Series Review: Between the Lines (Tammara Webber)

Once again, I’m working on my backlist. Between the Lines is a series I’ve wanted to read since I fell in love with Tammara Webber’s Contours of the Heart series. I was excited to finally get around to reading it. Here are my thoughts on each of the four books in the series.


Between the Lines (#1) ★ ★ ★

I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t dislike it either. Between the Lines is told in two perspectives. The first was Emma’s. She was an almost eighteen year old who was cast in a movie along side Reid, one of the hottest young stars of the moment. I liked Emma a lot. She seemed like a teenager trying to figure life out. The other perspective was Reid’s. I hated Reid. He was a tool and a jerk. It was really hard reading his thoughts and choices. He is what made me not love this book — along with the fact that there is a third player in this story. Emma also has a developing “friendship” with another actor names Graham that makes a love triangle out of this book. As this book comes to an end, big secrets are exposed and the triangle is sorted out. I’m glad it didn’t leave me hanging. In the end, this one felt a big set up for the rest of the series to me. I am going to keep reading because I’m curious and have the rest of the books.

Where You Are (#2) – ★ ★ ★

The Reid – Emma – Graham triangle continues! Well, it becomes a love square as Brooke jumps in on the action and increases the drama. I still hated Reid, but he did do one thing I respected. I loved Emma. Graham turned out to be a total sweetheart. Brooke…I loved her last book, but now I feel as good about her as I do Reid. Where you Are was a wild ride.

Good for You (#3) ★ ★ ★

I really, really didn’t want a book about Reid falling in love. I mean, the guy is a total turd. I didn’t want it to be a woman who changed him because that wouldn’t be real life. I wanted him to change himself. That being said, I liked who Reid became. He grew up. It was refreshing to see him come to some conclusions about himself. Dori was okay. I liked all the stuff she had to go through.

Here Without You (#4) ★ ★ ★ ★

This, in my opinion, was the best book of the series. Everything came full circle for the remaining cast of characters. I loved how it was done. I also really loved how Tammara Webber wrote River. This ended up being an interesting celebrity coming of age series. It’s worth a read if you’re a fan of the author.

Series Review: Beautiful Hearts Duet (Emma Scott)

When the Beautiful Hearts Duet released this past summer I wanted to read it, but I was hesitant. I know the power of Emma Scott’s writing, and I was scared to feel what her words would invoke. I also knew it had a love triangle of sorts, and I hate those. In the end, I gave in and read the duet because I knew it would be good and all of the reviews were coming in with high praise.

Bring Down the Stars ★ ★ ★ ½

I have to start out by saying that the acknowledgements and dedications at the beginning of this book had me in tears. That didn’t bode well for my emotions. I have to be honest and say I didn’t love this book. It made me mad because of the love triangle built on lies. I was so frustrated with Weston, Connor, and Autumn while reading it. Weston made me mad because of his dedication to Connor. Connor made me mad because of his attitude about just about everything and his poor decisions. Autumn I wasn’t really mad at. I was more irritated because I wondered how she could really be so blind…but then aren’t we all when we’re falling in love?

Overall, the writing was beautiful. The poems in this book…WOW. The emotions brought on by this book…WOW. The ending…DANG. There’s no way I could take a break between books 1 and 2.

Long Live the Beautiful Hearts ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I don’t even know that I have the words to tell you how much I loved this book. This one starts off emotional and strong. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I ended up loving the direction Emma Scott took this story. I grew to really love Autumn, Weston, and Connor. How everything worked out wasn’t always easy, but it was perfect. The easy moments were almost too easy, but I didn’t mind that because I felt everything come full circle. Bravo, Emma Scott. You did your readers, yourself, and your precious daughter right.

Series Mini Review: Love Me with Lies (Tarryn Fisher)

This past weekend I knocked Love Me with Lies off my backlist. It’s been on there for years because I’m a fan of all of Tarryn Fisher’s other books. I’m so disappointed in myself for waiting so long to read it. It was crazy good — emphasis on the crazy. Here my thoughts after reading each book.

The Opportunist ★ ★ ★ ★

🤔🤨😯😖😤🤯
That pretty much says it all.
I’m stuck using emojis for this review because I’m speechless after finishing this book. It was soooooo messed up, but in a good way. Only Tarryn can make me hate and love characters so much at the same time.

