Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jeweled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

I kept going between a 4/5 and a 5/5 for a rating on this book but ultimately decided on a 5/5 because there were so many parts of this book that blew me away. I have only read one other book from Sarah J. Maas, Throne of Glass, and I loved it so I decided to give this novel a chance regardless of the presence of fairies. I normally stay away from books about fairies because I have been let down many times but I was intrigued by the blurb about A Court of Thorns and Roses and thought that the author could do it justice. I'm so excited that I was right to trust my instincts about this book because it was fantastic!
As seems to be the case with Sarah J. Maas, she throws the reader right into the action with Feyre hunting in the woods in order to keep her family from starving. I felt my heart beating quickly in my chest as I read about Feyre's situation and wondered what decision she would make when it came to providing for her family or facing down another animal while hunting that could potentially end her life and take the only food that could sustain her family for weeks. After Feyre is taken to the fairie kingdom for murder, the book takes on a slight Beauty and the Beast feel to it all the way up until the end. I don't want to make it seem like it was a rehash of Beauty and the Beast because it wasn't but I couldn't help but see the similarities.
I loved all of the characters in this story! The author did a fantastic job of making me care about each of the characters not just the main characters. She was able to seamlessly weave back stories for each of them into the book without making it take away from the main plot. I think that this was a great move on her part because of where she takes the book later on. It is important to care about the outcome for not just one character but all of them. One of my favorite things about books written by Sarah J. Maas are the particularly strong heroines that don't need a knight in shining armor to save them. Feyre isn't a fairie and you would think that would make her weak but the author manages to make her one of the strongest characters which I think is due to how her life shaped her, her determination, and inner strength. I loved her character arc and how the author manged to have her grow and change as the book progressed. I believe that she will change even more in the second book which I am excited to read about.
I found portions of the book to be predictable but was not able to figure out the bigger picture of what was happening which seems to be the case with this author. She always manages to throw me off the trail somehow which is annoyingly wonderful. I'm excited to see what will happen in the next one because I'm not sure what direction the author is planning to take the story in.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Enchant (Enchanted #1) by Micalea Smeltzer

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Mara Pryce never imagined that her life was anything but normal and then a strange gray-eyed young man appears at her graduation. When he vanishes without a trace, she’s convinced he’s a figment of her imagination. Then he appears again and shatters her whole world.

Mara is an enchanter, part of an ancient line of Wiccan power, and a war is raging—one of good and evil—between the Enchanted and the Iniquitous.

The Iniquitous want her dead and it’s Theodore’s job as her protector to keep her safe.

When Mara and Theodore arrive at a safe house, where Mara will remain hidden while learning about her powers, they find that the real threat might be a little closer to home than they want to believe.

*I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

This book was a really enjoyable read! It is one of those books that you can sit back and enjoy rather than having to think about thought provoking topics or solve some kind of mystery.
This story is not anything that hasn't been done before and I may just like it because I took a break from this type of story for that  very reason. It is the typical teenager who doesn't know that they are different and is saved by an attractive warrior who teaches, protects, and falls in love with said special teenager who has an important destiny to save everyone. I added some things to that description but you get the point.

I appreciated the fact that the author didn't have the main character automatically accept what she is or what Theo was telling her. It always annoys me when characters just believe anything and everything that people tell them. It makes them seem gullible and the story is automatically not as realistic to me as it could have been. I would have liked to have had more world building considering this is the first book in a series. I loved the parts of the world that the author did explain. I hope that she goes into more detail about  what Mara is and what kinds of powers she has. I'm also curious about what else Theo can do as a protector that wasn't shown in this book. 

I don't feel like the side characters added anything to the story so they might as well have not been there. The author may share more background on these characters in the next installment but for now I'm not thrilled with them. I did like Theo and Mara. I think that Theo was my favorite character because he was relatable and reminded me of some of my other favorite characters in other books. He was snarky, didn't play well with others, and was loyal to a fault. I enjoyed the chemistry that the author was able to establish between Theo and Mara. It was believable and they seemed to be a good match for each other.

