Review: Over Us, Over You by Whitney G.

Over Us, Over You
Author: Whitney G.
Publication Date: December 7, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Whitney G. comes a falling for my older brother’s best friend romance.

Subject: Delete this message after you read it…

Dear Hayley,

I’m assuming you’re still hungover, so I’ll make this brief.

Last night, you slipped under my sheets (without my permission), and we almost had sex. I got the hell out of the bed once I realized it was you, and I took you home.

That’s the story.

The end.

Period.

Just in case you’ve forgotten, you’re my best friend’s little sister. We will never be anything more. (We can’t be anything more.) Our previous friendship is still unresolved–or “over” in your terms, so I’d prefer if we worked on becoming ‘just friends’ again since you’re in town.

Nonetheless, I’m not a man who leaves questions unanswered–even the drunken ones, so to properly close our inappropriate conversation:

1) Yes, I liked the way your lips felt against mine when you were on top of me.
2) Yes, I do “prefer” rough sex, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t rough with you.
3) No, I had no idea you were still a virgin…

This message never happened,
Corey


I have loved the novellas Whitney G. has released in the past year or so, but I’ve been craving a full length novella from her. I was so happy to hear that was what Over Us, Over You was going to be.

Over Us, Over You was a love story in true Whitney G. fashion. It had her normal sexy humor and witty banter, but it also contained a lot more tenderness than her most recent novellas. Corey and Hayley had a deep back story that was shared throughout the book. Their teenage friendship shaped who they were, and helped showcase their current connection to each other.

Corey was a standard Whitney G. man. He was successful, confident, and not the nicest. Despite his initial cockiness, I found him to be a great guy. He tried to do the right thing for himself, Hayley, and Jonathon.

Hayley was a bit of mess. Well, actually, she was a huge mess. Surprisingly, that didn’t bother me. Everything that was going on in her life led her back to Corey, so I can’t complain about it. I loved their relationship, so Hayley being a disaster at times didn’t matter. What mattered to me was her feelings, and I could feel every one of them through Whitney G.’s talented writing.

What I loved most about Over Us, Over You was that it was a friends to lovers romance. Corey and Hayley had hard times growing up, and the bonds they built during those times were so sweet. The fact that love grew from their shared hardships made this book that much more swoon worthy.

I can’t even begin to explain how much I enjoyed reading Over Us, Over You. I know I”m not giving it the review it deserves. It was such a great romance. I want to write over and over that I loved this book. I highly recommend reading it whether you’re a fan of Whitney G. or have never read her books before.

Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven King
Series: The Raven Cycle, #4
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


I bought The Raven King when it was originally released. Several factors kept me from immediately picking it up and reading it like I wanted to. One of those factors was that I wasn’t quite ready to be done with The Raven Cycle. Blue, Gansey, Adam, Noah, and Ronan are some of my most cherished characters. I didn’t want to say goodbye yet. It took me over a year to pick it up. I’m happy I finally devoted the time to say farewell to the gang.

I really enjoyed The Raven King. The story from the previous books was continued, but everything still felt fresh. There were new discoveries to be made, and so many “ah ha” moments to enjoy. The complexity of it all was a little overwhelming at times. I had to take my time reading to really examine what each revelation meant to the story.

While I loved the journey The Raven King took me on, there were some things that struck me as strange and left me wanting more explanation. Blue’s father is the first one. The whole tree thing was just plain weird and I didn’t get what it meant for Blue. The second one was Piper, Henry’s mom, and Mr. Gray. Their last scene together left everything feeling really up in the air. The big ones, though, were Glendower and the Gansey-Blue kiss. Those two things left me wanting more.

Despite feeling a bit confused and possibly let down by the end of the story, I did appreciate the epilogue. I liked knowing what possibilities were ahead for my favorite characters. I did wish that we had been privy to what the ladies at Fox Lane had in store for them.

Overall, The Raven King was a strong ending to a great series.

Release Day Review: An Ex for Christmas by Lauren Layne

 
Named Best Book of the Month by Amazon
AN EX FOR CHRISTMAS
Love Unexpectedly
Lauren Layne
Releasing Nov 7, 2017
Loveswept

She’s making a list—and checking it twice. But is there a nice guy among all her naughty exes? The New York Times bestselling author of Blurred Lines returns with a charming friends-to-lovers rom-com.

When a psychic tells spunky, superstitious Kelly Byrne that she’s already met
her true love, she becomes obsessed with the idea of tracking him down before
Christmas. Kelly immediately writes up an “Ex List” and starts contacting old
boyfriends to figure out which one is the one. When her college sweetheart
rolls into town, Kelly convinces herself that they’re meant to be. The trouble
is, sparks are flying with someone she’s never given a chance: her best friend,
Mark.
Mark Blakely has watched the guys on Kelly’s list break her heart, and he’s not
looking forward to watching them do it all over again. Mark’s always been there
for her, but the timing’s never worked out for their relationship to be
something more. Now, just as Mark is ready to move on, the sexual tension
between them is suddenly off the charts. With Christmas morning around the
corner, he just hopes Kelly will wake up and realize that everything she wants
has been right in front of her all along.

