Anti-Stepbrother by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: August 22, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

He told me to ‘settle, girl.’
He asked if ‘something was wrong with me?’
He said I was an ‘easy target.’
That was within minutes when I first met Caden Banks.
I labeled him an *sshole, but he was more than that. Arrogant. Smug. Alpha.

He was also to-die-for gorgeous, and my stepbrother’s fraternity brother.

Okay, yes I was a little naive, a tad bit socially awkward, and the smallest amount of stalker-ish, but if Caden Banks thought he could tell me what to do, he had another thing coming.

I came to college with daydreams about being with my stepbrother, but what if I fell for the anti-stepbrother instead?

Review –

I just finished listening to my first “read” by Tijan. I saw it recommended on an Instagram feed and saw it was available in the Audible Romance Package so I gave it a try. I’m so glad I did!

Summer had a one night stand with her step brother Kevin. Kevin is a GIANT douche. (I wanted to strangler his most of the time)I was more than a little irritated with Summer because she watched him parade girls in and out of his life, cheating on them and using them. But, she was somehow convinced she would be different. You can guess how that turned out…

Kevin’s fraternity brother Caden runs into Summer a few times and they strike up an odd friendship. I liked this aspect of the story. Weeks go by of them just hanging out and doing normal stuff-watching TV, studying, going bowling. To me, THIS is how a real relationship begins. Caden is not a fan of Kevin (WOOHOO!!!) and the 2 have come to blows before.

Because the story is told only from Summer’s point of view, you never really know whats up with Caden. He has a bit of a reputation at the school for being standoffish and ‘above’ everyone else. I was always curious about what was going on in his head. I think it adds to the tension of the story. As Summer is starting to have feelings for him, you really have no idea how he feels. And, as we already established, Summer doesn’t exactly have good skills at reading people.

I loved that Summer didn’t change who she was either. She is kind of weird and a bit scattered at times. She didn’t want to change her appearance or be a person she wasn’t. She kind of just embraced her personality. She admitted to being dull in high school and she didn’t want to be that any more; However, she didn’t have to change her personality or who she was in order to be ‘not dull’. It was refreshing to read a college aged character who wasn’t so debilitatingly self-conscious and desperate to be someone she isn’t.

I did get a bit irritated at the back and forth romance. She has feelings for Kevin, then she doesn’t, then she does. Then she loves Caden, he tells her she doesn’t love him. It’s so NA but it really gets kind of old after a while. You just want to say “enough already”!

It’s classified as NA (New Adult) and I would also say it is “soft smut” because of the sexual situations and the implied sex happenings. Just goes to show that an author doesn’t have to use explicit sex to make a scene hot and steamy!

Loved the story and will be reading more from this author.

 

 

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A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

Book Description:

Published: March 15, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime. One boy. One girl. A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade. A bond that neither time nor distance can break. A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.

When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation? Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

A stand-alone young adult tear-jerker romance, recommended for ages fourteen and up.

Review –

Five FREAKING stars!!!!!

This book has just been given the honor of being on the  top of my list of books that made me cry (sob, blubber) the most.

I’ve enjoyed books, I’ve been moved by books and I’ve cried over books but never and I mean NEVER have we been left so emotionally wrought yet so completely satisfied after finishing a story. 

Poppy Litchfield and Rune Kristiansen created a bond of friendship at five years old that would blossom into a love story to rival the greats. They truly were two parts of one heart in every sense of the word. Despite their tender years, their love was extraordinary and it was epic and there is no doubt this came across in the author’s story as we lived and breathed the enormity of their feelings.

From the innocence and exuberance of childhood to the confusion and pain of youth, we lived it all. I fought their battles and lived through joy and heartbreak with them yet, haven’t even scratched the surface of their story, you couldn’t imagine for one minute how this story plays out. I know I didn’t.

I will not included spoilers because to totally FEEL this book, you must go in blind. Suffice it to say that, childhood love gives into young adult love and though apart for a while, neither, deep down in the hearts, gave up on the other and this would take them through to the bitter end.

I did have a problem with the very end, in that I thought it was too cliché, but the writer knows best and so this book is five stars or ten if that was an option!

 

 

 

Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi

Book Description:

Published: March 6, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she’s got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?