Dirty Red ★ ★ ★ ★

This one started out bad for me. I was so disgusted by Leah. I hate Leah, but I understand her now. She grew on me as her story went on. She’s not blameless, but Caleb isn’t either. I lost some respect for him in this one. The only person I started to respect more was Olivia.

Thief ★ ★ ★ ★

I think I liked this book? It’s hard to know because all of the characters were so messed up. I didn’t think I could end up liking them any less while also liking where the story went. I do think it was a fitting end to a crazy, addictive series.

Overall, this is a very messed up, crazy, addictive series. If you like books that will shock you and make you question everything a character does, read this series.

Review: I Bet You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

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I Bet You
Series: The Hook-Up, #2
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Publication Date: October 25, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoon-fest of a novel about what happens when you look beyond labels and take a chance on love.

Sexy Athlete: I bet you…
Penelope Graham: Burn in hell, quarterback.

The text is random but Penelope figures out exactly who “Sexy Athlete” is. And why she shouldn’t take his wager.

Ryker Voss.
Football star.
Walks on water and God’s gift to women.
Just ask him.

His bet? He promises Penelope he’ll win her the heart of the guy she’s been crushing on. His plan—good old-fashioned jealousy. Once her crush sees her kissing Ryker, he’ll realize what he’s missing. Sounds legit, right? The only question is…why is Ryker being so nice to her?

Penelope Graham.
Virgin.
Lover of sparkly vampires and calculus.
His mortal enemy.

Penelope knows she shouldn’t trust a jock, but what’s a girl to do when she needs a date to Homecoming? And Ryker’s keeping a secret, another bet, one that could destroy Penelope’s heart forever.

Will the quarterback score the good girl or will his secrets mean everyone loses this game of love?

*Author’s Note: This is a standalone sports romance with an HEA.

**You do not have to have read I Dare You, although you should if you love jocks and nerdy heroines.


I Bet You was a fun new adult sports romance. The main character, Penelope, was a little quirky and a whole lot sassy. She had a thing against football players and knew that she wanted a smart, nerdier type of guy in her life. That was all blown to pieces when Ryker Voss inserts himself into her life and offers to help Penelope get the guy.

Ryker was the college’s well-loved quarterback. Despite being a cocky jock, he was actually a nice guy. Penelope wasn’t the type of girl he normally went for, but the more time he spent with her the more he wished it wasn’t someone else she was pining for.

I really liked both Ryker and Penelope. My issue with I Bet You wasn’t their romance, but a bet that was going on in the background. It was predictable and made it hard for me to read the book at times. I knew what was going to happen and I hated it. BUT I ended up really liking how it was all handled and explained at the end.

One of the great things about this book were the supporting characters. I loved Penelope and Ryker’s friends. Charisma, Margo, and Blaze were so much fun! I also liked the bad guy in this book. He was just the right amount of scummy. LOL. Oh, and I really liked everything that went down with Penelope’s family situation. That was a great story line.

Despite the moments I spent worried about what was going to happen, I enjoyed reading I Bet You. It was a light, fun new adult romance.

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Love football heroes and nerdy heroines?

Start the series of standalones today with I DARE YOU.

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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 Diaries, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.

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Series Review: The Sweetest Thing by Sierra Hill

A while back I reviewed two of the books from Sierra Hill’s The Sweetest Thing series. I really enjoyed those two books, and I knew I wanted to go back and read the rest of the series. Last week I finally had time to make that happen.

Sweetness (#1) ★ ★ ★ ★

Sweetness is the story of a privileged college basketball player who falls in love with a girl whose life isn’t so easy. Ainsley has Cade changing his womanizing ways, but his past may come back to ruin their relationship. This book was a classic NA sports romance. I loved the ASU setting (I went there!), and the characters. It was a sweet romance with just the right amount of angst.

Sweet Girl (#2) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Sweet Girl was my favorite book in this series. Cade’s younger sister Kylah falls for his teammate Van. Things start out with a forbidden crush for Kylah as Van has a long distance girlfriend. When Van is betrayed, Kylah has the opportunity to go for her man. It was just super cute and sweet. It reminded me of first love and all of the things that come with it. I adored both Kylah and Van. (Oh, and Van lived in the same dorm I did in college! Talk about a blast from the past seeing its name in print.)

