I'm a mother, lifelong-student, avid reader, and reviewer. I'll give pretty much anything a shot, but my guilty pleasure is romance, especially if it's dark and full of suspense.
Come Alive was the equivalent to riding one long-ass, angst-ridden roller coaster. My equilibrium’s still off.
Okay, here’s the deal. I could sympathize with Olivia. Even if I didn’t condone her behavior, I felt for her and wanted to see her get her HEA. Olivia was a damaged young woman who was scared of taking the huge step in following her heart by stepping out of her comfort zone; and subsequently, ending her marriage. Although, I could actually see someone behaving as she did, under such circumstances, enough-was-a-freaking-nough. I just wanted to scream at her to open her goddamn eyes. It was painfully obvious that her constant back and forth, like a freaking pendulum, was making all three of them MISERABLE, even borderline insane, especially after she unburdened herself and told Bill about her infidelity.
Did I think she should stay with Bill? Hell, NO. Yes, she loved him, but she was never IN-LOVE with him and there’s a huge difference. The fact was, their arrangement worked for them both. Well, at least until Olivia met David. He awoke something inside of her that had been dormant since she was just a girl. Her marriage with Bill lacked emotions—they were too complicated and messy—and in reality, was just a comfortable companionship. With David, she started to actually feel again. He ripped the lid off Pandora’s Box, rescuing her and consequentially freeing her. There was no going back after that…
This was a story about friendships, commitments, loves, obligations, letting go, moving forward and truly living.
*Copy was kindly provided by the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Holy Cliffhanger! I need the sequel, NOW!
Olivia was married and going through the motions. She thought that she was happy with her life and in her marriage. That was, until she locked eyes across a crowded room with a handsome stranger and suddenly she started questioning everything. David was a world-renowned architect and an alleged playboy who had his choice of woman, but he only wanted one…
Yes, there was a love triangle and even worse, infidelity, but this was… you’ll just have to read it because honestly, I’m never one to condone cheating, but I am completely on TEAM DAVID. These two had an irrefutable connection from the first moment they laid eyes on one another. The more they tried to fight it, the stronger their connection became.
David knew Olivia unlike anyone else simply because he paid attention and refused to accept her standard claim that she was ‘fine.’
The question was, would Olivia be better off with the comfortable safe guy, who she believed would never hurt her or should she take a risk on the man who awoke parts of her that she’d thought were long gone?
Come Undone was a quick read with plenty of steam and set us up for a potentially explosive sequel. My only suggestion would be to read this after you already have Come Alive.
*Copy was kindly provided by the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Surprisingly enough, this was a sweet love story that wasn’t filled with any unnecessary drama or angst. It’s essentially the story of the pop princess, Olivia Taylor—aka Rachel—and the porn star, Buck Harder—aka Lee—who fell in love and the subsequent ramifications.
The characters were extremely likable. There wasn’t any insta-love and the two seemed to handle everything very rationally, which was refreshing and truly made you hope they’d get their HEA. And yes, the chemistry was HOT, HOT, HOT! Quinn, Rachel’s tremendously supportive yet hilarious assistant, had me laughing on numerous occasions. There really wasn’t any wow factor, but the writing was strong and the storyline was sweet and simply a pleasure to read.
A Song For Josh was a highly emotional read that’s filled with heartache, loss, despair, helplessness – essentially any emotion one would experience after suffering years of malevolence. Yet, it’s equally heartwarming and truly inspirational. It demonstrated that even if imprisoned by unrelenting darkness, one could still find redemption and truly live again through the powers of music, friendship, love, and simple acts of kindness.
The story began with a young Jessie and her loving, musician father. He taught his young daughter—his passion, escape, and salvation from the hardships of the world—the guitar. Music.
“Music is the salve to our souls in this bitter world.”
After his death, the twelve-year-old Jessie found herself with a new reality. It was full of depravity, loss, and destitution, so the young girl sought refuge in her music whenever possible.
Eight-years after her father’s death, the now hardened, twenty year-old Jessie was living on the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver where she performed on the streets. It was here that the philanthropic, famous actor Jack Deacon discovered her. He saw something in the young homeless girl. Through him, Jessie met Deidre and Charles Keating. Dee was a manager and Charles, a music producer. The power couple made Jessie into an Oscar winning superstar and loved her as if she were their own. Yet, Jessie was still numb. A shell of a girl, who only lived through her music. However, she didn’t truly live at all, at least not in any real sense of the word. That was until she met a kindred soul…
“Lost souls attract other lost souls.”
