Review: Cross Check by Kelly Jamieson

Cross Check
Series: Bayard Hockey, #2
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A party girl and a clean-cut college hockey player discover that they’re not so different in this sexy, soulful Bayard Hockey novel from the bestselling author of Shut Out and the Heller Brothers series.

Ella Verran has three goals this semester: get off academic probation, repair her relationship with her friend Skylar, and take some responsibility for her life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract her. Ella can’t stand Ben, and she knows the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting Ella in ways she never thought possible.

As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, Ben has goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. Ben is perfectly poised on the ice, so why can’t he keep his cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs him in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as they skate around each other, Ben learns that there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, he can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.


Last month I read my first Kelly Jamieson novel. It was one of her contemporary hockey romances and I was really impressed. I loved her writing style and couldn’t believe how well she pulled off third person dual point of view narration. I was excited to get another chance to read one of her upcoming novels, this time a new adult hockey romance. If I was impressed with the first book I read by Kelly Jamieson, Cross Check completely blew me away.

Cross Check was told in first person dual narration, and it was so much fun to read! I couldn’t get enough of this enemies to lovers romance. The sexual tension rolling off Ella and Ben was explosive. I loved every minute of their hate to love fest.

Ella was a good person who had made some poor choices recently. Those choices had given her a reputation she wanted to get away from. That was hard to do knowing people, like Ben, were judging her. I loved the strength she showed making changes and getting the help she needed. Ella was a great role model for young women out there. She proved there isn’t anything that can stand in your way of changing yourself if you want it bad enough. Ben had issues of his own. He thought he had moved past them, but really he was just hiding from them. I enjoyed the way he learned that he might have been judging Ella the way he didn’t want to be judged. The way they taught each other to move on from the past was very sweet. Oh, and that sexual tension I mentioned before? Well, it was HOT, HOT, HOT when they finally acted on it.

The only thing I wish I could have changed was not having read the first Bayard Hockey novel before reading Cross Check. I felt like I was missing was a little bit of both Ben and Ella’s past. They obviously had some deeply negative feelings about each other from what took place in the first book. I also would have liked to have a better understanding of what happened to make Ella who she was in this book. But all this is on me, not the author’s writing ability. I should have read the first book! I need to go back and read it now.

Cross Check was a fun college hockey romance with some intense issues built into it. I loved every moment of it. I respected the way Kelly Jamieson made a fiery romance educational as well. I highly recommend this book to new adult fans out there.

Review: We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson

We Are the Ants
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, GLBT, Contemporary

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.

Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.

What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.

But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.

The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.


Before I start this review, I must thank Kelly @ Here’s to Happy Endings for sharing her ARC of We Are the Ants with me. If she hadn’t passed this book onto me, I might not have read it and that would have been a travesty.

When I began reading We Are the Ants, I was immediately confused and unsure if this book was going to be for me. Science fiction isn’t normally my preferred reading genre, and there were some pretty big science fiction-y things happening right away. Normally, that probably would have bored me, but it didn’t. We Are the Ants enthralled me the entire time I was reading it. The author’s writing and storytelling were brilliant. I read it in one evening. That’s how good this book was. A non-science fiction reader couldn’t put it down.

I absolutely loved the cast of characters. Henry was a boy on the brink of manhood. Life was tough for him to begin with and being abducted by aliens didn’t help. The added pressure of trying to decide whether to save the world or not compounded his already stressful existence.

Henry’s relationship with his family a big part of this story. His family wasn’t as easy to love as Henry was, but the more I got to know them the more they grew on me. It took me a long time to understand their motivations and opinions. Their lack of support for Henry at times frustrated me, especially his mother. I wanted to give her a good shake a couple of times.

The other characters that had a large part in this story were Henry’s classmates. I had a love-hate relationship with them. I loved what they brought to the story, but I hated pretty much all of them. They were a true representation of what kids can be like when presented with someone who doesn’t fit the mold.

