Review: Mixed Up Love by Natasha Madison

Mixed Up Love
Author: Natasha Madison
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: I won this book through an Amazon Giveaway. This review is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Hunter
When my business partner asked me to do him a favor, I had no idea he was sending me on the blind date his mother had arranged for him.
I walked in the bar, saw the woman drinking her third martini, and knew I was in for an eventful night.
After the unexpected second date, she didn’t know my real name or who I really was. By that time, the lie was too far gone, and I wanted her too much to admit the truth.

Laney
It’s not every day you find out your ex-boyfriend is engaged.
I shouldn’t have agreed to the blind date, but I wasn’t in any position to turn down a night out when my mother insisted.
I will admit, I definitely shouldn’t have ordered that fourth martini before said blind date even arrived.
The man turned out to be swoon worthy, handsome, condescending—a perfect distraction.

Then I found out he was a liar.

I’ve never been in over my head to this degree.

Then again, I’ve never been mixed up in love.


Mixed Up Love is a hard book to review. To make thing easier, I’m going to showcase what I liked and didn’t like.

Likes:

  • Laney was an established woman who wasn’t looking for love.
  • Hunter’s attempt at wooing Laney.
  • Laney and Hunter’s chemistry. That had that instant connection.
  • The humor. This book had me laughing and smiling so much. There some great moments between Laney and Hunter.
  • Anthony and Sandy. Those two cracked me up.
  • Laney’s family.
  • Hunter’s mom.

Dislikes:

  • Hunter’s first chapter. Too much job detail for my liking. That added to his gruff personality made a bad first impression.
  • Hunter’s co-workers. They just seemed like additions to the story I didn’t really need.
  • Hunter’s obsession with Laney’s security. It was a little too crazy?
  • The epilogue. I didn’t like what Hunter did at the time he did it. I thought it was rude.
  • Hunter’s mom in the second epilogue.

Here’s the thing. I feel like I enjoyed this book more than my rating shows. Hunter and Laney were amazing together. I loved their relationship. It was just all of the other stuff I didn’t like. I didn’t like the beginning or the end of the book. I didn’t need all the stuff and people with Hunter’s work. For some reason, those things stick out in my mind more than what I did like after finishing the book. I wish it wasn’t that way, but it is. I would still recommend this book because that middle was great.

Review: Three Little Lies by Sara Ney

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

BOOK 1: THINGS LIARS SAY

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

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

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

BOOK 2: THINGS LIARS HIDE

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

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

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

BOOK 3: THINGS LIARS FAKE

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Review: Hard Sell by Lauren Layne

Hard Sell
Series: 21 Wall Street, #2
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

He’s a Wall Street wolf. She’s been hired to tame him. From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne comes a wildly sexy novel of business and pleasure.

Twenty-eight and filthy rich, Matt Cannon is the youngest broker on Wall Street. He may be a “boy wonder,” but he’s every inch a man. Ask any woman—any night. But when Matt’s latest fling makes scandalous headlines, his clients get anxious, and his bosses at Wolfe Investments level an ultimatum: keep his assets zipped, get a “real” girlfriend, and clean up his act. Only one woman can help Matt with something this hard.

For PR genius Sabrina Cross, the best fixer in Manhattan, playing Matt’s steady is going to be a challenge, even if it’s just for show. They already have an explosive history, she can’t stand the cocky party boy, and worse—she can’t stop thinking about him. So who’ll dare to break her “no touching” rule first? Because when that happens, Matt and Sabrina’s game of let’s pretend will get so hot it could set both their reputations on fire.


Any time Lauren Layne releases a new book, I always have to read it. She’s never let me down. Her writing is always fun, witty, and engrossing. Once I start one of her books, I don’t want to put it down. That’s how I felt about the second book in the 21 Wall Street series, Hard Sell.

Hard Sell was a frenemies to lovers / fake relationship romance. Matt and Sabrina have a sordid past. They share a best friend and some nights they don’t want to admit to. Matt and Sabrina’s lives are tied together, and become even more so, when Matt needs Sabrina’s help to save his image. Sabrina agrees to be Matt’s fake girlfriend as long as they keep things strictly platonic. Matt agrees, but that’s easier said than done for both of them.

