Book Review – Beautifully Broken by Laura Lee

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TITLE: Beautifully Broken
AUTHOR: Laura Lee
PAGES:  326 pages
PUBLISHED: November 15th 2016
PUBLISHER: LAN Fiction LLC
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Forbidden Romance

MY RATING: 4/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

The story begins with our heroine Kat, drinking in a seedy bar on her 18th birthday when she meets Gavin. Or “Sparkles” as Kat dubbed him. We learn quickly that Kat has had a tough life. She has been in the foster system since she was a kid, never knew her dad, and has a heroin-addicted mother who is barely present in her life. Tonight she is trying to forget her problems and Gavin seems like the perfect distraction. Their attraction to one another is off the charts and neither of them can deny it.

Kat goes home with him and lies about her age and turns every question he asks –like what she does for work – into a game so he barely knows anything about her. Imagine his surprise when a few days later she is sitting in his classroom and Gavin a.k.a. Sparkles is also Mr. Cooper her English teacher! They both try to deny their attraction and know their situation is wrong even though he didn’t know she was in high school and she is eighteen, but fighting their feelings is harder than they thought.

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MY REVIEW:

When I first saw this book and all the 5 star reviews I was a little skeptical. The premise of a forbidden romance between teacher and student isn’t something I normally find appealing to read but something compelled me to pick this up and I am glad I did! This book definitely goes down as a guilty pleasure read.

Kat was really an amazing character. Life threw her so many curve balls and she took everything in stride. She was even more mature than Gavin in certain parts of the novel. And even though parts of her were broken, Gavin’s constant reassurance of telling her she is worthy of love and respect helped her feel whole again. It was such a feel good novel in that aspect even though there was a ton of seriously dark drama. This was definitely more real than I thought it would be from the blurb, which was a good thing. The dialogue was very well written as well. Their flirty banter was cute and believable and Kat and her friends acted and talked like real eighteen year olds.

I also liked the non-judgemental aspect of stripping in the novel. Kat described most of her coworkers as being college students just trying to earn a quick buck so they can advance in life. We find that some of the girls that have worked there have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, veterinarians etc. Although I think this is not the case for many strip joints, I think it is still a good lesson that you shouldn’t judge someone for where their life leads them.

I know some readers have a hard rule with cheating and I think this may blur the line….Just a forewarning but (view spoiler). Decide what you will about that. I didn’t mind but I know others consider once the two main characters have had any kind of physical contact another woman/man in the picture is unacceptable.

I was also really frustrated with the ending. I could completely understand Kat’s POV and why she chose what she did but Gavin really had no excuse.

Overall this was a really interesting and angsty read. If you are looking for serious drama but with a HEA then this is the book for you! Thank you Netgalley, LAN Fiction LLC, and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) for providing this novel in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review – Thirst by Jacquelyn Frank

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TITLE: Thirst (The Energy Vampires #1)
AUTHOR: Jacquelyn Frank
PAGES:  279 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: January 17th 2017
PUBLISHER: Loveswept
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Adult, Vampires

MY RATING: 3/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

Our story begins when Renee Holden, a tough cop in New York City, is called to investigate a murder. The only witness claims that the perpetrator is a vampire and when she explains the body they find two puncture marks on the victim’s neck. Slightly disturbed by this information Renee goes with the angle of someone who is a delusional vampire-fanatic who pretends he actually is one. Because vampires don’t exist.

But of course they do because Rafe DaSilva is an energy vampire who feeds off of human’s energy instead of blood and he is currently stalking Renee. He knows who killed the victim and he has to make sure Renee is safe and also doesn’t come to discover that vampires are real as she investigates the murder.

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MY REVIEW:

I just could not connect with this novel. I’ll admit that I had to skim read quite a bit near the end just to finish. The dialogue between Renee and Rafe was so stilted and unnatural. At first I thought maybe the author was trying to make Rafe sound formal because he was so old but it just did not work for me. And Renee didn’t seem to stay true to her character many times in the novel. We establish right away that she is a tough detective that has a strong attitude but then she does so many shy and fearful things later on in the novel that had me scratching my head.

The romance was sweet once they got to know each other better but the insta-love at the end was a bit much. Yes, they had been through a lot together in such a short period of time but it was still plain ol’ insta-love.

The crime/mystery aspect to the story was fairly interesting but the origin story had me rolling my eyes. It is definitely original but it was quite silly. Even the whole idea of e-vamps that don’t actually drink blood, but drink energy, was a bit much for me.

Overall it was an okay read but I won’t be continuing the series. I normally love paranormal/urban-fantasy novel so I would still recommend this to other that love that genre but this just did not work for me!

