Review: Trust by Kylie Scott

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.                                                                                                                                                                         After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen year old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.                                                                                                                                 While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.                                                                                                                             An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

Amazon US | Amazon Aus | Amazon UK | iBooks US | iBooks Aus | Kobo | Nook

My Review:

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

Hmm…This was one of those books that’s hard to rate. It was a book I couldn’t put down, and yet, there were some things that bothered me about it. I’m going to break this review into things I loved about Trust and things I didn’t.

Things I loved:

  • I’ve read one other contemporary romance from Kylie Scott, but this book was way different from that one. It was way more raw and emotion filled. I don’t think I would have realized the two books had the same author if her name wasn’t on the front of the cover. I liked this darker novel more.
  • The explosive beginning of Trust was a great way to set up the entire book. The descriptions of everything that went on and Edie’s thoughts throughout the whole event were amazing. I loved how the incident changed Edie and set her on a different path.
  • Edie’s transition to public school opened so many new doors for her. I loved the new friends she made, and how it allowed her to reconnect with John. The friendship they developed slowly morphed throughout the story and I liked that path it took.

Things I didn’t love:

  • Edie was a “bigger” girl. She described herself as being flabby around the middle with thunder thighs. I could understand her body consciousness and thoughts relating to her body. I thought they represented true thoughts and feelings of a teenage girl who was larger in size than her peers. I appreciated that, but I also wanted more. If a writer’s going there with an overweight main character, I like to see some self-realization for the character. Maybe her body isn’t “perfect” in societal standards, but she comes to realize her body is just as beautiful as everyone else’s. I wanted something teenage girls who read this could learn something from body wise. I didn’t get that with this book.
  • It was a little weird was John’s character was a drug dealer. He was super popular and wanted by all the girls — for being a hot drug dealer??? That blew my mind. I get the cute part, but are drug dealers really super popular in high school these days? I don’t remember girls lusting after drug dealers in my high school years, but maybe I was oblivious to who was dealing drugs. Drugs and alcohol were prevalent in this book, and weren’t really a big deal.
  • Some moments I wasn’t sure I believed John’s attraction to Edie. It had nothing to do with her weight and everything to do with not having his point of view in this book. On one hand, John did a lot of sweet things for Edie. On the other, his only tell that he might have wanted more than friendship was the couple of times he checked out her boobs. Having his point of view included would have helped clear up John’s feelings a little better.

Overall, Trust was a book I truly enjoyed reading. It was dark, mature YA romance with a great cast of characters. I would love for this book to lead to a series. I was really interested in Anders and Hang’s relationship, and would love to learn more about them.

TRUST by Kylie Scott (Official Book Trailer) from FILM 14 on Vimeo.

Excerpt:

“You were going to give it up to Duncan Dickerson?” he sneered. “Are you serious?”

I halted, staring at him. This was not good. “How do you know about that?”

“Anders overheard you and Hang talking.”

“Bastard.”

“Well?” he demanded, acting all authoritarian. Idiot.

“To be fair, I didn’t know his last name was Dickerson,” I said. “That’s unfortunate. Though, I wasn’t actually planning on marrying him, so . . .”

“Not funny.”

I shrugged.

“You barely know the guy.”

“Um, yeah. None of your concern. We’re not talking about this.” How mortifying! My face burned bright. People should just gather around and cook s’mores. “I appreciate that we’re friends. You mean a lot to me. But this is going to have to fall under definitely none of your damn business, so go away please.”

“We’re talking about it.” He advanced a step.

“No we are not.” And I retreated.

“You were going to let a complete stranger touch you.” Advance.

Retreat. “People do it all the time. You do it all the time.”

“But you don’t,” he said, taking the final step, backing me up against the side of his car and getting all in my face. “Edie, this is your first time we’re talking about. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, and it’s going to be messy and painful and probably horribly embarrassing and I just want it over and done with.” I tried to meet his eyes but failed, settling for a spot on his right shoulder. “You’re not a girl; you wouldn’t understand. Also, last time I checked, you’re not the gatekeeper of my hymen, John Cole. So back the fuck off.”