I simply adored Hard Sell. It had some of the wittiest dialog I’ve read in a while. Matt and Sabrina really knew how to banter with each other. I loved the love-hate thing they had going on. I loved it even more when their relationship took a turn toward romance.

Matt and Sabrina were such great characters.They had more in common than they thought. Both were strong, stubborn characters. They were influenced by their upbringings and parents in different ways that led to similar results. I loved the resistance they both had to being in a relationship and marriage, and how their fake relationship with each other changed that.

It was hard for me to find any faults with Hard Sell. I only found myself wanting more. I really would have liked to have learned more about how Sabrina got to where she was in her job. That was probably the only piece missing for me. Well, I wouldn’t have minded a longer ending. That’s just because I didn’t want the story to end, though. I’m very thankful Kennedy and Kate still have a book coming in this series. At least I have another Lauren Layne contemporary romance to wait for!

Review: Sleepover by Serena Bell

Sleepover
Author: Serena Bell
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Elle and Sawyer just look so happy. Which is, of course, exactly how they end up.

But it’s not an easy trip.

It was just supposed to be once.

It was just supposed to be sex.

But now they’re next-door neighbors. And before they can put up their fences—or defenses—their eight-year-old sons have forged an unstoppable friendship.

They’re still reeling—Elle, from a Facebook message she was never supposed to see, Sawyer, from the kind of death it’s hard to live through. A relationship seems like a terrible idea. So they make a deal. One more blazing hot night, at Elle’s ex-husband’s wedding.

You know, because the “just once” thing has worked out so well for them …


You want to know the question I asked myself the minute I finished reading Sleepover? Why haven’t I read more of Serena Bell’s books? I’ve only read one other of her books and I absolutely loved it. I felt the same way about Sleepover. It was

charming,
delightful,
darling,
clever,
amusing.

I could go on and on with words that described what a good book this was. I cherished every moment I read it. I loved the story line.

Sleepover is the story of two single parents falling in love unexpectedly for the second time in their lives. Elle is a newly divorced mother who doesn’t know if she’ll ever find a man who will love her the most. Sawyer is a stoic single father who lost his wife a couple of years ago. Elle and Sawyer randomly met in a bar outside of town a few months ago and spent one night together. They never planned on repeating that night. A wrench is thrown in their plans when Sawyer and his son move in next door to Elle and her son. Sawyer and Elle are both slightly uneasy about the situation, but their sons have found the best friends they have always wanted. Soon Sawyer and Elle are spending way more time with each other than they ever planned.

Oh my goodness. This has to be one of the sweetest second chance at love stories I have ever read.Their first connection might have been a bit x-rated of hook up, but the rest of their story was one of bonding, friendship, and love.

I loved Elle and Sawyer.These people had lived through some tough times. Elle had her pride and self-confidence knocked. Sawyer had decided he would never love another woman again. It was so nice to read about two adults taking the time to get to know and care about each other. They built each other back up again.

Another amazing thing about this book was the children. Madden and Jonah added so much to this story. Their friendship was that instant connection that lasts forever. I loved how they helped bring their parents together. Like I said before, so sweet!

Obviously, Sleepover was a book I more than enjoyed. It had everything I love in a contemporary romance. I highly recommend it.

Review: America’s Sweetheart by Jessica Lemmon

America’s Sweetheart
Series: Real Love, #5
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Old flames burn bright. When a disgraced starlet returns home to lick her wounds, she discovers that her high school sweetheart is just as tempting as ever.

“No one writes big-hearted bad boys like Jessica Lemmon!”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster

Allison: When I left for California, I gave myself a new name and never looked back. Now my carefully crafted good-girl image is getting torn to shreds in the press thanks to my Oscar-winning A-hole of an ex-boyfriend. So I escape to the only safe haven I know and trust—my hometown—to take a breather while I plot my triumphant Hollywood comeback. However, when I arrive at my parents’ house, Jackson Burke answers the door instead. And suddenly the past comes rushing back. . . .

Jackson: First kiss. First time. First love. Yep, Allison Murphy and I shared a lot of firsts back in the day. When she left, she took half my heart with her. Now she’s back in town, and even though I swore I’d keep my distance, her parents hired me to remodel their house, and I’m going to finish the job. But one hot kiss later, suddenly the press is calling us the next big celebrity couple. Sure, I’ll play the part, for Allison’s sake—but I refuse to let her close enough to break my heart all over again. . . .


