(Book Tag) Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Thanks to Geri The Racy Lit Reader for tagging me in this book tag! You can read her Game of Thrones version here.

To play this book tag, you need to…

1) Pick a TV show
2) then use gifs, memes, etc of that show to describe books and characters
It’s as easy as that – Here we go.

I used Buffy the Vampire Slayer gifs as it’s one of my all time favorite series, and I’ve watched it so many times I can remember the good scenes.

1.  Name your favorite author that you’d do anything to meet her/him in person.

Since I’ve already met JK Rowling, I would love to meet either Kristen Ashley or Samantha Young. I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many authors and those 2 I haven’t yet. And I love almost all of their books.

2.  Name the book that made you question your sanity.

Gone Girl. And not in a good way. That book was all kinds of fucked up and not my cup of tea.

3.  Name your number one book boyfriend.

Cam from Wait For You. Hands down. Love that man and his cookies.

4.  Name the ARC (Advance Reader Copy) you’ve received that made you super excited.

Deep by Kylie Scott. I love that series and so many people were rejected for arcs that I was flattered to have received one from the tour group. It was the first moment I felt like a real blogger.

5.  Name the book/series you literally devoured.

My most recent book series I devoured was the Elements of Chemistry series by Penny Reid. Loved it!!! So so good.

6.  Name the last book that left you with a huge book hangover.

Technically the same answer as #5, but the one before that was Five Ways to Fall by KA Tucker.

7. Name the most unexpected plot in a book you’ve ever read.

Consequences when she married the psycho. Like seriously? Bitch you be crazy he’s insane!!!

8. Name an addition to a series that you didn’t expect and made you super happy.

So it technically isn’t out yet, but I am super excited for Carry On by Rainbow Rowell which is a spinoff on the fan fiction from her book Fangirl!

 

Some extra questions you can use:

•Name the book boyfriends you’d totally would love to see all together in the same book.
•Name one character you’d fight your ass off for him/her.
•Name your favorite stand alone series.
•Name the hottest book you’ve ever read.

 

I tag Jasmine and Allison from The Reading Escapade book blog, and Angela from Feeding My Addiction book blog!

 

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Capture

Capture (Elements of Chemistry #3) by Penny Reid

6 “gah right in the feels” stars!

“I don’t want a beautiful week with you. I want a beautiful lifetime.”

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I LOVED THIS SERIES!! Something about it just fit my preferences perfectly. I am always on the lookout for books that have the right kind of angst and this was the perfect fit!

Capture begins a few months after Martin and Kaitlyn have broken up with no contact at all between either of them. Kaitlyn has taken a semester off of school and taken up a job as a piano player in a group and another job as a barista. She didn’t want her parents to support her, so she’s doing in on her own. Kaitlyn wanted time to discover herself and what she wanted since she had been repressed for so long.

“I wanted to explore this part of myself for me, not in spite of or because of another person. If I was going to change my style or add to it, I wanted to do it because of how it made me feel. Not because I wanted to make someone else feel better or view me differently.”

About 8-9 months after last seeing Martin, Kaitlyn runs into him at an event. Things are a bit awkward and she leaves thinking that was her closure. But soon after Martin appears back in her life saying he wants to be friends. So as friends, around the holidays Kaitlyn stays with Martin in his apartment in New York while working at parties. But as she spends more time with Martin, Kaitlyn realizes she cannot just be friends, but can they go back to being something more?

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I think I’ve been a bit obvious about how much I love these books, and I did! I get that they’re not for everyone, but they worked for me. I loved that it wasn’t just a romance but was about two people discovering new things about themselves and having it change their lives. If Kaitlyn had never met Martin, she may have not followed her dreams and kept everything to a scientific level.

I also tend to love angst brought on by misunderstandings so I loved reading in this book how clueless Kaitlyn was. I thought it was kind of cute (but maybe because I am a bit clueless with men myself). I liked that this book was about the two of them getting to know each other and learning their motivations for previous actions in the past books. Like where they were right and where one or both of them went wrong. A week wasn’t enough to build a lasting relationship foundation, but in this book they had the time to learn more about each other.