Sweet Summer Love (#3) ★ ★ ★ ½

This was the first book I read by Sierra Hill back in 2017. It’s about Cade’s roommate/teammate Carver. Carver is quite the ladies man. When he graduates from college and is drafted by the NBA, it returns him to his hometown of Seattle (Hey! I live here! Another reason to love this series!) where he’s reunited with Logan, the girl who broke his heart. I really enjoyed reading this book, but I had some issues with it. You can read my full review here.

Sweet Disaster (#4) ★ ★ ★ ★

Remember Kylah from Sweet Girl? Sweet Disaster is her wild twin sister Kady’s book. Kady takes an impromptu trip to Europe where she ends up stuck in Italy with no funds. She reaches out to Cade who hooks her up with Gavin who is playing basketball there. The two end up traveling together and falling in love. This book was sweet in a different way than Kylah’s book. It was about two people finally finding their person that they fit with. It was also sexier than the other books in the series.

Sweet Little Lies (#5) ★ ★ ★ ½

I read Sweet Little Lies back at the beginning of 2018. It is Ainsley’s best friend Mica and Cady’s roommate Lance’s story. Mica and Lance had insane chemistry. Their love story wasn’t as easy as ones in the prior books. Sierra Hill touched on deeper issues like interracial dating and addiction. I really loved the romance aspect of the story, but I wanted it to go deeper than it did on the addiction front. You can find my full review for this book here.

Thoughts on the entire The Sweetest Thing series:

Despite the ups and downs of the ratings of these books, I loved this series. It was classic NA college sports romance. Sierra Hill is a great writer. She includes just the right amount of angst in her love stories without going overboard. I especially loved this series because it’s set at my alma mater, ASU. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good new adult romance.

Series Review: Kiss and Make Up by Sara Ney

Kissing in Cars
Series: Kiss and Make Up, #1
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: January 26, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Will she, or won’t she…

Studious and (mostly) sensible, the only thing Molly Wakefield wants to do is get through Senior Year and graduate. Well, that and hit the beach in her spare time. Okay, fine – and go shopping every once in a while for a new dress… (and who could blame her?)

And things are going according to plan – until the day she spies Weston McGrath, handsome star athlete and scholar, spying on her in study hall.

A tad creepy? Maybe.
Thrilling? Absolutely.

You see, Weston McGrath happens to be one guy no one can get close to.

Despite her best efforts to avoid it (because let’s face it – the guy isn’t exactly “boyfriend material”) Mollly and Weston form a friendship.
And more….
Sort of.
But it’s a friendship that comes with a price – because Weston just cannot seem to stop screwing things up. Or saying all the wrong things. Possibly in that order…
And who has time for an 18 year old “fixer-upper” that should know better?
Not Molly.
Or does she?

Review:

Oh my goodness.This book was so dang cute! Molly and Weston were just too adorable. I loved how everything went down between them. All the embarrassing, does he/she or doesn’t he/she like me moments were true the high school crush experience. It was cringe worthy, but sweet. Kissing in Cars was just so much fun to read. I felt like I was back in high school myself. I cannot wait to read the second book in this series!


He Kissed Me First
Series:
Kiss and Make Up, #2
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: November 27, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Trust me – If there’s one thing I’m not attracted to, it’s an arrogant, selfish and foul-mouth hockey player. I know what I want, and Matthew Wakefield isn’t it.” – Cecelia Carter

From the first moment they laid eyes on each other, all Cecelia Carter and Matthew Wakefield do is bicker. Fight. Even though he is her roommates brother, Cece just can’t stand the sight of him, and Matthew – well. He could never resist a challenge…

That can’t be a good combination, can it?
But sometimes, love happens when you least expect it.

Review:

I have mixed feelings about He Kissed Me First. On one hand, I loved Cecelia and Matthew’s banter. I loved what an idiot he was when it came to relationships and how everyone could see what he couldn’t. I loved how Molly and Weston from Kissing in Cars fit into the story and all of the new characters.

All of that was a lot of fun, but there were some things I wasn’t a big fan of. I didn’t really get Cecelia nor did I connect with her. She felt like a contradiction. Cecelia seemed liked the chick who didn’t care what she looked like, but then she had this uptight thing going on too. It just didn’t mesh well together. She had a major reaction to something Matthew said, but it wasn’t ever really explained and I didn’t get her reasoning. She just felt like this big mess while you knew what you were getting with Matthew.

