Tag Archive | Romance

REVIEW: Secret Vampire by L. J. Smith

Secret Vampire by L. J. Smith

Series: Night World #1

Read: April 6-8, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Publisher: Archway Paperbacks / Simon Pulse

Release Date: June 1996

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Pages: 242

Reading Challenge(s): Beat The Backlist 2017, 2017 YA

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

The diagnosis for Poppy was death. there was no hope—until James, her best friend and secret love, appeared in the hospital. But this was a James she didn’t know. He offered Poppy eternal life. Only he could open the door to the Night World. They’re soulmates—but can she follow him into death and beyond?

THE NIGHT WORLD isn’t a place. It’s all around us. The creatures of Night World are beautiful and deadly and irresistible to humans. Your best friend could be one—so could your crush.

The laws of Night World are very clear: humans must never learn that Night World exists. And members of Night World must never fall in love with a human. Violate the laws and the consequences are terrifying.

These are the stories about what happens when the rules get broken.


REVIEW

This is actually a re-re-re-re-re-etc-read for me. Its been roughly 20 years since I first discovered L. J. Smith and her Night World series. (Did I just age myself???) Unlike another favorite series from those days, which I re-read in recent years and then questioned my middle grade taste in books, this series is still as amazing as the day I read it.

Smith doesn’t waste time with describing every little nuance that her readers honestly aren’t going to care about, but within 2 pages I had a solid sense of who the heroine, Poppy, was as a person and how she felt about James, the hero of our story.

I was always a huge fan of the whole Soulmate trope and this series executes it perfectly. For me, there needs to be some kind of supernatural reason for Soulmates to exist, and in a world of vampires, witches, and shifters, it’s very easy to buy into that reasoning. Add in forbidden love and what teen girl could resist! Certainly not this one, even now that I’ve said goodbye to my teen years ages ago.

This is a short read, but it is utterly satisfying. There’s the star-crossed lovers, the villain, and vampires and witches galore! I seriously can’t wait to dive into the rest of these books. Who knows, maybe by the time I re-read the last of them, there will finally be a new release date set for the final book in the series. It’s only 17 years past due.

So should you read this one? YES. This was the book for the generation before Twilight. (And the author also created The Vampire Diaries – though the TV series took great liberties with the story. For the better IMO. But that’s a whole other book review!) So, what are you waiting for? Go sink your fangs into this amazing series!



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QUOTES

Looking at him, Poppy felt a pang—as always. It didn’t matter that she had seen  him every day, practically, for the past ten years. She still felt a quick sharp throb in her chest, somewhere between sweetness and pain, when first confronted with him every morning.

 

Until today she’d assumed it was her unconditional right to live. She hadn’t even been grateful for the privilege.

 

You don’t love a girl because of beauty. You love her because she sings a song only you can understand…

 
“There are two cardinal rules in the Night World,” he said steadily. “One is not to tell humans that it exists. The other is not to fall in love with a human. I’ve broken both of them.”

REVIEW: More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

More Than Friends by Monica Murphy

Series: Friends #2

Read: February 20 – March 2, 2017

Format: Paperback

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Genre: YA Romance

Pages: 320

Reading Challenge(s): 2017 YA, Beat The Backlist 2017, TBR 2017

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

He’s not perfect, but he’s all I want…

I’m your average girl at your average high school, trying to figure out my place in life. After catching my now ex-boyfriend messing around with my now ex-best friend, I’ve made some big changes. No more band, no more backstabbing friends and no more boring old life. Now I have new friends, a new job and new interests.

But there’s a certain someone who’s interested in me, and I don’t get it. Jordan Tuttle could have anyone he wants. He’s the most popular boy in school. Rich, gorgeous, smart and the star quarterback, he’s perfect. Yet he acts like he wants no one else but…me.

So despite my fears and doubt, I let him get close. Probably too close. I discover that he’s not so perfect after all, but it doesn’t matter. I’m falling for him, even though he runs so hot and cold. I know someday he’s going to break my heart.

And I’m going to let him.


REVIEW

I received a copy of More Than Friends from Goodreads First Reads. I took one look at that cover and wanted it. It’s so pretty!

Alas, I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I’d hoped. I read through it fairly quickly, it was a page turner, but I guess I just prefer books with less teen drama and different plot devices.

