Top Ten Tuesday: So You Want to Try a New Adult Book…Start Here

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Freebie.

For my Freebie choice, I’m going with So You Want to Try a New Adult Book…Start Here for those readers who are interested in branching into the NA sub genre. I chose these books because I feel that they’re a good representation of the category. I went a little further than ten because I couldn’t help myself. (All titles link to the Goodreads page for that book in case you want to add them to your To-Read shelf or check out reviews.)


1. Bright Side
by Kim Holden

Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.


2. Left Drowning
by Jessica Park

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.


3. More Than This
by Jay McLean

When Mikayla imagined her prom night, she envisioned a fairy-tale evening full of romance. So when betrayal and tragedy come in quick succession, Mikayla is completely destroyed. Suddenly, everything she loved and everyone she relied on are tragically, irrevocably gone.

Jake, a handsome boy she just met, happens to witness her loss. With no one to turn to, Mikayla is forced to depend on this near stranger and his family, and he in turn is determined to take care of her. But Mikayla—thrust into adulthood with no one to guide her—is desperate to contain her grief and hide what she considers to be her weakness. Mikayla and Jake both want more, but despite their growing closeness and intense chemistry, she tries to keep her distance and protect her heart. As he does everything in his power to win her trust, Mikayla must choose between remaining alone and safe or letting love in.


4. Ugly Love
by Colleen Hoover

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.


5. The Deal
by Elle Kennedy

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cockycaptain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.


6. The Year We Fell Down
by Sarina Bowen

The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else.

What now?

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.


7. Making Faces
by Amy Harmon

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beastwhere we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.


8. This is Falling
by Ginger Scott

First, I had to remember how to breathe. Then, I had to learn how to survive. Two years, three months and sixteen days had passed since I was the Rowe Stanton from before, since tragedy stole my youth and my heart went along with it.

When I left for college, I put a thousand miles between my future and my past. I’d made a choice—I was going to cross back to the other side, to live with the living. I just didn’t know how.

And then I met Nate Preeter.

An All-American baseball player, Nate wasn’t supposed to notice a ghost-of-a-girl like me. But he did. He shouldn’t want to know my name. But he did. And when he learned my secret and saw the scars it left behind, he was supposed to run. But he didn’t.

My heart was dead, and I was never supposed to belong to anyone. But Nate Preeter had me feeling, and he made me want to be his. He showed me everything I was missing.

And then he showed me how to fall.


9. Sacked
by Jen Frederick

What he wants he gets… 

Knox Masters is a quarterback’s worst nightmare. Warrior. Champion. And…virgin. Knox knows what he wants–and he gets it. All American Football player? Check. NFL pros scouting him? Check. Now, he’s set his sight on two things. The national title. And Ellie Campbell. Sure, she’s the sister of his fellow teammate, but that’s not going to stop him. Especially not when he’s convinced Ellie is the one.

…but he’s never met her before. 

But Ellie isn’t as sure. She’s trying to start a new life and she’s not interested in a relationship…with anyone. Beside it’s not just her cardinal rule of never dating her brother’s teammates that keeps her away, but Ellie has a dark secret that would jeopardize everything Knox is pursuing.

Knox has no intention of losing. Ellie has no intention of giving in.


10. Ten Tiny Breaths
by K.A. Tucker

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.


11. All the Ways You Saved Me
by Jamie Howard

Bianca Easton is the perfect senator’s daughter.

Law school? Check.

Camera-ready smile? Check.

A dull and boring existence? Double check.

But that was before. Before she lost her best and only friend in a tragic accident. Before she found that friend’s unfinished bucket list. Definitely before she turned her life upside-down by deciding to stay in New York for six months to finish it.

It’s while she’s checking off her first item on the list–buy coffee for a stranger–that she meets Ian Mathis. Between the tattoo sleeve curling up his right arm, his guitar-roughened fingertips, and the secrets shadowing his past, he’s a complication Bianca doesn’t need but desperately wants.

