The Time in Between

The Time in Between by Kristen Ashley

4.75 stars! 

“Promise, Cady. Stick with me, no matter what.” 

Kristen Ashley is BACK! This book is just like her old ones, full of magic and romance that digs its way into your heart!

The Time in Between is the story of Cady and Coert, two people who were in love eighteen years before, but lies and bad circumstances came between them and broke them apart. Now, years later, Cady’s husband has died, and he stipulated when he died that Cady had to move to Maine in order to reconnect with two men in her life, her brother, and Coert. Once there she buys a lighthouse and renovates it, biding her time to approach Coert, who is the local sheriff. Except Coert is angry and wants nothing to do with her.

“With him right there, nothing else mattered, nothing else even existed. This was simply where I was supposed to be. No matter what.” 

I have to admit, I was a bit nervous going into this one, mostly because some of the newer releases by Kristen Ashley just really weren’t my thing. BUT this is the Magdalene series, and I adored the first two books in this series, so I went in with an open mind. And what I got was a beautiful second chance romance story that by the end, brought that little bit of sappy mist to my eyes.

Second chance romance is sort of my Achilles heel of subgenres, I just love the idea of two people who lost their way get another chance to make things right between them. Cady and Coert have a lot of issues that bled over from their past, and while it was a rocky start when the two of them reunited, it got smoother as time went by. In fact, once they made up their minds, they did the adult thing and didn’t bring the past into their current relationship to haunt them. They moved on, and moved to something special.

My one small criticism and why I cannot give this a full 5 stars, is this book is SO LONG. Like I was reading it for four days! It took me four days to read the first Game of Thrones novel and that thing is enormous!!! I wish it had been a tad bit shorter because sometimes when reading it, it felt like I was tackling a mountain! But don’t let the length avert you from this gem, by the end I had happy tears in my eyes and was declaring my love for this magnificent book.

This story will stay with you a long time, and you will fall in love with Cady and Coert!

“Love you.”
“Love you most.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

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Fallen Heir

Fallen Heir by Erin Watt

3 stars 

“You are charming, Royal. That’s the problem.” 

First things first: do NOT come at me asking for spoilers or posting about them in the comments of this review. I will not answer any spoiler questions, and I will delete any comments giving away spoilers or asking for them. You’ve been warned!

Secondly: People, please do not hate me. I wanted to love this book, I did.

Erin Watt books are like a drug, you get a hit of that first amazing one, and you keep on reading them hoping for that same high you got the first time. I loved Paper Princess and Broken Prince, but I haven’t really clicked with any of their books since. I was hoping Fallen Heir would be different, since I loved Easton in the first three Royal books, I was so excited to read his story. I kept reading this series because I know Erin Watt is capable of amazing stories and characters, and because of their first two books they published I will pretty much always read their books.

Fallen Prince is the story of Easton and Hartley. Easton is the brother that’s a mess, in fights, sleeping around, getting into trouble. Now that his brother Reed is off at college and his twins are tied up in their girlfriend, there’s really no one around to keep Easton in check. The first week of school he meets Hartley, a girl who isn’t his type but one that he’s intrigued by. Hartley wants nothing to do with Easton, she’s just trying to get by without any problems. But the more Hartley resists Easton, the more he wants her.

This book is a strong 3 stars for me, I enjoyed the story and was able to keep my attention on it, but the more I thought about the book, the more issues I had with it. But first, the way Erin Watt wrote Easton’s POV was amazing, it never not once felt like women trying to write from the perspective of a man, it just flowed and felt like Easton on his own. Not many authors are good at accomplishing the male POV in a way that’s believable, but Erin Watt does it flawlessly. The pacing was also really great, at no point was I bored or wanted to put the book down.

I did like Hartley, but I never understood why she liked Easton. Maybe because we only get his POV most of the book (and the downward spiral he was on it would have been nice to maybe have a break from his POV) but I felt like we didn’t get to know Hartley. Especially since everything Easton did in regards to her seemed like a colossal mess up or a mistake. So I really wish we had gotten to know the girl a lot more, instead all we have is Easton’s slightly skewed perspective of her to go on.

