Friday, April 19, 2019

Rebel by Amy Tintera


Synopsis:
Wren Connolly thought she'd left her human side behind when she dies five years ago and came back 178 minutes later as a Reboot. With her new abilities of strength, speed, and healing—along with a lack of emotions—Wren 178 became the perfect soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation). Then Callum 22 came along and changed everything.

Now that they've both escaped, they're ready to start a new life in peace on the Reboot reservation. But Micah 163, the Reboot running the reservation, has darker plans in mind: to wipe out the humans. All of them. Micah has been building a Reboot army for years and is now ready to launch his attack on the cities. Callum wants to stick around and protect the humans. Wren wants nothing more than to leave all the fighting behind them.

With Micah on one side, HARC on the other, and Wren and Callum at odds in the middle, there's only one option left...

It's time for Reboots to become rebels.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently, I read Reboot by Amy Tintera. I loved it. As soon as I finished the book, I started the next book in the series, Rebel. I just had to know what happened with Wren and Callum. While I enjoyed Rebel, I didn't like it nearly as much as I liked Reboot.

Don't get me wrong, I did really enjoy reading Rebel. I thought it was an interesting sequel. Howeer, there was just something missing from the book. I'm not sure what it was. I think part of it was the duel points of view threw me off. I wasn't expecting that at all because in the first book, it was just from Wren's point of view. Also, there wasn't nearly as much action as the first book. I found myself becoming bored at times, and my attention started to wander to other things. While this book did have some action, it was more focused on relationship dynamics, whether that be humans versus Reboots, or in Wren and Callum's personal lives.

There were also things that I really loved seeing in Reboot. I enjoyed seeing Wren and Callum grow as characters. I loved seeing a more softer side of Wren that the reader didn't get as much of in the first book. It was interesting watching her learn how to deal with her feelings, and process emotions in a healthy way. Even though it was really off putting at first, after I got into the book a little bit, I also enjoyed Callum's point of view. It was interesting being inside his head, and watching his character growth. I think out of all the characters in the series, he's the one that grew the most.

Even though I didn't enjoy it as much as Reboot, I really liked Rebel. I thought it was a great finale to this duology. I especially loved the way the author wrapped everything up. I own another series by this author, the Ruined trilogy, and will probably start it sometime soon. I can't wait to read more books by Amy Tintera. 


I give Rebel: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.amytintera.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amytinterabooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amytintera
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amytintera/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/amytintera/
Tumblr: http://amytintera.tumblr.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768611.Amy_Tintera

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Reboot by Amy Tintera


Synopsis:
Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
To catch up on books that I've owned for a while and am behind on reading, I decided to start listening to audiobooks. It has been a life saver for my reading goals this year, especially when I'm working on things around my apartment. I've owned the Reboot duology by Amy Tintera for a long time now, so I decided to get the audiobook of the first book in the duology from the library, and read it that way. I'm so glad I finally read it. I loved it.

I think Reboot might be one of my favorite young adult science fiction books that I've read in a while. Usually when I listen to audiobooks, especially YA ones, I find my attention wavering. I either miss part of the story line, or get bored, shut it off, and come back to it. That didn't happen with Reboot. It kept me intrigued from beginning to end. I started listening to it before bed, and stayed up way too late wondering what was going to happen. I finally shut it off and went to bed, but as soon as I woke up, I finished listening to it. It was action packed. The plot and alternate depiction of Texas completely fascinated me. I needed to find out how Wren, Callum, and the others were going to get out of the situations they were in.

Speaking of Wren and Callum, I loved the characters in Reboot. I thought it was refreshing to see a strong female character in a young adult novel. I know it does happen once in a while, but it seems like a rare oddity, especially with recent releases. Wren didn't need a man, or anyone for that matter, to tell her what to do, or to help her. She took charge on her own, and solved her problems for herself. There's a specific scene at the end of the book in a lab that I don't want to go into too much detail because I don't want to spoil it for those that haven't read it. However, in that scene, she was so kick butt that my jaw literally dropped listening to it. I think she might be one of the bravest, strongest female leads that I've in a while in any YA or adult book.

I loved Reboot so much. My only regret is that I didn't read it much sooner than now. There's a saying that the right book finds you at the moment it's meant to, and I think that's what happened with me and this book. I'm going to be starting the sequel as soon as I finish typing this review. I can't wait to see what happens with Wren, Callum, and the society in general, especially after that crazy ending.  


I give Reboot: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.amytintera.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amytinterabooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amytintera
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amytintera/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/amytintera/
Tumblr: http://amytintera.tumblr.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768611.Amy_Tintera

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Risky Play by Rachel Van Dyken


Synopsis:
What else can a virgin do when she’s ditched at the altar? Seattle heiress Mackenzie Dupont is treating herself to a single-girl honeymoon in Mexico and a desire to relinquish her innocence to a gorgeous one-night stand. Fake names. True pleasure. But when she wakes up alone, Mackenzie realizes just how much anger is left in her broken heart.

Suffering a tragic personal loss, pro soccer player Slade Rodriguez has his reasons for vanishing without a goodbye. Right or wrong, he’s blaming the beautiful and infuriating stranger he never wants to see again. They’re both in for a shock when Mackenzie shows up as his new personal assistant. And they both have a lot to learn about each other. Because they share more than they could possibly know, including a common enemy who’s playing his own games. And he’s not afraid to get dirty.

Now there’s only one way Mackenzie and Slade can win: to trust in each other and to stop hiding from the lies they’ve told, the secrets they’ve kept, the mistakes they’ve made, and the attraction that still burns between them.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
This year, I have made it a goal of mine to catch up on my favorite romance author's books. I used to read a lot of romance, but have barely touched the genre in the past couple years or so until this year. Rachel Van Dyken is one of those authors. I decided to continue my reading binge of her books by reading one of her newer releases, Risky Play. I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed it.

