The third and last installment of Bailey’s Broke and Beautiful series brings us a few classic tropes such as the dreaded friend zone with a healthy dose of class barriers, deceptive first impressions, and an alpha with overly protective issues. As with the first two books in the series, this one follows the same prescribed checklist-boy and girl meet, boy has issues, girl has issues, boy and girl come together for a night and issues explode between them. An engaging blend of laughter, angst, sexual tension, and addicting banter gives us a sugary sweet friends to lovers story with hints of D/s between a rough tattooed construction worker with a marshmallow center and an upper class woman whose innocent passive exterior hides an intelligent and spirited woman who’s ready to take a chance on love....more
Favorite Quote: “I could choose to be miserable or I could choose to be happy. I was going to choose to be happy.”
Isabelle (Iz) Martin has come home to Claremont, NC after leaving Duke University and her boyfriend. Her mother’s death and her father’s depression convinces Iz she is needed at home more than ever. When her father demands she get a job or get out, Isabelle applies at Sawyer’s Auto Repair; owned and operated by the Iron Horseman MC. Isabelle doesn’t care who owns or runs it, however she does care her high school nemesis is a mechanic is there.
Caleb Sawyer is on a fast track to nowhere. A legacy member of the Iron Horseman, he thought his life was all planned out until his girlfriend of five years suddenly announced she has accepted an internship in California. He can’t leave Claremont and she refuses to stay. When he hits rock bottom, he is shocked the person who picks him up is none other than Isabelle Martin. Despite his endless teasing of her in high school, being on Isabelle makes him feel better. She listens without judgement or pity but also doesn’t put up with any of his crap.
After a rocky start, Isabelle and Caleb slowly build a strong friendship that develops into something more as each has something the other wants and needs. But can two completely different people find common ground? Or will the past always come back to stand in their way?
When I was offered Carry Your Heart, I honestly thought I was getting an MC romance. The first few chapters reminded me heavily of SOA fanfic as we get the back story and set to the protagonists and the Iron Horseman. As the story developed, the SOA feeling gradually faded though it still remained in the background. The MC aspect is extremely low-key with the main storyline focused almost exclusively on Caleb and Isabelle. Alternating povs gives us insight into their emotions and actions about the situations they are currently dealing with, without recapping the previous chapter. It becomes a solid contemporary NA romance. This isn’t a stand alone. While no cliffhanger ending, Ryan does warns us this is a trilogy that spans eight years of Isabelle and Caleb’s life.
Caleb is at a low point when he and Isabelle reconnect. His girlfriend is leaving town and he knew nothing of her plans until they were set in concrete. With no time to prepare for what he sees as her betrayal, he spirals down a hole filled with alcohol, drugs, and random women. This inadvertently affects Isabelle as her father is slowly killing himself with alcohol; depressed over his wife’s death. Isabelle’s fears for Caleb going down the same path pushes her to tell him some hard facts about love and loss. Isabelle helps Caleb straighten up which in turn allows Caleb to be there when she needs him most. From that point on, they become each other’s shoulder to lean on and their friendship blossoms into love.
The friends to lovers plot line reveals gradually, allowing us plenty of time to get to know Caleb and Isabelle as individuals and to facilitate their romance. Neither one has ever had a best friend of the opposite sex and Ryan does a wonderful job of bringing their friendship to life. It’s an integral aspect of the story. Smooth writing moves the story along at a steady pace. Lightweight in terms of drama and conflict; self discovery is the theme that permeates the story. Emotionally and physically, the chemistry is there but when it comes to actual sex, the scenes are blurry and vague. As I have a fabulous imagination, this didn’t bother me. :P
An array of secondary characters plump up the story, allowing us to get to know the town, its inhabitants, and the role the Iron Horseman play in it. Here is where the SOA feelings were the strongest. There is much in here to remind you of Charming and the strong hold the MC held on it. I saw Jax, Opie, Gemma, Clay, Wendy, and more in the characterization and storyline dynamics. Ryan does make it her own by keeping her focus mainly on Caleb and Isabelle but I am very curious to see what the next two books in this trilogy holds as the ending hints at an overzealous agent looking into the club and it’s activities.
All in all, Ryan’s debut NA romance is an easy read that doesn’t add ridiculous melodrama or over the top posturing from the men or woman. It has a feel good element to it as you watch this sweet young couple overcome some adversity to find happiness in their lives. Any misunderstandings are dealt with swiftly as this couple knows how to communicate and neither plays games. And, color me shocked, there is no cheating which is almost unheard of for any story revolving around an MC. The only reason I did not rate this higher was the strong SOA similarity. I am hoping that this tapers off and the next book stands on its own two feet. Book two-Carry You With Me-is slated to release in September 2015. I have a feeling that is where the MC will grab a larger part of the storyline.