He said nothing.

Deep, calming breaths. “Look, someday I’ll meet someone I really like and we’ll have a deep and meaningful relationship and go at it like bunnies. But I don’t want to be the dumb virgin in that scenario.”

He slowly shook his head.

“Also, I do not want to die a virgin.”

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Hey, you and I both know death can occur at any time.”

“This is crazy.”

“I’m seeing a therapist!” I told his shoulder. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a little bit messed up these days. It’s hard for me to trust people. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”

He screwed up his face at me. “Wha—”

“I’m just trying to be practical.”

“Well, you’re being ridiculous. None of this makes sense.”

“It does to me.”

Again, he said nothing.

In fact, he said nothing for so long that I finally looked him in the eye. The anger had left him, replaced by an emotion I didn’t recognize. Worst of all, he still smelled like summer. A little sweat and the open night air, everything I loved. Liked. I meant liked.

“What?” I said, finally.

He let loose a breath. “I’ll do it.”

About the Author:

kyliescottimageKylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | FACEBOOK FAN GROUP | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS | NEWSLETTER

 

 

Review: After We Collided by Anna Todd

After We Collided
Series: After, #2
Author: Anna Todd
Narrator:  Elizabeth Louise, Shane East
Publication Date: November 25, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Tessa has everything to lose. Hardin has nothing to lose;except her. Life will never be the same…

After a tumultuous beginning to their relationship, Tessa and Hardin were on the path to making things work. Tessa knew Hardin could be cruel, but when a bombshell revelation is dropped about the origins of their relationship – and Hardin’s mysterious past – Tessa is beside herself.

Hardin will always be Hardin. But is he really the deep, thoughtful guy Tessa fell madly in love with despite his angry exterior; or has he been a stranger all along? She wishes she could walk away. It’s just not that easy. Not with the memory of passionate nights spent in his arms. His electric touch. His hungry kisses…

Still, Tessa’s not sure she can endure one more broken promise. She put so much on hold for Hardin – school, friends, her mom, a relationship with a guy who really loved her, and now possibly even a promising new career. She needs to move forward with her life.

Hardin knows he made a mistake, possibly the biggest one of his life. He’s not going down without a fight. But can he change? Will he change… for love?


I am honestly shocked I continued reading this series after how I felt about the first book in the series, After. I only continued because the cliffhanger ending caught my interest. I had to know what was next.

The beginning of After We Collided surprised me. I actually enjoyed it. I think maybe it was due to the fact that both Hardin and Tessa were miserable being apart from each other. I liked how they went about their separate ways. And then they reconnected…

Ugh. How many different times and ways can Tessa and Hardin break up only to make up over and over again? This is still a horribly abusive, messed up relationship. I should want them to be together since that’s where this series is heading, but I don’t. I want Tessa to move on. F’ing Trevor is looking like a decent choice, but Zed has to go.

Tessa may be a smart girl, but she makes the dumbest decisions. Her relationship with Hardin causes more pain than a relationship should, and she keeps coming back for more. Then, there’s her almost relationship/friendship with Zed. Why would she confide in Zed about Hardin when Zed’s interested in her? He’s not going to give her good advice. She needs a real friend to knock some sense into her.

Hardin is deeply troubled. He needs psychological help. I want him to get some therapy. After that, maybe he can meet someone other than Tessa and start a healthy relationship. I did appreciate getting his point of view in this book, though. It almost — and I mean almost — made me like him. He spent too much time being a jerk and making horrible decisions for me to like him.

Like I said before, Zed needs to go. The Hardin-Tessa-Zed love triangle made me sick. I really hated it. It adds even more unnecessary drama. Plus, Zed’s just as bad as Hardin. He was in on the bet thing. He creates drama on purpose. How does Tessa not get it?

I don’t know if I can continue this series any further. Tessa and Hardin’s relationship is so volatile and unhealthy. Listening to the story can be addicting, but it’s also stressful. But who am I kidding? I’ll keep reading because I just have to know what more Anna Todd could come up with next for these characters who don’t seem to learn from their actions.

