Verity by Colleen Hoover

Book Description:

Published: December 7, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.

Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died.

Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

A standalone romantic thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover.

Review –

It’s interesting (and amazing) when an author explores writing something that is completely different from what we are used to seeing from them.  And it also helps that I love reading thrillers as well.  Keep in mind if you are here for the romance, although there is one in this book, it’s definitely darker and grittier and I don’t think it’s really intended to be “romantic”.

There’s a deep, dark secret that Verity Crawford has been hiding.  She’s been in a serious accident and her publisher hired author Lowen Ashleigh to finish writing the three books left in Verity’s hugely popular series.  But when Lowen moves into the Crawford home to go through series notes she discovers some sinister secrets about Verity and her family life.  And she can’t help but feel an undeniable attraction to Verity’s husband, Jeremy.

The great thing about this is that the whole book seemed pretty straight forward.  I mean, awful in some parts, but straight forward.  It had some creepy, nail biting moments but I didn’t feel the need to solve the mystery at any point.  I thought I had it figured out.  I should’ve known better and kept my mind engaged in gathering clues if there were any. I have to give the author credit for making me so wrapped up in the story that first off, I didn’t want to stop listening and second, I just experienced it as it came. The shocker will come at the very end of the story and yes, I didn’t see it coming, (love when that happens)  Also, I think that’s the morally grey point of the book.  Where you question the characters actions and think back on the what’s right and what’s wrong.  There is an HEA but it may feel like a questionable one for people that fall on one side of that moral spectrum than others.

Nevertheless, Verity was a thrilling and exciting ride.  It’s dark and horrific at times but I couldn’t not continue listening.  I really hope that Ms. Hoover writes more in this genre because I’m definitely here for that side of her.

Five HUGE stars!

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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.

 

 

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.

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!

 

Lawless (King #3) by T.M. Frazier

This is Henry, the bane of my existence and he isn’t feeling his best and has totally taken over my chair, so here I sit at my desk so I might as well work on a post.

Book Description:

Published: December 8, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

Thia is prim and proper.
Bear is leather and lawless.
It will never work between them.
It’s a lie they almost believe…It is necessary to first read King and Tyrant to fully enjoy Lawless.

Review –

 

Lawless is raw, dark, and hot. When some books claim to have a “bad boy”, they are just wrong. TM Frazier shows you a legitimate bad guy. Bear is a criminal who has murdered several people, does drugs, and is generally everything that is really bad. He is not just a cocky bastard who hooks up with girls (he does that too) and claims to be a bad guy. So, anyone who claims a book has a “bad boy” needs to use the King/Bear test. If he is not as bad or worse as these guys, he is not a bad boy.

Now having said that, let me talk about the story in Lawless. First, you do have to read King and Tyrant first. Honestly, if you haven’t read those, stop reading this review and go read them. The plot picks up right from page one and it does NOT stop. I wasn’t sure I would really like Bear. I don’t know why, but I was hesitant to even start the book, especially  because of what the author did in Book One, King.

Once I did start reading, I fell in love with Thia. She is so well written!  She and Bear met when she was ten years old and one of his friends tried to rob the convenience  store she was minding. Bear gave her his skull ring and told her if she ever needed help to come look for him.  Well, she needs help in a BIG way and goes off

to the MC club to find him, only he isn’t there because he has left the Beach Bastards. His father and President of the club, Chop, beats her up and almost rapes her but Gus rescues her and takes her to King’s.I worried that this would end up being another story that just followed the same plot as King and Doe. Thankfully, I was wrong. While this is still about bad men and girls desperate for help, the plots are unique. You are left with a major cliffhanger so don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Five stars!!!!!! 

And, Oh My God, that cover!!!!!!

Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake #2) by Rachel Caine

Book Description:

Published: December 12, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

Review –

Killman Creek is the second book in the Stillhouse Lake Series. You don’t have to read the first book if you do not want to, as much of what happened in that book is explained in this one, but I would recommend it. Gwen Proctor is back as the primary protagonist,, although Sam (a man working with her to stop her ex, Marvin, whose sister was murdered by Marvin) and Gwen’s two children, Lanny and Connor (formerly Lily and Brady), also have their own voices within the story.

I like the back and forth between perspectives even though sometime I found both of the children to be very annoying, which fits with the characters being teenagers.

Killman Creek was darker than its predecessor as Caine took us on the hunt to catch a brilliant and twisted killer. OMG! I was biting my nails and clenching my fists with some of these realistic, terrifying scenes.

Gwen’s story is over, but there will be a third book, Wolfhunter River. Rumors  indicate this  book will deal with one of the supporting characters.  I cannot wait to see who it will be.

Shacking Up (Shacking Up #1) by Helena Hunting

Book Description:

Published: May 30, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick. Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet.

Review –

WHAT A FUN BOOK!!

I listened to this sexy, light-hearted romance in one sitting and it kept me laughing, swooning, and chuckling the whole way through! The writing was witty and addictive, the characters were compelling and endearing, the romance was hot, and the whole book was a joy to read!

So the story starts when an unexpected – but memorably hot kiss – with a complete stranger at an overly stuffy engagement party led to the flu from hell, the worst audition of Ruby’s life, and thusly no way to pay her rent. At that point, with her options closing, she was sure things couldn’t possibly go more wrong…

But when a second encounter with said same sexy stranger led to a further unexpected offer to babysit his exotic pets (a ferret and a big furry tarantula) while he was away on business for five weeks, it took her life down a path she couldn’t have expected… including the undeniable sexual tension between her and the no-longer-stranger who, despite his flu-related transgressions, was quickly becoming her uncouth white knight. During his trip away they would Face Time every day or night and eat dinner/or whatever meal was appropriate and drink wine or whatever. Sexual innuendoes increased with every passing day.

Both Ruby and Bancroft came from wealthy families, but while she was trying to distance herself from that world and family by making her own way without their help or involvement, he was still involved in his family’s company after retiring(because of an injury-not because he wanted to)from a career of professional rugby. Usually someone within her family’s world wouldn’t appeal to her, but his down to earth attitude towards life drew her in. And the same could be said for how he saw her. She was a breath of fresh air in his life — unprimped, uninterested in money, and not out to impress anyone, all she cared about was standing on her own two feet. His whole life had been filled with women throwing themselves at him but despite his sports star status and being such an eligible bachelor, in his own words, he “didn’t leave a trail of fucked fans across the globe” so I really appreciated that he had every opportunity to be a manwhore, and yet he wasn’t.

Despite being oceans apart for the first part of the book, I was pleasantly surprised that Ruby and Bancroft still shared sizzling chemistry, which of course led to the next big question. What would happen when he got home? Would they take their flirtations to the next level? Or part ways for good? HA! This is a romance so of course they take things to the next level… OMG the hotness!!!!   

Five stars.

If you’re a fan of romantic comedies,(as you know I usually am NOT) then this is definitely a book you’ll want to read or listen to. (The narrators are fantastic) It’s well written, fun, sexy,steamy hot and has a hero and heroine I couldn’t help but fall in love with.

Iron Princess (Savage Trilogy #2) by Meghan March

Book Description:

Published: April 24, 2018

Format: Audio/Audible

He’s a mystery. An enigma.

His very identity is a secret buried beneath layers of deception.

He’s also an addiction I can’t shake. An attraction I can’t fight.

And then I found out exactly who he is—a man more dangerous than the devil himself.

Now I need him in order to save everything that matters to me.

I have to pull back. Protect myself from the danger that haunts his every step.

Which would be easy . . . if I could stop myself from falling in love with him.

Review –

This book starts where Savage Prince left off. Kane admits that he took out the hit on Temperance’s brother for thirty days so that no one else would.

Her brother has double-crossed the wrong people for a good reason or a bad reason, no one knows, because he can’t be found.

