Review: Fireworks by Sarina Bowen

Fireworks
Series: True North, #6
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Tuxberry Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern created a perfect schlong?

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s willing to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like – never mind. She can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and slide back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

But things go sideways the moment she steps over the county line. Her stepsister is running from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke Skye’s teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.


Every time I hear Sarina Bowen is going to add another book to her True North series I get super excited. I adore this series for not only its love stories but the tough situations and topics it has dealt with. This time, Ms. Bowen tackles a sexual predator who holds a powerful position in the Vermont small town I’ve come to love. (Timely, right?)

Fireworks was a good addition to the Truth North series. It wasn’t my favorite addition, but I really enjoyed reading it. Sarina Bowen’s writing was just as stunning as always. I loved being back in the beautiful Vermont setting and getting to revisit several of my favorite characters. I loved the plot of the book, and the suspense of it. It had me on the edge of my seat at times! I loved the romance at the heart of it all. I loved how it flowed from past to present. What kept me from announcing it as my new favorite in the series? Well, it had to do with one of the characters.

Skye is truly what kept me from being able to give Fireworks 5 stars. I had a hard time connecting all of her parts into one person. In the past, Skye was a fearful teen facing down a predator. She was also a young woman trying to unsuccessfully trying to understand her sexuality. In the present, Skye was an insecure and slightly immature adult. She was also a strong, capable, independent woman. None of those things (past and present) are exclusive of the others, but they didn’t always meld seamlessly into one character. Does that make sense? I had a hard time understanding some of Skye’s current feelings and choices based on her past ones. Something was missing for me in the picture of Skye’s character. Despite that, I still liked her. I liked her relationship with Benito and their backstory.

As for Benito, I loved the guy. I’ve been wondering what kind of story Sarina Bowen would come up with for Benito since they day I met him. He’s always been a bit of mystery in the True North series, so it was fun finally getting to know what this guy was up to. I really loved his job and how it fit in with the whole plot of the story. I also really liked his personality. He was one of the good guys. My favorite thing about this book was the care he took of Skye. It was so sweet. He did have a few moments of stupidity that had me cringing, though. It was easy to forgive him, though, based on the timeline of the book.

Despite my issues with Skye, I still really enjoyed this second chance romance. Fireworks had the perfect mixture of swoon worthy and intense, emotional moments. Sarina Bowen tackled a tough topic that’s relative to today’s social climate and did it in a uniquely satisfying way.

Review: The Boy I Grew Up With by Tijan

The Boy I Grew Up With
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: October 29, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I have loved Channing Monroe all my life.

In first grade, he asked for my Trapper Keeper.
I hit him in the head with it.
Third grade, we were best friends. We kissed in seventh grade.
Eighth grade, he turned into a bad boy and the rest was a tumultuous storm.

Growing up, the problem was never love for us.
Bad times. Good times. There were times when I felt our love in every inch of my body, vibrating, making me feel like it could bring me back to life.

The problem was us.

The problem is that we’re living in two different worlds now.
Fallen Crest and its millionaires for me. Roussou and their criminals for him. I was thriving in mine and he was running his.

But…

But there were nights I felt we couldn’t be further apart than we were, and there were nights I felt we shared the same heartbeat.

When was it time?
When was it time to either sacrifice, make a change, or walk away from the boy I grew up with?


I have all the feelings, guys. All of them. I don’t even know how I’m going to write this review because I’m a little hung over from all of the feels. I’ll give it a shot, though. Forgive me if this seems like one big ramble.

The Boy I Grew Up With is a spin-off of the Fallen Crest High series. It revolves around Samantha’s best friend, Heather and her on-again off-again boyfriend, Channing. (If you have read Crew, but not the FCH series, you will recognize Bren’s older brother Channing and his girlfriend Heather as well.) You don’t necessarily have to read either of those books/series to enjoy this book, but it definitely helps. I would recommend to those who have read the FCH series to going back and read the last couple of chapters of Fallen Crest Forever just to refresh your mind of where things left off in that series. It’s not super important, it’s just something I wish I had done. That being said…

This book was EVERYTHING for a fan of the Fallen Crest High series. The Boy I Grew Up With had all the angst, anticipation, and emotion of that first series. I loved being back in Heather’s world. I know everyone has wanted to know what really went on between Heather and Channing the entire time we were reading FCH, and now we finally have answers!

