Review: Defy by L.J. Shen

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.


This is Karen M. McManus’ debut novel? I’m having a hard time believing that because One of Us Is Lying was so well written. It’s rare to find a YA thriller/mystery that’s as intricately woven as this books was. That fact that a début author wrote it blows my mind! 

One of Us Is Lying kept me guessing from beginning to end. I thought I might have known the killer, but every twist and turn made me reexamine what I thought I knew. The four different points of view spurred that on. Every time the character narrating changed, something new and important was revealed. Those revelations were key in keeping the story moving and changing.

I loved every minute of reading this book. It’s one of best YA debuts I’ve read in a while. The fact that author’s inspiration was The Breakfast Club with criminal twist makes it even more of a gem! I can’t wait for Karen M. McManus to publish her next novel. I will definitely be reading it!

Review: Fallen Crest Forever by Tijan

Fallen Crest Forever
Series: Fallen Crest High, #7
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Mason Kade is the dream.
He is the promise.
He’s offering what so many would fantasize about, and it’s not that I don’t want it/him/us.
It’s the opposite.
There might be ghosts haunting me, but this man who’s my soulmate is asking me for forever.
How can I say no to someone who already gave me my happily ever after?


Well, this is it. The finale to a dramatic and addicting series. I feel like I’m at a loss of what to say right now. I seriously want to cry because I am done with the final full length Fallen Crest High novel. I know it was probably time for the series to come to an end, but I could read about these characters and their drama forever. I know their lives would continue to be just as fun to follow.

Drama wise, Fallen Crest Forever felt the calmest to me. Don’t get me wrong, there were still many dramatic moments, but they felt more subdued. Emotions wise, it was a different story. Fallen Crest Forever was the most emotionally tormenting book of them all.

Surprisingly, Sam had a lot of self-discovery to do. I loved that she was determined to find herself and her passions outside of her relationship with Mason. Her doubts plagued me, even though I always knew she would be okay. I had faith because Sam had her family and their support, and that was the most important thing.

Mason was a rock in this book. His inner strength was calming for both Sam and me. I appreciated his more mature approach to life this time around. He was still the badass football player, but he became even smarter with his actions than before. I have commented on it in previous reviews, but his protection of Sam and they way he showed his love for her was beautiful.

I can’t say that everything was smooth sailing for Sam and Mason in Fallen Crest Forever. There were moments that made me swoon, but there were also moments that broke my heart. Tears were in my eyes a couple of times. I’m so happy they had Logan, Nate, Taylor and Heather to help support them in their final journey toward forever. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending for them.

The story that began in Fallen Crest High came full circle in Fallen Crest Forever. I’m sad this utterly addictive series is over, but knowing there’s going to at least be another novella in the near future has placated me. I’m happy to know this isn’t the last time I’ll see the characters I’ve grown to love so much.

Review: Sweet Summer Love by Sierra Hill

Sweet Summer Love
Series: The Sweetest Thing, #3
Author: Sierra Hill
Publication Date: January 27, 2017
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Logan Everyone’s had a summer crush. One that’s etched into your memories so hard that it leaves an indelible mark, like a scar on your heart. For me, that crush is my first love, Carver Edwards. I met him at fifteen at summer camp, and for three perfect summers, he was mine. Until the blazing heat of the summer sun faded and reality crashed in. Carver went off to college, leaving me trapped in my small farming town, with no way of reaching him and a problem I needed solving. Carver As the senior captain of my college basketball team, all I’ve been focused on the past four years has been playing, school, getting drafted in the NBA, and steering clear of relationships. I didn’t want them. I had nothing to give another girl. I’d given it already. So, I built my rep as a player, and honed my natural ability to charm the pants off girls. It’s what I did. Who I was. Who I am. Until March, when a lay-up during a tournament landed me in an emergency room, under the care of Logan Shaw – my first love. Of all the people I could run into, why did it have to be her? Not only did my face get split wide open, but so did the locks that held the pain I’d attempted to bury for so many years. Now that she’s back in my life, we must face the truth and the consequences of our actions – even if it could destroy us. We must uncover the truths that have kept us shackled from moving forward. That could possibly set us free.


A rating was really hard for me to come up with for this book. It’s the first book I’ve read by Sierra Hill, and I actually loved reading it. The writing was really good, and I immediately fell in love with the characters. Logan and Carver’s story sucked me in right away starting with the foreshadowing in the prologue. I loved the little bit of mystery behind the history of their relationship and the way Logan and Carver came back into each other’s life. That’s where things get a little sticky for me.

I couldn’t keep some big things from staying in the back of my mind for the rest of the book. First, Logan and Carver’s previous relationship was based off being together at summer camp for two weeks a year for three years. They had no contact in between those summers. I honestly couldn’t understand how they were in love back then. Lust and like I get, but love? I just didn’t think their bond could have been as strong as it was. That leads to the second thing that bugged me. There was a major event that split them apart. Both were harboring some bad feelings from it. It only took one brief conversation for them to get over it and jump back into things. I had a hard time believing they could get over the negative feelings they had been keeping inside for five years in one conversation. All their troubles seemed to easily be fixed.

