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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 love 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 instant-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, lovely, 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 love, have love, and have more love. No words of love mentioned.
“You can’t even take this seriously. Why does it always have to be love 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 love 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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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 love 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 love 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.