Review: The Dead List by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: The Dead List
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary/ Mystery
Links:

Blurb:
It’s Ella’s senior year of high school and she and her best friend Linds plan to make it the best year ever. At Brock Cochran’s end of summer pool party, the girls vow to have as much fun as possible before they head off to different colleges next fall. But when Ella is mysteriously attacked on her way home from the party, everything changes. Ella’s carefree senior year plans disintegrate as she finds herself at the center of an attempted murder investigation.

Ella tries to move on, but her attacker isn’t done yet. He shows himself in the form of horrifying signs and symbols: a clown mask strewn on her bed, a dead bird in her backpack, a shadow moving past her window in the night. And as the weeks pass, it turns out that Ella isn’t the only one being tormented.

With the help of an old flame, Jensen Carver, and her friends and family, Ella tries to attain some sense of normalcy, but she can’t seem to shake the feeling that there’s a dark pattern hidden in the killer’s every move. Suddenly, even those in her innermost circle seem suspicious. In her seemingly safe West Virginia town, Ella starts to wonder who she can trust.

My Review:
Initial Thoughts: Wow! What a fantastic read! I had a very difficult time putting this book down and only did so to sleep.

Full Review:

The Dead List is a well-written captivating romantic thriller that had my heart swooning and panicking in equal measure!

Read it for the romance as much as for the mystery because let’s be honest, Jennifer Armentrout writes some of the most amazing book boyfriends EVER and Jensen Carver is no exception. Where do I even begin? He’s hot, loyal, honest, supportive, funny, and so, so protective of Ella and I was in love with him pretty much from the get-go. One of the things I especially enjoyed was how confident he was in himself and his feelings for Ella and he didn’t shy away from articulating same.

For example, see how amazingly perfect this quote of Jensen’s is:

“I want to be that guy-the one that when your phone rings, you hope it’s me. The one who holds your hand in the hallway at lunch. The guy who gets to hold you. I want to be the one who gets to touch you. I want to be yours.”

We are told he didn’t date, enjoying casual hook-ups, and while it wasn’t specified I took that to mean he was just waiting for Ella to open up and let him back in and he had no genuine interest in any other girl. That only made me love him more!

Ella was a great character too. A loyal friend to Linds, Gavin, and Jensen, and a nice person to boot. The opening scene when she was leaving the party showed she was a fighter, a survivor, and that only endeared me to her more.

I’m going to be brutally honest -my real interest with this book was the blossoming romance and the mystery/intrigue surrounding the murderer took a back seat for me. I’ve seen some readers suggest this is a horror but I wasn’t scared. It reads like more of a thriller to me. I never felt like Ella was in a genuine life-threatening situation and I was more invested in when she and Jensen were going to get it on than I was in identifying the killer, lol, HOWEVER that doesn’t mean I wasn’t intrigued because I was. I enjoyed how the past and the present intertwined even if it was a tad bit predictable. I liked the flashback scenes. I actually had figured out the murderer’s identity at one point but I kept changing my mind as Jenn threw out different hooks. Love when an author has me second guessing myself and Jenn did a great job here with throwing me off the scent! That twist at the very end was brilliant because I was a bit confused wondering how it was all stacking up and then bam, that came at me and my heart was in my mouth – that was so well written.

I ended up reading this in less than twenty-four hours and then I kicked myself for having read it so fast because I always do that with Jenn’s books and then I’m left feeling bereft.

In summary, this was a fantastic read and Jenn continues to prove she deserves to be at the top of my fave authors list. If you enjoy swoony romance intertwined with intriguing mystery and a fast-paced writing style then you’ll love The Dead List. Highly Recommended.

Thanks to the author and her assistant for providing an ARC of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed.

Release Boost: Fallen Crest Home by Tijan


Today is my stop during the release boost for Fallen Crest Home by Tijan!

Title: Fallen Crest Home
Author: Tijan
Series: Fallen Crest High #6
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
It’s been years since my mother was in my life.
I healed.
I learned to accept love.
I lived.
That’s all done. She was away, and now she’s back.
I’ve avoided her for a year and a half, but I can’t hide anymore.
Mason has an internship in Fallen Crest, so we’re heading back for the summer.
And when we got there—no one was prepared for what happened.

