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BOOK REVIEW ~ JANE’S MELODY BY RYAN WINFIELD

New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller–
What boundaries would you cross for true love? 

That’s the question a grieving mother must answer when she takes in a young street musician she believes can shed light on her daughter’s death—only to find herself falling for him. A sexy but touching love story that will leave you both tantalized and in tears, Jane’s Melody follows a forty-year-old woman on a romantic journey of rediscovery after years of struggling alone.

Sometimes our greatest gifts come from our greatest pain. And now Jane must decide if it’s too late for her to start over, or if true love really knows no limits.

[First time reading: 4 starsSecond time reading: 4.5 stars]

What an unconventional and inspirational story about love, loss, and healing! It seems with this re-read I notice the little things I missed the first time around and it just makes me love the story even more! ♥ ♥ ♥
The story follows a 40 year old mother Jane who has just done what no mother wants: bury her daughter. Struggling to accept Melody’s death, Jane unexpectedly stumbles into Caleb, a 24 year old homeless musician. Their only link: a 1973 silver dollar coin that previously belonged to Melody. After snooping through Melody’s old things, she deduces that Caleb is her old boyfriend and since she desperately needs closure, Jane takes Caleb in, offering him a temporary job while she tries to fish for any extra information about her daughter.
As time passes, Caleb and Jane grow closer and soon a romantic relationship develops. I live for the forbidden and taboo and this hit the nail on the head! There wasn’t anything sketchy nor did I feel like their relationship was inappropriate; the way the author wrote the book completely charmed me. Jane and Caleb are such endearing characters, and their story is believable: I could see something deeper than lust and attraction setting the basis of their relationship, and to me that makes it all the more meaningful to read. Pre-Caleb time, Jane struggled with accepting Melody’s death and pretty much brushed off living life. She’s just fine.

With Caleb in her life, Jane’s healing process begins and she learns to live, laugh, and love again. But their romance isn’t all perfect, and I love how the author portrays the very realistic implications of an older woman/younger man relationship. Jane has to deal with so much insecurity about her looks, her age, the appropriateness of such a romance, and through it all, Caleb was there to support and reassure her of his love.
Were there some choices Jane made I hated? Absolutely. And as much as I didn’t like the things that happened, I saw them as necessary to her character development; without making mistakes, she never would have faced all her worries and insecurities and be the person to step out of her comfort zone and say “hey, this is what I want and I’m going to go after it.” I loved reading and experiencing that journey with her!

Everything about the book, from the hot, sizzling sex scenes to the emotional, heartbreaking moments to the laugh-out-loud, charming humor speaks volumes to the author’s writing capabilities and ability to evoke a wide-range of emotions while delivering a most heartfelt, unique love story that I won’t be forgetting any time soon! As this is my second time reading the book and feeling so strongly about these characters, I can only imagine what I’d think if I re-read this for the third time 

ARC kindly provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


BOOK BLITZ ~ BEFORE YOU BREAK BY CHRISTINA LEE

A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control…

The star catcher of the college baseball team isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up.

Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working the suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore.

Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far.

*A companion novel to ALL OF YOU*

At the theater, we bought popcorn, Milk Duds, and large sodas. After we settled in our seats in the crowded room, I opened the box of chocolate caramel confections and dumped them in the large tub.
“Um,” Quinn said, scratching his chin.
“Sweet and salty—it’s a must­have for movie watching.”
“Seriously?”
“Yes, seriously.” I picked up a Milk Dud, flanked it with two pieces of popcorn, and then brought it to his lips. “Here. I guarantee you’ll fall in love. You’ll never watch a movie without them again.”
“If you say so. . . .” He dragged the sweet and salty mixture into his mouth but kept my fingers enclosed between his lips. I held in a gasp while he ran his tongue over my thumb and then sucked on my forefinger before releasing my hand and chewing what remained.
“Agree,” he said around a mouthful of popcorn. “Wouldn’t want to be without them ever again.”
Quinn’s gaze latched on to mine. It felt like a bundle of feathers had been let loose in my stomach. “Guess you’ll have to come to every movie from now on. So I don’t forget.”
Speechless wasn’t even the word for what I felt in that moment. Dumbfounded might have been more like it, or maybe just struck stupid, because I couldn’t even move my lips to form any coherent words.
When the movie previews began, he turned toward the screen and reached for my fingers, interlacing our hands. Then he leaned close to my ear and said, “I expect you to feed me just like that the entire movie.”

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything.

She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

She also owns her own jewelry business, called Tags-n-Stones(dot com), where she hand-stamps meaningful words or letters onto silver for her customers.

She loves to hear from her readers. You can find her here:


BOOK BLITZ ~ FIGHTING FOR LOVE BY L.P. DOVER

Book title: Fighting for LoveAuthor: L.P. DoverSeries: Second Chances #4Genre: NA Contemporary RomanceRelease date: March 9, 2014

Fighting for someone’s heart is more challenging than fighting for a title.


For a time, many years ago, love had grown, love was made, and in the end … love was lost. The decision to leave had been the worst mistake Shelby Dawson could have ever made. However, at the time—ten years ago—she felt her secret needed to stay hidden, even if it broke her heart and the heart of the man she loved. Back then, he was all hers and she was all his, but now things have changed and he isn’t the same guy she knew.

He happens to be the well-known MMA Heavyweight champion and famous bad boy, Matt ‘The Destroyer’ Reynolds, who once before struggled to help his family pay the bills. Now, he has money flowing with each undefeated win and an insurmountable number of women filling his bed. Everything is perfect for the illustrious fighter, until one day it all changes. In walks the girl from his past, the same girl who promised to stick by him but left and never looked back.

Their second chance to make things right will not come easy, for when one mistake is made an unwelcome consequence soon follows. Someone out there wants to rip them apart and they won’t stop until Matt and Shelby pay the ultimate price … their love.

USA Today Bestselling author, L.P. Dover, is a southern belle residing in North Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.


Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.

Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over nine novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.


PROMO TOUR ~ LOVELY TRIGGER BY R.K. LILLEY

Book title: Lovely TriggerAuthor: R.K. LilleySeries: Tristan + Danika #3Genre: Adult Contemporary RomanceRelease date: March 11, 2014

THE IMPACT

Tristan hit rock bottom, and no one felt the impact harder than Danika. She was forced to see, in the most brutal of ways, that love does not conquer all. Bruised, bloody, and broken she had to walk away.

THE AFTERMATH

Picking up the pieces of your life after a tragedy is a daunting prospect, and that’s considering you still own all of the pieces. But what if you don’t? What if someone else owns those pieces, and those pieces are a part of your soul?

You dig deep and work with what you’ve got. 

That’s what Danika told herself and believed, every single day, for years. 

