Mini Reviews: God-Shaped Hole, The Art of Running in Heels, & Beneath the Truth

God-Shaped Hole
Author: Tiffanie De Bartolo
Publication Date: May 1, 2002
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If your intentions are pure
I am seeking a friend
For the end of the world

When Beatrice Jordan meets the unpredictable Jacob Grace, the two wild souls become instant allies. Together they discover an escape in each other’s creativity and insecurities, while running from secrets they cannot seem to shake – or a fate that could throw them to the ground…

Review:

Huh… I’m not really sure what to say about God-Shaped Hole. I had a hard time deciding if I loved or hated it. I’m leaning heavily toward loved. It was so…odd. Well, not really. It just made me feel odd. The characters were kind of off-putting but somehow endearing. I can’t even explain it. It’s definitely one of those books that left me thinking after I finished it. I imagine I felt somewhat like Beatrice did in the end.

If you’re curious about this book and thinking of reading it, the writing is really good. It reminds me of a “lighter” Tarryn Fisher book. That’s high praise from me.


The Art of Running in Heels

Series: Chinooks Hockey Team
Author: Rachel Gibson
Publication Date: December 26, 2017
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Running in five-inch stilettos is an art form

Leaving your fiancé at the altar on live television is a disaster. Lexie Kowalsky thought she was ready to get married in front of millions of people, but at the last minute she fled the set of television’s hottest reality show, Gettin’ Hitched. Wearing a poofy white dress and a pair of five-inch sparkly shoes, Lexie hopped a float plane for Sandspit, Canada. She figured no one would find her there. But she was wrong.

Sharing her flight was the Seattle Chinooks biggest star, Sean Knox. Lexie wasn’t just a reality-show runaway, she was his pain in the butt coach’s daughter. She was chaos and temptation and definitely off limits, but getting her luscious body out of that wedding gown, he couldn’t resist getting her in his bed for one amazing night.

Then a photo of Sean and Lexi breaks the internet—and suddenly they’re both swept up in a crazy plan to spin the whole story. But you can’t run from love—

Review:

It’s been years since Rachel Gibson released a Chinooks Hockey Team novel, and I had forgotten just how much I loved this series! I was really impressed with how it moved into present day. It incorporated some of my favorite characters along with awesome new ones. I loved Lexi and Sean’s romance. The reality T.V. show and hockey aspects of this story were so much fun! I laughed so many times at all of the crazy things that happened. If you’re a fan of the this series, you’ll love returning to it. If you haven’t read Rachel Gibson before, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

P.S. I feel like I need to point out that this book is written in third person. Normally, that’s not my favorite style of writing, but Rachel Gibson makes it work. I didn’t even notice it! That shows what a great writer she is.


Beneath the Truth
Series: Beneath, #7
Author: Meghan March
Narrators: Sebastian York, Andi Arndt
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: Meghan March
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From author Meghan March comes the final sexy stand-alone set in the Beneath world of New Orleans.

I used to believe there were lines in life you don’t cross. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Until I learned people don’t always practice what they preach. I turned in my badge and gun and walked away from everything. Then I got the call no one wants, and I’m back in New Orleans. What I don’t expect is for her to be here, too. Another line you don’t cross? Don’t touch your best friend’s little sister. She’s always been off-limits. Too bad I don’t follow the rules anymore.

Review:

Beneath the Truth carried on the Beneath series tradition by keeping things a little suspenseful, a lot sexy, and wonderfully narrated. I liked getting to know Rhett Hennessy better. Ariel was the perfect match for him. I loved that she was his best friend’s younger sister. That was cute. The romantic suspense part of this book was done well, and parts of it shocked me. Overall, this was another fun addition and great ending to the series.

Release Day Review: Six Feet Under by Whitney Barbetti

Six Feet Under
Series: Mad Love Duet, #1
Author: Whitney Barbetti
Publication Date: April 25, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Six wasn’t the hero I needed.

But he was the man I wanted.

And it was my selfish craving, the desire to own him, that would be our undoing.

No one tells you that love is a disease. An infection that tears your heart apart, leaving you half the person you were before. A malady that leaves open wounds. An invisible disorder tracing scars in the places you couldn’t see if you weren’t looking for them.