We Are the Ants was a beautiful and thought-provoking coming of age novel. It touched on so many issues that will resonate with today’s youth and adults alike. If you haven’t already read it, I would highly recommend doing so.

Blog Tour Review: Seared on My Soul by Cole Gibson

Seared On My Soul Tour BannerSeared on My Soul
By: Cole Gibsen
Publication Date: June 27, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Entangled Embrace, Contemporary Romance

Seared on My Soul CoverPurchase: Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Synopsis:

She’s so young, so full of life…

I couldn’t let her die…

Even if she made the world’s worst coffee.

Emily Garret never asked to be rescued, let alone by a walking JCrew ad whose idea of fun is probably managing his stock portfolio and watching the nightly news. Then again, she never thought she would wind upside-down in a ditch after a night having a little too much fun.

Reece Montgomery never planned on being anyone’s hero, especially the foul-mouthed, bleach-blonde barista from the local coffee shop. He thinks there’s more to Emily than her tattoos, and lip ring, but getting close means letting her into his past and meeting his ghosts.

And he’s not sure she’s ready for that battlefield.

goodreads-badge-add-38pxReview:

  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Emily may be a strong woman who looks like she doesn’t care what people think on the outside, but on the inside she’s a little lost. While her friends have found their loves and paths in life, Emily is stuck with one night stands and a dead-end barista job. She’s completely happy with her lifestyle until one drunken hookup leads to almost losing her life.

Reece is barely keeping himself together after suffering the loss of his friend and fellow soldier. He may have a teaching job, a place to live and an amazing motorcycle, but he’s constantly on the brink of his next anxiety attack.

After Reece saves the barista from his local coffee shop from a fiery car crash, he can’t stop thinking about her. Even though he’s never really talked to Emily, he feels a connection with her. As he gets to know Emily, he realizes she’s rough around the edges, but she gets him in a way no one else has.

Seared on My Soul started out a little rough for me. It’s told in dual point of view and starts with Emily’s perspective. That first chapter just didn’t pull me in like I hoped it would. I can’t put my finger on what exactly I didn’t care for, but there was just something a little off-putting about Emily’s point of view in that initial introduction. I didn’t think I was going to like her character at all.

Luckily, it was just that first chapter that I didn’t connect with because the I really enjoyed the rest of the book! I immediately felt a connection with Reece’s character. He was a war veteran dealing with the loss of his friend. He felt responsible and was dealing with PTSD symptoms. He was fighting so hard to make it through each day. It was actually the way Emily connected with Reece that helped me connect with her.

Emily was a very mixed up character. Her brash personality helped hide her insecurities. It made her appear stronger than she really was. Emily used alcohol to numb her pain and it was slowly consuming her. But even though she had her own issues, she easily identified Reece’s and was able to give him the safety he needed. Emily was actually a very sweet person once you got past what she was trying to portray to everyone.

Emily and Reece were pretty darn perfect together. They heated up the sheets spectacularly, but more importantly, they were a support system for each other. Their relationship had bumps along the way, but those bumps lead them to better themselves and grow a stronger connection to each other.

Seared on My Sole was a great romance filled with friendship, love and healing.

**I received this book from IndieSage PR via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Excerpt:

My world becomes nothing but pain.
Every breath is a mixture of blood, smoke, and gasoline.

From far away, I hear sirens and muf ed voices that can’t quite penetrate the darkness I’ve fallen into. Blood, tasting of copper, trickles down my throat. A searing ache, like barbed wire, rips into every inch of my body.

Am I dying?

Terror coils around my gut and I ail in the darkness inside my mind, desperate for anything to hold onto, an object to keep me grounded so I won’t fall away. My ngers brush against something soft and I grab hold, twisting the fabric into my st.

