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!

 

 

 

Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

Book Description:

Published: October 23, 2012

Format: Audio

Based on the same sort of detailed, on-scene, high-energy reporting that powered Tom Wolfe’s previous bestselling novels, Back to Blood is another brilliant, spot-on, scrupulous, and often hilarious reckoning with our times.

As a police launch speeds across Miami’s Biscayne Bay – with officer Nestor Camacho on board – Tom Wolfe is off and running. Into the feverous landscape of the city, he introduces the Cuban mayor, the black police chief, a wanna-go-muckraking young journalist and his Yale-marinated editor; an Anglo sex-addiction psychiatrist and his Latina nurse by day, loin lock by night – until lately, the love of Nestor’s life; a refined, and oh-so-light-skinned young woman from Haiti and her Creole-spouting, black-gang-banger-stylin’ little brother; a billionaire porn addict, crack dealers in the ‘hoods, “de-skilled” conceptual artists at the Miami Art Basel Fair, “spectators” at the annual Biscayne Bay regatta looking only for that night’s orgy, yenta-heavy ex-New Yorkers at an “Active Adult” condo, and a nest of shady Russians.

Review –

“In Back to Blood, the octogenarian novelist has characters sporting the “double-stubble” of deliberate unshavenness; defriending one another on Facebook; wearing rasta-rap T-shirts that say UZ MUVVUZ; and filming a reality show called “Masters of Disaster,” on which ruined billionaires begin their public resurrection.

To this self-proclaimed devotee of Balzac, milieu has always been all: New York investment banking in the 1980s (“The Bonfire of the Vanities”); Atlanta real estate in the ’90s (“A Man in Full”); the hookup college campus of the early naughts (“I Am Charlotte Simmons”). Wolfe has now headed to Miami, not to retire but to watch the gaudy clash of that city’s different ethnic and financial populations. Nestor Camacho, an overbuilt, well-meaning Cuban-American cop, is his main character, the figure who gets tangled up in all the novel’s plotlines.

Nestor achieves instant local fame when he climbs the 70-foot mast of a schooner in Biscayne Bay to rescue, and arrest, a small, shadowy man seeking asylum from Castro’s regime. But the athletic bravery that makes him a hero on the pages of The Miami Herald turns Nestor into a pariah within his own Cuban-American enclave of Hialeah: “You arrest a guy 18 metros de libertad!” scolds his father.

The predicament is interesting, but Wolfe doesn’t fully develop its possibilities. Before long, he’s got Nestor arresting a “6-foot-5, 275-pound accused drug dealer who was in the process of choking a brother officer to death” — and then getting suspended from the force when a YouTube video of the incident, containing his partner’s nasty racial abuse of the suspect, puts Nestor in the middle of a power struggle between Miami’s black police chief and the city’s Cuban-­American mayor.

As if this weren’t enough woe, Wolfe also draws Nestor into an art-fraud investigation being conducted by John Smith, the Herald reporter who wrote up his Biscayne Bay heroics. Miami has just named a huge new museum for a Russian plutocrat, Sergei Korolyov, and it now seems that the modern paintings he’s donated are forgeries. This art plot gives Wolfe an opportunity to stage some boisterously venal scenes, but a lot of its action might be happening in any big American city, not just the Miami he’s otherwise so busy particularizing. Moreover, even with its contemporary dollop of Russian dressing, this portion of the novel feels a little tired: Wolfe has been banging the drum against modern art since “The Painted Word” appeared in 1975, back in his nonfiction days. He has admitted that an art-world story line had to be excised from a draft of the already overstuffed “Man in Full,” and the one here in “Back to Blood” might have been cut loose too.

Magdalena Otero, Nestor’s estranged girlfriend, also has more than enough on her plate, even before Wolfe mixes her up with Sergei Korolyov. Eager to transcend the blinkered world of Hialeah, she’s already gotten involved with her boss, Dr. Norman Lewis, a psychiatrist who puts wealthy clients seeking relief from porn addiction in thrall to himself instead. Magdalena’s position as Norman’s girlfriend and nurse forces her to wade into “the pustular oozing of complete freedom” and allows Wolfe to concoct some incidents as squalid as anything in the old Miami-set series “Nip/Tuck.”

But what remains most interesting about Magdalena is her hunger for assimilation and distinction — the great never-ending American status drama. Wolfe shows her listening to a roommate’s urging that she put on a sluttier outfit for a big evening with Norman: “Look, Magdalena, what do you want to look like, some cubana wannabe americanawearing a proper dress from the tag sale at the discount mall?” Wolfe’s title and theme may posit how “the bloodlines that course through our very bodies” are reasserting themselves and driving us toward an ever more volatile identity politics; but this new book really shows how much juice and complication remain in the great national drive to fit in and then rise. The greatest snob in the novel is a mixed-race, Haitian-born professor of French at Everglades Global University who is furious that he’s being made to teach Creole. Professor Lantier overspends to furnish his Art Deco house; invests all his hopes in his light-skinned daughter; and is revolted by his son’s desire to sound and look like one of his black classmates: “What a mess the two of them were!. . . jeans pulled down so low on their hips you couldn’t help but see their loud boxer shorts . . . obviously the lower and louder, the better. The pants of both boys ended in puddles of denim on the floor.”

