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Review for The Reality O by Candy Sloane

The Reality O - Candy Sloane, Lisa Burstein

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews.

 

Chris has had the big O, just never from anyone else besides herself. Despite multiple attempts, no guy has managed to please her. After Allie, her best friend jokingly posts a Craigslist ad look for a talented man to liberate Chris that goes viral, Chris is swept away in a MTV offer to make a reality show about The Orgasm Virgin. From there she meets eleven men and four women willing to try to rock her world the way no one before them has. She also meets Scott, the completely hot (and completely off limits) production assistant. With each day that passes forcing Chris to consider these people and the reality of getting busy with one of them (and NOT Scott), the more she wonders if signing up for a reality show was really her best idea. Will she finally find the big O with some else, or will she head back home to her library just as unsatisfied as she arrived?

 

I loved Chris almost immediately. She’s somewhat deprived, spending her days in a library rather than carousing with the “normal” people and mostly she likes it that way.

But there are moments when hearing about Allie’s sexscapades make Chris incredibly jealous and that’s something I can always relate to. That’s the same feeling I get when I read those romance novels where couples go at it consistently. Food, hydration, work, normal life are all apparently not as important as going one more round. I’m always awed and a little jealous of those fictional worlds. It was nice to read about a heroine who was out of the loop for once instead of the party girl. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she is a librarian. I was not determined enough to get a masters of library science, but I have to admire those who do. Where would be we without them? It saddens me that they are becoming a little obsolete in this digital age. ANYWAY, Chris is that best friend who is a bit more straight laced than her friends. She seemed more of a normal girl character, but a realist one, not the ideal one we get fed in a lot of novels. I was immediately rooting for her to find her magical orgasm…and hopefully a nice boyfriend too. I wasn’t disappointed.

 

I didn’t love Scott immediately. I felt like he was risking A LOT just to sleep around with Chris and I didn’t know if that was justified. I mean, the boy has worked towards getting his own show for a while and now, on the cusp of that dream becoming a reality, he is willing to throw it all away to sleep with this one girl? I mean, I get attraction and lust and all that, but really, is it that preposterous to think that he couldn’t have waited 2 weeks for the filming to be over to go after her? Maybe that’s just me, but I felt like his interest was a little too much too quickly. Beyond that, though, he is sweet and thoughtful and does everything to help Chris through this mess she has gotten herself into. He laughs at her jobs, cracks ones of his own, and does everything he can to support Chris and lighten her load on the show. He is always there with advice and alcohol (because, really, there is no way for a shy-ish librarian to get through this without copious amounts of booze) in the background for the taking.

 

What I really loved about this was the humor. This is laugh out loud funny, with awkward moments, dirty sex jokes, and even a few smart jokes tossed in just to throw you off. Page one will have you snorting, page two will garner a laugh, and things escalate from there. I don’t think I stress enough how important comedy is in novels, but it really is a necessity. I hope I see more novels like this. I need more erotica that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

 

The only thing I didn’t like was that this felt too short. An argument can be made that a well written (and entertaining) novel always feels too short, but this felt especially….clipped? I would have liked to have seen more of the interactions with the contestants and rounded that side out. We know pretty early on where this is going to go and who Chris fancies, but I just felt like some scenes where cut short or a bit more explanation would have helped. Or even just added fluff to allow me time to digest what I’ve read. It was just one thing straight after another with little space between to really get a feel for what just happened. Leaving me wanting more is definitely the best probably to have in any novel, so I guess I can’t complain too much, right?

 

This is the second novel I’ve read this year labeled erotic comedy and I hope this becomes the next big trend because I definitely need more of this in my life. I know dark romance and new adult is all the rage right now and there are great, but don’t we need something a little lighter? Isn’t there room for more fluff? I certainly hope so. This novel was everything I expected it to be and more. I must admit that when I initially read Burstein’s Sneaking Candy, I never expected her to actually write Candy Sloane’s book, but I’m incredibly glad she did! This novel has the humor and the heart to keep me begging for me. I will happily continue to devour anything else Candy (and Lisa) decides to write!

 

****Thank you to Lisa Burstein and WordSmith Publicity for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review****

Review for White Space by Isla J Bick

White Space - Ilsa J. Bick

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Summary from GoodReads:

In the tradition of Memento and Inception comes a thrilling and scary young adult novel about blurred reality where characters in a story find that a deadly and horrifying world exists in the space between the written lines.

 

Seventeen-year-old Emma Lindsay has problems: a head full of metal, no parents, a crazy artist for a guardian whom a stroke has turned into a vegetable, and all those times when she blinks away, dropping into other lives so ghostly and surreal it’s as if the story of her life bleeds into theirs. But one thing Emma has never doubted is that she’s real.

 

Then she writes “White Space,” a story about these kids stranded in a spooky house during a blizzard.

 

Unfortunately, “White Space” turns out to be a dead ringer for part of an unfinished novel by a long-dead writer. The manuscript, which she’s never seen, is a loopy Matrix meets Inkheart story in which characters fall out of different books and jump off the page. Thing is, when Emma blinks, she might be doing the same and, before long, she’s dropped into the very story she thought she’d written. Trapped in a weird, snow-choked valley, Emma meets other kids with dark secrets and strange abilities: Eric, Casey, Bode, Rima, and a very special little girl, Lizzie. What they discover is that they–and Emma–may be nothing more than characters written into being from an alternative universe for a very specific purpose.

 

Now what they must uncover is why they’ve been brought to this place–a world between the lines where parallel realities are created and destroyed and nightmares are written–before someone pens their end.

Okay, I know I never rarely ever just pull a summary straight from GoodReads. I cannot summarize this novel. I cannot do it. There is too much that goes on between it’s plethora of pages to pick just a few parts to give you. The GoodReads description is pretty adequate anyway. Also, WARNING! WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!

 

So, character-wise, I’m not sure what to say. I liked all of them, but I wasn’t head over heels for anyone. Plus, they start killing them off pretty early on, so I didn’t want to get overly attached to anyone who bites the dust. Hint, that’s everyone but Emma. They all die. They all die bloody, gory, terrible deaths. This, obviously, irked me. I like my characters to ride off into the sunset happily ever after style and that is NOT what happened here. Each character brings their own set of qualities and skills to the table, allowing the ever-shrinking group to survive as long as they do, but it’s not enough in the end. So, you know, don’t get attached.

 

My main problem with this was it took too long to explain itself. It keeps talking about nows and bookworlds and panops (I don’t know the proper spelling, I listened to the entire thing on audio) and even halfway through the book, you still aren’t sure what it all means. You don’t get an explanation until the last quarter of the book and even then, I’m still not sure. What I do know for sure is that there had to be a better way to do that. I don’t know what because I a shitty story teller, but there had to be a better alternative.

 

I also think this is a case of reading the wrong genre. I’m not really a horror fan. I like some gore in movies and shows, but it doesn’t come across well for me in writing. That coupled with the tendency to murder all the characters and you can see why this would not be the novel for me. I honestly think I only downloaded it because I was still in the early stages of reviewing and wanted to read anything and everything I could for review. This gem was up for immediate download, no annoying wait for approval or denial. Just click here and it’s yours! I don’t know if I even read the summary. I should have.

