Release Day Review: Cry Baby by Ginger Scott

We’re celebrating the release of CRY BABY by Ginger Scott! One-Click today!

Cry Baby by Ginger Scott

A Contemporary Young Adult Romance
Release day: June 22, 2018
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2rjlag4

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“Cry Baby is brilliantly written. It’s hauntingly beautiful and heartbreaking and will leave you thinking about it for days afterward. Bravo, Ms. Scott. This boy-man stole my heart and I don’t want it back.”- L.J. Shen, Bestselling Author
 

Blurb:

Tristan Lopez is loyal to his brothers. He doesn’t really have a choice, born into a gang that has a chokehold on every kid that roams its streets. He gave his life to them willingly, knowing if he did then one day this kingdom, led by boys drunk with power and ruled by fear, would all be his.
He was loyal through it all. Loyal when prison took his dad away. Loyal when his face was touched by the cold metal of the rival gang’s gun. Loyal even though his mom begged him to run the moment she returned home from rehab.
He thought about becoming someone else. It was hard not to crave the life of a regular 17-year-old. It’s the only reason he stayed in school—to pretend. But he always fell back in line.
Loyal.
Riley Rojas didn’t belong in Tristan’s real world. She should have only been part of the fantasy, one of the many faces he got to pretend with amidst rows of metal chairs and desks and whiteboards with assignments. But there she was, moving boxes from the back of an old pick-up into a house Tristan had shot up on a dare with his friends only a few months before.
Tall enough to look him in the eyes and strong enough to fill his shadow, Riley took up space on his streets, her loud mouth fearless in the face of the gang leaders who terrified everyone else. She pushed Tristan around on the hard court, and she balled better than his friends—better than him sometimes. She challenged him. She needed him. He liked it. And when her pale blue eyes stared into his, he quit wanting to pretend.
He couldn’t ask her to leave because she’d only dig her heels in deeper. He couldn’t ask because he didn’t want her to go. She was blurring his lines. She was testing his loyalty.
He was falling in love.
And it was going to tear him apart.
Review:
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC I received from WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased review.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know how I feel about Ginger Scott’s writing. It’s flawless, captivating and filled with heart. She writes books that touch my soul and make me think. Her characters are complex, and the situations they dealt with are relevant to today’s world. I’m always excited to hear she’s writing a new book because I wonder where she could possibly take me next.

When I read the blurb for Cry Baby, I knew my next Ginger Scott experience was going to be a tough one. I had a feeling Cry Baby was not going to be an easy read, and I was right. Cry Baby was not a happy book. It was this dark, gritty story about two high school students living in an area control by gang activity. Tristan has known his destiny is to be a gang member since childhood. He thinks he’s made peace with his future until he meets new girl, Riley. Falling for her isn’t an option. Riley isn’t meant to live in his world, and Tristan can’t be a part of hers. Pushing Riley away isn’t easy when she pushes right back. Tristan knew he shouldn’t fall in love with Riley, but somehow he couldn’t stop himself, and loving her could ruin him.

Cry Baby had me on edge the entire time I was reading it. The gang setting was a hostile environment, and not one moment felt safe for Tristan and Riley. I was constantly worried for them and everyone around them. The things they all went through…it broke my heart. Falling in love was so dangerous for them. I can’t even imagine having to go through what they did.

Tristan and Riley both surprised me. I didn’t expect to love Tristan as much as I did. He did things that made me cringe. I know he did them to survive, but it was still hard to accept. It was what inside his head and heart that made me adore him. Riley had this inner strength that I couldn’t get over. It was impressive when she wasn’t making decisions that scared the heck out of me. I loved Tristan and Riley as individuals and as a couple. I loved how their relationship evolved from not necessarily liking each other to a special bond. Their relationship wasn’t smooth or simple, but it was shockingly sweet.

Oh, and I need to just say how much I loved the basketball in this book! I can always count on Ginger Scott to portray a sport in a very real, fun way. I love basketball, and she wove it into the story in the perfect way.

What Ginger Scott did in this book was impressive. This was a tough topic, and she made me empathize with the characters in ways I never imagined. I’ve been thinking about this book for days after reading it. I’m not sure a book has affected me this way since I read The Hard Count.

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, and A Boy Like You.
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:
Twitter: @TheGingerScott

Blog Tour **Spoiler Free** Review: The Upside of Falling by Meghan Quinn

Tucked away at the base of the Rocky Mountains lived a little boy with one singular dream: leave this broken and battered home and become someone.

Be somebody’s hero.

That boy was me—Colby Brooks. Except I’m not that same little boy anymore.

My dreams might still be the same, but my reality isn’t.

I’m smarter. Stronger. A man.