Overall, He Kissed Me First was a fun read. I just expected a little more from it.


A Kiss Like This
Series: Kiss and Make Up, #3
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: May 31, 2015
Publisher: Sara Ney LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

ABIGAIL DARLINGTON IS AWKWARD…

She will never be “that” girl. You know the one: that girl on campus, confident in her own skin. Always saying the right things. Putting herself out there. Knows how to talk to a guy without stammering.

Nope. Shy but clever, and easily embarrassed, Abby is fine being the wallflower in her circle of outgoing, beautiful friends; she would rather read about a sexy book boyfriend than actually have a live, breathing one.

…BUT CALEB LOCKHART IS WORSE.

Star goaltender for the University’s hockey team, Caleb is quiet and broody, preferring the solitude of his orderly, regimented life. He doesn’t like, or need people—and plans to keep it that way. One more year left of hockey and he’ll be long gone.

AWKWARD NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD.

Both their lives change the day that Abigail falls for Caleb. Well, falls directly on top of him, to be accurate. Because sometimes we don’t settle into love.

We fall there.

Review:

As you can see above, this series so far has been a little hit or miss for me. A Kiss Like This was giant hit for me. I absolutely ADORED this book. Sara Ney’s writing feels more timeless and current in this book. I can really see how her writing evolved to what it is today. I loved it.

A Kiss Like This was awkwardly sweet and romantic. Caleb and Abigail were just too dang cute for words. Neither of them knew what the heck they were doing when it came to a relationship and it was romance gold. I can’t even…I just want to keep going on and on about how freaking adorable and amazing this book was. A Kiss Like This was such a great, classic NA romance. I absolutely loved it!

Review: Three Little Lies by Sara Ney

Three Little Lies
Series: #ThreeLittleLies, #s1-3
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Three Littles Lies…. Three complete novella’s in one spot.

BOOK 1: THINGS LIARS SAY

Lies, lies, lies; everybody tells them….
Greyson Keller didn’t intend to lie; it just came out that way. So when the object of that lie shows up on her doorstep, she is confused, shocked, and embarrassed.

Calvin Thompson is an Ivy Leaguer, attending University over an hour away, playing rugby and basically not giving a crap. So imagine his surprise when some guy named Greyson begins rumors online that they’re dating — the only logical solution is to drive an hour and confront him…

Be there when Greyson and Cal finally meet face-to-face because. Sparks. Will. Fly.

BOOK 2: THINGS LIARS HIDE

Secrets, secrets, everybody has them…
Tabitha Thompson is many things, but a liar isn’t one of them. Unless you count the sexy secret she’s spent a year hiding from everyone: her friends, her family. The secret she never counted on anyone discovering…

One chance encounter.
One clumsy mistake.
One sexy discovery.

Now, only Collin Keller stands in the way of her secret–and everyone else. And he just may be the one who ruins it all. Tabitha Thompson, you secretive little sneak…

BOOK 3: THINGS LIARS FAKE

What if…
Someone you barely knew asked you for a favor.

What if…
They needed you to be something you weren’t, in exchange for nothing. Unless you count a mouth full of lies and a half-broken heart. Faker. Pretender. Liar. There are worse things to be called.

So would you do it? Would you?
Daphne Winthrop did.
And you’re about to find out what happens in the end.

***This novella series is intended for a mature audience, 17+ due to sexual content and foul language.***


Three Little Lies is the combination of all of Sara Ney’s #ThreeLittleLies novellas. Each book has its own main characters, but it is best to read them in order because each one introduces us to the characters that will be starring in the next book. You could read them as standalone novellas and not in order, but that could ruin some of the fun. Here are my thoughts on each book…

Things Liars Say★ ★ ★ ★ 
I adored this novella! It was hilarious how Greyson and Cal met and fell in love. There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about it. It was exactly what I expect from a Sara Ney romance.

Thing Liars Hide ★ ★ ★ ★
The way this book started out KILLED ME! It was so perfect. Collin and Tabitha were perfect. I completely got why Tabitha lied the way she did. I loved that Collin knew what was up. Too cute!

Things Liars Fake★ ★ ★ ★
Adorkably cute. That is how I would describe Dexter and Daphne. They were both so awkward and yet fit together perfectly. I loved how Dexter’s family played such a big part in their story.

