Review: The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel Van Dyken

The Playboy Bachelor
Series: The Bachelors of Arizona, #2
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

She’s no Sleeping Beauty. And he’s definitely no prince . . .

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again-her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot’s whiskey-augmented grandmother “buys” Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he’s at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass.

Bentley’s just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love-nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that “just friends” will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .


I love Rachel Van Dyken’s books, but The Playboy Bachelor was not one of my favorites of hers. I found it to be a bit lackluster. It had the whole fluffy contemporary romance thing going, but what it really could have used some new adult emotional angst.

Bentley and Margo have been forced to live under the same roof for a weekend thanks to their meddling grandparents. This wouldn’t be a problem for the former best friends if Bentley hadn’t disappeared from Margo’s life when she needed him the most. Margo hates Bentley and his womanizing ways with a passion, and Bentley has no desire to hang out with the woman who hates him. The more time Bentley and Margo spend together, the more they realize their past may not be what it seemed.

I don’t want to give too much away about Margo and Bentley’s past, but they were best friends until suddenly they weren’t. Their underlying attraction was still there after the ten years they spent apart, but there were so many unresolved feelings between them. The situation between them created so many emotional possibilities for the characters and their romance, but were they were barely brushed over. Just reuniting suddenly seemed to fix everything for them.

I needed more self-discovery from the main characters in this book, especially on Bentley’s part. Bentley was a weak man who used his mistakes as an excuse. He was unapologetic about his use of women. Bentley wasn’t a bad guy, though. He was actually a sweetheart deep down and just needed to get over his past. Margot was a little better. She had a reason to be angry with what life had thrown at her. I liked that she didn’t give into Bentley immediately and made him suffer through her anger. My main issue with Margo was how she approached a sexual relationship with Bentley. It felt so uncharacteristic of her.

While The Playboy Bachelor didn’t accomplish what I wanted emotionally, it was still an enjoyable read. It had a fun, fluffy contemporary romance thing going on. If you liked the first book in this series, chances are you’ll enjoy this one, too.

Review: The Pieces of Us by Jennifer Loring

The Pieces of Us
Series: The Firebird Trilogy, #3
Author: Jennifer Loring
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Note:
 I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Aleksandr Volynsky thinks he’s experienced the worst life can throw at him, until the most devastating loss leaves him questioning everything…

One year later, Alex and his daughter, Anya, are still picking up the pieces. In the process, he realizes how far apart their mutual grief has driven them and how lonely he has become—especially when the Buffalo Gladiators’ beautiful anthemist, Hannah Kent, finally introduces herself.

Anya Volynsky is a high-school senior with plans—her father’s plans—to become the first woman on a professional hockey team’s starting roster…

But Anya is toying with the idea of staying in Buffalo and caring for her father rather than accept a scholarship to play hockey at Boston College. Her decision becomes even more difficult when she meets her school’s new athletic trainer, Lucas Donovan. Their experience with similar losses draws them together, and soon their friendship blossoms into a forbidden love that neither of them expected.

With lives torn apart by sorrow, Alex and Anya try to restore their bond, but it’s not that easy…

Alex’s attraction to Hannah keeps growing stronger, and he needs to decide if he’s ready to overcome his pain—but also if he’s willing to do it without Anya’s approval. Anya, on the other hand, is headed for trouble, and while Alex tries to do the right thing in order to protect her, all he manages to do is push her further away.

Can Alex and Anya find the courage to pick up the broken pieces of their lives, or will the heartache of the past ruin their chances at finding happiness again?


I’m a big fan of hockey romances. I’ve read so many of them, and yet, Jennifer Loring’s still stand out. The Firebird Trilogy isn’t filled with bubbly, sexy sports romances. It’s filled with deeper situations and an all-consuming love between the main characters.Alex and Stephany drown in each other, and I can’t help but drown in them, too.

The Pieces of Us is different from the first two books in the series. Alex has lost Stephany for good this time, and he’s not sure how to go on without her. He must learn to heal from the pain and be the father he needs to be to seventeen year-old Anya. Anya isn’t having an easy time either. She’s finally fallen in love, but it’s the forbidden type. She knows it’s wrong to love him, but she’s always been told to follow her heart.

