Review Blitz: The Soul Mate (Roommates #4) by Kendall Ryan


Today is my stop during the blog tour for The Soul Mate (Roommates #4) by Kendall Ryan! i share my review with you today and some teaser images!

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

Blurb:
From New York Times Bestseller Kendall Ryan comes a sexy new stand-alone novel in her Roommates series.

The smoking-hot one-night stand I was never supposed to see again?

Yeah, well, I might be pregnant, and he’s my OB-GYN.

Get ready to fall head over heels madly in love with the hottest OBGYN doctor you have ever met! This full-length standalone contains the most hilariously awkward lady-doctor visit, lots of playful banter and some good ol’ fashioned baby-makin’!

My Review:
Kendall has an uncanny ability to hook me with her enticing blurbs and her sexy covers, and The Soul Mate was no different. I was particularly impressed this time because the blurb is so short but, hot damn, was I salivating to read this book! The premise is fantastic and I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

I have enjoyed this series and all the books have been great. Bren and Mason were both likable characters and very easy to warm to. I was giggling away to myself at the scene in his office before they figured out who the other person was. So awkward. So entertaining.

It was fairly obvious (to me at least) how this one was going to play out but I enjoyed watching Mason battle against Bren’s preconceived negative notions of love and the lengths he was prepared to go to in order to show her how much he cared.

It was sweet and heartwarming and it gave me lots of warm fuzzies.

This series has been more like a novella series because the books are short, quick reads. Ordinarily, I prefer longer books because there really isn’t enough time to develop the characters properly and the plots all seemed rushed. That was definitely the case here and while I enjoyed the book I was frustrated that it wasn’t longer. Character and plot development seemed rushed and it was very easy to predict the storyline. It doesn’t detract from the fact it was an entertaining read and I adore Kendall’s writing style. She definitely has a way with words and you always know what you are getting when you pick up one of her books. Because I knew going in that this was going to be a quick read, I can’t give this one any less than four-stars. It delivers on the expectation.

If you are looking for a short, quick, entertaining summer read then this book, this entire series, is perfect and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

Thanks to the author and Inkslinger PR for providing an ARC of this book. My review is voluntary and all opinions expressed are my own.

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 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts 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.
Visit her at: www.kendallryanbooks.com for the latest book news, and fun extras

Links:

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Blog Tour: Wicked Wish (The Wicked Horse Vegas #2) by Sawyer Bennett


Today is my stop during the blog tour for Wicked Wish (The Wicked Horse Vegas #2) by Sawyer Bennett! I’ll share my review for this book, an excerpt and soem teaser images :).

Title: Wicked Wish
Author: Sawyer Bennett
Series: The Wicked Horse Vegas #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Jorinda Pearce thought she did everything right – graduated from college, married her long-time sweetheart, established a career. But what does she have to show for it now? A degree she doesn’t use, a job she hates, and an ex-husband that broke her heart.

Looking for a long overdue adventure, Jorie takes a walk on the wild side and attends a masquerade event at The Wicked Horse Vegas. It’s exactly the escape she’s looking for, and even better, she can explore anonymously. Drawn to the man masked in black leather with the body of a god, Jorie finds the greatest pleasures of her life at the hands of a stranger.

Walsh Brooks is the most sought after man in The Wicked Horse. Sex is nothing but a game to him and he’s the type that will always leave at the end of the night without looking back. Unfortunately for Walsh, there’s no way he can walk away from the mysterious green-eyed beauty behind the mask of sapphire feathers, because he knows exactly who she is.

Jorie is his best friend’s little sister and there’s not another woman in the world that’s more off limits.

My Review:
A standalone best friend’s sister forbidden romance with erotic scenes.

This is the second book in Sawyer Bennett’s Wicked Horse Vegas series, but it can be completely read as a standalone title. I loved every wicked, delicious page of this book, from the well-developed, intriguing characters to the consistently-paced plot which held my attention the entire time.

I love forbidden romance especially when they are keeping the relationship secret and there is lots of sneaking around and heated stolen moments. Walsh and Jorie reconnect by chance and end up in a very steamy encounter in The Wicked Horse. Once they realize who each other is, they try to stay away from one another but their old attraction hasn’t died and soon they are throwing caution to the wind.

