Posts Tagged: Contemporary

Seven Days of You Review

April 24, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

Seven Days of You ReviewSeven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse
on March 7th 2017
Pages: 336
Source: Library
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two-stars
Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.
Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

What is up with me not liking any of these contemporary books here lately? I’m not really sure what my deal is. But I had issues with Seven Days of You. It makes me so sad because I desperately wanted to like this one. I’ve ultimately realized that I’m never fully going to get behind romances that happen in a short amount of time. With this book, they HAD met before, but I still didn’t totally believe in the couple or either of the characters. It had a lot of potential because there aren’t enough books that are set in Tokyo, but it still fell short for me in the end. It was highly predictable, and not enough was done with the setting to truly make it unique. This is yet another recent release that simply wasn’t for me for a number of reasons.

I had a hard time relating to Sophia as a whole. Maybe I’m getting too old for this. But honestly, I’ve only been out of high school for three years now. Sophia didn’t sound like ANY high schooler that I’ve ever encountered. Yes, I did appreciate some of her pop culture references to My So Called Life and other shows that I loved, but that’s pretty much it for being able to understand this character. She was incredibly whiny and selfish throughout the book. And for the life of me, I couldn’t understand her crush on David. In my opinion, it would have worked out a lot better for the book if he was her platonic male friend. Instead he was this complete asshole with literally zero redeeming qualities. On the plus side, his girlfriend was a sweetheart, though I thought it was horrible how Sophia treated her. Putting it simply, she wasn’t a good person. I try to watch myself on judging characters based on likability, but on this case it was extremely difficult not to.

So the love interest here is a guy named Jamie. Jamie was an alright love interest as a whole. I thought that he was a decent enough guy. However, he was seriously way too decent to have to put up with the way Sophia treated him. I don’t blame him for getting mad/jealous of her crush on David back when they were still friends. He’s a nice guy, but that’s truthfully all that I remember about him. So what I’m basically saying is that he’s a combination of your typical YA love interest and nothing about him truly stands out. I know that might sound harsh, but I can be picky about my book boyfriends and Jamie just wasn’t a memorable one for me.

I’m not even going to waste more time talking about the romance when it should already be rather clear that I had issues with it. Instead, I want to talk about her friend Mika. As mentioned, David was a jerk and her best friend Mika wasn’t much better. She was also extremely selfish and I felt like her storyline was entirely predictable. She reminded me exactly of Rayanne Graff from My So Called Life. I felt like her storyline could have fleshed out a little better because it didn’t feel completely developed to me. I was excited that it was set in Tokyo but I felt like the setting and the culture could have been a much bigger storyline than it was. I get that a teenager probably isn’t going to care that much about her surroundings, but it still would have been nice to get more details about it anyway. It also bothered me that she had no Japanese friends and hardly interacted with anyone from Japan at all.

Seven Days of You ultimately didn’t work for me at all. I hate that these recent contemporaries haven’t been working for me lately, but I just guess that’s how it turns out sometimes. On the positive side, it was a very quick read for me. I managed to read it in just a few hours. I was also pretty hooked into it once I started reading, which definitely says something. It wasn’t an awful book, but it didn’t stay with me either. It’s a forgettable book for the most part. I’ve seen comparisons to Anna and the French Kiss, but this book doesn’t even come close to that one in my opinion. Who knows, maybe this one is just the book you’re looking for!

two-stars

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We Are Okay Review

April 5, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★

We Are Okay ReviewWe Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Published by Dutton Books for Young Readers on February 14th 2017
Pages: 234
Source: Library
Also by this author: Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, You Know Me Well
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two-stars
You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…
Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Not going to lie to you guys, I desperately wanted to like We Are Okay. I liked Nina’s book Everything Leads to You. Though I wasn’t a fan of her recent book You Know Me Well with David Levithan, I thought I’d try this one anyway. Sadly, this didn’t work for me to say the least. I don’t know, I was just ridiculously bored. It was a short book, and I felt like nothing really happened. There was barely any character development, which made me sad. Nina LaCour is a great author, and her sentences are extremely pretty. I just wasn’t able to connect with this story on any level. I’m sure there are plenty of readers who will like it, I’m not one of them.

Marin is an okay character. I totally feel for her as she struggles with grief over the loss of her grandpa. Her mom died when she was little and her dad was never in the picture, so her grandpa was her family. So yeah, I sympathized with her. Look, this might sound insensitive, but I didn’t really understand why she felt so betrayed by her grandpa. It felt like she was being a little selfish about what her grandpa went through. Like Cait said, maybe I just missed something, but it seemed like a weird thing to be so upset about. I also didn’t get why it was so hard to be in the town again. Like what did EVERYONE in the town do to you? Maybe it was the memories that she associated it with, but I still didn’t fully understand that. I was confused by the whole thing.

