Review: Behind the Bars by Brittainy C. Cherry

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Behind the Bars, the first beautiful and emotional standalone in the all-new Music Street Series from Brittainy C. Cherry is available NOW!

Behind the Bars Wrap

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.

The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.

Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.

Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.

And in a flash, she was gone.

Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.

She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.

Caged.

Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.

Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

When we met again, she was the darkest storm.

review:

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

When I read the title for Behind the Bars, I thought this book was going to be about a girl falling in love with a criminal. Even after I read the blurb, I still had it in my mind that was what this book was going to be about. Was I ever wrong! Those bars? Let’s just say they have to do with music.

Jasmine may be the school beauty queen, but life isn’t easy for her. With a mom pushing her to become pop music royalty, her life is dictated by all the things it takes to make it big. The only thing Jasmine has for herself is school. While school is Jasmine’s safe haven, it’s Elliot’s nightmare. He lives in fear of constant bullying. The only thing that Elliot has to look forward to is his music.

When Elliot and Jasmine meet outside of school on a New Orleans’ street, music bonds them together. First as friends, and then possibly as more. Just as soon as Jasmine and Elliot are brought together, they’re torn apart. It’s years before they will see each other again. When they do, neither of them is the same.

I absolutely loved how Behind the Bars was built around music. It was a common thread between almost all the characters. Music shaped Jasmine and Elliot’s lives, and it brought them together in many different ways. It was so beautiful…and genius!

I also loved how this book was written in two parts. The first part details how Jasmine and Elliot met in high school, and how their bond formed. It was extremely emotional. I have to admit it upset me at times. I hurt for both Jasmine and Elliot. The second part was Jasmine and Elliot finding each other again. This part was just as emotional, but in a different way. I hurt for them, but it was more in a frustration type of way. I wanted them to hurry and be together!

Jasmine and Elliot were magic together. It totally had to do with their musical connection, and the way they cared so openly and whole heartedly about each other. I feel like I should write more about the characters and their story at this point, but I hate to give anything away. I don’t want to take away the emotional impact of the story from anyone. Sorry.

What I will say is that this story was over before I wanted it to be. I wanted to be in Jasmine and Elliot’s world a lot longer. I loved them together, and I wish I got more time with them that way. So much of the story was them finding their way to each other and to themselves. I wanted to spend more happy time with them!

Once again, Brittainy C. Cherry wrote a book wrought with emotion. I felt so many different things throughout this book. There were moments of happiness, sadness, guilt, frustration, hurt, awe, and love. My feelings were almost on overload. Behind the Bars was such a beautiful book. I highly recommend it.

Excerpt:

By the way, what happened to Todd’s nose?” I asked.

“I broke it,” Elliott said matter-of-factly.

“What? How? Why?”

He shrugged before turning to look out the window. “He called you a bad name.”

“What was it?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Eli,” I started.

He turned my way and locked his hazel eyes with my browns. “Jazz…” He shook his head. “It wasn’t true.”

I swallowed hard, a big part of me certain Todd’s words held some form of truth.

Elliott saw it in me—my fear. He kept shaking his head and whispered, “I don’t feel sorry for you. Sometimes you look at me like you think I feel sorry for you, and I want you to know I don’t. I think you’re perfect the way you are.”

I quietly laughed at him repeating the words I’d told him earlier. A few tears rolled down my cheeks. “I’m a little messed up.”

“I know.” He nodded. “That’s why I like you.”

He went back to staring out the window, and I kept staring at him.

And there it was.

So small, so tiny, so real.

Love.

It wasn’t love, but it was the beginning of it.

I knew I was young, and I knew it was stupid, but in that moment, I began to fall in love with the quiet boy who quietly cared for me. The boy who was scared and still strong. The boy who stood up for me when he was surrounded by reasons not to do such a thing. I hadn’t known much about love. I hadn’t known how it looked, felt, or tasted. I hadn’t known how it moved, how it flowed, but I knew my heart was tight and currently skipping a few beats. I understood the goose bumps covering my arms. I knew this stuttering boy who was sometimes so scared was someone worth loving. He was worth being the first one I gave my heart to.

