THREE AND A HALF STARS!
why yes, I cheated and just edited screencaps of OTH for my edit
I quite enjoyed this book. It was a much needed change of pace from my usual erotic romances that I welcomed it with opened arms. Whilst Love Notes wouldn't win any awards for originality, I was still charmed by the simple story of the school's heart throb falling head over heels in love with the insecure, curvy new girl in town.
I liked both Charlie and Maverick and found them so absolutely sweet together. Maverick is a great character and the way he is with Charlie had me smiling. That kid sure has a way with words.
"Charlie, I wish you could see what I see - you're just perfect for me."
But as sweet as I found Maverick, the standout mc for me would definitely have to be Charlie. I couldn't help but identify with her while reading, the embarrassment and shame that arose from being picked on by the mean girls in school, something that I was definitely familiar with growing up. But what got to me the most was her dismal home life.
I can't deny the real emotions that churned in me after reading about Charlie's dysfunctional family life. Its sad to see the distance in her relationship with her mother and her father, but even more sadder to see the effect that it has on her self-esteem, having absolutely no support system whatsoever and despite all reason, yearning for more from her parents. Because of this, I absolutely could not fault Charlie for her inability to handle compliments directed at her, nor for her reaction after the plot twist at the 50% mark. And I was more than happy for her when she was determined to find her self-worth via her own agency rather than through her boyfriend.
So, why not five stars? While it was enjoyable, it didn't knock me head over heels. I wasn't even mad at the insta-love, or the somewhat unnecessary drama that arose from Maverick's massive pout over his future prospects; but there was just something missing from the writing that I needed. There were also some editing mistakes that my eyes obviously couldn't stop from zooming in on, but wasn't too much of a distraction for me.
Overall, Love Notes is a good read that I would recommend to YA lovers. I think it has a great message overall for the youths of today and I wish more YA authors would send more empowering messages such as this to young girls.
Let someone love you just as you are. As flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you might feel, as unaccomplished as you might think you are, let someone love you just as you are. And let that someone be YOU!
~ Sandra Kring.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS!
When I first met Archer in Allure, I was immediately captivated, wanting to bask in my glorious feels that only a reformed asshole could erect in me. I had found him so interesting that I was literally begging for Nina Lane to write his story, and wonders of all wonders, I got my wish.
Break The Sky is the story of two reformed souls struggling to escape the mistakes of their pasts. Professor Kseniya "Kelsey" March knows what is expected of her, knows how to be a "good girl", knows to stay in control at all times so as not to fall into the uncontrollable downward spiral that almost ruined her. So when Archer West rides into town and batters against that formidable control, she fights it, knowing that the heat sparking between them is too wild, too consuming, too temporary. But the pull is irresistible, and Kelsey is unable to withstand Archer' s intensity, the storm brewing between them raging strongly and absolutely beautiful in its destruction.
There were so many things that worked brilliantly for me that I'm still trying to come to terms with it all. Archer, my goodness. Let me tell you about Archer freaking West.
I didn't think that anyone could surpass Professor Dean. He does it for me, an academic with a body to die for and so possessive that it makes me giddy just to think about it. But then Archer West comes along and I'm whimpering pathetically and my ovaries are all "Dean who?" If you've ever wondered if a tatted guy could be bad ass and drink chocolate milk at the same time, I'd say hell yes and pour that milk all over me so he could drink it. He's so unabashed in his desires, so direct in his dealings, so devastating in his efforts to reach out towards family that its absolutely too much. What really had me though was the heart break in him.
"Mom and Dad gave you everything they gave me and Paige," Dean said.
"No, they fucking didn't."
"Oh, yeah?" He whirled around, his arms spread. "What, Archer? What the fuck did you not have that Paige and I did?"
"A family!" I shouted. "A goddamned family, okay?"
I can't quite express just how brilliant he is but suffice to say, this is one book boyfriend that has forever ruined my expectations for men in real life.
Kelsey March was a good character for me. She's so stubborn which was frustrating at times, her character somewhat different from what I had expected from the Spiral series. Despite this, there were aspects of her story which I could identify with. For one thing, the differences between her and Archer academic wise. I'm not going to lie, with a double degree in Med Sci and Arts, I have never been able to imagine myself with anyone who hasn't done the same amount of studying as I have. So when this issue was brought up, I found I was both ashamed of myself and of Kelsey for (briefly) thinking less of Archer simply because he's a high school drop out. I've always valued education but I didn't realise how uncharitable I've been to others, and its not a great feeling. The other thing that I could relate to was Kelsey's parents. I'll be honest, I absolutely cried when I read about their journey and struggle to find a better life for their Kseniya. Their story was an absolute reflection of ours and I balled my eyes out when I imagined Alexei with my own dad's cracked and work-roughened hands or Vera with my mum's arthritic hands.