And I learned a long damn time ago, the only way to achieve my dreams was to avoid distractions—at any cost.

Focus. Resolve. Determination.

But all it took was one single night. One night and my entire life…changed.

One night had me colliding head first with the biggest distraction of my life; Rory Oaks.

Smart. Charming. Beautiful.

Rory changed everything.

Quickly, my one-track mind started to bend.

Each kiss faded decade-long dreams.

And with one single incident, I fly off course.

Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

I’m angry. I shouldn’t be angry, but I am. I knew this was a duet going in. I knew there would most likely be a cliffhanger. I wasn’t prepared for it. Not one bit. The ending wasn’t what I expected, and I can’t seem to get over it. The more I think about it, the angrier I get. I am not happy being left not knowing with this duet. I need to know what happens next! I need The Downside of Love NOW! I should probably have started this review at the beginning and not the end, so excuse me if it feels a little out of whack. It’s entirely because that’s how I feel. That’s how The Upside of Love has left me.

From the moment I began reading The Upside of Love, I fell in love with everything about it. I haven’t read a book by Meghan Quinn quite like this one. I loved how it was Meghan Quinn’s amazing writing, but different from what I’m used to from her. It wasn’t her normal romantic comedy. The Upside of Love felt like a typical new adult romance. It had broken characters whose troubled pasts threatened to keep them apart. I haven’t read a new adult romance like this in a while now, and I loved it.

The characters in this book were so special. Rory was this bright, happy person. She had her problems, but she was all positivity. Colby was the opposite. He wasn’t exactly dark, but negativity played a huge part in his life. Rory and Colby didn’t seem like they would fit together, but they did. I adored Rory and Colby. Their getting to know each other so dang cute. She brought something to his life that he was missing. Everything about their romance was so sweet and easy to relate to. I couldn’t get enough of them together. Then, I got to the end and you can go back to reading above if you want to remember how I felt about that cliffhanger.

The Upside of Love was a tender, sweet, sexy, amazing new adult romance. I loved almost every minute of it. (Nope, still not over that ending!) I cannot wait to get my hands on The Downside of Love to finish Rory and Colby’s story.

Excerpt:

Head turned down, pushing the sleeves of his white Henley up his arms, he swaggers toward me. His jeans hang low on his hips, held up by the same brown belt he wore the other night. His narrow waist directs my eyes to the center of his jeans, and I can’t help wonder what might be behind the crotch of his pants.

And then there is his chest. Barrel like, broad and prominent. His thick biceps showcase his strength, and the fabric of his shirt stretches over his shoulders and forearms. Having spent a lot of time at the gym, I’ve seen every body type, but Colby’s is different. He’s strong, built, but not like a body builder. His body seems to suggest the only kind of weight he’s been lifting is his own body, pushup after pushup. I can’t imagine there being barbells in his workouts, but I can imagine logs, cadets, and heavy machinery. He has working muscles, the kind you earn from hard, dedicated work on the field. In a word? Impressive.

Walking up to Stryder, he grips his friend’s shoulder and says something into his ear. A smirk crosses Stryder’s face before he moves over to our side of the bowling alley and takes Colby’s place.

Is he leaving? Already?

Might as well at this point. It’s not like he’s going to talk to me, not after my pathetic attempt at a bet. I should have known I was going to hang out in the gutter all night. It’s where I usually am when I’m bowling. I blame the ball. The thing has a vendetta against me.

Sighing, I prop my chin in my hand and watch Stryder expertly toss his ball down the lane, getting a strike . . . once again. And just like every other strike, he pumps his arm up in the air and celebrates. We get it, you’re good, no need to—

“Hey.”

That voice . . .

Stunned, eyes wide, not able to move, not wanting to scare him away, I keep my eyes trained forward, soaking in that beautifully deep voice of his for a brief moment before saying, “Hey.”

“Can I sit here?”

Still keeping my eyes trained forward, I say, “Sure.”

My body tingles with awareness of how close he is to me, that fresh laundry scent invading my senses, prickling the little hairs on my arm. My body leans toward his, wanting a little more, searching for anything else he might give me. I don’t know why he’s choosing to engage me in conversation, but I’m sure as hell not moving while he does.

“Sorry about tonight,” he says and he actually sounds sincere.

“Why are you sorry?” I mumble.

Reaching around, he takes my cheek in his hand. The callouses on his palm rubbing against my skin is a welcome sensation. As I’m turned toward him, I steady my breathing. I’m having a hard time slowing my heart rate because of his close proximity, and the unexpected touch shooting a wave of heat through my veins.

“I’m sorry you didn’t get to ask me any questions. I didn’t think you were going to suck that bad.” A playful smile tugs at his lips, and my heart sinks to the floor. Oh God, he’s so gorgeous, especially when he smiles.

