Monthly Archives:: April 2016

Ladies Man Review

April 30, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★

Ladies Man ReviewLadies Man (Manwhore, #3) by Katy Evans
on April 26th 2016
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
three-half-flames
TAHOE ROTH.Irreverent, cocky, playful and naughty.He’s not the guy you date.He’s the one night stand.The one your mother warned you about.The one your body craves.
You’d think the man who called me succulent would want to strip me down and spread me out on his bed—like he’s done with countless others.But he passed on my offer….Just like I’d once passed on his.He’s wary, like I am.He’s broken, like I am.And everyone knows two broken parts can’t ever make a whole.Tahoe and I are strictly friends.So I distract myself with other men.He doesn’t think my new man is good enough. This blond blue-eyed beast doesn’t think any man is—himself included.But the more time we spend together, the more confused I feel.I'm trying to open myself to love.Yet I'm quickly realizing that the only man I want is Tahoe Roth.The one man who will surely break my heart.

So I actually read this book before reading the previous books in the Manwhore series, which was probably a mistake. This book in the series is technically a standalone, but I still think that I would have likely enjoyed this even more if I’d read those books. I definitely plan on going back to those, then maybe I’ll have more of a connection with this, but I honestly doubt that will be the case. I think you’ll probably be more invested in this book if you read the other books in the series. Even if you haven’t, this is still a fairly enjoyable fast paced read that I encourage you to pick up. 

The plot is honestly pretty basic. It’s more about the characters than the plot itself. There were some twists thrown in that did make things a little bit more interesting for the readers. I found it be somewhat boring at times, especially when Gina was just going out of her way to find something to dislike and not trust about Tahoe. Ultimately, it comes down to what you enjoy seeing in contemporary romance books. It’s highly likely that you will love everything about the plot. Some things just didn’t work so well for me. 

Gina is a reasonably decent character. She’s not my favorite MC by any means. I wanted to shake her so many times throughout the novel. She thought that getting into a relationship with a sweet and stable guy would make her forget about Tahoe. I mean, of course it didn’t work, and it was extremely irritating to see. I get why Gina was so unsure. Tahoe was definitely not shy about his womanizing ways with her. In my mind, it still didn’t rationalize her actions. Don’t get me wrong, she had some positive qualities about her as well. It’s just the negative ones that standout so clearly to me. 

As already mentioned, the love interest is a womanizer to say the least. Tahoe never hides this fact from anyone, but he does have a heartbreaking reason for it. He’s protecting his heart by not letting anyone getting too close to him. Truth be told, it’s a classic reason behind why these guys act the way they do, and it’s used in countless romance books. However, I did still find Tahoe to be a very swoony guy that I enjoyed reading about. He’s a charming guy who will do anything for the people that he cares about. I wouldn’t say he’s my favorite book boyfriend, but there’s still a lot to like about his character. 

As a couple, these two worked really well together in the end. I won’t lie, it took them a seriously long time to get there. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise since she picks up a pretty longterm boyfriend. I was still surprised that it took until over 80% for them to have sex. I think this was a smart move for Katy Evans to provide for her characters because it allowed for their friendship to build before anything else. It was an unlikely friendship, but one that they both greatly needed. The slow burn just made the sexual tension even more real, and I’m a fan of that. 

Was this my favorite contemporary romance that I’ve read here recently? No, but it was still enjoyable as a whole. There was probably more to like than dislike about it. It just wasn’t totally memorable for me, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t completely work for you! I look forward to finally getting around to reading the other books in this popular series. 

three-stars

Divider

Hothouse Flower Review

April 27, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★½

Hothouse Flower ReviewHothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters, #2; Addicted, #2.2) by Krista Ritchie, Becca Ritchie
on March 28th 2014
Pages: 479
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Addicted to You (Addicted, #1), Kiss the Sky (Calloway Sisters, #1; Addicted, #2.1), Thrive (Addicted, #2.5), Addicted After All (Addicted, #3), Fuel the Fire, Long Way Down, Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters), Addicted to You (Addicted, #1), Kiss the Sky (Calloway Sisters, #1; Addicted, #2.1), Thrive (Addicted, #2.5), Addicted After All (Addicted, #3), Fuel the Fire, Long Way Down
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
four-flames
Ryke Meadows, meet Daisy Calloway ... she’s all grown up.
Twenty-five-year-old Ryke Meadows knows he’s hard to love. With a billion-dollar inheritance, a track-star resume, and an alpha-male personality—he redefines the term likable asshole. But he’s not living to make friends. Or enemies. He just wants to free climb three of the toughest mountains in Yosemite without drama or interruption.
And then he receives a distressed call from a girl in Paris—a girl that he has never been allowed to have.
Daisy Calloway is eighteen. Finally. With her newfound independence, she can say goodbye to her overbearing mother and continue her modeling career. Next stop, Paris. Fashion Week begins with a bang, and Daisy uncovers the ugly reality of the industry. She wants to prove to her family that she can live on her own, but when everything spirals out of control, she turns to Ryke to keep her secrets.
As Daisy struggles to make sense of this new world and her freedom, she pushes the limits and fearlessly rides the edge. Ryke knows there’s deep hurt beneath every impulsive action. He must keep up with Daisy, and if he lets her go, her favorite motto—“live as if you’ll die today”—may just come true.
New Adult Romance: recommended for readers 18+ for mature content
***Authors' Note***Hothouse Flower is a spin-off of the Addicted series. Kiss the Sky is required before reading, and we strongly recommend reading the Addicted series before this spin-off.
Addicted Series Recommended Reading Order
Addicted to You (Addicted #1)Ricochet (Addicted #1.5) <--- The main characters meet here.Addicted for Now (Addicted #2)Kiss the Sky (Spin-Off)(Calloway Sisters #1)Hothouse Flower (Spin-Off)(Calloway Sisters #2)Thrive (Addicted #2.5)Addicted After All (Addicted #3)