With every item they cross off the list together, Bianca uncovers a piece of herself that she’s buried under what’s expected, all the while breaking her own rules by falling hard for Ian. But when her six months run out, Bianca has to decide if she’s willing to risk her empty but picture-perfect life for a chance at real, messy love.


12. Sincerely, Carter
by Whitney G.

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
No, really. She’s just my best friend… 

Arizona Turner has been my best friend since fourth grade, even when we “hated” each other. We’ve been there for one another through first kisses, first “times,” and we’ve been each other’s constant when good relationships turned bad. (We even went to colleges that were minutes away from each other…)

Throughout the years, and despite what anyone says, we’ve never crossed the line.

Never thought about it.
Never wanted to.

Until one night changed everything.
At least, it should’ve …

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
I’m only saying this until I figure out if she’s still “just” my best friend…


13. When It Rains
by Lisa De Jong

One night changed my life forever.

Beau Bennett has been my best friend since I can remember. He was my first crush before everything came crashing down, and now he wants more, but it’s more than I can give him. Things are different now. I wish I could tell him why, but I can’t.

I haven’t told anyone.

I never knew how much I really needed him until the day he left for college, and I was completely alone.

Then one day, Asher Hunt rides into town with his dark, captivating eyes and cocky grin. He doesn’t care who I used to be, he’s simply breathing life into what’s left. People warn me to stay away from him, but he helps me forget the pain that has held me hostage for so long; something I thought was impossible before he walked into my life.

I’ve been hurt.

I’ve been saved.

And I’ve found hope.

I thought my story was written that night, but now I know it was only a new beginning. Until one secret turns my world upside down…

Again.


14. There is No Light in Darkness
by Claire Contreras

A past hidden in darkness. Her present cloaked in secrets. The future holds the only truth that cannot be escaped.

After the mysterious and violent death of her parents, Blake Brennan finds comfort with an unconventional family. As the dramatic loss of her parents continues to haunt her—and hinders her from reciprocating love that others give freely—Blake embarks on a harrowing journey in search for the truth.

Living in a constant state of fear and need for control, vivid nightmares reveal details that lead to perilous situations. The past begins to collide with the present, and Blake must decide if the truth is worth losing the ones she loves.

Can love conquer all as her past comes to light? Or will Blake realize that there is no light in darkness?


15. Paper Princess
by Erin Watt

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.


I honestly could go on and on. I tried to give a little variety here. Some are dark and angsty, some are lighter and fluffier. All are great reads and perfect to help you navigate the new adult romance world.

Review: For Finlay by J. Nathan

For Finlay
Series: For You, #1
Author: J. Nathan
Publication Date: January 30, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Finlay Thatcher is a lost soul, guilt-ridden after the death of her twin brother. When Alabama’s football coach gives her the opportunity to work for him, she knows it’s her chance to move on, even if it means living her brother’s dream.

Caden Brooks is Alabama’s star quarterback. He’s got it all. The attention of adoring fans. A girlfriend who’d do anything to hold on to him. And a future in the pros. He’s getting along just fine until Finlay steps into his life, despising him at first sight and pushing his buttons like no other.

Unfortunately for Finlay, and her attempt to keep Caden at arm’s length, there’s nothing Caden loves more than a challenge. The problem with this challenge is she comes with a secret that has the power to destroy everything.


Recently, I read the second two books of the three in the For You series. The For You series are standalone novels. The characters overlap, but the main focus of each novel is the relationship between the main characters. Nothing is given away about any of the other couples’ stories. I really enjoyed For Forester and For Crosby, so I knew I needed to go back and read the book that started it all. I’m very happy I did because Finlay and Caden’s story wasn’t what I was expecting.

