Review: Naughty or Nice: 6 Short & Sexy Holiday Reads by Jessie Logan

Title: Naughty or Nice: 6 Short & Sexy Holiday Reads
Author: Jessie Logan
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Satisfy your cravings with these 6 flirty, dirty, and decadently more-ish short Holiday treats.

Naughty or Nice (M/F)
When twelve days of Christmas giving doesn’t help Lily gain her co-worker’s attention, maybe an outrageously sexy gift will.

Just Like Santa (F/F)
A school teacher finds some scandalous holiday satisfaction with her student’s aunt and her willing friends.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside (M/F)
Stranded in a blizzard with a younger man, what’s a red-blooded woman to do except turn up the heat?

Home For Christmas (M/F)
A poignant reunion between husband and wife with a surprise in store…

The Mysteries of Faith (F/F)
What happens when your best friend marries the man of her dreams, when only days ago she was in your bed?

Secret Santa (M/F)
Sophie’s Secret Santa gift has some unexpected and exciting consequences…the type of delicious consequences that’d see a girl permanently on Santa’s naughty list.

Pick up a copy today and ring in the Holidays with a…lusty moan.

***This book contains strong sexual content and language, and is intended for mature audiences only.***

My Review:
This was a super quick super fun read that is perfect for the holiday season.

Each story was really well written and it flowed beautifully. My favorite shorts were Naughty or Nice which is a dirty hook-up in the office next to the photocopier, lol. I also really enjoyed Baby, it’s Cold Outside. I had read the excerpt from this story on the Amazon page and it was that snippet that enticed me to download this book. Love the idea of a cougar enticing the boy (now man) she used to babysit! And there are some hot and steamy shower scenes, ROAR!!!!! And Secret Santa was great too with Sophie and Dean sneaking off to have their wicked way with one another. I’m not into F/F so I must admit I skipped those stories but the other stories are definitely worth reading.

A great holiday pick-me-up that will have you all hot and bothered and panting for more! I look forward to checking out more of this authors work in future.

Review: The Hero (Sons of Texas #1) by Donna Grant

Title: The Hero
Author: Donna Grant
Series: Sons of Texas #1
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Romantic Suspense
Links:

Blurb:
THE HERO’S HOMECOMING

Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget – his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After over a decade away, Owen is returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that puts him face-to-face with Natalie and an outside menace that threatens everything he holds dear. He’ll risk it all to keep Natalie safe – and win her heart. . . .

Natalie Dixon has had a lifetime of heartache since Owen was deployed. Fourteen years and one bad marriage later, she finds herself mixed up with the Loughman’s again. With her life on the line against an enemy she can’t fight alone, it’s Owen’s strong shoulders, smoldering eyes, and sensuous smile that she turns to. When danger closes in, she holds close to the only man she’s ever loved…

My Review:
Donna Grant skillfully blends political espionage and second-chance romance in this thrilling read.

The cover and blurb attracted my attention immediately and I was delighted when I got the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book.

Owen and Natalie were high school sweethearts with their futures all mapped out. Until Owen dropped Natalie straight after graduation without a proper explanation. It’s been fourteen years since they last met one another and now fate has thrown them together in the midst of a crisis. It becomes clear that neither of them ever got over the other and that they are still crazy in love. Natalie tries to keep her distance to protect her heart while Owen realizes he made a terrible mistake in letting her go and he wants a do-over.

Owen is forced into the role of protector when Natalie’s job in the Russian Embassy drags her into the middle of an international biological warfare scandal. She faces up to things rather pragmatically and I enjoyed her character immensely. Owen was swoon-worthy in the extreme and who doesn’t love a hot, muscle-bound Navy-SEAL?

Owen’s family background is quite dysfunctional and none of the brothers have spoken in years. The situation involving their father brings them back together. Wyatt and Cullen seem to have interesting backstories too and I look forward to reading their books.

I thought the mix of political intrigue and romance was well balanced. There are times when Owen and Natalie get it on that seemed a bit ridiculous with the threat looming over them but it’s fiction so I just went with it. The romance scenes were well-written and I totally felt the strong connection between our couple and was rooting for them to get their HEA.

Donna is a great writer and the book flowed well – consistency was smooth.

In summary, this was a great read and a fab start to this interesting series. I look forward to reading The Protector next.