It doesn’t take me long to realize the fabric is attached to something—or rather someone—because seconds later a pair of muscular arms snake around my shoulders and press

me against an equally rm chest.
It doesn’t make sense. I haven’t been held this way since

Daddy died nearly a decade ago.
“Can you hear me?” The unfamiliar voice sounds

distant, echoing inside my head like a cavern.
I try to answer, but my throat is tight and blood coats my

tongue. Instead, I hold tighter, pressing my knotted ngers against his chest. His warmth bleeds into my skin, loosening the fear twisted around my ribs just enough for me to breathe— only it comes as a gasp. “I don’t want to die.” The words are a surprise, but I realize they’re the truest words I’ve ever spoken.

Unconsciousness tugs at me with velvety ngers, pulling me deeper inside myself. I clutch the fabric in my hands, suddenly terri ed that if I’m pulled away, I might not be able to nd my way back.

The darkness presses against me, smashing me beneath a wall of endless satin. My ngers lose their grip on the man’s shirt, and I can feel myself slipping. Fear rises inside my throat, a jagged lump I can barely breathe around. “Don’t,” I manage to choke. My voice sounds far away—almost as if it were coming from outside my body. Or maybe I’m the one outside my body.

The thought sends an icy wave of terror crashing over me.

“Don’t what?” the man asks, sounding farther away than before. Even so, the panic in his voice is unmistakable.

The darkness grows heavier, and I am too weak to ght. Even my fear ebbs under the crushing weight of exhaustion. It takes all my remaining strength, but I manage to breathe life into the words tangled on my tongue before

unconsciousness consumes me.

“Don’t let me go.”

ABOUT COLE GIBSEN

Cole Gibsen

At seventeen Cole found herself homeless with only a beat-up Volkswagen Jetta and a bag of Goodwill clothing to her name. The only things that got her through the nights she spent parked in truck stops and cornfields were the stacks of books she checked out from the library along with her trusty flashlight. Because of the reprieve these books gave her from her troubles, Cole vowed to become a writer so she could provide the same escape to readers who needed a break the reality of their own lives.

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Review: Shame by Rachel Van Dyken

Shame
Series:
Ruin, #3
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Publication Date: October 4, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Synopsis:

Everything done in darkness will eventually be brought into the light. I ran, but all it did was keep me one step ahead of my past. I tried to start over; new name, new identity. But you can’t change your soul. A fresh start at college was just what I needed. For a while, it worked. I was the party girl, the one who seemed confident, but it was a lie. When guys kissed me – I felt only pain. When they touched me – nothing but fear. Deep inside, every girl wants to be the beauty in the story, to find someone who will see you as their world. But the truth? I was the beast. And as much as I wanted redemption, I wasn’t fool enough to think I’d ever get it.

Until he walked into my life. I wasn’t prepared to fall for someone. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security. I should have known it was just another lie – I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea. But I was powerless to stop myself from falling. And he was powerless to catch me. Because the darkness finally caught up to me, and as fate would have it, a cruel twist almost bled me dry. But I’m stronger than I knew. I’m stronger than you think. You think you know my story, but you don’t – after all everyone has Shame in their lives – and I’m no longer afraid to show you mine.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Wow. Shame was freakin’ crazy. After reading Toxic, the second book in the Ruin series, I knew there was more to party girl Lisa than met the eye. She had a hidden past that I was looking forward to exploring. What I wasn’t expecting was the crazy ride Shame took me on. I feel like I can’t even really tell you much about the book because I would be giving too much away. It’s definitely a book you have to read for yourself.

In Shame, Lisa is trying to out run her past. It’s a past filled with pain and hurt — both her own and that which she caused others. Lisa’s created a new, better version of herself and she’s doing everything she can to make a brighter future at the UW.

Sophomore year of college isn’t starting out very well for Lisa, though. Her past has come back to haunt her through anonymous letters in her mailbox. Lisa’s starting to get scared. Her new psychology professor isn’t helping either. He may be hot as hell, but he seems to have a grudge against Lisa. One minute, Lisa thinks there might be something between them. The next, he’s insulting her. The stress of it all is almost too much to handle.