Tristan and Danika’s love had failed every test that life had thrown at them. She couldn’t forget that, not for one second. And if those tests had been overly harsh, well, she wasn’t one to wallow in self-pity. The failure was the thing she had to focus on. The failure was the lesson. She had no intention of working so hard to make it out of hell without learning that lesson well. 

THE REUNION

Over six years after the night that changed everything, Danika finds herself forced to spend the weekend constantly in Tristan’s company, as they attend the wedding of two of their dearest friends. It’s been long enough that she feels they can be friendly again without it destroying her peace of mind, but just a small amount of time in his presence has her remembering something she had forced herself to forget: There’d been a reason she’d gone through hell with this man, for this man, some true good to precede the bad. 

She shocks herself by quickly giving in to a hunger that she never imagined could still consume her.

Even the best intentioned denial has a breaking point. 

THE HARSH REALITY

After everything that’s happened, the rise and the fall, the pain and the aftermath, can these two navigate the waters of acute regret, survive the trials of coming face to face with all that they have lost, and find the strength to try again?

4.5+ EXPLOSIVE STARS
Wow! *wipes tears* I don’t think I’ve read about a couple like Tristan and Danika who so deserves their happily-ever-after! This third and final book concluding the trilogy is everything I hoped for!

To be honest, I almost didn’t read this book. After the emotionally devastating (and that’s really an understatement) events from book 2 I didn’t think I was strong enough to read more of Tristan and Danika’s pain and regrets. Rock Bottom actually made me believe that these two would never get their HEA because of past tragedies and I just couldn’t accept that if it were the case in book 3. But holy flying cow! Guys, this book…it definitely wasn’t perfect, and as the reader looking in from the outside I disagreed with some of the character’s actions, but hell, it was perfect for Tristan and Danika. It was their beautifully broken story of how they slowly started to heal and entertained the idea of giving their love a second chance.

First and foremost, I LOVED the setup of the book and how RK Lilley paced the story. I’m usually not a fan of time gaps, but it was done so well here. These characters, particularly Danika, had gone through hell and back and I could 1000% understand that it’d take years, maybe even a decade, for old wounds to heal. I really appreciated that the author didn’t just jump dramatically to 6 years later or a decade later. Instead, she paced out their story so every year or so, I’d get a glimpse of how Tristan and Danika were doing, an update on their healing progress, and to me, that helped me accept the possibility that they could get together again.
Before, Tristan and Danika as a couple were dysfunctional, poisonous, and slowly tearing each other apart so I expected to see some development or improvement on each side to making their relationship work, and I did! It was immensely gratifying to see Tristan take up responsibility and he worked so hard to earn back Danika’s trust and love: some of his tactics had me giggling and sniffling over the thoughtfulness and tenderness in which he held Danika in regards to. And Danika…as much as she tried to protect herself from feeling again, there was never any chance of denying her feelings for Tristan. They were bound to happen and even if R.K. Lilley didn’t have them meet up 6 years later, should it be a decade later or 20 years later, their meeting and second chance is inevitable. These two people are just meant for each other.

It’s extremely rare for me to connect with two characters on such a deep level and that is the case with Tristan and Danika’s story. I started out reading this series to get more glimpses of James and Bianca but instead I finished this trilogy with the thought that these books have well surpassed the Up in the Air books! Complete love and respect for this author!P.S. The author used many personal experiences in this book so if you haven’t already, I encourage you all to read this heartfelt BLOG POST

R.K. Lilley lives in Colorado with her husband and their two beautiful sons. She’s had a lot of interesting jobs, from being a first class flight attendant, to being a stablehand, but swears she never knew what hard work was until she had children. She’s been addicted to both reading and writing fiction since she can remember. She loves to travel, read, hike, paint, game, watch anime, and make the most of every single day. She is the author of the erotic romance novels In Flight, Mile High, Grounded, and the novella, Lana.


BOOK REVIEW ~ THEN THERE WAS YOU BY MELANIE DAWN

Book title: Then There Was You Author: Melanie DawnSeries: So Much It Hurts #2Genre: Adult Contemporary RomanceRelease date: February 27, 2014

Out of despair comes hope. 
Chris King never saw it coming…In some ways, closing the book on my first love was the worst day of life. I was gutted, and yet I was completely at peace with my decision. I walked away knowing that I did what was best for her, unsure if I could ever recover. Little did I know that one concert would change the entire course of my life. 
There I stood, signing autographs and snapping pictures with fans when a familiar face in the crowd catapulted my mind back in time—Salem Honeycutt, once a balm to my pain and a calm in my storm. Yet again, her smiling face gave me hope.Only one question remained: did she still see me as a wayward teenage boy who was completely off limits, or could she see the man I’d become…focused and driven, yearning for another chance at love?
For Salem Honeycutt, postpartum bliss seemed like a lie…No one told me that I’d hate my baby when I brought her home from the hospital. No one told me that I’d want to put a pillow over my husband’s head and smother him in his sleep. No one told me that I’d want to slap every person who gave me the ever-so-cliché advice to ‘cherish every moment.’ No one told me that I’d despise my life the minute I became a mother, but I did.
Then I met Chris King, the kid who made me want to pull myself up from the dark recesses of my mind and face each day. This kid, whose passion for life and talent for music, touched my soul deeper than I could ever touch his. Chris gave me a reason to live.
I was once affectionately known as Mrs. H., Chris’s juvenile detention counselor. 
This is our story.

4.5 UNFORGETTABLE STARS!!!
This book was a complete surprise!! I only intended on reading the first 10% to get a feel for the story but before I knew it, 4 hours passed and I flipped to the last page. What an emotionally gripping and realistic story this was…a wonderful delight!
So this is the second book in the So Much It Hurts series and to be honest, I didn’t care for the first. I had many reasons but number one was… I fell for the wrong guy and he didn’t deserve what he got in book 1!! After reading this book’s blurb, I’ll admit I was intrigued by Chris’s potential love interest, but still feeling apprehensive about it all and on top of which, questioning how the author could churn out a story that included rockstar angst, older woman/younger man drama, and the gloomy aspects of Postpartum depression. Needless to say, Melanie Dawn has flawlessly weaved all those elements into a unique and different second chance romance that kept me captivated from the very start to the very end.

Told in dual POVs, the story kicks off with present day Chris and Salem in their separate lives; Chris in his famous rock star role and Salem who’s a single mom managing her teenage daughter. At one of his concerts, Chris and Salem bump into each other and it’s hinted multiple times that many years ago, they were each other’s solace in a time of darkness…
“At one very shitty time in my life, this woman was a fucking godsend.”
I feel like the author must’ve been reading my mind because just when I wished for a flashback scene so I could figure out Chris and Salem’s past connection, she provides me with one. I’m going to lay it out here…this flashback scene is one of the most powerfully written scenes I have ever read!!! I really admired and respected Salem’s altruistic heart, and even though she had postpartum depression, she was so dedicated to her counseling job. Reading about a younger Chris made my heart break; I could really tell he loved Kaitlyn (from book 1) but sometimes love isn’t enough and harsh circumstances get in the way, and sadly that was the case with Chris and his love for her. So it was during these times that a forlorn, struggling new mother Salem and a misunderstood and confused teenager Chris bonded and forged a special connection.