Since Jessie’s first encounter with Josh Sawyer, she noticed the haunted look in his eyes. It was the same look she saw whenever looking at herself in the mirror. She knew his pain; and therefore, instantly felt a connection. Jessie wanted to help him. She couldn’t explain it, but he evoked feelings in her that she’d thought were long gone and this terrified her. She never wanted to love again. She was afraid to lose another person that she cared deeply for. That’s why she’d always kept herself distant from everyone and why she didn’t really care about her fiancé Charlie’s philandering ways or his narcissistic behavior. She was detached and therefore safe. Her instincts told her to run, but an irrefutable pull made her want to surrender. You’ll have to read the book in order to see what happens ;-)
This was not an ordinary Hollywood'ish romance. It was seriously unlike any that I’d ever read before. Yes, it dealt with the typical angst that accompanies many famous relationships, but expect SO MUCH MORE! The subject matter was dark and both the primary and secondary characters were great. Now, I’m off to read book two, Promises.
“Here’s to secrets, and love, and all that bullshit.”
*I was provided with an ARR from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Crush opened with Jude realizing his dreams...
“He’d done it.
He hadn’t only done it;
he’d been a first-round draft pick.
From troubled repeat felon to one of
the most sought after and… one of the
highest-paid football players in the country.”
He was ecstatic. Not only was he playing for his first choice team, the San Diego Chargers, but now that he was signing a three-year seven-figure contract, he could finally take care of his Luce. Finally give her a life that she deserved.
”I want to make you happy, Luce. That’s all I give a damn about.”
But was Lucy truly happy for him? No.
Just like in Clash, I wanted to smack the shit out of Lucy, on numerous occasions. I just didn’t understand what her problem REALLY was. Frankly, I thought she was extremely selfish and self-centered; too caught up in her own dreams and what she had to achieve in order to—now this was what I didn’t get. Did she feel the need to prove herself to someone, herself, society—what? I really didn’t get it! I just couldn’t get in her head. What I did know was that Lucy saw the pain and insecurities that her actions caused Jude; yet, she still did not throw the poor bastard a bone!
Now Jude, he was a completely different story. I freaking loved him. In Clash he was amazing. It was evident, how hard he was trying to become a better man for Lucy. Apparently, he never stopped trying because by the time we saw him again in Crush he’d become beyond incredible.
“…I do have a contract. For three years.
If at the end of that, you want me to quit so
we can spend the next thirty moving from
one dance mecca to the next, that’s what I’ll do.”
My heart was in my throat. He was completely selfless. Lucy was even flabbergasted by Jude’s offer. She couldn’t believe that he’d give up his dream for her.
“Baby, football isn’t my dream… You are.”
I mean, come on! Jude had grown and become the perfect man. Hell yeah, he still made mistakes, but no one is perfect—NO ONE! All he knew was that he wanted to wake up every morning with his Luce by his side and take care of her for the rest of his life—everything else was just semantics.
Honestly, I don’t even know how to rate this book. Lucy pissed me off that much. Jude on the other hand was completely swoon-worthy. The secondary characters were also great, especially LJ—just loved him.
Broken at Love (Whitman University #1) had MANY similarities to the movie Cruel Intentions. So, it worked for me, since that’s one of my all-time favorite guilty pleasures.
The book began with a show of sorts, revealing the depraved Sebastian Rowland’s evil game, starring his half-brother Quinn. They’re the sons of the outrageously wealthy media-mogul Theodore Rowland. His legitimate son, Quinn, was bitter and already a washed-up tennis pro at the ripe age of twenty. Sebastian was a psychopath who utilized their family’s wealth to control and rein over Whitman University. The two brothers lived in the family’s beach house, which in reality was a mansion that was located on Florida’s Gulf coast with acres of its own private beaches. It was the perfect location to throw their private, invitation only parties.
As a tribute to his ex, Quinn suggested throwing four parties—one for each of the four tennis majors—The U.S. Open, Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. Each party would last just as long as the major would. The guest lists were exclusive and Sebastian would select one ’top seed’ per major. “Every kid at Whitman University salivated for their golden ticket, and Sebastian loved nothing more than playing Willy Wonka…” Unbeknownst to most, these parties were the stage for Sebastian’s game. On the first night of each major, Sebastian would present Quinn with the ‘top seed’ that he’d not only seduce, but also break.
“It had to be her heart, too, or I lose. Sex and feelings. Shame and regret.
That was the game.”
Sebastian was vile and enjoyed controlling and destroying others. Quinn had been rejected his entire life; therefore, he justified his behavior by deeming his conquests as users who would leave him, just like everyone else; he was simply beating them to the punch by calling the “Match” early.