 
NOW AVAILABLE!

REVIEW

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

An Ex for Christmas is the story of Kelly, a woman who believes in fate, horoscopes, and asking her Magic 8 Ball to help her make decisions. When a psychic tells Kelly she’s going to be reunited with her true love this Christmas, Kelly takes upon herself to track down all of her ex-boyfriends to figure out which one might the guy for her.

As Kelly reconnects with her exes, none of them create the spark she expects. The only sparks Kelly’s feeling are with her best friend, Mark. But Mark’s never been interested in Kelly in that way…or has he?

If you want a book that is going to put you in the holiday spirit, look no further. Lauren Layne has got you covered with An Ex for Christmas. This holiday gem was filled with entertaining characters, wonderfully romantic moments, and so much Christmas cheer I almost couldn’t stand it.

Kelly was a hoot. This woman took her psychic revelations seriously. She counted on that Magic 8 Ball more than anyone ever should. That’s what made her so perfect, though. Kelly was so influenced by possibilities that she couldn’t see the realities in front of her. I felt bad for poor Mark. He was a great guy, and he loved that girl so much. I knew if Mark could just get Kelly’s head out of the clouds for a moment, she would realize the person she was looking for was right in front of her.

One of my favorite thing about An Ex for Christmas was how seriously Kelly took celebrating the holidays. She put so much energy into creating a merry Christmas. It didn’t matter if it was decorating or dressing up, she was always distributing joy around town.

This book was just so much fun. I really, truly believe that the Hallmark Channel needs to make An Ex for Christmas into a holiday movie. It has everything a viewer could want out of a Christmas love story.

 Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies.
She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAYNew York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.
 

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Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.


Genuine Fraud was an interesting tale. E. Lockhart continued to give the reader the unexpected with it. Genuine Fraud began in the present and each chapter went back in time. The effect was that I felt like I was reading the story backward. The story continued that way all the way until almost the end. It made for a great guessing game. Each chapter divulged just enough to make me keep reading.

I have to admit that I got a bit bored in the middle of the book. I think it’s because I was frustrated. I just wanted to know what the deal was with Jule and Imogen! Once I got to that part, the story flew again for me. I loved the ending, and thought it was very clever.

Overall, Genuine Fraud was a fun read. It was a darker read, but light at the same time. It had great foreshadowing and a cool set up. It was the perfect book to read on my vacation.

Review: Played by Jen Frederick

Played
Series: Gridiron, #4
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: October 6, 2017
Publisher: Pear Tree LLC
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Sports, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

She’s been playing it close…

Ara Martin and college football star Ty Masters have been best friends since the first day of school when Ty literally ran her over. She fell for him immediately, but having lived under the shadow of her famous father, she knows a relationship with irresistible Ty would only end in heartbreak. For four years, she’s kept her feelings hidden. But one drunken encounter weeks before graduation is about to expose Ara’s biggest secret and destroy her most treasured relationship.

He’s been playing for keeps…

Ty is about to be drafted into the NFL, but his personal life is a mess. He’s got an agent he doesn’t like, a brother who can’t stop offering his opinion, and a beautiful woman he craves but can’t have. He can fire his agent and ignore his brother, but he’s not sure what to do about Ara. Ty’s been able to run down every quarterback he’s faced, but his sexy, stubborn best friend keeps slipping through his fingers.

Luckily, he’s not one for giving up, and once he gets his hands on her, he’s never letting go.


Finally! Ty’s book! I know you’re just as excited as I am. I have been waiting for Ty’s story ever since I met him in Sacked. Everything I learned about Knox Master’s twin from that book and the ones that followed had me wondering what lucky gal was going to be able to pass the twin test.

Jen Frederick didn’t disappoint! She had the perfect gal for Ty: his best friend, Ara. Ara and Ty were those best friends who are secretly into each other but refuse to tell each other because they don’t want to lose their best friend. They had amazing chemistry, but most of all, they had an amazing friendship. Ara and Ty got each other in a really special way. I loved every minute of their story. It was so much fun!

The only tiny complaint I have about Played was that it wrapped up a lot more quickly than I wanted it to. I wanted more time with Ara and Ty as a couple. That might just be me being needy, but I can’t help it. Those two were just so great together. I needed more!

If you’re a fan of this series, you do not want to miss Played. You will love it! If you haven’t read any of the Gridiron books, I highly suggest you do. Start at the beginning with Sacked and work your way to Played. You won’t regret it.

I’m really, really hoping Jen Frederick continues this series and that Played is not the end. (Hint hint, Ms. Frederick!)

