Series Review: Smart Jocks (Rebecca Jenshak)

I’ve been seeing Rebecca Jenshak’s Smart Jocks new adult college sports romance series around a lot lately, and I kept thinking I read it. After talking to a reader friend who told me she hadn’t been addicted to a series like this in a long time, I decided to jump in. I’m so glad I did! The Smart Jocks series is truly addicting! Here is a short review for each book in the series.


The Assist, Book 1: ★ ★ ★ ★

The Assist had me from the start. Pretty much everything about it was adorable. It combined the right about of sports, college, humor, and just a tiny bit of angst. Blair and Wes had great banter, which is probably what made this book shine. I knew from the minute I met the supporting characters that I would have to keep reading the Smart Jocks series.

The Fadeaway, Book 2: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I’m going to be honest. I didn’t really have much of an opinion about Joel Moreno after reading The Assist. He was just sort of background that didn’t stand out. I was more interested in knowing Zeke’s story. Maybe that’s why I was so surprised by how much I loved Joel Moreno. He might have been a manwhore prior to this book, but he really stepped things up for Katrina. He was a much sweeter, more devoted guy than I expected. I loved him and Katrina together.

The Tip-Off, Book 3: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The Tip-Off is the book I have been waiting for since I started this series: Zeke and Gabby’s story. Zeke is a hard working young man with a singular focus to make it to the NBA. Gabby is a young woman recovering from a major accident years ago that left her with physical and emotional scars. On their own, each is one of my favorite types of characters, so you can only imagine how I feel about them falling in love. Their story is a sweet slow burn that hit me right in the heart. The Tip-Off is my favorite in this series for sure.

The Fake, Book 4: ★ ★ ★ ★

Honesty again… I don’t know that I really cared about Nathan before this book. I loved that he was a good friend to Gabby and I felt some distress for him in The Tip-Off, but there wasn’t anything that made me want to know him better. The Fake changed that. Nathan meets this new transfer student, Chloe, in this book. What starts out as a one night stand turns to fake dating turns to real dating in an incredibly fun way. I couldn’t give it 5 stars because it stressed me out a little too much in one part, but I was happy I found myself liking Nathan and loving his relationship with Chloe. The way this book wrapped up the series at the end was great.

Overall feeling about Smart Jocks:

If I had to give a rating to the series overall, it would be 5 stars. It’s such an addicting read that I didn’t want to end. I fell in love with each and every character. There’s so much heart and humor involved. It’s definitely a series worth reading and binging — especially if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Review: The Fight for Forever (Meghan March)

The Fight for Forever
Series: Legend Trilogy, #3
Author: Meghan March
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: Meghan March LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

You can only keep what you can protect.

That’s all I’ve ever known. It’s the way I’ve lived my life.

Now, everything I never knew I needed is at risk, and I’m not letting anyone take it from me.

I won’t let anyone take her from me.

They say love is a battlefield, so I’m ready for war.

This time, it’s the fight for forever.

The Fight for Forever is the final book in the Legend Trilogy and should be read after The Fall of Legend, book one and House of Scarlett, book two of the utterly addictive Legend Trilogy.


I loved both The Fall of Legend and House of Scarlett, but what I felt for the first two books in this trilogy was only a fraction of what I felt for The Fight for Forever. This book was perfection. Seriously, Meghan March did everything I hoped she would and more. It picked right back up from the brutal cliffhanger in House of Scarlett and answered with action, chemistry, and love.

Gabriel Legend and Scarlett Priest’s story was FIRE. I loved everything about their relationship. They were both strong individual, but together they were a force to be reckoned with. They had a sweet relationship filled with an intense attraction. I loved how they welcomed the (amazing) people in each other’s lives into their own. Many of my favorite moments included them with Bump.

The fight aspect of this book was so much fun to read about. I loved how Gabriel’s preparation for it was worked in. I also loved the suspense the fight brought into this part of the trilogy. March kept me on my toes with everything that went on. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time!

