Posted in Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ WITH THE FATHER BY JENNI MOEN

I had a choice, and I chose wrong.

I thought I lost everything. But when the smoke finally cleared, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. 

Father Sullivan was a force – a living and breathing force, a forbidden desire I couldn’t resist. I didn’t want to resist. But I wasn’t the only one who wanted him, and by all accounts neither of us should have him.

I had decisions to make, secrets to uncover. Both would tear my heart, my life, and what was left of my family apart.

I wasn’t going to take any chances this time around. If I’d learned one thing during my life, it’s that death is the only certainty. It’s a matter of when, not if. 

For every action, there is a reaction. For every choice, a consequence. If I hadn’t chosen to live again, I would have never known what life could be like… With the Father

5 stars!!

If there was ever a time I’m glad I didn’t DNF a book, it would be right now. I was 3 star cruising through a great part of the book and then the most crazy and wicked twist happened and now I see the entire story in a different light. One look at the cover, teasers, and blurb and my mind settled on a forbidden romance that had something to do with a priest and two sisters. In a way I was right, but in many other ways I was wrong. This book initially started out as a forbidden story, but evolved into something much grander than its original premise. I wasn’t looking for it, didn’t see it coming, and I’m not going to pinpoint exactly where in the plot that revelation came for me, but I will say that all the clues are there in the book, namely the dedication –For anyone who’s ever second guessed a decision and wondered what if…This book is all about the what if. About characters knowing their reality but still daring to wonder what would happen if their what if became true. Reading this book was literally like being in a dream, and like all dreams, we have to wake up at some point. That waking point was when my epiphany kicked in to what this book was really about. I think every reader needs to experience that euphoria, mindfuck, WTF moment, whatever you want to call it. So as much of a spoiler whore I am, I’m not about to ruin that experience for you.I purposely didn’t mention the characters because it’s really not for me to say whose story this is really about, and I am SO very thankful the author didn’t name specifics in the blurb either. As readers, we are all going to have a different take on our reads and it will never be truer with this book, a story where multiple theories are plausible. Multiple what ifs.Initially I intended to rate this book 4-4.5 stars because I spent most of the time wondering why I felt a puzzle piece was missing up until the big twist. However, I finished this super late last night and did nothing productive the next day. It was like I was disconnected from real life, constantly mulling over this story in my head. Very rarely do books (good or bad) make that kind of impact on me so to have my thoughts be consumed by this story long after the last page is flipped means a great deal to me. Even though I had minor issues here and there, the overall significance of this story made me bump up my rating.Because of how ambitious and intricate this storyline is, I can only review the book in this vague way, sorry! It’s pure torture because my fingers are itching to spoil everything but my brain is saying to let everyone experience it on their own. Literally every word has a double meaning, and I think it’s the most wonderful feeling to be armed with the knowledge of what the book premise is truly about and then go back and find out where the author dropped hints in the story. I already know this is a book that will evoke different opinions from readers but I can guarantee that whether or not you end up enjoying the book, you’ll be thinking about it for days to come.

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RELEASE DAY BLITZ ~ UNSTOPPABLE BY MELODY GRACE

“My daddy always told me, you could never run out of second chances…”Tegan Callahan has sworn off bad boys for good. Growing up on tour with her rock star brother, she knows first-hand the damage they can do. She’s looking for a nice, safe, stable guy – until a chance encounter with a devastatingly sexy stranger makes her question everything she thought she wanted.A troubled soul…Ryland James arrives in Beachwood Bay on the run from his mistakes. He knows he’s the last thing Tegan needs, but somehow, he can’t stay away. There’s something about her fierce beauty that draws him in – and makes him vow to protect her, whatever the cost.A passionate destiny…Their bond is undeniable; the stakes, higher than ever. But the past won’t stay gone forever, and soon, Ryland must make the ultimate choice: will he risk everything he treasures in the world, or keep Tegan safe – and sacrifice her love forever?


Melody Grace is the New York Times bestselling author of the Beachwood Bay series. A small-town girl turned SoCal beach lover, after spending her life with her nose in a book, she decided it was time she wrote one herself. She loves steamy romance novels, happily-ever-afters, and lusting after fictional menfolk. She is author of USA Today & international bestselling Beachwood Bay series.