The ending was a bit too much for me, it felt like a parody of a soap opera with all of these bombs being dropped. It actually made me not want to read the next book, instead of wanting to read it right away. It felt like the authors were trying to top themselves with the shock value and it was just a step too far.

Anyways, for the most part I enjoyed this book, just some issues I couldn’t look past dragged the rating down. Lots of people are going to love this, so if you are on the fence, read it anyway. Erin Watt is a talented duo and I am sure they will bring us some amazing books in the future.

ARC provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review 

Beard in Mind

Beard in Mind by Penny Reid

4 stars! 

“People, all people, are blinded by their own expectations.” 

Beard in Mind is the fourth book in the Winston Brothers series and can be read as a standalone novel. This book follows Beau Winston, twin brother of Duane from the first book, and Shelly, sister of Quinn from the Knitting series. Beau and his brothers Duane and Cletus own and run a mechanic shop in town. With Duane leaving the country soon to travel with his girlfriend, Cletus hires a new mechanic, the beautiful and cold Shelly Sullivan.

Right off the bat, due to a misunderstanding, the two don’t get along. Beau doesn’t like Shelly’s demeanor toward him and her unfriendliness toward customers. Shelly is highly intelligent and Beau had insulted her. But, at the end of the day, Beau is a good and friendly man and he makes the effort with her, discovering her secrets and becoming her friend. But eventually they both want more, and Beau’s brother Cletus stands in the way of that.

“I don’t think Beau Winston would purposefully hurt anyone.” 

I know when it comes to a Penny Reid novel, I can always expect the unconventional romance. You don’t get the same old story when you read one of her books, you get something unique, and something special. It’s why she’s an auto buy author for me, the woman has never let me down. In a time where many authors are spitting out repetitive and unoriginal stories, Penny Reid offers something more to readers with her work.

This book made a few observations about society without being preachy about it. The most obvious, being the cultural norm of how we perceive OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, and the misunderstanding of what the actual disorder it. The heroine, Shelly, has it, and it’s an everyday struggle that she has to conquer, that she works hard at, but it makes her misunderstood to those around her. It has something interesting for the reader to take away and think about, maybe not use the phrase so casually in conversation.

The second one I noticed, which is less obvious, is the subject of rape culture. Shelly is a beautiful woman, and because of that, many men think it’s okay for them to hit on her/assume they have the right to do so, and it isn’t. Just because someone is beautiful, doesn’t mean it’s okay to assume you can make advances on them or touch them without permission. Granted, Shelly’s sharp wit and intelligence proved no match for whatever man came her way, but just because she can handle herself still doesn’t mean it’s okay.

I liked Shelly and Beau equally, neither one of them drove me crazy or made stupid decisions. They each had some issues to work on and work through, and they made the decision to include each other in their problems. It doesn’t mean that being together solved everything, but now they had someone to support them throughout what was happening. As a couple, they didn’t seem to have that spark between them. Personally, while I liked them together, I didn’t feel the attraction between the two like I had for other couples in this series. And at times, I felt this book was more about the side characters than them as a couple. Which is fine, I loved the side characters, but to me, something lacked.

If you haven’t read the Winston Brothers series yet you need to. If you haven’t read a Penny Reid book yet, I can’t even with you right now. The series only has two books left, making me just one book closer to my love Billy!!! I need Billy ASAP!

“Don’t let anyone in your life who isn’t the best, and don’t hesitate walking away from a person who can’t give you what they need.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Amnesia

Amnesia by Cambria Hebert

3 stars 

“The sun sees your body, but the moon sees your soul.” 

Amnesia is the story of a small town, where one evening a young woman washes up on the shore of the lake. Eddie, who works at the local grocer, finds this young woman and runs her to the hospital. Once she wakes up a few weeks later, she has no memory of who she is and what had been done to her leading up to her ending up in the water.