I was sick, but love didn’t heal me.

Instead, it festered in my marrow, and drove me to unforgivable mistakes.

Six was my first mistake, but he wouldn’t be the last.


I’m not quite sure where to start with this review, so I’m just going to jump right into it. Six Feet Under was painful to read. The angst was so heavy and the content so dark that it affected me physically. I was tight, tense, and agitated while reading it. I was so uncomfortable at times that I thought I might need to put the book down, but the thing was, I couldn’t put it down. I couldn’t put it down even though I was miserable. I couldn’t put it down even though I knew there was going to be a next book, that I was going to be left most likely reeling by a cliffhanger. I had to know what was going to happen to Mira with all her issues and Six with his unending compassion.

This book was long. The story is not a simple one. Mira is a drug addict with mental health issues. She lives by the day, her vices helping to ease her pain. Mira’s unapologetic in her abuse of drugs and use of others. She hides her feelings and refuses to acknowledge them. Her decaying lifestyle hits a bump when she meets Six. Six comes striding into her life like a white knight. He isn’t fearful of who Mira is. Her attitude and lifestyle don’t frighten him away. Six is nothing like Mira. He’s strong where she is weak, and yet, he stays. He’s what Mira needs to survive — if her brand of crazy doesn’t push him away first.

Oh, man. I hated Mira. She made me so angry because all I wanted was for her to love and value herself. I wanted her to get help. I wanted her to survive. There were so many things I wanted for that chick, and she refused to give them to me. She refused to give them to Six, and that made me so damn sad. I wanted Six’s love to be the thing that ultimately saved her. For the majority of the book, I had those feelings. Then, something shifted in Mira. I found myself actually rooting for her.

I want to say I loved Six. Maybe I would have if his point of view was included. (I really wish his POV had been included!) Instead, I found myself wondering what the heck he was up to. I felt like there had to be angle with all the stuff he was doing for Mira. I loved what he gave both emotionally and physically to Mira, but did he truly love her? Why? What was so attractive about her? I honestly didn’t get it. Still, I liked him being around. I liked what he did. I wanted to know more about his secrets. Six seemed like a really great guy.I need to know him better.

Mira and Six’s relationship was the definition of complicated. There’s really nothing better to say about it. It had its ups and devastating downs. Just when I thought I was truly getting to know them as a couple, the story ended. That dreaded cliffhanger appeared, and I didn’t know what to do with thoughts about them.

I had to think long and hard before giving Six Feet Under a rating. I hated how this book made me feel, but the story was so…I don’t know. It left me almost speechless. (Which is totally weird because this review is beginning to feel long.) I finished shortly before bedtime, and I couldn’t fall asleep. I kept thinking about it. The ending and the preview to the next book in the series wouldn’t let my brain quit. The frustrations I had and the anticipation to know what comes next was on a loop in my head. No matter how I felt about the book or the characters, the inability to let go of Six Feet Under proved to me what a powerful book it was. I planned on giving it 3 stars, but I knew it deserved 4.

It sounds like I don’t have anything positive to say, but there a lot of things I liked about this book. I feel like listing the things I liked will give away stuff I think other readers should experience on their own. I guess I’ll give you three things: Norah, Griffin, and George.

Now, I know you’re wondering after this weird review whether you should read Six Feet Under. I want to immediately respond with yes. The problem is that it’s not that simple. Six Feet Under is a dark read. It’s a romance, but it’s also more than that. It deals with untreated mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm, and a bunch of other stuff. It’s real, raw, and gritty. It’s long and drawn out. There is nothing pretty about it. This isn’t the book you read for a happily ever after. If you can stomach that, then I recommend you pick up Six Feet Under. It’s an experience you won’t be able to stop thinking about — or at least I haven’t been able to.

Release Day Blast & REVIEW: Memphis by Ginger Scott

We’re celebrating the release of Memphis by Ginger Scott!
Check out my review and an excerpt below!
Memphis by Ginger Scott
A Contemporary New Adult Romance
Release day: February 23
Goodreads
Purchase Now:
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Blurb:
My mom always said it was just something about the way he moved.

