Review: After Ever Happy by Anna Todd

After Ever Happy
Series: After, #4
Author: Anna Todd
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Tessa and Hardin have defied all the odds, but will their fairy tale ending be turned on its head? AFTER EVER HAPPY…Life will never be the same. #HESSA

It’s never been all rainbows and sunshine for Tessa and Hardin, but each new challenge they’ve faced has only made their passionate bond stronger and stronger. But when a revelation about the past shakes Hardin’s inpenetrable façade to the core—and then Tessa suffers a tragedy—will they stick together again, or be torn apart?

As the shocking truth about each of their families emerges, it’s clear the two lovers are not so different from each other. Tessa is no longer the sweet, simple, good girl she was when she met Hardin—any more than he is the cruel, moody boy she fell so hard for. Tessa understands all the troubling emotions brewing beneath Hardin’s exterior, and she knows she’s the only one who can calm him when he erupts. He needs her.

But the more layers of his past come to light, the darker he grows, and the harder he pushes Tessa—and everyone else in his life—away. Tessa’s not sure if she really can save him—not without sacrificing herself. She refuses to go down without a fight. But who is she fighting for—Hardin or herself?


I liked this book. I can’t believe I’m saying that after my feelings for the previous books in this series. The only thing that’s kept me reading is Anna Todd’s knack for creating cliffhangers that I can’t resist. I’ve hated Tessa and Hardin’s abusive relationship for so long. I honestly can’t believe After Ever Happy had me changing my tune. I actually wanted Tessa and Hardin together in this book! Say what?

I wish Anna Todd would have written this book sooner in the series. After Ever Happy had everything I have wanted from this series in it. Tessa, Hardin and their relationship went places I wish they would have gone a lot sooner. If this somehow had been the second book in the series, things would have been so much better for me!

Tessa finally got a clue. She realized what everyone has known about her relationship with Hardin from the moment they met. I was proud of the growth she made in this book. Tessa finally made the changes she needed to make to change the cycle of her life. The changes Tessa made forced Hardin to confront his faults.

Hardin… Another thing I can’t believe I’m saying, but Hardin wowed me. He redeemed himself in ways I thought would never happen. Hardin did everything in his power to make himself a better person. He won me over, and I would have never ever expected that to happen. I have hated him for so long that I can’t even understand how I can love him now, but I do. Well, just in this book.

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship came full circle in After Ever Happy. It was just as drama filled as the rest of the series, but the drama felt less crazy and more productive. Everything that happened was for a reason and pushed Tessa and Hardin to the place they needed to be. Nothing felt completely unnecessary. (Well, except for Zed. He’s always unnecessary in my book). I was surprised at how much angst I felt, and how I longed for Tessa and Hardin to reach a happy place.

My only big complaint is that the last 25% of this books had way too many time jumps. I felt like an important time frame was skipped in the first two year jump. I liked some of the other jumps, but overall I was left with a lot of questions.

I’m happy I kept reading this series because this book was its salvation in my eyes. It dealt with Tessa and Hardin’s abusive relationship in a more positive way, and was able to show how long it can take to change an unhealthy pattern. I also have to say that Anna Todd’s writing has grown so much from the beginning to the end of this series. I am happy to say that I am finally excited to read more of her books. (Yes, that means I’ll be reading Before and Landon’s books.)

Review: After We Fell by Anna Todd

After We Fell
Series: After
Author: Anna Todd
Publication Date: December 30, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Tessa and Hardin’s love was complicated before. Now it’s more confusing than ever. AFTER WE FELL…Life will never be the same. #HESSA

Just as Tessa makes the biggest decision of her life, everything changes. Revelations about first her family, and then Hardin’s, throw everything they knew before in doubt and makes their hard-won future together more difficult to claim.

Tessa’s life begins to come unglued. Nothing is what she thought it was. Not her friends. Not her family. The one person she should be able to rely on, Hardin, is furious when he discovers the massive secret she’s been keeping. And rather than being understanding, he turns to sabotage.

Tessa knows Hardin loves her and will do anything to protect her, but there’s a difference between loving someone and being able to have them in your life. This cycle of jealousy, unpredictable anger, and forgiveness is exhausting. She’s never felt so intensely for anyone, so exhilarated by someone’s kiss—but is the irrepressible heat between her and Hardin worth all the drama? Love used to be enough to hold them together. But if Tessa follows her heart now, will it be…the end?


In my review for After We Collided (After, #2), I said I didn’t want to continue this series but would because I had to know what crazy stuff Anna Todd could possibly come up with in the rest of the series. I couldn’t think of any crazier situations than she had already written. I mean, how much drama can one couple go through. Evidently, a lot because After We Fell continued the crazy.

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship continued to go through constant emotional upheaval. Their relationship sprung to abusive heights that disgusted me. I have said it in my previous reviews and I’ll say it again, Hardin needs psychological help. He is one messed up jerk. (And that’s putting it lightly.) Anna Todd gives us all these reasons why Hardin is the way he is, but it’s no excuse for how he treats Tessa. I was proud that he came to a couple of realizations in this book, but it didn’t rehabilitate him at all.