I have mixed feelings about America’s Sweetheart. I’m not sure I agree with the structure of this book. It started out in Jackson’s point of view. I loved Jackson. He was a totally normal, nice guy. He made his dreams a reality with the exception of losing “the one” back in college. Jackson loved his small town life, and he made me love it, too. I felt bad for him that he lost Allie and still hadn’t quite been able to move on from her. When she showed up back in town, I was excited for Jackson and what it could mean. I loved how he handled everything and his part in this book. What I didn’t love was Allie’s personality.

I didn’t like what I met of Allie through Jackson’s perspective. She actually seemed like a pretty horrible person. I know that’s because I didn’t know her side of the story. She didn’t have a POV at fist. All of her actions really bugged me. It made me wonder how Jackson could still be so attracted to her. I hated her. Then, half way into the book, bam! Her point of view shows up. It threw me off guard because there wasn’t a heading or anything letting me know of the change. As I got to know and understand her, I understood she was just as weary and hurt as Jackson. I liked what she learned about herself after returning home. I still wasn’t 100% sold on her, but I felt better about Jackson’s feelings for her than I had during his POV…until I didn’t again. The way she messed with Jackson’s feelings and was constantly acting was messed up. Her priorities were never straight. Once they were, I was over her.

To sum it up, I loved Jackson. I liked his relationship with Allie when she wasn’t being Nina. I never truly connected with Allie nor did I end up liking her. The only thing that might have made this one better me was if Allie’s POV had been mixed in with Jackson’s at the beginning. Maybe then she would have seemed like she had more heart or something. If it wasn’t for Jackson, I wouldn’t have liked this book at all. That makes me sad because I’m a fan of Jessica Lemmon’s writing.

Review: The Left Side of Perfect / The Right Side of Forever by Meghan Quinn


The Left Side of Perfect
Series: The Perfect Duet, #1
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: August 30, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

For better or for worse,’til death do us part . . .

The better captured me; she’s who stole my heart.
And made me realize I couldn’t live without this woman.
The worse of her took my breath away–kicked me when I was down and twisted me into a million knots.

When I first met her, I thought she was someone I would never see again.
The second time I ran into her, it was a random coincidence.
The third?
I didn’t know it at the time, but she was the girl I was going to marry.

But life isn’t always perfect. You have to take the better and the worse–even if it means giving her up, having her slip between your fingers, and letting her walk away.

I’m getting married.

This is forever, ’til death do us part.

Review:

Writing this review is going to kill me because there are so, so many things I want to say about The Left Side of Forever and I can’t because I don’t want to spoil it! It’s driving me absolutely crazy. So here are the things I can safely say without ruining this book for anyone…

  • Meghan Quinn has a crafty way of making you want what you thought you didn’t want and would never want.
  • She played with my emotions. I loved this book, but my gut was aching while reading parts of it.
  • This book made me remember why I loved a certain character. He was better than I had him in my memory and that’s saying a lot. I have so much respect for this fictional character!
  • I liked one of the main characters WAY more than I expected to. This person wasn’t one of my favorite characters from the Blue Line Duet. The last I read of the person, I was like, No! Wait! What?” I didn’t get it. I do now.
  • My heart broke with some revelations. I was so crushed. I can’t even get into it because SPOILER!, but man!
  • I loved the new-ish characters. Although, one made me very nervous!
  • There are some AMAZING quotes that people are going to identify with and love. I can imagine that people are going to be using them a ton.
  • THE ENDING!!! I’m devastated. Not in the same way as I was with the Blue Line Duet. That was anger. This is sorrow.
  • I loved this book, and I’m so happy that I have the next book in the duet, The Right Side of Forever waiting for me to start right now.

I know this doesn’t tell you much. It’s not really supposed to. The Left Side of Perfect is one of those books you are going to have to read for yourself — and you’re going to want to! (Just make sure to read the Blue Line Duet FIRST!!!)

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The Right Side of Forever
Series: The Perfect Duet, #2
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: August 30, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In sickness and in health, to love and to cherish . . .

