guy, and I loved how he supported Morgan. He truly understood her. That made their relationship sweeter than it would have been otherwise.

I did have a couple of things that weren’t my favorite about this book. One, Brody and Morgan’s relationship moved more quickly than I would have expected. Their attraction was instant, but I didn’t think Morgan would be okay with acting on it as quickly as she did. I guess I was wrong about that. Two, the title Bad Boy Brody didn’t fit the story for me. He had his bad boy moments, but for me the story was more about Morgan and her horses. That’s really just a small personal preference, though. Three, I wanted more of Matthew’s perspective. The book was mostly told from Brody and Morgan’s POVs, but Matthew had a few chapters and those were intriguing. I would have liked more insight into his character.

Bad Boy Brody was not what I was expecting. It felt different from any other book I’ve read by Tijan. The level of angst wasn’t nearly as high. It was an emotional story, but nearly as emotional for me as some of her other books. There was drama, but not nearly as much nor as salacious. Normally, when I’m beginning a Tijan novel I’m excited to experience those things. I love how her books make me feel. What I’m trying to get to is that I didn’t miss those things in Bad Boy Brody. It was an entirely new experience, and I really enjoyed that. I think others will too — especially readers who may like Tijan’s writing but are overwhelmed by the drama and angst.


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Review: Jock Row by Sara Ney

 

Scarlett is always the sensible one: The sober driver. The planner. The one holding your hair back while you’re worshiping the porcelain gods.

Week-after-week, she visits Jock Row with her friends—the universities hottest party scene and breeding ground for student athletes. And if keeping her friends out of trouble, and guys out of their pants, was a sport, she’d be the star athlete.

Being a well known jock-blocker gets her noticed for all the wrong reasons; just like that, she’s banned from Jock Row. NO GUY WANTS A GIRL AROUND WHO KEEPS THEIR JOCK FRIENDS FROM GETTING LAID.

“Rowdy” Wade is the hot shot short-stop for the university’s baseball team—and the unlucky bastard who drew the short straw: keep little Miss Goody Two-Shoes out of the Baseball House.

But week-after-week Scarlett returns, determined to get inside.

PURCHASE LINKS:

ADD TO GOODREADS

REVIEW:

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

Oh my goodness! I cannot even begin to tell you how much I adored Jock Row! I was expecting it to have a similar vibe as the How to Date a Douchebag series. It was in the way of hot, cocky college athletes and smart women, but it was also different. Jock Row was more of a sweet, almost slow burn romance. Scarlett and Rowdy took their time getting to know each other, and the result was utterly swoon worthy.

Scarlett was this smart, feisty girl. She wasn’t into landing a sports star. She was all about keeping her friends safe. Rowdy may have been helping his teammates — no matter how stupid he thought they were being– but he wasn’t into girls who wanted nothing but his status and possible pay check. He was a good guy with ambitions beyond hooking up. Both were good, strong characters who knew what they wanted in life.

That’s why Rowdy and Scarlett were so perfect for each other. Neither of them were actively looking for someone else. They were confident in their own skin. They had already figured themselves out, and that made it even more exciting to experience them figuring each other out. I loved how they got to know each other. I also loved how there wasn’t much drama to their relationship. That made this an incredibly fun read.  Scarlett and Rowdy were so stinkin’ cute together. Seriously. They made me smile so dang much!

Another thing I adored about this book were the side characters. All of the baseball players I met were exactly what I expected (Rowdy excluded). They brought the feel I loved from the How to Date a Douchebag series. My favorite side characters, though, were Rowdy’s parents. His mom was especially cool. I could have read more of her interactions with Rowdy and Scarlett.

Jock Row was everything I didn’t know I wanted and needed in a college sports romance. It was sweet, a little sexy, and amusing. I couldn’t get enough of Scarlett and Rowdy. This is my new favorite Sara Ney book. I’m so sad I’m done reading it, but I am so excited to see what’s to come in the Jock Hard series.

EXCERPT:

Jesus Christ, she has a dimple in her damn cheek.

I’m a sucker for those.

She shoots me a tentative smile, ass parked on the stoop, back propped against the wooden siding of the house.