I knew Elliott Adams was love.

And I was falling into him so fast.
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About the Author:

Hi! I’m Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I’m learning, things I’m re-learning, things I’m forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.

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Review: Killman Creek by Rachel Caine

Killman Creek
Series: Stillhouse Lake, #2
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Publisher: Thomas and Mercer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.


Killman Creek was one of my most anticipated releases of the winter. The end of Stillhouse Lake promised the mystery and suspense would go on. I couldn’t wait to find out what was next for Gwen, her children, Sam and Melvin.

Tension ran high in Killman Creek. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, and slightly uncomfortable the entire time waiting for something horrible to happen. I feared for all of the characters. My fears didn’t stop me from reading this gem of a thriller, though. I couldn’t put Killman Creek down. It was just as fast paced as Stillhouse Lake, but the stakes were higher. Rachel Caine kept the twists and turns coming right up until the very end.

One of my favorite things about Killman Creek was how the relationships between the characters were constantly changing. No one was ever one hundred percent sure about anyone. The relationships really helped drive the story, especially the slightly awkward relationship between Sam and Gwen.

Killman Creek was the perfect follow-up, and a stand out thriller all on its own. I absolutely loved it. If you loved Stillhouse Lake, this book will exceed your expectations. Be ready for some surprises!

Review: Worth the Wait by Lori Foster

Worth the Wait
Series: Guthrie Brothers, #2
Author: Lori Foster
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ready or not…love will find a way

Single dad Hogan Guthrie is getting his life back on track, and working as the “barbecue master” at a local diner is just a temporary detour. He and restaurant owner Violet Shaw constantly butt heads…until one night they end up mingling other parts instead. Hogan thought he had the recipe for happiness all figured out. But loyal, carefree Violet is daring him to trust his impulses…and see just how sweet small-town living—and loving—can be.

Nathan Hawley traded his SWAT team credentials for a sheriff’s badge, but a gorgeous new neighbor is shaking up his orderly life. Nathan has a hunch there’s more to Brooklin Sweet than meets the eye—but given her caution about getting involved, he has his work cut out for him. Still, there’s something about the elusive beauty Nathan can’t walk away from—and helping her come to terms with her past might pave the way to the future they both secretly long for.


Earlier this year I read the first book in the Guthrie Brothers series, Don’t Tempt Me. It was my first time reading a book by Lori Foster, and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it so much that I needed to read the next book in the series, which leads to this review. I finally got my copy of Worth the Wait from the library.

Hogan and Violet were fiercely attracted to each other, but neither was willing to make a move. They liked what they had going on. Violet was Hogan’s part-time boss. Plus, Hogan was a bit of a womanizer and had no plans of settling down. Violet might have been considering happily ever after. When Hogan starts working full-time for Violet, all bets are off. Their attraction to each other is too much to contain.

I loved both Violet and Hogan. Violet was a gutsy chick. She was strong-willed and determined to make her business successful. She knew what kind of man she wanted, and wasn’t willing to be a one-night stand. Hogan wasn’t truly the womanizer he was playing. He was sewing the oats he thought he needed to. What Hogan really needed was the right woman. Violet was the gal to make him believe in love again. I also really loved the way Colt was involved in Violet and Hogan’s story.

Nathan and Brooklin are thrown together when she moves in nextdoor. Nathan knows there’s something going on in Brooklin’s life, and he’s determined to find out what it is. Practically stalking her, Nathan starts to get to know Brooklin and likes what he learns. Brooklin isn’t so sure about getting into a relationship with him when she’s running from her past. The two start a love affair that becomes complicated when it’s apparent someone is looking to cause problems for Brooklin.