Posted in Book Reviews

RELEASE DAY REVIEW ~ IN HER WAKE BY K.A. TUCKER

Before you knew him as Trent in Ten Tiny Breaths, he was Cole Reynolds—and he had it all. Until one night when he makes a fatal, wrong decision…and loses everything.

When a drunken night out at a Michigan State college party results in the death of six people, Cole must come to terms with his part in the tragedy. Normally, he’d be able to lean on his best friends—the ones who have been in his life since he could barely walk. Only, they’re gone. Worse, there’s the shattered body of a sixteen-year-old girl lying somewhere in a hospital bed, her entire life ripped from her because of a case of beer and a set of keys.

Everyone assures him that they know it wasn’t intentional, and yet he can’t ignore the weight of their gazes, the whispers behind his back. Nor can he shake the all-consuming guilt he feels every time he thinks of that girl who won’t so much as allow him near her hospital room to apologize. As the months go by and the shame and loneliness festers, Cole begins to lose his grip on what once was important—college, his girlfriend, his future. His life. It’s not until Cole hits rock-bottom that he can begin to see another way out of his personal hell: forgiveness.

In Her Wake is a book that has left me feeling deeply conflicted and though I’ve finally decided on a 4 star rating, I’m not so sure it’s an entirely accurate representation of my feelings for the book. But before I jump into the review, I do want to clarify a few things:
– This is a novella that focuses on the Trent before the events of Ten Tiny Breaths so even though this book chronologically comes first, I highly recommend reading TTB before this one.– If you are looking for a Trent and Kacey fix, I’m sorry to say you won’t be finding it here. You do not read about their relationship development, though you do see several scenes with Kacey in them. The novella is told entirely from his POV.

Out of all the books I’ve read from K.A. Tucker, Ten Tiny Breaths is my favorite. The devastating emotional impact, the imperfectly perfect characters, the heartfelt second chance romance are only some of the many reasons why I adore that book. I was secretly hoping there’d be a novella about Trent before he’s with Kacey but you know what they say right? Be careful what you wish for. Now that I’ve read about his past, frustration and sympathy have been warring in my head. I love that the author portrays his character with such harsh honesty, never flinching or trivializing his experiences and thoughts. But at the same time, this positive is also the downfall of the book for me.


I really struggled to read about the old Trent. Grief and unresolved guilt can lead a person to extremes, causing them to act irrationally and that was precisely the case with Cole. No matter what the ordeal is, I will NEVER condone self-destructive behavior. I feel like Cole took the blame for his friends’ deaths and Kacey’s accident and didn’t even bother to try to pick up the pieces. It’s harsh but from the way I saw it, that’s what happened. He brushes aside his loyal and attentive girlfriend, his supporting parents, his old friends, basically everyone and the one person he focuses ALL his attention on is Kacey. When she doesn’t even know who he is.

He follows her, just to make sure she’s safe.
He tracks her online, just to learn more about her.
He breaks into her email, just to find out her whereabouts. 

If this was in Ten Tiny Breaths, I’d have no problem with the amount of attention he lavishes on her. But it’s not. I expected reading about his healing process, not his stalkerish behavior.

So why the 4 stars? As much as I disliked his actions in the book, I feel like I’m not in the position to judge if his behavior is right or not. I’ve never been in his shoes and didn’t experience the kind of grief he has so in a way, I’ll never fully relate and understand why he does what he does. The only thing I can judge is how well the author takes all that jagged pain and portrays his character in the story. As depressed, frustrated and melancholy I got, I have to say the author did a damn fine job.

Posted in Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ BRIGHT SIDE BY KIM HOLDEN

Secrets. 
Everyone has one. 
Some are bigger than others. 
And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you. 

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks. 

They both feel it. 
But they each have a reason to fight it. 
They each have a secret. 

And when secrets are revealed, 
Some will heal you … 
And some will end you. 

3.5 stars!