Typically, I'm not a big fan of instalove stories. However, Risky Play drew me in and wouldn't let me go. Just something about Slade and Mackenzie's chemistry made it feel like it was practically rolling off the page. I enjoyed their witty sarcastic banter together. They had me constantly cracking up, seeing who could be more petty. Speaking of cracking up laughing, I also enjoyed Slade's dog. There were quite a few scenes with him that I loved, but a scene in general that had me losing it laughing that happened after the dog had an altercation with a bird. I couldn't stop chuckling for a good five minutes after I read it.

Rachel Van Dyken handles a mix of her character's emotions very well. Even though the book was hilarious, it got serious at times as well. I think she found the perfect balance between the two. What happens to Slade at the beginning of the book is really tragic. I could feel his emotions when I was reading, which I think is a sign that the author is doing her job very well. I went through what he was going through a couple years ago, so I felt for him. I know how hard that can be to go through, and the author portrayed those emotions very accurately.

I really enjoyed Risky Play. It's definitely one of my favorite Rachel Van Dyken books I've read out of the ones I've read the past month or two. Heck, it might just be one of my favorites in general. I have an advanced copy of the next book in the series, Kickin' It. I intend to start it as soon as I'm done typing this review. I hope I love it as much as Risky Play, if not more. I definitely can't wait to continue my Rachel Van Dyken binge reading session. 


I give Risky Play: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachvd/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4882127.Rachel_Van_Dyken

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

DNF Review: Twist of Faith by Ellen J. Green


Synopsis:
When family secrets are unearthed, a woman’s past can become a dangerous place to hide…

After the death of her adoptive mother, Ava Saunders comes upon a peculiar photograph, sealed and hidden away in a crawl space. The photo shows a shuttered, ramshackle house on top of a steep hill. On the back, a puzzling inscription: Destiny calls us.

Ava is certain that it’s a clue to her elusive past. Twenty-three years ago, she’d been found wrapped in a yellow blanket in the narthex of the Holy Saviour Catholic Church—and rescued—or so she’d been told. Her mother claimed there was no more to the story, so the questions of her abandonment were left unanswered. For Ava, now is the time to find the roots of her mother’s lies. It begins with the house itself—once the scene of a brutal double murder.

When Ava enlists the help of the two people closest to her, a police detective and her best friend, she fears that investigating her past could be a fatal mistake. Someone is following them there. And what’s been buried in Ava’s nightmares isn’t just a crime. It’s a holy conspiracy.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I've really been into reading mystery/thrillers lately. One of my favorite things to do lately has been to pop on my headphones, and listen to audiobooks of them while I do dishes, or generally clean around my apartment. I had heard great things about Twist of Faith, so I decided to pick it up. Unfortunately, I really disliked it. I ended up DNF'ing the book at 45%.

I had such high expectations for Twist of Faith. It's almost always on Amazon's Movers and Shakers list. I had also heard great things about it from some Goodreads reviewers. Unfortunately, it just wasn't for me. I tried listening to the audiobook, and reading the ebook. Either way I chose to consume the story, I was incredibly bored. It felt like nothing of great importance was happening, and the writing style had me wanting to start skimming the book. I also didn't care about any of the characters, which is very unusual for me. Usually in a book, I can make a connection to at least one of the characters, even if they're minor. At a little before 45%, something very important happens in the story line, although next to no detail is given about it. When that didn't shock me, or make me feel again, I knew it was time to give up and move on to a different book.

It makes me so sad that I didn't enjoy Twist of Faith at all. I know a lot of people did, but it's apparently just not my thing. I wanted to like it so much. Unfortunately, I just ended up finding it boring, and couldn't connect with any of the characters. I'm not sure I will try any more of this author's books in the future due to how much I disliked this one. 


I give Twist of Faith: 1/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6433471.Ellen_J_Green

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Sheriff's Secret by Susan Meier


Synopsis:
Can a feisty four-legged matchmaker help four best friends find the romance of their dreams?

Marney's 9-1-1 emergency help arrives in the form of a rugged, blue-eyed cop. Now she has the perfect bodyguard to keep her safe during those dark, steamy nights...

(Synopsis from Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
Lately, I've been on a mission to read as many books off of my TBR as possible. My TBR has gotten incredibly overwhelming, and due to a few recent things that have been going on, my reading has slowed down a lot so far this spring when compared to winter. Therefore, I wanted to read a few small books to get them off my TBR. I decided to start with The Sheriff's Secret. It was an okay book.

The Sheriff's Secret was my favorite book so far in these interconnected novellas. There was just something that I really liked about the male love interest, Dell. I can't exactly pinpoint what that something was. I think he's because, in the end, he doesn't let his past get to him. He learns to trust, despite everything he's been through. I also loved that we got more of Charlie. I think he is the cutest dog ever, and love how he matches all four of these women with their soulmates.

However, there were also quite a few things I didn't like about The Sheriff's Secret. Like all of the other novellas in this series, it was over the top cheesy. There were several scenes that had me rolling my eyes. They were ridiculous, and completely unrealistic. My other main complaint is that I didn't like the female main character's actions. Marney drove me crazy. She really needed to talk to Dell about something important. However, as soon as she saw him, she didn't stand her ground and talk about it. Instead, she just kept pushing things aside, which only created more problems. It drove me insane.

All in all, I thought The Sheriff's Secret was just an okay book. I did definitely like it a lot more than the other books in this series. I think I would have liked it a lot more though had it had a stronger female lead. I only have one more book left in the series. Even though I haven't loved this series, the books are so short that I'll definitely be reading the final one.


I give The Sheriff's Secret: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.susanmeier.com/
Blog: http://susanmeier.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Susan-Meiers-Books-120647777954747/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/susanmeier1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/296471.Susan_Meier

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Stained by Cheryl Rainfield


Synopsis:
An intensely powerful account of a teen, bullied for her port-wine stain, who must summon her personal strength to survive abduction and horrific abuse at the hands of a deranged killer.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for "normal." Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she's been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she's abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It's that-or succumb to a killer.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Close to ten years ago, I read Scars by Cheryl Rainfield. At the time, I really enjoyed it. It had a huge emotional impact on me. I've had the audiobook for another one of her books, Stained, for a while. I recently decided to start listening to it. I'm glad I did. It also had a huge emotional impact on me.

