Release Day Review: Six Feet Under by Whitney Barbetti

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Six wasn’t the hero I needed.

But he was the man I wanted.

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

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

I was sick, but love didn’t heal me.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Release Day Review: Cold by Max Monroe

Cold
Series: Stone Cold Fox
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: April 22, 2018
Publisher: Max Monroe LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I wanted a second chance. What I got was a repeat.

She was too beautiful. Too smart. And her emerald green eyes saw too much.

I wanted space—she took it away.
I craved her lips—she gave me her kiss.
I screwed it up—she got smart.

Avoiding me is the right thing to do. I’m messed up, tortured, and probably always will be.
But I still want her.
Her mind. Her body. Her heart.
I want it all.

And this time, I’m in control.
No matter what I have to do, I will make her mine.

Note: Levi and Ivy’s story will continue in Book Three—Fox.

Disclaimer: Pregnant women and people with health conditions should use caution when reading Cold. Early readers complain of dehydration due to the inability to stop reading to rehydrate, occurrences of near heart-stopping angst and fevers stemming from too much sexual tension heat.

Disclaimer for the disclaimer: This is a book, not a ride at an amusement park, and is no actual threat to your health.


O.M.G.

I don’t even know where to begin with this book! Cold surprised me in ways I wasn’t prepared for! The romance between Ivy and Levi was there as expected, but there was an evil lurking in the shadows that I didn’t expect. As I got further into the book, I could see where the story was headed, but not the outcome… I’m so shocked! Max Monroe sure knows how to leave a lady hanging. I need Fox right now because I’m dying to know how this story ends!

People, you need to read this series now. Seriously, it’s a well written, addicting ride. It’s totally different from what I’ve read from Max Monroe before. It’s more serious and suspenseful, but it’s still got their romantic genius behind it. I have loved every minute of reading it, and I think you will, too!

PURCHASE COLD NOW:

Amazon US:  http://bit.ly/Cold_aa
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Cold_uk
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Cold_au
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Cold_ca
iBooks: http://bit.ly/Cold_iBooks
Kobo: http://bit.ly/Cold_Kobo
Nook: http://bit.ly/Cold_Nook
GP: http://bit.ly/Cold_GP

STONE COLD FOX TRILOGY SPOTIFY PLAYLIST:  https://goo.gl/tcha9q

FOX (Book #3): Release date May 20th, 2018

PREORDER FOX NOW:

Amazon US:  http://bit.ly/Fox_aa
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Fox_uk
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Fox_au
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Fox_ca
iBooks: http://bit.ly/Fox_iBooks
Kobo: http://bit.ly/Fox_Kobo
Nook:  http://bit.ly/Fox_Nook
GP: http://bit.ly/Fox_GP

Series Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading the Pushing the Limits series by Kate McGarry. I’ve wanted to go back and read this series ever since I read the Thunder Road series. Rather than do individual reviews, I’m going to one big review for all of them.
Here we go!


Pushing the Limits (#1) ★ ★ ★ ★

I was impressed with Katie McGarry’s début novel. It didn’t feel like a début. It was so well written. Echo and Noah were adorable. They both had major family issues they were dealing with. Echo was recovering from an injury that she couldn’t remember. Her injury and memory loss unsettled her family, and caused all kinds of conflict between then. Noah lost his family, and he would do anything to get back the members he can. Echo and Noah were so different, but they related to each other in an important way. I loved how their relationship bloomed, and how they grew together and individually. I was especially fond of Noah. Pushing the Limits was a great start to the series.

Crossing the Line (#1.1) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Lila and Lincoln’s story wasn’t long enough in my opinion! I really, really wish Crossing the Line had been a full length novel. I loved Lila and Lincoln. How they met and kept in contact was so special. I wanted to know even more about their family lives and what made them who they were. They had such great back stories! I also wanted more of their futures.

Breaking the Rules (#1.5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I don’t know why, but this was the hardest book in the series for me to read. It was hard to go back to Echo and Noah’s relationship. I loved those characters so much, and I guess I wanted to believe they got their happy ending after Pushing the Limits. It was hard to see them struggle again. I don’t mean I didn’t like the story because I did. I loved it. Echo and Noah’s story went in a direction I liked. Breaking the Rules was bittersweet to read, but I loved what Noah and Echo learned about themselves and their relationship.