I have to admit that I didn’t love Finlay at the beginning. The memories she had of her relationship with her brother made me judge her harshly. I understood the reasoning for her actions, but knowing Cole died made them tough to stomach. As time went on in the present, I ended up loving her character. Despite her feelings about herself due to her brother, Finlay had a confidence and inner strength I admired.

Caden started off a little rough, too. I could tell he was going to be a good guy, but his initial attitude sucked. I didn’t appreciate his cocky college football quarterback attitude at the beginning. Caden became more endearing as the story went along. I really think it was how he interacted with Finlay and the choices he made along the way that made me respect  (and like) his character.

Finlay and Caden’s romance was a rocky one. It had so many ups and downs. The way Finlay and Caden solved their problems in this book was touching. I loved what they discovered with each other. How Cole was a part of that was really cool. That was my favorite part of this book. In a way, Cole helped Caden help Finlay heal.

Overall, For Finlay was a great new adult sports romance. It was fun to read. It wasn’t overly angsty or dark. Both characters had their challenges, but For Finlay felt uplifting. I loved the themes of this book, and the relationship between Finlay and Caden. Since I have already read the next two books, I can’t say this book made me want to read them, but I do hope there’s a fourth book in this series. Grady needs his own book.

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.

2018 New Adult Reading Challenge Update #3

Hi, guys! This is my first update for the 2018 New Adult Reading Challenge. This challenge was created and is hosted by Cátia @ The Girl Who Read Too Much. This month I’ve read 17 NA books:

  1. We Were One by Elizabeth Reyes
  2. Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen
  3. Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  4. Very Wicked Beginnings by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  5. Very Wicked Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  6. Very Twisted Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  7. Moonshot by Alessandra Torre
  8. The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  9. The Vincent Brothers by Abbi Glines
  10. The Coaching Hours by Sara Ney
  11. Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
  12. From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
  13. Sweet Little Lies by Sierra Hill
  14. Amber by Elle Casey
  15. Emerald by Elle Casey
  16. The Weight of Life by Whitney Barbetti
  17. The Sounds of Secrets by Whitney Barbetti
  18. Penalty by Jacob Chance
  19. Drive by Jacob Chance
  20. Roomies by Christina Lauren
  21. All Lined Up by Cora Carmack
  22. All Broke Down by Cora Carmack
  23. All Played Out by Cora Carmack
  24. Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  25. Hot Stuff by Kim Karr
  26. Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan
  27. Beneath This Mask by Meghan March
  28. Beneath This Ink by Meghan March
  29. Shooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen
  30. For Crosby by J. Nathan
  31. Bad Judgment by Meghan March

 

  1. finish a seriesVery Twisted Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  2. first book by a favorite authorVery Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills
  3. book with only a male POV
  4. forbidden romanceMoonshot by Alessandra Torre
  5. book you knew nothing about Sweet Little Lies by Sierra Hill
  6. friendship to love romance
  7. bottom of your TBR The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
  8. blue coverRoomies by Christina Lauren
  9. LGBTQ novel Alphas Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
  10. fantasy novel
  11. book with a POC main character From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
  12. book set in winterShooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen
  13. book about family
  14. book with music or artMidnight Blue by L.J. Shen
  15. new to you author All Lined Up by Cora Carmack
  16. book out of your comfort zoneScoring Wilder by R.S. Grey
  17. book with number in the titleWe Were One by Elizabeth Reyes
  18. 2018 release
  19. book written by a male authorPenalty by Jacob Chance
  20. first love
  21. enemies to lovers For Crosby by J. Nathan
  22. book that makes you cry
  23. book set in another countryRoyal Ruin by Jessica Peterson
  24. book with multiple POVsThe Coaching Hours by Sara Ney

I’m looking forward to participating in this challenge! If you’re up for joining in, you can sign up here. Be sure to watch for my monthly challenge updates.

Review: Beneath This Mask & Beneath This Ink by Meghan March

Beneath This Mask
Series: Beneath, #1
Author: Meghan March
Narrators: Andi Arndt, Holter Graham
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Meghan March
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He loves me, and he doesn t even know my real name.