The pacing of Back to Blood can be peculiarly slow: its individual sentences are as overstuffed with effects as one of Nestor’s muscle shirts, but the story unfolds with a lot of leisure and recap. Even so, Wolfe remains as skillful as ever in texturing the novel’s terrain, from the “prairie of concrete” formed by Hialeah’s front yards to a tired retirement complex up in Broward County where “the little iron balconettes and the aluminum frames for the sliding doors looked as if they were about to fall off and die in a pile.” Nestor’s grandmother wears exactly the right pair of white jeans, while the sunglasses he sports are “what every cool Cuban cop in Miami wore . . . $29.95 at CVS . . . gold bar, baby!”

Wolfe was one of the New Journalism’s pioneer appropriators of fiction’s “close-third-person” voice, which mimics a character’s patterns of thought and speech to a point where the technique often feels more like the first person. Wolfe’s vocal blendings are typically artful, though sometimes the reader will balk at a clumsy amalgamation. I doubt Nestor would know the word “aubergine” — or think of a woman’s “loamy loins.” NewYorkTimes

This was a joy to listen to because of the fantastic narration of Lou Diamond Phillips. His sound effects and accents were her the top but not a bad way!

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.

Bad Girls with Pretty Faces by Lynn Weingarten

Book Description :

Published: October 31, 2017

Format: Hard Back

From the New York Times bestselling author of Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls comes a stylish thriller about the darkness that lurks inside all of us.

When I looked up, his smile was wide and real. “Ready?” he said.
I faked a smile back. I had gotten so good at faking things.
I thought: You brought this on yourself, Sasha. You will have to pretend forever now.
He squeezed my hand again. He couldn’t begin to imagine what this actually was. He had no idea what I’d done. What any of us had.

When Sasha’s best friend Xavier gets back together with his cheating ex, Ivy, Sasha knows she needs to protect him. So she poses as a guy online to lure Ivy away.

But Sasha’s plan goes sickeningly wrong. And she soon learns to be careful of who you pretend to be because you might be surprised by who you become…

Told in multiple points of view, Bad Girls with Perfect Faces is sexy and twisted with shocks at every turn.

Review –

This book is a dark psychological thriller about high schoolers Sasha, her best friend, Xavier, and his cheating ex-girlfriend, Ivy. While Sasha knows what a “good girl” would do when Ivy lures Xavier back into a relationship, she admits that, “Bad girls know there is no right and wrong. There is just what you’re willing to do. What you need to do. Here is what I did.” What she does is set into play a series of events that will unintentionally lead to a murder and its cover-up. Told from three points of view — those of Sasha, Xavier, and a third character whose identity is revealed only at the end of the book — this is a cautionary tale about a right motive gone terribly wrong. While sexual encounters are not graphically described, characters drink often and to excess, and there’s lots of profanity ( “f–k,” “p—y,” “goddam,” “c–t.”). Even though it’s classified as a young adult book, it’s best suited for mature readers and as a vehicle for a discussion with parents about the life-changing price that can be paid for rash behavior and terrible choices.

It’s a fast read and I was surprised by the who the actual killer was (although, looking back, I shouldn’t have been) and I thought the ending was PERFECT and I love the cover.

 

 

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Book Description:

Published: August 19, 2014

Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of “instant divorce,” Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won’t even tell her his name. She’s determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can’t turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law.

As the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer.

Review –

Five-star-feedback-on-oDesk

The last book I read by author, Sandra Brown, was in 2012 and I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to pick up another.

I found this one on Overdrive, which is a virtual library membership that is free. I placed it on hold and when it became available it came into my que.

The blurb doesn’t do the plot justice and is a bit misleading.

Dr. Emory Charbonneau is rescued by a big, tall, good-looking(in a dangerous way)man who refuses to tell her his name. Events occur that lead her to believe that he may be responsible for her head injury and unconsciousness when he found her on a secluded running trail. The weather turns bad and he is prevented from taking her back to town so for four days she is his “guest”  in his cabin, although sometimes she feels like his captive. Her marriage is not in a good place and she feels drawn to this dangerous man with the gravelly voice and the night before he is able to drive her back to town they have mind-blowing sex.

The police who have been leading the search for her believe that her husband, who they discovered is having an affair with her business partner and best friend, is guilty of murdering her but haven’t found concrete evidence to prove it.

There are many  twists and turns and we learn that things are not as they seem on all fronts and I won’t give away anything by saying that the feelings generated by the chemistry of the man, later named as Hayes, and Emory are akin to a roller coaster. One minute they are arguing  and being distance and the next there is more hot sex. Ninety-nine percent of the sex is implied and I think that made the book more erotic than if the author had laid everything out. This was an audio book and the narrator, Jonathan Davis, did a marvelous job and gave Hayes a sexy,hot, gravelly voice that I would listen to even if he were reading a phone book!

The identity of the person responsible for knocking Emory unconscious came as a total surprise to me and it made the ending even better.

This is a wonderful who-dun-it with sexual undertones and I highly recommend it.

 

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