 

I really think that if you like gore and death and mystery, this novel is one you’ll enjoy. But it wasn’t for me! It also ends on a mind-breaking cliffhanger, but I can’t say I’ll be picking up book 2!

 

Audio Notes:
Despite the fact that I didn’t enjoy this novel overall, I loved the narrator! Kathleen does an amazing job, creating voices and characters and sound effects. She even does fantastic accents and I was enthralled despite my less than enthused reaction to the story and the plot. I honestly don’t think I would have finished this had I been reading a physical book, but Kathleen is awesome. I will definitely be checking out more of her work in the future!

 

****Thank you to Egmont USA for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Salt & Stone by Victoria Scott

Salt & Stone - Victoria Scott

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Tella Holloway has become much stronger than she was at the start of the Brimstone Bleed. A trek through a jungle and across a desert will do that to you. Now, as she prepares to go into the second half of this deadly race to save her brother, she wonders if she is really strong enough to make it through. Can she really defeat all these people? Can she, a girl who spent her life in search of the perfect dress and cup of coffee, really go head to head with a group of adults and really come out victorious? And could she have survived the first half without Guy’s help? This second installment of the Fire & Flood series comes with just as much peril and self-doubt, but an altogether stronger Tella. Let’s see if she can haul ass and save her brother’s life.

 

It’s been a while since I read Fire & Flood, so my love for Tella had to be made over. I remember loving her sassiness in F&F as well as her pandora, but I didn’t quite remember her exactly as she is. At the beginning of this, I was annoyed at her. She keeps trying to step out from underneath Guy’s shadow and lead the group and that isn’t what I wanted to see. I wanted to see her follow Guy’s lead and maybe watch a few hidden make-out scenes. Every time she went against him, I wanted to smack her. And then she learns that he doesn’t believe she can stand on her own, that he isn’t sure she could have made it this far without him, and she’s is devastated…and more determined than ever to stand on her own two feet. During that whole speech, I was a little conflicted. I mean, on the one hand, you kinda have to agree with him. She doesn’t know how to survive on the land and may well have starved or died of dehydration without him. On the other, that is a harsh thing to admit and Tella is always stronger than anyone gives her credit for. Then, she starts making smarter decision and slowly earns everyone’s respect and I was finally okay with her stepping out. But it wasn’t an immediately response. The thing that always won me over from moment one was her love for her Pandora and that is amplified here. She reaches out to all the Pandoras and does what she can to protect them as they would her.

 

Despite his harsh words and general unwillingness to talk, I still love Guy. He’s constantly doing whatever he can to keep Tella safe, even when Tella doesn’t want him to risk his neck for her. Even if his actions are misguided, he still shows a great deal of care for Tella’s well being and it’s obvious that he cares for her, even if he can’t bring himself to say the words.

 

One of the things I applauded Scott for in my review of Fire & Flood was the novel’s brutality. This is no different than that. While I still applaud Scott for not holding back, it still broke my heart in many ways…as I’m sure it broke hers. We get more character death here and that’s harder to take because I’ve become even more attached to them by now. You all know I’m not a fan of character death. While I am aware that at story of this caliber requires character death (because it’s preposterous to believe they can all make this deadly trek without casualties), that doesn’t make it any easier for me to read.

 

Besides the character death, the Pandora deaths are what really brought me down to a sob-worthy level. Just to be clear, I don’t want novels to make me sob. I respect that it takes a certain skill to bring your readers to such a state where they feel the need to shed real-world tears over a fictional event, but that is not what I seek when I look for a new novel. ANYWAY, by the time you reach the end of this, you know where it’s going Pandora-wise. We’ve really all felt it heading this way since the first introduction of the companions, but we were just hoping we were wrong, that Scott would find another way to devastate us. Trust you’re instincts on this because that is exactly where it’s going and you were spot on. And it’s heartbreaking. Devastating doesn’t seem a strong enough word. I won’t say more than that and the fact that it broke me.

 

Beyond the character death and the brutality, this novel is spectacular. I was able to continue reading it and enjoying it despite my issues and that’s saying something. The writing and plot blew me away, just like they did in the first novel. This is so very different than Scott’s Dante Walker series and I really liked that. It’s a very intense little book. I was one I could never binge read because it’s too potent. That is, until the last 100 pages when I didn’t care if my brain melted because I had to know what happened next. Does Tella win? DOES SHE? I’m not telling! But I’m excited about what comes next.

 

Though this ends on a cliffhanger (is anyone really surprised by that?), I’m excited to see how the group works to take down this crazy company that is killing people for sport.

The low rating here is mostly due to character and animal death. I can be forgiving at times and I know some think it’s unfair to rate a book I enjoyed 3 stars because it’s a mediocre rating, but that’s just how it works for me. Animal death is something to grabs me more than character death. That’s my real-world personality showing through because I’m a big animal lover and I don’t like the thought of them being abused. Beyond that, this is a great follow-up to Fire & Flood. If you enjoyed that, you’ll love this. Just, you know, be prepared because no one is safe and everything can change in the blink of an eye.

 

****Thank you to Scholastic Press for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Rebound by Noelle August

Rebound: A Boomerang Novel - Noelle August

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Adam Blackwood has everything he could have dreamed of and more. He has looks, money, and a very successful business. Now, he needs capital to start up a new production company and that means convincing a rich and powerful man to had over the money. At task that should be simple. But it’s anything but when he sends his daughter, Alison, to do his dirty work. The more time he spends with her, the more he wants to open up about his past, but he doesn’t quiet trust her and he knows that a relationship with her will ruin his chances at an investment from her father. As for Alison, she’s just trying to make up for past mistakes and prove her worth to her father. She has one task to accomplish, get close to Adam and find out what he’s hiding. But the more time she spends with him, the more she doesn’t want to find the dirt for her father. She’s oh so very curious about Adam’s past, but she doesn’t want to hand it for her father on a platter. Can their romance overcome their issues or is their relationship doomed to fail?

I loved (LOVED) Boomerang, so I was hell bent on getting my hands on this book. I honestly didn’t care which characters this story followed, as long as I got more of that Noelle August magic. And I can’t say that I was disappointed!

 

Adam is the same character I remember from Boomerang, but obviously we get more depth from him here. He has that whole tortured past thing going on. He’s not interesting in relationships, just causal hookups, and he is always upfront with that information. The love of his life died and he sees no point in trying again for anything more than physical needs. That was an interesting view point. It’s one I’m seeing a lot of lately, but I still find it a bit fascinating. Anyway, the thing I liked best about Adam was his dedication to his company and his employees. It’s not just about building it up to be better so he can make more money, it’s also about these people who depend on him for their livelihood. He works hard to make sure things go right and he built Boomerang from nothing. This company is his baby and he will do whatever necessary to protect it. He’s unwanted attraction to Alison and the desire for more than just a hookup was hilarious to watch. He fights it, but we all know he’ll give in. This is, after all, a romance novel.