Close by Fen Wilde

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Clara Black.
Therapist. Stripper. Loner.
Sultry, secretive and not looking for love.

Lucas Evans.
Businessman. Playboy. Showjumper.
Seductive, charming and used to getting the girl.
As long as she doesn’t try to get close to his heart, that is.

Drawn together by an attraction that defies their guarded hearts, they’re soon caught up in secrets, lust and lies.
A meeting that wasn’t accidental.
A death that isn’t as it seems.
A craving to get closer.

Everybody has a dark side.
But sometimes, the biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

CLOSE is a dark erotic romantic suspense that explores the terribly ordinary events that break us and the beautifully ordinary things that make us whole.


June 2016

When my mother showed me a picture of his body, the thing that struck me first was not how grey he looked, how at odds with his habitual golden glow.

Nor was it how small he looked—his six-foot frame and broad chest somehow diminished. Childlike and vulnerable. Rendered irrelevant by death.

It wasn’t even the feelings—the tsunami of feelings that would rush in later and blindside me. Given that I had barely seen him in years and had never been close to him to begin with, the feelings were surprisingly ferocious.

Those things came later. They came and hit me—less like the proverbial sledgehammer and more like a subtle self-combustion. Invisible to an observer. But damaging nonetheless. Suffocating me. Crushing me from the inside out.

But not then. Not at first.

The thing that struck me initially was that she had coolly snapped a picture. As though this was another moment in time to capture for posterity. More striking because what other mothers might have captured, she had never bothered with.

First tooth. No snap.

First step. No snap.

First birthday. No snap. No cake, either, for that matter.

But first death?

Snap, snap, snap.  

*Recieved an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review*
I found this story intriguing from the get go. I couldn't get the idea of a therapist also having a job as a stripper out of my head. The two occupations didn't appear to go together and it made no sense to me. Once the reasoning for Clara's decisions was revealed, everything became clearer. I was frustrated with myself for not guessing the reason earlier and my heart broke for Clara. Honestly, I think that this book was hard to read because the main character was a therapist. I'm not saying that this depiction is accurate but it can be difficult to read about a character that has the same job as me because it hits a bit too close to home. 

It started off well enough. The author was able to grab my attention with what I mentioned in the paragraph above as well as what Lucas was dealing with. I also thought that Aaron's journal entries were compelling. I could have just read an entire book of those. The book began loosing steam and going downhill for me when I got whiplash from all the back and forth between Clara and Lucas. I felt like one of them kept doing something and then they would part ways and then one of them would apologize and all would be forgiven without talking about it. Apparently, sex solves every problem. I also didn't understand why the author included journal entries from other characters that were not main characters. I found it confusing and out of place. It interrupted the flow of the story that was otherwise good.
The book took some weird turns that were odd to me. I would have liked to have had the book focus on the relationship between Clara and Lucas instead of having so much emphasis on plot twists concerning Lucas and his brother. It made the book feel disjointed. 
PURCHASE LINKS – 99c for release day ONLY!
There is a giveaway for a $20 Amazon gift card
Fen Wilde writes gritty contemporary erotic romance novels exploring the darker elements in our lives.
She is a qualified social worker and works part-time as a mental health clinician for young people, and also as a private clinical consultant.
She is particularly interested in the complex things that drive us toward or keep us out of connection with each other: how fragile, how beautiful, how flawed we all are.
Fen lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner, two children, and Burmese cat.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Heart of a Cowboy (Elk Heights Ranch) by Kristin Vayden

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A stubborn cowboy has sworn never to forgive or forget—but one special woman may find a way to change his mind . . .

Hospice nurse Laken Garlington helps people face the end with peace and dignity, surrounded by their loved ones. But the son of her new patient didn’t come home to reunite with his dad. So why is Cyler Myer back in horse country? It’s clear the sexy, six-three hunk with the steely eyes has a score to settle, and Laken doesn’t plan on being collateral damage . . . no matter how irresistible she finds the prodigal cowboy.

