The Not-Outcast by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2020

Format: Kindle Unlimited

Stars: 3 1/2

Cutler Ryder was everything I wasn’t.

He was the hockey star. I was an outcast.
He was best friends with my stepbrother, that same stepbrother who hated me.
His two parents loved him. My mom was a junkie. My dad barely knew me.

Years passed.
I got my life together.
Cut went onto NHL stardom.

Then there was a text.
I was drinking.
There was a party.
Cut was there…

I loved Cutler Ryder since the first moment I saw him.
The only problem? He never knew I existed.

Review –

 “The beginning of the story was a little all over the place for me, and it was hard to kind of keep track of what was going on, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this book. But after reading it, I realize that maybe it was like that because that’s how Cheyenne’s mind works. She’s a little all over the place, and for good reason. Cheyenne is so much stronger than she even realizes, and I love that about this character. She underestimates herself and I love that people can see how strong she is even when she doesn’t. She hasn’t had it easy, but she’s come so far from the girl she was in high school and Cut was just what she needed.

Now let’s talk about Cutler Ryder. WOW. He is everything I could want in the hero of a story. He’s strong and fiercely protective. He’s got alpha vibes, and he’s exactly what I hoped he would be for Cheyenne. He doesn’t care that Cheyenne isn’t perfect, and he’s not scared when her mind runs wild. He’s her silent strength when she needs it, and her loudest fan when she needs more than silence.  

I wasn’t sure how these two would work, but somehow, it’s seamless. They’re very opposite but work so well together you wondered why you even questioned it to begin with. I think that’s what I love about Tijan, she can take two characters who normally wouldn’t make sense, and she can make sense of them. I also loved Melanie and Sasha, and how the relationship between the three girls worked. They are each other’s biggest champions, and they have a truly amazing friendship.” thebankerandthebooknerd.blog

I agree with this up to a point – I loved the parts with Cut and Cheyenne and with Cheyenne, Sasha ,and Melanie(everyone needs friends like that) but the hockey business and some distracting characters caused me to like it less than I have any of Tijan’s other books. But that’s just me. (Love the cover)

Endless (Merciless #4) by Willow Winters

Book Description:

Published: November 13, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars:  4

He holds a power over me like no one else ever could.

Maybe it’s because my heart begs to beat in time with his.
Maybe it’s because my body bows to his and his alone.
Maybe it’s because he thought he loved me before he even laid eyes on me.

He thought wrong, it wasn’t me he thought he loved, and nothing has made me suffer like that little secret has. He thought I belonged to him, but he was wrong. It was never supposed to be me.

Our memories are deceiving, but I know what I want now.
What I need more than anything.
I won’t rest until he’s as much mine as I am his.
It’s always been him.

Review –

Aria was better in this book, than in the entire series. I loved the way she became stronger at the end. I wish she would have done this earlier. Carter was little disappointing to me. He was same stubborn man, without mercy and without compromising. His moods were as mercurial as ever. Aria’s decision to put important things/ life over Carter was the best decision she makes, but so many  threads to complicate this.

We are thrown right in the middle of a war with all kinds of twists and turns. Aria and Carter have a connection that cannot be denied, but so much is tearing them apart. Though Carter is on the warpath, Aria is trying hopelessly to reach him. Carter put all feelings aside and was callous and cold in his determination. Aria found her strength and purpose and knew she wanted Carter. Could they find a middle ground or was it too late?

I felt disappointed in the end because It ended without an epilogue, no wrap up, nothing to let us know about where the characters ended up. The next, and final chapter was about Jase, the male protagonist brother. A new book called A Single Glance starts the story of Bethany an Jase, but it’s not available on Audible Escape yet. Looking forward to the day it is!

Summing up the Merciless series – HOLY HELL!

Merciless (Merciless #1) by Willow Winters

Book Description:

Published: April 8, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

I should’ve known she would ruin me the moment I saw her.
Women like her are made to destroy men like me.
I couldn’t resist her though.
Given to me to start a war; I was too eager to accept.

But I didn’t know what she’d do to me. That she would change everything.
She sees through me in a way no one else ever has.
Her innocence and vulnerability make me weak for her and I hate it.
I know better than to give in to temptation.

A ruthless man doesn’t let a soul close to him.
A cold-hearted man doesn’t risk anything for anyone.
A powerful man with a beautiful woman at his mercy… he doesn’t fall for her.

Review –

MERCILESS is exactly the right title for this book. There is little to zero romance in this story. With three violent crime families at war, there is plenty of tension and intrigue to make you keep turning the pages. And among all this fighting is a broken young woman that is caught between it all.