“Maybe love, at its essence, is being a mirror for another person—for the good parts and the bad. Perhaps love is simply finding that one person who sees you clearly, cares for you deeply, challenges you and supports you, and subsequently helps you see and be your true self.”

Overall, this is my favorite series of 2015. I loved all three books (which is rare) and I got to devour them all at once. Like seriously, I was at a concert last night so I switched my kindle phone app to the black setting and hid my phone and was reading this at a concert. A Deftones concert. (Look them up, that wasn’t easy). Granted I was waiting for Incubus to come on but still!

Heat

Heat (Elements of Chemistry #2) by Penny Reid

5 Barnacle stars!

“We can’t change the past. But we can change how much importance we allow it to have over our future.”

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OMFG THE SHIT IS BANANAS- B-A-N-A-N-A-S!!!! Loved it!!!!!!

Okay over here just freaking out a little. By my reaction and rating I bet you can tell I loved this book (and I did). WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS SERIES?????

Okay okay I’ll calm down a bit, I promise. For now.

Heat picks up where Attraction left off with Martin and Kaitlyn resolving a misunderstanding and then going about their business while on the island on spring break. As the two of them get to know each other in what Kaitlyn calls relationship boot camp, things are beginning to heat up between the two of them. Both have barriers built, but the other does their best to knock them down. And pretty soon feelings of attraction develop into something deeper.

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First off, I love stories where the guy pursues the reluctant girl. Most romances involve a girl somewhat taming the playboy and for once it’s nice to see the guy doing the work. Plus, being a nerdy girl myself, it struck close to my heart that Martin went after the nerdy girl with barriers and he went after her hard.

“I like you because you are Kaitlyn—genuine, beautiful, brilliant, amazing Kaitlyn—not because you’re Kaitlyn Parker. And I’m in love with you because I can’t help myself.”

Now for my favorite part of the book. THE ANGST. I basically eat angst for all my meals (including second breakfast, first lunch and predinner).
This is what I look like eating angst:

For realz yo.

While this book still had its comedic moments, the tone turned a bit more serious as it went on because it delved into the issues surrounding Kaitlyn and Martin’s lives. Martin has a real dick of a father, like the type of people who should be forever stuck in torture lands where they hear fingernails on the chalkboard sounds 24/7.

Kaitlyn struggles with believing that Martin really wants her for her and that this relationship could be real. The two seem to be on different wavelengths at times with Martin at full speed ahead and Kaitlyn dropping her anchor to slow down. I have to agree with her on many of the issues Martin was moving too fast, but his heart was in the right place.

“I’m not trying to hurt you. I just want us to be—”
“Smart,” he finished for me, his resentful gaze softening as it moved over my face. ” I know. You always want to be smart and do the right thing. But the problem is, Parker… I just want you.”

Having only read 2 Penny Reid books before this series, and enjoying but not loving them, I can say for sure with this series I am a convert. Thanks again to Dee, Jasmine and Sharon for the series recommendation! You ladies rock!

And thanks to Jas from The Reading Escapade Book Blog for fielding all my texts LMAO!
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Attraction

Attraction (Elements of Chemistry #1) by Penny Reid

4.5 synonym stars!

“Is a chameleon a coward because it can change its color? No. It’s evolved and awesome.”

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Okay at first I was kicking myself for not having read this sooner, but after the cliffhanger that was the ending boy am I glad that I waited until this series was finished! I can jump right into the next book! And also, a small shout out to Dee, Jasmine and Sharon, all three of whom recommended me this series at one point. I really was listening! I mean 3 recs people, that’s pretty promising. I will give each of you credit for every book (Dee first because she rec’d it first).

THIS WAS THE PERFECT BOOK TO SUIT MY MOOD! Like seriously. After DNFing my last book I needed something that could hold my attention and this book was it! I honestly was giggling and laughing out loud while reading this.

“You’ll have to read the book, and don’t interrupt me. It’s distracting enough looking at you. You’ve already derailed my brain train with your face several times.”