Mind you, there is nothing sexual about this early bond; it’s a pure, well-intentioned connection that both Chris and Salem needed in order to survive. Despite their age gap, these two understood each other on a deep emotional level and I liked that their relationship wasn’t defined by just a label.
Another thing I loved so much about this book was how real it was. Normally, any kind of Hollywood romance or rockstar romance provides a total escape from reality, but in this book, I liked how the author paced out the romantic relationship between Chris and Salem. They have so many factors working against them: older woman/younger man, famous rockstar/hometown nobody, counselor/ex-client, etc…so it makes it all that more believable when the author explores the characters and develops that budding romance rather it be an insta-love/lust relationship.

Simply put, I loved the story, I loved the characters, and I loved that the book had the perfect amount of rockstar angst! Salem is an original and refreshing female lead and Chris is a hero with a heart of gold…I couldn’t have asked for a better second chance romance than this one!
“You were there when I needed you. You talked when I needed you to talk. You listened when I needed you to listen…you were the light in my darkness. I will never forget you.”
ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review.


COVER REVEAL ~ RIVAL BY PENELOPE DOUGLAS

Book title: RivalAuthor: Penelope DouglasSeries: Fall Away #2Genre: NA Contemporary RomanceRelease date: August 26, 2014

From the New Adult sensation and New York Times bestselling author of Until You
Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…
She’s back.
For the three years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…

I’m back.
Three years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me. But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….

Penelope Douglas is a writer and teacher in Las Vegas. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, she is the oldest of five children. Penelope attended the University of Northern Iowa, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, because her father told her to “just get the degree!” She then earned a Masters of Science in Education at Loyola University in New Orleans, because she hated Public Administration. One night, she got tipsy and told the bouncer at the bar where she worked that his son was hot, and three years later they were married. To the son, not the bouncer. They have spawn, but just one. A daughter named Aydan. Penelope loves sweets, the show Sons of Anarchy, and she shops at Target almost daily.


BOOK REVIEW ~ OFF THE RECORD BY K.A. LINDE

Book title: Off the RecordAuthor: K.A. LindeSeries: Record #1Genre: NA/Adult Contemporary Romance, PoliticalRelease date: March 11, 2014

Liz Dougherty has no idea a single question is about to change her life.

Her first big reporting assignment for her North Carolina college newspaper has her covering a state senator’s impromptu press conference. Brady Maxwell may have everything it takes to be a politician—a winning pedigree, devastating good looks, a body made to wear suits—but his politics rub Liz the wrong way. When Liz’s hard-hitting question catches the upstart senator off-guard, it impresses Hayden Lane, Liz’s editor who feels she’s headed for a promising career as a reporter.

But Liz is also headed into a secret romance with Brady that could destroy both their ambitions. Though he’s a bachelor, potential voters might frown on Brady cozying up to a reporter. And Liz isn’t sure sneaking around is enough for her—especially when things between her and Hayden might be less platonic than she thought.

Sleek, sexy, and smart, Off the Record ventures into a high-stakes campaign and an even higher-stakes affair to answer the question: When politics and love collide, can there ever be a winner?

2.5+ STARS
Jerk + Love Triangle + Angst = Typical K.A. Linde
Jerk + Love Triangle + Angst + Politics = Off the Record

For the most part I liked it. It peaked my curiosity to see how KA Linde would write a forbidden romance set against a political background and I have to say there, she nailed this part. I did feel the illicit thrill of two people who have different ideals starting up a clandestine affair. The politics were a bonus, IMO. It’s one of the few aspects of the book that was clear cut, well-developed, and boosted the believability of the story.

I failed to see how they could love each other. The author did such a good job of convincing me of their different political perspectives that when it came down to Liz changing her views and instead, supporting Brady, I didn’t buy it. Then all they do when they meet is have sex, have sex, and have more sex. No words of love mentioned.
“You can’t even take this seriously. Why does it always have to be sex first and talk later?”
Again…what love?

There’s a stilted, habitual quality to the writing. It’s not exactly fluid, and sometimes I did get bored with reading the mundane regurgitation of their daily life aspects. The best way to describe it is each chapter is like reading little summaries of something instead it be one entire story, all woven nicely together and intricately entwined. I was never bored to the point of not wanting to finish, but there were paragraphs I did decide to skim since to me, they were superfluous.
As a result, no matter how many steamy scenes there were, they all felt redundant and seemed to reinforce the fact that the two of them could have sex and not because it’s driven by passion or their longing for one another. Hence, there was no spark, no connection for me to feel and why I didn’t buy into Liz and Brady’s relationship.
Love triangle aspect: While some say that the love triangle is just hinted at, I disagree: it’s completely there. Thought not as prominent as the love triangle in the Avoiding series, there was this underlying feel that Hayden had the hots for Liz, even from page 1. And while Liz was fully engaged with her feelings for Brady, she was more than willing to kiss and encourage Hayden at the same time. Look, I get that her affair with Brady is in somewhat unique circumstances since he can’t be seen with someone who writes articles opposing his views; however, that still doesn’t give her the right to string both Brady and Hayden along. What infuriated me the most is that while there is NO relationship development between Brady and Liz, there IS with Hayden and Liz. It was so obvious that Hayden could be the one to maintain a stable, long-term relationship with Liz, and he actually puts her first so it irked me to the highest degree when Liz repeatedly chooses Brady, a class A jerk.
Ending: I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger, but an unresolved ending. I think I’m going to be in the minority that says this, but I actually really liked the ending. It gave me hope that Brady would grow some balls, and it also convinced me that Liz does indeed have a brain in her head. The way it ends gives you this anticipatory feeling, like you know what’s going to happen next; it just hasn’t been written yet.
I liked this enough to want to read the next book, but it easily makes my list of “Forgettable reads of 2014.”
ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


BLOG TOUR ~ PROVOKE BY MISSY JOHNSON

Book title: ProvokeAuthor: Missy JohnsonGenre: Contemporary RomanceRelease date: March 15, 2014

Mace Jordan was not the type of guy I expected to sweep me off my feet. I knew of the crowd he ran with, and they were bad news. But beyond that tough, biker exterior was a sweetheart, and one that treated me like his princess.I liked being the good girl with the bad boy, but I never expected this. What I saw on his computer…I thought I knew him. 
But I was wrong. So wrong…
If there was ever a bad time for me to fall for a chick it was now, but from the moment I saw Leeta, she had me. There was something special about her, and I had to have her. But I also had a job to do, and I couldn’t let her distract me from that. I couldn’t let her discover that side of me either. But she’s not stupid, and I know she’s getting close. God knows what she’ll do if she discovers the truth. 
Or what she thinks is the truth.