The male protagonist is Carter Cross but his name should be RUTHLESS BASTARD! He is beyond mean and takes possession of the daughter of one of the crimes bosses and holds her in a cage for weeks. He wants to break her by making her submit to him and he is totally ruthless to her. 

There is a LOT of very explicit sex scenes(maybe a bit too many) and they are not the sweet and gentle type. He is rough and wants to hurt her and his punishments are beyond reasonable .

All that being said, I couldn’t stop listening. In fact, when I finished book one I went directly to book and two and now am listening to book three. He is still ruthless but softened a bit but was betrayed by his “songbird”(or so he thinks) and if it were a real thing – flames would have been shooting out of his eyes. He was that mad.

When I finished book four(the last book in the series) I will review it and hopefully there will be some redemption for Carter Cross.

 

What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell

Book Description:

Published: October 1, 2018

Format: Audio/Scribd

Stars: 4

Family is not what it seems in this raw, edgy thriller that New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline says “you won’t be able to put down.”

When a mutilated body is found hanging in a seedy motel in Philadelphia, forensics specialist Liam Dwyer assumes the crime scene will be business as usual. Instead, the victim turns out to be a woman he’d had an affair with before breaking it off to save his marriage. But there’s a bigger problem: Liam has no memory of where he was or what he did on the night of the murder.

Panicked, Liam turns to his brother, Sean, a homicide detective. Sean has his back, but incriminating evidence keeps piling up. From fingerprints to DNA, everything points to Liam, who must race against time and his department to uncover the truth – even if that truth is his own guilt. Yet as he digs deeper, dark secrets come to light, and Liam begins to suspect the killer might actually be Sean …

When the smoke clears in this harrowing family drama, who will be left standing?

Review –

“As young boys, Sean and Liam survived traumas that no child should endure. After the death of their father, their mother’s mental instability nearly cost Liam his life. However, older brother Sean saved him, creating an unbreakable bond between the brothers. Liam has always looked up to Sean and sought his guidance. Sean, never able to sustain a relationship with a woman, has been Liam’s rock, the charismatic leader in which Liam and fellow members of the force put their trust.

The story starts strong with Liam unable to remember where he went or what he did during the prior evening, and then being summoned to the site of the horrid murder. He is shocked when he arrives on scene and discovers that the victim is none other than Kerri, the woman with whom he had an affair. Liam loved Kerri, but he has committed to trying to make his marriage to Vanessa work. They are attending counseling and Vanessa appears fully invested in their relationship. Aside from Vanessa, only Sean and his partner, Don, knew about Liam’s relationship with Kerri. In the wake of her death and his inability to remember the events of the night she was killed, Liam of course turns to Sean for help. Sean assures Liam that he can rely on Sean. “We only have each other, Liam. So because of that, we only have each other to count on. I’ll be there for you, and you be there for me. Got it?”

When Liam’s fingerprints and DNA are found at the murder scene, and he discovers his bloody clothes in the trunk of his vehicle, his panic is palpable and credibly depicted by Farrell. Liam wracks his brain in an attempt to remember the events of the evening, and worries that he is losing his mind. Worse, he confronts the question of whether he could have committed such an unthinkable crime. He is convinced that he does not have the capacity — even in some form of altered state — to be violent, much less a killer. Through it all, he leans on Sean, telling him, “I think I’m being framed, Sean. It’s the only explanation.” He shares details of his own investigation, as he frantically tries to gather evidence of his innocence.

When mounting evidence points toward him, Liam runs, but Sean tries to convince him to surrender. Farrell believably details both Liam’s increasingly desperate mental state, as well as the breakdown in trust between the brothers when Liam discovers evidence that points directly at Sean. Forced to consider that his own brother has set him up to take the fall, Farrell inserts heart-breaking and shocking details that propel the story forward and heighten reader interest.

As Sean gradually unravels, Farrell capably takes readers on Liam’s pulse-pounding and heartbreaking journey to the truth. The result is a thriller that is, overall, enjoyable, and may inspire readers to ponder their own familial relationships after Farrell reveals the brothers’ ultimate fate.” jhsiess.com

Great read!

Reign of Brayshaw (Brayshaw #3) by Meagan Brandy

Book Description:

Published: October 1, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

“Trust only those who earn it.”

A sentiment I follow without direction but holds more consequence than ever before.

One decision, five lives, three futures.
This is what’s at stake.

One night, one choice, four broken Brayshaws.
That is where we’re headed.

Unless I stop it.
I 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 to stop it.

I have to remind him of what he’s chosen to forget.

My town. My choice. 𝘔𝘺 ending.