Sawyer included a great note at the start of the book which I wholeheartedly agree with. This is a great character-driven story with erotic scenes but I love the fact that she takes time to carve out her characters and that there is substance to their development and the plot development. It was my perfect kind of read.

I especially loved the little anecdotes from the past and I felt the strength of their bond as well as their sizzling hot chemistry. I wanted to kick Michah into next week for being such an interfering old grump but it added some delicious tension and drama.

Sawyer is a fantastic writer and this book was superbly written. I can’t fault anything about it. I loved it, and I’m loving this series. Thank you for an exhilarating read, and I can’t wait to read more in this world.

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

Excerpt:
Squaring my shoulders, I march into The Royale and head straight for the concierge desk. I haven’t been in this casino before. Hell, I haven’t been in hardly any of them. Sure, I’d only grown up about forty-five minutes away, but gambling and all-you-can-eat buffets held no interest to me.
From Micah bragging about his best friend over the years, I knew Walsh orchestrated the purchase of the land, then pulled together financing with two other partners to build this casino. It’s one of the most popular on the strip, boasting five-star dining, old-world elegance, and superior customer service. Again, all this from Micah, but honestly… I’m so proud of Walsh, too. We may have lost touch over the years, but I’ll never forget all the ways in which he acted as a big brother to me.
Ick.
Okay… that’s gross. Thinking of Walsh like a brother.
I scrub my mind clean of that thought and demand myself never to do that again.
Rather, I’ll never forget all the ways in which Walsh provided me friendship and support in my formative years.
Yes… much better.
“Can I help you?” a man behind the concierge desk asks with a genuine and friendly smile. Not snooty as I would expect in a fancy hotel, and I guess that goes to the superior customer service The Royale strives for.
“Yes… hi,” I say as I nervously tuck my hair behind my ears on both sides. “I need to see Mr. Brooks. How do I go about getting access to his apartment?”
Micah told me some time ago that Walsh lives here.
The concierge never loses his friendly smile, but a single eyebrow arches high at my temerity.
“Oh, gosh,” I stammer. “That came out stalkerish. Mr. Brooks… I mean, Walsh… and I are longtime friends. He used to babysit me.”
“Your name?” the man asks as he pulls up something on his computer.
“Jorie Pearce.”
After a moment of scanning, he looks up at me. “Your name isn’t on the approved list.”
“Well, he’s not exactly expecting me.”
“I’m sorry, Miss Pearce,” he says with true regret in his voice. “But our policy is strict. No one gets up to the private penthouse without their name on the list.”
I lean on the desk with one elbow and lower my voice. “Just out of curiosity… are there any women on that list?”
The eyebrow shoots up again.
“No, wait,” I say hastily as I hold my palms toward him in a silent plea to not process my last request either mentally or on the computer. “That’s totally stalkerish, and I didn’t mean that.”
“Miss Pearce,” the concierge says, now with a hint of annoyance. “Perhaps you’d like to leave a message? I can get it up to Mr. Brooks today and he can call you.”
“No, I need to see him now,” I tell him firmly. “And I swear it’s not to cook a rabbit in a pot on his stove. Can you please just call up to his apartment?”
“That’s not our policy—”
“Look,” I snap as I lean across the desk slightly. “I’m a lifelong friend of Walsh’s. My brother is his best friend. We lost touch for a few years, but we ran into each other last night. I really need to talk to him about something that happened last night, and I’m not leaving this hotel until you call up to his apartment.”
The eyebrow doesn’t arch but it does draw inward to meet its match on the other side as he considers what I just said.
“I swear to you,” and here I pause to look at his name tag, “Bentley. Please just call him. He won’t be mad.”
With a sigh, he relents and picks up the phone receiver, punching in a five-digit number. After a pause, he says, “Mr. Brooks… I’m very sorry to disturb you, sir, but there’s a Miss Jorie Pearce here to see you. She says she’s a longtime friend.”
I watch as Bentley listens, but I can’t gauge what’s being said as his face remains blank. Finally, he says, “Very good, sir.”
I take this to mean I’ll be getting an escort to the penthouse suite, but Bentley replaces the receiver and says, “I’m sorry, Miss Pearce. But Mr. Walsh told me to tell you he’s busy and can’t receive you right now.”
My eyes narrow at Bentley. “I don’t believe you. Call back and let me talk to him.”
“I assure you, I just talked to him and that’s what he said.”
“Call him back,” I order as I point to the phone.
“I can’t,” he says almost with a wail. “If I do, he’ll fire me.”
Okay, that hits home. I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, so I say, “Fine. Give me just a moment.”
I take a few steps away from the concierge desk and pull my iPhone out. I shoot off a quick text to Micah. What’s Walsh’s phone number?
I wait a few moments, but I know Micah is awake in San Francisco at this hour. His phone is always on, and he never ignores a text from me.
He responds with the number before I can even start to tap my foot with impatience, adding on, Why?
I hate the lie, but I write back, Came to Vegas for the day. Thought I’d see if he could meet up for lunch. Haven’t seen him in years.
Cool, he writes back. Tell him I said, “what’s up, douche?”
I roll my eyes as I text back, Real mature. Love ya. Later.
After I save the number to my contacts, I open a new text to Walsh. Let me up to see you or I’m going straight back to The Wicked Horse to satisfy some further curiosities I have.
I hit send and then walk back to the concierge desk. I merely lean one elbow on it and watch Bentley with a silent smile. The phone rings about ten seconds after that.
Bentley’s eyes fly to mine as he listens, and then says, “Yes, sir. Right away.”
When he replaces the receiver, he says, “I’m to show you to the penthouse elevator.”
“Thank you, Bentley,” I say brightly.

