Review: Hollywood Dirt (Hollywood Dirt #1) by Alessandra Torre

Title: Hollywood Dirt
Author: Alessandra Torre
Series: Hollywood Dirt #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Cole Masten. Abandoned by his superstar wife, Hollywood’s Perfect Husband is now Hollywood’s Sexiest Bachelor: partying hard and screwing even harder. Watch out Los Angeles, there’s a new bad boy in town.

Summer Jenkins. That’s me, a small town girl stuck in Quincy, Georgia. I cook some mean chicken and dumplins, can bluff a grown man out of his savings in poker, and was voted Most Friendly my senior year.

We were from different worlds. Our lives shouldn’t have collided. But then Cole Masten read a book about my small town. And six months later, his jet landed on our dusty airstrip, and he brought Hollywood with him.

From the start, I knew he was trouble. For our town. And for me.

Sometimes, opposites just aren’t meant to attract.

My Review:
Absolutely loved it. A fantastic enemies to lovers story with real heart. And The Rehearsal Dinner from Hell – ha, ha, loved it, not sure what that says about me! Can’t wait to see this one on Passionflix soon.

Review: Black Lies by Alessandra Torre

Title: Black Lies
Author: Alessandra Torre
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Brant:
Became a tech billionaire by his twentieth birthday. Has been in a relationship with me for 3 years. Has proposed 4 times. Been rejected 4 times.

Lee:
Cuts grass when he’s not banging housewives. Good with his hands, his mouth, and his body. Has been pursued relentlessly by me for almost 2 years, whether he knows it or not.

Go ahead. Judge me. You have no idea what my love entails.

If you think you’ve heard this story before, trust me – you haven’t.

**This is a STANDALONE full-length novel. It is not part of a series, and does not contain a cliffhanger.**

My Review:
Wow, just wow. This book blew my mind and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting it anytime soon. This book is an absolute triumph, sheer genius, a true masterpiece, and refreshingly unique in its concept and execution. I don’t have a single complaint. I loved every delicious well-written word.

My heart was in my mouth the entire way through reading – I figured out the twist quite early on (very proud of that!) however the author threw me off the scent a few times so I started second guessing myself then. Love that in a book – when I keep wondering the whole time and I’m racing through the pages to find out if I’m right. When the secret was revealed, I silently high-fived myself and then lapped up the rest of the book with the same devotion.

I’m probably not making much sense but it’s hard to settle my thoughts after such an amazing, emotional, explosive read.

One would think, initially reading this, that Lana is selfish, self-absorbed and without any moral backbone but that couldn’t be further than the truth. Once the shocking secret is uncovered, we see exactly how much she loves Brandt and how very far she is willing to go to help him and to keep him by her side.

This book made me think long and hard about the condition (being vague on purpose) – how it would manifest itself, and how strange it would be for a woman in love. My heart broke for Lana when I thought back to the “picnic” scene she spied on. No wonder she was so single-minded when it came to Molly.

As an author, I can appreciate how well structured and executed this novel is. It’s a carefully woven well-paced tale that grips you from the outset and doesn’t let go until all your emotions have gone through the wringer.

One of the best reads of 2017 for me so far.

Alessandra is definitely on my list of fave authors now and I have another couple of her books on my kindle ready to get stuck into.

Highly Recommended.

Review: Moonshot by Alessandra Torre

Title: Moonshot
Author: Alessandra Torre
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Baseball isn’t supposed to be a game of life and death…

The summer that Chase Stern entered my life, I was seventeen. The daughter of a legend, the Yankees were my family, their stadium my home, their dugout my workplace. My focus was on the game. Chase… he started out as a distraction. A distraction with sex appeal poured into every inch of his six foot frame. A distraction who played like a god and partied like a devil.

I tried to stay away. I couldn’t.

Then, the team started losing.
Women started dying.
And everything in my world broke apart.

My Review:
Wow, I freaking LOVED this book so much, and that cover is to DIE for – seriously it’s a work of beauty.

I’m still chock-full of emotion after reading Ty and Chase’s story. How do I even attempt to gather all my thoughts in a way that will do this book justice? I’m not sure, so I’ll just say that this book ticked all my favorite boxes:

Forbidden love – check.
Second chance romance – check
Sports romance – check
Mystery/Suspense subplot – check
Hot male lead – check
A relatable, likable heroine – check
Sizzling hot chemistry and swoon-worthy romantic moments – check
Fantastic character development – check
Well paced plot – check
Sublime writing – check

I just gobbled this one up. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough Chase in the latter third of the book and I wanted more at the end and a dual POV epilogue but other than that it was absolute perfection on a page.