Review –

Reign of Brayshaw picked up exactly where Trouble at Brayshaw left off. Thank god because that ending was freaking crazy as hell to try to get over.  Once I started this novel, I had zero power when it came to putting it down. I sat on the couch and lounged in my bed the entire day while I binged this bad boy. So let that be a lesson for you, if you have a long fulfilling day planned to the max of stuff you absolutely have to get done….. I highly recommend you hold off on reading this book until a day when you have nothing on the schedule. Because this book will consume your every thought and you’re going to want to know what happens next, and what happens after that. It’s a continuous ‘just one more chapter’ broken promise on an endless loop.

This book is full of twists and turns, you truly never know what waits around the corner. The shocking moments are just as brutal as the angst. My heart was in hyper overdrive thinking the best but expecting the worst possible outcomes.

My heart broke for Raven  repeatedly because all she wanted in life was to find acceptance and love. Given her past history though, letting people in wasn’t an easy task for her to accomplish. So it was great to watch her find that acceptance and love she’s been searching for her entire life.

Maddoc lies down when he needed to stand up but  I still loved him.  And, you can understand the helplessness he’s feeling and the extreme jealously anyone in his position would be dealing with.

The story wrapped up with a bang and I was left an emotional mess. I love stories like this that make me just FEEL SO MUCH!

This will go down as one of my favorite NA series. It’s sexy, angst filled drama that also had sweet, emotional, heartfelt moments. I absolutely recommend!

OMG…. I completely forgot why I rated Reign of Brayshaw a four instead of a full 5 stars rating. I dropped a star because some of the moments seemed a bit far fetched and really  unreal. I understand this is fiction, but I like a little realism mixed into the romances I read. I like to walk away thinking, damn that could really happen in someone’s life. But I unfortunately didn’t walk away with that notion. A bit of the content was extremely far fetched.

Love the cover, too!

Trouble at Brayshaw High (Brayshaw #2) by Meagan Brandy

Book Description:

Published: May 28, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

“You don’t belong.”

No words whispered in anger have ever rung more true.

They’re the Kings of Brayshaw with the world at their feet, destined for greatness and in need of control.
I’m the girl from the ghetto with nothing to offer and as defiant as they come.

They say it doesn’t matter, that I’m one of them now, and nothing could ever change that. Not even me, should I dare try.

But they’re wrong.
They underestimate how far I’ll go to protect them.

Trouble is coming…and they have no idea.
—–

Review –

Picking up right after the events of the first book, The Boys of Brayshaw High,  Raven has put her pride and happiness on the line to protect her Boys, and is at the mercy of the Gravens, who are making their move to take the Brayshaws down. The Boys know that there is something deeper happening, something that Raven is keeping a secret, and don’t want to believe that she betrayed them. Raven’s name has been run through the dirt, but her Boys know better than to believe gossip. They will get her back, no matter the cost.

Their ties will continue to be tested as the head of the Brayshaw name, the boys’ father, pulls major strings from behind bars. But if its up to him, he won’t be in jail much longer, and his Boys will be fighting a war that doesn’t have Raven on the winning end.

In this book the heartwarming relationships between the Boys and Raven grow even stronger, through trials that have them second-guessing everything they thought they knew. They may have to be strong in order to survive the betrayals headed their way, but they will have to stand together to overcome the revelations that threaten to shatter their kingdom.

I wasn’t sure what I was expecting after the first installment.  I knew that I was going to be pissed after that cliffhanger with the Gravens, and I was right. The first 15% of this book was so angsty, but I’m not going to lie: I had to shut down my listening device so I could decompress for a couple of hours. We really got to see Raven and the Boy’s relationship tested during this time, in a way we never seen before. We got to see how they truly feel when they are knocked down and hurt, when they think they were blindsided by one of their own. And they still wanted to love and trust each other, no matter what. 

I could probably gush about their relationships all day, and how I love the way they just mesh together so perfectly, despite their awful histories and inner darkness. But I have to move on, cause lets be real: the first 15% held NO FIGHT to how the rest of the book attacked them. I can’t rant too much, cause I’m awful for spoilers when I rant. But I’ll say this: rethink everything, trust no one, and fucking be ready to fight in book 3 because  by the end of this book our King and Queen are going to have to play one hell of a game to come out on top. But I know they can do it.

Other than the mind-blowing, secrets that were revealed, I loved this book for it’s honesty on the characters. We all know that no one in Brayshaw is perfect, and that the author  knows how to make diverse characters who are full of motive and angst and sass and grit. Part of why people love the books is because of the completely imperfect harsh reality our characters live in, much like our own, but they stand up and fight their problems head on with so much bad-assery. This world made our characters who they are, and this book dug even deeper into their pasts in ways I never imagined. There are so many triggers due to this, so much sadness and hate and anger, but we see our characters more vulnerable and even more deeply connected than in book 1 because of it.