My Review:
Well, that was like literary crack for my soul. So EPIC! Loved every page. Stayed up until 3 am and had to put it down as I was so tired. Two hours later I picked it up again as I couldn’t go to sleep because my mind was conjuring up all kinds of scenarios for what was going to happen. So, yes, I finished it at 7.30am this morning and got up to work on only two hours sleep. Like a zombie today but so worth it. Man, I LOVE this series so much. I’m already sad at the prospect of it drawing to a close even though we have FC7 to come next month. Could read about these characters forever. Love Mason Kade. Sam is still a little irritating at times and I wanted to bash her head against the wall a few times during my reading of this book but it in no way dented my enjoyment. These characters are like old friends at this stage. Wonderfully entertaining. And the chemistry between Sam and Mase is the best I have ever read – it gives me chills all over. I get all the feels with this series. Massive book hangover now. Roll on May.

Excerpt:
My hand cradled the back of his neck, holding him prisoner.
I didn’t want him to look away, to move away.
I wanted him inside of me.
His eyes darkened and as if reading my mind, he moved back to pull his pants off. After grabbing a condom, and pulling it on, he came back and settled between my legs.
My arms went back around him, like returning to their home.
“Sam,” he murmured, tracing a finger down the side of my face. He tucked some hair behind my ear, and then I felt his lips against mine again.
Yes. Home.
That’s what this was.
I groaned, my head falling back, and I felt his soft chuckle against my skin, but then he reached down and shifted, lifting my leg until I wound it around his waist. He dipped in, shifting, and I felt him at my entrance. He paused, then slid inside.
My eyes closed and I relished the feel of him in me.
He began moving, thrusting inside of me.
As he kept going, and he slid his hands up my arms to capture my hands, I opened my eyes. We were staring back at each other, watching each other. I could feel him reaching inside of me, searching, claiming me. Everything in my body yearned for him, yearned for more. I wanted more. I needed more.
The second he touched me, everything blared alive. I was awakened. Always.
In and out. Mason kept thrusting.
My fingers clamped down over his, sinking deep as his pace quickened.
“Mason,” I gasped. Weak. His onslaught kept going, harder, faster. “I love you.”
He groaned, climaxing, and his body clenched as he thrust into me a last time. It sent me hurdling over the edge, and I wrapped both arms around his neck, hanging on.
A moment later, he brushed a soft kiss on my forehead before he slipped out.
I still lay beneath him.
I didn’t want to move.
I didn’t want him to move, and eventually, we slept like that.
I woke later, but I was still in his arms. He was curled up behind me, and I went back to sleep again. All the doubts and questions would be there tomorrow.

START THE FALLEN CREST SERIES NOW
Fallen Crest High – 99¢ or FREE in KU

COMING SOON BY TIJAN
Hate to Love You – Releasing Fall 2017

Add Hate To Love You to your to-read list on goodreads

About the Author:
Tijan is a New York Times Bestselling author that writes suspenseful and unpredictable novels. Her characters are strong, intense, and gut-wrenchingly real with a little bit of sass on the side. Tijan began writing later in life and once she started, she was hooked. She’s written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and the Broken and Screwed Series among others. She is currently writing Fallen Crest Seven (untitled) along with so many more from north Minnesota where she lives with a man she couldn’t be without and an English Cocker she adores.

Links:

Blog Tour: Kiss and Make Up Series by Sara Ney


Today is my stop during the blog tour for the Kiss and Make Up series by Sara Ney! I share my review for the first two books in the series today. There are also soem teasers.

Kissing in Cars

Title: Kissing in Cars
Author: Sara Ney
Series: Kiss and Make Up #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Sports Romance
Links:

Blurb:
This novel, along with all others in this series, is a standalone with no cliffhanger. You’re welcome.

WILL SHE, OR WON’T SHE…

Studious and (mostly) sensible, the only thing Molly Wakefield wants to do is get through Senior Year and graduate. Well, that and hit the beach in her spare time. Okay, fine – and go shopping every once in a while for a new dress… (and who could blame her?)

And things are going according to plan – until the day she spies Weston McGrath, handsome star athlete and scholar, spying on her in study hall.

A tad creepy? Maybe.
Thrilling? Absolutely.

You see, Weston McGrath happens to be one guy no one can get close to.

Despite her best efforts to avoid it (because let’s face it – the guy isn’t exactly “boyfriend material”) Molly and Weston form a friendship.

And more….
Sort of.
But it’s a friendship that comes with a price – because Weston just cannot seem to stop screwing things up. Or saying all the wrong things. Possibly in that order…
And who has time for an 18 year old “fixer-upper” that should know better?
Not Molly.
Or does she?

