The Real

The Real by Kate Stewart

4 stars! 

“You never really know someone unless they want you to.” 

One of my favorite things about being a fan of an author is seeing them grow as a writer as the years go by. My first ever book by Kate Stewart was Loving the White Liar, then Room 212 and with those I knew this was an author I enjoyed. Then The Fall released and the fangirl in me was activated. Since then, Kate has only continued to deliver wonderful and beautiful stories. None of them are the same, everything she writes is unique and original. And I always find myself wanting more of her words.

The Real is further proof that Kate only gets better, her intricate plot and the alluring characters reminds me of why I love her stories. At its heart, this book is about believing in love even when you’ve given up on it.

This is a book I truly believe you need to GO IN BLIND. Did you read that? GO IN BLIND! Seriously, just stop reading this review, buy the book, read it, then read reviews. I knew a little something going in and while it didn’t in any way affect my feelings on the book, I wish I hadn’t known. Again, this doesn’t affect my feelings or my rating, that is on the overall of the book, but I think the book has more punch if you don’t know anything.

So without revealing any spoilers, I loved the characters, I loved the beautiful words and I enjoyed the story. If I could, I would give Kate a giant hug for this book and all the books she wrote before it. Someday hopefully I can be weird and hug her in person. She just needs to get her butt closer to the west coast again haha.

“You and me, we are absolute.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

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Still

Still by Kennedy Ryan

4.5 stars! 

If Grip was angsty and intense, Still is emotional and heartbreaking. 

I should have known going into this book based on the person who recommended it to me *ahem* CHRISTY *ahem* how utterly tender and heartbreaking this book would be. Christy is the Queen of the ugly cry books and I don’t know why I didn’t remember that.

Anyways, this book was beautiful. I thought Bristol and Grip’s story had wrapped up pretty well in the book before, but this one was a look into the happily ever after and them working on keeping their love intact. If Grip was about getting to the love, this book was about what you do with love once you’ve found it.

Kennedy Ryan has such beautiful words! Nothing is half done in this book, you can tell the author poured her heart and soul into this story and these characters. Ryan has found a forever fan in me, and she doesn’t even realized the level of fangirl she has activated in me.

Top recommendation and this series is one of my favorite I’ve read this year. I’m going to be pushing Bristol and Grip’s story onto anyone and everyone who will listen!

Grip

Grip by Kennedy Ryan

5 stars! 

“I fell for her before the beat dropped.” 

First things first, before you read Grip you need to read the book Flow, which is FREE. So go and download that first. I’ll wait……….. You’re done now? Okay keep reading then.

This is the story of Bristol and Grip, two people who met and fell for each other years ago. Now Grip is one of the top rising musicians in the world and Bristol is his manager, but they aren’t together. Grip wants to be with Bristol, and she wants to be with him, but she still holds back for reasons she keeps to herself. But Grip may be done waiting, and Bristol needs to figure herself out.

“He’s dictating my heartbeat, governing my pulse, holding my next breath cupped in his hands.” 

I loved this story! Kennedy Ryan is a new favorite author of mine and I cannot wait to read the next book Still. Grip is an angsty and emotional rollercoaster ride (or should I say ferris wheel ride?) with ups and downs, twists and turns I didn’t see coming. I loved both of the characters equally, Grip with his determination and Bristol with her inner struggle. I loved that both characters knew themselves well, that they are driven and kind people.

I cannot say enough good things about this book! This needs to be put on your tbr, or bumped up ASAP! You don’t want to miss out on this beautiful story.

“If I break your heart, I break mine.” 

Flow

Flow by Kennedy Ryan

4 stars! 

“I like the color of smart, the shade of funny, and sexy is my favorite hue.” 

Kennedy Ryan is a new to me author who has been recommended countless times by many friends, so I finally got my shit together and read one of her books. Flow is a prequel to the book Grip, and it has a very promising start.

Bristol is traveling to LA to visit her estranged brother during her spring break. When he’s unable to pick her up from the airport, he sends his friend and colleague Grip. There’s an attraction between Bristol and Grip right away, but she’s the sister of the best friend and he’s the player. But the connection between them is more than just romantic, from the beginning they just GET each other.

