Review: Last Semester by Corine Mekaouche

Last Semester
Author: Corine Mekaouche
Publication Date: April 21, 2017
Publisher: Corine Mekaouche
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

When Johanna ‘Jo’ Gold, witty college life blogger and senior at Rutan University, decides to move in with three male strangers her last semester of school, her life unexpectedly turns upside down. While dealing with her new roommates, A.J., the pompous rich kid who feels trapped in following his father’s footsteps; Rob, the prematurely engaged former womanizer who tries to force Jo out of the house at all costs; and Drew, the 21-year-old virgin genius whose encounters with women have been more than limited, Jo learns that change isn’t always easy and it’s up to her to learn how to survive the remainder of her time at Rutan the best that she can. Along with searching for her missing mother, figuring out a clever way to pay for school tuition on her own, and dealing with the childish pranks brought on by a certain roommate, Jo’s issues seem more complicated than the average 21-year-old. Can Jo endure the dramatic perils of college while planning for life after graduation?


When I started reading Last Semester, I was expecting it to be a lot like other books I’ve read where a girl or guy moves in with roommates of the opposite sex and falls for one of them. That wasn’t the story line for Last Semester. Last Semester wasn’t a romance, but a mature coming of age story.

In Last Semester, Jo decides she’s ready to make some big changes in her life for her last semester in college. Her first big change is moving out of the dorms. She rents a room in a house close to campus where her new roommates are three guys. The first guy, A.J., is a rich, womanizing manwhore. The second, Rob, is a major prick who proposed to the girlfriend he keeps cheating one. The final roommate is Drew. Drew talks like Sheldon Cooper and has kept his virginity in tact almost as long. Jo thinks she’s prepared to live with three guys, but she had no idea how challenging it would be — especially when her boyfriend Chris isn’t exactly excited about the arrangement. The longer Jo and the boys live together, the more they begin to learn from each other. Each roommate is graduating at the end of the semester, and each has something big to discover before then.

Like I said, this book wasn’t a romance novel. It was a story about four young adults finding their way into adulthood. Each character had a romantic or sexual relationship going on in the story, but those relationships weren’t the main focus. The main focus was on the four roommates’ relationships with each other and the things they discovered about themselves as they prepared for adulthood. I have to admit that I would have loved for Jo to have fallen for one of her roommates, but I respected that she didn’t. It made Last Semester stand out from other new adult novels. It was truly about the connections they made and the friendships they developed.

I really enjoyed the way Last Semester was told. It was written in first person and each of the four roommates narrated. Each voice was distinctive and had so much character. I loved Jo, A.J., Rob and Drew so much! There were also blog posts written by Jo sprinkled throughout the book. I understood their value to Jo’s prospective career as a writer, but there was only one or two entries that stood out to me. They were just an added extra to me.

My favorite thing about this book had to be the hilarious antics that took place. There were so many great moments that had me laughing out loud. Let’s just say there were several times I was happy I wasn’t a roommate at “Menstrual Mansion”. I’m not sure I could have handled everything that went down in that house. It sure made for an entertaining story.

The only big issue I had with Last Semester was the ending. To be more specific, the very end. It felt abrupt. I turned the page and couldn’t believe there wasn’t more. The author left the reader hanging when she could have resolved an important part of the story line. It made me wonder if there would be a sequel, but a sequel would be odd since all the characters are moving on separately with their lives after college.

If you’re looking for a new adult novel that’s not all about romance, Last Semester would be the one to read. It was fun, fresh and contained a ton of character growth.

Review: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

Saint Death
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Thriller

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

A propulsive, compelling, and unsparing novel set in the grimly violent world of the human and drug trade on the US-Mexican border.

On the outskirts of Juarez, Arturo scrapes together a living working odd jobs and staying out of sight. But his friend Faustino is in trouble: he’s stolen money from the narcos to smuggle his girlfriend and her baby into the US, and needs Arturo’s help to get it back. To help his friend, Arturo must face the remorseless world of drug and human traffickers that surrounds him, and contend with a murky past.

Hovering over his story is the unsparing divinity Santa Muerte, Saint Death–and the relentless economic and social inequalities that haunt the border between Mexico and its rich northern neighbor. Crafted with poetry and cinematic pace and narrated with cold fury, Saint Death is a provocative tour de force from three-time Printz Award honoree Marcus Sedgwick.


Before I start my review, I would like to thank Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings for giving me the chance to read an ARC of Saint Death. We trade books often, and she’s amazing to trade with. She also runs an awesome YA book blog. Make sure to check it out.

Saint Death is the second book I’ve read by Marcus Sedgwick. I read The Ghosts of Heaven right after it was released, and it blew my mind. When I saw Kelly wanted to trade an ARC of his upcoming release, I had to talk her into trading me. I wanted to see if Saint Death with its creepy title and amazing cover would be just as good.

I can’t compare The Ghosts of Heaven with Saint Death. They’re so different. It’s crazy how different they are. Usually an author’s books at least have a similar writing style. These two don’t. They only similarity they have is the slower pace.