Thanks to the publisher for supplying a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Review: All The Ways You Saved Me (Love Unplugged #1) by Jamie Howard

Title: All The Ways You Saved Me
Author: Jamie Howard
Series: Love Unplugged #1
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Bianca Easton is the perfect senator’s daughter.

Law school? Check.

Camera-ready smile? Check.

A dull and boring existence? Double check.

But that was before. Before she lost her best and only friend in a tragic accident. Before she found that friend’s unfinished bucket list. Definitely before she turned her life upside-down by deciding to stay in New York for six months to finish it.

It’s while she’s checking off her first item on the list–buy coffee for a stranger–that she meets Ian Mathis. Between the tattoo sleeve curling up his right arm, his guitar-roughened fingertips, and the secrets shadowing his past, he’s a complication Bianca doesn’t need but desperately wants.

With every item they cross off the list together, Bianca uncovers a piece of herself that she’s buried under what’s expected, all the while breaking her own rules by falling hard for Ian. But when her six months run out, Bianca has to decide if she’s willing to risk her empty but picture-perfect life for a chance at real, messy love.

My Review:
Two tortured hearts find each other and forge a new path in life.

All The Ways You Saved Me by Jamie Howard is an emotional story that will tug your heartstrings and give you so many feels! It was a fantastic read jam-packed with complex, well-developed characters and the type of angsty, dramatic romance that I’m a sucker for!

Bianca has lived under her parents controlling ways for far too long. When her best friend dies, she takes it upon herself to finish her “bucket list of sorts” and thus begins a journey that brings her to Ian. Ian has been battling his own personal demons for the last two years and he has shut himself off from everyone and everything. This book explores the relationship between our two mains as they learn to open up to one another and fight for what they want in life.

At times this was very hard to read. Ian is a nice guy but he is so caught up in himself, and his problems, that he doesn’t see how his actions and his behavior are affecting Bianca. Bianca is used to toing the line, forgoing her own feelings in favor of others, and at the start, she did that with Ian too. However, as she became more independent and more determined to break out on her own, she faced up to the fact that he wasn’t meeting her needs and she called him out on it. I loved how strong she was to stay true to her convictions no matter how much she was hurting.

I loved how Ian’s story was gradually revealed, and how the pieces of the past fit together to bring us to this point in his life. It’s not that difficult to guess where the plot is going so I can’t say there were a ton of surprises, but it didn’t matter because this book was about so much more than that.

Although I struggled to get into the first few chapters, once I hit chapter four it all clicked and I devoured the rest super-fast! The writing and editing are great and the pace was consistent thereafter.

The emotional complexity and expertly-crafted characters are what made this book such a joy to read.

I was upset for Bianca after the wedding and disappointed in Ian that he took so long to explain things to her, but apart from that I have to say there is little I have to fault about this book.

Highly Recommended.

Actual Rating : 4.5 stars

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Teach Your Heart (Bounty Bay #3) by Tracey Alvarez

Title: Teach Your Heart
Author: Tracey Alvarez
Series: Bounty Bay #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Some lessons are harder to learn than others…

Doctor O-for-Awesome Owen Bennett is all about fixing broken things. Then the arrival of his orphaned nieces and nephew for twelve weeks causes his workaholic life to plummet into chaos. Hiring the beautiful but unpredictable Gracie Cooper as a live-in nanny might just get him out of a tight spot…or it could seduce him into a reckless affair.

After four years flitting around Europe, waitress/dog-walker/au-pair Gracie Cooper has returned home to New Zealand. Her plans to hang out with her big brother change when Owen offers a perfect solution to her crippling university debt. In spite of her sexy-stick-in-the-mud boss, she’ll spend fun days playing in Bounty Bay’s sand and surf with three cute kids. At summer’s end she’ll follow the sun overseas again.

Gracie and Owen’s opposites-attract connection is so unexpected and powerful that their foundations are rocked. But some things aren’t easy to fix. Some past hurts can’t be run from forever. And the lessons they teach each other risk breaking their hearts.

My Review:
Every time I start a Tracey Alvarez book, I set aside plenty of time to read so that I can really savor the experience because I know it’s going to be an amazing read and Teach Your Heart was no exception. Tracey has a wonderful ability to create complex, multi-layered characters that dig their way into your heart and you can’t help rooting for them and praying they get their HEA. She also writes gorgeous romance and creates wonderful community-led settings and I always finish one of her books buzzing and chock-full of warm feels.