Alex and Anya’s journey was emotional. Alex had so much pain he was dealing with. He couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel until he met Hannah. Navigating a new romance was really hard for him, and I felt like Jennifer Loring did an amazing job of capturing what it would be like for someone as devoted as Alex was to Stephany to move on. There were also so many great father-daughter moments between Alex and Anya.

I hate saying this, but I wasn’t a big fan of Anya’s relationship with her athletic trainer. The Student-teacher relationship trope is not one I’m a fan of. Anya’s relationship with Lucas was not quite a student-teacher relationship, but close enough. If it was in college, it wouldn’t have bugged me as much, but she was a seventeen year-old high school student. I didn’t like the line Anya and Lucas crossed. Anya was still so emotionally young. Her actions and thoughts proved it. I didn’t think her relationship with Lucas, who was five years older, was a good thing. I’m happy things worked out for her in the end, but it still wasn’t my favorite storyline.

The Pieces of Us was a story of healing and learning to live life again after a devastating loss. It was a story of finding love again and making mistakes along the way. It was beautifully written, and the perfect conclusion to an amazing trilogy. I highly recommend The Firebird Trilogy to hockey romance fans who like a darker love story filled with heart.

Review: Meant for You by Michelle Major

Meant for You
Author: Michelle Major
Publication Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Single mom Jenny Castelli has a temper to match her red hair. When the former mean girls of her high school insult her son, Jenny fires off a big lie—that she’s engaged to a rich, handsome guy and is bringing him to their ten-year reunion. Now she needs to find the perfect fake fiancé for one night. And only one man fits the bill.

Geek turned tech entrepreneur Owen Dalton already had his heart-broken by Jenny Castelli. Still, he finds himself agreeing to her proposition—even as he struggles to remember that the chemistry sparking between them isn’t real. But when Jenny’s ex makes a play for custody and Owen is forced to deal with the family who always treated him as “second best,” their arrangement suddenly becomes very personal. And that lie they’ve been telling everyone? It isn’t nearly as big as the one they’ve been telling themselves.


I was really excited to win Meant for You in a Goodreads Giveaway. I’ve never had the opportunity to read one of Michelle Major’s contemporary romances, but I have always wanted to. Luckily, luck was on my side.

Meant for You is a second chance romance. Jenny and Owen briefly dated, but when things started to get serious, Jenny made a horrible mistake. They have been able to avoid each other until Jenny tells the resident mean girls from her high school that she’s engaged in an effort to protect her fatherless son. In order to keep up appearances, Jenny must ask Owen to be not only her date, but her fake fiancé. Owen’s not exactly happy with the lie, but he can’t say no to Jenny — if it means she might break his heart a second time.

This book had everything I like in an adult contemporary romance. Michelle Major’s writing was excellent. She had me invested in the story from the moment I met Jenny, and continued to reel me in when I met Owen. It was also a fast-paced read filled with just the right amount of drama. The characters were unique and intriguing. I loved getting to know the mysteries behind their pasts.

Jenny was a great female lead. She was a strong, but delicate woman. She may have had a mouth like a sailor, but inside was a woman wanting to be accepted. Her fears were very real and east to relate to. I adored her relationship with her son, Cooper. They had such a sweet mother-son connection.

Owen was a great guy with a dark past. It wasn’t dark in the he-used-to-be-a-bad-guy way, but in a never feeling like he fit in way. His family was all sorts of messed up. That combined with his first rejection from Jenny had shaped who he was now. Owen had a lot to deal with, and I found this to be one of my favorite parts of the story.

Jenny and Owen’s second chance at romance was bumpy, but cute. I loved how perfectly they fit together as a couple. Owen was someone Jenny could count on, and Jenny was someone who truly saw Owen. Add in Owen’s instinctual fatherly relationship with Cooper, and it couldn’t get any sweeter.

The only thing I wasn’t a fan of in Meant for You was Jenny’s betrayal. She was in a state of fear, but it still didn’t jive with my perception of her character. Jenny was a tough, no non-sense person. She ran from her fears, but she wasn’t a disloyal person. It just didn’t seem natural for her take the actions she did. Or maybe it was, and I was just disappointed in her. Jenny was lucky Owen was able to forgive her.

Overall, Meant for You was a well written, entertaining contemporary romance. I’ve read a ton of second chance romances, and this one felt fresh and new. I loved it, and will be checking out Michelle Major’s other books in the future.