“She’s something rare—smart, classy, gorgeous, funny, opinionated, and under it all, where she tries to hide it, kind. And burrowed beneath all of that, vulnerable. She isn’t the kind of girl you mess over. 

This book was one I was able to dive into from the first page. I loved reading from both Grip and Bristol’s perspectives and seeing how they felt about one another. As an interracial potential couple, I liked that Ryan addressed a lot of the social issues and prejudices that come between two people of a different culture and economic background.

Another thing is reading this book made me excited to read the next one, because it seems I’m in for my favorite treat…… ANGST! Oh how I love it, and I am looking forward to seeing how things play out between these two in the future.

“We both gave each other space to be misunderstood, because we really wanted to understand.” 

Love and Other Words

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

4 stars 

It’s been about two weeks since I finished reading this book and I am still having trouble wrapping my mind about how I feel about it. First off I wanted to address the genre label it’s been given of “women’s fiction”. No. Just no. This was a romance through and through. Maybe those in charge want to market CL to a new audience and that’s fine, but I’ve had friends who’ve told me they love these authors but don’t want to read this book because it’s women’s fiction. Ladies, you have nothing to fear! Ignore the label and read on!

From the moment I opened up this book, I was in love with it. This was a stay up until 4 am (yes, you read that right. FOUR FRIGGIN AM) and sob your guts out kind of book. It’s so beyond compelling, I couldn’t put the damn kindle down! Second chance romance is my trope, I’ll read anything with that label. Christina Lauren did a wonderful job with it, I fell in love with Macy and Elliott and felt the ups and downs of their relationship, from the past when they fell in love as teens to the present day when they reconnect.

This was a 5 star read for me…… up until the very end. I cannot say exactly what happened as it gives away spoilers, and I do not give away spoilers. I will just say something happened that felt so completely out of character for one of the characters, and it really didn’t settle right. So much so that two weeks later I still have massive issues with it, even though it didn’t bother other people (and I would know, I have been PMing friends who read this like crazy). That being said, my issue with what happened did take away my overall enjoyment of the story and almost kind of marred what I had already read and loved and somewhat ruined it for me. But since this was a 4am-er and made me cry, I am settling with a four star rating. I do think many readers will not have the same issues I had with the book and will love it, so I encourage you if you’re curious to go ahead and read it.

This is the angsty, emotional book from Christina Lauren that will break your heart into a million pieces. If that intrigues you even a little bit, I recommend you read this book.

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

What He Always Knew

What He Always Knew by Kandi Steiner

5 stars! 

Oh Kandi. My hat is off to you. Girl, you had me ugly crying by the end of this book. Granted I was happy because MY GUY WON! But the end still killed me and broke my heart. This is everything I look for in a book!

In this book we got what I had wanted to see in the first one, the other side of the story. I don’t want to give anything away, but the other side is just as heartbreaking as the one we saw in the first book. Like I said, I had my guy I was rooting for already. What’s funny is, I didn’t mind the other guy in the first book, but in this book I thought he was scum. Like, he made me ragey with his entitlement and he was a jerkface. I was literally skimming some of his chapters in this because I really didn’t like him.

I loved this book because it broke me and put me back together again. Kandi has a wonderful way with words and she delivers some of the best angst around. This is the book that you message your friends because you are dying to chat about it, and it’s the one you throw at your friends to make them read because they need to suffer right along with you.

Kandi Steiner is an author who three times in a row has not failed me, and I need to get my butt in gear and read her backlist asap.

This duet was amazing and I highly recommend it! This book is going in my top reads of the year!

What He Doesn’t Know

What He Doesn’t Know by Kandi Steiner

4 stars! 

Many of you who follow my reviews should know by now my reading tastes fall under ANGST. Anything angst, I gobble it up!

So when Kandi Steiner, an amazing author known for ANGST, releases a duet that revolves around a love triangle, you bet your ass I was ALL OVER THAT SHIT.

I bought the book right away, there was only one problem: the second book wasn’t out yet. So, I sat on my ass and waited to start the first book until the second one was out. And I made it… almost. I made sure to preorder the second book so it would hit my kindle at 9pm (thank you PST) and I wouldn’t have to wait.