I’ve been on an angst-fest/emotional kick lately so when I saw the blurb for Bright Side, I knew it was a book I wanted to read ASAP. Now that I’ve finished it, the first thing that popped up in my mind was well, that wasn’t what I expected. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the last 25% of the book that completely blew me away, I would’ve given this book 2 stars. That being said though, the heroine is a pretty refreshing character and the dry humor and sarcasm present in the book were things I could appreciate.************************The heroine Kate Sedgwick (or should I call her Katie, Katherine, or ‘Bright Side?’) has had a hard life. Having a mother who didn’t care much for her children, a father who left, and a sister who passed away, Kate should technically be cynical and emotionally closed off to everybody but she isn’t. For some inexplicable reason, she remains rather optimistic about everything and becomes a ‘bright side’ to everyone she meets (more on that later). Leaving her closest friend Gus behind, Kate heads off to college and meets the guy she never expects to meet.Keller Banks is first introduced as the charming guy who works at the coffee shop near campus. When Kate and Keller meet, rainbows shine brightly – both recognize that seeing each other ignites something in them.

As the book progresses and their relationship develops slowly, both of their hidden secrets (that the reader is privy to) are revealed and that completely changes their relationship dynamic.************************To start with, the first 65% of the book was just plain boring. There were occasional laughs on my part but most of the time I would be asking myself why the heck am I not DNFing this?? I also had a hard time warming up to the heroine. Not that I didn’t love how refreshing her character was but sometimes I felt like the author was laying it on too thick with all the sarcasm it became an overkill. Additionally, there was a lack of buildup…to everything actually. Kellar and Kate’s relationship moved as fast as a turtle for the first 50% and then all of a sudden this insanely intense chemistry appears and bam, they’re finally together. There was also little to no buildup in regards to their secrets. It’s pretty obvious what Kate’s hiding because there are big clues in the first few chapters but after that, there is no mention of it again until it’s revealed. It comes out in a way that seems rushed and on the spot, giving the reader no time to adjust to the event. But despite knowing what she was hiding, I still got all emotional and teary-eyed in the last 25% witnessing the aftermath. Then I pretty much ugly cried from the 90% mark and on.

Would I recommend this? I really don’t know now. If you aren’t a fan of extremely slow books maybe you should skip over this one. But if you’re willing to endure massive boredom to get to the heartfelt, touching part of the story, maybe this one is for you. My favorite part of the book was seeing all the lives Kate touched and brightened, and I say this with the most sincerity I have: I truly am looking forward to Gus’s story. Just make it more fast-paced than this one PLEASE!

Posted in Book Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ THE DEVIL’S CONTRACT BY CLAIRE CONTRERAS

I think this is the first time in a long time where I finished a book feeling absolutely furious which is why I waited a few hours before starting this review or else it would’ve been ugly. Please keep in mind that it’s not my intention to bash the author or clash with others that did enjoy the book. The blurb (which basically says nothing) wasn’t too helpful so I had to read a few reviews to get a sense of the book plot and believe me, I was intrigued. Nevertheless I went in with low expectations. One positive thing about this book was that it wasn’t boring. As angry and frustrated and strangely turned on as I was, I couldn’t put the book down so I have to give points for that. The first 15% of the book was very good – the heroine Amara is introduced as a caring and hardworking woman with a hot and attentive boyfriend Colin. Too bad everything after this point was a big bust for me.Due to the massive gambling debt her dad accumulated, he signed an agreement with the anti-hero Philip to give Amara to him as payment which was just plain weird from the start because there wasn’t a reason given to how her dad’s debt and Philip were related.

Even so, the ultimate decision to agree or not is Amara’s choice and to ensure that her mother gets treatments for her illness, Amara signs the contract Philip offers her. Without reading it first!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She is to go to France and train how to be an escort for 2 years. Not sure why she had to go to France to do that. I felt like the author put that in so she could use the long distance as an excuse to force Amara to break up with Colin. Anyways, she goes to France unwillingly but in just days becomes accustomed to the training – taking racy pictures, have another female escort perform oral sex on her, and sexting through emails. There was absolutely zero plot development because the author decided to skip over the details and jump straight to many months later. For this part in particular, I feel extremely cheated. This was my face while I was reading it:

