Saturday, April 16, 2016

ARC Review: Lessons in Gravity by Jessica Peterson

Lessons in Gravity is the second book in the Study Abroad series by Jessica Peterson. It can be read as a standalone story, but for full enjoyment I would recommend reading these in order if possible. After reading Spanish Lessons, I was really curious to get Maddie's story. I really enjoyed reading it here and I am really glad that we got to see more of her character. 

Maddie is studying abroad in Spain, while also hoping to avoid the drama back at home. With her parents divorcing, she needs the time away for more than just her degree. Not looking for love, Maddie hooks up with Javier, a sexy guitarist. But what starts out as a one night stand, quickly turns into a friendship that neither of them expected. Soon Javier is beginning to wonder if Maddie is the girl he has been looking for, but he knows he will have his work cut out for him because Maddie doesn't believe in forever. 

I had some issues with Maddie's friend Vivian in the previous book. She gave Maddie permission to pursue the man she wanted, and then was upset when Maddie did. While I put most of that on Vivian, I didn't like that Maddie had gone there as irrational as that may be. So while I wanted to see where things would go for Maddie, I wasn't her biggest fan going in. I have to say though that getting her POV and seeing beneath the surface with her changed my opinion completely! I really liked her and I was so glad that I gave her a shot. I loved her and Javier and I thought that they were great together. These two had a great connection and there was so much chemistry between them. I was drawn in right away and ended up liking their book even more than I did the first in the series. 

Overall, I am really enjoying this series. Jessica Peterson was a new to me author with Spanish Lessons, and now that I have read Lessons in Gravity, I am definitely a fan. Her writing style and characters feel fresh and fun, while packing a ton of emotion and steam. I have enjoyed both of the books in this series and I can't wait for more. If you are a fan of NA stories, I think these are definitely worth the read. I know I will be looking for more from Jessica Peterson in the future, and I can't wait for the next book in the Study Abroad series!

**ARC Provided by Author**

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RFTC I've Got a Secret Event with Author Juliana Stone

Juliana Stone fell in love with her first book boyfriend when she was twelve. The boy was Ned, Nancy Drew’s boyfriend, and it began a lifelong obsession with books and romance. A tomboy at heart, she split her time between baseball, books, and music-three things that carried over into adulthood. She’s thrilled to be writing young adult as well as adult contemporary romance, and does so from her home somewhere in Canada.

Friday, April 15, 2016

ARC Review: Stuck-Up Suit by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

I really enjoy books from both Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward and I loved their first collaboration, Cocky Bastard! So I couldn't wait to get my hands on Stuck-Up Suit when I first found out about it! It was everything I had been hoping for and more! These two make as fantastic of a writing team as they do as individual authors, and I honestly hope they never quit writing both separately and together. 

What started out as just another day quickly changes when a stranger loses his phone on the train. Soraya picks it up and starts to mess with it after seeing just how he was when he was talking on it, curious to know more about the jerk. But when she goes to return the phone to him, things don't go as she had planned and things spiral from there. Soon Graham and Soraya begin chatting and things begin to heat up with each text they exchange. 

I absolutely loved reading about these two! They were so interesting and I couldn't get enough of them. Soraya is not your typical heroine, she was such a spitfire and I loved how feisty she was. She tells it like it is, and is definitely blunt. Graham comes off as a cocky jerk at first, but the more you get to see of him the more you realize that he is more than that. I loved that Soraya made him work for it, when he has had so much come easily to him. Those that worked for him were afraid of him, and girls flocked to him. But he quickly realized that he might actually have to chase Soraya instead of the other way around. These two were so sexy together, and I loved watching them challenge one another in ways that no one else was able to. 

Overall, I loved this book and cannot recommend it enough. It was sexy and funny, and I was captivated right from the start. While I really liked Cocky Bastard, I absolutely loved Stuck-Up Suit. This book was such a great all around story, and it had everything I look for in a great romance. I couldn't put it down and I am already anxious for another book from Vi and Penelope! If you haven't read anything by these two yet, you are definitely missing out. I highly recommend both their collaborations as well as their solo projects, and I know I will be stalking their pages to find out when their next books come out!

