Review: Finding My Way (Beaumont #4) by Heidi McLaughlin

Title: Finding My Way
Author: Heidi McLaughlin
Series: Beaumont #4
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Liam Westbury has the world at his feet. He’s the quintessential golden boy. He’s the superstar quarterback for Beaumont High. His girl, Josie, is head cheerleader. He has his choice of colleges just waiting for him. Except he’s suffocating from all the pressure he’s under and no one understands.

Liam Page is the heartthrob he never wanted to be. He’s successful, smart and in demand by record companies and his adoring fans. Music is his passion, his love, but something’s missing. His nights are lonely and he longs for the girl he left behind. Seeing her in every face in the crowd haunts him with the knowledge that she hates him. Going home has never been an option until now.

Be there when Liam Westbury becomes Liam Page and follow the highs and lows of the Quarterback turned Rockstar as he finds a way back to Beaumont in this prequel to Forever My Girl.

My Review:
This was a great companion novel and it contained completely new material which was refreshing. I really came to understand Liam’s decision once I saw the backstory. I had read some of the reviews before starting, and was afraid I would hate him after reading this, but I didn’t. I actually really felt for him in the first half.

Mason’s decision was really shitty and while I had been looking forward to meeting him, he wasn’t a very good friend. He was mooning over Katelyn and no one else seemed to matter. I was hugely disappointed in Josie. She had complete blinkers on and she never asked her boyfriend what was wrong or made any effort to understand him. I actually came out of this thinking she doesn’t deserve him.

The second half of the story was difficult to read at times because I didn’t like seeing Liam with other women and I can’t understand how he could be in love with Josie for ten years and still sleep around so much. And he lied when he said in the first book that he had only enjoyed hook ups because he had a relationship with Sam. Hated reading that part and was glad it wasn’t too detailed.

There were a few timeline errors that bugged me, but that’s just a pet peeve of mine, and it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story. My only disappointment is I would have liked to have seen some of the reunion with Josie (especially the initial scenes and him learning about Noah) from his perspective, but overall it was a fantastic addition to the series.

Review: Frayed Silk by Ella Fields

Title: Frayed Silk
Author: Ella Fields
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Our marriage wasn’t just in trouble—mere threads were all that held it together.
What was once my perfect happily ever after had dissolved right before my eyes.
I can tell you when it started to happen.
What I can’t tell you is why.
And after seven months of watching my husband turn into someone I didn’t recognize, I’d given up hope in finding answers.

So I decided to break his heart
… and he did nothing to stop me.

Trigger warning: This book contains cheating and other sensitive subject matter.

My Review:
Absolutely exceptional storytelling. I spent the first half of the book desperately trying to figure out Leo’s secret, and while I was on the right track, I still could never have guessed that. My heart broke for him, for them, but I loved watching them reconnect and become a team again.

I loved the family theme and the children’s characters and interactions were spot on for their ages.

Not really sure how I feel about Jared. He seemed to care for her but we didn’t really get enough of his backstory to fully understand. I guess I’ll just have to check out his book to discover more.

Wow, what an amazing thought-provoking story, and one that will stay with me for a long time.

Review: Suddenly Forbidden (Gray Springs University #1) by Ella Fields

Title: Suddenly Forbidden
Author: Ella Fields
Series: Gray Springs University #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
I thought he’d always be mine,
even when I was forced to say goodbye.

We were never meant to let go,
but it happened anyway.
Too bad I didn’t know someone was waiting to take my place, or I would’ve held on a lot tighter.

Two years later, we were exactly where we’d always planned to be.
I’d kept my promise.
He’d forgotten all about his.
Not only had he moved on, but the person he’d moved on with was my best friend, leaving me to begin college with a broken heart.

I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you some other guy stepped in, repaired my shattered pieces, and made me smile again.

This isn’t that kind of story.

My heart might have been broken,
but it refused to fall out of love.

WARNING: this book contains cheating.

Each book in the Gray Springs world can be read as a standalone.

My Review:
I floved this book so much I stayed up all night reading it. I tried to put it down at 3am and spent the next two hours tossing and turning as anxiety twisted my stomach into knots. I gave up and picked the book back up again, and finally got to sleep at 7 a.m. I’m totally blaming Ella Fields for my crappy productivity today, lol.