Review: Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Damaged Like Us
Series: Like Us, #1
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: K.B. Ritchie
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, M/M Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Don’t date your bodyguard. 
It was the one rule he had to break.

Maximoff Hale is a force of nature. A ship unwilling to be steered. Headstrong, resilient, and wholly responsible — the twenty-two-year-old alpha billionaire can handle his unconventional life. By noon, lunch can turn into a mob of screaming fans. By two, his face is all over the internet.

Born into one of the most famous families in the country, his celebrity status began at birth.

He is certified American royalty.

When he’s assigned a new 24/7 bodyguard, he comes face-to-face with the worst case scenario: being attached to the tattooed, MMA-trained, Yale graduate who’s known for “going rogue” in the security team — and who fills 1/3 of Maximoff’s sexual fantasies.

Twenty-seven-year-old Farrow Keene has one job: protect Maximoff Hale. Flirting, dating, and hot sex falls far, far out of the boundary of his bodyguard duties and into “termination” territory. But when feelings surface, protecting the sexy-as-sin, stubborn celebrity becomes increasingly complicated.

Together, boundaries blur, and being exposed could mean catastrophic consequences for both.

The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people who protect them. Damaged Like Us can be read and enjoyed without reading any of Krista & Becca’s other novels.


Thank God they’re back!

I know the blurb says the Like Us series can be read without reading any of Krista and Becca Ritchie’s other books, but let’s be honest. There’s no way anyone who hasn’t read the Addicted /Calloway Sisters series could be near as excited for Damaged Like Us as fans of those series. I binge read the entire series last year, and the countdown to release day began the minute I heard Moffy was getting his own book. I couldn’t wait to be back in that world. When Damaged Like Us finally showed up on my Kindle, I dropped everything to read it because I needed more of the Hales, Cobalts, and Meadows in my life.

I found Damaged Like Us to be just as addictive as Krista and Becca Ritchie’s other novels. I immediately loved adult Moffy. I got to know him a little bit as a kid in previous novels, but it was so rewarding getting to know the adult version in this book. He was exactly who he should have been, who I would have pictured him to be. Moffy had a quiet strength. He was there for his family members in the most unconditional way. He put them first, even when he shouldn’t. Sometimes that meant he suffered, but that didn’t really bother him. Or at least it didn’t bother him until Farrow was assigned to be his body-guard.

Farrow was dreamy. He was tough and tatted on the outside, but kind of a traditionalist on the inside. I loved that about him. I also loved that he knew what he wanted in all aspects of his life and went for it. The way he pushed Maximoff’s boundaries made Farrow a great match for him.

I wanted more of this book. I felt like it flew by and ended before I was ready for it to be over. I know that Moffy and Farrow are getting a second book and that I’ll get more of their story, but I wanted this one to be longer. It left me with some major questions about how things progressed after the end. It’s me being selfish, but I want to know now!

I’m really hoping that this series is not going to be just Moffy’s story, but will also include each of the Hale, Cobalt and Meadows kids. Reading about them again only furthered my curiosity! I am especially interested in Jane’s story. I got to see a bit of her life in Damaged Like Us, but there has to be more to her story! The little I read about her didn’t do her justice. I needed inside her head! Same for Xander. I have so many questions about what’s next for him.

If you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed Damaged Like Us. I’m so, so happy Krista and Becca Ritchie decided to write this spin-off series.

Review: 27: Dropping the Gloves by Mignon Mykel

27: Dropping the Gloves
Series: Enforcers of San Diego, #1
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: July 5, 2017
Publisher: Mignon Mykel
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Hockey defenseman, Jordan Byrd, has made some mistakes. Not fighting harder to be in his daughter’s life was one, but the other was thinking that life would be somehow better without his best friend in it. However, as badly as he’d like Marlo back in his life, the last five years showed him a side of her he never imagined possible.

At twenty-two, Marlo Byrd unexpectedly finds herself divorced and raising an infant on her own. Jordan had been her everything—her family and her protector—until one day he decided he wanted out. No calls. No letters. Nothing. She managed to find solace in the team that was once his…until five years later, when Jordan’s traded back.