Matching his smirk, I say, “I didn’t think I was going to suck that bad either.”

“I feel bad.”

“You should.” That garners a laugh, deep and throaty, the sound cloaking me like a shield, protecting me from the outside world, bringing me into a little bubble where we are the only two that exist.

“Ask me a question.”

Shocked, I swallow hard and say, “Really?”

He nods and holds up his fingers. “You get three.”

“Oh, three? Wow, I feel like you just gave me the key to your soul.”

Rolling his eyes, he adjusts his stance on the barstool and leans back, giving us some space, our knees still knocking into each other. “Easy killer; it’s just three questions.”

“Yeah, three questions I didn’t have before.” Tapping my chin, I try to think of good questions, but now that I have him willing and waiting, nothing comes to mind. I wasn’t prepared for this, he caught me off-guard, and now I feel I can’t be strategic about my probing. “Hmm . . . what do you like to do on the weekends?”

“Jump,” he answers.

Searching his eyes, lips quirked, I say, “Uh, you’re going to have to be more specific than that. What kind of jumping are we talking here? Like jump roping? Because that seems kind of weird to do on the weekends, and if you tell me you’re in some kind of jump-roping club at the academy, I’m not going to believe you.”

His lips curve up as he scratches the side of his jaw. “Jump out of airplanes.”

Oh.

Oh.

That’s . . .

Uh, that’s really hot.

“So you just casually jump out of airplanes?”

“I’m part of the Wings of Blue, the academy’s parachute team. We jump every day, at least two to three times a day after class and before dinner, depending on wind and ceiling limits. On the weekends, some of the guys, including Stryder and me, go to Springs East Airport and do civilian jumps. The more jumps we get in, the higher the chance we’ll be considered for big demonstrations, like parachuting into football games and major sporting events for the Rockies and Broncos.” Ummmm. Did anyone else just hear how many words he gifted me? And seriously? Does the man have no clue how incredibly sexy he is when he talks about something he loves? The expression on his face . . .

“Wow, that’s . . . that’s really hot.” I chuckle. “Sorry, I don’t mean to fangirl over your parachuting, but I guess I wasn’t expecting that answer. You just jump out of planes?”

He slowly nods. “Every day.”

“Anything to get you up in the clouds, huh?”

“Yeah,” he answers shyly, rubbing his jaw. “Okay, next question.”

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THE DOWNSIDE OF LOVE – July 5th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Born in New York and raised in Southern California, Meghan has grown into a sassy, peanut butter eating, blonde haired swearing, animal hoarding lady. She is known to bust out and dance if “It’s Raining Men” starts beating through the air and heaven forbid you get a margarita in her, protect your legs because they may be humped.

Once she started commuting for an hour and twenty minutes every day to work for three years, she began to have conversations play in her head, real life, deep male voices and dainty lady coos kind of conversations. Perturbed and confused, she decided to either see a therapist about the hot and steamy voices running through her head or start writing them down. She decided to go with the cheaper option and started writing… enter her first novel, Caught Looking.

Now you can find the spicy, most definitely on the border of lunacy, kind of crazy lady residing in Colorado with the love of her life and her five, furry four legged children, hiking a trail or hiding behind shelves at grocery stores, wondering what kind of lube the nervous stranger will bring home to his wife. Oh and she loves a good boob squeeze!

Facebook | Follow on Goodreads | Website | Amazon Author Page | Instagram | Follow on BookBub

 

 

Series Review: Sea Breeze by Abbi Glines

Recently, I did a binge listen to the Sea Breeze series audiobooks. Rather than try to review them separately, I’m going to review them all here.

Breathe (#1): ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

This is exactly the type of book I want to read in the summer. It was a cute rock star romance in a fun, beachy setting. I adored both Sadie and Jax. They were perfect together. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and I liked that. Breathe was a very sweet story.

Because of Low (#2): ★ ★ ★ ★

After meeting Marcus in Breathe, I wanted to see him get is happy ever after. He deserved a nice girl after missing out on Sadie. Low was definitely that girl! I could see exactly how their story was going to play out, but I didn’t mind that. Because of Low was so much fun to read.

While It Lasts (#3): ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This book was even better than the first two books. I was surprised because Cage wasn’t my favorite person in Because of Low. His womanizing ways disgusted me despite the fact that he was a great friend to Low. What made this book so amazing was Eva. Her story was so heartbreaking and I loved how Cage helped heal her heart.

Just For Now (#4): ★ ★ ★

I have mixed feelings about this one. I liked Preston and Amanda together, but Preston’s choices bugged me. I didn’t like his job and how he put Amanda at risk with it. It was just wrong. I couldn’t get past that.