 

Alison was a character you weren’t meant to love instantly. She’s Ethan’s ex, you know, the one that cheated on him and broke his heart? I immediately didn’t like her. It doesn’t matter that Ethan has found someone much better for him in Mia, there were better ways to handle a breakup, if that is what she wanted, than the method she used. I am not a fan of cheaters. I don’t buy that bullshit line about not being able to help yourself. Maybe I’ve just never been swept away by passion, but I don’t find that to be an excuse. You an adult and you are in control of your actions. You know what the consequences for something like that will be. Beyond that, Alison does grow on you somewhat. She is in a bad situation, with a bully for a father and a pushover for a mother. She wants a better life for herself, but due to her father’s wealth, she’s used to a certain way of living and knows that a life away from her family wouldn’t afford her those luxuries. She’s not being snobby about it, but she doesn’t have the first clue on how to support herself and make a life of her own. When she meets Adam and starts to realize that maybe she’d like to find out, that’s when I started liking her. The moment when she starts thinking for herself and not just following Daddy’s orders.

 

My only problem with this was what happens after they get together. I can’t say exactly, but let’s just say things don’t go perfect right off the bat and I didn’t like the way either character handled that. Both jumped to conclusions and ran off, leading to irreversible consequences. I don’t know if that is a problem for me writing-wise because the author(s) led the characters that way, or if it’s a problem with the characters because that is what they would have done anyway, but regardless, it still bothered me. Beyond that, the writing and plot were almost as good as the first one.

 

I don’t believe this is quite the same level of awesome Boomerang was, but it’s a close second. I think I connected to the characters a bit more in Boomerang, but that is something I cannot control or predict. Either way, it’s the perfect follow up novel, giving us everything we’d expect in a sequel. You get decent characters, amusing antics, just the right amount of smut, and that happily ever after that we all crave. What more can you ask for?

 

****Thank you to William Morrow Paperbacks for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Liars, Inc by Paula Stokes

Liars, Inc. - Paula Stokes

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Max Cantrell's life just got a little better. It all started with a lie to get himself into detention. That lie showed the possibility to profit off of similar lies. Suddenly Max, Parvarti (his girlfriend), and Preston (his best friend) are rolling in money and esteem. Forging permission slips and creating alibi's is, apparently, a very profitable business. Then Preston needs a cover story for a weekend getaway and Max is happy to provide one. But something goes wrong and Preston is missing and Max is now the prime suspect. Then Preston turns up dead and Max is really under fire. He knows he didn't do it, but can he find the real killer before he takes the fall?

 

Max Cantrell was someone I fell for instantly. Max isn't the popular guy or the hottest guy in school or the brain or the clown. He's just your average, decent looking guy with a passion for surfing. He's an adopted kid who has a nice family, not an abusive bunch of jackasses. He lucked out with an awesome girlfriend, though they have their minor issues. It's hard for me to really put Max into words. He's just an average guy and I loved that. We never get stories about average guys. It's always the popular boys or the brainiac or the dark brooding guy with the ripped body. I image Max has decent muscles because surfing is a serious sport, but it's not the focus. And he doesn't have girls falling all over themselves to get with him. He's also kinda a loner. He's fine with quiet and solitude.

 

Parvarti is his opposite in a lot of ways. She's smart and super-sexy and oh so confident. She's the school's it girl. I liked her, but I was always unsure of her. Something felt a bit off from the very beginning. I was convinced pretty early on that she had something to do with Preston's disappearance, but you'll have to read for yourself to find out if she did or not because I'm not telling! I will say that I do like her by the end.

Sherlock Holmes mind blown gif

This is the type of review where I want to rave about how awesome it was, but I can't say a whole lot of anything because it's almost all spoilers. I will say that I absolutely loved it and I didn't see the end coming. That final twist just blew my mind.

 

I also will say that I know changes were made for the final book and from what I can tell, there were nothing really major. A few things I can see why they were changed for the better, but if I'm being honest, I didn't really notice problems. This book is so good that none of the things that were changed caught my attention while I was reading. I was too enraptured in the story and finding out exactly where this was going to go to care if a line or two didn't make complete sense. I got the gist and that's the important part, right? After the fact, when I got a summery of the changes, I was all "yeah, that makes total sense!" and I think they'll make the story a bit more cohesive. As far as the small consistency errors, I tend to either not notice them or be entirely forgiving of them when I read an ARC/eARC. I know that what I have is not the final product. I know more work goes into it. I also know that I sometimes have consistency errors in my 2 - 3 page reviews that I do not ever edit, so I can't imagine how many would crop up in 300+ pages after revisions and edits!

 

What can I really say? This book is awesome. It has mystery and intrigue with a bit of romance and just a small touch of humor. I wasn't entirely sure I'd love it going in. I tend to skew more towards the happily ever afters and, for a while, I wasn't sure that was going to happen. I wanted to read it regardless because I loved The Art Of Lainey and knew I could expect great things from Paula. For those like me worried about the conclusion, it does end on a happy note. Not everyone gets to ride off into the sunset consequence free, but the important people are on the right track. All you really need to know is that this is an edge of your seat, must keep reading kinda book that makes you completely forget reality for however long it takes you to finish it. What more do we need? Is that what we all look for? To get lost in a fictional world? I hope you love it as much as I did.

 

****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Mine To Spell by Janeal Falor

Mine to Spell: Mine, Book 2 - Janeal Falor, Caitlin Kelly

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Cynthia has a secret that she has hid from everyone she knows. Despite the fact that they were taught from birth that it is impossible for women to do magic, she can do it. She is fascinated by the colored spells even as she quivers away from her father’s hexes. Now that Serena has won the right to be independent, Cynthia is finally free of her father’s hexes. That freedom doesn’t last because soon she must be sold off the a warlock, put in the exact situation that she just came out of. Though she willing enters into this arrangement to protect her sisters, she soon learns that this will either be the best decision she has ever made or the worst. You’ll have to read to find out which!

 

I’ll be honest here. I did not like Cynthia in You Are Mine. I found her annoying and more than a little infuriating. How can you be boy-crazy in a world where men actively abuse women and are applauded for it? Where women are mere objects to be used and abused? We finally see behind the mask here and it was a bit more understandable why she put on that facade. How else would she learn about magic? What else could she say? “Oh, I don’t care about the boys, I just want to study that spell so I can emulate it”? That would not have worked out well. She would have been killed. With that insight, it was easy to be more sympathetic towards her. She still irked me somewhat, with immature behavior at times and a lack of ability to plan ahead. Pretty early on she finds herself stranded in town with no money and no food. That could have easily been prevented with a little forethought, but that isn’t how Cynthia works. It ends up working out well and she is just a teenager, so I tried not to fault her too terribly for that. Despite her faults, she is strong and brave and smart.

 

I feel like talking about the other characters is a bit of a spoilery thing to do. The official synopsis of this doesn’t really hint at how this whole thing it going to turn out, so I’m trying to keep quiet. I will say that I like the love interest a good bit. I will also say that we get a good deal of Serena and Zade and even a bit of Katherine. I also liked seeing the rest of the siblings and the new characters.