Eddie becomes obsessed with Amnesia (as she chooses to call herself) as she reminds him of someone from his past. The two spend a lot of time together, but he’s advised by her doctors to keep his suspicions a secret. Also, someone in town doesn’t appear to be happy that Amnesia is around, and has been watching and threatening her.

“Nothing can stay paused forever. Eventually, you have to hit play.” 

I’ve only ever read the book #Nerd by Cambria Hebert, and I enjoyed it very much. Plus, she’s an absolute sweetheart in real life so I’ve always been meaning to read more of her books. Rave reviews and an interesting memory loss premise are what attracted me to this book. That and an outstanding cover. The book really started out strong, sucking me into the story. Where it fell a bit flat for me was it slowed down about halfway through and seemed a bit too long.

On top of that we have a cliffhanger ending, and I kind of already have my theories what will happen in the next book. I would have been happier with a longer book and gotten all the answers right away than wait for a second book. Plus the romance was a bit too sweet for my personal tastes, but that’s just me.

If you want to read something different and well written, this is the book for you. Suspenseful and filled with kind hearted characters, many reader will love this mystery small town love story. It honestly reminded me of a Nora Roberts type novel.

Trust

Trust by Kylie Scott

2 stars 

It really pains me to say this, but I did not enjoy this book. Kylie Scott is a go-to author for me, she’s written some of my favorite romances ever, but this one fell flat for me.

Trust is about Edie, a seventeen year old who finds herself a hostage in a convenience store robbery. Having just popped in for a few things, the entire encounter changes her life and leads to her decision to leave private school and her so called friends behind and attend public school.

At her new public school, Edie begins to cross paths with John, a boy who was stuck during the convenience store robbery himself. Because of their bond from the tragic night, they begin to form a friendship that means a lot to the both of them. Edie begins to make other, more loyal friends at her new school as well, and things seem to be looking up. But as can be expected, feelings for John begin to form, but does John like her back?

This book started out really strong, but then around 30% slowed down a bit for me. The pacing was a bit off throughout most of the book, and with an unclear plot for most of it. That combined with a rushed ending made it difficult for me to truly enjoy this book. I also didn’t care for John, he and Edie seemed to have zero chemistry, on top of his lack of personality. He wasn’t developed well enough.

I loved that we got a plus sized heroine, Kylie Scott has always shown readers that beauty is more than a skinny body. I respect that she challenges traditional standards of beauty. Plus sized women are often seen as undesirable, and that’s just not true. I also liked the friendship between Edie and Hang, I love seeing stories that portray healthy and supportive female friendships.

According to the Goodreads definition “Young-adult fiction (often abbreviated as YA) is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 13 to 18.” Considering this book contained graphic sexual content that I in my job as a public librarian would not feel comfortable handing to someone 13-15 years old (and 16 is stretching it), I do not consider this YA. I’ve seen lots of reviews citing this as “YA I actually like to read, and I don’t like YA”. Well….. that’s because it’s not YA. This was a contemporary romance novel meant for readers 17 and up. That’s my professional opinion, I understand if you disagree with me.

Obviously I am in the minority when it comes to this book, there are a ton of favorable reviews out there and I encourage you to read them. Also, everyone has different reading tastes, mine fall pickier than others, so I think you should pick up this book and decide for yourself.

ARC provided by the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

After All

After All by Karina Halle

4 stars 

After All is a standalone spin off of the book Before I Ever Met You, with characters featured in that book. Alyssa is a curvy and sassy office assistant, Emmett an actor making his comeback. They are both part of the bridal party for their friends Will and Jackie, and they meet the day of the wedding. Right off the bat Emmett is attracted to Alyssa, he loves her prickly and spitfire personality, and Alyssa is attracted to Emmett against her better judgement. The two end up having a one night stand and expect to never see each other again. But a tabloid gets pictures of the two of them at the wedding, and they look like a couple. So Emmett, needing some good PR, asks Alyssa to be his fake girlfriend. From there, the lines get blurred.

