May 17, 2016

Book Review: Blessed Fate by H.B. Heinzer

Title:  Blessed Fate 
Author:  H.B. Heinzer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Colton Bradford never believed in love at first sight. And then, Rain Maxwell walked through his buddy's front door. He knew there was something special underneath the shy, guarded exterior and was determined to find out what it was. 

The problem? Rain had devised her own set of life rules and “Never get involved with a band mate” was right near the top of that list. She allowed Colton into her heart as one of her closest friends, but pushed him away at the mention of anything more. 

When tragedy strikes Rain's personal life, Colton is determined to be there for her in whatever way she'll allow. Will she finally open up to him and consider taking things to the next level? Will Colton's ways of trying to bury his feelings for Rain in the past ruin the possibility of a future for them?

My Review:


This book ended up being "just alright" for me. I have not read book one in this series, Blessed Tragedy, but from the reviews I have read, the two books are basically the same story told from two POV's. I usually enjoy when an author flips it around and gives us both sides of the story, but I can honestly say that I do not have a strong urge to go back and read book one. Let me tell you why.

I was really intrigued by the summary, and then the actual story once I began the book. It's about a group of three friends, Colton, Travis and John, who started a rock band and are finally starting to get a little recognition. So, one of the bandmates, Travis, decides to bring in a girl to audition for a place as a singer. Her name is Rain. Rain has had a really hard time. She recently left rehab and is recovering from a cocaine addiction. I have to say, I really liked the Rain at the beginning of the story. She seemed laid back, easy going, and level headed. She didn't really drink with the "guys" since she was trying to maintain her sobriety. She was a little shy and kept to herself. This was the Rain that Colton fell in love with. Unfortunately for him, Rain's dream in life is to be a singer, so she is not willing to jeopardize the fate of the band by dating a "co-worker." So.......fast forward 4 or 5 years. Literally. This was the first time in the book that I was a little disappointed. I felt like so much good story was skipped over. It would have added to my understanding of Rain and Colton, and to why he loved her so much. Instead, I was fast forwarded in time and told that he loved her so much he couldn't see straight. And the other big disappointment for me was that I found myself disliking Colton and Rain the more I read, instead of growing more connected to them. They were both so damn immature, and the laid back likable Rain from the beginning of the book was replaced by a shrieky, moody, drunk shrew (maybe a little harsh but not far from the truth!). Colton also went through his own unflattering transformation. He had changed from a caring, sweet, sincere hot guy into a drunken jerk that had jealousy issues.

And on top of all this - in several places throughout the book there were more of the big jumps in time. In one section when Colton and Rain are going through a rough patch, one page they were arguing, and the next it was four months later and they still weren't talking to each other. What the hell? To me it seemed like some of the most interesting parts of the story were just skipped over.

Anyway, I really like the writing style of H.B. Heinzer. There were a lot of parts to the story that I could picture so clearly in my mind. I definitely will give her books another try, just maybe not any more in this series.

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May 16, 2016

Book Review: Come Undone by Jessica Hawkins

Title:  Come Undone 
Author:  Jessica Hawkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Olivia Germaine has already found love. Devoted wife, loyal friend, determined career woman–she’s created the life she always envisioned. But when Olivia locks eyes with a handsome stranger across a crowded room, he peers a little too closely and sees emotions she thought she’d buried long ago. 

David Dylan, alleged playboy and eternal bachelor, challenges Olivia to confront the life she’s built and to make decisions that could either lead to happiness... or regret. 

Will Olivia be able to draw the line between lust and love? And can David respect that line?

My Review:


Usually I don't enjoy books that have any sort of an "insta-love" situation. As soon as I see that pop up in a story, I'm usually done with that book. Every once in a while though an author does it in such a way that it intrigues me rather than repelling me. That was the case with this book. The instant attraction and pull between Olivia and David fascinated me. I don't know if it was because it was so wrong and taboo, since Olivia is married, or if it was because I was already empathizing with Olivia and her bland, safe marriage. Sadly, I was never a fan of Olivia's husband, Bill, and I was rooting for something, anything, to happen between David and Olivia.

I was definitely pulled in to this book, and I became really invested in the characters. I loved David and Olivia, even though David was a little overbearing and stubborn at times and Olivia was so fickle and weak. The supporting characters were great also. Gretchen, Lucy, Brian - it's always nice whenever I become attached to the "best friends" of the main characters. It makes it so easy to slip into that world and really care about the story.