Since these are characters I already knew and loved, I am not going to go into much about their separate attributes. They weren’t much different from the last time I saw them. Heather and Channing had some surprises in store, but deep down they were the same tough, loyal, independent people. What I will talk about is their relationship. Channing and Heather had such a special connection and history. There were so many things I knew before, but didn’t really know about them. They had such an intense love and devotion. It went deeper than I had originally thought, and it made me so happy to finally understand why. Reading this book made me love Channing and Heather’s characters more than I already did.

Honestly, I loved this book. I loved how it went back and forth between past and present. I could have read more of it. I wanted more of it. I could have kept reading it well after it ended. In fact, I wouldn’t have been mad if Tijan had made this a series rather than just one book. I would have been fine reading Channing and Heather’s entire history from first grade through present over several different books. I didn’t get that, and that’s okay. Instead, I got an amazing journey that brought everything between Channing and Heather full circle. It wasn’t always pretty, but is was beautiful. The Boy I Grew Up With is a MUST READ for Heather and Channing fans.

Now, Tijan, is it too much to ask for a book for Nate? Pretty please with sugar on top…

Review: Fearless by B.B. Reid

Fearless
Series: Broken Love, #5
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: B.B. Reid
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Take one last ride with Keiran and Lake and the rest of the Broken Love gang in this fifth and final installment as they face stronger enemies and bigger obstacles while fighting to hold tight to the tattered existence of their love.

When faced with broken love…

Have you ever had the feeling you were a stranger?
Out of reach, I watched and mourned me.
Nothing moved. Breathed. Nothing lived.
I was in an alternate universe.
No longer an innocent.
I had blood on my hands, and I wasn’t even sorry for it.
I was only afraid for Keiran.
Of his reaction when the shock wore off.
It would be an explosion.
Of hurt, anger, and mistrust.
He’d know I lied.
And to him…
The betrayal born of my good intentions is worse than the act of murder.

…will you succumb to fear…

She was supposed to be my light.
The one who saved me from the monster.
But when I looked in her eyes that day, I didn’t see her.
I only saw my father’s killer.

Her love saved me from the monster.
Mine turned her into one.

…or will you be fearless?


I’ve had a love-hate relationship with every book in this series. The mystery / suspense plot that has continued throughout each book has been exceptional. The addictive quality of the writing has been as well. What has bothered me is the abusive relationships and the way they have been depicted. I have a real problem with anyone finding the male characters and / or the way they treat the women their lives worthy of swooning. Everyone in these books needs therapy. That’s made all of the books hard for me to review and rate. I have given them all three stars because that’s how I averaged what I loved with what I hated. You’ll notice this book gets three and a half stars. Here’s why.

I was very impressed with how the plot ended up wrapping up. B.B. Reid crafted a truly exceptional mystery that kept me hanging on. Things finally came full circle and all of the revelations were perfect.

Despite the fact that I don’t truly believe that Lake and Keiran should be together due to the nature of their past relationship, I appreciated the growth they showed individually and together. It did give me hope that maybe they could have a healthy relationship. There were a couple of tender moments that made me question my feelings about Keiran. I have to admit to swooning because they were so perfect for a romance novel. That disturbs me a little, to be honest.

I know this review doesn’t really tell you much, but I don’t want to give anything away. Fearless did a great job of wrapping all of the storylines up. I’m happy to be done with this series because it’s been hard on my heart and conscience. Although, I’m glad B.B. Reid has a book outside this series planned for the supporting characters Jesse, Diana, and Quinton. I’m really curious to see what’s next for those three. Hopefully it’s something a little happier.

