Review: The Heart Principle (Helen Hoang)

The Heart Principle
Series: The Kiss Quotient, #3
Author: Helen Hoang
Publication Date: August 31, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A woman struggling with burnout learns to embrace the unexpected—and the man she enlists to help her—in this heartfelt new romance by USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang.

When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She’s going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand herself. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. 


I, along with all other Helen Hoang fans, have been not so patiently waiting for The Heart Principle. After getting to know Quan over the past two books, I couldn’t wait for him to find love. The Heart Principle wasn’t exactly what I expected, but I loved it none the less.

The Heart Principle was the first book Hoang has written in first person. I loved the “I” instead of “she”. I felt it brought me closer to both Quan and especially to his new lady love, Anna. Their relationship started out as a casual thing, but I could feel their budding emotional connection from the minute they met. I loved them together and how their relationship built. This book wasn’t quite as romantic or sexy as the past books, but it worked for the characters.

Anna was a complex character going through A. LOT. A lot. Seriously. So much. Anna was overwhelmed and I was overwhelmed for her. Her family stuff was suffocating. Her mental health suffered due to all the pressure and I felt for her. I really did. I loved how Quan was able to be a support and comfort to her in that time. I loved the growth of Anna’s character throughout their relationship and this book.

There was only one way I felt let down by The Heart Principle. I was expecting Quan and Anna’s story and I got mostly Anna’s. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Anna’s story. I did. It just made this book feel more women’s fiction than romance. I just wanted more Quan. His chapters were special and included a lot of Michael (The Kiss Quotient), but it felt like the most important chapters were from Anna’s POV. I get that, especially after reading the author’s note, but I wanted more Quan.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading The Heart Principle. I loved how new and fresh it felt, while also maintaining the brand Helen Hoang has created. The move from from third to first person made me happy. Her writing is a addictive and a joy to read. I can’t wait to read what’s next from this talented author.

Review: Exposed (Kristen Callihan)

Exposed
Series: VIP, #4

Author: Kristen Callihan
Publication Date: July 13, 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

Brenna

There are some people in life who know exactly how to push your buttons. For me, it’s Rye Peterson. We can’t spend more than ten minutes together before we’re at each other’s throats, which makes working together that much harder. Rye is the bassist for Kill John, the biggest rock band in the world, and I am his publicist. It doesn’t help that the man is gorgeous, funny, talented, and…never takes anything seriously. Avoidance is key.

But everything changes when he overhears something he shouldn’t: a confession made in a moment of weakness. Now the man I’ve tried so hard to ignore is offering me the greatest temptation of all—him.

Rye

Brenna James is the one. The one I can’t have. The one I can’t get out of my mind. Believe me, I’ve tried; the woman loathes me. I managed well enough—until I heard her say she’s as lonely as I am. That she needed to be touched, held, satisfied. And I could no longer deny the truth: I wanted to be the one to give her what she craved.

I convinced her that it would just be sex, mutual satisfaction with nothing deeper. But the moment I have her, she becomes my world. I’ve never given her a good reason to trust me before. Now, I’ve got to show Brenna that we’re so much better together than we ever were apart.

Things are going to get messy. But getting messy with Brenna is what I do best.


I loved this book. Like really loved it. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like about Exposed. It was everything I’ve come to expect from Kristan Callihan. The writing and story were fantastic. Rye and Brenna had this enemies thing going on that has steadily built over the last three books and I finally got to find out what was going on in their heads. Their being enemies turned to lovers in the best, unexpected way. Rye and Brenna had a fierce chemistry between them, but also a deep emotional connection. I loved the way they understood each other and the sweet and supportive moments they shared. I was surprised by how vulnerable both characters were (but especially Rye). The fact that the whole Kill John family was there in the background supporting and loving them was icing on the cake. I couldn’t have been happier with this romance. I wouldn’t have minded if it went on for another 100 pages. The only thing I need now is a book for Whip. Please tell me we’re getting a book for him.

Exposed (VIP #4) by Kristen Callihan is now live!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/34QUjwl
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3wg2Sg1
Nook: https://bit.ly/3iC3atM
Kobo:  https://bit.ly/3gurUkP
Website: www.kristencallihan.com

   Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3fOg0Sx

Meet Kristen

Kristen Callihan is an author because there’s nothing else she’d rather be. She has written New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestsellers. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. Her debut book, Firelight, received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence and was named a best book of the year by Library Journal, Best Book of Spring 2012 by Publishers Weekly, and Best Romance Book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she’s not writing, she’s reading.