Knight McQueen has suffered greatly due to the hybrids increasing violence against his people. Forced to hide due to the hybrid’s agenda concerning him, Knight teeters between extreme guilt, rage, and depression. When the one person who helps him hold on to his humanity is kidnapped, Knight loses his tentative grip on his self-control and begins a steady decline into the abyss.
Shay Butler was traumatized by the massacre of her Run by the hybrids. Taken in by the Cornerstone Run, Shay finds hope and healing with the Run’s white wolf-Knight. Abruptly kidnapped by her half sisters-the hybrids-Shay is forced to care for an unknown newborn. Chained, starved, and forced to wear a collar of silver, Shay fears she will lose her sanity before she is rescued.
Help comes from the most unlikely of sources…Archimedes Atwood. Byrnn’s father and the Magus who started this war. He waves the white flag and offers to help find Shay if the Run will protect him from the hybrids. The McQueen’s agree and soon a diabolical and dangerous plan is hatched…one that will save Shay, destroy the hybrids, and deal with the Magus once and for all.
White Knight is the third and final installment in Meade’s Cornerstone Run Trilogy. An action packed dark urban fantasy that revolves around a family of loup garous-the McQueens. If you haven’t read books one and two, I highly recommend you do so as the ongoing arc is extremely important to the storyline and characters bleed over with little to no recap. Each book focuses on one brother. Though we see the same high impact action scenes and shocking revelations that were present in the first two books, this installment was tamer in a sense and focuses more on Knight’s emotional healing and his relationship with the black wolf-Shay.
Knight is in a bad place from the previous events. He has some issues that he has tried to bury for the good of his pack. Being a rare white wolf, his gift of empathy helps to balance the emotions of those around him. He can’t afford to let his emotions out for fear they will backlash on the pack. Fans have waited for Knight to finally admit to his family and Shay everything that happened to him when he was in the hands of the hybrids. It’s heartbreaking.
Shay was probably my favorite character in this series. Hit from all sides repeatedly, left without family or friends, her strength, intelligence, and ingrained leadership qualities allowed her the ability to know when compassion is needed and when death is required. She and Knight are true soul mates in that they heal and ground one another. Their chemistry is magnetic and it’s in here they finally throw caution and rules to the wind and fully commit to one another.
Revelations are made that explain the origins of the hybrids, their link to Brynn and Shay, and why they want Knight so desperately. Though they are dangerous and insane, they are but merely a product of their birth and environment and ingrained with a strong will to survive. Meade has always had an interesting outlook on good and evil and most often than not, her characters comfortably straddle the line between them. I had pity for the hybrids towards the end. I enjoyed the meeting the additional supernatural factions and seeing the world through their eyes.
While I enjoyed the story overall and was happy to see the conclusion addresses most of the issues and provides us with a plausible ending, there was a distinct lack of anticipation, suspense, and yes, violence, that I came to associate with the series. As I mentioned earlier, the book centers on Knight and his emotional and mental healing. Dialogue is at a premium but also takes over during intense moments. I felt there were too many other POVs that derailed the momentum the story was trying to build. There were some issues that didn’t resolve fully for me and I questioned the change in direction and attitude.
Regardless of my qualms, Meade wraps up White Knight to satisfaction and leaves an opening in which to revisit again.
Favorite Quote: “When I’m with you it’s like I’m the person I’m supposed to be and I want that.”
With a young son in tow, Wyatt (Ty) Svenson has stopped running and decided to settle in the small town of Bishop, Arkansa. Fixing motorcycles in his garage helps to keep his hands busy and his mind off the multitude of problems that plague him. When his attractive neighbor comes over to complain about the noise, Ty sees a cold woman who thinks he’s beneath her and welcomes the anger she inspires in him.
Shelby Monroe, the local art teacher, has her life sectioned into boxes that she keeps sealed shut. Trying to deal with her mother’s Alzheimers, an abusive childhood, and a recent meltdown on TV, Shelby is barely hanging on by her fingertips. Heavily attracted to Ty’s bad boy image, her life is just not conducive to any relationships but that doesn’t stop her from wanting just a few carefree nights in Ty’s bed.
Ty isn’t looking for a casual relationship. He doesn’t want to be her dirty little secret. He wants it all with Shelby but first he’ll need to convince her that he and love are worth the risk.
This is my first time reading Molly O’Keefe. While I did not read the first two in this series, this book can be read as a standalone with no issues concerning past characters or storylines.
By the title and cover, I expected a fun and naughty romance contemporary. This story was so much more than that. Dark, edgy, and emotionally turbulent, Between The Sheets is a jewel hidden underneath a false facade. A modern day romance that speaks of second chances, love, heartbreak, redemption, and hope. It portrays three battered souls who must decide if the love they so desperately want is worth the pain that will come from reaching for it.