The limelight that follows him could expose everything I m hiding. But even knowing the risks, I can’t force myself to stay away.

I m going to break his heart, but mine will shatter right along with it.

Will we lose it all when I reveal what s beneath this mask?”


Okay, friends. I’ve found another new favorite author! This is only the second of Meghan March’s books that I have read, but I already know I’m a major fan girl of her writing. It’s so, so good! The way she puts words together — I can’t even explain how much I love it. I want to binge read (or listen) to all of her books.

I was riveted by Beneath This Mask. I couldn’t stop listening to it. It’s about a young woman who is running from her past. She ends up in New Orléans and discovers who she really is. Charlie’s all tatted up and looks nothing like the proper young woman she used to be. Charlie’s working at a tattoo shop when Simon walks in. He’s everything she shouldn’t want. He’s about as straight-laced as it comes, but Charlie can’t stay away from him. The more time they spend together, the more Charlie realizes she needs to tell Simon her deepest darkest secrets. She can only hope they won’t ruin the future she hopes she has with him.

I don’t know if it’s the narrators or what (They’re amazing.), but this story was so vivid. I could easily imagine Charlie, Simon, and their New Orléans. I loved how different Simon and Charlie were from each other at first glance. Charlie’s tough girl image was really cool. I see a lot of bad boys in romance, but bad girls are even more fun! Simon was a good guy and actually very sweet. I was surprised that he had a little bad boy tucked inside himself, too. I adored how he showed that side of him to Charlie alone. They were just so perfect together. I loved them.

Beneath This Mask also had great side characters. Most of them were Charlie’s friends from the tattoo shop or the clothing store. I especially loved Con. After learning more about his friendship with Charlie, I really wanted to know more about him. I was so excited when I realized the second book in this series is his story! I can’t wait to listen to it!

So yeah, the characters in this book were outstanding. So was the plot. I don’t want to give too much away since the blurb is pretty secretive, but I loved it. The reason why Charlie’s hiding and what it could do to her, Simon, and their relationship was different and interesting. I loved the climax of the story and how it wrapped up. It was so good!

Obviously, this book made me really happy. I loved listening to it so much! If you like addictive writing with strong characters, slightly angsty emotions, and incredibly good plots you need to read Beneath This Mask or any other book by Meghan Mark.



Beneath This Ink
Series: Beneath, #2
Author: Meghan March
Narrators: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Meghan March
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I’ve always known she was too good for me, but that never stopped me from wanting her. And then I finally had her for one night. A night I don’t remember. I figured I’d blown my shot. But now she’s walked back into my life, and this time, I have the upper hand. I want my second chance. Will she be able to see the man beneath this ink?


Beneath This Ink was Charlie’s friend Con’s story. So many things about this book surprised me! It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I loved that!

First, Con’s love interest is Vanessa. Yes, Vanessa as in Simon’s fake love interest! I kind of guessed there might be something going on with Con and Vanessa based on one of Simon’s comments in the first book, but I didn’t know for sure it was true. I loved Con and Vanessa together. She was the sweet to his sour. They really complimented each other and had amazing chemistry.

Second, this book takes places concurrently with Beneath This Mask. I thought it would be after, but it wasn’t. I actually liked how situations in the two books overlapped. It gave me more insight into the Charlie-Simon relationship and some of Vanessa’s actions in the first book. It also made Con’s actions more understandable.

Third, I had no idea this story would go the places it did! There was a twist or turn around every corner! I thought Vanessa and Con’s love story was going to be pretty straightforward, but it wasn’t. I loved that! I was shocked and awed at the end.

So there were tons of great surprises. There was also AMAZING writing. I love how Meghan March tells a story! And Andi Arndt and Sebastian York did a fabulous job portraying her characters. They’re two of my favorite narrators ever. I could listen to them all day! Beneath This Mask was soooo good! I am very excited to continue listening to this series. Now, if all my library holds would hurry up and come through!