As you can probably tell from all of my gushing, I adored this book. The Fight for Forever was an amazing conclusion to the Legend Trilogy. I’m sad I’m done reading it, but I’m also looking forward to reading what’s next from Meghan March. Her writing gets better and better with each new release.

Add to your Goodreads TBR: http://bit.ly/TheFightforForeverGR

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http://meghanmarch.com/the-fight-for-forever
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About the author:

Making the jump from corporate lawyer to romance author was a leap of faith that New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Meghan March will never regret. With over thirty titles published, she has sold millions of books in nearly a dozen languages to fellow romance-lovers around the world. A nomad at heart, she can currently be found in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, living her happily ever after with her real-life alpha hero.

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Review: Destructive (Jay McLean)

Destructive
Series: Combative, #3
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: January 6, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Some villains are made.
Some villains are born.
And some villains aren’t villains at all.

Nate DeLuca was born into a life he didn’t want.
Forced to walk a path that was already chosen for him.
Grandson to a mob boss, he’s forever torn between his duty, his honor, his legacy, and the truth.
But the truth is never simple, and it’s not at all what it seems.

In a world full of secrets, heartache, and betrayals, Nate only has one thing on his mind: redemption.
But with redemption comes destruction.
And that destruction might cost him his heart.

***

Three Lives.
Two Loves.
One ticking time bomb…
Tick tock.


Destructive is the third and final book in the Combative series. Each book builds on the last, so you don’t want to jump ahead because you will miss out on the build up and all the good stuff. You can find my review for the first book, Combative, here.

Woah.

If Combative left me slightly confused with its cliffhanger and Redemptive left me mind blown, then Destructive left me fulfilled. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted, but needed from Jay McLean and her characters. It tested everything I thought I knew about Nate, Ky, Madison, and Bailey. There were so many revelations, so many moments of clarity. It took McLean years to wrap up this story, and I now understand why. It both shocked and amazed. What a way to end such an explosive trilogy!

Series Review: Flight & Glory (Rebecca Yarros)

At the end of 2018, I read my first book by Rebecca Yarros. I was so impressed with The Last Letter that I vowed to go back and read some of Yarros’ previous releases. It took me a little over a year, but I finally got to the first book in her Flight & Glory series. Once I started with that one, I had to read the rest of the series. Here are my mini reviews for each book that has been released.


Full Measures, Book 1: ★ ★ ★ ★

Full Measures was a great start to this series. I’m impressed that this was Yarros’ debut novel. It was a sweet and somber story full of heat and indecision. Ember drove me a little nuts, but overall I liked her. I loved Josh. Overall, it was a good read that hit the emotional punches it delivered.

Eyes Turned Skyward, Book 2: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Eyes Turned Skyward was a predictable romance, but that didn’t matter because everything about it was fantastic. Jagger is a hero everyone will swoon over. He was a bad boy who was actually really good. I loved the care her took of Paisley. Paisley was a little frustrating at times, but I still loved her. She was sweet and good and perfect for Jagger.

Beyond What is Given, Book 3: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This series just keeps getting better and better. Beyond What is Given was an amazing addition to it. Again, the story was a predictable (as romances often are), but the characters make up for that. I loved how feisty and strong Samantha was even when her world was crashing down around her. I loved how Grayson pointed her in the right direction to put herself back together and ended up doing the same for himself. Grayson… Definitely a new favorite character of mine. I loved his hard shell and quiet demeanor. I think they’re my favorite couple in this series, but it’s hard to pick because all of them are amazing in their own ways.

Hallowed Ground, Book 4: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Hallowed Ground is the book I didn’t think I wanted, but desperately needed. I was hesitant to read it because I didn’t want to go back to Josh and Ember’s relationship and dig up old issues. I sucked it up and read it because a friend told me I would need to read it before book 5 is released. I’m happy I did because even when Josh got dumb and annoying, I could see the importance to and of the story. This was the most heartbreaking to read, but also maybe the most fulfilling. I wish I didn’t have to wait for book #5.