Overall, this series of novellas was fun, hilarious, and sweet. I adored them all, but I did have a few things that bugged me a bit. One, they all heavily use texting or email in them. I like how they were used, but it’s relied on almost too much when used in all three novellas. Second, all of these stories, with the exception of the first novella, felt too rushed. I really wish they weren’t novellas but full length novellas. That’s probably just me being greedy, though. I wanted more…

Review: Reckless King by Maya Hughes

Reckless King
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse, #2
Author: Maya Hughes
Publication Date: August 23, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I’m Heath Taylor. Laid back. Easy going. Fastest guy on two skates and chill to a fault, at least that’s what they say. Until Kara.

Three nights together and I’m done for. Her laugh, her smile, the way my hand curves around her waist. She’s the one. Not a doubt in my mind…until I walk into my last class of the semester.

Kara, the woman of my dreams, is my new instructor. My hockey season and her career prospects are on the line. One false move–if anyone finds out–we’re both sunk.

On the ice I’m a beast that can’t be stopped, but thoughts of her are throwing me off my game. My fingers itch to feel her in my arms again. But risking everything could ruin what we’ve worked so hard for.

Sometimes life has a way of changing the best laid plans. And sometimes you can’t stay away no matter the promises you make.

Life doesn’t play fair, but neither do I…


The more books I read in the Kings of Rittenhouse series, the more I love Maya Hughes’ writing. She’s got a really special thing going on with this series. She’s created a team of hockey players that I want to get to know. It all started with Declan in the prequel novella and Shameless King. Those books were so much fun that I couldn’t wait to get my hand on the second book, Reckless King. Reckless King is Declan’s friend Heath’s story.

Heath’s book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Reckless King was more. Both Heath and his lady-love, Kara, had some heavy things marring their pasts. It gave them an extra special connection beyond their amazing chemistry. I loved going through the ups and downs of their relationship and their lives. The emotions of the characters in this book were palpable and hard-hitting. I loved that.

Another thing I loved were the surprises Maya Hughes had in store. Well, maybe loved wasn’t the right word for how I felt about them. They shocked me. I wasn’t prepared for them. My mind was blown. I didn’t exactly love the surprises, but they pushed the story in a direction that had the greatest impact on the characters. I appreciated that.

Overall, I found Reckless King to be even better than previous books in this series. I truly enjoyed reading it. It made me excited for what’s to come for the rest of Declan and Heath’s friends. I cannot wait to read the next book! If you’re a fan of new adult sports romances, you really need to check out Maya Hughes’ Kings of Rittenhouse series. I’m super impressed with it.

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Author Bio
Maya Hughes has always loved romance novels. One look at her Kindle is confirmation. She started writing her first romance novel while pregnant with her third child and she hasn’t looked back. Now, her romance writing addiction has replaced her romance reading addiction.
 
You can find her writing on her foldable keyboard and phone anytime inspiration strikes. Her sweet and steamy stories range from rockstars to small towns and everything in between. When she’s not writing, she’s playing with her three kids, running errands or vegging on the couch with the love of her life and biggest fan, her husband.

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Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

The Chase
Series: Briar U, #1
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: August 5, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.


The Chase was my most highly anticipated book of the summer. It’s been a LONG time since Elle Kennedy released a book without a co-author, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Did it meet the high expectations I had for it? Absolutely. The Chase reminded me exactly why I love Elle Kennedy’s writing so much.

The Chase takes us back to Elle Kennedy’s Briar University where her Off-Campus series was set. The Off-Campus gang gave all graduated. In their wake, they’ve left behind some familiar players to take their place on top of the Briar U hockey team. First up to find love is Fitzy. The heavily tattooed, scruffy man is a quiet guy who doesn’t like to be the center of attention. That’s why it’s so hard for him to come to terms that he’s interested in Summer.

You might recognize the name Summer. Summer is none other than Dean Di Laurentis’ younger sister. We first met her in The Score. She’s beautiful, rich, full of energy and draws everyone’s attention when she enters a room. Summer has just transferred to Briar U, and is Fitzy and friends’ new roommate. That’s a good and bad thing since Summer has been crushing on Fitzy for the past year.