Dying is too good for the father Cyler will never forgive—not in this lifetime.
Showing up at his family’s Washington State ranch is the first step in his plan. But revenge takes a back seat to desire when Cyler meets a bossy beauty who arouses feelings he isn’t ready to face. As they work together to save an ailing mare, Cyler realizes he must decide where his true destiny lies. With darkness . . . or with the woman who offers the promise of redemption with every kiss.

His gaze shamelessly took in her silhouette against the evening sun, and he edged closer. Yet with each step, it wasn’t enough. Rather like a magnet, she pulled him in, and he didn’t want to fight the impulse.
Softly, he reached up and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, his body heating as she met his gaze, then shyly diverted her eyes. He traced his fingertips down her neck then gently grasped her shoulder, encouraging her to turn and face him fully. Anticipation flooded him. Her breath quickened, and her pink tongue darted out to caress her lower lip, enticing him. Deliberately, he leaned forward, watching as her eyes widened, but quickly she stepped out from his hold, putting several feet of distance between them.
“No. I can’t.” She wrapped her arms around her waist, hugging herself. Her eyes were bright with suppressed excitement, encouraging him.
“Why?” he asked, stepping forward.
Laken edged back. “This is the very definition of conflict of interest.” She arched a brow but grinned, her posture relaxing.
“I’m not going to take no for an answer.” He gave a small grin in return, taking a step closer.
She laughed, rolling her green eyes. “Why am I not surprised?”
“Just being honest.” He shrugged.
“Thank you. I think.” She chuckled again, the sound slightly nervous. “Unless you’re not interested?” He let the question linger, closing the distance as he watched indecision, desire, and hesitancy flash across her face. “That’s beside the point—”
“That is the only point,” he interrupted.
“I...I could lose my job.” She spoke quietly.
“Are you on the clock right now?” Cyler reached up, tracing the line from her ear along her jaw, pausing at her full lips.
“It’s complicated. But in short, no.” she murmured, her expression softening.
“Good.” Without giving her a chance to protest, he closed the final distance between them and sealed her lips with his.
At first contact, he realized the danger he’d just invited. It wasn’t just a kiss; rather, each nerve had come alive, demanding more. Angling his head slightly, he was able to capture more of her kiss, deepening the exchange as his tongue ran along the seam of her lips, begging for entrance. He could feel her hesitation melt as she leaned into him, her lips caressing his, inviting, intoxicating him with each touch.
As she opened her mouth, her arms tentatively grasped his forearms before sliding up to his shoulders then pulling him in tight. Cyler’s already- burning body smoldered deeper, demanding more than just a kiss. Yet he held himself in check, in spite of the pounding blood that seemed to overtake every other sense.
His hand slid up her back, mapping the delicate curve of her waist. Her tongue met his, stealing every other rational thought as he accepted her invitation and tasted the full flavor that was Laken. Her fingers slid up from his shoulders, threading through his hair and tugging, causing his heart to pound harder, his body to grow even harder as he pressed into her soft curves. He breathed in her soft gasp as he bit on her lower lip, pulling her in, leading her. He mated with her lips, fusing his with hers, searing his brand with each brush of his lips, each caress of his hand across her waist.
Abruptly she pulled away, her green eyes wild as they blinked up at him, staring deep into his soul. Naked in his eyes—yet fully clothed—she studied him, and the kiss had him off guard just enough that all the careful walls he’d constructed were still lowered.
Damn it all.
“So...that just happened,” she whispered, a hand reaching up to touch her pink lips. “Whoa.” She swallowed, his eyes capturing each minute movement, each tiny shift of her gaze.
Then she smiled.
 “To be fair, I did warn you I wasn’t taking no for an answer.” He relaxed slightly, feeling less exposed and vulnerable.
“You did.” Her gaze flickered to the ground as her lips tipped into a lopsided grin.
“And I’ll be straight with you. I’m going to kiss you again.”
Her gaze shot back to his, widening slightly. “So, you’re saying I don’t get a choice?” She flirted.
He chuckled. “I’m saying you don’t really want one.”
She rolled her eyes. “A little sure of yourself, aren’t you?” She tucked her hands into her back pockets, regarding him.
He took a small step forward, leaning in to her before whispering, “You kissed me back.”
Her pert nose scrunched up. “Caught that, did you?”
“Yup. Pretty much.” He laughed softly, reaching out and tugging on her elbow, and she willingly released her hand from her back pocket.
“Fair warning?” she asked as he leaned in.
“Fair warning,” he murmured before taking her lips once more, astounded at how her warmth captivated him, and how his blood went to an immediate boil.
He’d expected her to moderate the kiss, and he’d been fully prepared to tease her, to test the waters to see how far she’d let him push, but what he hadn’t been prepared for was her response.
Rather than play hard to get, she returned the kiss with full force, biting his lower lip and fanning the already-burning flames. Her hands mapped his back, kneading, tracing, driving him crazy with each touch, reminding him that he could—should—be closer. He groaned as she tugged on his button-up shirt, sliding her hand up his chest, skin on skin.
He breathed in her sigh as he splayed his hands across her hips, pulling her closer then rocking her against him. He was taken by surprise when she kissed then bit him gently on the neck before quickly disentangling herself from his grasp and walking away.
Confused, he turned to watch as she glanced over her shoulder, giving him a teasing grin. “Fair warning.”
Cyler’s face broke into a wide smile, one that caused his cheeks to ache with an unfamiliar yet welcome pain as he watched her hike back up the hill. “Are you just going to stand there and stare, or are you going to hurry up? Daylight’s burning.” She taunted as she continued her trek toward the truck. Cyler rubbed the back of his neck with his hand, shaking his head, and grinning. “Is that how it’s going to be?”
“Are you complaining?” Laken turned, taking a few steps backward on a flatter portion of the hike.
“No, ma’am,” Cyler replied, starting toward her.
“Good.” She giggled and finished the hike with him not far behind. When Cyler reached Laken, he grasped her hand in his and kept it tight the whole way back to the ranch. The sunset’s glow made her face appear even more flushed, and he couldn’t help the smug satisfaction that he’d done that to her. It had been a long time since he’d felt that way, since he’d even wanted a woman to wear his kiss. It was disconcerting, yet electrifying all at once, but as much as he wanted to ride the wave of excitement, he felt the familiar suspicion creep in, the kind that made him question if this were truly real.
Because heaven only knew how he’d been fooled before.
Cyler glanced over to Laken, meeting her gaze and smiling before he back to gazing out the window.
The past was the past. This was a chance for a new future. Let that serve as fair his heart.