Another disappointment was the romance. I guess you could say the love interest was her best friend Mabel, but not really since nothing happens between them in the present. It all happened back before Marin’s grandpa died and she shut Mabel out completely. So she comes to Marin’s dorm over Christmas break because she hasn’t talked to her since she left and doesn’t know the full story. I guess she’s a good friend to Marin for the most part but I just didn’t care enough about it. I was really bothered by the fact that they’d been together in the past, but it was barely mentioned at all by the girls in the present. It would be okay if it was just a one time thing, but they seemed to really love each other, or at least Marin loved her. I’m fine with Mabel being bisexual and having a boyfriend now. I wasn’t alright with how she actually said that she wouldn’t have been with her boyfriend in Marin would have just texted her back. Realistically, it seems like it would have been difficult for them to be in a long distance relationship, she might have fallen for him even if they were still together. It just bugged me that she claimed to understand why Marin shut her out, but still basically blamed her for leading her to Jacob. I wasn’t a fan of how Mabel was pushing her at the end of the book to find a girlfriend. It felt like she was only doing that to ease her own guilt since she knows that Marin still has strong feelings for her. Mabel had very little character development as well.

I’ve seen pretty much all positive reviews about this book. For whatever reason, it didn’t click for me. I didn’t have a strong emotional connection to the characters or the plot at all. I think it could have been a bit longer and faster paced. I found myself very bored and just ready for it to end, which is never a good sign for me. Maybe I’ll eventually end up giving this author another chance, but this didn’t end up leaving a good impression on me personally. I see where people are coming from with all the nice things being said, but I simply don’t feel the same. If you like emotional contemporary reads, maybe this will be your cup of tea. I usually like emotional books, but I wasn’t able to connect with the characters or the romance.

two-stars

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The Female of the Species Review

January 22, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★

The Female of the Species ReviewThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on September 20th 2016
Pages: 341
Source: Library
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three-stars
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.
While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.
But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.
So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.
Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

So this book was a difficult book for me to rate. On one hand, I really adored the message of this book and basically everything that this story represented. However, I also personally wasn’t completely able to look past some of the plot and characters. In my opinion, this story isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s especially not for people who aren’t into dark books or strong violence. This contains a solid amount of violence, and even some acts against animals, which I think people will likely have the most issues with. I also found myself struggling with the animal violence in the story, which I’ll explain more later on in my review. That being said, this was a fast paced story that was extremely intense, but it was far from perfect. I can’t say that this is my favorite, but I’m still happy that I read it.

There’s three main POV’s in this story. First we have Alex, who’s older sister was brutally raped and murdered years ago and her killer wasn’t arrested. Alex ends up taking matters into her own hands and killing him herself. I don’t consider this to be a spoiler since we learn this very early on in the book. Anyway, we can basically consider Alex to be like a younger Dexter who isn’t really a serial killer, she just believes in getting justice for those who are being wronged. We also have Peekay, which isn’t her real name, but everyone calls her that because she’s a Preacher’s Kid. I liked her, but I wasn’t sure what to make of her views on her parents and religion. She talked a lot about how she no longer believed in religion and said bad things about her parents, but I didn’t really understand why? I did think that she was a strong and powerful character as a whole. She was also a solid friend to Alex, and I enjoyed their friendship. Our final main character is Jack, who I probably liked the least. However, I do think that he evolved a lot as a character throughout the story. At the beginning, he was a major douchebag who only acted on his hormones. By the end of the story, he still was very much dominated by those hormones, but he was still a better person who had changed his way of thinking to an extent.

So one of the problems that I had with this book was the animal violence. Though it wasn’t exactly a major point of the plot, it still disturbed me that it was included at all. In the beginning, I was excited that Alex and Peekay both volunteered at the animal shelter. Though Alex can be a ridiculously violent person, she shows nothing but pure kindness towards animals. There were a few brief scenes that featured some really graphic instances of what happens when the shelter has to deal with dead animals. I think the point of the scene was that it showed extreme violence towards these animals, which brought out some equally violent images from Peekay, who views these as awful and wrong thoughts. Though I’ve tried to justify it to an extent, it still doesn’t make sense to me. I also felt disconnected from the characters a lot of the time. I respected the fact that this was a take on rape culture, but that still doesn’t mean that I really identified with the characters. I also realize that characters being likable isn’t a reason to like or not like a story, in this case though, I just wasn’t able to feel that much of an emotional attachment to the characters, mostly Jack. The ending also caused me to knock about half a star or even a full star off of it. It honestly caught me off guard entirely, it just didn’t feel like an appropriate ending to me!