It’s obvious that she’s blushing by the way she ducks her head, glancing down at the floor, the soft glow from the two busted lamps illuminate the crown of her head.

The porch lights are busted and rusty, needing their bulbs changed, one flickering—the other just about to burn out. It makes the entire place look like a goddamn Halloween fun-house, casting a weird glow on the girl’s smooth, pale skin.

And her pretty dimple.

Stop staring at it, dipshit.

I cast my glance at her outfit, doing my best to analyze her under the dim lights; she must have been sweaty inside the house; I got a good look at her before convincing her to follow me, but still study her as if seeing her for the first time.

Both of her boots are tucked under her legs, and she sits, cross-legged on the ground. Blows out a frustrated puff of air that translates into a billowing stream of steam.

“So.” She wraps her puffed sleeved arms around her knees, hugging them tight. Shivers. “Now what?”

Her prim ponytail is jaunty, bobbing when she tilts her head to gaze over at me.

“Now I babysit you.”

“Lovely. We can bond.”

I position my large body against the railing, giving it a gentle shake to make sure it’s sturdy before supporting all my weight on it. It’s solid and secure and is going to get real uncomfortable real fucking fast if I have to stand here all night.

The girl raises her brows at me. They appear black in this light; full and arched expertly. “Have you babysat anyone before?”

“No one I managed to keep alive,” I joke. “A few cousins my parents forced me to watch a few times; never would feed them but would occasionally throw out a dog bone so they wouldn’t get hungry.”

She smiles, dimple denting the smooth right side of her face. “Is that what you have planned for me?”

I raise my empty hands. “I’m fresh out of Scooby snacks. Guess we’ll both have to starve.”

“Sorry you have to sit out here.”

“Really?” I sound hopeful. “No one is forcing you to sit out here.”

Her light laugh is quiet. “Fine. I guess I’m not that sorry.” She bites down on her lower lip. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying your discomfort—just a little bit.”

“Gee, thanks.”

Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

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Review: I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills brings you a brand-new heartfelt, sexy contemporary romance with I DARE YOU is LIVE!

Bad Ass Athlete: I dare you to…
Delaney Shaw: Who is this?

The late night text is random, but “Bad Ass Athlete” sure seems to know who she is…

Delaney Shaw.
Good girl.
Lover of fluffy kitties and Star Wars.
Curious.

His dare? Spend one night in his bed—a night he promises will be unforgettable—and she can solve the mystery of who he is.

She knows she shouldn’t, but what else is she going to do with her boring Valentine’s Day?

One sexy hook-up later, her mind is blown and the secret’s out.

Maverick Monroe.
Bad boy.
The most talented football player in the country.
Just ask him.

Too bad for him Delaney’s sworn off dating athletes forever after her last heartbreak.

But Maverick wants more than one night and refuses to give up on winning Delaney’s heart. She isn’t one to be fazed by a set of broad shoulders.

After the semester ends, will the bad boy land the nerd girl or will the secrets they keep from each other separate them forever?

Review

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

Ilsa Madden-Mills pleasantly surprised me with this one! I was expecting one of her angsty, emotion filled NA books. What I got was more of a romantic comedy. Both styles of story suite her writing.

I Dare You was a fun read. Delaney was that awesome “nerdy” girl everyone loves. She had no clue how cool she actually was, and I liked that. That little bit of insecurity made her character feel more real. Maverick was the cocky, but almost secretly super nice guy. I loved the way he pursued Daleney. He wasn’t too over the top or alpha. I also adored his relationship with his sister. How much he cared about her was not only admirable but cute.

Daleney and Maverick’s relationship was filled with ups and down. I loved that because it felt like when two people are truly trying to figure out who they are together. There were doubts and insecurities, but there was the excitement of new love. One of my favorite things about I Dare You were the text exchanges between Delaney and her badass athlete. They set the pace for this flirty story. It was all so fun and cute.

Fun and cute. I keep using those two words because that’s exactly what I Dare You was. I enjoyed reading it, and I’m very excited to see where this series goes. I have a feeling Jensen’s roommate’s story is going to be just as entertaining as his character was.

