Review: Making a Play (Abbi Glines)

Making a Play
Series: Field Party, #5
Author: Abbi Glines
Narrators: Ali Andre Ali, Caitlin Davies
Publication Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Ryker Lee is finally enjoying his senior year—he has great friends, hangs out with hot girls, and is on track to get a football scholarship that will set him up for college. Despite this, a small part of him wonders if there’s more to life than parties and meaningless hookups—and if football even means as much to him as it does to his fellow teammates. And when he meets the new girl at school, his world totally changes…

Aurora McClay is new to Lawton. She’s grateful that her twin brother, Hunter, is star of the football team and can help her adjust to her new school, but she’s not grateful at how overprotective he is over every person she meets. Just because she is deaf does not mean people have to treat her differently. When she meets Ryker Lee, the two of them spark an instant and intense chemistry, one that proves to be controversial not only because of Ryker’s reputation as a player, but also because of Aurora and Hunter’s father’s bigoted views about who Aurora can and can’t date.

Aurora and Ryker know in their hearts that they are meant for each other. But can their relationship endure the turmoil of rumors and prejudice?


There’s something about the Field Party series that keeps bringing me back to it despite the fact that each book isn’t as good as the one before it. It’s the small town, Friday Night Lights vibe of it and wanting to know what happens to the characters I love from the previous books. Making a Play is my least favorite book in the series so far. I didn’t completely dislike it, but I had a few issues with it that kept it from being great.

Let’s talk about the things I loved first.

  • The narrators did a great job bringing this book to life. It was a quick listen and I was instantly pulled in.
  • Aurora was deaf and I enjoyed reading about how she lived her life to compensate for not being able to hear. I loved how her confidence grew in this book relating to that.
  • Aurora and Hunter had a great twin relationship. I loved the dynamics of it in their family.
  • I didn’t think I would like Ryker as much as I did. He has definitely grown up some. I loved how he treated Aurora and the things he did for her and their relationship.
  • Nash and Tallulah were adorable.
  • Aurora is white and Ryker is black. Aurora’s dad did not want his daughter dating a black boy. I was impressed that Abbi Glines tacked racism in this book.

All of that was great, but…

  • Most of the stuff happens within a matter of a couple of weeks. Weeks. It just wasn’t believable. I loved how Ryker fell for Aurora, but I wish it had been over months rather than weeks. It was insta-love and not the good kind.
  • Remember how I liked that racism was tackled? Well, it wasn’t done as well as it should have been. Aurora’s dad got over his prejudices a little too quickly in my opinion. Again, if this book had taken place over months rather than weeks maybe changes in his beliefs would have been believable. It just wasn’t.

Even though Making a Play wasn’t my favorite book in this series, I still enjoyed listening to it. It brought me back to a town and group of characters I love. Anyone who has read and loved the previous books in the Field Party series will want to read it. I’m curious whether there will be more books in this series because I would like to read a book about Hunter.

Review: Crew Princess (Tijan)

Crew Princess
Series: Crew, #2
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: August 19, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Being crew is walking between two worlds.
One world is normal: Prom. Parties. College.
Those are the concerns they worry about.

In our world, we deal with other situations.
Cops. Drugs. Brawling.
That’s a typical day for us.

But what if it wasn’t?

What if there came a day when you stopped?
When you considered letting your enemies win?
When you didn’t fight back?
When you chose a different path?

First I lost my family. Then I got the Wolf Crew.
I couldn’t lose them too.

But what happens when Cross, Zellman, and Jordan keep going…
…and I don’t?


I thought I knew what I was getting into before started reading Crew Princess. I did, but I also didn’t. Crew Princess was everything Crew was, but it was also more. Tijan was so smart in the way she put this story together. Even when I thought I knew what was going on, I didn’t. The twists in this book were epic. The crew drama was non-stop.