I read a complimentary copy of this book and I have voluntarily reviewed same.

Review: Boys South of the Mason Dixon (South of the Mason Dixon #1) by Abbi Glines

Title: Boys South of the Mason Dixon
Author: Abbi Glines
Series: South of the Mason Dixon #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The only thing hotter than the weather South of the Mason Dixon line are the boys. Worn, faded blue jeans, slow Southern drawls, and those naughty moments in the back of pickup trucks a girl never forgets.

Welcome to the world of the Sutton boys.

Five brothers who fight, party, drink a little too much, but more importantly, they love their momma. Nothing can tear them apart… until the girl next door wins more than one of their hearts.

My Review:
Oh em gee, I freaking LOVED this book! Honestly, it felt as if Abbi took everything I love and created this book especially for me. I’m a sucker for a love triangle and a forbidden romance theme, and with the additional complexity of the boys being brothers, I was in literary heaven. All five Sutton boys are hot and intriguing and I cannot wait to read more in this series. The angst and drama levels were exactly to my liking and the pacing and writing were spot-on. And Asher, oh my, how perfect is he? Totally swoon-worthy and so selfless and I loved him from page one.

Roll on book two, please 🙂 I hope we don’t have to wait too long and I’m dying to know which of the brothers it will be about. Would love to read Bray’s story next as he is so troubled and out of control and I just know it will make for riveting reading.

Awesome job, Abbi. I don’t even mind the fact I have massive dark circles under my eyes this morning from staying up half the night reading.

Review: Gus (Bright Side #2) by Kim Holden

Title: Gus
Author: Kim Holden
Series: Bright Side #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues …

This is the story of Gus.
Losing himself.
Finding himself.
And healing along the way.

“ … but the honest-to-God truth is I don’t even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn’t only my best friend; she was like my other half … the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?”

My Review:
Loved it. Gus is AH-MAZING and it was great to see him getting his well deserved HEA. While this was heartbreaking and it definitely tugged at my heart strings, it was more uplifting than anything. A real feel good story. Would love to see Kellar get his own story so I know he’s okay too.

Review: Bright Side (Bright Side #1) by Kim Holden

Title: Bright Side
Author: Kim Holden
Series: Bright Side #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

My Review:
I’ve sat at my laptop for the last ten minutes attempting to structure my thoughts into some type of coherent form so I can write a review that will do this book justice. But the truth is I’m still struggling to come to terms with this story and get over the epic-and I mean EPIC-cryfest I engaged in during the latter part of the book. The last time I sobbed my heart out like that was after reading Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma and even that pales in comparison.

I picked up this book months ago on the recommendation of one of the readers in my Street Team and it kinda fell by the wayside as I have so many ARCs to read that I tend to one-click books and not get to them for ages. Then, I recently saw this advertised on Bookbub and it reminded me that I had to read it. My husband was out last night so I decided I’d quit work early and start reading this. I had to put it down at 3.30 a.m. purely because I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I finished it a little while ago and I swear, I don’t think my heart will be the same.

I can’t believe this is a debut work because it’s absolutely magnificent. This is very much a character driven story-don’t expect any major plot twists or turns because there aren’t any; it isn’t that kind of book. Character development is superb and the authenticity and uniqueness of Kate’s voice are wonderfully refreshing. Kate is an amazing MC – funny, warm, loyal, open, caring, honest, and she pushed those around her to be the best version of themselves. She lit up the pages of my kindle like she lit up the people around her. Gus and Kellar were both wonderful too and the other characters weren’t just relegated to the sidelines either.

The connection between Gus and Kate was uber special. In real life, I think two people like that would be a couple but I was okay with them remaining friends because it works here. They adore one another, support one another and know one another inside and out. Gosh, I just loved them! Kellar was fantastic too and I was rooting for him and Kate and dying for them to get their act together.

Ms Holden sure knows how to pack a mighty emotional punch behind her beautiful prose. I felt everything these characters were feeling especially at the end. God, I’m welling up again just thinking about it.

This book contains some important messages about self-love and self-worth and being true to yourself and always making the best out of life. While the story itself is tragic, it was also uplifting.

