Review: In Pieces by Danielle Pearl

In Pieces
Series: Something More, #2
Author: Danielle Pearl
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Three years ago she was left in pieces . . . Most college freshmen love the newfound freedom of living on campus, but none of them craves it like Beth Caplan. One ill-fated night when she was fifteen left her locked in a posh prison of private tutors. It’s for the best, everyone said, and maybe it was. But after years of hard work and healing, the one person who never thought of her as broken could be the one to break her all over again. And Beth can’t seem to stay away now any more than she could all those years ago. As soon as David March learned his best friend’s little sister was enrolling at his school, he promised to look after her, and promised himself he’d keep a safe distance. But the sweet little girl he’d grown up with has transformed into a gorgeous young woman, and she’s attracting attention from people she shouldn’t-like the ex who nearly destroyed her and a strange new student with a disturbing habit of showing up wherever Beth goes. But for David, the most troubling discovery is realizing that he doesn’t just want Beth to be safe. He wants her to be his.


In Pieces is the first book I’ve read by Danielle Pearl. I really enjoyed her writing style. She told the story in first person dual points of view. That’s my favorite type of narration because it allows me to connect deeply with the characters. She also threw in some chapters set in the past that helped show how the characters had matured over the years.

My favorite thing about In Pieces was Beth and David’s relationship. David was Beth’s older brother’s best friend. He was supposed to be her protector at college due to her weaknesses, but Beth was constantly pushing his boundaries. She didn’t want to be seen as a little girl any longer. They both were harboring secret feelings for each other. I loved the way their relationship progressed from friendship to lovers.

The only problem I had with this book was that there was almost too much going on in it. Both characters had secrets in their pasts. That probably would have been enough to keep the story going on its own, but there was also a ton of other drama. There was the new stranger, David’s frat friends, and a surprise twist toward the end. It was entertaining for sure, but just too much at times. I just wanted to focus on the love birds.

Overall, In Pieces was a fun, quick read. It had everything I would expect from a new adult romance and more. I liked Danielle Pearl’s writing style so much that I would definitely pick up another of her novels. I would like to read the first book in this series.

Review: Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

Dear Aaron
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publication Date: June 10, 2017
Publisher: Mariana Zapata
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.
The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.
Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.
What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.


This book made me swoon so dang hard. Normally, I like my characters to instantly have chemistry that leads quickly to sexy times, but I was all about the slow burn romance in Dear Aaron.

The way Mariana Zapata set this story up was amazing. I absolutely loved how Dear Aaron began with a series of letters between Aaron and Ruby. It was easy to see the friendship and camaraderie developing between them. They exchanged so much about their days and themselves with each other. Their silent attraction grew and grew for the first half of the book through those letters and then online chats. I could have read the entire book through their online communication with each other.

Then, Aaron and Ruby’s mode of communication changes. The story switches from letters and chats to Ruby’s point of view. I loved this change. It gave me even more insight into the characters. I wish more of the story would have been done this way. I wanted more of Aaron and Ruby’s story through her eyes. There wasn’t enough of that part for me.

I loved both Ruby and Aaron so much. Aaron because he was what every girl dreams of. He was the perfect combination of strong and sweet. He wasn’t perfect, but his imperfections are what made him special. It also helped that he was hotter than sin. Ruby was that nice, shy girl who doesn’t know how gorgeous she actually is. She had some annoying self-confidence issues, but they made her more real and genuine. These two characters truly brought out the best in each other.

I wasn’t ready to be done with Aaron and Ruby’s story when it ended. Honestly, I could have read another 400+ pages about them. I loved Dear Aaron that much. I have some other books I need to read next, but I really, really want to go devour Mariana Zapata’s backlist right now! I’m pretty sure I’m going to be her new biggest fan.

