BOOK REVIEW: Ripped by Katy Evans

RIPPED

A ripped rock star with attitude.
An ex-girlfriend with a reckless plan.

Pandora assumed getting her heart broken by her bad boy ex could only happen once–until Mackenna Jones comes back to town for the biggest concert of his career. They say girls are getting pregnant just thinking about the Crack Bikini tour and it’s destined to be a huge hit.

Oh, it’ll be a hit alright–when Pandora comes out swinging. She and her friend Melanie are determined to humiliate him onstage. But when they’re caught by security and her ex is
summoned, Mackenna decides not to press charges if she’ll join him on tour and follow certain conditions–rules designed to give him the upper hand and keep her in close contact with him once again. Soon, the passion they once shared is reignited, and no matter how much Pandora wants to hate him, her hard exterior starts to crack.

And worse: Mackenna knows it, too. But he hasn’t uncovered all her secrets…

review

“We’ve hurt each other too much. Our past runs too deep. We can’t suddenly just be . . . happy.”

I am so distressed over this book, I could cry. After reading and loving its prequel in the series, I was positive that this story would undoubtedly end up becoming another instant favourite of mine, especially since it centred around my so-called ‘golden trifecta’—a second chance at love story, a bad boy rock star, a sassy heroine—but nothing about the end product made me weak at the knees, and everything about it left a bland taste in my mouth. I had huge expectations of this book, even bigger of the scenario in question, and yet I somehow ended up walking away baffled by all the ways this novel fell short of all I hoped to find between its pages. A teenage romance ending in two broken hearts who never got over each other, this is a story of second chances, of stolen meant-to-bes, of forgiveness, and of healing, and while I was disappointed with the overall picture, I did finish this book, I never was tempted to give up on it, and it did not in any way deter me from picking up any subsequent works by this author.

“He was my first love and my first everything, including my first heartbreak.”

The pain from having your heart broken at seventeen by the one and only love of your life is something Pandora Stone has had to live with for six long years, her heart only breaking even further every time she heard a song by the ever-popular band Crack Bikini. But when the band comes to perform in her home town, Pandora decides to finally unleash her wrath and show its lead singer exactly what she thinks of him and the lyrics he wrote about her. Armed with tomatoes.

“Hating him is all that keeps me sane. Hating him means what he did to me doesn’t matter.”

Mackenna Jones never expected to lock eyes with the woman he never got over in the middle of a sold-out concert while at the receiving end of tomatoes being thrown his way. His reluctant muse and the inspiration behind some of his greatest hits, Pandora has been his only love and his greatest regret. They never saw each other after he disappeared from her life and left her without even a goodbye, but he never forgot her or stopped loving her. So nothing could have prepared him for the blatant hatred in her eyes, or her unrepentant desire to humiliate him in public. Let alone her willingness to agree to go on tour with the band in an effort to humiliate him even further and keep giving him hell.

“Pandora. My nightmare, my dreams, my walking, talking fantasy.”

What starts as an act of vengeance and a desperate attempt to get closure, slowly becomes something neither of them are able to stop or deny—a sizzling battle of wills that always ends up with them tangled around each other, making up for all they lost, missed, and could not wait to get back. They quarrel, they hurt one another, but each night, their succumb to their bodies and the memories of a time when all they wanted out of life was to be each other’s everything.

“You’ll never have me again.”
“Your lips say one thing but the rest of you screams the opposite.”

But six years have changed them both, deeply and painfully, and while happiness might appear to be finally with their reach, embracing that happiness is not an easy feat, especially when one of them is convinced that her sins have erased any trace of the girl she once used to be, leaving behind an empty shell with nothing more to give, and the other still carries the burden of the reasons he once walked away from his girl in the first place.

“I want your mind, your dreams, your hopes, your f*cking soul. I want it all.”
“You can’t have it all. You already took it. You took it, and now I have nothing left to give to anyone.”

I have to say that I truly loved these characters from the get-go, but I simply never got an opportunity to fully understand them and thus connect with them. They were full of contradictions and the holes in their character development stopped me from enjoying their story. Or often make sense of it. And even returning characters from previous books acted oddly and did not seem themselves at all. The flow of the entire book is splintered by rough transitions, awkward random monologues that felt repetitive and unnecessary, and by obvious gaps in the story itself, greatly affecting the smooth pace and progression of the storyline. Personally, it felt to me like this particular scenario had all the foundations for a great, unforgettable story, and it kept building itself up, more and more, but continuously failing to capitalise on everything it built up, and eventually crashing down like a house of cards without even offering the reader a true climax. I wanted to love this book, I would have been happy even just liking this book, but I found myself unable to do so because this story could have been so much more. And it simply wasn’t.

“Once, her mother told me I wasn’t good enough for her. I vowed to her that in a few years I was going to be good enough for any woman’s daughter . . . especially hers.”

2halfstars

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Real – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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BOOK REVIEW: You Were Mine by Abbi Glines

youweremine

Gossip is the ultimate currency in Rosemary Beach, but Bethy and Tripp have managed to keep one big secret to themselves.

Eight years ago, Tripp Newark was dating a rich girl he didn’t like and was on his way to Yale—and a future he didn’t want. The only way he could escape his predictable life would be to give up the money and power that came with his family’s name. And that’s exactly what he planned to do. At the end of the summer, he was going to ride off on his Harley and never look back.

That was before he met Beth Lowry.

It was only supposed to be a summer fling. She was a sixteen-year-old trailer-park girl who served drinks to his friends at Kerrington Country Club. They didn’t run in the same social circles. No one even knew they were friends, let alone lovers. Yet, for one summer, Bethy became his entire world.

But he couldn’t give up on his plan. He needed to leave Rosemary Beach, but he vowed he would come back for her.

Problem was, by the time he came back—years later than promised—it was too late. His cousin, Jace, had already claimed the woman he loved…

review

“This is mine. It always was. You were mine then, and you’re mine now.”

She broke our hearts, she took him away from us and made us all blubbering messes in the wake of one of the most startling events in the entire Rosemary Beach series, but we knew along she would make it up to us, and when Abbi Glines decides she is going to make us feel, she takes no prisoners. In another brilliant instalment in a most-beloved series, we are back in the world of the Rosemary Beach crew, and this time around, two of their own need to find their way back to each other. This is a story of second chances, of putting back the pieces of one’s broken heart, and of healing in the arms of the one who never gave up on their love. It’s an emotional book, one that might or might not make us cry, but it will make amends for everything that its prequel has taken from us. And then some.

“I’m done running, and there’s nothing for me out there. What I want is in Rosemary Beach.”

When Tripp Newark left his childhood home in search of himself and to escape his controlling family, he left his girl behind. Three years her senior, Tripp never expected to fall for the brown-eyed beauty raised in a world so different from his own, but one look at her and he was lost. One summer together is all they ever got, but that is all it took them to fall in love and become inseparable. She gave him her innocence, he stole her heart and promised her a forever, but then one day he just took off and left her behind to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and to fend for herself. Eight years later, Tripp returns to Rosemary Beach, tired of running away and determined to fight back for the girl he still loves. But that girl is not the same girl any longer, the pain from losing two great loves in her life having changed her, made her numb to the pain and anger that ravished her gentle soul.

“You want that girl you left behind. I’m not her! Don’t you get it? She’s gone. I’ve lost her. I made choices that made me an awful person. I’m not worth all this time and energy you’re wasting.”

Once an naïve and impressionable young woman, Bethy Lowry’s life has never gone as she hoped, loss and grief hardening her heart and teaching her to shut her emotions off in order not to drown in them. She wallows in her pain, becoming emotionally catatonic and self-destructive, and when her first love suddenly returns to town, her already fragile defenses start crumbling down, his very presence in her everyday life being a constant reminder of everything she has lost and would never get back. The more Tripp pushes her to admit her feelings for him, the more she shuts him out, the memory of their time together only digging an even deeper hole in her own pit of guilt and despair.

“I’m afraid I won’t be able to get over you.”

However, some things are worth fighting for, patiently, sensibly, lovingly, and Tripp is a man who is willing to do all that he can to make sure that the love of his life gets better, that she is happy again, that she forgives him for his mistakes, even if she never ends up becoming his again. He is gentle with her, gives her all the time and space that she asks of him, but he never makes her question his devotion to her or what he is willing to do to make her love him again.

“We may have been kids, but what I felt for you was real. It never changed or faded. Not once.”

In true Abbi Glines fashion, we are given a beautiful story of redemption, of second chance at love, life, happiness, and these characters unsurprisingly embed themselves into our hearts from the very start. The whole story focuses on the emotional journey of these leading characters, but all the other characters are also offered closure over the very event that broke them all collectively. It is a story that is born out of tragedy, heartbreak, an incident that affected each person differently, but all of them permanently, and it paves the road for them all to get rid of the burden of that pain and guilt, and finally heal. I could not help but sigh at the end of this book, my heart clapping in my chest like a happy seal. I loved every word, every sliver of pain, every ray of hope, and I loved loved loved that what we are given in the end balances out what was taken from us in the first place.