I think I would’ve liked this a little bit more if the heroine actually had a brain. Aside from that contract signing fiasco mentioned above, she almost gets herself killed in France because she left the house alone. Knowing that she needs to take a bodyguard with her or at least a driver, she does the SAME thing again: leaves the house alone!!!!! Well, duh, it’s no wonder she gets mauled again and barely escapes!!!On top of all this, the writing was terrible. I’ve read two other books from this author so I’m familiar with how she writes but in this book, it was like someone else wrote it. Each chapter would be a mini-cliffhanger because sentences were cut off, thoughts were incomplete, and as a whole the writing was just choppy. Here’s an example:“There were tears in her eyes when Amara finished divulging everything and, as she wiped her face and looked at her mother, she expected her to tell her a million things – a million things that were far from what her mother said when she finally spoke.”The chapter ends there…well I would love to know what her mom said, which is never disclosed.Then there were multiple editing errors spotted (like calling a widower a widow and grammar mistakes). The plot itself was ridiculous too. Who’s the hero of the book? Colin or Philip? And how does Amara have a grandfather who’s a sultan in Iran? The last sultan was in the 12th century by the way – use Google.

I did like the ending even though it was a cliffhanger.Once again, me not being able to suspend disbelief is why I couldn’t enjoy this book. You know what the saddest thing about this whole reading experience is? I’m actually going to be reading book 2 because I need answers and closure, both of which this book does not provide.Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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BOOK REVIEW ~ STINGER BY MIA SHERIDAN

Grace Hamilton was the girl with a plan. She knew exactly where her life was going and prided herself on always achieving her goals. It was who she was, and how she lived her life. She never stepped outside the lines, and never considered what she might desire and whom she was actually trying so hard to please. Until him…

Carson Stinger was a man who didn’t play by any rules except his own. Working in the adult entertainment industry, he didn’t care what others thought, and took each day as it came, no direction, no plan. He knew what women wanted from him and believed it was all he had to offer. Until her… 

When circumstances forced them to spend several hours together, they walked away changed. But for two people who never should have meshed, overcoming the reality of their vastly different lives wasn’t possible. At least not yet…

3-3.5 stars![First half: 5 starsSecond half: 2 stars]

Having loved the first two books in this series, I don’t know why I put off this book for so long. It may be because this book is totally unrelated to Leo and Leo’s Chance, but whatever the reason, I’m glad I gave it a go. This story is all about unpredictability, about an impulsive yet unforgettable romance, and in more ways than one, is a life story than just a straightforward romance. While I adored the first half of the book where the main focus was centered on Carson and Grace, the second half lost a lot of momentum and went down the cliché route. On top of that, there was this twist in the book that made me feel like I was reading two completely different books. It just didn’t sit well with me.*************************The book is split into three parts inspired by the Scorpio sign: The Scorpion, the Eagle, and the Dove. In the first part Scorpion, a twenty-three year old Grace Hamilton rushes to a law conference in Vegas and bumps into Carson Stinger, a successful and rising porn star who also happens to have his show in the same place as Grace’s law conference. They don’t have much in common but after a few bump-ins and getting to know each other a little, Grace and Carson agree to have a weekend fling. They just don’t expect their heart-to-heart chats and explosive chemistry to turn into something more.

The book then goes to part 2, the Eagle. Though their time together was short, Grace and Carson know that each inspired something in one another. Grace finally has the courage to pursue the occupation she really wants and Carson realizes that his life has so much more potential than just being a porn star. The way they each pursue their goals is shown through multiple time gaps.And finally the book switches to part 3, the Dove. Grace and Carson are at the pinnacle of each of their respective jobs. A very rare but fated encounter brings them together once more and the memories of what happened in Vegas all those years ago rushes back, tempting each other to give their relationship another try.*************************Up until the 50% mark, I was enjoying this book a lot. Sure there were too many coincidences and cheesy moments included but they became endearing in a way, and I loved both Grace and Carson’s characters enough to overlook that. I think the author did a fantastic job portraying their time together in Vegas just for those few days, and she handled the end of their brief relationship in a very realistic, believable manner. Part one was perfect for me.Then part two started and that’s when I started to have major issues with the book. First, the story took a turn down The Notebook lane. Not a bad twist but it just felt SO out of place and out of the blue. I could accept it more if it were written in a convincing way but the author did something else that’s a huge pet peeve of mine: use time gaps. I’m talking about from a few weeks, to a few months, to a few years?!?! And I’m sorry to say but the author did a terrible job with the gaps too. I find it interesting that even though all that time passed and they both led busy lives, they still thought of each other like no time passed at all. Their few days together in Vegas did not warrant that kind of emotional devotion.Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this book overall but in the end, the story was too spontaneous and all over the place for me. Sure it’s fiction but there’s no way life serves up that many plates of coincidences so Carson and Grace’s paths collide again and again. The message behind the story and the romance itself is beautiful and meant to be meaningful and inspirational, but I’m just too cynical and jaded to fully appreciate it.

