Monday, March 19, 2018

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

The bestselling series that has captured readers all over the world reaches new heights in this sequel to the New York Timesbest-selling Crown of Midnight. Packed with heart-pounding action, fierce new characters, and swoon-worthy romance, this third book will enthrall readers from start to finish.

So, this is the third book in the Throne of Glass series. It has taken me a little while to get back into reading the series again after the second book because I haven't really been in a fantasy mood. This book was just as good as the previous two books although Heir of Fire is significantly longer. I would say carve out more time in your schedule if you are planning on reading this. 
Aelin/Celaena becomes even more awesome in Heir of Fire. In the previous book we see her researching magic and trying to figure out what the king is up to. In Heir of Fire, we already know a large portion of the King's plan but we also find out more of the evil he plans to unleash on the world. Celaena meets up with her aunt Maeve (She's an awesome relative that will help her right? Wrong!) in order to find out more about the Wyrdkeys and how to destroy them but she must first be worthy of entering Doranelle...enter Rowan. He is her trainer for all things magic and she can only enter Doranelle if he gives the okay. He was an interesting addition to the series. He was able to relate to Celaena due to having lost those close to him as well. I didn't really like him at first but he grew on me towards the end of the book. He was a bit gruff which is similar to how Celaena seems to be when she meets new people. I am hoping that nothing romantic happens between them because I enjoy the friendship that they have. I think that she needs more friends rather than more romantic entanglements. However, I see that Aedion is a very distant relative (So distant that they aren't really related) and I would not mind Celaena getting together with him. He was so awesome and such a fierce warrior! I think that they will be able to relate to each other on so many different levels when they meet up. Not to mention, that they already have history with each other and he remains loyal to her no matter what he hears about what she has done in the years that they have been apart. 
I'm not loving Dorian or Chaol anymore. I thought that Dorian might be redeemed for me after having magic in the last one because I thought that it would make him more invested in trying to better the world but that is not the case. He was so whiny in this book! Dorian complained about his friends not telling him things and not wanting magic. I think that he will be awesome in the next book after what happened between he and his father at the end of Heir of Fire. I'm really excited to see what becomes of him after that. Chaol on the other hand is invested in what is going on but not so invested that he can pick a side. He constantly says and thinks that he can remain on the outside while the lines are drawn in the side between the King and Celaena. Chaol also doesn't seem to truly love Celaena. Dorian says something in the book about not picking and choosing which parts of her to love and I believe that is right on the money with what Chaol is doing. I really hope that Celaena does not end up with either of them because neither of them are suited for her. 
Celaena grows and heals a ton over the course of this book. It is clear that the loss of her friend still pains her but it turns into a dull ache by the end. She begins the book by wishing that her life would end and thinking of herself as an assassin rather than a queen. She appears to have no interest in that title but I think that a huge purpose of this book was to help her grow into that title. I think that in order to beat the King at his own game it is important for her to take up her title and become the queen that she was meant to be. 
This book had a slow start but picked up speed as the story progressed. It was more focused on the character development and introducing new characters that will be key players in the war that will ultimately happen between the King and Celaena. I wasn't sure of the purpose of Manon's point of view besides hinting more about what the King has planned for the war that will take place. Her point of view was interesting but I'm not sure that it was necessary. It threw me off and it was clear that by the end of Crown of Midnight that the witches were going to find out that someone killed the Yellowlegs witch. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Harley & Rose by Carmen Jenner

🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Ever since she was a little girl, thirty-year-old Rose dreamed of the day Harley would carry her across the threshold on their honeymoon. So what if this isn’t her actual wedding day, and that she’s only here because Harley was left at the altar just a few hours earlier?

Trading San Francisco for paradise and swapping her bridesmaid’s bouquet for a Blue Hawaii, Rose hopes she can finally escape the friend zone.

Once upon a time they had been more than friends, but life got in the way. She’s spent every day since wishing Harley would get a clue.

She’s always been his best friend.

He’s always been hers.

She’s in love with him.

He’s... not in love with her.

He’s... marrying someone else.

He’s... hiding something.

He’s... well—it’s complicated.