The love scenes between Archer and Kelsey were definitely steamy. Archer's alpha male side came to the fore and that delightfully wicked mouth of his was to die for. But what did it for me the most was the emotional aspect of their relationship and their struggle to reconcile themselves to the fact that they mean so much more to each other than they're willing to admit.
I yanked my arm from Archer's grip and slapped his face again. A red imprint spread over his jaw. Grim satisfaction filled me.
"You want more?" Archer released me and yanked open his leather jacket to expose the damp white T-shirt underneath. "Go ahead. I'll take it."
"You sonuvabitch." I flew at him, hissing and scratching. My fists connected with his chest, his face, his abdomen. "How dare you? How fucking dare you come here and turn my world upside down and then leave? How dare you think I would fall in love with a man I thought was less? You've never been less, Archer! You've always been more...so much more...too goddamned much..."
The impact of my fists barely moved him, but I felt his unleashed pain. I could hardly see his expression past the blur of tears. I slapped him again. His hand closed around my wrist to stop another blow.
"Goddammit, Kelsey," he whispered. "I surrender."
So, why not five stars? While I loved almost everything in this book, I have to admit, the beginning was kinda slow. Don't get me wrong, I could totally enjoy a book based off the simmering heat between mcs, but the emotional roller coaster ride that started for me at about the 65% mark and the intensity that it brought had me wishing that it started a little earlier. While the second half of the book is almost enough to smash through to the five star threshold, my frustrations with Kelsey and my desire for a little more forces me to hold off on the five star rating.
I would definitely recommend this book to others, especially to those who loved what little of Archer they got during the Spiral series. For me, this book was definitely worth the wait!
ONE AND A HALF STARS!
I've always prided myself in reading a book to the very end (because hey, you gotta be able to say you're accomplished in something, right?), but this book really tested me and its only through sheer will that I got through to the very end.
This book had all the necessary elements to make it a success for me: rich CEO bad boy, struggling female mc with a hurtful past, inter-office relationship, enemies to lovers and a happy preggers after. But while all the necessary elements were there, the compilation of it all and the overall story telling was so terribad that I'm not even sure where to start.
Lilly Jacobs is by far, the worst heroine that I've ever had the displeasure to meet. She's rude, ungrateful, wishy washy and so stupid that its dangerous. Jake Cavanaugh also doesn't win any awards in my book. He's an absolute asshole upon meeting and really doesn't do anything to endear me towards him, constantly referring to himself as an alpha male. Sorry, mate, but if you have to label yourself an alpha male, chances are, you're not. Other support characters are equally unimpressive with the exception of Tracy who I just felt so sorry for in the end.
I honestly couldn't tell you what most of the book was about because quite frankly, it was all confusing. The formatting was all over the place which didn't help with my confusion and the action jumped so quickly from one section to the other that I was left reeling, with my eyes glazed over and my brain dribbling out of my nose.
The one part I did get though was the threat from Lilly's past. I thought the story would pick up from here but unfortunately, it doesn't. When Lilly gets angry at Jake for trying to protect her and subsequently dismisses David as a threat, despite being almost beaten to death by him in the past, I almost wanted him to bust a cap in her fool ass. And while I didn't wish the abuse at the end to happen to her, I couldn't help but think if she had been smarter, she could have avoided it all, could have avoided dragging Tracy into her mess, who, BTW, didn't even rate a mention to see how well she recovered from the ordeal.
There are so many things that I could talk about but I'll leave it here. Definitely not my cup of tea. And if my review was confusing, I can only blame it on such a confusing read.
I had previously read Legal Affairs: Objection and enjoyed it so I was happy to try another book from Sawyer Bennett, thinking I would definitely love this read. And I was both right and wrong. Right in the sense that there were genuinely awesome, feel good sections to the book, and wrong in the sense that when parts were bad, they made me want to beat the ever loving hell out of my kindle.
On the Rocks starts with a kiss between long time family friends, Gabriella Ward and Hunter Markham. The kiss is made awkward by the fact that Gabby has always had a huge crush on Hunter and is dreaming of a happily ever after while Hunter is crowded with guilt for kissing his sister's best friend whom he has always seen as another little sister. Hurt from his rejection, an antagonistic relationship blooms between the two for the next five years, before necessity brings the two together, forcing them to finally confront their feelings for the other.
* Its a nice, steamy read. If nothing else, Sawyer Bennett knows how to make enjoyable love scenes that fills out that requirement in a good adult read.
* When the two characters have their shit together, it is awesome, the relationship between them very sweet. Gabby with her support and steadfast loyalty to Hunter and his family, and Hunter's overprotective instincts towards Gabby, not to mention his "girly" emotions. I like a guy that can get in touch with his "feminine" side every now and then.
* The Dual POV. I love getting the male point of view, the contrast always helps make for a great read.