I enjoyed listening to Stained, if enjoyed is a word that can be used in this situation. The subject matter made it incredibly difficult to listen to at times. The author puts so much detail into what Sarah goes through. At times, it gave me a lot of anxiety, and I had to step back from the audiobook, take a break, and go listen to some cheerful music to get my head out of that mindset. That's not a bad thing though. That means that the author did a great job of writing a character and situation that the reader is able to connect to very well.

I think Stained is a book that everyone should read, as long as they can handle the subject matter. It brings awareness to a subject that most people don't think about. Sometimes as a society, we see missing girls on the news, and think "oh, that's tragic", and move on with our day. Maybe if more people read this book, they would be more willing to help with search efforts, or just go out of their way to show support for the family. In this book, the author details not only what Sarah goes through, but what the family goes through as well. I couldn't even imagine going through a hell like that. It will definitely make me think twice about what I can do to help the next time I see a case like Sarah's on the news. No amount of help is too small when something like this happens.

I found Stained to be an impactful book. Even after finishing it, I can't stop thinking about it. I have a feeling it will be one of those books that stays with me for years after I read it. My only complaint was that I thought the money situation that happened was wrapped up in a way that was too convenient and slightly took some believability out of the story, and that's a very minor complaint. Otherwise, I thought this book was incredible. I definitely recommend reading it if you can handle the harsh subject matter. Just do some research on the trigger warnings before going into it just in case, and, as Cheryl Rainfield taught me, remember you can always take a break if it gets to be too much. 


I give Stained: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.cherylrainfield.com/
Blog:  http://cherylrainfield.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.rainfield.fan.page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherylRainfield
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BvourdtHwyK/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/cherylrainfield/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3305514.Cheryl_Rainfield

Friday, March 29, 2019

Cheater's Regret by Rachel Van Dyken


Synopsis:

Austin Rogers’s dreams of domestic bliss involved watching Netflix and eating hot dogs with the love of her life. But then he cheated on her. And dumped her—as if the whole thing was her fault. To maintain her pride and restore her sanity, she decides to get revenge. It feels immensely satisfying to plot her ex’s downfall—but so does kissing him.

Thatch Holloway, a plastic surgeon straight out of residency, knows he ruined the best thing that ever happened to him. But not all cheaters are created equal. He got himself into this messed-up situation—true—but he has his reasons for what happened, and he’d do it all again to protect Austin.

He’s not over her. And she’s not over him.

Austin wants closure, but since Thatch refuses to give it to her, she takes matters into her own hands. She needs to write a human-interest piece for her MBA, so she demands the full plastic-surgery experience. Sparks fly as they’re forced to work together. But Thatch isn’t afraid to play dirty in return. And he’s still hiding something—something that has the power to destroy not only Austin but their second chance at finding forever…
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Earlier this week, I read Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken. I wasn't a big fan of the book, but I decided I wanted to read the next book in the duology, Cheater's Regret. I was more interested in the couple that's featured in Cheater's Regret, and wanted to know why Thatch did the things he did in Cheater. I'm glad I decided to pick up Cheater's Regret. I enjoyed it a lot more than Cheater.

There were still a couple of issues that I had with Cheater's Regret. Although the abusive behavior wasn't as prevalent in this book, it still happened a couple of times that made me uncomfortable. Austin displayed abusive tendencies toward Thatch during the first half of the book. I don't want to get into too much detail because I don't want to spoil the book for those that haven't read it. However, during one part of the book, she slits his tires. I understand being mad at someone, but there's no excuse for that level of payback. Another part of the book, she slaps him so hard that he loses his balance and staggers. And we won't even talk about the whole soy thing. He treats both instances as if she's being cute. To me, that's abusive behavior, and shouldn't be encouraged. As I've previously stated in my review of Cheater, women abusing men is a real thing, and most people just brush it off. That's one of my biggest pet peeves. I feel it should be acknowledged for what it is, not encouraged.

In Cheater's Regret, it almost seemed like Austin was two different characters. In the beginning of the book, I had to keep reminding myself that she was an adult in college because of her actions. She still lived with her parents. She also talked a lot about the classes she was going through, and needing to get good grades. The last thing that made her feel so much younger than what she is was her behavior. She was incredibly immature, so much so that it pulled me out of the storyline. I can't believe someone her age would act that way in real life. However, something happened around the fifty percent mark. All of a sudden, I was really starting to like her. It was almost like she became a completely different person. She stopped treating Thatch in an incredibly jerkish, abusive way. She became a lot more mature. The book started to focus less on her parents, and school, and more on her relationship with Thatch. Instead of being so selfish, she started helping those around her. Her and Thatch started to have a lot of chemistry, even though I still feel weird about their relationship based on her previous abusive behavior. From that point on, I really started to get into the book and enjoy it until the last sentence.

Even though it had a rocky start, I really did enjoy Cheater's Regret. I had a lot more fun reading it than I did reading the first book in the series, Cheater. I especially loved the last half of the book. Between the two books in this duology, I think that this was just an okay series for me. Without the problematic issues, I probably would have loved it. I will definitely continue to read Rachel Van Dyken's books though because I've loved most of her other books that I've read. She will always be one of my favorite authors. 

I give Cheater's Regret: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachvd/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4882127.Rachel_Van_Dyken

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cheater by Rachel Van Dyken


Synopsis:

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Rachel Van Dyken is one of my favorite authors. I'm making it a goal of mine this year to catch up on all of her books (and a few other of my favorite authors) that I've missed out on over the last few years. For some reason, I really fell behind on reading my favorite authors' books. I decided to start listening to the first book in the Curious Liaison's duology, Cheater. After finishing the book, I have mixed emotions.