Owen is a workaholic who ends up having to take care of his two nephews and niece. Gracie is visiting her brother Glen and his fiancee, Savannah, and she ends up getting hired as a nanny to the kids. On the surface, both Owen and Gracie seem like polar opposites. She appears carefree and spirited and very easy going and laid back. He is quite stiff and set in his ways and initially came across as quite serious. However, as the story develops, and their relationship progresses we begin to see them in a slightly different light. Yes, they have those traits but they also have avoidance issues with neither of them facing up to problems choosing to flee (her) or bury their head in work (him) instead of tackling things head on.

The romance was sweet and sexy and I like the slow-burning nature of it.

There is a great cast of secondary characters, and I ADORED Charlie, William, and Morgan. You can tell Tracey is a mother because she writes very believable children’s characters. It was the same with book two in this series – I loved the kids and really warmed to them. In this book, their characters add so much to the story. Loved William and his HP obsession and some of Morgan’s carry-ons had me laughing. The House Rules were also hysterical. It’s this focus on the little details that really allows Tracey’s work to shine, that really make her books stand out from the crowd.

Things go a bit pear-shaped before they work out but it ended perfectly and that epilogue was AWW, so gorgeous, and now I’m in that happy-sad place because I loved it but I hate that it’s over.

Another fab read, Tracey – thanks so much!

In summary, this was an amazing read from an author who never fails to deliver. Thoroughly, Highly Recommended.

Review: Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas

Title: Birthday Girl
Author: Penelope Douglas
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
From New York Times Bestselling author Penelope Douglas comes a new forbidden love story…

JORDAN

He took me in when I had nowhere else to go.

He doesn’t use me, hurt me, or forget about me. He doesn’t treat me like I’m nothing, take me for granted, or make me feel unsafe.

He remembers me, laughs with me, and looks at me. He listens to me, protects me, and sees me. I can feel his eyes on me over the breakfast table, and my heart pumps so hard when I hear him pull in the driveway after work.

I have to stop this. It can’t happen.

My sister once told me there are no good men, and if you find one, he’s probably unavailable.

Only Pike Lawson isn’t the unavailable one.

I am.

PIKE

I took her in, because I thought I was helping.

She’d cook a few meals and clean up a little. It was an easy arrangement.

As the days go by, though, it’s becoming anything but easy. I have to stop my mind from drifting to her and stop holding my breath every time I bump into her in the house. I can’t touch her, and I shouldn’t want to.

The more I find my path crossing hers, though, the more she’s becoming a part of me.

But we’re not free to give into this. She’s nineteen, and I’m thirty-eight.

And her boyfriend’s father.

Unfortunately, they both just moved into my house.

*BIRTHDAY GIRL is a stand-alone, contemporary romance suitable for ages 18+.

My Review:
You guys, I just loved this so much. Knew from the blurb it would be my kind of read and it didn’t disappoint. Not dark like Pen’s other books but no less addictive. Loved Jordan and Pike and was rooting for them the entire time. Cole didn’t endear himself to me. At. All. A fantastic read and one I highly recommend. Love this author’s work.

Review: Hooked by Brenda Rothert

Title: Hooked
Author: Brenda Rothert
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
From the author of the On the Line and Fire on Ice hockey romance series comes a sultry novel featuring a brooding NHL player who’s hell on skates—and the no-nonsense woman who forces him to clean up his act.

Miranda: Even though I’m broke, putting myself through college, and working two jobs, I’m trying to make the best of it. Meanwhile, Jake Birch, hockey’s hottest bad boy, lives in a luxury hotel in downtown Chicago—and still complains about every little thing in his penthouse. But after I tell him off, instead of getting me fired, Jake requests me as his personal housekeeper. Then he starts flirting with me. Only I’m not flirting back . . . at least, I’m trying not to. Did I mention that he’s hockey’s hottest bad boy?

Jake: I’ve met the best woman at the worst possible time. Miranda is the fire to my ice—a sexy, charmingly candid spark who breaks down my walls and reminds me what it’s like to feel again. But I’m being forced to date my team owner’s daughter to keep my job, so I can’t be caught with Miranda. Still, we’re getting closer—until Miranda finds out about my “girlfriend.” And that’s not the only secret I’ve been keeping. But Miranda’s the one I want . . . even if she doesn’t believe me.

My Review:
A more authentic version of “Maid in Manhattan” set within a sexy sports world with fantastic character development and tons of “aww” moments, Hooked by Brenda Rothert is one of my new fav reads!

