Review: Wicked Needs (Wicked Bay #5) by L.A. Cotton

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

Blurb:
It’s a fine line between love and hate.

Bitch … Ice Queen … Frigid.

Macey Prince is no stranger to a nickname or two. The words once hurt, now they’re her armor. Being a Prince might be a life sentence she can never escape but Macey isn’t willing for her heart to be collateral again.

Then in a rare moment of weakness Macey lets someone in. Without realizing, she gives a piece of herself to him and it’s not long until he wants more. To uncover the girl behind cruel words and icy stares.

She should hate him.

She does hate him.

Anything less would be a disaster waiting to happen.

But sometimes the thing we hate is the thing we need most.

My Review:
Macey Prince has been an enigma in this series to date and I couldn’t wait to find out what was going on with her. Lianne didn’t disappoint. My jaw fell open when her secret love was revealed and I was disgusted at first because this guy has not endeared himself to me during the series to date, and I so wasn’t expecting it to be him, but I quickly changed my opinion of him and realized I had him pegged all wrong.

I felt Macey’s pain even if I wanted to slap her around the place for her stupidity at times.

I was so glad everything worked out for them in the end as they both deserved it. Loved seeing our other two couples, especially Rick and Lo, and it was great to see such strong character development with Rick in particular. The way he responded made me all warm and fuzzy inside. (It also made me wish there were more books coming for my favorite couple but that’s just me being greedy.)

This one ticked all the boxes for me and made my angst-loving heart very happy.

Highly recommended.

Review: Recklessly Ever After (Reckless Hearts #3) by Heather Van Fleet

Title: Recklessly Ever After
Author: Heather Van Fleet
Series: Reckless Hearts #3
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Gavin St. James

After the hell I’ve been through in the Marines—in life—there’s nothing I crave more than routine, stability, peace. Until McKenna Brewer walks into my life.

She’s impulsive, fiery, tempting as hell, and everything I don’t need. But when she offers me a night of no-strings-attached passion, I can’t resist.

When our night together has unexpected consequences, I can’t help but think this might be the perfect opportunity to show McKenna just how much I want her.

The only problem? She doesn’t do forevers. But forever is exactly what I need with her.

Reckless Hearts Series:
Reckless Hearts (Book 1)
The Right Kind of Reckless (Book 2)
Recklessly Ever After (Book 3)

My Review:
A great way to finish a superb series. Love Collin, Max, and Gavin and they are the shining stars in this trilogy.

Both McKenna and Gavin have a lot of baggage and serious trust issues so their path to true love definitely isn’t smooth. Their troubled childhoods had them reacting differently to the situation they found themselves in and it only endeared me to Gavin more.

Very well written, with plenty of angst and emotion, and a well-deserved HEA. Highly recommended.

Review: Holding On To Heaven (Allendale Four #2) by Angel Lawson

Title: Holding On To Heaven
Author: Angel Lawson
Series: Allendale Four #2
Rating: 4.5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance/ Reverse Harem
Links:

Blurb:
Keep Calm and Survive High School.

That was my motto. It was easier with the Allendale Four by my side and with college on the horizon, I had no doubt we’d have the best time of our lives.

No parents. No rules. Lots of freedom.

Except even with the bullies that harassed me out of the picture the past is hard to shake. New obstacles emerge, along with old hang-ups and bad habits.

I know the guys; Oliver, Jackson, Anderson and Hayden have my back, but what happens when outside forces threaten to tear us apart?

Find out in Holding on to Heaven the second installment of The Allendale Four series.

This book contains content involving older teens, in a college setting along with social issues, depression and suicide.

My Review:
4.5 stars. Best book in the series. I literally devoured it from start to finish in one sitting. Loved it.

Review: Love Online by Penelope Ward

Title: Love Online
Author: Penelope Ward
Series: standalone
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
From New York Times bestselling author Penelope Ward, comes a new, sexy standalone novel.

We met in the least likely of places. It started out innocently enough. I was “ScreenGod” and she was “Montana,” but of course, those weren’t our actual names, just the virtual cloaks we hid behind.

Logging in at night and talking to her was my escape—my sanctuary.

Her real name was Eden, I’d soon come to find out.

From the first time we connected online, I found myself transfixed.

She was an addiction.

At first, we knew nothing about each other’s real identities…and she was adamant that we keep things that way. Anonymity had no effect on our unstoppable chemistry, though. If anything, it allowed us to open up even more in ways we may not have otherwise.

Eden was funny, intelligent, gorgeous—everything I’d ever wanted in a woman.

But I couldn’t really have her.

I had accepted things would have to stay the way they were—until the day I found a clue that led me straight to her.

So I took a chance.

And that was when our love story really began.

My Review:
I love Penelope Ward’s books and this one was no exception. I loved Ryder and Eden and Ollie has a special place in my heart. Another heartwarming addictive read.