 

Things really heat up here, with Cynthia trying to show her family that she can do magic without revealing her secret to too many people. If the council finds out, they will kill her. But Cynthia’s family needs to know that women can do magic and Cynthia needs to share the burden of her secret with someone. The world needs to know to, but she must wait for the opportune moment to reveal that. She keeps trying to improve her spelling abilities and watching her train with a certain someone was enrapturing. Falor nailed that will they or won’t they chemistry perfectly.

 

The one big failing here is the appearance of a cliffhanger. You Are Mine wraps up pretty well, with everything taken care of. A few loose strands hang and obvious the whole set free the woman movement is far from finished, but Serena was free and her family was safe and things were looking up. That isn’t what you get here. I won’t say exactly what happens, but again, cliffhanger ahead. That always irks me when the first book in a series lulls you into a false sense of security because you assume if the author was nice enough to wrap things up for us there, they will continue to do so with the rest of the series. Then you read book two and are slammed with an unresolved ending. It’s almost like you can hear the author cackling (because what other way would you describe it?) at that shocked look on your face and you’re need to know more.

 

Beyond the cliffhanger, this was a very entertaining story and I loved seeing yet another different perspective. I want to get another angle on this. Can we see one from a male point of view? Maybe not Zade (because really, that would cause way too much swooning), but someone like him? OOOO…or that guy Zade’s sister has at thing for? That would be awesome. Or Zade’s sister herself could be interesting. Either way, I’m excited to see where this series goes!

 

Audio notes:
I feel rather ambivalent about Caitlin Kelly’s narrative abilities. She wasn’t bad, but she wasn’t great either. She walked that mediocre line pretty tightly. She’s has decent pacing and varies her voice a little for different characters, but has nowhere near the mastery I’m used too. ::coughs:: MacLeod Andrews ::coughs:: I will definitely check out more of her stuff in the future to see if she improves, but she’s isn’t someone I’m going to go out of my way to listen to.

 

****Thank you to Janeal Falor for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review****

 

Review for Paper Or Plastic by Vivi Barnes

Paper or Plastic - Vivi Barnes

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Lex Dubois has been busted. After an ill-fated attempt to steal a tube of lipstick from her local SmartMart. Instead of calling the police, the manager offers her a different deal, a job. She’s forced by her mom to take it and is now working in a store that she has long-since mocked. The customers and weird employees are bad enough, but then she learns the cute manager is actually her best friend’s rival and things escalate quickly. Noah Grayson is the reason Bryce (her bestie) lost a year of play on their high school baseball team. She should hate him on principle. But the more time she spends with him, the more she is drawn to him. He’s sweet and cute and geeky in the best way. Soon, she’ll have to choose between the friends she values and her attraction to Noah and when that happens, one thing is for sure, it’ won’t be pretty or easy.

 

I was initially irritated with Lex. Here is a girl with a well off family, a decent group of friends, a drive to succeed in a sport that few woman do, and a level head on her shoulders. Why she would feel the need to steal something just because a friend suggested they see if they can get away with it. Of course she got caught. We was probably glancing around and fidgeting like crazy lady. Her reaction to living there and to her home life in general is what won me over. She isn’t what you’d expect. And working in retail is HARD. For anyone out there who has never done it, take it from someone with experience. It’s frustrating and never-ending. People are just as bad, if not worse, than depicted here. At least the grocery store didn’t have an extensive toy aisle for “responsible” adults to leave their children to play in while they shopped. Lex handles that stress pretty well considering she isn’t used to working at all. She even manages to hold onto her temper when customers are being particularly irritating, which is an admirable feat. The more you learn about her refusal to conform to her mother’s idea of perfect, the more I started to love her. Here is a girl that’s beautiful and could easily dress well and get the world to do her bidding. Instead, she wears jeans and cutoffs and wants to spend all day sweating in a field throwing balls at people. How could I not lover her? My only issue with her was the way she handles the Noah thing. Yes, I know this is not going to end well either way. Yes, I know that Bryce is going to be pissed as hell, but guess what? If you don’t tell him, he’ll be even more pissed and hurt when he finds out through other means. I realize she’s a teenager, but that particular trait runs through all fiction and it irritates me regardless of the age of the protagonist.

 

Noah, on the other hand, I loved immediately. He’s sweet and nerdy and utterly devoted to his friends and family. Add to that the killer smile and his wit and I was swooning less than halfway through the novel. The more you learn of him, the more I fell in love. He’s that boy who works so hard to take care of everyone around him and never complains about it. He has two jobs and no real personal life to speak of because there are people depending upon him. I’ll be honest and admit that I kinda expected Belle to turn out to be his kid instead of his sister and I was refreshed to learn that I was wrong. I felt like Noah was too good of a guy for that and it made me smile to learn that I was correct in that assumption.

 

I’m on the fence about most of the other characters. The staff of SmartMart all seem like an interesting bunch, but I didn’t love them like Lex did. The same can be said of Lex’s friends. What kind of friend pushes you into shoplifting? Lex’s mom was especially crazy to me. The way that woman not only bosses everyone around, but gets away with it astounds me. The way Lex’s dad allows it to happen astounds me even more. I get that you love this Toddlers in tiara’s dreamland you’ve created for your youngest daughter, but there are other, somewhat more important, things in life than making sure you’re six year old looks as adorable as possible. I think she was a well-written character, but she irked me to no end.

 

This book was a little slow to start. It took me a decent bit to really get into it. It starts off rocky, with me not particularly liking any of the characters and therefore having a hard time connecting with them. Once we get past that, I was hooked. I ended up finishing this late last Saturday night, literally shooing my husband away every time he entered the bedroom for anything. GO AWAY, I’M READING! Once you really start to see Lex’s full personality, not just the one-dimension-ed idiot who gets caught pocketing cosmetics, I couldn’t get enough. Suddenly, I could feel her pain and frustration. That scene in SmartMart, with all the water on the floor, I was tearing up with her as she tried to clean the mess.

 

If you are looking for an endearing contemporary YA, then look no further than this. It’s sweet with a lot of heart, a bit of humor, and an adorable cover. What more could you want?

 

****Thank you to Entangled Teen, Vivi Barnes, and YA Bound Book Tours for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Hellhole by Gina Damico

Hellhole - Gina Damico

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Max Kilgore is a geeky goodie-two-shoes and he likes it that way. His idea of fun is trying to beat his previous crossword record and spending Friday nights with his mom mocking romantic comedies. That’s all going fine until he accidentally releases a devil (one of 666 apparently) and is forced into finding him shelter and bringing him food. He enlists Lore, a girl with a reputation as a satanist, to help rid him of his unwanted houseguest before things get really ugly. Can they rise to the task, or will they all burn will Burg (the devil) laughs about it?