There was one other thing that threw me off a bit. Graduating college senior Carver was into kink. Like really into it. I mean, I guess I could understand it since he became quite the ladies man in college. Experimentation and all. What surprised me was that it didn’t seem to shock Logan. She hadn’t been with him since she was seventeen, yet she was willing to give him everything and anything. It made for some sweet sex scenes, but I have to admit shaking my head in wonderment a couple of times over how easily Logan was up for it. I think I would have been more questioning.

Despite those things, I really did love Sweet Summer Love. It obviously had some issues for me, but they didn’t stop from my enjoyment. I would still recommend reading it. It was a cute second chance romance. I want to go back and read the first two books now.

Review: Fallen Crest Home by Tijan

Fallen Crest Home
Series: Fallen Crest High, #6
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: April 17, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

It’s been years since my mother was in my life.
I healed.
I learned to accept love.
I lived.
That’s all done. She was away, and now she’s back.
I avoided her for a year and a half, but I couldn’t hide anymore.
Mason had an internship in Fallen Crest, so we headed back for the summer.
And when we got there—no one was prepared for what happened.


Yep, I’m still addicted. I’m still obsessively devouring the Fallen Crest High series. Can’t stop. Won’t stop. This series is just too dramatically riveting. I’m pretty amazed by it. I mean, when I first started the series, I couldn’t say I loved the characters. Well, maybe Logan, but the rest of them were too nuts. I was pulled in by the drama, stayed for the drama, and somehow found myself falling in love with every single characters — good and bad. Now, I’m a fan of the fearsome twosome, threesome, and foursome. (That will only make sense if you have read all the books.)

The “Home” in Fallen Crest Home refers to the return of the family to Fallen Crest for the summer. Mason’s interning with his dad’s company, and Sam’s mentally and physically trying to avoid the fact that Analise has returned to town. Since that’s not enough to deal with, the new king of the Roussou scene is looking to settle Budd’s debt with the Kades. What should have been a relaxing summer is shaping up to be more trouble than the fearsome foursome could have predicted.

Fallen Crest Home is one of my favorite books in this series. Things are starting to come full circle for the Fallen Crest family. Mason, Sam and Logan are older now. They’re thinking about the future and making smarter choices. I say thinking because they’ll do anything protect their family.

Sam and Mason’s relationship is in a good place in this book. They have a renewed need for each other, and I loved getting more of their intimate moments again. Their connection felt stronger than ever. Sam still has some mental anguish going on, but she’s able to identify it and attempt to deal with it.

Logan is the same old Logan, but now he’s got a love of his own to fight for. It only adds to his fierce defense of his family. Nate’s the only odd man out, but he’s still there to help out his friends.

Since this is Fallen Crest, the fearsome foursome aren’t the only returning characters. One of my favorite couples, Heather and Channing were back and in on the action. I love those two so much. I would really like a book devoted to them! Several of my least favorite FCA students were also back to wreak havoc. Adam, Becky, Cass, and Kate all made appearances.

With all these characters back in action, you can only imagine all of the drama that could unfold…and it did! I loved the way this part of Sam and Mason’s story was laid out. Of course, the drama was over the top, but it made sense to me. It wasn’t out there crazy. Not all of Sam and Mason’s problems were solved, but some important ones felt more resolved and I can see how this series is headed toward a strong finish. I know how I want the next book to start, and I’m hoping my wish comes true.

If you enjoy dramatic series filled with angst, longing, intense love and a strong sense of family, you really need to read the entire Fallen Crest High series from beginning to end. It’s a wild, addicting ride.

Review: Stay by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Stay
Series: WAGS, #2
Authors: Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the authors in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never even met?

Hailey Taylor Emery has a hunch that her favorite client at Fetch—an anonymous virtual assistant service—is actually hockey star Matt Eriksson.

Although it’s against the rules for her to check his file, she’s 95% sure she spends at least part of each day texting with her lifelong crush and catering to his every need. Still nursing a wounded heart thanks to her recent breakup, Hailey is perfectly content with some harmless online flirting… until she has to meet her client. Face to face. Cue: utter panic.

Matt Eriksson is no stranger to heartbreak. He’s still not over the destruction of his marriage, and it sucks to be the only guy on the team who knows the truth—that hockey and long-term relationships are a toxic mix. He barely sees his kids, and dealing with his ex makes him feel insane. The only person in his life who seems to understand is someone who won’t show her pretty face.

But it’s nothing that a pair of fourth row hockey seats can’t fix. Hailey can’t resist the offer. Matt can’t resist Hailey. Good thing he doesn’t have to. Fire up the kiss cam!

Warning: Contains rabid hockey fans, misunderstood dick pics, hockey players at the opera and exploding ovaries.


Stay was my #1 anticipated release for 2017. I could not wait to get my hands on this book. Heck, I can never wait to get my hands on any of their books. Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy are my dream team of contemporary romance writing. Their books bring me such joy. I’ve fallen in love with all of their characters, especially those in the Him and WAGS world. I couldn’t wait to get to know Matt Eriksson better and find out what it would take to win his heart.