I don't read other reviews until I finish typing mine, so I'm not sure if I'm in the minority on this, but I found Cheater to be very problematic. I didn't really have an issue with the "cheating" because in a round about way, it wasn't cheating. There were a few things that I did have an issue with. First and foremost, there was a lot of the female main character, Avery, hitting and slapping, the male main character, Lucas very hard. Instead of being addressed as abusive behavior, it was just brushed off, or Lucas chuckled about it. Men being abused by women is a real thing that happens everyday, and the way the author treated the slapping and hitting in this book almost like it was cute was not okay with me.

The other thing that I found to be problematic in Cheater was a specific scene in the wine cellar. I don't want to get into to much detail because I don't want to spoil things for those that want to read the book, but there's a scene of dubious consent that really made me cringe. Lucas kisses Avery without her permission. She is obviously very upset about this, and Lucas just laughs off the fact that she's upset like it's no big deal.I know it's just kissing, but consent is consent, and I think he should have dealt with her feelings in a better way instead of just brushing them off like it didn't matter. It really upset me that the author chose to handle the situation that way.

Usually I love Rachel Van Dyken's books, but I found Cheater to be very problematic. There were parts that I enjoyed. I did like the humor that was throughout the book, especially the scene at the gynecologist's office. I also liked the side characters, Austin and Thatch, a lot. I am excited to read their book. However, for me, this book was more cringe worthy than enjoyable. Hopefully the second book, Cheater's Regret, fixes those issues so it can be a more enjoyable read. 

I give Cheater: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachvd/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4882127.Rachel_Van_Dyken

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, March 25, 2019

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon


Synopsis:
In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything…

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Amy Harmon is one of my favorite authors. I've read all of her books, and loved most of them. Recently, I noticed that she had a new release that I hadn't had the chance to read yet, What the Wind Knows, so I decided to pick it up. It was just an okay book for me.

I was disappointed that I didn't love What the Wind Knows as much as Amy Harmon's previous books. I don't know if it was the characters, the setting, or the plot, but it just felt different from her other books. It dragged on a lot, especially in the beginning. Throughout the first half, it was hard to hold my interest. I found myself being bored, and my mind wandering while reading. Then I would have to go back, and re-read what I just read because I wasn't absorbing any of the information. It made for a very tedious reading process, and definitely took away from my enjoyment of the book.

There are two things that saved What the Wind Knows from being a DNF for me. The first one was that about halfway through the book, I switched to the audiobook. That helped immensely. Hearing the accents and everything pulled me into the story a lot more. It also made it seem like the plot picked up, and things got more exciting and action packed. Not sure if that's because of the audiobook, or because the plot actually did have a lot more action. The second thing that saved the book from being a DNF is that in my mind, it reminded me a lot of Outlander in terms of the plot, which is my favorite book of all time. I kept drawing comparisons between Anne's story in What the Wind Knows, and Claire's story in Outlander. There were quite a few. I kept listening, hoping to find more and more, and I did.

Although Amy Harmon will always be one of my favorite authors, I didn't like What the Wind Knows as much as I had hoped that I would. I found it to be boring, and hard to hold my attention. There were a few parts that I loved, and I really enjoyed the ending. If someone wants to read an Amy Harmon book for the first time, I recommend starting with one of her other books, such as Making Faces, or The Law of Moses. Both of those are two of my favorites. If you do want to read What the Wind Knows, I highly recommend the audiobook. 


I give What the Wind Knows: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.authoramyharmon.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramyharmon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aharmon_author
Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/amy.harmon2/
Pintrest:  https://www.pinterest.com/authoramyharmon/
BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/amy-harmon
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbxWykpRGYyQOzwhNgtH-QA
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829056.Amy_Harmon

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review. 

Friday, March 22, 2019

Killman Creek by Rachel Caine


Synopsis:
Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Earlier this month, I read Stillhouse Lake. I loved it. So far, it's one of my favorite books that I've read in 2019. As soon as I read that crazy cliffhanger ending, I knew I needed the next book immediately. After finishing Killman Creek, I really enjoyed it, although not as much as the first book.

Even though I enjoyed Killman Creek, there was just something missing from it that the first book had to keep me captivated throughout. It felt like the plot dragged in parts, and got repetitive and boring at times. There were times where I was listening to the audiobook, and I'd find myself tuning out because nothing was happening. It just wasn't as action packed. There were a few moments that shocked me, but it just didn't get get that emotional response from me that Stillhouse Lake did.

One thing I really did love about Killman Creek was that the reader also got sime additional point of views in this book, including the kids. I thought it was so interesting to get their side of the story, and finally see why they did the things they did. I especially loved Lanny's point of view. I loved a certain aspect of her story line, and I can't wait to see where the author takes that next. I thought it was also interesting to see from Sam's point of view. In the first book, I was kind of iffy about how I felt about him. Now, what he does makes much more sense to me. I loved seeing this different, protective side of him. I like him a lot better now.

Although Killman Creek wasn't as good as Stillhouse Lake, I still found myself enjoying the book. Killman Creek wrapped up in such a closed ending that I'm not sure where the author is going with the story line next. It should be interesting to see where Rachel Caine goes from here, and what trials and tribulations the characters go through next. I will definitely be reading Wolfhunter River, the third book in the series, as soon as it is released.  


I give Killman Creek: 3.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://rachelcaine.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelcainefanpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelcaine
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelcainewriter/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15292.Rachel_Caine

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Love in the Shadows by Barbara Wallace


Synopsis:
Can a feisty four-legged matchmaker help four best friends find the romance of their dreams?

Jenny is a woman on a mission – she’ll even resort to dognapping to make her point! But can she teach a reclusive, emotionally-wounded tycoon that love heals all things?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Lately, I've been trying to read more of my smaller books that I've had for a while. It feels nice to be able to get so many books off of my TBR, which I'm always trying to lower to a manageable number (haha, like that's ever going to happen). I wanted to read a cute, light, fluffy contemporary that would be a quick book to read, so I decided to pick up Love in the Shadows. Unfortunately, I didn't really like the book.