 

I loved this novel almost immediately. Max is such a goodie-goodie that I cannot fathom him doing anything wrong. And then he does something bad and his reaction is even better than I could have imagined. He’s also pretty sweet. Really, Max reminds me just a little of my husband. He has that nerdy exterior which hides an even nerdier interior and he’s so unbelievably sweet that you can’t help but root for him. I mean seriously, this boy is sacrificing every thing to try and keep his mom happy. The mom who is on a never ending waiting list for a heart transplant. The mom who will die if she doesn’t get one. Instead of trying to having a normal teenage social life, Max toils away his time at a local convenience store trying to make enough money to pay all the bills. Instead of spending Friday nights with his best friend, he buys a large pizza and rents an over the top cheesy rom-com, opting to stay in and spend this precious time with his mom. After releasing the devil, his reactions are beyond comical.

 

That’s what I was really looking forward to with this, the comedy. Gina Damico is famous for her dark humor and this doesn’t disappoint. With every new chapter awaited new jokes and situations that make me laugh out loud. With every outrageous request Burg made or action he took, I was rolling on the floor laugh, happy that I was listening to this on audio because it allow such actions to occur while I continued the novel. Just like Croak, this reminds me a great deal of Dead Like Me. The humor is right on that line.

Something else I loved about this was the lack of a love triangle. This has the perfect set up for that. Max’s best friend is a girl named Audi (I’m sorry if this is not the proper spelling, I listened to this on audio) and that leaves great opportunity for Max to pine over her while she happily spends time with her boyfriend. That did not happen. It’s made very clear from the beginning that they have never had a romantic inclination towards each other. They even kissed once and the results were not good. Instead, Aud is happy with her boyfriend and Max is happy for her. It was a very enjoyable arrangement for all involved, including me. Then, you know, you meet Lore, and it’s obvious she’ll be his love interest anyway. Her sarcasm is something I loved immediately. She’s smart and snarky and clearly hiding a tragic past.

 

The only character I was questionable on was Burg. One minute he was evil and the next he didn’t seem so bad. I was never quite sure how the relationship with him would end up. There were moments when I thought that maybe he wouldn’t be the bad guy. I won’t spoil whether or not he is. I’ll let you see that for yourself! It’s only real downfall is that the ending wasn’t as perfect as I wanted it to be. The ending is not the picture perfect moment I was wishing for. It does end happily for our main characters, but there are….casualties.

 

This novel is pretty straight-forward on what you’ll get. It is hilarious fluff about a boy who accidentally sets free a devil. Chaos and hilarity ensue and it’s great. If you are looking for a deeply moving book, this isn’t the one for you. If you are looking for something that makes you laugh so hard you cry, then look no further!

 

Audio Notes:
Macleod Andrews is a narrating god, I’m just saying. I enjoyed him when I listened to Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry and I was interested in hearing him do something else. I was not disappointed. First off, boy has an epic name. MacLeod? Dude, I don’t know who your parents are, but they are awesome. Plus, he has a pretty great voice and amazing control over it. I’m always fascinated by people’s ability to change their voices because I cannot do that. My voice is my voice is my voice. I can’t make it sound any other way. But MacLeod can and I love him for it. You know what’s cooler than reading about a character startled shriek? Hearing a narrator’s startled shriek! I have nothing but good things to say about him. He has a great voice, perfect pace, and enough talent to make every character voice sound different. Seeing his name attached to any audiobook will have me dying to read it, even if it’s outside my normal reading comfort zone. He’s that good!

 

****Thank you to Esther Bochner at Audible for providing me with an audio copy in exchange for an honest review****

Review for A Wicked Thing by Rhiannan Thomas

A Wicked Thing - Rhiannon Thomas

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Princess Aurora pricker her finger on a spindle many years ago and fell into a death like sleep. Now, Prince Rodric has kissed her awake and she is utterly confused. Everyone she ever knew is dead and her kingdom is in the middle of a rebellion. She does not know this Rodric nor does she understand why she is expected to marry him. As their wedding day draws nearer, this sleeping beauty must decide whether she wants to carry on with the life everyone has laid out for her or if she wants to break the mold and fight for what she believes.

 

I was very ambivalent about Aurora. At first, I really sympathized with her. This poor girl has basically been in a coma for decades and everyone she ever spoke to is now dead and gone. Her parents, her friends, her servants, even any pets are long gone and she struggles to maintain a happy face for the kind prince who awoke her. She was pretty annoying though. On one hand, she wants to help her kingdom because it’s obvious that things have changed since she fell asleep. But she doesn’t DO anything. Instead, she just sneaks around with a guy and doesn’t really give Rodric a chance.

 

Rodric is someone I kinda liked. He’s just trying to make the best out of his situation and do what he thinks is right. Sure, he’s a little slow and might not really be doing what’s best for his future kingdom, but he believes it is and therefore trudges on. The other two points in the love square are Tristan and Finnegan. Tristan was obviously up to more than just hitting on a pretty girl in a tavern from page one. He clearly has his own agenda, even if Aurora is too dumb to see that. I don’t know what Finnegan’s angle is. He’s the charming and flirting prince of another realm and I liked him a lot…except that I felt like he was hiding something as well. The only prince that seemed utterly sincere was Rodric and we all know she is not going to end up with him. If she did, this would be a new spin on a classic fairy tale. I think she’ll end up with Finnegan in the end, but we’ll see.

 

I am know officially finished with fantasy fairy tale sounding novels for a while. I’ll stick to contemporary. First it was Stray and now this. Both promised fairy tale epic-ness and both failed miserably and I’m just done for a while. Because this sounded so amazing! Sleepy Beauty wakes up and has a realistic response to her sleeping fit? Awesome! Prince Phillip Rodric might not be the one for her. Cool. I was totally ready for a action-packed fairy tale with the required happily after and that’s not what I got. This novel is very slow, with little action. The first half is basically Aurora thinking about the changes and sneaking out to meet Tristan and learning that the king is a world class dick. There is just a bit of action in the second half, but basically, it’s all Aurora whining. Don’t get me wrong, her plight is understandable, but damn women, do something about it. I realize your reach is limited and there isn’t really a perfect option for you, but do something, anything!

 

Then, we get all this story and stuff building and building and building….and then it’s over. It’s done. No more story. No wrap up, no real conclusion, and certainly no happily ever after. I’m sorry, I was under the impression that this was a stand-along Sleeping Beauty retelling. Riding off into the sunset with the Prince Charming of your choice is a must for fairy tales. And you failed to provide that for me. Even now, a month before the release, there is still no word on whether there will be a sequel, if it is will just end this way. If that is the case, then it was pointless. Nothing was resolved. Nothing was fixed. This felt like middle book syndrome, but it’s book one. That doesn’t bode well if it is a series.

 

In the end, I was wholly disappointed in this novel. It was rather boring at times and downright irritating at others. If you are looking for an epic Sleeping Beauty retelling, this is not it. It gets two stars instead of one simply because I was liked Finnegan and his flirty self. No reason beyond that. The writing is decent, but not great. The plot was slow and dull. The characters (besides Finnegan) were boring. Oh, and be aware that a character dies. Yeah, that didn’t make me happy. So…you know…I am unhappy with this book and will not be recommending it to anyone or reading the possible sequel. That’s a massive pile of nope for me.