Review: Breaking Love by B.B. Reid

Breaking Love
Series: Broken Love, #4
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: November 24, 2015
Publisher: B.B. Reid
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She’s the girl who got away, but now she’s back…

Four years was all it took.

I told myself I didn’t need friends. I didn’t need family. I sure as fuck didn’t need him.

And you know what?

I was right.

He had been inside of me, coursing through my veins.

So I cut and bled Dash Chambers until I was free.

But the day I returned to Six Forks and was thrown at his feet, I realized I would never forget how it felt to have every inch of him inside me.

…and he’s waiting.

Angel thought if she ran far enough, she’d be free.

What’s mine will always be mine.

This time I do things my way.

* * *

DISCLAIMER: While Breaking Love isn’t dark, the first of the series contains sensitive themes many people aren’t able to swallow. 


Okay. First, I have to comment on that disclaimer above. I disagree with it. Breaking Love IS dark. The themes may not be quite as sensitive as the first three books in the series, but they are still sensitive. The relationship(s) depicted in this book is not healthy.

That being said, the writing and plot other than the relationship is very addictive. It’s what has kept me reading. The mystery / suspense plot continues through each book and is built on. It got even more twisted and interesting in Breaking Love. I loved all of the revelations and how they effected the entire cast of the series.

Back to the relationship aspect of this book… Dash might not be the monster Keiran or Keenan were in the previous books, but he wasn’t a saint. He was manipulative in more ways than one. His relationship with Willow was sweeter than any of the others. Despite a few of his actions, I actually liked Dash a lot. His intentions were a lot purer than his friends’.

I hate to say it, but I am not a fan of Willow after reading this book. I didn’t like how she treated her friendships with Sheldon and Lake. Her whole reason for being absent was just ugh. When Willow did return to town, she made one bad decision after the next. She hid things she didn’t need to hide. I don’t know why she couldn’t trust the people who obviously had her back, but it made me so irritated.

This may sound weird, but my favorite thing about Breaking Love was the end. I wasn’t expecting it and it was an amazing cliffhanger! I was so happy to have the next book ready to read.

Review: Fear Us by B.B. Reid

Fear Us
Series: Broken Love, #3
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: B.B. Reid
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

KEENAN
It’s been four years since I ran away—from home, my brother, and my maybe father. I created a life free of expectations while pretending I wasn’t being hunted by all of the above. I managed to stay under the radar all this time… or so I thought. When big brother shows up and saves my ass, I’m forced to face everything I left behind, including her.

SHELDON
It’s been four years since I became another statistic. I made a lot of mistakes when it came to Keenan Masters. The first was loving him at all. He took something from me the night he left, and when I told him I still loved him, he told me he’d always hate me. After that, I learned how to be okay… until he came back. Gone was the boy who always knew how to make me laugh, and in his place was a cold, arrogant monster.


I’m completely addicted to the Broken Love series, and yet I’m a little disappointed in the direction it has continued to go. The first two books in the series, Fear Me and Fear You, were great with the exception of Lake and Kieran’s abusive relationship. That relationship made me so mad. I wanted to love them together, but I couldn’t. I was really, really hoping that Keenan and Sheldon’s book was going to be different. Was it? No, not really.

Fear Us takes place four years after Fear You left off. It’s important to have read the first two books prior to Fear Us because a big part of the story is woven around situations that take part in the past. Everything leads up to where Keenan and Sheldon are now. I had a feeling I knew where Keenan and Sheldon’s story was headed — I just didn’t know it was going to be so twisted and maddening.

Keenan pretty much turned himself into a version of Kieran. That made me sad for a couple of reasons. One, I liked who Keenan was for the most part prior to anger taking over his life. He was tough like Kieran, but he had a jovial sweetness to him. I missed that Keenan. I didn’t want mean Keenan. Two, I was done reading about a volatile, abusive relationship. I mean, why do all these guys have to be so abusive? Why can’t they be alpha without the intimidation and forcefulness? The things these brothers have done make me sick to my stomach.

