Review: 180 Seconds by Jessica Park

180 Seconds
Author: Jessica Park
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Skyscape
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Some people live their entire lives without changing their perspective. For Allison Dennis, all it takes is 180 seconds…

After a life spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, Allison is determined to keep others at arm’s length. Adopted at sixteen, she knows better than to believe in the permanence of anything. But as she begins her third year in college, she finds it increasingly difficult to disappear into the white noise pouring from her earbuds.

One unsuspecting afternoon, Allison is roped into a social experiment just off campus. Suddenly, she finds herself in front of a crowd, forced to interact with a complete stranger for 180 seconds. Neither she, nor Esben Baylor, the dreamy social media star seated opposite her, is prepared for the outcome.

When time is called, the intensity of the experience overwhelms Allison and Esben in a way that unnerves and electrifies them both. With a push from her oldest friend, Allison embarks on a journey to find out if what she and Esben shared is the real thing—and if she can finally trust in herself, in others, and in love.


I’ve been sitting here staring at my computer screen for a while now trying to put together this review. It’s been hard because I don’t think I can adequately write about how 180 Seconds made me feel. Just thinking about this book makes me so emotional.

Jessica Park has been one of my auto-buy authors since I stumbled upon her novel Left Drowning. I’ve read every one of her books because they always manage to touch me in ways I’m not expecting. She has me wanting to know her characters and everything about them from the first sentence, chapter and page. I’m always surprised by what I find, but never by how much I enjoy the journey. And I loved the journey I took in 180 Seconds. There was so much raw emotion in it. I couldn’t help being swallowed up by all of the feelings. So many things touched me deeply. I tried to hold back tears so many times unsuccessfully. 180 Seconds made me feel more than a book has made me feel in a long time.

Allison was such a vulnerable character. Everything about her life had been and was hard. She wasn’t your typical college student. She craved privacy and anonymity. Allison was afraid to let people in. That made being pulled into a social experiment with the famous Ebsen Baylor all the more nerve-wracking. Spending 180 seconds with him did something to her, something big. It was exciting and stressful to be in her mind.

Ebsen’s point of view wasn’t included in this book, but I didn’t need it. His character was so open that his thoughts and feelings came across well. I loved his part in Allison’s awakening. Their connection was so raw. I could feel it. He was an exceptionally amazing guy, and learning what experiences made him who he was made me believe Ebsen could actually be as amazing as he was.

All of the secondary characters in this book were incredibly important to the story. I adored them all, and I would love to read future books about their stories. I do have to rave about one particular character, though: Steffi. Steffi was Allison’s best friend. She was a tough cookie and the only person Allison could rely on for a long time. I loved how they got each other as only best friends can. The way Steffi pushed Allison out of her comfort zone was very special. Their friendship was truly touching.

One of my favorite things about 180 Seconds was how it portrayed social media. It showed the good and bad of being so connected in this day and age. It also showed how easy it is to be happy about the positive recognition received and how hard it is to deal with the negative.

This is where I’m going to stop my review. I know I haven’t told you much about the story itself, but I don’t want to give anything away. 180 Seconds was such a beautifully written journey. It’s one that should be experienced for yourself. What I will say is that I absolutely adored this book. I didn’t put it down once I started it. I couldn’t. It was just too special to take a break from. 180 Seconds is going on the list of books I recommend to friends, and will be one I give often as a gift.

Review: Confessions of a Puck Bunny by Cindi Madsen

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny
Series: Taking Shots, #4
Author: Cindi Madsen
Publication Date: May 8, 2017
Publisher: Entangled Embrace
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Confession #1: I used to be a puck bunny, but after a hockey player broke my heart, I gave up all things hockey. Now I’m just focused on finding a way to pass my math class so I can graduate college.

Confession #2: Ryder “Ox” Maddox’s deep, sexy voice sends fuzzy tingles through my entire body, and I’m powerless to stop it. Which is a big problem since the hot, surprisingly funny hockey player is my new math tutor.

Confession #3: I can’t stop thinking about how ripped Ryder is from all his hockey training, and how fun it’d be to cross lines with him.

Confession #4: I kissed a hockey player and I liked it.

Confession #5: If I’m not careful, I might relapse and fall for Ryder, and then I’ll be totally pucked.


I couldn’t resist reading Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny. The title and the idea of a former puck bunny confessing her sins really appealed to me. Plus, the book was from an author and series I enjoy, so I knew it was going to be a lot of fun.