Student/teacher relationships are one of my least favorite relationship tropes, but it didn’t really bother me in this book. While I was a little worried about Lisa and Tristan getting caught and in trouble, I could also see where the story was going. That helped make their relationship more enjoyable to read.

I loved Lisa’s character. She was just as complex as the storyline. Her past was so interesting. I loved reading about it through Taylor’s journal entries.

Tristan won’t be making my book boyfriend list. I had a love/hate relationship with him, but that’s okay. His character and role made him perfect for Lisa.

The real gem in this story for me was Taylor, or more accurately, his journals. He was such an interesting and dark character! He created some twists and turns I didn’t see coming. His part in the story made this more a thriller than a romance.

Shame was a really cool book. It wasn’t what I expected at all and I loved that. I think other readers will, too.

I would highly suggest reading the first two books in the Ruin series prior to reading Shame, as the stories build upon each other. I would recommend the entire series to New Adult readers. I’ve truly enjoyed reading them.

Blog Tour,Review, & Giveaway: Lethal Temptations by Janine Bosco Infante

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Lethal Temptations
by Janine Infante Bosco
Tempted, #5
Publication Date: May 24, 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance, MC Romance

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Purchase ($1.99 or #FREE with #KindleUnlimited): Kindle | Paperback

Synopsis: BLACKIE
My name is Blackie, I’m the vice president of the Satan’s Knights MC and I’m an addict.
I’ve been trading one addiction for another for as long as I can remember.
I make no apologies for my addictions, nor do I try to hide them.
Until my latest addiction threatens to destroy not just me but her.
For the first time I want to fight the need and not gravitate towards it. I try to deny it and not succumb to it but I’m a prisoner to her purity.
I’m Satan’s soldier, a demon dressed in leather.
She’s an angel, innocent and full of light, she’s my lace.
Leather.
Lace.
Me.
Her.
A temptation so lethal neither of us may survive but, every demon craves an angel.
Guide me to the light.
Take me from the dark.
Give me back my life.
Let me share yours.
They are the selfish words of an addict and they are my truth.

LACEY PARRISH
My name is Lacey Parrish and I have a secret, one I’ve tried to deny for a long time, one I’ve tried to spare the world from.
I am a manic-depressive.
Just like my dad.
Some days I’m high on life.
Most days I try to escape it.
People think they know me, they think they see me but the truth is no one knows who I really am. No one sees the real me… a broken girl with a mind that betrays her.
Except Blackie.
He’s my savior, the man who silences my maker.
He’s my knight in shining armor, the man who puts my life before his.
He’s my leather and I’m his lace.
Two broken souls that have the power to heal one another.
This is our story, an unapologetic tale full of temptations.
A love story called Leather and Lace.

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Review TeaserREVIEW

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

The Tempted series had me on the edge again with its newest book, Lethal Temptations. In this book, we get Blackie’s story.

Blackie is not just any member of the Knights MC family. He’s the VP and the President Bulldog’s right hand man. He’s had his problems with drugs, but the loss of his wife has kept him clean for years — all until a business deal gone wrong sends him spiraling back down into a haze of drugs. On his way down, he makes an incredibly bad decision. He sleeps with the one woman who’s off-limits to him: Bulldog’s daughter. One time with Lacey just isn’t enough. She’s like the drugs he can’t quite quit.

Lacey may still be a virgin, but she’s all grown up now. And what she wants more than anything is Blackie. He may be a couple of decades older than her and her dad’s best friends, but he’s the one who makes her world better. He makes her happy. She’s willing to do anything to have him, even if it means hiding her relationship from her father.

Janine Bosco Infante sets up her stories in a very cool way. I always love how she lays out her plot for the reader. Rather than just another biker love story, you get a look into the Knights MC’s inner workings. Equal time is spent on both the romance and what’s going on with the gang. It makes the story so intense and fun to read.

Blackie was a very interesting character. His demons ran deep and he had a very hard time dealing with them. He also had a ton of guilt he held onto over his dead wife, Bulldog and Lacey. The guilt helped feed his addiction. It made me sad to see how much he let drugs take over his life. Without them, he was such a nice guy. He would have done anything to protect Lacey. I loved reading about him and all of his experiences.