Well now it’s 11:30 pm, I have work tomorrow and I am DYING to start the second book! Clearly I didn’t think this through.

What He Doesn’t Know is about Charlie, a woman in a broken marriage who has lost herself. When a childhood friend and love Reese, returns to town and begins teaching at the same school she does, feelings are bound to blossom. But Charlie is torn, because despite everything, she loves her husband. But Reese may be the only one to turn Charlie back into the woman she was.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Kandi Steiner is an author I am always meaning to read more of. This book hit the spot perfectly in terms of reading mood and angst. I have my favorite guy, but I don’t want to say anything because I am worried he will not be picked. I desperately want to peek at the end of book 2 but also don’t want to cheat, so we will see how long I’ll last, shall we?

Anyways, both books are out now, so if you are intrigued go ahead and one click. There’s nothing to be scared of as they are both available and no waiting!

Pestilence

Pestilence by Laura Thalassa

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH 

ALL THE STARS! 

In a totally random and weird review, I will be using gifs from the movie Elf to express ALL THE FEELINGS!

So me about Laura Thalassa all the time:

Which will probably lead to this:

Anyways… from the moment I saw the cover reveal for Pestilence, I was DYING (get it?) to get my grubby hands on a copy of this book. I preordered and everything, which I rarely ever do. Then once it hit my kindle I couldn’t put it down (except for sleep. Stupid stupid sleep).

Here’s what I was like reading the book:

And I loved it so much! My first 5 star book in over a month!

This is about Sara, a young firefighter who attempts to kill Pestilence when he comes to her town. BUT, he cannot be killed. So Pestilence takes Sara captive in order to make her suffer. Over time Sara finds herself conflicted because of the horrible things he does, but she cannot help but see another side to the horseman. The question is, can he ever change and go against his nature?

Laura writes the best new adult fantasy/dystopia novels. I get completely sucked into her world building, her characters and her stories. I demand more of my book friends read her books!!! Seriously, you won’t regret it.

And now, to wait for the next book….. le sigh.

Also, here’s one more gif just cause:

High Voltage

High Voltage by Karen Marie Moning

WARNING! GIF HEAVY REVIEW!

4.25 stars 

First off, all you Dani haters….

That being said, I am still supremely PISSED that because of all the Dani backlash after Iced we never got the story that KMM meant to tell. I won’t even rehash that terrible BOOK thing that happened in Feversong with Mac.

We could have had SO. MUCH. MORE.

Anyways, enough of me being crazy. Dani is probably my favorite of the female characters that KMM has written. I mean a strong, confident woman who fears a guy that could rip her heart to shreds? Let’s just condemn her as annoying why don’t we? Okay, I’ll stop now I promise.

This story revolves around Dani being practically left alone for a few years after the events of the last book. New threats come along and pretty soon no one can help Dani, not even Ryodan. This book gets all the stars just for those angst filled moments between him and Dani, and all of the verbal sparring moments between them as well. KMM has a very unique and creepy imagination and I can honestly say I would never want to live in her head. I do hope we get more of Dani and Ryodan in the future. I am even wildly hoping for a Lor book. Can that be a thing please????

Anyways, if you don’t hate Dani (and are basically awesome) you will enjoy this book. It’s like KMM threw us Dani/Ryodan lovers a bone and it’s one I’ll gladly accept.

Under Locke

Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

3.5 stars 

“You’ve gotta be the best thing I never knew I wanted.” 

This is the story of Iris, broke and living with her brother, she takes a job at a tattoo parlor. Unfortunately her new boss is a total jerk. She just has to work there long enough to get another job elsewhere….

“Babe, I’ve handpicked everythin’ and everyone in here. I know what I want and I get what I want,” he breathed. “And I keep what’s mine.” 

The first half of this book I really enjoyed, the second half got a little bit boring for me and could have been edited down in my opinion. I love Zapata’s books but this is probably my least favorite of the ones I’ve read by her. It’s like pizza though, even if it’s not great it’s still good.

