Thursday, September 29, 2016

More Than This (More Than #1) by Jay McLean

More than this
Available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

Synopsis:

When Mikayla imagined her prom night, she envisioned a fairy-tale evening full of romance. So when betrayal and tragedy come in quick succession, Mikayla is completely destroyed. Suddenly, everything she loved and everyone she relied on are tragically, irrevocably gone.

Jake, a handsome boy she just met, happens to witness her loss. With no one to turn to, Mikayla is forced to depend on this near stranger and his family, and he in turn is determined to take care of her. But Mikayla—thrust into adulthood with no one to guide her—is desperate to contain her grief and hide what she considers to be her weakness. Mikayla and Jake both want more, but despite their growing closeness and intense chemistry, she tries to keep her distance and protect her heart. As he does everything in his power to win her trust, Mikayla must choose between remaining alone and safe or letting love in.

Review:

More Than This is the second book by this author I have read, and both of them I really enjoyed until the end. Then the ending had something that kind of ruined it for me. I was reading this one and loving it, then in literally the last pages something happened that I didn't really understand why it was included. Something that made the last moments with this story not as good as all the previous one. Something that made me think this story is just good instead of great like I had previously thought. I still enjoyed it, I am still going to read the next book to see what happens with Logan, but it was just frustrating. 

This is the story of Mikayla and Jake. Mikayla who lost pretty much everything in one night. That was a bit over the top at the time, but I just went with it. First she finds out her perfect boyfriend is cheating on her with her best/only friend right before prom. Luckily Jake sees this happen, sees her breaking down, and swoops in to help her. He and his friends noticed her before and really if not for his friend Logan she might not have found out about the cheating. He was drawn to her, so when she is hurting he just wants to help her. He takes her with him and his friends to go to their prom and have some fun times. Right from the beginning I loved all of these characters. Jake and his friends are wonderfully fun and kind people. They are a group of friends like you want in real life. People who will have your back no matter what, who are there for you when you need them and who are just awesome in general. I can't wait to read each of their stories to get to know them all a little more. 

So Mikayla doesn't just lose her boyfriend and best friend, but everyone she cares about in that same evening. When tragedy strikes she is kind of lost, but Jake is still there for her. He wants to take care of her and help her however he can. Sure he is this big shot baseball player, or will be huge when he goes pro, but he is one of the nicest guys. You can see the two of them falling for each other through all the tragedy. Man Jake was so sweet. He cares so much for Mikayla and was wonderful through everything. He definitely wants to be with her, but also knows that she has to be ready for that. I loved him. 

For her part Mikayla could be a bit annoying at times. She has this idea in her head that she has to be perfect before she can date Jake and she almost ruins a great thing. They are kind of together kind of not, but they never talk about anything significant regarding them. They never say what they are doing or where this is going, they just kind of make out at times (though no kissing which was very odd until late in the game when it was explained why) and...she could be a bit annoying. She was all I want to be whole and better to give myself to him, poor me, a bit of whining, and then suddenly she just figures everything out in an instant. Not really realistic, but I still was enjoying the read. Then in the last moments of the book something else was introduced and made me think why? Why did you have to go and ruin a perfectly good book in the last seconds? I won't spoil what it is, but it was out of left field for me. And it didn't make a lot of sense. 

Overall I really enjoyed the story. There were some annoying moments, some cheesy moments, and an annoying addition at the end, but it was still a good read. Now on to read Logan's story. I hope there is not another frustrating ending in store for me. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Transfer (Retrieval Duo #2) by Aly Martinez


Now available on

Synopsis:

One story. Two couples.

I fell in love with a man who didn’t exist.
What started out as romance ended in hell.
His words turned to razor blades.
His kisses converted to fists.
His embrace became my cage.
His body transformed into a weapon, stealing parts of me until ultimately....
I broke.

I hated him.
My sole job in life became to protect our daughter.

I wasn’t sure I’d ever escape the prison he’d skillfully crafted from my fears.
Until the day our savior arrived.

This is the story of how I escaped the man who thought he owned me.
The transfer of my life and my family.

Review:

Please note: Transfer is the second part of a continuous storyline. You should have read Retrieval prior to starting this book.

Transfer was the exciting conclusion to the Retrieval duo. Oh man, I loved Retrieval and Transfer was just as great! While the first book focused on Roman and Elisabeth, this book was all about Clare and Tessa. Oh Clare. She has not had it easy. She is so strong, so incredible, even if she doesn't always see it. She was pretty broken when things start, not really caring so much what happens to her as long as Tessa is safe. Only she has so many people on her side helping trying to keep them both safe. This was a tricky situation and Roman and Elisabeth as so kind and sweet and wonderful with it all. I don't know that everyone would be as graceful if they were in this situation. I loved it. I loved these characters and seeing them try to get their happily ever after. If anyone deserves it it is Clare.