I think this review is probably rather rambly and all over the place but it just goes to show where my head and my heart is at in this moment. I may come back to rewrite this as I want to do it justice. This book deserves the hype. This author is phenomenally talented and she deserves to have a very long, very successful career. I will most definitely be checking out more of her work and I have just, in fact, downloaded a copy of Gus courtesy of my KU subscription.

Absolutely breathtaking. Grab a copy of this book, you won’t be sorry.

Review: Fame (Hollywood Love #1) by Jillian Dodd

Title: Fame
Author: Jillian Dodd
Series: Hollywood Love #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
From USA Today bestselling author Jillian Dodd comes the eighth book in the addictive Keatyn Chronicles series. Discover a breathless fairy-tale romance with swoon-worthy characters set in a glittering celebrity world. Fans of reality TV will devour this pulse-pounding, sexy Hollywood drama.

Follow the lives and loves of those who work at Captive Films:

Riley Johnson — Captive Films’ CEO and millionaire playboy is hot, privileged, and seriously single. He’s got it all–a brand new jet, exotic cars, a luxury penthouse, and a different aspiring actress (or two) in his bed every night. His life is perfect until the only girl he ever loved walks back into it, causing him to wonder if he truly has it all.

Keatyn Douglas — Hollywood’s sweetheart and owner of Captive Films leads a chaotic, glamorous life. But running a successful film studio, writing scripts, and her own acting career leave little time for the things she dreams of, like marrying the man she loves and having babies. When drama starts at work, she may decide to give it all up for life out of the fast lane.

Dawson Johnson — The dark and dreamy marketing consultant joins Captive to escape his past. For the last two years, his sole focus has been on caring for his adorable daughters after tragedy struck their lives. He comes to Captive looking for a fresh start and, if all goes well, he might find a lot more than that in Hollywood.

Knox Daniels — Considered the sexiest man alive by a certain magazine, the sentiment is echoed by the actor’s adoring fans. While romance abounds in the roles he plays, he’s convinced he’ll never find his own happily ever after–until he meets a woman who just might change that.

Shelby Benson — The beautiful cocktail waitress and wanna-be actress struggles to make ends meet. A chance encounter with Riley Johnson is her lucky break and the golden ticket to everything she’s ever dreamed of–fame, power, money, sex, and love.

Written soap-opera style with multiple points of view, you can expect lots of drama, sex, and tabloid-worthy events.

My Review:
Well, damn you, Jillian Dodd. Now you’ve gone and sucked me into another one of your worlds and there’s no way back. Knew this would happen! I freaking LOVED this book. I loved all the different pov’s, loved catching up with my fav characters from The Keatyn Chronicles now that they are older and (supposedly) wiser. Riley disappointed me a lot but he is still so heartbroken so I cut him some slack. That ending was brilliantly awful and there’s no way I can’t continue. I need Riely and Ariela to get their HEA as they so deserve it. Knox is a scream. Still love, love Aiden, and it was great to catch up with Dawson and Dallas too. Aw, I have all the feels.

I really liked how this was structured into different scenes and love the Hollywood setting.

If you have read TKC then this is a must read. If you haven’t I recommend starting with that series first.

Review: Get Me (The Keatyn Chronicles #6) by Jillian Dodd

Title: Get Me
Author: Jillian Dodd
Series: The Keatyn Chronicles #6
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
From USA Today bestselling author Jillian Dodd comes the final book in the addictive Keatyn Chronicles series. Discover a breathless fairy-tale romance with swoon-worthy characters, suspense, and a glittering celebrity world. Fans of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and reality TV shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians will devour this pulse-pounding, sexy teen drama set against the backdrop of Hollywood and an East Coast boarding school.

Keatyn’s crazy life comes together in one perfect script.

Will Keatyn get her life back?
And if she does, which life (and boy) will she choose?

My Review:
Initial Thoughts: A brilliant ending. I have SO MANY FEELS.

For me, this was probably the best book of the series, and I enjoyed it immensely. This was much more fast-paced than previous books and I loved how Jillian tied everything up at the end. While it’s not quite a neat little bow (Brooklyn’s story made me really sad and Riley doesn’t get his HEA but I’m not complaining as he has a spin-off series, yay) it brought a fair amount of happy endings.