I was truly blown away by Bren’s character development in this second book. Once she started acknowledging her feelings and what was going on inside of her, she became even more powerful. It changed the way she thought and acted. I loved how that extended to her relationships with everyone. I loved how Bren getting to know herself better made her relationship with Cross stronger. Their relationship is a big part in this series, but it’s not the main thing. I loved how everything happening around them made them stronger as a couple. I also enjoyed how it changed her family dynamics with Channing and Heather a bit.

The one thing I wish this book had was Cross’s point of view. He had some stuff going on, and I would have loved to have known what was going through his mind. I mean, the story was still amazing without it. It just would have added to the fun.

This review doesn’t feel very smooth to me, but I’m blaming it on Tijan. She wrapped things up at the end of this book, but she also blew Bren’s story wide open. I’m still contemplating all of the things that could be coming in Crew 3. And that’s how a master storyteller does it, people!

Crew Princess Giveaways: http://www.tijansbooks.com/giveaways.html

Review: Finding Me (Kelly Gunderman)

Finding Me
Author: Kelly Gunderman
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Can you ever truly love someone who robbed you of everything?

Sixteen-year-old Claire Williams spends most of her days feeling angry and alone. After a car accident took her mother and Claire’s ability to walk, life in a wheelchair is the new normal.
When she’s sent to live with her grandmother, away from school and friends, Claire has a chance for a fresh start. Just when Claire thinks she can handle things, she runs into Todd – the son of the man who caused the car accident.

At first, Claire wants nothing to do with him, but the more time they spend together, the more she hates to admit her feelings. She’s slowly falling in love with Todd.

Now, Claire’s father wants to move and take Claire with him. But she can’t go. Not now when everything is falling into place, and she’s just now finding herself. Claire’s defiant. She won’t leave Greenwood, her new friends, her grandmother, or Todd.

Can Claire find the strength to let her dad go on with his life while leaving her behind to live hers, or will she allow the guilt and shame of surviving the accident pull her back under?


When I first started blogging, one of my first blogger friends was Kelly from Here’s to Happy Endings. When she mentioned she was publishing a book, I was excited to read it. Her book reviews are always so eloquent. I imagined the writing I enjoyed in them would transfer well to a book. Even so, I have to admit I was a little nervous before reading Finding Me since I personally know the author.

Claire is a sixteen year old who lost both the use of her legs and her mother in a car accident. She’s forced to change schools when her father dumps her on her grandmother’s doorstep. Starting a new school and making friends is hard enough without the added pressure of being around Todd, the son of the man who put Claire in a wheelchair and killed her mother. Claire’s just made friends and figured out that she might have more in common with Todd than she thought when her father reappears and wants her to move away with him. It’s all more than Claire thinks she can handle.

Claire’s story was emotionally packed. Her world had completely crumbled two years ago, and she was already having to rebuild it a second time since then. All of her relationships were changing. Some were in a good way, others in a bad one. Throughout everything, Claire had this quiet strength. She didn’t always hold it together, but she grew and fought for herself. She was a lot stronger that she thought she was. I loved the progression of her character.

I have to go back to that first comment I made about Claire’s story being emotionally packed. Finding Me was filled with emotion. Moments in Claire’s story brought tears to my eyes. I feel that it’s important to mention this because that doesn’t happen often. I was pleasantly surprised Kelly was able to do that with her first book.

As for the rest of the characters, they were perfect for this story. I loved Claire’s new friends Lisa, Mark, and Dillon. I also liked Todd and how he fit into the forgiveness aspect of Claire’s story. I adored Claire’s close relationship with her grandmother. I even found myself liking bubbly Sara. The only person I didn’t like was Claire’s dad. My dislike for him surprised me because his character was someone I didn’t expect.

The one thing that made me think a bit when reading this book was Claire being in a wheelchair. I had to remind myself that she had been in one for a couple of years now, so maybe some of the daily details of her life in the wheelchair wouldn’t be a big deal to her anymore. There were some mentions of the things that had to be accommodated for, but I guess I thought there would be more frustration or emotional reaction to them.

Finding Me was a great début novel. I was impressed with the writing. Sometimes the writing in a début novel can rely a lot on telling instead of showing, but that wasn’t the case here. It was as good as I was expecting it to be. There was plenty of dialog, the writing moved at a pace I liked, and I was completely pulled into Claire’s world. I can’t wait to see what Kelly writes next.