Review: Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon

Eye Candy
Series: Real Love, #1
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Jacqueline: As an adult woman–and the vice president of a marketing firm–I shouldn’t be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he’s a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can’t bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend-slash-colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he’s borderline obsessive about “getting me laid.” (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it’s clear: The one I’m falling for is Vince.

Vince: Jackie Butler’s got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn’t bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can’t ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything’s going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.


I love Jessica Lemmon’s writing and books. She’s a go-to author for me when it comes to contemporary romances. I always look forward to her new releases. I was especially excited to find out what she had in store with Eye Candy. I loved the premise behind this book. Co-workers and friends to more? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, Eye Candy didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel the sparks between Jackie and Vince or that I didn’t like them. I thought they were both fun characters who fit perfectly together. I absolutely loved Jackie and Vince together. What bothered me was the way they got together. I was all about the initial push Vince had for making Jackie ask the hot runner out, but once that part was over I didn’t like his “coaching”. It cheapened their experiences together for me. I also didn’t love the big problem in their relationship. Part of it felt like it fit their histories and part of it seemed kind of out there.

I hate sounding negative because I did have fun reading Eye Candy. It’s still a book I would recommend to contemporary romance fans. I’m planning on reading the next book in the series, Arm Candy. Personally, I just wish I would have fallen more in love with Jackie and Vince’s story.

Review: Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen

Hello Forever
Series: Pay it Forward, #2
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: July 14, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance,  LGBT+
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

A SINGLE BASKETBALL GAME CHANGES EVERYTHING…

When they were only teenagers, Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. And afterward, Cax had disappeared from all the youth group activities.

Six years later, Axel is astonished to spot his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a school which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again, because loving Axel will mean giving up everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it’s Hello Forever.

Hello Forever is a stand-alone novel with no cliffhangers. Readers of Goodbye Paradise will get to check in on Caleb and Josh and their clan.


Hello Forever is a second chance love story. It’s the story of two men who fell in love as teenagers, but were forced apart by the expectations of others. Neither Axel or Cax thought they would ever see each other again. Then, Axel spots Cax on a televised college basketball game. Seeing his first love again inspires Axel to accept a position at the very same school. Axel hopes he’ll run into Cax again, and that they will be able to rekindle what they almost had.

Their reunion isn’t exactly what Axel had hoped. The same demons that drove Axel and Cax apart are still at play in Cax’s life. As much as Cax wants what Axel is offering, he may not be able to accept it. Some things in Cax’s life are more important than his love for Axel.

After reading Goodbye Paradise, I had very high expectations for Hello Forever. I loved that first Pay it Forward book so much, and I wanted to have a similar experience with this book. Hello Forever was a great book, but not quite as amazing as Goodbye Paradise. I can’t put my finger on exactly why that was. The only thing I can think of was that it took me a little longer than usual to connect with the characters. A lot of the beginning was Axel setting up his history with Cax. It wasn’t until Cax and Axel were back in the same room that I felt engaged with the story.

I don’t want you to think I didn’t love Cax and Axel’s story. I did.Their second chance at love was sweet, sexy, and had just the right amount of drama. Cax having to decide if his personal happiness was more important than his devotion to his family was a really great story line. It was a tough choice for him, but I loved the way it all played out. It was fun to read. I especially loved the ending!

It was exciting to be back in Josh and Caleb’s world. I loved seeing them again and how they worked into Cax and Axel’s story. I also liked the other new characters I met. I’m hoping some of them (Jason) will get their own stories in the future.

Overall, Hello Forever was a great M/M romance. It’s one I would recommend if you’re a fan of M/M romances, Sarina Bowen or new adult romances in general.

Review: Fallen Crest Forever by Tijan

Fallen Crest Forever
Series: Fallen Crest High, #7
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Mason Kade is the dream.
He is the promise.
He’s offering what so many would fantasize about, and it’s not that I don’t want it/him/us.
It’s the opposite.
There might be ghosts haunting me, but this man who’s my soulmate is asking me for forever.
How can I say no to someone who already gave me my happily ever after?