“Things worth having don’t come easy. You have to fight for it until you’re tired of fighting, and then you take a breather and fight some more.”

5stars

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Rosemary Beach – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Fallen Too Far: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Rush Too Far: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Never Too FarMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Twisted PerfectionMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Forever Too FarMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Simple PerfectionMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Take A Chance: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
One More Chance: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
You Were Mine: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Kiro’s Emily (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA (15 Dec 2014)
When I’m Gone: Amazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback (7 Apr 2015)
When You’re BackAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback (30 Jun 2015)

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BOOK REVIEW & EXCERPT: Easy Virtue by Mia Asher

easyvirtue

Love is selfish…

My name is Blaire.

I’m the bad girl.

The other woman.

The one who never gets the guy in the end.

I’m the gold digger.

The bitch.

The one no one roots for.

The one you love to hate.

I hate myself too…

Everyone has a story. Are you ready for mine?

review

“Love fades … or it’s selfish … or unkind … but a diamond, a diamond will last forever.”

Stories like these are the very reason I spend so many sleepless nights feeding my reading addiction! Nothing prepared me for the wild stampede of emotions that ran through me while I devoured this book cover to cover, my absolute investment in the story and its heroine surprising me at every turn. This is not a sweet romance, this is not even a typical romance as such—this is the very candid tale of a beautiful swan who never escaped the painful memory of being an ugly duckling, and whose every choice in life only fed but never quenched her insatiable hunger for attention and acceptance. This book wrecked me, consumed me, brainwashed me, and I am not even sure I am capable of walking away from it just yet, my mind still spinning in a million different directions, trying to put together the intriguing pieces of Blaire White’s complex personality. I have no idea how this has happened, but I am utterly enthralled by a damaged young woman who thinks “spreading her legs open is her superpower”.

“What is love? I don’t know. I’ve never had it. Is it even real?”

Blaire White was a neglected child who spent countless nights crying herself to sleep due to her parents’ perennial absence and lack of affection towards her. But her pain eventually turned into bitterness and apathy, her desire to be loved as a child now replaced by a constant need to feel desired and needed by the men she seduces, uses and then discards. And even though Blaire has grown into a beautiful young woman whose strikingly good looks make her irresistible to any man she sets her eyes on, in her mind, she is still that chubby little girl who got mocked and bullied as a child, and whose parents’ inattention taught her to close her heart to everyone around her. She uses her newly found sex appeal to feed her insecurities and to suppress that inner voice still whispering to her that she is worthless, ugly, just an empty shell.

“Whatever was left of my heart, I surrounded it with so many thorns and spikes that if you ever came anywhere near it, I would willingly and happily hurt you.”

But just when her young life seemed to have become nothing more than an endless string of meaningless conquests—seducing men into her bed and sucking their wallets dry, before discarding them and moving onto her next target—Blaire meets two very different men, offering her two very different paths in life, and asking very different things of her, but both destined to change her future forever.

Ronan is the kind of man Blaire has never allowed herself to date or grow attached to. He is everything she never wanted and everything she always needed, open and upfront about his feelings for her, his unassuming good looks and boyish charm awakening the innocence she believed to have lost a long time ago. But he is also the very weakness she has always avoided in life, his mere presence stirring the kind of feelings she worked hard to forget. The more she falls for him, the more she pulls away, her own growing affections towards him terrifying her and forcing her to sabotage the only genuine relationship she has ever had. She cherishes her time with him, but every stolen moment of happiness with him only reminds her that she cannot allow herself to keep him. Because she would never be worthy of him.

“One day you’re going to let me love you, and I’m going to hold you so tight, I’ll never let you go. I’m going to love you as if it were the one thing I was meant to do. As if it were my purpose in life.”

Lawrence, on the other hand, is the kind of man Blaire believes she should be looking for. A successful businessman who knows exactly what he wants and is not afraid to ask for it, their entire relationship is prearranged as a short-lived business transaction of sorts, his every sexual demand setting her body on fire and awakening the uninhibited seductress in her, but leaving her emotionally unaffected and in control. Being with him is safe, familiar, manageable, while everything about Ronan makes her want to lose herself in him.

“I hope you’re not delicate, darling, because I’m going to f*ck you until I break you.”

I have never ‘clicked’ with a character so much as I have with this heroine. I loved her for her imperfections the most, her self-sabotaging tendencies making me want to pull her hair out and hug her all at the same time. We understand the source of all her demons, we know why life has hardened her heart and made her afraid to take her mask off, and while we foresee all the ways in which she stops herself from finding happiness, we cannot help but hope for more from her.

A story that might appear simple at first, but it is in fact everything but that—this is not a love triangle, this is a story that centres around a broken young woman looking for herself and learning to cope with the emotional scars from her past. The two men in her life represent the two conflicting sides of Blaire’s personality. One man understands her as she has become and doesn’t need or want her to change in order to give him everything he needs from her, while offering her everything she always thought she wanted. The other man only knows the Blaire she refuses to be, offering her the very thing she is scared of the most—his heart. We might easily pick a favourite as readers, but for Blaire to make her choice, she needs to decide who she wants to be.

“How can someone as beautiful as you are have no heart?”

Ms Asher is a very persuasive storyteller, her straightforward prose capturing perfectly the heroine’s battle with herself, while offering us a very sympathetic and utterly fascinating portrayal of the fallibility of human nature. It’s a story that has multiple sub-plots running through it, all flawlessly intertwined with one another, all leading somewhere and all sparking with electricity. We are left gasping for more, with a million theories running through our minds, but certain that we are about to saddle up for a ride of a lifetime.

“One day, you’re going to fall in love with a man and I hope he breaks your heart, Blaire. When that happens, you’ll know what kind of pain you’re capable of inflicting, and maybe then you’ll grow a heart and hopefully find your humanity.”

5stars

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excerpt

Part I
Innocence
Past [Read more…]

BOOK REVIEW: Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover

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When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.

Or maybe not.

Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.

Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

review

“She’s so confusing. She’s so frustrating. She’s so damn unpredictable. She’s nothing I’ve ever wanted in a girl. And absolutely everything I need.”

It’s astounding how little it takes for great characters to completely mesmerise you and pull you into their world, even when they only have a limited number of pages at their disposal to woo you off your feet. I am usually not a great fan of novellas because I’m a greedy reader by nature and always wish for more rather than less, but there are authors who could make me love absolutely anything they write, and Ms Hoover is one of those authors. Her recognisable writing style is present on every page, a delicious blend of quirky humour and assured but frill-free prose, no over-descriptive excess to affect the pace of the story and every word dripping with purpose. This is first and foremost a fun story to read, a surprisingly sexy story to read, a story that gives us two colourful characters who are so imperfect, and yet so perfect for one another. I loved every word, I treasured every word, and I wish we had been given even more words to adore.

“Why does she have to be so damn mean? Mean girls are my weakness, and I think I just now figured that out.”

Warren is a big twenty-four-year-old kid who never grew up. Sharing a house with his two best friends, Ridge and Brennan, what he lacks in day-to-day maturity he makes up for in responsibility in his job as their band manager. He is open, friendly, brutally straightforward and hilariously extroverted, and when it comes to his friends, he is loyal and reliable to a fault, but nothing could have prepared him for the sudden arrival of their new flatmate, a feisty brunette named Bridgette. Hopelessly attracted to her at first sight, Warren tries to get her attention the only way he knows how—with childish pranks and flirtatious remarks—but his poor attempts at making her like him seem only to make her even more determined to resist him.

“Hell, I’m one of the most inconsiderate people I know, and I would never treat someone like she’s treating me.”

When Warren’s determination finally starts melting some of Bridgette’s icy walls, what he finds underneath it is a young woman whose life has not been kind to her, and who doesn’t know how to accept or return affection. And while all his attempts at seducing her have only made her even angrier at him, his boyish humour seems to be her one and only weakness.

“You kiss like you’re trying to resuscitate a dead cat,” she says, disgusted.
“You kiss like you are a dead cat.”
“You probably f*ck like a limp noodle.”
“I f*ck like I’m Thor.”

Through engaging and often laugh-out-loud funny dialogues, sexual chemistry so palpable, you could cut it with a knife, and a heart-warming connection between two people with very little in common, we get to witness the birth of a romance that makes us smile ear to ear. They fight, they tease, they press each other’s buttons, but every night they cannot keep their hands off one another and the more they fight their attraction, the more they fail at every turn.

“If you have sex with me, Bridgette, you’re the one in danger of becoming clingy. You’ll want so much more of me, I won’t be able to tell the difference between you and Saran Wrap.”