Clare has never really had much. She thought way bad when a handsome guy paid her attention in the diner she worked at she was so lucky. Only it turned into a nightmare and worse that I could imagine. Like I don't know what I would have done in her situation. Luckily she really does get saved just in time and is able to try and start over. With her husband still out there she still is waiting for him to retaliate, but she also starts to move on. If I had one thing that I didn't like as much it was probably how fast and easily Clare moves on. I just figured it would take longer to be able to trust someone again, but the guy she chooses is pretty great. So maybe it would have worked out.

The guy Clare ends up with was lovely. He only wants what is best for Clare and Tessa. He fell in love with them both and is willing to walk away if that is what they want. He was perfect for her. Always there for them, always letting Clare know she can do it whenever she is ready. He never hurried her along or thought she should be different than she was. He was really wonderful. No wonder she fell in love with him. Who wouldn't when you find a guy like that?

You still get to see Elisbeth and Roman and oh I still loved them. There are all tied up in the situation together and it was intense at times. Clares husband is not a good person, not by a long shot, but Roman and all will do whatever they can to keep everyone safe. This was a really great story. A lot of fun to read. The ending was so sweet and yeah. For all the bad times these people went through it was almost worth it for them to get to where they ended up.

*Note:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Prior books in the series:
Retrieval available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

About the Author:

Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay­at­home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever­growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Cover Reveal: Tonic by Staci Hart




Synopsis:

Joel Anderson doesn’t take anything seriously.

Not his relationships, which have been few and far between since his brutal divorce. Not the drama of working in a tattoo parlor, which seems to be around every corner. When things get him down, he smiles and cracks a joke. But he’s not the kind of man you cross, or you’ll find yourself at the wrong end of his fists.

Annika Belousov takes everything seriously.

Like her job as a reality television producer, given that she typically has something to prove. Or her love life, which is defined by a series of requirements — affluent, ambitious, accomplished, to name a few. Definitely her family, who worked their whole lives to afford her every opportunity, a sacrifice she doesn’t take lightly. When she’s tapped to produce a reality show at Joel’s shop, she doesn’t think twice, just goes in for the kill, as if there were any other way.

The second Annika walks into Joel’s shop, he makes it his mission to crack her open, but she’s not having it. He’s all wrong — too crass, too hairy, too un-serious. But it doesn’t take her long to find out there’s more to him than smirks and tattoos. And what she finds could put her career and his heart on the line.

Not that Joel cares. Because for the first time in a long time, he’s found his tonic.

About the Author:
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life: a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, even though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.

From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's sleeping, cleaning, or designing graphics.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Far From the Madding Crowd by Tom Hardy

far from the madding crowd
Available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

Synopsis:

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in Wessex, Hardy's novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

Review:

*Spoiler alert - Some plot spoilers ahead*

Far From the Madding Crowd was a book club read for me. It had been on my to-read list for a while so I was excited to start reading. Only...it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be. I have a friend who loves the book, loves everything about it, but I just...didn't. Really the big problem for me was I really disliked the main character so she kind of ruined the whole thing for me. 

This is the story of Bathsheba and the men who fancy her. The book opens with Oak, when he meets her, and his proposal of marriage. She of course turns him down, but in such a way that I did almost enjoy it. There were moments, like her refusal of his proposal, that made me think oh, this will be fun. But they were few and far between. Anyways, she turns him down and goes to run a large farm that was kind of left to her. It is there that she meets Boldwood and Troy and where most of the story takes place. 

So Oak is the guy who is always there. He was the only character I actually liked at all. The only one who didn't get crazy jealous. He wanted Bathsheba to be happy, whether that was with him or not. He also had no problem standing up to her when she would try and be mean to him and talk down to him. 

Then we have Boldwood (who I always read as Bollywood for some reason so he was this kind of crazy guy for me, which turned out to be quite accurate). He doesn't really have any interest in Bathsheba until, on a lark, she sends him a valentine. Then it is all over for him as he must have her! Ridiculous. 

Then finally we have Sergeant Troy. The guy who rolls into town and immediately starts telling Bathsheba how beautiful she is and all that. He was the real charmer and obviously not at all sincere. He also has a lady who he really loves on the side (though she is not in a good way when we do see her again). 

So Bathsheba. She was so incredibly vain and self centered I couldn't stand her. It was always me me me and she didn't really seem to care for others very much. She would be horrible to Oak for no good reason and he would just leave. He always came back when she asked, but still. Then she falls for Troy because he fawns all over her and tells her how pretty she is and stuff. There was one line before she meets him when Boldwood is leaving town for a bit that was like if only he (Boldwood) had told her she was beautiful. Like if he had maybe she would have agreed to marry him and everything else wouldn't have happened. I did not care for her. Way too self centered for my tastes. 