I always enjoy Karina Halle romances, she never fails to deliver a great story. I loved Alyssa as a heroine, she didn’t fit into the typical role being abrasive and outspoken, as well as being a size ten. It goes to show that not every heroine is a simpering girl that plays doormat to the hero. Alyssa held her own, she knew when to push and when to let go, and I admired her. Emmett is a complicated hero with a damaged past, just the kind of guy readers enjoy to watch fall in love. He challenged Alyssa and thought she was beautiful.

I’m glad we got this story from Halle, it was a nice surprise to get a second book in the BIEMY univserse. I know Tiffany has a boyfriend, but I cannot help but want to get a book for her too. Make this book your next summer romance read!

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Salvaged

Salvaged by Jay Crownover

Hudson Wheeler is a nice guy. Everyone knows it, including his fiancée who left him with a canceled wedding and a baby on the way. He’s tired of finishing last and is ready to start living in the moment with nights soaked in whiskey, fast cars, and even faster girls. He’s set to start living on the edge, but when he meets Poppy Cruz, her sad eyes in the most gorgeous face he’s ever seen hook him in right away. Wheeler can see Poppy’s pain and all he wants to do is take care of her and make her smile, whatever it takes.

Poppy can’t remember a time when she didn’t see strangers as the enemy. After a lifetime of being hurt from the men who swore to protect her, Poppy’s determined to keep herself safe by keeping everyone else at arm’s length. Wheeler’s sexy grin and rough hands from hours restoring classic cars shouldn’t captivate her, but every time she’s with him, she can’t help being pulled closer to him. Though she’s terrified to trust again, Poppy soon realizes it might hurt even more to shut Wheeler out—and the intense feelings pulsing through her are making it near impossible to resist him.

The only thing Poppy is sure of is that her heart is in need of some serious repair, and the more time she spends with Wheeler, the more she’s convinced he’s the only man with the tools to fix it.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ijRhq4
Barnes and Noble: 
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Kobo: 
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Google: 
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Amazon UK : 
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ADD SALVAGED TO YOUR GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28497297-salvaged

 

 

EXCERPT:

I rounded the corner at the end of my block and came to a halt. The puppy took that as a sign that we were done playing outside and started jumping all over my lower legs and pawing at my shins. He whined at me until I picked him up, and as soon as he could reach my face, his little tongue started darting all over my chin and cheeks. I wondered if he could feel the tension that made my limbs stiff and the anxiety that tightened all my muscles. I felt my breath catch in the back of my throat and there was no stopping my eyes from rapidly blinking to make sure what I was seeing was real and not a figment of my imagination.

He looked like one of those black-and-white art prints that hung in every diner and restaurant I’d ever eaten in. The one that was a throwback to another era when cool was something you had to cultivate and couldn’t buy on Amazon. He was leaning against a black-and-silver car that looked like it should be on the cover of a hot-rod magazine and not parked on a busy and crowded Capitol Hill street. He had on dark jeans and a dark canvas jacket that had the logo of his garage embroidered on the front. His ankles were crossed on the curb in front of him and one booted foot bounced up and down, giving the impression that he’d been waiting for me for a while. His arms were crossed over his chest and his eyes were locked on mine as I stood still, unsure what to do. He had an effortless kind of charisma that radiated off of him. It was equal parts intimidating and irresistible. I was unsure if my feet wanted to rush me toward him or run me as far from him as possible.

The puppy made the decision for me. Seeing another human, and thus another opportunity for pats and rubs, he threw his wiggling little body out of my arms before I could react. He hit the ground with a little yelp and then bolted right for Wheeler. I let out a gasp and took off after him thinking I could catch the end of the leash that was trailing behind him. I didn’t want him to run into the road or veer off into a yard where he didn’t belong. I was light-years away from being able to handle a confrontation with a hostile stranger that didn’t want the puppy in their space.

I didn’t need to worry because Wheeler pushed his long, lean frame off the polished side of the car and reached the scrambling animal within just a few strides. He crouched down as the puppy hurled himself into his arms and scooped the excited bundle up in one fluid motion. Then he was rising back up to his full height, which meant he was towering over me when I made my way over to where he was standing. I was embarrassed at how out of breath I was. I was supposed to be stronger than I was before, but I could hardly handle a little jog up the block or the way my heart raced at the sight of him.