Connect with Kristen

Website: www.kristencallihan.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/kristen_callihan
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristen_callihan/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Kris10Callihan
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kristen-callihan

 

Review: Small Town Pretender (Brighton Walsh)

Small Town Pretender
Series: Havenbrook, #5
Author: Brighton Walsh
Publication Date: June 24, 2021
Publisher: Bright Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Asher McCoy can win over a crowd with a husky note and a strum of his guitar, but proving to a judge he’s responsible enough to gain custody of his niece and nephew? Not so easy. His big idea—a fake marriage. And who better to play his doting bride than his longtime best friend? He just needs to get her home first…

Natalie Haven couldn’t get away from her suffocating hometown fast enough. For years, she’s fluttered around the globe as a freelance photographer. And if that unconventional job pisses off her daddy? Well, all the better. But when her best friend sends out an S.O.S., she heads back to the one place she swore she’d never land.

Except a fake marriage means a not-so-fake living arrangement, including only one bed. Nat’s witnessed enough women fall for Asher’s charms, but she refuses to be one of them. Because permanence isn’t in her blood. Not even for him.


Brighton Walsh’s Havenbrook series has cemented its place in my heart as one of my favorite small town romance series over and over again with each new book released. I absolutely adored this latest release, Small Town Pretender.

Nat and Asher’s book was everything I was hoping for. These two may have left town as teenagers, but they managed to keep their tight knit friendship over the years. The reason Asher had to try to get custody of his sister’s kids made me sad, but loved that it brought him and then Nat back to town. Their fake marriage turned real was so much fun to read. Nat and Asher had amazing chemistry that made the move from friends to more all the more believable. I just loved them together! They were a great couple and

It wasn’t as simple as both of them being together, though. Both Asher and Nat had lived somewhat of a nomadic life prior to their return to Havenbrook. I liked how they each, separately, had to think through the decisions regarding their careers. Being tied to Havenbrook through the kids was a huge deal to both of them. I was so glad that this aspect of the story wasn’t skipped over. It was important to both their characters.

As with the rest of this series, the Haven family also played a big part. I loved the sisterly dynamics and also the parental ones. Nat’s relationship with her family wasn’t always easy, and I was excited to see where things ended up between them all. I loved how they stepped up to help Asher and Nat through everything. The way they made those kids immediately part of the family made me so happy.

Small Town Pretender was a great addition this series and I really, really hope it’s not going to be the end for Havenbrook. Maybe there are some friends that needs books or cousins that could pop out of the woodwork or something. I just don’t want to leave these characters and town behind!

 

Grab Your Copy Here:

Amazon | Apple | Nook | Kobo | Google Play

 
 
 

Meet Brighton Walsh

USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Brighton Walsh spent a decade as a professional photographer before taking her storytelling in a different direction and reconnecting with her first love—writing. 

She likes her books how she likes her tea—steamy and satisfying—and adores strong-willed heroines and the protective heroes who fall head over heels for them. 

Brighton lives in the Midwest with her real life hero of a husband, her two kids—one who’s already taller than her and one who’s catching up too fast—and her dog who thinks she’s a queen. Her boy-filled house is the setting for dirty socks galore, frequent dance parties (okay, so it’s mostly her, by herself, while her children look on in horror), and more laughter than she thought possible.

Connect with Brighton Walsh

Website | Facebook | Twitter | BookBub | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page | Newsletter 

Hosted By:

Review: Fortunate Son (Jay Crownover)

Fortunate Son
Author: Jay Crownover

Publication Date: June 22, 2021
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ry Archer and Bowe Keller are as different as night and day. But that doesn’t stop the childhood frenemies from reconnecting whenever one of them needs some help tackling any of life’s major puzzles, like figuring out why getting what you always thought you wanted isn’t living up to all the hype. They might constantly rub each other the wrong way (except for the times when they rub each other the really-really right way), but there is no denying they’ve always made one hell of a great team. They manage to balance each other out… when they aren’t driving each other crazy.

For Ry, he thought he had the perfect girl, the one who was going to run headfirst into a methodically planned future. He was going to marry young and have the same kind of legendary, life-long romance his parents did… or so he believed. His girl was going to stand by his side as he chased his dream of being a professional football player all the way to the NFL.

