Review: Carter Reed by Tijan

Carter Reed
Series: Carter Reed, #1
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Lucy Rivers
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Emma decided to skip the gym and went home early. It was the last easy decision she made because she found her roommate being raped by the boyfriend. She had two choices. Call the cops and be killed by his family’s mafia connections or kill him first and hope to survive. There was no choice to her. She killed the bastard first and went to the one person who could protect her: Carter Reed. He’s a weapon for the rivaling mafia family, but he’s also Emma’s secret. Not only was he best friends with her brother, but she’s the reason he became that weapon in the first place.


I’m really shocked to be saying this, but Carter Reed was almost a DNF for me. I’m surprised because up until about two-thirds of the way in, I was wrapped up in the story. I wanted to know what was going to happen to Emma and her friends. Somewhere along the way, I lost interest.

Carter Reed started with the brutal rape of Emma’s friend and her decision to kill the rapist. Not knowing what else to do after, Emma runs to Carter Reed. With his mobster past and her childhood link to him, Carter’s the only person who can help Emma. Emma knows going to Carter will change her life, but she has no idea how much. The minute she approaches him, her chance for freedom is gone.

I feel weird saying this book started strong since it starts with a rape, but it did. It immediately grabbed my attention and made me sympathetic to Emma and her friends. The events at the beginning and everyone’s reactions to them made want to know where the story would go. I felt bad for them all, and really hoped Emma going to Carter would help them.

I enjoyed the tension between Emma and Carter, and was excited to know how their love story would play out. Sadly, Emma and Carter’s relationship never went deep enough for me to understand their love for each other. They had a combined history, but there wasn’t a non-platonic relationship between them before this story takes place. She comes to him for help, he’s super hot and instantly they’re in love. It made no sense to me. They hadn’t seen each other in years. Carter was constantly running off to take care of things. They spent so little time together. I wanted to spend more time getting to watch them fall in love.

The lack of real love story and the weird plot twists that kept popping up started to wear thin for me around that two-thirds finished that I was talking about earlier. I didn’t care enough about the characters or the story to finish it. I pushed myself to finish it so I could honestly review the whole book. I’m a fan of Tijan’s books, but Carter Reed wasn’t for me. I wish the end of the book would have had the same draw as the first half or so of it.

Review: Fallen Crest Family by Tijan

Fallen Crest Family
Series: Fallen Crest High, #2
Author: Tijan
Narrator:  Saskia Maarleveld

Publication Date: September 15, 2014
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Samantha and Mason are together. Everyone knows it. But not everyone is dealing with it. While Mason is ready to give them all the middle finger, there’s one who is not going away: her mother. Threats are issued. Ultimatums are given. Even blackmail is used. But only Samantha can put a stop to Analise. However, when a trauma from her past is triggered, she may not have the courage or strength to do what’s needed. And if she doesn’t, Mason’s future could be destroyed.


I was going to wait for my library hold on Fallen Crest Family to come available, but I just couldn’t. I had to buy the Kindle book and add the Audible option because I needed to know what happened next in the Kade/Stratton family saga. I’m so addicted to this series already that it’s not even funny.

Fallen Crest Family is the second book in the Fallen Crest High series. It begins immediately following Fallen Crest High, and continues Sam’s story. Sam and Mason have been forced to reveal their relationship to everyone. No one is excited about them being together. (Well, except Logan and maybe Nate.) The person taking their relationship the worst is Sam’s mother. Analise is willing to do everything and anything to keep Sam and Mason apart. Sam knows she’s the only person who can put Analise in her place, but her mother is crazy and conniving. Poor Sam isn’t sure she has what it takes to stand up to her mother.

Okay, so first I need to tell you that Sam’s annoying man-ish voice from the first audio book did not appear in the Fallen Crest Family audio book. (Or maybe I just didn’t notice it?) Sam sounded like a normal girl the entire time. Well, at least her voice sounded normal. Sam’s not exactly normal.