Heavily character driven, O’Keefe writes a bittersweet love story that doesn’t offer false platitudes towards a happily ever after. Her protagonists have deep issues that affect their lives and the lives of those around them. There is no instant fix or cure. We are assured almost from the beginning that this relationship, should it be successful, will always be a work in progress.
Well written with an emotionally deep and convoluted storyline, it gives an indepth examination of abuse, family, and the multitude pain that comes from both; the situations surrounding Ty and Shelby will bruise your heart. Shelby was raised by an abusive overly religious father. She choose to bury her emotions in order to save her sanity and comes off rather brittle, cold, and self serving at times. Her powerful voice resonates throughout the book, giving us her reasons for the way she is without manipulation. The shield she uses to protect herself is not attractive though as her backstory is revealed, you can easily empathize for why she is the way she is. She was taught to be self contained and it was a painful lesson she learned very well. Dealing with a parent who has Alzheimers only adds to Shelby’s already over flowing plate.
In the heavy dark silence he left behind, she stacked and put away those small desires to be someone else, to want more than she had, and she got back to the business of being Shelby Monroe, Art Teacher. It was enough. And if sometimes she wanted to scream, or cry, or find some stranger to prove to her that she wasn’t totally dead inside or invisible to the world, it was an urge she could easily overcome.
She had overcome worse.
Ty was easier to connect with than Shelby. Her knife sharp edges keeps everyone-readers included-at a safe distance. Ty is a good man whose carefree lifestyle is brought to a halt when a young boy appears out of nowhere, claiming to be his son. Ty learns an on and off again relationship produced a child he was never told about. The mother has been sentenced to prison for a multitude of crimes and leaves Ty struggling to get to know his son. Ty knows it’s time to settle and be the responsible parent his son obviously needs so he picks Bishop and hopes this town can help he and his son heal the breach that exists between them.
“I love you." … Did you hear me? Ty wanted to ask, feeling like somehow saying those words had cleared out part of him. Created a hole that needed if not filling, then at least acknowledgment. But he knew Casey had heard him.
Ty isn’t perfect. He had made mistakes that continue to haunt him to this day but he tries hard to be the best he can with what he has to work with. Ty’s ability to love without constraint is a gift that continuously gives through the story. Ty’s son, Casey, is a sweet mixed up boy whose whole life has been a series of disappointments. A neglectful abusive mother and an absent father has left him emotionally disconnected and in need of therapy. He just wants to be loved and does some questionable things to try and get that love.
At times I felt there was no way Ty and Shelby could make this work. Honestly, by the end of the book I still wasn’t completely convinced but I had hope for them. Ty falls hard for Shelby and steadily chips away at her shell but her emotional distance is hard to deal with. Plus, Ty is fragile in his new status of parenthood. Shelby shuts herself down to those who want to help but she is so gentle and giving with Casey and her kids and you are able to see the remarkable person buried beneath the guilt and shame she wears like a shroud. Oddly enough the deep and sensual intimacy found in here is a result of everything but the physical sex. Not to say the physical scenes aren’t a mixture of dark, hot, erotically stimulating needs and wants. Ty has a bit of a dominant side and Shelby likes having her rigid control ripped away from her in sexual situations.
“He wanted to believe no one had ever had her like this. Ever. Because he’d never been had like this. Ever. All the way. And it wasn’t just sex, it was everything. Every single fucking thing about her.”
O’Keefe takes great pains to show that sometimes the best way, the only way, to show someone you truly care is just by being there whether the other person acknowledges it or not.
The ending was a bit melodramatic in it’s attempt to force a decision in the relationship. It resolves itself on a dime and left me feeling that it was all too easily obtained for such a tremulous journey. Regardless of my issues, Between the Sheets was a pleasant surprise in its content and storyline and I look forward to reading more from Molly O’Keefe.
Favorite Quote: “Nothing about you could ever be ugly to me.”
The third and final installment of Joanna Chamber’s historical M/M romance brings a conclusion to this poignant and sensual love story between two men who defy convention and society’s edicts to be together. Lush emotional scenes and heartfelt declarations only serve to remind us that no matter what gender is being presented, love is a gift and should be viewed as such.
Enlightened picks up five months after Beguiled ended. David was badly injured when he helped a friend escape her abusive marriage. His lover, Lord Mundo, takes David to his country estate to recover and they use the time to indulge in their growing passion far away from prying eyes and judgemental tongues. But David knows something is wrong; Mundo seems to be drifting further away with each passing day. When David’s learns his mentor is dying, David and Mundo travel to London and David agrees to perform one last act to ensure his mentor’s daughter will be safe. While in London Mundo’s father pays a surprise visit and delivers some shocking news that makes David question Mundo and their relationship.