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JULY FOLLOWER APPRECIATION GIVEAWAY

It’s that time of the month again!! I host a follower appreciation giveaway at the end of each month as an extra thank you to every Book Vigilante Reviews follower for your support. Every comment, like, share, email, book recommendation, etc… I all love and appreciate and it’s just so great to be able to chat with like-minded readers about books! 

 So for this giveaway, one winner will receive a paperback of their choice from the list provided.

How do I decide what goes on the list? It is a compilation of all the books I’ve read, reviewed, and blogged about each month – it doesn’t matter if I loved the book or disliked the book. The only ones not listed are the few books I may have started and then not finished.

**Note: Some book titles do not have paperback options available. In the event you choose that book, I will gift you an ebook copy instead. If a book hasn’t been released yet, paperback or ebook copy will be delivered on release date.**

Hey everyone! Here’s an updated list of some preorders coming up for August! 

 I’ll still be adding to this list in the next few weeks so be sure to check my upcoming releases tab frequently. Happy reading y’all!

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW ~ SWEET FILTHY BOY BY CHRISTINA LAUREN

One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.

But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.

When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.

I do not read many “light, sweet, & funny” books. To be honest, those bore me and I need stories with much more depth so I put off the Beautiful Bastard series for that reason. This book, however, caught my attention. At first glance the blurb is quite simplistic and sounds like any other story but I had this nagging feeling there was a hidden layer to the story and something the blurb wasn’t saying and I was right! (Sorry, not going to tell you – you’ll just have to read and find out!) As I had three ratings for different parts of the story, my review will be broken down into three parts as well. I think the important message is albeit the beginning was rough and a very bumpy start for me, the rest of the story mostly made up for it. 2 star beginningI’m all for total escapism because that’s why I read; however, I need some kind of realism in there as well or I won’t be able to relate to the characters at all. This beginning was quite ludicrous – I was staring at my book in disbelief at what was happening. If it weren’t for a friend warning me about the unrealistic first 25% I actually would’ve stopped reading. It just seemed like every impossible thing that wouldn’t be able to happen did happen so I had difficulty believing in the story. I have no doubt this part will appeal to longtime fans of this dynamic author duo and anyone else looking for some hot fun. Call me pragmatic or whatever, but it’s way too impulsive and careless for my tastes.4.5 star storyAfter the beginning 25% and when Mia hops on a plane and goes with Ansel to Paris, the story took a turn for the better and I absolutely adored it! I’d say hot sex takes up about 70% of the book but it was done so, so well! I pretty much laughed my ass off with Mia and Ansel’s role playing (TONS of that going on hehe) and despite the rather unbelievable start to their relationship, I liked that they took some time to get to know each other – those scenes were so awkward but funny to read!

3 star endingEverything – the story, the steamy sex scenes, etc…- was going so well and then BAM, plot twist and I pretty much disliked Ansel after that. To clarify, deliberately omitting information from your significant other is called lying in my book (and this is something big too). However, I did like how Mia finally took charge and grew a backbone, and though the ending was a bit rushed and tied up too nicely, it was also very sentimental and touching so overall I liked it.As this is the first book I’ve read from these authors and, for the most part, liked, I’m not opposed to reading the next one in the series. My biggest complaint would be the ridiculous first 25% of the story but I do realize without it, there wouldn’t be the rest of the story which was significantly better. If you end up struggling with the beginning like I did, keep reading! It’s worth it.ARC provided by Gallery Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lauren Billings (but everyone calls her Lo) has a Ph.D. in neuroscience and before she made writing her full-time job, would spend her days doing nerdy research-type things wearing a lab coat and goggles. She is silly Mommy to two littles, wife to one mountain biking homebrewing scientist, bestie to a shoe-stealer, and an unabashed lover of YA and romance.
Christina Hobbs (but you’ll always hear Lo call her PQ) used to spend her days in a junior high counseling office surrounded by teenagers. Married to the cutest boy in school, she has a thirteen year old daughter, is an unapologetic lover of boy bands and glitter, and also likes to steal Lo’s shoes.
You can follow their shenanigans at:@lolashoes (Lauren) & @seeCwrite (Christina) on Twitter. On Tumblr! where we post kissing gifs and writerly stuff and Wattpad for short stories and sneak peeks!For official information about their books, events, interviews, movie news and more, 