Note: This YA book is intended for 17+ due to the vulgar language used by its male characters (and occasionally the females as well, even though they’re too lady like to do it throughout the entire book). Some adult sexual situations that steam up a few car windows. This title is approx. 63,000 words.

Weston appears to be your stereotypical asshole hockey player player and the type of boy that Molly usually steers well clear of, however, appearances can be deceiving.

I really enjoyed the start to the Kiss & Make Up series by Sara Ney. Molly was a great MC with lots of spunk and a genuine heart. She wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or articulate her feelings even in front of the hotness that was Weston and I really admired her self-confidence. Her friend Jenna was funny but she also irked me with the way she went on about Weston both in front of her own boyfriend and Molly. Seriously, not cool. I don’t actually think she meant to be hurtful but it was insensitive all the same.

Weston was swoon worthy in the extreme, and essentially a nice guy with a penchant for messing up spectacularly. That scene with Stacey was like a knife to the chest – this was when I wanted Weston to man up but he chickened out again and I was furious with him. All ends up well, even if the last chapter and epilogue felt rushed.

The writing is brilliant, character development is decent, and the story flowed consistently. I liked the dual POV and felt it was well executed. I would’ve like a little bit more of a plot and a lot more of the romance but that’s just a personal choice.

I’ve read (and loved) Sara’s How to Date a Douchebag series and I was expecting this one to be funny. It was, and the scene in the restaurant at the end had me giggling like a three-year-old, but it wasn’t quite up to the standard of her newer series.

All in all though, this was a great read and I’m looking forward to book 2.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing a complimentary copy of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed.

He Kissed Me First

Title: He Kissed Me First
Author: Sara Ney
Series: Kiss and Make Up #2
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Sports Romance
Links:

Blurb:
This novel, along with all others in this series, is a standalone with no cliffhanger. You’re welcome.

HE SAID…
“Trust me – If there’s one thing I’m not attracted to, it’s the shrieking, overly-dramatic shrew that’s taken over my sister’s apartment. And what is up with her hair? I know what I want; an easy, uncomplicated lay – and Cecelia Carter sure as shit isn’t one. But I never could resist a challenge, and vow to wipe that condescending grin off her pretty face. Aw, shit. Did I just call her pretty..?” – Matthew Wakefield

SHE SAID…

“Trust me – If there’s one thing I’m not attracted to, it’s an arrogant, selfish and foul-mouth hockey player. I know what I want; someone who’s good for my body and soul and makes me laugh – and Matthew Wakefield isn’t any of those things. I cannot stand the sight of him; I mean, what a jackass. If I refuse to give him anything but sass and sarcasm, it’s only because he deserves it…” – Cecelia Carter

This book is intended for those 17 and older. If you’re offended by cursing (particularly “F” bombs), sarcasm, sexual situations and Alpha Male jackasses – this book is not for you…

My Review:
Book two in the Kiss and MakeUp series is the story of Molly’s brother Matthew and we watch as he falls in love with her roommate, Cecelia. Both Matt and Cece were freaking nuts and there are plenty of laugh out loud moments in this book and it definitely had me giggling throughout. The emails and texts were very funny and were a quirky touch. I liked that we caught up with Molly and West and it was funny to see how Matt and West sparked off one another. I did find it difficult to get into this book at first as both male and female voices were irritating but that wore off as the book progressed. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book, and this series isn’t a patch on Sara’s How to Date a Douchebag series, it is still a thoroughly entertaining, quick, fun read. If you enjoy upper YA/NA contemporary romance with plenty of comedic moments then you’ll enjoy this series.

Actual rating: 3.75 stars

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing a copy of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed.

A Kiss Like This

Title: A Kiss Like This
Author: Sara Ney
Series: Kiss and Make Up #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Sports Romance
Links:

Blurb:
This novel, along with all others in this series, is a standalone with no cliffhanger. You’re welcome.

ABIGAIL DARLINGTON IS AWKWARD…

She will never be “that” girl. You know the one: that girl on campus, confident in her own skin. Always saying the right things. Putting herself out there. Knows how to talk to a guy without stammering.

Nope. Shy but clever, and easily embarrassed, Abby is fine being the wallflower in her circle of outgoing, beautiful friends; she would rather read about a sexy book boyfriend than actually have a live, breathing one.

…BUT CALEB LOCKHART IS WORSE.