I was proud of Tessa a few times in this book. She’s began to realize things as well, and she did a better job of sticking up for herself. Tessa made some good decisions, but she has given Hardin too many chances. I still wish she would find a true knight in shining armor who wouldn’t treat her the way Hardin does. I was happy that she finally understood that Zed wasn’t her friend and how she ended up handling it.

There were several surprises in this book. Most I saw coming, but a couple shocked me. I was left wondering how Tessa and Hardin could know so many horrible people. I don’t think I’ve met this many horrible people in my lifetime. Maybe I have. I could be wrong. I just want to know where all the normal people are in their lives? Well, I guess they do have Landon, Karen and Kimberly.

I hate to say it, but I think the After series is starting to grow on me. Well, parts of it are at least. I know the series won’t end how I want it to, but I can curious to see how it all wraps up. So, yes, I will be reading the other books in this series.

Reviews: Checkmate: This is War / Checkmate: This is Love by Kennedy Fox

Checkmate: This is War
Series: Travis & Viola, #1
Author: Kennedy Fox
Publication Date: October 3, 2016
Publisher: Kennedy Fox Books LLC
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

*An enemies to lovers romance*

Travis King is the worst kind of asshole.
He taunts me for being a good girl and mocks my high standards.
He’s cruel, crass, and has enough confidence to last two lifetimes.
And I hate him.

It wouldn’t matter so much if he were avoidable.

But considering he’s my older brother’s best friend and roommate, I see him more than I’d ever want to.

His sculpted abs and gorgeous eyes are a waste on such an egotistical man, which makes me hate him even more.

Even though I’ve had a crush on him since I was ten, the feelings weren’t mutual and he’s always made that very clear.

He’s always loved getting under my skin and one night against my better judgment, I let him in my bed.

I’ve succumbed to his manwhore ways, but that doesn’t change a thing.

Because the King is about to get played at his own game—and lose.

Checkmate.


Last month, I subscribed to The Bookworm Box. In my box was Kennedy Fox’s Checkmate: This is War. I was excited because this enemies to lovers story sounded right up my alley. It pretty much was.

Checkmate: This is War was incredibly well written. I could feel the hatred and longing rolling off the pages of this book. The banter was extremely witty and sexy. It fit well with the characters and their personalities. I was so happy this book was written in first person dual point of view because I’m not sure I would have liked either character if I hadn’t gotten in their heads. They were both a lot a little crazy.

Viola was your standard nerdy academic. She loved school, books and Harry Potter. She wasn’t completely nerdy, though. Viola was hotter than she knew. All the guys were dying to get a piece of her. (Kind of cliché, but it worked.) Luckily, her older cop brother could keep them away. I loved her cheeky attitude and the fire with which she hated to love Travis. I just wish there had more behind her hate of him. When I finally found out why she hated him, I hate to say it, I thought it was a little lame. It made her seem immature.

Travis was a cocky womanizer. He wasn’t nice. He wasn’t sweet. Honestly, there wasn’t really much to like about him other than his relationship with Viola. He had horrible extracurricular activities (if you know what I mean). Even though they were setting up the story, they weren’t that fun to read when I wanted him with Viola. He was way hotter with Viola.

Viola and Travis’ chemistry was so far off the charts. Heck, I could only imagine how uncomfortable she was after all their nights together. He put her body through the ringer. It was fun to read, but Viola was probably singing Ariana Grande’s Side to Side when she was walking to class.

Even though this book wasn’t exactly perfect in every way, I still enjoyed reading it. I flew through it. The cliffhanger ending left me wanting more and ensured that I immediately downloaded book two to read.


Checkmate: This is Love
Series: Travis & Viola, #2
Author: Kennedy Fox
Publication Date: December 13, 2016
Publisher: Kennedy Fox Books LLC
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopis:

Viola Fisher is the epitome of perfection.
She despises my one-night stands and mocks my less-than-classy habits.
She’s smart, beautiful, and too good to be true.
And I want her.

If she were anyone else, I’d have made my move years ago, but considering she’s my best friend’s little sister, she’s always been off-limits. Not to mention how much she loathes my very existence.

Hating me is her religion, but needing her is mine. Her sexy curves and filthy smart mouth make me want her even more, and I’m more determined than ever to change her mind.

I’ll prove I’m done playing games.
But until then, we’ll continue to play by her rules.
Viola Fisher may have won the battle, but the war isn’t over yet.

Checkmate, princess.


Checkmate: This is Love was full of so much drama! I couldn’t even believe where the cliffhanger led! There were so many crazy surprises waiting in this book. I didn’t expect half the things that took place.

I was way more invested in Travis and Viola’s relationship in this book than I was while reading the first book. That’s because once Travis became a one woman man, he was dedicated to Viola. I was amazed at how loving he was towards her. Their relationship developed into this really cute and sexy thing. I didn’t expect it to be so sweet. They still had their friction filled banter, but there was a noticeable tenderness between them.