I kept seeing this book pop up everywhere and it had a good rating so I decided to read it. I thought that the book had an interesting plot at the beginning. I was intrigued by the concept of having a man who was left at the alter go on his honeymoon with his best friend who is in love with him. I could see how there could be heartache and angst. The book began interesting enough although it felt a bit repetitive with Rose having the same inner monologue of "this is a terrible situation for me but I have to help my friend". I thought that the sole focus of the book would be each of them coming to terms with their feelings over the course of the honeymoon but I was wrong. The book continues and switches from past to present with Rose being the main point of view. The pacing of the book felt off the entire way through after the honeymoon and I attribute part of that to her running hot and cold with Harley and vice versa. I don't feel like anything in this story was ever truly resolved. It had me feeling like I had emotional blue balls by the end because it teased at things so many times but nothing happens. There are so many things that don't add up for me like why Harley was getting married in the first place. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Brighter Than the Sun (Cosmic Love #2) by Briana Pacheco

🌟🌟🌟🌓 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I loved love. Some might even say I was obsessed with it. I was the girl who had a fake wedding when I was six and subscribed to bridal magazines by sixteen. My happily ever was all I thought about.

So the fact that I had a crush on my brother’s best friend--a guy who notoriously doesn’t do relationships--was heartbreak in the making. I was forced to do the only thing I could--ignore my feelings and move on.

Years later, after countless failed relationships, my shy heart had slowly stepped away from its fanciful ideas of love. It was going smoothly until the guy who didn’t do relationships suddenly wanted to try having one…with me. It didn’t take long before I gave in. He was exactly how I imagined, and everything I'd dreamed about: goofy, smart, good with animals, and kind.

Still, my past break-ups were never far from my mind. I'd always crushed hard and fell fast, and no one ever caught me. But the more time we spent together, the more I started to see a future with him. And what’s shocking was that he saw the same thing as me.

He’s my forever.
I’m his.
This is our love story.

*Received this ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Brighter Than the Sun is still a solid book which is due to Briana Pacheco's ability to weave an amazing story. It may not be my new favorite of her books but it solidified its place in third place of the books I have read from her. 

I love Mackenzie but this book was hard for me to connect with. I think that it was because it has a different feel and tone to it than A Sky Full of Secrets and Let Her Go. There is a lot less angst and it seems to be a lighter story focused more on the love that develops between Blake and Mackenzie. It was too sweet for me and I found that I didn't really like Blake. I think that a lot of readers will find her to be sweet and likable but I couldn't connect with her. I would have liked someone more grounded and less in love with love. 

I loved any part of the book where I got to be in Mac's head. He had an interesting point of view that was refreshing and fun. I knew that I would feel that way because I have loved him since A Sky Full of Secrets. I'm not going to lie...I was secretly a little disappointed that he didn't end up with Luna but Phoenix is amazing. It was exciting to learn more about his home life growing up. I loved getting to meet his parents! His relationship with his father melted my heart and made me love Mackenzie more! I also loved seeing him interact with the animals at the shelter and the children at his job. 

Brighter Than the Sun will be 99c for release day only and is in Kindle Unlimited.

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About Briana Pacheco:
Briana Pacheco is the author of New Adult novels (DON'T LET ME FALL, SOUNDS OF YESTERDAY, A SKY FULL OF SECRETS, and LET HER GO), a twin, a dreamer, a tattoo lover, easily swooned by accents, and a little bit of an extrovert but a whole lot of introvert.

She loves hearing from readers!

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata

🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas. 

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional. 

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect. 

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

Dear Aaron is the definition of slow burn. The beginning of the book was interesting. I enjoyed how it began with Ruby writing her first few letters to Aaron through a military pen pal program. I thought that the letter and email format would stop after a while but the majority of the book is written like this with no back and forth dialogue but rather back and forth emails. This wouldn't have bugged me as much if something happened to improve the pacing of the story. There is literally nothing that happens until about 60-70% into the book. I was bored regardless of the jokes and getting to learn more about Ruby and Aaron through their letters to each other. 
I also had a hard time believing that they were in their twenties. Ruby's letters made her come across as a young teenager rather than an adult woman. When the book progressed to the point where they each talk about their ages I was shocked. I actually had to read and reread that page because I didn't believe it. Ruby's maturity level just wasn't right in order for me to believe that she was in her twenties. 
Aaron and Ruby's relationship was sweet and I loved their friendship but I wanted more from the story. They each had issues but the author stuck to the surface of them rather than driving into them. I think that it would have helped with the pacing of the book  as well as the overall story if the author would have spoken about the characters issues more in depth. I was curious about Aaron's life but he is skipped over in favor of Ruby's disastrous dating life. 