Saint Death is a dark book. Very dark. There’s nothing warm and fuzzy about it. It made me feel sad and unsettled. I can’t say I liked it because I didn’t enjoy reading it. Saint Death may have been fictitious, but I can imagine the life described in it is very real.It was eye opening, though. I hurt for the main character, Artutro. His life was not easy or happy.

I’m honestly not sure what else to say. I may not have enjoyed the Saint Death experience, but I do think it is an important book to read and very relative to everything going on in the world today. It’s worth giving a chance. It definitely made me appreciate the life I live.

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.

Blog Tour Review: A Boy Like You by Ginger Scott

We’re celebrating the release of A BOY LIKE YOU by Ginger Scott!

A BOY LIKE YOU
YA Contemporary Romance
Scheduled to release: March 3, 2017
BLURB:

They say everyone’s a superhero to someone. I’m not sure who I’m supposed
to save, but I know who saved me.

We were kids. His name was Christopher. And up until the day he pulled me
from death’s grip, he was nothing more than a boy I felt sorry for. In a
blink of an eye, he became the only person who made me feel safe.

And then he disappeared.

Now I’m seventeen. I’m not a kid anymore. I haven’t been for years. While
death didn’t take me that day, the things that happened left me with
scars—the kind that robbed me of everything I once loved and drove me into
darkness. But more than anything else, that day—and every day since—has
taken away my desire to dream.

I wasn’t going to have hope. I wouldn’t let myself wish. Those things—they
weren’t for girls like me. That’s what I believed…until the new boy.

He’s nothing like the old boy. He’s taller and older. His hair is longer,
and his body is lean—strong and ready for anything. I don’t feel sorry for
him. And sometimes, I hate him. He challenges me. From the moment I first
saw him standing there on the baseball field, he pushed me—his eyes
constantly questioning, doubting…daring. Still, something about him—it
feels…familiar.

He says his name is Wes. But I can’t help but feel like he’s someone else.
Someone from my past. Someone who’s come back to save me.

This time, though, he’s too late. Josselyn Winters, the girl he once knew,
is gone. I am the threat; I am my worst enemy. And he can’t save me from
myself.

REVIEW:

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

I keep thinking I’ve found my favorite Ginger Scott book, and then she releases a new one. It always becomes my new favorite. I mean, my old favorites are still my favorites, but there are so many of them now! Each book Ginger Scott releases is so different from the last. I’ve said it before, but it always feels like I’m meeting a new author when I read her latest release. There’s never any moment of familiarity. It’s always a brand new experience. A Boy Like You definitely fit that mold. Ginger Scott has never written a sports romance quite like this one.

I absolutely loved A Boy Like You. I want to detail out every little thing I loved, but I don’t want to ruin this story for anyone. It’s way too special. It captured my heart from the very beginning. I loved the raw grittiness of the characters and the story. I felt every single emotion Joss felt throughout the entire book. Despite her flaws, I adored her. And I loved Wes. His quiet strength was so attractive.

And that ending…I don’t think I’ve stopped muttering “OMG” since I read that last page. Really, Ms. Scott? Really? I can’t believe I have to wait for A Girl Like You until summer. That’s just torture!

I know this review is short and sweet, but A Boy Like You is a book every reader needs to read for themselves. It’s best going in knowing the least amount as possible. So get your copy now!

GIVEAWAY:

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4a501259580/?

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, and Hold My Breath.

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

Review: Sweet Hope by Tillie Cole

Sweet Hope
Series: Sweet Home, #3
Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date: March 28, 2015
Publisher: Tillie Cole Ltd
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My name is Ally Prince and I’ve always been unlucky in love. I don’t know why, I just always… have.

When all of my best friends were falling for their soul mates in College, I was left behind. I was Ally, the pretty cousin of superstar quarterback, Romeo Prince. I was Ally, the best friend to the most amazing group of girls I’ve ever known—a title I loved, but one I became tired of ‘just’ being. And I was Ally, the one on which they could all rely.

But to me, I was Ally, the girl with the heart no one had claimed… And I was, Ally, the girl, who underneath it all, was heart-breakingly lonely.

I LOVE love; the thought of it, the nervous excitement of falling for Mr. Right, the desire of someone becoming my entire world… of me becoming theirs. I’ve always wanted passion, heart-stopping, epic, life-changing romance… I’ve always wanted the fairytale… I’ve always wanted it all.

It just never seemed like I would get it.

For the past few years I’ve thrown myself into my career as a museum curator. I’m the best of the best, the person every museum wants to hire, so when an opportunity came up to move to Seattle, I jumped at the chance. My cousin and my best friend lived in Seattle and I needed a change.

I needed a new beginning.

I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone in the Emerald City. I wasn’t expecting to work closely with the reclusive new sculptor my all-important gallery design was centered around. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to fall for him… heart-stopping, epic, life-changing love…
My real life fairytale come true.

But, like in every fairytale, there’s a villain, a dark and tortured soul… I just didn’t know that the villain and the hero in my story would end up being one and the same.

New Adult Romance Novel—contains adult content, sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.


With each book I read in the Sweet Home series, the more impressed with Tillie Cole’s writing I become. Each ones gets a little deeper and darker in theme, and pulls me in more and more. Each new book also becomes my favorite in the series.