That’s all I’m saying about the plot of this book . I refuse to give anything away. I know you have been waiting on this book as long as I have. I won’t ruin it for you. What I will say is that I loved The Chase. I loved being back in the Briar hockey world. I adored Summer and Fitzy. Their story was cute and built in the best way. I loved getting to know Fitzy’s teammates and roommates, Hunter and Hollis. Summer’s friends were just as special. Brenna was definitely a favorite character of mine. I can’t wait for all these characters to get their own books! The only little thing that could have made this book better would have been an epilogue, but since I know I’ll be seeing more of these characters I’ll forgive Elle Kennedy for not giving me one.

The Chase was everything I hoped it would be. I absolutely loved it. Elle Kennedy has a way of writing that has me so invested in her characters that I can’t stop thinking about them long after I finished reading. I need more of them! The next Brair U book can’t come soon enough!

Here’s an EXCERPT to give you a hint at how much fun The Chase is…

“Dance with me?”

I want to say no.

But I also want to say yes.

I call this the Summer Dilemma—the frustrating, polar reactions this green-eyed, golden-haired goddess sparks in me.

Fuck yes and hell no.

Get naked with her. Run far, far away from her.

“Thanks, but I don’t like to dance.” I’m not lying. Dancing’s the worst.

Besides, when it comes to Summer Di Laurentis, my flight instinct always wins out.

“You’re no fun, Fitzy.” She makes a tsking noise, drawing my gaze to her lips. Full, pink, and glossy, with a tiny mole above the left side of her mouth.

It’s an extremely hot mouth.

Hell, everything about Summer is hot. She’s hands down the best-looking girl in the bar, and every dude in our vicinity is either staring enviously or glowering at me for being with her.

Not that I’m with her. We’re not together. I’m just standing next to her, with two feet of space between us. Which Summer keeps trying to bridge by leaning closer to me.

In her defense, she practically has to scream in my ear for me to hear her over the electronic dance music blasting through the room. I hate EDM, and I don’t like these kinds of bars, the ones with a dance floor and deafening music. Why the subterfuge? Just call your establishment a nightclub, if that’s what you want it to be. The owner of Gunner’s Pub should’ve called this place Gunner’s Club. Then I could’ve turned right around when I saw the sign and spared myself the shattered eardrums.

Not for the first time tonight, I curse my friends for dragging me to Brooklyn for New Year’s Eve. I’d way rather be at home, drinking a beer or two and watching the ball drop on TV. I’m low-key like that.

“You know, they warned me you were a curmudgeon, but I didn’t believe it until now.”

“Who’s they?” I ask suspiciously. “And hey, wait. I’m not a curmudgeon.”

“Hmmm, you’re right—the term is kind of dated. Let’s go with Groucho.”

“Let’s not.”

“No-Fun Police? Is that better?” Her expression is pure innocence. “Seriously, Fitz, what do you have against fun?”

An unwitting smile breaks free. “Got nothing against fun.”

“All right. Then what do you have against me?” she challenges. “Because every time I try talking to you, you run away.”

My smile fades. I shouldn’t be surprised that she’s calling me out in public. We’ve had a whopping total of two encounters, but that’s plenty of time for me to know she’s the type who thrives on drama.

I hate drama.

“Got nothing against you, either.” With a shrug, I ease away from the bar, prepared to do what she’s just accused me of—run.

A frustrated gleam fills her eyes. They’re big and green, the same shade as her older brother Dean’s eyes. And Dean’s the reason I force myself to stay put. He’s a good friend of mine. I can’t be a jackass to his sister, both out of respect for him, and for fear of my well-being. I’ve been on the ice when Dean’s gloves come off. He’s got a mean right hook.

“I mean it,” I say roughly. “I have nothing against you. We’re cool.”

“What? I didn’t hear the last part,” she says over the music.

I dip my mouth toward her ear, and I’m surprised that I barely have to bend my neck. She’s taller than the average chick, five-nine or ten, and since I’m six-two and used to towering over women, I find this refreshing.

“I said we’re cool,” I repeat, but I misjudged the distance between my lips and Summer’s ear. The two collide, and I feel a shiver run up her frame.

I shiver too, because my mouth is way too close to hers. She smells like heaven, some fascinating combo of flowers and jasmine and vanilla and—sandalwood, maybe? A man could get high on that fragrance. And don’t get me started on her dress. White, strapless, short. So short it barely grazes her lower thighs.