Review: Drummer Girl (Ginger Scott)

Drummer Girl
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication Date:
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC from WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He was the words.
She was the rhythm.
Together, the told one hell of a story.

Drummer Girl is a mature YA/New Adult romance by Ginger Scott. This book
features garage bands, drug use, sexual situations, and honest talk
about mental health. Full blurb to come.


I like to read Ginger Scott’s books because I never know what she’s going to throw at me. Each book is something new and completely different. Her writing is always amazing, but it’s her stories that hit me hard.

Drummer Girl surprised me in more than one way. I knew it was going to be about music, but I didn’t realize it was going to deal with mental health. The combination of the two made for an explosive story. I liked the narrative Ginger Scott created around it. Some parts were brutally honest, while others almost secretive. There were things I didn’t see coming, but probably should have.

I have to admit that while I really liked Drummer Girl, I wasn’t 100% sold on Jesse and Arizona’s relationship. I wasn’t sure whether or not it was a healthy relationship for either of them. I was surprised by how accepting their parents were of it. That being said, I loved how they communicated. They didn’t hold back. Plus, they truly supported each other.

One of my favorite things about Drummer Girl were the friendships. Ari and her best friend reminded me a bit of the relationship I had with one of my closest growing up. We were different in some of the same ways, but had that same close connection. I also really liked Jesse’s friendship with Rag. Rag had Jesse’s back when others wouldn’t have.

Another great thing about this book was that both Jesse and Arizona’s parents were involved. Since this story was in Arizona’s POV, we mostly saw her parents. I didn’t like how they were at first. I understood their protectiveness, but thought they were a little too overbearing. By the end, they had won me over — especially her dad.

Drummer Girl is one of those books I like even more the longer I think about it. When I was wrapped up in the story, I felt a little off-balance and not sure what to think about it. Having finished it, I know that was the genius of Ginger Scott’s writing. She made me feel Arizona’s feelings and I didn’t always realize it right away.

EXCERPT:

Drummer Girl, Copyright Ginger Scott 2019

“That’s the first time I’ve played that song. I like it. We should add it to our set,” he says, pulling the strap from around his neck before setting his guitar at the foot of his bed. “What do you think?”

He twists so our knees are touching and our shoulders are squared.
“I think you’re a showoff, one. And two…I totally think we should close with that at our gig. People love retro shit like that at shows.” I don’t really know what people like at shows because the only kinds I’ve ever been to have been for high school marching nerds or jazz geeks. I probably don’t even deserve to utter the word gig yet. I’m a gig virgin. I do know movies, though, and if this life was a movie, our band would close with that.
Jesse’s eyes linger on my face, making me warm.
“Okay then,” he says, finally. “And I’m not a showoff.”
His lips pucker with his smirk and mine follow suit until a laugh seeps through.
“You so are!” I shove at him playfully, and his hands wrap around my wrists and shove back gently but don’t let go.
“No, I’m a great example. That’s a totally different thing,” he says, pulling me toward his chest until my fingertips meet the hard surface of his pecs under a well-worn white T-shirt.
“I’m pretty sure it’s just a synonym for showoff how you’re using it. In fact, now you’re just being arrogant!” I gripe back through laughter, a wry smile playing at one side of my mouth. Jesse remains quiet, though. His head leaned a tick to the right. My lips vibrate with this sudden change in atmosphere, and without even helping myself, I bite my bottom lip. There is just enough light in the room to see these small things we’re doing, these…signs. At least, I’m giving a sign. I hope I’m not imagining Jesse’s.
At least three full breaths pass between us without words. I count mine, and I guess how many he takes because really, I can’t see much beyond the dark centers of his eyes and the top curl of his lip. I wait for him. Even though I’m dizzy and happy and excited, I don’t want to be eager and desperate. I wait for him to move closer…to do something.
I wish for him.
“Would it be okay if I kissed you now?”