It kills me to say this, but I was not a fan of Nathan and Brooklin’s story line. I’m sorry. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them or want them together. The whole suspense aspect of it bored me a bit. When it started to intertwine with Hogan and Violet’s story, it really lost me. Violet took just way too much abuse for my liking. I’m blaming my dislike for all of this on my disinterest in romantic suspense.

Anyways. I did like Worth the Wait overall. It was a fun read filled with interesting characters and a cute romance (Hogan and Violet). It wasn’t quite what I was expecting in some parts, but it was still a really good read.

Review: Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.


Genuine Fraud was an interesting tale. E. Lockhart continued to give the reader the unexpected with it. Genuine Fraud began in the present and each chapter went back in time. The effect was that I felt like I was reading the story backward. The story continued that way all the way until almost the end. It made for a great guessing game. Each chapter divulged just enough to make me keep reading.

I have to admit that I got a bit bored in the middle of the book. I think it’s because I was frustrated. I just wanted to know what the deal was with Jule and Imogen! Once I got to that part, the story flew again for me. I loved the ending, and thought it was very clever.

Overall, Genuine Fraud was a fun read. It was a darker read, but light at the same time. It had great foreshadowing and a cool set up. It was the perfect book to read on my vacation.

Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done
Author: Sarah Schmidt
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Genre: Historical Fiction, True Crime

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Haunting, gripping and gorgeously written, SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE by Sarah Schmidt is a re-imagining of the unsolved American true crime case of the Lizzie Borden murders, for fans of BURIAL RITES and MAKING A MURDERER.

When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty-two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable début makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.


Lizzie Borden was a name I had heard before, but her story wasn’t one I was familiar with. When my friend picked See What I Have Done as our next book club pick, I wasn’t sure what to think. Was this book going to be gory? Was it going to be thriller suspenseful? I didn’t know how to prepare myself for it. Luckily, for my sake, See What I Have Done wasn’t a gory or stressful read.

If you’re unfamiliar with Lizzie Borden like I was, I’ll give you a little history. Lizzie was an adult woman who lived at home with her father, step-mother, older sister and maid, Bridget. While her sister, Emma, was spending time out-of-town at a friend’s, their parents were murdered. The weapon was an ax. Lizzie and the maid were both home at the time of the murders. Lizzie was tried and acquitted of the crime, but many still suspect that she was the murderer. (I had to look all of this up after reading the book to find out what was fact and what was fiction.)

See What I Have Done tells the story of the murder of Andrew and Abby Borden through the eyes of four narrators: Lizzie, Emma, Bridget and Benjamin. The story mostly takes place over the day before the murder and the day of. The events of those days are set up by each character. Together, their point of views craft a look at what might have happened and who might have been the killer.

If this was a true account of the crime, I could understand why Lizzie was charged with murder. Lizzie was a little off and I wasn’t quite sure what to think of her. Listening to her thoughts made her seem like the most likely murderer. I completely understood why Emma felt the way she did about Lizzie. Lizzie was pretty horrid to her. That made me question some of Emma’s later devotion to Lizzie, though. I understood their relationship, but it was really weird.

Another thing that was really weird were the parents. Andrew Borden was made out to be a horrible man. Abby wasn’t made out to be much better. The dynamic in the household between the parents and the daughters was odd. The fact that Lizzie and Emma were grown women made it even weirder. I kept wondering if this is really how people saw the Bordens in real life?

The character I felt most sorry for was Bridget. I’m surprised she wasn’t the killer. (Maybe she was???) The Bordens were horrible to her. She waited on them hand and foot, and they took complete advantage of her. I liked her thoughts on the murder and the suspects. I have to admit that I was happy the murder let her escape the horrible household.

As for Benjamin, I wasn’t sure what to think of the addition of his character. He’s not in any of the official accounts of the murder. I guess he was a “What if?” situation to show what might have happened if someone other than Lizzie was possibly involved.

As you can probably guess, this book had me a little confused! In real life, the case was never solved. In See What I Have Done, there is only speculation. I wish I could find out the truth! Too bad the people who could answer the tough questions are long gone.