I’ve been reading and reviewing a lot of the titles in the Addicted series here lately. I’m doing that because the official epilogue book that wraps up the whole series is coming out in less than a month and so this is kind of my way of celebrating that. Before I started this one, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like Ryke and Daisy as a couple. Daisy just seemed like such a young girl from what we saw in the first couple of books, so it took a little getting used to her being old enough for a guy like Ryke. It’s pretty weird that he’s the big brother of Loren, who is dating Daisy’s older sister. So my point is, Krista and Becca Ritchie made this relationship work in ways that I wasn’t expecting at all. I definitely recommend reading this whole series!

This plot was much less drama filled than Kiss the Sky. In my opinion, this was both good and bad. Though the reality show plot worked better than I was expecting, I’m glad that this book focused on something else. That being said, there really wasn’t much plot going on. It focused more on the characters, which I appreciate. You just might not be crazy about this book if you like having a very detailed plot. The plot basically revolves around Ryke and Daisy moving from friendship to more, while also traveling around the world with their families. It also focused on all types of relationships, not just romantic ones. I’m a fan of books that showcase friendship and family, and this one accomplishes this extremely well. 

Daisy is a fascinating main character. I’m not sure if I like her as much as Rose, but I liked her a lot more than I expected to. She might be 18 now, but she was only 15 when the series started out. Sometimes I feel like she’s younger than she really is because of that, but she’s also been forced to grow up quickly. She was a fairly popular model in the other books, though her career has slowed down some in this one. Daisy has been hit hard by the public knowing about her big sister’s sex addiction. It’s heartbreaking to read about all the harassment and terrible things that are said about her. 

Ryke was one of my favorite characters in Addicted to You so I was so excited for his own story. This guy has tons and tons of family drama, a lot we already know about but it’s interesting to see it from his perspective. Ryke is a pretty closed off guy at times, but he’s also so passionate and does everything he can for the people he cares about. My heart ached for him countless times throughout the novel. He just might be my favorite of the three leading men of the series! 

So the relationship between Daisy and Ryke is beyond complicated to say the least. They start off being just friends when Daisy is still underage. Even when she turns 18, the age difference is a huge deal to their family and friends so they never act on the mutual attraction between them. I really liked how strong their friendship is. As mentioned earlier, Daisy’s been dealing with harassment which has made her lose a lot of sleep. So Ryke innocently sleeps with her at night so she feels safe. It’s just that sweet things like that make you cheer even more for them to workout as a couple. Have I mentioned that the sex scenes are really steamy? Well, I shouldn’t have expected anything less from these authors, but it was still pretty satisfying to read. 

In the end, I wasn’t sure if this relationship was going to work for me. It definitely ended up surprising me with how much I enjoyed the romance but also the friendship between the couple as well. This book is about so much more than just romantic love, which makes me happy. This was probably my least favorite in the series due to the lack of things happening plot wise. Nevertheless, it was still a fabulous read as a whole and I’m anxious to get to the next book in the series! 

three-half-stars

Divider

When I’m With You Review

April 26, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★

When I’m With You ReviewWhen I'm With You (Hope Town, #3) by Harper Sloan
Published by Harper Sloan on April 26th 2016
Pages: 262
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
four-flames
Nate:
It’s nearly impossible to be surrounded by love but not understand it. My parents, my sister, and just about everyone around us has no trouble accepting that love. To give your trust to someone else and believe they would die before hurting you. I’ve witnessed it—I’ve seen the power of it—but I’ve also seen the pain. Because for me, I’ve only loved someone I could never have, and my biggest fear is that by giving her my love, all I would do is ruin her. I should have tried harder, but I’m not sure I can because I only feel complete when I’m with her.
Emberlyn:
The only time I feel like I belong is when he’s near. His infectious smile warms me straight to my bones. Any insecurities I have vanish with just a wink from him. A sliver of his attention makes me feel invincible. But all it took was one drunken night of truths for me to lose everything I had begun to crave. Now, I’m not sure how to move on because I only feel complete when I’m with him.
He said I was too young. I said he was perfect. He said our families wouldn’t understand. I said we could weather any storm. He said he would ruin me. And he was right.

So I’ve been looking forward to this since I first heard about what characters this book would be focusing on. I think Harper Sloan’s books are pretty addicting, though I haven’t absolutely loved them all. However, I always HAVE to read her books just because I’ve gotten rather invested in the characters. I devoured this book extremely quickly, it was an easy read for me. If you’re looking for something with an alpha book boyfriend and plenty of drama, this might be for you. I wasn’t crazy about it because I feel like a lot of the plots were simply recycled from the other books that the author has written instead of providing more creative things. It’s still a decent book that I don’t regret reading, it’s just not my favorite.

