Book Review: Us by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

Genre: 

New Adult, cialis 40mg Romance

Pages: 

328 pages

Part of a Series?:

Him #2

Release Date: 

March 8th, search 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Elle’s Website / Sarina’s Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Five months in, side effects NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

My Review:

I loved this book. I love both Elle and Sarina and I think they both have such a way with romance, especially when it has a hockey element in it, and I loved loved loved this sequel to their first novel, Him.

I just gotta say…the biggest reason why I loved this book so much is because of the realism of it. And there are two parts to that. One…I love that Jamie and Wes don’t just live happily ever after after book one. Relationships are hard work. They aren’t all sunshine and rainbows as much as we wish they were. Some books and movies just paint relationships as so perfect. We never really get to see what happens AFTER the kiss, you know what I mean? The fact that there are struggles in this relationship, and there are ups and downs, and they have to fight for each other, even when they sometimes don’t feel like it, just made the book feel so much more real to me.

And the second part of that is…I’ve only had experience with heterosexual relationships. And I connected with this so much. Which just shows again and again and again how much you can connect with love and friendship and affection and compassion and all of that, whether its a heterosexual and homosexual relationship. I loved every minute of that.

Plus I just adore Jamie and Wes so much. Everything about them is so genuine, so real, and I wish I knew them in real life because I would so want to be friends with them. Except I wouldn’t interrupt them so often like the others… ;)

Also, I just don’t think anyone is as capable as causing my cheeks to go as red during steamy scenes the way these two do! I know that I definitely use them as inspiration when I write my own NA. Those scenes are just so good, and I read a good chunk of this book in public, which was even better, because no one knew what was going on with my red cheeks haha.

 

Rating: 

4 out of 5 stars

Book Review: Flamecaster (ARC) by Cinda Williams Chima

This review is based on an advanced reader’s copy of the novel obtained through Edelweiss. This is in no way had an effect on the integrity of my review. Please note that published novel will differ from this ARC.

Genre: 

Young Adult, adiposity Fantasy

Pages: 

544 pages

Part of a Series?:

1st of the Shattered Realms Series. This is a spin off series of the Seven Realms series

Release Date: 

April 19th, shop 2016

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Adrian sul’Han, treat known as Ash, is a trained healer with a powerful gift of magic—and a thirst for revenge. Ash is forced into hiding after a series of murders throws the queendom into chaos. Now Ash is closer than he’s ever been to killing the man responsible, the cruel king of Arden. As a healer, can Ash use his powers not to save a life but to take it?

Abandoned at birth, Jenna Bandelow was told that the mysterious magemark on the back of her neck would make her a target. But when the King’s Guard launches a relentless search for a girl with a mark like hers, Jenna assumes that it has more to do with her role as a saboteur than any birth-based curse. Though Jenna doesn’t know why she’s being hunted, she knows that she can’t get caught.

Eventually, Ash’s and Jenna’s paths will collide in Arden. Thrown together by chance and joined by their hatred of the king, they will come to rescue each other in ways they cannot yet imagine.

My Review:

I can’t even begin to explain how much I absolutely loved this book. When I saw that I was able to get my hands on an eARC…I nearly cried. This series is a spin off of my FAVORITE series by Cinda, the Seven Realms…and I knew that I was just going to love it. And sure enough I did. I don’t know why more people don’t read her because honestly, I think she has such an incredible handle on fantasy. And not just YA fantasy, but fantasy period. The world building skills that she shows in here just blow my mind. Its hard enough to build a world and make it last for four incredible books, like she does in the Seven Realms but to take that world and expand it and make it just as good, if not better, is just a skill that I could only dream of. Both Ash and Jenna are fabulous characters, one that I adore so much, and I can’t wait to read more of their stories. I like that they both are so different from Raisa and Han but they are just as compelling, just as interesting, just as addicting. They have their own paths to travel and that is what makes Cinda so good at what she does.