 

****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Remember by Eileen Cook

Remember - Eileen Cook

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Harper is used to protesters hounding her about her dad and calling him the devil. She just doesn’t understand why. Her dad created Memtex, a procedure to remove bad or unwanted memories. Many people think it shouldn’t be legal and Harper doesn’t understand why. She ignores the protesters, until Neil crosses her path. He is as hot and persistent as the devil himself. Harper puts a good amount of thought into not noticing the hot part, she already has the perfect boyfriend. But when Harper’s father refuses to let her have the treatment, she begins to wonder if maybe the protesters aren’t so crazy and Neil is the only way she will learn the truth. The deeper she looks, the more she learns that this new information may change her entire life. Is she ready for that?

 

Harper is that girl with a near perfect life that we all envy. She has loving parents with enough money to make sure she has everything she could want or need. She has great friends and a perfect boyfriend. She also has a passion for horses and the perfect mount. Her horse is perfectly in sync with her, allowing for amazing results in competitions. Then the horse dies and everything goes to hell. Everyone expects her to be upset for a little bit, but she can’t let it go. She’s falls into a depression and, even though she knows she shouldn’t be reacting this strongly, she can’t help herself. After much thought, she realizes that her dad can help her. She can get the Memtex treatment to remove memories of the horse and his death and she can go back to normal. To a normal where her boyfriend doesn’t irritate her with every word and where she has no desire to do anything beyond sulk. She is so startled when her dad refused to sign the consent forms that she doesn’t know what to do. If the procedure is perfectly safe as he and everyone at the company insists, why won’t he let her do it? Her tenacity is what won me over. Once she made her mind up to have the procedure, she is determined to make it happen, regardless of what her dad wants. But soon after, she has weird symptoms and it’s not her perfect boyfriend she runs to, it’s Neil.

 

I was on the fence about Neil, as I seem to be with most male characters lately. It was clear that he was hiding something, but I wasn’t sure what. Plus, there is that whole cheating element that I have serious issues with. Harper has a boyfriend, even if he is currently getting on her nerves, he’s still her boyfriend. I wanted to hate Neil actually, because I really wanted Harper to not go down the cheating road, but that’s never how it happens, is it? It’s always the new mysterious stranger who wins out, right? In the end, I did like Neil, and he goes through a great amount of trouble to help Harper in the end.

 

This novel has a great mystery in the middle. What exactly is her father hiding? What is Harper’s mind trying to remember? Why are the paper’s with her horse all wonky? Why do all these new places feel familiar even though she knows she’s never been here before? The answer is quite clear for a while before she really lets it sink in, but watching her confusion was immensely entertaining. My biggest issue, if you hadn’t already guessed, was the cheating element. I understand that you and boyfriend have been together forever and you don’t want to hurt him, but cheating hurts him. Period. I did like that she was aware and remorseful of that fact, but not enough to act on it. She let’s her emotions get away with her and I wanted to slap her.

 

I loved the idea and controversy of Memtex. This procedure could have an amazing impact on the world. War veterans who are haunted by their tours overseas could remove those memories and be able to move on. Rape and abuse victims can take away their fears. When you really start to think about it, the possibilities are endless. And then the controversy around it. Is it ethical to remove memories? The procedure is optional, no one is forced to have it, but should we be doing this? And what about side effects? They claim there are none, but what procedure has no side effects? What medicine is gives you something for nothing?

 

I requested this almost immediately after it appeared on Edelweiss. I was a big fan of Cook’s Getting Revenge On Lauren Wood and I knew I wanted to read her other work. This sounded very interesting and it doesn’t disappoint. We get romance, mystery, friendship, and enough drama to keep you needing more. Cook has mastered that need-to-read element in her writing to keep you wanting more and more until suddenly it’s over and you are happy to have finished but sad that there is no more story to read. I think this novel is for anyone who wants a good mystery with a side of romance!

 

****Thank you to Simon Pulse for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Wreck Me by Jessica Sorensen

Wreck Me (Nova) - Jessica Sorensen

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Tristan Morganson is constantly battling his addiction to drugs. He's doing better, they call to him every single day. The only thing keeping him straight now is that night three months ago when an intriguing lady gave him the choice of taking his drugs back or allowing her to flush them down the toilet. He doesn't know why exactly, just that that particular moment keeps floating back to him when he thinks about finding more drugs. Avery Hensley, the intriguing lady, has had a bad life up until the past few years. She followed her heart as a teen and ended up married with a son before she became legal. Then Conner, the man of her dreams, started showing his darker side and suddenly things are falling apart. She has managed to get her life back together, but she swore she would never again allow a man in her life. That leaves too much up to question and life with a 5 year old son just isn't up for that. Then she meets Tristan and he's so different from Conner. He's real and sweet and fighting an addiction she understands too well. The more time they spend together, the more she longs to break her rules, but is she brave enough to really give it a try?

 

I think we've covered how much I like Tristan in past reviews, right?
Doctor Who thumbs up gif
K, so I'll skip the over the top gushing about how awesome he is. I may even like him more than Quinton...maybe...I'm not sure. Either way, he's that sweet, flirty guy who manages to be both cocky and vulnerable flawlessly. He perfectly captures that inner debate I think everyone can relate to, that "Am I really good enough" thing. Besides that, he's, you know, hot.

 

I sympathized with Avery immediately. This girl is just trying to better herself and enrich her son's life. And she's working her ass off to do it. Balancing school, work, a kid, and helping Habitat build a house to repay them for building her one is nothing to joke about. I don't know how she manages to do it without falling apart. She was in such a bad place and she's come so far. She's a fighter and a lover and she's so determined to do what's right by her kid that her wants and needs don't factor in at all. It was admirable, even when it was infuriating because I know how much Tristan wants to be more than friends and I know his intentions are far from nefarious and I just want her to realize that. JUST GET IT ON ALREADY! ::coughs:: I mean, you know, talk it out....

 

I think what makes me love Sorensen's characters, and work in general, is her ability to make perfectly flawed characters. She writes characters that have been through bad shit and manage to keep breathing every day. She writes characters that have serious problems and yet I never dislike them. You just don't understand how amazing that it because I have serious issues with drugs and their users. I am also incredibly unforgiving in real life, but somehow Sorensen makes me love her characters even with their addictions and their pasts. I mean, Tristan has done terrible things for drugs. Fuck, Quinton did terrible things for drugs. And yet I love both of them.

 

This has everything you could want in a contemporary romance. It has love, angst, and just the right level of smut. It's written in that highly addictive way we've all come to expect from Sorensen. I'm being to think that it is impossible for her to write something that I won't love intensely. This one can be read as a stand-alone, but I think it'll mean more if you've read the first three books in this series. Reading the earlier ones also helps set the tone for this. Though Sorensen has delved into dark and disturbing places before, this particular series is more heartbreaking than the rest. Nova and Quinton's story is more brutal than the others and I think knowing that helps you set the stage for this one. Bottom line? Read it. If you're a romance fan at all, you won't be able to stop yourself from loving it!