Well, this is it. The finale to a dramatic and addicting series. I feel like I’m at a loss of what to say right now. I seriously want to cry because I am done with the final full length Fallen Crest High novel. I know it was probably time for the series to come to an end, but I could read about these characters and their drama forever. I know their lives would continue to be just as fun to follow.

Drama wise, Fallen Crest Forever felt the calmest to me. Don’t get me wrong, there were still many dramatic moments, but they felt more subdued. Emotions wise, it was a different story. Fallen Crest Forever was the most emotionally tormenting book of them all.

Surprisingly, Sam had a lot of self-discovery to do. I loved that she was determined to find herself and her passions outside of her relationship with Mason. Her doubts plagued me, even though I always knew she would be okay. I had faith because Sam had her family and their support, and that was the most important thing.

Mason was a rock in this book. His inner strength was calming for both Sam and me. I appreciated his more mature approach to life this time around. He was still the badass football player, but he became even smarter with his actions than before. I have commented on it in previous reviews, but his protection of Sam and they way he showed his love for her was beautiful.

I can’t say that everything was smooth sailing for Sam and Mason in Fallen Crest Forever. There were moments that made me swoon, but there were also moments that broke my heart. Tears were in my eyes a couple of times. I’m so happy they had Logan, Nate, Taylor and Heather to help support them in their final journey toward forever. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for them.

The story that began in Fallen Crest High came full circle in Fallen Crest Forever. I’m sad this utterly addictive series is over, but knowing there’s going to at least be another novella in the near future has placated me. I’m happy to know this isn’t the last time I’ll see the characters I’ve grown to love so much.

Review: Fallen Crest Home by Tijan

Fallen Crest Home
Series: Fallen Crest High, #6
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: April 17, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

It’s been years since my mother was in my life.
I healed.
I learned to accept love.
I lived.
That’s all done. She was away, and now she’s back.
I avoided her for a year and a half, but I couldn’t hide anymore.
Mason had an internship in Fallen Crest, so we headed back for the summer.
And when we got there—no one was prepared for what happened.


Yep, I’m still addicted. I’m still obsessively devouring the Fallen Crest High series. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. This series is just too dramatically riveting. I’m pretty amazed by it. I mean, when I first started the series, I couldn’t say I loved the characters. Well, maybe Logan, but the rest of them were too nuts. I was pulled in by the drama, stayed for the drama, and somehow found myself falling in love with every single characters — good and bad. Now, I’m a fan of the fearsome twosome, threesome, and foursome. (That will only make sense if you have read all the books.)

The “Home” in Fallen Crest Home refers to the return of the family to Fallen Crest for the summer. Mason’s interning with his dad’s company, and Sam’s mentally and physically trying to avoid the fact that Analise has returned to town. Since that’s not enough to deal with, the new king of the Roussou scene is looking to settle Budd’s debt with the Kades. What should have been a relaxing summer is shaping up to be more trouble than the fearsome foursome could have predicted.

Fallen Crest Home is one of my favorite books in this series. Things are starting to come full circle for the Fallen Crest family. Mason, Sam and Logan are older now. They’re thinking about the future and making smarter choices. I say thinking because they’ll do anything protect their family.

Sam and Mason’s relationship is in a good place in this book. They have a renewed need for each other, and I loved getting more of their intimate moments again. Their connection felt stronger than ever. Sam still has some mental anguish going on, but she’s able to identify it and attempt to deal with it.

Logan is the same old Logan, but now he’s got a love of his own to fight for. It only adds to his fierce defense of his family. Nate’s the only odd man out, but he’s still there to help out his friends.

Since this is Fallen Crest, the fearsome foursome aren’t the only returning characters. One of my favorite couples, Heather and Channing were back and in on the action. I love those two so much. I would really like a book devoted to them! Several of my least favorite FCA students were also back to wreak havoc. Adam, Becky, Cass, and Kate all made appearances.