He was wrong.

Now, Ry’s gotta figure out the difference between a bruised heart and a broken one, and the only person who can teach him the difference is Bowe.

Bowe always felt like she had to run before she learned to walk to keep up with her father’s musical legacy. He’s her hero, and she wants nothing more than to make him proud. Bowe’s about to figure out that maybe she wasn’t meant to be in a rock and roll band, and that it is entirely possible she let her father’s success cloud her idea of what making music should be. Bowe needs to find her own path to fame, and there’s a good chance she wouldn’t be brave enough or bold enough to start over if Ry Archer hadn’t pushed his way back into her life when she least expected it.

Some days they’re enemies. Other days they’re lovers. For a while, they were strangers. But now, it feels more like they might’ve always been soulmates.
Eventually, Ry and Bowe realize that letting go of an old dream and creating a new one is much easier to do with the right person by your side. 


It’s been a while since I read Marked Men and Saints of Denver, but I knew I had to read Fortunate Son the minute I heard it was being released. Then, I read the preview for it in Goldilocks and was hooked on Ry and Bowe. The wait became even more intense. Finally getting to read this book was both excitement and relief for me.

I loved Ry and Bowe’s story. These two had a tumultuous past, but that didn’t stop them for being there for each other. They had an innate connection that allowed them to look beyond what the other was portraying and see the truth. Ry was a character I loved because he was abandoning perfection and searching out his own truths. Bowe was just as special. I liked how Ry’s decisions affected Bowe and the direction it took her life in. They both had a lot to figure out on their own and it surprised me that it made them better together and not worse.

Sometimes Crownover’s books can feel more tell than show. This one headed towards that place, but ended up finding a nice balance between both show and tell. I think the tell worked because Fortunate Son felt like it could be the first book in a series and spent some time reintroducing me to important players and explaining new relationships. There is such a rich history between both the first and second generations, so it helped to have reminders and new information. It was also fun to get some cameos and updates on favorite past characters. I loved that they didn’t overshadowed the main characters in this book, but propped them up. I would hope if there are more books release in this series there wouldn’t be as much need for the explanations.

I really want this book to do well. I need it to do well so that Crownover will release Prodigal Son. I have SO MANY QUESTIONS about Remy and Hyde. It’s not even funny. I also need a book for Aston and another for Daire. I need this new (but also kind of old) world to continue. I truly enjoyed every minute I spent with Ry and Bowe in Fortune Son. I’m delighted Jay Crownover decided to write this book.

 

Purchase your copy of FORTUNATE SON today!

Amazon  |   Nook    |  Apple  |  Kobo

Purchase in Paperback

Add FORTUNATE SON to your Goodreads TBR here!

 

About JAY CROWNOVER:

  Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, The Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road. Connect with her:  Website  | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads  |  Reader Group

IS-Blogger-1-1024x158

Review: The Mixtape (Brittainy C. Cherry)

The Mixtape
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Publication Date: July 1, 2021
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Since the death of his twin brother, Oliver’s caught between pleasing his fans and finding himself. Emery finds him first.

Emery has never felt more alone. Raising her daughter is both her pleasure and her pain as she struggles to hold on to her job as a bartender and keep a roof over their heads. With no one to help them—no support system—any unexpected expense or late bill could turn their whole world upside down.

Reeling from the death of his twin brother and bandmate, rock star Oliver Smith is trying to drink his problems away. Apparently he isn’t very good at it; they follow him wherever he goes. Also in hot pursuit are the paparazzi, who catch Oliver at his lowest low.

He could have walked into any bar in California, but he walked into hers. Emery helps Oliver lose the crowd, and they find themselves alone: two people whose paths are marked with loss and pain. However, they hold an unshakable hope for healing. They find solace together, but can their love withstand the world?