The plot is basically: girl has loved boy all her life, boy is a lot older and rejected her. But the boy really had feelings for her too, he just didn’t want to because of what their tight knit families would think. Eventually, boy admits his feelings and wants the girl and fights hard to win her over. Sound familiar? If you’ve read the first book in this series, this specific plot is more or less identical to this, give or take some relatively minor details. I can overlook some similarities because I understand that if you read enough from one author, it’s likely that it will. But I feel like it is different in this case for me. I did like to see more of how close this family is. I also loved that Sloan included four epilogues for us readers. I know I have some mixed responses to the plot, but I do hope that this isn’t the last book in the series. I doubt it will be since there are tons of characters that haven’t gotten a story yet. 

Ember is a fairly good protagonist. I’ll be honest though, she’s not really all that memorable. She does have her moments of being feisty towards Nate when he first pursues her after embarrassing her at his sister’s wedding awhile back. But other than that, she didn’t have much sass or personality away from her boyfriend. I did like seeing her friendships, and I wanted to see even more of that, and also with her sister. The focus on her dad, Maddox, was nice to see, but I feel like other family members should have been featured as well. That’s just me though! 

Let’s be real, Nate isn’t all that different from his father, who was the MC in Sloan’s first Corps Security novel. Despite this, I won’t deny that I still am a sucker for these types of book boyfriends to an extent. I love the fact that once they are together, he’s completely loyal to Ember. I also love it when the guys know what they want and don’t play with the girls feelings. Yes, he was guilty of this when she was younger, but he changes that once he grows up. I enjoy that he’s alpha enough without being totally possessive. Nate definitely has his super swoony moments for sure. 

It’s safe to say that I found things about When I’m With You that I liked and disliked. I’m not a fan of the whole using plots over and over again. But that could be just me. I still think this is a good read if you’re looking for something not overly long or heavy. I do recommend reading the first two books in this series and even some in the Corps Security series as well. These books are based on the children of the characters in that series. All of these are standalones, but I feel like you feel much more emotionally connected to the characters and their personal histories if you read them as well. While not my favorite, this is still a recommended contemporary romance. 

three-stars

Divider

Kiss the Sky Review

April 24, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Kiss the Sky ReviewKiss the Sky (Calloway Sisters, #1; Addicted, #2.1) by Krista Ritchie, Becca Ritchie
Published by K.B. Ritchie on February 20th 2014
Pages: 442
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Addicted to You (Addicted, #1), Hothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters, #2; Addicted, #2.2), Thrive (Addicted, #2.5), Addicted After All (Addicted, #3), Fuel the Fire, Long Way Down, Some Kind of Perfect (Calloway Sisters), Addicted to You (Addicted, #1), Hothouse Flower (Calloway Sisters, #2; Addicted, #2.2), Thrive (Addicted, #2.5), Addicted After All (Addicted, #3), Fuel the Fire, Long Way Down
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
four-half-flames
Virgin. Sex addict. Daredevil. Alcoholic. Smartass … Jackass. Her five friends are about to be filmed. Reality TV, be prepared.
Rose Calloway thought she had everything under control. At twenty-three, she’s a Princeton graduate, an Academic Bowl champion, a fashion designer and the daughter of a Fortune 500 mogul. But with a sex addict as a sister and roommate, nothing comes easy.
After accepting help from a producer, Rose agrees to have her life filmed for a reality television show. The Hollywood exec is her last chance to revive her struggling fashion line, and boundaries begin to blur as she’s forced to make nice with a man who always has his way.
Twenty-four-year-old Connor Cobalt is a guy who bulldozes weak men. He’s confident, smart-as-hell and lives with his equally ambitious girlfriend, Rose Calloway. Connor has to find a way to protect Rose without ruining the show. Or else the producer will get what Connor has always wanted—Rose’s virginity.
This New Adult Romance can be described as Friends meets The Real World. Expect fist fights, drugs, sex of varying degrees, crude humor and competitive alpha males. Definitely for mature readers audiences only.

So I read the first few books in the Addicted series and really enjoyed it, but I was a little hesitant to read this one. I think Rose Calloway and Connor Cobalt are fascinating characters and I wanted to read their story, but I was nervous once I saw that they would be on a reality show like the Real World. I figured that would mean tons and tons of drama, and I wasn’t sure if I wanted that. However, I’m so glad that I decided to read it anyway. Yes, it does have plenty of drama as you would anticipate, but it also has such beautiful character development. You become so invested in each of these characters lives, and you want to stay inside their heads for as long as possible. I do recommend reading the books (at least the first two) in the Addicted series before the Calloway Sisters books though!

The plot involving the reality show is something that I’ve never seen in NA. Based on the description, it’s pretty clear that tons of drama goes down in the house that the Addicted crew plus one are staying in. Rose, Connor, Lo, Lily, Daisy, Ryke, and Scott are all staying in a house together and being filmed, just like Real World or Big Brother. The odd man out is Scott, the show’s producer who comes in the house pretending to be Rose’s ex to stir up trouble. You will want to murder this man for the entire book, trust me. The drama from the show is a lot, but what more did you expect? I figured going in that this plot would be nothing less than total insanity. 

Rose is basically my girl. Some may view her as being more than a little bit intense and uptight, there’s much more to her than that. She’s a smart girl, and she uses that to her advantage. What I like most about her is that she is ALWAYS loyal to her sisters no matter what. Rose does everything she possibly can to help Lily out with her sex addiction. She’s just a thoughtful and incredible person all the way around. Yes, she has her moments where you question what in the world she’s doing. But more often than not, she’s simply a flawed yet awesome character that is very likable. 