David Laureston, an Edinburgh Advocate, has always been ashamed of his love for men. A complicated man whose sexual preferences have cause him pain and confusion in the past. His ethics continuously war with his passions. He knows he should not be attracted to men but is unable to resist. Especially concerning Lord Mundo. Mundo breaks through David’s walls and has him imaging the seemingly impossible-a lifetime together.
The two were linked, quite inextricably, his affection for Mundo exposing him in ways that horrified him. The protective barriers he’d spent a lifetime building up felt like they were crumbling away in the face of the emotions he was helpless to deny.
Lord Mundo Belfour, a Scottish Lord, was a self proclaimed hedonist who did not see his enjoyment of male companionship as a hindrance to his eventual marriage and procreation of a heir. It was merely an itch to be scratched. David is the only man who has ever made Mundo question his actions and feel something beyond physical attraction.
“I thought you were naive, till you made me see that life I’d always wanted [...] didn’t amount to anything at all. I wasn’t going to have it all. I was going to have nothing. You saved me from that.”
The intense and unavoidable chemistry takes a softer note in here, having gone far beyond the initial base attraction. We are shown the intimacies that exist when two people fall in love. The confusion and conflict our two protagonists struggle with strikes a poignant note in your heart as you wonder how this can possibly work. David’s near death brings out a side of Mundo that both enchants and scares David. Seductive and heartfelt dialogue and actions speak of our lovers deep feelings towards one another.
“So very like you to want to put things right,” Murdo murmured. He turned his head till their eyes met, and his dark gaze was warm with affection. His lips sought David’s, and their mouths moved together in a consoling kiss that had nothing to do with passion. “David,” he said, when they broke apart. “David.” He said David’s name like it meant something all on its own. Like a vow. Like a promise.
The continuing arc comes to a head as David sets in motion a plan that will protect his friends once and for all; helped along by a most unexpected source. Events set in motion by David’s plan creates an unintended domino effect that leads to an exciting and well earned conclusion for this trilogy.
Joanna Chambers’ Enlightened trilogy has been a joy to read and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
Evan Arden is a hit man who is doing penance in the desert for screwing up a hit. Alone besides his dog, Odin, he waits each day for the email telling Evan Arden is a hit man who is doing penance in the desert for screwing up a hit. Alone besides his dog, Odin, he waits each day for the email telling him he can come home. When a woman wanders up to his cabin, lost, he waffles between letting her live or killing her on the spot. Luckily, he lets Lia live and they spend one night together in bed. She leaves the next day to take care of some things but promises to come back. Evan gets his email later that day and leaves her a note telling her he's sorry.
When I picked up this trilogy, I just thought it would be a decent fast read with not much emotional commitment. Truth is, I liked far more then I thought I would. I like Evan. I like his emotional detachment. I like his thoughts, his dialogue, and his struggles. He's a walking contradiction with more baggage then a Samsonite. Having spent 18 months in Iraq as a POW, he was discharged with PTSD among other things. Now working as a hit man for a mob boss, he's a walking time bomb waiting to explode.
Though the novella is short-only 56 pages-you really get a fully bodied story that sets up the hook perfectly....more
This trilogy gets even better with book two. Evan, our hitman, is being to unravel. His PTSD and his increasing feelings for Lia drive him to the poinThis trilogy gets even better with book two. Evan, our hitman, is being to unravel. His PTSD and his increasing feelings for Lia drive him to the point of no return. This one ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. ...more
Enjoyable in that it finally wraps everything up but I really felt the whole story could have been told in one book. Lots of dragging out and rehas3.5
Enjoyable in that it finally wraps everything up but I really felt the whole story could have been told in one book. Lots of dragging out and rehashing of same old issues. Very OTT emotional scenes and plot devices that dragged on from book one and two. ...more
K.L Bromberg’s Fueled KILLED me. Absolutely killed me. Book one, Driven, left us with a HUGE cliffhanger and Fueled opens up right where we left off.K.L Bromberg’s Fueled KILLED me. Absolutely killed me. Book one, Driven, left us with a HUGE cliffhanger and Fueled opens up right where we left off.
Rylee and Colt are back but find that while sex is easy, it’s the emotional ties that build and bind a relationship that may prove to be their undoing. Rylee has guessed what Colt's traumatic childhood entailed and tries to help but even with her education and skills in this area she is having a hard time dealing with Colt as a victim and as her lover. Colt is doing his best to push Rylee away while simultaneously holding her tight in his hot little possessive grip. Some of his behavior is circumspect (and quite douchey)and that hurts Rylee though she understands why he does it. But understanding doesn't always go hand in hand with forgiveness as Colt learns the hard way.