Sometimes It Lasts (#5): ★ ★ ★ ★ 

I wasn’t prepared for this book. I was in this state of angst from the prologue. I loved Cage and Eva in While It Lasts and I wasn’t ready for them to be torn apart. I hated that, but I loved how everything worked out. Cage and Eva were so perfectly sweet together. I do have to admit that I had to switch from the audiobook to the ebook because I couldn’t handle listening to it. I had to read it so that I could get through it faster.

Misbehaving (#6): ★ ★ ★ ★

Jess surprised me in this book. She was the “bad girl”, but she went from bad to good very quickly. She didn’t seem much like the girl I met in the earlier books. That didn’t really bother me, and I enjoyed her story. I liked Jason, too. His story of trying to step out of the shadow of his brother was understandable. I also liked Jess and Jason together. What I didn’t like was Jess’ involvement with other people. I wish that would have been left out. Otherwise, I enjoyed listening to this book. I was happy this was finally a book about a girl who wasn’t so innocent like the rest of the series’ heroines.

Bad For You (#7): ★ ★ ★

I liked listening to this book. I loved Blythe. She was so sweet and sheltered. Her past intrigued me. I loved her with Krit. I loved Krit when he was with her. What I wasn’t so fond of was his hooking up with other chicks before they got together. It wasn’t very enjoyable reading about his exploits knowing Krit and Blythe would end up together.

Hold on Tight (#8): ★ ★ ★ ½

I loved Sienna and her story. I wasn’t so sure about Dewayne because I didn’t like him in all of the other books. He redeemed himself, but he was an idiot when it came to Sienna for most of the book. I am happy they ended up together. They were really too cute.

Until the End (#9): ★ ★ ★ ½

Throughout the Sea Breeze series, Trisha and Rock are there to support their friends. I heard stories of how their love originated through their friends’ stories, but those didn’t compare to getting their stories from them. I loved Trisha and Rock’s romance. It went back and forth between the past and present. The whole thing was so sweet. Their love story was a 5 star read — until the book abruptly switched half way through from being about them to mini epilogue novels about the characters from all of the other novels. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun to catch up with all of them. (Although, it seemed everyone was engaged, pregnant, or having a wedding. Their stories were way too similar to each other right down to the men appreciating a certain asset of their woman.)  I just would have rather had more of Trisha and Rock. I thought maybe it would end with them to completely wrap everything up, but it didn’t. It ended with Bliss and Nate Finlay. I know that’s to prepare for the Sea Breeze / Rosemary Beach spinoffs, but it felt out of place. This book is definitely worth reading if you’re a fan of the series, though.

Thoughts on the Sea Breeze series:

Abbi Glines’ Sea Breeze series was one of those guilty pleasures to listen to. The books weren’t earth shattering or life changing, but they were fun and put me in a summery mood. My biggest complaint about the series was the pattern of sweet, innocent young women and guys who have been around the block several times falling in love. I kind of like it, but it also got a little redundant.  Each character had different life experiences, but their sexual ones mimicked each other a little too much. All in all, I enjoyed the experience of listening to Shayna Thibodeaux, Kirby Heyborne, and Sebastian York narrate. If you’re looking for some mindless summer reading, this is a fun series.

Review: Knocked Up by Stacey Lynn

KnockedUp-SBPRBANNER-BT
Knocked Up by Stacey Lynn
Publication Date: June 12th, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Knocked Up Cover_resize

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage. Just not necessarily in that order….

Braxton: I should probably be dead or in jail right now. Instead, thanks to some tough love, I worked my ass off and now I own a string of tattoo parlors throughout the Pacific Northwest. And yet the one thing I’ve always wanted—a family—still seems out of reach. When my best friend gets married, I’m just hoping to blow off some steam with the super-hot maid of honor. But after Cara Thompson tracks me down to tell me she’s pregnant, she’s more surprised than I am when I tell her I’m all in.

Cara: For the first time in my life, I’m living for myself—not for my parents and their ridiculous expectations. I gave up on my MBA, dropped out of the Ivy League, and moved to Portland to pursue my dream of becoming an artist. And what’s the first thing I do? Get knocked up. For a tatted-up sex god, Braxton Henley seems way too eager to “be there for me.” Is this guy serious? Maybe. He sure is patient. Because he won’t back down until I admit what I know in my heart: that our one night stand might’ve led me to the one.

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Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Knocked Up is a story of a girl and the guy who accidentally knocks her up. Neither Cara nor Braxton planned on seeing each other after they hooked up at their best friends’ wedding. Several weeks later, Cara comes to terms with the fact that she has to track down her one night stand to tell him she’s pregnant. Braxton surprises Cara by the level of involvement he wants. Braxton’s determined to have more than just a baby with Cara, so he sets out to get to know her and create the family he’s never had.