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny stars Lindsay and Ryder. Lindsay is a former puck bunny who fell in love and got burned. Since then, she’s done everything she can to stay away from hockey and its players. That worked well until she needs help passing math class. The only tutor she can understand just happens to be the hottest guy on the ice. Ryder would do anything to get a chance with Lindsay including giving up some of his precious time to tutor Lindsay in math. He’s hoping that spending time with him with show Lindsay that he’s not just another heartless hockey player.

Out of all the Cindi Madsen books I’ve read, Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny is my favorite. I loved the first person dual points of view, and the direction the story took. All of the little confessions sprinkled through the story were cute and fun.

Ryder, or “Ox” as some people call him, was a sweetheart. He knew what he wanted (Lindsay) and went for it. I loved how he didn’t let anything or anyone stand in his way. The way he treated Lindsay was really special.

Lindsay had so much inner strength. She wanted to change her life and did everything she needed to make that happen. I couldn’t blame Lindsay for wanting to stay away from hockey players, but I’m so happy Ryder weaseled his way into her heart. They were perfect for each other. I loved their romance.

I also loved seeing my old friends from the previous Hot Shots books. Catching up with them was fun, and I loved what they added to Lindsay and Ryder’s story. And I can’t leave out the hockey. There were some very fun hockey scenes in this book!

Confessions of a Former Puck Bunny was everything I hoped it would be based on its title. It was a great college hockey romance that fans of sports romances will love. I did.

Release Day Review: Co-Wrecker by Meghan Quinn

I’m celebrating the release of CO-WRECKER by Meghan Quinn!

NA Romantic Comedy
Photographer: Lauren Perry
Designer: Meghan Quinn
BLURB:
What do ice cream and Sadie Montgomery have in common? They’re both ice cold, but one taste is never enough.
I wanted to be friends — I would have even settled for her seeing me as anything but a nerd — but there was no getting through. So just like any hard-headed, red-blooded man out there, I made up my mind.
I’d make my coworker fall for me.
I’d like to say it was simple, but like every other epic love story, all it took was one drunken night and a lot of naked courage to get the girl. For a moment, at least.
Love with a coworker is never simple, especially since Sadie’s trying to keep us on the low. Not to mention her persistent ex-boyfriend who won’t leave her alone. But I’ve never been good at giving up, and I don’t plan to start now.
The whole thing is a recipe for a rocky road, but I plan to eat the whole gallon, no matter how bad the brain freeze.

MY REVIEW:
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from Wordsmith Publicity in exchange for an unbiased review.

Co-Worker is my new favorite Meghan Quinn book. (But I think every new book I pick of hers is my new favorite.)  It was so perfect! I loved everything about it. The restaurant work setting was fun. The characters were both down to earth and outrageous. The dialog was witty and made me laugh so many times. Oh, and the romance was so cute! I couldn’t get enough of Co-Wrecker. 

Co-Wrecker had some of my favorite Meghan Quinn characters. Andrew has definitely made my book boyfriend list. That guy was amazing! Every woman needs an Andrew. Not only was he hot as sin, he had serious swag. He pushed the line between cocky and sweet so well. He had moves I didn’t see coming. I didn’t want the book to end because I wasn’t done with him yet.

Sadie was a tougher character to love, but that’s exactly how she should have been. She came across to me exactly how she came across to the new people she met in the book. Sadie kept everyone on the edge of her circle, and kept her secrets hidden well. I loved her tough exterior and soft interior. Every little bit of herself that she gave Andrew made me smile. They were adorable together.

Besides having two amazing first person narrators, Co-Wrecker also had some very fun secondary characters. All of Sadie’s friends were cool. Andrew’s roommates and family were hilarious. Every single on of them was memorable. So were the rest of Andrew and Sadie’s co-workers. I could easily read a book about any of them. I really hope I’ll get to.

Co-Wrecker was so entertaining. I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s one fans of Meghan Quinn and/or romantic comedies should not miss. It’s bound to make their day, like it did mine.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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!
 Find me on Goodreads:
 Visit my website: http://authormeghanquinn.com/

Mini Reviews: Unraveled, Unrequited and Unwritten by Jen Frederick

I was finally able to finish my series binge of Jen Frederick’s Woodlands series this past week. Rather than post each review separately, I am going to post all three reviews at once. So, here we go!