I like that Colt is more open and Rylee is stronger. Bromberg is slowly building their romance though the pitfalls are harsh. I find it telling that while Rylee loves Colt, she isn't willing to destroy herself or him in order for them to be together.
Some humor elevates the storyline but prepare for a lot of angst and anger as these two damaged lovers struggle to find a place for them to co exist. Another cliffie ends the book so some may want to exhibit more self control then moi and wait for the final installment-Crashed-release date to be announced. ...more
Again, Emma's journeys are heartbreaking and I really wish this kid didn't have to face so much. Book ends on a major cliffhanger so once again, bewarAgain, Emma's journeys are heartbreaking and I really wish this kid didn't have to face so much. Book ends on a major cliffhanger so once again, beware. ...more
Egads...it can't end HERE!!! Ack. Need the last one now.
Kat and Sloane's relationship is definitive past the plus one arrangement regardless of whatEgads...it can't end HERE!!! Ack. Need the last one now.
Kat and Sloane's relationship is definitive past the plus one arrangement regardless of what they think. The slow move from lust to love is apparent and well done. I love the personable secondary characters. The add depth to the storyline and provide a healthy balance between the plot and the romance.
Favorite Quote: “ So…you just fuck’em and chuck’em?”
Rylee Thomas lives an orderly controlled life and likes it that way. Working for a non for profit that specializes in helping abused and traumatized orphans, Rylee feels her life is complete.
Until she meets Colton Donovan.
Colton, a playboy race car driver, sees Rylee at a charity auction and decides he wants her in his bed. And Colton always gets what he wants. When Rylee turns down his rather crude offers, he makes a bet with her. By the end of the night, she will accept a date with him. When Colton uses nefarious means to win the bet, Rylee can’t see her way out of it. Rylee isn’t like the women who normally throw themselves at Colton and her rejection of him intrigues him. Colton wants more than just a single date with Rylee so he maneuvers her into spending more time with him by promising to fund her new charity project if she escorts him to every single event involving the project.
Rylee enjoys her time with Colton but his edict that he doesn’t do relationships doesn’t make sense to her and she refuses to be another notch in his belt. As she gets to know the real Colton, her feelings for him grow and she soon finds herself falling for him. But Colton has a dark side and as Rylee begins to get under his skin and closer to his secrets, Colton finds himself willing to do anything to stop her from discovering the truth…even if means destroying them both.
K. Bromberg’s Driven is an emotionally driven romantic contemporary that focuses heavily on the protagonists and their relationship. It’s a story that doesn’t offer us anything new in the bad boy millionaire with hidden secrets meets good girl with hidden secrets trope, yet, there was a certain je ne sais quoi to the story that kept me reading till the very end. It contains a familiarity to it. If EL James’s 50 Shades series and Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series had a baby, this would be the result. A more modernized, less angst driven story. Complete with a 0_0 ending. *thud* This is a trilogy folks, and this first installment ends with that in mind.
Rylee and Colton meet under dubious circumstances. Rylee falls into his arms when he opens the door to a closet she was accidentally locked in. Immediately, there is a potent attraction. He proceeds to get a little too touchy-feely and Rylee shoots him down, having seen him earlier putting the same moves on another woman. Rylee sees him for the womanizer he is and wants nothing to do with him. Of course, his ego can’t handle that and soon the chase is on.
He chases her, insults her, propositions her, and eventually uses her altruism to bind her to him. Now I know many are saying, “Really, Tori? We want to read this…why?” Because Colton’s douchebaggery is epic and is used in a way to highlight his potential. Yes, he’s a playboy and he doesn’t hide it. But he is also honest and upfront with Rylee from the beginning about what he wants, what he expects, and more importantly, what he will never give her. Rylee is just as forthright. She is also intelligent, kind, well off financially, and not looking at Colton with star struck eyes.
“I didn’t know if I want to punch him or fuck him.”
I’m a sucker for the bad boy falls for the good girl storyline and Bromberg does an excellent job solidifying that aspect in our protagonists. I also like the stronger heroine. No wide eyed innocent lip biters in here. Communication is at a premium. I get tired of the never ending internal monologue that often occurs in these stories. The heroine ruminates about how she feels but never tells the hero. We do not see this problem. Rylee is wonderfully verbose. She is upfront and honest about what she expects from a relationship; to both Colton and herself.
“I’ll let you in on a little something as well, Ace. I don’t like being made to feel like I’m sloppy seconds to your bevy of babes. You’re developing a pattern of wanting me right after I know you’ve been with another. That’s a habit you’re going to need to break or nothing else is going to happen here.”