As far as the characters go, I liked them. Both Amanda and Tuttle. They both had depth and character flaws. They felt real. Tuttle in particular. He comes across as the perfect golden boy, but once you get inside his head you realize he has a lot of baggage. A LOT of baggage!

It’s been a while since I was in high school, and perhaps I just wasn’t / didn’t hang out with the kinds of kids in this book, but I was surprised that a book with such a tame cover would contain so much sexual content! As a parent, I would not be happy to catch my own young adult reading this book, which seems to glorify sex in high school and make it seem as though everyone is doing it. And yeah, maybe I’m letting my prudish side show, but those are my feelings. I prefer my teen fiction to remain clean. If anything happens it’s behind closed doors/fade to black, as well as being between two characters who actually know where they stand with one another, because throughout this entire book Amanda didn’t know if she was actually with Tuttle or not.

As a whole, this is a well written book filled with teen drama drama drama, but there is far too much sexual content IMO for a YA book. I’d have much rather seen them at least in college.


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QUOTES

It’s like I’m always waiting for the bomb to drop. For the joke to be on me. No one in a million years would ever match me with Jordan Tuttle. Not even me.

 

Ugh. I’m actually pissed people aren’t noticing me when I don’t want them to notice me. I make no sense.

 

“Wait a minute. You apologized to her?” Livvy shakes her head. “Why.”

“Because what I said to her was wrong. It bothered me all night. I had to tell her I was sorry.”

“You’re too nice.” She’s still shaking her head.

Maybe you’re not nice enough, I almost tell her, but I don’t. That’s opening a whole new bag of trouble.

 

Whispering “sorry” under my breath—because yes, I do talk to my car sometimes, thank you very much—I turn the key and the engine starts right up.

 

I have no photos of Jordan and me together. None. And in this social media driven world we live in, if there’s no photographic proof, then it didn’t happen.

 

“Passion only lasts so long, especially with those two. They are a prime example that you cannot sustain a relationship based merely on passion.”

REVIEW: Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Scorpius Syndrome #1

Read: December 29, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Format: ARC Ebook (NetGalley)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Publisher: Kensington

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Pages: 384

READING CHALLENGE: #TBRChallenge

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

While being entirely way too smutty for my tastes, Mercury Striking is a well thought out page turner.

With the Scorpius bacteria on the loose, more deadly than the plague, Jax Mercury has created his own community in Los Angeles where the people are protected and everyone does their part. Meanwhile, Lynn Harmony aka “Blue Heart” is fugitive #1. Said to be carrying a mutated strain of the Scorpius bacteria, she is supposed to be turned into what’s left of the government if she’s found. As the former head of the CDC, she’s too valuable to let go.

So obviously this is a romance. And it’s a steamy alpha male romance at that. Personally, I don’t get the whole alpha male attraction. They’re mostly just jerks. Jax isn’t too bad, as far as Alpha’s go. He’s got a lot of backstory and reasons for acting the way he does. He’s got a past and demons to conquer.

Lynne is far from the damsel in distress herself. She’s got a brain and knows how to use it. She’s got her own demons to vanquish and together with Jax, they may just be able to take on the world.

I was surprised by how much I liked about this book. The action was good and kept the story moving. The explanations for the Scorpius bacteria was well thought out and interesting, it wasn’t a last minute cop out thrown together by the author in order to get the characters in bed together. It was legit. And I liked it. The side characters were also very interesting and I have a feeling there is plenty to find out about each of them in the future.

As far as what I didn’t like, as I said before, I’m not one for books with lots of sex. It’s just not my reading preference. If you like a lot of sex scenes, this is the book for you! For me, it was too much. Especially a particular scene in the book which was WAY too rapey for my liking. The author knows each partner wanted it, but there was no way that Jax knew she really wanted it. She said no, and he did it anyway. It left a really bad taste in my mouth and if I were the kind of reader who quit partway through a book, I would have quit. Aside from that scene, I had no other major issues with the book.

 

So, should you read it? If you like LOTS of sex scenes and romance novels that have more substance than just the romance aspect, YES. If you don’t like sex scenes, you may have a harder time. You could always skip over them, but you’ll miss some of the relationship development.