This book completely satisfied my craving for a messy, angsty romance and I lapped it right up. There were plenty of times where I wanted to project myself into the story to throttle the characters, but I had to settle for silently screaming abuse at my Kindle instead. I really hated Quinn for a lot of this book. He professed undying, eternal love and then gave up too quick, and the way he treated Daisy at the start really frustrated me, especially when he allowed that beatch Alexis to crawl all over him in deliberate malicious PDAs. I don’t think I have hated a character as much as I hated Alexis. What a cow. Quinn redeemed himself in the end so I forgave him, but I really wanted to kick Daisy in her ladyparts a few times and tell her to stop mooning over him in such a transparent way. I also really wanted her to rub his nose in it by hooking up with Callum, but she was too nice and too heartbroken to do that.

I adored the flashback scenes and I really felt their connection, hence why I became so involved and felt so much frustration with Quinn.

The writing was superb, the pacing consistent, and we got a fab epilogue and HEA in the end.

In summary, this was a fantastic read and one I would highly recommend to readers who enjoy angsty forbidden romance.

Review: As She Fades by Abbi Glines

Title: As She Fades
Author: Abbi Glines
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
On the night of her high school graduation, Vale McKinley and her boyfriend Crawford are in a terrible car accident that leaves Crawford in a coma. They were supposed to spend the summer planning for college, for a bright future full of possibility. Together. Instead, Vale spends long days in the hospital, hoping Crawford will awaken.

Slate Allen, a college friend of Vale’s brother, has been visiting his dying uncle at the same hospital. When he and Vale meet, she can’t deny the flutter of an illicit attraction. She tries to ignore her feelings, but she’s not immune to Slate’s charm. Slowly, they form a cautious friendship.

Then, Crawford wakes up . . . with no memory of Vale or their relationship. Heartbroken, Vale opts to leave for college and move on with her life. Except now, she’s in Slate’s territory, and their story is about to take a very strange turn.

My Review:
Absolutely loved this except the end was far too abrupt, and it feels like I don’t have closure. Happy I guessed the twist, and it was genius. The blurb really drew me in and it had the right level of angst and drama to keep this reader happy, just wish the ending was different.

Also, I’m wondering why the end paragraph of the blurb is there as it’s technically not correct. I’m wondering if the story was maybe written like that first, and was later changed. It was actually that part of the blurb that really hooked me. I can’t help thinking of how angsty that would’ve been. Maybe she’ll do a Jessica Sorensen on it and write a different version of the same story with a different Part 2 – would love to read that!

Review: Wicked Lies (Wicked Bay #3) by L.A. Cotton

Title: Wicked Lies
Author: L.A. Cotton
Series: Wicked Bay #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The third book in the bestselling Wicked Bay series from L A Cotton

To the outside world, seventeen-year-old Kyle Stone has it all. A future playing the sport he loves, money and status, and his forever girl by his side. But Kyle’s good at pretending; hiding what he doesn’t want others to see. Because Kyle has secrets, the kind that can change everything.

Pretty, popular, and dating one of Wicked Bay High’s rising football stars, Laurie Davison is living the life most girls only dream about. But behind closed doors, she feels like a fake. Keeping up appearances is exhausting, and the one person she should be able to turn to is the person pushing her away.

They say love conquers all, but lies destroy. And when the truth comes out, hearts don’t only get hurt.

They get ruined.

My Review:
Another fantastic addition to the Wicked Bay series, and a book I devoured in less than twenty-hour hours. I have adored Kyle in this series to date, and I couldn’t wait to read his story. Lianne did not disappoint. I really felt for our boy, and this was an emotional, heartfelt read. He made some silly mistakes, and hiding stuff from those you love is never a good idea but it all came full circle and ended up in a good place. Kyle is such a great character and I loved his banter and his swoony romantic side – a definite addition to my book boyfriend list!

I floved seeing Rick and Lo so much too, and seeing how united they are just warmed my heart, but I’m anxious for what’s coming next with them with Maverick heading to college and Lo having to face Caitlin during senior year by herself. I have a feeling the angst and drama are about to be ramped up, and I cannot wait for Wicked Games.

Another well-written, angsty romance that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. If you are a fan of this series, you will definitely want to read this one, and if you haven’t picked up Wicked Beginnings yet, what are you waiting for??!!