The Female of the Species is a different kind of book to say the least. I’ve never read anything by Mindy McGinnis before but I’m sure I’ll pick up her stories in the future. This book was pretty well written. I think she did a solid job at making all three of these POV’s unique. That can be a particularly difficult thing to pull off, but the author did this with ease. This was an interesting take on rape culture that I’ve never really seen before. I seriously enjoyed this aspect of the book. There were just some other parts that I wasn’t a huge fan of and so that affected my rating. I do recommend it, but only to those who are okay with a good amount of violence.

three-stars

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Blog Tour: Jaded Hearts Review

December 15, 2016 Blog Tours, Reviews 0

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Signing with Brighthouse Records was supposed to be everything we ever wanted—our better life. Our chance at everything we never had but always wanted. All our dreams would finally come true and we were on top of the world. It was our chance at the happiness we never had in life.

Our every desire was at our fingertips and the power of that feeling was all consuming. But then it took every dream we thought would come true and it slapped us in the face with the cold hard reality.

Dreams were just that…something that floated on the cusp of untouchable, taunting you with every graze of your fingertips before slipping even further away.

Happiness…that feeling is a joke.

In the end it became painfully obvious that each of us would always have each other, but we would forever be alone.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Nook | Kobo | iTunes

2-insane-life

My Thoughts:

I thought this was a sweet and sexy read. I’ve been a fan of Harper Sloan’s books for awhile now, and I’ve been looking forward to Chance’s story ever since I read Unexpected Fate. I couldn’t imagine him getting his happily ever after when anyone besides the feisty Wren. She’s such a force to be reckoned with and I absolutely adored her character. Chance and Wren made such a beautiful couple, and I loved both of their stories so much. This is a great first book to a new series about a very popular band, and I can’t wait to read the next book!

As I already said, Wren was just such a great character. She was so comfortable in her own skin, yet she also had some serious insecurities that came from awful previous relationships and her parents. Luckily though, she has her twin brother and their two childhood friends who make up the band Loaded Replay. She still feels like something in her life is missing, which is when Chance steps in. I thought it was great how Wren was the one who was so confident about being with Chance. I’ve read a lot of romance books recently where the boy was the more adamant one, so this was a nice change. I’m always a fan of books that involve music, and this one didn’t disappoint. Wren reminded me a lot of Hayley Williams from Paramore, badass and also someone who is extremely passionate about music.

Chance was a fabulous and fierce book boyfriend. My heart broke for him as he struggled with some of his biggest regrets. Chance is a former Marine who works for Corps Security, but is now taking the job to be Wren’s personal bodyguard. As mentioned, he has a past that makes him very closed off and reluctant to get involved with anyone. However, he quickly finds Wren basically impossible to resist. He’s a great book boyfriend because he’s obviously protective, but at the same time, he’s not suffocating to Wren. He’s just a solid and swoony guy and I really enjoyed his story.

The romance between Chance and Wren is pretty steamy from the start. Yes, he comes to work for the band to be her personal bodyguard, but due to some weirdness with the record label that the band is with, he has to pretend to be her boyfriend to the public. From the first day that they pretend to be together, the chemistry is evident between them. It’s a little on the insta-love side of things, but I think that it worked since the romance still had a lot of time to build. It moved extremely quickly, like they fell in love in like a week. But it didn’t bother me too much for whatever reason. Chance and Wren were a fantastic couple to say the least.

Jaded Hearts was a great rock star romance that I seriously enjoyed. Harper Sloan is an author that never disappoints. She writes such beautiful romances filled with flawed yet fierce characters. It’s not a perfect book, but it’s an honest and real one. This was also a really fast paced read. I was able to devour it all in just a few hours. I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of rock star romances or of Harper Sloan or if you enjoy both. It’s also great if you’re simply searching for a book that isn’t extremely heavy.
3-chance

four-stars

 

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Harper is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and USA TODAY bestselling author residing in Georgia with her husband and three daughters. She has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books, hibachi, tattoos and Game of Thrones. When she isn’t writing you can almost always find her with a book in hand.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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Beauty and the Mustache Review

December 6, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★

Beauty and the Mustache ReviewBeauty and the Mustache (Knitting in the City, #4; Winston Brothers, #0.5) by Penny Reid
Published by Cipher-Naught on August 24th 2014
Pages: 376
Source: Library
Also by this author: Beard Science (Winston Brothers, #3)
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three-stars
There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, reclusive mountain man, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.
This is a full-length novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the fourth book in the 'Knitting in the City' series.