On Hart’s Boardwalk

On Hart’s Boardwalk by Samantha Young

4 stars! 

“By the end of this vacation you’ll never doubt my love for you again.” 

This is a novella that depicts the couple from Before Jamaica Lane about fourteen years later. Nate and Liv have a happy life with two beautiful kids, but while they love each other, Liv feels disconnected from Nate. When he discovers this, he whisks Liv away to the small seaside town in Hartwell, Delaware hoping time for the two of them will bring them back together.

“I can’t lose you, babe. You’d take my soul with you.” 

Nate and Liv are my favorite couple from this series, in fact Before Jamaica Lane is one of my all time favorite books EVER so I jumped on the chance to revisit this couple. I really enjoyed this sweet (with a hint of angsty) story between a couple who loves each other, but seems to have lost their way.

Young did a really good job combining her series, I’ve read the Hart’s Boardwalk books but I feel someone who hasn’t could easily fall into this book, nothing is confusing and the writing style makes reading it effortless. I did get really confused on the timelines, because if this is 14 years later (2013+14=2027) and yet it takes place at the same time as the other series (2017) it doesn’t make any sense. I know I should let it go, but it is something that bothered me a bit when I was reading it. I can’t help it lol.

If you read this, you will fall in love with Nate and Liv all over again. Seriously, look up relationship goals and you’ll just see their names in the dictionary.

Also, can we PLEASE get Emery’s book? I’ve been dying for it ever since The One Real Thing and the wait is killing meh!

“I don’t need to walk this boardwalk with my hand in yours to know we’ll last forever, Liv. I know we’ll last forever because I’m never letting you go.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Rock Chick Revenge

Rock Chick Revenge by Kristen Ashley

4 stars! 

“He isn’t my man.”
“Girl, it don’t matter you don’t think he is, he thinks he is. Therefore in Badass Motherfucker Land, that means he is.” 

This is a book that truly surprised me with how much I enjoyed it. 26% in or so I thought the hero was a bit rapey, but then it got so so good and I ended up loving Luke.

Rock Chick Revenge is about former “fatty” (as she put in her own words) Ava who goes to an old friend Luke with a problem her best friend is having. Right away Luke is more than happy to reunite, in fact he all but abducts Ava into his life.

“I’m not stupid, I know your heart’s involved in this and I’ve never, not once in all the time you’ve known me, given you the idea that I won’t handle it with care.” 

My weakness with romance is an insecure heroine and angst. This book had heaps of both so I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved Ava and her journey, how she didn’t just give in to Luke and believed everything right away. Their relationship took work and Luke was willing to put in the time.

I also thought this book was funny as hell and almost no one pissed me off which is a miracle cause with this series, normally someone is pissing me off. I got frustrated at some times with how Luke treated Ava, but later he more than made up for it and I ended up loving him. Even if he was a little bit rapey.

I think I’m off to binge what’s left of KA’s back list. I don’t wanna run out but her books are hitting the spot!!!

“Ava, you missed it when it happened so I’ll clue you in. Last night, around the time you fell asleep against me, you became mine.” 

The Nature of Cruelty

The Nature of Cruelty by LH Cosway

4 stars! 

“Cruelty is easy, and it breeds only misery. Kindness is harder, and you have to be brave to give it.” 

When Lana was a young girl she fell in love with her best friends brother, Robert. Very quickly, those feelings went away when Robert began to torment her, calling her names and saying cruel things.

Now Lana is an adult and hasn’t seen Robert in six years, much to her relief. But when she moves in with her best friend for the summer, it turns out Robert will be there too. Except Robert seems different now and appears to want to make amends with Lana. But can Lana let go of the past and forgive Robert for all his wrongs against her?

“Sometimes you can be so deeply wrapped up in a person that the only way to deal with it is to use cruelty to push them away.” 

This is a Cosway book I’ve always been meaning to read and never got to. Lots of mixed reviews on this book, but Cosway has never let me down before and I decided to give it a try. I really loved the first 75% of this book! Lana’s struggles with trying to trust Robert and his intentions but also so wary, it made for a great emotional ride. In turn I loved seeing Robert try his hardest to show he changed and explain his past actions. To me, this was similar to Bully by Penelope Douglas, but I felt this hero had better justifications for his actions and he didn’t fill me with rage the majority of the book. Robert was apologetic, he wasn’t perfect but he tried to be good.