Knocked Up is the first book I’ve read by Stacey Lynn. The blurb is what convinced me to pick it up. The idea of two people hooking up at their best friends’ wedding and ending up pregnant sounded cute. It totally was. Cara was a young woman learning to stand on her own. She was very unsure what life held for her, but she knew how to make the best of things and do what was best for her. Braxton was this guy with a tough exterior and soft interior. I loved how he wanted to take care of Cara for all of the right reasons. Braxton and Cara were far from perfect, but they were perfect for each other.

This book wasn’t all cuteness, though. It also had some deep moments. Both Cara and Braxton had some tough issues they were dealing with from their past. Initially, some of those things kept them apart. In the end, their differences brought them together even more. How they worked through all of their problems made me fall even more in love with their romance than I already was.

I’m happy I decide to give Knocked Up a try. It was a fun read. I loved Stacey Flynn’s writing. I’m looking forward to going back to read the first book in this series. I’ve already requested it from my local library.


Excerpt:

I quickly take everything off and drape the paper sheet over my lap, leaving my socks on, and when I’m ready, the edges of the sheet tucked under my thighs and backside, Pam knocks on the door.

“Ready?” she calls as she’s already pushing open the door.

“Yup.” I sound like I’m about ready to croak, and Braxton’s deep, rumbling chuckle worsens my rattled nerves. He kissed me!

I raise my hand to my mouth and as my fingertips press my lips, they’re taken away, gripped in Braxton’s warm hold. He smiles down at me knowingly and I force my attention on Pam.

She pulls the internal monitor out of the drawer, along with a bottle of lubricant and a condom, and Braxton’s grip on my hand turns almost bone-crushing.

“Is that—”

“Yup.” I cut him off.

“Um.”

“Now you see why I wanted the external one,” I mutter quietly.

I can’t look at him. My cheeks are on fire, and for some absolutely insane reason, other parts of my body are warming and this should not be happening at my midwife’s office.

“So,” Pam says, turning around and back to business. Except it’s hard to take her seriously as she waves what looks like a massive vibrator in her hand. “We’re going to insert this inside of you.”

“Holy shit,” Braxton mutters. And God, kill me. Please kill me now.

If Pam hears him, she ignores him as she steps toward me, and pulls out a set of stirrups from beneath the table. “I’m going to need you to lie down, Cara, and spread your legs, and slip down to the edge of the bed for me.”

“I feel like I’ve heard this before,” I say, unable to stop myself. My filter has evaporated along with my self-respect and all of this is so absolutely humiliating.

Pam pauses, glances at me and then at Braxton and nods, understanding. But I swear, as her gaze sweeps down Braxton’s arms, even she blushes. Which is great . . . my midwife thinks my non-boyfriend baby daddy is hot.

“I feel like I’ve said this before,” Braxton says, and both of our eyes whip to him. My gracious. He’s smiling, shoulders shaking like he’s holding back the world’s most boisterous laugh, and it’s all I can do to not kill him while he’s standing there, glancing between the monitor-slash-vibrator and my spread legs and I can’t hold it in anymore.

“This is embarrassing.”

Pam is back to business, already spreading the condom over the phallic-shaped instrument, and then she drizzles on the lubricant.

Braxton’s breath brushes over my cheeks. His dark locks tickle my temple as he whispers, “I feel like I should be offering to help with this.”

“Shut up,” I grit, my stomach muscles clenching from trying not to die or laugh. “This isn’t funny.”

“Oh. This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, I’m not going to lie.”

My fingers squeeze his hand and Pam is in front of me. She holds a small black box in her other hand and the tip of the wand against my center. “I’ll go slow, and it might be cold, okay?”

“Yup.”

“Sweet Jesus,” Braxton whispers. “I don’t know whether to be terrified or turned on right now, Cara.”

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About the Author

Stacey Lynn Author Photo


Stacey Lynn currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and four children. When she’s not conquering mountains of laundry and fighting a war against dust bunnies and cracker crumbs, you can find her playing with her children, curled up on the couch with a good book, or on the boat with her family enjoying Minnesota’s beautiful, yet too short, summer.

She lives off her daily pot of coffee, can only write with a bowlful of Skittles nearby, and has been in love with romance novels since before she could drive herself to the library.