I shook my head and put my hands on my hips as I looked up and into those arctic eyes. He was scratching the puppy under the chin and looking at me from under lashes that had the barest hint of red to them. “Why don’t you have a coat on?”

It wasn’t what I was expecting but his question reminded me that I was cold and that the lightweight hoodie that had the Saints of Denver logo on it wasn’t doing much to keep the bitter chill in the air off my skin. The shirt came from the tattoo shop where both Rowdy and Salem worked and was probably the most exciting garment I had in my closet. It was the only thing I owned that was bright and colorful. I rubbed my arms up and down and fired my own question right back at him. “What are you doing here?”

The puppy barked like he was telling me not to be rude but I was unsettled by Wheeler’s unexpected appearance, and not the typical unsettled that I struggled with because he was a man that I didn’t know. It was the kind of unsettled that made parts of my body I forget could react to an attractive man feel warm and tingly. The kind of unsettled that had me involuntarily leaning closer to him as he started to shift so that he could pull his heavy jacket off one arm without letting go of the dog.

“I wanted to talk to you about the dog. Did you find someone to take him yet?” He shifted the puppy to his now bare arm as I watched the endless amounts of ink that covered his skin move and flex as he shook his other arm free of the coat.

“Uh…not really.” The truth was I hadn’t really put that much effort into finding someone because I didn’t want to let the puppy go. In just a few days I’d grown surprisingly attached even though I knew I wasn’t allowed to keep him in my apartment. I’d already asked since Dixie was allowed to keep Dolly, but the landlord informed they were grandfathered in before the laws surrounding pit bulls in Denver changed. My little guy wasn’t that lucky.

My response made Wheeler chuckle. He stared at me silently as he held out the coat he’d taken off in his free hand.

“Put this on.” I stared at him like he’d suddenly started speaking Russian until he shook the coat again and frowned at me. His voice was serious and left no room for argument when he repeated the command. “Put this on, Poppy.”

 

REVIEW:

Salvaged is the story of two people who have taken the hardest hits in life, and yet come together to heal each other. Poppy was abused and tortured by her ex husband and is still having trouble dealing with people. Hudson was cheated on twice by his ex fiance, who is now in love with a woman and pregnant with his child. The two are so damaged, and yet find comfort in each other.

 

Jay always manages to create fresh and interesting characters that feel real. I loved Poppy and Hudson, they both had such a great journey, together and separately. Two people who needed someone to love and want them for who they are and to be treated with respect. I am so glad Jay wrote this story, it’s for all those people who never thought they would get the love they wanted and deserved.

 

About Jay Crownover:

Jay Crownover is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked MenThe Point, and the Saints of Denver series. Like her characters, she is a big fan of tattoos. She loves music and wishes she could be a rock star, but since she has no aptitude for singing or instrument playing, she’ll settle for writing stories with interesting characters that make the reader feel something. She lives in Colorado with her dogs.

Website: http://www.jaycrownover.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJayCrownover?ref=hl
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JayCrownover
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Crownover

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Jay Crownover’s SALVAGED (Saints of Denver #4) is here! Order your copy today! #Salvaged

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180 Seconds

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

4 cried my eyes out stars

“It’s going to hurt until it doesn’t anymore.”

180 seconds is about a college junior Allison. After sixteen years of being tossed around the foster care system, unwanted, she was adopted by her father. Now years later in college, she still lacks social skills and would prefer to spend her time studying or in her room. While talking a walk one day, she gets roped into a social experiment where two people stare into each others eyes for 180 seconds, no breaks. The person she does this with is another college junior named Esben, and the experience has a profound effect on the both of them.

“We are engaged in a form of intimacy that scares the absolute hell out of me. It’s as if there is a weight on my chest that I want to shove off, and I’ve never been this terrified before.
Or this whole and hopeful and connected.
My body starts to tremble. I want more of what I’m feeling, and I also want none of it.”