Love in the Shadows just wasn't a book for me. I found it to be very cliche. Throughout most of the book, I found myself wanting to roll my eyes at the things that Jenny thought, and the way she and Nick acted. It reminded me of reading one of those cheesy Harlequin romance novels that my friends and I used take from her mom, and pass around in middle school. The plot, and the dialogue were both very cringe-worthy. In fact, the only reason why I finished Love in the Shadows was because it was so short. It does get an extra star because the scenes with the dogs were cute, but it wasn't enough to save the book for me.

Even though the dogs were cute, they just weren't enough for me to like Love in the Shadows. Everything else about the book was cringe-worthy, and cliche. I don't think that I will be reading anymore of this author's other books due to not liking the writing style so much. I'm sure there are other people that love this sort of romance, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.


I give Love in the Shadows: 2/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://barbarawallace.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraWallaceAuthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5762368.Barbara_Wallace

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

How Saeter Robbed the Underworld by Meredith Katz


Synopsis:
The day before his coming-of-age ceremony, Eirik has a fight with his best friend—who had pointed out that, adopted by a pair of traveling warriors as Eirik was, how can he know who his ancestors are to celebrate them? Embarrassed and angry, he's not in the mood for the story his fathers insist on telling him.

Despite himself, however, Eirik becomes engrossed in the tale of the son of the god of Love who has never felt pain, and the son of the god of Envy who always does, how they struggle with each other and their community, and how, ultimately, they trick the underworld out of a very special prize.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I'm participating in the buzzword readathon this week. The words for the readathon are Who, What, Where, When Why, and How. Due to that, I recently decided to pick up How Saeter Robbed the Underworld, which had been on my TBR for a long time. I thought it was a really cute short story.

How Saeter Robbed the Underworld has one of my favorite tropes in it. I like it when books tell a story within a story. It was interesting to meet the different characters, and see how everything connected in the end. The story that Eirik's father told was cute, yet meaningful. I also very much appreciated the LGBTQ+ representation. It's hard to find short stories that pull that off well. I do have to admit that I saw the plot twist at the end. Even though I thought it was a cute short story, there was nothing that really made it stand out, or for me to think it was worthy of five stars.

I do have to admit, I really liked Eirik. I would love to have a full book about his friendship with Leif, their fight, and what happens after. I want more of his character. I always think it would be interesting to see him interact with his siblings more, especially because he is the oldest one. I think it would also be great to learn about the ceremony he went through.

I thought that How Saeter Robbed the Underworld was a cute short story. I enjoyed reading it. Even though I enjoyed it, it was more of a three star read. I think that's because I just wanted more details, especially about Eirik. I will definitely read more of this author's other works, especially any longer LGBTQ+ fiction that she might have written. I look forward to it.  


I give How Saeter Robbed the Underworld: 3/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.softcryptid.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MeredithAKatz
Tumblr: http://king-of-katz.tumblr.com/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14675483.Meredith_Katz

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine


Synopsis:
Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Lately, I've been in the mood to read thriller books. It's unusual for me because it's not my usual genre. I think it's because there has been a lot of hype for the thriller genre lately on booktube, and I watch a lot of booktube. I see Stillhouse Lake all the time on Amazon, and it catches my eye, so I decided to pick it up. I loved everything about it.

Stillhouse Lake was a suspenseful thrill ride every second that I spent reading it. Just when I thought that the book was going t be predictable because I had everything figured out, the plot would go in a completely different direction, and throw me off again. It kept me second guessing everything I thought I knew. I never did figure out the two big plot twists before they were revealed. I was shocked. I just sat there thinking "No, this can't be happening, this can't be right!" as I was reading. My jaw dropped.

Rachel Caine has a way of writing that makes it easy to be drawn into her character's worlds. I loved the main character, Gwen. She was a strong woman that did whatever it takes to keep herself and her kids safe, no matter what else she has to sacrifice along the way. It's a sign of a great writer that can make you feel all of the emotions the main character is reading. When Gwen was scared, I felt myself tensing up and having anxiety as I was reading. There were several times where I cried as well, due to the situations she was going through, and being able to feel her emotions.

I loved Stillhouse Lake so much. The book is one of my favorite thrillers that I've read over the past few years. I can't wait to read the next book in the series, Killman's Creek. The ending of Stillhouse Lake absolutely killed me with the somewhat cliffhanger that happened. I need ot know what happens next, especially between Gwen and a certain side character that I really trusted and liked that betrayed her. I will probably end up starting Killman's Creek today, and just marathoning the whole thing in one day because I can't get enough.  


I give Stillhouse Lake: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://rachelcaine.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelcainefanpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/rachelcaine
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelcainewriter/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15292.Rachel_Caine

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Hate F*@k 1-3 by Ainsley Booth


Synopsis:
Cole:
I push her buttons. I want to push them in the good way. Dirty, up-against-the-wall, my-hand-in-her-pants kind of way.
But that’s not possible, because I’m dark and she’s light, and we both know it.
So I push her buttons in the bad way, making her hate me.

Hailey:
If a genie granted me three wishes, I’d ask for Cole Parker to never look at me again, that I’d forget the dark promise in his eyes, and that just once, before he vanished from my life completely, that he’d push me up against a wall and make me scream.
Then I’d go wash my mouth out with soap. 

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Sometimes, I have a bad habit of picking up books for strange reasons. I like reading books based on their cover, or an interesting, weird, or funny title. Therefore, when I saw Hate F*@k by Ainsley Booth, I knew I had to read it based on the title alone. Unfortunately, it left me disappointed. I didn't enjoy the book at all.

There were so many things that I didn't like about Hate F*@k that I'm not sure where to start. I guess I should start with the male main character, Cole. He was a jerk, borderline on being emotionally and mentally abusive. He was very controlling and possessive. Sometime with alpha male characters, that's not a bad thing. However, he took it too far, especially int he first part of the book. It made me extremely uncomfortable to read, and definitely made the whole series a less enjoyable reading experience. He did get better towards the third part, but still not enough to forgive him for his previous actions.