I was proud of Sheldon in so many situations in this book. She didn’t back down to Keenan when it came to some of the most important things. I do wish she wouldn’t have given into Keenan in other ways, but I guess it does show the reader how love can make people stay/put up with situations they shouldn’t.

What surprised me the most in this book was Ken. It wasn’t Ken’s character so much as how Kieran’s relationship with Ken was depicted. I was surprised by how much I liked that part of the story. It made Kieran seem like less of a monster to me. I could almost — not really — forget his past.

My favorite thing about Fear Us was the same thing as the first two books. I loved the mystery/suspense plot that continued. It kept me wondering how everything was going to play out for this group of friends.

So…Plot good. Abusive relationships bad. I know that’s how the whole series is going to be. I should get over the abusive part, but I can’t. I won’t. It’s just too wrong…but I need to know how everything is going to shake out in the end, so I will keep reading.

Review: Fear You by B.B. Reid

Fear You
Series: Broken Love, #2
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: March 11, 2015
Publisher: B.B. Reid
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

What happens when she’s had enough?

Lake Monroe has given in to her childhood tormentor too many times. She knows it, he knows it, and even their enemies know it. When he returned after being found guilty of a crime he didn’t commit—a crime he thought she set him up for, he returned darker than ever, demanding her body and her submission. To survive him, she knew she had to give in to fear once more or suffer the deadly consequences…

But Lake experienced what it was like to submit to the dark and demanding boy who invaded her dreams. Now she’ll experience what it’s like to fight him.

What happens when he wants more?

Keiran Masters has a past that is both shocking and dark. Once enslaved, he now has demons he can’t escape—demons that have followed him for ten years, demons he blames his beautiful obsession for. He promised to make her pay. He promised to make her break…

But after Keiran had conquered her body and tasted her submission, he found a new addiction instead—one he has no intention of giving up.

As secrets unfold,
Identities are revealed,
Danger closes in,
And they both discover what it really means to fear…


Fear You is the second book in the Broken Love series. It begins where the first book, Fear Me, left off. Without reading book one, you won’t understand the plot or the relationship dynamics. Just a warning: This book contains sensitive themes that will be disturbing to some readers. You can check out my review for Fear Me here, if you’re curious.

Like I said above, Fear You continues Lake and Keiran’s story. They’re not on good terms–not that they ever truly were on good terms. Lake has to deal with the fall out for what she’s done to Keiran. He’s back to torment her, but this time she feels she has the power to stand up to him. It is hard because Keiran is relentless. He’s not willing to give Lake up. She’s his obsession.There’s also the matter of Keiran’s past haunting both Lake and Keiran. His demons have shown up, and it puts both of them in danger.

Fear You was a little easier for me to stomach than Fear Me. The abusive relationship between Lake and Keiran was still there, but I got some answers I needed. I now understand why Keiran is the monster he is. I still hate it, but I understand it. Lake stood up for herself as much as she was able to without completely giving in to Kerian, so I appreciated that. There were actually a few loving moments in Fear You that bordered on sweet. I still believe they both need years of counseling and that this book needs a warning about abusive relationships and where to get help if you’re in one. Basically, Keiran and Lake’s messed up relationship was pretty close to what it was in Fear You. It was horrible and no one should live that way.

What was outstanding about Fear You was the writing itself. It was utterly addictive. The story that was wrapped around Keiran and Lake’s twisted love affair was so good. It was suspenseful and kept me wondering how it would all play out. It is the only reason I kept reading this series other than to hope I would get to see Lake and Keiran get some therapy. I couldn’t believe some of the twists B.B. Reid came up with. I loved how the plot wrapped up — with the exception of Sheldon and Keenan’s arc. They moved into dangerous territory. Fear Us, the next book in this series, is theirs and I’m worried it’s going to be another Fear Me / Fear You situation. I don’t know that I can handle another abusive relationship like Lake and Keiran’s. I guess I’ll find out since I’ve already started reading the third book.

Review: Fear Me by B.B. Reid

Fear Me
Series: Broken Love, #1
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Publisher: Bebe’s Reads LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I don’t believe in fairy tales and Prince Charming.