*Recieved an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review*
I thought that this was a sweet romance! It is a really quick read so if you are looking for something feel good that you won't have to think too hard about the plot then this is the book for you! 
The book didn't breaking any new ground. The story was predictable but I was still able to enjoy it. There wasn't any unnecessary drama and the characters in the story seemed to be down to earth. I think that the relationship between the two main characters happened a bit too quickly for my taste. There was a bit of insta-love thrown into the mix which was bothersome. There wasn't really a lot of time to establish a relationship though considering that the book was only about 188 pages. It felt like more of a short story than a book. I think that many of my favorite parts of the book involved Jack, Cyler's father. He didn't mince words and was hilarious!

Kristin's inspiration for the romance she writes comes from her tall, dark and handsome husband with killer blue eyes. With five children to chase, she is never at a loss for someone to kiss, something to cook or some mess to clean but she loves every moment of it! Life is full—of blessings and adventure! Needless to say she’s a big fan of coffee and wine…and living in Washington she’s within walking distance of both!


There is a multi-prize giveaway including signed paperbacks and a Kindle Fire

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Rules of Rain by Leah Scheier

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
A dramatic new novel about the bond between a teen and her twin brother.

Rain has taken care of Ethan all of her life. Before she even knew what autism meant, she's been her twin brother's connection to the hostile world around him. She's always prepared—when her father abandons them, when her mother gets sick, when Ethan is tortured by bullies from school—Rain is the reliable, stable one holding them all together. She's both cautious carer and mad chef, preparing customized meals for her family and posting crazy recipes on her cooking blog.