As satisfying as this little bite of goodness truly was, I wish these characters could have been given more ‘air-time’ to show us even more facets of their intriguing personalities. Their differences are the very fuel that sparks the connection between them and their chemistry is so compelling that it is a pity it was not explored even further. I am of the opinion that Ms Hoover should not be allowed to write novellas ever again as they always leave us hungry for more and wishing they were full length novels. Her characters are that charismatic and her stories are that clever and exciting.

If you were a fan of Maybe Someday, you will undoubtedly love this book. If you’ve never got a chance to read Maybe Someday, you will still love this book. And if you just happened to stumble upon this story accidentally while searching for a quick read, you just got yourself a new addiction.

“She’s the best worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

4halfstars

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Maybe Someday – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Maybe SomedayAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Maybe Not (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

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BOOK REVIEW: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

thelawofmoses644If I tell you right up front, right in the beginning that I lost him, it will be easier for you to bear. You will know it’s coming, and it will hurt. But you’ll be able to prepare.

Someone found him in a laundry basket at the Quick Wash, wrapped in a towel, a few hours old and close to death. They called him Baby Moses when they shared his story on the ten o’clock news – the little baby left in a basket at a dingy Laundromat, born to a crack addict and expected to have all sorts of problems. I imagined the crack baby, Moses, having a giant crack that ran down his body, like he’d been broken at birth. I knew that wasn’t what the term meant, but the image stuck in my mind. Maybe the fact that he was broken drew me to him from the start.

It all happened before I was born, and by the time I met Moses and my mom told me all about him, the story was old news and nobody wanted anything to do with him. People love babies, even sick babies. Even crack babies. But babies grow up to be kids, and kids grow up to be teenagers. Nobody wants a messed up teenager.

And Moses was messed up. Moses was a law unto himself. But he was also strange and exotic and beautiful. To be with him would change my life in ways I could never have imagined. Maybe I should have stayed away. Maybe I should have listened. My mother warned me. Even Moses warned me. But I didn’t stay away.

And so begins a story of pain and promise, of heartache and healing, of life and death. A story of before and after, of new beginnings and never-endings. But most of all…a love story.

review

“If I were to paint you, I would use every color.”

You know you’re going to experience a myriad of emotions just by opening an Amy Harmon book, having personally welcomed many a sunrise curled up in bed sobbing like a baby while not getting a wink of sleep, simply unable to put her beautiful words down. But nothing could have prepared me for the sheer exquisiteness of this story, and for the marvellous characters Ms Harmon has once again gifted us with. Every part of this book surprised me, thrilled me, made my heart burst at the seams, and the biggest gift I’m going to give you, my fellow readers, is by not telling you what this story is really all about.

“This is the story of love with no end . . . though it took me a while to get there.”

We meet Georgia Shepherd at the tender age of seventeen—a simple girl from a small country town, a tomboy, a loving daughter. Georgia’s love of horses and her unique talent at taming them have always meant that her future would never be uncertain, but Georgia’s rather sheltered small town upbringing has also made her hungry to leave home for a while, seek the unknown and experience freedom for the first time in her life. Yet everything changes when a young man with an unusual life story moves into the house next door.

“… when Moses came to Levan, he was like water—cold, deep, unpredictable, and, like the pond up the canyon, dangerous, because you could never see what was beneath the surface.”

Moses Wright was born a ‘crack baby’, and found abandoned in a laundry basket when he was only a few hours old. Moses has always been different from other little boys of his age, his unusual looks only overshadowed by his peculiar behaviour, his unpredictable temperament and his determination not to let anyone get close to him. Constantly tossed from one relative to another, never wanted by any, repeatedly dismissed as a ‘messed up kid’ who could not be fixed, his life never became easy. However, everything changes for Moses the day his great-grandmother decides to take him in on a permanent basis, despite being advised against it by her entire family, her love for him making her confident she could pull him out of his self-imposed solitude. But Moses is not an ordinary young man. He holds a secret that has shaped his entire existence, every human contact, everything he sees around him, and that very secret has made him afraid of loving anyone in his life. His incredible but highly unusual art is a visual representation of everything he keeps to himself, his only escape from the images he cannot hide from.

“If you don’t love, then nobody gets hurt. It’s easy to leave. It’s easy to lose. It’s easy to let go.”

The last thing Moses expects to find in life is someone like Georgia Shepherd. She is open, unpretentious and her every failed attempt at making Moses warm up to her and let her be his friend only seem to make her even more determined to sneak through the cracks of Moses’ brooding disposition. Georgia is the kind of girl who loves freely, generously, and her pride never gets in the way of her honesty, regardless of how many times he rejects her or mistreats her with harsh words. She speaks without thinking, says everything and anything that is on her mind, gives her heart unreservedly, and eventually, a bit of Georgia’s light manages to shine through the dark cracks that Moses so desperately tries to hide.

“She was a small town girl with a simple way of speaking and thinking, a frank way of being that turned me on and turned me off at the same time. I wanted to run from her. But at the same time, I spent all my time thinking about her.”

As their budding romance progresses very slowly, and Georgia grows more and more attached to Moses, heart-shattering loss strikes this young man’s life again, and his future suddenly changes forever. When faced with returning to a place that only holds sorrow for him or taking off to never return to that place again, Moses decides to flee, leaving behind a heartbroken girl whose only sin was loving him without restraint.

“I’m a very ordinary girl, Moses. I know that I am. And I always will be. I can’t paint. I don’t know who Vermeer is, or Manet for that matter. But if you think ordinary can be beautiful, that gives me hope. And maybe sometime you’ll think about me when you need an escape from the hurt in your head.”

Seven years later, their paths suddenly cross again, but neither of them are the same as they once were. Life has changed them both deeply, taken away their innocence and altered their perception of what they once shared. However, some loves never fade, some loves survive all hurt, and some loves never stop reminding you of everything you should be grateful for.

“Georgia’s eyes, Georgia’s hair, Georgia’s mouth, Georgia’s love, Georgia’s long, long legs.”

As always, there is a subtle but very powerful message woven into every word, every single heart-warming scene. By letting us hear both the main characters’ voices, we are given the opportunity to bond with them equally, to understand them, empathise with them, share their hopes. Moses’ ‘secret’ is a crucial part of the story itself, an angle I never expected to find or adore so much, and because of the way it astonished me, I wish for you to uncover it on your own too. This is a book about gratitude, about never forgetting that there is always something to be thankful for in life, even in the grimmest of moments, and that it is never too late to seize happiness and never let go of it again. It’s a story that does not shield us in any way from soul-crushing heartbreak, a few scenes being so intensely distressing that I could not breathe from the sheer heaviness of them, but the beauty of the moments of joy we are given throughout this book is what we walk away with, smiling through our tears and babbling our own ‘five greats’ to ourselves.

There are no words that would ever do justice to a story like this one. Ms Harmon has once again given us an inspiring tale to cherish forever, a story written so elegantly, at times even poetically, that breathes itself into our hearts and, hopefully, even leaves a small part of itself behind. An absolute delight to read, as always.

“If you would just let me in, if you would just love me back, we could have a beautiful life.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

captivatedbyyou

Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own.

The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened up old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp; my greatest fears becoming my reality; my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear.

At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream . . .

review

“You okay, angel mine?”
“I’m in your arms. Life doesn’t get better than this.”

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me as a reader that the Crossfire series is my own personal kryptonite. No other series has kept me as emotionally invested for such a long time as these books have, having re-read each one of them countless times and always discovering new layers to the story, new details that I might have missed or skimmed over on that first…or tenth…or twentieth re-read. This is one of the most powerful, passionate love stories that I know of, Gideon and Eva being two such meticulously developed characters that we cannot help but want to talk about them over and over again, psychoanalysing their every action, their every word, their every breath, because they feel that real to us. This fourth instalment in the series is possibly my favourite of the lot, encompassing every single element I hoped to find in it, in particular the careful attention that is paid to these characters’ emotional growth and change. There was not a moment that I did not understand the motivation behind their actions and reactions, and there was not one scene that did not make my heart race or skip a beat. Every word in it counts, every emotionally charged scene plays a vital role in the overall storyline, and every part of the puzzle is fundamental to our deeper understanding of the key players in it. This book was everything I wished it would be, and so much more, my mind still reeling from the mere brilliance of the way these characters are brought to life. Bravo, Ms Day!

“Are you in love, Mr. Cross?”
“Irrevocably.”

They may have known each other for just a few months, but Eva and Gideon’s tumultuous relationship has survived through enough trials to last them a lifetime. But even after exchanging vows in secret and promising their forevers to one another, they know that there are still many obstacles before them, most of them stemming from Gideon’s past and the painful memories he refuses to address. Their unique connection is their biggest strength—their almost visceral bond and need for each other being their greatest weapon against the world that questions their commitment to one another and tries to pull them apart—but that connection is also their greatest weakness as it isolates them from others, making them codependent and essential for each other’s happiness. As we finally hear Gideon’s voice in this book, we get to see firsthand the depth of his love for Eva and how her presence in his life has changed him. Her unwavering devotion, her protectiveness of him, and her every touch silence the demons that devastate him through his dreams and affect his every human connection.