Dare to You (#2) ★ ★ ★ ★

Dare to You is one of my favorite books in this series. I loved Beth and Ryan’s journeys. Both needed to take a look at their lives and families. Beth needed love, support, and guidance when it came to her mother. Ryan needed the same things, but in a different way. He needed to figure out what his dreams were outside of how he had been raised. Beth and Ryan learned so much together, and that’s what made this book so special.

The only reason this book wasn’t a 5 star was because of all of the mystery around what was behind the door in the apartment. I easily guessed it, but I expected it to be something even worse. I don’t know. I just wasn’t a fan of that part of the story for some reason.

Crash Into You (#3) ★ ★ ★ ★

Here’s the thing… I loved Isaiah and Rachel together. Everything about their relationship was so sweet and cute. I adored how he treated her and stuck by her. I also loved getting to know Rachel’s family. There were several of her brothers I would love to read more about. What I didn’t love about this book was the street racing thing. That’s a personal preference. I’m just not into it. It didn’t have too much of an impact on my enjoying this story, though. Isaiah and Rachel were just that perfect for each other. 😉

Red at Night (#3.5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Katie McGarry kills me with these Pushing the Limits novellas. I love them so much, but I always want more story from them!!! Stella and Jonah had such a great, little story. I loved their connection to each other and how it changed both of their lives.

Take Me On (#4)★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Take Me On was another one of my favorites in this series. Haley and West’s story was so much fun to read. I loved seeing the transformation in both their characters throughout the book. West’s were more apparent during the book, while Haley’s came more toward the end. They learned a lot from each other, and it made their relationship stronger. I especially loved West’s discoveries about himself and his family in Take Me On.

Chasing Impossible (#5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This series got better and better as it went along. I loved Chasing Impossible! Logan and Abby totally surprised me! I knew they had great chemistry and already had a little bit of a relationship. What I wasn’t expecting was their back stories! Both surprised me. I loved what the newly revealed did to the story. Chasing Impossible was so much fun to read! This was definitely my favorite book in the series.


Overall, Pushing the Limits was an amazing series. I loved every moment I spent with it. I could go on reading books about every single character in it. I highly recommend reading it.

Release Blitz Review: Stone by Max Monroe

Stone
Series: Stone Cold Fox
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: March 25, 2018
Publisher: Max Monroe LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

First, hate. Then, want. But in the end? Heartbreak.

My celebrity life was supposed to be easy, and this movie was the biggest break of my career. But from the moment Officer Levi Fox gave me a speeding ticket on my way into town, he’s been nothing but a thorn in my side.

Dominant. Cocky. Callous.
Midnight blue eyes, a bad attitude, and muscles for days, he’s exactly the kind of man I should avoid.

But as the Cold, Montana Police Department’s official movie liaison, he’s taken up a permanent place in my life that I can’t shake.

We fight. A lot.

Then, we kiss—and my carefully crafted hate toward him no longer feels so much like hate.

I’m falling
falling
falling.
But how often do alpha-jerks cushion the landing?

Note: Levi and Ivy’s story will continue in Book Two—Cold.

 

Disclaimer: Please ensure your imaginary seatbelt is fastened…tightly. This ride wild, sexy, bumpy, and angsty AF, and without a restraint, you’re liable to get bruised.

 

Disclaimer for the disclaimer: Sadly, there are no imaginary seatbelts for e-reader devices. Therefore, the authors cannot be held accountable for any broken devices due to the emotions STONE’s wild, crazy, fast-paced, and intense story may invoke.


Ivy has come to Cold, Montana to portray Grace, a police officer killed by a serial killer. Not everyone in town is excited for this movie to be made. One of those not excited: Levi Fox. He was Grace’s partner and now the liaison between the police department and movie set. Levi hates the idea of this movie so much that he transfers those feelings to Ivy. Ivy isn’t exactly impressed with him either. The more time Ivy and Levi are forced to spend together, the more their mutual dislike for each other begins to turn into something more.

Max Monroe said this book would be angsty, deeper than their other books and they were right. I really loved the plot of this book. The movie being made about Grace and the serial killer she hunted gave the story a dark vibe. It amped up Levi’s already intense personality. I loved the glimpses of what might have been that he held onto so tightly. I understood his anger and stupidity. It made me want to know more about what actually happened. I also loved his infatuation/hatred of Ivy. That was also really intense. Despite being a jerk, I really liked Levi’s character.