I think the biggest thing that I like about this book is that it has that beautiful familiarity to the world I already totally fell in love with in the previous series but it stands alone as well. It brings in new characters and new ideas, even new magic. There’s so much that is different about it and I just love it from bottom to top, beginning to end. Its a complete, beautiful story in just one book but you know that the series is only going to get more amazing as more books come out.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Forever with You (ARC) by J Lynn

Genre: 

New Adult, viagra Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

384 pages

Part of a Series?:

Book #5 in the Wait for You Series

Release Date: 

September 29th, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Some things you just believe in, even if you’ve never experienced them. For Stephanie, that list includes love. It’s out there. Somewhere. Eventually. Meanwhile she’s got her job at the mixed martial arts training center and hot flings with gorgeous, temporary guys like Nick. Then a secret brings them closer, opening Steph’s eyes to a future she never knew she wanted—until tragedy rips it away.

Nick’s self-assured surface shields a past no one needs to know about. His mind-blowing connection with Steph changes all that. As fast as he’s knocking down the walls that have kept him commitment-free, she’s building them up again, determined to keep the hurt—and Nick—out. But he can’t walk away. Not when she’s the only one who’s ever made him wish for forever . . .

My Review:

I read this book incredibly fast. Maybe in a few hours. There are two reasons for this. One of the reasons is this: we went to an event in Las Vegas where J Lynn was signing and she had 30 copies of this book to give out. I got the very last copy. Being the fabulous friend I am (I’m so modest haha), I wanted to share it with my friends. I knew that I was the fastest reader and I had to finish it so I could pass it around.

I also read through this book because I think this may have become my favorite of the series. Okay, not really because I still say Be With Me is my favorite BUT this one is a seriously close second. Like by a minimal percentage between the two.

I was excited to read Stephanie’s story. Stephanie is someone we barely know through other people but I was hooked on her right away. Yeah, she’s hooked up with a few dudes, but once she is there for Tessa when Tessa comes home to find her dead roommate, I knew that she was going to be important and that I would just love her.

A few pages in and I was already so totally sure. There’s a quote from her in the beginning that immediately made me love her.

“I’ll never really understand it, I realized as I sat there, staring at the red and green flecks of the leftover peppers, why others’ sexual habits bothered people — especially other women — so much. Of all people, you’d think women would be more tolerant of other women’s choices, but sadly, a lot aren’t. In a lot of ways they could be worse than the guys. It wasn’t like I was sitting in judgement over those who waited for marriage or believed sex automatically equaled love. I could care less if someone had two partners or fifty. So why did they have to?”

That’s when I fell in love with Stephanie. She felt really similar to me. She wants to find love. She wants to settle down and have a relationship. But in the meantime, she’s going to have fun. She’s safe and all that but comfortable in her own body and if she sees a guy that she’s attracted to…she goes for it and doesn’t feel one ounce of guilt about it. And I absolutely love it. There should be no guilt for that. Its just perfect as hell.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Nick as well. And I love the story that they have. I love that an unexpected situation brings the two of them together. I love what came for the two of them from that. I love their story. I love Nick. Oh I adore Nick. I love how we have this view of him but when things change for him and Steph…he just steps up and becomes this person and I just fall madly in love with him. I love Nick.

But this book was amazing to me because of Stephanie and her story. I felt connected with her right away. And what she goes through in this book has happened to me. I know the sort of feelings it leaves, I know how it never really goes away and I know the feeling of disappointment in leaves in yourself, like you should have known, you should have done something more. I know that’s vague but spoiler free, remember? Especially since there’s still a TON of time until this book is out and I don’t want to ruin it for everyone. But I loved this book and the characters and I love Stephanie. If there was a character that was so like in J Lynn’s series, I would say Stephanie. I thought Tessa for awhile and I’m definitely still like Tessa but Stephanie…I bonded with her right away.

I’ll just say this too: we get a lot of really awesome news for other couples we’ve fallen in love with over the past few books and we see some super awesome things for them and it was allllll the feels. Such a beautiful book. Sigh. If you’re a fan of this series, definitely pick this up at the end of September!