Sam changed a bit in this book. She lost some of the hard edge she had in Fallen Crest High. She was a little bit more whiny and more sullen due to the new memories and living situation she was facing. That didn’t really bother me. I felt like Sam’s evolution throughout the story made sense, and that she’ll continue to grow throughout the series. What did still bug me was her obsessive running. Did no one in her life find all this running to be a problem? Three and four-hour runs until she’s collapsing seems extreme. The only thing positive about it (maybe) is the possibility of a track scholarship. Oh, and I have to mention her obsessive lusting after Mason, too. I wish I would have kept a tally of how many times she mentioned she was wet. It felt like she said it at least once a chapter. I’m probably wrong, but it felt like it was mentioned a few too many times. I get it, girl. Your body melts for him. Not that I’m complaining about all the sexy times. I would never complain about that! 😉

I still don’t know what’s going on in Mason’s head, but I don’t care. He’s such a rock for Sam. I love what he’s willing to do for her. Same with Logan. He’s like a big brother and best friend all wrapped into one. He loves Sam in his own way, and I love the words and humor he brings to every situation. I even found myself liking Mason and Logan’s buddy Nate in this book. He surprised me with how much he was willing to go to bat for Sam. The four of them are like one big family.

All of the friends and nemeses were back to add to the fun of this story. Sam’s main problem wasn’t with her friends this time, but with her mom. That lady was bat$#!t crazy. I loved everything that was revealed about her in this book. Sam also made some new friends. Heather and the Manny’s gang were amazing! I enjoyed what they brought to the story, and I can only imagine how they’re going to influence things in the next book.

Fallen Crest Family was just as much fun to listen to as Fallen Crest High. I can’t tell you enough how obsessed I am with this series. I am going to continue to binge listen to it until I finish all of the books. I’ve fallen in love with Sam, Mason and Logan. I want to know how their story ends.

Review: Broken and Screwed 2 by Tijan

Broken and Screwed 2
Series: Broken and Screwed, #2
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Jillian Macie
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Alexandra is pissed about her parents abandoning her. She’s beyond pissed that her friends did the same. She’s enraged because things are unclear about her brother’s death now. So her first stop is at Jesse’s house to demand answers. She wants to know why her brother was friends with the criminal crowd before he died and she knows he holds the answers. But when she sees him, she doesn’t get the answers she expected. Instead, she finds out that their chemistry never faded and soon heats up again! Some habits die hard. Soon Jesse and Alex are back to their ways of sneaking around. He’s a near-celebrity at school and she doesn’t want to deal with the backlash of being his girlfriend. Alex is tired of being hurt so she’s learned the lesson not to confide and lean on others. However, she can’t seem to help herself when it comes to Jesse Hunt. The big question isn’t if she will survive if their relationship goes public, it’s if she will survive when the real truths about her family and brother come out? Or when she learns that Jesse knows more than what he’s told her?


I am officially obsessed with Tijan’s writing. I couldn’t stop listening to this audio book. I found excuses to drive places, stuff to clean, and listened to it instead of music at the gym. I was beyond addicted. Broken and Screwed 2 took over my life.

Broken and Screwed 2 continued Alex’s heartbreaking tale of abandonment. She’s slowly lost everyone she’s ever cared about. She’s bitter, but she’s also ready to move on and start a new life. Alex is going to college. The same college as Jesse. And he’s going to give her the answers she needs about her brother’s death.

Only things aren’t that simple. Alex quickly falls back into her sexual relationship with Jesse, but insists on keeping it a secret. She wants to blend in at college and being seen with THE Jesse Hunt won’t help. Plus, Jesse’s still not giving Alex the answers she needs.

Being in Alex’s head was a little easier in this book than the first one. She still had all of her negative thoughts and pain, but she also made some great discoveries. I liked her more than I did in the first book. I still wanted to throttle her at times for stupid decisions she made, but I liked the growth she went through.

Jesse really redeemed himself in this book. Getting to read more of him, and see him around Alex more made it easier to imagine what he was thinking. I still would have loved his point of view, but I loved the mystery not having it gave Jesse and what he was hiding. I was surprised at what an amazing guy Jesse really was.

Luckily, Angie and Marissa weren’t around much in book 2. Their scenes were minimal, but they played a huge part in the story. I liked that they weren’t around much. Alex made some new college friends who she could be herself around. Beth and Hannah weren’t as annoying, and they added some interesting drama. Plus, there were all of Jesse’s roommates and their girlfriends. I adored those characters. They made the story so much fun. I was especially surprised to find myself liking Chord. I seriously fell in love with that jerk in this book. He was so good to Alex and also to Jesse. Chord needs his own book.

Broken and Screwed 2 was even better than the first book. I loved the college scene and all the life events Alex went through. Tijan knew exactly when to throw in the twists and turns to keep the story going. I was pleasantly surprised how the mystery surrounding Ethan’s death played out.