I went into blind and it was wonderful! It was on the sweeter side and more emotional than I usually like my books, but I still really enjoyed it all the same. I love heroines that aren’t the norm, and Allison wormed her way into my heart very early on in the book. This is a story not just about love, but friendship, family and kindness to others. But what I loved most actually was this was a new adult college read: I really missed reading that kind of book, it feels like no one is writing them anymore.

Anyways, if you are up for an intensely emotional novel, this book is the one for you! I really liked it and look forward to more that Park has to offer readers in the future.

“You can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”

Buns

Buns by Alice Clayton

4 stars!

Clara Morgan makes her living rebranding hotels on the verge of closing. It’s a job she’s wonderful at and it’s given her the stability she never had growing up. Clara is tasked by her boss at a classic hotel in Bailey Falls, The Bryant Mountain House. Upon arrival Clara finds the owner is thrilled to have her there, but his son Archie is not. Clara finds she must prove herself to Archie, that she has the best interest in his hotel at heart, no matter how much he resists her.

The longer Clara stays in Bailey Falls, the more she grows to love the place. And the more time she and Archie spend together, it’s hard to deny an attraction between the two of them. But both of them have a past that can interfere with their future, not to mention in a way Archie is Clara’s boss. It’s up to them to decide whether or not they will let their issues get in the way.

Alice Clayton never fails to make me smile. I’ve read every single one of her books, and I love the anticipation of a new release by her. Will it be funny? Or angst? Or sweet? This book was all three! From the moment I began reading until the very last page I was enamored with the story and these characters. I feel like Clara is unlike any character we have seen by this author, and I loved that Clayton tackled a more sensitive subject with this characters past and did it in a way that’s accurate but tactful.

I thought Archie was great as well, I wish we had delved a bit more into his past, maybe developed him a bit more. But what I loved most about him was he was the perfect counterpart to Clara, knowing when to push and when to let things go. His heart and soul was in that hotel and he wanted to save it, so while he may have fought change, ultimately he wanted what was best for his family legacy and those he employed.

This is a great hate to love story about two people who weren’t looking for each other, but found each other. Oh and if you are wondering about the title, it refers to hot cross buns sold by the hotel. And Archie may have had some buns too…….

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

Mister Romance

Mister Romance by Leisa Ravyen

4.5 stars!

Eden is on her last leg at her job at Pulse magazine when she gets wind of a man named Mister Romance, a high paid escort who gives women the most romantic night of their dreams, without sex. Intrigued, Eden makes it her mission to find out who this mystery man is. When she does find him, he wants to make her a deal: if he can make her fall in love with him in three dates, Eden drops the story. If not, she gets full exclusive.

Eden:

Ever since I picked up Bad Romeo three years, I knew Leisa Rayven was one of those authors, the one where I love every single one of her books. Mister Romance is a book I fell in love with right from the beginning, with original strong characters readers can relate to, and a romance that had me holding my breath at times and swooning a bit. And I don’t friggin swoon.

The book is a little bit slow to start but really picks up at that 20% mark. I loved Eden as the main character, she was tenacious and driven, but at the same time had empathy and integrity. Max was a bit harder to pin down, but ultimately I loved him by the end of the book and was rooting so hard for him and Eden. This book is a bit sweeter and less angsty than I prefer, my reading tastes lean toward angsty and emotional, but I loved it.

I truly believe that so many readers will love this story. In a time when it’s hard to find a book with an original idea, Ravyen delivers a unique and fascinating romance that I know I will be rereading in the future!

ARC kindly provided by author in exchange for an honest review

The Upside of Unrequited

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertelli

4.5 stars!

“I’m on the toilet at the 9:30 Club and I’m wondering how mermaids pee.”

And with that opening line comes one of the cutest most relatable YA books I’ve read in a LONG time.

Molly has had several crushes over the years, but no kisses and no boyfriend. Molly is afraid of rejection and doesn’t want to put herself out there to be hurt, especially with the fact that she’s heavier than other girls. Her twin sister Cassie finds new love with a new girlfriend and leaves Molly feeling out of sorts. When Molly gets a new job at a cutesy store, she makes fast friends with a boy there named Reid. But Reid is kind of nerdy, and not at all the type to cause butterflies in the stomach. There’s no way Molly could have a crush on him too, right?