About the Author:
Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.

Links:

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Review: Sustain by Tijan

Title: Sustain
Author: Tijan
Series: standalone
Rating: 3.75 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
I had a simple life.
I worked two jobs, made ends meet, and hung out with my mom and twin brother. The other part of my life was about avoiding him, but when SWAT raided my boyfriend’s home, that was the last straw. The boyfriend got tossed and to help me keep busy, my brother talked me into joining their old band again, but I had to be honest. It wasn’t a hard sell. Playing drums was in my blood. I used to be addicted and that craving hadn’t been satisfied in three long years. The only problem was their lead singer.
It was him.
The drums might not have been the only thing I was addicted to. I think I was still addicted to him too.

My Review:
I’ve been binge-reading Tijan for weeks now and she is definitely up there at the top of my fav authors’ list. I love the soap-opera style drama and emotional complexity of her novels. They always suck me in and eat me right up!

Sustain is a friends to lovers story set within a rockstar world (one of my favorites) with a male lead that is to die for, so I was off to a good start. I ADORED Luke and Bri was also great, even though both of them frustrated me with their inability to communicate at times. Another great thing about Tijan is her ability to create strong secondary characters. I loved Gunn! Braden was a loveable rogue and Elijah and Emerson were the token jerks (especially the latter – I wanted to swing for him so many times.)

The reason this is not a higher rating is down to some issues with the plot and certain things not being properly explained. Also, while the chemistry between Luke and Bri was sizzling, in the main, the romance was a bit on the light side. Then it all felt very rushed at the end when I wanted to see some of them together as an actual couple.

Definitely, not up to the magnificence that is the Fallen Crest series – man, I love that series SOOOO much and can’t wait for book six – but still a decent read, and one I’d recommend.

In summary, this is a very good standalone contemp NA/Rocker romance and a must read if you are a Tijan fan.

Actual rating 3.75 stars.

Review: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover

Title: It Ends with Us
Author: Colleen Hoover
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up – she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan – her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

This book contains graphic scenes and very sensitive subject matter.

My Review:
Wow, just wow. I’ll come back to write my review when I can make sense of the mess in my head. Absolutely brilliant. Loved it.

FULL REVIEW

I apologize in advance if this review rambles but my head is still reeling from this experience. I’d also like to caution that this review may contain slight spoilers, although I’ll try my best not to mention anything specific, as I don’t want to ruin the story for anyone, yet it’s difficult to discuss how I’m feeling without mentioning a few things.