I’m happy I chose to read Broken and Screwed 2, even though Broken and Screwed left me feeling completely unhinged. I needed this book for Alex and for myself. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes an angst filled new adult romance. It’s well written and highly addictive.

Now, what Tijan book can I get my hands on next…

Review: Broken and Screwed by Tijan

Broken and Screwed
Series: Broken and Screwed, #1
Author: Tijan
Narrator: Jillian Macie
Publication Date: June 23, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

When Alexandra’s older brother dies the night of his graduation, it changes everything for her. No longer is she the party girl. No longer does she care about being popular, and no longer is her family the happy unit she always thought existed. The only person who can help her heal is the same person who loved her brother as much as she did, his best friend. She only hopes to keep her heart from breaking when Jesse moves on, and she knows he will. After Ethan dies, Jesse focuses on basketball, partying, and girls. He uses it all to turn his emotions off, but the irony is that Alex is the only person who can do that for him. She helps him forget, but she is the one person he shouldn’t be with, because the secrets he knows could shatter everything. They could shatter her.


Broken and Screwed is an accurate title for this book. Every thing about this book was so messed up, and yet, I couldn’t stop listening to it. This is the first time I’ve read a book by Tijan, but I understand why fans flock to her books. It would be hard not to fall in love with her writing. Every word she writes drips with emotion.

Broken and Screwed is told from Alex’s point of view. Since the death of her older brother, Alex has been slowly drowning. She’s not the person she used to be before. The only thing holding her together is her brother’s best friend, Jesse. The scattered hours Alex spends with Jesse are the only peace either of them have. Alex knows they don’t have a normal relationship. She knows they never will. Alex takes what she can get from Jesse, hoping that when he truly leaves her she won’t be even more broken than she already is.

This book has left me emotionally drained. The entire book was one big ball of angst. Alex was truly broken inside, and keeping up with her feelings was exhausting. I was always looking for the light at the end of the tunnel for her, but I could never see it. The only time I felt comfort for her was when she was finding comfort with Jesse. It felt so messed up because both Alex and I knew she deserved better. She just didn’t want better. It was frustrating, but I got it. Not all relationships are healthy, and sometimes the love you feel for someone overrides everything else.

I didn’t like or dislike Jesse. He had moments of greatness when he was comforting Alex, but was also a jerk. It was hard not knowing what was going on in his mind. I felt like I didn’t really get to know him, and I wanted to.

Alex’s friends were a large part of this book. I hated them. When they were in a scene, I cringed. Neither was truly a great friend to Alex. Marissa was a backstabbing (self-proclaimed) slut. Now, I’m not slut shaming. I have no problem with Marissa hitting the sheets with multiple men. What I didn’t like was the way she disregarded her friends’ feelings and went after guys they liked. She had her moments of goodness, but the bad tended to outweigh the good. And then there was Angie. In some ways, Angie was worse than Marissa. She thought she knew what was best for everyone. Maybe she did, but no one wants to have her friend constantly trying to push a guy who’s not the guy she’s in love with at them. No one wants to have her best friend trash the guy she’s in love with and tell her he’ll never love her. That’s just messed up. Angie did help Alex out in some amazing ways, but I wish she could have been supportive in the way Alex needed the most.

There are two people I hated even more than Alex’s friends: her parents. Grief is a heavy thing, but come on. Alex may have been 18, but she still lived under their roof. I didn’t get the detachment. It was so damn sad.

Broken and Screwed has left my mind in turmoil. It was addicting but uncomfortable to listen to. My heart broke over and over for Alex…and Jesse, too. I knew this book had a cliffhanger at the end, but it was an odd one. There were so many questions left at the end, and I’m in need of the answers. On to book 2.

Sorry, if this review is disjointed. That’s exactly how Broken and Screwed left me feeling.

Review: Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin

Aftercare Instructions
Author: Bonnie Pipkin
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen’s decision to end an unwanted pregnancy

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

This powerfully immersive and format-crushing début follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.


Reading Aftercare Instructions was a bit of a weird experience for me. I entered a Goodreads giveaway for it without having read the blurb. I know that’s a little weird, but I do it sometimes. When I won and received the book, I still didn’t read the blurb. So when I started reading it, I had no idea what I was in store for. Aftercare Instructions was a really sad story. It wasn’t a bawling my eyes out sad, but more of a depressing sad.