Review: The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1) by Rachel Harris

Title: The Fine Art of Pretending
Author: Rachel Harris
Series: The Fine Art of Pretending #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

My Review:
This was so adorable. Loved, loved, loved Brandon. And Aly’s journey to self-discovery was one that kept me engaged the whole way through. I was totally rooting for our couple! Gabi and Carlos are my favorite secondary characters and I’d love to see them get their HEA. Drew and Sarah intrigued me too, and there’s a lot more to Justin Carter then we’ve seen. A great cast of characters, superb writing, and plenty of chemistry to keep me hooked.

A fun, flirty, feel good read and one I highly recommend.

Review: The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy

Title: The Chase
Author: Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

My Review:
FLOVED. Loved the Off Campus series and have been patiently waiting for this new spin-off series and it didn’t disappoint. Loved Summer and Fitz from the original series and it was so great to read their romance. Adored all the cameos from Dean, Garrett, and Tucker, but wish we had gotten some Logan! Can’t wait for Breanna’s story and my money’s on Jake Connelly being the guy but I’m wondering if she’s going to throw us a curveball instead as he’s not a Briar hockey player so I think Elle has something up her sleeve … can’t wait until Feb to find out what!

Review: Dirty Sexy Player (Dirty Games Duet #1) by Laurelin Paige

Title: Dirty Sexy Player
Author: Laurelin Paige
Series: Dirty Games Duet #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Weston King knows how to play. But wild nights and owning an extensive collection of women’s panties don’t carry the thrill they once did, so when his business partner Donovan suggests an outrageous plan to allow them to take over their competition, Wes takes him up on the offer. The crazy idea? Marry the competitor.

Elizabeth Dyson, the bride-to-be in question, is on board with the plan. She wants access to her trust fund and can only get it once she marries. Each has something the other wants – all they have to do is pretend to like each other well enough to tie the knot.

Only trouble is, playing fiancé to Elizabeth isn’t quite that simple. Wes finds her sexy and brilliant…and soon wishes their engagement wasn’t fake at all. Not that he’d ever tell her that.

But a lover boy like Wes can only stand an empty bed for so long…and even the best of players has to put down his cards eventually.

My Review:
Holy crap, that ending! I love cliffhangers, the nastier the better, and this one just left us right on the ledge. I will be chewing my nails to the bone waiting until November for the final book but I know it will be worth it.

I loved this story in its entirety but, then again, Laurelin Paige is one of my favorite authors and I have yet to read a book of hers that I didn’t enjoy.

Loved the enemies to lovers theme and the sexual tension was off the charts. I’ve been a big fan of Weston from the first book, so I was really looking forward to his book and it didn’t disappoint. While I blew hot and cold on Donovan in the original duet, I came to love him, but he really pissed me off in the tux fitting scene. There was no need to be so nasty and manipulative and I wanted to reach into my kindle and strangle the ever loving hell out of him.

Loved the bit with the granny and great granny and all the family and the camper fan – it made my heart melt, and it showed a different side to both mains.

I am chomping at the bit for Dirty Sexy Games. Cannot wait. Well done, Ms. Paige, another showstopper!

Review: The Boy and His Ribbon (The Ribbon Duet #1) by Pepper Winters

Title: The Boy and His Ribbon
Author: Pepper Winters
Series: The Ribbon Duet #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Dark/ Contemporary
Links:

Blurb:
“What do you do when you meet your soul mate? No wait…that’s too easy. What do you do when you meet your soul mate and have to spend a lifetime loving him in secret?
I’ll tell you what you do.
You lie.”

REN

Ren was eight when he learned that love doesn’t exist—that the one person who was supposed to adore him only cared how much he was worth.
His mother sold him and for two years, he lived in terror.
But then…he ran.
He thought he’d run on his own. Turned out, he took something of theirs by accident and it became the one thing he never wanted and the only thing he ever needed.

DELLA

I was young when I fell in love with him, when he switched from my world to my everything.
My parents bought him for cheap labour, just like they had with many other kids, and he had the scars to prove it.
At the start, he hated me, and I could understand why.
For years he was my worst enemy, fiercest protector, and dearest friend.
But by the end…he loved me.
The only problem was, he loved me in an entirely different way to the way I loved him.
And slowly, my secret drove us apart.

My Review:
Initial thoughts immediately after reading: Original, captivating, thought-provoking, and completely unputdownable.

It’s been a few weeks since I read this duet and I still can’t get Della and Ren’s story out of my mind. I am still reeling from reading their journey, and, honestly, I think I’ll have to pick it up and reread it again. I am still blown away by this heartbreaking story that I know will stay with me for a long time. I don’t think this review will do this book or this series justice, but I will try.

I’m open-minded, especially when it comes to love, but it’s fair to say this story challenged my beliefs at times which I LOVED. I constantly found myself stopping and thinking deeply about the themes, especially the modern day notion of family. What exactly constitutes family? It goes beyond blood, in my opinion, and that is what made this story difficult to read at times. I felt the sibling bond between Della and Ren in their formative years and as their feelings transformed, I was uncomfortable, at first, until I had no choice but to root for them because I felt the deep, intense love they had for one another.