The same swagger Archie Valentine wore in the ring when he took his opponents down followed him like a halo everywhere he went. But make no mistake about it—he was no angel. He was like a drug. My mother was his addict.I never understood it…how love could make you blind and convince you to drink the poison. Not until I met Memphis Delaney.

At first, it was the familiar form. He’s a fighter, built like a god from the past, the kind of man the universe doesn’t make anymore. His eyes hide a story, and every time I’m in his presence I want to keep reading him until I get to the end. And then…there’s the way he moves. His boxing is violent but beautiful, and his body is a seductive weapon. When he’s in the ring, he wears the stare of a man committed to the battle until his very last breath.

He could end me; turn me into her. Too much of him will leave me as a shadow, and I’ve lost so much of myself already.

But I have discipline. It came the hard way. Lessons learned, scars left behind, and trust stripped away from life.

I will breathe his air, but I won’t fall for a man like him. The only boxer who’s ever going to break my heart is the one who gave me my name.

REVIEW:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC I received from WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Ginger Scott keeps amazing me. I have read every book she’s written to date, and with each I see her writing evolve. It keeps getting better and better, which is remarkable when I found it perfect to begin with. None of her books feel like a carbon copy of another. They’re all so different, yet incredible. Memphis was different, yet incredible.

When I started reading Memphis, I was immediately wrapped up in the story. I was so uncomfortable the entire time I was reading it. I knew there would be harsh truths and heartbreak — this is Ginger Scott’s writing after all — but I didn’t know I would be on edge the entire book. There was such a darkness to Memphis. It’s set in this dingy, dark place. Reading it felt a little dirty. It was a weird and disturbing feeling, but in a good way. I truly felt like I was right there with the characters experiencing their drama.

Memphis and Olivia were such complex characters. Their separate histories went deep and dark. Olivia’s broke her, while Memphis’ speared him on. Their meeting brought a tentative balance to them. I was scared the entire time I was reading how this balance could/would/might break. I loved Memphis and Olivia together, and I didn’t want to experience anymore heartbreak than I already had. I enjoyed watching them learn and grow throughout the story.

Memphis, but I wasn’t supposed to. I did appreciate what they brought to the story. The horrible characters added to the plot, and created some twists I never saw coming. I did love one supporting character, though: Miles. Miles certainly was something special. Ginger Scott did what she does with Miles, and spotlighted an issue that needs more attention in our society today. I applaud her for that.

One thing that separates Ginger Scott’s sports romances apart from the rest is her attention to detail. Her descriptions of the sport she’s writing about are vivid and almost educational. I feel like I learn so much about a sport from reading them. I felt this way about Memphis. The rawness and beauty of the sport of boxing were so well described that it felt like I was watching it all unfold on television or in person.

Obviously, I’m a fan of Ginger Scott and now I’m a fan of Memphis. It was a wonderfully written sports romance set in the dark world of boxing. It’s one of those books I’m sad I have finished because I will miss the characters, and now I’m left anxiously awaiting Ginger Scott’s next release.

EXCERPT:
I turn so our feet are squared and glance at his home that I think he probably knows I went through while he was gone. Somehow the money he paid for it seems not enough and too much all at once. My gaze shifts back to his, and he steps forward until the toe of his left shoe rests against the right side of mine.

“That’s a nice story, Memphis. I’m glad you found the bike, but I’m not sure what that has to do with me,” I say, my breath catching as his fingertips trace along my jaw, his touch so faint I find myself leaning my head to encourage his palm to rest along my cheek more boldly.

He brings his other hand up with more confidence, and I’m caught. The other option I had, to walk away, is gone. I never really wanted it, though.

Memphis dips his chin, hunching slightly to bring his eyes in line with mine. We’re so close that I can feel the tickle of his breath against my lips, and they tingle at the familiar. Each experience with him weaves itself into my heart in this way that terrifies me. This is how people lose themselves.

But I let it in—each breath, each sound, the smells and words. His story. I am surviving on the very being of him, and I think I have been for a while now.