Review: Bitter Falls (Rachel Caine)

Bitter Falls
Series: Stillhouse Lake, #4
Author: Rachel Caine
Publication Date: January 21, 20120
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

She’s investigating a cold case no one else could—by going places no else would dare.

In spite of a harrowing past still haunting her, Gwen Proctor is trying to move forward. Until a new assignment gives her purpose: the cold-case disappearance of a young man in Tennessee. Three years missing, no clues. Just Ruth Landry, a tortured mother in limbo. Gwen understands what it’s like to worry about your children.

Gwen’s investigation unearths new suspects…and victims. As she follows each sinister lead, the implications of the mystery grow more disturbing. Because the closer Gwen gets, the closer she is to a threat that looms back home.

In a town that’s closed its ranks against Gwen; her partner, Sam; and her kids, there’s no bolder enemy than the Belldene family—paramilitary, criminal, powerful, and vengeful. As personal vendettas collide with Gwen’s investigation, she’s prepared to fight both battles. But is she prepared for the toll it could take on everyone she loves?


I’m a fan of Rachel Caine’s Stillhouse Lake series. I love how she writes a good, fast-paced thriller. Since Bitter Falls contains a thrilling mystery, I’m going to keep my review to what I liked and didn’t like about this book.

Likes:

  • Rachel Caine’s writing was just as easy to get swept away in as always. She kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what was coming next.
  • I loved the Prologue. It made me so curious as to what was to come.
  • Seeing how Gwen’s kids’ lives continued to be burdened by their father’s notoriety was interesting.
  • The whole cult aspect of this book was fascinating. It gave an even more twisted feel to things — especially with its connections to Wolfhunter River (book 3).
  • How everything came together in the end.

Dislikes:

  • I hate to say it, but some of the continued themes that have traveled through each book are starting to feel a little too repetitive.
  • Some things that happened felt a little unbelievable.

Overall, Bitter Falls was a great addition to the Stillhouse Lake series. If you like thrillers and haven’t yet read this series, I highly recommend going back and starting at Stillhouse Lake.

Series Review: Jamison Valley (Devney Perry)

Over the past couple of weeks I have been binge reading the Jamison Valley series by Devney Perry. Today, I’m sharing with you my mini reviews for each book.


The Coppersmith Farmhouse ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
I can’t believe this was Perry’s first novel. It was written like a seasoned veteran author. I mean, I can see how her writing has matured since I read some of her newer releases first, but I was still impressed. I loved everything that was going on in the novel. My favorite thing about it had to be Jess, though. I loved the way he loved Gigi and Rowen. I have some of the same concerns Gigi had, but I loved how those worked themselves out. My only complaint about this book is that Jess didn’t get his own POV.

The Clover Chapel ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I read the Gypsy King last month. I didn’t realize that this book was connected to that book. It was a great surprise — one that started this book out on top. I ended up loving The Clover Chapel so much. It’s Devney Perry’s writing at its best. I adored Nick and Emmy. Their romance and story was fabulous!

The Lucky Heart ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
I thought that I wasn’t going to be as big of fan of this book as I was the first two because of Felicity. The introduction to her character in The Clover Chapel did not make me a fan. The Lucky Heart did. I liked that she had grown up over the years since high school and wanted to make amends to the people she hurt. It didn’t hurt that Silas brought out the best in her. I loved their romance.

The Outpost ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
This was another book in the series I wasn’t sure I would like because of how I met Sabrina in the previous book. I wasn’t her biggest fan in that book. I ended up really loving it. Beau and Sabrina were so cute together. I loved the build up of their relationship and how it all came together in the end. I also liked the peak at Bryce, who we meet again in Perry’s new series Gypsy King (Tin Gypsies, #1).