Sweet Hope was a little different from the first two books in the series. It gave the reader a change of time and scenery. The story no longer took place in college, but in the characters’ late 20’s. Instead of Alabama, Sweet Hope was set in Seattle. Personally, I loved that change. This Washingtonian could picture the setting in her head.

Another thing I loved about this book was the main characters. I really enjoyed getting to know Ally better in Sweet Hope. She was always the happy, bubbly sorority girl in the previous books. I never would have guessed the depth of her character. It was fun to see another side of her.

I know this book has been out for a while, but I still don’t want to give away Ally’s love interest. I hadn’t read any of the reviews and I was pleasantly shocked. All I’m going to say is that he’s a tortured soul who doesn’t believe he deserves redemption. His darkness was the perfect contrast to Ally’s light. The intensity of their relationship could have set off fireworks. I absolutely loved them together.

I can’t leave out that I loved catching up with all of the characters from the previous book, too. It was fun to see where all of them had ended up, and how they were doing. I was surprised to find myself falling deeper in love with Austin (Sweet Fall) in this one.

I don’t want to give anything else about this story away. I’ll just say it’s quickly become my favorite of the series. It’s definitely one you should experience yourself — just make sure you read the first two books in the series first. You don’t want to miss out anything this series has to offer. It’s pretty dang amazing!

Review: Sweet Fall by Tillie Cole

Sweet Fall
Series: Sweet Home, #2
Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date: August 25, 2014
Publisher: Tillie Cole LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the USA Today Best Selling Sweet Home Series, comes Sweet Fall; a tale of heartache, beating the odds and finding strength in the most unlikeliest of places.

We all have secrets.

Secrets well buried.

Until we find the one soul who makes the burden of such secrets just that little bit easier to bear.

Lexington “Lexi” Hart is a senior at the University of Alabama. Surrounded by her best friends, her loving family and having fulfilled her life-long dream of making the Crimson Tide cheer squad, everything is going exactly as she always dreamed it would. But beneath her happy exterior, demons lurk, threatening to jeopardize everything Lexi has worked to achieve. When events in her life become too much to cope with, Lexi finds herself spiraling down into the realm of her biggest fear. Lexi falls hard, victim once again to the only thing that can destroy her and, on the way, finds herself falling straight into the dangerous tattooed arms of a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.

Austin Carillo, starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide, must get picked in this year’s NFL draft. He needs it. His brothers need it. Most importantly, his mother desperately needs it. Brought up in a world where the poor are forgotten, the sick are left to fend for themselves and no hero miraculously appears to pull you out of hell, Austin had no other choice but to make a living on the wrong side of the law—until football offered Austin the break to get his life back on track. But when a family tragedy drags him back into the clutches of the gang he believed he had left far behind, Austin finds himself falling. Falling back into criminal ways and falling deep into a suffocating darkness. Until a troubled yet kindred spirit stumbles across his path, where Austin quickly finds he is falling for a young woman, a young woman who might just have the power to save him from his worst enemy: himself.

Can two troubled souls find a lasting peace together? Or will they finally succumb to the demons threatening to destroy them?

New Adult/Contemporary Romance novel—contains adult content, sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.

Can be read as a stand-alone novel.


I was not expecting Sweet Fall to be the book it was after reading Sweet HomeSweet Home was an entertaining sports romance filled with over the top drama. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t quite fall in love with it. It didn’t touch me the way Sweet Fall did.

Sweet Fall was a very special book in my opinion. It took a couple of really tough topics, eating disorders and gang activity, and melded them together seamlessly. Each topic received the attention it was due along with some really great insight into what dealing with those issues involves. I was so impressed with the way Tillie Cole portrayed something she knew so much about. Her strength in sharing her innermost thoughts was commendable. Another thing I loved about Sweet Fall was its first person, dual point of view narration. So many insights were gained through the characters’ thoughts and actions.

Lexi was a girl trying to conquer her deepest fears and secrets. On the outside, she was a bright and bubbly goth cheerleader. On the inside, she was just trying to make it through the day. Lexi didn’t want anyone to discover what she was hiding and took lengths to make sure they didn’t. The only person she was able to share her true self with was the one person she knew she shouldn’t: Austin.

Austin’s football greatness may have him on the way to the NFL, but first he has to outrun his gangster past. He’s given up that lifestyle to play college ball, but the lifestyle is hard to escape when it had a hold of his family back home. There are so many pressures Austin’s dealing with, and shockingly, the only one he can find comfort in is the last person he should: Lexi.

I loved Lexi and Austen together. Both had battles to fight, and I loved the strength they gave each other. Their connection to each other was perfect. Everything Lexi and Austen shared with each other was special and their stories were inspiring. Every moment of their story felt important, and I can only imagine it touched a lot of readers.

Sweet Fall was a special novel that deserves high praise. It’s one I would recommend to readers who like a sweet love story filled with tough issues and a little bit of angst. Reading the first book in the series, Sweet Home, is not necessary, but it would be helpful because there are some spoilers to that book in this one.

Review: Hooked on Trouble by Kelly Siskind

 

hooked-on-trouble-launch-day-blitz

HOOKED ON TROUBLE
Over the Top Book 3
Author: Kelly Siskind
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Forever Yours
eBook: $3.99 

SYNOPSIS:

Reality bites.  Hard.