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QUOTES

 

Her shoulders went back, and she rested her head, staring up at the roof. “I’d love to be useless.”

 

Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. – G. K. Chesterton

 

“I have an IQ well into the triple digits, Mercury. Killing you right now surrounded by your people would be incredibly stupid. I’m not stupid.”

 

The world either wants her dead because they blame her for not stopping the illness, or they think somehow there’s a cure in her blood since she’s the only one with a blue heart.

 

The guy was quoting Nietzsche? What kind of an ex-gang member turned army special ops turned leader of a vigilante group knew philosophy?

 

“A gentleman would give me the bed.”
He scratched the stubble next to his scar. “All the gentlemen are dead, baby. Soldiers and survivors are what we have now.”

 

For a badass, dangerous killer of a soldier who had no problem wielding a belt, Jax Mercury sure liked to cuddle.

 

“This doesn’t mean I need to get your name tattooed to my ass, does it? With the former gang affiliation, with military and the new group, I’m unaware of the protocol.”

 

“You need a woman.”
“A woman is the last thing on earth I need,” Raze countered.
Jax raised an eyebrow. “A guy, then?”

 

REVIEW: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Read: December 1 – 6, 2016

Format: ARC ebook

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Publisher: Thomas Dunne / St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: February 7, 2017

Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.


REVIEW

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

First – look at this cover. Is this not a stunningly beautiful cover? Wow. I want to frame it and hang it on the wall. I love this cover so much. This cover is the reason I wanted to read this book, well, that and the fact that it’s also about the Goblin King.

Now let’s talk for a moment about the 1986 movie Labyrinth staring the fabulous David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly. This book is not at all like the movie, aside from the connection with the Goblin King, the taken sibling, the midnight balls, the oubliette, and those weird hand things. You remember that scene, right? “Up or down?” Anyway, that sounds like a lot in common, but it’s really not. It’s the ideas, but the way they’re weaved in the book is very different from the film.

So, back to the book. First, I believe this is billed as a YA. There is a LOT of sex in a book for teens! I would actually classify this more as a new adult novel, or a YA/NA crossover at best. I would not let my kids read this book until they were 17 at the earliest, and even then if they were mature enough to handle it. As an avid adult YA reader, it was fine for me.

This story takes place in 18th century Bavaria and follows Elisabeth aka Liesl, the 19 year old daughter of an inn keeper. She is the oldest, but unlike her younger sister Kath, she is not beautiful, but plain. She is as talented as her little brother Joseph, if not more, but she is a girl, and therefor her talents have largely gone ignored.

S. Jae-Jones has proven that she has a voice to be heard with this book. The prose is hauntingly beautiful. I felt like I was taking this journey with Liesl/Elisabeth. I felt what she felt, I saw/heard what she did. I fell into this world of music and folklore and got lost. This book made me feel like I knew something about playing the violin, when in actuality I have nothing more than a couple of months piano lessons under my belt.

Despite the beautiful prose, this book dragged for me. At times there were pages and pages of nothing happening. Repetition of Liesl/Elisabeth’s feelings and thoughts. This book is actually broken into sections and within Part I I wondered if anything would actually happen. And then it did. And it was fabulous. Part II was strange. Part III is where things got really weird and Liesl/Elisabeth began to act very out of character. I get that she’s changing on this journey, but it was odd. I didn’t like her much here. By the end, I mostly liked her again. Ultimately, this is the story of Elisabeth finding herself, and I think she succeeds.

I did love how vivid the characters were, even the Goblin King who is so shrouded in mystery, became real. I loved how protective Liesl/Elisabeth was of her siblings, especially her close relationship with Joseph.

I didn’t care much for how Liesl/Elisabeth and the Goblin King treated each other. It was obvious they each had strong feelings for the other, but neither expressed those feelings in a healthy way. It was very uncomfortable.

The end of this book is bittersweet. This is a very dark romance. There is no chance of a truly happy ending, no matter the outcome. I won’t tell you what happens, but I feel like the author ended this with the best possible outcome. And with a sequel due out in 2018, I wonder where that will lead us. And I wonder if it will be as many pages!

So, would I recommend this book? Eh…. It depends. This book is very long-winded, but the prose is utterly beautiful. If you like quick paced books, skip this one. If you don’t mind a book to take its sweet time getting from point A to point B, then you may enjoy this one.