Star goaltender for the University’s hockey team, Caleb is quiet and broody, preferring the solitude of his orderly, regimented life. He doesn’t like, or need people—and plans to keep it that way. One more year left of hockey and he’ll be long gone.

AWKWARD NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD. Both their lives change the day that Abigail falls for Caleb. Well, falls directly on top of him, to be accurate. Because sometimes we don’t settle into love.

We fall there.

WARNING: This book contains cursing, and LOTS of it. It also has sex, uncomfortable and often awkward situations. Not to mention, the secondary characters say some really inappropriate s**t. Not intended for readers under 17

About the Author:
Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

Links:

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Blog Tour: The House Mate (Roommates #3) by Kendall Ryan


Today is my stop during the blog tour for The House Mate (Roommates #3) by Kendall Ryan! I’ll share my review of this book with you today!

Title: The House Mate
Author: Kendall Ryan
Series: Roommates #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
What’s sexier than a bad boy? A bad ass man who’s got his shit together.

Max Alexander is nearing thirty-five. He’s built a successful company, and he’s conquered the professional world, but he’s never been lucky in love. Focusing so much time on his business and raising his daughter, adulting has come at the expense of his personal life.

His social skills are shit, his patience is shot, and at times, his temper runs hot.

The last thing he has time for is the recently single, too gorgeous for her own good young woman he hires to take care of his little girl. She’s a distraction he doesn’t need, and besides, there’s no way she’d be interested. But you know what they say about assumptions?

This is book 3 in the Roommates series, but each book can be read as a complete standalone as they all feature new couples to fall in love with.

My Review:
Hot Single Dad Romance Alert!! The third book in the Roommates series by Kendall Ryan didn’t disappoint. This was another entertaining, quick read that left me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

Construction boss Max Alexander is a thirty-five-year-old commitment-allergic hottie who likes to enjoy hookups without the pain of a relationship. When his ex makes an unexpected reappearance with a baby in tow, his world changes in an instant. I adored how quickly Max grew attached to baby Dylan and how sweet he was with her. He is in desperate need of a nanny and when Addison shows up she’s perfect – except that he feels instant monkey-lust and wonders how the hell he’ll be able to resist her when she’s living in his house.

Addison feels the explosive chemistry between them but she can’t turn down this job – she needs the money and a place to live and she desperately needs to get over a bad break up. Addison wormed her way into my heart instantly and I hated how much she lacked self-confidence as a result of that ahole ex, Greg. She was wonderful with Dylan, and as a mother myself, I really enjoyed this part of the story. It truly warmed my heart to see how much she loved that child.

Max and Addison try to ignore the growing sexual tension between them and take the time to get to know one another. I loved watching our couple fall in love. It wasn’t all plain sailing but I especially adored how Max stepped up to the plate and put her needs before his own. It just goes to prove that for the right girl, no guy is commitment shy. He had been waiting for his own true love all along. Aw, shucks. Max is great leading man material and I had no trouble falling for him.

Baby Dylan is gorgeous and so sweet even if some of her behavior seemed a bit advanced for a one-year-old.

There are a couple of complications which threaten our couples happiness but as is the norm with KR books they are dealt with quickly and put straight to bed. I actually wish some of the conflicts were more long-drawn out as I prefer a bit more tension and suspense but that’s not how Kendall rolls, and I’m okay with that – it’s what I’ve come to expect from her work. It doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this book, just that it would’ve been that little bit more special with some fleshing out of the conflicts.

The epilogue was great and I loved seeing our couple get their HEA.

Overall though this was another great swoony, funny read. If you enjoy Kendall’s work you will most definitely love this one.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing an ARC of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed.

About the Author:
A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 2 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine. She lives in Texas with her husband and two sons.

Links:

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Blog Tour: Cristin Harber’s Only series

Today is my stop during the blog tour for Cristin Harber’s Only series. I share my reviews for all four books! There are also two teasers for the first book. Have you read this series? Let me know your thoughts!

Only For Him

Title: Only for Him
Author: Cristin Harber
Series: Only #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Grayson Ford and Emma Kinglsey–close since they were kids, opposites in every way. He’s the stuff high school crushes are made of, Mister Popular, and captain of every team. She’s artsy, cute, and not in his league, though fully aware of Summerland’s “I Dream of Dating Grayson Ford” support group.

I can’t say no. The girl’s had my heart since before I knew it went missing.

He hides a life of hell. His father hates him, his mother’s gone. Emma is his only savior, yet she doesn’t know her power over him. She’s the only girl he wants, the only one he could ever tell–though he won’t.