“I was eighteen when I tracked down that bike. I knew it was mine…”

“I don’t belong to you, Memphis,” I cut in, my heart pounding.

His mouth forms a crooked smile. He holds my eyes hostage in silence for few long seconds. “Maybe it works the other way,” he says, his eyes moving over my face with a softness that feels intimate and vulnerable. His forehead falls forward until it rests gently on my own, and I let go of the grip I have on myself, exchanging it for fistfuls of his T-shirt. My knuckles run along his chest as I gather the material and close my eyes, his muscles hard from discipline.

“I can’t watch you get hurt. I can’t…”

His hand moves to my chin, and he lifts it until our eyes meet. Suddenly, breathing just got a lot harder to do.

“I won’t lose, Liv. I work too hard, and I study too much, and I will never be in a ring I’m not supposed to be in,” he says, and I breathe out what sounds like a laugh but feels like hurt.

“My fifty-year-old uncle kicked your ass in some display of alpha-male, teacher-student bullshit. I couldn’t watch that…how am I supposed to watch you step in with some guy who really wants to kill you? How am I supposed to kiss you knowing that your lips might never be the same after a fight. How…”

Memphis’s mouth takes mine before I can protest anymore, nothing like our stolen moment from earlier. His hands cup my face and his mouth moves possessively over my bottom lip, sucking it in and letting it slide loose through a graze of his teeth. He turns my head with a gentle nudge and kisses me deeper, and his hands fall from my face in long, possessive drags down my shoulders to my waist, stopping with his thumbs just above my hips and his fingers splayed out around my sides.

My hands roam up his chest and neck until my thumbs run along the roughness of his chin, and my touch seems to somehow make him hungrier.

“My god.” He breathes the words against my lips, restraint giving way…

 About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, A Boy Like You and A Girl Like Me.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

 

Mini Reviews: Scoring Wilder, Do Over & Burn for Me

Today, I have three short book reviews for you. Two are books I read after reading reviews from other bloggers. I was reminded I wanted to read Scoring Wilder by reading Corina‘s review. I found out about Do Over from Nick and Nereyda‘s review. Thanks for the recommendations, ladies! One is a book my book club is read.


Scoring Wilder
Author: R.S. Grey
Publication Date: June 15, 2014
Publisher: R.S. Grey
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”


Around the time of the last Olympic summer games, I read R.S. Grey’s The Sumer Games series. I really enjoyed Settling the Score, and wanted to know more about some of the characters mentioned in that book — they were part of Scoring Wilder. I had completely forgot they were part of this book until I read Corina’s review.

Despite being a little uncomfortable about the coach/player situation in this book at first, I really enjoyed Scoring Wilder. I loved Kinsley. She was just so cool and confident. I also loved Liam, and how he put Kinsley first. Their romance was so cute! Another thing I loved were all the aspects of training for a college soccer team that were included. Scoring Wilder was a fun book to read, and fans of NA sports romances are sure to enjoy it.



Do Over
Author: Serena Bell
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Toe-curling? Check. Sheet-twisting? Check. But is that enough for a second chance?

Jack: I’m pretty much as tough as they come. But when a woman comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. Scratch that—when Maddie Adams comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. That’s how we ended up making our incredible son five years ago, and that’s why I practically beg her to move in with me when she’s in a tight spot. Of course, the last time I got the chance to be the hero, I let her down, but I’m not making the same mistake twice. This time, I’m going to be the man she deserves—and then I’m going to lay every ounce of sexy on her until she lets me back into her heart.

Maddie: Jack Parker is hot, and he knows it. What he’s not is a family man, something this single mom had to learn the hard way. Still, moving into his place until I get back on my feet makes all kinds of sense. He’s an old friend. He’s, ahem, the father of my child. And let’s face it, now that I’ve just been colossally dumped, we’ve got nowhere else to go. The truth is, I never could resist Jack. Living under the same roof puts dirty thoughts in my head. And when my brilliant plan backfires, my whole body is begging for a do-over. . . .