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Book Review – P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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TITLE: P.S I Like You
AUTHOR: Kasie West
PAGES:  330 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: July 26th 2016
PUBLISHER: Point
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

MY RATING: 4/5 birds
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SUMMARY:

Our story starts off with Lily, an aspiring songwriter, trying to balance her friends, school, and her chaotic family. She wants to enter a songwriting competition but isn’t completely confident in herself. While in her most hated class, chemistry, she sees a note under her desk and starts writing letters to an unknown student who shares her unique taste in music and they both reveal personal issues in their life. When Lily finds out the writer is male she starts falling for the mysterious student and wonders who it could be.

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MY REVIEW:

This is the second book I have read by Kasie West and I completely understand why she has such a following. This book was super adorable and absolutely perfect for Romance Week on Goodreads.

The guy writing the notes to Lily is very predictable from the beginning which was a bit of a letdown but thankfully the author doesn’t make us “guess” for long and soon Lily must face the real person against the person she imagined writing the letter.

It was a really cute novel and I absolutely loved Lily’s crazy family. I feel like they really made the novel. Her parents were funny with their little competitions, her little brothers were adorable but also realistically written, and their pet rabbit just puts a massively adorable bow on the entire thing.

It had a lot of clichés and wasn’t a unique plot but I like the idea of not judging someone until you really know them. People are complex, and while I don’t condone bullies at all, sometimes people act out for a reason.

The only thing that really made it lose one star was that I did not like the ending. It seemed very abrupt. I wish we could have found out if Lily won the songwriting contest. Her relationship also doesn’t really have a HEA and it felt like a cliffhanger.

Overall it was perfect for Romance Week and definitely a fluffy feel-good read!

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ARC Book Review -Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah’s Scribbles)

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TITLE: Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah’s Scribbles)
AUTHOR: Sarah Andersen
PAGES:  128 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: March 7th, 2016
PUBLISHER: Andrews McMeel Publishing
GENRE: Graphic Novel/Comic Book, Humor, Non-Fiction

MY RATING: 5/5 birds
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MY REVIEW:

I received this as an ebook and I’m so curious if this will have that same velour fuzzy stuff on the cover that the first novel had. That stuff was the best.

Much like the first comic book of Sarah’s Scribbles, I feel like all introverts need to read this. Sarah Andersen is so relatable it’s mind-blowing. Even things that don’t have to do with being introvert or having social anxiety were relatable to me. Like how she always steals her boyfriend’s clothes (hmm big sweaters) and the panel that describes all the alternative things a boyfriend brings to the relationship (I checked off each one). It feels like Sarah Andersen knows you personally, which makes me happy because it reminds me that even if I often feel alone in this world there are many people who do think/act like me.

Even though there were a few panels that were very similar to previous ones I felt like the entire book was more inspiring than the last. I loved all of the female friendship positivity.

And I might be an outlier here but I think I like this one better than her first book. Maybe just marginally as I gave them both 5 stars. Sarah you can do no wrong!

P.S. I would also like to know how some girls have beautiful hair after four days of not washing. I’m definitely the second-day = gross hair type person. No amount of dry shampoo can tame these locks.

*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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ARC Book Review – A Long Walk Home by Piper Landen

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TITLE: A Long Walk Home
AUTHOR: Piper Landen
PAGES:  166 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: December 27th 2016
PUBLISHER: Patchwork Press
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Animals

MY RATING: 3/5 birds

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SUMMARY:

For Romance Week on Goodreads I decided to pick up this cute short novel from NetGalley. The story started off with Casey finding a stray dog in a park and deciding to take him home. Casey has no experience with dogs and is very unsure. She contacts a rescue agency and works with them to find a home for the stray dog that they end up calling Baloo. Casey decides, with her roommate’s consent, that she will foster Baloo until he finds a permanent home.

Casey goes back to the park to hand out flyers if anyways knows Baloo and meets a gorgeous runner named Charlie. She keeps running into him until he asks her out. It’s a cute (somewhat cliché) meet cute.

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MY REVIEW:

Overall the novel is exactly what you expect. It is only 160 pages long (ebook) and very adorable, with lots of little antics by Baloo and insta-love.

I didn’t really enjoy the writing as I found it a bit disjointed and too formal. There were massive walls of text just explaining Casey’s day and what the dog was going in too much detail that had no action or dialogue to break it up.