Ivy was a breath of fresh air in this dark tale. Her character brought the light. There was just something about her. She was so positive and upbeat. What I loved most about Ivy was that she wanted to do Grace justice and that she gave Levi as good as she got. Ivy, despite her insecurities, was a strong female lead.

I was so wrapped up in Stone that I didn’t see the end coming. When it ended, I was shocked. Max Monroe left me…with a lot of questions. I know there are two more books coming, but I don’t want to wait. I really, really want to know where Ivy and Levi’s story is going. I am also more curious about the serial killer and Grace’s story. Stone did an excellent job setting the story up and leaving me begging for more. I loved it. I love this new side of the duo that is Max Monroe. Don’t get me wrong, I still want them to write romantic comedies, but this departure was so good, so addicting.

Get STONE for a special release price of $0.99.
(This will be for a very limited time.)

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/Stone_aa
Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Stone_auk
Amazon AU: http://bit.ly/Stone_aau
Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/Stone_aca
iBooks: http://bit.ly/Stone_iBooks
Kobo: http://bit.ly/Stone_Kobo
Nook: http://bit.ly/Stone_Nook
GP: http://bit.ly/Stone_GP

STONE COLD FOX TRILOGY SPOTIFY PLAYLIST:  https://goo.gl/tcha9q

You can now PREORDER the next two books in the series!

o   COLD (Book #2): Release date April 22nd, 2018

o   FOX (Book #3): Release date May 20th, 2018

Review: Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Alphas Like Us
Series: Like Us, #3
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Publisher: K.B. Ritchie
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

His Bodyguard. His Love.

Maverick, know-it-all bodyguard Farrow Keene knows publicly dating American royalty comes with a great cost. Everyone wants a piece of their relationship. And as a protective boyfriend, he’s not here for the malicious hands that grab at their love life and seek to rip them apart.

But Farrow is confident — he’s confident that he could’ve never prepared for the storm to come.

Keep him safe.

Maximoff Hale isn’t a big fan of change. And to regain the charity CEO position he lost, he agrees to a task that he’s always rejected. One that could uproot his unconventional world.

But Maximoff is afraid — he’s afraid of the consequences that could destroy his boyfriend and his family.

Keep him safe.

Changes are on the horizon.
Big.
Messy.
Complicated.
Changes.

Maximoff & Farrow will fight for their forever. And with every breath, they promise that their love story won’t end here.

​​The Like Us series is a true series, one continuous timeline, that follows a family of wealthy celebrities and the people that protect them. You must read Books 1 and 2 before reading Alphas Like Us.


I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Alphas Like Us ever since the end of Lovers Like Us. That ending made me so happy, and I couldn’t wait to see where Maximoff and Farrow’s relationship would go from there.

I’m happy to say that I loved where it went. Alphas Like Us was almost everything I hoped it would be. I loved how Maximoff and Farrow acted as a real couple. I enjoyed how they supported each other through everything and the tenderness they showed. I also liked how Maximoff and Farrow navigated fans and the media. Everything that happened to them in this book felt like it had potential to happen in real life to a celebrity couple. Alphas like Us gave Maximoff and Farrow the chance to grow in their relationship and themselves. I loved being part of that experience.

My only disappointment in Alphas Like Us was that so many questions were left in regards to some of the Hale-Cobalt-Meadows siblings. I wanted some resolution for them now, but those resolutions were left for future books. It made me sad because I wanted to know how things end up for them sooner rather than later! That being said, I know I’m going to answers in the future with Jane’s upcoming book. It’s just torture having to wait!

Alphas Like Us was definitely my favorite book in the Like Us series so far. The first two books felt like a build up to this book, and the pay off was so worth it. I ended up loving Maximoff and Farrow more than I did before. I can’t wait to see them again in Jane’s upcoming book.

Release Day Blast & REVIEW: Memphis by Ginger Scott

We’re celebrating the release of Memphis by Ginger Scott!
Check out my review and an excerpt below!
Memphis by Ginger Scott
A Contemporary New Adult Romance
Release day: February 23
Goodreads
Purchase Now:
AmazonGoogle PlayKobo | iBooks | Barnes & Noble
 

Blurb:
My mom always said it was just something about the way he moved.