The last time Raven did “real” was sixteen months ago, when she spent one unforgettable night with the tattooed, impossible sexy Nico, and then he disappeared the next day.  Since then, she’s kept her guard up and her feelings to herself.  She doesn’t have time for relationship drama when she’s busy searching for her long lost sister.

Nico hasn’t stopped thinking about Raven—her sultry curves, inked skin, or the fact that he ditched her after their night together.  Now that they’re living in the same city, he knows this is his chance to make things right.  What better way to prove to Raven he’s for real than helping her find her sister?  But when the lines between right and wrong start to blur, putting his job on the line, Nico has to decide if the risk is worth the ultimate reward.

REVIEW:

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

I’ve been waiting a long time to find out what went down between Nico and Raven in The Perfect Mistake. I knew it had to be something big based on Raven’s reaction to him in A Fine Mess. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it created a multi-layered story for Hooked on Trouble.

Each book in Kelly Siskind’s Over the Top series has been different. They’ve all included her witty dialog and amazing characters, but with each new book the series has gone a little deeper and dealt with darker issues. Kelly Siskind has a way of surprising me with her characters’ stories.

Raven’s history was so much more than I expected it to be. She seemed so confident and kick ass in the previous books, but there was a vulnerability I wasn’t expecting from her. The mystery behind her missing sister brought so much depth to Raven’s story and gave such great insight to her actions and reactions.

Nico was exactly who he seemed to be in the previous two books. He was a by the book guy who tried to make the right decisions all of the time. His job as a police officer gave him an even more serious edge. He was definitely not the fun-loving one in his group of friends. Nico had more at stake and needed to be the rock for his friends and family.

Raven and Nico had amazing chemistry. They were so freaking sexy!!! I wasn’t surprised by that after seeing bits and pieces of their connection in the rest of the series. I was surprised at the depth of their emotional connection, though. They completed each other in an unexpected way. Their relationship truly brought out the best in each of them. The moments they spent together were the bright light of Hooked on Trouble.

I found it really hard to compare Hooked on Trouble against the first two Over the Top books. I gave both of those 5 stars. They had tough issues, but they also had a humorous side to them that I really loved. This one felt like it was missing its fun side. There were a few funny moments, but it otherwise felt heavier than the other books. I debated giving it 4 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized what an amazing book this was. I truly enjoyed the way this story unfolded. I loved the issues it touched on. The things that connected Nico and Raven were very raw and real. It may not have had all of the laughs of the other two books, but it was definitely special and 5 star deserving read. I would highly recommend reading it.

EXCERPT:

His large hand presses against my knee under the table. “Can we talk?”

Jesus, his touch. It’s the first time I’ve felt the weight of his palm on me since Aspen. It’s heavy. Huge. Callused. Instinctually I shift forward, my body no longer mine to command. He doesn’t move his hand. Just his thumb. It presses harder, dragging downward. I grip my armrests to keep from sliding to the floor. He stares at me, waiting for my answer.

Yes. No. Maybe. I choose silence.

The way our lives are entrenched with our friends, I’ll have to spend time with him, and I can’t keep pretending I can block him out. Moving here was about starting fresh, which means letting go of this grudge. But talking about Aspen could stir up more feelings, the same way the experience spurred my need to find Rose. If we talk about our time in the hot tub, it could unhinge me further.

Our waiter arrives to take our order, and Nico’s thumb moves again, a tiny brush, his skin against mine, sending a pulse between my thighs. My sanity plummets. I shout, “Chicken,” like a lunatic as I push away from the table.

Nico’s hand slides from my knee, but his eyes don’t waver. I feel his gaze on my back as I hurry to the bathroom. The second I get inside, I close the door and lean against it, thankful it’s not a public room with several stalls. I take a few deep breaths.

How can that bit of contact turn me inside out? The smallest touch?

Memories of his other touches flip through my mind, snippets of skin and ink, flashes of ecstasy.

My back arching.

His fingers exploring.

The curve of his inked shoulder.

His huge hands.

The sheer size of him.

We might not have had sex, and the details may be fuzzy, but there’s no doubt it was the hottest night I’ve ever had. What isn’t fuzzy is the time I spent with him in the hot tub prior, and how he took advantage of my vulnerability.

Goddamn Nico. And Goddamn Aspen.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Siskind CREDIT Eirik Dunlop

A small-town girl at heart, Kelly Siskind moved from the city to open a cheese shop with her husband in Northern Ontario, Canada.  When she’s not neck deep in cheese or out hiking, you can find her, notepad in hand, scribbling down one of the many plot bunnies bouncing around in her head.

She laughs at her own jokes and has been known to eat her feelings—Gummy Bears heal all.  She’s also an incurable romantic, devouring romance novels into the wee hours of the morning.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

www.kellysiskind.com
www.facebook.com/authorkellysiskind

Add Hooked on Trouble to your shelf on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2hLwMWX

GIVEAWAY:

Enter to win 1 of 15 free ebook downloads of Hooked on Trouble!

http://bit.ly/2gP3I0w

Review: Going Under by Lexi Ryan

29547292Going Under
Series: The Blackhawk Boys, #3
Author: Lexi Ryan
Publication Date: December 6, 2016
Publisher: Season Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

If I met Alexandra DeLuca for the first time today, I would only need one word to describe her:

MINE.