Do Over is the first book I’ve read by Serena Bell, but it won’t be my last. I adored this book. It was a second chance romance between childhood best friends — who already had a 5-year-old son together. Both harbor secret feelings for each other but are worried the other doesn’t feel the same. I loved how their son helped bring them even closer together. It was so cute and pretty funny. I smiled many times while reading it. I am so happy I spent time with Maddie and Jack. This is definitely a book contemporary romance readers will love.



Burn for Me
Series: Hidden Legacy, #1
Author: Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renée Raudman
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Rating: DNF 20%

Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.


Burn for Me was a book chosen by my book group to read for the month. Since fantasy/paranormal romance isn’t really my thing, I decided to listen to the audio version. Sometimes, that makes it easier for me to get into a book in a genre that’s not my favorite.

All that being said, listening to Burn for Me didn’t work out for me. There were just too many things at play. One, I had a hard time connecting to the characters. I think part of this has to do with the narration of the story. Some of the characters sounded ancient when they weren’t past their 40’s. Two, there was a lot of world building to build the foundation of the magical story. That’s probably normal, but I wanted to get to the romance part of the book. The MCs were just meeting at 20%. Three, not only was it fantasy/paranormal based, there was a romantic suspense element to it. Those sub genres combined were an even worse fit for me.

When I found out I wasn’t going to be able to attend my book group, I decided to go ahead and let go of listening to this book. I’ve read several positive reviews, so I’m sure it’s a good book. I admit I might not have given it enough time, but with so many other books I need/want to read it just wasn’t worth going any further on for me.

Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

Walk the Edge
Series: Thunder Road, #2
Author: Katie McGarry
Narrators: Callie Dalton, Andre Eiden
Publication Date: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.


Last month, I listened to Katie McGarry’s Nowhere But Here. It was my first book by McGarry, and I fell in love with her writing. I couldn’t wait to continue with the Thunder Road series. Walk the Edge was just as amazing as Nowhere But Here. Everything about it was incredible.

I loved the plot of Walk the Edge! It had a similar feel to Nowhere But Here, but was completely different.  Both books are about bonds and trust between family members and friends. They’re also about the characters finding their own truths, and learning to live with what they have discovered. Oh, and falling in love. What sets each book apart is the characters and their situations. The blackmailing plot and the mystery of Razor’s mother’s death were addicting!

Razor and Breanna were extremely lovable. Razor was a young man on the edge. The mystery of his mother’s death had left a piece of him missing. He never felt like he was truly happy until he met Breanna. Breanna was the insanely smart girl who everyone knew of but few really knew. She was one of nine kids and was completely lost in the middle. The last person Breanna ever thought she would find a connection with was Razor.

Razor and Breanna seemed like an unlikely pair, but I immediately felt their connection. I loved how they became their true selves with each. There was a sweetness between them that I loved.

Just like the first book, I also fell in love (or more in love) with the rest of the characters. I grew to love the Reign of Terror family even more. I loved Razor’s relationships with Violet, Oz, Chevy, and Rebecca. Breanna’s family was harder to love. I mostly loved the younger kids, but I appreciated the roles of her older siblings and parents for what they brought to the book.

Walk the Edge was such a great book. I can’t even properly write about how much I enjoyed listening to it. The writing was amazing and addictive. I adored the characters and their story. The narrators were fantastic. I could go on and on. I can’t recommend this book and the Thunder Road series enough. I am not so patiently waiting for my library hold to come through on the third book. I can’t wait to continue the series.

Review: Ryan’s Bed by Tijan

Ryan’s Bed
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: January 22, 2018
Genre: (Mature) Young Adult , Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I crawled into Ryan Jensen’s bed that first night by accident.

I barely knew him. I thought it was his sister’s bed—her room. It took seconds to realize my error, and I should’ve left…

I didn’t.
I didn’t jump out.
I didn’t get embarrassed.
I relaxed.
And that night, in that moment, it was the only thing I craved.

I asked to stay. He let me, and I slept.

The truth? I never wanted to leave his bed. If I could’ve stayed forever, I would have.
He became my sanctuary.

Because—four hours earlier—my twin sister killed herself.