“You’re the reason I breathe, I can’t turn it off. I think of nothing but you. All day. Every day. Everything I do, I do with you in mind. There’s no room for anyone else.”

As the limelight is put on the their young relationship, their private moments in each other’s arms are what drives that relationship forward, their intimacy with one another growing with each sexual encounter, every kiss, every embrace. Behind closed doors, they are one, both physically as well as mentally, completely in sync and vulnerable only to one another. They understand the other person’s needs and addictions better than anyone else in their lives, their frequent and very intense lovemaking sessions sustaining and temporarily satiating their hunger for one another. No part of themselves is hidden, no sexual act is off limits, and their physical as well as emotional addiction to each other only grows. And within their unique dynamic, sex still remains their primary mode of communication.

“She was every promise, every hope, every fantasy a man could have. And she was mine.”

But as they work on improving themselves in order to have a functional and healthy relationship with each other, old foes from Gideon’s past keep resurfacing, relentlessly set on destroying him and making him pay for his past sins. For the first time in his adult life, he has shown the world his only weakness—Eva—and they are willing to hurt her in order to get to him.

“She’s the chink in your armor, you heartless piece of shit. You’ve got ice in your veins, but she bleeds … It’s time to pay, and your billions won’t cover the debt.”

We watch our fearless hero battle his past, fight for a future with the woman he loves, all along navigating through marital waters he never imagined himself embarking upon. Nothing in their marriage is left to chance, their every energy dedicated to honouring their commitment to one another, to being what the other needs, craves, wants, and to shouldering each other’s burdens. But every step comes with a hurdle, every achievement with a mistake, and every lesson learned with a hefty price attached to it.

“I would set the world on fire to clear a path for her, if that’s what it took.”

There is an extraordinary self-awareness present in these characters that makes them incredibly fascinating to watch, overcoming their personal hang-ups being their greatest challenge both personally as well as a couple. I was enthralled start to finish, reading slowly in order to absorb every emotion, swallow every word. Ms Day’s writing style is unmatched, her confident and sophisticated prose pulling us in and making us feel every emotion she wishes us to feel. I walked away emotionally drained, with the biggest smile on my face, thrilled for everything that my two favourite characters achieved in such a short time span, but more than happy to wait for their grand finale as their story concludes in the next book.

“I’m hanging on by a thread, Eva.”
“You don’t have to hang on. Let go. I’ll catch you.”

5stars

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Crossfire – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Bared to You: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CAHardcover
Reflected in YouMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Entwined with You: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Captivated by You: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
One with You: TBA

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BOOK REVIEW: Eight Days a Week by Amber L. Johnson

eightdaysaweek

Andrew Lyons has been running from responsibility his entire life. Returning home after a couple of years abroad, he finds himself jobless and living in close quarters with a sister he can barely tolerate. At her request, he searches for a job on Craigslist, but finds a room for rent instead. Or so he thinks.

Gwen Stone is in a lurch. With a new promotion at work and two young children at home, she’s in dire need of a caretaker. When Andrew shows up on her doorstep, she thinks he may be exactly what she’s looking for. When she offers him the job, he’s more than interested and she’s confident she’s made the right choice.

It shouldn’t be awkward at all.

But Andrew isn’t exactly forthcoming about his intentions, and Gwen has some secrets she’s unwilling to share. When the mom and the “manny” don’t have a clue what they’re doing, things are bound to get messy.

What do you get with two kids who don’t know how to be kids, a man who never grew up, Beatles Rock Band, and hundreds of hours of kids’ TV? A very interesting job, indeed. But when emotions get in the way, there’s more at stake than just an occupation.

Because life doesn’t have clock-out button. And neither does love.

review

“WTF? I am so tired I can’t see straight. Kids have no bedtime in the summer? Screw that shit. I’ll enforce it—if not for them, then for me. I want to pass out by eight now , which is uncool because the sun is still out. Can you give children melatonin? Or is Benadryl still the go-to?”

A true surprise, a book I could not put down, and truly did not want it to end—this is the kind of story that stays with you and pops into your head every time a Hyundai hatchback drives by, or a children’s show is on TV, or someone shouts, “Kowalski,” and you know they have a certain penguin in mind. It was an absolute joy to read, every single scene laced with the type of light-hearted humour that makes you gigglesnort. But it is your heart that is the ultimate winner because it grows tenfold by the end of this delightful book.

A young man in his mid-twenties but a big kid at heart, Andrew Lyons has never found his true calling in life. Constantly drifting from one interest to another, he never commits to any endeavour long-term because he knows that no achievement of his would ever make his father proud. After two years spent travelling through Europe and squandering his inheritance, he returns home, only to find that no place feels like ‘home’ anymore. Desperate to get away from his overachieving sister’s judgemental eye and to stop depending on her for a roof over his head, Andrew manages to find the perfect place to rent. And somehow between drooling over his new landlady and fantasising about having sex with her, he ends up agreeing to become a live-in ‘manny’ as well.

“I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with this kid.”
“He’s a child and you’re immature. Play with him.”

Completely out of his depth, with no prior experience in childcare, he has no idea what he is doing, making it up as he goes along and following his instincts, and as a result, all his attempts at being a responsible adult and role models to the two small children in his care never stop being downright hilarious. But the more time he spends looking after them, the more he realises that something in their young lives has marked them deeply and that for the first time in his adult life not only might someone truly need him. But he might also be the best person for the job.

“Be cool. What did they do on television? What would Tony Danza do? He’d sleep with his boss, Angela. Shit. Sitcoms were no help at all.”

Unfortunately, his growing affection for the kids is not the only unplanned complication to his seemingly simple life plan of having a job and satisfying his libido, his attraction to the ‘lady of the house’—Gwen—slowly morphing into something he has never felt before. But when the wellbeing of two innocent souls starts depending entirely on Andrew’s selflessness and his ability to put them first, even before himself, every decision he makes becomes a wake-up call for a big kid who never wanted to grow up. And not even an overly eager “Don” can sway him from listening to his newly found conscience.

“Don wants to know what he did to make Gwen want to hang out with other dicks.

As Andrew stumbles through the never-ending challenges of quasi-parenthood, his head is desperate to catch up on what his heart already knows. We watch him embrace every new responsibility, every new promise, every new emotion unreservedly and wholeheartedly, to become the kind of man his parents can be proud of.

“Please be real.”

A story that is both heart-warmingly sweet and laugh-out-loud funny, I was besotted from the very beginning, giggling at Andrew’s hilarious inner banter as much as I choked up every time he interacted with the kids. I felt somewhat detached from the heroine though, which is unusual for me, wishing at times to hear her thoughts too as her actions did not always depict a clear picture of her state of mind, but this story is written entirely from Andrew’s point of view and as such, it is a male viewpoint through and through. The intimate scenes between Andrew and Gwen, from mere sexually charged exchanges to sizzling make out sessions, are phenomenally written, and at times, even too well written, in my opinion. I felt a slight imbalance between the sweet family moments and the intense and quite graphic sex scenes, making me wish for less of the graphic in favour of more of the sweet. But I did not look away and I enjoyed every mind-blowing moment of it.

“Her eyes flicked to the opening in the towel, and her eyebrows rose an inch. Oh, hello, Gwen. Meet Don. You two will be great friends.

This is one of those books you cannot help but want to re-read at some point, so many memorable lines staying with us long after turning that last page. I caught myself chuckling too many times to count, Andrew’s shenanigans never failing to amuse me, and yet this is a story that is deceivingly light-hearted, tackling some very serious issues and life lessons, all under the guise of humour and entertainment. A beautiful read, one I genuinely recommend to anyone looking for a book to warm their heart.

“I want to be better… I want to be a better man.”

4stars

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BOOK REVIEW: The Duet by R.S. Grey

theduet

When 27-year-old pop sensation Brooklyn Heart steps in front of a microphone, her love songs enchant audiences worldwide. But when it comes to her own love life, the only spell she’s under is a dry one.

So when her label slots her for a Grammy performance with the sexy and soulful Jason Monroe, she can’t help but entertain certain fantasies…those in which her G-string gets more play than her guitars’.

Only one problem. Jason is a lyrical lone wolf that isn’t happy about sharing the stage—nor his ranch—with the sassy singer. But while it may seem like a song entitled ‘Jason Monroe is an Arrogant Ho’ basically writes itself, their label and their millions of fans are expecting recording gold…

They’re expecting The Duet.

review

“He must be a kicker when he slept…or maybe he slept spread eagle. In the nude. With whipped cream.”