The chemistry between them is undeniably HOT and only made hotter by their caustic interactions. I loved watching their dates. It’s here we see the differences in Colton and what he could eventually become. As we don’t get a clear shot into Colton’s head, we are only privy to his dialogue, the relationship is entirely from Rylee’s POV. Her feelings for Colton progress fast and it was in that aspect the story slipped a little. Too much empathise is placed on the protagonists at the expense of the storyline. A lot of build up and rushed emotional aspects but no real payout. Also, Rylee second guesses herself more as she gets tangled up further with Colton and I really wish she would have stuck to her guns. Some BDSM is alluded too but completely vanilla. If you blink, you’ll miss it. We are introduced to the main conflict(s) and the potential villain but no advancement or explanations. Hopefully, this will be addressed in the next installment.
All in all, I enjoyed Driven. It has a fast paced crack style to it that makes for an engaging read. It hits all the major points of interest. I think a bit more development into the external factors would have benefited the storyline and made it more it’s own. Regardless of any issues I had, I enjoyed the story and the ending definitely guaranteed I will read book two. I must know what happens. Book two, Fueled, releases in August 2013.
Confessions Of An Almost Girlfriend continues the story of Rose Zarelli. Mrs. Rozett brings our MC to life with her engaging narrative-giving us ra4.5
Confessions Of An Almost Girlfriend continues the story of Rose Zarelli. Mrs. Rozett brings our MC to life with her engaging narrative-giving us raging emotions and a general sense of overblown drama that is readily apparent in this age group. High school is such a traumatic, confusing time of life to begin with but Rose also has outside drama that only adds to her emotional turmoil. No topic is off limits for Rose or us. In here we deal with drinking, death, sex, romance, bullying, abuse and everything else that made high school such a large part of our journey to adulthood.
I enjoyed seeing Rose again. Intelligent, clever, and snarky; Rose has a strong sense of self that resonates through the story though continues to experience life through the eyes of a teenager. She pokes at herself in a self deprecating manner that is funny and endearing at time. Rose continues to march to her own beat and has problems with those who want to disrupt her marching. Through out the book we watch as Rose experiences growing pains and tries to be the person she feels she should be rather than what is expected of her.
Rose is not having an easy time of it this year. Jamie Forta, her “almost” boyfriend was taken to jail last year as revenge against dumping his girlfriend, Regina Dalladoe. Since being released from jail, Jamie has vanished with no contact with Rose. When Rose “saves” a boy from being bullied by Regina’s younger brother Conrad, this reopens a war between her and Regina. She is also fighting with her mom, her brother, and her best friend Tracey. I found it very sad that Rose’s attempts to grieve for her father are taken away from her when deemed inappropriate. Rose is expressing herself in a positive manner, seeking to speak to others who have lost someone yet because she is “dwelling on it” she is the one in the wrong.
Jamie is once again an enigma throughout the book. You're never sure exactly where he stands in regards to his feelings for Rose. He comes and goes as he pleases yet just when you and Rose are at your breaking point, he does something so sweet you instantly are caught back into his circle. At times I still felt Jamie was just stringing her along but I can also understand Jamie’s reluctance towards Rose in regards to a romantic relationship. She’s younger than him and far less experienced. Rose though shines as she attempts to understand his motivations and asks hard questions even as she is scared of the answers. I just really wished he would stay or go-I found his actions extremely immature and cruel at times.
Jealousy, bullying and abuse continue to be a strong underlying theme in the book as we watch Rose choose what she feels is the the right decision and is made to pay a heavy price for it. Ms. Rozett writes the situation in a realistic manner that continues to remind you this is a teenager making these decisions.
The ending leaves us on a tiny cliffhanger as Rose is once again left holding the bag and getting blamed for trying to do the right thing. I did like the epilogue and have to say Angelo is one of my favorite characters in here. He is one of the few who accepts Rose just as she is-flaws and all. I’m also looking forward to hearing more about Tracey and Peter and seeing where that goes.
All in all, Confessions Of An Almost Girlfriend will appeal to all ages who enjoy a well narrated YA that embraces individuality while providing a strong defense against the many common issues that plague high schooler. Accented with dashes drama, humor, and romance- you have an entertaining winner. I am looking forward to seeing the conclusion to in book three, title and release date to be announced.