This book put me through the ringer, and I’m still feeling the aftershocks. I love books that make me question my own beliefs and really give me pause to stop and think. It Ends With Us is one of those books.

I have no personal experience of the subject matter but I have always had sympathy for anyone going through such a situation. It was no surprise that I really felt for Lily and shared her pain, grief, heartache, and confusion. I found myself constantly stopping to imagine how I might feel, how I would act, if I was in a similar situation, and I honestly don’t know how I would deal with it.

What shocked me, what was entirely unexpected, was how much I felt for Ryle. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted her to do what she did, and he was definitely in the wrong, but he wasn’t a really nasty person. He was hugely flawed, damaged, and he couldn’t control his emotions, but there was no doubt in my mind that he loved her. Probably too much which is where his issues stemmed from.

When I reflected on the initial scene where they met (so so good – the dialogue was unbelievably brilliant) I could see how self-aware he was. He indulged in one night stands with no strings and he didn’t have relationships because he knew he was incapable of same. He should have stuck to that, but then we wouldn’t have had a story.

I loved the letters to Ellen and the retelling of her time with Atlas. It was heartwarming and gut-wrenching at the same time. I really felt their connection, and I was rooting for them and then I became conflicted because Ryle was so perfect at the start and I felt their chemistry and their love and then…

Gosh, my heart is pounding again. And that twist – oh my Lord, I was cut up all over again when that happened.

I don’t think I’ll every forget this book. The last one that ripped my insides apart was Bright Side by Kim Holden (so good – go read it if you haven’t already.) Different story but it delivered the same powerful emotional turmoil.

My only complaint is that I wanted more of “present day” Atlas but I’m greedy like that! A little novella now would be great, Colleen, hint hint!

I loved the personal note Colleen included at the end, and the personal connection she had to this story shines through.

It is quite simply masterful. Absolutely superb. She nailed the emotions and managed to end it on a positive note and I’m going to be feeling all the feels for a lot while.

Highly Recommended, but make sure you have a box of tissues because you’ll need them.

Blog Tour: Your Fierce Love (The Bennett Family #7) by Layla Hagen


Today is my stop during the blog tour for Your Fierce Love (The Bennett Family #7) by Layla Hagen! This was the first book I read by the author and it certainly won’t be the last. scroll down to read my review and check out some of the teaser images!

Want to win? Layla Hagen is having $100 gift card giveaway on her facebook page to celebrate the release! Enter the giveaway here.

Title: Your Fierce Love
Author: Layla Hagen
Series: The Bennett Family #7
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
The strong and sexy Blake Bennett is downright irresistible. And Clara Abernathy is doing everything she can to resist his charm.

After spending her life in group homes, Clara yearns for the love and warmth of a true family. With the Bennetts treating her like their own, she can’t possibly fall for Blake. That would be crossing a line…

But when Clara needs a temporary place to live, and she accepts Blake’s offer to move next door to him, things escalate. Suddenly, she’s not only supposed to resist the man who’s hell-bent on having her, but the TV station she works for is determined to dig up some dirt on the Bennett family.

Blake knows family friends are off-limits, and Clara is more off-limits than anyone. But Clara’s sweetness and sass fill a hole in him he wasn’t even aware of. Soon, he finds himself gravitating toward her, willing to do anything to make her happy.

Blake enjoys bending the rules—much more than following them, but will bending this one be taking it too far?

YOUR FIERCE LOVE is the seventh book in Layla Hagen’s Bennett Family series, but all books stand alone.

My Review:
This was my first Layla Hagen book but I can confidently say it won’t be my last. While this is the seventh book in The Bennett Family series it holds its own as a standalone and you don’t need to read the other books to enjoy Your Fierce Love. Sometimes, I find when books within a series are labeled as standalone they can lack proper character development. Not this book. Layla nailed the character development in this one, and while my interest in the other characters is definitely piqued, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out by not reading them first.