What He Doesn't Know (What He Doesn't Know Duet #1) by Kandi Steiner

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟


On the northeast side of town, there is a house.

The house was once magical, filled with love and joy and plans for the future. 

Inside its walls are many things that belong to me — my books, the china from my mother on my wedding day, the beautiful cage once home to two birds, now empty, just like me.

And a man.

A man who also belongs to me.

A man I no longer wish to keep.

A man who, no doubt, has not slept, though the sun is rising. Because the house where he waits is where I laid my head to rest every night for eight years. Until last night.

No one who knows me would believe Charlie Pierce, the quiet, bookish girl who never made waves is pulling out of the driveway of a man who isn’t her husband.

But they don’t know me at all.

I don’t even know me.

Not anymore.

They say there are two sides to every story, and I suppose in most cases, that’s true. But the one I live inside of? It has three.

On the northeast side of town, there is a house.

But there is no longer a home. 

*Received this ARC in exchange for an honest review*

When I first heard about this book, I knew that I had to read it! Kandi Steiner has not let me down yet with her books and What He Doesn't Know sounded like it had more angst than the others that I had read. I don't normally gravitate towards stories that involve cheating unless they are done right otherwise I end up hating the characters and the story  but I thought that Kandi could do it justice. The synopsis hooked me in immediately and so did the story when I began reading it. 

This book was so powerful in its emotions and message that it portrayed. My heart broke for Charlie and all that she had been through. I have not personally experienced what she did in the story but the author did such a wonderful job of tapping into that particular type of pain that I felt as if I had. She was by far my favorite character in this story. Charlie tries to do the right thing and to put on a smile for everyone around her but inside she is numb. I hated to see how broken she was and I wanted her to have the love and support that she needed. She was such a sweet person and I enjoyed the interactions that she had with the students in her class. 

Now...for the men in the story. I enjoyed having both of their points of view. It was interesting to be able to be in both of their heads as well as Charlie's. I'm assuming that this part of the story was focusing on Reese and Charlie's side of things and the next installment will focus more on Cameron. I'm not going to lie. I strongly disliked Cameron for a large portion of the book. I had a hard time understanding how he could treat Charlie the way that it did and think that it was okay. Not to mention, the choices he made after the loss the Charlie went through were inexcusable. I know that he is trying to cope with things too but he won't even have a conversation with Charlie. ARGH! I'm still not sure that I like him even after the end of this book but I guess I'll see what he does in the next book and then make my final decision. 
I'm not sure how I feel about Reese either to be honest. I liked him as a character and for Charlie but he didn't make the best decisions either. She is clearly in a vulnerable state and I feel like he may have taken advantage of that to a certain extent. Plus, she is married regardless if it is a happy marriage or not. I felt for Reese because of the loss that he had been through as well. I do feel that I am leaning more on his side than Cameron's just because he seems to genuinely want to help and be helped by Charlie. He seems to understand her and her needs better than Cameron. Although, with the shocking twist at the end of this book, I'm not loving him as much as I did. He has some explaining to do. 

I'm really looking forward to the conclusion of the story because I want to know who Charlie will choose and how the story will progress now that a lot of the cards are on the table. 

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About the Author:
Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.
Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).
When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

Connect with the Author:
Twitter: @KandiSteiner
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Monday, March 12, 2018

Don't Be Afraid by C.A. Harms

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Have you ever looked at someone and just knew,
knew that they were put in your life for a reason?
The one person that would be not only your best friend,
but would be your absolute everything?
That’s how I felt the first time I saw him.

That one day when a few little words changed our entire lives forever…

Don’t be Afraid, he said.
Life can change so quickly.
One moment you can be smiling and feeling as if you're walking on clouds and the next, everything you love, everything you treasure crumbles at your feet.