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REVIEW & GIVEAWAY ~ ALL LINED UP BY CORA CARMACK

In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

Anyways, I. Loved. This. Book. Simply put, this story is just too cute, sweet, humorous, and sexy to resist – I never stood a chance! I do think I was in a really receptive mood for a “light & fun” read but then again, I’m a sucker for wit, dry humor, and anything that’s awkward and this book had all three. In my opinion, All Lined Up is Cora’s best work to date and a perfect example of what a good NA book should be so if you’ve been holding out on this genre, try this one out.

Dallas: The best quote from the book to describe her is:
“In Texas, two things are cherished above all else – football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.”
Because her Dad is the super well-known football coach at Rusk University, Dallas constantly lives in his shadow – football and gossip always associated to her name. Guys are either interested in her only to get to her Dad or too much of a chicken to make a move. As a result, she comes to loathes anything that has to do with football as all the sport has brought to her is a certain social stigma she can’t shake off. She’s never gotten the chance to prove to anyone she’s more than “Coach’s Daughter,” and she longs to fulfill her dreams as a dancer.
Carson: The best quote from the book to describe him is:
“Growing up poor makes you hyperaware of all the other things people take for granted.”
Carson is a newbie to Rusk University, having just transferred over. Having to work hard for everything he’s achieved thus far, he knows he can’t afford any distractions – including Dallas. This man, albeit a little bit of a klutz when it comes to academics, is one of the most patient, thoughtful, and charming heroes I’ve read about. A guy who’s actually NOT a manwhore in a NA setting – what a nice breath of fresh air from the usual Travis Maddox 2.0. And on top of which, he genuinely wants to know Dallas for the amazing girl she is, not because she’s a stepping stone to her Dad.

To be honest, this book has some insta-love on Carson’s part but it didn’t bother me. Why? The way it happened was so funny and adorable, plus Carson’s the type of guy to see something/someone and know to appreciate, never taking anything for granted. In this case, he knows Dallas is important to him and whether as a friend or lover, he’s willing to take whatever she can give to him. His chemistry with Dallas is so palpable and the sexual tension is delectable! But most of all, they are honest to each other about everything – their feelings, their thoughts. They’re equals, best friends, lovers, and it just makes me so happy that I got to read a book where the two MCs don’t act like spoiled, jealous high school kids with a relationship ridden with communication gaps and character stupidity <— you’d be surprised at how rare this is so seriously, I love your face Cora Carmack!
This book sends out the most positive, uplifting message and not even a cynic could resist this heartwarming read. An absolute gem!
This is a standalone – the next book focuses on an important side character. 


Cora Carmack is a twenty-something writer who likes to write about twenty-something characters. She’s done a multitude of things in her life– boring jobs (like working retail), Fun jobs (like working in a theatre), stressful jobs (like teaching), and dream jobs (like writing). She enjoys placing her characters in the most awkward situations possible, and then trying to help them get a boyfriend out of it. Awkward people need love, too. Her first book, LOSING IT, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

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REVIEW ~ THE DEEP END OF THE SEA BY HEATHER LYONS

What if all the legends you’ve learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she’s spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse. Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be—because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

Love mythology? I recommend this book.Hate mythology? I recommend this book.Don’t care about mythology? I recommend this bookNeed a new book to read? I recommend this book.Anyways, this is such a fantastic standalone – possibly my favorite book for May! Although this story revolves around Greek mythology I would classify this book as both fantasy and contemporary – if you took away the mythology aspect, this story would read as any other contemporary romance and for me that was a plus  The author styled the book in a way where both mythology lovers and readers not familiar and/or don’t like mythology would be able to relate to characters and not feel lost. The important thing to remember is this is not a book where you get a lesson on the family tree of Greek gods and goddesses – at the heart of the story is an epic romance between a wronged woman and a noble, kind-hearted deity who has always been there for her.