Missy lives in a small town in Central Victoria with her husband, and her confused pets (a dog who think she’s a cat, a cat who thinks he’s a dog…you get the picture).
When she’s not writing, she can usually be found looking for something to read.


BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY ~ RECLAIMING THE SAND BY A. MEREDITH WALTERS

Tormenter and tormented. 
Villain and hero. 

Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable. 

Particularly Freaky Flynn. 

Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger’s. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.

But then Flynn and Ellie grew up. 

And moved on.

Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.

When labels come to define you, finding yourself feels impossible. Particularly for two people disconnected from the world who inexplicably find a connection in each other. 

And out of the wreckage of their tragic beginnings, an unlikely love story unfolds.

But a painful past doesn’t always want to let go. And old wounds are never truly healed…and sometimes the further you try to run from yourself the closer you come to who you really are.

No doubt or second guessing about it, Reclaiming the Sand just earned a “best book of 2014” nomination from me. Three words come to mind when I was asked to describe the story: get-your-tissues-ready, OMG-the-writing-is-phenomenal, and Flynn-will-steal-your-heart. Technically three words right?
Normally this is where I launch into a brief description of the book and what I thought was great and yada yada, but this review is going to be a little different. I don’t want to give ANYTHING away so what you read from the blurb is all you’re getting from me. The reason I say this is because the entire story is based on the friendship/lover dynamic between Flynn and Ellie and the plot is a secondary factor in the book so there’s not much I can say about it. Instead, I’m going to focus on just the emotional aspect that may arise when you read…
Ellie is a bitch and mega twat. There’s just really no other way to say it. She’s ruthlessly mean to Flynn, who is the sweetest and kindest man and though he suffers from Asperger’s, he repeatedly forgives and reaches out to Ellie. How can anyone not fall for this man? I was tearing up at 7% and just didn’t stop crying until the end of the book, and even after that I sat for a good half hour and bawled my eyes out. In the middle of all that, I also might’ve deliriously messaged the author multiple times and got on her nerves. Anyways, my point is that you will CRY. You will FEEL. You will HATE. And then you will LOVE.

Even with me finishing the book, I can never fully understand why Ellie would direct so much poison and hate towards Flynn but I never condemned her. I mean, what she did is so unforgivable in many ways, and while I cried for Flynn and all the abuse he suffered, I also cried for Ellie. She was the victim of the inadequacies of the foster care system, repeatedly taking the heat for things she never should’ve experienced or gotten blamed for, and receive this kind of treatment at such a young age without an outlet is traumatizing, at least in my eyes. I, for one, sympathized for her and could forgive her because she did redeem herself in the second portion of the book.
And Flynn…this man with two hearts of gold just stole my heart. There are a couple of chapters completely in his POV and let me just tell you, grab some kind of stress/anxiety reliever because those chapters are the most heartbreaking I have ever read. I think the author did a fine job of writing in his perspective considering his Asperger’s, which in turn, made it that much harder to read because I got to hear his thoughts and experience his emotions when he was taunted and tortured first-hand. Just…GRAB SOMETHING to get you through it.
As for the romance aspect, I loved that the author slowly, expertly got to the point where both characters were comfortable to move forward with their relationship. With their destructive past, I expected a LOT of development and growth to happen before any kind of romance came in and the author delivered that flawlessly. Still, reminders of their past and old scars served as constant memories and I could really tell both Ellie and Flynn were making efforts to mend the cracks in their relationship.

Although the ending was a bit rushed given the drawn out nature of the rest of the book, it still delivered the emotional impact that was warranted and so I was pleased with the way the story concluded.
This is where my review sort of turns into a forum, and I say that because this book was thoroughly discussed in my Goodreads thread and I want to share that with you. Normally I don’t include these kind of things, but this book is SO unique, thoughtful, and bold I want you to get an idea of how my reading timeline worked and what others thought and said at the time.7% mark:
Me: Holy cow this book is awesome!! I’ve been told that Ellie is a mega twat so I’m prepared!! xx 
Jenny: OMG! We’ve just finalised our review for this one. Ellie….I can’t even…twatis the right word but wait until you meet her friend!! Flynn on the other hand stole my heart. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. The writing was wonderful. xx(
Me: Oh YAY!!! I’m equally excited to read y’all’s review! It’s like eating a box of Godiva chocolates hehe
I got a glimpse of Dania and UGH! Über super mega x infinity twat lol! Oh and the writing is beautiful, totally loving it so far <3 <— by the way, Dania is Ellie’s best friend and just watch out forJenny: OMG! I miss Godiva chocolates lolOh geez, you ain’t seen nothing yet! I wanted to bitch slap Dania soooo badly! Enjoy!

Katy: Oh I have this one, enjoy Feifei :))) Me: Thanks Katy! Ohhhh this book is making me cry non stop!!  Katy: Oh hell, but that’s why I love Meredith’s books!! Loved her find you in the dark series… I’ll be watching out for your updates :)))) Me: Loved that series too! This is really good but it’s so heartbreaking >_< Katy: Ohhhh :((( good luck x Mysza: That good, huh? Me: It’s so good!!! A heartbreaking story but it’s amazing! <3 
Mysza: Well then, just one-clicked this one. Thanks for updates, they really encouraged me:) Me: You’re welcome! I just finished it and wow…get the tissues ready! I can’t breathe through my nose since its all stuffed lol  <— this is me responding after I finished since I ignored Goodreads after this 19% mark
100%markMe: I actually finished this 30 mins ago but just sat here crying and crying. My heart hurts. My face hurts from all the crying. And I have to breathe through my mouth because my nose is clogged up.Claire: I will save this one for at home then…..Nothing worse than crying like a nutter when you are on public transport!! Me: Definitely save it for home!!!!! I should’ve thought of that before since I now have to go to work looking like Rudolph the Reindeer  Bibliophilia: My kinda book then  Me: Haha Sim: I was going to start while eating breakfast and waiting for the office computer to fire up. I guess I’d better not – thanks for the heads-up! Me: LOL! A tearjerker is putting it lightly :/ Claire: Lol, I’m going to start it when I get home this evening  Gena: ahh!! so excited for this!!! did you love it Feifei? Brandi: Lots of crying…I will have to stock up on alcohol and tissues.  Jessica: *hugs*Denisse: oh honey…. I want to read this and cry too. love this author. reading this with my girl Patty later on this week. Sending you big hugs… Sammy: *hugs*Jennifer: I’m sorry I didn’t give you a heads up about the tears that come with this story  I didn’t know if you were a crier like me when it comes to books!!!! Baba: *hands tissues* J.B.: This sounds quite interesting. I think I’m not ready for such an intense crying book at the moment. Glad you seemed to enjoy it. Me to Claire: ENJOY!! Me to Gena: I LOVED IT Gena!!! It was really emotional for me but I pulled through! I think you’d like it  Me to Brandi: LOL yes that’d definitely help! I only had my sleeve…  Me to Jessica: ((hugs)) ♥ Me to Denisse: Ooooh y’all are in for a treat!  ((hugs)) <3 
Me to Sammy: ((uber squishy hugs))  Me to Jennifer: Haha no problem!! I’m actually glad you didn’t so I could experience it full-force! If you had told me I’d probably sucked up my tears  Oh and you’re totally right!! This book is awesome! <3
Me to Baba: Thank you Baba!! ♥ ♥ Me to J.B.: Thank you J.B.! I didn’t expect it to be so intense and tear-inducing but wouldn’t have it any other way! Hope you like it if you read it  Mysza: O.M.G. Feifei, I’m at 16% and it sounds so promising, so far it’s a great reading! Me: Yay!!! Hope it continues to be that way! Hugs and kisses ahead of time!  ♥ J: Okay I have to ask….(view spoiler) You know me….too many feels aren’t good for me. LMAO! Me: LOL I get you. I can’t handle all the feels either and this one took the cake. (view spoiler) Ugh. I still can’t breathe through my nose haha  Mysza: Thank God, woof… (thanks for asking J, it’s been eating me) <— you’ll get the woof reference when you read it 
Me: Haha! Enjoy 