Back in the Enforcers locker room, Jordan is quickly put in his place—he may have a spot on the team, but his ex has a spot in the “family.”

Everyone has an opinion on what happened between Jordan and Marlo.

Did Jordan leave Marlo, and never look back, wearing the ‘deadbeat dad’ label?
Or did Marlo hold back on Jordan, wanting to hurt him the way he hurt her?

Gloves will be dropped.
Fights will commence.
But who will come out the victor?


Hockey romances are my favorite sports romances. I’m not a huge hockey fan, but the guys in these books make me swoon hardcore. One of my newer favorite hockey romance authors is Mignon Mykel. I enjoy her writing style and the characters she brings to life. I love her Prescott Family series, so I was excited to read 27: Dropping the Gloves, the first book in her new Enforcers of San Diego series.

27: Dropping the Gloves was a harder read for me. It started out in a devastating way and immediately broke my heart. From the prologue, I felt sad for both Jordan and Marlo. In one way, I felt like Jordan might have done the right thing at first. In another, I thought he was an idiot. Then, I got Marlo’s perspective, and things got even more emotional. These two went through some major stuff together and apart. I was so happy they were getting another chance to be together.

While I loved this second chance romance, but I did have some things I wanted from 27: Dropping the Gloves that I didn’t get. It all comes down to the length of this book. I wanted it to be longer. It was only 140 pages long, so more of a novella in length. That didn’t give enough time for Jordan’s grovelling in my opinion. Marlo was quicker to accept Jordan back than I liked. The guy needed to grovel longer and harder. That was really my only complaint about this book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this first look at the Enforcers of San Diego series. I loved the characters, and I’m excited to see what next for the Enforcers players.

Review: Darkness Matters by Jay McLean

Darkness Matters
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Publisher: Jay McLean
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

It’s the same old story, really.
Good versus evil.
Heroes versus villains.
Light versus dark.
For two years, college freshman Noah Morgan lived his life somewhere in the middle, fighting darkness and light, always searching for answers to a single question:
Why, Noah, why?
The same three words keep him up at night, struggling for air while gripping a plastic cylinder containing white pills to match the white label with his name printed in ink as deep and dark as his memories—memories that turned him into a recluse.
A shut-in.
An introvert.
Luckily for him, that’s not how the girl next door sees him.


I’m sort of at a loss of what to tell you about Darkness Matters. The blurb only gives you a peek at what this book is about. It doesn’t even give you a whole peek, only half a peek. There’s so much more to this story than the blurb even hints at. I want to tell you so much about it, but I refuse to give anything away. I’m only going to give you the bare bones here.

Jay McLean is a writer who always surprises me. I’m never exactly sure what I’m in for when I begin one of her novels. I definitely didn’t expect what Darkness Matters delivered. It was brilliantly written (which I expected because, come on, it’s Jay McLean I’m talking about here). The story was told in three different points of view, and alternated between past and present. Bits and pieces of the characters’ past and current situation were dealt out slowly throughout the story. I thought I knew where the characters were coming from or where they were headed, but I was always missing something due to those pieces. It made for amazingly shocking moments.

The main characters, Noah and Andromeda (Andie), were beautifully broken. Both had a darkness in their past that clouded their present. Each was fighting for life in a different way. Their meeting wreaked havoc in their lives. Noah and Andie’s  attraction to each other threatened the stability each strove for. Darkness Matters wasn’t exactly their loves story, but how knowing each other changed their lives for the better.

I know I mentioned a third point of view above, but I’m going to let you discover that person on your own. I was surprised by the point of view, and it shaped the story in a way I never would have expected. It still leaves me with a lot of questions.

Heck, the whole book leaves me with questions. I’m not sure if Jay McLean means for “The End” to be the end for these characters, but I hope not. There is so much more I’m dying to know! I am 99.9% positive that everyone who reads this book will feel that way. There were so many revelations made toward the end, my head was spinning. I didn’t get all the answers I wanted. I need more!

Darkness Matters was an addicted read that I loved. It was gritty and raw, but surprisingly sweet and inspiring. If you’re a fan of new adult novels and haven’t read a book by Jay McLean book yet, you’re missing out. I’ve read all but one of her novels and highly recommend all of them, especially Darkness Matters.