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, Hold My Breath, and A Boy Like You.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

Review: The Rebel of Raleigh High (Callie Hart)

The Rebel of Raleigh High
Series: Raleigh Rebels, #1
Author: Callie Hart
Publication Date: April 27, 2019
Genre: Mature Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

* The Rebel of Raleigh High is the first book in the Raleigh Rebels Series. Please be advised, this book comes with a trigger warning. Intended for readers 17+ *

Silver

Hit me.
Kick me.
Hurt me.
Hate me.

There’s nothing that the students of Raleigh High can do to Silver Parisi anymore. Over the past year, she’s had to endure more pain and suffering than most people are asked to bear in their lifetimes. She’s a pariah, an outcast, a ghost. She’s also never been one to take shit lying down, though…despite what half the football team might say.

With only one hundred and sixty-eight days left of the school year, it won’t be long until graduation, and Silver’s planning on skipping town and leaving Raleigh firmly in her rearview mirror…

Until he comes along…

Alex

Orphan.
Degenerate.
Reprobate.
Deviant.
Alex Moretti’s earned most of his labels, and he’s not ashamed of a single one of them. He’ll earn far worse before he’s finished with his new found ‘friends’ at Raleigh High. Having spent years being ground down under the boot heel of society, it’s time for a little payback. And if exacting revenge upon the heads of the Raleigh elite means he can also help the beautiful girl who hovers in the shadows, then that’s all for the better.

Oil and water. Fire and ice. The differences between Silver and Alex are broader than any chasm. To reach one another, they must take a leap of faith and fall into the divide.

And falling?

Nothing good ever came from falling.


Ever since I finished the Fallen Crest High series I have been looking for a book that gives me the same combination of drama and feels. While I have found ones that capture the same level of drama, I haven’t found one that captured the feels. The Rebel of Raleigh High is the first one that’s not only captured all of the drama, but also the feels.

Silver is the girl who was once at the top of the popularity chain, but now is considered dirt at her high school thanks to the friends she once reigned with. She terrified every day she goes to school. Silver’s perfected keeping her head down until new bad boy Alex comes to town. Alex sees her in a way she doesn’t want anyone to.

I think this was supposed to be kind of a bully romance, but it wasn’t at all. It was actually a really sweet story about a girl who has been through hell and is trying to make through each day until she can get out-of-town. She’s in a lot of emotional pain, so she doesn’t realize just how strong she is. Alex is the one who shows Silver she’s got more backbone than she knew. He’s got problems of his own, but that doesn’t stop him from taking on hers. Silver and Alex have this really sweet romance.

The Rebel of Raleigh High isn’t all sweetness, though. There is a TON of drama. It’s peppered throughout the story. Some of it was typical high school popularity stuff. Much of it was much more than that. There is more than one situation that could be a possible trigger for someone. There’s a least two different ones. The last one came out of nowhere and shocked the heck out of me. It’s pretty timely with the state of the some things, but it also was hard to read. I was very surprised the author chose to go this direction. It felt more like shock and awe than a learning moment, which bugged me a bit. This book would have been at least 4 stars for me without that whole thing.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this one. I got swept away in the emotions and story. I am glad the author has decided to give us a second book about these characters. I wish it would hurry up and get here!

Review: First and Forever (Jay McLean)

First and Forever
Series: Heartache Duet, #2
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: July 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

First and Forever is the second book in the Heartache Duet, and must be read after Heartache and Hope.

Duet Synopsis:
Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.


First and Forever is the second book in the Heartache Duet. It is the conclusion to Ava and Connor’s story. You have to read Heartache and Hope prior to reading this book because First and Forever picks up where the story left off.

Connor and Ava’s relationship was full of ups and downs. There were lots of moment of back and forth in relationship status. It was both frustrating and understandable. As high school students, they lacked the maturity their situations called for at times. I got frustrated with Connor for keeping important secrets. I was irritated with Ava for avoiding everything she should have been facing head on. Even though I thought the characters needed to grow up, I understood their immaturity and struggles. I liked how they shaped the story. They both learned some valuable lessons.