Unraveled
Woodlands, #3
Publication Date: January 18, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Twenty-five-year-old Sgt. Gray Phillips is at a crossroads in his life: stay in the Marine Corps or get out and learn to be a civilian? He’s got forty-five days of leave to make up his mind but the people in his life aren’t making the decision any easier. His dad wants him to get out; his grandfather wants him to stay in. And his growing feelings for Sam Anderson are wreaking havoc with his heart…and his mind. He believes relationships get ruined when a Marine goes on deployment. So now he’s got an even harder decision to make: take a chance on Sam or leave love behind and give his all to the Marines.

Twenty-two year old Samantha Anderson lost her husband to an IED in Afghanistan just two months after their vows. Two years later, Sam is full of regrets—that she didn’t move with her husband to Alaska; that she allowed her friends to drift away; that she hasn’t taken many chances in life. Now, she’s met Gray and taking a risk on this Marine could be her one opportunity to feel alive and in love again. But how can she risk her heart on another military man who could share the same tragic fate as her husband?

My review:

I absolutely loved this military romance between an army widow and a Marine. There was so much depth to the story. It was all about healing and living the best life possible. I liked that it brought me back to the Woodlands, but wasn’t about one of the main guys who lived there. It gave the story a completely different feel than the rest of the series.

Sam was a really complex character. I could feel the two different sides of Sam. One side was an older Army widow who feelings of guilt and heartache. The other side was a twenty-two year-old young woman who wanted to be an adventurous young adult. Meeting Gray was the best thing that could have happened to her. I love the ability to heal being around him gave her. I loved Gray. He was a good guy with his own cross to bear. His wasn’t as hard as Sam’s, but it threw some great twists in their story.

Unspoken is still my favorite Woodlands book, but Unraveled is a close second. I can see the progression and improvement in Jen Frederick’s writing with each book.


Unrequited
Woodlands, #4
Publication Date: April 13, 2015

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Winter Donovan loves two things: her sister and her sister’s ex boyfriend. She’s spent her whole life doing the right thing except that one time, that night when Finn O’Malley looked hollowed out by his father’s death. Then she did something very wrong that felt terribly right.

Finn can’t stop thinking about Winter and the night and he’ll do anything to make her a permanent part of his life, even if it means separating Winter from the only family she has.

Their love was supposed to be unrequited but one grief stricken guy and one girl with too big of a heart results in disastrous consequences.

My review:

I’m not the biggest fan of romances between a woman and her sister’s ex, but this one works. I think it helped that I didn’t like Ivy, Winter’s sister. She was a hag. The more I found about Ivy and Finn’s previous relationship, the more Winter’s relationship with Finn the less it bothered me.

Winter was a sweet young woman. She cared a lot about people. I really liked her and how she tried to put the good of her family first. I loved her when she grew a backbone and stood up for what she wanted. Finn was a cool guy. He’d had some tough blows in life, but he also did what was needed. I loved Winter and Finn together. Although, I did get tired of hearing about her nipples.

Overall, Unrequited was a fun read and strong addition to the Woodlands series.


Unwritten
Woodlands, #5
Publication Date: March 6, 2017

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

After years of trying to hit it big with his band, Adam Rees’ dream is finally about to come true. A new lead singer brings with him a hot tour invite, but with a catch—his sister has to come with them. Despite an off-limits edict, Adam is instantly attracted the smart and beautiful Landry. But if he wants to claim his woman, it might be at the expense of all his ambitions.

Landry Olsen has had success at every stage of her life, except when it comes to men. She’s put her heart on the shelf, but one look at Adam and she’s a goner. The hot rocker heats her from the inside out, and she wants him as much as he wants her. The only thing standing in their way of their happiness is Landry’s brother—she ruined his musical hopes before, and she won’t do it again. Even if it means saying no to the one guy who makes her believe in love again.

There’s no fruit more tempting than the forbidden kind…


I’ve read several rock star romances that are similar to Unwritten in the past year. It’s basically a tour bus romance. Unwritten stands out from the rest based on Jen Frederick’s awesome writing and the love I already had for Adam prior to reading this book.

What made Unwritten stand out from other rock star tour romances was Landry’s reason for being on tour with FMK. I won’t giveaway why she’s forced to go on tour with her brother and his band, but I thought it added a lot to the story. My favorite part of this book was getting to know Adam better. I didn’t know all the layers he had. It was interesting to hear what people in his industry thought of him and his past. I also really enjoyed the forbidden aspect of Adam and Landry’s relationship. It was a lot of fun and super hot!