While I did really like this book, I was frustrated several times with Olivia. I sort of understood her longing for something stable and safe - and Bill did give her that. However, it was clear that she was suffocating in her marriage, and was settling for some half-life. I wanted her to jump ship and go be happy with David, and it irritated me to no end how she jumped back and forth, and couldn't make up her damn mind. Her loyalty to Bill was commendable, but I'm not a big believer in sacrificing your own happiness and basically your shot at an amazing life, because you don't believe in divorce. Get over it!

Anyway, I do strongly recommend this book. It is interesting, and well written, and heartbreaking, and infuriating. A very dynamic combination. I can't wait to read the rest of this series to see what happens next!

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May 10, 2016

Book Review: Blind Side by K.B. Nelson

Title:  Blind Side 
Author:  K.B. Nelson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  I accept the part I played in the demise of my marriage. 
I accept the things I cannot change. 
I’m a cheater. I’m a whore. I’m an outcast in that place I left behind the second the first embers fizzled against the cracks of the night sky. 

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Anyone with the faintest understanding of decency would know this to be true. But it did happen this way. It went exactly like this, because maybe that’s the way things had to go. 

There was no way out, and just when I thought of pulling the proverbial trigger, he appeared to me. 
He was the student.
And I was his teacher.
And he saved me in every way I imagine one could ever be saved.
So, he became my teacher and I became his student as he taught me how to love again…

My Review:  

I really wanted to like this book, but right up until the last page, I felt disappointed. This book could have been good. It had an interesting plot, and characters that could have been intriguing, but it all just fell flat to me. I was confused a good way through the book because the story was so disjointed. The reader would get bits and pieces of what had happened before the story began, but was never shown the entire picture until the very end of the book. Plus, I don't think the ending is very believable.  (**Scroll to the bottom of this post for the rest of my review that contains spoilers!)  Ultimately though, it really didn't matter to me how she ended up because I felt so disconnected from the characters and their emotions.

Another problem I had with this book was the overly descriptive language that the author used. I don't have a problem with the writing style itself, it's just that some of the comparisons (metaphors) and descriptions came across as awkward and out of place. For example:
I used to be so strong, and now my strength is a trait long thrown out the window, to be felt only by the sight of it in the rearview mirror.
How do you feel something by sight?
My head reels, chasing the blur of entropy like a scent long gone stale.
Huh?
"Not like this," I force the words from my throat, spinning out of my mouth like flying gravel on a dirt road.
I get what this is saying, but I guess the simile just doesn't feel like it fits.
"Because I'm tired of feeling alone," the words come barreling out of his mouth like a truth cannon, locked and loaded with sadness, riding a quivering wave of solace.
Once again, too much going on in this sentence. It feels overdone and jarring.
He's taken aback, and when I pull away his eyes twist sideways, trying to read my intentions, but it's near impossible to read dead eyes beyond the obvious decay.
How do eyes twist sideways? And what does obvious decay look like in someone's eyes?

It's not that I don't appreciate flowing, descriptive and creative phrases, but if it pulls me out of the story because I have to think, "What the heck does that even mean?" then something isn't working.
This book wasn't horrible, and I'm sure a lot of people will love it when they read it, but it just wasn't for me.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!












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 ** I just want to say that there is no way in hell Stassi would have ended up with her husband. It contradicted everything in the story up until that point. And their problems certainly wouldn't have been resolved in what can only be called a far-fetched plot twist in which Stassi "suddenly remembers everything" about them and about why they were happy. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't really rooting for her to end up with Kemper either. The whole student/teacher thing made me feel a little icky, even though I did like the passion and chemistry they had. But I really couldn't bring myself to believe that all of the animosity and apparent hate between Stassi and her husband could suddenly just be set aside so they could have their HEA. 

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May 9, 2016

Book Review: Blush by Cherry Adair

Title:  Blush 
Author:  Cherry Adair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  In the same pulse-pounding style as Maya Banks and Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair delivers a sizzling erotic romance about a sexy billionaire who’s on the run—and the hit-man-turned-handyman who’s supposed to kill her.

Sex with a stranger. Learn to drive. Learn to cook. Learn to pole dance. Sex under the stars. Buy a truck. These are just a few of the things on Amelia Wentworth’s bucket list, but as the CEO and face of a multi-billion-dollar cosmetic empire, she’s never quite found the time to do them.