Review: Roomies by Christina Lauren

Roomies
Author: Christina Lauren
Narrator: K.C. Sheridan
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Publisher: Simon Schuster Audio
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From subway to Broadway to happily ever after. Modern love in all its thrill, hilarity, and uncertainty has never been so enjoyable as in New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren’s (Beautiful Bastard, Dating You / Hating You) new romance.

Marriages of convenience are so…inconvenient.

For months Holland Bakker has invented excuses to descend into the subway station near her apartment, drawn to the captivating music performed by her street musician crush. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, fate steps in one night in the form of a drunken attacker. Calvin Mcloughlin rescues her, but quickly disappears when the police start asking questions.

Using the only resource she has to pay the brilliant musician back, Holland gets Calvin an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When the tryout goes better than even Holland could have imagined, Calvin is set for a great entry into Broadway—until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he’s in the country illegally, his student visa having expired years ago.

Seeing that her uncle needs Calvin as much as Calvin needs him, a wild idea takes hold of her. Impulsively, she marries the Irishman, her infatuation a secret only to him. As their relationship evolves and Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway—in the middle of the theatrics and the acting-not-acting—will Holland and Calvin to realize that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?


This book was utterly addictive. I couldn’t stop listening to it. This is only the second book I’ve read by Christina Lauren, but I can already tell she is going to be one of my new-to-me favorite writers this year. The stories she spins and the way she writes are amazing. I loved pretty much everything about Roomies.

Let me start with Holland. I haven’t been through any of the things she went through in this book, but I identified with her. Holland came to a realization that she was a secondary character in her own life. That hit home with me. Being a stay at home mom for years, I have felt like that so many times. My life revolves around everyone else. It’s their show, and I’m just part of it. It’s a weird feeling to have, and Christina Lauren put it into words with Holland. I was so impressed by that! I mean, I loved pretty much everything about Holland, but that stood out to me so much.

Holland’s fake relationship with Calvin was simply magical. There was humor in the way she practically stalked him and then ended up his wife. (Stalking isn’t cool, but it wasn’t her intent to stalk him so this didn’t bug me.) I loved the way they quickly got to know each other, and how the spark between them grew. They may have done things out-of-order, but it was the perfect order for them.

I feel like I should say more about Calvin, but all I can think of is that I loved the dude. Really, he was perfect. He’s bound to be everyone’s book boyfriend. I only wish I had gotten his point of view. That would have made this story even better than it already was.

My one teeny tiny complaint is that I felt like the last big problem in this story went on a lot longer than it needed to. Holland was strengthening herself in so many ways, but in this one way she fell flat. She was so passive about something I thought she would be more aggressive about.

Since I listened to Roomies rather than read it, I need to tell you about the narrator. K.C. Sheridan was amazing! I loved the sound of her voice and how she voiced the characters. I especially loved her portrayal of Calvin and his Irish accent. It was so good!

As you can tell, I enjoyed Roomies a great deal. I highly recommend reading or listening to it if you enjoy contemporary romances, especially those with fake relationships.

Mini Reviews: Rusk University Series by Cora Carmack

All Lined Up
Series: Rusk University, #1
Author: Cora Carmack
Narrators: Justice Bolding, Dan Bittner
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cora Carmack follows up her trio of hits—Losing It, Faking It, and Finding It—with this thrilling first novel in an explosive series bursting with the Texas flavor, edge, and steamy romance of Friday Night Lights.

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.


I have always been interested in the Rusk University series, but I had not gotten around to reading it yet. When I saw that All Lined Up was available as an audiobook through my library, I jumped on the chance to listen to it. I knew from the moment I began that I was going to love this book, and I did!

I loved Cora Carmack’s writing style. Her books have the feel I’m looking for when I reach for a new adult sports romance. There’s college, there’s the sport, there’s emotion, and there’s two characters who are perfect for each other. I absolutely adored Dallas and Carson’s love story. I loved how it built slowly, and being together made them stronger apart. It was a fun, sweet romance.

