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Taking Shots (Assassins #1), by Toni Aleo

Taking Shots
_____________________________________________
In Toni Aleo’s exhilarating debut, the first in a series featuring the hockey hunks of the Nashville Assassins, a reformed bad boy helps a charming, willful woman face off against the demons of her past.

No matter how hard she tries, Eleanor Fisher never thinks she’s good enough, from her job to her weight to her love life. After enduring years of abuse at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, Elli has been drifting through life in a daze. Until, that is, she meets Shea Adler on a promotional shoot for the NHL’s Nashville Assassins. Before Elli knows what’s happening, the gorgeous Shea breaks the ice and shatters her world.

A brilliant athlete inside the rink, Shea Adler is tired of the life he’s living outside of it: the girls, the money, the drinking. But everything changes when he meets Elli. After laying eyes on this feisty, witty, beautiful woman, he feels like he’s just taken the hardest hit of his life. No matter how skeptical she is, Shea knows they are meant to be together—if only he can convince Elli to put her insecurities aside throw her insecurities out the window before she misses out on a shot at love.

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Oh. My. God!
It took me 10 month to finish this book!….I think I’m in shock.
God it’s going to be hard to review this book.

First of all, I have to say that I like this story and it’s universe (hockey) a lot. So even though my review might be a little harsh and critical in a few lines, bear in mind that I actually enjoyed this book a lot and that I’m reading the sequel and the books after that.

“That’s not what drew me to you, it was your eyes…and your ass.”

So, the characters: I really liked them. Elli and Shea are really funny and sweet and they make a great couple.

I loved how Shea never took no for an answer when it came to Elli and how persistant he was in seducing her and winning her over. God knows it wasn’t an easy feat, but he did it nonetheless. Elli was sweet and all and I liked her, but I wish she would have womaned-up sooner than she did because she put them both through the ringer emotionally.

“What do you want me to say, Elli, I’m sorry? I’m sorry for feeling the way I do? Sorry for wanting to be with you every fucking moment of the day, for wanting only you? I mean what would you want? For me to be a fucking douche, cheating on you, not telling you I actually feel something for you? I mean for the love of God, Elli, what do you want from this?”

I get she has esteem issues because of her family but at some point you gotta realize that the people around you are toxic and make your own mind about things before jumping to conclusion hastily.

I also really enjoyed Shea’s family and Elli’s friend.
Her family on the other hand, I wanted to kill !(except for her dad and uncle) You’ll get why when you read it.

The main remark that I have on this book is that it is soooooooo slow. No kidding, it drags on and on and on…and on again. That’s one of the reasons it took me so long to finish this book.

And the reason why it is soooooooo slow, is because sometimes, the characters keep on repeating again and again the same things. It’s like they are stuck on some train of thoughts and just keep saying the same thing over and over again only with different words!

“Whoever thought up the phrase ‘Absence makes the heart grow founder’ was an idiot.
Absence makes a bitch go crazy.”

The other reason why it took such a long time to finish, is because the characters tend to create problems that are no business being created!
Elli knows her mother and sister are egotistical, selfish bitches, but what does she do? She listens to them, of course! When Shea tells her that he’s been played and that it wasn’t his fault, what does she do? She doesn’t believe him, of course!
I think you’ve got it now, Elli DOES NOT make things easy, for others and for herself. To the point where she’d rather wallow in her sorrow than get her head out of her a** and make things better for everybody! (pardon my French)

But I’ll say it again, this book I really liked. Even though there are those big things that kinda annoyed me a little, or maybe more like frustrated me, the book is filled with funny, sweet moments that made me love the characters and their relationship and how they got to know each other and trust each other with their hearts!

“I was meant to walk on this earth with only you, I was meant to give only you every piece of me. I don’t want anyone but you. I love you.”

And if you’re still not so sure about this book, all I can say is give it a chance. It might not be your cup of tea at all, it might be a book that you’ll love, or like me, it might be a book that will drive you crazy sometimes but still be one of your favorites. I for one, will remember this book with a smile!

And I wanted to add a little bonus here to make amends for the fact that I haven’t haven’t been really present on the blog and regular in my post for the last 2 weeks because of school. Anyway, here’s a little piece of eye candy for you ladies. It also happens to be the new cover for Taking Shots. Let’s just agree those are big selling arguments right there….

Assasins

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Screwed, by Kendall Ryan

Screwed__________________________________________________

I have one rule: Don’t shit where you eat.