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Asa by Jay Crownover

Genre: 

New Adult, dosage Contemporary, information pills Romance

Pages: 

400 pages

Part of a Series?:

Book #6 in The Marked Men Series

Release Date: 

April 21st, 2015

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

Starting over in Denver with a whole new circle of friends and family, Asa Cross struggles with being the man he knows everyone wants him to be and the man he knows he really is. A leopard doesn’t it change its spots and Asa has always been a predator. He doesn’t want to hurt those who love and rely on him, especially one luscious arresting cop who suddenly seems to be interested in him for far more than his penchant for breaking the law. But letting go of old habits is hard, and it’s easy to hit bottom when it’s the place you know best.

Royal Hastings is quickly learning what the bottom looks like after a tragic situation at work threatens not only her career but her partner’s life. As a woman who has only ever had a few real friends she’s trying to muddle through her confusion and devastation all alone. Except she can’t stop thinking about the sexy southern bartender she locked up. Crushing on Asa is the last thing she needs but his allure is too strong to resist. His long criminal record can only hurt her already shaky career and chasing after a guy who has no respect for the law or himself can only end in heartbreak.

A longtime criminal and a cop together just seems so wrong . . . but for Asa and Royal, being wrong together is the only right choice to make.

My Review:

Oh Asa. The finale of this series was so much fun, so emotional and just the perfect way to bring this entire family to a conclusion. I’m working on my own NA romance series and the last book of my series is going to involve a bad boy trying to redeem himself so I was excited to read this book, not only because its the conclusion, but because I was excited to see how Asa, who we meet in book two and see throughout the series, falls madly in love with a cop.

We meet Royal in book 4, Nash’s book, because she lives across the hallway from him. And immediately as soon as we met her, I knew I loved her. I knew she was going to be important. She’s gorgeous and sassy and hard working and obviously dedicated to her job as a cop. I love the connection she immediately has with Asa and I love her just period. She’s struggled with her mom, even though she loves her, she struggles with her guilty over what happened to her best friend and partner in the field and she struggles to figure out who she is and what she wants. She seems so confident and perfect in the other books but I love that you really get to see her in this book, and she’s flawed but she’s determined, and she’s incredibly determined when it comes to Asa, and seeing that he’s changed and worthy of love, and most importantly, worthy of her love.

Then you have Asa. See I love Jet and Ayden so I got a very negative first impression of Asa and even though Rome likes him, and he becomes friends with Nash and Rowdy and he’s obviously becoming a better person, its hard to get rid of those feelings about him. But once you’re in his brain and you can see what he went through and how he legitimately struggles to be a better person…its just so hard NOT to fall in love with Asa. He genuinely wants to be a better person; he does. But its hard for him, and its also incredibly hard for him because he’s determined that he’s a bad guy, he’ll always be that way and he doesn’t deserve anything better. That struggle keeps him from becoming the best person he can be and it prevents him from being the person Royal knows and wants.

But when they come together, and pick up the pieces and put each other back together, and fall in love…its just absolutely perfect. They both find a family and a new chance with each other and they are folded into the Marked family and oh, the feels were so real as I finished this book. I loved the way Royal and Asa were so magnetic and meant to be together and I love how they sort of saved each other but I also loved how everything from book one until this comes together. You see everyone in the Marked family come together, get married, start families and all of those things and I just can’t handle how it was just the perfect ending.

So…when are those Saints of Denver books coming out hmm? I’m ready for them ;)

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars

Book Review: Rowdy by Jay Crownover

Genre: 

New Adult, shop Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 

322 pages

Part of a Series?:

Book #5 in The Marked Men Series

Release Date: 

October 21st, 2014

You Can Find the Book At:

GoodReads

Barnes and Noble

Book Depository

iBooks

Author Website

GoodReads Summary: 

After the only girl he ever loved told him that he would never be enough, Rowdy St. James knocked the Texas dust off his boots and set out to live up to his nickname. A good ol’ boy looking for good times and good friends, Rowdy refuses to take anything too seriously, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. Burned by love once, he isn’t going to let himself trust a woman again. But that’s before his new co-worker arrives, a ghost from the past who’s suddenly making him question every lesson he ever learned.

Salem Cruz grew up in house with too many rules and too little fun—a world of unhappiness she couldn’t wait to forget. But one nice thing from childhood has stayed with her; the memory of the sweet, blue-eyed boy next door who’d been head over heels in love with her little sister.