In Stay, Matt’s still trying to move on from his divorce. He knows it was for the best, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. One thing that has made it easier is Fetch and the virtual assistant from the company who has fulfilled all his needs. Matt can’t stop thinking about her and their computer chats. He would do just about anything to meet her, including give her tickets to his next hockey game.

Luckily for Matt, Hailey Taylor Emery is a huge hockey fan. Specifically, she’s a Matt Erikkson fan. She’s known deep down that her favorite client is Matt, but now that it’s confirmed, Hailey’s not sure what to do. How can she handle Matt’s advances when she can barely utter a word around him?

Once again, Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy have won the game with Stay. I absolutely loved this book! Their writing shined. Matt and HaiIey were amazing characters. I loved the witty banter between them and the rest of the characters. The incredibly funny and sometimes awkward situations they created made laugh constantly.

Matt Eriksson may have been a god in the rink, but he was even more so in life. I can’t get over what a stand up guy he was. He was perfect, but he was pretty dang close. Matt was a guy who put his family first. That, combined with his dominant personality, was super sexy. He had me fanning myself more than I would like to admit.

I adored Hailey Taylor Emery. She was one cool chick. She was smart, determined and real. I loved that Matt terrified her a bit. Hailey’s reaction to Matt was exactly what I think I would be like if I met my celebrity crush. I’m sure I would be a bundle of nerves, too! Another thing I loved about Hailey was her personality. She could hold her own and a relationship wasn’t the only thing she had going for her.

Matt and Hailey’s relationship was full of ups and down, and I loved every minute spent with them. My only complaint about Stay would be that I needed another 500 pages of it. I could have gone on reading about Matt and Hailey forever. Their story was that much fun. I guess I’ll just have to hope there is another WAGS book coming in the near future. I want another book. I need another book. Please, please let them write an O’Conner book! Or a spin-off about Mr. Dick would be fun, too. Heck, I would even read a book about Puddles and Rufus falling in love if these two wrote it! Just give me more books from my dream team!

Review: Fallen Fourth Down by Tijan

Fallen Fourth Down
Series: Fallen Crest High, #4
Author: Tijan
Narrators:  Saskia Maarleveld, Graham Halstead
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

My mother tried to destroy me. She doesn’t exist to me anymore and my father, the one who raised me and the biological one, are both works in progress. The only two people that I can trust are Mason and Logan, and they’re the two people who I could lose. It won’t happen. I won’t let it. No matter the truth, no matter who loves me, I won’t let anything or anyone come between us.
They’re my world. They’re my life.
They’re my family.


Surprise! (Not really.) I’m back with another Fallen Crest High audiobook review! I’m flying through these books. I can’t help it. The story has me so committed. I need to hurry up and finish all of the books so I can get back to real life!

Fallen Fourth Down was a weird transition book. Sam’s in Fallen Crest and Mason’s three hours away at college.The distance hasn’t lessened their love for each other, but it’s made it easier to keep things from each other. Sam’s trying hide the fact that she knows Logan’s in love with her. Avoiding the awkward conversations has made her tension and she hates keeping things from both of her boys. Mason’s keeping things to himself to avoid feeding Sam’s fears. They’re together, but living separate lives. When someone from Sam’s past ends up in Fallen Crest, things get even tougher.

Like I said, this was a weird transition book. Mason and Sam are apart most of the book, so I didn’t get to feast on their interactions. I missed them together. I love the intensity of their relationship. I guess it did make their times together that much more explosive, but I wanted more of the fearsome twosome and threesome.

Instead of basking in Sam and Mason’s relationship, I was stuck living through Sam’s fear of Logan’s love for her. There was so much uncomfortable tension between Sam and Logan. I worried a lot about how that was all going to play out. Sam was also dealing with a guy from her past who had a renewed crush on her. I really liked this part of the story. It was kind of sweet, and felt like it helped me get to know Sam before the Kades a little better. I liked the guy. That was probably because I knew he didn’t stand a chance next to the Mason Kade.

As for Mason, he was in a whole new world. His being at the bottom of the totem pole was cool. He had to prove himself for once, and I liked that. He was still Mason Kade, so he wasn’t an underling for long but it was fun to see him not in charge. I loved meeting all of Mason’s new football buddies and the camaraderie they shared. I even loved meeting Mason’s new nemesis, Park. I can tell their rivalry is going to amp up the drama of Mason and Sam’s college experience.

A couple of things surprised me in Fallen Fourth Down. One surprise was Nate. The Kade brothers’ relationship with him changed a bit, and I wasn’t expecting that. It made me a little sad, but I liked how it all ended up resolving itself. The second surprise was Marissa. I wasn’t quite expecting her to be as crazy as she was. I ended up hating her after this book.

Overall, I enjoyed Fallen Fourth Down. It did a good job answering some questions I had about both Sam and Mason’s pasts. It also finally cleared up Logan’s feelings about Sam. At times, it felt like a filler novella since Sam and Mason were apart, but it ended up doing a great job setting up things for Fallen Crest University.