Excerpt

Prologue
Freshman year

Delaney

Welcome to Magnolia, Mississippi, where locusts are as big as your hand and iced tea comes with a double helping of sugar.

It’s also home to the best damn annual bonfire party at prestigious Waylon University, which is currently happening right now in the middle of a cotton field.

But…

I shouldn’t even be at this party.

It’s mostly for Greeks and jocks and popular people, yet here I am, a mere freshman, hanging out with my bubbly redheaded roommate, Skye.

“See?” she says as we take in the bonfire. “Isn’t this better than watching cat videos on a Saturday night? What do you want to do first?”

I sigh, feeling nervous. Ever since I moved here from North Carolina, I’ve been pushing myself to try new things. Might as well put a crazy college party on that list. “Let’s get a drink.”

She claps and excitedly replies, “Done. Alcohol at two o’clock.” We weave through the crowd, headed in that direction, and eventually we reach the bar, which is really just a long collapsible table someone set up. On top are various bottles of alcohol, and I grab the Fireball to pour shots. I’ve just tossed mine back and set down my cup when a prickling sensation washes over me, giving me goose bumps.

My gaze moves across the crowd, stopping on a tall guy with dark blond hair, broad shoulders, and a cocky smile. Aha. He’s been staring at me, and now that he’s caught, he raises his glass as a half-grin crosses his face.

I blush wildly as I adjust my black cat-eye glasses. I’m not used to such blatant male attention.

Skye—who’s followed the trajectory of my gaze—spits out part of her drink. “Oh my God, do you know who that is?”

“Obviously I should,” I say dryly.

Her mouth flops open. “You really need to get out more.”

My eyes drift back to him but keep moving as if I’m not staring. “So who is Mr. Hottie McParty Pants?”

“If you don’t know him, you don’t deserve to know. But, he’s H-O-T—like Chris Hemsworth hot. I dare you to flirt with him.” She wiggles her eyebrows at me, knowing full well that for some reason, I can’t resist a dare. Normally rather reserved, a dare gives me permission to be someone I’m not.

So does Fireball. I sling back another shot.

“I’ll bring you a donut every day for a week if you flirt with him,” she adds, watching me.

My ears perk up. “The ones with edible glitter?”

She nods, and I toss a quick glance back to him. Our eyes collide again, and a zing of connection fires between us. He has a strong, handsome face and a stance that has masculine written all over it. A smile tips up his full sensuous lips, and—

Two brunettes—twins, no less—approach him, one on either side, and wrap their arms around his waist. He smiles down at them. Oh. Well then.

I turn back to Skye and frown. “Player. Not interested.”

She waves her hands in my face. “He likes you—I saw it on his face.”

I snort. “Probably gas pains. Your dare is not accepted.”

We hear our names being called from the other side of the party and turn to take in the helmet-haired Martha approaching us, which is taking some time due to the fact that she’s wearing stilettos and a slinky halter dress. She carefully picks her way through the crowd, nudging people out of her way—sometimes rudely—as she focuses on us. Great.

“Incoming mean girl,” I mutter under my breath.

Like us, Martha Burrows is a freshman and lives on our floor. Rather full of herself, she announced within a week of meeting us that she’d no longer answer to anything but Muffin, a nickname she’d given herself.

She eyes us both, a look of superiority on her pretty face. “I didn’t know you two were invited to this little shindig. Obviously, I know all the right people, so I’m always invited.” Her gaze zeroes in on my outfit and she rears back. “What on earth are you wearing, Nerd Girl?”

“Clothes.” I stiffen at her name for me as I tug on my fitted Star Wars shirt and the pleated red miniskirt I made from a man’s shirt. My long pale blonde hair is up in curled pigtails, and I went a bit heavy-handed with the shimmery eye shadow and red lipstick. It’s not your typical look for WU—which is anything monogrammed—but I’m learning to ignore the raised eyebrows.

Skye, the peacemaker among us three, clears her throat and nods her head at the guy who’s been staring. “Delaney has an admirer, but she doesn’t know who he is.”