I also have to add that this was a great book to listen to! The narrators were amazing. They truly brought this story to life.



All Broke Down
Series: Rusk University, #2
Author: Cora Carmack
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Dylan fights for lost causes. Probably because she used to be one.

Environmental issues, civil rights, corrupt corporations, and politicians you name it, she’s probably been involved in a protest. When her latest cause lands her in jail overnight, she meets Silas Moore. He’s in for a different kind of fighting. And though he’s arrogant and infuriating, she can’t help being fascinated with him. Yet another lost cause.

Football and trouble are the only things that have ever come naturally to Silas. And it’s trouble that lands him in a cell next to do-gooder Dylan. He’s met girls like her before fixers, he calls them, desperate to heal the damage and make him into their ideal boyfriend. But he doesn’t think he’s broken, and he definitely doesn’t need a girlfriend trying to change him. Until, that is, his anger issues and rash decisions threaten the only thing he really cares about: his spot on the Rusk University football team. Dylan might just be the perfect girl to help.

Because Silas Moore needs some fixing after all.


I’m just going to say now that I’m a sucker for this series! It is so good! I loved All Broke Down even more than I loved All Lined Up. Silas’ character was redeemed in this book. I didn’t like him in the first book, so I was shocked how much I loved him! He was an angry young man who needed someone to believe in and love him. Dylan was the perfect person for the job! I loved how they each gave each other the support (and lessons) they needed to be happier and healthier people.

I also have to mention this book made me really, really want Stella’s book. I know it’s not the next one, but I’m hoping I get to read it someday soon.



All Played Out
Series: Rusk University, #3
Author: Cora Carmack
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

First person in her family to go to college? CHECK.
Straight A’s? CHECK.
On track to graduate early? CHECK.
Social life? …..yeah, about that….

With just a few weeks until she graduates, Antonella DeLuca’s beginning to worry that maybe she hasn’t had the full college experience. (Okay… Scratch that. She knows she hasn’t had the full college experience).

So Nell does what a smart, dedicated girl like herself does best. She makes a “to do” list of normal college activities.

Item #1? Hook up with a jock.

Rusk University wide receiver Mateo Torres practically wrote the playbook for normal college living. When he’s not on the field, he excels at partying, girls, and more partying. As long as he keeps things light and easy, it’s impossible to get hurt… again. But something about the quiet, shy, sexy-as-hell Nell gets under his skin, and when he learns about her list, he makes it his mission to help her complete it.

Torres is the definition of confident (And sexy. And wild), and he opens up a side of Nell that she’s never known. But as they begin to check off each crazy, exciting, normal item, Nell finds that her frivolous list leads to something more serious than she bargained for. And while Torres is used to taking risks on the field, he has to decide if he’s willing to take the chance when it’s more than just a game.

Together they will have to decide if what they have is just part of the experiment or a chance at something real.


I really wanted Stella’s book, but if I had to read another character’s in the mean time I’m happy it was Torres’. The guy made me smile the minute I met him, and it was fun to get to know the deeper side of him. He was definitely swoon worthy. I loved how he wanted to take care of Nell and help her accomplish her list.

Nell was a fun character, too. She was all studious and series. I adored how Torres sent her head into a spin. I loved how her relationship with him taught her more about living life to the fullest.

Torres and Nell’s relationship was so sweet I adored it unfolded. I loved this book so much that I’m having a hard time deciding whether it has surpassed book 2 as my favorite or not.


Overall feelings about this series? It was exactly what I want in a new adult sports romance series. It was amazing. I loved how it was set at a university with a developing football team, and that those players were the focus. It was cool how all of the characters were connected in a way. That made their stories even more fun to read. I can’t wait for Cora Carmack to release another book in this series.

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.