There is nothing quite like a book that makes you smile so many times your jaw literally starts hurting! I went into this story somewhat blindly, drawn to the ‘opposites attracting’ type of scenario, but I never expected to become so easily captivated by the characters, or that the mere thought of them even a week after finishing this book would still be putting a smile on my face. An upbeat, utterly delightful read, the perfect balance of light-hearted comedy and sizzling romance, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a delicious escape from the mundanity of everyday life.

“Oh good, apparently when you have sex with Brooklyn Heart, you leave with a fruit basket. What a lovely experience.”

To millions of her fans worldwide, pop princess Brooklyn Heart appears to have it all—money, fame, a successful music career—but apart from a sister she adores and would do anything for, and a whole team of people in charge of every aspect of her professional life, Brooklyn is alone in the world. Orphaned at a young age and left in charge of raising her younger sister on her own, she has never had the time or inclination to pursue long-term relationships with the opposite sex, a string of meaningless hook-ups being all she can account for in her personal life. Good looking and self-assured, Brooklyn has never had a shortage of interested parties, but she secretly keeps hoping for more than just a one night stand. With an occasional earth-shattering orgasm on the side.

“Have you ever had sex with a Brazilian underwear model and thought, ‘Seriously, I thought this would be better’?”

When forced by her record label to co-write and perform a duet with one of the most reclusive musicians of the day, the sexy and very talented folk singer Jason Monroe, the last thing Brooklyn expects is to find herself a few days later on a ranch in Montana, far away from the glitz and glamour of the big city, at the mercy of the very man who does not hide his very obvious disdain of her. Or the stereotype he believes she represents.

“Wow. You are probably the assholiest person I’ve ever met.”

So, what starts as a daily battle of wills, with snarky exchanges between a man who sees himself exclusively as a solo act, and a woman determined to change his opinion of her, very slowly moves into the warmer waters of friendship and ultimately romance, the gradual progression of their relationship setting the pace of the very song they are trying to write together. The more time they spend in each other’s company, the more their opinion of one another changes, their mutual attraction only adding spice to the mix. But while their hearts might be aching for more, sex with no strings attached could be all their bodies are willing to offer to one another, especially when old skeletons come out to stir the pot and manage to rattle an already shaky relationship.

“We were over from the start… You never said you’d give your heart…”

A truly heart-warming and satisfying read, even though I did not connect with some of the comedy at times and would have loved an even deeper insight into the characters themselves, this is a book that I loved reading and this author’s engaging prose will definitely make me come back for more.

“Jason Monroe was getting buried where I kept all my other cravings: deep, deep, deep down below. Right next to mint chocolate chip ice cream.”

4stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Love, in Spanish by Karina Halle

LoveInSpanish“She sat beside me on the bus – and she changed my whole life.”

Successful, wealthy and absurdly handsome – Spanish ex-football player Mateo Casalles seemed like he had it all. A high-society wife, an adorable little girl, and flashy apartments in Madrid and Barcelona only sweetened the deal. But there was more to Mateo than met the eye – a life of uncertainty and regret that colored his black and white world.

That was until Vera Miles came into his life like a shooting star. Tattooed, wild and young, Vera seemed like Mateo’s polar opposite at first. But you can’t choose who you fall in love with and the two lost souls did everything they could to be together, all while suffering the grave consequences.

Now with Mateo divorced and living in Madrid with Vera, there is a whole new set of challenges and setbacks facing the couple and rocking the foundation of their star-crossed relationship.

Unfortunately for them, the brighter the star, the faster they burn.

review

“I’ll forever keep searching for you. I will look up to the sky and let it point me your way. I will not let you go, Vera. I will never let you go.”

For a self-proclaimed seeker of fairy-tale endings, I have an uncanny penchant for stories that feel particularly ‘real’ to me, stories that refuse to be sugar-coated or bubble-wrapped in forced imaginary scenarios, stories that are so honest and raw that even the sweetest of happily-ever-afters often comes with a healthy and sobering dose of truth. They put your heart through the wringer, they jerk it around like their favourite toy, but the most satisfying thing about them is the way they colour the lenses through which you see your own life, the lives of those around you, and the way they expand your view on things you would have never considered otherwise. Love, in English will forever remain one of my most beloved books. It is not a love story with a big red bow on top—it is a love story born when it perhaps never should have been, a love story that has been scrutinized, dismissed, judged, attacked, and yet it remains alive because two people met on a bus in Spain and ended up falling for one another so deeply and so irreversibly that every hurdle before them pales in comparison. Mateo and Vera’s relationship has never been easy—it is not that kind of love story—but their love for each other has never been in question. It shows us that some things in life are worth fighting for until our very last breath, and that it is never too late to find oneself, to embrace the person one is born to be, to capture happiness, even when knowing that no gift in life comes without a sacrifice to pay.

“Our journey has never been easy. The only thing easy in all of this is my love for her. It is pure, it is simple, and it is true.”

We saw them meet, we saw them fall in love, we saw them fight that love, we saw them give in, and we saw them become one. But for Vera and Mateo, the road ahead was never meant to be simple, and it was always going to be marred by prejudice and opposition.

“Through it all we have each other, two exiled souls. We pay for our sins with each kiss, we feel our mistakes with each touch.”

Mateo Casalles has finally found the love of his life, a woman who has changed him and given him purpose, and when faced with having all his dreams come true as professional fulfillment is once again within his reach, he is suddenly reluctant to accept more change in his life, fearing it might cost him the one he loves the most. Being in the public eye brings its own set of challenges for their young relationship, their every public move now dissected and twisted around even more, but Mateo never stops putting Vera’s needs first, her happiness being his key concern, knowing how heavily her role in the break-up of his marriage weighs upon her.

“I see her as my star, one she thinks has burned too much for the both of us.”

By hearing Mateo’s every thought and every fear, we are faced with a very different man than the one we met in the first book. A better man. His every action is now seen in a different light, his every word now speaking volumes about the gentle-hearted, selfless, loving man that he is. His love for Vera is a sight to behold. The raw intensity of their every touch is only outmatched by how much her happiness means to him, and how much of himself he is willing to give to her.

“I follow every part of you, everywhere. You go before me, Vera. You always will.”

As they embark on the next chapter in their lives, the odds playing against them only keep multiplying, from scorned ex-spouses to meddling paparazzi, but through it all, Vera remains his constant, his own guiding star, and Mateo is not a man who ever forgets how dark his life had been without her. Or would once again return to be.

“You are my star, my light, my love. And it doesn’t matter if you believe in it or not because it is the truth and the truth always finds a way to shine.”

I don’t remember the last time I enjoyed a book so thoroughly and so ardently as I have this one. I found myself constantly stopping, re-reading entire paragraphs, desperately trying to absorb the beauty of every single line in it. Karina Halle has a very unique talent for weaving words almost poetically, the sheer elegance of her writing style only outshone by her meticulous character development and the annihilating power of the notions behind her stunning words. And ‘meeting’ the real Mateo Casalles this way has been quite a treat in itself. A complex man, an intelligent man, a passionate man, a caring man—Mateo’s only ‘sin’ is to have fallen in love with someone whom society deems inappropriate for his social standing and reputation, but it is his relentless devotion to the woman he loves and his emotional vulnerability and honesty before her that make us weak at the knees as readers. And utterly enchanted with him.

“Just a man in love. Just a hero. Just a coward. Just me.”

Karina Halle does not just give us heroes and heroines, she gives us real, tangible people for us to identify with, learn from, and she gives us stories to talk about for many moons to come. I know that a lot of people often dismiss these books because of the ‘cheating’ theme in the story, but it is my personal and humble opinion that this story is not about a cheating spouse or a homewrecker. It is about what happens when people fall out of love, or have never experienced true love before, and then they are given the unexpected gift of finding someone who suddenly lights up everything in their life, including the person they are but never got a chance to be. These are not reckless human beings, they are not driven by hormones or lust—they are fallible individuals who feel deeply the sting of every single consequence of their actions and who never forget what their happiness has cost them.

This novella only completes an already perfect story in my eyes, a story that might not be your traditional idea of a fairytale, but whose brutal honesty makes it that much more unforgettable.

“We were worth every sacrifice, every burnt bridge.”

6stars

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Love in English – Reading Order and Purchase Links
loveinenglish
LoveInSpanish
whereseameetssky_CR

Love, in English: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Love, in Spanish (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Where Sea Meets Sky (spin-off): Amazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback (31 Mar 2015)

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BOOK REVIEW: Nocte by Courtney Cole

NOCTE2Save me and I’ll save you…

My name is Calla Price. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m one half of a whole.
My other half—my twin brother, my Finn—is crazy.

I love him. More than life, more than anything. And even though I’m terrified he’ll suck me down with him, no one can save him but me.

I’m doing all I can to stay afloat in a sea of insanity, but I’m drowning more and more each day. So I reach out for a lifeline.

Dare DuBray.