WOAH. I cannot stop thinking about this book. I actually had a hard time falling asleep after finishing it I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Ryan’s Bed was an interesting book. It definitely fit the Tijan YA mold. Girl who is deeply scarred from an emotional death/family event. She’s tortured by it, but finds comfort in a guy willing to go the distance for her and protect her at all cost. Mackenzie had a little bit of both Samantha (Fallen Crest High) and Alexandra (Broken and Screwed) in her, but that’s where the similarities end. I couldn’t help comparing her story to theirs, but this one was actually very different.

You see, Mackenzie didn’t just lose a sibling, she lost a twin. She lost what she considered to be half of herself to suicide. It sent her over the edge. Mackenzie no longer felt like herself. Her family no longer felt the same. The destruction in the wake her twin’s death felt catastrophic to her. Mackenzie’s grief and anger made Ryan’s Bed a very dark YA read.

I have to admit I had no idea where the story would go even at half way through. Mackenzie was so messed up mentally that I feared there wouldn’t be a good ending. Everything about it was heartbreaking. The sadness of it all consumed me. I didn’t like feeling the way it made me feel…and then there was a subtle reprieve. Slowly, things started coming together in a way I could see some relief.

And then the end came. I have to say I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t prepared.

Ryan’s Bed isn’t a joy to read, but it’s a very well crafted book. If I’m going to be honest, I probably would have given Ryan’s Bed three stars if it wasn’t for that ending. I couldn’t tell where this book was going for the first several chapters. I didn’t know if I wanted to know where it was going at that time. But the progression to the end was good, and then that damn ending was spectacular. So, four stars it is.

You’ll notice I didn’t say anything about the romance in this novel. Ryan’s Bed has a romance, but it’s not the front and center star of the show. Mackenzie’s journey is, and I think it needs to stay that way. All I will say is that I loved Ryan and his support of her.

I can’t end this review without saying that the Author’s Note at the end was worth reading. It helped me process what I had read, and I loved how Tijan’s thoughts about the beginning of this book reflected how I felt. I applaud her for her courage in writing this book.

TIJAN’S ULTIMATE RYAN’S BED GIVEAWAY:

https://tinyurl.com/ryansbedgiveaway

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BUY LINKS:
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Review: Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell
Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas, #2
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Romantic Suspense
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A painter of fiery, nightmarish visions throws herself into the sea—but she leaves her secrets behind . . . 

Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.

Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire… and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear.


This was my first book by Jayne Ann Krentz. I liked it, but I wasn’t completely blown away by it. I’m going to break my review down into things I liked and the ones I didn’t.

Positives:

  • I was impressed by the plot.
  • There were great twists.
  • I was very interested in the mystery and finding out what was going on.
  • This was the second book in the series, but I felt it could be read as a standalone novel.

Negatives:

  • I did not care for the characters. I couldn’t connect with them. They all came across really off-putting.
  • I didn’t like the third person narration. I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference between the characters if it wasn’t pointed out because they all sounded negative and the same.
  • The pace of the story was way too slow for me. I found myself getting a little bored in the middle. I needed the twists and reveals to be more spread out throughout the book.
  • I didn’t believe the love story or connection between the main characters.

Honestly, I can see understand how some people would be really into this book. The plot twists are really cool. Like I said, I thought it was good. It probably just wasn’t the thriller for me.

Review: Scandalous by L.J. Shen

Scandalous
Series: Sinners of Saint, #3
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: September 21, 2017
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

They call him The Mute for a reason.
Hard, cold and calculated, he rarely speaks.
When he does, it’s with disdain.
When he does, his words aren’t meant for me.
When he does, my stomach flips and my world tilts on its axis.
He is thirty-three.
I am eighteen.
He’s a single dad and my father’s business partner.
I’m just a kid to him and his enemy’s daughter.
He’s emotionally unavailable.
And I am…feeling. Feeling things I shouldn’t feel for him.
Trent Rexroth is going to break my heart. The writing isn’t just on the wall, it’s inked on my soul.
And yet, I can’t stay away.
A scandal is the last thing my family needs. But a scandal is what we’re going to give them.
And oh, what beautiful chaos it will be.