Now, fate and an old friend have brought her and Rowdy together, and Salem is determined to show him that once upon a time he picked the wrong sister. A mission that is working perfectly—until the one person that ties them together appears, threatening to tear them apart for good.

My Review:

Moving along in my determination to finish the Marked Men series ever since I fell massively in love with Jet in book two, now we are on to Rowdy and Salem. And I’m not going to lie, this was the book that I was probably the least excited for. I have this thing about names. I know that sounds kind of weird but its true! I don’t like weird names. My friends laugh because my book characters have been Summer and Charlie, McKinley and Jake, Zoey and Ash, Evie and Austin, Sydney and Carson, Lucy and Jesse. Boring names, according to them. I honestly had no idea how I was going to get past their names.

Yeah, I got past their names so fast. And that’s because Jay creates such beautiful, familiar, fantastic, amazing, emotional, awesome characters in both Rowdy and Salem. What I love the most about these two is that this is a reconnection for them. Its sort of like Saint and Nash but not really. Rowdy and Salem have always been in love with each other, always, but it just took a lot of time and distance and reconnection for them to figure it out and once they do? Bam. Its just gorgeous as hell. These two characters are vibrant and alive and they are the most memorable in the series because of how real and unique they are.

I also love the story that goes along with this, other than just the romance. I love Salem finding her place in Denver, and I loved the story with her sister and her family. Obviously I don’t like what happened TO her sister because its just awful as hell but I like that we get to see how Salem changes from who she was when she was with her family and how strong she is now and how she’s able to be there for her sister. Its a touching story, and seeing Salem dealing with her past and moving into the future, its just awesome. I also love that we see Rowdy struggle with the same thing, struggling to put aside what happened in the past and accept all the amazing people that have come into his life and become his family.

They both go through similar struggles but they’re brought together and I think being together is what makes them even stronger by the end of the book and I love that kind of story. I love that there isn’t one relying on the other but they rely on each other, make each other stronger and they come out, together, in the end, bigger and better people. That is what makes this book SO damn good.

Rating: 

5 out of 5 Stars

Tuesday Top Ten – Underrated YA Book Series

So I was  browsing around Facebook yesterday when I came across a Buzzfeed article about the 29 Underrated YA Book Series. Of course I had to click on it.

And while I love several of the choices on that list, no rx I thought, try I should do my own list. There are GREAT series on there, but a lot of them aren’t what I would call underrated or unnoticed. Percy Jackson? Huge. HUGE. And they got two movies. Infernal Devices? Again. HUGE. All Souls? Incredibly popular and not YA right? I don’t know to be honest, I haven’t read them. I know they aren’t shelved with YA. The Chicken Soup series? Didn’t everyone have those when I was in middle school/high school? And so on.

So that brings us to today’s Tuesday Top Ten…my favorite YA series that just don’t get enough attention. Which is why I’m talking about them. So they get more attention. Because I’m just awesome that way.

Let’s do this.

Oh, I’ll add one more thing. All of these get GREAT reviews, and have received an abundance of praise and accolades and all the huge reviewers and all that love them. By “underrated” I mean, by the masses that tend to enjoy YA. The people that don’t much more than Hunger Games and Divergent and that sort of thing.

Moving on…

10. The Across the Universe Trilogy by Beth Revis

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I love love love this series. Beth Revis takes humanity, sticks them on a space ship and gets them lost for centuries. Humanity has basically all but disappeared on this ship until one of the humans who was supposed to be frozen until they arrive at this “new” earth awakes…and chaos and romance and all sorts of things erupt. Its fantastic. There is just SO much about this series that is so good. I have a hard time finding people who have read it and I get so excited when I do!

9. The Covenant Series by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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So JLA was on this BuzzFeed list, but with the Lux series. That series, the Wait for You series and the Dark Elements series…they’re all fairly popular. They are the ones that I feel like people talk about when it comes to JLA. But my absolute favorite of her series is hands down The Covenant series. SO freakin good! Alex and Aidan are hot as hell, they have a steamy and intense and fun romance, and their world is chaotic and full of action and drama and …more intensity. And its Greek mythology with a new twist and I love every single bit of it.