Each day with Ethan is unvarying and predictable, and she's sure that nothing will ever change—until one night when her world is turned upside down by a mistake she can't take back. As her new romance with her long-time crush and her carefully constructed life begins to unravel, she discovers that the fragile brother whom she's always protected has grown into a young man who no longer needs her. And now, for the first time, she finds that she needs him.

*I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I loved this story and found that I really connected with Rain. I know what it is like to feel like someone depends on you and then how it is difficult to cope with them not needing you anymore. It is a bit disorienting and can result in feelings of anger and jealousy. I feel like the author took exactly how I felt and put it into words. This story was beautiful and heartwarming.
I loved all the characters and found that even though it was from Rain's point of view with only pieces of Ethan's point of view thrown in it that his pieces made a huge impact on the book. 
I thought that Leah Scheier did a wonderful job of portraying an individual with autism. It was not romanticized. She showcased some the difficulties that go along with this particular diagnosis but also showed that people that are dealing with autism are still capable of accomplishing the goals that they have for their life whether they are simple every day tasks or occupational/college goals.
I think that the author was trying to get the point across that each person should live for themselves and their own dreams and not hold each other back by enabling those around them to remain as they have been and never change and adapt as life moves forward. Life is not always black and white. There are many gray areas to people as well as the decisions that they make. These are things that Rain learns as the book progresses but in order to get the full affect of the messages that Leah Scheier wrote in the book it should be read in its entirety.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Sugar & Gold (Dreamcatcher #2) by Emma Scott

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Nikolai Alexei Young was born with a special gift…one he’d do anything to lose. The heart and soul of every person he comes into contact with is an open book to his heightened senses. Colorful emotions, whispers of thoughts, the sour tastes of old memories…He feels them all. The sci-fi books would call him an empath. For Nikolai, his ability has made him an exile. He roams the U.S. alone, avoiding the glut of life in big cities, and using his innate talents to win money in underground poker games. Just enough to keep going, one town to the next. He has no hope that his life can be anything else, until he meets her…

At nineteen, Fiona Starling was trapped in an ugly, desperate situation until she freed herself the only way she knew how. Now three years later, living outside Savannah, Georgia, she is rebuilding her life on her own terms; seizing every moment and saving every penny so that she might fulfill her dream of moving to the raw wilderness of Costa Rica. But behind her carefree smile beats the heart of a lonely young woman haunted by her past, until a chance encounter with a tattooed stranger changes everything…

Fiona takes Nikolai under her roof for three sultry nights, waiting out the rain of a summer storm. She grows more and more fascinated by this brooding stranger with whom she shares an intense physical connection—a connection so strong, she wonders if there is something between them beyond lust and passion. Nikolai is shocked to discover that Fiona calms the raging turmoil in his heart. She alone silences the din of other people’s lives, and envelops him in the sweet beauty of her inner self. Every moment he’s with her—every touch of her skin—brings him closer to the peace that’s been eluding him his entire life.

But Fiona harbors secrets that she is too terrified to reveal. After Nikolai confesses his unique ability, she is caught between wanting to believe him and fearing he’ll eventually unearth her own dark past. When the unthinkable happens, Fiona’s plans come crashing down, and Nikolai discovers his hated ability might be the only thing that can save the woman he loves.