This is my third Rothert read and it didn’t fail to deliver. I’ve now come to associate this author with superb writing, complex characterization, and swoon-worthy heartwarming romance that ticks all the right boxes. Devoured it in less than twenty-four hours and that is always the sign of a great book.

I have so many good feels right now after reading this book.

Jake is a total ass at the start of this book and even though it was funny it was on the wrong side of funny. He was soooo into himself but as the story progressed and I witnessed his neurosis and how he needs control/structure to cope with stress, I knew there was more to this man than my initial impression. As the layers came away, and I understood what drove his behavior, my heart ached for him and I fell in love with him right along with Miranda.

Miranda is AWESOME. I loved her character. She wasn’t fazed by his wealth or his fame and she didn’t hesitate to call him out on his bullshit. She wouldn’t take his money either despite the fact that she didn’t have two pennies to rub together. She had her pride, tons of self-worth, and a strong work ethic, and I simply adored her. She never moaned about her lot in life; she just got on with things.

As they got closer and learned to trust one another, he gradually opened up to her and with her love and support was able to confront his demons and deal with them head-on.

Hailey was clearly in need of help and I’m glad she got it in the end. I kept waiting for that bombshell to drop and for things to go completely south and I adored how the author dealt with this part of the plot. It would have been very easy to go the angsty-dramatic path but, instead, she maintained character consistency and both dealt with the situation head-on and with maturity, and I could’ve cried. It was so refreshingly simple in the solution but perfect.

The sex scenes weren’t overly graphic but there was plenty of heat and the chemistry was believable.

I enjoy reading sports romances and sometimes authors can get overly descriptive with the sports angle which tends to pull me out of the story. Not this book. Brenda got the balance right.

The writing is exemplary as usual, with great editing and consistent pacing and it just flowed beautifully.

I do not have a single criticism of this book. I loved it completely. Now, I really want to check out her other hockey series!

In summary, this was a really uplifting positive love story and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to fans of well written contemporary sports romance.

Review: Did I Mention I Miss You? (The DIMILY Trilogy #3) by Estelle Maskame

Title: Did I Mention I Miss You?
Author: Estelle Maskame
Series: The DIMILY Trilogy #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
A year has passed since Eden last spoke to Tyler. She remains furious at him for his abrupt departure last summer but has done her best to move on with her life at college in Chicago. As school breaks up for the summer, she s heading back to Santa Monica, but she s not the only one who decides to come home…

Having been left behind to deal with the aftermath of their bombshell revelation and a family torn apart, Eden has no time for Tyler when he reappears. But where has Tyler been? And is she as over him as she likes to think? Or can Tyler and Eden finally work things out, despite their family and against all the odds?

The explosive finale to Estelle Maskame s international bestselling DIMILY trilogy, and the highly anticipated conclusion to Eden and Tyler s addictive love story.

My Review:
UPDATE: Per Estelle’s note below all comments regarding the blurb not matching the book are not relevant anymore. I just didn’t want to change my review after the fact.
************
The book I just read doesn’t match the description on Goodreads and I note there is a new publication date so I’m guessing the version that’s releasing in December is an updated version? I’ll definitely check it out to see what changes were made.

I did enjoy reading the final book in the series even if he did have a slightly different vibe to the first two books.

Tyler’s character development in this series is absolutely superb and I say bravo to Estelle for the expert way she crafted and nurtured his character. I’ve gone from despising him in book one to totally loving him in book three. Tyler is awesome and such a motivational character in how he has turned his life around.

Eden has grown up in this instalment too. Her reactions toward Tyler at the start of the book were bang-on. I was cheering her on because I felt her pain and her anger and she was totally justified in feeling that way, but I loved how she afforded him the opportunity to explain, and it was an explanation worth waiting for.

The rest of the book shows them developing more of a normal relationship and it was really sweet and so good to see these characters getting their HEA.

I also loved the two moms and it was great to see how supportive they were of their kids even if they didn’t fully agree with some of their decisions. I’m not sure how I feel about Tyler’s dad, and given the timeframe whether it was credible or not, but, hey, this isn’t real life so I just went with the flow. Eden’s dad continues to be the greatest jackass to walk the planet and I’m glad that she took the bull by the horns and tried to tackle him at the end.

My main complaint with this book is that there was no real conflict (beyond what we are used to in this series) and no climactic moment. I kept expecting some bombshell or obstacle to be thrown their way but nothing happened. The story seemed a little flat as a result. I still enjoyed it but I think it was lacking a little on the dramatic front. I also would have really loved an epilogue set in the future. Hopefully, both those points will be addressed in the new version and I look forward to checking it out.