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

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

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

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

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

REVIEW:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 About the Author:

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

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

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

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

 

Mini Reviews: Briarwood Academy series by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Today, I’m reviewing an entire New Adult series:

Briarwood Academy
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

Publisher: Little Dove Publishing


Very Bad Things
Book #1

Publication Date: September 7, 2013

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Born into a life of privilege and secrets, Nora Blakely has everything any nineteen-year-old girl could desire. She’s an accomplished pianist, a Texas beauty queen, and on her way to Princeton after high school. She’s perfect…

Leaving behind her million-dollar mansion and Jimmy Choos, she becomes a girl hell-bent on pushing the limits with alcohol, drugs, and meaningless sex.

Then she meets her soulmate. But he doesn’t want her.

When it comes to girls, twenty-five-year-old Leo Tate has one rule: never fall in love. His gym and his brother are all he cares about…until he meets Nora. He resists the pull of their attraction, hung up on their six year age difference.

As they struggle to stay away from each other, secrets will be revealed, tempers will flare, and hearts will be broken.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy…where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Bad Things.


For a debut new adult romance, Very Bad Things was very good. It had everything I would expect a book in this sub genre to have. It was filled with romantic angst. I could feel the deep connection between Leo and Nora. Their chemistry vibrated off the pages. The only thing that I wasn’t sure if I liked or not was Nora’s brother Finn’s storyline. It made me a little sick. This book has been out for a while, so I’m going to add a

**SPOILER / TRIGGER WARNING RIGHT HERE**

There is talk of incest in this book. If you can’t handle it, you may want to avoid reading it.

**END SPOILER / TRIGGER WARNING**

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Nora, Leo, and Leo’s brother Sebastian. It’s made me excited to read more of the story.


Very Wicked Beginnings
Book #1.5
Publication Date: May 11, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A ballerina from the wrong side of town…
The wealthy football star who can’t forget her…

Meet Cuba Hudson, the heartbreaker of Briarwood Academy:

I’m the tattooed bad boy girls think they can change.
I have it all: a football career, a stellar GPA, and a family that owns half of Dallas, Texas. Everyone wants to be me, but all I want is to forget…

Then she shows up.

Dovey Beckham arrives at Briarwood Academy and looks right through me, unconcerned that I rule the school. I wasn’t part of her precious plan, and it drove me insane…so I made it my mission to claim her, to put her notch on my bedpost.

She would be mine and her heart would be broken.

I didn’t plan on falling for her, and I sure as hell didn’t plan on losing her…

Welcome to Briarwood Academy…where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Wicked Beginnings.


Very Wicked Beginnings made me want more of Cuba and Dovey’s story. I liked everything I learned about them in the book. I also like seeing Spider. When I read his book, I didn’t realize his character originated in this series.


Very Wicked Things
Book #2
Publication Date: May 10, 2014

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Born on the poor side of town…

Ballerina Dovey Beckham is a scholarship student at Briarwood Academy, determined to prove she’s more than just a girl with the wrong pedigree. She does whatever it takes to succeed in her endgame, even if it means surrendering her body…but never her heart.

Until the day she meets him, and he rips apart all her well-laid plans. Suddenly, the girl everyone thought unbreakable might just shatter.

Born into wealth and privilege…

Cuba “Hollywood” Hudson is rich, spoiled, and a star football player. With his fast cars and superficial girlfriends, he lives the high-life, hiding his secrets from the world.

Until the day he meets her, and she offers him something he’s never tasted…love.

But once in a lifetime kind of love doesn’t come easy. When trust crumbles and doubts creep in, both will have to decide to either love or let go…forever.

Welcome to Briarwood Academy, where sometimes, only the wicked survive.


Very Wicked Things was so angst filled I almost couldn’t handle it. When I started it, I felt like I missed something from the Very Wicked Beginnings. The story didn’t start off where I was expecting. I still liked Cuba and Dovey as a couple, and I loved their back stories. The only thing I didn’t like was one major ARC of the story. I wasn’t into the whole mob thing and the choice Dovey made. It made me sad. Very Wicked Things stressed me out too much!


Very Twisted Things
Book #3
Publication Date: February 27, 2015

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A sassy violinist who lives next door.
An obsessed rock star who watches her through binoculars.
And one night when she bares it all.
Life will never be the same in Tinseltown.