Several of the women in the condo complex I own would love some one-on-one playtime, and why wouldn’t they? I’m young, fit, attractive, and loaded. Not to mention I’m packing a sizable bulge below the belt. It’s a combination that drops panties on a regular basis.

Yay, me, right?

But my cock, troublemaker that he is, has been confined to my trousers by my business partner. A concession I agreed to, and one that’s never been hard to enforce until Emery moves in across the hall. She’s smart, young, determined, and sexy as hell. I want a taste. I won’t stop until I’m buried deep inside the succulent new-in-town brunette.

After being warned about my past, she does her best to steer clear, but I’m about to show her that underneath it all, I’m a guy with a heart of gold and a cock of steel.

My name is Hayden Oliver, and this is my story.

SCREWED is standalone romantic comedy by New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Kendall Ryan.

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“I’m screwed – completely and utterly screwed. And not in the fun way.”

Mmmm. I guess I would give it 2.5 stars. I actually started by giving it 3 stars but if I follow the rating on GR, then my feelings about this book equal 2, but I think just 2 stars is a little harsh.

“Fuck. Why did we wait so long to do that?”
(…)
“Because we’re friends?” I suggest helpfully.
“Right. Totally. I’d say now we’re more like best friends.”
“Besties.” I almost choke on the word. Why is my heart clenching in my chest?”

What to say about Screwed. Well, for one, this book is that it’s an easy read. It’s short, sweet and light. Now, it won’t win any awards for originality, but it serves its purpose, which is to entertain. And it did entertain me.

“What are we doing?” I ask him, not meaning for it to sound like a plea.
“Being friends,” he replies. His breath puffs over my lips, and I almost shiver. “Why do you ask?”
“Because friends don’t usually get erections for each other, do they?” I retort without any real force, bumping my hip into the large ridge in his shorts. Friends also don’t get soaking -wet panties, for that matter.”

Hayden and Emery were fun together and I liked that they didn’t fall in bed right away. And I enjoyed the banter between them a lot.

“Her gaze drops to the front of my pants. “I have a big dick ahead of me,” she says, and her cheeks flame bright red. “I mean a big day. Day,” she repeats.”

But I have to say, it didn’t exactly make my heart beat faster. A lot of things about this book made me think of the word flat. I know, it probably doesn’t make much sense. I’ll explain:

– Emery and Hayden, even though they were enjoyable characters ended up being a little paper thin for me. Emery’s funny, but I don’t have the feeling that I know her, what kind of person she is. I know that she likes to work and that she is intelligent. She likes yoga. She’s a vegetarian and had lousy boyfriends. But that doesn’t tell me what kind of person she is.
Same thing for Hayden, but in his case, I feel like I know even less. He’s good with kids, loves his family, had a relationship that ended badly and he has a 9 inch cock and knows where the G spot is. But that’s pretty much it.
I couldn’t, for the life of me, tell you what kind of characters they are. I can’t gush over them, because even after reading a book that focuses on those two, I still feel like I don’t know them.

“I’m not looking for something deeper. I have a luxury condo in the heart of the Hollywood Hills, drive a new BMW, and possess a nine-inch cock.”

– Like I said, I was entertained and I enjoyed the sexual tension between Hayden and Emery, but…I don’t know, the fact that I wasn’t rooting for them, that I wasn’t frustrated when Hayden messed up or scared that Emery wouldn’t forgive him easily, or the fact that my heartbeat stayed flat when Emery was heartbroken or when Hayden finally told her why he acted like a douche, it all left me feeling a little blah about the story and the book. I never felt like I was being sucked into the story or like I was a part of it.

“You broke up with a girl for farting?”
“Indeed,” I confirm.
“That wasn’t love, then.”
“How do you know?”
Hudson shakes his head. “Because when you’re in love, and your woman feels comfortable enough to do that in front of you, you’ll think it’s cute.”

There were sweet moments like when Hayden is with his family or when he realizes his in love with Emery; but again, it felt more like I was seeing things happen from a distance, not like I was living it. I felt very detached from all that was happening. Which is, I think, why my ticker didn’t really going crazy when things went south or when Hayden and Emery finally got over their hang-ups and gave in to their attraction for each other.

“There’s no way I’m letting her go… After all, I’ll never find another girl with cuter farts.”

It kind of sad because I can’t say that I didn’t like this book, but the fact that I felt so detached from it disappoints me. I wish the story would have made me care more, would have gotten me more involved into the story and the characters’ lives. But it didn’t. So even though it’s far from being bad, it’s not exactly good either. I hope Kendal Ryan will do better with the spin-off novella of Screwed, Monster Prick. I’m actually curious about what’s cooking between Hudson and Gracie.

“How’s your sister?” he asks out of the blue.(…)
I shrug. “Gracie’s Gracie.”
(…) Hudson nods once, effectively ending that weird conversation. Okay then.”

Cocky Bastard, by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

Cocky Bastard_________________________________________________

From New York Times Bestselling authors Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward, comes a sexy new standalone novel.

He was someone who belonged in my wildest fantasies instead of a rest stop in the middle of Nebraska.

A sexy, cocky, Australian named Chance was the last person I expected to run into on my cross-country drive.

When my car broke down, we made a deal. Next thing I knew, we were traveling together, spending sexually-tense nights in hotels and taking unplanned detours.

My ordinary road trip turned into the adventure of a lifetime. It was all fun and games until things got intense.

I wanted him, but Chance wouldn’t make a move. I thought he wanted me too, but something was holding him back.

I wasn’t supposed to fall for the cocky bastard, especially when I knew we’d be going our separate ways.

All good things must come to an end, right?

Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.
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“What’s C.B. stand for anyway?”
“Those are my initials.”
“Let me guess…Cocky Bastard.”

I know this book has been kind of a big deal since it came out and that everybody’s still raving about it, but I have to say, I don’t see why.

Sure I enjoyed reading it. It was fun and sweet with a dash of angst in it and it was a quick read. But Cocky Bastard didn’t exactly knocked my socks off either.

“A single minute can change an entire life.

I liked how Chance and Aubrey met even though I though Chance was a bit of an asshole and didn’t make the best of first impression on me. But I liked how they met and the adventure they went on. That was fun and quirky and original. I liked the tension between those two and how it kept building and how they clicked once they actually started talking to each other.

Sometimes, it takes losing everything to make you realize what you really need.

And I have to say, I was curious about what was keeping Chance from making an actual move on Aubrey when it was clear they both wanted each other bad.

But I’ll admit, Aubrey wasn’t my favorite character. Sure she had her moments and was funny and cute at times, but I never really related to her in the first part of the book. I just never connected with her so I guess that kept me from really getting into the story. But I think the fact that the book has two parts and that both Aubrey and Chance get to tell it separately saved the book for me.

When Chance took the lead of the story, that’s when I got more into it. I liked seeing things through his eyes and finally have his side of the story. And I enjoyed finally knowing what impression Aubrey left on him before they went their separate ways.

“I love you, Aubrey. Can’t you see that? I am head over heels in fucking love with you. I love you more than anything in this entire world. When I look into your eyes, I don’t just see you, I see my children. Hell, I see an entire farm of children and deaf, dumb and blind goats. I see my entire future. Without you, I see nothing. Nothing.”

Basically, the second part of the book was about Chance groveling and winning Aubrey over. And I liked it. I liked how resourceful and tenacious he was and the things he did to show Aubrey he was sincere and how he felt and had felt all along. Chance does very good and effective groveling. He had already made a good impression on me with his wicked mind, dirty mouth and and teasing ways, but that second part totally won me over!

“He had the most phenomenal ass. I wanted to bite it.”

But again, at some point Aubrey started annoying me. Big time. I don’t mind making a guy work for your forgiveness, especially in regard to what Chance did and how he left things with Aubrey. He definitely had some groveling to do. But it was also clear (once he explained it to Aubrey) that he didn’t mean to leave things like that between them when he left and that he didn’t have much of a choice. So when Aubrey started “being difficult”, she kind of disappointed me.

“Sometimes, those who put up the biggest shields are those who are protecting the biggest hearts.”

I get she had trouble trusting him again and that the decision wasn’t easy on her because of the state of hers and Chance’s situation, but at some point it became very clear that she knew what was the right thing to do (by her and by Chance too) and it seemed to me like she just kept him hanging and somehow, was playing with Chance’s feelings. And I really didn’t like that.

“If you let something go and it doesn’t come back to you, it was never really yours to begin with.”

That being said, all is well that ends well and she redeemed herself in my eyes. Now, I know I’ve mostly talked about all the things that didn’t work for me and that it might not really sell this book to you, but there was also a lot of good in it too.

“Care to take a little detour before darkness falls?” 
“Sure. I’d be up for that? What did you have in mind?”
“Somewhere rock hard and deep” he winked.
Well, that piqued my curiosity.”

Like I said, the way Chance and Aubrey fall for each other was great. The road trip they go on was one of the best things in the book and it was full of funny, sweet and heartfelt moments that I really enjoyed. I loved and hated the part that happens in Vegas, but it’s also one of the best moments in the book. The road trip was full of sexual tension between Chance and Aubrey and you know how much I appreciate good old sexual tension. But the second part of the book was when I actually fell for Chance and it was pretty dang good too.

You want to sin with me princess?”… Did I ever

So like I said, even though this book didn’t knock my socks off like it seems to be the case for most people that read it, I still had a great time reading it and really enjoyed it. It’s the perfect book for a weekend read and it should leave you with a feel-good vibe.

Insider (Exodus End #1), by Olivia Cunning

Insider____________________________________________

Toni wants to be an insider.
Logan just wants inside her.

She’s finally ready to rock…
Toni Nichols set aside her dreams to raise her little sister, but now she’s reaching for the stars as the creator of a revolutionary interactive biography about Exodus End. She’s on tour with the rock band to immerse herself in their world, but how will she ever gain the trust of four veteran superstars who’ve been burned by the media before? Nobody said this was going to be easy. Then again, good things can come in hard packages.

He’s always ready to roll…
Adrenaline junkie Logan Schmidt lives for the rush of playing his bass guitar before thousands of screaming fans. When he’s not performing onstage or in the bedroom, he’s looking for his next thrill in extreme sports. So why does a sweet, innocent journalist get his heart pumping and capture his full attention? Is Toni the real deal or just digging up dirt on his band? Logan’s eager to rock Toni’s world and roll her in the sack, but when she starts to get too close to his heart, she takes her insider look to a place he may never be willing to go.

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Finally! I read it!

“A sweet lamb left to fend for herself in a den of wolves. Whatever will we do with you?”

I was so happy to finally get my hands on Insider after waiting for it for so long. This story has been a long time coming and I was glad to be able to go back to Olivia’s rock stars’s universe.
And even though it wasn’t a Sinners book, I had a blast reading it. Logan and Toni’s story was fun and hot and sexy and I just loved going back to all those rock stars, and to finally getting to know a little more the members of Exodus End. I was really looking forward to know more about Dare and seeing Reagan again was great too.

Ouch! There’s a gearshift in my ass.
Oh, sure, you barely know this car, and yet you’re already giving it privileges you won’t give me.
Not inside my ass. It poked me in the hip.
You got me all excited for nothing. Back seat?

This book funny and sexy. I either laughed or squirmed, with the occasional swoon here and there. Logan and Toni couldn’t keep their hands for themselves and acted like two lovesick, horny teenagers, but it was just too funny.

So whose idea was the cleavage cam?” he asked.
Mine. It’s impossible to get anyone’s attention when Max is around.
Tell me about it, Logan grumbled.
So I figured if they wouldn’t talk to me, maybe they’d talk to my boobs. Okay, who’s next? she called out.
Logan leaned toward her chest.I’m Logan Schmidt, and I’ve been a fan of Toni’s boobs for almost a day now.

I have to say, the way (and speed) Logan and Toni fell into bed together was a bit much (considering not even a night passes before they sleep together) and that in the first chapter she is still a virgin and is painfully naïve about all things regarding sex.

The only woman I want is you.”
“Even though I’m inexperienced?”
“Hell, I think it’s because you’re inexperienced. It’s refreshing.

So yeah, it wasn’t really realistic the whole virgin-sleeps-with-a-rockstar-within-an-hour-of-meeting-him-and-he-falls-madly-in-love-with-her plot starter wasn’t really realistic but even though I would have liked to see Logan seduce Toni into bed, rather than have her just roll into one with him an hour after meeting him, the way the story progressed and the easy and instant connection between those two made it work for me. Sure it seemed a bit out of character for someone like Toni to do that but for some reason, it didn’t bother much and the rest of the story did it for me.

“He nipped her skin, and her entire body jerked.
“Oh!” she gasped.
Got yourself a vampire fetish?” he asked with a chuckle.
“What? No, of course not. Vampires aren’t real.”
“But I’m all about bringing your fantasies to life, babe. If you want to be banged by a sparkling dick, I’ll go get the glitter.”

Logan was a blast. At Toni’s contact he was a horny, obsessed, one-minded man but I liked him to bits. It was fun seeing him falling for Toni and try to deny it. And I loved how into Toni he was and what he was ready to do for her. I just wish he didn’t belittle himself so much and that when it comes to what he brings to the band, at least someone around him would tell him that he matters in the band or something.

You’re crazy, she said with a laugh. And thank God for that.
When it comes to you, I don’t know how to be sane.

Toni was a character I liked even though she was beyond clueless at first and that her confidence issues infuriated me. I liked seeing her become more confident and start to stand for herself. She was sweet and kind and funny and quirky. She wasn’t your typical journalist and that made a difference here. She cared more about people than her job and her integrity made her even more likable for me. I liked how she and Logan just clicked and worked together.

He’s shoved me out of my comfort zone so many times, I’m not even sure I have a comfort zone anymore. I’ll just hang on for the ride and see where he takes me.

It was easy to read this book and even though there isn’t much drama in it, I enjoyed it. And the drama there was didn’t create a clusterfuck of gigantic proportions in this book, even though it did screw things up for some characters. I knew it was coming but there was a twist I hadn’t seen coming which made the plot intriguing. I just wish the Bitch of the book didn’t get away so easy. I would have loved to see her get what she deserved after of the shit she created for the band and Toni.

That’s the one thing that I regret about this book but it goes hand in hand with the my feeling that the book ended rather abruptly. The book in itself was a bit longwinded, so having it finish so abruptly made me wish Olivia would have actually taken her time with the ending and maybe condensed some other part of the book. But I still enjoyed myself reading this book.

It just bothers me that Reagan has to go through all the shit coming her way. She really doesn’t deserve it. But I’m looking forward to her book and seeing how the guys of the band will react and hopefully shelter her in Outsider. I really wish she’ll finally feel like she is a part of the band for real.

“One of the things you should consider stressing in your book is how little fucking privacy a man has while on tour with his band.”
“I can include that,” she said, “but I think fans are more interested in the size of your dick.” She backed into the bathroom . “I know I am.” She bit her lip before closing the door in his face.

Also, I liked Olivia’s note at the end of the book. What she wrote about what it feels like to finish a series and to have grieve the “loss” of the characters was so true. She also explained why it took so long for Exodus End to see the light of day and the reason for the other series that she wrote. But anyway, her note actually moved me a little and I could relate to what she was telling us. I also liked that she mentioned it and actually explained to her readers what had been going on with her and the reason for Exodus End‘s late releasing.

“You don’t have to lie to save my feelings, Logan. I’m a big girl.”
“I’m not lying. I wish I could fast-forward time a couple of hours so the show would be over and I could teach you more about making love. And you can teach me how to love someone.

If you’re fans of Olivia’s rockers romance then grad Insider and start reading! I know I’ll really be looking forward to read Reagan, Dare, Steeve and Max’s books!

Fall From India Place (On Dublin Street #4), by Samantha Young

Fall From India Place______________________________________________

The New York Times bestselling author of On Dublin Street and Down London Road returns with a story about letting go of the past and learning to trust in the future…

When Hannah Nichols last saw Marco D’Alessandro, five long years ago, he broke her heart. The bad boy with a hidden sweet side was the only guy Hannah ever loved—and the only man she’s ever been with. After one intense night of giving into temptation, Marco took off, leaving Scotland and Hannah behind. Shattered by the consequences of their night together, Hannah has never truly moved on.

Leaving Hannah was the biggest mistake of Marco’s life, something he has deeply regretted for years. So when fate reunites them, he refuses to let her go without a fight. Determined to make her his, Marco pursues Hannah, reminding her of all the reasons they’re meant to be together.

But just when Marco thinks they’re committed to a future together, Hannah makes a discovery that unearths the secret pain she’s been hiding from him, a secret that could tear them apart before they have a real chance to start over again…

______________________________________________

“When we were kids, I was in love with you … That never went away, Hannah.” He rested his forehead against mine. “And now that I know you again, I’m even more in love with you.”

Samantha Young’s books have become an instant one-click buy for me and Hannah’s book was one I was curious to read. Since we met her in On Dublin Street as a teenager, her character was one I sort of related to, mainly because like Joss and Olivia, she was sort of a book nerd. So I was glad to get my hands on her book and to get to know the woman she had become and to finally meet the boy in her life.

“Friends, my ass,” Joss grunted … “The sexual tension between you two is off the charts.” Her grin turned smug. “Reminds me of me and Mr Carmichael.”

What I really enjoyed with this book was finally putting a name and a personality on the mystery boy that was mentioned by Hannah in Before Jamaica Lane. And I loved hers and Marco’s story. It was full of drama and angst, but also very sweet, especially when Hannah takes us back to the time where she and Marco got to know and fall for each other.

“I’m in love with you. There is no one else for me and I don’t know how I know, but I do know that there never will be.”

I loved her as a teenager and how she just went after what she wanted even though she seemed to me like this quiet girl. I loved that she proved me wrong and that I was able to see another side of her in this book.

Hannah in this book is a young teacher and I thought it fit her well. I liked how passionate she was about her work and her students. I could relate to her situation, having been in her shoes myself and I loved being able to relate to what she was describing. Two of her students really touched me and as I followed them through Hannah, I really got to care for them as much as Hannah did.

I very much enjoyed this story and how Hannah and Marco fell for each other. I loved being able to go back and witness those special moments between them, to feel the mounting tension as the two of them slowly but steadily developed strong feelings for each other. I loved getting to know Marco and where he was coming from and his story.

“I’m your best friend. You’ve just forgotten. My fault, I know. I can help you remember.”

Marco’s character was great. As a teenager and as a man, he made me fall for him and the force of his feelings for Hannah. And boy, he said stuff that had me fanning myself and my knees buckling. Seriously though, Samantha Young just knows what to make her male characters say so that it’s both sweet and hot.

“I’m not going to hide that I want to get to know who you are now. I’m also not going to hide the fact that I think you’re still the classiest, most fucking beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, or the fact that I remember the taste of you and it still makes me hard.”

The way he fought for her and to earn her trust and love again was just great and I loved how determined and obstinate he was. That made me laugh on more than one occasion and I loved that it drove Hannah crazy. I also loved that all the women in the family were rooting for Marco when Hannah wasn’t and that they let him ambush her.

“You’re stalking me?”
“I prefer to call it ‘actively pursing you.”

And I also loved the friendship between Hannah and Cole and their connection to each other as friends. I wasn’t expecting it, or at the very least I expected something non-platonic happening between those two, but the fact that their friendship was a true one, without ambiguity about how they felt for each other was refreshingly surprising and welcomed. That’s something I loved about Hannah and Cole and about the book.

“I’d felt lost for a long time after he left. It had taken a while to find my strength and independence again. It had meant hardening my heart and creating little locked doors in my soul so that only the people I trusted implicitly could ever make it inside to touch it.”

Now, if I think about the structure of the book, I felt like it had two parts. Or more like two Hannahs. There was the Hannah before Marco, this funny, happy, daring girl who goes after what she wants and isn’t afraid to show her feelings to the people she loves. And there was the Hannah after Marco. Still sweet and lovely, but…scarred. The Hannah after Marco put a distance between herself and well, pretty much everybody, even her family and friends.

And when you finally know what happened to her after Marco left, you understand why she would do that, but while I read, I felt like this distance she was putting between her and her family, I felt it too as a reader. It was like I knew the “Young Hannah”, and even though I also knew the “Old Hannah”, I just felt a distance from her. It’s hard and a little weird to explain so I won’t keep on trying to explain it, but I think you’ll feel it too when you read the book.

“I don’t care if you’ve changed. I don’t care who you are now. I don’t need or want your explanations because what you did, you didn’t do it to me, you did it to that girl you left behind. And I’m not her anymore. You made certain of that. She might have needed answers and an apology, but me…I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

There was one thing that bothered me a little while reading though. I really liked Hannah’s character throughout the book but at some point, her attitude in general but toward Marco kind of disappointed me.

I got that she was hurt and that her scars from the past were holding her back, that she was scared to get hurt again and all, but the way she was hurting both Marco and herself (deliberately, I might add) actually surprised me, coming from her. I really didn’t expect her to be this kind of person.

I understood and liked the kind of person she was when she met Marco. I also understood the kind of person she became after what she went through and they fell apart all those years ago, and even then, through all the holding back and secrets she kept from him and her family and friends I still liked her because I could see where she was coming from even though I didn’t agree with what she was doing. But her behavior toward Marco after everything was said and there were no more secrets between them disappointed me because it was clear that she was hurting Marco (and herself) even though she was able not to.

I want to protect you, I want you to know that for me there’s no one else like you. That you make my universe turn.”

But apart from that bit in the story, I loved all of it. Even though this book is a little darker than the others in the series, it was a very emotional book, sort of a roller-coaster with some very funny moments and I’m thinking about the Crazy Clan that is Hannah’s family and the little monsters that were added to it. Here’s a sample:

“Beth, eat your greens. They’re good for you. Come on, eat your peas.”
“I don’t want to,” she whined, and we turned to watch her push her plate back. “They’re little fuckers.”

****

“Are you Hannah’s boyfriend?”
Marco’s reply was, “Nope. She won’t let me be.”
Beth had immediately turned her cute look of consternation on me. “That’s really rude, Hannah.”

****

“Marriage is about leverage?”
“Yes.” Every single married person at the table answered.”

… some truly sweet ones when I ooowed and got all mushy and stuff and some truly heartbreaking chapters that had me trying to swallow the big lump that suddenly got stuck in my throat and trying to read through the stupid tears that were filling my eyes.

“You were this precious, beautiful gift that came into my life when I needed it the most.”

As usual, Samantha Young did wonders. Every time I pick the new book in the ODS series, it’s like snuggling under a fluffy, warm, familiar blanket. I love going back to this world and getting to read about those amazing characters. It’s a feeling I don’t get tired of and I’m always looking forward for the next book. And since we’re talking about, and it’s one I’m sooooo excited and looking forward to read, I just couldn’t help myself and conclude with this…

“Cole: “One day you’ll meet someone you can stand to commit to, and I’ll meet someone who isn’t batshit crazy.”
Hannah: “Oh, you dreamer you.”

Crushed (Redemption #2), by Lauren Layne

Crushed______________________________________________
Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half brother, Devon.

Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.

After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?
______________________________________________

Out of everything I’ve read by Lauren Layne, the Redemption Series is my favorite. And surprising as it may be, this series is much closer to the YA genre than what I’m used to read but gosh does it work for me. I’m actually kind of sad Crushed will be the last book in this series and that it hasn’t come out in paperback yet. I so want to get my hands on it.

“With Chloe, it’s easy to forget that I’m nobody. Because she makes me feel like somebody.”

Crushed was such a great book. Just so you know, this week I was reading a book and it took me over a week to finish (and that’s kind of a long time for me). I was tired and busy and all and so I got a little behind on my reading. And then I (finally) picked Crushed from my TBR list and it took me about 24 hours to read it. That’s how good this book was.

“Michael, listen. I get it. Nobody’s ever loved you first. You’re tired of being second choice. Or nobody’s choice. I get it. Because nobody ever loved me first, either.”

I was actually really looking forward to Micheal’s story. Olivia’s and Ethan’s were really great ones too but I really wanted to know what was going on in Micheal’s head after he lost his two best friends. And I wasn’t disappointed.

“I’ve tried being someone’s second choice. I can’t do it again.”

Micheal was beautifully broken and in denial. I loved seeing him go from the very dark and numb place he was at the start of Crushed, to the “new” version of himself he found and was forced to show at Chloe’s contact. It was time Micheal faced his demons and he had the chance to find a friend along the way to face them with. Plus he was broody and a bit intense so that’s a plus (at least here it was) but I wish he didn’t think so little of himself and his worth.

“I don’t know why I keep doing that. Coming back to Chloe. She’s annoying as fuck, and yet there’s something strangely calming about her manic personality.”

Now Chloe. Gosh how I loved her. She was so funny and quirky and sweet and lovely. She’s this great loving girl, full of life and sass, and she just brings light and laughter where she goes. I liked her instantly and everything she is was such a delight to read about. I loved how she connected with Micheal even though he (and herself included) didn’t realize it at first. How they became friends and then more, how she was never fooled by Micheal’s attitude and somehow saw right through him, how she brought him back to himself. I just plain loved her. She was a blast to read about and I ate it all up. Basically, I loved her and she was great.

“A girl wants to be loved, sure, and I thought I wanted that. I thought I wanted that from Devon. And now…I don’t know about that. But I do know that I want to be wanted. I want to be wanted by you.”

The two of them made me smile and laugh like a loon. Even when things weren’t great between them I just couldn’t get enough of them. I loved how she never took shit from Micheal and never let him hold back from her. And I certainly loved the sexual tension between them after that first kiss. Daaaaaaaym that first kiss….and that second…but I won’t say more so you have the pleasure of experiencing it for yourself. Just know that Chloe and Micheal together are freaking hot and that sparks usually fly when they come together (pun totally intended).

“I love you best. More than I love anyone. More than you’ve ever been loved.”

I loved getting to know both Micheal and Chloe, separately and together. I have to say though, besides those two, the other characters were a little bit stereotypical. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book as it was, but if you do read it, it pretty much enfolds like a rom-com, and you definitely feel the movie like ambiance of the book. It was a little bit like that with Isn’t She Lovely and that’s something I liked about this serie), but the end result is that even though we do have two main characters that are well shaped, the secondary ones are a little more stereotyped.

Take Chloe’s (evil) sister Kristin: in short, she’s The Bitch. She’s fake, perfect (at least from afar), has everyone wrapped around her little finger and whatever she desires, she gets (but mainly she gets male attention whereas Chloe… does not). The we have Devon, Chloe’s crush: he’s kind, smart, handsome….but in the end (even though he is all that) he felt a little bit tasteless, at least in comparison to Micheal.

“I don’t think it’s about who loves you first. It’s about who loves you best. And that’s me.”

So there’s that. But in the end, I still enjoyed the book. I especially liked the sexy and almost sexy moments in the book and the ending. And the fact that it was in fact a little bit predictable didn’t bother me …a all. I was glad to read a fluffy, funny and cute love story with a happy ending that felt like I was watching a rom-com where I knew the girl was going to get the guy and I loved it. This book (and this serie) makes for a great summer/beach read. It left me in a very good mood (pretty much the same way certain movies do). It made me smile, laugh and swoon a little. It was sweet and funny with just the right amount of cheesy and seriousness and quite simply, this book was just plain lovely. If you are looking for a nice, funny and cute NA romance, look no further because you’ve found you’re next (three) read(s).

Vivian’s List, by Haleigh Lovell

Vivian's List_____________________________________________
A NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestseller.

A New Adult Romance packed with Heat and Heart.

Her brother’s best friend. A list. A love story.

After ending a horrible, scarring relationship, Vivian embraces her freedom by making a sexual bucket list. When her brother’s best friend, Liam, finds it, sparks fly and hearts open.

Can Vivian heal one steamy encounter at a time?

** This is book 1 in a two-part series
** New Adult Romance recommended for readers aged 18+ due to language and strong sexual content
_____________________________________________

DNF @ 68%

“I want you to know what it should feel like to have a man make love to you.”

I’m kind of disappointed here because I was actually looking forward to this book. The cover kind of sold me as well as the blurb. Then the plot seemed promising and Liam seemed like the kind of hero I might like. And everything was going fine with the book until Vivian and Liam started going at it and check the items on Vivian’s list.

“We had the sort of sex where I just wanted to crawl into his skin and become one person.”

It didn’t feel like that for me to be honest. The sex scenes left me highly skeptical. It’s hard to describe but basically, some of Vivian’s body reactions during sex were troubling, at least, to me they were. I don’t know about you but I, personally, have never heard of a woman’s sex organ tearing apart her underwear because of how aroused she is. I know Vivian’s character is supposed to be under the impression that she is frigid, but even then I’d be worried to have this type of reaction to attraction and arousal. Now, maybe I’m no expert with the human body, but this seemed far fetched to me. It reached the point where I enjoyed the book more when Liam and Vivian were flirting and bantering than the actual sex scenes they were involved in.

“I wanted to make her feel special and let her know she was wanted, needed and desired in so many different ways. I wanted to make her feel loved. I wanted her in a way that surpassed sexual need. I wanted…I wanted her.”

And then, Vivian’s voice started boring me. Same thing, I can’t really tell what made it boring for me at some point to read her POV, but it did.
I liked Liam’s character though. It’s probably because of him and the whole friends falling in love plot that I kept reading this book until the 68% mark.

I really tried to keep going. I don’t particularly enjoy not finishing a book. I feel like I give up on them or something. But I really couldn’t stand Vivian’s voice anymore and the fact that I was spending more time skipping her inner monologues and the sex scenes than actually read the book was a bit depressing, so I thought “what’s the point?” and gave up eventually.

Some people will probably really like this book and read the other one coming up, but I’ll stop here. This book really wasn’t for me after all even though it looked like it could be right up my alley. Better luck next time I guess.

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