Both Blake and Clara are very likable MC’s, and I was rooting for their romance from the get-go. It is a forbidden romance of sorts, mainly because Clara is so protective of her relationship with the Bennetts, cherishing and valuing it because she didn’t have that growing up (or mostly didn’t.) So, the family is important to her and she worries she will mess up a good thing by getting involved with Blake.

Blake is extremely determined though, and he doesn’t give her the opportunity to back away because he knows she wants him as much as he wants her.

I liked the build up of their relationship, and how sweet and caring Blake was while at the same time he’s all man. The romantic and sexy times were hot without going too far and perfectly to my taste. There was no doubt they shared intense chemistry, and you could tell the bond was growing stronger the more they fell in love. All of that leaped off the pages of my Kindle and it was so heartwarming.

The main reason my rating isn’t higher is due to two things that happened toward the end of the story that took away from my enjoyment. The first was the confrontation with her bosses. In reality, they wouldn’t have given up that easily and I just couldn’t accept it as credible. Then, when her secret was revealed the reactions of both characters was, significantly, lacking in emotional depth. I should have felt her pain, her concern, her fear, her panic, but I didn’t. Those scenes require more heightened emotion and more tension, in my opinion. I wanted to feel an ache in my chest, but I didn’t. It just felt like a plot device that was hurdling toward an inevitable end.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can say this is still a perfectly lovely romance and it ticks along at a nice, consistent pace. It would make a great summer beach read.

For me, one of the best things about this book is it has ignited my interest in this family and I really want to read the other books now. I ADORED the family dynamic, and all the siblings, and the close knit feel, and how they all supported one another. Loved it! I’m definitely going to check out some of the other books starting with Logan because, aagh!! I loved him. Seriously, I think I might have a Logan fetish because anytime I come across that name in a book I just have to read it and I invariably fall head over heels in love. So, I’m off to download Logan and Nadine’s book now.

Actual 3.5 stars.

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

About the Author:
Layla Hagen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance.

She fell in love with books when she was nine years old, and her love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.

She writes steamy and romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.

She is represented by fabulous Louise Fury (The Bent Agency)

Links:

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Review: Cole by Tijan

Title: Cole
Author: Tijan
Series: standalone
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
I shouldn’t have remembered him.
He was just a guy who walked through a restaurant. I didn’t know his name. We never made eye contact. There was no connection between us at all.
But I could feel him.
The tingle down my spine. The command in his presence. The snap of tension in the air around him. That was the first time I saw him, and I was captivated.
The second time was different.
He was in the mysterious back elevator of my apartment building. Our eyes met for a fleeting second before the doors closed, and I was staggered. My breath was robbed. My senses on high alert. My body hummed.
That was just the beginning.
He was the leader of the mafia. I was about to fall in love with him, and his name…
Cole Mauricio

My Review:
Combine one dark, sultry, mysterious man, one sweet grief-stricken woman, and add tons of smokin-hot chemistry, plenty of suspense and intrigue, a mafioso environment, and you have one heck of an explosive read. Cole is signature Tijan at her very best. I loved this book and had a really hard time putting it down.

Initially, I was a little concerned that I might not like this book. While I’m a massive fan of this author, I wasn’t a big fan of Carter Reed. However, that had nothing to do with the characters or the worldbuilding so I thought I’d give Cole a go. I’m so glad I did.

This book was extremely well written and I really enjoyed the mafia world Tijan has created. Cole is dangerous and mysterious and I ADORED that aspect of his personality. He had this aura that bled from the pages and he was swoon worthy in the extreme. I enjoyed watching as Addison slowly started to peel back his layers.

The first half of the book introduces us to the characters and lays some subtle clues as to what is going on. The suspense and the action are really ramped up in the second half and I loved it! The climactic scenes were so good and I had chills, peeps, legit chills. So intense. So good.

I totally shipped our couple and the romance was very hot. They caved to their monkey lust pretty much straight away but it worked, and I felt the believable connection between our pair.

I liked meeting Carter and Emma again, and Jake was a decent side character. I really didn’t like Sia. She was a bit of a conundrum of a character – she had the capacity to be both selfless and selfish at the same time. I didn’t like how she made comments about Cole when she knew he was her friend’s boyfriend. It goes against the girl code and is a big no-no in my opinion.