Assenette: Ok, I was going to read during my breaks & lunch time, but I see I need to wait until I get home. I’m already feeling nervous and I’m just one chapter in. 

 Me: Oh definitely a good call! That prologue was something! Enjoy! 

 J: Phew…okay, I can read it then! I think! Thanks friend! 

 Nikki: Snot inducing torture?? Sounds freaking fantastic! Just added it! 

Me: LMAO!! Haven’t heard of that one, brilliant! It is fantastic but puts your emotions through the wringer :/ 

E: That awesome? Got to get me one of these soonish then 

Chelsea: Wow fei that good? Can’t wait… I wonder if i’m gonna cry coz I haven’t cried over a book yet, just slightly teary- eyed but that’s it =)

Me: GET IT!!!!!! 

I didn’t think I was going to such a baby but the waterworks started at 7% lol 

Lisa: Enjjjjjoooooooooy !!!!! You love to torture yourself don’t you ? LOL

Me: Thanks dear and LOL!! Had no idea it was a tearjerker haha! A bumpy read but worth it 

E: Started! Page 7 now. *clutches a box of tissue*

So you can see, this book wasn’t just me reading it by myself or only my take from it; I got to fully experience everything this book had to offer with all the above chats and then some…if you’re looking for a highly emotional, life-changing, soul-etching read, I would recommend this one, and while you’re at it, grab some friends and tissues and HAPPY READING! 


BOOK REVIEW ~ CONSEQUENCES OF DECEPTION BY ELLA FOX

Once upon a time, girl met boy and a love story began.

Their future was assured until tragedy struck and deceptions were made.

There are consequences to every action, and the Consequences of Deception are always the most punishing.

Sloane Evans lost nearly everyone that she’s ever loved, but losing Killian Brandt left a scar that never healed.

Four and a half years after turning his back on her, Killian steps back into Sloane’s life in the most shocking of ways, giving her no choice but to abandon her life and go with him.

Why would a man buy a woman that he hates?

Not everything is as it appears.

Love is beautiful, revenge is ugly, and lies destroy lives.

Prepare to discover the Consequences of Deception.

As I go by GR ratings, 2 stars means “it was ok” and that is exactly my feelings towards the book. This review is really long and on top of that, it doesn’t have a single gif or pic in it so bear with me.
************************************************
What a fitting title. Indeed, this story details the results of lies and a deception that nearly destroys Killian and Sloane’s love. I was initially very intrigued by said “deception” and tragedy that split this couple apart, and when I read this sentence:
“Why would a man buy a woman that he hates?”
Well I was sold. Good for you for reeling me in author!
>>>After reading<<<
In many ways, this book did not work for me. Here are my thoughts:
1. The prologue was fantastic! I liked how it set up the foundation of Sloane and Killian’s relationship, and that no matter what, these were two individuals who loved each other deeply. What killed it for me here, however, was immediately the author skips to “4 years later.” I’m not a big fan of time gaps, but if I can see that it is integral to the plot and character development, I’m willing to accept it. In this case, it was not. This jump was abrupt as the reader is left stumbling through the book wondering why it’s now 4 years later, and to have my thoughts split into trying to focus on the book plot but also having all these questions coming up on what exactly happened is disarming and broke my reading flow from the start. This time gap is at 3%.
2. The background info introduced in chapters 1 and 2. It’s always nice to have a point of reference and some prior knowledge of the characters’ background in order to connect with them more, but the way it’s presented here bored me. Imagine yourself as the reader. The prologue was going so well and BOOM, 4 years later without an explanation. You’re frantically asking yourself “did I miss something,” “what the freak happened?” and instead of getting answers or hints to get you closer to the answers, you’re bombarded with a bunch of info about the characters’ pasts. I’m not saying those were bad to add in, but they would have a much bigger impact if it were weaved into the prologue.
3. Killian’s treatment of Sloane. Many have told me that Killian is an alpha male, and while I do believe that is the case, I think readers should also consider the division within that category.
A. Being bossy and “alpha” for the sake of loving and protecting the female.B. Being bossy and a mega jerk for the sake of it.
Killian is choice B. Now I do realize that the reasoning behind his treatment of Sloane is going to unfold as the story continues, and that’s fine with me. However, I was thoroughly unimpressed with his reasons (and I’ll get to that section later).
As I continued reading, my impression of Killian went downhill fast. Even though he hates her and buys her to get revenge on Sloane, I could still tell he has feelings for her, hence the part where he truly is an alpha. However, his outbursts and jealousy (normally it makes me happy to see the hero jealous and get possessive of the heroine) grated on my nerves and instead I saw him as a baby throwing tantrums. Here, take a look:
“You were out there letting guys come inside of you with nothing to keep you from getting pregnant or worse? How many men have had you? HOW MANY?”
-This was the first outburst and Sloane is a virgin.
“Do you really think I’d let him – let anyone – have you? You belong to me and you better not fucking forget it!”
-Sloane is calling one of her guards to tell him it’s a day for the beach and Killian sputters out the above. I get that he’s asserting his dominance over her but this annoyed me a little at how easily he gets possessive over something so trivial.
“BULLSHIT! You were gone for over four hours! You snuck out of here like a thief in the goddamn night and it wasn’t because you wanted to run. You were trying to run away! Who did you call?”
-This made me so furious. Sloane was jogging and she stopped for some water and then fell asleep. I get that Killian was worried about her but he repeatedly cuts her off when she tries to explain and makes conjectures that are entirely out of proportion.
“And who was this man that woke you up, Sleeping Beauty? Trey [a guard] said he saw you getting out of someone’s truck. Who is he, Sloane? WHO. IS. HE?”
-REALLY NOW? If the motherfucker could listen to her for just an extra second, he’d get the full story. The man who woke her up was a patrol guy on the beach.
“What. The. Fucking. FUCK. Sloane?”
-After that beach patrol scene, he proceeds to fuck Sloane’s brains out repeatedly and after he leaves her again. Sloane takes it as a sign that he’s finished with her for the night and leaves to go back to her room. Killian lashes out immediately. I mean, what did he expect her to think when he leaves the room every time after sex?
“Why the fuck are you making them breakfast? There’s only one reason for you to go out of your way and that would be because you like one of them. So help me God, if you’re flirting with any one of my security people, I’ll have them relocated to Siberia. Is that what you want?”
-Ok, really? You’re fucking serious. This is what happened: Sloane makes breakfast and since she’s kind-hearted, she thinks about the guards too and wants to bring down a plate for them and then Killian snorts out the above. By the time I got to this part, I was rolling my eyeballs major and thinking to myself, does the author really have to have Killian nitpick on this trivial thing too? This is probably the scene that made me finally think what a whiny ass he is instead of his possessiveness and jealousy being attractive.
4. Killian’s reasoning and the deception. I will admit, the author did a fine job of twisting the book up in the last 25%. And with a sentence like this…
“There are always choices. You made yours a long time ago. It’s time for you to feel the consequences.”
Well then. The reasons must be real good right?
But…
The initial revelation of his reasons, along with his actions right after were an extreme disappointment and I think everyone who has read the book will understand what I’m saying. *cough – LETTER – cough*
It was unbelievable that with Killian so in love with Sloane that he’d believe someone else’s words and not put his faith in her. Also that letter just goes to show what a douchecanoe he is.
5. Killian’s job. I don’t think there was a definite announcement of his actual job. All I know is that in 4 years, he’s a relatively well-known billionaire and a tech genius.
Okay.
=_=
Also he throws money out there like it’s nothing. I would’ve believed it more if his job title wasn’t so obscure and I felt like the rich aspect of the book was only added so he’d have the money to buy Sloane and keep her in a mansion the size of a Disney castle.
I think those were the main points. Of course there are things like the cliché route the book took after Killian reveals his reasons, and the ending part (while packed with action and is a nice twist) was all jammed into a couple of pages and made those scenes seem rushed.
************************************************
I’d like to end on a high note and point out one thing the author did that a vast majority of others don’t do, and that is sticking to the original premise of her story. While I wasn’t too impressed with the execution of the “consequences” from the “deception,” the book was entirely focused on that aspect and the author didn’t chicken out and direct the story in an entirely different direction away from what the blurb dictates. A book that matches its blurb…you don’t know how hard it is to find books like these.
With the high ratings its gotten, it’s obvious that the story appeals to a certain group of readers so it may just be me not feeling the same…anyway I have spoken my mind and wish the author the best of luck.