*I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

 I remember reading How to Save a Life, the first book in the Dreamcatcher series, and really enjoying it. This book was no different in that I really enjoyed reading it and going along for the journey of Fiona and Nik. I had no doubt that I would enjoy this book. It was different from the first book because Nik has a different gift than Evan and I have to say that I liked Nik's gift better. I found his more relatable because I am very in tune with the emotions of those around me and I understand how it can be exhausting after a while especially in crowded places. My heart broke for him and the challenges that he faced due to his gift. He wasn't accepted by anyone that knew and they saw it as a disorder when in reality it was a was to help others. I think that was why he related to Fiona so well. She came from her own version of hell and knew what it was like to be beaten down emotionally by someone close to her. I found that both of the characters were realistic and down to earth making it easy to want to keep reading about their journey together. 
I also loved that Evan makes an appearance in this one. It was nice to see him again and I loved how the author chose to tastefully put him in the story. He wasn't the focus nor did he take away focus from the story or the main characters. I found the story to be realistic because someone that came from Fiona's situation would have an easy time trusting someone or forming relationships with others. This was how Emma Scott portrayed her and let the story unfold around her in such a way that included this basic belief. She did the same thing with Nik which made for a good flow to the book as well as good characters arcs/development. 
I think that the only things that I didn't really like about the book were how fast a connection was made between the two main characters and the amount of sex that is included in the book. I just didn't feel that there needed to be as much physical intimacy in the book because it made it seem as if it was the focus in their relationship. It was understandable in the beginning because of the circumstances under which they got together but eventually I would have liked to have seen them build more of an emotional connection by having a bit more dialogue. The feelings between the two of them build fairly quickly and it made sense to a point. I understood this choice from the author's point of view because the story may have stalled out rather than having a nice flow if she took too much time building the relationship between the two of them. This is just my personal preference but overall I found the book to be a great continuation of the series.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Behind the Bars by Brittainy C. Cherry

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.
The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.

Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.
Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.
And in a flash, she was gone.

Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.
She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.


Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.
Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
When we met again, I became her darkest storm.

By the way, what happened to Todd’s nose?” I asked.
I broke it,” Elliott said matter-of-factly.
What? How? Why?”
He shrugged before turning to look out the window. “He called you a bad name.”
What was it?”
It doesn’t matter.”
Eli,” I started.
He turned my way and locked his hazel eyes with my browns. “Jazz…” He shook his head. “It wasn’t true.”
I swallowed hard, a big part of me certain Todd’s words held some form of truth.
Elliott saw it in me—my fear. He kept shaking his head and whispered, “I don’t feel sorry for you. Sometimes you look at me like you think I feel sorry for you, and I want you to know I don’t. I think you’re perfect the way you are.”
I quietly laughed at him repeating the words I’d told him earlier. A few tears rolled down my cheeks. “I’m a little messed up.”
I know.” He nodded. “That’s why I like you.”
He went back to staring out the window, and I kept staring at him.
And there it was.
So small, so tiny, so real.
It wasn’t love, but it was the beginning of it.
I knew I was young, and I knew it was stupid, but in that moment, I began to fall in love with the quiet boy who quietly cared for me. The boy who was scared and still strong. The boy who stood up for me when he was surrounded by reasons not to do such a thing. I hadn’t known much about love. I hadn’t known how it looked, felt, or tasted. I hadn’t known how it moved, how it flowed, but I knew my heart was tight and currently skipping a few beats. I understood the goose bumps covering my arms. I knew this stuttering boy who was sometimes so scared was someone worth loving. He was worth being the first one I gave my heart to.
I knew Elliott Adams was love.
And I was falling into him so fast.
*Received an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review*

I want to start this review by talking about the title of the story. I have read books with solid, appropriate titles before but I loved how Behind the Bars held so much meaning and symbolism. I don't want to spoil any part of the book so I will just say that I believe the title is not only talking about the bars in the music that the main characters each play but also the prisons that we can each find ourselves in. If I read this book again I'm sure that I could find even more meanings. 

What a beautiful love story! The plot was wonderful as we're the characters. It was a bit predictable but not enough to make me dislike or want to change anything about the book. I enjoy books that have a musical aspect to them when it is done right. In my eyes, this book was done right. Music is a way for the characters to have emotional release and to speak when words become difficult or inadequate for what they are trying to get across. This speaks to me because I have used music the same way in my life. I think it is why I am picky about books that involve music. 

Elliot had such a beautiful soul. He continued to be sweet and genuine regardless of what he went through when he was young. Everything he did was with the purpose of making the lives of those around him better. I actually liked that he had a stutter because it added depth to him. It was easier to 7ndetsrand words that were hard for him to say, recognize his emotional state, and it made it easier to understand why he came alive playing music. All of his flaws and hardships held purpose in the story which I really appreciated. 