On the other hand, Connor is a character that you will likely have some mixed feelings about, but will ultimately love. When he first appeared in Addicted After All, he was so pretentious when he was tutoring Lily. Seeing his point of view makes me love him even more. It’s also clear that he cares about his friends, even if he shows it in weird ways. His bromance with Lo is so amusing and I loved every minute of it. Connor is definitely a know it all, and in the earlier books, he only cared about getting ahead. I’m glad that he’s grown up a great deal in this book. Despite that growth, he still has those hilarious douchebag moments that are amusing enough not to rub you the wrong way. 

Connor and Rose are most likely my favorite couple out of the series/spin-off. I like that they are already an established couple by the time we get to hear their story. They have the least amount of drama in terms of the relationship side of things, and I really loved seeing that. Connor and Rose have quite a few fights, but it’s more like obnoxious banter where they try to outsmart the other. They also speak in French to each other, which is seriously swoony even when what they are saying is far from romantic. They are far from being an average and normal couple, but that’s what is so great about them. 

Ultimately, I enjoyed this book way more than I initially anticipated. I should have never doubted these two authors for a second, they made this plot work. Oh, have I mentioned that this is even steamier than the others? At first, I was rather surprised by this, but it actually makes sense. Anyway, I’ll just say that the sex scenes are so far from being boring or repetitive. Though I love all of these characters for many different reasons, Connor and Rose will always hold a special place in my heart. 

four-stars

Divider

The One That Got Away Review

April 23, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★

The One That Got Away ReviewThe One That Got Away (The Kingston Ale House Series, #1) by A.J. Pine
Published by Entangled Publishing on April 18th 2016
Pages: 290
Source: Netgalley
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

How far will one man go for the woman he's loved since high school?
Jamie Kingston has been Brynn Chandler's best friend since middle school. Only once was their friendship tested—when Brynn gave Jamie a single kiss. Since then, they've had an unspoken agreement never to cross that line again, and she’s ready to let go of the past and move on.
But Jamie has loved Brynn for as long as he can remember, and now that he's ready to tell her, she has her sights set on someone else. Knowing this is his last chance, he asks Brynn to go on a two-week road trip. But their time alone brings old hurts to the surface, and Brynn has to decide if the one that got away lies at the end of the journey or if he's been by her side all along.

I’ve never read a book by contemporary romance author A.J. Pine before. I’ve always meant to because I’ve heard positive things about them, but just haven’t gotten around to it. My experience with this Pine novel was fairly good, enough so that I’m willing to read another one of them. All in all, I wouldn’t say that this is my favorite by any means, but I didn’t have any major issues with it either. I think that it isn’t all that memorable for me personally, but the writing was still enjoyable to read, and the book had a steady pace as well. If you are a fan of second chance romances and/or best friends to lovers, you will most likely gravitate to this specific plot.

Typically, I write two separate paragraphs about the two main characters, but in this case, a lot of the things that I want to say about them go together. So I decided to just combine them and still write a different section on the actual relationship dynamic between them. Anyway, Brynn and Jamie have pretty similar personalities. For starters, they both have amazing taste in music. Jamie gives Brynn a nickname based on a song by “The Monkees,” who are also Brynn’s favorite band. I felt like each of them had likable personalities that were genuinely fun to read about. I enjoyed so much about each of them, personality wise, and I wanted to join their friend group immediately. Though they do have excellent opinions on pop culture related topics, I still don’t believe that they are the most memorable characters that I’ve encountered. Regardless, I still enjoyed reading about them, it was just other things about the choices that it makes when it comes to the romantic side of things that bugged me.

Basically, Jamie and Brynn have been best friends since middle school. Jamie has secretly been into her the entire time, but he never shared his feelings with her until he ended up kissing her in high school when she couldn’t kiss the actual guy she had a crush on. After the kiss, Brynn suddenly falls for Jamie, but he ends anything romantic with her out of fear that he will end up like his divorced parents. Ten years later and Jamie is finally ready to share his true feelings with her at a high school reunion, but she reunites with the guy she was supposed to kiss back in high school. Jamie decides to take Brynn on a road trip to California so she can see that guy once again. So yes, the relationship between Jamie and Brynn is EXTREMELY complicated. More often than not, I wanted to lock both of them in a room together and not let them out until they say everything that they need to say to each other. A lot of the drama going on felt so juvenile, as harsh at that might sound. It felt like things that high school kids would be going through, not complete adults. In my opinion, most of the issues would have been better left out.

In the end, there’s plenty about The One That Got Away that I liked and that I didn’t like. At some points, I found myself really liking the characters and loving their taste in music even more. At other parts, not even that could save it for me, and I was beyond frustrated with the actions of Jamie and Brynn. It was different in some ways from the other books in these two tropes (friends to lovers and second chance) that I’ve read before. I just felt like some of the other stories that I’ve read were simply better done than this one, in terms of the plot and the characters. I still think the author is good and I look forward to reading more, but this one ended up not being my favorite in the end.

three-stars

Divider

Mini Reviews: All the Bright Places & Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

April 22, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★½

Mini Reviews: All the Bright Places & Forgive Me, Leonard PeacockAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Knopf on January 6th 2015
Pages: 400
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-half-stars
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning! Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

It’s been over a week since I’ve read both of these books and I’m still doing my best to wrap my mind around them. The one that I particularly had issues with was All the Bright Places. However, I wanted to just do a mini review of both since they have some similar themes and it’d likely just turn into a rant if I did All the Bright Places as a full review. So anyway, these are my thoughts on these books that tackle mental illness along with other tough topics.