He’s my savior and my anti-Christ. His arms are where I feel safe, where I’m afraid, where I belong, where I’m lost. He will heal me, break me, love me and hate me.
He has the power to destroy me.

Maybe that’s ok. Because I can’t seem to save Finn and love Dare without everyone getting hurt.

Why? Because of a secret.

A secret I’m so busy trying to figure out, that I never see it coming.

You won’t either.

review

“Do you know what it’s like to not be able to change something?”

How do you even beginning reviewing a book that left you utterly speechless? This fascinating, astonishing, gripping story completely mesmerised me, stealing my mind away from the very first sentence and bewitching it with a reality that kept me questioning everything in it. Including my own mind. Unlike anything I have ever read before—from its atmospheric setting and the level of detail in every single scene, to the meticulous pace and unexpected points of view—this phenomenal book quite literally consumed me cover to cover. I felt mentally ‘stranded’ at the end of it, unable to return to normal life and stop thinking about all that unfolded, and you know what? I absolutely adored every mind-wrecking moment of it.

“…it should’ve been me in the first place. Finn is a better person than I am… Finn really is better. He’s funny and witty and smart, and his soul is as gentle as they come. He’s the one who deserved to be healthy. Not me. I’m the snarky, sarcastic one.”

Calla Price is an eighteen-year-old girl from a small coastal town, whose unusual childhood of being raised in a funeral home has made her the target of constant mockery and ostracism by other kids of her age. But nothing in her young life has touched her as deeply and as permanently as growing up with a twin brother whose mental disorder has forced her to act as his protector ever since he first started hearing violent voices in his head as a small child. She has often felt unworthy of her own mental stability, wishing it had been her born ill rather than her kind, beloved brother—the brother who has always run to her to quiet the demons in his head and seek comfort from her—but she has embraced her role as his guardian with no regrets, putting his wellbeing before anything and anyone else.

“I’m the one he comes to when he’s afraid.”

But it is her mother’s sudden death that changes Calla’s life forever, leaving the family under a heavy cloud of grief, disconnected and adrift, and leaving Calla drowning in her own heartache and guilt for the hand she believes she played in that tragedy. Facing her last summer at home before she goes to college, Calla’s life sees its first ray of hope when she meets Dair, a handsome but mysterious young traveller, whose mere presence in her life starts awakening something in Calla that she’s never felt before—optimism. However, the more time she spends with Dair and the more happiness she feels while in his company, the more her guilt grows. And that guilt is only exacerbated by the evident deterioration of Finn’s mental state. By hearing her brother’s voice as well, we see the true extent of his illness, we get to witness it firsthand, and it is a frightening sight. But we also see his unconditional love for his sister and his inner struggle to stay as sane as he can be for her sake. And we see the way her growing closeness to Dair affects him, how much he needs things to stay the same, and how guilty he feels for feeling that way.

Dare, however, is not just a handsome Englishman who gallops in and steals Calla from the reality of her own life—his own secrets weigh heavily upon him, affecting his every interaction with her, and setting the pace for the way their relationship develops.

“You’re going to be the death of me.”
“Why?”
“Because you’re so much better than I deserve.”

A slow building, carefully plotted scenario, a psychological thriller of sorts, which then culminates in a jaw-dropping finale which sends our minds racing in a million different directions. I am not sure a review could ever truly capture the mood of this book, the unique way it plays with our minds, because every single word in it serves a multitude of purposes, manipulating our thoughts being just one of them. I was so totally immersed in it all that I felt every icy raindrop, every chilly breeze, every lazy sea wave. I absolutely adored this story and even though it leaves us in a happy-for-now place, I am already hungry for more. But also very happy to wait a little while I put my poor heart back together stitch by stitch…

“You make me feel guilty… Because you make me forget that I’m sad.”

5stars

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The Nocte Trilogy – Reading Order and Purchase Links
NOCTE2
VERUM3

Nocte: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback | iBooks
VerumAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks (2 Feb 2015)
Lux: iBooks (27 Apr 2015)

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BOOK REVIEW: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

BuryingWaterLeft for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

review

“The mind, it can be a deceitful thing. But it is no match for the heart.”

It is such a thrill to a zealous reader like me to not only realise that one of my favourite authors never fails to blow my mind with her stories, but that she also remains capable of surprising me, time after time, as I never quite know what kind of ‘journey’ she would take me on, always somehow managing to leave me utterly stunned in the aftermath of her extraordinary tales. This book was like no other that I have ever read, its unique structure and pace designed to make our hearts race, skip beats, melt and crush from one moment to another, never knowing what to expect next. Meticulously assembled to ‘feed’ us only little snippets of the story at a time while our minds are frantically tiling the puzzle pieces to form the picture we are so desperate to complete—this is an impeccably written story, infused with suspense and cloaked in mystery, showing us the hefty price of a second chance at happiness in life.

“You get to be whoever you want to be, without the burden of your past.”

A young woman is found beaten, raped, and left for dead in the middle of a forest, her young body desperately clinging onto its last thread of life. We don’t know much about the man who rescues her except that he is in love with her, and that no one can know that she was found. After a myriad of life saving procedures and a long hospital recovery, the young woman wakes up with no recollection of her past or any of the events that caused her injuries. Confused, scared, ashamed of her scars, her battered body is a constant reminder of everything that has happened to her, and of everything she has no memory of, her mind having locked itself in a desperate act of self-preservation.

“Why can’t I seem to recall a single scrap of my life? Not a face, not a name, not a childhood pet. Nothing.”

And then we suddenly flip into the past, where we meet a young trophy wife to a cruel man several decades her senior, whose life is nothing like she hoped it would be. Physically and mentally abused on a daily basis, Alexandria Petrova is alone in the world but for the man who had promised to hand it to her on a silver platter, trapped in a loveless marriage and in a life that requires her to abide by her husband’s every whim. When a young man’s unexpected act of kindness stirs something inside her, Alexandria begins to question her decisions in life, and wishing for more. The more time they spend together, and the more his every action shows her the way she always dreamed of being loved, the more she blossoms before his eyes, becoming the vivacious but gentle young woman she was born to be. But some mistakes in life are not easy to erase, Alexandria’s newfound happiness making her oblivious to the dangers lurking within her own marital bed.

“I’d never leave you alone in the dark.”

Jesse has loved Alexandria from the moment her lips touched his on a stormy night on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. He felt her unhappiness in her every breath, but her passionate kiss marked his soul, making him unable to forget her even though he never even saw her face. When he recognises her in the young wife of the ostentatious brute who hires him to restore his car, he is unable to look away. Or walk away until she is his.

“In your life. Are you happy? Or do you ever wish you could just start over?”

We are given two timelines to follow simultaneously, constantly flipping from past to present, but in both we see two people falling in love, slowly, cautiously, irreversibly. In the past, a young woman is afraid of her own future, incapable of walking away from the only happiness she has ever experienced in her adult life regardless of what it might cost her to pursue it, while in the present, that same young woman is terrified of her past, her scars an incessant reminder of what her mind won’t let her recall.

“Someone must be missing me. Even just one person, right?”

What I loved the most about this story is the fallible nature of all the characters in it, especially the two leading ones. Jesse and Alexandria are imperfect people, people who make mistakes, act impulsively, fail to consider the consequences of their own actions until it becomes too late, but they are only following the paths their hearts have drawn before them, which is even more evident when they are given a second chance at happiness. Their love story is not about an all-consuming passion burning between them and making them blind to the world around them—it is a story of two souls being drawn to one another, finding more joy in the few fleeting moments spent in each other’s company than in anything else in their lives. It felt to me as if we were intentionally left craving that emotional intensity that was implied in their every word, in their every glance directed towards one another, putting all emphasis on the irresistible pull between them and the unique connection that brought them to each other time after time. This is not a love story born out of carnal pleasure. This is a story about love, first and foremost, a selfless love, a genuine love, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love.

“If she doesn’t remember me, if she didn’t feel trapped and utterly alone, would a girl like her fall for me a second time?”

I never wanted this book to end. It was such an enjoyable reading experience beginning to end, with an incredible cast of secondary characters that made the story even more colourful and hard to let go of. Every single aspect of this story is unique, unexpected, riveting, and every moment spent reading it has been outright unforgettable. A must-read.

“If you wait long enough, the truth always finds its way.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

echoesofscotlandstreetShannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wake-up call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men—especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid—gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man who’s ready to find “the one.” He’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude to win her heart.

As Shannon opens up in the face of Cole’s steady devotion, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when Shannon’s past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them—and tear them apart for good.…

review

“You’re worth every bad thing that’s ever happened to me, because going through them led me to you.”

It’s rare to find a series that book after book never disappoints, never fails to capture my attention and make me fall head over heels in love with the characters, but On Dublin Street is not only one of these extraordinary instances, it is also a series that never stopped getting better and better. Two characters oh-so easy to love, an emotional storyline that kept me glued to my seat for hours on end, literally gasping for the next page—this is a book I adored and could not walk away from even days after I first finished it, needing to re-read parts of it over and over again. I have never not loved a Samantha Young book, but this one just might be my new favourite.

