Enemies by Tijan

Book Description:

Published: December 1, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Stone Reeves was my neighbor, and I’ve hated him since sixth grade.

Gorgeous and charismatic, he became the town’s football god, while I became the town’s invisible girl.
He went to a Division 1 school for football, while my father was fired by his father.
His team won the National Championship, while my mother died the same day.

He was a first round pick for the NFL …
… while I made the worst decision of my life.

Now I’m in Texas trying to pick up the pieces of my life.
But, Stone is here.
Stone is everywhere.

It doesn’t matter that disaster has struck my life again.
It doesn’t matter that he’s the one trying to console me.
It doesn’t matter that he’s the nation’s newest football obsession.

Because for me, he always has been and always will be my enemy.

Review –

“If you’re a fan of Tijan’s books, you will love Dusty and Stone’s romance. They reminded me slightly of Sam and Mason or maybe even Alex and Jesse. There’s this whole I hate you, but I’m going to love you vibe. There’s a strong, broken young woman and a dominate, successful athlete. Tijan excels at writing these types of characters. That makes it sound like it’s the same story all over again, but it’s not. Dusty and Stone have their own unique love story. It’s filled with just the right amount of angst, sweetness, frustration, love, anger, hope, tenderness and a pinch of suspense. Tijan packed so many emotions and actions into Enemies and still I could have read more.

I fell in love with Enemies slowly but completely. I ended up loving Dusty and Stone together. I loved their friends. I didn’t want to leave them when this book was over. I know at this point Enemies is a standalone and it was wrapped up well, but I am still hoping it turns into a series. I wouldn’t complain about a book for any of the supporting characters. Colby and Cammie would be my first pick. I’m just saying…” A Novel Glimpse

 

 

Dirty English(English #1) by Lisa Madden-Mills

Book Description:

Published: October 10, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

A scarred fighter.
A girl with rules.
One night of unbridled passion.

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end.

But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex.

A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window.

She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more.

With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever.

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.

*A modern love story inspired by Pride and Prejudice*

Review –

This story is in dual POV, so we have dual narrators for this book and I really loved both of them especially since the male narrator has the sexiest British accent, he is delicious to listen to.

Our story begins with our heroine when she was in high school and thought that she was in love. She grew up poor, in a trailer park, and had nothing except a good brain and a pretty face. But then the most popular boy in school wanted her and she thought that she was in love. And then on the night of prom, he got her drunk and drugged her and she woke up with faded memories of the man she thought she loved having abused and raped her. But he is a senator’s son and knew she didn’t want to face the ridicule of what everyone would think if they knew the truth. But it didn’t matter because that small town viewed her as the town’s slut even though she had been a virgin on that night.

So now she is in college and working on her degree and trying to forget what happened two years previous and having one night stands proves that he didn’t ruin her for sex and also that it helps keep the bad memories at bay so she can function until one night when she goes to a frat party…her first college part with her two best friends and meets up with two twin British brothers…brothers that are very different even if they look alike. But she is drawn to Declan, who is packed with muscle and has tattoos and has an intense gaze that she is compelled by. But she has some serious issues because Declan isn’t a guy that does one night stands and puts his whole heart into a relationship. But she has demons that she needs to face before she can have a relationship with Declan.  

There is some drama between these two, but more out of the heroine’s lack of trust and honesty with Declan more than anything else. Declan is such a solid hero and I have hardly any complaints about him except that he could have had a bit more patience with Elizabeth because of her past and the trauma she had to deal with and that it would cause her serious commitment issues. But I also understood why Declan couldn’t keep be so understanding when Elizabeth kept pushing him away and never giving him a chance to prove to her that he isn’t like her ex. But everything does get resolved in the end quite nicely and I ended up with plenty of good feels that I would expect from a story with some drama like this in it.

Another element that I found somewhat delightful was the use of Pride and Prejudice in this book. Now I wouldn’t say that this story is a Pride and Prejudice retelling because it didn’t feel like that to me at all. However our heroine’s name is Elizabeth Bennett, both hero and heroine LOVE the book and take an English Lit class together which focuses on the story of Pride and Prejudice. So there is a few fun takes on this story that we see that I found to be a charming element to the story.

Sexy read!

 

Angry God (All Saints High #3) by L.J. Shen

Book Description:

Published: February 15, 2020

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars:5

From #1 Amazon Bestseller L.J. Shen comes a new, emotional standalone about first love, second chances, and overcoming breathtaking losses at a young age.