Lacey, on the other hand, wasn’t my favorite character. I think it was her self talk. I know it was supposed to help the reader to understand her mental health issues, but it fell a little flat for me. I couldn’t stand how she referred to “her maker”. I do have to applaud Infante Bosco for doing a great job dealing with depression, drugs and mental illness in her story.

Even though Lacey wasn’t my favorite character, I did like her relationship with Blackie. They truly brought out the best in each other. And, dang!, the sex was hot! Their relationship made for a very entertaining plot.

I would recommend Lethal Temptations to readers who like a romance with a lot of intensity and don’t mind violence.

**I received an ARC of Lethal Temptations from IndieSage in exchange for an honest review.

A LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR

Dear Readers,

Blackie and Lacey’s love is not an easy story. It’s not about fluff and if you’re looking to escape the reality of the world, this book is not for you. Lethal Temptations is true to its title and while there is a love story between the hero and heroine there is an individual story being told about each character.

Blackie is a drug addict.

Lacey is mentally ill.

They each suffer with the demons that haunt them.

Both issues are very much alive in our world and most of us will experience the torment of addiction and, or, mental illness. If not in ourselves than possibly through the people we love.

The smiling person beside you who appears perfect may be suffering in silence, afraid of what society will say or more than that, afraid of admitting their truth.

If you or someone you love suffers from addiction or mental illness, it’s never too late to find your voice and seek help.

My wish for those in need is that they find hope within the pages of Lethal Temptations because, you’re temptations are only lethal if you allow them to be.

Be heard.

Your voice is your weapon against the things that drag you down.

May is mental health awareness month, let’s turn society around and make it our bitch and save the fractured souls that struggle on a daily basis.

Below you will find links on both addiction and mental health.

Thank you for reading,

Janine

Mental

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund was established to help raise awareness about the devastating and deadly disease that is mental illness. Keith’s spirit and laughter is kept alive through our efforts to increase awareness about mental illness and to raise money for education and imperative research. Keith often struggled with society’s perception of mental illness. Our hope is that by having the strength to say that Keith was “Bipolar” we can strip away the stigma and help others to be more open about their disease.

Keith Milano Memorial Fund
140 Adams Ave Suite B-12
Hauppauge NY 11788
www.keithmilano.org
www.kamauction.org
https://www.facebook.com/keithamilano
@MilanoFund
Direct Donation: http://bit.ly/MilanoFund

Addiction Angel

Addiction Angel

ADDICTION ANGEL HOTLINE FOR HELP CALL OR CHECK THEM OUT ON FACEBOOK. THEY ARE THERE TO HELP .YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN YOUR STRUGGLE WITH ADDICTION.

646-404-0637 (24/7) – Dedication to helping addicts kick their addiction
https://www.facebook.com/AddictionAngelRN/

I AM ON A MISSION…. Education and knowledge is key…. Most families and loved ones need guidance and I am here…. if you or your loved one is struggling don’t hesitate to call Addiction Angel…. Licensed and professional volunteers and help is available, call 646-404-0637 (24/7)
Professional interventions
Guidance
NARCAN training
Resources to treatment
Inpatient / outpatient
Detox, Therapy
Education
Support groups for families and sibling groups
Educational drug awareness forum “SCARED STRAIGHT”
Drug awareness presentation for schools/ parents

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LETHAL TEMPTATIONS BOOK TRAILER

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MEET “BLACKIE” aka #NickBennett

Nick Bennett Model Author Signing

“Blackie” (model Nick Bennett) will be signing at The Tempted and Tantalizing Author Event in Staten Island, NY on 9-30-2017.
Stay tuned for more information on ticket sales, attending authors, VIP offers and much more.
Like the #TNTNYC17 Facebook page to keep up on the current information about the event.
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#STAYTEMPTED DON’T MISS THE FIRST 4 BOOKS IN THE #TEMPTEDSERIES!