Another thing I didn't like about the Hate F*@k is that things weren't explained clearly. With Cole's job, the reader is kind of left in to infer what happens. I don't like that. The author does try to explain it at one point, but it's explained in such a confusing way that the reader is still left to infer a lot of the important details by the end of the third part. Speaking of, I also didn't like how abruptly the book ended. It seemed like there were a lot of unresolved issues going on with the Cole, Hailey, and The Horus Group. There is a sequel, but it's not about the same characters, so I don't know that all of those will get resolved.

All in all, I did not enjoy Hate F*@k at all. The love interest was controlling, among other things, almost to the point of being borderline abusive. The only reason why I'm giving it two stars is because I really enjoyed Wilson's character. He cracked me up in his interactions with Hailey. I also loved his knitting scenes. There is a sequel to this book. I own it because I got it free on Kindle quite some time ago. I don't think that I will read it though because of how much I disliked this book. 


I give Hate F*@k: 2/5. 

Want to know more about the author?
Website:  http://ainsleybooth.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ainsleyboothreadergroup/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ainsleyboothwrites/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10796196.Ainsley_Booth

I received parts 1-3 from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon


Synopsis:

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.
 
As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently, I've been trying really hard to finish books that have been on my TBR for a long time. There are authors that I own almost every single book of theirs, and have only read one or two. Amy Harmon is one of those authors. I've bought all of her books because a Facebook group I am in hypes up her books all the time. I recently decided I wanted to read some of those books, so I started with From Sand and Ash. I'm so glad I did. It was a heartbreaking, beautiful book.

When going into From Sand and Ash, I expected it to be a hard hitting book due to the time period it was set in, and the subject matter. I still wasn't prepared for the emotion the book made me feel. I listened to it on audiobook from Audible, and I think that heightened my emotions. Amy Harmon wrote such an impactful story that the reader can't help but be moved while reading. There were several times where I just started sobbing because I was so heartbroken for these characters and what they went through, and what millions of people went through in real life. Before reading this, I knew quite a bit about WWII for the Germans, but never knew much about how it impacted the Italian community. It was eye opening, and heartbreaking, to learn about the issues they faced.

Not only did Amy Harmon write a great story line, but she wrote some of my favorite characters that I've read about so far this year. I loved watching the dynamic between Eva and Angelo. I loved seeing their love, not only for each other, but for those around them as well. They loved with all of their heart and soul, regardless of the consequences. They might be some of the most compassionate characters I've ever read about, which I loved. Amy Harmon has a way of making you fall in love with all of her characters, even the side characters. There wasn't a single character in this book that I absolutely hated. Even some of the villains, I felt a brief moment of compassion for. That's the sign of a reading a book by a great writer.

From Sand and Ash is one of those books that pulls the reader in, and doesn't let go until you've finished the book hours later. I loved it. I couldn't move from my seat until I had finished listening to the whole thing. It makes me even more excited to read the backlog of Amy Harmon books that I own. I think the next one I'm going to pick up will be What the Wind Knows, her most recent release, because I want more of her writing set in the early 1900s.

I give From Sand and Ash: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: https://www.authoramyharmon.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramyharmon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aharmon_author
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amy.harmon2/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/authoramyharmon/
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/amy-harmon
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbxWykpRGYyQOzwhNgtH-QA
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5829056.Amy_Harmon

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Vampire Knight volume 1 by Matsuri Hino


Synopsis:
Yuki Cross has no memory of her past prior to the moment she was saved from a vampire attack ten years ago. She was adopted by the headmaster of Cross Academy, and now works alongside Zero to guard the Academy's secret. Cross Academy is attended by two groups of students: the Day Class and the Night Class. At twilight, when the students of the Day Class return to their dorm, they cross paths with the Night Class on their way to school. Yuki Cross and Zero Kiryu are the Guardians of the school, protecting the Day Class from the Academy's dark secret: the Night Class is full of vampires!
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I love reading manga. It's been a hobby of mine ever since I was in middle school about fifteen years ago. Every now and then I like to re-read a favorite manga series of mine to remember why I fell in love with reading manga in the first place. I recently decided to re-read the first volume of Vampire Knight, which was one of my favorites when I was younger. It definitely held up to the test of time.

I've always loved the premise of Vampire Knight. A school just for vampires during the night, and a girl who is one of the only humans to know about both day night and night class has always intrigued me. The manga has some of my favorite tropes, such as a girl trying to decide between the good guy and the bad guy, vampires, and a secret school/secret classes. In fact, the only thing I don't like about the first volume of Vampire Knight is that when it is in black and white, Zero and Kaname are drawn so similarly that it can be hard to tell them apart. After the first few chapters, it gets easier because you can recognize their different personalities. Before that, it can be a little frustrating though.

I've always loved Vampire Knight, but re-reading the first volume as an adult gave me a whole new appreciation for this series. I remembered why I loved it so much in the first place, even though parts of it can be a little frustrating. I plan on reading the rest of the series because I own all of it. After that, I think I will binge watch the anime as well. I've only ever seen the first season all the way through, so that should be a really fun time.  


I give Vampire Knight volume 1: 4/5.

Want to know where to buy this book?
 I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Deepest Poison by Beth Cato


Synopsis:
Octavia Leander, a young healer with incredible powers, has found her place among Miss Percival's medicians-in-training. Called to the frontlines of a never-ending war between Caskentia and the immoral Wasters, the two women must uncover the source of a devastating illness that is killing thousands of soldiers. But when Octavia's natural talents far outshine her teacher's, jealousy threatens to destroy their relationship—as time runs out to save the encampment.

Fans of Beth Cato's debut, The Clockwork Dagger, will love this journey into Octavia's past—as well as an exclusive excerpt from the sequel, The Clockwork Crown!

(Synopsis from Goodreads). 

My Thoughts:
Usually I'm not a big fan of reading half books in a series (0.5, 1.5, 2.5, etc etc). I find them to be random filler just used to make money off of a series that fans love ninety-nine percent of the time. On a whim, I decided to pick The Deepest Poison, which is book 0.5 in the Clockwork Dagger series because I needed something to increase my Goodreads challenge. I'm glad I did. I was shocked to find that I loved it.