Review: Say I’m Yours by Corinne Michaels

Say I’m Yours
Author: Corinne Michaels
Publication Date: March 25, 2017
Publisher: BAAE Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I spent twenty years waiting for Trent Hennington to open his eyes and see me. But it was all for nothing. He chose to keep himself guarded and let me walk away, proving that my time and efforts were wasted.

I’m done being invisible.
It’s time to move on.

A single dance sets my new reality into motion, and I welcome it. After all, Cooper Townsend is perfect. He’s kind, sexy, and attentive—everything a girl could want.

I thought I got it right this time.
That my heart could mend, and I would be happy.
Apparently, some things really are just too hard to walk away from.


Say I’m Yours is a second chance romance of sorts. Grace has wasted years in her on-again off-again relationship with Trent waiting for him to realize she’s the one. At thirty-six, she’s decided she can’t wait any longer. Grace needs to make a break from her feelings for Trent, and find a man who will want a future with her. That man might just be her best friend’s brother, Cooper.

Cooper is everything Grace should want, but she’s having a hard time committing to a date much less a relationship with him. Cooper’s not the problem. It’s Trent. The guy won’t leave Grace alone. He’s set on proving to her he’s still the one for her.

I wasn’t a fan of Trent at first. He was a big idiot. Everyone, including Grace, warned him what would happen if he didn’t make things permanent with Grace. I’m happy he didn’t let her go, but it was frustrating to watch him woo her. Even with all of the sweet things he said and did, I wasn’t convinced that he shouldn’t have let her go. But the heart wants what it wants, and Grace’s wanted Trent.

Grace had major strength. I don’t know that I would have been able to walk away from Trent like she did. I know she questioned every minute of it, but every step she took was right. Every set back she had felt real, and I could imagine any of my friends in Grace’s position. I love that she followed her head and heart equally.

Poor Cooper. He threw himself into the impossible. I hated this love triangle for him. I knew he would never win, so that was good, but I still felt bad for him. Cooper was such a great guy. I wanted him to have an actual chance with someone. I hope Ms. Michaels will deliver us his story…It kind of felt like she might.

Say I’m Yours was a great book. I enjoyed every minute I was reading it, but there was something missing from it for me. I can’t really describe easily what it was. The first two books in this series had something this one didn’t. It was something they made me feel. Say I’m yours just didn’t touch me as deeply, I guess. I still loved every moment of it and know fans of the Hennington boys will, too.

Review: Love Story by Lauren Layne

Love Story
Series: Love Unexpectedly, #3
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

Over the course of one wild road trip, feuding childhood sweethearts get a second chance at love in this charming rom-com—a standalone novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Blurred Lines and Good Girl.

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.


Lauren Layne is one of my go-to contemporary authors. Her romances are always filled with fun characters and sweet romances. Love Story was filled with both of those things. It also included two of my favorite relationship tropes: falling for the older brother’s best friend and a second chance romance.

In Love Story, Lucy is forced on a cross-country road trip with her brother’s best friend, Reese. Reese isn’t just her brother’s friend, though. He’s also Lucy’s ex and the last person she wants to spend two weeks in a car with. Reese isn’t exactly pleased to be stuck with Lucy either. Their failed romance didn’t just scar Lucy, it tore Reese apart, too. Two weeks on the road together will either mend their broken hearts or kill them both.

Love Story was written in first person dual point of view. I loved this because it gave me a glimpse at both Lucy and Reese’s true feelings about being around each other. I also loved the little memories of the past Layne included. They shed light on what really happened between the two back in high school. This love story wasn’t as simple as I was expecting. There were so many little revelations along Lucy and Reese’s journey. Some I saw coming, but many surprised me.

One of the thing that surprised me was that it took me a long time to warm up to Reese. He was pretty hard-headed. I could understand where he was coming from, but it was hard to empathize with his anger. He created the situation they were in, so I didn’t feel as bad for him as I did for Lucy. Reese had so many hang ups.

Lucy I could completely identify with. She had every reason to be angry with Reese. He broke her heart in the meanest of ways. I could understand and empathize with every feelings and thought she had. Personally, I thought Reese was lucky Lucy had an unconditional love for him that she couldn’t let go of. Lucy was a catch — even when she was being a bit of a witch.