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ABOUT JANINE INFANTE BOSCO

Janine Infante Bosco

Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself.

She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.

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Review: Dear Dad by Giselle Green

Dear Dad
Author: Giselle Green
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Synopsis:

Three people longing to find love. Connected by one big lie.
Handsome, 28-year old, Nate Hardman is a frontline reporter with a big problem. Suffering from shell-shock and unable to leave his house, he’s already lost his social life and his girlfriend. Now his career prospects are sinking fast.
9 year-old Adam Boxley who lives alone with his ageing nan, also has big problems. Neglected at home and bullied at school, he’s desperate to reach out to his dad – and that’s when he sends his first letter to Nate. Only Nate’s not who he thinks he is. Will he help? More importantly – can he?
Across town meanwhile, caring but impulsive teacher Jenna Tierney really wants to help Adam – except the feisty redhead has already had enough of teaching. Recently hurt by yet another cheating boyfriend, Jenna’s now set her sights on pursuing a dream career abroad … only she’s about to meet Nate – her dream man who’ll make her re-think everything.
The big question is; can three people desperate to find love, ever find happiness when they’re only connected by one big lie?


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Dear Dad was a very touching, beautifully written novel that deals with numerous issues. I was immediately drawn into the story and the lives of the characters.

Adam was sweet kid. He had a maturity about him that you would expect in a child left to care for an aging adult. I felt so badly for what he had been through, but I was proud of how he handled himself throughout everything that was thrown his way. His character really stood out to me.

Nate’s anxiety, fear and physical reactions were realistic and relatable. His journey to overcome his anxiety was inspirational. I loved how Jenna and Adam were able to help him. The more I got to know Nate, the more I liked and respected him.

Jenna was exactly the type of teacher I would want my own child to have. She really cared about her students and went above and beyond. I also enjoyed the self-discovery she went through in the story.

My favorite thing about Dear Dad was the connection between all of the characters and how they supported each other. I also loved the romantic relationship that blossomed between Jenna and Nate. It was a really fun book to read.

I would recommend Dear Dad to readers who enjoy women’s fiction or contemporary romances.

Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

25663637When We Collided

Author: Emery Lord

Publication Date: April 5, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Mental Health

Goodreads Description:

We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Emery Lord has a knack for writing contemporary novels that leave me speechless. She did it with The Start of Me and You and she’s done it again with When We Collided. I’m going to try my best to articulate my thoughts on it. The blurb doesn’t tell you much about the book, so there might be a few minor spoilers. I’ll try not to give anything away. So, here I go…

When We Collided is more than just a love story. It’s the story of two teenagers trying to survive what life has dealt them. Both are dealing with depression and mental health issues. Jonah is dealing with his dad’s death and his mother’s subsequent depression. He and his older siblings are struggling to care for their younger siblings. Vivi has just been diagnosed with a mental illness and is running from her past mistakes. When Vivi moves to Jonah’s small town, they each find something they need in each other. For Jonah, it’s acceptance and light. For Vivi, it’s a chance to help someone and feel normal.

When We Collided was perfect. It was told in two distinct points of view: Vivi and Jonah’s. The two view points perfectly set the mood and flow of the book. One Chapter, Vivi would be in a whirlwind and I would feel pumped up. The next chapter, Jonah would be calm and rational and I would feel relaxed. Seriously, the transition in moods was amazing. And exhausting! But in a good way, of course!

I loved the small town summer feel of the setting. It was the perfect backdrop for all of the characters. It made for a great sense of community and support when Vivi and Jonah needed it.

Vivi was exactly like being around someone in the stage of a manic episode. (I can say this having been around someone in a manic episode. I’ve even reacted like Vivi’s mother with the “Have you taken your medication today?” question.) Her enthusiasm and excitement were contagious. It took real talent for Emery Lord to portray Vivi so vividly. I loved her, but I was so worried for her all of the time.