I believe in fear.

He taught me how to be afraid.

We first met on a playground on a wonderful summer day. It was the first time he hurt me and it wouldn’t be the last. For ten years, he’s been my tormentor and I’ve been his forbidden. But then he went away, and yet I was still afraid.

Now he’s back and wants more than just my tears. You see…he thinks I sent him away so now he wants revenge…and he knows just how to get it.

Warning: Fear Me contains sensitive themes.


Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my review, I feel the need to preface it with a few statements. B.B. Reid is a talented writer. She infuses her writing with passion and emotion, making her books highly addictive. I read Fear Me in one evening because I couldn’t put it down. It had some amazing twists and unforgettable characters. I feel the need to tell you these things because my review isn’t going to sound super positive. If you read the blurb above, you will notice the warning that this book contains sensitive themes. It truly does, and some of my negative thoughts revolve around those. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Fear Me is a book I downloaded for free. I had never read a B.B. Reid book before, and I wanted to give her books a try. Prior to actually starting Fear Me, I read reviews from some sources I trust. They were all super positive four and five-star reviews. One was by an author talking about how this book could disturb some but to remember it is fantasy. It’s not a real life situation. That made me even more curious, so I decided to give Fear Me a shot.

Fear Me is told from Lake Monroe’s first person point of view. From the beginning, Lake is filled with fear. Her childhood tormentor is returning to town for their senior year of high school. All Lake can do if try to fly under the radar and hide from Keiran Masters. Too bad Keiran isn’t going to let her do that. He has a plan to extract revenge against Lake, and she is going to be his unwilling participant. As Keiran sets his plan in motion to torment her, the fear Lake has of him forces her to abide by Keiran’s rules. She’s forced to give him everything he wants.

**Possible SPOILERS AHEAD (for sensitive themes not the plot)**

This book was royally messed up. It’s probably one of the most messed up books I’ve read. The things that happen in this book are so very wrong. Keiran uses Lake’s fear and her attraction to him to his advantage. He forces her to do things that should put him behind bars. He sexually assaults her constantly throughout this book and basically holds her captive. I hated the way his actions were romanticized. Stolkholm Syndrome is the only way to describe Lake’s feelings toward Keiran. Their entire “relationship” was sick, and I honestly don’t get how readers can can “ooh and aah” over their relationship or swoon over Keiran’s character. Under all his anger and aggression he might have loved Lake, but his actions were not loving and they were downright illegal. Keiran was controlling, manipulative, and savage.

The reason why I’m putting spoilers in my review for Fear Me is that I am uncomfortable that younger new adult readers may pick it up due to the new adult tag. I’m scared they’re going to romanticize Keiran and the things he does. No one should be in a relationship like this book portrays. Fear Me needed more than a warning that it contains sensitive content. It needed a statement saying that if you’re in a relationship anything like the one portrayed in this book, you should contact a help line with the phone number included.

Keiran’s not the only monster in this book. His friends aren’t much better. His cousin Keenan is a cheater whose girlfriend, Sheldon, looks past his indiscretions. He has no problem aiding Keiran in his torture of Lake. Dash is Keiran’s best friend who is also willing to help in any way. Then, there’s Quinton who helps keep an eye on Lake. They’re like the male equivalent of high school mean girls but only worse.

High school. That’s another thing that blows my mind about this book. It’s set in freaking high school. None of these guys act or are described as looking like high schoolers. They’re bigger and badder than that. They have power over people like I can’t even fathom. The things they get away with…it’s unbelievable. Maybe that’s what makes them so interesting?

One thing I feel like I need to comment on was that this was another one of those books where the characters are still in high school but the parents and guardians are rarely seen or heard from. They leave for extended periods of time and leave their kids home alone to attend school, etc. It makes all the things the characters do easier. They don’t really have to hide what’s going on from authority figures. I kept wondering who leaves their kids home all the time like this? My parents didn’t. My friends’ parents didn’t. I won’t leave my kid like that. Maybe some do. It just seemed way too convenient for the plot. I wish they had been around so it would have been harder for the kids to get away with stuff.