The dialogue between Casey and Charlie was also a bit awkward. I didn’t understand some of the “jokes” and conversations they had. For example when she first texted Charlie he asked if she had any dietary restrictions (which I assume to mean vegan or something) and she answers “Once upon a time, I did the paleo thing, back when I was exercising for fun, like a maniac (no offense). But I got past it. All food is good food as far as I’m concerned.”

Huh? Why does she say ‘no offense’? Is it because she always sees him running and assumes he is an exercising maniac? Because she used the word maniac? This was just an example of many dialogues that I did not understand in this novel.

I thought Charlie and Casey’s first date was actually really cute but unfortunately I didn’t actually like Charlie at all. He seemed to have quite the temper and I didn’t like how he got mad so fast and didn’t hear Casey out. I didn’t actually get a sense of a HEA here which is bit disappointing, especially in a romance novel.

Because this novel was so short it suffered because I don’t recall Casey every talking about what she did for work/school and she seemed to either be hanging out with Baloo at home, with Charlie, watching Netflix and it seemed really unrealistic. Charlie’s occupation wasn’t mentioned either. I felt like I really didn’t to know the characters well at all.

Overall, despites its flaws this was a very quick and cute read. Perfect for Romance Week on Goodreads!

*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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Book Review – Flawed

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**ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

TITLE: Flawed (Ethan Frost #4)
AUTHOR: Tracy Wolff
PAGES:  255 pages
EXPECTED PUBLICATION: January 17, 2017
PUBLISHER: Loveswept
GENRE: New Adult, Romance, Enemies to Lovers, My Best Friend’s Brother Romance

MY RATING: 3/5 birds

Rating - 3 Bird

SUMMARY:

The novel begins with our heroine and socialite, Tori Reed, on an exceedingly horrible blind date. The night keeps going from bad to worse until Tori is out on the streets and disowned from her family due to her past relationship ending up in the press. This means no more trust fund, car, clothes, and even shoes! Barefoot and wearing last night dress Tori lifts her head high and plans to hide out at her best friend’s house unless the media dies down only to find it is already occupied by her bff’s older brother Miles Girard, whom she hates with a passion. Soon the passion for destruction turns into another kind of passion but can Miles deal with Tori’s behaviour and help her when she has lost it all?

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MY REVIEW:

I wasn’t crazy about this book but it wasn’t terrible either. There were elements I liked and I did read it quite quickly but overall the book fell flat and there were elements of the story that really irritated me. Maybe people who have read the series from the beginning might feel differently and have more loyalty to the characters? I have to say the author did a great job with making me feel like I wasn’t missing anything even though I am reading the series out of order.

I really enjoyed the “enemies to lovers” aspect of the novel. I really like these types of books and the sexual tension between Tori and Miles was explosive! Unfortunately the characters were sorely lacking depth which was disappointing. Tori was incredibly hard to relate to. She is a whiny socialite who basically had everything handed to her through her trust-fund, and while I like reading strong and sometimes loud personalities, she just took her bitchy attitude to another level and was so mean to Miles for absolutely no reason. The book felt like a rollercoaster to crazy-town…the fights between her and Miles felt manufactured to create drama just to have drama.

It is also fun sometimes to read about rich people (I mean the billionaire genre trope exists for a reason in romance novels) but I found this just did not work for me. There was no redeeming or relatable quality to Tori as she is an adult but doesn’t work, has a nice apartment her trust fund paid for, car, multiple credit cards, and so when her father kicked her out I did feel a little bad for her because it was so dramatic (I mean, not even letting her get changed? Or get shoes?) but it was still hard to muster up total sympathy for the stereotypical “poor little rich girl”.

I also feel like the author could have taken the topic of revenge porn, sex tapes, and rape further. She spent many pages going over it in both Miles and Tori’s perspective but it felt incredibly shallow. The inner monologues were very repetitive. It was also very convenient that Miles was this mega-genius and he essentially [caught Alexander for a sexual assault he committed years ago (hide spoiler)]. I just felt like it was so over the top. It kind of throws it in the face of real rape victims (like the real case the author mentioned in the novel) who have to deal with the terrible reality that their perpetrators may never go to jail and there may never be justice. Unfortunately that is the reality of life today. But suddenly here comes the hero…it’s just another version of the damsel in distress and how the Hero saved the day. Tori did a lot of talking about how she wanted to be more independent in her life and maybe even speak out about her experience and help others, but then she didn’t actually do anything but rehashed the same arguments with Miles over and over again.

I was especially confused because in Chapter 20 Tori says she has an interview tomorrow afternoon at a local TV station but then we don’t hear anything about it? She gets mad at Miles and runs away to Chloe’s house, does she just blow off the interview?