The Deepest Poison has slightly changed my mind about how I feel about half books in a series. For being just a few pages, it had a fascinating plot that I found intriguing. The book also did well with making the magic system easy to understand without fully explaining it. I found it to be incredibly intriguing. I was pulled into the world immediately. Lastly, I was shocked that I found myself actually caring a lot about the characters. For only having a short time to be introduced to them, I found myself dying to know what was going to happen to them. By the end of the book, I felt connected to both of them, and wanted to read more about their lives.

For being such a short novella, I was surprised how much I loved The Deepest Poison. Even though it was so short, it packed a powerful punch. It made me want to be more open minded about reading half books in a series, even though I usually dislike them. As soon as I finish typing this review, I plan on binge reading the rest of The Clockwork Dagger series. I want to learn more about these characters, and about this intriguing world.  


I give The Deepest Poison: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://www.bethcato.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beth.cato
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BethCato
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2937730.Beth_Cato

I received this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Kiss the Girl by Tara Sivec


Synopsis:
A struggling antiques collector finds herself falling in love with a millionaire playboy; but can she ever be a part of his world?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

While her friends have broken free of their insecurities, Ariel Waters is struggling to come out of her shell. Her ex-husband took away her voice and her self-confidence, and Ariel is drowning under a sea of debt to afford the alimony she has to pay him. She refuses to ever fall for a man’s charms again, and is determined to make her own way.

When her house and her beloved antiques are taken by the bank after too many missed payments, Ariel finds herself adrift until the infuriatingly charming Eric Sailor comes to her rescue. Although she can’t stand the millionaire playboy, Eric’s kindness and unconditional support reveal hidden depths and a love that Ariel never imagined she could find.

But there are outside influences who will stop at nothing to keep them apart; can Ariel and Eric weather the storm and find a way to be together?

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
This year, one of my main reading goals has been to complete series that I've started. Due to that, I recently decided to pick up the last book in the Naughty Princess Club series, Kiss the Girl. The series is by one of my favorite authors, Tara Sivec. I've read most of her books and loved them. Kiss the Girl was no exception to that.

Out of all of the books in the Naughty Princess Club series, I was looking forward to Kiss the Girl the most. It definitely didn't disappoint. Ariel is my favorite character in this series, so I loved reading from her perspective. I love her sassy, sarcastic humor that she uses as a coping mechanism. She makes me laugh so much with her outlandish, vulgar humor. She's definitely someone that I would love to have as a best friend in real life. She always sticks up for her friends, and doesn't take any crap from anyone. I especially loved a certain scene between her and her ex Sebastian towards the end of the book. She's such a strong, kick butt female.

There was only one thing that kind of took away from my reading experience, which was a minor detail. In the first two books in the series, the comparisons to Disney princess are more subtle. In this book, it feels like the reader is being hot over the head with them. The references are constantly shoved in the readers face, which can be slightly annoying at times. I think that's more of a personal preference though. I enjoy when books are more subtle about their hints and references to other things because it's almost like a treasure hunt trying to find them while reading.

Even with that minor annoyance, I loved Kiss the Girl. In fact, I loved the Naughty Princess Club series in general. From my understanding, Tara Sivec has said that she's not going to write anymore books in this series. I wish she would though because I really want more of these characters and this world. There is a character that shows up for the first time towards the end of Kiss the Girl that I kept picturing as Jasmine, based on her looks. I would love a book about her.


I give Kiss the Girl: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://tarasivec.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaraSivec.authorpage
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tarasivec
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authortarasivec/
Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/tarasivec/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6422281.Tara_Sivec

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange or an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Infraction by Rachel Van Dyken


Synopsis:

Pro footballer Miller Quinton would do anything for his best friend and teammate—including “fake dating” his friend’s sister. What no one knows is that seven months ago in Vegas, Miller and Kinsey did a whole lot more than just kiss. Miller knows that this cheerleader is off-limits to him and any guy on the team. Still, he can’t stop himself.

Kinsey’s whole world is on the verge of crumbling. Her dad has cancer. Her overprotective brother is falling apart. Dating Miller may be a fake-out, but he’s the one guy who can make her forget about everything—including all the reasons she stayed away from football players. With each heated moment, Miller feels more like a safe place…even though he’s not safe at all.

Now temptation is testing every rule in the game of love. But how long can they go on playing when winning is a harder goal than either of them imagined?
(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Recently, I read Fraternize, which is the first book in the Player's Game duology by Rachel Van Dyken. I loved the book. I've made it a goal of mine this year to marathon series until I have completed them, that way I don't forget anything in between books. I picked up the next book in the series, Infraction, almost as soon as I was done typing my review for Fraternize. I loved it even more than the first book.

Just as an FYI, my review of Infraction will contain spoilers for the first book in the series, Fraternize. There's no real way to talk about the plot of Infraction without spoiling Fraternize, so stop here if you haven't read the first book. All of that being said, I thought that Infraction was a great sequel. I loved the chemistry between Miller and Kinsey. I didn't think it was possible, but I love them even more than I loved Sanchez and Emerson. I think it's because Kinsey is such a snarky female main character. She doesn't take any crap from anyone. She also uses her sarcasm as a coping mechanism to hide her pain, which I can definitely identify with. I think that, among other things, makes her a very relatable character that you can't help but love. I would go into my thoughts on Miller as well, but everyone who has read my review of the first book already knows that I loved his character.

Infraction was definitely a step up from the first book in the series as far as the plot goes as well. If you read my review of Fraternize, you know I had a couple of issues with some plot points. Those were fixed in Infraction. I didn't find this book to be predictable at all. Kinsey's big secret floored me. I had no idea that was what was going to be revealed. I also didn't predict what was revealed about Jax and the woman he ended up being with at the end at all. Even the plot hole that I had an issue with in Fraternize was resolved, which was a relief to me. It was one of the main things that drove me crazy in the first book, so having it resolved made Infraction such a much more enjoyable reading experience.