It sounds so simple, to love someone unconditionally.
To give them your heart.

So why is she slowly eating away at my soul with every unanswered phone call, every unread text, and every door left unopened?

She said yes, and yet, in order for her to be with me . . . I need to let her go.

Review:

You know those books you finish and you feel like you don’t even have the words to describe how special they are? The Right Side of Forever was one of those books for me. It was perfect in every way. It made me smile and it made me tear up. It not only made me think of what the characters were going through, but of my own thoughts and actions. The Right Side of Forever brought the journey that started in the Blue Line Duet full circle. I finally understood all of Meghan Quinn’s plot choices and I wouldn’t have her change a thing. The amount of character growth and emotion that went into this book was amazing. The Right Side of Perfect was the perfect conclusion to this story and the one that really started four books ago.

Now, I just have one question for Meghan Quinn…Will she ever write a book about any of these other Air Force guys? I wouldn’t mind a Rowdy story. Just sayin’.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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!

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Review: Crew by Tijan

Crew
Series: Crew, #1
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: August 27, 2018
Genre: (Mature) Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

To survive where I live, you have two options.

You can be a Normal—a cheerleader, jock, member of the debate team, or on the yearbook committee. You pretend everything is normal.

Or you can be crew.
You insult us? We hurt you.
You hurt us? We really hurt you.
And if you f*ck with us, we will end you.

My name is Bren.
I’m the only female in the Wolf Crew—the best, fiercest, and most dangerous crew there is—and we have a rule: There’s no falling in love.

Well… too late.


Holy moly, people!

I have been a fan of Tijan’s writing since I found Broken & Screwed and then the Fallen Crest High series. Her YA books are my guilty pleasure. They straddle the line between YA and NA, and are like a good teenage TV drama. I was excited to hear Tijan was heading back to the YA realm with Crew. Despite that, I was a tad bit hesitant to start reading it. I had this feeling that it was going to hit hard emotionally. I admit I was slightly scared of where it might take me. I wasn’t sure I was ready.  I knew it was going to be special, though.

Crew was EPIC. I was utterly addicted to it from beginning to end. Crew was classic Tijan mature YA. If you have read Fallen Crest High, Broken & Screwed, or Ryan’s Bed, you will know what I’m talking about it. Crew was all about different relationships, drama, and angst. There were friendships, alliances, romances, enemies, family. You name it, it was involved. I loved being in the world of Crew.

Crew, like all of Tijan’s books, had a strong but emotionally damaged female main character. Bren’s life was filled with a lot of darkness and a little bit of light. She embraced life with the Wolf Crew. The crew wasn’t just something she belonged to, it was her family. It was her way of life. Bren was crew. How that affected her life and choices was fascinating.

The whole story was fascinating! I loved the all the surprises Tijan threw in. I was shocked by how much the crew thing interested me. It opened my eyes to some things and I didn’t expect that. I really loved the dynamic between Bren and the rest of the crew. I specifically loved the impact the crew had on her love life. She had a very special connection with someone and I adored this relationship. Her man was my favorite character in this story. His strength was different from hers, and how he used it was very cool.

There’s so, so much I want to say about Crew! I can’t, though. My lips are sealed. I won’t be spoiling this book for you. If you loved any of those other Tijan books I mentioned earlier in this review, you MUST read Crew. You will LOVE it. Whatever I thought Crew was going to be before reading it was right, but it was also MORE. You’re going to love that more. I did.

**Full-length novel. First book in a YA Series. This is 100% a new series from TIJAN. All new characters in the Tijanverse and is intended for mature audiences only. This book is dark, violent, and not for the faint of heart.** 

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Tijan’s Reader group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TijansFanPage/

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Review: Reckless King by Maya Hughes

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

If There’s No Tomorrow
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Narrator: Jorjeana Marie
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances.Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened.For what she let happen.With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?


If There’s No Tomorrow is the first book I’ve read / listened to by Jennifer L. Armentrout. I’ve seen her books around and thought they probably weren’t my thing. For some reason, I thought all of her books had fantasy elements in them. To be completely honest, the only reason I requested this audio book was because Stephanie told me I should consider this author for my fantasy NA bingo checklist. I chose this one because it was available from library. It wasn’t a fantasy at all. I couldn’t find any reason to be disappointed in that other than it didn’t check off that box because I loved this book. It was a great introduction to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing and it made me actually interested in her fantasy novels.