Overall, See What I Have Done was a fun read. It took an unsolved crime and gave it new life. I liked the author’s writing and the way she brought the characters to life. I was impressed that this is her début novel. It’s a book a would recommend to those who like true crime or historical fiction. It had me looking up the history behind the story the moment I finished reading it.

Release Day Review & Excerpt: The Better Man by Barbie Bohrman

The Better Man
Series: Allen Brothers, #2
Author: Barbie Bohrman
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Meet Max Allen.

He’s ambitious, too smart for his own good, and very single.
Nicknamed “Max-A-Million” by society gossip types, he thinks he’s got it pretty damn good and he’s right…for the most part.

Meet Daphne Rodriguez.
She’s ambitious, too smart for her own good, and very single.
She works extra hard for everything she has and never complains about the crappy hand life has dealt her.

When Max is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime, it comes with the condition that he must work with the one person he despises most…and wants the most: his sworn enemy, Daphne.

However, Max has no plans of giving Daphne the satisfaction of ever letting her know how he feels about her. Instead, he vows to make her life miserable at every turn.

Which works out perfectly, since Daphne has no intention of making it easy for Max either.

When all hell breaks loose and they’re on a collision course with disaster, these two stubborn people will have to overcome their mutual hatred of each other long enough to work together and get the job done.

For better or worse, they will have to rely on each other to save themselves…and the people they love most.


I originally met Max Allen back in the first book in the Allen Brothers series, The Best Man. I was intrigued by his character. He was a guy who thought he was the top of the food chain due to his money and his success. I wondered what it would take for Max to give up his attitude of importance and put someone else first. I found out in The Better Man.

I have to admit that I hated Max the pretty much the entire book. His sense entitlement and over the top confidence were off-putting. He was just too full of himself for my taste. I couldn’t stand how mean he was to others, especially Daphne. I was shocked she was actually into him. Max was supposed to be gorgeous, but his attitude would have killed things for me.

Not Daphne. Their spark was too strong. Luckily, so was her personality. Daphne was able to give back to Max what he dished out. She was also able to take the high road when he couldn’t. I loved that about her. I also loved Daphne’s sense of family. Her relationships with her brother, grandmother and even her friend Derek were shining moments in the story.

Toward the end, there were moments of greatness for Max. When he finally surrendered to his feelings for Daphne was one of them. He became sweeter than I imagined. There were also amazing moments with his family, especially his twin nieces. What he was willing to do for them brought out another side of him. I liked Max in those moments.

I can’t review The Better Man without mentioning the shocking surprise Barbie Borhman included. It gutted me and brought me to tears. I won’t say what happened, but I wasn’t expecting to be so shattered. It made me very anxious to get the next book in the series, and it made The Better Man a better, more complex story.

Despite my initial dislike of Max, The Better Man was a great read. It had the push and pull I have come to expect from a great enemies to lovers story. I would recommend it and the rest of the Allen Brothers series to contemporary romance readers.

Excerpt:

For every person who didn’t like me, there were a lot more who adored me. That had to count for something, right?

Right.

“Of course, mate. Of course,” Oliver said. “Then you know what some of the male viewers have been saying, yes?”

I was blessed with the looks of a fucking Adonis, so yeah, men usually hated me anyway. I paid their bullshit complaints little to no attention at all. Let me put it this way, if I had a nickel for every single time some guy was jealous of me, I’d be rich.

Oh, wait! I am a rich. So, fuck them.

Shrugging my shoulders, I replied with ease, “A few haters never killed anyone.”

“Let’s see, shall we?” With another click or two on his keyboard, Oliver then announced, “Here’s one tweet that says, ‘Max Allen needs to get hit by a bus. #pleasebabyjesus.’”

“That’s not so bad,” I said through a chuckle. “I’ve heard a lot worse. Hell, I think my big brothers can come up with better ones.”