Unfortunately for me, there was just more bad than good in this read. The main negative in this book would have to be Gabby. Bloody Gabby. In the first half of this book, I was ready to yank my hair out. She is an absolute bitch and she knows it, readily confesses this fact for readers. I wasn't a fan of her wanting to hide her relationship with Hunter either when they finally get it on. (Like honestly, what are you, twelve?) Its not until everything is finally out in the open that I actually started to like her, started to enjoy the relationship between her and Hunter. They're talking with each other, they're acting like an awesome power couple, their relationship is really working so you can't help but wonder what all that bloody drama was about in the first place.
That is, until you reach the 90% mark. My goodness, if you'd ever wondered what a stupid plan made by a stupid person for absolutely stupid reasons looks like, then look no further, you've absolutely found it. Don't believe me? Well just read it for yourself. And if you're not convinced, have a quote from Hunter himself:
"Gabs...you cannot unilaterally decide what's best for me. This whole charade was stupid and nearly destroyed both of us."
There are other parts and other characters that didn't work for me but for the sake of time and the fact that I can't be bothered to list it all, I'll just leave it at this.
Would I recommend it? Not really. If its your thing, go for it. Personally, I'm glad that I got it for free from Amazon because in the end, there weren't enough good parts to really pull this off for me.
THREE AND A HALF TO FOUR STARS!
I've always been an unapologetic Inception fan and so when I read the blurb for this book, there was no way that I could pass on it. And I was not disappointed at all, not only did it bring all my Inception feels to the fore but it also had me drowning in its own feels as this book had its own style, despite there being similarities within the dream world and concept.
Darkness Falls is a paranormal romance that is set in what seems like a contemporary future. Reve, the french word for "dream," is a pop culture phenomenon thats taking the world by storm, with so many people signing up to enter a shared dream space where they can indulge in their fantasy lives. One such person is the ever reluctant and sensible Jordan Lane, who, accompanying her sister Maisie into the dreamworld, is marked by a Chimera agent by the name of Malcolm Rook. When it becomes obvious that Jordan has an uncanny ability for the dream world, she becomes the target of an unknown, shady organisation. Thus begins Jordan and Rook's fight for survival, but they quickly come to realise that Rook's demons may be a far greater danger.
I quite enjoyed this book. I found myself relating to Jordan in that I've always been the sensible sister, always shouldering the responsibility so that my younger sister could be absolutely carefree, so I definitely felt a connection pretty much from the get go. What made me absolutely love her was how she grew into her wicked powers and how absolutely fierce she was when it comes to protecting the ones that she cares for. This is a woman who is more than capable of rescuing herself and it just makes my heart thump wildly in admiration. Rook, for me was a good character, though he didn't stand out as much as Jordan did. I did, however, appreciate how protective and possessive he was of Jordan and how he drew strength from her to face his own demons.
How did a man catch up with his own nightmare? He had the answer now: when his woman was fighting it every step of the way.
Right on, bro. Right on.
Also, what really worked for me was Joshua. I don't know about you guys but evil/scary kids have the power to scare the hell out of me. And when I say scare, I mean whimper pathetically while hiding under my bed covers. So when I read about Joshua and his freaky appearances, I freaked out appropriately and cheered Jordan on.
So why not five stars? Even though I really enjoyed this book, there were several aspects that stopped me from being head over heels in love with it. The first is the length of the book. I understand its a novella, but I feel this book could have been so much more if it was longer. Its such a rich concept that 115 pages couldn't possibly be enough to fully explore not just the dreamworld but the characters as well. Which leads me to my next point that everything unfolded rather quickly, often times too quickly. For Jordan and Rook, whilst I had no problem with the instant attraction between them, I would have loved it if the author could have built their relationship up more. I found myself wishing for some witty banter or for some training sessions that would somehow turn steamy. For the story itself, I wish the fight scenes could have been prolonged for us to get a better grip on Jordan's powers, to learn her limits and possibly see it begin to evolve. The only other issue I had was the writing style. I know everyone has their own unique style but I found Erin's a bit so-so for me. At times it was brilliant and well suited for the story at hand, at other times I found it sometimes awkward, often making scenes disjointed somewhat.
Overall though, I quite enjoyed this book. Definitely need to check out the second book in this series!
THREE AND A HALF STARS
As a set up novella, its a pretty solid effort. The story is simple and straightforward, the two mcs are likeable and the sexy times are sexy, though the fact that its a novella rather than a full blown novel works against it, in my opinion.
Objection begins with McKayla Dawson carrying out her drunken promise to her best friend of hooking up with a stranger via an exclusive sex club. An incredible night of bliss proceeds with the ever so gorgeous, number 134, but its not long before reality crashes in and its back to the daily grind for Mac, a newly established litigation lawyer. She finds out that the firm that she works for has been bought out and on the day that she meets her new bosses, she comes face to face with number 134 himself. They're both determined to keep their relationship professional, but intimate knowledge of each other's bodies can be the very devil.