Review: Black Swan Affair by K.L. Kreig

Title: Black Swan Affair
Author: K.L. Kreig
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
I’ve loved him as long as I can remember.

The gangly boy with big brown eyes and unruly hair who grew up into an intoxicating man. He wears scruff like he invented it and ambles with a swagger that makes panties drop.

Killian Shepard.

Shep.

We grew up together. We played Ghost in the Graveyard. Had our own rock band. It didn’t matter that he was five years older than me. It didn’t matter that he looked at me as a kid sister even as I grew into woman. It didn’t even matter when he left me behind to go to college and start his adult life.

He’d be back.
He was always meant to be mine.

He came back, all right. But instead of smelling of promises, he stunk of betrayal. And he destroyed me—us—the day he married my sister instead of me.

So I did the only thing a girl like me in my position could do.

I got my revenge.
I married his brother, Kael.
Now we’re one big happy f*cking family.

***mature content appropriate for 18+

My Review:
Amazing, loved it. Could hardly put it down, and when I did I was thinking about it obsessively. Superb writing, tons of angst and emotional complexity, and the author had me switching my mind constantly over what was going on and with which guy. Loved how it turned out, as I was rooting for that one all along! What a gem of a new author discovery for me. *Runs to KU to check out more of her work.*

Review: Dare to Kiss (Maxwell #1) by S.B. Alexander

Title: Dare to Kiss
Author: S.B. Alexander
Series: Maxwell #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
I never asked for him to save me, but he’s determined to try.

I had the perfect life, the perfect future, and the perfect family. Until one night everything was ripped away, including my desire to play the sport I love. I’m trying to move forward, but it’s hard when I’m plagued by triggers and haunted by nightmares.

But then I met him…

Kade Maxwell makes my mouth dry and my belly tingle. Through his own pain, he shows me that I’m stronger than I think. But I’m not so sure when I learn Kade has a violent enemy who is determined to use me to get to him. To make matters worse, I’m faced with a bully who does everything he can to keep me in “my place.”

With my life spinning wildly out of control, can Kade help me rebuild the scattered fragments of my life? Or will I end up losing him, too?

Intended for audiences 18+

My Review:
OMG, how am I only discovering this series now? I just love those Maxwell boys! Very entertaining, well written, with a strong MC you can root for and a plethora of gorgeous boys. And I loved all the drama and angst. Onto book 2.

Review: Stanton Series Box Set (Stanton #1-3) by T.L. Swan

Title: Stanton Series Box Set
Author: T.L. Swan
Series: Stanton #1-3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The complete Stanton series, Book1 Stanton Adore, Book 2 Stanton Unconditional and Book 3 Stanton Completely

She’s kryptonite.
Sensual, sweet, and as annoyingly perfect as she was when I left 7 years ago.
My body remembers the way she felt underneath me, and wants her again.
My heart remembers the way she crushed it and wants as far away as possible.
But she’s everywhere, haunting me, torturing me, driving me past all logical reason.
I need to forget her, move on and get her out of my system, but to do that,
I need to have her one.
Last.
Time.

It started as a kiss.
We never meant to fall in love.
But I was 17 and carefree,
And he was 19, beautiful and forbidden.
Our families never would have accepted it…
And I broke his heart to save his future.
Now the boy I loved 7 years ago is the man I can’t have.
He’s grown into everything my body craves, my heart demands…
and my sense of decency rejects.

My Review:
This is one of the most frustratingly-brilliant compulsively-readable series I’ve read in a long time. Once I started, I found it almost impossible to put down. At times, when I was forced to put it aside, it played on my mind. Always a sign of a great read.

I only came across this series as a reviewer of my book mentioned the similarities, (first cousin romance with a suspenseful side plot) and I had to check it out. I must thank that reviewer for bringing this series to my attention because I became invested very quickly.

Josh and Natasha have the most messed-up dysfunctional relationship ever, but it had me gripped from the very start. I loved that Natasha was a psychologist who knew better but she was powerless under the electric attraction and the deep bond she shared with Joshua. Her education, her experience, and her gut told her she should stay away from him, especially after they continually hurt one another, but the story shows what it’s like to be human. Her mind knew the right thing to do was to stay away, but her heart wouldn’t let her.