I’ve heard many positive things about All the Bright Places, with a few negative reviews sprinkled in, which isn’t all that surprising. I know that different books provide different emotions for every reader, but this is still a story with loads of hype. I mean, the movie rights for it were sold before the book was even published. Anyway, my thoughts on the book fall more on the negative side. Depression and suicide are two extremely sensitive topics, especially when they continually affect more and more teenagers on a personal level. I feel like the author didn’t handle the topic with that necessary amount of sensitivity. It does mean more that the author had a personal experience with this, but it doesn’t change my opinion as a whole. On one hand, I get that depression isn’t this magical thing that disappears when your life is good, but I still felt like the direction it went in wasn’t properly handled. 

Another thing that I disliked about the book was the romance. This isn’t the first time recently that I’ve complained about the romance in YA that deals with mental illness. In my opinion, it should just be left out completely because it turns into either a way for these teens to get past their depression, or it’s just kind of thrown in there. I’m basically in the minority here, but I wasn’t a fan of Finch and I didn’t feel like he was swoony at all. I understand that he’s a teenage boy and all, but seriously? There were very few moments where I felt like he was all that crazy about Violet. Yes, I know he did some sort of dramatic things to win her attention and being paired up with her as they visit “historical” places around town, but it still felt forced to me. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t have the same problem and the romance was likely the best part for them, I just didn’t fully get it. 

I liked Violet more than I was initially expecting. I think it’s because I also understand what it’s like to lose someone that you love so much. I know that some might find her general attitude to be whiny, I just connected more to her than I did with Theodore, or Finch. Violet is a character who is a little on the quirky side, I enjoyed her creativity though. I’m not even going to talk much about Finch. Like I said, I didn’t get his character. Not that this is his fault, a lot of that is naturally his mental illness, I just feel like he was such a mystery to me that I never became invested in him because I was so confused. 

I wish I could say that I liked this book more than I did. I’m not going to lie, I did bawl like a baby during the last part of this book. However, I was able to see all the issues I ended up having with it once I was able to collect all my thoughts about everything. In a way, I do see the appeal of the book. It handles hot topics, has two quirky characters, and lots of romance. I personally feel like this type of story needs to have more focus on mental illness than on romance. 

 Mini Reviews: All the Bright Places & Forgive Me, Leonard PeacockForgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
on August 13th 2013
Pages: 288
Also by this author: Every Exquisite Thing
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.
But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.
In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock handled mental illness in such a real and unfiltered way. The events unravel over the course of only one day. This makes it nearly impossible not to read it in only one sitting. This is a heartbreaking yet also hopeful book. It’s also one of the more unique approaches to mental illness that I’ve yet to read in YA. I highly recommend reading this if you are looking for something a little bit different. 

My heart physically ached for Leonard. When we first meet him, he’s planning on killing his former best friend and then himself. Oh, did I mention that it’s also Leonard’s birthday? Basically, he wants so badly for someone to know that it’s his birthday or to just call him out on his plans. Deep down, it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t really want to die, he just wants to belong. Did I mention that you will want to give him a huge hug over and over again throughout the book? 

This book has one of the most fabulous student teacher relationships that I’ve EVER read. Herr Silverman is the kind of teacher that every teen (or child in general) needs to have. It’s so evident that he cares deeply for each of his students. I won’t spoil anything, but the things he does for Leonard will make you seriously emotional. He gives Leonard (and the rest of the class) advice to write letters from your future self. These letters are revealed in numerous chapters throughout the book. They are insanely creative, and I loved each of them. 

There are some beyond unlikable characters in this book as well. Mainly just Asher and Leonard’s mom. I can’t really get into why Asher, Leonard’s former best friend, is so terrible. I will say that the reason took me by surprise, but it was honestly something that I personally have never read before. His mom is so awful due to how absent she is. She cares more about advancing her own career than her kid. I know that sounds dramatic, but just read it for yourself and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. I wish that we could have seen more resolution between Leonard and his mom. I get that the problems couldn’t magically be solved by a heart to heart, but it would have been nice to see. 

I highly recommend this book for contemporary fans. Matthew Quick is such a fabulous writer and I can’t wait to read more from him. If you want a fast read that is impossible to put down, give this one a chance. I know that this powerful book will stay with me for a long time. 

two-half-stars

Divider

Listen to Me Review

April 20, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★

Listen to Me ReviewListen to Me (Fusion, #1) by Kristen Proby
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on April 12th 2016
Pages: 336
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Close to You (Fusion, #2)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.
Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy...exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.
Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.
Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

I’m a fan of Kristen Proby’s books. She writes fascinating love stories filled with determined love interests who know exactly what they want. Honestly, a lot of her books have similar plots, insecure and slightly bitchy heroine meets a gorgeous former playboy who wants them. There was a bit of a twist to Listen to Me, and I found myself really enjoying the overall plot. I also am a big fan of the friendship theme that this new series is going to be focusing on. I recommend this if you love contemporary romance, though it might seem sort of familiar if you’ve read Proby’s books before. I think you should give it a try anyway! 

Addie might be one of my favorite Proby MC. She’s very sure about what she wants when it comes to her career. Yes, she’s really not that unique when it comes to her other characters, but I still enjoyed her personality. She is extremely caring, especially when it comes to looking out for her friends. Her main flaw was that she let jerky bad boy musicians walk all over her. Luckily, this does change once Jake forces his way into her life. 