The only thing that bugged me a bit about Love Story was that pretty much the entire book was filled with angst. The love-hate thing between Lucy and Reese was fun, but it went on entirely too long for my taste. I liked the sexual tension it built, but I got a little tired of the dramatics. I wanted their hot nights together to last longer than their hatred of each other.

I did love the climax of the story, though. It was pretty perfect. The way Lucy and Reese resolved their problems was so much fun. And that ending! It totally made me swoon.

Love Story wasn’t my favorite Lauren Layne novel, but it was still a ton of fun. There was some great witty dialog, a believable romance and a swoon worthy happily ever after. Contemporary romance fans will enjoy this second chance romance.

Blog Tour Review: More Than a Feeling by Erika Kelly

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From the award-winning author of TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT comes the final full-length standalone contemporary romance in Erika Kelly’s red-hot Rock Star Romance series, MORE THAN A FEELING. A steamy and emotional story about a loner rocker finding his perfect duet, MORE THAN A FEELING finds the perfect pitch and will leave you with more than a song in your heart! Order your copy of MORE THAN A FEELING today!

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About MORE THAN A FEELING:

From the award-winning author of TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT comes the final story in her red-hot Rock Star Romance series, about a loner rocker finding his perfect duet.

When Cooper Hood left Snowberry, Montana ten years ago, he swore he’d never go back to the town that painted him with the same brush as his addict mother. But right in the middle of his band’s national tour he gets a call to come home: his mom’s got a whopper of a secret to reveal.

Daisy Charbonneau’s in trouble. The talent she hired for her resort’s annual Huckleberry Festival just bailed on her, and she’s desperate to find a replacement act. Luck turns her way when she discovers her high school crush is back in town—and he happens to be a rock star.

As they work together, a crush deepens into so much more, but who falls in love in two weeks?

Especially when Cooper’s never coming back to town, and Daisy’s never going to leave it.

 MY REVIEW:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Note: I received an ARC from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an unbiased review.

If you like rock star romances, you really need to read Erika Kelly’s Rock Star Romance series. I’ve been a fan of her writing ever since I read the first book, You Really Got Me. I fell in love with the band members of Blue Fire, and have enjoyed watching each of them fall in love throughout the series. Each in the series was better than the last, and that’s saying a lot because they were all adorably fun reads.

In More Than a Feeling, the fourth and final book, Blue Fire’s Cooper Hood is forced to return to the small Montana home town of his youth. Cooper hasn’t set foot there since he left home all those years ago. There’s nothing but bad memories there for him. The only reason he’s come back is the promise of a secret his mom wants to reveal to him.

When Cooper arrives, he realizes there was one bright spot in his youth: Daisy Charbonneau. Daisy is just as beautiful and nice as she was when Cooper was a kid. When he learns she needs help finding a musician to head the local Huckleberry Festival, Cooper can’t stop himself from volunteering to help her find one. Working with Daisy only reminds Cooper of the giant crush he had on her as a teenager. And it seems Cooper wasn’t the only one with a secret crush. As Daisy and Cooper work together, their relationship heats up. The only problem is Cooper doesn’t plan on staying in Montana and Daisy never plans to leave it.

More Than a Feeling was such a fun second chance romance. Like most contemporary romances, It was written in third person dual points of view. This isn’t always my favorite style of narration, but Erika Kelly knows how to make it work and work well. Each character had their own voice and personality. Even though it wasn’t written in first person, I felt like I was in the characters’ heads.

Cooper and Daisy were soul mates. They saw through each other and knew what the other needed. I loved how returning to town and reconnecting with Daisy had Cooper re-examining his childhood experiences and learning new things about himself. It wasn’t just Cooper that had some examining to do, though. Cooper helped Daisy realize some thing about herself, too. I loved how the give and take truly balanced out in this book.

Another thing I really loved was how the characters treated each other. There was so much respect and care between them. Daisy and Cooper were so cute together. Well, when they weren’t burning up the sheets. Then, they were more than just cute. They were hot!

If you’re looking for a great contemporary rock star romance, you should pick up More Than a Feeling or any of Erika Kelly’s other books in her Rock Star Romance series. They’re all super sexy and fun. I highly recommend them.