Attraction drops us right at the beginning of the story of Parker and Martin. The two are lab partners and one day when hiding in the closet of the chem lab, Parker overhears two people plotting against her very hot lab partner Martin. In an attempt to warn him, she finds out that he’s been attracted to her the entire time they’ve worked together. A girl who likes to blend in Parker wears baggy clothes and does her best to fade in the background, but somehow rich guy playboy sees Parker for who she really is, and wants more.

Soon Martin has coerced her onto a Spring Break trip where Parker is swept up into a whirlwind of new emotions and experiences. But can she really let herself fall for the mysterious bad guy Martin?

“He was so handsome I felt like filing a civil lawsuit against his parents, claiming punitive damages, pain and suffering to my psyche.”

Penny Reid’s author voice is one of the best ones out there. She manages to write seemingly real characters and adds a layer of humor to it all. I loved Parker’s inner thoughts and her reactions to all of her new scenarios, it easily put a gigantic smile on my face.

I also liked the mysterious Martin and want to learn more about him and his motivations. He seems to genuinely like our heroine and goes after what he wants. For a shorter novel a lot of good stuff was crammed in and I cannot wait to read the next book! (When I should be writing my thesis *wah wah*)

“I will die happy here, today, in this spot,” she sighed. “In your puddle of lust.”
“Leave my puddle of lust alone. Get your own puddle.”

Purchase on Amazon

Five Ways to Fall

Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths #4) by K. A. Tucker

4.5 stars!

“If you have to fight over a guy, he’s not worth it. Go for the one who’s waiting for you.”

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The fourth and final book in this series, Five Ways to Fall is the story of the bouncer Ben from Penny’s, and wild child Reese. The two meet while on vacation in Cancun, and a horribly embarrassing sexual encounter ensues, leaving Ben wondering where the girl with purple streaks in her hair went. A few weeks later and Ben shows up to his new job as a lawyer and discovers Reese is a paralegal at his new firm.

The two embark on a snarky friendship, with Ben being his usual horny self and Reese fending off his advances. Reese recently divorced her husband who she caught cheating on her, and well, she lost her shit. Trashed his apartment and escaped charges being filed against her, Reese is putting her life back together by working for her former stepfather. So while Reese isn’t looking for any kind of relationship, Ben is looking for someone with no strings attached. The friendship between the two remains borderline “with benefits” status.

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I gotta say, I really loved this wrap up to the series. The first three books had such a serious tone, and having Ben and Reese as the main characters added a lightness that weren’t in the previous books. After meeting Ben in book 1, I always hoped he would get a girl who would tie him down, and Reese was his perfect match. She was wild enough to keep him on his toes, she didn’t take his crap and called him on his corniness at times. The two of them loved spending time together and didn’t play games. They saw what they wanted and went after it.

“Have you always loved yourself this much?”
“I had an awkward year in ‘ninety-nine, but I got over it quick.”

I loved the development of the relationship between the two of them. They genuinely didn’t mean for anything more serious, but as they spent more time together that changed. There was also very low angst in this book which was very much appreciated. I don’t think over the top drama was this couple’s style and to add any in this book wouldn’t have done right by them. And I have to say KA Tucker is fantastic at writing characters with so much depth, I honestly felt like Reese and Ben were real people I would know.

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This was an all out genuine friends to lovers story. Yes there was an attraction between the two, but with the development of feelings it was a wonderful slow building romance. This was the perfect end to one of my favorite new adult series.

**sidenote: I really want Nate to get his own book. Is that at all possible?

“I want your womanizing mama’s-boy football-player butt all to myself and if I catch you with any Twinkies or beautify queens or anyone else, you’d better run fast because I will hunt you down.”

Four Seconds to Lose

Four Seconds to Lose (Ten Tiny Breaths #3) by K. A. Tucker

4 stars!

“I believe some people are inherently evil.
I believe guilt is a powerful motivator.
I believe redemption is something you can strive for but never fully achieve.
I believe second chances exist only in dreams, never in reality.
I believe you don’t have years, or months, or weeks to impact a person’s life.
You have seconds.
Seconds to win them over, And seconds to lose them.”