First and Forever made me love Connor even more. I didn’t always get his dedication to Ava, but I loved the way he supported her. He stood by her when others had walked away. He developed an amazing relationship with her mother and it wasn’t just to win Ava over. I loved that he was always looking at his end game.

Ava wasn’t my favorite, but she grew on me. Like I said before, she was good at avoiding. Some of the things I learned in this book helped explain her, and I was able to make some connections with her actions.

I have a couple of things I want to say that don’t really fit well anywhere in this review. The first is that I didn’t like how the whole Peter thing was dealt with. There was a big build up to it, but when it came time to go into it I was told rather than shown. I wish there had been more attention on that moment. Second, Heartache and Hope was definitely YA. First and Forever felt liked it moved from YA to NA. It was definitely a more mature read.

First and Forever was a great ending to the Heartache Duet. It brought Ava and Connor’s story full circle in a way that felt organic to the characters and the story. Jay McLean did a great job with Ava and Connor’s end game.

Download your copy today or Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

• Add to TBR: http://bit.ly/2PY7y5U

Heartache and Hope
Amazon Global: mybook.to/JMacHH
Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day
of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.

First and Forever
Amazon Global: mybook.to/JMacFF

About the Author:
Jay McLean is an international best-selling author and full-time reader, writer of New
Adult and Young Adult romance, and skilled procrastinator. When she’s not doing
any of those things, she can be found running after her three little boys, investing
way too much time on True Crime Documentaries and binge-watching reality TV.
She writes what she loves to read, which are books that can make her laugh, make
her hurt and make her feel.

Jay lives in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, in her dream home where music is
loud and laughter is louder.

For publishing rights (Foreign & Domestic) Film or television, please contact
her
agent Erica Spellman-Silverman, at Trident Media Group.
Writer • Reader • Mom • Wife • Master of Awkward Sarcasm. 
Contact Jay:

Review: Something Like Gravity (Amber Smith)

Something Like Gravity
Author: Amber Smith
Publication Date: June 18, 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. Elderry Books
Genre: YA, LGBTQ+, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC an is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

For fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all—from New York Times bestselling author Amber Smith.

Chris and Maia aren’t off to a great start.

A near-fatal car accident first brings them together, and their next encounters don’t fare much better. Chris’s good intentions backfire. Maia’s temper gets the best of her.

But they’re neighbors, at least for the summer, and despite their best efforts, they just can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The path forward isn’t easy. Chris has come out as transgender, but he’s still processing a frightening assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister and trying to find her place in the world without her. Falling in love was the last thing on either of their minds.

But would it be so bad if it happened anyway?


The minute I heard Amber Smith was releasing another book, I knew I wanted to read it. I have been obsessed with her writing ever since I read The Way I Used To Be when it was released. Her stories are so beautiful and heart wrenching. She takes tough topics and dives in deep. I felt so emotionally touched by her first two releases. I couldn’t wait to start Something Like Gravity.

Something Like Gravity touched on a topic I haven’t read before. Chris being transgender was something I haven’t come across in any contemporary YA romance before. It was very interesting to me, but I cannot tell you whether or not the representation was done appropriately. I hope Chris’ thoughts about his body and feelings he had about everything were done in the best way possible because I can see them being easy to relate to. I also liked his thought process when it came to Maia and his interactions with her.

While I felt like Chris, his story, and his relationships with everyone were important and interesting, the rest of the book kind of bored me. Remember that boring summer you had at your grandparents’/aunt’s/uncle’s growing up? This book had that vibe. It’s set in a small town during the sleepy days of summer. I had to really push myself to read it. Almost everything Chris and Maia did was boring. And Maia…

Well, Maia is where the book lost me. Her point of view didn’t delve as deep as Chris’. She was grieving her sister’s death, her parents’ divorce, and a change in herself. I don’t feel like I got the nitty-gritty on any of those things. Everything with her felt surface level. I was missing something in some of her thoughts and actions. It’s not often I say this, but Something Like Gravity would have been better with only one point of view. I would have been more interested in hearing everything from Chris’ point of view.