Mount (a criminal kingpin who has his own series) has instructed Kane to protect Temperance so the bad guys can’t get to her. 

There is MUCH less sex in this installment of the Savage series but it is still over the top steamy!

At the end Kane has driven Temperance, dressed as Mount’s wife, to a private airport, to meet her brother (I guess someone located him along the way) dressed as Mount and after boarding a plane, they will both go into hiding.

BUT, they never get on the plane, because when Kane sees her brother coming toward them, he shoots him dead. END.

OMG!!!!!

Can’t wait to listen to the last installment but I am putting it off for a while because I don’t want the experience to end. Some of you will understand this while others won’t, and that okay.

 

 

 

 

Sexy Stranger by Kendall Ryan

Book Description:

Published: May 23, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Luke Wilder knows the lovely stranger doesn’t belong the second she struts into his sleepy little town. She’s a city girl who won’t stay longer than it takes to get her fancy foreign car repaired–which is why he should ignore his powerful need to make her notice him. It’s just that the moment she opens her smart mouth and gives it back as good as she gets, he wants to swap a whole lot more with her than insults.

Charlotte Freemont instantly dislikes the rude, redneck stranger she finds herself stuck with. Too bad he’s as hot, and as tempting, as sin. On the run from her messy past, she’s not there to get tangled up with a man, even one as hard to resist as the hot-headed Luke. But when he gives her a private tour of his craft whiskey distillery, their attraction ignites and Luke seizes the chance to show her there’s a whole lot more to him than rough and rugged.

When he finally learns her secret, will it shatter his trust in her? Or do they have a chance to create a whole new blend?

A sizzling, enemies-to-lovers romp with bite.

Review –

Loved this book, which I put in the category of “soft smut” because the sex in the plot line was appropriate and not overly done and “in your face”. 

The story itself is not new, hot girl running away from her problems, ends up with her car broken down somewhere in the southwest(this time in Texas). She meets a hot, hunky, rugged man and they clash, until they don’t and they live happily ever after.

Loved it and love Kendall Ryan.

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Book Description:

Published: October 18, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.

Review –

This time I had to listen to the audio version but found it NOT to be the distraction that I thought it would be. 

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

There is a small moment in Gemina – involving a lost flower corsage, no less – that is a masterpiece of storytelling that is both a beautiful moment between two people about to fall in love as well as a brilliant foreshadow that eventually turns into an essential piece of a mind-blowing twist. In other words: this novel? It’s fantastic!

The follow-up to last year’s excellent Illuminae, Gemina has a similar formula to its predecessor: a high concept, an epistolary narrative, a book that requires the reader to engage with the pages in different ways, a Moment of Despair, incredible twists. And it all works again because these novels have that thing that will take the formula to the extra level: fantastic characters.

Featuring characters from different sides of the tracks and with super high stakes, it follows new characters to the series (whilst bringing back everybody who survived Illuminae) who are on board the jumpstation Heimdall (where the aforementioned survivors are about to arrive to) as it is invaded by the next stage of the (evil) BeiTech assault AND alien predators that want to eat everybody. If that wasn’t enough, it is well possible that the wormholes at the centre of the station – the very thing that keeps the space-time continuum together – is malfunctioning. HOW FUN. No, seriously, it is so much fun.

Hanna is a socialite, the station captain’s spoiled daughter. Nik is a member of an infamous crime family– which includes his cousin Ella. But no one is who they seem to be to start with: Hanna is a kick-ass, cool-as-f*ck fighter and strategist. Nik is the criminal with the heart-of-gold. Oh, these two are lovely and a great counterpoint to one another. When the station is invaded (and the body count starts to rise), they are thrown together along with Ella to become reluctant heroes, the only ones standing between life and doom. And so it goes – put together by documents, blueprints, chat and video transcripts and more, the story follows the trio, with every subsequent event turning things up by a notch.

Can’t wait to read the last (?) in the series, Obsidio.