“Are you a hero, Cole Walker?”
“What is a hero, really?”
“I suppose it’s someone that saves people.”
“Yeah, I supposed it is.”
“So, do you save people?”
“I’m only fifteen. Give me a chance.”

Shannon and Cole met as teenagers, for a brief but unforgettable moment in time, and while their lives have led them onto very different paths, they both ended up becoming survivors of the cruel hands that fate has dealt them. While Cole’s childhood has been marred by neglect, and physical and psychological abuse at the hands of his only parent, he has grown into a kind-hearted and protective young man, whose ‘tatted-up’ bad boy appearance stands in stark contrast to his true character. Shannon’s emotional scars, on the other hand, come from a different but no less traumatic place. Every single relationship that she has been in has left a bad taste in her mouth, her last one leaving her battered both physically as well as emotionally. Moving to a new town might seem like the only way to escape her painful past, but she soon realises that no matter where she goes, her memories would inevitably follow.

“…somehow, hopefully, along the way I was going to find the girl I’d lost because of him.”

When Shannon steps into Edinburgh’s most revered tattoo studio looking for a job, she has no idea that her new boss would be the same boy she walked away from nine years before, the vivid memory of him still very much alive in her mind. But Cole’s tattoos and cocky demeanour remind her also of every bad boyfriend she has ever had, making her misjudge him at first sight. And no matter how charming or friendly he is towards her, she rejects both his friendship as well as his not-so-subtle advances, making it crystal clear what she thinks of “his type”.

“…Cole Walker represented everything wrong with my life and the choices I’d made thus far.”

But appearances can be deceiving and, soon, Shannon realises that she might have made the biggest mistake of her life by pushing Cole away. And that her own prejudices could cost her the affections of the best person she has ever met.

“You really are the biggest disappointment, Shannon MacLeod.”

While this is a truly heartfelt romance between two people you cannot help but fall madly in love with from the moment you meet them, this is also a story about knowing when to put the past behind you, learning from it but not letting it affect your future happiness. Shannon’s unfortunate past has the power to either define her or make her even stronger than she is. Having loved someone who constantly belittled her, made her believe she was talentless and stupid, and unworthy of someone like him, has not only damaged her self-esteem and confidence, but it also made her distrustful of her own ability to judge a person correctly and not to make the same mistakes again. Having someone like Cole Walker in one’s life, however, is all the motivation a girl needs to put her big girl panties on and take a chance.

“That wasn’t my voice in my head. That was someone else’s and he did not get to win like that.”

This is an inspiring tale of courage and resilience, framed by a beautiful and truly touching love story, and I ate up every hypnotic word of it. Ms Young never lets me down, always blows me away, and rarely leaves me in a state where I’m quite ready to enjoy another book. It’s been two days… maybe it’s time for a re-read!

“I’m going to f*ck every bad memory of those unworthy gits out of you, even if it takes me a lifetime. Starting tonight.”

5stars

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On Dublin Street: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Until Fountain Bridge (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Down London Road: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Castle Hill (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Before Jamaica Lane: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Fall from India Place: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Echoes of Scotland Street: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Moonlight on Nightingale WayAmazon US | Amazon CA (2 Jun 2015)

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BOOK REVIEW: Finding Eden by Mia Sheridan

findingeden

When the world as you know it has ended, when all that you love has been washed away, where do you find strength?

When the new world you’ve stepped into is as isolating as the last, when your heart is broken, and your future is unclear, where do you find hope?

Finding Eden is a story of strength, discovery, forgiveness, and undying love. It is about believing in your destiny and following the path that leads to peace.

This is the continuation, and conclusion, to Becoming Calder

review

“I’ll be waiting for you, by a spring. Come find me, I’ll be there.”

I rarely ache for a book. I might be curious about a story to the point of completely pausing reality and forgetting everything around me, but it doesn’t happen very often that my heart needs it, craves it, wants it so much that I cannot enjoy another in its stead. Becoming Calder pushed me out of my comfort zone by immersing me into a world that I like to pretend it doesn’t exist, and it made me fall in love with two of the most amiable, kind hearted characters I have ever come across. It made me see the world through different eyes, aware of how much of my own life I tend to take for granted, but it also left me utterly desperate for the sequel, willing to beg, steal and bribe for a mere peek at it. In this heart-stopping conclusion to a most extraordinary tale, after unthinkable loss and sorrow, we finally see life balancing itself out to make up for all that it has taken. While the first part of this story celebrated human resilience and our innate capacity to find love even under the direst of circumstances, in the second part, we get to see what happens to the human spirit once it is set free—free to grow at last, free to flourish, free to spread its wings, and free to love without restraint.

“Anything you want. If it exists in this world, it’s yours.”

The tragedy that our young heroine survived has changed her, made her afraid of the world around her, but all it takes is one random act of kindness from a complete stranger to give her hope and a reason to go on. Eden might have walked out of Acadia physically unscathed, but her heart is shattered. Her love for Calder is the only thing she knows, the only thing she has ever known, and it is still the only thing she clings onto. Now truly alone in the world, Eden has to find the strength to be her own person, to decide for herself what she wants to believe in, who she wants to be. But even when life finally offers her what she has always craved to have, the constant void inside her never stops reminding her of all that she has lost.

“I was still loved. I belonged to someone again.”

And yet, this is not a story about loss. This is a story about new beginnings, about the type of love that conquers all, about the endurance of the human spirit and its ability to heal itself even when weighed down by memories of a harrowing past. In a feat of sheer brilliance, we are also given the kind of story that tells us that there are two sides to every coin, showing us that the human spirit can sometimes break from mere powerlessness and despair. This is a story that challenges the assumptions we make about people, about their lives and their motivations, and it shows us that every demon has its own demons keeping it awake at night.

“I swear to you, my beautiful, sweet love, everyone deserves a love story that doesn’t hurt.”
“Even us?”
“Yes. I promise. Even us.”

There are so many moments in these two books that ripped my heart right out of my chest, made me forget how to breathe, but there is an unwavering current of hope and positivity driving this story forward, and it is that very message that we take away from it in the end—life can change a person, steer them off course, make them lose their way, but it is one’s heart that is the true measure of a person, each one of us deciding what defines us in the end. These characters are perfect examples of the kind of beauty that can come out of darkness, their strength and determination showing us that no matter how many times you strike down a wildflower, try to exterminate it or hinder its growth, it somehow always finds a way to live and bloom.

Every facet of this inspiring tale left me breathless, astonished, overwhelmed and overflowing with emotions, and I believe a tiny part of it will forever live inside me, reminding me to appreciate even the smallest moments of beauty in life. And one day when I grow old and wrinkly, the mere thought of a morning glory will still make my heart smile.

“As pretty as a flower . . . as strong as a weed.”

6stars

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A Sign of Love – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links

(LeoLeo’s Chance, and Becoming Calder + Finding Eden are stories that unfold over two books, while Stinger and Archer’s Voice are standalone novels)

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LeoAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Leo’s ChanceAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
StingerAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Archer’s Voice: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Becoming CalderAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Finding EdenAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

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The Author

Mia is an avid reader, and now writer of romance and erotic novels. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband who is a police officer and her biggest fan (not necessarily in that order). They have four children here on earth and one in heaven. When she is not sitting on her couch with her head buried in her Kindle, Mia can be found writing or doing anything creative from building a patio, to sewing pillows.

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BOOK REVIEW: Chasing Abby by Cassia Leo

chasingabbyFive years, six months, eight days….

It’s been eighteen years since Abigail was born with a hole in her heart. Five years since she collapsed on the soccer field. Five years, six months, eight days since she found out she was adopted.

Abby has spent five years wondering about the family she never knew and waiting for her eighteenth birthday. When Abby shows up on the doorstep of Chris and Claire Knight, her birth parents are overjoyed to see the little girl they lost eighteen years ago.

One summer is all they have to make up for the years they lost. But a summer of love soon turns into a summer of heartache.

review

“Hope: The biggest four-letter word in the English language. It’s bigger than despair. Bigger than resentment. Bigger than scepticism. Four letters that, when combined, can hold a broken heart together for eighteen years.”

A devoted fan of the Shattered Hearts series since its very beginning, I have to admit that I have always been a little anxious about finally getting to hear Abby’s story, knowing that its very premise would have the power to annihilate me emotionally. The tale of an adopted young woman’s journey into adulthood as she discovers and learns to embrace her origins—this is a story about family, about grabbing life by its horns and never giving up, and it is a story about the true meaning of unconditional love. I was ready for the heartbreak, I was ready for the ugly tears, but nothing in my wildest dreams could have prepared me for the sheer beauty of every single facet of this story. A perfect ending to a truly outstanding series, this was the ‘icing on the cake’ that made the entire cake for me.