God, I’ve never wanted to bash two fictional character’s heads together as much as I wanted to bash these two, lol. The toing and froing was angsty and over the top dramatic and I freaking loved it. It messed with my head and made mincemeat of my heart but I lapped it up. If you don’t like train wreck love stories, with a taboo twist, you should probably give this one a miss.

The romance, chemistry, and sexy times were excellent. This was a scorching hot read and our mains have a sizzling chemistry that is undeniable. I swung between loving and hating both characters as I read, groaning at the double standards, and miscommunication but unable to put it down, like the worst type of addict. This book will seriously mess with your mind and twist your emotions into knots (in a good way.)

I thought the character and plot development were excellent. I guessed who was messing with them, but it was still very well done. With so many enemies, it did keep me guessing. The writing gets better with each book, and it flows at a fast pace. There wasn’t much filler, and it kept me glued to my Kindle for days. I really loved all the secondary characters, and I’ll definitely check out their books. I have Dr. Stanton downloaded to my Kindle already.

The only reason this is a four-star rather than five-star review is down to the lack of professional editing. As an author, I cannot, in all conscience, rate this five stars even though the story and the characters merit it. The writing and editing let it down, and I can’t write this review honestly without mentioning the atrocious grammar—run on sentences, redundant and incorrect words, awkward sentence structure, dangling modifiers, typos etc., etc. While most readers probably wouldn’t notice these things, I did, and it pulled me out of the story so much it became frustrating. I found myself correcting things in my head, and it annoyed me because I like to read for enjoyment and not be “mentally editing” a book as I read. I couldn’t help but do it with this series as it was so commonplace.

If you don’t mind such a glaring lack of editing, and you enjoy dramatic, angsty romance that will leave you breathless and swoony, then I highly recommend this series.

Review: Discovering Alexis: Truths & Lies (Bad Boy Rebels Book 7) by Jessica Sorensen

Title: Discovering Alexis: Truths & Lies
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Series: Bad Boy Rebels Book 7
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
My name is Alexis and up until a day ago, I thought the worst thing that ever happened to me was catching Blaine and Masie kissing. Boy was I wrong. Like really, really wrong. Now my life is filled with crazy hackers, dirty lies, and three hot guys trying to protect me. And who knows what tomorrow will bring.

My Review:
I LOVED this volume and I’m enjoying Alexis’ character way better than Zharas. The boys aren’t quite as captivating as the boys in Zhara’s harem, but West and Steel are smokin’ hot and very intriguing. Ellis not so much. This one was a fantastic read, plenty of laughs, sexual tension, and mystery. Initially, I was peeved that the story was splitting between Zhara and Alexis but after this volume, I really don’t mind. I hate that they are so short because I’m so stuck into it and then, bam, it’s over. Aaggh! I’m hungry for more even though I can’t really complain as I’ve read these all back to back.

Totally addicted to this series – I need more like, yesterday, lol. Please tell me the next volume is coming soon? Can’t get these guys out of my head!

Review: Discovering Zhara: Sweet Lies & Kisses (Bad Boy Rebels #6) by Jessica Sorensen

Title: Discovering Zhara: Sweet Lies & Kisses
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Series: Bad Boy Rebels #6
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
My name is Zhara and my life is filled with drug lords, threats, lies, secrets, and kissing…
It’s making separating my real life with my undercover life complicated.

The Bad Boy Rebels series is a novella series that follows Zhara and six guys who are part of a secret detective program. It contains a lot of kissing, steamy scenes, with a bit of suspense, and mystery.

My Review:
5 hawt stars for all the gorgeous, interesting guys but 3 stars for the gullible heroine, weak premise, and plot holes. That said, Zhara is growing on me as she becomes more forthright but the premise behind the story is not believable and I’m consistently rolling my eyes at how she has to “prove” she’s dating six guys. There is no credible reason for it or the fact that others are demanding proof. But, I really enjoy the detective agency side of it and the mystery is intriguing, and I’m one hundred percent invested now.

And that scene with Benton and Xavier was hot (even if ridiculous that they were asked to do it.) Hoping for steamier scenes as it progresses and I’m definitely loving the RH aspect.

Wish I knew when the next Zhara episode was out, but Jessica is very prolific and she releases quickly so I’m confident we won’t have to wait too long. Usually, I’m not a fan of serials like this but I’m really enjoying this one (complaints aside.)