So I’ve never read a book by Penny Reid before, but I’ve heard that her books are seriously hilarious and charming. I wasn’t quite sure where to start, but I decided to start with this one since it sets up the Winston Brothers series. I discovered that this was a fascinating story filled with fantastic and memorable supporting characters. I also thought the romance was really well done. I now definitely understand why Penny Reid is one of the first names people bring up when they mention authors of romantic comedy stories. Though this probably wasn’t my personal favorite in this genre, but I can still understand why people enjoy this author so much and I look forward to reading her other books in the future.

Ashley Winston is a hilarious and fabulous heroine. From the first page, she was just full of personality. She was ridiculously witty with pretty much every comment that she made, and I loved that about her. Ashley is a fun and generally lighthearted character. Though I will admit that I felt like she was a bit on the stuck up side when it comes to her brothers. In the end though, this didn’t end up bothering me too much because her attitude thankfully wasn’t like this throughout the entire story. She was also a strong character and we got to see a more serious side to her as we watched her accept the fact that her beloved mother is dying. I thought she was a great and compelling heroine as a whole.

So our hero is Drew. I thought Drew was extremely amazing and all kinds of swoony. From his first appearance, he continued to shake up Ashley’s world entirely. He was constantly surprising and complicated, which I really enjoyed seeing. He wasn’t a simple character, there were still so many layers to him that Ashley slowly began to uncover. I think one of my favorite things about Drew was how much he obviously cared about Ashley’s brothers and her mom. He was so supportive and comforting to each of them and I loved learning more about his compassion and kindness. Though I thought his character was absolutely awesome, I honestly longed for even more details about his history. I know that the author wanted to focus more on Ashley’s family, but it would been nice to see more of the specifics details about his family and past instead of a basic overview. I just wanted to see even more depth to his character.

Drew and Ashley made a good couple, though they definitely took awhile to get to that place. I thought that Reid was right to make the relationship between them to develop at a reasonably slow pace. They were both dealing with their grief and so neither of them wanted to push anything, though the tension was clear from basically their first interaction. I’m always a fan of the couple forming sort of a friendship or bond before they get into a serious relationship. I think it ultimately makes things more realistic when it’s written this way. So there actually weren’t many sex scenes between them and the ones they did had were rather on the short side. I was honestly expecting it be a bit steamier than it was.

Beauty and the Mustache was a funny and sweet romantic comedy that I’m happy that I read. I honestly adored all six of Ashley’s brothers and I can’t wait to read their stories in the spin-off series that revolves around each of them. Though I thought the characters were very endearing, funny, and filled with charm, there still seemed to be something missing for me. I felt like the plot was very interesting and I related a lot to the grief and loss that the characters felt. I guess maybe my standards in general for romantic comedies might still be set a little too high thanks to Emma Chase’s Sustained, but I just wasn’t completely feeling this one.

three-stars

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Fire in You Review

November 30, 2016 Reviews 1 ★★★

Fire in You ReviewFire in You (Wait for You, #6) by J. Lynn, Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Jennifer L. Armentrout on November 28th 2016
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Forever with You (Wait for You #5), The Problem with Forever
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three-stars
three-half-flames
From the # 1 New York Times and International bestselling author, Jennifer L. Armentrout writing as J.Lynn, comes a richly moving story about heartbreak and guilt, second chances and hope. Full of familiar, fan-favorite characters and no two people more deserving of a happy ending, Fire In You will burn bright beyond the last page…
Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.
She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.
Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the past sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.

I’ve been a huge fan of J. Lynn’s Wait for You series for a long time now. I’ve found each book to be extremely fascinating and to contain swoony boys and complex heroines. Wait for You was the first NA book that I ever read, and it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I’m sad to say that Fire in You was my least favorite book in the series. It was still good, but it just didn’t measure up with the others in my opinion. To be honest, I actually forgot that we were introduced to Jillian back in Forever with You. I’d been anticipating Brock’s story for what feels like forever, so I’m happy he finally got one. However, I really wanted him to end up with Katie, or for her to get a story of her own in general. Though I’m somewhat disappointed, I’m still glad that I read this one.

I felt for Jillian instantly due to the unrequited love that she had for Brock for all of those years when she was a kid. As someone who has an older brother who had a few friends that I was absolutely in love with as a kid, I can totally understand what she went through. I felt like Jillian was a strong character who I had a lot of respect for. She’s been through a lot of terrible things in her life, but she’s a survivor and she keeps pushing on. To an extent, I definitely understood the insecurities that she had, but at times it became ridiculously repetitive and it started to just drag on honestly. Maybe that’s insensitive of me to say, but I felt like at a certain point, she should have been giving Brock more credit than she actually was.