Until, after a series of accidents, Amelia discovers that someone wants her dead. But who? And why? She has no time for questions as she changes her name to Mia, buys a secluded fixer-upper near the Louisiana bayou where no one will recognize her, and starts checking things off her bucket list like there’s no tomorrow—which there might not be.

Meanwhile, Cruz Barcelona is a hit man who’s promised himself this will be his last job. Then he’ll take the money and move to a warm, sunny place where he doesn’t have to hide anymore. But when Cruz goes undercover to Mia’s ramshackle house, he starts to realize there’s far more to this poor-little-rich-girl than he thought—and he starts to fall for her. Which is going to make his job a whole lot harder…

My Review:

This was a very good book! It was entertaining from the start, and had smart, colorful characters that drew me in very quickly. I loved Mia/Amelia's sarcastic humor, and Cruz was one of those hot, overbearing, bossy men that make you hate him in all the right ways. And on top of all of that there was also a very interesting mystery scenario going on. Someone is trying to kill Mia/Amelia and for most of the book we don't know who or why. I loved the fact that Cruz was actually a hit man that was supposed to kill her, but after a hilarious "introduction" between the two, he just can't bring himself to hurt Mia. From start to finish this book was great. I definitely recommend it!

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May 5, 2016

Book Review: Spinning Out by Lexi Ryan

Title:  Spinning Out 
Author:  Lexi Ryan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Once, the only thing that mattered to me was football—training, playing, and earning my place on the best team at every level. I had it all, and I threw it away with a semester of drugs, alcohol, and pissing off anyone who tried to stop me. Now I’m suspended from the team, on house arrest, and forced to spend a semester at home to get my shit together. The cherry on my fuckup sundae? Sleeping in the room next to mine is my best friend’s girl, Mia Mendez—the only woman I’ve ever loved and a reminder of everything I regret.

I’m not sure if having Mia so close will be heaven or hell. She’s off-limits—and not just because she’s working for my dad. Her heart belongs to someone else. But since the accident that killed her brother and changed everything, she walks around like a zombie, shutting out her friends and ignoring her dreams. We’re both broken, numb, and stuck in limbo.

Until I break my own rules and touch her. 
Until she saves me from my nightmares by climbing into my bed. 
Until the only thing I want more than having Mia for myself is to protect her from the truth. 

I can’t rewrite the past, but I refuse to leave her heart in the hands of fate. For this girl, I’d climb into the sky and rearrange the stars.

My Review:

I'm not really quite sure how to start this review because I have SO MUCH TO SAY about this book. I guess I'll start by saying that I loved it. The characters were refreshing and complex, and they really came to life for me. Mia and Arrow (I love that name, btw) are like a modern day Romeo and Juliet, only they have way more obstacles in their way besides their families. I felt so much empathy for Mia whenever her heart was being pulled in two ways - between Brogan and Arrow. And Lexi Ryan did such a great job writing all three characters, that I was torn between who I was rooting for. Brogan started out as a clear favorite. He was funny and sweet and charming. Further along in the story, he messed up big time, but only because of his own insecurities. My heart broke for him in a whole other way than it did for Mia and Arrow. And Arrow, oh my god, he seems like the fantasy hot college football player from every girls dreams.
He's gotta play some sport. That body. Those big hands. Sweet mother of Jesus, a girl could go into shock from and estrogen overdose looking at those hands. My body pumps out hormones like the survival of the human species depends on giving this man my babies.
In my opinion this book would have been amazing if it was only about the love triangle between Mia, Arrow and Brogan, but there was so much more going on. Each element just added another layer of amazingness to this book. There were the other Blackhawk Boys, that while they played a backseat to the main characters, they were still interesting and likable characters. No doubt because they will be getting their own books soon. (Yay!) Then you have Mia's best friend, Bailey, who was the bad-ass sidekick and comedic relief all rolled into one. And then there was the accident, the terrible tragedy that spun this whole story into motion. I was brought to tears several times while reading, just from the pure anguish and pain that Arrow and Mia both were dealing with. They each had a totally different reality that they were dealing with, and not only was it crushing their souls, it was also keeping them from being together. Which was obviously what they both needed to heal and move on.
"I didn't die that night, but until you came back into my life, I wasn't living. Every breath hurt until it didn't hurt at all. Until I felt nothing. You make me want to breathe when before I just wanted any excuse to stop."
Do not tread lightly into this story. It will give you all of the "feels" from one end of the spectrum to the other. But don't skip it, because it is totally worth the read.