Something Like Gravity had a lot of potential. It was written by a talented writer. There was a main character who was unique and had some experiences I was truly curious to find out more about. It just didn’t hit me on the emotional level it could have. It was still a good read, and I know there are going to be readers who it hits home with.

Review: Pretty Reckless (L.J. Shen)

Pretty Reckless
Series: All Saints High, #1
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: April 21, 2019

Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes an intense, high school enemies-to-lovers romance with a twist.

Penn

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.
I’d had four years to stew on what Daria Followhill did to me, and now my heart was completely iced.
I took her first kiss.
She took the only thing I loved.
I was poor.
She was rich.
The good thing about circumstances? They can change. Fast.
Now, I’m her parents’ latest shiny project.
Her housemate. Her tormentor. The captain of the rival football team she hates so much.
Yeah, baby girl, say it—I’m your foster brother.
There’s a price to pay for ruining the only good thing in my life, and she’s about to shell out some serious tears.
Daria Followhill thinks she is THE queen. I’m about to prove to her that she’s nothing but a spoiled princess.

Daria

Everyone loves a good old unapologetic punk.
But being a bitch? Oh, you get slammed for every snarky comment, cynical eye roll, and foot you put in your adversaries’ way.
The thing about stiletto heels is that they make a hell of a dent when you walk all over the people who try to hurt you.
In Penn Scully’s case, I pierced his heart until he bled out, then left it in a trash can on a bright summer day.
Four years ago, he asked me to save all my firsts for him.
Now he lives across the hall, and I want nothing more than to be his last everything.
His parting words when he gave me his heart were that nothing in this world is free.
Now? Now he is making me pay.


Pretty Reckless is the first book in the All Saints High series. This series is a spin-off of the Sinners of Saint series. You don’t have to read that series to read this one, but since Daria is the daughter of Melody and Jamie from Deny, it doesn’t hurt to know their back story.

The connection between All Saints High and Sinners of Saint is actually the reason I chose to read Pretty Reckless. I was a little on the fence because of the reviews I read. They were either completely gushing or completely negative. There wasn’t really an in between and worried me for some reason. I loved those Sinners of Saint books, so I didn’t want to hate Pretty Reckless. Weird rationalizing, I know. As you can tell, I decided to give it a go. Here are my feelings about it.

What I liked:

  • Daria’s relationship with her mother, Melody. To be honest, it was a horrible relationship. What I liked about it was that it was a real relationship. Both had made mistakes over time with each other, and it was interesting to see how they maneuvered through the tension.
  • Daria’s relationship with her father, Jamie. This was actually really sweet. I liked the support system he was for her.
  • Via. That girl was the perfect girl to keep Daria on her toes. I loved hating her.
  • Daria was another girl I loved to hate. This MC was HORRIBLE. I mean, wicked. I thought I was going to hate her, but I grew to understand her. Her backstory really set her up well. I ended up feeling sorry for her, which is saying something considering the terrible things that came out of her mouth.
  • Penn. His situation was messed up, which made him messed up. I loved his truths, though.
  • The enemies to lovers thing Daria and Penn had going on. The story behind it all and their current situation fascinated me.
  • The ending. I liked the trajectory of the story, and everything it took to get to the ending.
  • Seeing all of the Saints’ kids. I am looking forward to reading all of their books.

What I didn’t like:

  • Daria is the child of one of the toughest, most ruthless men in town. I knew her book was going to be dark like his. What I wasn’t expecting was there to be so much shock value. It was like L.J. Shen threw in every twisted scenario she could think of. There was almost too much. I think what threw me over that edge was this secrets thing. I won’t go into it, but it brought this cheesy feel to something that was super dark… Maybe that’s what gave this book the YA feel it needed.
  • YA. Yeah, this categorization is pushing it. Pretty Reckless was set at All Saints High, but with all the nasty things going on it felt more like one of Shen’s NA novels. The reader would have to be a VERY mature YA reader to read this one, in my opinion. (Re: Sex, partying, emotional/physical abuse, etc.)