I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to read this book. Ten Tiny Breaths is one of my all times favs, and I loved One Tiny Lie. I liked Cain, but for some reason set this book aside, until now.

Cain is the owner of a strip club called Penny’s in Miami, but he’s a good guy and not a sleazy one. Cain takes care of his employees and doesn’t exploit them. Charlie is applying for a job at Penny’s, and she’s got a huge amount of secrets around her. From the moment they see other, Cain and Charlie feel an attraction but neither of them are willing to act on that attraction.

“She’s the woman who stole my heart right out from me before I even realized she had her hands on it.”

Night after night Charlie dances, and she teases Cain. Every night he watches her but doesn’t act. As time goes by tension builds up and the two must decide whether to give in to the attraction or let each other go.

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I really enjoyed this book. The beginning was a little bit slow for me but once the book gained some speed I couldn’t put it down. KA Tucker seems to thrive on characters with secrets and boy did Charlie and Cain have secrets. I liked Charlie as a main character, a girl who feels a lot but is not expressive, making her mysterious to other characters but not to the reader.

“For all that I hate about what I’ve done, there’s one thing I can’t regret. It led me to him.”

I also really liked getting some character development on Cain. He’s been present in the last two books but never a central character, and I’m glad his story was told. He wasn’t the most moral or perfect man, but he genuinely wanted to make amends for his past and was a good man to everyone around him.

This book was a bit steamier than the last two which was a bit of an added bonus. TTB was fairly fade to black if I recall and I’m glad the author didn’t do that in this book. The age difference between Charlie and Cain also didn’t bug me too much, Charlie may have been young but had the soul of someone who was older.

“I’m not afraid of anything, yet I think I’m afraid of Charlie. Not afraid of her. Afraid of having her. Of losing her.”

Overall like I said I enjoyed this one. It didn’t pack the same emotional punch as the first two but was still a great addition to the series and definitely worth a read.

 

Deacon

Deacon (Unfinished Hero #4) by Kristen Ashley

3.5 Beautiful war stars

“Badasses know what they want, definitely know what they need, and don’t settle for anything less.”

At the age of twenty four Cassidy took out a loan and bought a small smattering of 11 run down cabins in the Colorado Mountains. This story takes place over the next 6-8 years and while Cassidy is slowly fixing up the place, she has one returning customer, and that’s the brooding and mysterious John Priest. He’s gruff, doesn’t speak much, and a little bit rude. But there’s a draw between John and Cassidy, and over the years as he keeps coming back to Glacier Lily (the name of the cabins), the two begin to give in.

Cassidy knew from the first moment she saw him he was dead inside, she just didn’t know how far gone he really was. Can Cassidy save him from himself? Or will he break her in the process?

“Woman, if you don’t already know that you’ve been on my mind every day for the last six years, I got no clue how to communicate that to you. Now that I’ve had you, that shit has not changed. It’s just got worse.”

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I enjoyed this book I really did, but being The Queen of romance that Kristen Ashley is, this series is not my favorite by her. Yes, it’s a little darker and has a lot more kinky sex, but her usual depth was missing for me with this one. Maybe because the plot was so centralized around these two characters? All in all this book is a great example of same formula and different character names with more kinky sex.

Plus, those of you who know me well know my golden rule: You fuck up, then you’d better fucking grovel. And I’m sorry but in my honest opinion, Deacon was forgiven for his actions WAY too easily. I understand how messed up he was and why, and he did his best to mend fences, but I lose all respect for the main female characters when they just give in and take a dude back. To me it makes them a little bit more of a doormat.

“You’re a vulnerability,” he ground out. “My vulnerability. I have no vulnerabilities. I spent years shavin’ every last one away from me so there was nothin’ left. Now I got one, a big one, and I do not give one fuck.”

Not to go on about what I didn’t like so here are some positives: I love stories about messed up men. Cassidy didn’t fix Deacon all by herself but she led him on the path back to a good life and back to being the good man he once was. Cassidy worked her ass off to succeed and she earned every little bit of success that came her way. I find that admirable. We as readers got to see her grow over the years, she just wasn’t magically successful like some women in romance novels who pop out of college a ruthless business woman making millions. So nice to read about a hardworking woman.