Of course, the two main threads were wrapped up in this one – who is Moon boy and did she choose him, and the stalker plotline. It looked like it was going a certain way on the romance and I was feeling an actual pain in my chest but thankfully it all went my way. I had been mad at the other boy for most of this series and one of the things I really liked about Get Me was how Jillian brought me to a point of understanding in that relationship. Both of them thought they were in love, wanted to be in love with one another as they had been crushing so hard in secret for so long but the reality vs the fantasy was very different. Both also had a lot of growing up to do over the series and it was beautiful that they came to the same realization at the same time: They would always love each other and be a part of each other’s lives but only as friends. All my frustration with him melted away at that and, in hindsight, I have to admire how Jillian crafted that relationship.

And I was incredibly happy she chose the right boy because he was perfect for her and with every book I just fell more and more in love with him so I was jumping for joy (even if Keats did give me a heart attack with how she was acting at this part of the story.)

The stalker plotline ended explosively although I think some of those scenes could’ve been a bit more developed but it was great to see Keatyn take control of the situation and take back her life.

Probably the thing I enjoyed most about this series was Keatyn’s development (as well as Aiden because come on, The God of All Hotties!) Keatyn was an immature, spoiled little brat in the first book and she has matured into a responsible, confident young woman who knows what she wants and takes steps to achieve it.

I adored the ending and how Jillian tied in Captive Films and the trilogy on the big screen and I thought it was very cleverly done.

Having read this series now, I can happily recommend it. I loved the angst-driven romance throughout this series and all the love interests were fun even if I was frustrated at certain points. It meanders a bit in some of the books and the stalker aspect could’ve been executed better but for swoony romance and high-school drama, it gets ten out of ten. Overall series rating: 4 stars.

Actual Rating for Get Me – 4.5 stars.

As an aside, I’ve hummed and hawed over whether to comment on the pricing because, as an author myself, I always try to maintain respect in my reviews. I understand how much work goes into writing, publishing, and marketing a book. However, I feel strongly that this series is overpriced and it’s the one thing holding me back from reading the spin-off Captive Films series. I don’t usually read any e-books priced more than £3.99/$4.99 as it’s my cut off point and I only ended up reading this series because I picked up the first three books in a boxset for £5.49. I wish they were cheaper, and my personal belief is the author would sell more books in this series if she lowered the prices a little. I mean no disrespect when I say this.

I did pick up Fame a few months back for 99p so I’m going to read that even though I’m scared it will suck me in like this series did and I won’t be able to stop myself from one-clicking the rest.

Review: Love Me (The Keatyn Chronicles #4) by Jillian Dodd

Title: Love Me
Author: Jillian Dodd
Series: The Keatyn Chronicles #4
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
My mom says that you can’t love someone until you learn to love yourself.
So even though Vincent is getting more and more scary.
Even though he’s doing a nationwide search for me.
I’m going to learn to love myself.

Well, I’m going to try.
Mostly, I want a boy to love me.
But which one?

Dawson – The gorgeous boy who made a mistake, but whose molten lava kisses and steaminess I can’t freaking resist.
or
Aiden – The God of all Hotties, who is practically infused with love potion. Who I thought liked me, but now says he wants to be my friend.
or
Brooklyn – The boy that first stole my heart. Who has always loved me. Well, until the whole cabana incident.

I mean, it was bad enough when there was sort of a love triangle, but now that I’m talking to B again, it’s like I’m in a love rectangle, or a rhombus, or something.

Oh, and did I mention Cooper Steele?
The new soccer coaching, health teaching, tattooed hunk?
Who Garrett sent to school to guard my body.
I mean, be my bodyguard.

But back to loving me.
I should forget about boys and worry about me.
Love me.
Like, eventually.

My Review:
I had a love-hate relationship with this book and I have a severe case of literary whiplash after reading it. Keatyn really frustrated me with her indecisiveness in this book and her inability to choose between Dawson and Aiden. I mean, it was totally obvious she should pick Aiden but it took her forever to get to that place. I felt so bad for Aiden – he was doing everything right and still having to watch her run from his arms to Dawson’s. I totally get that you can be crushing on more than one boy at a time, and I don’t have an issue with that, but I did have an issue with her kissing one and sleeping with another at the same time. Then B comes back into the mix and it got even more tangled. Despite my frustration with Keatyn, there is no denying this book was full of angsty drama and swoony romance and it’s annoyingly addictive. I’m totally rooting for Aiden now and I hope she ends up with him.

Again, the stalker plot is not really doing it for me but there are indications that she’s going to try and take back control of her life in the next book so I’m hoping this aspect of the story gets the development it needs as the series progresses.

Now, onto Adore Me.