The Bitterroot Inn ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I don’t have much to say about The Bitterroot Inn other than I loved it. It was predictable in the way romances with a touch of suspense can be, but that only added to the story. Hunter was so sweet to Maisy. I was so happy she got her happy ending after that first book.

The Candle Palace ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
This was a great way to end the series. It was short and sweet. Perry somehow managed to pack as much punch in this novella as she did in each of the full length books. I loved that I got to know how Milo met Sara.

Overall, this was a great series. I loved that I could see Perry’s writing progress and strengthen throughout it. Plus, all the romances were lovely.

Thoughts: Cats (Play vs. Movie)

This post is something different than what I normally write. It has nothing to do with books and all about the musical Cats.

THE MUSICAL

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to go see the musical with my mom and sister. I wouldn’t exactly say we’re theater buffs or anything, but we have seen quite a few musicals together over the years. When we left the theater after the show, we all had similar thoughts. The biggest one was “What did we just see?”. None of us had read what the musical was about prior to the show and we left a little confused. There seemed to be little plot with a ton of singing and dancing. I honestly almost fell asleep in the first Act. The music pretty much lulled me to sleep. The second Act was better and the story started coming together for me.

My overall thoughts on the musical were that while the singing, dancing, sets, costumes, productions were all amazing, it wasn’t my favorite. It was kind of boring. There will be a TON of people who disagree with me. I know this. Cats is highly celebrated. Obviously, it just wasn’t for me. It would be 3 out of 5 stars for me. I might have given it 2 stars if I didn’t think it was so well done for what it was.

So if I wasn’t a big fan of the musical why would I see the movie?

THE MOVIE

I have to admit I saw the Cats movie based on curiosity and star power. It’s been hyped just about everywhere. I was wondering how Hollywood would turn a slightly confusing musical into a movie. Honestly, I think they did a pretty good job. The screenplay was able to do something the musical didn’t. It made the story easier to follow and added in some moments where the characters talked instead of sang. The little changes here and there enhanced the story. The dancing, singing, and sets were beautiful. I did find the cat-like appearances of the cast a little creepy at times, but they looked like cats so…

As for that star power, I know you’re curious. I was surprised at how good some of the actors were. James Corden and Rebel Wilson were a couple of my favorite cats. I also really liked Francesca Hayward. I thought I would love Taylor Swift’s performance, but she didn’t take on as many cat-like movements as I thought she would. I could see her personal performance movements in the film, which surprised me. Not that she didn’t do a nice job, she did. There were just other actors who shined more.

Overall, I enjoyed watching  Cats the movie more than the musical. It wasn’t that it was necessarily better than the musical. (It probably wasn’t in all reality.) It was just easier for me to understand. Now, I kind of wish I could go back and re-watch the musical. I think I would enjoy it more because I would have a better understanding of the story — that there actually was a story.

Oh! I feel like I should report that my almost 12 year old loved it. It seemed like the four older women in the audience with us also did. I did see a younger couple leave before even half way into the movie, and a mother-son duo left about 3/4 in. So only 6 out of 10 watchers finished it.

Review: Call Down the Hawk (Maggie Stiefvater)

Call Down the Hawk
Series: Dreamer, #1
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQ+

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The dreamers walk among us . . . and so do the dreamed. Those who dream cannot stop dreaming – they can only try to control it. Those who are dreamed cannot have their own lives – they will sleep forever if their dreamers die.

And then there are those who are drawn to the dreamers. To use them. To trap them. To kill them before their dreams destroy us all.

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams and into his compromised reality.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer . . . and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person. And she has seen the damage that dreamers can do. But that is nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed. . . .


The first two chapter of Call Down the Hawk had me wondering if maybe I had outgrown this this author. I just wasn’t pulled in as I expected to be. Once I got to the first chapter that was actually Ronan, I was pulled back into his world. I became interested in the story and what was to come. I was glad I didn’t simply give up on this book because there was so much to love about it.

Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is as enchanting as always. Her dream world, while sometimes overly descriptive, is mesmerizing. I got bogged down a bit by all those descriptions and the almost 500 pages felt long at times, but the underlying story was so good that I didn’t care.