Having read this complete series now, I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was very addictive – I’ve read the three books pretty much non-stop, back to back, over the last few days, and I got totally immersed in the characters lives and the settings. I hugely enjoyed how each book had a different backdrop and that only added to the appeal. If you haven’t checked this series out and you enjoy teen drama and angst and/or step-sibling romance, then I highly recommend it.

Review: Launch to Market: Easy Marketing For Authors (Write Faster, Write Smarter #4) by Chris Fox

Title: Launch to Market: Easy Marketing For Authors
Author: Chris Fox
Series: Write Faster, Write Smarter #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Non-fiction/ self publishing
Links:

Blurb:
Have you written a book that just isn’t selling? Would you like the launch of your next one to be different?

Launch to Market provides a simple system to plan, track, and execute your book launch. It covers the basics of marketing in an easy to understand way, complete with exercises that will prepare you for your best launch ever.

You’ll see real sales numbers from an author who just did exactly what you’re trying to do, with take aways that will show you exactly how I did it.

Don’t leave the success of your novel up to chance. Launch your book to market.

“I bought it for the rocket alone. I mean, look at that thing.” — the Author’s Totally Biased Friend.

My Review:
Well written. A good blueprint for launching a book which covers the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch period. A lot of it is stuff I already know but there was still some useful takeaways. The exercises at the end of each chapter aid the creation of a detailed launch plan. If you are new to self-publishing, this is a must read.

Review: Did I Mention I Need You? (The DIMILY Trilogy #2) by Estelle Maskame

Title: Did I Mention I Need You?
Author: Estelle Maskame
Series: The DIMILY Trilogy #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
It’s been a year since eighteen-year-old Eden Munro last saw Tyler Bruce: her stepbrother…and her secret love. Although they called time on their forbidden relationship for the sake of their family, Eden can’t help but feel excited when Tyler invites her to join him in New York City for the summer.

Anyway, Eden is happy with her boyfriend Dean, and surely Tyler has moved on too. But as they spend a long, hot summer in the excitement of the city that never sleeps, it soon becomes obvious that they aren’t over each other. But can they resist temptation?

In Did I Mention I Need You?, the second volume of Estelle Maskame’s phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, Tyler and Eden must face up to their feelings and decide what to do next. Is their love strong enough to face the challenges that lie ahead?

My Review:
Fair warning – if you haven’t read book one this review contains minor spoilers.

It’s been two years since Tyler and Eden ended things romantically, and both are really looking forward to her spending six weeks with Tyler in New York. Tyler has been on an event tour talking about the abuse he suffered at his father’s hands. It’s been therapeutic for him and it’s helped him turn his life around. But, has he really dealt with his demons? Is everything a product of his past?

Eden has been dating Tyler’s best friend Dean and she loves him. He is head over heels for her and has no clue that she still loves Tyler and that they used to be more than just step-siblings. I was so surprised that Tiffani kept that secret but later on we understand why.

As soon as Eden steps foot in NY, she realizes she still loves him and begins to see that she made a mistake pushing him away. As Tyler gives her the guided tour of NY, she falls more deeply in love and soon they are acting on their joint feelings, despite their guilt over Dean.

Tyler won a lot of brownie points in this instalment (except for the end where he lost a few but more on that) but Eden lost a lot of ground with me. I found her character development to be a little lacking and she grated on my nerves a fair bit. She seemed to want to have her cake and eat it and her actions were unfair on both guys. I also don’t understand how she could date Tyler’s best friend knowing she still loved Tyler. I get that she was trying to move on, but, seriously, girl, pick an unknown boyfriend would ya? Her choices were extremely selfish when it came to the two guys. However, the biggest gripe I have about her is her reaction and action when Tiffani made an appearance. It was 2am in the morning and I had to swallow my screams of frustration. I slammed my Kindle down in disgust, inwardly yelling at Eden for her complete idiocy. I’m really glad Estelle didn’t drag that out because I might have just given up on this book if she had.

Eden’s dad is still being an ass -part of me can understand because he had to live with Tyler for years when he was in the height of his self-destructive mode and I get why he wouldn’t want his daughter to be with him – but it was his failure to address the shortcomings in his relationship with Eden that really angered me. He was a terrible father-figure.