Martha-Muffin follows Skye’s gaze, eyeballing the mystery man over my shoulder. She gives me an exasperated look. “That’s Maverick Monroe, you idiot. He’s the biggest football star in Mississippi and the freshman recruit of the year. Word is, though, girls like you aren’t his type—not at all.” Her hand flicks a stiff honey-colored curl over her shoulder.

My teeth grind together. “Martha, if you think I care what you think about me and whether or not a quasi-famous football player is interested in me, then you are confused.”

Her lips tighten. “It’s Muffin now, and why do you have to use such big words? What does quasi even mean?” is her cutting reply.

Skye’s eyes get as big as saucers, and I assume it’s because Martha-Muffin and I are about to finally have it out. I can’t stand her, and she can’t stand me. We just…clash.

But that isn’t what has Skye in such a titter.

She points over my shoulder, and I get it.

It’s the person standing behind me, the one I can’t see. I feel a nervous sneeze coming on and—thank God—I somehow push it down.

A husky voice reaches my ears. “Quasi means seemingly or supposedly. What she means is I’m probably not a famous football player but rather one that’s been highly touted but is without merit.”

Oh, shit. The voice is rich and smooth with just enough southern drawl to make a girl swoon. He also sounds halfway intelligent.

I turn around slowly. Mr. Tall, Blond, and Football is right in front of me wearing a cocky smile.

How in the hell did he get over here so fast?

You know that moment when everything stops and the next breath you take is the first one of the rest of your life? That’s what it feels like as Maverick Monroe stares at me with his piercing blue eyes.

I glance down and take in the sculpted chest and hard biceps.

I look back up and see a chiseled jawline that’s defined and lined with a slight scruff. I see the thin pink scar that slices through his left eyebrow, and it does nothing to detract from his appeal.

He’s perfection.

He’s air.

Which I desperately need right now, because I can’t breathe.

He smirks, as if reading my mind, and I scramble to pull myself together. Someone calls his name—it’s a girl’s voice, probably one of those twins—but he doesn’t budge.

His eyes rove over my skirt, glasses, and lips. “The question is…do you even know what makes a good football player?”

“Nice hands?”

His lips twitch. “Hardly.”

“A tight end?” I smirk, feeling sassy…which is weird. I don’t know who I am right now, but it’s like my mouth has a life of its own, saying things I normally wouldn’t.

Martha-Muffin chokes on her drink at my remark and Skye watches me with glee, clearly excited that I have the attention of someone who is apparently very important at Waylon.

I put my hand on my hip. “The question is…why do I need to know?”

“You don’t. All you need to know is I’m the best.”

I suck in a little breath at his arrogance.

A guy walks past us and claps him on the shoulder. “Badass game last week, Mav. Rock on.”

“Thanks, man.” Maverick acknowledges the compliment and lifts his chin, his eyes never straying from mine.

“What position do you play?” I ask. “Quarterback?”

He smirks. “Middle linebacker—defense.”

“Sounds fancy.”

He laughs.

Skye, who’s been eavesdropping unabashedly, sighs with a dreamy expression on her face. “His stats are the best in the country.” She clears her throat. “I-I only know that because my brother is a huge fan, I swear.”

“Hi, Maverick,” Martha-Muffin says as she edges closer to him, nudging me out of the way with her sharp shoulders. “Remember me?”

He focuses on her. “No.”

She glowers. “I was in your dorm room with your roommate last week. You said hello to me.”

He shrugs. “A lot of girls come through. I can’t remember them all.”

Oh. My. God. He is arrogant, but I like how he just shut her down.

Martha-Muffin’s face reddens and she mutters something under her breath, flips around, and flounces off. Good riddance.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Skye is drifting away too, giving me a thumbs-up.

Whatever. I am not going to flirt with this guy…am I?

He’s definitely got something about him, something that makes my body buzz. I tilt my chin up, taking in how tall he is. He has to be at least six-four.

His gaze drifts over my face. “You know there’s a legend here at Waylon about our famous bonfire party?”

“Oh?”

He smiles, a flash of white on his handsome face. “Legend says the first person you kiss at the party is the one you’ll never forget. It might be years later, and still their face is the one you dream about.”

“Sounds like hocus-pocus.”

He lifts that mesmerizing left eyebrow. “I like to believe in legends—after all, I am one.”