BOOK REVIEW ~ DELIVER BY PAM GODWIN

She lures young men and delivers them to be sold. She delivers the strikes that enforce their obedience. She delivers the sexual training that determines their purchase price. 

As long as she delivers, the arrangement that protects her family will hold. 

Delivering is all she knows.

The one thing she can’t deliver is a captive from slavery.

Until him.

And her stubborn slave thinks he can deliver her…from herself.

Stand Alone (no cliff-hanger). The sequel is coming Summer 2014.

My first reaction after reading: UM WUT. This book has so much in it! From romance to action then to suspense, my brain and heart never got a chance to relax before something happened. And that’s a good thing! The book grabbed my attention and kept me fully engaged with the story.

Dark scale (1-10): 5Mindfuck scale (1-10): 2No Stockholm syndrome; more like a survivor romance. You do what you need to do to stay alive.
**It wasn’t as dark as I thought it would be because of Josh’s character. He’s a wonderful guy, really sweet, and that kind of evened out the dark field ;)**

The story begins with the Deliverer, Liv, intently watching her target: an innocent, handsome, righteous 21 year old football player Josh. Liv’s job is to “deliver” people who fit her clients’ requirements, and with his fair outer appearance and sexual innocence, Josh is perfect for what she’s looking for. Alongside Van (whose role in the book is still iffy at this point), they successfully maneuver the kind-hearted Josh into their trap and lock him up, preparing his training as a slave.
I have to say here that this first part really tore me up. I’m normally okay, no wait, giddy, to read about captive/captor stories and I thought this would be like any other one. Except for me, there was no thrill anymore. Josh is the sweetest, most innocent and good person, and to read his thoughts were heartbreaking: his first instinct is to worry about his parents, who rely on him with their farm. Even when he’s captured, he still tries to help Liv. However, he quickly learns that when Liv switches into her “Mistress” mode and trains slaves, there are no soft moments.

Then comes the part where the book went a little downhill for me. I get that there has to be a turn or a certain degree of power Liv relinquishes in order for her and Josh’s romance to develop, but the pace at which they fall for each other was disarming. As in it didn’t convince me. Another aspect that made me feel iffy for a good portion of the book was Liv herself. From the blurb and the first few chapters, Liv is expected to be this dominant, badass, hardcore Mistress who has no fears and is confident in all she does, but after finding out how she started into this whole business brought down her character in terms of an anti-heroine who later opens up to Josh, not having a weak spot for him from the beginning.
Anyways, they have this connection that she doesn’t have with anyone, not even Van.

I really loved Van’s character and his role in the story. He was the source of some tension and conflict within the timeframe Liv trains Josh so it kept the book interesting. There’s this one scene with Van near the end that gave me a mini-heart attack and I was absolutely FURIOUS with Liv. At that time I condemned her to the fiery pits of hell and now that I think about it, I don’t regret it one bit. Because of the way events played out with Van, I wished the author revisited his character and not leave me questioning his role in the last quarter of the story. Anyways I think if you’re a romantic at heart you will be really pleased with the last 25% of the book.

Aside from the things I mentioned before that prevented me from giving the book 5 stars, there was one more thing that made me raise an eyebrow and that was in regards to the wrap up of the mysterious “Mr. E,” the guy in charge of the entire operation. Anyways my point is that this, along with some other events, were wrapped up too nicely and took away from the dark and thrilling aspect of the book. 

Overall this was a pretty unique and suspenseful read. The numerous twists and turns in the book kept me on my toes and the erotic nature of the story should be commended.


BOOK REVIEW & GIVEAWAY ~ MAYBE SOMEDAY BY COLLEEN HOOVER

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance—and the enchanting music that inspires one young woman to put her life back together.

At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…

From the author of the New York Times bestsellers Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, This Girl, and Losing Hope, Maybe Someday is destined to become another bestseller and long-lasting fan favorite.