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May 3, 2016

Book Review: Heartfelt Lies by Kristy Love


Title
Heartfelt Lies
Author: Kristy Love
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  Loving Cassie was effortless. 
She was a thirst I couldn’t quench. 

She was everything I needed, but nothing I deserved. 
I failed her more times than I could count. 

I lied relentlessly. 
And she always forgave me. 

Until she couldn’t. 

Maybe I deserved to be left behind. 

* * * 

Jax swept me off my feet with his disheveled hair and his easy smile. 
I loved him fiercely. 
He made me believe in the fairytale. 

Then the walls crumbled around me. 
The lies never ended. 
I left him behind. I had no choice. 
I mourned the loss of him. 

But I moved on. 
I created a new life, 
Now, I was marrying someone else. 

Where do we go now that he’s back?

Review:

I am so glad that I read this book! I nearly didn't. I nearly wrote it off completely because the first book in this series just didn't do it for me. It never pulled me in, and I never made a connection with the characters. This book was the total opposite! I was heartbroken over the pain and struggles that Cassie and Jax went through. I wanted them to be together so bad because they were meant for each other from the beginning. But they had to work hard for their happily ever after. And it wasn't easy, and it wasn't pretty.
"I'm sick of crying over you! I'm sick of my heart hurting and I'm sick of missing you....I'm sick of loving you, Jax, because it hurts too damned much."

What made this story stand out for me were the characters. They each had so much personality that I felt like they were my friends and family. I also love the fact that the reality of Jax's addiction and problems weren't glossed over. They were shown and described in all their ugly details, and anyone who has ever been around anything like that would have identified immediately. As is so often the case with couples who struggle with addiction, either one or both, it's never a straight and narrow road to redemption. There are setbacks and pitfalls, missteps and stumbles. It hurts too much to let them go, but it hurts too much to be with them. I felt like Kristy Love hit the nail right on the head with the emotions and descriptions of Cassie and Jax.
"We were each a mess, but together we were such a f@cked up mess. I couldn't figure out if it was beautiful or a disaster.

This book is going to stick with me for a little while, that's for sure. It's not the best book I've ever read, or even the most memorable, but it is definitely special enough that it will stay in my thoughts for some time.

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May 2, 2016

Book Review: The Fragile Fall by Kristy Love

Title: The Fragile Fall 
Author: Kristy Love

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Synopsis:  I’ve destroyed everything in my life and now I’m left with nothing. 

Alone and scared. 
Broken and shattered. 
But I’ve found a way to deal with it. 
Instead of all the pain being on the inside, I make the outside ache too. Anything to make it easier to breathe. 
Until one beautiful morning when I look outside and see her. 

She tries to help me… 
But I’m lost. 

And I’m not sure I can ever be found.

Review:
I really wanted to like this book. It had all of the elements there to make it a real gut-wrenching, heartbreaking story, but it just never came together. The majority of the book was written in a "telling instead of showing" way. Instead of the author letting the reader experience what was going on and making a real connection to the characters, it was more like reading a to-do list. "They did this, and this, and then they did this." Check, check, check. Unfortunately, this caused me to really lose interest in the story and the characters.

I also had a hard time with how immature the characters came across. I get that this was technically a YA romance (although there was a lot of cussing, and some fairly explicit sexual content), but I just wanted to pull my hair out at times. Most of the angst in the story came from the character's lack of ability to just talk to each other. If Jax would have just talked to Ryanne and Will about how he felt about their relationship, or if Will had just talked to Ryanne about what he heard her and Jax talking about at prom, or ......... the list goes on. Instead, every single time one of the main characters experienced something that was a little bit upsetting, there were tears, and running away, and a general over the top reaction. In my opinion the characters were old enough to have a little common sense (Ryanne was 20, Jax and Will were 17 going on 18), and they were definitely old enough to be able to handle their reactions and emotions a little better.

My last sticking point with this book was that I felt like it never really found it's "identity." I felt like the author was aiming for a YA book, but wasn't quite sure if it was YA or New Adult. The making out and hook-up sessions were kept strictly PG-13 for the majority of the book, but then jumped straight into full out variations of sex. Also, 90% of the dialogue was clean and innocent, but then seemingly out of the blue the characters would drop two or three unneeded f-bombs into the sentence. It almost seemed like the author wasn't sure how to make her characters seem older, so she thought making them cuss would do the trick. I may be way off base, but it just felt forced and unnatural to me.

Overall, the story had bones, but not enough meat to make it substantial enough to sink my teeth into. Unfortunately, I have to categorize this read as a close call disappointment.

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