I liked Jake a lot more than I was initially expecting honestly. However, it does annoy me that he was a former playboy while he was in a band, but now he’s suddenly ready to settle down. This is a problem that I found in other novels from this author, as I mentioned earlier in my review. Unlike the others, Jake does have a sprinkle of doubt, which is some additional drama thrown into the plot that I won’t spoil for you guys. One of my favorite things about Jake is his best friend Christina. They’ve been best friends since high school, and it’s always been strictly platonic. She’s actually married, and he’s close friends with her husband as well. It’s just so rare to see a strong friendship between a man and a woman in romance books. I loved reading about all the beyond sweet things Jake did for his best friend. 

The relationship between Jake and Addie was pretty good, but not all that memorable as a whole. I think parts of it worked, while others just felt rather recycled and not all that unique. Don’t get me wrong, this is a sweet romance that will definitely have you swoony at certain points. It’s also pretty steamy, if you ask me. I think my favorite part of the relationship was the buildup. Addie had no interest in being with Jake when he walked in her restaurant to perform at open mic nights. Eventually though, he ended up wearing her down, and I don’t blame her. There’s no way to deny the fact that Jake pursuing Addie was pretty dreamy and adorable. Was it a perfect romance? No, but it was still entertaining to read about. 

Listen to Me is a great first book in what is sure to be a fascinating series from a respectable romance author. I’ve been looking forward to this book for awhile now, and I’m glad that it didn’t let me down. This is a story that is about much more than just romance. It’s also about friendship, forgiveness, taking risks, facing your fears, and more. Can the next book come out already? Until it does, I’ll just keep myself occupied by reading some addicting romances from Kristen Proby. 

three-stars

Divider

Exit, Pursued by a Bear Review

April 13, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1 ★★★★

Exit, Pursued by a Bear ReviewExit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on March 15th 2016
Pages: 256
Source: Purchased
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
“I love you,” Polly says suddenly when I’m almost to the door.
“I know,” I say.

Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She’s been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and the undisputed queen of her school. Now it’s her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months she’ll be a different person. She thinks she’s ready for whatever comes next.
But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels, ones she never imagined:
Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.
Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Olivier’s best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.
Heartbreaking and empowering, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the story of transcendent friendship in the face of trauma.
“I love you,” I say, because I really, really do.
“I know,” says Polly.

This book honestly blew me away. I’ve never read anything by the author before, but the plot immediately sounded intriguing to me. I’m a fan of books that discuss rape culture because it’s such an unfortunately relevant thing in our world today. That being said, I’ve been anticipating the release of this for months and months now. It did not disappoint me in the slightest, it ended up being an incredible read about friendship, sexual assault, cheerleading, getting ready for college, and growing up. 

Our protagonist is Hermione, senior (they say it differently in Canada but still means the same) and captain of her cheerleading team. She’s one of the most popular girls in school, but at this point she cares more about graduating and going to college. Though I’m going to talk about what happened to her later, for now I want to focus on who she is. She’s a strong and smart girl who is still trying to figure out what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She’s also a great leader and her teammates respect her. Hermione doesn’t let what people say about her stop her from going on with her life. It’s pretty difficult not to like this girl. 

Usually, I talk about the love interest here. There’s kind of one here, but the point of the book isn’t the romance so I’m not going to talk about him. Instead, I want to talk about Polly, Hermione’s best friend. She’s easily my favorite character. This is exactly the type of friend that everyone needs. She’s beyond loyal to her best friend. She knows how to be there for her without pushing her too far. At times, she’s just physically there for Hermione and no words need to be said. I was also happy that Polly ended up getting her happily ever after with her girlfriend. 

What happened to Hermione was that she was date raped while away at cheerleading camp. It’s obviously a very painful and horrifying incident. I’ve only read one other YA book that features date rape. That book was What Happens Next, one of my favorites, but the MC still has some interaction with her rapist. In this, she has no idea who he is, and the story doesn’t revolve around figuring out who it was. It’s more about the aftermath, learning how to move on with your life. I always feel weird rating a book about rape since it’s never happened to me, and it is such a personal thing. That being said, I still feel like this story was the perfect balance of informative and sensitive when approaching this topic. 

Exit, Pursued by a Bear was a fabulous read for me. This was rather short, it went by really quickly. You could easily finish it in only one sitting. It has a wonderful message about friendship and also being able to move on. Polly and Hermione have a beautiful and unbreakable friendship that you can’t help but long to have as well. Clearly, Hermione is just trying to move on with her life. She can’t remember what happened to her, but she still has to find a way to get through the aftermath of it all. If you’re looking for a well written YA book that handles a dark topic in a lovely way, you need to read this one. 

four-stars

Divider

Listen to Me Release Day Blitz

April 12, 2016 Features 0

Listen To Me - Release Week Blitz banner

 

Kristen Proby is known for writing heartfelt characters with deep connections and sizzling passion. In her brand new series from William Morrow Paperbacks, Fusion, she will seduce readers’ senses with the sexy, contemporary romance, LISTEN TO ME, in which five best friends open a hot new restaurant together. Today, we are thrilled to bring you this first book in the Fusion Series. Available now, LISTEN TO ME finds a hot former rock star looking for a steady gig at the restaurant, but he’ll have to convince the prickly front-of-house manager to take a chance on him—with her business and her heart.

 

Listen to Me - cover

Grab Your Copy Today!

Amazon ** Barnes & Noble ** iTunes ** Kobo

 

“Listen to Me is a phenomenal start to a new series
that will hook the readers to the point of no return.”