With all these characters back in action, you can only imagine all of the drama that could unfold…and it did! I loved the way this part of Sam and Mason’s story was laid out. Of course, the drama was over the top, but it made sense to me. It wasn’t out there crazy. Not all of Sam and Mason’s problems were solved, but some important ones felt more resolved and I can see how this series is headed toward a strong finish. I know how I want the next book to start, and I’m hoping my wish comes true.

If you enjoy dramatic series filled with angst, longing, intense love and a strong sense of family, you really need to read the entire Fallen Crest High series from beginning to end. It’s a wild, addicting ride.

Review: Fallen Crest Novella Reviews

As you probably know, I’ve been binge reading Tijan’s Fallen Crest High series over the past couple of weeks. I have read the books in order (with the except of the first prequel novella), and have finally made it to the novellas in the middle of the series. Rather than do separate reviews for each Fallen Crest High novella, I am going to do mini reviews for all of them in one post. This includes the first prequel novella as well.


Mason
Series: Fallen Crest High, #0.5

Author: Tijan
Publication Date: June 16, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Mason Kade is not known to be nice. He is ruthless, manipulative, and unforgiving. Most will say that he is an a**hole and he is to those that cross him or cross his loved ones. However, he does not want to be who he is. He does not enjoy hurting others, but there is no limit to the lengths he will go to protect himself and his brother.

This is the story of how he came to be and this is why so many love Mason Kade.

My review:

This novella is a prequel to the entire Fallen Crest High series. I didn’t read it prior to starting the series. I’m kind of glad I didn’t. It might have taken away from some of the surprises I got, especially in Fallen Crest Public. Plus, Mason was so angry in this book. I’m happy I got to know him through Sam before reading Mason. I enjoyed the look back at what Mason and what he went through prior to meeting Sam. My favorite part was toward the end when he describes seeing her first the first time. Mason isn’t a novella Mason fans would want to miss.


Fallen Crest Christmas
Series: Fallen Crest High, #5.25
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: December 15, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

This is a very very short novella consisting of one scene that has three parts, and an additional bonus scene. This was written to be a FREE gift to any Fallen Crest readers! And with that said, Happy Holidays from Tijan.

My review:

This really was a VERY short novella. It was perfect, though. It spotlighted two Christmases for Sam. The first was after Fallen Crest University. Sam has to deal with her mother reappearing and wanting to spend Christmas with her. It was a fun read. My favorite part of this novella, though, was the short scene of the previous Christmas in Boston before Fallen Crest University. I had always wondered about that time for Sam. It was nice to get a glimpse of it.


Logan Kade
Series: Fallen Crest High, #5.5
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: March 28, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

People think that just because they know my name, my reputation, and my family that they know me. They don’t.

They say I’m a manwhore, but who wouldn’t be with my face and body? They say I’m a partier, and that’s not going to change. They say I’m a fighter, and hell yes I am. F*ck with mine, and I’ll f*ck you back ten times worse.

So, yes. Maybe what they say is true, but that’s not all of me.

I’m loyal to a damned fault. If you earn it, I’ll never leave your side. And when I love, I love hard, but there’s another side to me where it’s dark and painful. That side’s been kept hidden, until her. Taylor saw inside of me, and the second she was there, she owned me.

People think they know me…

…but only she can see me

My review:

Fallen Crest University treated me to Logan Kade’s point of view for a brief moment, and I wanted more. Thank goodness Tijan decided to write this novella about him. Logan Kade was everything I expected him to be. Taylor was a great match for him. I immediately understood why he fell for her, and I loved their dynamic. I could read many more books about their relationship.

My only tiny complaint about this novella was the over the top drama with Jason. I could have done without that story line. Logan and Taylor had enough drama besides of their own. They didn’t need that crazy turn of events.

If you’re a Logan Kade fan club member, you are going to swoon over Logan Kade.