Jasmine was also a likable character. I feel like she wanted things that we all strive for in life. Who doesn't want to be loved and accepted? She also did things for the ones she cared about and with at least one them it was to her detriment. I thought it was interesting that each of the main characters had things the other didn't and how the author showed that the grass isn't always greener. (At least where school cliques are concerned)

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Hi! I'm Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I'm learning, things I'm re-learning, things I'm forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen

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The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.

*I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
This book was just okay for me. It was hard for me to keep track of what age each of the characters were throughout the book because it was not said. There were only two points in the book that I was aware of where the author says their age and/or hints at what age they are. I wish that she would have had their age as a chapter heading or something every time that they were another year older. It made certain parts of the book uncomfortable for me because they have sexual relationships but it seems like they are still thirteen like when the book started. 
I had a hard time with Hope and Spencer's relationship. I didn't like Hope very much at all. She seemed selfish to me because she did whatever made her feel good regardless of how it made everyone around her feel. Spencer was the one shining light in this book. He may not have made very good decisions at times but he tried to think of others. He attempted to help those around him and just wanted to be treated like a human being rather than a problem or mistake. I loved that the book was from his point of view. He was going through something extremely difficult and it broke my heart to see how people treated him especially members of his own family. I was rooting for him the entire book because he grew so much over the course of the book. He took a lot of beatings but he came out on top in my opinion. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Rock Me (Jaded Ivory #1) by Rebecca Brooke

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I am not a victim.

At least that’s what I wanted to believe. What I wanted the world to see. Five years of trying to find the girl I hid from the world.

I wouldn’t let the bullies win. I couldn’t.

What was I supposed to do when he walked into the building? He’d made my high school years a living hell.

But, he doesn’t recognize me.

How do I prove he didn’t break me? Simple, take him home for a one-night stand.

At least it sounded like a good idea at the time.


*Received an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review*
I enjoyed how this book had a female musician rather than a male. It made the story more interesting for me considering that the majority of romance novels have a male lead who can't keep it in his pants who changes for that one special girl. I really liked Mari because she wasn't like the typical musician character. She had been beaten down in the past but grew stronger and knew what she wanted out of life. I related a lot to her character because of the her being a vocalist but also because of being bullied myself. I loved not only her resilience but also her willingness to forgive others. I also appreciated Cole as a character. He wasn't what I expected. He was the opposite of what I thought that he would be and it made me like him more.
I thought that the conflict that the author put in the story between the two of them was good in that it made sense and didn't feel as forced as I have seen in other stories like this. There were moments in the book that I did feel were a bit forced or randomly put it at the last minute. Some of the reveals felt off to me since they were at the end of the story and I don't feel like they needed to be added in at all. I also felt like the author skipped over some things when it came to the confrontation that happened towards the end of the book. There were points when I wasn't sure how they got from point A to point B. 
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Rebecca Brooke grew up in the shore towns of South Jersey. She loves to hit the beach, but always with her Kindle on hand. She is married to the most wonderful man who puts up with all her craziness. Together they have two beautiful children who keep her on her toes. When she isn’t writing or reading (which is very rarely) she loves to bake and binge watch Netflix.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Sounds of Secrets by Whitney Barbetti

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I've been in love with him forever.

But to him, I've always been off-limits. Until the night that changed everything.

Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was the secrets we shared. Maybe he finally opened his eyes and saw me.

By the time the sun rose, I’d lost him again, my heart shattering on his parting words: “It was a mistake.” So I ran. Ran until I was thousands of miles away, in a country I didn't know, surrounded by people who only made me miss him more.

I never expected him to follow me … or to pry more secrets from my soul. In exchange, he gave me more of his secrets too.