Review for Ruin Me by Jessica Sorensen

Ruin Me (Nova) (Breaking Nova Book 5) - Jessica Sorensen

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Clara McKinley has made the fact that she doesn’t have time for a relationship abundantly clear. She has set up a serious of rules to insure her Friday night flings with Jax Hensley don’t become anything more than a friends with benefits arrangement. That works fine until Jax receives a call from his crack-whore mom saying she fears for her life and he needs someone to go with him back to Wyoming to check on her. Clara agrees under the assumption that nothing will change between them on this trip. But even as she makes the stipulation, she knows it’s useless. Things with Jax grow more intense at every encounter and pretty soon she’s be breaking all her rules for him.

 

I was half in love with Jax from the previous novel. Jax does a lot to help his sister Avery in Wreck Me and he’d already won me over there. He’s smart and loyal and sweet and just right level of cocky to have me swooning. It had me wondering how Clara managed to resist him at all, much less for how long she does. It was just a bit weird for me to switch Jax from brother role to lover in my head. I don’t know why exactly as I have read series’ that feature different siblings before, but this time switching gears just took a moment. The first time him and Clara get it on, I was still wearing my Avery goggles and that gave the scene a very different vibe than I expect was intended. It is probably only because I jumped directly into this after finishing Wreck Me. I mean I literally finished Wreck Me and then flipped through my kindle for this one and started it. So, you know, don’t do that. Wait a few hours or a day before starting this to let your brain settle Jax out of the brother role. Once I got out of that, though, I was immediately swooning over him.

 

Clara was a character I didn’t love as much as I expected to. I think it was because I felt like she was putting too much emphasis on her mom and her responsibilities. She shies away from guys because her high school boyfriend dumped her over the responsibilities she was left with when her dad died and her mom became mentally handicapped. She’s scared all guys will run away because he did. I get that Jax is young, but she knows enough about him to know that he has his fair share of responsibility and would never walk away for such a reason. It really bugged me that it took her so long to let him in. The boy has had a hard life and he deserves some happiness. I don’t like anyone who stands in the way of that.

 

My only issue with this was that I didn’t love Clara as much as I normally love Sorensen’s heroines and it felt too short. With Clara, I just felt like she was making more out of taking care of her mom than she needed to. I’m not saying her situation isn’t sad, just that it isn’t as bad as she makes it out to be in her head. The shortness thing is probably just because when I really enjoy things I don’t want them to end. Besides, I’m used to 300-400 pages from Sorensen and this doesn’t even hit 200. So naturally I wanted more. Even with not loving Clara, I was ready to see more scenes between her and Jax. Or maybe a few more snippets of Jax and Avery interacting because I like seeing the novels connect. At the same time, I can see why it’s short. Jax’s has been through enough and is more than ready to start his happily ever after. After this one adventure tracking down his mom, his life should be turmoil free for a good long time and there is no need to draw out his torture unnecessarily.

 

The story and writing here is just what I’ve come to expect from Sorensen, amazing. She never fails to deliver a story that keeps me enthralled and begging for me. She’s also pretty known for her cliffhangers, but that is blessedly absent here. Ruin me is written with her signature level of smut and snark and heart. Even as you smile at the humorous dialogue, your heart hurts for these characters and their lives.

 

I know I’ve said it in several reviews before, but it bears repeating. Jessica Sorensen knows how to write a perfectly flawed character. She knows exactly how to give me the characters I didn’t know I needed to read about and this is no exception to that. Though it doesn’t quite live up to the epic-ness that is Wreck Me, it’s an amazing story in it’s own right and one that kept me thoroughly entertained. She is already one of my favorite authors and each book I read by her just bumps her higher up the list! Though I think this could be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading Wreck Me before diving into this so you have a bit more background on Jax.

 

****Thank you to Jessica Sorensen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Tristan: Finding Hope

Tristan: Finding Hope - Jessica Sorensen

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews.

 

Tristan has been battling his addiction to drugs for a while now. He’s been doing them off and on since he was a teenager and no matter how many times he gets clean, he always seems to slip up again. He’s always felt invisible and the highs allow him to forget about that for a while. They allow him to let go. Now he’s working with Quinton and Nova building houses for Habitat For Humanity. Quinton is pretty good about keeping him out of trouble because no one can spot an failing addict like a recovered one. Things are going great until Tristan gets a call from his mom about the anniversary of his sister’s death and the cravings might just be too much. In the midst of this, he meets Avery, the girl who is getting the house they are working on. And he’s fascinated. Here is a girl with purple streaks in her hair, tattoos, and sad eyes. He wants to know her story. Can he let go of his cravings for long enough to get to know this girl or will he fall prey to his own addictions?

 

I’ve made no secret of my love for Tristan. He was one of my favorite characters in the Nova series. Despite the fact that he creates an annoying love triangle, you can’t help but feel for the guy. Sorensen is brilliant at writing tortured characters and Tristan is no exception. His parents are assholes, they remind me a little bit of Lila’s parents from The Secret series. They know just how to hurt Tristan and are great at doing so. They push him until he feels like getting high is the only way out. And I hate that. I have never understand the real life pull for drugs. I have never done drugs….unless you count caffeine and monumental amounts of ibuprofen, so Tristan’s situation isn’t one I can readily understand. But Sorensen makes me feel like I can understand and Tristan is a character I love despite my dislike of druggies. I think it’s his loyalty to Quinton, despite the past. I just want to see him get his happily ever after because he is just as deserving of it as Quinton is.

 

Avery is still a mystery. This is novella is more about Tristan than her, but we get a small glimpse at this girl who will be Tristan’s other half in the next novel. I’ll definitely say I’m intrigued. I have an idea where her story is heading, but I’ll keep that to myself to see if I’m right.

 

This novella gives us a taste of Wreck Me. We get more of Tristan, which I’m thankful for because that’s exactly what I wanted upon finishing Nova And Quinton: No Regrets. And boy was it worth it. Tristan is exactly what I wanted him to be. Smart and sweet, but damaged and craving the next forbidden fix. I can’t wait to see how his story turns out! I’m off to jump into Wreck Me!

 

Review for The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout

The Problem with Forever - Jennifer L. Armentrout

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

I liked Mallory almost immediately. It’s impossible not to sympathize with her. The poor girl has been through hell and even though she’s escaped it now, she bares serious scars from that past. She has issues speaking and dealing with people in general. But what I really loved was seeing her push herself. It would have been so easy to box herself into this woe-is-me category. Oh, I had a very difficult childhood and now I just can’t overcome it could have easily been her motto. But she doesn’t do that. She pushes herself to improve. She pushes herself to heal and to do the things that scare her. She’s so strong even when she thinks she’s weak and I admire her so much for that.

 

Then we have Rider, Mallory’s counterpart in the horrid past. He was her protector and that scene when they reconnect at school was priceless and everything you could have asked for. I wasn’t 100% a fan of him for the entire story, but he was an interesting character to watch.

 

This novel is why I still read YA contemporaries. It’s smart and thoughtful. It’s just as much about Mallory’s road to push herself to improve and get better as it is her romance with Rider. And I could expect nothing less from Jennifer L Armentrout. She knows how to write a story, there is no questioning that. She can flesh out a character and make you hurt for them in a single chapter and she makes no apologize about it.