**END SPOILERS**

Now, I know what you’re wondering. If it was so horrible, how can I even give it 3 stars? Like I said earlier, B.B. Reid is a talented writer. I may have hated everything that was involved in the relationship Kieran and Lake had, but I was mesmerized by the story woven around it. It was a suspenseful mystery. There were so many secrets to uncover. There were so many fascinating revelations. Lake had amazing friendships with Willow and Sheldon. If Kieran hadn’t been such a monster, I probably would have loved this book. Despite my uncomfortable feelings regarding the sensitive subject matter, I have to read the next book. I need to know Lake that is going to be okay. I’m hoping Kieran gets the help he seriously needs. I guess I need some closure.

Review: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson

The Butterfly Garden
Series: The Collector, #1
Author: Dot Hutchinson
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Near an isolated mansion lies a beautiful garden.

In this garden grow luscious flowers, shady trees…and a collection of precious “butterflies”—young women who have been kidnapped and intricately tattooed to resemble their namesakes. Overseeing it all is the Gardener, a brutal, twisted man obsessed with capturing and preserving his lovely specimens.

When the garden is discovered, a survivor is brought in for questioning. FBI agents Victor Hanoverian and Brandon Eddison are tasked with piecing together one of the most stomach-churning cases of their careers. But the girl, known only as Maya, proves to be a puzzle herself.

As her story twists and turns, slowly shedding light on life in the Butterfly Garden, Maya reveals old grudges, new saviors, and horrific tales of a man who’d go to any length to hold beauty captive. But the more she shares, the more the agents have to wonder what she’s still hiding…


The Butterfly Garden is the tale of a deranged serial killer called “The Gardener” keeping the young women he hold captives in his butterfly garden until it’s time for them to meet their fates. It is told in the alternating view points of a FBI agent and the victim of a serial killer. Maya had not been murdered (yet), but she faced a horrifying ordeal. As Maya delivers her story of being held captive and the events surrounding it to Agent Hanoverian, he has to trust that she will give him the details he needs to solve his case. He knows she is keeping something from him, something big, but he’s not sure what.

If I had to sum up The Butterfly Garden in four words they would be creepy, disturbing, horrifying, and unsettling. Those four words pretty much say it all. I could barely stomach the events poor Maya and the other victims had to endure. It hurt my head and my heart. It made me feel disgusted and uncomfortable. I hated reading it, but I couldn’t stop. There was something so addictive to the tale. I had to know Maya’s story.

The weird thing about this thriller was that the story was told straight to the reader. There were twists and turns, but they didn’t really pop out at you unsuspectingly. They were delivered in the order you would expect. The biggest surprise was one that left me unsatisfied. I didn’t see it coming, but I think that’s because it didn’t make sense to me. It was too much of a coincidence. I actually felt that it ruined things a bit for me. That being said, it was probably a twist some readers would love.

The Butterfly Garden was a dark, horrifying story. If you like dark thrillers, this could be the book for you. It was on the verge of being too dark for me — even with how addicting it was. I had to read it during the day and then read a romance later that night so I wouldn’t have messed up dreams.

Review: Crew by Tijan

Crew
Series: Crew, #1
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: August 27, 2018
Genre: (Mature) Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

To survive where I live, you have two options.

You can be a Normal—a cheerleader, jock, member of the debate team, or on the yearbook committee. You pretend everything is normal.

Or you can be crew.
You insult us? We hurt you.
You hurt us? We really hurt you.
And if you f*ck with us, we will end you.

My name is Bren.
I’m the only female in the Wolf Crew—the best, fiercest, and most dangerous crew there is—and we have a rule: There’s no falling in love.

Well… too late.


Holy moly, people!