Keeping with the whole honesty thing I have going on in this review, I have to warn readers that this book was slow going. I’m not sure if that was just because I was listening to it and the narrator had a slow and somber way of delivering the text or if it was actually a slow read. At first, this kind of bugged me because I wanted to yell at her to get on with the story. As the story progressed, it made sense with Lena’s thoughts and feelings. She was so in her head, and the narrator did an excellent job portraying that.

As for the story, I loved it. There were so many different emotions that went along with it. Lena was such a complex character. Her thoughts and feelings about everything and everyone were so well written. She’s a character I was easily frustrated by but completely understood. It was uncomfortable being in her head, but it paid off in the end. Her story was one that needs to be shared. It truly showed how one bad decision can change everything — especially when it comes to drinking and driving. I also felt it did a great job at portraying survivors guilt. I’ve never been in the position to have that type of guilt, but I felt it through Lena.

Overall, I felt that If There’s No Tomorrow is an important, timeless read. It’s geared to young adults, but I think adults would benefit from reading it as well.

Review: Stacking the Deck by C.L. Collier

Stacking the Deck
Series: Discovering Us, #1
Author: C.L. Collier
Publication Date: August 27, 2018
Publisher: C.L. Collier LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Brooke:
I’m convinced happily ever after is a myth. Discovering my husband’s secrets has given me no choice but to take my daughter and start over. Unfortunately, that means living with my parents again. Just when I think life has stacked the deck against me, I run into Ryan. It’s been over a decade, but old feelings quickly reignite. The chemistry between Ryan and me is undeniable, and I’m left wondering if this is the way things were always meant to be.

Ryan:
After being a Marine for fourteen years, I move home to start a business with my brother. The last person I expect to walk through the door is the woman I let go. She’s the one I’ve never forgotten, and thoughts of her kept me going all these years. Now I have the chance to prove my worth to her, but will the odds be stacked against us?


Stacking the Deck is the first book in C.L. Collier’s new Discovering Us series. It’s a second chance romance between high school sweethearts, Brooke and Ryan. They haven’t seen each other since they broke up ten years ago when Brooke went to college and Ryan went to the Marines. Each went their separate ways. Brooke ended up married and had a baby. Ryan spent all those years traveling with the Marine’s. After an unexpected betrayal, Brooke has divorced and moved home to live with her parents. Ryan has also recently returned home to open a gym with his brother. When Brooke and Ryan run into each other for the first time in years, neither of them can deny the spark is still there between them.

This the fourth book C.L. Collier has written and it’s the fourth book of hers I’ve read. With each book I have enjoyed seeing her writing grow and blossom. Each book has been better than the last. I really enjoyed Stacking the Deck. The story felt real, like one that could be happening to someone I know.

Brooke and Ryan were great characters. Brooke was a strong woman. I was surprised by how she wasn’t mopey. Her life had exploded, and while she was upset about it, she was determined to make the best of things. I liked how positive her character felt. She took things at her own pace and did what was right for herself and her daughter. Ryan was a winner. He was basically perfect. Ryan had a few flaws, but they weren’t anything that couldn’t be overlooked. I especially loved how Ryan bonded with Brooke’s daughter. I loved what a great support system he was for Brooke and how he wanted to do things right by her and Ellie.  Brooke and Ryan truly had something special together. I could feel the spark they shared.

This book wasn’t just a romance, though. It’s also the story of Brooke coming to terms with her ex-husbands unexpected betrayal and learning to move on. I liked the ups and downs she went through on her journey of reclaiming her life. I actually would have liked to see more of those moments. I am still curious about what went on between the prologue and the first chapter. I was interested in how she got through the tougher times. To go deeper into this, there were times Brooke was telling the reader about something going on or something she went through and it would have been higher impact for the reader if she was experiencing it in the story rather than telling about it. That is probably more a personal reading preferences than anything. I like to experience all the emotional stuff with a character while reading.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading Stacking the Deck. It was a fun, sweet second chance romance involving high school sweethearts.