Review: Run Away With Me by Mila Gray

Run Away With Me
Series: Come Back to Me, #3
Author: Mila Gray
Publication Date: November 28, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Emerson Lowe and popular ice-hockey player Jake McCallister have been best friends since third grade but just as their friendship starts to morph into something more, a terrible event occurs that heralds the end of innocence for both of them. Within a week, Jake’s living on the other side of the country and Emerson is left alone to pick up the pieces of her life in a small town determined to paint her as a liar.

Seven years on and Emerson is still living on the beautiful Pacific West island of Bainbridge, helping her family run their outdoor adventure company. The last thing she needs is Jake turning up, bringing with him old memories and opening up old wounds. But Jake—even better looking than Emerson remembered and on the cusp of a bright sporting future—seems determined to revive their friendship no matter how much Emerson tries to push him away and soon they’re in the midst of a passionate summer romance that neither of them wants to end.

But if they’re to have any kind of future, they’re first going to need to confront the past, a past that most people want to stay buried.


I have been a fan of Mila Gray’s Come Back to Me series since it was released. I love the physical and emotional healing that takes place in her books. The first and second books in the series were military based, so I was surprised to find that Run Away With Me was a sports romance. The writing had the same new adult angst feel, but otherwise the story felt different. The wounds of war were gone, and in their place were those of a different kind of tragedy.

In Run Away With Me, Jake has just returned to Bainbridge Island to make things right with Emerson. He couldn’t move past his childhood friendship and crush. He felt like something was missing from his life, and he needed to find out if it was Emerson. Their reunion wasn’t exactly a happy one. Emerson wasn’t exactly on board with it. She had a lot of anger deep inside that needed to be dealt with. There was a lot of healing to be done between the two of them.

Emerson and Jake had a shared history. I enjoyed the way it was unraveled. What happened to separate them in the past was a little bit of a mystery. There were some major revelations given throughout the story, and I liked that it was done through separate flashbacks. Getting to know what happened to both of them that way was really profound. Their experiences were so different and they both felt the fallout from what happened when they were fourteen. I was happy they could eventually get past the heart ache and find happiness with each other again. They both deserved to get their friendship and the possibility of more back.

One of my favorite things about Run Away With Me was the setting. The way Mila Gray described Bainbridge and the surrounding islands was beautiful. I felt like I was right there with the characters. I’ve been to Vashon, but never Bainbridge. This book made me curious to explore it since it’s not too far from backyard.

Overall, I really enjoyed this romance. It was full of deep emotions and strong bond between the characters, but also had a light summer feel to it.

Review: Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken

Fraternize
Series: Player’s Game, #1
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Skyscape
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Note: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done…

No fraternizing with the players.

Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too-sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way.

Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart.


I am normally a big fan of Rachel Van Dyken’s new adult novels. I love the heart she brings to them. However, I was not a big fan of Fraternize. It was well written and entertaining, but I had a lot of little problems with it. (Caution – SPOILERS AHEAD).

First, I am a native Washingtonian. I grew up and live about 40 minutes from downtown Seattle and Bellevue. I had a hard time buying into a Bellevue Bucks  AND a Seattle Seahawks NFL franchise. Seattle and Bellevue are a measly ten miles apart. There is no way the area could support another NFL team. Traffic is bad enough as it is. I did appreciate all the Russel Wilson love, though. And I loved how parts of the game of football and grueling practices were included in the book.

Second, I didn’t love the love triangle between Miller, Emerson, and Sanchez. It made me very uncomfortable. Everyone was too close for comfort. Miller and Sanchez were teammates, neighbors and friends. Emerson had a past with Miller that she wasn’t over. Sanchez was overly aggressive in his attempts to woo Emerson, even though he knew Miller had a past with Emerson. Miller and Emerson had been best friends and then more. The had a very intimate emotional connection. I could feel their bond, and I wanted them to be together. That’s not what happened. Emerson ended up with Sanchez.

Third, my biggest problem was I didn’t care for Sanchez. Like I said, he was overly aggressive when it came to Emerson. He had a filthy mouth when it came to his attempts to get her to go out with him, and he wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was disrespectful and made me uncomfortable. I get that underneath it all, he was a nice guy. I just didn’t get that from him until the end.

There were some things I did like about Fraternize. I liked how Emerson wasn’t the standard NFL cheerleader. I loved that she was fit even though she wasn’t a size 0,2, 4, 6, 8…I also loved that she loved food. Emerson’s confidence was cool. Another thing I loved was the ending. The one about Miller. It leads into the next book, and I’m actually really excited to read it. I loved Miller, and I am hopeful Rachel Van Dyken will give him his happy ending.

Honestly, Fraternize was a good book that just wasn’t for me. I’m sure there are going to be lots of people who fall in love with Emerson and Sanchez.