“I can’t seem to shake this perpetual awareness of being Molly.”

I friggin loved this book. Like, Molly is me when I was in high school!! Minus the Zoloft. I remember I thought I was so fat then, I always wore sweatshirts to hide my body. What I didn’t understand at the time was I had BOOBS and wasn’t fat at all, but I felt that way (if only I could go back to my HS body). Anyways, the point of sharing this is I feel Molly is easy for readers to relate to. Haven’t we all been afraid of rejection in some form or another? Molly just had trouble putting herself out there and needed to find strength within herself. And we don’t often get “chubby” female protagonists, and if we do the story is all about her losing weight, which wasn’t the case here and I loved it.

I also loved that her romantic interest didn’t fit traditional stereotypes, Reid was nerdy, not a gym rat and he accepted it. He owned it. I think this book portrays to its readers that you fall for the person and not always the pretty picture. I want my own real life Reid to come and sweep me away with his bright white sneakers and fondness of Queen Elizabeth I.

Molly’s interest in pinterest crafts made my fingers twitch to do the same, even though I am not super crafty. But I will be researching about putting cookie dough in mason jars because that’s just too good not to look up.

This book was very fast paced, I devoured it so so quickly. I loved this author’s first book Simon, and this one lived up to my expectations which rarely if ever happens. I cannot wait to read more from Albertelli.

My favorite quote from this book? (because it’s ME):

I read an advanced copy of this book

Vicious

Vicious by LJ Shen

4.5 perfect a**hole hero stars!

“He’d treated me horribly in the past, but right now…he brought color into my life.”

Vicious is the story of Emilia and Vicious. In high school her parents worked for his family, and Vicious made her life a living hell. Now ten years later Emilia is living in New York when Vicious approaches her and offers her a job. She’s not stupid, she knows there’s more to this offer than he says there is, but Emilia is desperate and needs the money for her and her sister.

As they work together, Vicious continues to be the awful jerk he was before, but Emilia also sees a new side of him that he kept hidden from her years before. But she dreads what he’ll make her do and she scared of her heart being broken by him again.

“I used to think of you as a villain, but you’re not my villain. You’re your own villain.”

This was my first book by LJ Shen and I can honestly say it won’t be my last. She’s an author I’ve always been meaning to read and never made the time for, and I regret that now. Asshole heroes are not normally my favorite trope, but I loved Vicious so much! I think having his POV helped us as readers see his more vulnerable sides and made him so much more human.

The other thing that made this book great is Emilia. When it comes to asshole heroes, there is a fine line for the heroine in which she can become the victim and let the hero walk over her, or she can be the perfect counterpoint and deflect the harmful things they can say. Emilia was perfect! She knew what to let slide, she didn’t take his crap, and she saw past his asshole exterior and saw the vulnerable man beneath.

This was a book that was hard to put down and a story I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. I am eager to read more by LJ Shen in the future!

“I loved her when I hated her. And I loved her when I didn’t want anything to do with her. I was so crazy about her, the lines had blurred together. Feelings were mixed, emotions twisted together.”

Wait For It

Wait For It by Mariana Zapata

4 stars!

“You can’t always wait for someone else to do the right thing when you can do it yourself.”

Mariana Zapata is the queen of the slow burn!

Wait For It is the story of Diana, a young aunt who is raising her two nephews after the death of her brother and his wife. Moving into a new neighborhood, Diana meets her neighbor when she rescues his brother from being beaten up. From this point, their lives mix between family and friends and little league games.

Dallas is a grumpy guy across the street, and while he warms up to her nephews, he doesn’t seem to like Diana very much. Over time the two reach a friendly agreement, and then become friends. But Dallas is married, pursuing a divorce, and Diana may want more, but she won’t go after it.

“Only thing cover model about Dallas was his resting bitch face that was too aggressive to be on the cover of anything other than a survival guide magazine.”