I’m stronger, bigger, more of a man than he’ll ever be, but because I ruined his life, I’ve taken his crap, his attacks, the vulgar nature of his existence.

Until she discovers Gray’s embarrassment, his humiliation. Emma fights for him and for a chance. Theirs is a Cinderella story that she believes impossible. But as the layers peel back, it’s just a guy who needs a girl in order to keep breathing.

My mind is already doodling Mrs. Grayson Ford in imaginary notebooks. He has no clue where my head is at… But, given that I didn’t see what just happened coming, maybe I have no clue where his head is at either.

My Review:
Wow, I just loved this novella! What a great introduction to Gray and Em’s love story. Cristin definitely knows how to write complex characters and evoke soul deep emotion in her readers. I felt the pain of unrequited love, the pain of self-loathing, the fear, the hurt, the joy, the agony – the whole gamut of emotions while reading it. I did see both twists coming and I was hoping I was wrong. My heart broke for our couple, and I can’t wait to see them get their HEA.

The writing was superb, the pacing fast paced and consistent, and the dual POV was expertly executed – both voices were unique and I was never confused over who was narrating.

An excellent start to this novella series, and a great introduction to author Cristin Harber for me.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing a complimentary copy of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed.

Only For Her

Title: Only for Her
Author: Cristin Harber
Series: Only #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The second installment in the Only series. Must read book one first!!

First loves never die but Grayson Ford comes close. Bleeding out in a war zone, he barters with God. Bring him back alive, and he’ll make it right with his girl.
All I want is Emma. I need her, and I fight for her memory. A story. A smile. Anything. But it’s all blank.

Emma is not his girl anymore. Time has skipped by and life’s been hard. She strips to pay the bills, waitresses to fill the hours between classes and her third job. All while working to be the best mama she can be to the little girl who will never know her daddy. Even though Grayson abandoned her, she mourned his death. Until he calls, and everything she knew was wrong.

It’s him. The him that ruined my life. That made my life. That confused my mind to the point that I can’t figure out if I’ve been destroyed or set free. The him that… is… dead.

He’s back with one objective–Emma Kingsley–and she never sees it coming.

My Review:
Another great installment in this novella series. Gray has finally manned up and decided to make amends for past wrongs. Ems is working herself to the bone in order to support her family and put herself through college. Her character really shone through in this one and I admired her strength and her resilience. Her love for Gray hasn’t dissipated in the slightest and I felt her pain (although I do believe his apparent demise was glossed over and her reactions weren’t shown realistically.)

I thought Gray was very presumptuous when he made a reappearance and that Ems capitulated way too easily but I could forgive it because these two share a soul-deep forever-love connection that is all consuming. Wow, their chemistry just bled off the page and I totally ship them. That ending had me reaching for the next episode straight away!

Again, it’s well written and it flows well, and I’m definitely enjoying this series.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing a complimentary copy of this novella which I have voluntarily reviewed.

Only For Us

Title: Only for Us
Author: Cristin Harber
Series: Only #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The third installment of the Only series. Must be read in order.

Grayson and Emma. First love. True love. And… they have a daughter. Abandonment is his curse. He left his woman, survived his team, and missed the moment most precious to a father. Until now.

I didn’t know you were killing yourself with work. I didn’t know you’re raising our daughter. So help me God, had I known, there is no military force on earth that would’ve kept me from you.

Love needs to heal all, or they won’t survive the collision of their separate lives. Emma must reach deep into her heart that is barely hanging on and find forgiveness. Grayson, wrecked with PTSD-filled nightmares, must prove that he’s here to stay and able to rebuild his family against all odds.

I need to say I love you. But what I mean is I love you–in a way that defies definition and exists only in a world that you and I are in.

My Review:
This was, in the main, heartwarming and hopeful, and the character’s reactions were very believable. I especially loved how big Emma’s heart was. She could’ve made Gray earn back her love but she is crazy about him and she trusts in him to do the right thing this time. The romance was very swoony, and I’m loving this couple. The end was very predictable but definitely, entices one to want to read the final installment.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing a comp copy of this novella which I have voluntarily reviewed.

Only Forever

Title: Only Forever
Author: Cristin Harber
Series: Only #4
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The fourth and final installment of the Only series. Must be read in order.

There comes a time when Emma must face the secret she kept from Grayson. But she never thought it would be while she stood on stage at Emerald’s. The seconds she has to convey that her life is in danger are lost in the devastation that she sees rip through him.