Review –

The book picks off immediately off the last novel, and though the first seventy-five percent of the novel moves at a slow, turtle crawl, I actually understood the importance of the slow pace. Through the first seventy-five percent of the novel, Juliette scrambles around helplessly in confusion, adjusting to her new authority and workload. It would be awfully weird if Juliette seamlessly transitioned to an insane girl from the asylum that somehow managed to destroy the Supreme Commander of North America to a serious, responsible leader. She is so incredibly new to this crazy, tangled world that’s overflowing with treachery, politics, and issues. Being Supreme Commander is more than just fighting against rebellious forces constantly. It involves the intriguing, dark relationships between the most powerful leaders around the world. You can’t just waltz into one of the world’s most powerful positions and expect everything to be blood and glory. Instead, it’s a slow, sweet burn of painful deception and lies—-a wicked game played between the world’s most significant leaders.

Another thing that I particularly enjoyed about this novel was the reality check. In the first three books, Warner and Juliette have undeniable chemistry and quickly become infatuated with each other, but once that infatuation burns out, it’s time for the two sides of the relationship to truly understand each other. Finally, we get to see a more realistic side of Warner and Juliette’s relationship. They realize that besides the events that occurred in the pats month, they really don’t know much about each other. At times, it was indescribably painful to witness their conflicts, but at the same time, I relished them. After all the lustrous flirtations between the two of them in the past few novels, it was nice to see the other side of things. Love isn’t always going to be a smooth ride of infatuation and flirtations; you’re going to have to make an effort to know who this person is and what they stand for.

Finally, I loved the plot twist at the end. Even though I almost guessed it in the first few pages, the anticipation is slowly but steadily built up until the climax where everything comes crashing down. I LOVED it. Honestly, the cliffhanger puts all other cliffhangers to shame. I don’t want to say much, but reading the ending was probably one of those moments where everything that happened in the novel earlier is tied together beautifully into one giant package of astonishment.

Overall, this novel was fantastic, and I’m excited to see what the next two novels have in store for Juliette!

This series has mesmerizing covers and I love them all.

Ruined (Decadence After Dark #3) by M. Never

Book Description:

Published: June 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Kayne Roberts.
Kayne Rivers.
Kayne Stevens.

No matter his name, one fact remains the same. He’s the man who enslaved me, ensnared me, claimed me and ruined me… For all other men that is.

My life.
My love
My happiness.
All belong to him.
I belong to no one but him.

He owns me.
And I own him.

Review –

Ruined is the third book in the Decadence After Dark series and is a novella epilogue to Kayne and Ellie’s story. Ruined cannot be read as a standalone.
Ellie and Kayne have been through a lot – together and apart – since they first met. From the beginning of this series, when these two characters were first introduced in Owned, readers were brought into this captivatingly, dark world of BDSM, prostitution, and drug dealing. Only that world wasn’t as black and white as it seemed. The second book, Claimed, picked up a year after the ending events of Owned and Ellie was thrust back into Kayne’s world by her own choosing. Ruined is the follow-up epilogue to the previous books.
While short, the author  takes readers on an emotional journey that will tug you in so many different ways and have you experiencing a vast array of emotions just as the previous two books have done so. The way that Never wraps up Ellie and Kayne’s story is done in an utterly spectacular manner that leaves readers with a sense of peace when thinking of this couple,( I still don’t like her crawling away though) especially since those of us have read this series from the beginning know that these two characters have not had it easy.
This is such an utterly gripping and captivating series, Decadence After Dark is dark and not for the faint of heart, but it also is a bright spot. Ellie and Kayne’s “love” story is a unique one for sure, but it’s theirs. From the very beginning I have fallen in love with this couple and had high hopes for them. M Never did not disappoint!

Incandescent (Knights Rebels MC #1) by River Savage

Book Description:

Published: August 9, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

Phoenix ‘Nix’ Knight thought pulling his club out of the illegal shit his Pops got them into was difficult.

Until he meets Kadence.

Kadence Turner has no business lusting over a student’s father, especially the president of the Knights Rebels MC. Nix is crass, obnoxious and dangerously sexy and for some reason, Kadence can’t seem to hate him for it. The bossy biker breaks down her defenses, but unlike the old Kadence, the woman she is today won’t give in without a fight.

The tension is undeniable, the attraction fierce. A man that wants what he wants and a woman that will fight him every step of the way.

Review –

Kadence Turner had a rough relationship three years ago that left her scarred (literally, she was involved in a fire) and hurt and unable to open up to people, but now she is finally taking control of her life again and facing her future as a new single woman. Kadence is not a people’s person and she is shy (although sassy and witty too) and would rather stay in and read a book than go out to bars.