Oliver ignored me and kept right on reciting more tweets. “Here’s another one, ‘It looks like his face caught on fire and someone tried to put it out with a fork.’ And another, ‘I wish Max Allen’s mom would have swallowed instead.’”

He was starting to cackle like a hyena. “All right, I get it, boss. Men don’t—”

“Wait, wait,” Oliver managed to say between his laughing fit. “One more, ‘Max Allen has more dick in his personality than he does in his pants. #dickless.’”

“Boss, I—”

“‘Max Allen looks like two pounds of shit in a one pound bag.’” Oliver was laughing so loudly he had to stop for a second to gain his composure. “Oh, and this one! This is my favorite, mate, ‘If Max Allen could suck his own dick, then he would finally suck at everything. #eatadick #buteatyoursbro #suckyourdick #maxsucksdick #dickdickdick.’”

Oliver was having the time of his life reading off these awful tweets about me, super loud, too. So loud that his assistant and the assistant to his assistant, or intern, or whatever the fuck they were to him, were cracking up. One of them yelled out, “Dude, you have to go to the Twitter feed right now!”

And then, like a wave of dominoes falling over, one by one, the rest of the office was reading the same tweets and laughing their butts off. Thank God I had thick skin, or I would take it personally.

“All right,” Oliver wheezed while he wiped the tears from his eyes. “Oh my God, those are priceless.”

“Yeah, right. Priceless.”

Review: Some Whisper, Some Shout by K.K. Weil

Some Whisper, Some Shout
Author: K.K. Weil
Publication Date: August 16, 2017
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Romance, Suspense, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Devices. Jolie’s got tons of them. Coping mechanisms that ensure she’s not falling victim to the mental illness that’s taken hold of both her brother and father. Helping the homeless gives Jolie much needed consistency. But when a stranger struts into her Jersey Shore creperie, writing cryptic songs on napkins and then disappearing, her world becomes anything but routine.

Reed can play the soul out of his saxophone, but he’s hiding something. Why else would he reveal so little about himself, or plan one secluded, albeit eccentric, date after another? And what’s in that backpack he carries everywhere? Then again, with her distressed brother missing, an estranged mother returning home, and a feisty grandmother acting weirder than usual, Jolie can’t decipher whether her suspicions are valid or dangerous delusions.

When inexplicable slashings of the homeless occur in her otherwise safe town, Jolie’s devices begin to fail.


Some Whisper, Some Shout is the second book I’ve read by K.K. Weil. I enjoy her writing and the mysterious stories she comes up with. I do have to admit that I didn’t like this book as much as the other book I’ve read by Weil. It was good, but there were a couple of things that kept me from falling in love with it.

To be honest, I didn’t connect with Jolie’s character. I didn’t like her. She was immature and self-centered when it came to her friends and family. Jolie couldn’t see past her own needs or the rules she gave herself. That was weird considering how self-less she was when it came to her homeless charity endeavors and her brother, Tristan. It was frustrating reading the story from her point of view. I hated the choices she made.

Reed was a more enjoyable character. I loved when the story switched over to his point of view. I liked that Reed had flaws. He was trying to become a better version of himself, even if he did mislead Jolie at times. His character was easier to relate to.

Another thing that I wasn’t quite on board with was the speed at which Jolie and Reed’s relationship progressed. It happened too fast for me. She knew nothing about him, and knew she knew nothing about him, yet she jumped into a relationship with him quickly. They were in love before they truly even knew each other.

I hate that this sounds so negative. Some Whisper, Some Shout actually had a lot of great things going on. The writing was good and the story moved at a quick pace. I loved all of the social aspects that were included. The spotlight on both homelessness and mental illness was awesome. I think I would have loved it had I loved Jolie.

Overall, Some Whisper, Some Shout was a good read. I have a feeling other readers are really going to enjoy it, especially those who like romantic suspense novels. I wish I would have connected better with Jolie and enjoyed it more myself.