God fucking help me.

Series Review: Losing It by Cora Carmack

Losing It
Series: Losing It, #1
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrator: Phoebe Strole
Publication Date: April 30, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Virginity.

Bliss Edwards is about to graduate from college and still has hers. Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, she decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible—a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half a brain would ever believe.

And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theater professor.

She’d left him naked in her bed about eight hours earlier. . . .

I hadn’t read this book before now because I didn’t think I would like it. I’m not a fan of the whole student-teacher forbidden romance thing. As a parent, those type of romances disturb and concern me. Losing It didn’t bother me, though. Cora Carmack did a very good job of not crossing over a line I couldn’t handle. This student-teacher romance worked for me for a number of reasons.

  • Bliss was a college senior. She was an adult a few years over the age of 18.
  • Garrick wasn’t too much older than her. He had recently graduated from college himself.
  • Bliss and Garrick’s relationship went slow. Based on the title, that seems false. It was truly a very slow burn romance.
  • There weren’t a lot of scenes where I worried they were going to get caught. The ones that were made me laugh. They were actually kind of funny.
  • I also think that listening to the audio version of the book made a difference. It was like being even more in Bliss’ head and feeling her feelings.

All of these things made the student-teacher concept easier on me. It also helped that I loved the writing and the characters. This book really surprised me, and in a good way. I truly wanted Bliss and Garrick to be together.

The only things that bugged me were lack of depth/growth of the characters and the switch from the entire book being in Bliss’ point of view to Garrick’s for the epilogue. I wanted Bliss to learn something more and to get a greater insight into Garrick. As for the narration switch, it was mostly because the narrator. He talked so much faster than the person who did Bliss. It was a shocking change. That wasn’t that big of deal, though. I got used to it. Overall, Losing It was a good classic NA read.


Faking It
Series: Losing It, #2
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrators: Emma Galvin, Dan Bittner
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Mackenzie “Max” Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they’re expecting to meet a nice wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he’s kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they’re forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.

Review:

Faking It was definitely more my style than Losing It. I really enjoyed this take on the fake relationship trope. I liked Cade in Losing It, and was happy he got a chance at real love. He was slightly broken, but his heartache was nothing compared to Max’s. I loved what Cade was able to bring to Max’s life. It was really sweet.

Faking It felt like a standard new adult romance. It had two broken characters who didn’t realize they were looking for the wrong thing until they found each other. The story had a little angst, but it wasn’t over the top. Faking It is definitely a must read for new adult fans.


Finding It
Series: Losing It, #3
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrators: Soneela Nankani
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Sometimes you have to lose yourself to find where you truly belong . . .

Most girls would kill to spend months traveling around Europe after college graduation with no responsibility, no parents, and no-limit credit cards. Kelsey Summers is no exception. She’s having the time of her life . . . or that’s what she keeps telling herself.

It’s a lonely business trying to find out who you are, especially when you’re afraid you won’t like what you discover. No amount of drinking or dancing can chase away Kelsey’s loneliness, but maybe Jackson Hunt can. After a few chance meetings, he convinces her to take a journey of adventure instead of alcohol. With each new city and experience, Kelsey’s mind becomes a little clearer and her heart a little less hers. Jackson helps her unravel her own dreams and desires. But the more she learns about herself, the more Kelsey realizes how little she knows about Jackson.

Review:

Finding It was my least favorite book in the series. It had several things stacked against it. I like books set in countries outside the U.S., but books where a character travels around don’t always work for me. This one did at times, but didn’t at others. I also didn’t immediately fall in love with Kelsey’s character. I didn’t like her or the decisions she made at first. It took me almost until half way though the book to start to be interested in her story. It waswhen she let me in on her secret. Then, I could at least start to understand her. I was seriously considering DNFing the book prior to her revelation. Even after I considered it. I think I just needed more of Kelsey and Jackson sooner. If I would have been reading instead of listening, I honestly would have skimmed to get to the heart of the story faster.

Overall Thoughts:

I had put off reading the Losing It series because I mistakenly thought it wasn’t for me. After reading Cora Carmack’s other NA series, I decided to take my chances. I’m happy I did. The first two books in this series were well worth reading. The last book wasn’t for me, but I’m sure others would enjoy it.