She’s everything she was when we said goodbye. Beautiful, stubborn, sweet…and off-limits.

After two years leading separate lives, our worlds have collided. Now that she’s back home working and taking classes beside me, she’s bound to make me lose my mind.

She’s all I’ve ever wanted, all I’ve ever dreamed of, and the one thing I can never have.

Not because she’s my best friend’s sister.
Not because all four DeLuca brothers would come at me with fists swinging if I hurt her.
Not even because she’s way better than I will ever deserve.

I keep my distance because we didn’t meet for the first time today. We met five years ago when I was a different person. When my demons ruled me. Even though I’ve changed–even though I’ve gotten my life together and become a better man–I can’t change the past. And the secrets that haunt me would destroy her.

But I’m not the only one with secrets, and when the truth comes out, I don’t know where to turn. What do you do when your world washes away beneath your feet and you feel like you’re drowning? What do you do when the woman you promised yourself you’d never touch is the only thing that can keep you from going under?

GOING UNDER is a standalone novel and the third in The Blackhawk Boys series.

Football. Secrets. Lies. Passion. These boys don’t play fair. Which Blackhawk Boy will steal your heart?


Going Under was one of those books that caught my attention immediately and never let it go. I enjoyed Lexi Ryan’s writing. The set up of the story was so cool. It was written in first person dual points of view for Alex and Sebastian, but also wove in Alex’s twin sister Martina’s journal entries. All three perspectives brought something different to the story.

I loved Alex and Sebastian. Their relationship was so complicated. Both wanted their friendship to evolve into something more, but had their own reasons for not acting on their feelings. It frustrated them both and made their chemistry even more intense than it already was. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to give away the twists and turns in their relationship.

As much as I loved Alex and Sebastian, my favorite thing about Going Under was Martina’s journal entries. They gave an insight to the story that was so cool. She gave so many clues to what had happened in the past. I loved reading her thoughts and then picking out what I should be looking for.

There were a couple of things that kept this from being a 5 star read for me. One was all of the back and forth between Alex and Sebastian. It got a little repetitive. The other thing was the epilogue. It’s was a little over the top for me at the end. Other than that, I loved Going Under.

Going Under was a fast-paced, complicated romance. I truly enjoyed reading it. Every little twist and turn had me wanting more. It’s the first book I’ve read in The Blackhawk Boys series, but it won’t be the last. I can’t wait to learn more about the rest of the gang.

Release Blitz Review: Jagger by Heather C. Leigh

jagger_release_blitz

Jagger-ebookI sell drugs. Heroin to be specific. And I’m fucking good at my job. Enough to fight my way to the top position, controlling all of Austin’s supply.

So what if I had to kill the previous boss to do it. I do what has to be done. Never cared about consequences because I never had anything to lose.

Until I met Miri. My doll. She’s my weakness and somehow, my enemies found out about her.

If they hurt her, they will regret the day they ever heard my name. Boss. They call me Boss for a reason. What I say goes, including the price on the heads of anyone who dares to fuck with what belongs to me. My Miri.

Read a Bonus Scene HERE.
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REVIEW:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ 

Jagger is the second book in the Broken Doll series by Heather C. Leigh. It picks up right from where the first book in the series, Junkie, left off. Jagger, or Boss, is Austin’s drug dealer king. He’s fallen for Miri, a junkie who had the nerve to stumble onto his property and ask for drugs. When his relationship with Miri is discovered by his enemies, Jagger will do anything to protect the woman he loves. That’s all you’re getting for the plot because I don’t want to spoil the cliffhanger Junkie left off with.

The second book in the series was just as dark and twisted as the first. The brutal scenes immediately start off in Austin’s drug world and continue throughout the book. There’s barely a break in drama and intensity for more than a chapter or two. Heather C. Leigh did an amazing job portraying a dark and gritty world filled with violence. I have to warn this book is not for the faint of heart. There’s way too many gruesome details. I found myself having to take mental breaks to combat the intensity of it all.

Jagger and Miri’s relationship continued its surprisingly sweet and sexy path through the violence and destruction of the drug world. The romantic in me loved the parts of the book were when they were interacting with each other. Those were my favorite moments in this dark tale. Jagger and Miri proved their willingness to do anything it took to be together. Their chemistry was off the charts, and the sensual moments that had with each other were so erotic.

Jagger was a great conclusion to a twisted series. Readers who enjoy dark romances are bound to enjoy the Broken Doll series.

**I received an ARC from TRSOR Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.

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NEW DARK ROMANCE by Heather C. Leigh

Meet Miri (Junkie) and Jagger (Boss) in the Broken Doll Series!

NOW LIVE & FREE on KINDLE UNLIMITED!

the broken doll series

Jagger (Book Two)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bcNfvW
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bKBKy0

Junkie (Book One)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bI47Mm
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bgZfye

BOOK TRAILER

Share link: https://youtu.be/BGZ2QlPUIc4

Meet Heather C. Leigh

heather c leigh bio

Heather C. Leigh is the author of the Amazon best selling Famous series. She likes to write about the ‘dark’ side of fame. The part that the public doesn’t get to see, how difficult it is to live in a fishbowl and how that affects relationships.

Heather was born and raised in New England and currently lives outside Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.

She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate, everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count) and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sneakily sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.

My favorite authors are Dan Wells, Ken Follett, and Stephen King.

 STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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$25 Amazon Gift Card

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Release Blitz Review: Junkie by Heather C. Leigh

junkie_release_blitz

junkie_live
NEW DARK ROMANCE by Heather C. Leigh

Meet Miri (Junkie) and Jagger (Boss) in the Broken Doll Series!

NOW LIVE & FREE
on KINDLE UNLIMITED!

Junkie (Book One)
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bI47Mm
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bgZfye

Want a Spoiler Free Bonus Scene of Jagger?
Download here: http://bit.ly/2bMqC1v

Jagger (Book Two) Releases September 27th
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2bcNfvW
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2bKBKy0

Junkie-ebook (1)

Junkie
Book Summary

I’m a heroin addict. A junkie. A whore. I’ll do anything to get my next fix.

Anything.

Including walking right onto the property of Austin’s most ruthless and feared drug lord to beg for some H. I don’t know his name, only that people call him Boss. Oh, and that he won’t think twice to put a bullet in my head.

But like I said, I’ll do anything to get my next fix. Even if it costs me my life.

Or changes it forever.

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Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

This is my first book by Heather C. Leigh and I must say that I’m impressed.  I wasn’t really in the mood for something dark when I started Junkie. I was a little worried I wasn’t going to enjoy it because of that, but I shouldn’t have been. Junkie quickly caught my attention.

Junkie is the story of Miri, a heroin addict desperate for her next fix. She has no means to achieve her high, so she searches out the one man she knows can ease her pain. Approaching Boss is the stupidest thing she’s ever done, but it might also end up being the smartest.

Boss isn’t exactly thrilled when Miri shows up on his property. The last thing he needs is to deal with some junkie. Boss knows he should just put a bullet in her head and be done with it, but there’s something about Miri that warms his cold heart.

What made Junkie a captivating read was the characters and their situations. Miri was obviously an addict, but she wasn’t a bad person. I liked the person she was once I got past her addiction. She was way more spunky than I could have imagined. Life had thrown some hard lessons at her and she ended up down the wrong path. Reading about her withdrawal symptoms was painful. The author did an amazing job making me feel Miri’s pain.

Boss may have been a dangerous drug lord, but the reasons behind his rise to the top were anything but sleazy. He was atoning for sins of the past. While it was harder to like him with all the blood on his hands, the compassion he had for Miri gave a glimpse of the man he could be.

My favorite part of this book was the connection between Boss and Miri. The forbidden aspect of their relationship kept things interesting. Both knew they shouldn’t be attracted to the each other, but the stress of their situation made controlling themselves very hard. They practically combusted when they finally gave into their impulses. It was so sexy and surprisingly sweet.

One thing I would have liked to have read more of in Junkie were the details to Miri’s physical and emotional health over her first few weeks at Boss’s. The book skipped time fairly quickly and I felt like I was missing a small piece of her addiction.

Junkie was an addicting read that has me begging for more. It’s cliffhanger ending left me with several questions I can’t wait to have answered in the next book in the series, Jagger. I would recommend Junkie to readers who like raw and gritty romances.

Note: I received an ARC from TRSOR Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.

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Excerpt #1

Boss gives Miri a hit.

Despite Miri’s disgusting appearance, her nasty addiction to heroin, and the fact that her maybe-boyfriend had been stealing from me to feed her habit, I felt responsible for her. It was my shit she got hooked on, and she just seemed… frail and in need of someone to take care of her. It was almost as if she were sent here as penance for my past failures to take care of my mom and sister.

Besides, Miri intruded on my property. She knew where I lived. I couldn’t just toss her out. It was highly unlikely, but she could call the cops and get them down here with a warrant in the blink of an eye.

Better to get her dosed up and calmed down before trying to talk.

“Jase,” I barked.

One of my men immediately appeared at my side. “Yes, Boss.”

“Bring me the kit.”

With a sharp nod, he left the room and reappeared in less than two minutes to hand me a small zippered pouch. “Here you go, Boss.”

“All of you leave,” I ordered as I began prepping the kit. One by one, I lined the items up on the table, in the order I would need them. Everyone obeyed my command but one.

“Boss, come on…”

“Milo, don’t push me any further tonight.” I turned to give my lieutenant a dark stare that said don’t fuck with me. He better not press his thoughts in front of a stranger.

Milo’s lips pressed tight as he struggled to keep his mouth shut and follow my orders. Nothing new from the big, strong-willed man. He was very opinionated at times. Tense and agitated, Milo gave in and agreed. “Fine. I’m going home then, Boss.”

“See you in the morning.” I dismissed Milo and returned my attentions to the sweaty, gross, trembling girl in my kitchen.

Using an alcohol pad, I wiped my hands to kill any germs. Then I picked up a tiny packet of white powder, careful not to spill any, and poured it into a spoon designed to lie on a flat surface without tilting. The rubber tourniquet was long compared to Miri’s razor-thin arm. I knotted it around the tiny limb, holding back a pained grimace at touching her filthy skin. When I glanced up to check on her, I found Miri watching intently. I blinked and tore my gaze away from those wide green eyes to search for a vein. There wasn’t a single usable one on her scar-riddled arm.

“Shit,” I muttered when an inspection of her other arm turned up the same.

“I-I use my feet.” Miri’s voice was so soft I nearly missed her response.

Caught in the sliver of emerald in those captivating eyes, it took me a minute to reply.

“All right.” I removed the tourniquet, put it around a slender ankle, and placed her left foot on the floor to get better blood flow to the extremity. A single bluish vein stood out, surrounded by a half-dozen faded and fresh track marks. “There it is.” I grabbed another alcohol pad and swabbed the area. Syringe in hand, I uncapped a vial of sterile water and drew up a small amount, adding it to the powered opiate in the spoon. Using a lighter, I cooked the drugs until the mixture was reduced to a clear, bubbling liquid. As I waited for the chemicals to cool, Miri became frantic.

“I-It’s okay. I c-can take it hot. Really. I-I don’t mind. Please…”

“No.” I shook my head. “It’s not safe. You could blow a vein or worse.”

“I don’t care! Give it to me.” She started to struggle in the chair, in danger of tipping it over again.

Fed the fuck up with today’s events and bullshit in general, I caught her chin between my thumb and forefingers and pinched hard enough to hold her still.

“Stop this immediately or you’ll get nothing. Listen carefully, because I’m only going to say it once. I’m never, ever hospitable to intruders, so you should consider yourself lucky to still be breathing right now and not being driven to a remote location where no one will ever find your body.”

Those dull eyes widened with fear and her lip trembled. “Okay, okay. I’m g-good. I’ll be good. I’m s-sorry.”

I ripped open another alcohol swab and wiped off my fingers. Filthy junkie. Once the mixture was cool, I drew it up into the syringe using a filtered needle and made sure the air was out.

“Ready?” I’m not sure why I bothered—I knew the answer before the question was asked.

“Yes, please, please, please.” Miri vibrated with anticipation.

Despite the fact I grew up around drugs, despised drug use, watched my family implode from drug addiction and never once allowed anyone to get high in my house or permitted drug use among my employees, I went against everything I believed personally and stuck the needle into the vein on Miri’s foot. I pulled back to watch as dark red blood entered the syringe. With visual confirmation I hit a vein, I removed the tourniquet and slowly injected the opiate into her system until the syringe was empty. Working efficiently, I cleaned up the kit, put the used items in a container for the staff to dispose of, and washed my hands at the sink.

Then I sat down and waited.

Excerpt #2

Boss forces Miri in the shower to get clean.

Fighting the intense, gut-clenching fear, I tightened my grip, using his strong muscles to keep me upright as he washed my feet. The cloth skimmed up my legs one at a time, his hands scrubbing over and over as the foam rinsed away days of dirt and grime. The boss skipped my clothed midsection, straightened to his full height, and repeated the process with my arms, spending extra time on my dirt-caked hands and nails, and the track marks on my arms, only moving on when my skin glowed pink.

Next, he lifted my long red hair off my neck and slid the cloth across the top of my back and shoulders, then around the front to wash the exposed part of my chest where my tank top dipped low. I glanced down as his enormous, bruised and scabbed hands worked over my skin, only then realizing my white tank was completely transparent and I wasn’t wearing a bra. Instinctively, my hands flew up to cover my breasts. He chuckled, a smooth, deep sound so seductive it could easily charm a roomful of people and melt every pair of panties in a five-mile radius.

“A little too late for that, doll. Seein’ as I’ve already got a good look at everything.”

Something about his cocky drawl, the crooked smirk on his face, and that single raised eyebrow felt like a challenge. My courage, boosted by the decadent lull of my best friend, heroin, had me meeting his gaze head-on. Determined to show the boss I wasn’t a cowering scaredy-cat, I fingered the hem, tugged the wet tank over my head, and tossed it to the floor with a loud splat. The man’s eyes widened, which only fueled my desire to make him eat his stupid words. Still staring directly into those sapphire eyes, I stuck my thumbs in the waistband of my shorts and shoved them down, stepped out, and kicked them aside. Completely naked, I stood my ground and raised my own brow in return, hands on my hips.

Our eyes were locked a few more seconds before he threw his head back and burst out laughing. The action made him look years younger than I originally believed. “You are somethin’ else, you know that, doll?”

Instead of answering, I snatched the soapy washcloth from his hand and quickly finished washing my newly exposed skin.

“Here.”

Jerk.

The boss scrambled to catch the cloth I whipped at his chest before turning to storm out of the shower. I yelped when he grabbed me by the arm and yanked me toward him. The blazing heat of his chest was pressed against the bare skin of my back and I trembled from head to toe. The boss held tight and lowered his mouth to my ear.

“First, don’t ever fucking throw shit at me again.” Chills broke out across my skin at his angry threat. “You will not disrespect me in my own house, especially after I fucking took you in instead of killing you the second you set foot on my property. Got it?” When I didn’t answer, he squeezed my upper arms until I whimpered.