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been waiting for Brock’s story since he was first introduced to us. He seemed like such a fun and swoony guy and I couldn’t wait to see him settle down with someone. Though I was hoping his story would be with Katie, Jillian was still a solid match for him because of the history that they already shared. I feel disappointed in his character because I was just expecting more. Maybe my standards are too high, but he wasn’t even close to being as swoony as the guys from the previous books. I obviously want him to be his own person and not just a carbon copy of Cam or Jax, but it was still surprising to me. View Spoiler » Yes, he had some redeeming swoony moments at the end but that’s about it. He also called Jillian beautiful a ridiculous amount of times, which was cute the first couple of times since it started to help build her confidence at times, but it became repetitive quickly.

Second chance romances have became sort of a hit or miss for me. I think that sometimes they can be cliche or just flat out not my cup of tea personally. This one did work to an extent, but it was by no means my favorite romance in the series. I found it unusual that they don’t have sex until around the 86% mark, though that’s probably about the time it happened in Wait for You, I can’t totally remember. But I felt like that worked because they were working on building up a strong foundation before starting anything completely physical. Despite this, the book was still pretty steamy. As a whole though, I honestly can’t say that Jillian and Brock stand out to me as being a power couple when put up against the others from the previous stories.

Fire in You was an entertaining novel that I really enjoyed. Though it wasn’t my favorite, it was still a pretty story nonetheless. Yes, I’m disappointed that this book didn’t stand out more to me, but it was still decent. There’s also a lot of angst in this one, which might be why I wasn’t crazy about it. I was also confused about the timeline and think that maybe a novella before Fire in You would have been more effective in filling in the gaps of the past six years instead of having random flashbacks. I also wish that there could have been an epilogue for not only Jillian and Brock, but one where we see all (or at least most) of the couples. Yes, we do get to see the couples frequently throughout the story but it would have been nice to wrap it all up if this is indeed the last book in the series. I still have my fingers crossed for a Katie book because her story is far from finished after that huge bomb that she ended up dropping on everyone!

three-stars

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Built Review

November 28, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Built ReviewBuilt (Saints of Denver, #1) by Jay Crownover
on January 5th, 2016
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Rule (Marked Men, #1), Retreat (The Getaway Series Book 1)
Buy on AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository
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four-stars
four-flames
From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men books comes an electrifying new spin-off series,Saints of Denver, featuring all the characters fans have been dying to read about.
Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.
Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn't matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn't return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.
But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.Sayer Cole and Zeb Fuller are as different as two people can be. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and kill it and grill it. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk while he’s denim and flannel.
The differences between the two of them don’t stop Zeb from dropping every hint he can think of that he would like to get to know her on a more personal level, but Sayer seems oblivious to his interest or is just too nice to tell him to take a hike. To Sayer, a guy like Zeb could never be interested in someone as reserved and boring as she is. She’s never been with anyone that was hot enough to melt the icy exterior she’s had wrapped around hera since her awful childhood. But what if Zeb is the one who might finally thaw her out…?

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to read Built by Jay Crownover. I didn’t have much success with the one book that I read of hers, which was the extremely popular Rule. Anyway, I gave it a shot anyway and I’m happy that I did. Sayer and Zeb were fabulous characters, specifically Zeb. Though Sayer was frustrating at times, that’s partly what I liked about her. All in all, this was a solid romance that definitely pulled on my heart strings more than once. It was a quick read, and I recommend it if you’re looking for something a little on the light side of things.

Sayer wasn’t always a likable character, which was partly why she stood out to me. I personally believe that character likability shouldn’t make or break whether you like a book or not. Though I will admit that it does make it more difficult to cheer for the characters if you can’t relate to them at all. The point here is, I do appreciate that Crownover made the girl the one who pulls back and is afraid to jump into a relationship. I didn’t fully like Sayer’s reasoning for some of her actions, but then again, I hardly ever think the “damaged” male in (typically) NA books has good reasoning for his actions. This isn’t the first heroine in a romance book that I’ve seen be the hesitant one, but I still thought it was more mentioning. I also like how strong and independent Sayer is. She’s a pretty hardcore lawyer, and I liked it when she went into work mode at certain times in the story.

So Zeb was a pretty great character to say the least. He was very confident about what he wanted from Sayer, and not at all hesitant to share those thoughts with her. He was a swoony guy throughout the entire story. Yes, Zeb spent time in prison for beating the crap out of a guy in front of a niece. The circumstances were a lot more complicated than that: his sister’s boyfriend had been beating her in front of their child so Zeb just ended up losing his temper completely with him. Who can blame him though? The point to stating this is that he’s a somewhat complex guy, but he doesn’t play games with Sayer at the same time. This is a huge part of the story so I don’t feel like it’s a huge spoiler, but Zeb finds out that he has a son that he never knew about. I’m going to talk more about him later, but I wanted to mention that Zeb’s interactions with his son will make you laugh and cry every time.