Walking away from this book I really am conflicted. I’m still thinking about it two weeks later, which is something all authors want for their book! And if not for

the extremely slow pacing at times, I think I would have rated this book much higher. I’m curious to see what my friends think of this book, if any of them read it.
 


 
Wintersong releases February 7, 2017
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QUOTES

 

Will you mary me, Elisabeth? The little boy asked, and the little girl did not yet understand his question was not part of a game.

 

Time—like memory—was just another one of the Goblin King’s playthings, a toy he could bend and stretch at will.

 

Dangerous? Little Liesl had asked. Dangerous how?

Dangerous as a winter wind, which freezes the marrow from within, and not like a blade, which slashes the throat from without.

 

This was the Goblin King. The abductor of maidens, the punisher of misdeeds, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground. But was he also not the friend of my childhood, the confidante of my youth?

 

“Your sister,” he said, nodding toward Kathe in the crowd, “would prefer pretty enchantments to the stark ugliness of reality, I think.”

 

There was a grace to every line of his body; elegance was not only in his air, but in the way he moved. Even when he was unsure.

“I—I—“ He was flustered. I relished this bit of power over him, this ability to unsettle him as much as he unsettled me.

 

The surrounding forest was unfamiliar, lit with the otherworldly glow of starlight. The trees grew into twisted shapes, sculpted by centuries of wind—or a goblin-led hand. They grew as though striving to dance and roam free, only to be rooted fast and trapped by the earth beneath them.

 

“That sort of passion she inspires in me is all flash and no heat. I need an ember, Elisabeth, not a firecracker.”

 

He tastes like a winter wind, but the heat of our mouths warms him up, and then everything is languid, humid, hot, like still summer night.

 

I want to lie with the Devil and would do so again and again, just to feel like this.

 

“Go to bed, Elisabeth,” he said. “You’re drunk.”

 

I knew who I was not: my sister. Without my sister to define me, I was unsteady, unstable. I had lost the crutch that propped me up.

 

REVIEW: Hazel’s Promise by Emily Larkin

Hazel’s Promise by Emily Larkin

Series: The Fey Quartet #2

Read: September 1-14, 2016

Format: Print Book

My Book Rating: 4.5 Stars

Genre: Fantasy Romance

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

A lighthearted and magical tale of adventure, true love, and disguises.

Hazel Miller gave her heart to a man who went off to earn his fortune, but he’s been gone longer than she thought he would. A lot longer.

Dressed as a boy, Hazel sets out to find her lover, but the roads of Medieval England are fraught with peril. When a ragged stranger risks his life to protect her, how can she refuse his company?

Hazel’s quest is about to get complicated—and at its end, she may discover that her true love isn’t the man she has waited ten years for.

This is Hazel’s tale.


REVIEW

I received a free copy of this book via Goodreads First Reads.

 

At only 74 pages, I had some reservations about this novella. I often find that authors can’t develop realistic characters that the reader can understand and identify with. That was not the case with Hazel’s promise.

On his way back to the isolated village in which he lives, Tam passes a young man on his way out. Upon second glance, he realizes the young man is actually a young woman in disguise. Despite longing to arrive home, he turns his cart around and follows her.

The young woman is Hazel, who has just received a wish granted by the faeries. When she was just a young girl she fell hard for a nam named Drewet. He promised to come back for her, once he’d made his fortune away from their little village in Dapple Valley. But Drewet never came back. Using her faeries wish, Hazel is able to locate him and sets off to find him. This is when she meets Tam.

Tam proclaims himself Hazel’s chaperone and accompanies her the rest of the way to Drewet. Along the way they get to know one another and their chemistry is hard to deny. As predicted, by the end of the book Hazel has given up on Drewet and realizes she’s fallen in love with Tam.

I liked the characters in this story. Tam is kind and chivalrous. He isn’t described as being exceedingly good looking, but that doesn’t matter to Hazel because his personality shines. Meanwhile Hazel is quite pretty, at least in the eyes of Tam. She’s also headstrong and determined. When she makes a promise, she keeps it. She’s loyal to a fault and a little naive.

The charming way in which this book is written, it feels like it’s aimed at a younger audience, however some of the content is definitely not. It’s by no means erotica, but there are a couple spicy scenes.

In the end, this little story left me with a smile. I would gladly read the rest of this quartet. And at only 99 cents a pop, I may just do that.



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QUOTES

 

“The debt you owe is much smaller than you think, Hazel Miller…” The smile became speculative. “I slew your dragons; I would be content with a kiss.”

 

“I’d rather live in a one-roomed cottage with you than a manor house with any other man.”

 

REVIEW: Friday Night Brides by Samantha Chase

Friday Night Brides by Samantha Chase

Read: May 9 – August 1, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 4 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Friday Night Brides is the story of four best friends. For the past 20 years they have modeled wedding fashions in a bridal show every Friday night. Now in their mid-twenties, we get to follow their (mis)adventures in love.

I love that this story followed four different main characters and the author did a great job weaving their individual stories into one cohesive book, and in making them stand out as their own person.

Hailey’s mom owns Enchanted Bridal, the whole reason for the Friday Night Brides existence. She’s in lust with the perfect Logan, who has never shown even an inkling of returning the attraction, and can’t stand Jackson, the long haired, tattooed bad boy who models in the shows as well.

Becca always falls for the wrong guy. She has self esteem issues because she doesn’t have the slim figures of her friends. When she meets Max though, her luck seems to turn around.

Angie doesn’t really have a filter, she tells it how it is. When her ex comes back into her life, she has to decide if she can forgive him and try again.

And finally, Ella: she and her boyfriend Dylan have been together since middle school. With their wedding looming before them, and growing out of control thanks to their families, she’s beginning to doubt being with just one man EVER.

The only reason this book took me so long to read is because I started reading too many at once. Once I dedicated myself to finishing this book toward the end of July I sped through it. I needed to know what was going to happen with each of the women. And I was not disappointed. This book reads like a drama on The CW – in a good way!

I wish I could say that one couples story was more interesting than another, but I loved them all. I would say Ella’s probably resonated with me most because she’s marrying the man she’s been with since forever. I also married my high school boyfriend and have experienced some of her same feelings about wonder what, if anything, she/I missed out on by not dating other people. As far as character growth, I feel like Hailey grew the most as a person.

If you’re looking for a fun contemporary romance that’s a little different than others, this is it for you. I was honestly afraid at first it might read like chic-lit, but thankfully it does not! (At least not the chic-lit I’ve read in the past!)

 


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QUOTES

 Okay, I was so engrossed in this book I only highlighted one passage because it spoke to me!

“You want to know how I see us? I see us as people who work hard and are planning for our future. While everyone else is running around—or sleeping around—we’re committed to each other. We’re not pissing away our money at bars and clubs. … You’re looking around and thinking ‘look at all we’re missing’ and acting like it’s a bad thing. I’m looking at the same people and thinking about it all with relief! You know what, El? I bet if you asked any of them they’d all rather be us!”

 

REVIEW: Just Say Maybe by Tracy March

GUESS WHAT! In 3 hours I’m meeting my fav author – Richelle Mead!!!

To keep me occupied until then, I’m posting this review for your enjoyment. (I’ve been putting off writing it for a few days now. Along with another review.)


BOOK DESCRIPTION FROM GOODREADS:

Award-winning author Tracy March follows up Should’ve Said No (“Wonderfully quirky . . . a pleasure to read!”—Laura Drewry) with this enchanting novel set in Thistle Bend, Colorado, a magical place where old wrongs are righted, and adventure leads to true love.

Real estate lawyer Holly Birdsong’s hike in the Rockies takes an unexpected turn when a smokin’-hot stranger tumbles off his bike and into her path. Turns out he’s purchasing the abandoned Lodge at Wild Rose Ridge, and Holly agrees to take him on as a client—despite her family’s traumatic history with the previous owner, who shamelessly abused the town’s goodwill at every turn. But when their professional relationship turns personal, Holly must reconcile the past with her hopes for the future.

Adding the rustic lodge to his portfolio of adventure properties isn’t just a business decision for Bryce Bennett. The rugged mountains also offer a killer setting for his extreme-sports camps for at-risk teens. What’s not in the blueprints is finding a kindred spirit in his irresistible lawyer, even if she seems apprehensive about getting involved in the deal. Bryce’s plan to ease her mind just might work, as long as no one discovers his secret. Yet he can’t stand hiding the truth from the woman who makes him want to build something permanent: a happily ever after.


REVIEW

Just Say Maybe by Tracy March

Series: Thistle Bend #2

Read: May 2016

Format: ARC Ebook (Kindle)

My Book Rating: 3 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Last September I had the privilege of reading Should’ve Said No, book 1 in Tracy March’s Thistle Bend series. I was impressed with a romance novel full of likable characters and a mystery to boot!

I was excited when Just Say Maybe appeared on NetGalley because why wouldn’t I want to follow up that fabulous 4-star book 1 with the sequel?

Well, I think I liked book 1 so much that I was let down by book 2. While book 1 featured the mystery as the center plot, this one is very much romance centric. Sure, Holly says she doesn’t want to be with Bryce if he’s not going to stay, but it was barely an obstacle. There was a misunderstanding and jumping to conclusions that had me rolling my eyes as well.

I did like the characters, they were interesting and believable. The hotel storyline was somewhat interesting, but I would have liked this book more if that was the central story, and not the romance.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I like the romances to be built around the plot. If that makes sense. And this book felt like the plot was built around the romance.

I think those who like traditional contemporary romances will enjoy this book. I’ll probably read book 3 as well, but I doubt it will live up to book 1.


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REVIEW: Who I Am With You by Missy Fleming

Who I Am With You by Missy Fleming

Read: April 24-26, 2016

Format: ARC Ebook

My Book Rating: 5 Stars

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:
After witnessing the devastating events of September 11th firsthand, Olivia Van den Berg turned to drugs in hopes of burying the horrifying memory of her parents’ deaths. Nine years later, she’s sober and back in New York for the first time to visit her dying grandmother. With no other heirs, the family business will fall on Olivia’s shoulders, but is she strong enough take her rightful place at the head of a multi-million dollar corporation?

Duncan McMurray is a FDNY firefighter and a hopeless mess. He lost so much that fateful day – his family, his department brothers, his will to live. Years later he’s still struggling to come to terms with his survivor’s guilt and he does it with any substance he can get his hands on. One thought keeps him going … the girl with the chestnut hair he saved as hell crashed down around him, the only proof he wasn’t a complete failure.

A strange encounter reunites Olivia and Duncan once again and the two feel an instant connection. As Olivia falls in love with the man from her past, doors to her future begin to open and she must decide which path to follow. Who I Am With You is a story of love, fear, addiction and coming to terms with who you are and who you are supposed to be.


MY REVIEW:

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

Who I Am With You is not a typical romance novel, it’s far more.

Olivia and Duncan are both broken people. It’s been 9 years since the Twin Towers fell on September 11th and both are still dealing with the trauma of being at ground zero. Olivia was meeting her parents, who were in the second tower. Duncan was a firefighter, rescuing people from the towers. On that tragic day, Duncan saved Olivia.

In the nine years since the towers fell, Olivia ran away to California, abandoning her responsibilities as the heir to her families company, and turned to a life of hard drugs to numb the pain of her PTSD. Clean and sober (for the 2nd or 3rd time — I can’t remember which) for a little over 10 months now, Olivia is forced to face her past and return to NYC when she learns her grandmother, the only relative she has left, is dying of cancer and doesn’t have long to live.

Duncan has remained a NYC firefighter, dealing with his own PTSD and survivors guilt with prescription drugs and a hero complex, taking chances on the job he shouldn’t. His actions in the years since 9/11 have distanced him from his family, he’s now separated from his wife and doesn’t spend much time with his two children.

But when Olivia has dinner with her BFF and Duncan walks in, everything changes. He’s never left her mind, nor she his. They never thought they’d see one another again. It was like fate, like they were meant to meet again. And so they begin a relationship. But is it healthy for Olivia to be with a man who is still so angry and broken, when she’s doing so well on her path to sobriety? Will he lead her astray, into yet another relapse? Or perhaps, can she save him, just like he saved her all those years ago?

This story is so beautifully written. I’ve been a fan of Missy Fleming for years now and I’m always so excited to read her next book. Her teen Savannah Shadows series is toward the top of my all time favorite books, so when she offered me a chance to read this book I jumped.

This book has a beautiful love story with twists and turns along the way. There’s sadness and joy, grief and anger. I don’t recommend reading most of this book in public. I cried more than once. Anyone personally affected by 9/11 will probably have trouble as well. It’s obvious the author did a lot of research. I felt like I was at the base of the towers, watching the aftermath. I felt the dust and ash on my skin as I read the words, I felt Olivia’s fear and pain.

I can’t recommend this book enough. So, go grab it. It’s currently free on Kindle Unlimited, or only $1.99 to buy. That’s a steal.


GET THE BOOK

AMAZON KINDLE  |  GOODREADS

 

‘Second Chance For Love’ Release day!

I’ve been bombarding my social media followers with news of my latest release, but I’ve neglected my poor (or lucky?) blog followers!

That’s right, it’s release day! (Woohoo!)

Second Chance For Love is an anthology I almost didn’t write a story for. The deadline was approaching and I had no ideas. Then, BAM! An idea popped into my head. I’m not sure what I was thinking about, but I suddenly had this idea of a woman in a Hollywood marriage walking in on her husband with the nanny. Not only has she been betrayed by her life partner, but now how could she ever trust another nanny? The solution was the Manny.

Here’s a little about each of the stories, then I’ll give you an excerpt from my story, Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now.


Second Chance for Love

Who says love doesn’t come around again?

Seven stories of single parents finding love for the second time

 

The Ticket to Her Heart by D. G. Driver

Dalton Jones is a traffic cop who feels guilty about giving a speeding ticket to a beautiful single mom. With his teenage daughter’s help, he finds a way to meet the woman again, and they fall for each other. Only, he’s neglected to tell her who he really is.


The Perfect Beginning by Nancy Pennick

Tracy DeMarco hasn’t been on a date with a man in five years. She has a child to raise and a job she likes. Her daughter says she needs to get a life. Tracy thought hers was fine until a vampire shows up on her doorstep one Halloween night.


A Love for Michelle by Tara Fox Hall

Left by her boyfriend on the same night she lost her job, Michelle isn’t looking for love when she runs into Max and his two children while sledding. In a few short months, the new couple is inseparable. Then Michelle realizes she’s pregnant with her ex’s child. Will Max love her enough to accept a baby that isn’t his?


The Price of Silence by Katie Stephens

Even though Maggie and Rob are divorced, neither can deny the love they still have for each other. As they wonder why their marriage failed, Maggie’s artistic agent is determined to have her. Grant befriends her children in a bid to make her his wife, but will Rob stand aside and allow another man to take his children … and his soulmate?


Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now by Caroline Andrus

Celebrity photographer Rebecca thought her life was perfect, until she walked in on her husband and the nanny—in bed. A drunk phone call later, she’s managed to snag the most sought after male nanny in Los Angeles. Months later, at her best friends urging, she dives back into the dating pool, but will she end up with Mr. Right Now, or will she realize Mr. Right is already at home with her kids?


For the Love of a Horse by Daisy White

Single mum Ali has done everything she can to forget the past, but when a new love is threatened by a freak horse riding accident, she is forced to face her memories. Can she find the courage to take her second chance for love?


Unexpected Match Maker by JT Adeline

Peyton Geoffrey never thought she needed another dad, until her mom’s past boyfriend, Tate Langston, entered her life. Will Peyton be able to get this surly man to understand how important he is to others, and get him and her mom together again?

 

 

 


 

Excerpt from Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now by Caroline Andrus

 

“Well,” he said. “Have a good time on your date tonight.”

“Thanks,” she said, her gaze falling on the floor before meeting his once more. “Have a good time… hanging out here.”

He laughed. “I’ve got a tablet full of books to read.”

“Do you read a lot?” she asked as she began putting her earrings in.

“Any chance I get.”

“Is that why you’re single? Too lost in your books?”

It was his turn to study the floor. “Maybe. I guess the timing just hasn’t been right.”

“That’s too bad. If there’s anything I can do, as far as timing goes I mean—”

He cut her off. “Thanks, but I don’t think so.”

“Well, if you change your mind…” she trailed off. “Oh shoot!” She stared at the floor. “I dropped the darn back to my earring.”

She dropped to her hands and knees on the floor, searching for the tiny metal piece. Simon quickly joined her, his hands working across the plush cream colored carpet beneath them.

“Aha!” he cried triumphantly, his hand in a tight fist shot into the air.

“Thank you.” Her voice was a breath as she reached her hand out, palm open. Simon set the earring back gently on her palm, then with his other hand, closed her fingers around it.

“You’re welcome,” he said, his amber eyes staring deep into her blue ones.

There was a knock at the door and Rebecca started at the sound. She smiled apologetically and let him help her to her feet. As she turned her back on him to answer the door, Simon said something that caused her to turn back.

“Ollie is right. You really do look beautiful.”

She blushed and smiled at the floor. “Thank you.”

Turning, she quickly popped the earring back into place and made her way to the door. She opened it and found Lucas Labelle standing there, flashing his movie star smile.


Selfie with my print copy of the book!

So there you have it, Second Chance For Love.

Let me tell you, I’ve read all the stories. They’re all good, and they’re all different. If you’re a reader who likes a sweet, clean romance, this is the book for you. Who knows, you may find your new favorite author! (Could it be me??? j/k … or am I?)

You can download the book for FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited (or you can purchase the book) from Amazon here: Amazon.com

If you’re not ready to commit yet, I encourage you to add to your Goodreads Shelf here: Goodreads.com

And if you’re more of a paperback kinda reader, we’ve got you covered here: Lulu.com

 

REVIEW: Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec

Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec

Read: March 8 – April 17, 2016

Format: Print Book (Goodreads First To Read WIN)

My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars

Genre: YA – paranormal

 

I won a signed copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads program.

 

First, I have to get this out of the way. When I saw this book on the list of giveaways, I had no clue its as a YA. For whatever reason, this cover doesn’t look YA for me. The cover is very dark and serious IMO, and the book is more light and comedic, though it does address some serious subjects. That said, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that it WAS in fact teen fiction, because that’s primarily what I read.

The basic premise of this story is a teen girl named Lily crashes her car and dies for a few minutes. Upon being resuscitated, she realizes she’s now plagued by their weird blobby things. They follow her everywhere and are super distracting. Soon after, with the help of Zoe, a psychic medium goth from her school, she realizes they’re ghosts that have come back with her from the Other Side. There’s another presence, that of a really hot teen boy named Nick. She’s sure he’s a ghost, but he claims he’s not dead. He doesn’t look like the other ghost blobs, so what is he? Things are just starting to get weird for her.

Lily was a tough character for me to warm up to. She’s very prissy and OCD. She hordes hand sanitizer like it’s going out of style and likes things prim and proper. The story starts out with her being stupid and crashing her car because she’s staring at the polish on her fingernails instead of watching the road. (It was a really terrible color on her, or so she claims.)

I did eventually warm up to Lily, by about 30% in I was kind of liking her. By the end I did really like her. So, that was kind of cool, going from not really caring about her to actually feeling strong emotions over what she’s going through.

Actually, I think the author did a really good job with all of the characters. At first they appear one way, but then as you get to know them, you realize that there are layers beneath them that make them the way they are. Lily is OCD and perfect because her baby sister died at 3 months old and her parents have never been able to move on, even after 9 years. Afraid to step on any toes, she overcompensates by trying to be perfect. Then there’s Zoe, the goth girl from school who can see the ghosts. Lily always thought she was a super weird freak, but she soon realizes that Zoe is not only super nice, but also sort of insecure. Her parents don’t really seem to care, so perhaps she dresses in the goth style in order to get attention.

Rating this book was really hard. It started off with me not being so keen on the book, we were thrown instantly into the action and I almost felt like I was missing something. Then as it went on, I warmed up to the characters and the plot. But then it would drag for a while and I didn’t feel that “I NEED TO READ” feeling after putting the book down until the very end. I did read the last 45% of the book (some 80 pages) over the course of about 2 hours just because A. I wanted to be done reading this book, and B. There was suddenly a lot of action and I HAD to know what would happen next. If there had been more of that during the beginning/middle of the book, this would have been a 4-5 star read.

In the end, I was left with warm and tingly feelings, so when forced to choose a solid star rating, I will round up to a 4.

(I really liked Nick. I want to read more books with guys like Nick.)