The plot was a wee bit predictable in parts – I guessed who the villain was but not what was driving his behavior so that was a nice surprise along with certain people’s backgrounds (being vague on purpose so as not to spoil anything.)

I liked that we got some of Cole’s perspective toward the end because I was expecting this book to be in his perspective and was surprised initially when it was in Addison’s. I’m not sure why I thought it was going to be in his voice but it didn’t matter anyway.

All in all, this was a superb read and is one of the best books Tijan has written. If you are a fan of this author or a fan of mafia romance in general then you will love Cole.

Highly Recommended.

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Thanks to the author and TRSOR promotions for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Title: Kissing Max Holden
Author: Katy Upperman
Series: standalone
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

My Review:
Full of bad boy charm, hot swoony romance, family drama and life lessons, Kissing Max Holden is a superb debut from author Katy Upperman and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

The gorgeous cover and enticing blurb hooked me instantly and I was really looking forward to reading this book. Thankfully, it lived up to my expectations and more.

Jillian is a good girl with a dedicated focus on a bakery career, and she is on a countdown until she starts culinary school in New York. Max Holden is the boy next door and her one-time bestie. All that changed after his dad took a stroke and Max started going out with his girlfriend.

I loved how the book opened on the scene where Max climbed through her window, and that we got stuck into the meat of the story straight away. I was rooting for them from the get-go!

This book gave me so many feels, and it was heartwarming as much as it was heartwrenching.

Max is to die for, and my perfect kind of misunderstood, sexy, bad boy with a heart of gold. I wanted him to ditch that scheming girlfriend for Jillian so badly! All the stolen kisses and sneaky moments were diamond! Absolutely, loved them, and the romance scenes were perfectly written. They made my heart swoon, and I felt the intense connection between our couple.

I also loved how family and friendship played a big part in this story.

The writing was fantastic, the pacing was spot-on, and it was an addictive read that I had a hard time putting down.

I cannot wait to see what this author delivers next, and I really hope this book does well for her because it’s a fab read.

Highly Recommended.

Actual 4.5 stars.

Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I am voluntarily reviewing same.

Review: Jaden (Jaded #3) by Tijan

Title: Jaden
Author: Tijan
Series: Jaded #3
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Being framed for murder sucks. Being framed for the murder of your old friend-turned-enemy-turned-ma….

My Review:
Initial thoughts: Feel like I just got run over by a truck.

Full Review: CAUTION – This review contains SPOILERS so if you don’t want to know, please don’t read on.

No one writes teen angst and drama quite like Tijan. This book was full of ups and downs in relation to the stalker/murderer plot, and the messy love triangle.

I’ll talk about the murder plot first. It was obvious that Sheldon was set up, but the question was by who? My money wasn’t on bitchface supermodel, but on that other cow from college (the one with all the stalker pics in her wardrobe – her name escapes me right now.) But I was wrong on both counts so kudos for that. I did suspect the culprit initially but dismissed it so when that happened at the end I was like damn! Missed that!

Sheldon grows up a lot in this book which I liked but she still comes with a hefty side order of snark. I really felt for her because her head and her heart were all over the place because of the boys. She loves both Bryce and Corrigan, no question about that, but who does she lurve love, and who does she see herself with in the future?

I have to admit I was rooting for Bryce, even though he was an ass in book two and he chose to protect bitchface supermodel instead of supporting Sheldon. I won’t ever properly understand but as we weren’t shown what actually happened in Spain, I’ll have to take Tijan’s word for it.