I was happy with the decision they made at the end of the book and I felt their anguish when their news wasn’t well received. Maybe I’m very liberal, but if I was the parent in that situation I really wouldn’t give a monkeys about the step-sibling relationship. They are not blood relatives and they didn’t grow up as brother and sister so what’s the big deal? I want my kids to be happy and I will always support their choices once I know they have given them due consideration. They may not always make the choices I would, but they are their own person, and I’d like to think that when they come of age I will respect that fact.

I was totally shell-shocked at that ending, and felt let-down by Tyler. I couldn’t believe it and I had to immediately download the next book to find out what was going on. Having read the third book at this stage, I can say that all will become obvious and make total sense, so if you are frustrated at the ending of this book, don’t give up. The explanation is worth it.

In summary, this was another great read crammed with more angst and drama which I loved.

Review: Did I Mention I Love You? (The DIMILY Trilogy #1) by Estelle Maskame

Title: Did I Mention I Love You?
Author: Estelle Maskame
Series: The DIMILY Trilogy #1
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
When sixteen-year-old Eden Munro agrees to spend the summer with her estranged father in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, she has no idea what she’s letting herself in for. Eden’s parents are divorced and have gone their separate ways, and now her father has a brand new family. For Eden, this means she’s about to meet three new step-brothers. The eldest of the three is Tyler Bruce, a troubled teenager with a short temper and a huge ego. Complete polar opposites, Eden quickly finds herself thrust into a world full of new experiences as Tyler’s group of friends take her under their wing. But the one thing she just can’t understand is Tyler, and the more she presses to figure out the truth about him, the more she finds herself falling for the one person she shouldn’t – her step-brother.

Throw in Tyler’s clingy girlfriend and a guy who has his eyes set on Eden, and there’s secrets, lies and a whole lot of drama. But how can Eden keep her feelings under control? And can she ever work out the truth about Tyler?

Did I Mention I Love You is the first book in the phenomenal DIMILY trilogy, following the lives of Eden Munro and Tyler Bruce as they try to find their way in an increasingly confusing world.

My Review:
Eden’s world turns upside down the minute she steps foot in the Santa Monica mansion where her father now lives with his new wife and her three sons. Estranged from her father for three years (since her parent’s divorce,) Eden is hoping the summer will give her a chance to reconnect with her errant dad. But he seems intent on keeping his distance and she questions why he even asked her to spend the summer with him. She warms to her new stepmother and her two younger stepbrothers but her eldest stepbrother, Tyler, is the biggest douche to walk the planet.

Tyler goes beyond mean and moody into a category all on his own. Clearly troubled, he is hooked on alcohol and drugs and he has a very unhealthy relationship with the uber-manipulative Tiffani.

Eden gets sucked into his group, hanging out with his friends, and gradually starts to peel back Tyler’s layers. As she does, she realizes the guy is hurting, and without conscious thought becomes the only one to give a damn about dragging him back from the brink.

I was very impressed with Estelle’s character development in this book. For a young, debut author she did a stellar job. I have a sixteen-year-old son with hormones running amok and a serious attitude problem, and I found myself chuckling at some of Tyler’s antics and barbed comments because it nails the misunderstood teen boy so well. I’d like to clarify that my son doesn’t have any addiction problems and he is in no way as obnoxious as Tyler, but there were glimpses that made me laugh. In a nutshell, it’s very authentic and I was seriously impressed at how well his character was crafted. I also loved how she didn’t glamorize his problems.

Eden is a nice, sweet girl who is genuinely horrified when she discovers what Tyler is doing and what he is dealing with. She tries to help him and she is one of a few who tells him it’s wrong and he has to stop. She is the only one who seems to be able to get through to him, and he starts listening to her.

I love the forbidden nature of their romance and I was totally shipping them. I hated Tiffani, and wasn’t mad about Rachel or Meghan either. Jake was an ass, Dean was a sweetheart. Chase and Jamie were adorable. A great well-developed cast of secondary characters.

This book was chock-full of teen drama, angst, secrets, lies, revelations and betrayals and I just lapped it up. The pacing was perfect and this book held my attention the entire time.

I had some issues with the plot and the writing was a little amateurish in parts, which is the only reason I knocked off some stars.

A highly addictive series that will appeal to fans of YA contemp romance with lashings of teen-soap-opera style drama.

This review will appear on my blog in due course: https://myyanabookobsession.com

Actual 3.75 stars.