The only thing I would have liked was if Adam and Landry spent more time in the Woodlands. The few glimpses I saw of the old gang were fun, but I need more of them and less of the new characters.


Overall, the Woodlands series is a really great read. You can find my reviews for the first two books by clicking on the links below.

Undeclared (Woodlands, #1) and Undressed (Woodlands, #1.5)
Unspoken (Woodlands, #2)

Review: Johnny and Jamaal by K.M. Breakey

Johnny and Jamaal
Author: K.M. Breakey
Publication Date: June 20, 2016
Publisher: K.M. Breakey
Genre: New Adult, Sports, Political, Fiction
Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Two athletes from different planets are on the verge of greatness. Johnny’s a carefree Canadian making his mark in the NHL. Jamaal’s set to follow LeBron and Kyrie out of the ghetto. When their worlds collide, the catastrophic clash ignites racial conflict not seen since Ferguson. The incident tests the fledgling love of Johnny’s best friend Lucas and his African-American girlfriend Chantal, and sets them on a quest for truth and justice in the perverse racial landscape of 2016.

As chaos escalates across American cities, an MLK-like voice rises from the ashes. Wilbur Rufus Holmes may be salvation for Luke and Chantal, but can he stop society’s relentless descent into racial discord?

Johnny and Jamaal is awash with sports, violence and political taboo, as America’s seething dysfunction is laid bare.


I’m not the most political person. I have my views, but I try to keep them to myself for the most part. I also tend to shy away from books that revolve around a political theme. If I do read one that has a political nature, it’s normally a contemporary romance. When I read, I’m looking for an escape from every day life. I’m putting this out there because Johnny and Jamaal is a story crafted around today’s social and political environment. It’s not what I would normally read, and it was a harder book for me to enjoy.

I, like the author, come from the Northwest. The struggles the characters face in Johnny and Jamaal are not right in front of my face all of the time. Pretty much the only time I am faced with them is when watching the news. This made Johnny and Jamaal interesting to me, but uncomfortable to read. That wasn’t a good or bad thing, it just was.

K.M. Breakey is a talented writer, and was good at getting his ideologies across. Johnny and Jamaal was an engaging novel that made me think. Many readers will appreciate the multitude of topics it deals with. It may cause them to examine their thoughts and beliefs.

While Johnny and Jamaal isn’t what I would normally reach for when I’m sitting down to read, it was a timely look at what’s going on in the sociopolitical world of the United States (and Canada) today.

Review: What I Need by J. Daniels

What I Need
Series: Alabama Summer, #5
Author: J. Daniels
Publication Date: March 5, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author, J. Daniels, comes a sexy new STANDALONE novel.

Riley Tennyson has made a huge mistake.

At least, that’s what she keeps telling herself.

Showing up to her brother’s wedding pissed off and newly single, Riley seeks comfort in solitude and an open bar, until the gorgeous and irresistibly charming CJ Tully makes her a better offer―a wild night with the master of smooth-talking where nothing is off limits.

Riley does what any single woman would do, and a connection is made. One neither one of them can ignore. But when she comes home to the boyfriend she no longer thought she had, Riley buries her secret and begs CJ to do the same.

Forget about each other. It was a mistake. That’s all it was… right?

Desires are hidden. Distance is kept. Until one night CJ makes the ultimate sacrifice, and Riley can no longer avoid the man she can’t stop thinking about.

Not with him sleeping down the hall…


It’s only March, but I’m going to go ahead and say that What I Need is one of my favorite romance novels of the year. It was utter perfection. I’ve loved every book in this Alabama Summer series, but this one is by far my favorite. It was everything I love in a romance novel. It was well written, fast-paced, flirty, sexy, funny and a little deep. The characters were so wonderful, and their story was so much fun to read.

C.J. Tully just became one of my all time favorite book boyfriends. Everything about the guy was AMAZING. Seriously, he couldn’t get any more perfect. He was a gorgeous physical specimen and an all around great guy. I loved being in his head and getting to know his thoughts on Riley. He was so intuitive and really got her. I absolutely loved what he was willing to do to make her his. Gah! I just can’t even tell you how much I love C.J.! (I think I might need to make my husband start calling me “darlin'” now. I wonder if I could get him to learn a Southern accent? Because that nickname, though simple, has to be one of the hottest freaking nicknames I’ve read in a while. It probably wouldn’t pack the same punch as it did coming out of C.J.’s mouth.)