She pinches her eyes closed. “Don’t leave me. No matter how mad you are, please, please don’t leave me here alone.”

But there’s more on the line than just Emma’s safety. There’s the danger that brought Titan’s Delta team in to the strip club in the first place. A threat that’s too close to home, too close to the family, the daughter and woman Grayson plans to claim.

I push away the sudden spring of fear. Life’s too unknown, with hidden enemies and unseen terrors. The idea that I could lose her again… it’s unbearable.

A love story like Grayson and Emma needs a forever love, and somehow they’ll find their way to her fairytale.

My Review:
A great ending to a great series. This was a little more action-packed, and we saw the introduction of the Titan men, and I have to say I’m definitely intrigued to read that series now! I loved the ending and that they got their HEA and it was so sweet with Callie. Beautiful and heartwarming.

Now that I’ve read all four novellas, I can rate this series 4-star and recommend it. It is well written, fast-paced, character development is decent, there is plenty of angst and drama and the romance is swoony. The main reason it isn’t five-star, for me, is the fact that the plot was way too predictable. I would have liked more unexpected plot twists and turns but I figured out all of them. However, it’s still a really great collection of novellas and I think I’ll definitely be checking out the Titan series in the future.

Thanks to the author and Insklinger PR for providing a comp copy of this book, which I have voluntarily reviewed.

About the Author:
Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

Links:

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Review: The End Game by Kate McCarthy

Title: The End Game
Author: Kate McCarthy
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Sports
Links:

Blurb:
“Professional athletes are pillars of their respective communities. They are heroes in the eyes of boys and girls and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that positively represents their community.”

The public loves a good scandal. Seeing someone fall from the pinnacle of success makes a great headline. No one knows that better than I do. What started out as a promising career in college football, spiraled into scandal and shame.

But being a hero is easier said then done. Especially when there are those who expected to see the great Brody Madden fail. I craved nothing except being the best—willing to do anything to prove them wrong. But I went too far, and I tried too hard, and it broke me.

“At the time of going to print, Jordan Elliott was unavailable for comment.”

I met Brody Madden in my senior year of college. An Australian native on an international scholarship, I was the female soccer sensation with stars in her eyes and no room for a hotshot wide receiver with a chip on his shoulder.

But a heart bursting with ambition and a driving fire to succeed isn’t made of stone. I became his strength, his obsession, and the greatest love of his life. Only I wasn’t there when he needed me most.

This is a story about love and a game that takes everything. Where the path to glory is paved with sacrifice. Where pressure makes you, or breaks you, and triumph is born in the ashes of failure. Where two people’s end game will change everything.

My Review:
Wow. Just wow. I had wanted to read this for a while and I finally got around to it last night. I don’t have time to write a full review so I apologise if this is a bit of a brain dump.

Exceptionally brilliant. Fantastic character development. Heart-felt, gritty, raw emotions had me swerving from laughter to tears in a nanosecond. I adored the football and soccer setting, and could really relate as that’s what my gang are into. Romantic and sexy, swoon. Amazing writing and perfect pace. Yeah, I totally loved it! Will definitely be checking out more of this author’s work when I get through the backlog of review books on my list.

If you enjoy well-written NA sports romances with complex characterisation and steady plot development then you will LOVE this book. Highly recommended. 5+++ Stars

Some fav quotes:

“Home will follow you if you follow your heart.”

“You play with a fire so bright it hurts my eyes.”

“It means they deserve forgiveness from those who were expecting too much, and from those who were supposed to be there supporting them when it got too hard.”

Review: Leveling the Field (Gamers #4) by Megan Erickson

Title: Leveling the Field
Author: Megan Erickson
Series: Gamers #4
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Reclusive magazine exec Ethan Talley is furious when his business partner hires a photographer—a gorgeous photographer who insists on speaking her mind, damn it—to take pictures for an upcoming article. No matter how badly he wants the woman…under him, over him, against the nearest wall…he has reasons for not wanting to be on camera anymore, and his scars are only one of them.

It takes approximately two seconds for Lissa Kingsman to recognize Ethan as the popular YouTube gamer who fell off the planet years ago. But this Ethan is different than the charming man she used to watch, and the crush she had on him then is nothing compared to the way she’s lusting after the brooding man he is today. If sex is all he can give her, fine. Why not use that bearskin rug in her studio for something other than a prop? But she’s determined to put a chink in his armor, no matter how much he resists.