For me, this book was both enlightening and enjoyable. Growing up, I was taught and instructed about certain ways of the gods & goddesses – deities that the old myths and textual content deemed to be “good” or “bad.” While I read this book, all the prior bias I had towards certain deities vanished. The author constructed these characters that broke down that bias – Athena isn’t the usual high & mighty wise goddess, Poseidon, though a powerful god of the seas, isn’t so well-respected, Hades isn’t a dark, gloomy god of death, etc…Does the author twist around Greek mythology? Yes, but in a way that’s completely believable and specific to the purposes of this story. It’s a fine line for readers – you’re either going to love it or think the author butchered it, but the one thing we can all agree on no matter how different our interpretations are is that Heather Lyons was able to create and mold these characters that genuinely reflected her vision for the story, not just go by what history and mythology dictated was accurate.

Medusa is like any other simple girl except for one thing – she’s extraordinarily beautiful. She catches the attention of Poseidon, god of the sea, and thinking she loves him and vice versa, she doesn’t count on him raping her. On top of which, after losing her virginity the goddess she previously served Athena curses her and turns her into the hideous Gorgon Medusa and anyone who looks her in the eye will be turned to stone.What I love so much about Medusa is how well-rounded her character is: she’s understandably hurt and weak from suffering her punishment for 2000 years, yet she’s never once let what happened to her change her kind heart and diminish her inner strength. Because of her ability to turn the living into stone, she rejects any contact from the outside world, save a old blind man and the deity Hermes.

Hermes is a wise, outspoken, and noble deity – he is the nephew of Poseidon and Athena’s brother so I was expecting Medusa to hate him. But as time goes by, Hermes shows Medusa little by little that there are good gods in Olympus and that he’s on her side, truly believing that what his uncle and sister did to Medusa was unjust and he sets off to right this wrong.The BEST part about this book was having the characters prove me and my previous biases wrong again and again – the author portrayed these gods and goddesses in a way you just wouldn’t expect in Greek mythology textbooks. So Hades, god of the underworld, isn’t a shady & gloomy god – who would’ve thought that? I can’t emphasize this enough – at the heart of the book is a romance story, not another adaptation of Greek mythology. The romance isn’t shallow or unbelievable; in fact I could really relate to her, despite this all taking place in Olympus. The setting is in modern times so there is wifi, shopping malls, etc…and for me that made it all the more easier to put the story and romance into perspective.Of course, the book wasn’t perfect and I had intended to give this book 6 stars as it hit all the right buttons. However, there are a number of grammatical/editing errors, nothing too serious but noticeable enough. Another thing was – Medusa on her own was a weak character BUT I could see why for the first 50%. After all this is a woman who’s lived in isolation for 2000 years and pretty much lost sense of how the world works. But together with Hermes, they are such a strong team; in fact they shined and I don’t think anyone can resist that kind of love or power, certainly not me. So for the author to give me such a unique and different story and for portraying that kind of epic love that made me teary-eyed every so often, I can’t give this book less than 5 stars – my heart won’t allow it.

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW ~ BRANDED BY ABI KETNER AND MISSY KALICICKI

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best. 
Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home. 

Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain. 

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me. 
I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter. 
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

Note: The book has recently been updated with a new cover and has brand new chapters (extra 70 pages).When I first read this book last summer, I thought it was flawless – I especially loved that the story gave me a total escapism feeling. As time goes by, I’ve noticed that my tastes change (like a lot) and I become more jaded & critical. I just want to point out that this review is not very trustworthy – the first time reading I gave this book 5 stars. Now almost a year later it barely scrapes a satisfactory rating. This is going to sound harsh but I personally didn’t see the difference between the old version and the updated one I just finished reading.

Lexi lives in a dystopian world where everything is governed by the Commander, and if accused of one of the seven deadly sins, that person is immediately thrown into the Hole, a wretched, cursed place where slave labor and worse basically happen. In Lexi’s unfortunate case, she was wrongfully accused of lust,one of the worst sins to be branded with, and is assigned to Cole, the hero of the book and Lexi’s new guard.Cole becomes Lexi’s guard and has orders to protect her – according to Lexi and others he has a very appealing physical form and is the best of the best out of all the guards. The only crime worse than being branded with one of the seven sins is for a Guard to fall in love with a Sinner, and that is precisely what happens in this story.