Without a doubt, this book dealt a powerful blow to my feels and is one of the most emotionally charged stories I’ve read this year! Whenever I see a Colleen Hoover book, I know to brace myself for a story that builds up in intensity and showcases unique plot twists. Her stories are always so well-written (at least for me) and she knows how to make the little things count. She doesn’t trivialize. She doesn’t exaggerate. She delivers.

Sydney Blake has the perfect life: an attentive boyfriend Hunter, doing well in college, BFFs with Tori, etc…but on what should’ve been a fantastic, special day for her turns into her worst nightmare as she discovers Hunter has been cheating on her with Tori.
****MINOR SPOILER****
Okay so this is where I had a little problem. From the blurb I expected Sydneyto be connecting with Ridge on a musical level after she finds out about Hunter and Tori, but she actually knows and chats with him beforehand. Not a bad thing, but the way it was introduced into the story i.e. the book structure (present, then flashback) cut my reading flow a little. ****END OF SPOILER****
Sydney has this special connection with Ridge that goes beyond their mutual love of music. There’s no name to it, but it’s a feeling you’ll experience when you read it because it’s so passionately and tenderly palpable.
Now you’re wondering okay, so what’s the story? Is it just them falling in love over making music? No it’s not, and normally I’m inclined to disclose details but this is one of the rare times I feel you should go into the book as blind as possible. But for those that just need a little more to go off of, this next section is for you.
****DETAILS IF YOU NEED MORE****
There’s no way to fluff it so I’m just going to say it: there is a love triangle so this story is essentially a forbidden romance. However, it was impossible for me to NOT appreciate the love triangle aspect as it’s so real and heartfelt and there is no bad guy. I’ll admit, it was a damn struggle to read 75% of the book because what these characters were going through wasn’t contrived or added in as a filler, but sensational and honest. It was how they felt and their natural response to these feelings. For me, reading this book was like opening a Pandora box full of emotions and letting those emotions smack me in the face over and over again.

While I actually enjoyed the love triangle aspect, it was the conclusion/ending of the triangle that brought down my rating. For me, the magic of Colleen Hoover’s writing is its spontaneity and unpredictability, and the fact that I can never really pinpoint what will happen next. Somewhere along the way, the unpredictable became predictable and that took away from the originality and thrill of reading Sydney and Ridge’s story. I’m not saying I hated the way Ridge “chose” one of the two girls, but it ruined the uniqueness of the love triangle aspect and no matter how well-written it was, I was left feeling underwhelmed. From this point of the book to the ending, I was pretty much done and felt the book should’ve ended, but it dragged on instead.

While I actually enjoyed the love triangle aspect, it was the conclusion/ending of the triangle that brought down my rating. For me, the magic of Colleen Hoover’s writing is its spontaneity and unpredictability, and the fact that I can never really pinpoint what will happen next. Somewhere along the way, the unpredictable became predictable and that took away from the originality and thrill of reading Sydneyand Ridge’s story. I’m not saying I hated the way Ridge “chose” one of the two girls, but it ruined the uniqueness of the love triangle aspect and no matter how well-written it was, I was left feeling underwhelmed. From this point of the book to the ending, I was pretty much done and felt the book should’ve ended, but it dragged on instead.  

Another thing I’m starting to notice in many NA books (and in this book too) is the slut-shaming of practically every female character but the heroine. I don’t usually point this out unless it really bothers me and it did. I genuinely liked Sydney but the time where she calls Tori a bitch (which she deserves) and then immediately after sees another girl in a Hooters uniform and thinks “I don’t know why she’s complaining about getting wet, when there isn’t much clothing to get wet.” and calls her a bitch annoyed me. Putting the name of “Barbie” on Tori I think was supposed to be humorous, but I felt like it was used as a distinction between our good girl heroine and bad girl, punishment-deserving female characters. Quite honestly, the book could’ve omitted that part because Sydney is a great heroine; I never felt the need for any justification to why I shouldn’t like her.
I had originally planned on giving this book 3.5 stars because the problems I stated above were a raging forefront in my mind, but after a night’s sleep I realized that the emotional intensity and good writing quality were what stood out to me more than any of the problems so it’s a 4 star read. Though I can’t say I fully enjoyed the book, it’s truly an unforgettable story; that point is undeniable.
ARC provided by publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


BOOK REVIEW ~ TOXIC BY RACHEL VAN DYKEN

Gabe Hyde is on borrowed time. He’s been hiding his identity for over four years-hidden from the world that used to adore him–obsess over him–driven to the edge of insanity by one poor choice. 
But that one choice, altered the course of his life forever. 
Pretending isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when pretending means hiding your real self from the people that care about you the most. But if anyone ever discovered the truth it wouldn’t just be his life at risk–but hers. 

Saylor doesn’t hate men. 
Just Gabe. 
Only Gabe. 
He’s a reckless, happy-go-lucky, silver spoon fed pain in her ass. Everything about him makes her more and more confused. Unfortunately they both donate time at the same Group Home. If she wasn’t afraid of flunking, she’d be long gone. She hates that she’s attracted to him almost as much as he hates that he’s attracted to her–and she can tell, especially since their first encounter ended up making her knees so weak she couldn’t form coherent sentences for weeks afterwards. But the closer she gets to him, the more confused she becomes. He isn’t who he says he is, and he’s hiding something big. 

What happen when two worlds collide? Two worlds that never should have met in the first place? Some secrets are too big to be hidden forever–the only question? Will his destroy everyone he loves? Or finally bring about the redemption he’s been craving for the past four years?

Everyone has a secret…What’s yours?

What do those stats mean you say? Well that’s how long it’s been since I’ve found “that” book, the one that hits all my 6 stars of brilliance buttons. My Goodreads buddies know how terrible January and half of February was for me…DNF after DNF followed by 1 and 2 star reviews, but after finishing Toxic I can officially say that the book slump is gone! For me, Toxic is the embodiment of what makes up my 6 stars:unforgettable characters, unpredictable and unique storyline, exemplary writing style, offers something substantial and original to the genre, reconstructs my preconceived notions, and above all, evokes the highest level of engagement on my part. In other words, the book made me cry and not many can accomplish that.

I don’t give out 6 stars lightly so let me try to explain to you how I finally got to that rating. At first I planned on slapping a DNF (did not finish) to the book. Both Gabe and Saylor were such difficult characters to connect with on an emotional standpoint and if you check my reading progress on GR, you’ll see how frustrated I got. Another aspect that completely stunned me was how different Toxic’s Gabe is from Ruin’s Gabe, and I walked into the book only ready for Ruin’s Gabe. What happened to the confident, cocky, laidback Gabe I knew? From the very first page, I was confused and conflicted, thinking that I must’ve opened the wrong book because this just can’t be Gabe’s story. The brokenness, the laid out, raw thoughts running through his mind, and the finality in which he believed he was undeserving of redemption hit me hard. To be blunt, I wasn’t prepared.