My Review:
Ethan used to be E-Rad in a former life and now he’s the co-owner of a successful online gaming magazine. He crosses paths with Lissa when she is hired to do some photography for the magazine. She is secretly hoping he will agree to participate in a project that is very close to her heart but Ethan is abrasive and gruff when she meets him and she never gets to ask him.

However, there is no denying the electric chemistry between them and when they bump into each other at a wedding they get hot and heavy and agree on a loose arrangement regarding hook-ups.

Both mains are struggling under guilt and pressure as a result of tragedies in their lives. These tragedies have shaped who they have become. Whereas Lissa is channelling that in a positive way, Ethan is in self-destruct mode and he’s cut himself off from most everyone he loves.

I hated Ethan at the start and found it very difficult to warm up to him because I didn’t like how he treated Lissa. For her part, she wasn’t upset by his behavior, understanding their arrangement, but it didn’t sit well with me. He showed up, shagged her, and then hurt her with his words and cold manner and swanned off until the next time. Nope. Not liking you at all. However, he won me over by the end as Lissa was the one person who was finally able to get through to him. I do love a happy ending and we get one here.

The writing is great, the pacing is fine, voice and character development was good. It’s an enjoyable read that works really well as a standalone. I never felt like I missed out because I hadn’t read the first few books. Perhaps, I may have understood Ethan better if I’d read the beginning of the series but I don’t know how heavily he featured.

Overall, this is a good book and I’d recommend it if you are looking for a quick, entertaining read.

Thanks to Entangled for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Jaded (Jaded #1) by Tijan

Title: Jaded
Author: Tijan
Series: Jaded #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: YA Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sheldon doesn’t care about anyone except Corrigan and Bryce. The three of them rule their school, but it seems someone else wants in on the action or that someone else just wants Sheldon. How many bodies is enough to prove their love to her?

This book is dark and edgy with sexual situations, drinking, swearing, murder, and more messed-up parents.

My Review:
This wasn’t my favorite Tijan read, even though it had that same addictive, page-turning quality that all her books have. I found it very difficult to warm to either Bryce, Corrigan, or Sheldon. On the surface, they are shallow and nasty and they rule by fear. I also thought the writing left a lot to be desired in the first half of the book. The second half was vastly superior and I started to understand the characters a bit better, and the plot really picked up pace. The chemistry between Bryce and Sheldon is great, and I love how this author writes romantic relationships. While I wasn’t mad about this one, I have already purchased the next book in the series because I still need to know where the story is going.

As an aside, one thing that annoyed me was the description of Bryce as an up-and-coming professional football player. I live in a house with three football players who are also FC Barcelona fanatics and I know that if that club had signed a guy like Bryce they would be insisting that he trained regularly to maintain his pace and fitness levels. In this story, he wasn’t allowed in case he picked up an injury. In reality, FCB would have lined up a training programme in a local partner club. I know that for most readers this doesn’t matter, but it bugged me.

Review: If I Dream (Corrupted Love #1) by K.M. Scott

Title: If I Dream
Author: K.M. Scott
Series: Corrupted Love #1
Rating: 3 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
If I dream, will you dare?

All I wanted was my freedom. It’s all I’d dreamed of from the first time I stood in the ring. Until I entered Robert Erickson’s world. Until Serena. Cruelty and ugliness surrounded me, but she was beautiful and good. I wanted to protect her from her father’s world, even though I knew being with her could mean the end of me.

I wanted for nothing as the daughter of one of the richest men in the world. But all my father’s money couldn’t buy what I truly craved. Until Ryder. I wanted all he was, all he brought out in me. All he made me desire.

Our love was forbidden by the one person who had the power to harm us. We dreamed of more than living in that world, though. We dreamed of having it all, but did we dare?

My Review:
If I Dream is the story of Ryder and Serena, two young people trapped in a world where power, money, and control rule the day. Serena’s father is a very powerful, rich man who runs an underground fighting ring amongst other dodgy businesses. He “buys” Ryder from the man who previously owned him and moves him into his mansion, cautioning him against touching either of his daughters. Ryder and Serena strike up a friendship that turns to love and when her father finds out he separates them and they don’t see each other for two years. When she returns, they quickly pick up where they left off.