Rachel Van Dyken's books are always are some of my favorite things to read. Infraction definitely continued that trend in my life. I could easily see this becoming one of my favorite books of the year when I make my list at the end of the year. It really took the characters that I knew and loved from Fraternize, and stepped it up. It also did the same with the plot. My advice is that if you're going to listen to the audiobook, don't do it in public though. I cried like a baby throughout the last fourth of the book because she makes you feel such an emotional connection to the characters, and what they are going through. I can't wait to catch up on more of her books that I've recently missed out on.

I give Infraction: 5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachvd/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4882127.Rachel_Van_Dyken

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Now That We're Grown by Duane Simolke


Synopsis:
Gavin Hernandez and Peter Montoya meet before high school. Gavin admires how Peter never complains about being gay or using a wheelchair. During their senior year, Gavin takes profile pictures of Peter in that chair, but the gesture of good will leads to online bullying and a painful final stretch of school. Best friends slowly drift apart.

After college, they reunite in Dallas as more than friends. Gavin now designs facilities for people with physical challenges. Peter looks for a job to match his business administration degree. The past might destroy their relationship, or their love might change their lives.

MM romance/gay romance. Contains bullying, threats, mild violence, and sexual references. 

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
Lately, I've been trying to read as many of my shorter books as possible. I really want to make progress on my Goodreads challenge, and get some of the books off of my TBR that have been there for a really long time. I read The Return of Innocence by Duane Simolke earlier last year, and really enjoyed it. I've been wanting to pick up more of his books. I recently decided to read Now That We're Grown. Unfortunately, I didn't like it at all.

It makes me sad that I didn't like Now That We're Grown. The premise sounded so intriguing to me. I love books about LGBTQ+ characters, and keep ranting to anyone that will listen that we need more disabled representation in the LGBTQ+ books that are being published. However, Now that We're Grown didn't make a lot of sense to me. The story line was way too short. It hopped around all over the place without really giving you much of an introduction to any of the characters. It almost seemed like the author expected the reader to know the characters from one of their previous stories, or something. Because of that, the plot was choppy, and hard to follow. I think if the book would have been a little longer, it could have easily been a three or four star book for me. If the author would have expanded by one hundred pages, or maybe even fifty pages, to flesh things out, I could have seen myself really understanding this story, and enjoying it a lot more.

I found Now That We're Grown to be really disappointing, which is unfortunate. I found the premise to be intriguing, but the short story just lacked so many things. I did love the author's previous book that I read, The Return of Innocence. Therefore, I'm not giving up on this author just yet. I might try another one of their longer books, and just not read their short stories.  


I give Now That We're Grown: 1.5/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://duanesimolke.blogspot.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DuaneSimolke
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/73451.Duane_Simolke

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken


Synopsis:
Emerson just made her dream come true as a professional cheerleader for her favorite pro football team. But even though the plus-size athlete is breaking down boundaries, she still has to contend with the massive rulebook. Carbs? Nope. Chocolate? Definitely not. Still, Emerson loves her curves, and she’ll rock the hell out of this job even if it kills her. Except for one mandate that is easier read than done…

No fraternizing with the players.

Problem one is Miller Quinton: Emerson’s first love, first sex, and the guy who still ignites her daydreams and R-rated fantasies. Thrown back together, Miller and Emerson feel the undeniable pull of passion again, even if the conflict that tore them apart seems insurmountable. Then there’s way-too-sexy Grant Sanchez. He has a serious reputation with the ladies, and when it comes to winning someone he wants, he doesn’t let anyone stand in his way.

Now Emerson is breaking every rule in the manual. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s part of a wicked little game—one that could steal both her dream and her heart.

(Synopsis from Goodreads).

My Thoughts:
I love Rachel Van Dyken's books. She's one of my favorite authors. Unfortunately, due to recent time constraints, I've fallen behind on reading quite a few of her newer releases. Now that I have a little bit more free time, I wanted to catch up on all of her books. I decided to start with Fraternize because I found the synopsis to be the most intriguing out of my unread books she has written. I loved reading the book.

Fraternize is one of the best romance books that I've read so far this year. I loved being sucked back into the worlds that Rachel Van Dyken writes about. She really makes you care about the characters, and what happens to them. While reading, I could empathize with them and feel the emotions they were going through, especially Emerson. I enjoyed Sanchez and Miller's banter with each other, and with Em. I also found the plot to be interesting. It was intriguing to learn everything the three main characters had been through, and to see how it all tied together at the end. It was also interesting to learn more about football, which I have to admit, I don't know a lot about. I thought it was interesting seeing all of the small rules and things that most people don't think about when watching a game that makes the teams work so well together the way that they do.

There are a couple of things that I did have issues with in Fraternize. I thought that the book was predictable at times. I easily predicted who Emerson would be with in the end within the first few chapters. Don't get me wrong, I was happy with who she chose in the end. I just wish there would have been more subtle hints instead of outright ones. I also guessed the big plot twist that happens to her within the first few chapters as well. It ruined some of the shock of the big reveal for me. The other thing that bugged me was that at the beginning of the book, the coach makes it clear that cheerleaders and players are not allowed to be in relationships together. However, when it happens Emerson and the person that she chooses are very obvious about it. No repercussions happen for that. I felt like it was a big plot hole that I kept thinking about throughout the story.

Fraternize made me happy to be able to read a Rachel Van Dyken book again. I loved the characters and the plot that she created in this world, even if I did have a few issues with it. Based on the end of Fraternize, I can't wait to read the sequel, Infraction. I'm really excited to see the couple at the end of Fraternize get together, and overcome the one big adversity facing them. I'll probably start Infraction as soon as I finish typing this review. There are a couple loose ends from Fraternize that I'd really like to see tied up.  


I give Fraternize: 4/5.

Want to know more about the author?
Website: http://rachelvandykenauthor.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RachelVanDyken/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RachVD
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachvd/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4882127.Rachel_Van_Dyken

I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.