I liked this novella for the most part. Mac is smart, speaks her mind and is quite confident. I found her likeable though I couldn't help but scrunch my nose at her penchant for relying on her best friend's money for things. I can certainly appreciate times being tough and the economy being bad, but there is such a thing as living within your own means and I thought it was somewhat at odds with her hardworking background. Matt Connover (aka number 134), is pretty decent for someone with his authority and power. He apologises when he's in the wrong and he's not afraid to speak his mind, all traits I find likeable. Though despite all this, I found it hard to connect with the characters because the story was just too short. Once I started sinking into the story, it was over and done with and I found that I just couldn't quite make that connection with the characters. What also didn't work for me was Mac's final thoughts on Matt:
He's an asshole. There is no doubt about that. But I have a feeling he's a pathetically damaged asshole, and something has made him this way. That makes me feel sorry for him, even though his words cut pretty deep.
I guess this is suppose to open up an avenue of exploration in later installments for why Matt is so anti-relationships, but having Mac glean this "truth" without there being anything to indicate it to be true, other than her adamant belief that he wouldn't go down on her if he was adverse to relationships. Not to mention, her thoughts come not long after his utter rejection of her confession of liking him, which makes her thoughts seem more of a butthurt reaction to the rejection rather than showing true insight into his character. Or at least it was to my way of thinking.
Despite these issues, I did still enjoy the story overall and definitely want to continue with the series. If you like office romances as much as I do, then I'm sure you will like this as well (though you may want to get your hands on the box set and read it all in one go)!
FOUR AND A HALF STARS!
If you have never read a Linda Howard book in your life, then Heart of Fire would be an awesome book to introduce you to her. Being a huge fan of hers, I can't help but be a little biased when it comes to her works, but ultimately, I think this is a sure winner for fans of contemporary romances who adore strong women, sexy and unabashed heroes and a little suspense to keep those pages turning.
Jillian Sherwood is a woman with nothing to lose. All her life, she has had to work under the label given to her late father, a "crackpot" scholar who's flights of whimsy had eventually claimed his life. His standing within the archaeology community had made it so that others do not take her seriously, despite being fairly successful within her own right. Angered at the way opportunities are being withheld from her, Jillian peruses through her father's work, determined to clear his name and to kickstart her dwindling career. It is here that she discovers her father's findings on a lost Amazon city based around the myth of "the heart of The Empress," a myth that draws the interest of her deadbeat brother and his associate. They enlist the help of a river guide, Ben Lewis, and as their team travels towards the lost city, Jillian comes to realise that clearing her father's name may be too high a price for her to pay.
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book. All the characters worked for me. Jillian is a strong and feisty female, smart and savvy and not your typical heroine in the sense that she is trim, small-breasted and entirely capable, which is a refreshing change. Ben is your loveable rascal, simple with his wants and pleasures, and generally good guy. The connection between them is instantaneous, and the progression of their relationship is sexy and slow, so that when they both start dropping the L-word, you have no doubts about the sincerity of their words. And the banter, my goodness, the banter is amazing. Case in point:
He looked suspiciously at her purse.
"No, it isn't in there," she said and smiled at him. "And I'm not buying your act. You found it when you searched my room, so you know I have a pistol, you know what kind it is, and you know where it is."
He smiled back at her, not denying the charge. Of course he had searched her room while he'd had the chance. "You have nice underwear."
"I'm glad you enjoyed it. Did you try it on?"
Nah. Just rubbed my face against it."
What also worked was the overall simplicity of the story. There aren't any plot twists that you wouldn't see coming; its all pretty straightforward. The imagery is great, and I could certainly envision every aspect of their journey. I also enjoyed the sense of empowerment this book gave to women. What with Jillian being perfectly capable of taking care of herself, much to the chagrin of Ben's overprotective and possessive instincts, the feature of female warriors, and strangely enough, Teresa, with her uncomplicated sexuality and the fact that Ben praises it rather than demeans her for it.
Would I recommend it? Yes, a thousand times yes. If you're a hopeless romantic like me with a streak for adventure, then you would absolutely love this book!
From the moment I started the Renegade series, I absolutely fell in love with the characters that Skye Jordan brought to life, gobbling up Reckless with Jax and Lexi's oh so sexy airport texting and Rebel with Wes' southern boy charm literally charming the pants off the strong-willed Rubi. So when I heard that the fiesty secretary Rachel Hart was getting her own novel, I jumped the moment Ricochet was released and was all over it like white on rice.
I wish I could say that I was absolutely blown away by this third installment but unfortunately, I can't. Don't get me wrong, I definitely enjoyed it, this book almost had all my boxes ticked, but there were a few bits I just couldn't come to terms with and therefore stopped me from really enjoying the book.
* I loved Nathan Ryker. Absolutely loved him as a character. He is every wicked and sensual dream that you've ever had plus more. He's absolutely intense and his animal magnetism is undeniable. You can just feel his intensity dripping from the pages, especially when he's focusing that intensity on Rachel.