This forbidden romance is full of angst and longing and should have been right up my alley but the execution and character development were lacking and that dented my enjoyment. I had empathy for Ryder at the start but he became weak as the story progressed and I hated that he didn’t defend Serena and that he consistently bowed to her father’s will. It seemed contradictory. Serena was a sweet girl with spunk and she wasn’t afraid to fight for what she wanted in life. Her sister was a despicable character as was Oliver. The plot regarding her mother was weak in my opinion and could’ve been fleshed out better.

It took me a while to ship this couple because the author glossed over their relationship at the start. We were told they spent six weeks talking every night but we weren’t privy to those conversations which was a shame because I felt a big disconnect until the second half of the story, but, even then it was more about sex than any meaningful connection.

In the main the writing is decent and the pacing consistent. While this was an enjoyable read, I still felt let down by certain aspects of it, but that’s probably more of a personal thing. If you enjoy forbidden, angsty romance then you will most likely enjoy this one.

Thanks to author and Inkslinger PR for providing a copy of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Review: The Struggle (Titan #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: The Struggle
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Titan #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Fantasy/ Mythology
Links:

Blurb:
A bloody path has been chosen…

The war against the Titans continues, and they remain determined to wreak havoc on the world, but Seth has become something all gods fear. Now the most dangerous, most absolute power no longer resides in those who have been freed from their tombs.

The Great War fought by the few is coming…

All may doubt and fear what Seth has become. All except the one woman who might be his final chance at redemption. Josie will do anything to prove that Seth is on their side, but fate has a nasty way of changing lives, of changing people.

In the end, the sun will fall…

The only way they can save the future and save themselves is by facing the unknown together. It will take more than trust and faith. It will take love and the kind of strength not easily broken. No matter what, their lives will never be the same.

For what the gods have feared has come to pass. The end of the old is here and the beginning of the new has been ushered in…

My Review:
Initial Thoughts: EPIC. Loved every single part of this book. Can’t believe I read it so fast when I had every intention of savoring it slowly but it was unputdownable. I will never get enough of the Covenant world. Never.

Full Review:

Fair warning – the fangirl in me is out in force right now and this review is going to be cheesy and gushing in the extreme. I’m making no apologies – just letting you know in advance.

Waiting for this book felt like an eternity for me. The Covenant series is my all-time fav series, ever, EVER and I was so excited when Jennifer announced this new spin-off series and it is everything I was hoping it would be and more. I wanted Seth to get his HEA and I was really hoping we would see more of my fav couple, Alex and Aiden, and the other characters I have come to love, and Jen has delivered in spades. My respect and admiration for her are at an all-time high because every book in this series is even better than the last and I am salivating at the prospect of the next book already.

The Power ended explosively and I thought I’d die if I didn’t get my hands on this book. Finally, the wait was over and I had every intention of reading this one nice and slow to really appreciate the magnificence. But that is virtually impossible when it comes to this world and these characters (and this author.)

There is not one single thing I would fault about this book, and I’d give it a million stars if I could. I loved it. I loved Seth. I loved Josie. I loved Aiden (especially Aiden. Yum. Yum.) I loved Alex (she’s still such a bad ass) and Marcus, Deacon, Luke, Colin etc – I could go on. Told you I’d gush buckets.

The blend of action/adventure and romance was perfect in this one. The snarky, witty banter is there, the sexy times are there, the edge-of-the-seat suspense is there. What I really loved was the character development, especially Seth’s progression. And I enjoyed the fact that Aiden and Seth are starting to see eye-to-eye, yes they say they still hate each other but they don’t really.

Josie has grown on me since book one and I loved her faith and her loyalty to Seth in this one. I kinda guessed the two big things going on with her but they were still awesome reveals. Seth goes off to do something at the 96% mark and I swear I was legit afraid to read. My heart was in my mouth and I was turning the pages of my Kindle shielding my eyes. Really loved the end, even if the ending wasn’t quite as “bam-in your face” as The Power. Doesn’t matter – I’m still suffering from the worst book hangover and I’m already on a countdown to the next book.

The writing is superb (as usual) and the pacing is consistent and it was virtually impossible to tear myself away from this masterpiece.

The Struggle = Book Heaven for me, and I am on the verge of tears now because it’s over already and I want to slap upself up the head for devouring it so quickly. I have a ton of other books to read for reviews and I can’t do it. I just can’t let go of this one yet. Think I’ll have to re-read it instantly.

Thank you so much, Jennifer, for writing such an amazing spin-off series. Please let it go on and on. I for one will never tire of reading about these characters. I love them all.

ARC generously provided by the author. I have voluntarily reviewed same and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.