How did I much did I love The Mixtape? Let me count the ways…

  1. The writing. I point out how emotionally packed and beautiful Brittainy C. Cherry’s writing is with every book of hers I read. I can’t get over how beautiful it is. I found myself highlighting so many different passages in this book.
  2. The romance was beautiful. Oliver was dealing with grief. Emery was a single mother fighting every day to provide for her daughter. These two seemed like the most unlikely of love interests, but chemistry and love for each other was so perfect. Each had so much to deal with on their own, and I loved how their connection helped lift them up.
  3. Back to the characters. Both of their struggles felt real. I felt Emery’s pain over the past and wanting to give Reese everything she needed. I also felt Oliver’s pain. The loss of what he felt was his better half was devastating and made my heart hurt. Both of these characters made my heart. I also felt their joys and blessing, though. Those were the sweetest thing.
  4. Reese. That little girl was adorable. Her conversations with Oliver made my heart so happy, as did her general disposition. She was so loved.
  5. Oliver’s parents. I would read a book about their love.
  6. Oliver and Emery’s friends were an important part of their story and I loved the support they gave.
  7. THE MUSIC!!!
  8. Cam because every good story needs a villain. Ditto for Emery’s parents.
  9. …. I could go on and on, but I think I might start to give too much away, so I’m just going to stop here and say I really loved this book. I read The Mixtape in one day and I don’t regret any of those minutes spent with it. It was another hit from Cherry in my book.

Review: All Rhodes Lead Here (Mariana Zapata)

All Rhodes Lead Here
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publication Date: April 1, 2020
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Losing people you love is hard.

Aurora De La Torre knows moving back to a place that was once home isn’t going to be easy.

Starting your whole life over probably isn’t supposed to be.

But a small town in the mountains might be the perfect remedy for a broken heart.

Checking out her landlord across the driveway just might cure it too.


All Rhodes Lead Here… Sigh. I’m in love with this book. In love, people. I just finished all 551 pages and I already want to reread it. Mariana Zapata took us on a journey with this one. It started out as a book dealing with Aurora’s past grief, moving on, and finding her place in the world. That finding her place turned into finding love, friends, and family. It was such a sweet read.

Aurora was straight up sunshine. For someone who had lost so much, she had a pleasantly positive outlook. Even when she struggled, she was able to push herself by staying positive. Rhodes, on the other hand was a storm cloud. He had this gruff exterior. I loved how Aurora chipped away at it to get to his fluffy center. Their romance was the slowest of slow burns, but it built in a way that felt natural to the characters. Aurora and Rhodes were pure magic together.

As always, Mariana Zapata included a cast of characters to help support Aurora and Rhodes that I adored. Amos, Rhodes’ son, added so much to the story. So did Aurora and Rhodes’ friends and other family. There wasn’t one person (well, maybe Kaden) who I wouldn’t want a book about. I need Zapata to keep writing book in this Colorado setting because I need Clara and everyone else to find love.

All Rhodes Lead Here is going on my list of favorites from Mariana Zapata. I’ve loved all of her books, but this one is a stand out. There’s not much else to say about it without gushing too much, so I’ll say this again — I loved it!

Review: The Songbook of Benny Lament (Amy Harmon)

The Songbook of Benny Lament
Author: Amy Harmon

Publication Date: March 16, 2021
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Historical, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of What the Wind Knows and From Sand and Ash comes a powerful love story about a musical duo who put everything on the line to be together.

New York, 1960: For Benny Lament, music is his entire life. With his father’s deep ties to the mob, the Bronx piano man has learned that love and family can get you in trouble. So he keeps to himself, writing songs for other musicians, avoiding the spotlight…until the night his father brings him to see Esther Mine sing.

Esther is a petite powerhouse with a gorgeous voice. And when Benny writes a hit song and performs it with her, their collaboration thrusts the duo onto the national stage…and stirs up old issues and new scrutiny that the mob—and Benny—would rather avoid.

It would be easier to walk away. But the music and the woman are too hard for the piano man to resist. Benny’s songs and Esther’s vocals are an explosive combination, a sound that fans can’t get enough of. But though America might love the music they make together, some people aren’t ready for Benny Lament and Esther Mine on—or off—the stage.


You guys… I HAVE A NEW BOOK TO ADD TO MY FAVORITES LIST!!!

Amy Harmon consistently writes amazing works of art. It is always hard to pick a favorite book of hers, but The Songbook of Benny Lament just bulldozed right over all her other books to my top spot.

I loved EVERYTHING about this book. It alternates between chapters of radio interviews with Benny and his story of what happened along his way to fame. The radio chapters set up the story perfectly. They hinted at what was to come, making the story that followed all the sweeter. The story of Minecraft and Benny’s relationship with Esther Mine built in the best of ways. I had all these ideas of where things were headed, but didn’t even want to guess. I wanted to experience it all as I read it. It was such a fascinating love story set in the chaotic and violent times of the 1960’s. I enjoyed the way it wove music, the mob, politics, racial injustices of the 1960’s, and a sweet love story all into one package. There was even some humor!