Vital Rejects front guy Sebastian Tate never imagined his YouTube music video would go viral, sky-rocketing him to acting success in Hollywood. Okay, maybe he did. After all, he’s a cocky dude who knows he’s hot-as-hell, and it was only a matter of time before his stars aligned.

But life in Tinseltown is never what it seems.

After being cheated on by his ex-lover, his only rule to falling in love is simple: Keep Calm and Don’t Do It. So, spying on his mysterious new neighbor with binoculars seems innocent enough, but quickly escalates into an erotic game between two very unlikely people.

Twenty-year-old Violet St. Lyons is a world-renowned violinist who’s lost her mojo on stage. She hides away in a Hollywood mansion, trying to find her way through her twisted past in order to make her future.

He’s the life of the party with girls chasing him down for his autograph. She’s the introvert with a potty mouth who doesn’t even know who he is.

When they meet, stars collide, sparks fly, and clothes come off. Yet, giving his heart to a girl isn’t Sebastian’s plan; falling for a guy who craves attention isn’t Violet’s.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy—Hollywood style—where sometimes the best things in life are VERY TWISTED THINGS.

This book is a standalone even though it’s part of a series. Everything you need to know is in this book. Genre: 18+ Hot New Adult Romance.


Ever since I met boisterous Sebastian in Very Bad Things, I’ve wanted his story. Everything that’s happened from the moment I met him in that first book to the kind of cliffhanger of his ARC in the second book had me wondering who he’d end up with. I liked Violet as his love interest from the moment I met her. Her story started off in a heartbreaking fashion, and I couldn’t wait for Sebastian to fill the hole in her heart. This book was my favorite in the series.

Review: Moonshot by Alessandra Torre

Moonshot
Author: Alessandra Torre
Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance, Suspense,

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Baseball isn’t supposed to be a game of life and death…

The summer that Chase Stern entered my life, I was seventeen. The daughter of a legend, the Yankees were my family, their stadium my home, their dugout my workplace. My focus was on the game. Chase… he started out as a distraction. A distraction with sex appeal poured into every inch of his six foot frame. A distraction who played like a god and partied like a devil.

I tried to stay away. I couldn’t.

Then, the team started losing.
Women started dying.
And everything in my world broke apart.


Before I start my review, I have to comment on the cover of Moonshot. It is absolutely gorgeous and it fits the book perfectly. Honestly, it’s what originally drew me to the book. Now, for the insides of it…

Moonshot is the first book I have read by Alessandra Torre. I heard her stuff was twisty and sometimes infuriating, but I still didn’t really have any expectations for it. Moonshot wowed me right from the beginning. I loved Alessandra Torre’s writing! It put a spell on me because, even when I didn’t like the situations going on, I couldn’t put the book down. I had to know how everything was going to play out.

Moonshot kept me on my toes. For the majority of the book, I had no idea what was going on. I knew by the foreshadowing that it couldn’t be as simple of a story as it seemed. Each twist came out of nowhere. Even the ones I might have guessed ahead of time still managed to shock me. I was so impressed by that.

I loved Tyler and Chase. The evolution of both of their characters throughout this book was cool. Their forbidden romance made me uneasy at times, but I could feel their connection and truly believed in their love.

Another thing I enjoyed about Moonshot was the baseball. It was cool how the story was shaped around it. I loved all the little tidbits about it the were included. When I read that some of the information came from Torre’s husband’s time as a ball boy, I was even more impressed. It was just a really great addition.

So if Moonshot was so brilliant, why the 4 stars? Well, it all had to do with the tropes (yes, there were more than just forbidden love) and situations going on in this book. I won’t say exactly what they were because I don’t want to ruin anything, but they were ones I normally wouldn’t choose to read. They made me slightly uncomfortable.

Moonshot was a great introduction to Alessandra Torre’s writing for me. It was such a fascinating story. I’m looking forward to reading more of her novels.

Review: Ryan’s Bed by Tijan

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TIJAN’S ULTIMATE RYAN’S BED GIVEAWAY:

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Review: Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen

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Midnight Blue, an all-new sexy standalone from LJ Shen is available NOW!

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Midnight Blue
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: January 18th

It should have been easy.

I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death.

I was cherry-picked especially for him. Responsible. Optimistic. Warm. Innocent.