8. The Mediator Series by Meg Cabot

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Meg Cabot is not exactly underrated but she has so many series that often times some of them get lost underneath the ones she’s really known for like The Princess Diaries. This is one of my absolute favorites by her. It has ghosts! And a girl who likes to beat them up when they don’t want to cooperate. And a super hot Spanish ghost that’s a really great kisser. Its just awesome. The entire series is just SO flippin good. Meg manages to write this amazing paranormal romance that also makes you laugh again and again and again.

7. The Seven Realms Series by Cinda Williams Chima

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This series was actually on the list and it was one of the few that I really agreed should be on this list. I first picked up this list when my ex told me to pick out a book and I thought the cover was beautiful and then I proceeded to consume the entire series in a matter of days. Its so beautifully written and it has everything you could want in a book. It has romance and action and politics and action and humor and discovery and uncertainty and god…everything. I can’t speak highly enough of this series. Its legitimately one of my favorites ever.

6. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray

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UGH. God. This series. I’m meeting Libba for the first time this weekend at YALL West, and I legit can’t handle that kind of pressure. I’m going to cry or something. I actually accidentally picked up the second book first (whoops) but rectified and continued on to enjoy this beautiful trilogy. It takes place in Victorian English countryside at a boarding school that is hiding all sorts of secrets. Its so dark but funny at the same time and its full of a new kind of magic and I love every bit of it. I need a re-read of this soon actually…

5. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Series by Rae Carson

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Let’s put it this way: I would not drive all the way to Vegas (about a 4 to 5 hour drive) just to meet her for one day if I didn’t think this series was that amazing. What makes this great is that its this sort of Chosen One story but the Chosen One is the last person you’d expect. Elisa is fat and uncertain and unsure and you kind sit there and think, her? Really? But its just so great. And the world building and the magic and the evolution of the main character throughout the three books…my little book loving heart just can’t handle the beauty of this trilogy.

4. The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce

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There WAS a series by Tammy on the list but I chose this one for a huge reason: its the first series of the epicness of the Tortall world. The one they chose is the third one and kind of…spoils the first two series for sure. haha. Plus let’s face it…Tammy has a handle on this YA fantasy since the early 80s and just not enough people are reading her. She’s amazing. Her writing, the characters she creates, the way she manages to keep the world of Tortall alive after so many decades…its impossible not to absolutely love her. This series is about a girl who disguises her gender for YEARS in order to become a knight, and then basically does whatever the hell she wants once everyone finds out. YES. I want to shove all of her books down all of your throats. Sorry. Not really.

3. The Airhead Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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Why, yes, I did pick two Meg Cabot series. This is another one that kind of disappears when it comes to Meg. But its legitimately my favorite. Besides Princess Diaries. Because its just SO weird and bizarre and I love it. Em Watts dies…but not really. At the same time as her body dies, supermodel Nikki Howard as a brain aneurysm. Doctors save her life by implanting her brain into Nikki’s body, but she has to live her life as Nikki and no one can know that she was once Em. Its seriously the most bizarre thing ever, especially once you realize there’s so much more to it than meets the eye. And its just straight up hilarious.

2. The Unremembered Trilogy by Jessica Brody

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The finale of this trilogy just released less than two months ago and I’m still reeling from it. I can barely express my emotions about it. Sigh. Anyway. This is a series that’s absolutely incredible and seriously does NOT get enough credit. I want to see more of those purple books in people’s hands. Seriously. I can’t even explain how great this trilogy is. Its like…Bourne Identity but with a super badass girl instead of Matt Damon and it has superhumans called Ex-Gens and time travel and cool technology and romance and action and its just amazing. There are not nearly enough people reading it and you guys need to be reading it. Now. Go.

1. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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I love Leigh from the bottom of my heart to the tip top of my head all the way to my little toes. She’s AMAZING and her series just proves that. She has had SUCH success with it, but its nothing to the extend that a ton of people know about it and I want to change that. Her trilogy is perfection and its such a great example of how AMAZING YA fantasy…and YA in general…can be. She’s a terrific writer and a fabulous storyteller. This is another series that needs a re-read soon because now all I can think about is how much I love these books!

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