“I don’t want to be fragile anymore.”

This is a story told from many sides, all essential to understanding the heroine in this book and to fully grasp the endless love that has surrounded her since birth. Abby is the biological child of Chris and Claire Knight, a couple we have seen fight for their happy ending and thankfully find it, but giving up Abby, their firstborn, has always remained a painful stain in their blissful happily-ever-after. Raised by Brian and Lynette, a childless but loving middle-class couple, Abby has grown into a happy and kind young woman, but her congenital heart defect has also prevented her from living a normal life, the life of a careless child who does not have to fear her heart giving up on her.

“This heart is a ticking bomb inside my chest.”

Abby has known of her adoption ever since she was thirteen years old, but it is on her eighteenth birthday that she discovers the identity of her birth parents through the contents of a safety deposit box created for her by the very people who have never stopped loving her or thinking of her as their own.

“These are my parents… This is the family I never knew I had.”

Even though Chris and Claire have always wished for an open adoption, Abby’s adoptive parents have never stopped struggling with their own feelings of inadequacy given the other couple’s celebrity lifestyle, any comparison to the Knights only further feeding their insecurities and fears of losing her. When Abby discovers all that their apprehension has kept her away from, this only drives a deeper wedge between them, making an already troubled relationship even more strained.

“It’s like… like you’ve always belonged here.”

Faced with a whole new family, a lifetime of love she was not even aware of, Abby leaps at the opportunity to experience being part of that family, as short-lived as it may be, discovering that regardless of her absence, her very existence has shaped the lives of everyone in it. Through the constancy of their love, she discovers herself, her purpose in life, the courage she never thought she possessed, and she learns that what she wishes the most out of life is to… live. And to be worthy of all the love surrounding her.

Now, I am intentionally omitting any mention of one of the most important characters in this book, the person who teaches Abby the true meaning of love, as his role in this story is something every reader should discover on their own. It is one of the most moving aspects of this story, one I still cannot find words to do it justice, and it is also what sets this story apart for me because it pushes the reader to see the true significance of every emotion it forces us to feel.

“I love you, my little blackbird. You should know by now that I’ll never say no to you.”

Even days after finishing this stunning tale, I am still incapable of handling the intensity of some of those emotions, but I am grateful for every single one of them. A flawlessly woven storyline connecting several interrelated but distinct voices into one unified human experience, this is a story that will never leave me and its beautiful message of hope and courage is one I wish for every reader to capture.

“You can be anything you want to be… Chase your dreams, Abby.”

5stars

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Shattered Hearts – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Forever OursAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
RelentlessMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Pieces of YouMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Bring Me HomeMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Abandon (spin-off): My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Chasing AbbyAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward

stepbrotherdearest

You’re not supposed to want the one who torments you.

When my stepbrother, Elec, came to live with us my senior year, I wasn’t prepared for how much of a jerk he’d be.

I hated that he took it out on me because he didn’t want to be here. I hated that he brought girls from our high school back to his room. But what I hated the most was the unwanted way my body reacted to him.

At first, I thought all he had going for him were his rock-hard tattooed abs and chiseled face. Then, things started changing between us, and it all came to a head one night.

Just as quickly as he’d come into my life, he was gone back to California.

It had been years since I’d seen Elec.

When tragedy struck our family, I’d have to face him again.

And holy hell, the teenager who made me crazy was now a man that drove me insane.

I had a feeling my heart was about to get broken again.

review

“You were the best thing that ever happened to me. I hope someday I can say you were one of the best, but for now, it’s only you.”

You know those books that pull you in like a riptide, taking over all your senses and making you completely oblivious to the fact that there is a real life outside those pages waiting for you to live it? Well, this is one of those books. From the moment I read the title, something inside me started screaming, I want, the mere idea of a forbidden romance of this type making my skin tingle. However, nothing about this story is what I expected to find, and everything about it has been a wonderful surprise—from the confident prose, to the dynamic characters, this is a love story that I immersed myself into fully and wholeheartedly, and loved every single minute of it.

“Physically, he was my dream and in every other way, my nightmare.”

We meet Greta and Elec as teenagers on the very day they first meet, when Elec comes to live temporarily with his estranged dad and his new family. Even though they have technically been stepsiblings for a few years at that stage, they are complete strangers to one another, and while we see Greta looking forward to getting to know her new stepbrother, from the first moment Elec enters his new home, he does so with an air of disapproval and rebellion. And his main target seems to be the very person who is most enthusiastic about his arrival—Greta. The more young Greta tries to make him feel welcome in his new home, the more scorn and rejection she suffers at the hands of her new stepbrother. And yet, she never gives up, her innate kind-heartedness successfully bringing down Elec’s defensive walls, one brick at a time.

“The meaner he was to me, the more I wanted to make him like me.”

Elec is a contradiction at first. Smug, defiant, even apathetic at times, he is the kind of teenager you want to dislike. And yet his every cantankerous and hurtful action indicates a deeper, more serious cause at the root of it all. We see snippets of his problematic relationship with his father, leaving us suspecting that everything about Elec’s negative attitude is a protective shield, and nothing about him is as he wishes the world around him to think. He is complicated, difficult to warm up to, but his faults make him a truly three-dimensional character in our eyes.

“… nothing felt worse than when you stopped looking at me, Greta.”

Greta is his antithesis—innocent and somewhat naïve, she is the kind of girl who feels freely, openly, unreservedly because that is the way she has been loved all her life, and she is also the kind of heroine we cannot help but love from the start. As much as she fights it, her body’s reaction to Elec and his bad-boy appearance is something she is unable to hide, leaving her open to his mockery and fickle behaviour. He irks her, winds her up, embarrasses her, but she remains incapable of controlling his effect on her.

“Holy hell… his tip was pierced. What a way to be introduced to my first live one.”

As Greta’s quiet persistence eventually pays off and they start building a shaky friendship, her growing protectiveness and unwavering kindness towards him become the foundations of his first true human connection. But the closer they get, the harder it becomes to fight their mutual attraction, and they keep slipping, failing at every turn, their bodies desperately craving one another, while their hearts ache to connect on a deeper level. One night in each other’s arms, however, is all they get, one night of uninhibited passion, indulging their every secret fantasy and heart’s desire, and then it all suddenly ends. They part ways. And they don’t see each other again for seven long years during which Greta’s heartbreak never subsides.

“I’d rather have one night with you than nothing at all.”

When life finally forces their paths to cross again, they are no longer the same people they once were. Greta has grown into a confident, strong young woman whose heart might have never recovered from losing the only man she has ever truly loved, but she has moved on from her heartbreak, adjusted, learned to live with it. Seeing Elec after all those years, and given the tragic circumstances of their unexpected meeting, brings a lot of her childhood insecurities to the surface, one look at him alone reminding her of what they once shared and everything she has desperately tried to forget over the years. But she remains strong, bottling up her feelings the best she can.

“He was hers. I was his. It. Was. F*cked. Up.”

And this is where this story turns from heartbreakingly angsty to outright agonising. Greta’s silent pain from seeing that Elec has moved on with his life and perhaps never shared the same feelings as hers is as acute as it is compelling. Hearing her every thought, seeing her every vulnerability being tested, watching her heart break before our eyes all over again is something that made every protective bone in my body come to life. I was enraged, inconsolable, almost hysterical in my reactions to Greta’s inner turmoil, her every emotion becoming my own.

“The “one that got away” was supposed to stay away, not come back and leave you all over again.”

But, as it happens so often in life, there is another side to every story. And this story is no exception. Ms Ward stuns us into silence with a unique twist, a rare chance to hear what we were only left speculating about, and what we get to discover went beyond my wildest dreams. I adored that aspect of the story, even when I felt it was given in too much detail and could have been offered to the reader in broader strokes with fewer repetitions. It added so much colour to the story, so many extra layers for us to ponder upon, making Greta and Elec two well-rounded, almost real characters popping out from these pages. This is a story that made me feel beginning to end—from heartbroken to hot and bothered, from angry to utterly elated—and it was one of those reading experiences that only got better the more time I spent analysing the characters. I most certainly did not expect to find this many layers in a story of this type, but every last one of them has left me gobsmacked. This was an addictive ‘angst-fest’ cover to cover, sexy and emotional all at the same time, and one I highly recommend.

“We just have tonight. Please…don’t hold back.”

4halfstars

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GeminiAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Jake UndoneAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
My SkylarAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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The Author

Penelope Ward is a USA Today Bestselling author. She grew up in Boston with five older brothers. She spent most of her twenties as a television news anchor, before switching to a more family friendly career. Penelope lives for reading books in the new adult genre, coffee and hanging out with her friends and family on weekends. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 9-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 7-year-old boy, both of whom are the lights of her life. Penelope, her husband and kids reside in Rhode Island.

Connect with Penelope: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
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