The worst part is that I should have known better.

Alex Winslow. British rock star. Serial heartbreaker. Casanova with whiskey eyes.

“Don’t get near the devil in a leather jacket. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”

Sounds familiar? That’s because it was a headline in a tabloid the second time he got arrested.

Guess what? I didn’t listen.

I signed the contract.

World tour. Three months. Four Continents. One hundred shows.

My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god.

Problem was, my soul wasn’t enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too.

Then he took my heart.

Then he took my all.

Review:

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

Midnight Blue was a darker, angst filled romance. It’s about two people who do not want to fall in love with each other, but cannot fight the pull between them. Indie is a sweet young woman who took a job baby-sitting a volatile rockstar on tour to help erase her family’s debts. Alex Winslow is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic bad boy with only his career to lose. Using Indie is just a game to Alex. She’s his muse, his hanny, and hopefully his next lay. That doesn’t stop Indie from wanting him even when she knows shouldn’t.

You know how sometimes you read a book and you’re struck by the beauty of the words in it? That was Midnight Blue for me. It was a powerful book. Every emotion conveyed was so raw. I don’t know if it was the fact that some of those words were song lyrics or simply because they were so heartfelt. There was such beauty in this story — even when what was happening wasn’t so beautiful.

I wouldn’t say that Indie and Alex’s love story was my favorite. Alex hurt Indie in ways that were almost unforgivable. Their romance wasn’t one for the ages. It wasn’t perfect. But that’s what was special about it. Alex and Indie had painful pasts. Falling in love didn’t magically fix everything, but it showed them that there was more to life than their losses. That was the beauty of Midnight Blue.

I liked Indie’s character. There was something about the way she admitted her shortcomings and wrong decisions that I could relate to. She was also a little quirky, which was fun. It fit her past perfectly, and the rest of the story as well. Her demeanor and style gave Alex the perfect ammunition.

I didn’t like Alex for most of the book. Dude was messed up in all the wrong way. I got it, but it hurt to read his thoughts at times. My favorite part of Midnight Blue was the last 20% of it. This, to me, was the most important part of the story. It was more Alex’s journey than Indie’s at this point, and there was such an honesty to it. His acceptance of his struggles and truths were so well done. I didn’t care for Alex until I got to this point. He proved to me he was more than an arrogant rockstar, and was worthy of Indie’s love.

Overall, Midnight Blue was a well written, emotion packed romance. I could feel the angst coming off the pages. If you’re looking for a rockstar romance with an edge, this is the one for you.

Excerpt:

Nat’s words came back and haunted me like a bad haircut from the eighties. An irrational need to check the goods took over me. It wasn’t like he minded. According to the rumors, his dick had seen more cameras than Kendall Jenner. Slowly—so painfully slowly—my eyes drifted down his sinewy body. I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Whatever I had in mind, though, didn’t come close to the real thing. Thick, long but not atrocious. With thin veins running through its length.

“Nice view?” he groaned, tucking his junk back into his briefs. His profile was glorious. Strong jaw, pouty lips, eyes like sex…

My eyes snapped up when I realized he was talking to me. “I wasn’t…”

“Looking? Yes, you were. Next time take a picture. It lasts longer.” He rolled his zipper upward and flushed the toilet with the toe of his boot. He turned around and squirted soap into his palm, washing his hands almost violently—rubbing between each finger and scratching his knuckles like he wanted to shed his own skin. When he was done, he looked around for a towel.

I cleared my throat, scrambling to regain my wits. “Longer than the glimpse or longer than your performance?”

Casually—so unbearably casually—he wiped his wet hands over my purple dress. I gasped, moving sideways. It looked like he was about to open the door and get out, but before I had the chance to yell at him for using me as a human towel, he slammed me against the wall, bracing both his arms above my head and pinning me to my spot. I let out a shriek of surprise at the sudden proximity.

Alex Winslow is touching me. Willingly, my surprisingly pitiful brain squealed.

Heat rolled off his body, making my back arch and my breath catch in my throat.

“Let’s make one thing clear—I could fuck you to a point of numbness without even breaking a sweat if I wanted to. Now, careful, New Girl. If you don’t keep your distance from me, I think I just might.”
MidnightBlue-AN

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About LJ Shen:

L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.

Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.

She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.

LJShen

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