I have been a fan of Tijan’s writing since I found Broken & Screwed and then the Fallen Crest High series. Her YA books are my guilty pleasure. They straddle the line between YA and NA, and are like a good teenage TV drama. I was excited to hear Tijan was heading back to the YA realm with Crew. Despite that, I was a tad bit hesitant to start reading it. I had this feeling that it was going to hit hard emotionally. I admit I was slightly scared of where it might take me. I wasn’t sure I was ready.  I knew it was going to be special, though.

Crew was EPIC. I was utterly addicted to it from beginning to end. Crew was classic Tijan mature YA. If you have read Fallen Crest High, Broken & Screwed, or Ryan’s Bed, you will know what I’m talking about it. Crew was all about different relationships, drama, and angst. There were friendships, alliances, romances, enemies, family. You name it, it was involved. I loved being in the world of Crew.

Crew, like all of Tijan’s books, had a strong but emotionally damaged female main character. Bren’s life was filled with a lot of darkness and a little bit of light. She embraced life with the Wolf Crew. The crew wasn’t just something she belonged to, it was her family. It was her way of life. Bren was crew. How that affected her life and choices was fascinating.

The whole story was fascinating! I loved the all the surprises Tijan threw in. I was shocked by how much the crew thing interested me. It opened my eyes to some things and I didn’t expect that. I really loved the dynamic between Bren and the rest of the crew. I specifically loved the impact the crew had on her love life. She had a very special connection with someone and I adored this relationship. Her man was my favorite character in this story. His strength was different from hers, and how he used it was very cool.

There’s so, so much I want to say about Crew! I can’t, though. My lips are sealed. I won’t be spoiling this book for you. If you loved any of those other Tijan books I mentioned earlier in this review, you MUST read Crew. You will LOVE it. Whatever I thought Crew was going to be before reading it was right, but it was also MORE. You’re going to love that more. I did.

**Full-length novel. First book in a YA Series. This is 100% a new series from TIJAN. All new characters in the Tijanverse and is intended for mature audiences only. This book is dark, violent, and not for the faint of heart.** 

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Review: Want You by Jen Frederick

Want You
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: July 1, 2018
Publisher: Pear Tree LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Bitsy: I might be only nineteen, but I know what I want. It’s Leka Moore. I don’t care that he took me in when he was barely more than a kid himself. I don’t care that he raised me. I don’t care everyone thinks being with him is wrong. I know we belong together, and the only person I need to convince is him.

Leka: I found her in the corner of a dark alley. If I hadn’t taken her with me, she would’ve died that night—or maybe worse. Before I knew it, she became the light in my dark life, the haven from the madness. I watched her grow up. I tried to teach her right from wrong. Now that she’s an adult, I’m feeling things that no good man should ever feel. But then…I’ve never been a good man. I have a chance at redemption by saving her from the greatest danger of all—me.


To be completely honest, I’m still not sure what I think about Want You. It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I knew it was going to be different from the other books I had read by Jen Frederick, but I had no idea it was going to be that different. For me, that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t connect with the characters or their story.

Want You is a book that builds slowly. I was expecting to jump right into the romance of the story. That didn’t happen. It started with Leka and Bitsy’s first meeting as children and slowly built over years.The first half of the book spanned thirteen years. Those years were violent and a little disturbing — mainly for Leka. Honestly, I wanted to hurry up and get to the romance part of things because the darkness was starting to drag me down. I needed some happy. The second half of the book wasn’t the happy I was looking for. There were some moments of it, but the darkness continued.

Despite the darkness, it was an interesting story. I think I might have been more into it if I was into the romance. Leka and Bitsy’s love for each other was understandable, but I had a hard time buying parts of it. I got her lusting after the boy/man who protected her all her life, but I didn’t get how he lived his life prior to being with her. It was all so weird to me. It wasn’t even the age difference. They were only like 7 years apart. I can’t really even explain it without giving stuff away.

I know I’m not saying much about the story line. I don’t want to ruin this book for anyone. I guess I’ll just leave it at this: This wasn’t the sweet and sexy read I’m used to by Frederick. Want You was dark and gritty. If you like dark, gritty, and forbidden then this book is for you. If you don’t, skip it.