Corrigan had really matured in this one, and once he decided that he wanted Sheldon he was by her side through thick and thin. It was painfully obvious (from the last book) that Sheldon was pushing Bryce away in favor of Corrigan, so when she chose the latter I wasn’t surprised. And even though I wanted her and Bryce to sail off into the proverbial sunset, I have to admit that her choice made sense. Bryce and Sheldon have had a dysfunctional relationship since they were teens. It wasn’t healthy, and it was compounded by the choices they both made in and post-Spain. It was clear there was too much hurt, too much history, too much pain for it to ever work. Corrigan and Sheldon had a very different relationship – one that was built on years of friendship. They didn’t seem to have the same passionate relationship (I say seem because we didn’t really get to see them as a couple) but I choose to believe that’s because their love went deeper than that. I don’t hate Tijan for the way she ended the book; I applaud her for being brave enough to follow the story even though she understood it was going to upset a lot of people. I also loved her note at the end. It’s something I do on occasion for my readers so I love to see the same in other books.

My only complaint is that it seemed rushed at the end, and we didn’t get to see enough of Corrigan and Sheldon as a couple. I also want to know that Bryce is happy and although it seemed that way at the end, there was no sense that it was a permanent thing. I’d love another book – hint, hint. One thing I was puzzled about was that girl from college (the one with the pictures in her closet) – where the heck did she go? Or did I miss how that ended? Am I to presume that because her frat fell apart she just disappeared? Minor irritation, but it niggled at me. Kept thinking she was going to jump back into the frame and be all nasty and evil and stuff.

All in all, this was another great series from Tijan. It started off a little weak for my liking but finished strong. Off to my next Tijan series 🙂 Completely addicted and proud 🙂

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

Actual rating 4.5 stars.

Review: Tell Me How This Ends (Tell Me #1) by Victoria De La O

Title: Tell Me How This Ends
Author: Victoria De La O
Series: Tell Me #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Brothers Jude and Ryan McAllister are inseparable. When Jude stepped in to raise Ryan after the death of their mother, it became the two of them against the world. But the scars it left were bone-deep. Then Lizzie Price comes along.

Lizzie hopes Ryan’s kindness can help heal her wounds from a toxic relationship. But when she meets Jude, their powerful attraction makes him difficult to resist. The problem is, Lizzie doesn’t realize Jude and Ryan are brothers, and they don’t know they’re falling for the same girl.

By the time the truth comes out, everyone is in too deep. Ryan is in love, Jude is in denial, and Lizzie wants both brothers. All of them agree that no one deserves to get hurt. But love and desire have a way of testing even the strongest bonds.

My Review:
I cannot believe this book is a debut work because it is an absolute triumph and Victoria writes like a seasoned pro. I am blown away by the complex characterization, witty prose, intense emotional connection, and the overall exemplary execution of this story.

I hope to God we don’t have to wait too long for the next book because I am already DYING to read it, especially after that little sneak peek we were given at the back of this book. I’m also really happy to read that the other brother is getting a book too because I would’ve been upset if there was no potential for him to get a HEA.

I don’t like giving away spoilers in my reviews so I’ll try to keep this spoiler-free even though it’s quite difficult to talk about the relationships without giving anything away.

Lizzie has relocated to start afresh after a toxic relationship that almost destroyed her. Having grown up in a houseful of brothers, she needs to forge her own path in life and start making plans for her future. She is naturally wary of boys after her most recent experience but has had a little crush on Ryan, a boy with a stutter who is in one of her classes. She plucks up the courage to ask him to tutor her as a way of starting something with him.

As this happens, she meets Jude on a night out with her girlfriends. Jude is hot with a player rep and he’s currently bedding one of her friends. It’s immediately obvious that Jude and Lizzy share an intense chemistry but she won’t give him the time of day. After a steamy dance, they agree to stay away from one another because he can’t give her what she wants and she doesn’t want to take a risk that he might change his mind because she can’t afford to get hurt again. So they walk away from one another.

Lizzie’s relationship with Ryan is hotting up and she really likes him. He is hot, sweet, and adorable and the type of nice guy you have no hesitation in bringing home to meet the folks.

She discovers he is Jude’s brother when she wanders into Jude in the kitchen of his house in the middle of the night. This is the part where everything turns extremely messy and I’d love to delve into it but, as I said, I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone.

The three main characters were expertly crafted with flaws and weaknesses that were gradually revealed. The inner dynamics of this tangled relationship were fraught with delicious tension and conflict that had my heart racing and my stomach tied into knots. I knew how I wanted it to end, had a strong sense of how it was going to end, and I could scarcely read it in parts because I was so caught up in the beautiful torture, but I adored every single page and I really didn’t want the story to be over by the end.