I told him to fight, I told him I needed him.
We needed him.
But there are just some fights that can't be won…

He was my angel then, and he’s still my angel now.
In a way, I believe he’s still looking out for us, giving us a future.
Sometimes it’s as if I can still feel his presence,
guiding us and keeping us safe.

So, I won’t be Afraid.
I'll live. I’ll fight.
It’s what he would have wanted.

I’ll do it for him…

I absolute loved the first half of this book! I loved both Sawyer and Patrick. Their relationship is what many people strive to have and it was beautiful to see. I hated that they were facing something so traumatic that they were powerless against. I cried so much because of the pain and turmoil they felt through each of their perspectives. I was gutted especially when Sawyer and Patrick were talking about the future. I was hoping for a miracle for Patrick. They were each wonderful characters with beautiful hearts. There was no drama in this book other than the roller coaster of emotions that they each cycle through. They are each trying to be strong for each other but at times it is impossible for each of them to accomplish that. I was so happy that they had Gage and family to support them through everything. He was a great character too albeit different from Patrick because we don't get his point of view until later on in the book. Gage is a character that the author never really gives a lot of background on so I wasn't able to form as deep of a connection with him. One of my first thoughts while I was reading this book was of excitement because I thought that this would be a book I would give 5 stars to. The book began so phenomenally!
I was do disappointed to read on in the book and realize that the tone had changed so much that it felt like the second half didn't completely fit with the first half of the story. I love Gage but his place in Sawyer's life just didn't feel believable to me on an emotional level. I found it to be odd and out of place. I'm not sure if it's because of the strong connection that was already established between Sawyer and Patrick at the beginning or if it was because it was too easy and there wasn't enough time taken in order to establish the new connection and chemistry between Gage and Sawyer. I tried so hard to love the rest of the book as much as the first but it just didn't happen. I wanted Patrick back. I wanted to feel those strong emotional connections and heartache again but it just didn't happen. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Blackwood by Celia Aaron

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

I dig. It’s what I do. I’ll literally use a shovel to answer a question. Some answers, though, have been buried too deep for too long. But I’ll find those, too. And I know where to dig—the Blackwood Estate on the edge of the Mississippi Delta. Garrett Blackwood is the only thing standing between me and the truth. A broken man—one with desires that dance in the darkest part of my soul—he’s either my savior or my enemy. I’ll dig until I find all his secrets. Then I’ll run so he never finds mine. The only problem? He likes it when I run.
I think that another reviewer summed this book up best by saying that it was far more tame than was to be expected. I thought that this book would have been more dark and gritty than it turned out to be especially with the subject matter. I wish that the author would have taken it father because I think that the book would have been even better than it was. 
I didn't really like Elise. She seemed to be so fixated on finding the truth that she ran into situations without any regard for herself or others. I thought that she made so many poor choices throughout the book and I couldn't understand how anyone would want to be with her. Garrett was another story entirely. He was an intriguing character from start to finish. I craved more information about him. I know that he may not appeal to everyone who reads this due to his particular sexual interests {WARNING: this book has violence and explicit/intense sex that may be triggers for people} His particular kink just made him even more interesting to me because I haven't read about a character that had that kink before. He seemed like a contradiction to me in a way. He was a gentleman outside of that and cared about others but was very intense when he was interested in someone. 
I thought that the mystery was interesting and it seemed as if the author wanted readers to suspect one of the characters as the villain but I wasn't convinced. I was able to figure it out fairly easily but still found it to be enjoyable. Blackwood was a good book but I think that it would have been even better had Elise been a more likable character and had the mystery been explained more thoroughly. I don't feel like the conclusion was hinted at well enough. It was a great idea but it wasn't taken full advantage of by the author. 

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

🌟🌟🌟🌓 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

This book was good at pulling me into the story. It was easy to understand Jasmine's level of anger and frustration by hearing her talk about the hardships she had had to cope with in her ice skating career. From Lukov With Love was very character driven but was told from Jasmine's point of view so readers will only really understand her background. I would have liked to have learned more about Ivan. He was a bit of a mystery regardless of what was shared about him throughout the book. Ivan was not who I thought he was at the beginning of the story and I'm glad that I was wrong about him. I didn't find him very likable at first because he seemed like an extremely cocky  bully. There is more to him that meets the eye. Jasmine struggled so much in her life and sacrificed so much to make her dream come true. She never gave up even when there were people talking trash about her. I thought that was admirable and despite her not always thinking through the things that came out of her mouth I found her to be a wonderful character.
I feel like the book was bogged down by too much description and inner dialogue. There were moments when the author took pages to explain one concept when it could have been done using a paragraph or a page. It made the story more difficult to get through and I almost gave up on the book altogether. I'm glad I stuck it out because I enjoyed how the love story unfolded between Ivan and Jasmine. I'm not sure that I understand why they interacted the way that they did for so many years but that's neither here nor there. I loved how each of them were changed for the better due to their partnership. 