So overall, I think KA fans who loved Knight would love this one. Being as Knight wasn’t my cup of tea, I wasn’t in love with this book either. But honestly, (in a not so eloquent phrasing) Kristen Ashley books are like chocolate, even if it’s not the best or the most gourmet, it’s still enjoyable and fun to consume.

“It’s a beautiful war, baby.” He dipped so close, the tips of our noses brushed but his eyes never left mine. “And I…just… won.”

Book Boyfriend Tag

bbtag

How To Play:

Some book/book boyfriends will be provided by the person who is tagging and you have to share the picture/gif of the person you visualized the character to be and write what you think about the character. If you haven’t read any of the books, you may add any of your own.

I was tagged by Kim at Reading in the Red Room.  This was difficult for me as I have a very clear picture in my head of the book boyfriends, and sometimes I cannot find anyone similar to show. Like Dex from the Experiment in Terror; I have never seen someone I thought looks like the picture in my head. So although I love him, not included.

#1 Cameron Hamilton from Wait for You by J. Lynn (Jennifer L. Armentrout)

I swear this man stole my heart. And not just with his cookies. Is he too good to be true? Who cares this man is amazing! And can you believe I picture my own guy in my head? The closest casting I can provide is this guy, but it’s still not quite what I see.

Cam

#2 Ryke Meadows from The Addicted Series by Krista and Becca Ritchie

I love this smartass. He’s rough around the edges, and gruff to others but treats his love like she’s precious. Gotta love that in a man.

ryke

#3 Nate Sawyer from Before Jamaica Lane by Samantha Young

There are no words. This tale of the broken hearted manwhore who fell for this best friend is hands down one of the best love stories I’ve ever read. And Nate was the perfect man for me—- I mean, Olivia.

nate

#4 Simon Parker from Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

The guy has a harem, what more is there to say? (That he’s amazeballs and completely stepped up his game for the right girl).

simon parker

#5 Jesse Walker from Lost and Found by Nicole Williams

The loveable, virginal cowboy who proves that nice guys can still be extremely sexy.

jesse walker

#6 Wes Railey from The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz

I’m going to have to agree with Kim on this one, of all the men in that series I loved Wes the most. I love a devoted man and this guy commits!

wesley

#7 Lucas from Easy by Tammara Webber

A man with issues but who remains a good person deep into his soul.

lucas

#8 Rome Archer from Rome (Marked Men series) by Jay Crownover

An army man dealing with the loss of his younger brother and finding his place in life as a civilian.

rome

 

At this point I’m sticking with 8 because Kim did, and I have trouble finding the right photos for my book boyfriends. There are so many more, but as I said before casting them is more difficult than I thought it would be.

I’m tagging:

Geri (@MyEverAfters) from The Racy Lit Reader

Jasmine (@readingescapade )from The Reading Escapade

and Feifei (@feifei_le) from Book Vigilante Review

 

You can use any/all of the boyfriends I’ve named … or use your own! Have fun!

The Shameless Hour

The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years #4) by Sarina Bowen

5 stars!

“It’s hard to admit you’re just in someone’s periphery when you imagined you were closer to the center of their world.”

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Sarina Bowen just keeps getting better and better! The Shameless Hour is the story of Bella and Rafe. Bella is the free loving college senior and manager of the hockey team. She loves sex and isn’t afraid to admit it. Rafe is a sophomore on the verge of losing his virginity to his girlfriend, until the break up on the same night of the sleep together plan. Bella and Rafe live in the same dorm, and when Bella finds a distraught Rafe, she gets drunk with him. One thing leads to another and the two spend an explosive evening together. But the next morning Rafe panics, and leaves Bella wondering what went wrong.

As the school year passes the two remain friends and grow closer. Until a horrible night wrecks Bella and rips away her confidence, and Rafe is the one to pick up the pieces.

“You’re not okay. And I’m the one who noticed.”