But this all changes when she meets Nix. Phoenix Knight is the President of the Knights Rebels MC and father of Zayden, one of Kadence’s students. When the kid gets in trouble and Miss Turner organizes a reunion with the parents of the two kids who were part of the fight Nix comes in the room all scary and hot and Kadence can’t help but feel interested in him.

What starts as a fun chase and a one-night stand ends up to become so much more, because Nix is capable of making her feel alive again and not ashamed of anything that has happened to her in the past. She is to him, the strongest woman he knows.

But of course, things couldn’t be so easy. In the middle of the love story we have to deal with not only one, but two crazy exes, although luckily only one of them is dangerous, the other is just a bitch and a terrible mother. I don’t want to spoil the end so I’m just going to say that Kadence’s life is in danger a couple of times, but everything turns out alright.

If you aren’t into seriously hot sex scenes with glorious dirty banter, then you should find yourself another book. But, if that lights your fire, grab a copy and clear your schedule!

 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Book Description:

Published: November 8, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.

Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

In her first stand-alone teen novel, the New York Times-bestselling author dazzles us with a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Review –

Heartless is a prequel to Lewis Carroll’s 1863 classic Alice in Wonderland, being the history of one of the most recognizable characters in fiction; The Queen of Hearts. Set in the kingdom of Hearts, a world of talking animals, animate furniture and occasional bouts of unpredictable magic, the story follows Lady Catherine Pinkerton, the seventeen year old daughter of the Marquess of Rockturtle Cove.

Cath begins the book as sweet, naïve and rather overly sheltered, not to mention very much under her parent’s’ thumb (one reason for my lady’s initial exasperation), however seeing her change, grow and evolve through circumstances is truly a pleasure. Meyer seems to have a gift for character depiction since this is a book where even the minor players turn out to be more than they appear, and as for Catherine rarely have I seen an author write character development in such a pure sense, i.e. taking a character from one place at the start of the book, and showing how they journey to a very different place at the end of it.

I liked how the King of Hearts, despite being cast almost immediately in the role of an unwanted potential husband is neither sadistic nor lecherous. He is simply good natured, foolish, ineffective and not overly endowed in the brain department. While this makes him of course completely out of the question as a match for Catherine, it also makes her position a more unique one than a lot of characters facing forced marriages in modern fiction, since it’s one thing to wish to avoid a vile suitor at all costs, quite another to have to reject an innocent but dim-witted one.

The  character I did feel slightly short-changed by was Jest, the court joker and very obvious love interest. Dashing, clever, accomplished at everything from magic tricks to music and of course hopelessly smitten with Catherine (he even has golden eyes). While Meyer does undoubtedly reveal enough hidden truths about Jest to make him play an interesting part in the plot, I did feel that he was a bit too idealised. 

The final conclusion is a very apt end to the story, employing prophecy, destiny and character revelations. If you know the story of the Queen of Hearts then you know that this story will not end well, BUT you keeping hoping …

Despite its at times slow pace and its rather too obvious Joker I did very much enjoy Heartless. Take a large serving of Lewis Carroll, add a table-spoon of Jane Austin, season with a bit of Gaiman like twisted fairy tales and a likable, if rather sheltered protagonist and you have something sweet, fluffy and delicious on the outside, but with a dark, and troubled centre within.

Loved it!

 

The Towering Sky (The Thousandth Floor #3) by Katharine McGee

Book Description:

Published: August 28, 2018

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Welcome back to New York, 2119. A skyscraper city, fueled by impossible dreams, where the lives of five teenagers have become intertwined in ways that no one could have imagined.

Leda just wants to move on from what happened in Dubai. Until a new investigation forces her to seek help—from the person she’s spent all year trying to forget.

Rylin is back in her old life, reunited with an old flame. But when she starts seeing Cord again, she finds herself torn: between two worlds, and two very different boys.

Calliope feels trapped, playing a long con that costs more than she bargained for. What happens when all her lies catch up with her?

Watt is still desperately in love with Leda. He’ll do anything to win her back—even dig up secrets that are better left buried.

And now that Avery is home from England—with a new boyfriend, Max—her life seems more picture-perfect than ever. So why does she feel like she would rather be anything but perfect?