**ARC Provided by TRSOR Promotions**

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RFTC I've Got a Secret Event with Author Samantha Young

Samantha Young is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. She's been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award 2012 for Best Author and Best Romance for her international bestseller ON DUBLIN STREET, Best Romance 2014 for BEFORE JAMAICA LANE, and Best Romance 2015 for HERO. ON DUBLIN STREET is Samantha's first adult contemporary romance series and has sold in twenty-nine countries.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

ARC Review: Her Forever Hero by Melody Anne

This is the last book of Melody Anne’s Unexpected Heroes series; book 3 or 5 if you count the in between novellas. Camden Whitman gets his story. I loved Cam, I mean what’s not to love the man is intelligent, he’s lawyer but he’s not a desk jockey he still works out on the ranch, he’s good looking and hard working, the man comes from a difficult past and knows not to take what he has for advantage. It’s just a shame he fell in love with Grace. Grace Sinclair, I did not like at all; I could not muster any sympathies for her. She just rubbed me the wrong way, for being such a cynical cold hearted bitch half the time she was so annoyingly na├»ve when it came to her identity being stolen and the potential embezzlement case against her. The first part of the book pretty much worked its way in circles it was Grace giving in a little and then completely closing off, giving in closing off. Hell it took someone threatening her before she would admit anything. Grace has abandonment issues and I can understand why with everything that happened to her, but it’s gotten to the point that she just keeps pushing all the important people away in her life. The end did redeem the book, I liked how it made you think it was sort of anti-climatic, and then pow it hits you with a really good ending.

A file crosses Cam’s desk one day. The file is full of evidence pointing at Grace. A charity was opened up in her name and has been siphoning money from it. Cam is worried, he knows Grace could never do this but he just has to find the evidence to prove who really did. Only Grace isn’t being very cooperative, she doesn’t believe anything will happen because she didn’t do any of that. Cam needs Grace to tell him what happened in the last seven years and see if just maybe someone from her past could be behind it. Grace finally relents and fills in Cam with almost all the sordid details of what happened to her. With that information Cam finally has something to work with. Cam is also trying to gain back her trust and to admit she still loves him and even thought she keeps pushing him away he still is right there when she needs him. Grace’s past isn’t an easy one to escape from since it keeps come back up, especially with her horrid, evil, whore of a mother. Grace does finally work through her past and as they say the truth will set you free. When she finally starts talking about it and getting everything out in the open Grace and Cam can finally let go of the past and embrace the future.

Overall, it wasn’t one of my favorites; but it was mainly Graces fault. I’m not going to discourage anyone from reading it especially if you love Melody Anne. I liked the story and loved the series I just didn’t like Grace.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris

Before starting The Natural History of Us, I didn't know that this book actually follows The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris. I thought that this was a complete standalone and I would say that for the most part it can be read that way. I do think that I might have experienced this one differently had I read the previous book, and it might have helped me to understand and relate to the characters more.

Looking forward to graduation, Justin Carter and Peyton Williams are given a class assignment that pairs them together for the entire semester. They are to pretend to be a married couple and must work together to complete assignments. The only problem is that Justin broke Peyton's heart and she wants nothing to do with him even though she misses him and still hurts over their breakup. But Justin views this as his second chance, and will do whatever it takes to convince Peyton to give him another shot. 

I struggled a bit here with the characters. There were plenty of things that should have drawn me in and were unique to the characters here, and yet I found myself unable to really connect or relate to them. They just never felt fully developed to me. While I didn't dislike Justin or Peyton, I didn't love them or feel invested in their story. I also felt like things were a bit unrealistic between them as well. Things seemed to be far more serious that I would expect for characters of their ages. We are talking about characters that met at 15 and ended this book at 18. I felt like their declarations of love and how full on committed they were to their future were a bit too unbelievable at that age. These two are just graduating high school and to already be looking so far down the line (marriage and babies) just seemed a bit forced to me. 

I also didn't care for the back and forth in time here. We get to see the present right before graduation as these two are reconnecting and flashbacks to the past of when these two met. Unfortunately we also spent the majority of those flashbacks not really get a lot of information. It seemed like we were just constantly waiting to find out exactly what had happened to have made Justin do the things he did resulting in the breakup. I think that is the majority of the reason that I kept reading, because I was determined to find out what that reason was. The story was slow and often times felt drawn out, with not a lot happening. Because there wasn't much going on, my interest continued to wane as the book continued. I think that this story had all the promise of being cute and one that I could have really enjoyed as I love second chance love stories, and these two did have some great moments together. But I just think that the execution here was what kept me from loving Peyton and Justin's story. I think if you like YA stories that you might give this one a chance as this could just be a case of it not working for me personally.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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RFTC I've Got a Secret Event with Author Layla Hagen

I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later. I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world. And I drink coffee. Lots of it. 