 

There is one part that I still haven’t made my mind up about. There is a death contained within these pages. A death that just cut me to the quick. A death that just surprised the hell out of me. I typically knock off star ratings for deaths. I hate character death, but I can’t seem to bring myself to do it here. I just enjoyed this story too much to give it less than a full five star rating. That should tell you all you need to know!

 

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Review for Catch A Falling Heiress by Laura Lee Guhrke

Catch a Falling Heiress: An American Heiress in London - Laura Lee Guhrke

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Linnet Holland's life has finally worked out the way she wanted. The man she has always fancied has finally taken notice. He takes her to the gardens to propose and that magical moment is interrupted by Jack Featherstone. The infernal man not only ruins the proposal and strikes her beloved, but he then has the audacity to kiss her right in front of her mother and as well as the biggest gossip in town. Her reputation is thoroughly ruined but she refuses to marry this man. She cannot marry a fortune hunter, she won't and nothing her family can say will change her mind. Jack knows he messed up by kissing her. He knows that it was the wrong move. He also knows that her Frederick Van Hausen, her "beloved" is not the man she believes him to be. He is the villain in all stories and he refuses to let another women fall victim to him. Now, he's determined to make it right. He will change Linnet's opinion of him and make her agree to the marriage if it is the last thing he does. Can Linnet let go of her first impressions enough to realize that Jack might just be the right person for her or is she doomed to suffer the effects of a ruined reputation?

 

I both loved and hated Linnet. I love her and her strength and determination, but how she adamantly refuses Jack when the audience knows that Jack is actually a good guy was infuriating. I like Jack and I want her to like him. Her reasons are solid and you cannot fault her logic. She wants to marry someone American. She doesn't want a English fortune hunter who will look down on her for the rest of her life and she has finally escaped that future only to be dragged back at the last possible second. She's angry and frustrated and I wanted to hug her and give her her heart's desire. But, at the same time, what she wants isn't what's best for her. What she wants would be incredibly bad and would not turn out as she imagines. And Jack's refusal to explain himself just makes everything worse. Even when she finds herself liking him against her will, she jumps back to the "he just wants me for my money" argument and all is lost once again.

 

Speaking of Jack, I just love him. I think I have a thing for historical romance heroes in general because they all make me feel rather swoon-worthy, but Jack was perfect. He's in a tough situation, as all romance heroes are. He has a high sense of honor and integrity and he's fiercely loyal. Then there is the whole his a handsome gentleman and behaves as such. I also think part of my love for him stems from his loyalty to his friends. He's that guy that you'd run to at 3 AM with a dead body and he'd come no questions asked with a tarp and tons of colorox to clean the mess (or the Regency equivalent of that). Watching him try to win Linnet over despite her determination to hate him just and me falling for him more. Guhrke really knows how to write a swoon-worthy male. I seriously can't think of a single novel she's written where I didn't love the hero.

 

Speaking of Guhrke's writing, she has me spoiled. Between her and Julia Quinn, I'm pretty much ruined for all other historical romances. I'm so used to their level of awesome that I just can't tolerate any less. In fact, I've gotten where they are the only ones I read from this genre! I think I'm scared that I'll come across another bad one or be disappointed by an author that normally does a great job. Laura, though, is a master of her craft and I'm always anxious to grab her latest book. She manages to give you exactly what you want when you want it. Or better yet, exactly what you didn't realize you wanted when you wanted it. The whole house-party set up in this novel is perfect. It's riveting, how Jack is going to make his case and get Linnet to fall for him. There is no if. This is romance, after all, and we know it's going to happen, we just don't know how. That's the beauty of romance. You are guaranteed a happily ever after, so you don't have to stress over that, just over how the hell these two are going to work out their problems. And it's a magical thing to watch. If only real life was that awesome. Le Sigh.

 

Anyway, what is there really to say here? Laura Lee Guhrke never fails to impress me. You'd think that after so many books, it would become more difficult to write an original feeling story, but she awesome has a tale that feels brand new. It's always written with heart and charm and wit. It always leaves me smiling. This is no exception to that rule. It's funny and sweet and heart-warming and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I can't wait for the next one!

 

****Thank you to Avon for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

 

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Review for Geek Girl by Holly SmaleThis review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews Harriet Manners is the textbook definition of a a geek. She's actually okay with that. She likes her intelligence and doesn't understand everyone el

Geek Girl - Holly Smale

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews

 

Harriet Manners is the textbook definition of a a geek. She's actually okay with that. She likes her intelligence and doesn't understand everyone else's fascination with clothes and makeup and superficial pursuits. Then she accidentally gets discovered as the next big model and things spiral from there. Does she have what it takes to shed her geeky exterior and become a worldwide sensation or will her never quieting mind prevent her from letting go enough to allow it to happen?

 

I loved Harriet from page one. She's smart and funny and completely unpopular in the best way. Climbing the social ladder isn't really on her to do list. She is a little sick of being picked on, but she doesn't necessarily want to be the highest rung on the ladder. She just wants to be allowed to geek out. So when she get's discovered as a model, she decides that maybe it's time to try something new. Try on the pretty clothes and the makeup and actually talking to Nick, the male model she'll be posing with. Things go from awkward to normal and back again over and over and over and it was thoroughly entertaining. I love Harriet with the makeup and wannabe girliness and without it. Her inner snark had me rolling in laughter from page one and I couldn't help wanting more. I love that she likes who she is, but I also love that she is brave enough to try something new. Stepping out of her normal role and into something scary and new is far from easy, but she tries. She gives it her all even though she doesn't really know what she's doing. It just made me love her more.

 

I could speak to the other characters, but really, she's the main one. The rest all play their roles, filling in where they are needed and making connections with her at the appropriate moments. Nick shows up every so often to provide just enough confusing swoon-worthy stares to move her obsession along just a bit more. Her dad and Step-Mom provide parenting like moments. I gotta say that I loved her Step-Mom quite a bit by the end. She's not perfect and she's not Harriet's bio-mom, but she loves her and is more attentive than Harriet and Dad realize. In the beginning, I was irked by her bossing Harriet around, but she really does have the best of intentions and that scene, in her office at the end, well, let's just say we should all be so lucky.

 

What really won me over with this novel was it's laugh out loud comedy. I know LOL is a term people throw around constantly, but rarely does a book make me snort or laugh or giggle out loud. Smiling or internal chortling happens constantly, but few are good enough to make me really laugh out loud. And this was one of them. It is full of humorous dialogue and outrageous shenanigans and enough awkward situations to have you laughing and hiding your face simultaneously. I also loved the ending and the message that carries. I won't spoil anything, but I will say that it is the perfect message for teenagers and more books need to go in that direction.

 

I know many people have compared it to Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series and I whole heartedly agree with that comparison. This is right on that Georgia level and that is a huge compliment. This is laugh out loud funny with enough heart to make it feel real. I recommend it to every reader out there. Old, young, boy, girl, chick-flick fan, or nerd lover, this will be loved by all!

 

****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****

 

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