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Sarina Bowen has found a forever fan in me. I basically binge read this entire series so far and cannot wait for the 5th book about Lianne. Also, I have a gigantic soft spot for any romances where the woman is the one that’s more experienced and the guy isn’t. If I have to read one more goddamn NA romance where the virginal girl sleeps with the bad boy I am going to blow my brains out. It’s refreshing to read a new take on genre, and without feeding into stereotype of virginal college girls.

I loved Bella as a heroine. She lived her life and didn’t give a crap what others thought. And yet there was this beautiful vulnerable side to her that remained below the surface. Reading her ordeal brought tears to my eyes, and her strength was one of my favorite things about her.

Rafe, well I’m not normally one for the Latin guys, but I was sold on him! I loved that he was a GOOD guy, and not always super alpha, but it didn’t mean being nice made him weak. It made him a catch. He was thoughtful of others, cared for those he loved, and worked hard for what he wanted.

I’ve said before that it must be right place right time, because I loved this series. It may not be for everyone, but it worked for me. Kicking myself for not having read it sooner. By the way this is the fourth book in a series and CAN be read as a standalone novel.

Purchase on Amazon

The Understatement of the Year

The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years #3) by Sarina Bowen

4.5 stars!

“Getting along together was never the problem with you and me. We’re both easy. It’s just the rest of the world that’s hard.”

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This series keeps getting better and better! The Understatement of the Year is a male/male romance about hockey players Rikker and Graham. This story parallels the second story, following the same timeline but not connecting all too often. When Rikker and Graham were in middle school they were best friends. Entering into high school their feelings developed into something more. The two were headed down a romantic road until a horrible incident separated them, leaving one beaten and broken and the other paralyzed with fear.

“There weren’t any time-outs, though. Not in life, and not in hockey.”

Now about 5 years later Graham is on the hockey team for his school Harkness and a new player just came on board… Rikker. The two haven’t seen each other in years, and for Graham who is deeply in the closet, it’s a full system shock. Rikker was outed at his last deeply conservative college and transferred to Harkness when he was pulled from his other hockey team. Rikker just wants to play hockey and move on with his life, out in the open.

As the year goes on Graham and Rikker confront each other and their buried feelings. Rikker has finally become comfortable with himself, but Graham is spiralling down a dark path and it might be up to Rikker to save him.

“We’d been so close all those years ago. My subconscious just couldn’t get over the idea that we weren’t anymore.”

I think I read this series at exactly the right time. I haven’t read a new adult series that I wanted to devour all at once, and here I am binge reading this one. M/M is one of my favorite genres and this book blended NA with MM perfectly. For those of you hardcore MM fans out there, this one may be a little too sweet, but I loved it. It had the perfect amount of angst for me (buckets full) and Graham’s struggle with who he was is what made this book so special. Yes some gay men struggle with who they are, but Graham was given the worst dose of reality of what could happen at a very young age and it scarred him and fucked him up for a while.

“It turns out that trying to ignore somebody is about the most, exhausting thing in the world.”

One of the more interesting side characters was Skippy and I loved his sass. Especially the scene with him and Rikker’s mom. That one had me literally laughing out loud in public.

I was absorbed in this book from the very first page, I loved seeing the romance play out and how the complications and issues were dealt with. You would think that now, in our time people would be more open minded, but that’s not the case and it makes me sad. Love is love. It’s beautiful. And it’s that simple to me.

So if I haven’t convinced you yet, please go out and read this series.

The Year We Hid Away

The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) by Sarina Bowen

4 stars!

“My trick is understanding that there aren’t any tricks. You just have to wade through each moment as it comes.”

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The Year We Hid Away is the second book in the Ivy Years series and it focuses on Scarlet and former college hockey player Bridger. Scarlet is a freshman and is escaping a horrid home and Bridger is a joint student pursuing his undergraduate and masters degrees at the same time. They meet in class, begin to hand out and become friends.