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

ARC Review: Reunion Pass by Emily March

Reunion Pass is book 11 in the Eternity Springs series, and for most fans of the series we have been waiting for this story almost from the very beginning of the series. This one isn’t as dark as some of her others but just as emotional; at about 30% of the way into it I was already teary eyed. Part of why I love Emily March is how she writes her active setting, Eternity Springs is written so well it almost seems to come to life as well as the people who live there. But mainly the reason I love them is that each book is an emotional journey to healing and love; in Chase and Lori’s case a second chance at love. Chase broke my heart in one of the previous books when he announced that he was getting engaged to another woman. From the beginning those two seemed inseparable and unbeknownst to everyone else they were in a very committed relationship. But life happens and as much as they loved each other their paths drifted. This book, their journey to finding each other again, is heartfelt and funny and as always Celeste is at her best.

The book starts off six years ago, when Lori and Chase are happy but this one event marks the pivotal point in their lives where they start to drift. Back to present day and the wedding of Chase and Lana’s wedding is quickly approaching when the chance of a life time comes up and the reality t.v. show that Chase and Lana are in gets prioritized and the wedding is postponed. Chase should have listened to his mother as soon as they get to the tiny country surrounded by waring nations he gets a bad feeling. Chase goes missing for over a week, almost two. When he comes back everything is changed, he is suffering from survivors guilt and mild case of PTSD. He closes himself off from everyone.

Lori, no matter how much she tried to convince herself she was no longer in love with Chase still loved him. When Chase was missing she final confessed everything to her mother about their relationship and how she still loved him and how it felt like he gave up on her. Lori was ready to step aside and just let Lana and Chase be happy but when Chase came back Lana and Chase ended things. Caitlyn, Chase’s sister asks Lori to help since she knows him better than anybody and the way Chase has been acting he needed a dose of hard love not the coddling his mother has been giving him; Lori is just the one to give it to him. Lori starts off with getting him a dog. Mac, Chase’s Dad, helps by giving him a purpose. And with some soul searching Chase finally works it out.

Overall, this is a must read for Eternity Spring fans. The book despite being slightly under 350 pages is easy to read, I inhaled it. It also could be read as a stand-alone, so if you haven’t read any of the series yet there is no problems starting with this one, but the past cast is so large some parts of the story might feel like you are missing out on something, but nothing really pivotal to the story line. There are a several flashbacks that help fill in information from their past but most of it is new information even for people who have read every book.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Brave Enough by M. Leighton

This is the third and final installment of the Tall, Dark, and Dangerous trilogy. I've read each of the books in the series in order. It isn't necessary for you to do that but there is a core storyline that is continued from book to book that I think will make more sense to you if you read in order. Just a quick sidenote, the first installment in the series remains my favorite. This entry is probably my least favorite but it wasn't bad. Just relative to the other two books this was my least favorite of the three.

Brave Enough is Tag's book about his romance with Weatherly. I just have to be petty for a minute and say that I hate the name Weatherly. I'm sorry if that's your name or your Mom's name but it just didn't fit the character in this book in my opinion. Moving on. Weatherly is from an affluent background where her entire life has been pre-planned and structured. When she meets Tag, Weatherly is desperate to create her own destiny instead of succumbing to the life her parents plan for her. Tag is Weatherly's opposite. His life is one free of restraint and inhibition. Tag's passionate approach to everything was exactly what Weatherly needed. I liked that Weatherly found the freedom she was searching for in Tag. The chemistry between the two is instantaneous but the build up of the romance is slower and endearing.

The book lost some steam with me for a reason that might be unfair. When you read a series you have a tendency to compare entries in the series to what came before them. In this case it was the character building that I've come to really expect from this author that I just didn't get in this book. I never really got a good sense of who Tag was. At one point I was wondering if I missed something in the earlier books that would've given me more information but no. There just isn't enough information about Tag. The book is told in dual POV's but I still didn't get an in depth view of Tag. Instead of depicting his emotions about events, events are simply relayed in his voice. When the book was over, I just wanted more.