His PTSD is heartbreaking and you can't help but shed tears over his nightmares and the bitter shame when he realises that people have witnessed him during his moment of weakness. But what absolutely and forever enshrined him in my league of book boyfriends who have forever ruined me is his love for the men on his team and how easily he voices it.
Ryker laughed, but his eyes were already wet, and he couldn't do anything about the tears squeezing out onto his face. He wiped at them before he dropped his hand. "Can I...I don't know...hug you or something?"
There's nothing quite like a strong man showing his softer side that gets my heart pumping like crazy with overwhelming feels.
* The steamy sex scenes. Oh my goodness, if you thought that Reckless and Rebel were hot reads then prepare yourselves for the hot mess that is Ricochet. So absolutely delicious that I just can't even.
* The main issue I had with this book was Rachel's character. I absolutely loved her to pieces in the previous installment and couldn't wait to read more of her feisty self. And for the first few chapters we saw that sexy side of her and there was much rejoicing in the land. But then her character dips for me with her constant rejection of Ryker. Maybe I'm being naive about this but I honestly couldn't understand her reasoning. I thought for someone who was pegged as the fiesty little secretary, she should have had no problems with telling Troy to bugger off with his opinions. I honestly tried to cut her some slack when her back story was revealed, a betrayal from a sister something that struck quite close to home for me, but my sympathy dried up with what I felt was her doing her best to play a raving shrew. Not to mention her attempt at a flippant dismissal of Ryker towards the end. Honestly could not stop shaking my head at that.
I guess I couldn't help but compare this a little with Love in the Afternoon, which is probably why I couldn't quite connect with Rachel.
* The only other issue I had was the spelling mistakes. I was kinda surprised at the number I found, not to mention the number of grammatical errors. Not really a deal breaker but it was noticeable enough for me that it distracted somewhat from the overall story.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, absolutely yes. Even though it was frustrating for me at times, I seriously enjoyed this book. Enjoyed the raw emotions and the fact that love is not something that always comes easily. Looking forward for the next installment in this awesome series.
If you're looking for a quick and easy read with a little bit of everything in it, then Hot Secrets is just the right book for you. Former FBI agent, Royce Walker, has been asked by Senator Reynolds to look into a few matters concerning his daughter, the ever proper Lauren Reynolds, Assistant DA. Upon meeting, there is an instant connection between the two which leads to an intended one night stand. However, the presence of danger in Lauren's life has Royce pushing to be more than just a one night stand. With things quickly spiralling downhill, Lauren quickly learns to trust Royce with her life, but can she learn to trust him with her heart?
I liked reading this book. Its very fast paced, the action keeping things from dragging on. Royce and Lauren are great characters, Royce more so than Lauren for me. He's everything you want in a guy, hot, protective, possessive, supportive and quite open, which was a nice change from other alpha males who never share anything with their woman. Lauren was a bit frustrating at times, though due to the fast pace, you didn't really have time to dwell on it. I simply got annoyed and then got over it.
I enjoyed the secondary characters, the most stand out for me was Blake Walker. I absolutely loved his frankness and his backstory was heart breaking. To me, he was the star of the book, he says things as it is and doesn't pull his punches.
"He's been a wreck, worried you would hate him, worried about protecting you. And that woman on the machine was nothing to him, Lauren. Nothing. You are...You need to be with him, so you two can try and work this out."
That right there just absolutely works for me.
So why not five stars? As I mentioned before, this book is really fast paced. I think I would have been really engrossed in this book if it was a bit longer and took the time to develop the story well, to allow for a greater connection with the characters. As it was, while I enjoyed the characters, I wasn't emotionally invested in the story and could only drum up a bit of warmth for the story as a whole.
There were some other tidbits such as formatting errors and spelling mistakes but I'm contributing it to the fact that I received this copy off of NetGalley.
THREE AND A HALF STARS!
At only 175 pages, Deviant is a very quick, hot and action filled read. It follows the story of Sloane Romera's desperate search for her missing sister Alexis. She is willing to do anything to find her, including giving up her v-card to an intense stranger for information that can potentially lead her to Alexis' whereabouts. But the lead falls through and Sloane's left reeling from the betrayal. Until she meets with the stranger, better known as Zeth, at the hospital where she currently works at two years later. Things are still intense and heated between them and it doesn't take long before their relationship explodes.
I enjoyed this novella for the most part. I think it could have easily been longer so the cliffhanger had me squinting at my computer screen in frustration. There are a lot of trigger potentials so a massive warning to anyone who may not be able to stomach a darker read. There were quite a few spelling mistakes and such but they were very minor and overall did not affect the overall story. Also, the two mcs are definitely likeable. Sloane was a better stand out character than Zeth in my eyes, she was just so incredibly BAMF to me and it was easier to connect with her, even despite it being a novella.