Scarlet is hiding who she is from everyone. After a high profile case on her father is made extremely public, she spent the last year being shunned by her friends and her community and is excited to start a new life in a new city with a new name. Bridgeris trying to maintain a low profile while secretly raising his younger sister because their mother is addicted to drugs. Both Bridger and Scarlet have miles of issues, but the two find comfort and love in each other.

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So I’m at the point where I am a bit shell-shocked that this series isn’t wildly successful. I can see now why Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy teamed up to write a book together because their writing style and story format is very similar.

The best part of this book for me was it was very much the characters’ own book. Yes characters from the previous book were there, but their presence didn’t overwhelm the story, it enhanced it. Both characters underwent so many trials and tribulations but they stuck together for the most part and relied on each other for support and comfort, what the majority of couples should do when times get hard. Lots of sweet heartfelt moments between Scarlet and Bridger, along with Bridger’s younger sister Lucy.

“Thank you, Scarlet”.
“For what? For being your Tuesday and Thursday girl?”
“For all seven days. Because I think of you on all of them.”

I also felt the depiction of college life was fairly accurate in this book. No weird drama where everyone knew everything about each other, no wild parties every night. Basically a lot of stereotypes were missing or not overdone and it read like a true college experience (or at least like mine).

The reason this is not a 5? Well, I’ve been noticing a trend in Bowen’s books where not everything is resolved, and while I know that’s life, it’d be nice to know the complete HEA of all of the characters. So far these first two books felt like they were cut off before the story is over. But we’ll see with the other books how it plays out.

I recommend for all of you Elle Kennedy fans out there! Low drama and low angst for those of you who hate those kinds of things.

The Year We Fell Down

The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen

4.25 stars!

“Everybody has their shit to shovel, Callahan. Everybody. Now, yours is right up front where everybody can see it. I don’t envy you that. But everybody has some, whether you can see it or not.”

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After losing mobility in her legs after a tragic hockey accident college freshman Corey starts college in a wheel chair. While she isn’t completely paralyzed, she uses a wheel chair and has been taking physical therapy to slowly start walking again. Corey and her roommate are placed across the hall from junior and all around hottie Adam Hartley. Hartley broke his leg over the summer and has to sit out on the hockey season. Both relegated to a handicap dorm, Hartley and Corey form a fast friendship over video games and hockey.

Pretty quickly Corey develops what appears to be a one sided crush on Hartley, who has a girlfriend who is studying abroad that semester. But as time goes by, the lines of friendship become blurred and Corey must make a choice, to keep Hartley in her life as a friend or to let him go.

“Why would you complicate our friendship?”
“Like it’s so simple now?”

I really enjoyed this book. When Geri told me it was full of angst and unrequited love I was totally on board. Plus this had been sitting on my kindle forever, so it was like I was being productive by reading this.
This book was filled with the kind of angst I love! Oh my gosh I ate it up. But, it was not overly angsty. I think it had just the right amount of angst for all of you angst avoiders out there.

I loved the amount of research and reality that went into the book about handicap access. I’ve read other New Adult books that gloss over those parts, but it does an injustice to do so because many people don’t consider how hard it is just to go and get food when there are three little steps you cannot climb. The author was obviously very conscious of this issue and it really helped develop her book and her characters.

The friends to lovers romance was great, I loved seeing the development between Corey and Hartley, but I struggled with a few things near the end. I get why Hartley dated his horrid girlfriend, I do. But when he began to pursue Corey, he didn’t actually pursue her. He just basically said “I want you” and she went to him. That sort of ticked me off, I wanted her to make him work for it. But I was also just happy they weren’t pussyfooting around anymore so I’ll pick my battles elsewhere.

This is what a college NA romance is supposed to be like, enjoyable with angst, a little bit of steam and a nice guy. I wish I had discovered Ms. Bowen much sooner.

“I was perfect,” I said. “And I didn’t even know.”

“No,” he whispered into my ear. “No, no. Perfect isn’t real.” I took a deep shaky breath and the feel of his strong arms around me began to feel steadying. “There’s no more perfect, Callahan. Now there’s only really damned good.”

Racing the Sun

Racing the Sun by Karina Halle

5 stars!