I loved Riley almost as much as I loved C.J. She truly reminded me of my younger self with her apologies and willingness to accept what she thought was love. I could easily relate to some of the conversations she had with C.J. at the beginning of their getting to know each other. I got her, and it made the way C.J. dealt with her feel even more special to me.

C.J. and Riley’s relationship was so freaking cute. Every moment of it made me smile. I loved their fun times together. I loved seeing their friendship develop. Most of all, I loved their sexual connection. Dang! It was hot. I’m surprised they didn’t burn down C.J.’s house with the energy they were putting off.

It was also very fun to get little glimpses of all my favorite couples from the previous Alabama Summer books. The perfect amount of spotlight was put on them. There was enough catch up to find out where they were in life, but their lives didn’t take over the story. Someone picking up What I Need as their first Alabama Summer book wouldn’t be bogged down by past characters, and would feel right at home reading this book without knowing them.

I am so in love with this book. So. In. Love. I couldn’t get enough of What I Need. I was so sad when I came to the end of it. I really, really wanted more of C.J. and Riley. My only consolation is that there is going to be a sixth book in the series. I cannot wait for C.J.’s brother’s story. I’m hoping he’s just as passionate as C.J. is.

Review: Unspoken by Jen Frederick

Unspoken
Series: Woodlands, #2
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Jen Frederick
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Whore. Slut. Typhoid Mary.

I’ve been called all these at Central College. One drunken night, one act of irresponsible behavior, and my reputation was ruined. Guys labeled me as easy and girls shied away. To cope, I stayed away from Central social life and away from Central men, so why is it that my new biology lab partner is so irresistible to me?

He’s everything I shouldn’t want. A former Marine involved in illegal fighting with a quick trigger temper and an easy smile for all the women. His fists aren’t the danger to me, though, it’s his charm. He’s sliding his way into my heart and I’m afraid that he’s going to be the one to break me.

Impulsive. Unthinking. Hot tempered.

I allow instinct to rule my behavior. If it feels good, do it, has been my motto because if I spend too much time thinking, I’ll begin to remember exactly where I came from. At Central College, I’ve got fighting and I’ve got women and I thought I was satisfied until I met her.

She’s everything I didn’t realize I wanted and the more time I spend with her, the more I want her. But she’s been hurt too much in the past and I don’t want to be the one to break her. I know I should walk away, but I just can’t.


I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started Unspoken. Undeclared (Woodlands, #1) was good, but it wasn’t as amazing as some of the newer Jen Frederick books I’ve read. I was hoping to connect more to the characters and the story in Unspoken. Happily, I did.

AnnMarie is all about avoiding Central College’s campus for everything except classes. She would rather keep her head down and avoid it all than face the gossipy stares and whispers about what a slut she is. It’s easy to keep her head down until she’s paired up with Bo as a chemistry partner. Bo is everything AnnMarie should avoid, but the sexy ex-Marine doesn’t make it easy. He’s determined to break down her walls and prove he’s worth taking a chance on.

Unspoken was exactly what I like in a new adult romance. It had moments of angst, a swoon worthy romance, and two characters who didn’t just fall in love but also found their inner strength. The first person dual point of view made it easy to connect with the characters. Each one had such a unique voice and experience.

AnnMarie was a tough chick. She was way tougher than she thought she was. I can’t imagine sticking around somewhere you knew you would be taunted. Her restraint around Bo was pretty amazing. I’m not sure I would have been able to hold on quite as long as she did around him. Bo was everything I hoped he would be after reading Undeclared. I loved the alpha male thing he had going on, and the way he went about breaking down AnnMarie’s walls. I loved how he gave her space when she needed it, but didn’t completely abandon her. He did an amazing job of proving himself.

Another thing I liked about Unspoken was the sexiness of it. It was incredibly hot. It was way sexier than the first book. That had a lot to do with the connection AnnMarie and Bo shared. It felt much more intimate and sensual than Noah and Grace’s. I loved it.

Unspoken has made me very excited to continue reading the Woodlands series. I can’t wait to see all of the guys fall in love. Now, if only my library hold of Unraveled would hurry up and come in!