So of course everything falls apart eventually, how could it not when you decide to marry the dishonest Troy? Then Boldwood goes really crazy - that was a strange scene and seemed to come a bit out of left field, and so she is left with Oak. No one else is around to marry her so it end a bit anticlimactically and to me not too happily. With her finally saying well, I guess you will do since I have no other options. Sad for Oak as he seemed like a good guy. 

Now one thing I will say that I did like about the story is the author seemed to be way ahead of his time. A woman who runs her own farm? Who doesn't need a guy to do so? At the time this was written it seems like it wouldn't have been looked upon kindly. Like Hardy is progressive in his writing. And not very subtle with his words. The title indicating they are out in the country where no drama would be, only to have a ton of drama. Oak being named Oak and being the strong silent one. All of it. I quite enjoyed the writing, I just wish I would have liked the main character more. I will have to give another of his works a try and see if I enjoy it more. 

Rating: ★ ★

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Silent Waters (Elements #3) by Brittainy C. Cherry


Now available on

Synopsis:

Moments.

Our lives are a collection of moments. Some utterly painful and full of yesterday's hurts. Some beautifully hopeful and full of tomorrow's promises.

I’ve had many moments in my lifetime, moments that changed me, challenged me. Moments that scared me and engulfed me. However, the biggest ones—the most heartbreaking and breathtaking ones—all included him.

I was ten years old when I lost my voice. A piece of me was stolen away, and the only person who could truly hear my silence was Brooks Griffin. He was the light during my dark days, the promise of tomorrow, until tragedy found him. Tragedy that eventually drowned him in a sea of memories.

This is the story of a boy and girl who loved each other, but didn’t love themselves. A story of life and death. Of love and broken promises.

Of moments.

(Book Three in the Elements Series. Complete Standalone.)

Review:

Moments. I often times go into books, especially by authors I already love, without reading the synopsis. I saw this was Brittainy C. Cherry's newest book and said it doesn't matter what it is about, I want to read it. All of her books are amazing and I will learn more when I read it. Then I read The Silent Waters and oh, my heart. This book wrecked me in such a wonderful way. It got to me more than a book has in quite a while. I am still not completely sure why, but maybe it is the moments. I can think of a few moments in particular, a few times when I read a word or two and it just shattered me. When it was like a punch to the gut. I couldn't breath. I couldn't think. I could only feel. Moment that defined this book for me. Moments. That is what this story is all about. All of the moments, big and small, that make someone who they are. That make relationships what they are. That make this story so beautiful. I loved all the moments even when they hurt me. Reading the synopsis after reading the book I thought yes. This is perfect. It is all in those moments when everything can change. When you can be broken or you can heal. Moments can change everything.

This is the story of Maggie and Brooks. Maggie and Brooks who could have had that forever love from such a young age, but then a moment got in the way. A moment that changed everything. A moment that stole Maggie May's voice. That made her who she is. That defined her for so long. Oh, the moments. These two don't have an easy go of it, but they have such a strong connection that I don't think anything could truly break it. Brooks was the best. I fell for him hard. Hr is so kind and sweet and wonderful and just the best. He is always there for Maggie no matter what. He was incredible, but really they were incredible together. The two of them go through so much, but their bond is truly unbreakable. When one is weak the other is strong. When one needs them the other is there. They could have had one of those relationships where they were together since forever, but that is not what fate had in store for them. Instead they had to go through some things.

Oh but this story tore my heart apart. These two have so many things to overcome, but overcome them they must as they are meant to be together. They have that love that nothing can ruin. There were so many times, so many moments that made me loose my breath because my heart was breaking. That made me not able to move on. I spent a good chunk of a day with tears in my eyes for these two beautiful people. Everything they went through was so beautiful, but tragic. I hurt for them. This author doesn't pull the emotional punches and I love her for it. I loved every minute of this story.

Then afterwards, once I thought I was done with feeling all the feels, the authors shares another little story, a true story, and oh. I didn't know my fragile heart would tear a little bit more. I was a mess after reading this book, but in the best way. This is one of those stories I wish I could read again for the first time. To feel everything as strongly as I just did. I love it. Go read this book. It is amazing. Breathtakingly beautiful. Everything I would expect from this author.

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2



Prior books in the series (click title for my reviews):

The Air He Breathes
Available on
Amazon * Amazon.de * Goodreads


The Fire Between High & Lo
Available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

About the Author:

Brittainy Cherry has been in love with words since the day she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing. She loves to take part in writing screenplays, acting, and dancing-- poorly of course. Coffee, chai tea, and wine are three things that she thinks every person should partake in! Brittainy lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her family. When she's not running a million errands and crafting stories, she's probably playing with her adorable pets.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Best Friend Bargain (Kisses in the Sand #3) by Robin Bielman

Available on

Synopsis:

Olivia Lincoln has a plan guaranteed to get her life back on track. A plan that involves her best friend, Danny. And he’s on board, too…until she blurts out that they’re engaged and expecting a baby, and the news spreads like wildfire.