Travis wasn’t the only one who surprised me. Viola completely shocked me a couple of times. I wasn’t expecting some of the choices she made. They frustrated me a bit, and I didn’t think they were fair. I guess they did make the story more interesting, though.

The secondary characters really shined in Checkmate: This is Love. Kayla and Courtney were such good friends to Viola. Courtney was hilarious, too. I loved her unnoticed obsession with Drew. He was so cute and clueless.  If I didn’t already know these characters were getting books of their own, I would be begging for them.

Overall, Checkmate: This is Love was a good conclusion to Travis and Viola’s story. Their relationship grew and changed throughout this book, and I loved where they ended up.

Review: Atheists Who Kneel and Pray by Tarryn Fisher

Atheists Who Kneel and Pray
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication Date: July 13, 2017
Publisher: Tarryn Fisher
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Yara Phillips is a wandering muse.

She dates men who need her, but always moves on to something new, never staying in one place for very long.

David Lisey is in need of a muse.

A talented musician lacking lyrical inspiration. When he first sees her, he knows he’s found what he’s been looking for.

Yara believes she can give David exactly what he needs to reach his full potential:
A broken heart.

David’s religion is love.

Yara’s religion is heartache.

Neither is willing to surrender, but religion always requires sacrifice.


Here’s the thing about reading a book by Tarryn Fisher: You never know what you’re going to get. No two of her books are ever the same. Her writing is always evolving and so are the ways she touches her readers.

Atheists Who Kneel and Pray is a romance. It’s probably the softest book Tarryn Fisher has written to date. By softest, I mean most romantic because this book has its edges. There is still pain and suffering, and there are still twists you might not see coming. I don’t want anyone to think Tarryn’s gone completely soft.

I can’t even begin to explain to you how I felt about this book. I was completely addicted to it from the very beginning until the very end. Atheists Who Kneel and Pray made me feel so many different emotions. I loved every moment I spent with it.

Review: Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon

Eye Candy
Series: Real Love, #1
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Jacqueline: As an adult woman–and the vice president of a marketing firm–I shouldn’t be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he’s a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can’t bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend-slash-colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he’s borderline obsessive about “getting me laid.” (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it’s clear: The one I’m falling for is Vince.

Vince: Jackie Butler’s got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn’t bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can’t ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything’s going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.


I love Jessica Lemmon’s writing and books. She’s a go-to author for me when it comes to contemporary romances. I always look forward to her new releases. I was especially excited to find out what she had in store with Eye Candy. I loved the premise behind this book. Co-workers and friends to more? Yes, please!

Unfortunately, Eye Candy didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel the sparks between Jackie and Vince or that I didn’t like them. I thought they were both fun characters who fit perfectly together. I absolutely loved Jackie and Vince together. What bothered me was the way they got together. I was all about the initial push Vince had for making Jackie ask the hot runner out, but once that part was over I didn’t like his “coaching”. It cheapened their experiences together for me. I also didn’t love the big problem in their relationship. Part of it felt like it fit their histories and part of it seemed kind of out there.

I hate sounding negative because I did have fun reading Eye Candy. It’s still a book I would recommend to contemporary romance fans. I’m planning on reading the next book in the series, Arm Candy. Personally, I just wish I would have fallen more in love with Jackie and Vince’s story.

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: Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.


Alex, Approximately has been on my radar since prior to its release. First, it was the adorable cover that caught my eye. Then, it was all the amazing reviews it was getting. Almost every blogger was raving about it. I knew I had to read it, so I requested it from the library. It only took two and a half months for my hold to come through, but I finally got to read it.

The book blurb pretty much gives the story away for Alex, Approximately. That should ruin the story, but it doesn’t. It only adds to the fun of it. While you know who Porter and Bailey really are, they don’t. Their relationship progresses naturally from enemies to friends to more. It was cute and sweet and oh so much fun to read.

This book is the perfect summer read. It’s set in a beach side town filled with great destinations, shops and the beach itself. Even Bailey’s accessories are somehow perfectly fitting for the scene. The setting adds so much to this story, and made me crave a trip to the beach.

Bailey has personality. She had her own style, her love of old movies and an evading tactic that made her stand out. Despite being an introvert, she shined the most in social situations. Maybe it was her awkwardness in them that made those moments so much fun to read. The best ones were with Porter. He brought out the best and the worst in Bailey.

Porter was a gem. I couldn’t help but love him. He could be a jerk, but it was in a slightly cocky way that felt perfect for a teenage boy. There was also a softer side to him that came out around Bailey. I loved how he was always trying to protect her. He was just so dang charming!

Alex, Approximately had more going for it than just Porter and Bailey’s romance. It was filled with important friendships and family dynamics. Bailey quickly made a new friend in Grace. They really clicked and I loved watching their friendship develop. Bailey was also rediscovering her relationship with her father, and each moment they spent navigating it was fun. I did wish I got to see a little bit of her mother, but her father more than made up for that. Porter’s relationship with his family was also included and I loved meeting all of them.

I loved everything about Alex, Approximately. If you’re looking for a cute summer YA contemporary romance, this is one you shouldn’t pass up.