I felt the ending or last 25% of the book could have been much more developed, it felt a little in the wind in terms of story and the finish kind of came and went. The issues these characters had needed more work than what I as a reader saw, and I felt an epilogue could have helped with that.

This is a wonderful story, and one I enjoyed in the middle of a gigantic life book slump. Cosway is an author whose writing I just connect with and I always fear I will run out of books by her to read for the first time. You savor her works, not rush through them.

“Nothing worth having is easy. The same goes for people. The ones who take cold, hard guts to get inside of are the most worthy of all. The ones you have to fight for. 

Marriage of Inconvenience

Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

4 stars 

“This isn’t a movie. Sorry, but I do not believe people just get married to protect themselves from greedy family members’ nefarious scheming.” 

When her pharma-bro cousin tries to take legal action over her life, Kat must turn to a friend for marriage right away to escape his evil grasp. When she asks her friend Dan, he’s happy to help her with her situation.

I wish I could say more than that, but anything else is much too spoilery.

“It doesn’t seem fair. I’m asking so much of you, and you get nothing out of this.” 

This is the book that all of Penny Reid’s fans have been waiting for and it’s here! There were swoony parts, funny parts, sexy parts and frustrating parts. But it all made up an excellent romance novel that many readers will thoroughly enjoy.

I liked that we finally got to see Kat and Dan’s perspective, after so many books before where we saw the perspectives of the other characters in the Knitting series. I think this book did a good job of clarifying what took so long for these two to get moving with their romance (I mean seriously it was like a 3 year slow burn or something).

I really liked Kat as a heroine, she’s not perfect and while she strives to be, she also knows she’s made mistakes and tried to own up for them along the way. Because of her past some things aren’t what she’s used to but with a little love that could all change. Dan was a great hero, with all the handsome and broody aspects he was there for Kat and was exactly what she needed.

I do wish this book had been a tad bit angstier, but that’s just me and my angst whore preferences. Reid is excellent at dishing out the angst and I had my spoon ready to eat it up. There were also parts of the book where I couldn’t tell if some things the characters said were their own opinions and not the author’s opinion, and that took me out of the story a bit. It felt a little preachy and that’s not something I enjoy in my romance/escape reading.

Overall a really solid novel and as I said before I think all of Penny Reid’s fans will love this story. Now I just have to impatiently wait until Billy’s novel in the Winston Brothers series is here!

“Trust me that I want every part of you.”
“What if parts of me are messy? Or ugly?”
“Parts of you are ugly and messy. I still want you. I want the ugly and the beautiful and everything in between. You don’t pick and choose the parts of a person you want.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Rough Ride

Rough Ride by Kristen Ashley

4.5 stars 

“Men are breakable. They just hide the cracks better than we do.” 

When Rosalie gets beaten by her boyfriend and his motorcycle club for being an informant to Chaos, she wants nothing to do with that life ever again. But Snapper, the Chaos man who was partnered to her, isn’t ready to let her go, especially now that her boyfriend is out of the picture. Snapper has always wanted Rosalie, and now is his chance to prove it to her.

“If you care about someone, it’s not about going that extra mile. It’s about giving everything.” 

I kind of laughed to myself when I received this arc, because when I think of a novella, I think 100 pages or less. Well, for Kristen Ashley, just under 300 pages IS shorter than her usual novel, but I loved every second of this book.

While I love the Chaos series by Ashley, I have to admit that I didn’t remember who Rosalie or Snapper were….. or even some of the other characters that I may have looked up while reading this novel. But despite not remembering them, I fell in love with this couple. My heart broke for Rosalie and I wanted her to get her happy ending. And Snapper got the chance to go after the girl he always wanted.

This is the kind of motorcycle club books I love, there will never be another series out there like this one.

“I found the one who was perfect for me.” 

**I will note, this novella cannot be read as a standalone, it really only makes sense if you’ve read the other books in this series** 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product.