The only book I can compare The Songbook of Benny Lament to is Daisy Jones and The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It gave me that same feeling. It had me forgetting that it was fiction and had me wanting to Google everyone and everything related to Benny Lament and Esther Mine. Their story felt real and true. I was so caught up in it that I forgot it was fiction. That’s not to say that The Songbook of Benny Lament was a copycat of Daisy Jones and The Six. It wasn’t. It was a completely different story.

If you love books that revolve around music, complex love stories and a ton of heart you won’t want to miss this book. Amy Harmon put so much heart into The Songbook of Benny Lament. It checked all my boxes. I will be thinking about it for a long time.

Series Review: VIP (Kristen Callihan)

Earlier this year, I binged the Game On series. It was my first time reading Kristen Callihan’s writing and I fell quickly in love with it. I knew that I wanted to binge her VIP series. I’m so excited to have finally been able to do that and share my mini reviews of each book with you.

Idol
Series: VIP, #1
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Plain Jane Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

My thoughts:

Idol pulled me in right from the beginning. I expected no less from Kristen Callihan’s writing, but it was still a pleasant surprise since so many rock star feel the same. Idol stood out. I loved the emotional connection between Killian and Liberty. It wasn’t just all about the music, and that gave them a stronger base — especially since they also had sizzling chemistry. The whole story was fun to read and I couldn’t wait to keep reading about the Kill John guys.

 Managed
Series: VIP, #2
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publication Date: November 14, 2016
Publisher: Plain Jane Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

My thoughts:

I was surprised the second book in this series was about the band manager, Scottie, and not one of the musicians from Kill John. That surprise quickly turned to happiness because Managed was EVERYTHING. I LOVED the way Sophie and Scottie’s story started out. It had me smiling so much. Things only got better from there. The proposal Scottie had for Sophie was sweet in a way and it melted my heart. I loved them together. I couldn’t get enough of this book.

Fall
Series: VIP, #2
Author: Kristen Callihan
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Plain Jane Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

My thoughts:

Fall had a lot to live up to after reading Managed. It wasn’t quite as good in my opinion, but I still loved it. I liked getting to know Jax/John better and understanding his attitude and struggles with depression. I loved the brightness Stella helped bring to his life. She was the light to this story despite her own set of problems. John and Stella were a great couple.

Overall thoughts:

I loved the VIP series every bit as much as I loved Kristen Callihan’s Game On series. I’m so sad that there isn’t another book out yet. I am so curious about Rye and Brenna’s story! I also want to know more about Whip!

Review: Super Fake Love Song (David Yoon)

Super Fake Love Song
Author: David Yoon
Publication Date: November 17, 2020
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of Frankly in Love comes a contemporary YA rom-com where a case of mistaken identity kicks off a string of (fake) events that just may lead to (real) love.

When Sunny Dae—self-proclaimed total nerd—meets Cirrus Soh, he can’t believe how cool and confident she is. So when Cirrus mistakes Sunny’s older brother Gray’s bedroom—with its electric guitars and rock posters—for Sunny’s own, he sort of, kind of, accidentally winds up telling her he’s the front man of a rock band.

Before he knows it, Sunny is knee-deep in the lie: He ropes his best friends into his scheme, begging them to form a fake band with him, and starts wearing Gray’s rock-and-roll castoffs. But no way can he trick this amazing girl into thinking he’s cool, right? Just when Sunny is about to come clean, Cirrus asks to see them play sometime. Gulp.

Now there’s only one thing to do: Fake it till you make it.

Sunny goes all in on the lie, and pretty soon, the strangest things start happening. People are noticing him in the hallways, and he’s going to football games and parties for the first time. He’s feeling more confident in every aspect of his life, and especially with Cirrus, who’s started to become not just his dream girl but also the real deal. Sunny is falling in love. He’s having fun. He’s even becoming a rocker, for real.

But it’s only a matter of time before Sunny’s house of cards starts tumbling down. As his lies begin to catch up with him, Sunny Dae is forced to wonder whether it was all worth it—and if it’s possible to ever truly change.


Super Fake Love Story is a book I was excited to read. I loved Yoon’s Frankly in Love, and I had high expectations for this new book. I hate to say it, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

I had a love-hate relationship with Sunny Dae. He was this big nerd who sometimes came off in an endearing way and other times came off as annoying. I respected that he let his nerd flag fly, but hated when he got caught up in being what he thought Cirrus wanted. His character did have a lot of growth throughout the story, so that was a good thing.