Ren was always her everything, and I could see how easily she could fall in love with him. It was more complex for Ren – he had been her carer since she was a baby and he fought the feelings brewing inside him. I admired him for that, even as it pained me. He was only existing, not living, so cut off from everyone and society and he didn’t want to feel at all, except when it came to his ribbon. He needed control and order whether they were surviving in the woods or forced into shelter during the winter – once he felt in control, he was okay. When she started pushing him, forcing him to confront his feelings, to explore outside those boundaries, he started drowning and that’s when he made choices that ended up hurting both of them.

Man, the feelings were so real. So raw. I felt every single emotion they were both feeling. It pulled my heartstrings, twisted my stomach into knots, and I was like an addict, devouring pages well into the early hours of the night.

Even though it was a morally wrong (I still believe that) I couldn’t stop myself from wanting them to find a way to be together, because it was also so right. This internal dilemma playing through my mind the whole way through this first book only upped the angst factor for me and added to my enjoyment. At the end of the day, the heart wants who it wants and no amount of logical or forced morality can change that.

I loved both mains, but I loved how steadfast Della was, in particular. Even though she was young, she knew from an early age that what she felt for Ren was more than a crush, that it was the real deal, the kind of intense, soul-deep love very few people ever get to experience, and she never stopped fighting for it. I admired her strength and her resilience.

This book was beautifully written and executed. Character and plot development was flawless. I’m in awe of Pepper’s profound understanding of the human psyche and she nailed the emotional journey of both mains. Completely nailed it. I deliberately held off reading my comp copy until the second book was released because I just knew that I would want to delve straight into the rest of the story immediately, and my gut instinct was right.

While this is a different story, it reminded me a little of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. I remember similar conflicted feelings reading that brilliant story and how thought-provoking it was too.

In summary, this was a highly-emotive, angsty, unique romance that is superbly written and one I cannot recommend more highly.

Thank you so much to the author for providing a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own and I’m writing this review voluntarily.

What a fantastic introduction to Pepper Winter’s books, and I definitely look forward to reading more.

Review: Crave Me (The Good Ol’ Boys #4) by M. Robinson

Title: Crave Me
Author: M. Robinson
Series: The Good Ol’ Boys #4
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
They say in order to find yourself you have to go home.
What if home was what you’re running from?
Where did that leave you?

Always on the other side of the fence.
Always looking in.
Always wishing you were someone you couldn’t be.

Until one day you meet her.
The one.
She was my high, but she was also…
My demise.

STANDALONE within a series. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Strong language and themes, and sexual content, not intended for readers under 18. This is a Full Length Novel.

My Review:
For me, this was, hands down, the best book in the series. It was also the darkest and some of it was difficult to read but I still couldn’t put it down. The author handled the addiction story line perfectly and though I had periods where I hated both mains, my heart hurt for them more than anything. Their chemistry seeped off the pages of my Kindle and I shipped them so hard. I felt every emotion with them and I was hooked from the first page to the very last.

I really felt for Austin, and I was disgusted with Lucas, Dylan, and Jacob in parts, as well as his parents. The only one who ever listened to him growing up was Half Pint. His self destruction and loathing after the accident was palpable and watching his demise was heart wrenching. Thankfully, it ends in a happy place.

It was great to catch glimpses of the other characters and I like how all the storylines tie in with previous books. All in all, this was a great series and one I recommend. The author has created a great set of characters I became very invested in, and I loved all the angst and drama too. Ticked a lot of the boxes for me!

To the reader who suggested it on my Inseparable product page – thank you! I would, most likely, not have discovered this book or this author otherwise.

Review: One Small Thing by Erin Watt

Title: One Small Thing
Author: Erin Watt
Series: standalone
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Links:

Blurb:
Beth’s life hasn’t been the same since her sister died. Her parents try to lock her down, believing they can keep her safe by monitoring her every move. When Beth sneaks out to a party one night and meets the new guy in town, Chase, she’s thrilled to make a secret friend. It seems a small thing, just for her.

Only Beth doesn’t know how big her secret really is…

Fresh out of juvie and determined to start his life over, Chase has demons to face and much to atone for, including his part in the night Beth’s sister died. Beth, who has more reason than anyone to despise him, is willing to give him a second chance. A forbidden romance is the last thing either of them planned for senior year, but the more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings get.

Now Beth has a choice to make—follow the rules, or risk tearing everything apart…again.

My Review:
I’m a massive Erin Watt fan and the blurb for this new book sucked me right in. I love a good forbidden romance and this was very close to perfection. Poor Beth. My heart bled for her. She was a great combination of vulnerability and strength. Chase was amazing, and I really felt for him. I was screaming at my Kindle at the abusive treatment he endured. The romance was a little too light for me with this one, and I hated that every single authority figure seemed to think it was okay to bully a boy who had already served his punishment. Other than that, I loved every bit of it and I think the authors did a wonderful job portraying the grief and torment in an authentic fashion. I also really enjoy Erin Watt’s style of writing and the pacing flowed beautifully, so much so that I stayed up until 4 a.m. reading this in one sitting. Highly recommended, especially if you are already a fan of this talented duo.