If you would like to know more about Stacey Lynn, follow her here:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/staceylynnbooks
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Website: http://www.staceylynnbooks.com
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Review: Burning Up by Jennifer Blackwood

Burning Up
Series: Flirting with Fire, #1
Author: Jennifer Blackwood
Publication Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway and this review is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Blackwood fans the flames of desire in her smoking-hot series about firefighters and the women who want them…

Unemployed schoolteacher Erin Jenkins is back in Portland, the town she hasn’t called home for more than a decade. It’s not the way she wants to spend her last days of summer: in between jobs and avoiding her mother’s snooping by escaping to the ice-cream aisle. But when the opportunity arises for her to accompany her brother’s best friend—her lifetime crush—to a wedding, summer gets a whole lot more interesting.

Firefighter and single dad Jake Bennett has built a nice, safe wall around his heart—no romance, no getting burned. That doesn’t mean he’s ruling out a fling. Considering Erin’s visit is temporary, they’re the perfect fit for a scorching no-strings one-night stand. Or two. Or five. Until the worst thing happens: Erin and Jake are feeling more. Damn that four-letter word.

Now their hearts are on the line, and when their smoldering summer comes to a close, it’s going to be harder than ever to put out the fire.


Burning Up is one of those books I could have fallen in love with but didn’t. I’m sad to say that because I’ve enjoyed other books by Jennifer Blackwood. This one was good, but it could have been so much better.

My biggest frustration with Burning Up was all of the back and forth between the characters. Erin and Jake had a cute connection based on the fact that Jake was Erin’s older brother’s best friend. She had a high school crush on him, and he stayed away based on her brother’s warning. Years later, they reconnect when Erin returns to Portland. They’re super attracted to each other, but Jake can’t pull the trigger on hooking up with her because of his worries. It’s not just once, but multiple times. I couldn’t believe how okay with that Erin was. Granted she had her own issues, but still. It drove me crazy. There was way too much build up. I wanted to scream at them to get it on already. Their hesitation to actually be together almost killed this book for me.

What saved things? The secondary characters. Erin’s entire family was fun. Her mom was a hoot. I loved her interactions with her sisters and brother. Same for Jake. Hisfamily was funny, too. I especially adored his relationship with his daughter. I also loved Erin and Jake’s friends. Without all these side stories carrying the main one, I don’t know that I would have stayed as interested as I did.

Would I recommend reading Burning Up? That’s a hard question. Yes and no. There are better books written by Jennifer Blackwood that I would rather tell you to read, but this one feels like a gateway to a possibly great series. I have a feeling that some of the upcoming novels in it are going to be good. I am crossing my fingers for Reece and a certain friend of Erin’s to show up. Also, Hollywood needs a book.

Review: Dead Certain by Adam Mitzner

Dead Certain
Author: Adam Mitzner
Publication Date: June 1, 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ella Broden is living a double life.

By day, Ella works as a buttoned-up attorney on some of the city’s most grueling cases. By night, she pursues her passion for singing in the darkest clubs of Manhattan.

No one knows her secret, not even Charlotte, the younger sister she practically raised. But it seems she’s not the only one in the family with something to hide. When Charlotte announces she’s sold her first novel, Ella couldn’t be more thrilled…until she gets a call that her sister’s gone missing.

Ella starts investigating with the help of Detective Gabriel Velasquez, an old flame in the NYPD, and what she finds is shocking. If art imitates life, then her sister’s novel may contain details of her real-life affairs. And any one of her lovers could be involved in her disappearance.

Desperate to bring Charlotte home, Ella works through her list of suspects, matching fictitious characters with flesh-and-blood men. But will it be too late to save the sister she only thought she knew?


Dead Certain is a hard book for me to review. There were several things I really liked about it, but there were some I didn’t. Rather than write out a lengthy review about it all, I’m going to break this review down to what I liked and what I didn’t care for.

What I liked:

  • The mystery behind Charlotte’s disappearance.
  • The chapters of Charlotte’s book. They were the heart of the story for me, and the most interesting clues to her disappearance.
  • The unexpected narrator in the second half.
  • How the mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance wrapped up.
  • Ella’s double life. I wanted more of it. It wasn’t as big a factor as I expected.

What I didn’t care for:

  • Ella. Her character wasn’t one I easily connected to. There was something about her personality that annoyed me.
  • The amount of legal detail overwhelmed me at times.
  • The first half of the book was a bit boring, to be honest. The second half was so good. I don’t know how the author could have made the beginning more like the second half, but it would have made the book more entertaining.
  • The plot was somewhat predictable. I knew who did it early on.

Overall thoughts:

Despite not enjoying the first half of this book, the second half totally redeemed Dead Certain in my eyes. Even though I didn’t enjoy that first half, I can now appreciate that part. It made the surprises that were coming in the second half even better.

Would I recommend Dead Certain? Yes. I did end up really liking how things played out, and I think others would, too.