Before I get all critical, I do want to point out that it’s tough to balance both dystopian and romance. Those two themes shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as they’re polar opposites so I do applaud the authors for being daring and bold.For me though, this book weighed more on the romance side than dystopian, and I felt like a lot of the character interactions were childish, unbelievable, or annoying.– From the start I had this feeling like there were exceptions made for Lexi: she just had to get the nice and hot guard Cole, she just had to meet the kind Dr. Sutton, she just had to be instrumental in the revolt, etc…I mean this is freaking dystopian society we’re talking about here! I need to feel like Lexi is just like any other branded Sinner not just some girl who got an easy pass because she’s the heroine and deserves an HEA.– Cole is a guard? Aside from the uniform, you could’ve fooled me. The VERY first moment he sees her he gives her a “pained look.” Why is he, a GUARD, sympathizing with her??? And on first sight too? This guy is just too good to be true and in any other setting (like contemporary for instance) I would’ve adored him. Truly, I would’ve but since this isn’t, at least try to make his character convincing before he falls for Lexi!I feel myself getting ranty now so I’m going to stop because it makes me sad that a book I adored last year ends up receiving a rant this year. The book premise is awesome, but the writing felt a little immature and as for the story, well…suffice it to say I liked it but didn’t love it – a very bumpy ride.Copy provided by the authors via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW ~ DEVIL’S GAME BY JOANNA WYLDE

Liam “Hunter” Blake hates the Reapers MC. Born and raised a Devil’s Jack, he knows his duty. He’ll defend his club from their oldest enemies—the Reapers—using whatever weapons he can find. But why use force when the Reapers’ president has a daughter who’s alone and vulnerable? Hunter has wanted her from the minute he saw her, and now he has an excuse to take her.

Em has lived her entire life in the shadow of the Reapers. Her overprotective father, Picnic, is the club’s president. The last time she had a boyfriend, Picnic shot him. Now the men in her life are far more interested in keeping her daddy happy than showing her a good time. Then she meets a handsome stranger—a man who isn’t afraid to treat her like a real woman. One who isn’t afraid of her father. His name is Liam, and he’s The One.

4-4.5 stars!! (But I am leaning more towards 4.5)This third book in the Reapers MC series is my favorite – I couldn’t have asked for a more badass heroine than Em, a delectable and charming hero than Hunter, and an action-packed, thrilling story – definitely a feast for the senses. Joanna Wylde rocked it!While this book can be read as a standalone, I don’t recommend directly diving into this book without having read at least the second one. A good portion of book 2 really set up the basis of this story, and helped introduced Hunter’s character and his relationship dynamic with Em. This book is a bit different from the first two – there’s not much background info given and it’s devoid of Wylde’s usual character development and slow romantic buildup. For me, however, that was perfect; since I already knew of Hunter and Em from book 2, I liked that this book was sort of a continuation and not a rehash of the same details – she gave us a totally different perspective despite going through similar timelines from book 2.

Em:seriously one of the most kickass heroines ever!!! I think her character truly made this book shine – I usually side with heroes all the time and find issues with the heroines, but Em was just flawless! Part of that reason is because she’s a true-bred biker babe, different from outsiders like Marie and Sophie (previous heroines in this series). She knows how MCs work, the ins and outs, and all the laws & feuds, and I adore her tenacity and spirit when she deals with every obstacle hurled her way. She deserves a 5 star standing ovation!Hunter: he’s part of the Devils Jacks, the rival and enemy club of the Reapers (where Em comes from). My feelings for this guy were all over the place. To be honest, I spent most of the book not feeling too good about him when he repeatedly let Em down (totally pro-heroine here – Em’s fantastic!) I would’ve happily kicked him in the balls. But by now, I’ve realized that our biker men will make mistakes, intentional or not, and Hunter is no exception. But does he make up for them? Yes, he does, and although I wanted him to man-up faster than he did here, his unwavering devotion and loyalty to Em is undeniable. Love is not a term easily thrown around in the world of bikers, but who needs words when his actions far surpass them?