Review: Defy by L.J. Shen

Defy
Series: Sinners of Saint, #0.5
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Defy is a smutty, insta-love, insta-lust short novella. Defy is a prequel to Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1). It is recommended, but unnecessary, to read Defy before reading Vicious.

First included in Hot for Teacher Anthology: 19 Stories Filled with Lust and Love.

My name is Melody Greene, and I have a confession to make.
I slept with my student, a senior in high school.
Multiple times.
I had multiple orgasms.
In multiple positions.
I slept with my student and I enjoyed it.
I slept with my student and I’d do it all over again if I could turn back time.
My name is Melody Greene, and I got kicked out of my position as a teacher and did my walk of shame a la Cersei Lannister from the principal’s office, minutes after said principal threatened to call the cops on me.
My name is Melody Greene, and I did something bad because it made me feel good.
Here is why it was totally worth it.


If you read the blurb for Defy, it mentions that it should be read before Vicious. Well, I didn’t do that. In fact, I read the entire Sinners of Saint series backward starting with Ruckus. I’m glad I did that. Why? Well, to be honest, student-teacher romances are not my thing. I’m not sure I would have picked up this awesome series if I had read Defy first. The only reason I read it was curiosity. Vicious and Ruckus mention Melody and Jaime’s relationship a lot, and I had to know more about Jaime since he’s one of the HotHoles.

Defy was a good read. I still wasn’t 100% on board with the student-teacher aspect, but it was fun to see how Melody and Jaime ended up together. I liked how it played out. I could almost —almost— understand why Melody broke her code of conduct. It helped that Jaime was eighteen, more manly, and more mature than most high school seniors.

The one thing that could have maybe made me fall in love with Defy would have been Jaime’s point of view. Unlike the other books in this series, we don’t get it. 🙁 I liked reading Defy from Melody’s point of view, but Jaime’s would have added so much more to it!

Overall, Defy was a good, short novella that added to my enjoyment of the Sinners of Saint series.

Review: Vicious by L.J. Shen

Vicious
Series: Sinner of Saint, #1
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.
The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares.
He is a brilliant lawyer.
A skilled criminal.
A beautiful liar.
A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.
Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious

She is a starving artist.
Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.
Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down.
She paid the price.
Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.
That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t.
So she hates me. Big fucking deal.
She better get used to me.


This book totally did it for me. I’m not really sure how or why, but it did. I think it may have had to do a little bit with having read the second book in this series, Ruckus, first. I got a little bit of a preview of Emilia and Vicious’ relationship in that book. It made me really curious to how they ended up together. I loved discovering how it all happened.

Without any prior knowledge of Emilia and Vicious’ tumultuous past, I’m not sure I would have fell in love with Vicious like I did. Vicious is a tough character to love. He’s a complete alpha male with control issues. He wants everything done his way and in his time. There’s so much hate living inside him, and it’s constantly spewing out. It’s directed at everyone and everything. I hated him most of the time. Well, all of the time except for when it came to Emilia. I didn’t always like what he did to her, but his heart was its purest when he was giving into his feelings for her. It gave me hope for Vicious. And when I learned his story, I couldn’t help fall all the way in love with the jerk.

Emilia may have been artsy fartsy and put her family’s needs first, but that didn’t make her a wilting flower. She was a tenacious and strong woman. Emilia had no problem standing up to Vicious and challenging him. I loved how she brought out his soft side. Their love-hate relationship created a potent chemistry. It didn’t matter whether they were loving or fighting, there were always sparks.

One thing I really enjoyed in Vicious was getting to see more of the past I got a glimpse of in Ruckus. Learning about what went down in high school from Emilia and Vicious’ point of view was very different from learning it from Rosie and Dean’s. I got to see more sides of the story and how it wove together. I loved that. I made me even more curious to read Jaime and Melody’s story in Defy.

If you’re a fan of dark and gritty new adult romances, I highly recommend Vicious and the Sinners of Saint series. It’s a series I’ve fallen in love with.