“When I’m traveling, I feel like the secret to my life, to myself, to really becoming, is one step ahead. It’s in the next destination, the next town I get lost in, the next stranger I talk to. It’s always next but never here. But when I go home, back to the way things used to be, there is no next. It’s all over. The wonder and hope are gone.
I like having hope. And I hope I find what I’m looking for.”

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This book reminded me of why I love Karina Halle’s books so much. After being in the minority and not loving the previous book in this series Where Sea Meets Sky, I was hesitant going into this book. But the book before must have been just a fluke for me because this book was freaking incredible. There’s a reason Halle is one of my favorite authors, and it’s as simple as I love her books.

Racing the Sun is about American girl Amber who has spent the last few months traveling the world. When she arrives on the Amalfi Coast she’s broke, and she doesn’t have enough money to buy a plane ticket home. Amber searches for a job and finds one teaching English to two young children. The job relocates Amber to the island of Capri where she is working with seven year old twins who are being raised by their older brother Derio.

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Derio…. is kind of a jerk. A former motorcycle racer, Derio is now a drunken shut in who won’t leave the island of Capri. At first teaching the children is a struggle for Amber. But as time passes they form a bond and they worm a place into her heart. Amber’s responsibilities slowly begin to change into that of a nanny, and soon the four of them start spending more of them together. And as more time goes by feelings develop between Amber and Derio.

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This was a book I couldn’t put down. It actually reminded me of a combo of The Sound of Music and Beauty and the Beast but in Italy. There were so many real life things I was supposed to be doing instead of reading this book but it captured my attention and my heart and didn’t let go until I read the final page. A part of me really identifies with Amber, having a somewhat useless degree and not being able to get a real job with it. Traveling the world in hopes of finding herself and what she wants to do with her life.

The relationship with Amber and the children was really sweet, enough to make anyones ovaries hurt a little. While it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows, Amber did her best to be a good adult figure to them but at the same time she struggled with the fact that they weren’t her children. I felt that most of the time Derio needed to step up more as a guardian to these children and it was a bit frustrating when he didn’t.

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The island of Capri is just as much a character in this book as the people in it. I know the author traveled there for research and she did an amazing job setting the story. While reading I felt as if I was on the island of Capri the entire time myself. This was the perfect setting for this book (even though in the trip vote, I voted for Prague lol).

I loved the romance between Derio and Amber. I’ve never been one for the whole Italian romance genre, but Halle may have converted me. Derio was such a passionate individual and when he loved something he went at it with his whole heart. His confidence in their relationship is what made it so wonderful and believable instead of just a fairy tale romance in a book.

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Filled with angst and intense love, I highly recommend this book to all of you romance lovers out there. And this book can be read as a standalone; I am not one to encourage that but it really reads like a separate book on its own.

Uprooted

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

3 stars

Once every ten years the Dragon comes and takes the most beautiful girl to serve him. All her life Agnieszka knew the Dragon would come for her best friend Kasia and she hated him for it. But on the night he picks a girl, he chooses Agnieszka instead. She is taken to his tower where she learns she is a witch and has an indefinable type of magic different from other wizards.

The Dragon seeks to defeat the dark power that is the Wood, which corrupts the land and the people around it. When Agnieszka loses her friend to creatures of the Wood, her rescue mission leads to a domino effect of consequences to the entire kingdom.

This book started out very strong for me and I enjoyed it immensely until about halfway. While the author has a beautiful writing style with lavish descriptions, this book could have shaved off about 100 pages in my opinion. It went on too long and I had to force myself to continue reading. Novik’s strengths lay in her descriptive writing but there was very little to no character development which killed me. The characters were merely there as a means to help the plot of the Wood along.

I really liked the concept of this book, with the creepy idea of the Wood and it being a conscious and evil presence, but I felt the focus was all on that. I could not tell you one detailed thing about Agnieszka except she has magic, is always untidy and is a good friend. A lot of character emotion was missing from this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. It’s incredibly unique and disturbing and the writing captures the readers attention, but my tastes fall more for a character driven book than a plot one.