Without Jonah, this book would have completely exhausted me. Even though he was going through his own tough times, his perspective calmed me. I could understand how his presence helped calm Vivi, too. Jonah’s struggles were different from Vivi’s, but they too felt real. So many kids out there are taking care of their siblings due to mental health issues, drug issues, work issues, etc.

As for Jonah and Vivi’s relationship, it burnt bright. It was easy to see what attracted them to each other. I loved how their entire relationship played out.

When We Collided was so touching and I really couldn’t find anything I would want to change about it. I absolutely loved it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys young adult contemporary romances or books revolving around mental health issues.

I guess I wasn’t so speechless after all! 😉

Review: Out of Focus by L.B. Simmons

28459891Out of Focus

Series: Chosen Paths, #2

Author: L.B. Simmons

Publication Date: February 19, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Mental Health

Goodreads Synopsis:

*** Upper New Adult Spinoff Standalone to the USA Today Bestselling Novel, Under the Influence***

“Shhhh, Cassandra, it’s our little secret.”
Secrets are stubborn things when they refuse to remain hidden. They tear through your soul, clawing and lashing until the pain becomes so unbearable, you’re left no choice but to silently scream your agony. No one hears you, of course. You smile on the outside and drift through life as though your mind is at peace, but all the while, you remain your own tortured prisoner. Sealed inside the darkened, soundproof room of your conscience, deafening cries echo as you plead for someone to unlock the door and release you from your nightmares. And eventually, when no one comes, you find ways to cope. To dull the suffering the only way you know how.
But what happens when you’ve become so numb, when everything around you has become so blurred, that you begin to lose focus on the saving grace standing directly in front of you? When you’ve anesthetized yourself to the point of losing consciousness, forced to watch as his once solid image fades away, lost to your reach in the haze as it smothers you?
What do you do then?
You fight. You heal. Then you bring him back.
Well, my name is Cassie Cooper, and it’s time.
No more secrets.
This is my story.

***WARNING – The subject matter of this novel centers around the psychological effects due to sexual abuse experienced during childhood. For this reason, as well as sexual situations, language, and adult themes, suggested reading age is 17+.***


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I have to admit that I hesitated a minute before purchasing Out of Focus. It’s the second book in the Chosen Paths series and, while I liked the first book Under the Influence, I didn’t love it. There was something about the pace and structure of the book I didn’t like. But when I saw Out of Focus was going to be Cassie’s story I was intrigued. I always wondered while reading Under the Influence what Cassie’s story was. I’m so happy I decided to read it.

Cassie Cooper is no angel. She prides herself on being the wild child. Cassie’s perfectly happy avoiding her thoughts by drowning them in alcohol and men. Her reasons are buried deep down within herself. So deep, no one knows them — not even her best friend Spencer.

Cassie’s doing what she can to make it through each day when she meets Grady, a martial arts instructor. The connection she feels to Grady scares her. She feels like he gets her without even really knowing her, a feeling she’s only had once before.

As Cassie gets to know Grady, her walls begin to drop. Life is suddenly much brighter than it was before. Then, her past comes back to haunt her, threatening everything she’s built with Grady.

I loved, loved, loved Out of Focus. I couldn’t put it down. L.B. Simmons did an amazing job portraying a victim of child sexual abuse. Cassie’s story was heartbreaking, but also uplifting. Her actions felt real and honest. Her cocky, bad attitude was funny, but sad at the same time.

Grady is now one of my favorite book boyfriends. The way he stood by Cassie through her journey was awesome. He understood what she needed and was there for her when it mattered most. The thoughtfulness and care he used with Cassie was super sexy.

Out of Focus is one of those rare sequels that is actually better than first book in the series. It was witty, devastating and hopeful. It’s a book I would highly recommend. But first, read Under the InfluenceOut of Focus overlaps the last section of time in Under the Influence and sets up Cassie and Grady’s story. Without reading it, you’ll be missing some very big pieces.