Why not five stars? The lack of five stars was really a personal issue. I had no idea how dark this book was (well, dark in the sense that I generally read books about rainbows and sunshine and candy) so when the sex scenes came and it was like:
Me being the weiner that I am was like:
I'm sure those who have a stronger stomach than my puny one will have no problem handling this read.
Looking forward to continuing the story.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS!
I was so nervous starting this book because I wasn't too inspired after reading the blurb, envisioning drunken dials and psychotic creepings, but I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem that I'm so glad that I decided to give it a shot.
Fixed on You starts off with that typical cliche proposal of I need to hire you as my fake!girlfriend so we can do fake things together and convince people that our fakeness is so real. Not to mention the added cringe-worthy drama of the heroine, Alayna Withers, being somewhat involved with another co-worker who she has tagged as her safe, happy ever after option but having a major lady boner for the new owner of the club where she works at, Hudson Pierce. But what evolves is a heart wrenching story of two broken people trying to break free from the tethers of their destructive pasts and learning to trust one another, despite all that stands in their way.
What really worked for me in this book was Alayna's character. I enjoyed the fact that she was open with her dealings with Hudson. If she was hurt and needed to clear the air, she opened her mouth and said so. If she felt like her unhealthy behaviours were starting to rear its ugly head, she was proactive about it and put up boundaries, went to her group sessions, worked through her techniques and coping mechanisms. If someone was a total bitch to her, she bitched right back at them and put them in their place. But what really got to me about her was the emotional pull that ambushed me. The bitter shame she feels when she realises she's relapsed into dangerous behaviours, the hurt she feels when her dismal familial support network falls apart, the emotional turmoil that she undergoes when her analytical mind obsesses over things Hudson said. The struggle was real, and I was overwhelmed with the connection I felt towards Alayna's character as a reader.
I did understand him. More than I had ever thought possible. What it felt like to be a certain way and to loathe myself for it. How difficult it was to change and learn to accept the parts of me that were fundamentally never going to change. And what it did to me to believe I was incapable of falling in love the way normal people do.
Hudson was also a character that really worked for me. I'd seen a few reviews that labelled him as an asshole, but for me, it didn't quite ring true. Yes, he may have been an asshole in the past, but I think many forget that one of the ongoing themes within the book is struggling to progress from where you were and not falling back into that black hole. Hudson has trouble coming to terms with his feelings, which is perfectly understandable considering his background, but his actions throughout the book isn't that of an intentional asshole, rather, someone trying to learn the ropes of having to be mindful of another's thoughts and feelings.
Other things that really worked for me were the sweet moments between Alayna and Hudson. There are some really awesome quotes in this book that had me drowning in feels:
He almost smiled, but squeezed his eyes shut as if trying to reign in his emotions. When he opened them again, they were pleading. "Alayna, don't quit. Don't quit me."
So, why not five stars? For me, the beginning was a little slow and it almost seemed like a typical run of the mill book until Paige changes the game and allows for readers to really get to know and connect with the two mcs. Not to mention the ever lulzworthy quote from the beginning of the book (before Alayna begins her journey of growth):
I glanced down at the black slinky pants that were so tight they gave me camel toe.
Lol. Camel toes and moose knuckles are definitely not my thing. So glad Hudson talks her into changing her wardrobe.
Overall, a surprisingly good read. Definitely continuing on with this series.
3 AND A HALF STARS!
I received this book for free through GoodReads First Reads, having won the giveaway contest for it, and I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty excited to see it in the mail today and dropped everything to read it.
It was very enjoyable for the most part. It's only 218 pages altogether so the action is very fast paced, and I thought Donna Aylward did a good job with establishing a credible connection between the two main characters within those pages. It also helps to keep the story from dragging on, which was something I was thankful for.
The Texan's Baby is the story of Oil Executive Elizabeth Bennett and cowboy Christopher Miller's one night stand gone wrong. Or right, considering how you look at it. As Lizzie advises the father-to-be of her pregnancy, a health scare involving her father sees her taking the reins of the family company, placing her under the strain and pressure of not only running a big, well-known company, but also a self-imposed stressor of believing her good girl status as the oldest of seven children, has gone down the drain with her recent actions. Chris doesn't hesitate to step up to the plate to take care of her and his unborn child, wanting more than just a co-parent relationship with Lizzie. But having a serious relationship with Lizzy will require her to tackle her issues of trust and abandonment.
What definitely worked for me was the frankness between Liz and Chris at the beginning. While their relationship (or lack thereof) was still new, they were honest with each other, not afraid to put into words their thoughts and feelings, which I definitely found refreshing. And boy, Chris is a serious charmer. His character was what won me over with this book and I couldn't help but sigh with warm feels at some of the things he did and said throughout the book.