Review: The Keatyn Chronicles: Books 1-3 by Jillian Dodd

Title: The Keatyn Chronicles: Books 1-3
Author: Jillian Dodd
Series: The Keatyn Chronicles #1-3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Keatyn’s crazy life comes together in one perfect script in this special combined addition of the first three books in The Keatyn Chronicles.

Book 1 – Stalk Me Keatyn’s life is following the script she wrote for the perfect high school experience. She’s popular, goes to the best parties, dates the hottest guy, and sits at the most-coveted lunch table. But she’s thinking about giving it all up to date an adorable surfer. So she writes a new script. One where all the pieces of her life come together in perfect harmony. But little does she know, there’s someone who will do anything to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Book 2 – Kiss Me Keatyn’s always written scripts for her perfect life. But she never would have scripted this. She’s now at a boarding school, where she has new challenges to face. Like tutoring a hottie god that tortures her with his smile. And having the most popular girl hate her because of a guy. So she’s decided to stop trying to script her life and just live it. Because who knows how long she has left.

Book 3 – Date Me Keatyn’s giving up scripting her life. Sort of. She’s done with the God of all Hotties. She’s going to give her heart to the boy whose kisses are hotter than molten lava and who asked her to Homecoming in a big, crazy way. Because there’s so much to look forward to. Parties at the Cave. Homecoming festivities. Drama Tryouts. Shopping trips to NY. But things aren’t as perfect as they seem. She knows he’s still out there and getting more desperate. And even though she wants to pretend she’ll never see him again, she knows she will. And she’s afraid that this time, she might not get away.

My Review:
Book one finished – actual rating 3.5 stars. This book was hugely entertaining and it had me laughing out loud at the absurdity of it. I had literary whiplash keeping up with Keatyn’s changing feelings over the boys, but, you know what, I think it captured those teenage hormonally-fueled decisions and the enormous indecision as you are struggling to find your identity and your place in the world. It’s over the top drama and sexualization and all the conversations with her parents and their friends were totally unrealistic but I just laughed my ass off because I think the author wants you to take it tongue-in-cheek, so I did. Cush was great until he acted like an asshole, but, I forgave him. I blew hot and cold on Brooklyn – I did want them together at the start, and part of me is still hoping he’s her forever love, but he frustrated the hell out of me in this one because he did string her along and it wasn’t fair. Ultimately, I feel he’s too mature for Keatyn, and also not ready for a committed relationship. She’s still got a lot of growing up to do, and her behavior and inner monologue had me tearing my hair out at times. The writing is decent and the little scripts were fun. The reason this isn’t rated higher is because the plot was so weak and there were holes and it took all of two seconds to figure out who the stalker was. For a movie star’s daughter, Keatyn was ridiculously naive and quite juvenile at time. Loved the change of scenery at the end and new hot boys to drool over (I’m totally shallow like that.) Despite my issues with the plot, it was a hoot reading this book and I’m glad I bought this box set so I can get stuck into the next book. Overall, a decent start to a fun, light-hearted, entertaining series.

Book 2 – Loved the change of scenery in this one and the introduction to Dawson, Riley, Dallas, and the God of all hotties, Aidan. Keatyn is very indecisive at the start and it wasn’t cool that she was dancing and flirting wtih Aidan while having sex with Dawes. I totally buy the fact that you can have feelings for different boys at the same time, especially as a teenager, but acting on those feelings is another matter entirely. And, B is majorly in my bad books now – how could he do that to her? I wanted to strangle him. I thought he was going to end up her forever love and now I’m hoping he doesn’t cos he’s a total jackass. Loving her and Dawson and hoping they last the difference even though Aidan is totally swoon worthy. 4 stars

Book 3 – I was glad when Keatyn made a decision, drew a line on what was and wasn’t appropriate, and became a couple with Dawes. I was really loving how amazing he was for her until the end – WTF? I wanted to jump into my Kindle and throttle him and give her a big hug. The stalker plotline is weak and very much secondary and I wish it was better developed because I don’t feel the fear or tension. Character development was good in this one, especially with Keatyn and Aidan, and I love how she’s besties with Dallas and Riley – they are a great team. I’m invested in this series because of the romance. I love that there are several love interests once it doesn’t cross a line. And I loved that ending. Seriously, Keatyn is so dense that she didn’t realize that. Really hoping she ditches D and starts dating Aidan in the next book. Dawson doesn’t deserve to be forgiven. 4 stars.