Review: Penalty by Jacob Chance

Penalty
Author: Jacob Chance
Publication Date: May 12, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He’s the bad boy quarterback of Boston University’s football team. As the son of a former NFL player, he’s showered with attention and praise twenty-four-seven. One flash of his smile and all the girls fall at his feet – or should I say to their knees?

And then there’s me.

Brady Lincoln is the last person I want attention from. He’s the kind of guy my father warned me about. His play on the field is legendary and his play with the ladies, even more so. I’ve managed to stay off his radar until recently.

What happens when the cocky quarterback breaks all the rules to win my heart?


The other day I was thumbing through my news feed on Facebook and came across Jacob Chance promoting his book in a blogging group I’ve joined. I hadn’t heard of him before, but his books sounded like something I might be interested in. Penalty was part of Amazon’s KU program, so I decided to give it a try.

I really enjoyed Penalty. There’s something slightly different about reading a romance written by a male author. It’s hard to explain, but it has to do with the hero’s point of view. Their thoughts feel a little rawer, a little dirtier. I liked it. It made me want to read a romance collaboration between a female author and male author. I’m now curious to how real that book would feel…

But anyways. Back to Penalty. Like I said, I enjoyed it. The writing was great. I loved the characters. I thought both Harlow and Brady had distinctive voices, and were easy to relate to. Their relationship was really adorable, and I loved how Brady made Harlow fall for him. My only complaint was that it was hard to believe how quickly Brady changed his outlook on women. One minute he was a player, the next he was wooing the girl. Their wasn’t the transition I was expecting. It wasn’t that big of deal, though; because I loved Brady when he was wooing Harlow. I adored their relationship!!!

Jacob Chance did an amazing job with the climax of this story. I didn’t foresee what was coming until right before it happened. Usually I can tell what the problem is going to be for the couple from the beginning. That wasn’t the case with this book. I loved that!

Another thing I loved about Penalty was the secondary characters. They were all great, but Nick was my favorite. I was really, really happy to learn that he has a book of his own! I’m planning on downloading it as soon as I finish writing this review.

Overall, Penalty was a fun new adult sports romance. This may have been my first book by Jacob Chance, but it won’t be my last. I’m excited to explore his back list.

Review: Then There Was You by Claire Contreras

Then There Was You
Series: Second Chances Duet, #1
Author: Claire Contreras
Publication Date: March 1, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Love and the right timing were two things I didn’t believe in.

Love is about walking to the edge of the cliff and taking the leap together.
Timing was never on our side.
My first mistake was hooking up with my best friend.
My second came years later, when we met again, and I fell for her.
My third was letting her go, because I had to. Because a love like this wasn’t built to withstand the winds coming in our direction.

Love and timing.
I didn’t believe in either.
Then there was you . . .


Hmm… This is a tough review for me to write. I love Claire Contreras’ writing, but I didn’t exactly love this book. It wasn’t the story that rubbed me the wrong way, but the tone of it. Really, it was because of Tessa. I had a hard time connecting with her character. She was so hostile and angry for the majority of the book. Her anger and resentment made me feel those exact emotions while reading. It was so uncomfortable! That’s actually a compliment to Claire Contreras’ writing. She’s so talented that she made me feel what her characters were feeling. I just didn’t like feeling that way, and it affected my reading experience.

That being said, there were some great things about this book. The plot was unique and very good. I couldn’t have guessed where the story was headed, even though I did guess what the big shocker would be at the end. The last third of the book was definitely my favorite part of the story because of everything that went down. It’s made me excited for the next book in this duet.

I also liked Rowan. Many of his decisions drove me nuts, but he tried to do what he thought was the right thing. His relationship with his family interested me. The more I learned about them, the more I wanted to know. I was especially curious about his relationship with his brother.

While I didn’t love this book, I think it was well worth reading because I have a feeling the next book in the duet is going to be epic. I really, really want to know what’s to come!