The romance gets real steamy, real fast. Really though, one second they are painting and the next second they end up having sex up against the wall. I’m not complaining about this, that was a really hot scene. The chemistry between them is ridiculously obvious from the start, but obviously Sayer has some doubts about getting into a relationship. I liked seeing them get to know each other better when Sayer helps him get custody of his child from Social Services. Yes, they had a lot of drama going on, but they were still a solid couple in the end.

One of the main reasons why I ultimately read this book is because I saw that Zeb had a child, and I’m on a kick with romance books that have that element here lately. Hyde is seriously adorable and I loved him so much. Basically, Zeb had a one night stand with this girl the night after he got out of prison, which he more or less blocked out completely. Zeb learns about his son through a friend of the girl who tells him that the girl was killed and now his son is going to be in foster care since no one else can take care of him. Though his initial reaction is obviously shock, he soon gets it together and fights for his son. Hyde had a ton of sweet moments with both Zeb and Sayer. I loved the Zeb and Hyde scenes specifically since we get to see the relationship really develop from Zeb just being this stranger to being his father.

Built was a fun read that I’m glad that I ended up reading. It’s fast paced, an easy read, and full of developed characters. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book in this series and the book after that one as well. Sayer and Zeb were both fabulous characters and I’m glad that I got to step into their world for a little bit. I’ll certainly not be forgetting adorable little Hyde anytime soon. This is a must read if you can’t resist a man who’s good with a child and who’s fiercely protective of the people he loves without being overly possessive.

four-stars

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Sidebarred Review

November 16, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Sidebarred ReviewSidebarred (The Legal Briefs, #3.5) by Emma Chase
on April 24th, 2016
Also by this author: Sustained (The Legal Briefs, #2), Royally Screwed (Royally, #1)
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four-stars
four-flames
There was a time when Jake Becker had it all together. He was controlled, driven, ruthless—in and out of the courtroom.
Then, six irresistible orphans and their heartbreakingly beautiful aunt crashed into his perfectly ordered life. They changed everything. They changed him. Now he’s a husband, an upstanding member of society, a father figure—a family man. And he’s pretty damn good at it.
Sure, he has to referee sibling smackdowns, re-learn algebra, ensure his clients stay of jail, and keep his wife happy—but it finally feels like he’s got it together again....
So, of course something has to screw it all up. It’s huge. Life-changing. Kind of terrifying.
And it will be the most amazing, perfect thing he’ll ever do.

I absolutely fell in love with Jake, Chelsea, and her six nieces and nephews in Sustained. I was a little hesitant to read this because I didn’t read the other two books in the series and wasn’t sure how heavily featured those characters would be in this one. However, I decided to read it anyways just to read more cute moments between Jake and the kids. I got even more than I bargained for here. I’m really glad that Emma Chase wrote a novella about my favorites. She totally delivered on answering basically every single thing that I wanted to know about how things would turn out for all of the kids. If you loved Sustained, then you’ll likely adore this one just as much.

Jake was awesome and swoony in Sustained, but he also had some strong reservations about taking care of six children, which is understandable since he was previously a bachelor. In this story though, he is all in and loves being a husband and father figure. It’s always hilarious to see things through his eyes, he’s just my favorite. Not to mention the fact that he makes a crazy good father. My heart melted countless times throughout the story, probably the most whenever he braided little Regan’s hair.

Chelsea is just as strong and great as always. I’ve always respected that she was able to just jump right in and take care of all those kids when her brother and sister-in-law died in a car crash without even thinking twice about it. Yes, we don’t see the book through her perspective, but I still loved what we saw of her character anyway. She still doesn’t take any of Jake’s crap, which is yet another thing about her that I’ve always respected.

Even though they have six kids around constantly, they still managed to have a super hot sex life. The book picks up when they’ve been married for two years now, and they are still going as strong as ever with keeping things exciting and fresh between them. They have such an incredible love and passion for one another and I loved seeing that only getting more passionate and unbreakable as the years went by. They also both make amazing parents, despite having to give some awkward talks at times, it was still endearing to see them make the attempt.