I loved being back with Ronan. I liked getting deeper into his thoughts and opinions. His world was more than I was expecting. I was happy we got to see some of the other Raven Cycle characters through his POV. (Though, not as many moments as I was hoping for.)

As for the other Lynch brothers… I loved them. Declan wasn’t my favorite character in the other series, but he opened my eyes in this book to the good parts of him. He ended up being one of my favorite characters. Matthew… Well, who doesn’t love Matthew?

There were a couple new main characters in Call Down the Hawk. At first meet, I was a little confused by Jordan Hennessy and Carmen Farooq-Lane. It took some time to build their stories, but I loved how they were woven into the Lynch brothers’.

When I got to the end of Call Down the Hawk, I had two feelings. I both wanted more and was relieved that it was over. It feels weird to say that, but I needed a break after so many pages. I’m very curious about where this story is taking us. I’m both relieved I have to wait a bit for the next book and chomping at the bit to find out what’s next. Weird, but true.

Review: The Wives (Tarryn Fisher)

The Wives
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication Date: December 30, 2019
Publisher: Graydon House
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretenses, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realize she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?


What. The. Heck. No, seriously. What the heck?

I’m exhausted from reading The Wives. It is a great example of why I love Tarryn Fisher’s writing. She’s so crafty in her delivery. It may start out in a sleepy thriller sort of way, but when things start to go down THEY GO DOWN. I was on edge for the entire second half of the book. Surprises were lurking behind every corner, people! Just when I thought I had finally figured freaking Thursday and the story out, BAM! I was proven wrong again… and again… and again. I want to say I loved every minute of this thriller, but I can’t — only because my stress level was way up there. My nerves are frayed in the best way.

Review: Gypsy King (Devney Perry)

Gypsy King
Series: Tin Gypsy, #1
Author: Devney Perry
Publication Date: October 29, 2019
Publisher: Devney Perry LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The former Tin Gypsy motorcycle club has everyone in Clifton Forge, Montana convinced they’ve locked their clubhouse doors and ripped off their patches. Everyone but Bryce Ryan. There’s more happening at the club’s garage than muscle car restorations and Harley rebuilds. Her instincts are screaming there’s a story—one she’s going to tell.

As the new owner of the small town’s newspaper, Bryce is hungry for more than birth announcements and obituaries. When a woman is brutally killed and all signs point to the Tin Gypsies, Bryce is determined to expose the club and their leader, Kingston “Dash” Slater, as murderers.

Bryce bests Dash match after match, disappointed her rugged and handsome opponent turns out to be an underwhelming adversary. Secrets are exposed. Truths defeat lies. Bryce is poised to win this battle in a landslide.

Then Dash breaks all the rules and tips the scales.

One kiss, and she’s fighting to save more than just her story. She’s fighting to save her heart from the Gypsy King.


Devney Perry is one of my favorite new-to-me authors of 2019. I love her writing style and the emotion she infuses in her words and stories. I was really excited to read her newest release, Gypsy King. Here are my quick thoughts on it.

What I didn’t like:

  • There’s only one thing, really. It took me a few chapters or so to get into the book. It wasn’t love at first word. The only reason I can give you for this was that I didn’t immediately bond with Bryce’s character. Her actions made me mad at first because she didn’t give any thought to how what she was investigating would do to the people it impacted. Luckily, Bryce grew on me.

What I loved:

  • The writing, of course.
  • Dash. He should have been someone I didn’t like because of things he had done in the past, but he was a good guy.
  • The mystery behind the murder and how that all played out.
  • Dash and Bryce’s relationship. I loved them together.
  • Bryce once she and Dash became involved and her priorities shifted. I loved how she interacted with his friends, too.
  • Dash’s friends.

By the end of Gypsy King, I was enjoying the story so much I didn’t want it to end. I’m so excited for the rest of the series.