Nom Nom Nom Sloane and Kat are a steamy, hawt couple who's plus one arrangement heats up as the lines blur in their relationship. Not a huge billionaiNom Nom Nom Sloane and Kat are a steamy, hawt couple who's plus one arrangement heats up as the lines blur in their relationship. Not a huge billionaire dominant storyline fan but this one works. Sloane doesn't treat Kat like an idiot and Kat is more then able to hold her own against his strong personality. I like that he always gives her a choice and doesn't hold them against her. ...more
A hot steamy PNR erotic niblet that manages to incorporate a full body story into a small number of pages. Sexy shape shifters, raw emotion, and a bitA hot steamy PNR erotic niblet that manages to incorporate a full body story into a small number of pages. Sexy shape shifters, raw emotion, and a bit of a conflict makes this a fast hot read. ...more
Bold Tricks is a wild roller coaster ride filled with death, violence, and redemption. Book two, Shooting Scars left us with a doozy of a cliffhanger-Bold Tricks is a wild roller coaster ride filled with death, violence, and redemption. Book two, Shooting Scars left us with a doozy of a cliffhanger-both in terms of plot and romance. Who would Ellie pick? Javier-her first love or Camden-the love of her life? Will they find Gus? Ben? Travis? So many questions left rolling through our head but in Bold Tricks, everything is answered. Some are what we wanted to happen, others left me a little uneasy. I loved that Halle stayed true to all three protagonists. None are particularly likable. Violence is a way of life for them and none turn a blind eye or try to rationalize their actions. They do what needs to be done.
Action packed from beginning to end, this twisted labyrinth will leave you wanting more. ...more
Tori: Everyone who has read Karina Halle’s Artist Trilogy has been clutching their pearls in a panic waiting on the release of Shooting Scars. Book one, Sins & Needles, left us literally hanging by our fingertips over a screaming chasm. Shooting Scars picks up right where Sins and Needles left off and takes us on a wild intense ride where lies are spoken, truths revealed, and we learn nothing is ever as it seems.
At the end of Sins & Needles, Ellie left with Javier, her first love and now greatest enemy, in order to save Camden McQueen’s life. Javier claims to want to make her dreams of revenge on Travis a reality though Ellie thinks, and rightly so, that this is not Javier’s end game. Ellie has played the game far too long not know when someone is attempting to run a con on her. As they head to the Mexican border, Javier begins to speak of their time together and what he suffered when she left. We learn the truth of the events in the novella, On Every Street, but rather than make Ellie feel better, it only furthers her conviction that Javier is insane. Once they reach Mexico, Ellie learns exactly what Javier wants her to do and why. Javier has broke from Travis and in retaliation, Travis had one of Javier’s sisters violated and killed. Javier needs Ellie to help him seek his revenge on Travis. He claims only she can get close to Travis and kill him. While Ellie is playing her part, seeking to catch Travis’s attention, Camden and Gus are following close behind, waiting for the perfect opportunity to rescue her. When Camden finds Ellie, he is plagued by dark thoughts and doubts. Is Ellie being held against her will or does she want her old lover back in her arms and bed? When plans change and Ellie finds herself in a dangerous situation, Camden and Javier both ride to her rescue and choices are made that leave you questioning everything you’ve read.
What I truly love about this series is the heroes and heroine are not nice people. They aren’t pillars of society. They make horrible decisions. They lie, cheat, steal, and kill. We aren’t promised rose gardens and sparkly rainbows. Halle has led us into a world of violence and makes us look beyond the artifice and into their souls. She makes no excuses for the screwed morality of these characters. She doesn’t care if their lack of accountability and penchant for criminal activity makes us cringe. She wants us to cringe. She wants us to scream, shout, and cry foul. She wants us to fall off our pedestals of righteousness and wallow in the mud and muck. She demands we accept them for exactly who they are. She dares us fall in love with the bad.
I liked that we were given more of Javier in here. He is essential to the story as Ellie’s past and after reading On Every Street, I needed to know where his head was. His emotional immaturity is quite evident as is his craziness. While I enjoyed his scenes, I also found myself feeling sorry for him. He’s like a child that only sees what he wants and can’t fathom why he is unable to have it. Do I believe he loves Ellie? Yes, in a possessive, “she was mine first” sort of way. I don’t believe he really knows Ellie or her complicated depths. He would rather drag her down to his level in order to keep her chained to his side then allow her to leave for her own good. I believe that is part of the reason he wants Ellie to kill Travis. Once she crosses the line, he figures that will cement her to his side. She will be no better than him.
Camden is an enigma who I feel is essentially good but not above doing dark violent things for those he loves. He has made some terrible decisions in the past but is able to forge ahead without making sad tired excuses for his behavior. He learns from them. And he loves Ellie. Maybe I’m sick, but there was something almost sensual in the way he tortures one of Javier’s men for information on Ellie’s whereabouts. The fact that he was able to acknowledge his distaste for what he was doing but also keep doing it for the woman he loved was mind boggling. I’m so Team Camden.
Mandi: Tori expresses much of my thoughts so I’ll be brief. Edgy is the first word that comes to mind when I read this book. I say edgy because this author give us a hero and heroine who have faults. Many faults. It’s almost like they are both so far from redemption they are perfect for each other. And if that gray area isn’t enough for you, enter Javier. Ellie’s former lover. By all accounts we should hate him. He used Ellie, cheated on her, he kills people, he is an all around bad guy. But Halle takes this grey area and just stretches it out. We now have Ellie, a con artist who doesn’t really feel remorse about the life she has led. Camden, who has this very dark, almost violent side to him. And Javier, the ultimate villain. Or is he? This is where Halle excels. Instead of your normal love triangle, she gives you a story about three people so tightly interwoven, you really aren’t sure how it will all play out.