Trent Rexroth was pretty damn scandalous. That’s for sure.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from Trent when I began reading Scandalous, but it wasn’t quite what I got. I must not have remembered him quite correctly from binge reading the Sinners of Saint series earlier this year. Or maybe that whole The Mute thing is what got me. Trent was way more crass than I was prepared for. He wasn’t a nice guy, and he didn’t care. The only one who got the nice side was his daughter, Luna. Trent did what he needed to do to get what he wanted.

Edie was one of those things Trent wanted. He tried to avoid this want because she was only eighteen to his thirty-three, but Edie didn’t make things easy for him. She was more mature than most young adults her age, and a darker view of the world and love. Trent and Edie had a love-hate relationship. Most of it felt like hate, but the love slowly built.

I really liked this story, but I didn’t fall completely in love with it. L.J. Shen’s writing was amazing, but I didn’t always feel Edie and Trent’s connection. It felt more like a sex than love thing, but that’s the way I think it was supposed to feel. Neither of these two were in it for love at first. Love was just something that ended up happening to them. I would have preferred for the love to dominate the story, but this is a Sinners of Saint book. Overall, Scandalous was a great dark love story.

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.

Release Day Review: Logan by Jay McLean

 

Release Day Blitz

Title: Logan – A Preston Brothers Novel #2

Author: Jay McLean

Release Day: October 1, 2017

PURCHASE
LINKS:
BLURB
As
a kid, Logan Preston was a brat.
Through his teens, he
became the bad boy.
Now, at nineteen, no one knows what the
hell to expect.
High
school dropout, Logan Preston is a
good-for-nothing
stoner.
A black sheep.
A disappointment.
The
worst Preston Punk of the lot.
At least that’s how everyone in
his small town
makes him feel.
But Logan Preston
has secrets.
Secrets so dark and so deep below the surface
that the only way he can fight them is to stay high, high, high.
He
wears cockiness as a mask.
Arrogance as his armor.
Until
one girl, one night, asks one life-changing question:
What’s
beneath the bravado, Logan Preston?

REVIEW:

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

I’m all out of feels right now, people!

I have to admit I put off reading this ARC for a few days after receiving it. Normally, I would dive right into a Jay McLean novel, but I couldn’t do it with this book.There were two reasons. One, I knew the moment I started reading Logan I wouldn’t be able to stop. I would read it until I was done, and then I would have to pathetically wait for McLean’s next book. Two, I knew Logan was going to wreck me. That was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Both of those things happened.

Once again, Jay McLean wrote a book that held me in its clutches from the moment I began reading it. Shockingly, it wasn’t a love at first read for me. That had nothing to do with McLean’s storytelling and all to do with Logan. He and his decisions drove me absolutely crazy. I didn’t understand how someone with such an amazing family and support system could act the way he did. (He was definitely someone I would have avoided as a teenager in real life). I, like Aubrey, wanted to know what was behind his bravado.

The more I read, the more Logan made sense to me, and the more I loved his character. There was so much more to him than I originally thought. His inner demons were way stronger than I was expecting. His experience was so different from Lucy or Lucas’ and I came to admire him by the end of this book.

As for Aubrey, that girl rocked. She was so much stronger than she gave herself credit for. She may have been all sweetness, but there was so much fight in her. She was exactly the person Logan needed in his life.

I can’t end this review without saying how much I loved the part the rest of the Preston family played in this story. Lachlan especially stood out. That kid was wise beyond his years. I also can’t leave out Tom Preston. What an amazing father.

There’s not much else I can say about Logan without spoiling the story other than it was an emotional journey that I loved. Logan is one of those books you really have to experience for yourself to understand its magic.

GOODREADS
LINK:
OTHER
BOOKS IN SERIES:
More
Than Forever (More Than #4):
http://amzn.to/2gUKZOq
Lucas
(Preston Brothers Novel) #1:
http://bit.ly/2vLc8JP

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AUTHOR
BIO
  She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make her hurt and make her feel.
 Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in a forever half-done home where music is loud and laughter is louder.
 Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New Adult Romance, and most of all, procrastinator. When she’s not doing any of those things, she can be found running after her two little boys, playing house and binge watching Netflix.