I loved Sunny’s friends. Milo and Jamal helped make this book more enjoyable. I loved their support of Sunny. I liked how Sunny and Cirrus’ relationship developed – despite the whole lying thing. I do wish their issues hadn’t been so quickly wrapped up in the end, but it was cute. I think my favorite relationship was between Sunny and his brother Grey, though. I liked learning about it.

I think my biggest problem with this book was that it found it kind of boring. I had a hard time getting into it at first, and I thought it might have been a formatting issue with the ARC. It could have been that, or maybe I just wasn’t as interested in the story as I hoped to be. I didn’t find it all that entertaining unless it was when Sunny, Milo, and Jamal were doing music or when I was learning about Grey. I don’t think I was truly sold until all the drama really started happening. Overall, it was just a good read compared to a great read (like Frankly in Love was).

Review: Jordan Reclaimed (Scarlett Cole)

Jordan Reclaimed
Series: Preload, #1
Author: Scarlett Cole
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He’s a rockstar, she’s a ballerina, they’re worlds apart yet just what the other needs.

Jordan Steele’s life began when he was ten. When he was taken from his parents and a house that was never a home. When he met his brothers, the other lost and abandoned boys in his group home. When he learned what friendship and family and love looked like.

Now he’s made a career out of playing the music he loves, touring the world with the band he and his brothers formed in that crowded group home. No one but his found family really knows the man under the fame and fortune, the scars he hides behind the rockstar lifestyle. Until he sees her through the windows of the National Ballet, dancing, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem so dark.

Aleksandra Artemov ticks all the ballet boxes. Father a legendary Kirov dancer. Check. Prepping since birth for classical ballet. Check. Compulsive control over the food she eats. Check. Principal dancer at The National Ballet of Canada. Check. But what she craves is freedom.

She craves Jordan.

Everything about him should terrify her. His size, his tattoos, his hard rock edge. But he doesn’t. He stirs her very soul. Jordan has nothing but himself to offer her, and he’s never been good enough for anyone. Can he figure out how to face his own demons before he loses his light for good?


Jordan Reclaimed is one of those books I most likely wouldn’t have picked up based on the blurb. I’m not usually into books starring ballerinas. I have no idea why, but they don’t make me pick up a book. I picked this one up because my friend Lenore from Celebrity Readers recommended it to me. I’m so happy she did because I truly enjoyed this book.

Jordan Reclaimed deals with heavy topics like child abuse and eating disorders. It could have been a very angst filled read, but it wasn’t. There was just the right amount of angst and lightness. There was also a ton of heart in it. It was very well written and a great introduction to Scarlett Cole’s writing for me.

Jordan had such a devastating story. The guy had been through some of the most horrible things. My heart broke for him. I adored his relationship with his “brothers” and bandmates. The way they came together and supported each other was fantastic. Jordan meeting Lexi added to his support group and made him grow in the best way possible.

Lexi didn’t go through quite the horrors that Jordan had, but she had issues of her own with a demanding father and career. (I actually enjoyed the look at the ballet world that I got more than I expected to.) From a readers perspective, it almost felt like Lexi had nothing of her own until she met Jordan.

Jordan and Lexi had great chemistry. I liked how they contrasted each other. Lexi felt like light while Jordan felt like darkness. Somehow their differences made them more compatible than I thought they would be. I loved how they were able to read each other so well, push when they needed to push, and pulled back when they needed to give space. It was such a well written and thought out love story.

I mentioned the band for a moment above, but there is so much more to say about the guys from Preload. None of them had it easy growing up and their bonds were some of the tightest I’ve read. They got each other in very specific ways and you could see how important their friendship brotherhood was to them. I loved how they were able to tease each other and boost each other up. It was all very sweet.

There wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t love. If I have to point out something, I would say that I didn’t love that it was written in third person. There were some places where the story switched from one POV to another without a chapter change or heading that threw me off. There was also a Pretty Woman moment that felt weird and, well, too Pretty Woman for me. Nothing that was a huge deal or took away from my love of the characters and their romance.

I’m very thankful to Lenore for recommending Jordan Reclaimed to me. I enjoyed it so much that I am immediately jumping into reading the second book in the series. I feel a series binge coming on…