Order MORE THAN A FEELING Today!

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 YOU REALLY GOT ME

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 Erika Kelly’s MORE THAN A FEELING – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule

March 27th

A Novel Glimpse – Review

Beware Of The Reader – Review & Excerpt

My Slanted Bookish Ramblings – Review

The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt

March 28th

ageordielass honest blog on reviews – Review

Mes Livres – Review & Excerpt

SBB Reviews – Review

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March 29th

All Things Dark & Dirty – Excerpt

Ashley Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

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March 30th

A Sky Filled with Sparkling Stars – Excerpt

Bookishly yours – Review & Excerpt

Jodie’s W.I.N.E. List – Review & Excerpt

Pretty Sassy Cool – Review & Excerpt

March 31st

Babbling Chatter Reads – Review & Excerpt

Krista’s Dust Jacket – Review & Excerpt

Obsessed with Romance – Review & Excerpt

What Is That Book About – Excerpt

April 1st

Author Zoe Forward – Review

Brittany’s Book Blog – Excerpt

For the Love of Books & Alcohol – Review

Words of Wisdom from The Scarf Princess – Review & Excerpt

April 2nd

Crazy Chaotic Book Babes – Review

Once upon a romance blog – Review & Excerpt

Quesarasera Book Blog – Review

The Butterfly Reads – Review & Excerpt

April 3rd

Books & Boys Book Club – Excerpt

Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

iScream Books – Review & Excerpt

Oh My Growing TBR – Review & Excerpt

April 4th

Jack of All Trades, Master of None – Review & Excerpt

Marieke’s Books – Review & Excerpt

Renee Entress’s Blog – Review & Excerpt

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April 5th

Four Chicks Flipping Pages – Review

Lightning City Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

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April 6th

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Dog-Eared Daydreams – Review & Excerpt

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Miss Betty’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

April 7th

Melena`s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Pretty Little Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Short and Sassy Book Blurbs – Review

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April 8th

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews – Excerpt

G & T’s Indie Café – Excerpt

Miranda’s Library – Excerpt

Movies,Shows, & Books – Excerpt

Erika Kelly - author picAbout Erika Kelly:

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life–she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.

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Review: The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said
Author: Sara Biren
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.


The Last Thing You Said is a coming of novel about two young people dealing with the grief of losing someone close to them. Lucy’s life changed the moment she lost her best friend, Trixie. She no longer has the brave best friend by her side to give her courage. Not only did she lose Trixie, though. She also lost Trixie’s brother, Ben.

Ben can’t forgive himself for what he couldn’t do the day Trixie died. His grief has caused him to push away the people he loved the most. One of those people is his sister’s best friend, Lucy. He can’t stop thinking about Lucy, but he knows there’s nothing he can do to make up for the way he’s acted.

After a year of carefully avoiding each other, Ben and Trixie are forced to see each other at their summer jobs. Despite the pain of the past year, neither can stop thinking about what could have been.

The Last Thing You Said broke my heart over and over again. It did it slowly, throughout the entire book. The pain each character felt crushed me and made me yearn for better times for Lucy and Ben. Their pain was so raw. I wanted to lock them in a room and force them to talk to each other.

Ben was a tough character to like. I wanted to give him a good shake! The way he treated Lucy and everyone around him was frustrating. I hated how he became dependent on alcohol to numb his pain. His way of coping hurt more than it helped, and it was painful to read. I wanted him to dig himself out of the hole he was creating.

I loved Lucy, but she made me so sad. I remember what it was like to have my heart-broken and I empathized with her pain. She knew the way he treated her was horrible and she shouldn’t want to be with him anymore, but she couldn’t stop her feelings for him. It was painful to feel her discomfort every time she saw Ben. I liked that Lucy tried hard to move on, even if the way she did it wasn’t the best.

No matter how painful The Last Thing You Said was to read at times, I still loved it. Ben frustrated the heck out of me and Lucy made me want to cry, but I couldn’t put the book down. I loved it. It was so beautifully written and filled with emotion. Even when I hated something a character was doing, I loved them. I wanted to see them overcome their problems and be happy.

I can’t believe this is Sara Biren’s debut novel. Reading The Last Thing You Said felt like reading a book from a seasoned author. It felt so real and raw. I’m incredibly excited to see what comes next from her.