I thought the author had the perfect opportunity in the epilogue to say something about Tori become a spokesperson or advocate but it just focused on their romance. It was cute and we got the HEA but still….very shallow.

Speaking of the romance…yikes. The insta-love was crazy in this novel. It really just killed the novel for me. ? I would have been completely fine with Miles and Tori just committing to a real relationship than saying “I love you” after four days together.

As for Miles I didn’t dislike him as much as Tori but she kind of rubbed off on him because I had to wonder what he saw in Tori? He goes and does nice things for her and she repays him by screaming in his face, calling him names and just acting like a huge immature brat. If I was Miles I would have seen all of this as huge red flags and realised I don’t have to be with someone who throws temper tantrums at every turn but when confronted immediately plays the victim role.

In terms of the steamy scenes which I know many of us read these novels basically for that, as I said above the sexual tension was very well done and the first sex scene was very steamy but then it really tapered off for me. In particular the kissing was over-described and I really did not enjoy how much he licks her gums…haha it was just weird but to each their own!

Also very minor but did anyone else notice what Ethan said about the blind dates he and Chloe set Tori up on?! I thought it was so horrible that her best friend and husband intentionally set her up on horrible dates because they “hoped that she would get together with Miles”! That some crazy manipulative shit! If my friends did that to me I would be so pissed off.

All in all I think if you don’t mind very loud, brash personalities then Tori won’t bother you and if you want to read something a little more on the shallow side and just for the romance then I would recommend this. Other than that I think it was a decent read but I am not tempted to read the rest of this series.

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Book Review -Dream of You (Wait for You, #4.5)

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TITLE: Dream of You (Wait for You, #4.5)
AUTHOR: Jennifer L. Armentrout (also known as J. Lynn)
PAGES:  131 pages
PUBLISHED: June 23rd, 2015
PUBLISHER: Evil Eye Concepts Inc
GENRE: Novella, Romance, New Adult

MY RATING: 4/5 birds

Rating - 4 Bird

 

SUMMARY:

This novella is #4.5 in the Wait For You Series, but it is also novella #9 in the 1001 Dark Nights series. I hadn’t heard of this series before but you can find a list of each novella here, which includes authors Lexi Blake, Shayla Black, Larissa Ione, Lara Adrian, Carrie Ann Ryan, Jennifer Probst, and many more! It looks like this novella is featured in [Book: 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Six (1001 Dark Nights)] which also features novellas by Lorelei James, Alexandra Ivy, Laura Wright, and Donna Grant. I think this is such a cool idea, short novellas that are inspired by The Arabian Nights: Tales from 1001 Nights, which is about a wife’s desperate attempts to entertain her husband, the King of Persia, with nightly stories so that he will postpone her execution in the morning.

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MY REVIEW:

I really did enjoy this book but it didn’t reach full five star status due to a few things. First, I really did not like when our heroine Abby, who is an editor, starts talking about real authors such as Jamie McGuire and brings up the “Maddox Boys”. I don’t think I am using this correctly but I was very uncomfortable with the “breaking of the fourth wall” that happened. Not sure if that is the right context but I am not exactly sure how else to explain it. What I mean is it really took me out of the story and the character and made me very aware that this is a novel written by an author. I started thinking about Jennifer Armentrout and if she’s friends with McGuire? Does she even know the author? Was she trying to be popular bringing the “Maddox Brothers” into the novel or something? I don’t know, it just really jarred me.

Even though this is a short book and I could have read it in one sitting I actually put the book down after that scene and went to sleep. I am so glad I did that because when I started reading fresh again I wasn’t irritated at all about the author name-dropping and started to enjoy the novel. Colton was such a sweetheart and totally crush-worthy. I liked Abby but I am glad this was a novella because I don’t think I could have taken her neurotic thoughts and self-doubt for an entire novel. Colton really made the entire thing and I thought they were such a cute couple. The ending, when (view spoiler) was very interesting and created a bit of spice at the end of a typical HEA story.

Only other criticism I can think of is this would have been interesting from Colton’s POV. I know that isn’t really the author’s style. The novels in this series are the female main character’s POV only (unless it’s an alternative perspective novel like Trust in Me (Wait for You #1.5) which is in Cameron’s POV) but I feel like I would have enjoyed seeing Colton’s perspective.

I am excited to continue the series and read Forever with You (Wait for You #5) which is from Stephanie’s perspective. I had to look back to even remember who she is, so if you forgot as well, she is the girl that Cameron and Jase were hooking up with and is Teresa’s roommate. I honestly can’t remember anything about her so we’ll see how this goes!

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