-Fiction Fangirls

 

LTM - RWB Teaser 2

 

About LISTEN TO ME:

In New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Proby’s brand new series, five best friends open a hot new restaurant, but one of them gets much more than she bargained for when a sexy former rock star walks through the doors—and into her heart.

Seduction is quickly becoming the hottest new restaurant in Portland, and Addison Wade is proud to claim 1/5 of the credit. She’s determined to make it a success and can’t think of a better way to bring in new customers than live music. But when former rock star Jake Keller swaggers through the doors to apply for the weekend gig, she knows she’s in trouble. Addie instantly recognizes him—his posters were plastered all over her bedroom walls in high school—he’s all bad boy…exactly her type and exactly what she doesn’t need.

Jake Keller walked away from the limelight five years ago and yearns to return to what’s always driven him: the music. If he gets to work for a smart-mouthed, funny-as-hell bombshell, all the better. But talking Addie into giving him the job is far easier than persuading her that he wants more than a romp in her bed. Just when she begins to drop her walls, Jake’s past finally catches up with him.

Will Addie be torn apart once again or will Jake be able to convince her to drown out her doubts and listen to her heart?

 

“The story is fresh, the characters are hot, the chemistry between
Jake and Addison is through the roof, and the picture that
Ms. Proby paints is vivid and energetic.”
-Literati Literature Lovers

 

ListenToMe_SylviaDayQuote

 

Excerpt:

Addison

“‘In summary,’” Cami, one of my very best friends, and a business partner, reads from the* Portland Tribune*, “‘Seduction is a restaurant unlike any other I’ve experienced. The food is delicious, the wine bar impressive, and the ambiance so sexy, it will take your breath away. I highly recommend this restaurant for your next date night.’”

“I want to send that reviewer flowers,” Mia says with a wide smile. “Who would have thought that just six months after opening this place, we’d already have a review like this?”

“Well, it’s a no-brainer that they’d love the food,” I reply, and reach for the paper so I can read it again for the fifteenth time. “You’re a genius in the kitchen, Mia. We’ve known that since we were in high school.”

“I still get nervous, especially now that I never know who the customers are going to be. We didn’t even get a heads-up that this guy was going to be here.” Mia bites the cuticle on her thumb and frowns. “Maybe I should add to the menu.”

“The menu is perfect,” Cami replies with a shake of her blond head.

“He loved us.”

We smile at each other, and finally I do a little happy dance in my seat. We haven’t opened for the day yet. Kat and Riley, the final two business partners in our fivesome, haven’t arrived. But Mia, Cami, and I have read this article over and over again, smiling and dancing.

Rejoicing.

Because damn it, we’ve worked our asses off since we opened the doors six months ago. All of our eggs are in this basket. We can’t fail.

And we won’t.

We hear the front door open and close, and I expect to see either Riley or Kat, but instead Jeremy saunters into the dining room, looking all rumpled and messy from sleep. His eyelids are still heavy. His chin is scruffy. His blond hair is standing on end, still in chaos from my fingers last night.

Jesus, this man makes my hormones work overtime.

He grins and kisses my head, then picks up my coffee and sits next to me.

“Why are you here?” Cami asks with a frown. “I’m in too good of a mood to have to pretend to like you.”

I glare at my best friend, but she just shrugs.

“My girlfriend is here,” Jeremy replies and sips my coffee. “I missed her.”

“Please,” Mia whispers with a roll of the eyes. My friends used to like Jeremy, in the beginning, but now they make it no secret that they don’t care for him. But they are just overprotective. They don’t want to see me get hurt. Sure, he’s a musician. Not a particularly gifted one at that, but he does well, booking gigs for his band, Hells Roses, regularly.

And, oh my God, what the man can do in the bedroom should be a felony. He makes me laugh, and despite his arrogant persona around everyone else, he has moments of real vulnerability and sweetness when we’re alone.

Is he *the one*? Probably not, but I’m pretty much convinced that *the one* was invented by romance novelists and Disney. “Be nice,” I snap and continue to read the paper. “We got a kick-ass review in the *Tribune*,” I inform Jeremy with a grin.

“Of course you did,” he replies and kisses my cheek. “Are the music reviews in there too?” He snatches the paper and shifts through the pages, then reads through the reviews of the music and club scene in Portland. “Not one fucking mention?”

Cami catches my gaze, then crosses her eyes in annoyance. I simply shrug. He’s not in the restaurant business. He wouldn’t understand what a big deal this is for us.

“I’ve been thinking,” I begin, and lean my elbows on the table. “Now that business is picking up, I think we should add live music on the weekends.”

“Sorry, cupcake,” Jeremy says with a sigh. “We’re booked.”

*Thank God.* Jeremy’s band isn’t the one I’d want for my place. But rather than jab at his ego, I simply smile and kiss his shoulder.

“I know, babe. But I’d still like to bring in someone. Maybe just a one-person act, just a microphone and a stool, you know?”

“We can afford it,” Cami replies with a thoughtful frown. Cami is our chief financial officer. She handles all things money, and she’s a wizard at adding up figures in her head. “Who are you thinking?”

“I don’t know.” I reach for my coffee mug and frown when I see that Jeremy has sucked down every last drop. “Babe, will you please run over to Starbucks and get us more coffee?”

“I forgot my wallet,” he replies with a scowl. I reach into my bag and pass him a twenty. “You got it.”

“Thank you.”