What didn't quite work for me was Liz's character in the second half of the book. I appreciated her honestly in the first half of the book, but then I started to get annoyed with how she would constantly push Chris away, always needing to be in control. I did cut her some slack, considering that elevated hormone levels during pregnancy can no doubt make you far more emotional than usual, but the unnecessary drama that she created from thin air towards the end had me rolling my eyes with disdain. She honestly has everything really good in her life but she's just so determined to ruin things for herself, standing in her own way between happiness.
The steamy scenes that I oh so love was sorely lacking in this book. The romance aspect was good, but I wasn't expecting the PG-rating of this book (probably because I love me some good love scenes). Also, the resolution to the story was a bit rushed. It could have been drawn out more, to have Liz face certain truths and to do a bit of grovelling after the rubbish she spouted.
Other than that there were a few raised questions that I thought was left unanswered, but I'm guessing they would be answered in the sequels, as it looks like this book is part one of a series.
Overall, it was a good read. I wasn't completely engrossed but I did find it enjoyable for the most part.
THREE TO THREE AND A HALF STARS!
I downloaded this freebie on Amazon and saw that it was recommended by someone that I'm currently following and thought, why not? The blurb looked promising and the beginning went well for me with lots of angsty feels and unspoken longing, all ingredients for a great read. Though the book started to lose some of its spark after its halfway mark, leaving me frustrated and at odds with what I should rate it.
A Beautiful Lie is the story of three best friends, Parker, Garrett and Milo, who've known each other for eight years. Parker and Garrett has always been each other's all but some things in Parker's past causes her to shy away from those strong feelings and pick Milo as a partner as she feels he would be the "safer" option. But all is not what it seems when the tragic death of Milo send the other two on a mission to his last known location to find some answers. What ensues is the beginning of the end game relationship, major plot twists that I dare say you wouldn't have seen coming, and heartbreak for the lives destroyed.
*ANABELLE PARKER. Let me tell you about this BAMF Anabelle Parker. If you're like me, and you're sick of seeing women depicted as weak and dependant, always waiting around for a man to come and save them, then you're gonna love the hell outta Anabelle Parker.
"You have a mouth on you, Miss Parker. A lady shouldn't behave the way you do," he replied.
"Its a good thing for me I'm not a lady," Parker said with a smile as she kicked her foot out in front of her, slamming it right between...[his]...legs."
I can't delve into too much without spoiling her character but suffice to say that she has the brains, the attitude and a whole lot of bad in her, which makes her one feisty character.
* The plot twists. There were some I saw coming and some I didn't and towards the end when all the action finally unfolds, I get bombarded with all these answers to questions that plagued me in the beginning. And then some.
* I got a sense of female empowerment in this book that I was really pleased with. Not only is Parker such a strong and resilient character, I found that some of the secondary characters portrayed were also strong, even if it was in a more subtle way than Parker. Margarita and Catalina's friend especially, knowing the dangers that they faced (and I felt so horribly for Margarita, that poor woman) and still doing their part to help.
Unfortunately for me, there ended up being more bad than good in this book.
* My ultimate disappointment was in the hero of the story, Garrett McCarthy. He starts off as a great character for me (even if it was a bit cliche), and I couldn't help but simultaneously sympathise and admire a guy who stood and watched his best friend with the girl of his dreams for a period of eight years. I can only imagine how crazy it would have made me standing on the sidelines and longing for something I couldn't want.
What annoyed me about his character though is how much I thought he didn't behave as a navy seal on a secret operation to gather intel. Now granted, what I know about espionage and the likes are all things I've watched in movies or read in books, but I thought it wouldn't have been too much to ask of them to do a bug sweep every time they entered their villa, knowing the power held by the man they were after. Not to mention there never seemed to be an air of preparedness or an ability to reign in his emotions and work out the problems like you would think a man of his station would. Instead, he seems to have knee-jerk reactions to anything and everything and then blunder his way along.
But even more than this, what annoyed me the most was how bloody emotional he would get at any damn thing that didn't go his way. He spent most of his time bitching at Parker when he was in imminent danger of having his feelings hurt, going into a hulk rage over Parker getting hurt because he'd do some stupid crap and then telling her how much he loved her and baby this and baby that, or ignoring people trying to talk some sense into his stupid ass. His team mate summarised him perfectly for me:
"What's wrong?" Garrett asked.
"You have got to be the dumbest fuck in the entire world," Brady muttered...
Honestly, I just couldn't with that guy by the end of the book. If he wasn't inherent to Parker's happiness, I'm not even sure I would have wanted a HEA for him.
* I found parts of the book to be somewhat repetitive, causing it to drag on. It overemphasised the miscommunication between the two when it came to conveying their feelings for each other. I didn't mind the first few times but it seemed the point had to be beaten to death before it could be let go.
* I didn't really like about this book was the flashbacks and how they were utilised throughout. I thought there could have been a better job with working the flashbacks so that they could have flowed more seamlessly within the story, as it was, it seemed like it was all disjointed, and read as very awkward passages, which really had me struggling to continue reading.