This novella was everything that I hope that it would and so much more than that. It definitely made me tear up more than once throughout the story. I don’t want to give anything major away, but it was really just some of the talks that Jake gave some of the kids at certain times. My favorite thing about the novella is probably that the very end of it jumps ahead seventeen years and tells us what all of the children decided to do with their lives. Nothing was all that surprising to me, but it was nice to get that insight nonetheless. Seriously though, these characters will always have a special place in my heart and it will be difficult to find a book about a couple raising children that will top this one.

four-stars

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Royally Screwed Review

November 4, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★★

Royally Screwed ReviewRoyally Screwed (Royally, #1) by Emma Chase
Published by Everafter Romance on October 18th 2016
Pages: 276
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: Sustained (The Legal Briefs, #2), Sidebarred (The Legal Briefs, #3.5)
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three-stars
Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.
Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn't bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.
Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.
Dating a prince isn't what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.
There's a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they've traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven't chopped anyone's head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.
But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.
Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

So I recently read my first book from Emma Chase, Sustained, and it was absolutely amazing! I might have set my standards a little high on this one just because I loved that one so much. Anyway, this was still a wonderfully written and laugh out loud funny book. I think part of the reason why I didn’t love it more is I’m not that big of a fan of royal romances for some reason. I know, why would I even bother reading it then? Well, I already know that Emma Chase is a great author so I figured if anyone could make me enjoy these romances, it’d be her, and she definitely did to a degree. I look forward to reading the next couple of books in this series about some of the fascinating side characters. I recommend this if you’re looking for a lighthearted romance with an alpha male and a strong female who isn’t afraid to put him in his place.

For starters, Olivia is a fantastic character. She’s used to taking care of her sister and her mother’s beloved little bakery and coffee shop. Her mother was tragically killed awhile back, and her father is now an alcoholic. Now the bakery is potentially being shut down since Olivia can’t afford to make payments on it. The point is, she’s a survivor. She’s faced great tragedy in her life, but she hasn’t let that defeat her. She keeps going on, and making the best of her circumstances anyway that she can. She’s an interesting character and I enjoyed being inside her head. She’s a fabulous heroine, Chase couldn’t have written her any better.

So on the other side of things, we have Nicholas, who couldn’t be more different from Olivia. He’s a Prince, who’s been used to cameras following him wherever he goes from an extremely young age. Now, he’s being placed under a tremendous amount of pressure due to his grandmother aka the Queen, telling him that he has to get married as soon as possible. She’s giving him five months of freedom so he can pick out his wife, who has to be a royal or a natural born citizen of their country. Like Olivia, Nicholas has been through a lot in his life. He had to deal with the death of his parents when he was only a teen and then forced to pretty much become a man with tons of responsibility right after that. Nicholas is a solid guy. I also enjoyed being inside of his head. He was witty and made me laugh out loud many times. I loved Jake from Sustained more, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Nicholas in a different way.

The romance was a bit cheesy and fast paced in my opinion. It started out with Olivia not taking Nicholas’s crap when he offers to pay her a ton of money just to have sex with him. She obviously is pissed at him for treating her like a prostitute. However, I feel like she still forgives him way too fast. Before you know it, they are going on a date and then all of a sudden they are spending all this time together. It was cheesy at times because of the language in general. Some of it just seemed too cheesy and not something you’d actually say to one another in these situations. I felt like there simply wasn’t enough buildup in their relationship. It all moved at a ridiculously fast paced for me.

All in all, I did really loved Emma Chase’s writing. I can already tell that she’ll likely be an insta-buy author for me in the future. As mentioned earlier, I can’t wait to read Henry’s story then hopefully Ellie and Logan’s story after that. In Royally Screwed, Olivia and Nicholas were both very memorable characters in their own right. I thought that Olivia was such a strong and fierce character. Nicholas wasn’t as spoiled as you might think, he’s actually a caring guy who would do absolutely anything for his little brother. I’m sorry that I didn’t totally love it, but it was still entertaining and fun as a whole.

three-stars

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Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet Reviews

October 31, 2016 Reviews 0 ★★

Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet ReviewsBad Romeo (Starcrossed, #1) by Leisa Rayven
on December 23rd 2014
Pages: 417
Source: Purchased
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two-stars
When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan's romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time.
Cast as romantic leads once again, they're forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they'll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks

I had heard a lot of great things about Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet, so I grabbed both of them when they were on sale months ago and finally got around to reading them. Honestly, they weren’t absolutely terrible books, but I didn’t think they were anything special either. I’ve been striking out with a lot of romance novels lately, but the other ones I can’t even finish, so at least I was able to get through these books. They were actually rather entertaining and the author truthfully has a ton of potential. I just wasn’t a fan of the characters at all and wasn’t even rooting for them to end up together until very late in the story.  I might check out what this author writes next, but these books simply didn’t totally work for me and that makes me extremely sad.

Recently, I read and really enjoyed Act Like It, which was a hilarious and charming story that also revolved around two stage actors. So that was partially why I had high hopes for this one as well. Bad Romeo was hard to connect with for me. Though the author has potential, I didn’t like the general style of how it was organized. For example, there’s a lot of flashbacks that reflects on the majority of Cassie and Ethan freshman year at acting school. I didn’t mind that, but it did bother me how these flashbacks would get interrupted by chapters taking place in the present. In my opinion, the story would have worked a lot more smoothly if the flashbacks were a separate book, like a prequel so the whole book takes place in only one tense. I also felt like there could have even been the flashbacks first, then the present. It was just weird and so random how it was written.

Cassie was a fabulous character in the beginning of the flashbacks. She was so witty and hilarious. I laughed out loud several times of just funny little things that she said. She’s extremely feisty and not afraid to tell it like it is. I loved her spirit and her determination to make something of herself. She was a great and relatable character. Later in the story though, I kind of wanted to smack her. When she first meets Ethan, she doesn’t take any crap from him, but she slowly lets him walk over her. I absolutely hated watching this happen. I think that Cassie should have definitely known better and not given him another chance. I get that she’s young and he’s her first boyfriend. I totally would have likely done the same things if I was in her shoes. However, it was just frustrating to me nonetheless.

Ethan was easily why I didn’t like this book the way that I probably should have. I do see his appeal, he’s this dark and broody guy that every girl wants. But he’s seriously messed up. There’s nothing wrong with that, but he’s actions are just beyond awful. Clearly, I really really wanted to slap some sense into this boy. He was a lot more tolerant in the present, but I still found his younger self to be the actual worst. I feel like he’s just such a typical book boyfriend in the poor Edward Cullen or Christian Grey way. He’s damaged in a “hot” way, broody, and unfairly possessive over Cassie. He was ridiculously controlling to say the least. I wasn’t a fan!

In a way, I do get why people like Bad Romeo. But for me, it just wasn’t my kind of story. It was way too typical and not unique for the most part. I felt like the present and past chapters should have been more organized and not so random. I liked Cassie at times, and she’s why I bothered giving this two stars instead of one. Ethan was just your stereotypical romance hero who brought nothing new to the table. Yes, he changed in the present, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he was a ridiculous douche in the past.

Bad Romeo & Broken Juliet ReviewsBroken Juliet (Starcrossed, #2) by Leisa Rayven
Published by Pan on April 28th 2015
Pages: 336
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two-half-stars
How do you fix a love that’s been broken beyond repair?
For years, Cassie Taylor tried to forget about Ethan Holt. He was the one great love of her life, and when he failed to return her love, a part of her died forever. Or so she thought. Now she and Ethan are sharing a Broadway stage, and he’s determined to win her back. Claiming to be a changed man, he’s finally able to say all the things she needed to hear years ago, but can she believe him? What makes this time different from all his other broken promises?
Ethan knows he can’t change their tumultuous past, but if he’s going to have any chance of being with the woman he loves, he’ll need to convince Cassie that her future belongs with him.
Don’t miss this stunning conclusion to the unforgettable love story that captivated over two million fans online.

So Broken Juliet is basically the same exact story as Bad Romeo. We’re still dealing with a combination of both the past and present in random ways. I don’t think that a second book was honestly needed. There could have been less flashbacks involving Cassie and Ethan’s first year, and more of a combination of all three years. This book was yet another fast read for me. I have to admit that I did enjoy the writing itself, just not the style. There’s not much new to say about this book. I liked it a little bit better just because I felt like Ethan was able to sort of redeem himself.

Cassie has changed a lot in the present. We saw in the first book how closed off and damaged she was. I did feel bad for Cassie, and I do hope that Ethan doesn’t screw up a third time. Cassie was pretty hesitant to get back involved with Ethan, as you might expect since he completely broke her not once but twice. Cassie is still feisty and awesome. I loved her roommate Tristan. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get his own book with a fabulous guy!

As mentioned, Ethan is a lot better in this book. I still don’t totally get why he suddenly decided in the past that leaving was the best thing for Cassie. It just felt like an odd time for him to suddenly wake up and realize that. Anyway, he is a better guy in the present who will do anything to get Cassie back. I think it’s good that he started seeing a therapist, because it’s clear that he had some major things that he needed to work out. He’s still not my favorite book boyfriend, but he’s more tolerable which is a start.

Though it wasn’t needed, this wasn’t a terrible book. I just didn’t really feel like the love story between Cassie and Ethan was all that epic. The love scenes in this one were pretty frequent, most of them happening in the past. I wasn’t bothered by the frequency, I just didn’t completely feel the chemistry in the first place. I hate it when I don’t like books that seem to have a lot of potential. I’m probably going to read more from this author in the future. I’m just disappointed with Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet.

two-stars

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