“Oh, and one place you might look for a musician,” he adds as he steps away from the table, “is the open-mic night at Crush this Saturday. There are usually some good acts there. I’d bet you’d find what you’re looking for.”

I grin at my sexy boyfriend and blow him a kiss. “Thank you.”

He winks and saunters out of the restaurant. When the door closes behind him, Mia shakes her head at me. “Seriously?”

“Open mic night is a brilliant idea,” I inform her.

“That’s not what she’s talking about,” Cami says. “Jeremy is a douche bag.”

“He is not.” I roll my eyes and sit back in my chair. Okay, maybe he has douchey moments.

“He’s sweet. And sexy.”

“And mooching off of you. His wallet was in his back pocket,” Mia argues.

“And I’ll bet all of this month’s chocolate budget that he’s staying with you too.”

“His roommate moved out, and he couldn’t afford his place alone.”

“Addie.” Cami reaches for my hand. “You are not a doormat.”

“He doesn’t treat me like a doormat.”

“Yes. He does.” Mia sighs and takes my other hand. “You deserve so much better.”

“I love you both,” I begin, my stomach heaving. “I know you just want to protect me. Jeremy is a good guy. I like him.”

“Okay.” Cami sips her coffee, then shrugs one slim shoulder. “But when he breaks your heart, we’ll be here.”

“Let’s talk about this open-mic night. Who’s going with me?”

Mia and Cami exchange glances.

“I’ll be working,” Mia says. “I have some new Saturday night specials I want to try.”

“I don’t want to,” Cami says honestly. “I trust you to find exactly what we need.”

“I’ll take Kat.” I chew my lip, ideas already swirling in my head. “She’s a good judge of these things.”

“Good idea.”

The door opens again.

“Oh good. Mr. Wonderful is back,” Cami mutters.

Author Pic - Kristen ProbyAbout Kristen Proby:

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Kristen Proby is the author of the bestselling With Me In Seattle and Love Under the Big Sky series. She has a passion for a good love story and strong, humorous characters with a strong sense of loyalty and family. Her men are the alpha type; fiercely protective and a bit bossy, and her ladies are fun, strong, and not afraid to stand up for themselves.

Kristen lives in Montana, where she enjoys coffee, chocolate and sunshine. And naps. Visit her at KristenProby.com.

 

 

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter** Newsletter Sign Up

LISTEN TO ME Goodreads ** Kristen Proby Goodreads

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LtM Teaser 1

InkSlinger-Blogger banner-New

Divider

When We Collided Review

April 11, 2016 Reviews, Young Adult 1

When We Collided ReviewWhen We Collided by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on April 5th 2016
Pages: 352
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
Goodreads
We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…
Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.
Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.
Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.
In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

It’s been a few days since I read this one, but I’m still trying to totally collect all my thoughts about it. When We Collided is a book that I have many conflicted feelings about. This was an extremely difficult book for me to rate. At some parts, I felt like this was an unbelievably well written book, but at other points, I felt like it wasn’t measuring up to the standards that I was expecting it to live up to. I know that it’s unfair to already have high hopes going into a book, I just couldn’t help it in this particular situation. Mental illness is a personal matter to me, and it just didn’t complete do it justice, in my opinion. I really believe that this is a book that will be amazing for some people, while others are unable to relate to this complicated protagonist. Regardless, Emery Lord is still a seriously great author and I look forward to what she writes next.

If you have plans to read this, you have to go in knowing that there’s a very high chance that you won’t like the main character for a large part of the novel. Yes, Vivi is bipolar, which is a serious illness that does change so many aspects of your personality, among other things. However, that doesn’t mean that she’s an easy character to relate to at pretty much any point in the book. Emery Lord has written complicated and flawed protagonists in the three books (mostly just in Open Road Summer and this one) that she’s written, which I respect, but am still unable to fully connect with them. Ultimately, how you feel about Vivi will come down to your personal preference with characters. I don’t want to point everything out since I know that a lot of these things occurred due to being bipolar, but it wasn’t easy to understand her reasoning behind her actions. 

On the other hand, Jonah was a character that you immediately love. He’s still dealing with grief from his dad’s death while also having to care for his three younger siblings. His mom went into a deep depression when her husband died, and isn’t around much. Oh yeah, Jonah also has to maintain a steady job with his other two older siblings since they have no parental income. Basically, you’ll want to give this poor kid a huge hug. This book has dual POV and I enjoyed getting inside this boys head. However, his story feels like a separate plot entirely. Meaning, there’s a lot going on, and I feel mixed feelings about whether or not it actually worked here. I still believe that Jonah is a fabulous book boyfriend and I seriously would definitely date him if he wasn’t fictional. 

The romance was quite possibly one of my least favorite things about the book. I’m NOT a fan of instalove and it totally happened in this book. It just felt out of place, almost like an afterthought at times. This is actually one of the only YA romance books where I wasn’t rooting for the main characters to end up together. Even in the beginning, it felt very toxic to me. One thing that I did like about it was how Emery Lord wrapped the romance up at the end of the book. 

I’m not completely sure how I feel about this novel. It had it’s good parts, but it had some issues as well. It’s not a book that absolutely everyone is going to love. A few things that especially stood out to me about it was the cute small beach town it was set in and Jonah’s family. The family part reminded me of the Garrett’s from My Life Next Door. The small beach town setting felt like a Sarah Dessen novel in the best possible way. All in all, I’m glad that I read this despite some of the issues that I ended up having with it.

Divider