“Y-yes. I get it.” I struggled to keep from screaming out of pure terror. What was I thinking? Mouthing off to a drug lord while naked in his shower and a house full of his goons one floor below. I couldn’t possibly be more vulnerable.

After digging his fingers in for another long moment to prove he was in charge, the boss released me and spun me around as he picked up another bottle. “Your hair is fucking disgusting. It needs to be washed.” He wrinkled his nose in distaste and once more, shame flooded me with heat. This man had a way of making me feel as though I was less than human. He held out the bottle, shaking it in my face. “Either you do it, or I do, doll. But you’re not getting out of here until you’ve cleaned the junkie stench off.”

The backs of my eyes stung and my face caught fire. I couldn’t look at him as I took the bottle and poured some shampoo into a shaky hand. He washed himself quickly then stood with his arms crossed over his wide chest as I lathered my hair and rinsed off under the spray.

“Again,” he demanded. I bit my lip to keep from telling him to fuck off and did as I was told.

When the last suds swirled down the drain, the boss was silent as he reached around me and cut off the water. He carefully folded the washcloth, laid it on the edge of the sink, and stepped out of the shower enclosure. He handed me a towel, and picked one up for himself. I tried not to watch as he rubbed the fluffy white cloth over all of those tan muscles, but it was futile. Staring, I was mesmerized by the sight as the boss wrapped the towel around his waist and shucked his wet briefs from underneath. I gulped, knowing he was now naked beneath the soft terrycloth, a mere foot away.

When the silence became uncomfortable, I clutched my own towel to my chest, dug up what little courage I had left, and turned to face him with a huff. “We showered together and I don’t even know your name.”

He quirked that damn eyebrow again and smiled, white teeth gleaming in the middle of his dark designer stubble. If I didn’t know he was a widely feared drug lord and a pushy, high-handed, scary motherfucker, I’d find his expression almost charming.

“Boss.”

“I know you’re The Boss, I want to know your name.”

“My name is Boss,” he repeated. “Or Boss Man. Either one works.” As if he didn’t have a care in the world, as if forcing unwilling women into a shower were an everyday occurrence, he shrugged and brushed a hand through his wet hair.

I rolled my eyes. “Fine, don’t tell me.” This guy was so damn frustrating. He shot me up with H, dumped me in the shower, humiliated me, washed me, but wouldn’t tell me his name. Whatever. I turned my back to him.

Big mistake.

Two large hands wrapped around my shoulders, and I was jerked back against his body once more. Both of us were currently clad only in towels, his slung low around his waist and mine tucked under my armpits. There wasn’t as much skin-on-skin contact as in the shower, but this felt much more intimate. Slowly, Boss spun me around to face him, and I had to muffle a frightened cry. His blue eyes were narrowed to slits, nostrils flaring. The transformation from playful to furious was immediate and absolutely terrifying. For the first time since I’d showed up on his lawn, I was truly, without a doubt, scared shitless.

This man, the one in front of me—so different from the man who laughed in the shower—is what I expected from the drug lord I heard rumors about. Horrible rumors of unspeakable acts of violence. A ruthless man to be respected and feared.

Boss pressed the length of his half-naked body against me, and growled, teeth glinting behind curled lips. “That’s the second time you turned your back on me after mouthing off. I’m only going to say this once more, Miri, so listen carefully.” He lowered his head and his breath ghosted across my neck. I shuddered and a whimper escaped my throat, the result of a horrifying combination of lust and fear. “You are my guest. You snuck onto my property and you’re goddamn lucky I didn’t let Milo shoot you on sight. No, I saved you, took your ass in, gave you your fucking heroin, and washed a couple weeks’ worth of filth and scum off of you using my very expensive body wash that, incidentally, I never share with anyone. I expect you to be grateful for my hospitality and treat me with some goddamn motherfucking respect, got it?” His hands tightened around my arms incrementally as he spoke. His message was quite clear as his touch became more and more painful. I knew his thick fingers would leave bruises on my pale, fragile skin.

Legs shaking, I nearly pissed myself when faced with the lethal side of this man.

“I want to hear you say you understand, Miri.” Boss let go and stepped back until his eyes bored holes into me from beneath heavy brows.

Filled with terror, my heart pounded and my breath caught in my lungs, rendering me speechless. His eyes narrowed, not happy with my silence. Somehow, I managed to choke out two words.

“I-I understand.”

BOOK TRAILER

Share link: https://youtu.be/BGZ2QlPUIc4

heather c leigh bio
Meet Heather C. Leigh

Heather C. Leigh is the author of the Amazon best selling Famous series. She likes to write about the ‘dark’ side of fame. The part that the public doesn’t get to see, how difficult it is to live in a fishbowl and how that affects relationships.

Heather was born and raised in New England and currently lives outside Atlanta, GA with her husband, 2 kids, and French Bulldog, Shelby.

She loves the Red Sox, the Patriots, and anything chocolate (but not white chocolate, everyone knows it’s not real chocolate so it doesn’t count) and has left explicit instructions in her will to have her ashes snuck into Fenway Park and sneakily sprinkled all over while her family enjoys beer, hot dogs, and a wicked good time.

My favorite authors are Dan Wells, Ken Follett, and Stephen King.

  STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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$25 Amazon Gift Card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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