Jude and Lizzie were both very selfless people who cared deeply about Ryan. Ryan was secure in Lizzie’s love because Jude did such an admirable job of raising him after his mother and uncle died. My heart broke for Jude – he was always willing to sacrifice his own happiness for his brother, even if it was killing him on the inside. Lizzie was the only person who seemed to be able to get through to him, to connect to him in a way he never even knew he wanted, but he couldn’t have her.

Lizzie, for her part, wanted to do the right thing but it was so hard. I love how the author explored the notion of being able to love more than one person at the same time. It’s never happened to me but I’ve always believed it possible. The fact that the two boys in this love triangle were brothers only added to the story. It felt so impossibly tragic at times and although my heart lapped up all the angsty-drama, I worried it would all be too much.

The ending did kinda go as I expected but it was heartwarming because I wanted that brother to reach that conclusion, to do the right thing by his brother, even though it was hurting him. Bravo.

My only complaint (and it’s not really a complaint) is that when they finally get their act together (after they leave the nightclub) the scene is completely skipped over and we are given a recap by Lizzie the next morning. OMG! I was waiting the entire book for that! That was a little disappointing but it still doesn’t detract from the fact that this was an utterly addictive read. I literally CANNOT WAIT to read the next two books.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book as supplied by the publishers via Netgalley. All the opinions expressed are my own.

Review: Still Jaded (Jaded #2) by Tijan

Title: Still Jaded
Author: Tijan
Series: Jaded #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Sheldon, Bryce, and Corrigan ruled their school until a killer wanted to rule them. Three years later, Bryce’s back home from Europe the local celebrity jock. Corrigan’s busy running his fraternity and Sheldon’s about to be pulled back into the social world of drama. With the killer killed, who’s trying to hurt Sheldon this time? Or maybe it’s someone closer than she wants to admit?

My Review:
This book turned my stomach into knots, and I honestly felt a terrible panicky feeling in my chest while reading it. This series is like a sick addiction, one I just can’t get enough of even though half the time I want to scream and yell and throw a few things around the room. These characters infuriate me but I’m obsessing over them. It is like the most extreme car-crash TV multiplied ten-fold with an extra dollop of highly-emotive angsty drama on top. These characters have few redeeming qualities, and they can in no way be described as positive role models, but they are strangely endearing all the same.

I spent the first half of this book feeling sorry for Sheldon, the middle part screaming at Bryce, and the last part scratching my head in utter confusion over the apparent connection between Sheldon and Corrigan. I adore love triangles and this one is frustratingly good. I like that Tijan explores the theme of actually being properly in love with two guys at the same time. And it’s not lust or insta-love as these three have been best friends for years. I know some people don’t believe it’s possible to be in love with two people at the same time, but I think it’s credible. Gosh, it cranked the awkwardness level to new heights but I lapped it up. I started to have some sympathy for Bryce toward the end even though he still acted like an ass with that bloody supermodel.

The stalker subplot is good but very much in the background and I’m expecting that to develop in the final book.

I liked seeing a different side to Corrigan and it seems fairly clear that she has already chosen him even if she doesn’t realize it. I’m not sure how I feel about that. There was no clue to this connection in the first one so I find it weird that she might love him more than Bryce. If subtle clues had been evident in the first book, it would be more believable. The other issue I had is that all of the time the three of them spent in Barcelona isn’t relayed for the reader which is very bizarre because the supposed issues in their relationship arose from that chapter in their lives. We are told bits and pieces but otherwise it was glossed over. It would have made more sense if book two focused on that time and this was book three etc.

Glaring editing errors, some plot holes, and timeline issues grated on my nerves too but there is no way I can rate this less than 5 stars. Any book that ties me into so many knots and has me up half the night thinking about the characters and the plot is worthy of top marks. Dying to see how this series closes out now!

My recommendation comes with a health warning – only for those who enjoy high-stakes drama, despicable characters with little moral compass, and angsty emotional romance.