The problem? Danny doesn’t do marriage. Or family. And everyone knows it, including Olivia.
As irritated as he might be, protecting Olivia is what Danny does. But put best friends under one roof, add house rules begging to be broken, accidental nakedness, and pancakes in bed, and what started as a marriage between friends threatens to turn into the real deal…which would ruin everything.

Review:

The Best Friend Bargain was an okay read, but not my favorite. Really there was just one thing that kept me from enjoying it, but it was brought up again and again. Or how it was handled was what I didn't like, so the book as a whole was not so good for me. 

Olivia has gotten into a bit of trouble. She is single and pregnant and that just won't work. Her family is not so good, so she needs to get married or they will not be happy. She has always been best friends with Danny, he has always done anything for her, and she is hoping that he will step up now and help her out again. She knows he doesn't ever want to get married, doesn't want a family or anything, but hopefully he will for her. 

When she comes back and suddenly blurts all that out Danny doesn't quite know what to do. They have only ever been friends, but he does want to help her. Now here is where I didn't like the story so much. *spoiler alert* So Danny doesn't want to get married or have kids or anything because he has a disease that will make him go blind eventually. Now I can see not wanting to pass it on or whatever, having a hard time accepting it, all of that, but the way he spoke about it it was like he wouldn't be able to do anything once he went blind. It bugged me. It really bugged me. It was like he thinks blind people can't do anything. Olivia doesn't care, she knows that it will be fine, maybe a bit harder, at first at least, but it is not the end of the world like Danny thinks. He can learn new ways and get along when he is blind, but he won't even consider it. He doesn't want to be a burden. He doesn't want to do that to someone. I hated how he talked about his illness. He could still have these concerns, still feel the way he does, but go about it slightly different and I wouldn't have minded.  

Now things get a bit difficult when they both start to be attracted to the other. As I said they have only ever been friends, nothing more, but now things are starting to change. If Danny didn't have such a doomsday feeling about his disease, or he would have talked about it a bit differently, then this would have been a cute, light read. Instead I kept getting annoyed with him and how his disease was spoken of. It was alright, but not my favorite. So yeah. If you are looking for a light read this might be a good one for you. It just wasn't for me.

*Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Rating: ★ ★

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cover Reveal: Bang Gang by Jade West


Add to your to-read list on Goodreads 

Synopsis:

It’s one thing knowing your ex-boyfriend is a bit of a player, but it’s another thing altogether to find out he’s pimping himself out to anyone who’ll pay good money for it.
Not just himself, either. That would be far too regular for Darren Trent.
Darren Trent – my teenage sweetheart and father to my two young girls – is not just whoring himself out. Oh no. Darren Trent pimps himself out alongside four of his mechanic friends – all of them at the same time.
Five hot, sweaty mechanics at your service.
They call themselves the Bang Gang… you can imagine.

In a village our size I should keep my head down and hope the scandal blows over before the girls or my poor old Nanna catch wind of it.
Only it’s not blowing over. Far from it. It seems every woman in the village wants themselves a five-mechanic sandwich.
They make no qualms about it, either. Just rock on up to my café counter and ask how they can book themselves in for a Bang Gang special. Like I would know.
I definitely wouldn’t know. I hardly even know Darren Trent anymore. We split up a lifetime ago.
I definitely don’t think about him late at night. Don’t think about five mechanics and me as much as every other woman in this village.
And even if I did, I wouldn’t act on it. I wouldn’t draw the money from my savings account and have a go for myself.
And even if I did that. I definitely, definitely wouldn’t fall for him. Not again. Not after everything we went through. Not after splitting up the first time nearly brought me to my knees.
Not after settling into a decent routine, the girls and me, with no drama, no heartbreak, no crazy passions to rock the calm little boat we’re sailing on.
I mean, who would be stupid enough to risk all that over a hot, sweaty, oily bit of rough like Darren Trent?




About the Author:

Jade has increasingly less to say about herself as time goes on, other than the fact she is an author, but she’s happy with this fact.
Living in imaginary realities and having a legitimate excuse for it is really all she’s ever wanted.
Jade is as dirty as you’d expect from her novels, and talking smut makes her smile.
She lives in the Herefordshire countryside with a couple of hounds and a guy who’s able to cope with her inherent weirdness.

She has a red living room, decorated with far more zebra print than most people could bear and fights a constant battle with her addiction to Coca-Cola.