Aftercare Instructions, as the blurb statesis about an almost eighteen-year-old girl who finds herself in the tough position of having an abortion. Gen knows having one is the right decision for herself and her boyfriend, Peter. But when Gen walks out into the waiting room after the procedure and finds Peter gone, she’s not so sure about anything anymore.

I’m going to jump right into my impression of Peter. I don’t care what his reasons for leaving Gen at the clinic by herself were, they weren’t good enough. No one should have to go through what Gen did, and then be left to suffer alone. I hated Peter and wished someone would have kicked the crap out of that kid. For someone who was supposed to be so good, he was pretty horrible. I understand his reasoning and beliefs, but Gen deserved better.

As for Gen, I understood her emotions and rationale. I didn’t always agree with the decisions she was making, but I didn’t fault her for them. She made a very tough, adult decision and the ramifications of it hurt. Gen had every right to be as broken as she was. She had every right to do anything she could to feel better.

One truly great thing about Aftercare Instructions was the bond between friends. Gen had a few people on her side that were willing to do everything they could to make sure Gen was in a safe emotional and physical state. They showed up when she wasn’t expecting and took charge. I applaud the author for showing how friends can support each other when a character can’t reach for a parent.

Another really great thing about this book was the way the title, chapter headings, chapters and story all meshed together. Obviously, the title Aftercare Instructions refers to the guidelines Gen needed to follow after her abortion. Each chapter is headed with one of those instructions. That instruction fit what Gen was going through physically and emotionally at the time. By the end of the book, we can see the way all of these instructions and Gen’s actions led to her moment(s) of healing. This was genius. I also really enjoyed the way the author used a play script as the method of delivering Gen and Peter’s past. That was so unique and cool.

Aftercare Instructions is an important book. Never before have I read a young adult novel that so honestly deals with the topic of abortion. Not only does it cover the emotional aspects of having one, but it details the physical. I’m not just talking what happens the moment of the procedure, but also in the week to come. It’s not romanticized. It’s not over and done. This is a good thing. It gives teenagers (and adults) down and dirty look at life after. I think that’s important. It gives girls/women who have gone through it a book they can identify with. Maybe it will give someone who might be making a similar decision peace or make them re-examine the decision they’re making. I don’t know. Like I said, I think it’s an important book.

I do have to admit I had some problems rating Aftercare Instructions — no matter how important I thought it was. I almost didn’t give it a rating at all. How do you rate a book that’s written so well, but wasn’t a fun experience? Honestly, this book depressed the hell out of me and made me so angry at Peter. Those aren’t fun emotions. I ended up giving it 4 stars because I think it deserves to be read.

Review: Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher

Bad Mommy
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication Date: December 24, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Suspense

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it’s not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It’s because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.


Bad Mommy is a mind$#%^. I don’t know how else to explain it. It was everything I expected from Tarryn Fisher, but nothing like I expected. Every time I thought I had a grasp on what was going on, I would start a new section of the book and become completely disoriented. It was such a trip!

I want to go back and read Bad Mommy a second time. That’s high praise because it’s rare for me to re-read a book. I feel like I would grasp more from the story a second time, and enjoy it even more.

Anyone who loves a great psychologically suspenseful novel will enjoy Bad Mommy. It’s dark, deceitful and will keep you turning the pages long after you should have gone to bed.

And that’s all I’m saying because I’m not going to ruin this book for anyone. 😉

Review: Iluminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae
Series: The Illuminae Files _01
Authors: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.


Umm….My mind is pretty much blown from reading this book. Excuse me as I try to make any sense in this review. It’s probably going to be one big ramble!

Illuminae was pure genius. Everything about it was amazing. I loved the way the story was presented. The format was so very smart. It made the story fast-paced and easy to become engaged in. I credit the format for making me, a non science fiction fan, a lover of this book. Well, the format and the characters.

I absolutely loved Kady and Ethan. I was amazed at how well I got to know them and how well developed their characters were despite Illuminae not being told directly from their point of views. Their communications were probably my favorite in the entire book. I couldn’t help root for them. I also loved every supporting character I got a glimpse of throughout this tale.

Honestly, I have no clue what else to say. Illuminae had been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for over a year. I’m pretty mad that I let it sit all this time. It is totally worth any and all hype it’s received. Don’t be like me and wait any longer to read this book. Push it up to the top of your TBR list now.

Now, excuse me while I go purchase Gemina.