Let's Get Textual by T Hunter

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

A wrong number is supposed to be just that—a wrong number.

Delete. Done.

Do not continue to text. Do not flirt.

A wrong number shouldn’t be the first person on your mind in the morning, or the last at night…and you’re definitely not supposed to talk them into buying a baby goat.

Because that would be weird.

When Zach Hastings and I get into a wrong-number mix-up, we don’t follow the rules. We keep texting and flirting, because he’s wicked funny and perfectly nerdy and a wonderful distraction.

I’m not looking for love, and Zach definitely had the wrong number.

But maybe…

Maybe he’s the right guy.

This book was an exciting read for me! I've come to love the romantic comedy genre due largely to Meghan Quinn and I am always on the lookout for other authors that can do the genre justice. Let's Get Textual was so exciting for me because I really enjoyed reading it. The humor was on point which is the number one thing I look for in a book like this. Sometimes the humor can focus too much on sexual innuendos and raunchiness which I hate! This book had the perfect amount of humor as well as my type of humor.
I loved the back and forth between Zach and Delia. I laughed throughout this book at their antics and how they always gave each other crap. They teased each other mercilessly! Zach was such a nerdy dreamboat! I can't even fully explain why he was so awesome! He was such an original character and just everything. I don't think that anyone besides Delia's roommate truly understood her until Zach walked into the picture. She had an interesting way of  looking at things and would joke around about taboo topics like serial killers which not everyone could appreciate. I thought that she was hilarious and reminded me of myself at times. 
The conflict in the story was predictable and unoriginal. I don't even really understand why it all went down the way that it did. The explanation didn't make any sense to me. I did enjoy the way that the conflict was resolved between the two main characters though. It was original and fun! The conflict that occurs between Zach and Delia is the main reason why this book lost a star because other than this it was a fun book to read. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Our Alternate Ending by Katie Fox

🌟🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

She was the hot mess who stumbled through his door.
He was the one who gave her a chance.


When Elle Callihan finds herself on the twenty-sixth floor of the country’s top publishing firm after putting her dreams on hold for five years, she's not about to allow the opportunity to slip through her fingers.

There’s just one problem.

Her new, humorless, this-needs-to-be-done-right-now, jerk of a boss makes her working life a living hell.

With the minutes on his own clock ticking, CEO and certified workaholic, Owen Caldwell, has no time for anything. Not relationships. Not life. And certainly not the connection that simmers between himself and his new assistant.

As the pair work together, their undeniable attraction draws them closer, bringing a realization that sometimes life and the people in it are worth slowing down for. But when Elle is presented with a plot twist she never saw coming, she quickly learns that crafting her own story may be much harder than she initially thought.

Faced with a difficult decision, she has two choices: write the truth or deliver an alternate ending she knows they both deserve.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

This is my first Katie Fox book but I don't think that it will be my last. She left quite an impression on me with this story. I felt like I had been ripped open and then sewed back together. This type of story has been done before but not with the depth that this book has. From the very first page of this book, the characters dragged the emotions right out of me.
I felt Elle's desperation to find a job at the beginning of the story. I was frustrated for her because nothing seemed to be going right for her especially on the morning that she meets Owen. Owen seemed defeated, like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders but it was difficult to understand why at first. I fell in love with both of these characters straight away even with their faults, which in Owen's case was his tendency towards anger as a way to keep others at a distance. They seemed like good people that were dealing with a raw deal in life. It was a beautiful love story between the two of them and it was clear that they had a deep, meaningful connection and powerful chemistry. 
The author's words and writing style were so powerful! I was able to easily feel the emotions of the characters throughout the story and to connect with it. The story was so emotional, in fact, that I found myself holding back tears at numerous points. When I got to a certain point in the story, I actually had to stop reading because I was crying so hard that I couldn't  see.  That is the mark of a great book! (No, I don't enjoy crying. Lol I want to read books that make me feel something)
My only issue with the story was the end. Now I don't want anyone to think that I didn't like the ending because I did but it seemed a bit forced to me. I was expecting the obvious progression of events and the author did something expected but not expected at the same time. I'd explain but I write spoiler free reviews so you'll just gave to read it and find out for yourself. It truly is a beautiful story and if you love romance that reaches inside of you and squeezes your heart then this is the book for you!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Boy I Hate by Taylor Sullivan

🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Samantha Smiles and Renee Montgomery have been best friends for over a decade. They’ve shared laughs, secrets, and a mutual hatred for one person: Tristan Montgomery, Renee's older brother. He was the guy every girl wanted, and every guy wanted to be, and it wasn't uncommon they'd befriend his little sister just to get closer to him. Which was exactly how Samantha became Renee’s saving grace. She was the only girl Renee could trust not to fall in love with her older brother.

Until the one night Samantha spent with him alone, leaving her questioning everything she’d ever known about the blond headed heart-throb.

Years later, Renee asks Samantha to be her maid of honor. With no other option, Samantha is forced to drive cross-country with the focus of their teenage ire.

He was her first kiss.

Her only secret.

Can Samantha survive the trip cross-country with the reckless Tristan Montgomery? The guy who did what he wanted, whenever he wanted, without worry for tomorrow? Or will she discover a different side of him. One that’s sweet, funny, and maybe a little bit vulnerable. And fall completely and helplessly in love for the first time in her adult life with the one man who could cause her to lose her best friend forever?

I was really conflicted over what to rate this book. It wasn't poorly written and it was likable but I had some issues. I felt like it was a typical second chance romance mixed with road trip romance. I think that if you are going to venture into one of those categories of the romance genre then you have to try something new and fresh to put a new spin on it. Unfortunately, there were no new strides made over the course of this book. It felt like it was the same old thing. Heroine knows hero when they are young, something happens between them, miscommunications happen, and then they both end up being prickly. Six years pass after these events that took place and now they are forced together in order to travel to Renee's wedding. I didn't have any huge problems with the story apart from lack of originality and the unbelievable nature of the feelings between Tristan and Samantha.  They shared one moment together six years ago and they are still pining for each other in present day. I just don't know if I am able to buy that. Maybe if it was established that they each had feelings before the moment happened or that they kept in touch over the six years that they were separated it could have improved the book but I'm not sure. 

Watch Me Follow by Harloe Rae

🌟🌟🌓 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Creep. Freak. Crazy Eyes.
I've heard it all.
Over the years, they've slammed me with every demeaning name in the book. 
Their taunts warped me like a steady stream of poison.
Anger replaced anxiety as I started believing the cruelty spat my way. 
Until she showed up and changed everything.
Lennon Bennett is pure innocence—warm sunshine breaking apart my stormy existence. 
She's everything good and maybe I can be too. 
For her. With her. Because of her.
Lennon doesn’t know I’m beckoned closer with each breath. 
She isn't aware that I'm completely consumed with her. 
It’s become my sole purpose to protect her, by any means necessary. 
But if she discovers the depth of my obsession, it will be the end of me.
So, I remain in the shadows.
Waiting. Watching. Wanting. 
She'll be my first. My last. My only.

Despite what my rating shows, I was excited to read this book because I thought that it would be really good. The synopsis quickly captured my attention because I tend to like books in this genre. The book began fairly well with Ryker telling how he came to meet Lennon when she transferred to his high school. He was an interesting character and I thought that his point of view would be able to easily capture my attention and interest throughout the book. 
I was so disappointed that not only was this not the case but that there were other issues that I ended up having with this book. I don't mind having characters that are outside of the "norm" because I actually gravitate more towards characters like that but I ended up finding Lennon to be bland, naive, and didn't even believe that she had issues in the first place. She was not believable as a socially inept person. She seemed like she was able to talk to people very easily and why are all of these interested in her? Is she really so attractive that almost every guy she meets want to be with her?! I loved Ryker at first but he also eventually became bland. I was hoping for so much more from him due to his intense nature. 
I think that my biggest problem with the book was that it was not what I was expecting. I know that this can be a good thing but in this case it was not. I thought that the story would have a darkness or more of an edge due to the dark nature of the synopsis talking about being in the shadows and how the taunts warped him. The book seemed to begin this way but then quickly turned into a generic romance where the main characters are attempting to lift each other up and make each other better. However, I feel that the characters were feeding into each other's issues rather than helping each other. I had a hard time with their relationship. I didn't feel like either of them really loved each other because one of them seemed more obsessed and the other seemed like they just wanted attention from the opposite sex. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Drumline by Stacy Kestwick