In this breathtaking finale to The Thousandth Floor trilogy, Katharine McGee returns to her vision of 22nd-century New York: a world of startling glamour, dazzling technology, and unthinkable secrets. After all, when you have everything… you have everything to lose.

Review –

Five stars !

I am so very happy with this book and the ending it gave to this series. I’ve loved this series from the very beginning, and was so so excited for this! I was not disappointed at all. There were a few boring parts and places that I thought could have been better, but overall I really loved it!

One of the things I love the most about this series is how complicated it is, yet how easy it is to slip back into. These characters are crazy. You need a little diagram to keep track of all the relationships between them, how they all know each other, what their secrets are and who knows them. Yet it was so simple to pick up The Towering Sky and fall back into the story, the author gently reminding you of all the previous book’s events as you go.

The book opens with the suspicious death of Mariel, Eris’ girlfriend, who drowned in a river. Avery, Watt, Leda, and Rylin are drawn back together by a police investigation that is slowly putting together the pieces that connect Mariel’s death to Eris’ and with it the nasty secrets of these four young people. Watt is after Leda but is worried that people will find out about Nadia; Rylin is after Cord but is concerned about her drug-dealing past; Leda is suffering with addiction and her actions in The Thousandth Floor; and Avery is trying to get over her one true incestuous(which is not really incestuous) love for Atlas.

I was content with how the series wrapped up for these characters. The author did a nice job of making sure that every loose end was neatly tied up, while leaving us with a bit of an open ending for our imaginations to think about what might happen next. Everyone finds some kind of happy ending, which tends to make me very happy.

Excellent YA series.

Damaged Goods (New York #2) by Lainey Reese

Book Description:

Published: August 21, 2012

Format: Audio/Audible

Dominance. Submission. Murder. And that’s just before lunch.

New York, Book 2

Homicide detective Brice Marshall’s current case has him stymied and frustrated. A serial killer is slaughtering young women. After a long, fruitless day poring over the most gruesome evidence he’s ever seen, he needs a break.

Stepping into his cousin’s BDSM club is a reminder that there is another part of himself. A part that has been left empty in a life ruled by work. The fact is, he’s a Dom in search of a sub. When he bumps into Terryn, a slender redhead who’s new to the scene, her wide-eyed eagerness even in the face of her nerves attracts him like gravity.

Terryn is the sub of his dreams, with the power to ease his soul. Without warning the murder case reaches ugly tentacles into the most private part of his world—the woman he wants to claim as his own. The woman whose stubborn search for the delicate balance between sub life and independence could put her directly in the path of the killer.

Warning: This book contains BDSM play, M/F/M ménage, graphic language and a drool-worthy Dom on the hunt for a sub and a killer.

Review –

Sooooo much better that Book One!

I loved this second book in the New York series. Damaged Goods is about Brice, the gorgeous Homicide Detective who we met in Book One, A Table for Three. This was another erotic indulgence set in the BDSM scene but we had some serious suspense in this one with a serial killer on the loose. I actually thought the suspense plot was fantastic and was really well written. It actually kept me guessing and it was woven into the romance really well and drawn out perfectly.

Brice is having a hard time on the murder case of a young vibrant girl and it’s all getting to him. Enter Cade’s BDSM club which Brice visits after an extremely stressful day at work. He wants to let go and find a willing submissive.  Brice knows he has hit the jack pot when he spots Terryn; an inexperienced redhead who immediately brings out all of Brice’s dominant instincts.

Brice comes across as protective, commanding and devoted; overall a gorgeous alpha male character without the arrogance! I loved him, he was a true hero!

Terryn was so adorable and genuine.  A truly likeable heroine who showed courage and allure yet was shy and honest. She had no fear of trying to get what she wanted despite the huge change of life style.

Together Brice and Terryn made perfect sense!

This is Brice and Terryn’s story however; Trev, Cade and Riley are back and we get to catch up with them a few years after we left them in Book One. We also have the hot and sexy secondary characters of Gage and Kent.

Looking forward to listening to Book Three!

The Edge of Dominance (The Dom of Her Life #4) by Shayla Black,Jenna Jacob, and Isabella LaPearl

Book Description:

Published: September 13, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Now that Macen “Hammer” Hammerman shares the bond he’s long craved with Raine Kendall and his best friend, Liam O’Neill, he should be looking forward to a bright future. But recent trauma has exhumed the demons Hammer thought long buried. He must confront them while Raine fights to forget her past and Liam struggles to keep their new family intact.