Quinn’s mother abandoned him right after his birth; his father blamed him for the loss of his wife and subsequently hated his son. Then, his girlfriend cruelly broke up with him once he’d been forced into retirement. Quinn had never experienced love. Sadly, he didn’t know what it even felt like and didn’t think he ever would. He resigned to the fact that his only constant was his crazy-ass, blackmailing, half-brother.
The Australian Open… Sebastian had chosen Emilie Swanson to be the ’top seed.’ Emilie was a beautiful, talented artist, who just happened to be a sorority sister to Quinn’s U.S. Open conquest. Em was extremely smart and sweet. She was also really good at reading people. She had learned this skill at a very young age by watching her mother who’d made lying an art form. Upon arriving at the party, Em’s initial response to Sebastian was unease. However, she swore that she saw more in the notorious playboy, Quinn. She most definitely saw sadness. The more she tried to figure him out, the bigger of a mystery he became. Emilie had made a promise to her baby sister who’d passed away from leukemia three-years before, that she’d never let life’s mysteries go unsolved, that she’d take chances, and she’d live her life with no regrets.
Quinn’s reaction to Emilie continually fluctuated between surprise and confusion and it threw him off his game. She affected him in ways that he never could’ve expected. She wasn’t like any of the other girls and it wasn’t long before he was calling her “mi sorpresita,” meaning ”his little surprise.”
Emilie was insistent and wanted to piece together the mystery of Quinn. Their friendship built slowly and was incredibly sweet. Their attraction was magnetic and unbelievably HOT! Despite all of their progress, Quinn couldn’t surrender to his feelings and Em refused to give anymore of herself unless he could reciprocate. He knew that his fear would make him lose her. And it did. She finally walked away knowing that she’d taken chances and done all she could; and therefore, she wouldn’t live with any regrets. She fulfilled her promise to her little sister.
I really liked Emilie’s character. She was a strong, independent young woman, who was in love with a man, yet she refused to settle. She didn’t crawl into a ball (well, not for too long anyways) and let it consume her. Instead, she focused on pursuing her dreams and succeeded.
Poor Quinn, you really had to feel for him. Despite his shitty upbringing and lack of self-worth, he still prevailed and made a life for himself out of his father’s grasp, as a professional tennis player. His downfalls were the choices he made after his forced retirement. He essentially rolled over and had a never-ending pity party for himself. That was, until Emilie came along and made him want to be a better man…
“While I assumed an easy match, like all the others, she’d broken me at love.”
This was a beautiful story of redemption, as well as, the powers of friendship and true unyielding love. Definitely recommend to NA lovers.
So the gang from Tear is back with the addition of, most notably, Alyssa—Demetri’s muse, love of his life, and happily ever after. And then there’s Jaymeson—a hot British actor friend of AD2, who it appears we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the third installment of the series, Shattered.
I’ll admit, I was a huge Alec fan while reading Tear, but now, I’m not so sure. He seems to be keeping an awful lot of secrets… I most definitely love, love, love Demetri more than ever! I mean, who would have thought that the screwed up, immature, playboy addict with ginormous baggage, could actually be good for another person, never mind a whole group. But Demetri proved to be just that. He healed, grew, and became a swoon worthy man in Pull.
“My heart wasn’t ready to be pieced together again.
He did it anyway.
My soul wasn’t prepared for heartbreak.
He broke it anyway.
My life wasn’t ready to be given to a soul mate.
He stole it anyway.
Everything has changed…
And all because of a boy, who fell in love with a girl.”
This book is about grief, love, loss, and friendship. But most importantly, it’s about letting go and learning how to live once again. I absolutely loved it and cannot wait for the release of Shattered.
I’m going to be honest here—at the risk of sounding like an evil, cold-hearted bitch—I loved that ending! It actually put a smile on my face. I know, I know, I’m so very wrong, but hey, Karma’s a bitch. There was somewhat of a twist in the plot that’s left as a cliffhanger, but in no way did it leave me wanting to throw my Kindle, so that speaks volumes.
Rosemary’s latest couple was scorching! Neither Woods nor Della could get enough of the other. They were insatiable. Woods. I really liked his character in the Fallen Too Far series, but he really stepped it up in Twisted Perfection! Not only was he the hot, sweet, caring, protective, honest, and loyal Woods that we'd all grown to love, but once he got a taste of Della, he became possessive, and even though I’m not typically into that kind of thing, it was freaking hot!
"You are mine. Do you hear me? You are mine,
Della Sloane. I will take care of you. Nothing is
taking you away from me. Nothing."
Throughout the story, Woods and Della both learned so much about themselves. Della was literally learning how to live on her own, while trying to find a life for herself. Woods on the other hand, was struggling with the realization that the life he’d worked so hard for, the life he’d always envisioned, quite possibly wasn’t what he truly wanted after all. There was no question that he was “sacrificing his happiness for money and gain.” The real question was if Woods still believed that getting his rightful place in the family business was worth all of the sacrifices.
Well, you’re just going to have to read it in order to find out. ;) This was a quick, steamy read, filled with its fair share of angst and some extremely swoon worthy men! Ummm, Tripp anyone? I would LOVE for him to be the next of Rosemary’s bachelors to get his own book—he seriously needs some loving!
Dare You To, by Katie McGarry was an amazing read. It demonstrated that no matter how ‘perfect’ a family may appear, or on the contrary, how delinquent; most families are dysfunctional. It’s only a matter of how badly or in many cases, how they're perceived.
”Dad wants perfection. Scratch that.
Dad wants perfection on the outside
so everyone else can see it.
Mom, too. They could care less if we’re
torn up on the inside as long as
the rest of the world envies us.” ~Mark
The characters were amazing. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Beth’s after Pushing the Limits, but I am now. She’s a strong, compassionate, loyal, and selfless young woman who was dealt a shitty hand, yet she endured. The closest thing she ever had to a caring parent was her Uncle Scott and he too deserted her, in order to pursue his own dreams and essentially save himself. Now he’s back and looking to make amends...
"This is your break, kid. This is your baseball. All you have to do is trust me and take it. Whatever you want, it’s yours, but you have to let the past go."
Ryan was the town’s golden boy and captain of the baseball team. He’d always dreamt of going pro directly out of high school, but when new opportunities arose and he opened up to his passion and natural talent for writing, Ryan started to question what HE truly wanted. Should he go pro, or should he play college ball while pursuing a degree in creative writing?
”Someday, you’re going to see how Mom and Dad controlled and manipulated our lives. You’re going to notice how they made us believe that their dreams were our dreams. They dictated our every breath. Think about it—do you have any idea of who you are without them?” ~Mark
Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, it didn’t take Ryan long to see the truth in his brother’s words. His father blatantly disregarded his passion for writing. Both of his parents forbade him from dating Beth. She was deemed not good enough for him—not good enough for the image they expected him to portray.
Beth and Ryan seemed to be from two completely different worlds. Nevertheless, they were two damaged souls who formed a bond through their mutual pain. Beth’s past was town gossip, while Ryan’s festered under a ‘perfect’ façade. Throughout their friendship, they helped, encouraged, and more importantly were simply just there for one another.
This was a profound journey filled with betrayal, loss, discrimination, abuse, addiction, and heartache, as well as, friendship, love, loyalty, perseverance, trust and ultimately FREEDOM.
“This overwhelming, encompassing feeling is love. It’s not perfect and it’s messy as hell. And it’s exactly what I need.” ~Ryan
*Copy was kindly provided by Harlequin Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have to say, the girl in 6e was not what I’d expected at all. Alessandra Torre educated us on all sorts of sexual fetishes through actual definitions, as well as, Jess’ clientele, who were able to fulfill such desires while paying $6.99 per minute. Jess never had an issue satisfying their fantasies, seeing as, living as a shut-in limited how she could support herself, and to each his own, right? However, after the emergence of a new client RalphMA35, who sought ‘ageplay’ and insisted on calling her ‘Annie;’ Jess, was unable to shake the gnawing ominous feeling.
Alessandra successfully demonstrated how one could live as a shut-in, without ANY human contact for over three-years. How Jess effectively preyed on the weaknesses of others and bartered with regular clients in order to live this life and essentially fulfill all of her needs.
I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m going to end this by simply saying... This was a disturbing story that showed despite all of the darkness one could still move into the light and truly find redemption.
I loved this book. It started off a bit slow, but once it got going, I could not put it down. My mind started conjuring up different scenarios while trying to figure out what really was going on. Towards the beginning, I actually started wondering if I was accidentally reading a different genre than I’d intended, but thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
Upon arriving at Eagle Elite, Trace realized nothing was what it seemed, and she was right, only she had no idea to what extent! It was as if she’d entered an alternate universe. Everyone there was extremely wealthy; yet, they were all—including the dean and staff—essentially puppets to the Elect, who were ruled by the one and only Nixon Abandonato. At one point, Trace wittily pronounced “Gossip Girl had nothing on this school.”