There’s not much more I can say without going into a rant,  but for now, I’ll leave you with this. If you love dark romances, if you love high school contemporaries, if you need a love story with more than just happy endings, a book with so many levels of secrets and lies, where the characters are thrown into situations you wouldn’t wish on anybody, Brayshaw is for you. I honestly did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but I wish I could go back and be surprised by this series all over again. Of course I can’t, but you can. 

As much as I loved the first book, I loved this one ten times more, even though it almost gave me a heart attack!

 

The Boys of Brayshaw High (Brayshaw #1) by Meagan Brandy

Book Description:

Published: January 15, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

Triggers: Yes

“Girls like you aren’t exactly welcomed at a place like this, so keep your head down and look the other way.”

Those were the exact words of my social worker when she dropped me in my newest hellhole, a place for “troubled teens”.

I didn’t listen, and now I’m on their radar.

They expect me to play along in their games of hierarchy, to fall in line in the social order they’ve deemed me fit.

Too bad for them, I don’t follow rules.
Too bad for me, they’re determined to make sure I do.

Inconceivably attractive and treated like kings…these are the boys of Brayshaw High.
And I’m the girl who got in their way.

Review –

OMG….I dont even know where to start with this one!! There are NO words! I’m totally #abraygirlforlife !

What do you get when you pair a girl from the wrong side of the tracks with three bad boys who run the town? The answer is: a world that you crave to live in. Boys you salivate over. A girl who is tough as nails, takes no BS from anyone. You get the most amazing story with EVERYTHING. Raven, Maddoc (new book boyfriend), Royce and Captain are just amazing characters, that the author effortlessly makes you fall in love with. All four strong, fierce, loyal and independant. They have a way of getting under you skin and living there.

I had the audio version and listened to it almost in one sitting. I just had to know WTF was going on. The author kept me interested and on the edge of my seat, just waiting for that moment that my jaw would hit the damn floor and pause my listening device and just TRY to slow my heartbeat!  And when it did, boy did I scream at the top of my lungs. I’m so invested in this world, in these characters, in this story.

The level of angst in this book (which is OFF THE CHARTS) had my head spinning and my mind going all over the place. Readers will be in a continual state of “what the actual F***”, then jumping to “oh he** no”, all while their hearts will be racing and their mind will be swimming with questions.

There is so much that goes on in this book that I can not do it justice, so invest in a copy (written or audio) and hang on for the ride of your life. it has drama plus revelations you don’t see coming. There are hot steamy sex scenes and one that will have you blushing from head to toe!!!!!!!!

Can you tell I loved it?

 

My Torin by K. Webster

Book Description:

Published: January 9, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

I’m a freak, a misfit, an odd end.
Abandoned and unloved.
But my happiness is so close I can taste it.

Until he shows up.

Gorgeous, expensive, and all man.
Sad brown eyes and a brilliant smile.
And he wants me to go with him.

His intentions are hidden.
His motives are unclear.
Yet, I leave with him because there’s no happiness here.

What he promises feels too good to be true…
A castle. A fortune. And horses too.

It’s too easy.
Nothing in my life has ever been easy.

What’s the catch?
There’s always a catch.

Review –

In this book we meet Casey Doe and brother Tyler and Torin Kline.

Casey Doe was abandoned by her crack addicted mother and as a result, Casey was brought into this world addicted to the same drugs her mother was taking whilst pregnant. Casey was raised by the system, moving from foster home to foster home and never really understanding the concept of family, love and warmth.

Casey felt unloved, unwanted and happiness was just a pipe dream that Casey would never have the chance to experience. Being born addicted to cocaine and abandoned, what chance did poor Casey Doe really have in this world?

That is until a wealthy man with sad eyes and a beautiful smile offers to whisk Casey away from the despair that she lives each day. He will give her anything her heart desires in exchange for one thing, herself, not for himself but for his brother, Torin. I’m not going tell you anything about Torin, because trust me when I say he is one character you have to experience for yourself.

My Torin was such a remarkable love story and unlike anything I have read to date. I went into this read completely blind and I urge anyone who reads it to do the same. It was sad and heartbreaking, but also beautiful and inspiring.

To sum it all up in a few words My Torin captures your soul, kidnaps your every thought, manipulates and crushes your heart as it quite literally takes your breath away.

Sorry for not giving you more details but you really need to experience it for yourself.