The moment I saw this puppy was live early, I one-clicked it so fast! I love this author, her slow burn romances are exactly what I needed in a world of instalove and women accidentally falling on men on page 2. I loved how much this book was about daily family life and Diana raising the kids more then it was about romance.

The slow burn, it’s more glacial than slow in this book but I honestly didn’t mind. But for those who you who want stuff to happen, we don’t even really get to know the hero until after 39% into the book. BUT like I said, I really enjoyed the daily life of Diana with the boys. I’m not a parent but I was laughing so hard at moments like Diana’s dread at hosting a sleepover and stress eating pop tarts. This book actually made me crave pop tarts and I don’t even eat them!

Dallas was a great hero, he was supportive and understanding and once he got to know Diana and her intentions he was good to her and her boys. This book made me like the strong and silent type.

“Because no one else was as kind or selfless, as giving or as patient, as loving in all the little and the big ways, as he was. I’d never really known what I wanted most of my life, but this—him—was it.”

Fire in You

Fire in You by J Lynn

4 stars!

“Scars, whether physical or emotional, could be not just a representation of survival but also a story of hope.”

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Reading a J Lynn book always feels like coming home.

The sixth book in this series, Fire In You, follows the characters Jillian and Brock. When Jillian was younger she was in love with Brock, following him around everywhere like a puppy dog. But one night of tragedy changed that, and Jillian hasn’t been the same since. Now, about six years later, Jillian has agreed to go to work for her dad, and Brock enters her life once again. But Jillian has changed, immensely, and she refuses to go back to the way things were between them while Brock is insistent on being in her life again.

“What in the actual hell of all nine circles of Hell was this?”

There isn’t a book in this series I haven’t enjoyed or loved. This one started out very strong, I like how JLA develops her heroines so we get a sense of who they are before we get more of the story. I could totally see where Jillian was coming from, her insecurities and bewilderment at Brock’s sudden interest in her. But I think his big brotherly feelings did develop into something more, I just wish we saw more of his journey than hers.

I devoured this book beginning to end. I’ve been in a romance slump lately and was wary of reading this, but JLA delivered a story that sucked me in and wasn’t the same as everything else. There’s a reason she’s one of my favorite authors, she almost never lets you down. If you’re in the mood for a romance to make you smile, this is the book for you.

“I love you because you have this fire in you that you don’t even recognise, but I do. You’re strong and you’re a survivor.”

The Hating Game

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

4 IHATEJOSHUA4EV@ stars!!!

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.”

The Hating Game is a sleeper hit, it feels like it came out of nowhere and everyone seems to love it. After dragging my feet for a long time, I finally got my rear in gear and checked out this lovely from the library, and it was the perfect escape.

Lucy and Josh work in the same company in the same room. The two have hated each other since they first laid eyes on each other and every day at work is a semi hostile one with glares and witty barbs fired at each other. Now they are both up for a promotion and everything comes crashing together as they do their best to be the winner.

“It’s a corporate truth universally acknowledged that workers would rather eat rat skeletons than participate in group activities.”

While this book may be a tad predictable and full of stereotypes, I enjoyed every second that I spent reading it. I’m not normally one for the “I hate you but I love you” kind of trope, but Thorne nails it in her delivery of the book. I was blown away by the layers to the story, having only Lucy’s perspective the more I learned about Josh, the more I grew to love him. This book also had those little angsty tidbits that I just ate right up!

“You’ve broken me down so completely, I can’t even handle it when a guy tells me I’m beautiful.”

I found myself giggling while reading this. Lucy was a fantastic balance of intelligent, work wise, and naive when it came to interpreting Josh and his feelings for her. My favorite part of the entire book is when Lucy got sick (and that’s all I’ll say because I don’t want to spoil it for you).

Lately I haven’t been able to read romance because it all seems the same to me, and I am happy to say this book stands out amongst the sea of books that all sound alike to me. Bravo to Ms. Thorne for her debut novel and I eagerly await more of her books in the future.

“I’m probably not good at a lot of things, but I will try to be.”