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Traditions are important. Especially in the South. 
College football. Rivalries. Tailgating. Halftime shows.
Some things just don’t change.
Until Reese Holland shows up with her long legs and no-bullshit attitude to audition for the prestigious all-male Rodner University snare line.
It doesn’t matter how much hazing she has to endure from Laird Bronson, with his narrowed green eyes and arrogant smirk. She wants that damn spot, and she’s more than good enough to earn it. 
She expects there to be tension. Even friction. 
But not sparks hot enough to burn the entire campus down.

I've wanted to read Drumline since it came out for the simple reason of drum lines being amazing! I've always thought that percussion was awesome and actually tried out for them when I joined band in school. Sadly, I didn't get in but I still love watching videos of drum line performances because they really are the heart of any band. I thought that this book might take a page out of the movie Drumline with Nick Cannon but make it better for one simple reason....Reese. 
I loved Reese because she didn't take any crap from anyone. She didn't care that the Drum line was traditionally all male. She wanted to be treated equally and for them to know that she knew that she was talented enough to make the cut. She kicked some major booty! I do think that the author may have taken that character trait a bit too far though. It begin to be ridiculous what she was willing to do to not be seen as weak and helpless. I can't believe the crap that she faced and then kept her silence about it. I would ahve thought that at that point she would have spoken up. The character that stole the show for me was Laird. He had a lot going on and I could see how he would be protective of Reese especially when he found out about something that she had dealt with in the past. He was kind and determined to make the world a better, happier place in his own way. Plus, who doesn't love a guy that plays the drums?! 
I loved the interactions between Laird and Reese. They ranged from funny to downright frustrating. Their chemistry was really well done. I know that there has been talk of insta-love taking place in this book and that is true. I'm not exactly sure why it didn't bother me as much with this book. Their relationship clearly begins as a crazy sexual chemistry which evolves into knowing a bit about each other. I think that by the end of the book it is fairly believable that they would love each other. I think that it honestly comes down to Laird. He has an intensity to him, an alphaness I guess, with a lot of love to give that is what makes their feelings real to me. 
My biggest issue with this book was I didn't feel like there was any actual drumming. It is spoken about but I wanted to feel like I was there on the field as they played a set. I know that at the heart of this book it is a romance but I wanted it to almost take on a Whiplash or Drumline - like theme to it because the movie deal with the difficulty of actually playing and not just the hazing that takes place. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

Betrayal by K.A. Morales

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Amber's life changed in a matter of minutes. She went from being a normal teenager to the leader of the Safe Zone. Her main job is to find out why werewolves have taken over Colorado. She would have never thought an outing to Denver would change her life, but to her surprise, her past came back to betray her.

I enjoyed how the author throws the reader right into the fray. The book opens with a prologue where werewolves are attacking and killing people while our main character watches frozen from inside of her home. It was so exciting but terrifying to read about the scene unfolding before Amber's eyes. 
I would have liked a bit more world building because I still have so many questions. Was the werewolf outbreak contained to Colorado or did it spread further? There are hints given as to the state of the government but it isn't made clear. This book reminded me a lot of zombie novels I have read before with the exception of it being werewolves rather than zombies. The explanation behind the werewolf outbreak was interesting but I'm not sure if I completely buy the explanation behind the genetics and reasoning for the infection/cure. If you don't think too much about it then the book is really enjoyable. If not, than this book may not be for you.
I'm not sure if I loved the drama between the main characters because I wanted more of the focus to be on the werewolves. I can see why the author would want there to be conflict between the characters because of how stressful the current state of things are but it got a bit repetitive after a little while. I'm wondering what direction the author will take the next book because it seemed like most of the issues are resolved by the end of Betrayal. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Shared Stars by V.G. Kilgore

🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and, for Ric and Avi, can lead to disaster in SHARED STARS, a murder mystery that’s a cross between 500 Days of Summer and a sexy Nancy Drew.

The young couple falls hard and fast during Roric Finnegan’s time in America as a foreign exchange student, with the impetus of Avelina Flores’s traumatic past with pedophiles and his determination to make them pay. Now back in Ireland, Ric, 16, is living alone in an RV and stalking Tim Maebry, the man who exploited Avi and escaped justice. A despondent Avi is dealing with losing the “beautiful boy,” she credits with her escape from the sexual predators and fending off everyone who tells her she needs to get over the Irish geek. When Tim is found dead in his castle from a vicious clubbing, Ric is accused of murdering him. Avi swoops in from Ohio Township, best friends in tow, to scour the internet and countryside, looking for clues, while the young lovers tell their story of love not lost, but in limbo. It’s the only way to save Ric and find the killer. Unless, of course, Ric is the killer.

*This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I thought that the portion of the plot of this book that had to do with the sexual predators that preyed on young girls was intriguing. I thought that the book would focus heavily on the fact that Roric and others wanted to bring them to justice which it did but the book also focused on the relationship between Roric and Avi. This made for an odd tone to the story that made it difficult to read. i would have liked for the author to have focused on one or the other to make the story more enjoyable. Focusing on both made me feel like the author glanced over the topic of pedophilia. It made it seem like Avi and the other girls involved were not as impacted as a person can be that survives something like that.  It might have strengthened the book to have had it be a romance wherein one of the main characters was abused in the past. 
I also feel that this book should gave been shortened. I got tired of the flashbacks because some of them didn't even seem to fit with the tone of the story. It was a bit confusing because one minute the focus is on finding out who killed Tim and the next it is all lovey dovey between Roric and Ari. I'm not sure that liked the characters because they seemed immature and their parents seemed to be clueless. I felt like Ari and Roric's relationship was a bit unhealthy. He kept throwing her past in her face and basically blaming the victim. Then he would apologize and everything would be wonderful again. 
There was something else that was confusing to me too. What is up with Avi? Why is she so irresistible to the opposite sex? Does she wear some type of pheromone to attract men to her? It just wasn't realistic for that character to attract the majority of the males in a book. 

Cold Hard Truth by Anne Greenwood Brown

🌟🌟🌟 out of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Emmie O’Brien is a former good girl now on the fringe. She spent a crazy year involved with Nick, her mom’s drug dealer; after her arrest she was lucky to go back to her old life. But she’s haunted by the choices she made—first, to be with Nick, and then later, to testify against him. Max Shepherd is a senior varsity hockey player with serious anger issues. His grief over the death of his girlfriend causes him to see injustice wherever he looks. When they meet in community service, Max is drawn to Emmie’s calm energy, but Emmie knows better than to get too close to anyone. When friends of Nick show up seeking revenge, Emmie is forced to come to terms with her past, while Max has to control his protective instincts. They must trust one another, especially when Emmie’s situation takes a dangerous turn.

*This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I had my doubts about this book but it turned out to have more depth to it than I thought that it would. I thought that Emmie's past was an interesting focal point to the story. I would have liked for the author to have gone into even more detail about it because it seemed so different from what I have seen before. The lengths that Emmie went to for her mother and that fact that she didn't blame her mother at all was saint like to me....or just naive. It was hard to get a complete read on Emmie for much of the story. I wasn't sure if she was in a relationship with Nick or if he was forced onto her. That aspect of the story was confusing and I wasn't sure if it was meant to be or not. I also had a hard time believing the "dangerous turn" portion of the story because in the real world things would not have gone down that way that I know of. I did think that the rest of the danger involved in the story was believable and therefore served to bring more tension into the book. I thought that Max was an interesting addition to the book because he was a flawed knight. He had anger issues that made him act without thinking but he only wanted to help people. He was also not a typical jock which I found refreshing. I enjoy when a character surprises me and doesn't turn out to be who I think they are at first glance.