Release Day Review: Dreams of Falling by Karen White

Dreams of Falling
Author: Karen White
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary, Historical
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Karen White crafts evocative relationships in this new contemporary women’s fiction novel about best friends who share a devastating secret, set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

It’s been nine years since Larkin fled Georgetown, South Carolina, vowing never to go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she knows she has no choice but to return to the place that she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home. Ivy, Larkin’s mother, is discovered in the burned out wreckage of her family’s ancestral rice plantation, badly injured and unconscious. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly 50 years. Secrets that lead back to the past, to the friendship between three girls on the brink of womanhood who swore that they would be friends forever, but who found that vow tested in heartbreaking ways.


Karen White is one of my auto-buy authors. I love the way she writes. I’m always pulled into her books from the first few words on the page. Her stories take a while to unfold, but I know the pay off is going to be worth the wait. It was for Dreams of Falling.

Dreams of Falling is a multi-generational tale about the relationship between mothers and daughters. It stars three women: a grandmother, a daughter, and a granddaughter. Larkin, the granddaughter and main narrator, is a woman who ran from her past. She lives in New York, but is summoned back to South Carolina when her mother is injured. Returning home opens up old wounds for Larkin, and she’s forced to confront her them while her mother is fighting for her life. Ivy, the daughter, is an unexpected narrator. She’s in limbo between life and death, reflecting upon the choices she made and the truths she uncovered before her accident. The final point of view is Ceecee. Ceecee is Ivy’s step-mother who raised her for most of her life and helped raise Larkin. Ceecee was one of Ivy’s mother’s best friends. Her chapters switch between the present and the past, helping unravel the mystery of what happened on the night Ivy’s mother died.

Dreams of Falling was spellbinding. There was this dream like feel to the story. Even when things were taking place in the characters’ present, there was a sleepy quality to the writing. I loved it. The whole tone of the book went with the story being told. It was really cool.

I adored the Georgetown, South Carolina setting. The small town feel helped connect the past to the present and the characters to each other. The mystery brought a darkness to the story, but this amazing setting brought the light. I liked the contrast.

The characters in this book were frustrating — but only because of the way they avoided asking the tough questions of themselves and each other. I understood Larkin’s reasons for trying to become someone different, but I wish she would have been more open to the advice of the people who loved her. Ceecee was way too involved in everyone’s lives. It took me a long time to understand why. There wasn’t enough of Ivy, in my opinion. I really, really wanted to know more about her life growing up. I can’t complain too much about these frustrations, though, because they’re what made Dreams of Falling a captivating story.

I loved the mystery of what happened on the night Ivy’s mother died. The way it unfolded and was revealed to the reader was great. There were some things I guessed, but many that I was surprised by. I loved finding out how one event that happened years ago shaped the lives of three generations of women.

Overall, I loved reading this book. It was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Karen White. If you enjoy multi-generational stories about family, friendship, and love, Dreams of Falling might just be the book for you. Heck, any book by Karen White would be for you.

Review: Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry

Say You’ll Remember Me
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the new Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.


Say You’ll Remember Me is a tough book to review because it wasn’t exactly a happy read. It was chock full of deep emotional stuff. I was somewhat expecting that from Katie McGarry because she always makes great statements with her writing. What I didn’t expect was for it to make the story feel so heavy.

The forbidden love aspect of Say You’ll Remember Me was well done. It had me on edge the entire book. I’m a worrier, and I worried for Drix and Elle. I didn’t want anything ruining what they had, but I also didn’t want anything ruining their future. It was so stressful!

I adored Drix and Elle. Both were fiercely loyal to their family, even when they shouldn’t have been. They really loved and cared for the people in their lives, and wanted to do right by them. I also loved that they thought of the world outside of themselves. That was very mature for a couple of seventeen year olds. Drix and Elle weren’t perfect, though. They both let themselves be taken advantage of. That drove me crazy.

Surprisingly the parents were really involved in this book. Drix’s emotionally from afar, and Elle’s were all up in her business. I hurt for Drix because all of his siblings had been abandoned by their parents, but at least they were better off without them. Elle’s parents were too into what made them look good and not what was best for their daughter. That was really sad to me. I hope I’m never like that as a parent. Drix and Elle’s parents were exact opposites in parenting, and it was interesting to see how that shaped them and their lives.

Say You’ll Remember Me wasn’t quite the summer romance I was expecting, but I still really enjoyed it. It is a great book if you’re looking for a summer read with depth that’s not so light and fluffy.

Release Day Review: Tethered Souls by Beth Flynn

Tethered Souls
Series: Nine Minutes Trilogy Spin-Off
Author: Beth Flynn
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

My family has secrets. I’m always the good girl, doing what’s necessary to keep my loved ones safe. I’ve kept the darkest secrets from everyone I know. As painful as it is to hold them all inside where they live and gnaw away at me, that’s where they must stay.