Overall, I enjoyed being back in the world of the Saints. Pretty Reckless was a dark but surprisingly uplifting teenage romance. It has me excited for what’s to come. This new generation at All Saints High is going to be about an interesting bunch of teenagers.

Mini Reviews: Unmaking Hunter Kennedy & Wasted Words

Lately, I have been attacking my Kindle TBR. I’ve been slowly going through all of the books on it, looking at reviews, and then selecting ones to read. Below are reviews for two of the books I chose to read recently.

Unmaking Hunter Kennedy
Author: Anne Eliot
Publication Date: October 17, 2012
Publisher: Butterfly Books, LLC
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

After a car accident–an event he considers a prank gone bad–pop star, Hunter Kennedy is forced to hide out with his aunt in small-town Colorado. He’s supposed to rest, heal his scars and attend high school in disguise until the press dies down. But he only wants to get back to work.

Worse, the girl who’s been assigned to make him over into a geek is a major geek herself. Vere Roth is a chattering pixie, a blushing tornado and a complete social disaster. He’s never met a girl who’s never-been-kissed, believes in romance and thinks Hunter’s a ‘nice’ guy.

Funny thing is…Hunter is nice around Vere because she’s his first real friend. He also can’t seem to stop sharing his secrets or keep her out of his heart. Knowing he’d never deserve a girl as sweet as Vere, he resigns himself to the friend zone, and helps his new bestie with her own makeover.

She tortures him daily for ridiculous guy advice on how to snag her life-long crush. A guy Hunter thinks is totally wrong for Vere, and sadly, one who has taken note of Vere’s transformation.

When Vere asks her best friend for some kissing advice, Hunter can’t resist…

And that’s when things get out of control…

My Review:

When I picked up Unmaking Hunter Kennedy, I was looking for a feel good read. That’s exactly what I got. You know those movies and books where a girl is turned from a major dork to a hot chick? Well, this is exactly the opposite. Hunter goes from celebrity to total nerd and it is priceless! I loved how he fell for Vere and how she slowly became aware of him. The banter was witty and the storyline was cute. It was sweet contemporary YA goodness! This was my first book by Anne Eliot and I’m so excited to read the rest of her back list.


Wasted Words
Series: Austen, #1
Author: Staci Hart
Publication Date: May 19, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Some universal truths refuse to be ignored.

Peanut butter and jelly are a match made in heaven. Spaghetti and meatballs are best friends forever. And guys like Tyler Knight don’t go for girls like Cam Emerson.

She knew from the second she met him that he didn’t belong on her bookshelf, the six-foot-six ex-tight end with a face so all-American, it could have sold apple pie. So she shelved him next to the supermodels and rock stars and took her place on her own shelf — the one with the flannel-clad, pasty-faced comic book nerds. Most of her boyfriends have existed between the pages of books, but rather than worrying over her own lacking love life, she puts all her energy into playing Cupid, using her job at the book bar, Wasted Words, as her stomping ground.

Tyler Knight always looks on the bright side. His career-ending injury turned into a job as a sports agent. A horrible breakup led him to Cam, his quirky, smart roommate who is far more beautiful than she realizes. She’s made it perfectly clear she’s not interested in him — not like that at least — but if she ever changes her mind, he won’t hesitate. Because he doesn’t see the lines she’s drawn between them, as much as she insists that they’re there. Deep down he knows that despite their differences, they’re a match well made.

*A romantic comedy inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma*

My Review:

So here’s the thing. I started out loving Wasted Words. The setting was unique and cool. Cam and Tyler seemed like such cool characters. There was this feel good vibe that had me excited to find out what was to come. I got a little over half way through the book, and I was thinking things were going to go the way I hoped. That was when Cam’s insecurities and judgemental attitude took over and completely ruined things for me. I understood her, but I couldn’t stand her. I was cringing over her actions. She did end up making up for them, but I had a hard time getting over it. The ending turned out to be super sweet and fun, so that helped. Overall, Wasted Words was a sweet but sometimes annoying read.

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.