As a reader who loathes and avoids angst as much as possible, reading this book killed me. I was miserable, having constant chest pains, and couldn’t see straight through blurry tears I didn’t realize were in my eyes. I don’t think my heart has ached so much before. At this point I already dropped the idea of DNFing because there is no denying the flawless writing style. In fact, RVD has one of the best writing styles that is close to absolute perfection. I didn’t want to feel, but her words made me. I didn’t want to cry, but it happened.

Then I got to the crux of the story and I had a complete epiphany. Before I only got pieces here and there of Gabe’s past but there was no connection on my part to link it all together. On top of which, I was still struggling to warm up to the idea of him and Saylor having a relationship; I wasn’t convinced. But wow…once I hit the centerpoint of the story, everything changed. The only way to describe it is a wake up call on my part and then the build up and culmination of events that made everything click.

It’s a chaotic, messy, and twisted mix but that’s just what Gabe’s life is. He is one of the most damaged and broken male leads I’ve read for a while now and what I love about this story is that RVD didn’t shy away from any of the hideous details. Pain, angst, desolation, desperation…every last emotion he felt, I felt.
At this point, the book made a solid 4.5 star read…meaning I was enjoying it a lot but there were minor things that derailed me from completely loving it. Then comes the part where I just lost all my marbles and shit: 79%. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling that overcame me at this point. I guess it’s like…the words themselves are so beautiful you can’t help but live, read, and breathe them but you also know how emotionally devastating they are so you want to look away too. That kind of feeling.

Anyways, I was full out sobbing at this point (and tearing up right now writing about it). And the most magical part about this all is how RVD retains the originality, realism and essence of life and love. Reading this story made me feel like I was getting schooled by a higher power. So the fact that I bawled my eyes out, combined with the other 5 qualities that would normally have made this a 5 star read, shot it to 6 stars of brilliance. But then again, how can I expect anything less from RVD? Toxic is the kind of book I can only read once. It physically and emotionally hurts me to read but the message it sends out is so very profound, life-changing, and memorable.
I rarely leave thank you shoutouts to authors at the end of my reviews but Toxic earned it. So thank you Rachel for writing what I already know will be in my top 10 reads of the year!
ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review.


BOOK REVIEW ~ COME TO ME QUIETLY BY A.L. JACKSON

Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.

*shakes fists at Jared*
What started out as an amazingly emotional, poignant, and heartfelt romance between a girl and her brother’s best friend plateaued into a pile of unnecessary drama that drove me batshit crazy. Still, the writing was incredible and for that and the great first half of the story, I’m rating it 3 stars.

Aly lives a quiet, uneventful life for the past 6 years and rooms with her brother Christopher when Jared reenters her life. Unknown to others, Aly’s carried a torch for him since she was a little girl, and Jared comes to see Aly in a different light. However, Jared’s been hiding a terrible, painful past that’s always the elephant in the room for the other characters.

Aly understands and sees through him and connects with him on a deeper level. Pretty soon, Jared relies on Aly for emotional support and they fall in love, hiding their relationship from Aly’s brother Christopher.

Although the book moved at a turtle’s pace, it was really, really good for me. The fantastic writing stirred enough emotion and I was invested in these characters. Aly was such a great heroine; there is nothing I could nitpick about her. She’s supporting, loving, logical, and undeniably sweet. An all-around great girl to have around!

In the beginning, I really felt for Jared. I love tortured heroes and Jared is definitely one of those. Oddly enough, I felt protective of him because of his past ordeals and was glad he had someone like Aly on his side. However, after the 60% mark I started to get annoyed. Why?
“I don’t get to have this.”
Damaged and tortured men do it for me, but having them resist and fighting their feelings for theENTIRE book all the way to the end is extremely draining. That sentence alone is used 13 times in the book and the number of times Jared runs away or avoids Aly went above that number.

I also felt like Jared’s healing process should have started a lot sooner than at 60%. Granted his reasons for acting the way he did were valid, but enough is enough!
*shakes fists at Jared*

No matter how emotionally evocative the first half was, I can’t give this book higher than 3 stars. The second half completely fell flat for me, and I was more annoyed than touched by the plot and characters. 


BOOK REVIEW ~ GATOR BY BIJOU HUNTER

Book title: GatorAuthor: Bijou HunterGenre: Contemporary romance standaloneRelease date: February 25, 2014

Gator

My scars terrify most people, but she views me as the sun, shining light into the darkness of her past. I am a killer, yet gave her life. She is mine and I dare anyone to stand in my way.

Mia

I am nobody until Gator sees me through the scope of his rifle. My life is suffering and violence, but he offers redemption. I am his and I dare anyone to keep us apart.

2.5 AMUSING BUT CREEPY STARS
This is my first Bijou Hunter book and though I don’t regret reading it, the writing style is somewhat…odd.I felt like the author didn’t mean for certain things to be entertaining and funny, but because of the weak execution of events, I did indeed find almost everything to be highly amusing and the sex scenes came off as creepy and pedophilic in nature. It could be that the short length of the story was a factor for the undeveloped characters and plot, but I just don’t know.

The book begins with merciless and trained assassin Gator who is ordered to kill Mia and her rat bastard of a father. On first glance, Gator has this primal need to make Mia his so he doesn’t kill her, just her dad. The story then progresses with how Gator and Mia grow closer and closer in terms of their new relationship while Gator plots to kill his employer since he knows he won’t be satisfied seeing Mia still alive.

Okay well this is where things didn’t go as I’d thought. For starters, Mia is kinda…wacked up in the head.
“She just lost oxygen to her brain for a while and it made her dumb. No harm. She can still do the important stuff.”
“Important stuff” meaning being a pimp. Okay so that explanation for Mia’s slow personality is a little ludicrous in the context of the story. Another contention that made me laugh instead of being pensive or serious were the character names.
Flame: Mentor nameGator: Hero name, then changed it to JakeIdget Gidget: Heroine name, then changed it to MiaRodent: Heroine’s dad

Because of Mia’s stunted nature, she was often portrayed as a child-like person. She carried around a doll, and Gator often referred to her as a child stuck in a woman’s body. With all that in mind, it was really hard for me to not imagine Gator as a pedophile when he’s always described as rock hard around Mia and wants to fuck her…the sex scenes weren’t hot at all and the possessive attitude he had I couldn’t justify. It seemed like he fell in love with her at first sight since there wasn’t much development on that front.
Anyways, I’ve been told that the better Bijou Hunter works are her Damaged and the Beast series so I’m not completely put off by her yet…on a last note:
1 star for effort and 1.5 for at least making me laugh. I think if you’re even a little bit intrigued you should check it out. For a $.99 read, it was pretty entertaining.