* There were also minor mistakes like spelling errors and such but they weren't so bad that they would distract too much from reading.
Overall I would give it 3 to 3.5 stars. While there were some really great parts to the book, I found a lot of it frustrating, even with its great plot twists. Just didn't quite hit the mark for me.
I always cringe when I read about books that will include Aussies in it, usually because I never completely buy the portrayal of the Aussie character, but I was so happy when I read this book as Georgia Cates does a brilliant job with getting it right. Not to mention, getting this whole story right.
Beauty from Pain, simply put, is the story of how an American girl falls in love with her Aussie bloke. Laurelyn Prescott, aka Paige Beckett, is a sweet and witty girl who's currently spending some much needed vacation time down under with her best friend. While at a club where its open-mic night, Laurelyn is pressured to take to the mic, capturing the attention of Jack Henry McLachlan, aka Lachlan Henry. Intrigued, Jack orchestrates two chance meetings before finally taking her out on a date where he offers her an arrangement that she simply can't refuse.
I really enjoyed this book. Admittedly, it started off a bit slow and kinda bizarre. Bizarre because of the arrangement that forms between the two mcs (I don't think I'd ever read anything like that before previously) and I wasn't really sure if I was going to like the direction that I thought the story was going to head in. But I'm happy to say that I was absolutely wrong.
What I really liked about this book was how open the two mcs are with each other. They tell each other what's on their minds and more often than not, the other can tell what they're thinking because Laurelyn and Jack Henry are just that good together. Cates does a spectacular job with portraying their relationship because you can feel the chemistry just oozing off the pages and you can't help but sigh with warm feels as you read their sometimes sweet and sometimes heated interactions. And boy, their heated interactions are awesome.
My favourite scene had to be:
"Baby, you fucked my mind without touching my body"
What really stood out the most for me was Jack Henry's journey of discovery. Written in dual POV, I loved reading Jack Henry's reactions and thoughts towards Laurelyn and how he just couldn't stay away or get enough from her. It was certainly heart warming to read and made the cliffhanger all that more credible because we'd been exploring right alongside him as the story progressed and knew the destination that he would eventually wind up at, even if it took him longer to realise it.
Overall, a pleasurable four star read. There aren't too many issues that arise to drive unnecessary drama between the two, rather everything that does happen allow you to understand the two characters POV and how far they've come in their relationship when it gets to the end. This simple focus on their relationship and what they come to mean to each other is the beauty of the story. Looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel!
I downloaded this book with a bunch of other freebies off of Amazon and had my eye on it, not really sure if I wanted to read it or not since I'd been on a roller coaster of almost intolerable books as of late, but when I saw this book on my newsfeed, I thought to give it a shot. And I'm so glad that I did!
The book for me starts off slow and mostly uneventful (for me anyways). I do enjoy first love stories but not if it begins with insta-love between the couple. I was willing to reserve judgement on Gwen as we'd really yet to see her character grow and develop, but I almost had an instant dislike for Caleb because I felt he was somewhat creepy with his almost manic behaviour. Not to mention, I wasn't a fan of his mood alleviating when he would get ill cause Gwen would have to look after him or for the fact that he had pressured Gwen into having a baby when she wasn't ready. Caleb to me was a needy little boy.
Its not until Nathan enters the scene that I feel like the story picks up for me. From the get go, you know there are some dark and underlying issues that he's struggling with. Reading the interactions between him and Gwen when she first moves in, I kinda got a Rochester vibe from him, and couldn't help but laugh at some of the things that he would say, though my brows would rise at some of the other things he said and did.
And boy, let me tell you about the heart ache.
I'm not gonna lie and say I didn't cry in this book. Nathan is such a tortured soul and the heartbreak I felt for him while reading was enough to have me whimpering and lying in bed all day, not even bothering to leave the room until I had read every last dark secret of his. While I had my suspicions, actually reading about it had my heart hurting for him. But it wasn't just that, my whole heart ached for both Nathan and Gwen and the situation that they found themselves in, not because I found it impossible for them to be together because he was the brother of her dead fiance (I actually thought Gwen was being a bit stubborn in using him as a shield), but because with all these issues and an unwillingness both in Gwen and Nathan to talk to someone about their demons, it would always lie between them and stop them from grasping the happiness they so desperately need.
Overall, I found this a totally enjoyable, four and a half star read. The only reason why I'm not rating it a full five stars are for the glaring mistakes within the book that took away from my reading pleasure. Normally, I can overlook minor mistakes, but it seemed that every time the book mentioned someone 'standing' or 'sitting', it would mixup the tenses. Not to mention, using 'petrol' to replace 'gas' made no sense at all, especially as it was colloquially referring to a bodily function. There are other similar mistakes but you get the gist of what I'm saying.
Other than that, this book was amazing. I would totally recommend it to everyone and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel.