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Taking Shots (Assassins #1), by Toni Aleo

Taking Shots
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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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Confess, by Colleen Hoover

Confess_______________________________________________

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

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That could be fate, you know.

OMG!
She did it again. Colleen Hoover gutted me with her book. I literally just finished reading Confess and I just know I’m in for a big ass book hangover, pretty much like I always do after reading one of her books.

Seriously, I know it took me some time before I picked up one of CoHo’s books and Maybe Someday to make me realize what an idiots I’d been not to have picked it up before, but if you’ve never read one of Colleen Hoovers book or aren’t sure Confess is the book for you, then I’m here to tell you to just give it a chance. It is beyond worth it!

“Some secrets should never turn into confessions. I know that better than anyone.”

CoHo has a talent for writing amazingly touching and loving characters and to weave a plot. With Confess I found myself in the same situation I was while reading Maybe Someday, which is that I was rooting for the characters to do the right thing, even though the right thing was so wrong (I think you’ll only getting this one if you’ve read either Maybe Someday or Confess).

“There are people you meet and get to know, and then there are people you meet and already know.”

Her stories have so much heart and make you feel so much it’s not even funny. Before I started this book, I had to pep talk myself (I say that in the best possible way) because I knew I was in for a roller-coaster of emotions and feelings. Auburn and Owen were amazing characters. So strong and selfless and you know, they just felt real. I know they’re fictional and that this story is made up, but I swear they felt so true to me. And I love that every time I read one of her books I feel that way about her characters.

I’m afraid if I listen to my heart once, I’ll never figure out how to ignore it again.

I laughed, I screamed at my book because I was so mad at Trey and Lydia and how unfair and cruel they were to Auburn and Owen. I was also repulsed by Trey most of the book because he is such an asshole. What he did and said to both Auburn and Owen made me want to crawl into the book and strangle him.

No one deserves you like I do.
No one sees you like I do.
No one understands you the way I do.
No one makes your heart beat like I do. He presses his palm against my heart.And no one else deserves to be inside you if they can’t get there through here first.

I swooned at Owen’s sweet, tender, kind and charming ways, I smiled because of the connection between Auburn and him and how they just clicked and I fell in love with them (but mostly with him).
Owen was just a good guy you know. He was just good and good to Auburn and I liked that about him, that he was genuinely a good guy. I just wanted Auburn to be with him because they were so good together and for each other and I was sooooo mad when the circumstances made it so they just couldn’t. But I loved what he was willing and ready to do for Auburn’s well-being. You just know he is good for her and her for him and I was frustrated that life (and some assholes) wouldn’t let them just be together.

“Sometimes we don’t get second chances, Owen. Sometimes things just end.”
He winces. “We didn’t even get a first chance.”

This book is a bundle of feelings and emotions and it can not leave you cold. Be it because of the story it tells or the confessions that are written in it that are at times funny, sad, happy and repulsive. To think they are all true confessions from people out there in the world makes this book even more special and real. At least it did for me. I felt the same way I feel when I read thePost Secrets books.
Even without knowing the people who wrote those confessions (because the confessions you read in this book are confessions coming from CoHo’s readers, so they’re all true), you just can’t help but feel for them, be touched by what you read. At some point, you just connect. And it’s exactly what happens with this story and its characters. You just connect with them and you feel for them.

It’s amazing how much distance one truth can create between two people.

I won’t tell you much about the story, its characters and what happens in it. I know it goes against the purpose of a review for some people, but I went into this story blind (which is something I do sometimes but mostly something I do with CoHo’s books) and I think I enjoyed it more because of it so I won’t spoil the story for other people.
I just want to say that you should have faith in this book and in its author because both are amazing.

Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.

One last thing before I go, you should definitely check out the art and the artist that contributed to this book. Danny O’Connor (aka DOC) has an incredible talent and is definitely worth checking out. Anyway, Google is your friend so I’m sure you can find his work without my help, but here are two of his paintings (appearing in the book) that are my favorites:

girl confess

I'll love you forever even when I can't

I’ll love you forever. Even when I can’t.

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…

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“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.”

Castle Hill: A Joss & Braden Novella (On Dublin Street #2.5), by Samantha Young

Castle Hill___________________________________________

Braden Carmichael never imagined he’d fall as hard and as fast as he did for Jocelyn Butler. He also could not have anticipated how difficult it would be to convince her to give in to love. But now that he has her, he’s never letting go. He’s got it all planned – the passionate proposal, the dream wedding, the sexy Hawaiian honeymoon – even the perfect family they’ll start.

After trying to flee from her painful past, Joss is finally allowing herself to embrace the future. But when things start moving faster than she anticipated, she finds herself panicking over something Braden can’t understand. After everything they’ve been through, Joss is sure that their love can survive even her worst fears. But, this time, she may push Braden too far – and risk losing everything all over again…

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 At least in this one, it’s not Joss whose solely responsible for screwing things up. I had forgotten how cold Braden could be when he was hurt and scared.

I wasn’t planning on reading Castle Hill. Not because I don’t like Braden and Joss, quite the opposite actually, but because for me, they had had their hardship in their relationship as well as their HEA and I didn’t want anything bad happening to them and their relationship. It’s just not cool.

“Jocelyn,” his voice was rough, like he was struggling to get the words out. “You’re my best friend. My everything. I love you and I want to be with you always. Marry me. I promise to try not to fuck it up if you promise to try not to fuck it up.”

But as usual, S.Young can do wonders and she made Braden and Joss’s novella enjoyable for me. I love seeing Braden and Joss get married. The proposal was just so sweet and romantic I had a sappy grin stuck on my face. I loved the honeymoon and all the dirty stuff they did to each other even on their way to said honeymoon.

“You don’t need to sweet-talk me to get sex, babe.”
My eyes smiled. “Well that kind of knowledge could have saved me months of uncomfortable expressions of love.”

But our dear Samantha also succeeded in making me feel really and frustrated because of what happened next. I got Joss and Braden’s reactions and why it went wrong, but I wanted to scream at Braden for being such an arse! But fear not my dears because this novella gets a HEA too and if you’ve read Before Jamaica Lane and Fall from India Place then you probably know there are good things in store for Joss and Braden, as well as Ellie, Adam, Jo, Cam, Liv and Nate. Not to mention Hannah and Marco. I’m off to read Cole’s story now and I just can’t wait.

In Flight (Up in the Air #1), by R. K. Lilley

In Flight
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When reserved flight attendant Bianca gets one look at billionaire hotel owner James Cavendish, she loses all of her hard-won composure. For a girl who can easily juggle a tray of champagne flutes at 35,000 feet in three inch heels, she finds herself shockingly weak-kneed from their first encounter. The normally unruffled Bianca can’t seem to look away from his electrifying turquoise gaze. They hold a challenge, and a promise, that she finds impossible to resist, and she is a girl who is used to saying no and meaning it.

Bianca is accustomed to dealing with supermodels and movie stars in her job as a first class flight attendant, but James Cavendish puts them all to shame in the looks department. If only it were just his looks that she found so irresistible about the intimidating man, Bianca could have ignored his attentions. But what tempts her like never before is the dominant pull he seems to have over her from the moment they meet, and the promise of pleasure, and pain, that she reads in his eyes.

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Soooo…In Flight. Well, first off, I liked and enjoyed this read.

“I knew I had a problem. I was starting to like that kinky rich bastard.”

The book is well written, the plot is more than interesting, the sex is oh so hot and you get attached to the characters. I loved that each chapter in this book started with a new name for James and that it described a bit of his personality each time.

“Mr. Stalker
Mr. Kinky
Mr. Spellcaster
Mr. Charming
Mr. Personality
Mr. Stalker
Mr. Celebrity
Mr. Beautiful
Mr. Mercurial”

It took me some time to finish this book but normally, I would have finished it in less than a day. It’s that kind of book. Once you start it, you cannot put it down until you’ve turned the last page.

“I’m going to ruin you. I’ll be your first, and I’ll fuck you so thoroughly that I’ll be your last too. You won’t want any other man after I’ve gotten my hands on you.”

Now, and this is what kept it from earning five stars, is that even if the characters are lovely and sweet and you get to like them more and more as you read the book (especially Stephan and James) Bianca became a problem to me at the end.

“If you are having trouble understanding, let me spell it out for you … This is serious, Bianca. I’ve never been more fucking serious in my life.”

I liked her character a lot, and that from the start. But the thing is, she was so quick to jump to conclusions and think the worst of James when really, nothing justified it, and that is something that annoys me to no end!

“I had fallen in love with a perfect lie.”

I can’t really tell you what happens and what Bianca does or think at that time in the book but it happens close to the end, something like six or seven chapters before it. When you read it, it’s clear she just exaggerates everything that has happened. Well at least that’s how it felt to me. And then she’s all sad and depressed, blaming James for things that he didn’t do. Anyway, sorry for the rant.Well, it’s probably of no help to those who haven’t read the book yet, but when you do, I think you’ll see my point.

“My past has shaped me, that’s true of anyone.”

Anyway, that was really the only thing that bugged me while reading, so all in all, I really recommend this book, and I will be reading the sequel very soon!

An Unplanned Lesson (Unplanned #1), by Beth Rinyu

An Unplanned Lesson______________________________________________
Nicole Morgan, the new second grade teacher at Pineview Elementary school, has it all together in the classroom; it’s her personal life that she can’t find peace with. Unable to let go of the guilt that she is harboring from her past, she punishes herself by running from all potential relationships.

Her patience is put to the test when Dailan O’Maley the obnoxious but very sexy uncle of one of her students enters her life. She slowly cracks away at Dailan’s crude, crass exterior when they are forced to work together for the sake of his nephew. The two of them learn a lesson in love that neither had planned as they discover that the guilt they are hiding deep inside isn’t the only thing they have in common. Unbeknownst to her, he holds more than just the key to her heart.
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“It’s so amazing when someone comes into your life and you expect nothing out of it and suddenly, there, right in front of you is everything you needed.”

It wasn’t exactly like that for me. I was a little disappointed by this book and quite bored while reading it. And in a weird way it upsets me because I really wanted to like this book.

I mean, when the main male character is an Irish guy with an arrogant and playful streak and a big heart, you kind of have to like the guy. And the whole plot and situation talked to me. So like I said, I was actually looking forward to reading this book when I started it.

I liked the characters a lot. Nicole and Dainan were nice characters to follow and get to know and I was curious to see how their relationship was going to play out.

Their first meeting didn’t actually do much for me but I liked that Dainan didn’t play games and was always straight forward with Nicole concerning his feelings and what he expected of her as we got more deeply into the story. Of course, he was far from perfect, considering a number of reactions he had in the story regarding Nicole, but in truth, it’s Nicole I had a hard time with while reading this book, but I’ll tell you why in a little while.

“Dailon O’Maley had opened his heart to me. Now I had to decide if I wanted to enter.”

The storyline was promising and all, but to me it really felt like that Beth Rinyu wrote what she felt was expected by the readers, and that made it so that I just couldn’t believe in Nicole’s feelings and emotions while reading. Like for instance, when Nicole talks about her feelings. It felt like she was thinking: “Well, that’s what I have to feel now that this happened. Okay, now I feel that way!” It actually came to the point where the story felt a little fake.

Another thing that didn’t work for me was the fact that the story never made my heart race and I was almost never taken by surprise (I say almost, because the ending actually did surprise me a little) and everything felt very predictable (again, except for the end).

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that it wasn’t a bad story in itself and the characters never annoyed me but something was definitely missing for me and the whole thing felt somewhat a little ….clumsy. But this story remains a cute, sweet and quick one that is easy to read (even though I got a little bored with the way the story was told).

Now, I know a book is never read the same way by two readers, so I won’t say don’t read this book, because you might like this one a lot. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me and it didn’t make me wanted to read more of Nicole and Dainan’s story in their sequel.

The Pact, by Karina Halle

The Pact______________________________________________
It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them are in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounds like fun and games but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.
Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.
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“Nine years. I’ve been waiting nine years for this. Nine years to finally have you the way I’ve always needed you.”

I’m actually a little sad to say this but I expected more from this book. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, because as a whole, I did. But I can’t say that The Pact by Karina Halle blew me away like the other she wrote did.

“If neither of us are in a serious relationship by the time we are both thirty,” he says, looking at me so dead in the eye that I can’t help but hold my breath, “then we agree to marry each other. Agree?”
I find my voice. “Agree.”

Now I know this book was different from the stuff she usually writes so I didn’t go into it thinking I would get exactly what I was used to read by her. And the subject matter is actually one of my favorite plot settings. But even though there were definitely stuff that did it for me in this book, at the end of it, I wasn’t blown away, even though I enjoyed it.

“The two of you in a marriage? World’s pickiest woman with the world’s biggest manwhore? Yeah, have fun with that.”

I was on board with a lot of things starting this book. I was on board with the whole pact thing. I was on board with the friends falling for each other too. And I was definitely on board for the sex between said two friends falling for each other. What I wasn’t on board for was the drama my dear Linden created that could have been avoided and that kind of spoiled things for me.

“Don’t act like you haven’t been thinking about that kiss every single day since it happened. Don’t pretend you haven’t thought once about what it would be like to do it again. To do more.”

I liked Steph and Linden as characters. Sure they irritated me too because they were so stubborn in their friendship, but I liked them. I loved their connection and how even though they were hot for each other, most of all, they were friends. That’s truly something I like reading about. Two people having an actual connection and friendship as the foundation for their feelings. And that’s what Linden and Steph have in this book.

“That was real. That was something. Tell me you felt something, that you felt what I felt.”
“What did you feel?” I whisper.
He runs a thumb across my lips. “I felt you. The you I’ve always wanted.”

Sure they don’t realize it right away, and once they do they keep denying it with all their might (that’s kind of the downside of friendship growing into something more) which actually annoyed me at some point in the book because their denial of their feelings for each other (or should I say, someone’s denial of their feelings) almost ruined everything here, but (thank God) they eventually see the light!

“He grins at me. I wish he wouldn’t. Sometimes his smile rips the air from my lungs. It’s not an exaggeration. It’s messy, violent and abrupt and I wish it wouldn’t happen because, fuck it, I like breathing.”

It was hard sometimes being in Steph’s shoes. Seeing her lust and then love Linden from afar, with everything it entails. I felt sorry for her, especially when their respective partners got between the two of them, or when they tried to move on from their feelings for each other but just couldn’t. Thankfully, it wasn’t too angsty for me, just enough to make me tell them through my Kindle to just stop making themselves miserable and just be together finally!

“I want her to realize we’re both not with the people we should be. And if she already knows that, I want her to know it’s not too late.”

It was actually the back and forth between Linden and Steph that annoyed me. The fact that they had the worst timing ever in their relationships was irritating in and of itself because they spend half the book being with other people when all they want is to be together. But what really displeased me about this book was the useless drama and heartache Linden forced on himself and Steph out of some stupid and misplaced loyalty to his jealous and immature friend. Here were my thoughts on the matter at the time:

“You fucking idiot Linden! You just told each other you’re in love and just because James McFuckface wakes up 9 years too late you’re bowing out!!!!!! You’re as much of a fuck face as he is then!!!! Bros before hos doesn’t fucking work when love is involved!!!!!”

It’s that part of the book I have in mind when I talk about the difference between this book and Karina’s other work. I’m not used to finding unnecessary drama in her books, so I had a hard time with the bullshit Linden created here.

“This is huge, isn’t it?”
He cocks his head and grins, nodding his head. “Well, the ladies seem to think so.”
I roll my eyes… “I’m serious,” I tell him. “One minute we’re just friends and the next…”
“The next I’m kissing you. And I realize I’ve been a fool for not doing it sooner.”

His constant fear of hurting James and of losing Steph got old, especially when one minute he said stuff like “I love her and  I want to be with her and nothing can stop me from being with her”, and the next he was “sacrificing” himself for his so called buddy. The almost love triangle didn’t help things either here but anyway.

Something that didn’t change though from other books by Karina was the quality of her writing. As always, this woman shows her talent with words. And let’s just say that the sexy bits in this book were really well written too.

“Then again, my head is usually always inappropriate. It’s like a Pinterest page of hot, barely dressed men 24/7 up in there.”

I just wish the plot would have followed. But truly, apart from the fact that those two had the worst timing ever and that Linden screwed up (very badly), the book was good and after the agonizing moments where the characters lost their way, the ending was really sweet and made it all better. The secondary character (even James once he apologized for the bullshit) were cool and entertaining, and sometimes so nice to hate (I’m thinking Linden’s evil girlfriend here).

Now, even though this book wasn’t my favorite by Karina Halle, I’m actually looking forward to getting to know Linden’s brother and his story with Steph’s friend in The Offer. I don’t know why but it already sounds inappropriate enough for me 😉

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