Excellent read that will stay with you long after you turn the last page or listen to the last sentence!

 

Say I’m Yours by Corrine Michaels

Book Description:

Published: March 25, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

I spent twenty years waiting for Trent Hennington to open his eyes and see me. But it was all for nothing. He chose to keep himself guarded and let me walk away, proving that my time and efforts were wasted.

I’m done being invisible.
It’s time to move on.

A single dance sets my new reality into motion, and I welcome it. After all, Cooper Townsend is perfect. He’s kind, sexy, and attentive—everything a girl could want.

I thought I got it right this time.
That my heart could mend, and I would be happy.
Apparently, some things really are just too hard to walk away from.

Review –

Say I’m Yours  is a heartbreaking story about not giving up on your own dreams. Grace and Trent have been together for a long time, but Grace wants more than Trent is willing to give her. Choosing her own happiness breaks Grace’s heart, but in the end she’s living her dream.

For the past twenty years Grace and Trent have been “together”, but Grace is ready for more; marriage and her own family. Trent has proven over and over again he won’t give her that so Grace does the hardest thing in her life; walking away from the man she so deeply loves. Dating Cooper is sweet, but also weird. She knows him and his family so well, and Trent sudden change of heart doesn’t make it easy for her. Choosing between the two men seems impossible, but in her heart Grace already has the answer.

My heart breaks for Grace and I feel so sorry for her. She didn’t ask Trent for outrageous things, all she wanted was to build a normal, happy life with him. I felt her hurt when she told Trent it was over for real this time, and like her I was stunned when he did his 180. I know I’m probably in the minority, but I think Trent is a arrogant SOB. Yes, in the story told in this book he’s the standup guy who realizes his mistake and fights for his woman. But he and Grace also have a twenty-year history and during those years he wasn’t always that standup guy. He hurt her time and time again by refusing her into his heart, by making her believe she wasn’t loved. And a few lovely words and romantic promises doesn’t make it okay in my book right away. But I believe Trent is serious with Grace this time, and that he doesn’t just say the words to win her back.

Second Chance Romances are really not my thing but It was free on Audible Escape and so I thought I’d give it a try.

 

Until You (Fall Away #1.5) by Penelope Douglas

Book Description:

Published: February 18, 2014

Format: Audio/Audible

Have you ever been so angry that hitting things felt good? Or so numb that you actually felt high? The past few years have been like that for me. Traveling between fury and indifference with no stops in between.

Some people hate me for it, while others are scared of me. But none of them can hurt me, because I don’t care about anything or anyone.

Except Tatum.

I love her so much that I hate her. We used to be friends, but I found out that I couldn’t trust her or anyone else.

So I hurt her. I pushed her away.

But I still need her. The sight of her centers me, and I can pool all of my anger into her. Engaging her, challenging her, bullying her…they are my food, my air, and the last part of me that feels anything human.

But she left. She went to France for a year, and came back a different girl.

Now, when I push, she pushes back.

Review –

If you’re expecting Until You to just be a retelling of Bully in Jared’s POV, well, you’re in for a lovely surprise. Until You has so much more than what happens in Bully, and the timeline is longer. We get more of the year that Tate left for Europe (when Jared is totally moping about how Tate won’t be there for him to bully), more flashbacks of Jared and Tate’s childhood , and  more of what happens after the end of Bully. And Penelope Douglas writes this all with Jared’s no nonsense, totally badass POV. 

What is it with boys who are totally hot but complete jerks? And WHY do I still keep on loving them? Maybe it’s the sweet side that they show only to the women they love, or maybe it’s the whole redemption thing, but whatever reason it is, I can’t stop reading about them! And Jared is probably my all-time favorite jerk. He’s the jerk of my dreams. The lovable jerk. Sometimes he takes it too far, but whenever that happens, we know that he feels guilty (even though he tries to be badass and not show it). 

We get to see how devastated Jared felt when he came home from his father’s, and how he kept spiraling downward, and pushing Tate away. But then, when Tate comes back, everything changes for him. It’s not so easy to bully her or to bottle up his feelings for her. Because no matter how many times Jared tries to push Tate away, she is always in his heart. And when he’s finally done with the bullying… He turns on the charm because he knows Tate can’t resist him, just like he can’t resist her, and the two of them together are explosive.

Jared’s lantern tattoo!!  The sweetest thing I’ve ever read. Until You is perfect. Reading from Jared’s POV about how much he loves Tate, and how he tries to redeem himself is just the best thing ever. Penelope Douglas is a goddess for creating one of my favorite book boyfriends.

Fantastic read!