 

Review: Give Me Yesterday by K. Webster & Elle Christensen

Title: Give Me Yesterday

Authors: K. Webster, Elle Christensen

Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

High powered divorce lawyer, Victoria Larkin, is known as the ice queen. Tough. Emotionless. What they don’t know, is that ten years ago, she lost everything. Including her hope for the future.

Chase Monroe struggles with his own demons. Devastated by guilt and on a mission to correct his past, he uses his skills as a college psychology professor to help others move beyond their grief.

When Victoria is forced to attend grief counselling, she meets Chase, and there is an instant attraction. Chase is determined to help her confront her past and find happiness. Victoria is afraid to relive her pain.

Just as they begin to step forward, tragedy strikes and throws them backwards, and they find themselves, once again, shackled to the past.

Can Chase and Victoria find the path to a happy future together? Or will they forever be wishing for yesterday?

**Recommended 18+ due to language and sexual content.


  ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Once a month, I’m buddy reading a book off the list from HuffPost Books Oh, You Little Heartbreaker! The Ultimate List of Ugly Cry Novels with my favorite Goodreads group. This month, we decided to read Give Me Yesterday. Give Me Yesterday was a sad, but hopeful book.

Ten years ago, Victoria’s nightmares came true. In order to cope with her devastation, she’s shut down all emotions and made herself into a machine. It’s worked well for her as a lawyer until she has one epic meltdown in front of everyone at work. Now, Victoria’s been given one chance to redeem herself and keep her job by attending group grief counseling.

Victoria isn’t thrilled to be attending counseling. She doesn’t need it like all those other losers do. She’s got everything under control. But the leader of the group, Chase, isn’t about to let Victoria off so easily. Chase has made it his mission to make Victoria let go and face her biggest fears. Their attraction to each other gives Chase the edge he needs to crack her tough demeanor.

Victoria isn’t the only one dealing with grief, though. Chase may be Victoria’s strength, but he’s got demons that own him. Guilt constantly haunts and eats away at him. His relationship with Victoria gives him a new hope for the future.

As Victoria and Chase begin to come to terms with their pasts, they find a love in each other that helps heal the pain. Unfortunately, their love for each other is put in jeopardy when the past comes back to haunt them.

Give Me Yesterday was a well written collaboration between K. Webster and Elle Christensen. Victoria and Chase’s characters were complex and well-developed. Their chemistry was super sexy and the way they supported each other was sweet.

The only thing I didn’t like about Give Me Yesterday was the predictability of the plot. I knew from around Chapter 8 what the outcome was going to be. There weren’t really any surprises and it made the story drag a bit toward the end. I also wasn’t a fan of the very last part of the epilogue of the book. It just felt like it was added on as an afterthought and didn’t feel like it was needed.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Give Me Yesterday because I loved the characters the authors created.

 

 

Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

7600924Title: Forbidden

Author: Tabitha Suzuma

Publication Date: May 27, 2010

Publisher: Definitions

Genre:New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

She is pretty and talented – sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But… they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.


Forbidden is probably the hardest book I have ever reviewed. I wish I could say I loved this book, but I can’t. The subject matter was just too disturbing and taboo to be enjoyable to read. What I can say is that it was beautifully written. Only an exceptionally talented writer could deliver a story so brutally wrong and still have you empathizing with its characters.

I felt sympathy for every character in this book. My heart went out to them. Despite their flaws, I loved them. There were so many wrongs committed to each of them on so many levels. I wanted happy endings for them all. Mostly, I wanted to be able to forgive Maya and Lochan their actions, but I couldn’t. It was frustrating and devastating because there could never be a happy ending for them. There could never be an ending that would be completely satisfying to me. What I was left with at the end of Forbidden was a deep sadness. It’s a book that will stick with me for a very long time to come.

You probably noticed there are no stars on this review. I honestly couldn’t come up with a rating. How do you rate a story which makes you super uncomfortable, but love the characters? I haven’t been able to figure it out. Would I suggest reading it? That depends entirely on the reader.