I haven’t seen my closest childhood friend, Christian Bear, since I was a teenager—he hasn’t changed a bit. He’s still temperamental and plays by his own rules with the law following two steps behind him.

Christian remembers me. But he doesn’t know the first thing about me anymore. I should’ve shared my feelings with him the day before I moved away with my family, promising him I’d stay in touch. It broke my heart when he didn’t keep his end of the bargain. As a consequence, we haven’t spoken in years. Even though Christian and I have always had undeniable chemistry, I won’t let him shatter my heart a second time.

Christian has shown up in my life again with secrets of his own, and demanding answers. That doesn’t mean I’m willing to give them. He’ll know my secrets when I’m ready.

Our secrets, the risks we’re taking, and the danger he imposes make it impossible to know what our future holds.

Either our tethered souls will bind back together, or our secrets will separate us forever.


Tethered Souls is a very hard book to write a review for. It’s one of those books that has so many twists and revelations that I fear I might say too much. I don’t want to give anything away because it’s always best to discover them on your own. That being said, I’m going to do my best to give Tethered Souls a proper review.

Tethered Souls is a spin-off novel in the Nine Minutes series. To properly appreciate it, you will want to have read the entire Nine Minutes Trilogy and Iron Tiara. While the majority of the story is brand new to the reader, there are nods to the past set up in the previous books. The connections between the past and the present are what makes this book and its surprises special.

Mimi and Christian’s story was pretty much what I was expecting from the start. There were a lot of parallels between their love story and the ones of their parents. Things felt a little redundant in the beginning, but that was part of the magic of the story. History had an interesting (and dare I say fun) way of repeating itself. As their relationship grew, Mimi and Christian’s love story felt more like their own. They had their own situations to overcome, and crazy scenarios to deal with. The more I got to know Mimi and Christian, the more I loved them and their story.

One of the things that I appreciated about this book was that characters from Beth Flynn’s previous books were still heavily involved in Tethered Souls. Some of the best chapters were from characters tied to Mimi and Christian’s lives. I was kind of expecting for some of them to show up, but definitely not in the way they did.

As much as I loved Mimi and Christian’s story, my very favorite thing about this book was the last bonus chapter. WHAT WAS THAT BONUS CHAPTER?!?! It was voiced by an unexpected character and left me scrambling to remember. Ugh! I feel like I need a whole book to explain that one chapter. I feel like I had a memory associated with it, but I couldn’t be sure. I tried searching all of the previous books for the information I desperately wanted and still need. I couldn’t find anything!!! I’m utterly frustrated days after finishing Tethered Souls because I still don’t have any answers. I’m hoping one of my friends will be able to tell me what I’m missing after they read it.

Tethered Souls was great addition to the Nine Minutes family. I love the way it continued to build on the past books in new and exciting ways. The amazing revelations and surprises continue to shock and awe me. I’ll never get enough of these characters and their stories. I can’t wait to see what Beth Flynn has in store for them next!

Mini Reviews: Salt to the Sea & More Than Word

Salt to the Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Narrators: Jorgeana Marie, Will Damron, Cassandra Morris, Michael Crouch
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Random House
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war’s most devastating yet unknown tragedies.

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Told in alternating points of view, and perfect for fans of Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize-winning , Erik Larson’s critically acclaimed #1 New York Times bestseller Dead Wake, and Elizabeth Wein’s Printz Honor Book Code Name Verity, this masterful work of historical fiction is inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff–the greatest maritime disaster in history. As she did in Between Shades of Gray,, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.

Review:

Salt to the Sea is my first Ruta Sepetys novel. I was so very impressed by it. It was such a heartbreaking, beautiful story. I loved the way it switched back and forth between the characters. The way their sad stories intertwined was special. I truly loved listening to the way the narrators brought life to the story. Whether you read or listen to this book, you’re in for an amazing book.


More Than Words
Author: Mia Sheridan
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed herJessica’s first real, dreamy kiss—and then disappeared from her life without a word.

Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire.

But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need—and something that looks dangerously like love.

Review:

Years ago, I read Archer’s Voice. That book broke me. I have several other of Mia Sheridan’s books, but have yet to read them. I guess I’ve been scared of the emotional impact. I decided to brave her writing again with More Than Words. There were several things I loved about this book. That initial connection between Jessie and Callie was so sweet. I loved that fate brought them back together, and that they got more than one chance to be together. I also loved how Jessie’s job and her interpretations paralleled with her relationship with Callen. The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was Callen’s womanizing and drinking. I guess I’m just over that in romances right now. It made it harder for me to emotionally connect to Jessie and Callen’s relationship. Other than, I enjoyed reading More Than Words.