When a shadowy figure emerges, determined to right old wrongs, he sets in motion a plot that threatens to tear the trio apart forever. With emotions running high and forces mounting against them, can they battle their foes and bury their ghosts so they can live happily ever after?

Review –

I love BDSM stories and this series is a great one.

This book is just a guilty pleasure crazy ride.  The story goes in directions that really cannot be anticipated from the prior books and I loved it!

The trio is really challenged in this book as external forces threaten their happiness.  Finally, we learn about Macen’s past and it is his past which threatens them.  I thought this was the most emotional that we have seen Macen and I truly felt that with his emotional breakthrough in this book, the trio is on the best footing ever.

This book has a bit of a suspense/crime mystery involved as Macen is in danger of spending most of his life in jail.  The question for the friendly characters is who is out to get him.  This threat to Macen and the accompanying loss of control forces Macen to examine his life and make deep emotional changes.  I loved his struggle in this book (he’s been my favorite in the series).  I also loved how he has to lean on Liam and Raine (whereas previously he has been the steady one for them).

I loved the new characters that we got to meet.  Liam’s parents come to visit and their arrival changes the dynamic of this book.  There are some surprising twists that some readers might have to adjust their thinking for.  I especially loved Liam’s dad.  There is one scene toward the end that might be the biggest hoot in the series!

This book really shows the three developing a true equal relationship.  Throughout the four books in this series, these characters and their relationship has changed and grown.  The relationship between three people is deeply complex and I have really enjoyed the journey these characters have taken.

Of course there is a lot of hot sex, but it is really the emotional connection between these characters that is the most important.

The series is nicely wrapped up and there is a sweet epilogue.

The Dazzling Heights (the Thousandth Floor #2) by Katharine McGee

Book Description:

Published: August 29, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

All that glitters is not gold.

New York City, 2118. Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a breathtaking marvel that touches the sky. But amid high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, five teenagers are keeping dangerous secrets…

Leda is haunted by memories of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’ll do anything to make sure the truth stays hidden—even if it means trusting her enemy.

Watt just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?

When Rylin wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there also means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him…no matter the cost.

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.

But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.

Review –

I love it when an author begins a sequel right where the preceding book leaves off and Katharine McGee did not disappoint.

Just like its predecessor, The Dazzling Heights is a character-driven story. The character developments are definitely something I really look forward to. I want to see how the characters moved on and if they learned anything from the incident. Avery was a character I liked in the first book. However, I’m not sure if I liked Avery in The Dazzling Heights. All her storyline focused on her relationship with Atlas. I was actually expecting more for Avery’s character development. I have to say though that Avery became more exciting toward the end of the book. Finally, some drama from Avery. 

Leda is the character I strongly disliked  the most at the end of the first book. At the beginning of this book, my feelings didn’t change. I still hated her. She was truly sly and cunning in order to get what she wanted. Although I have to say that I wasn’t expecting the development with Leda. While she didn’t become a completely different person, there was a lot of changes in her. I think having Watt by her side helped her a lot in realising what she did wrong in the first book.

Watt is still the same Watt in The Thousandth Floor. In this book you’d meet him a lot because he spent a lot of time with Leda – which leads to him developing feelings for her. I have to say that this new romantic development was totally fine. The transitions from “enemy” to romantic interest was done really well.

Rylin was my favourite girl in the first book. The scholarship was something I didn’t expect to happen. To have her in the same school with the others had drama written all over it. One of the biggest question I had for her was how was her relationship Cord going to be? Are they going to be friends again? Did Cord hate her? I really want them to be together. Aaaand I wasn’t disappointed! I liked how their relationship was played out in this book. I knew it would be impossible for them to get back together right away given the ending of the first book. I really liked Cord as a character I wish we got his POV in the next book.

One of the things I wished for this book was more Marielle. I was hoping that Marielle would play a bigger role in this book, but no! We got a new character instead. For me, Calliope was a very welcome addition to the story. She brought new dramas and excitement to the story. Although I have to say that with her being in love with Atlas, there were SO MANY mentions of Atlas which made me wish there was an Atlas POV.  Beyond Atlas, her backstory was very sad and helped you to understand where she was coming from. I wasn’t sure how to feel about her in the middle of the book, but at the end, I liked Calliope. Despite her con-artist activities there were many instances in the book where you got to see the real Calliope. I’m really excited on how she’s going to be in the next book.

Love this YA series!