I ultimately think this is a love story between Ellie and Camden, but this journey of getting to their HEA is a really fun and crazy ride. Oh – and this series is so cracky I can barely stand it!! I love.
The Frozen Star picks up right where The Burning Star left off. Kay has been kidnapped by Lord Donovan and Kira is recovering from the near fatal wounds she received trying to stop him. Kira is the main focal point of this story as we learn how she came to be raised by Lord Donovan and what her connection to Kay is. Now safe and secure in the Seelie castle, Kira is finding her first taste of freedom somewhat stifling.
Kay, waiting for the unknown in Lord Donovan’s dungeon, gains unexpected allies as she tries to figure out what Donovan is planning. Still reeling from learning she is not human and she has powers galore, Kay struggles against her illness while trying to find away to escape and make her way back to her family, friends, and Ryan.
Jessie Lane has upped the ante on her fantasy YA series. More action, intrigue, suspense, violence, and romance permeate this installment. Emotions run high as we learn the of the complicated ties that bind Kay and Kira and Lord Donovan’s end game. Lane continues to manipulate the legends of the fae, borrowing from other fairy tales to create their own version. Crisp concise writing and a fast pace engages the reader from page one. I enjoy the YA tone that the series continues to carry. Still refreshingly barren of the purple prose and huge emotional angst scenes that seem to clutter YA much more often than not. A good balance of suspense and humor goes far in keeping the storyline on an even keel. The world continues to build and evolve with added knowledge and characters.
Kira and Kay’s back stories are incredibly different yet they are very similar personality wise. Kira, like Kay, is strong, committed, and loyal. You get an old soul feeling from her even though she is only seventeen. Her life has aged her both emotionally and mentally. Not raised in the most loving of homes, Kira’s childhood was a study in cruelty. She was raised by Lord Donovan with his malicious son, Cole. Abused and tortured, Lord Donovan systematically stripped her of everything, leaving her an almost empty shell, devoid of even the smallest of emotions. Unlike Kay though, Kira is a warrior. She will not be content sitting safe in the castle while everyone else fights for her safety. This causes some untold problems when Kira’s parentage comes to light and suddenly Kira has a large family that loves and cares for her.
The unsure romantic entanglements from The Frozen Star are sorted out in here. There are multiple romances that sweep through the book offering hope and humor to lighten the dark undertones. The romances are sweet, heartfelt, and undeniably YA which worked perfectly with the tone of the book. Prince Kane is undeniably a romantic as he tries to convince Kira she is the only one for him and shows her in a manner that can’t be ignored. Ryan is heartbroken Kay is gone but receives a gift, proving to Ryan that she is indeed his soul mate. Even Nick finds love with a prickly fae but certain events keep the reader unsure if they are meant to be.
The main conflict is supported by various subplots but easily contained in that the storylines are told primarily from Kira and Kay’s viewpoints. The shifts are easy to follow with no lag time or confusion. Through the girls we learn the source of Lord Donovan vendetta and what his future plans are. Some new characters are introduced to help widen the scope of the world while some are lost. I enjoyed seeing familiar faces and getting to know them better. Prince Kane has to be my favorite. He’s so open and the perfect foil for the darker more somber Kira.
Lane once again systemically resolves the main conflict with the appropriate means, leaving us some what shocked and dismayed by some of the results. We are left with a cliffhanger but not a major one.
The Frozen Star more than answered the challenge left by The Burning Star and is perfect for those YA readers who enjoy a steady diet of dreamy boys, action packed adventures, and diabolical villains in their paranormal diet. I look forward to the next and I look forward to book three, the final installment, title and release date to be announced.
Cynthia Edens makes a successful transition from adult to YA in her debut trilogy. The Better To Bite, book one, centers around high school junior, AnCynthia Edens makes a successful transition from adult to YA in her debut trilogy. The Better To Bite, book one, centers around high school junior, Anna Lambert, who's move to her father's home town and opens old wounds when she discovers that her father hasn't been completely honest with her. Secrets shroud the town as Anna struggles with a new school and finding herself in the sights of not one but two popular, good looking boys. A series of killings has Anna suddenly looking at her new home with new eyes. Is the killer a stranger...or is the monster right under her nose?
A delightfully dark character driven storyline; well plotted with a suspenseful edge that kept me reading and guessing the whole time. I'm looking forward to book 2-The Better To Howl. ...more