The other issue I had with this book is that it wasn't as well thought out as the other books in the series. The plot sipped like a scratched CD after the first half of the book. There are some revelations half way through and I'm still trying to sort out the characters reactions and how they made sense in context. Even with all of my criticisms, however, I still say that if you have read this series, this book is a must read. If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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RFTC I've Got a Secret Event with Author Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Penelope lives for reading books in the new adult/contemporary romance genre, coffee and hanging out with her friends and family on weekends. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 11-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 9-year-old boy, both of whom are the lights of her life. Penelope, her husband and kids reside in Rhode Island. She is the author of RoomHate, which hit #2 on the New York Times Bestseller list and #1 on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list. Her novel, Stepbrother Dearest, also spent four consecutive weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. Other works include the New York Times bestseller Cocky Bastard (co-written with Vi Keeland), Sins of Sevin, My Skylar, Jake Undone, Jake Understood and Gemini.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ARC Review: Scarred by C.M. Steele

Arrrrrgh, I tried I really tried but this just wasn't right. The book is super short so let me just start by saying that maybe that is what the issue is. To be fair, if you are looking for something really quick and easy, this book is definitely that. If you like insta-love/lust, this book is that too (I actually like that). I'm really trying to put all the good stuff up front but honestly I'm running out of things to say. Other than that, the book just doesn't fit together. Something about the actual writing of the story is off.

I didn't get any connection between Dex and Elena. There may not have been enough pages for it to develop and it didn't. This was a couple that you couldn't really root for because there was no opportunity to invest in their relationship. The sex was just ok and the parts of the book where the characters talked to one another were something less than ok. I just felt like everything was really rushed and lacked consistency. The rotating POVs were giving me a headache because they were changing too quickly and I couldn't figure out who the heck was talking or thinking.

The couple were both virgins and that was awkward. I'm just not here for that sort of thing. I don't know if them being virgins made me hypersensitive to things being cheesy but some of the stuff they were saying to each other made me want to claw my eyes out, it was just uggggh.

I'm sorry, there may be a good book somewhere in here but I couldn't find it. I think some more time needs to be devoted to developing the story line and expanding it. I would be willing to give this author another try but this book did nothing for me.

**ARC provided by Ardent PRose**

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ARC Review: Calling It by Jen Doyle

Calling It is Jen Doyle's debut novel. I always try to go in with an open mind to a debut novel, because sometimes you find some serious gems and other times it is obvious that it is an author's first book. The blurb really drew me in here though, and I absolutely love sports romance stories, so I had to give this one a shot. Unfortunately for me, this is one of those cases where it didn't work for me at all. 

After almost losing his career in a car accident, professional catcher Nathan Hawkins heads home to avoid the paparazzi. Not only are the media speculating about his career and the accident, but he also just lost his fiance to his supposed best friend. But when he goes to his sister's apartment, the nearly naked woman he finds wielding a baseball bat is definitely not his sister. Nate agrees to help the town librarian with the renovations to the library and is shocked to realize that it is the woman he ran into. As the two begin to get to know one another, things quickly become more and both Dorie and Nate find themselves enjoying what is happening between them, but will either of them be ready to let go once Nate has to head back for spring training? 

One of my biggest issues here was Dorie. I couldn't stand her right from the start, and honestly most of the secondary characters weren't any better. Dorie was impossible for me to connect to and I found myself wanting to reach through my Kindle more than once to strangle her. She did nothing but irritate me, and it just never got better. I especially got tired of the constant push and pull that Dorie was doing when it came to Nate. The secondary characters here annoyed me as well, often times jumping to conclusions and sticking their noses in where it didn't belong. It started right away in this book and was just impossible to come back from. The only character I found myself really liking was Nate.

I also had a really tough time with the author's writing style, and I think a lot of that could just be a personal thing. There were times that things almost seemed to be missing and the writing came off as a bit choppy. I would have to read several sentences and paragraphs multiple times to try and figure out how we got from point A to point B. It just didn't flow well, and this one was pretty slow and awkward. There wasn't really anything new or different here to grab my attention, so my interest kept waning with all the issues I had. There were also some things that were just unrealistic and had me rolling my eyes throughout the story, and I couldn't ever connect or find anything to really make me want to read this book. I have seen a lot of positive reviews and readers that enjoyed this book, so if you like sports romance stories, you might still give this one a shot. This one wasn't for me at all, but that doesn't mean that it might not work for you.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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