The characters in this book were great. I either loved them or hated them. Trace Rooks, was an orphan who’d been raised by her grandparents on a ranch in Wyoming where she led a sheltered life; and therefore, was incredibly innocent and naïve. Nixon Abandonato was a tattooed and pierced bad-boy who was not only insanely hot, but also fiercely protective, loyal, and caring; yet, he could also be cruel and domineering. Monroe Abandonato was Nixon’s twin sister and Trace’s roommate. She took Trace under her wing and the two became insta-friends. She was beautiful, generous, and a genuinely good person. Chase Winter was another hottie, as well as, Nixon and Monroe’s cousin and a member of the Elect. He was sweet, protective, and extremely loyal—that was, if you were on his good side, if not, he could be downright scary. Tex was Monroe’s boyfriend and another member of the Elect. Phoenix De Lange was the dean’s son and in short, quite vile.
At 65%, Trace’s grandfather appeared at the school and in one line; set the stage for the rest of the book. “Everything you’ve ever known… is about to change.” In my opinion, this was when the story REALLY got good.
Rachel Van Dyken left us with a perfect set-up for the highly anticipated sequel Elect.
“Whoever said life was boring clearly didn’t go to Eagle Elite.”
"The same tragedy upended our worlds.
The same tragedy brought us here today.
Don't let it tear us apart."
This was a beautiful, yet emotional story of loss, friendship, forgiveness, moving on, believing in ones self, second chances, and ultimately, the power of true unyielding love. I absolutely loved it! I can't wait to get my hands on the next two books in the series.
Well, if we thought Jude and Lucy’s relationship was tested in Crash, we hadn’t seen anything yet. In Clash, Lucy and Jude both had grown so much; however for a while there, I seriously wanted to smack the shit out of Lucy—many times, in fact.
She became completely fixated on all of the reasons why she and Jude shouldn’t be together, so much so, that she lost sight of all the reasons why they ought to be. She naïvely didn’t understand that love is not easy and that relationships actually require work, dedication, communication, loyalty, trust, simply - total commitment. Furthermore, relationships could experience highs and lows, especially when dealing with two intensely passionate and emotional individuals, which Lucy and Jude most definitely were. Even with all of Lucy’s complaints about these issues and claiming that she needed a ‘break’ from Jude, she still couldn’t stay away from him. She selfishly kept going back despite the fact that she was still wishy-washy regarding their relationship.
“You want time? You want space? Fine. I gave that to you. But then you keep throwing yourself back into my life whenever the hell you choose. No warning. No apology. No permanence. You show up at my front door and sneak out the back without so much as a goodbye… You couldn’t take the up and down. The rollercoaster was going to kill you. You know what I can’t take? You in and back out of my life before I even knew you were there in the first place. You looking at me the way you are now and then able to turn your back and walk away five minutes later. …That is what will kill me.”
I loved Jude in this book. Did he still have flaws? Absolutely. However, he REALLY put a lot of effort into becoming a better man and that was evident. He became an amazing boyfriend who put Lucy’s needs above his own. He was caring, supportive, fiercely protective, loyal, and absolutely 100% in love with Lucy. Honestly, I started to feel bad for him. I started thinking that Lucy didn’t deserve him. Especially after…
...the airport scene. She was so unbelievably cruel. I was already getting extremely annoyed with her by that point, but then how she handled that whole situation, she killed any possibility of redemption in my eyes. I mean seriously. I can’t even believe that she had the audacity to think that Jude would still want her back after that. In my eyes, she went from being a selfish, bitch to being a selfish, cold-hearted bitch. And I really think I’m being nice here.
Lucy FINALLY saw the light, she realized having Jude in her life was worth enduring any hardships that they might encounter as long as they're together. “I’m done leaving. I’m done questioning if we can do this thing, Jude.”
Even though Lucy annoyed me, this was still a quick, enjoyable read.
The Hard Bounce was a cleverly written book with equal parts grit and humor. It did touch upon some darker themes, but Robinson didn’t delve into them too deeply. Instead, he focused more on the characters, especially Boo Malone—the emotionally scarred thug, with a heart of gold.
Boo and his best friend Junior were bouncers at The Cellar, a dive in Boston’s Kenmore Square. It was there that we’re introduced to the bar’s colorful regulars and staff. Robinson had a unique ability to make even the seediest of characters likable. He portrayed the characters so realistically that you could almost imagine this rambunctious crowd in your local hole in the wall.
The plot was definitely character driven and at times, I questioned if there were loose references to a notorious Bostonian or two. It was an enjoyable read that was filled with believable relationships and situations, as well as, dialogue that was heartfelt and banter that was just downright funny.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.