I smirk. “Probably a game made up by some frat-boy-slash-jock wanting to kiss all the girls.”

He pauses for a moment as if thinking, and then he steps in closer, so close that I can see the varying shades of blue around his pupils. “May I?”

My heart does somersaults.

“May you what?” I ask, my voice low, but I know what he wants. My body is already leaning toward him, wanting it too.

“This.” He kisses me, an almost imperceptible touch as he brushes his full lips against mine. The contact of our mouths is electric, sparks of fire skating along my skin.

As if from a distance, I hear someone calling his name. It’s a female, and she’s pissed.

It’s one of the twins probably.

And I’m jealous.

But, I don’t look. We pull away, and I stare at him as he stares right back. A stillness settles over the party, although I don’t think anything’s actually changed. The music is still playing. People are still talking. Beers are being passed around.

Yet…

We’re connected.

Two stars in the black velvet sky.

Two ships passing in the night.

Oh, fuck, stop the nonsense, I tell myself.

“What was that?” I ask, my voice breathless.

“That’s your first kiss of the bonfire. Now you’ll never forget me.”

And then, before I can think of a reply, he’s gone.

I watch him go back to the twins, frustration coiling inside of me as I exhale.

It would be two years before I kissed him again.

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About the Author


Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She’s best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Dairies, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.

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Website: http://www.ilsamaddenmills.com/

 

2018 New Adult Reading Challenge Update #4

Hi, guys! This is my first update for the 2018 New Adult Reading Challenge. This challenge was created and is hosted by Cátia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much. This month I’ve read 38 NA books:

  1. We Were One by Elizabeth Reyes
  2. Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen
  3. Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  4. Very Wicked Beginnings by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  5. Very Wicked Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  6. Very Twisted Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  7. Moonshot by Alessandra Torre
  8. The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  9. The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines
  10. The Coaching Hours by Sara Ney
  11. Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
  12. From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
  13. Sweet Little Lies by Sierra Hill
  14. Amber by Elle Casey
  15. Emerald by Elle Casey
  16. The Weight of Life by Whitney Barbetti
  17. The Sounds of Secrets by Whitney Barbetti
  18. Penalty by Jacob Chance
  19. Drive by Jacob Chance
  20. Roomies by Christina Lauren
  21. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack
  22. All Broke Down by Cora Carmack
  23. All Played Out by Cora Carmack
  24. Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  25. Hot Stuff by Kim Karr
  26. Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
  27. Beneath This Mask by Meghan March
  28. Beneath This Ink by Meghan March
  29. Shooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen
  30. For Crosby by J. Nathan
  31. Professor’s Pet by Alex Wolf
  32. Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas
  33. Bad Judgment by Meghan March
  34. For Finlay by J. Nathan
  35. Bad Boy Brody by Tijan
  36. Six Feet Under by Whitney Barbetti
  37. I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  38. Jock Row by Sara Ney

 

  1. finish a seriesVery Twisted Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  2. first book by a favorite authorVery Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  3. book with only a male POV
  4. forbidden romanceMoonshot by Alessandra Torre
  5. book you knew nothing about Sweet Little Lies by Sierra Hill
  6. friendship to love romance Jock Row by Sara Ney
  7. bottom of your TBR The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  8. blue coverRoomies by Christina Lauren
  9. LGBTQ novel Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  10. fantasy novel
  11. book with a POC main character From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
  12. book set in winterShooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen
  13. book about familyBad Boy Brody by Tijan
  14. book with music or artMidnight Blue by L.J. Shen
  15. new to you author All Lined Up by Cora Carmack
  16. book out of your comfort zoneScoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
  17. book with number in the titleWe Were One by Elizabeth Reyes
  18. 2018 release Bad Boy Brody by Tijan
  19. book written by a male authorPenalty by Jacob Chance
  20. first love
  21. enemies to lovers For Crosby by J. Nathan
  22. book that makes you cry
  23. book set in another countryRoyal Ruin by Jessica Peterson
  24. book with multiple POVsThe Coaching Hours by Sara Ney

I’m looking forward to participating in this challenge! If you’re up for joining in, you can sign up here. Be sure to watch for my monthly challenge updates.