The more he let me into his heart, the more I loved him, but I’m afraid that some secrets may be too big to overcome.
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I was going to throw up from the nerves.
No, I told myself. No throwing up. Not when you’re expecting Sam to come into your room any second.
But the feeling was so strong. I popped a mint from my bedside table in my mouth, rolled it around my tongue a few times, but the urge was still there.
Oh, shit. Was this a mistake? Was inviting Sam into my room a big fat problem? I was leaving for America tomorrow.
The printed itinerary, neatly stacked on my chest of drawers laughed at me. What 

was I going to do? I couldn’t let Sam come up here.
My hands fisted in my hair as I berated myself for telling him to come. What was I thinking? I wasn’t some sexual nymph, skilled in the way Sam surely was. I wasn’t a virgin, but I hadn’t actually messed around with a bunch of guys.
I didn’t know what to do.
I walked to the door, pressed my palm flat to it. I’d lock it. Then he couldn’t come in. He’d walk away, and we’d forget this ever happened.
Look how well that happened the last time you kissed him, my memory taunted me. Three years later, and you’re still wondering ‘what if.’
There was no reasonable escape from this situation. And, if there was, there was no escape that would make me not obsess over the ‘what if.’
It’d be okay, I told myself. Of course it would. Sex was nothing, right?
But I didn’t even believe my own thoughts. My nerves battled with my own desire. I couldn’t process a single thing.
I ran my fingers over my eyebrows or, what was left of them that wasn’t colored in, at least. I’d pulled so many out in the days leading up to the trip, needing some control over this impending trip.

I trailed my fingers to the sides of my face, tugging on my earlobes to ground me, and then, in tandem, I pulled out a hair with each hand. The immediate relief was nearly as intoxicating as the alcohol I’d consume in how it numbed my fears.
It would be okay.
I took in a cleansing breath, looking around my room for anything potentially embarrassing.
The blinds were open, so I closed them, leaving my room in soft, muted grays aside from the yellow lamp that lit up my dressing table.
My hand was on the back of the lamp to turn it off when my door creaked open.
Sam stood in the threshold, nearly taking up the entire space.
I switched the light off.
It was only a few loud heartbeats before he said, “Turn it back on.”
I hesitated.
I couldn’t see him, but I heard the creak on the floor by the door. “Turn it on, Lotte.”
Swallowing hard, I did.
The room was illuminated again in soft light, casting shadows into the angles of Sam’s face—making him look exactly as he was: dangerous.

 *Received an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review*
This was a heartbreaking albeit beautiful love story.  Each of the main characters are struggling with issues, Lotte with loss and anxiety and Samson with something brought about by mistakes in his past. They are each attempting to cope in ways that are unhealthy and end up driving them further down the path that leads to pain. They each punish themselves and feel as if they are not good enough. 
I loved this book! I have read a few books from Whitney Barbetti in the past but I have to say that this one is by far my favorite. She really captures the essence of the struggles that the characters are dealing with without it overpowering the love story or feeling preachy. I appreciated how the author didn't just throw drama into the story in order to have conflict to drive the story along. The issues are established from the beginning and are allowed to progress naturally throughout the rest of the story as it unfolds.
It was a character driven story more than anything else and Samson and Lotte will definitely draw the reader into their story. I know that I was immediately drawn in. There is a scene towards the beginning from Lotte's point of view and in any other book I would think "that would be painful" but in this book I felt a sharp pain in my heart because of what she experiences as if I was going through it in her place. I loved both of the main characters and they each add to the story in different ways.
I know that this may seem nit-picky but the reason that I took away half of a star was due to wanting more background on the characters, specially Samson. The author doesn't really give any background on him at all with the exception of how he fits into Lotte's family. I would have liked to have had some hints or foreshadowing with regards to his secret that is revealed towards the end of the book.   
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I am a wife to one and a mom to two humans and one cat. I have a deep and abiding love for nachos - especially the kind with the liquid cheese, like from Taco Bell (sorry). I run on less than

four hours of sleep thanks to copious amounts of Diet Coke. (Note: this paragraph is not sponsored by anyone except my hungry stomach.)

As a Navy brat, I grew up all over the country, from California and up the east coast from Florida to New England and Colorado. I currently live in Idaho, where we have lots of potatoes and windmills.

I write character-driven contemporary romance novels, heavy on the emotional connection. I LOVE love. I love writing about broken characters who find their soul mates.


There is a giveaway for a signed copy of The Sounds of Secrets + The Weight of Life by Whitney Barbetti (1 winner, US only)