Vaughn Spencer.
They call him an angry god.
To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.
His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.
All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.
Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.
I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.
But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.

A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.
They say this place is haunted, and it is.
Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.
Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

Angry God is a stand-alone, DARK High School Romance. It deals with sensitive subjects some may find triggering.

Review-

I am a firm believer that this book needs to be gone into completely blind. Vaughn’s story is not an easy one he was always special, and this book proves why. I have never anticipated a story to the extent that I have this one and I was completely blown away by the flawless execution and delicacy with which the author handled his book. Interlacing his storyline with her uniquely LJ sense of humor that lightens up the darkest of situations and puts a smile on your face, brings this story to the next level for me. 

Leonora’s character was unlike any heroine that I’ve seen. She had this fire inside her that burned bright and fierce. Her flames and talent danced with Vaughn’s with such intricacy and emotion you could feel it burn from the pages and light your soul on fire. You think Vaughn is ice, but he is anything but, Vaughn is fire feeling everything and burning from the inside. These two couldn’t have been more perfect together and watching as they evolved into what they ultimately became was like watching two shooting stars collide and become one; singularly unique but together something more beautiful and charged with another level of intensity.

LJ Shen continues to grow and expand as an author, with every new story that she creates being better than the last. She has this unique way with words, drowning you in them as if they are poison soaking into your blood and becoming forever a part of you, ultimately seeping into what is your very essence. Every time I pick up one of her books, I’m immediately carried into that story utterly and completely. Nothing else matters but finishing that book and finding out what happens, that story becomes your nourishment until you are done. 

Like every single book in this series, Shen tackles major issues, topics, themes, and she did it with integrity and respect to the content. There are triggers in this book, for sure, but I am believer that literature (and romance is) should be a reflection of issues that we experience and plague the world, and sadly the issues in Angry God are rampant still today. Addressing these issues makes us more empathetic, more aware, more humane. Vaughn and Lenora’s story absolutely does that. The pain they suffer, the antagonism of a young romance as they stumble through their feelings, and the final HEA shows reader so many things – that light can bloom in the darkest of places, that love can shatter darkness and heal wounds, and that real family, blood or not, will love all your broken pieces and hold you together when you fall apart.

L.J. Shen started this journey with Vicious and it ends with his son, Vaughn, the 8th and final book (as of now) in the Todos Santos world. This series has brought us full circle. These characters and this world has taught me so much. I’ve grown, laughed, loved with this fictional people, and that is the power of a phenomenal romance.

Vaughn’s story tore me to shreds, each page was a slice to my very soul until I was left completely ruined by this book. Then slowly and with delicacy that only the author possesses she puts you back together mending you with parts of this story permanently imbedded. I could not have asked for a more perfect ending to my time here in Todos Santos, these character’s will forever be a part of me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I guess you can tell that I loved this book!!!!!

 

The Night Before (Savannah #1) by Lisa Jackson

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2013

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Blood Will Be Spilled. . .

In the dark shadows of a sultry southern town, a serial killer strikes. It’s an act of sinister precision that has happened many times before. . .every victim an offering to a hunger that can never be sated. . .

Night After Night. . .

The next morning, Caitlyn Montgomery Bandeaux wakes covered in blood. But Caitlyn has no memory of the night before, when her estranged husband was brutally murdered like so many others she has known. . .

After Night. . .

Wanted by the police and haunted by horrifying, fragmented memories, Caitlyn turns to Adam Hunt, the town’s new psychologist. But how far can she really trust him? For as a twisted killer strikes again and again, Caitlyn’s about to discover that those who appear the most innocent are usually the most evil. . .

Review –

The Montgomery family are the rich family in town going back a few generations. With that wealth has come “The Montgomery Curse” which has to do with mental illness, incest, womanizing, and mysterious deaths in the family that are occurring in a systematic fashion. So when Caitlyn Montgomery Bandeaux wakes up in her blood-soaked bedroom, she knows something is very wrong. Problem is, she can’t remember where she was or what she did the night before. That becomes a huge problem when she finds out that her estranged husband, Josh Bandeaux, committed suicide or was murdered the night before.

 I figured out one of the plot twists fairly early on but I did not see the twist about who the killer was coming. Totally took me by surprise!

Loved it!

Ruin (Slay Quartet #2) by Laurelin Paige

Book Description:

Published: October 29, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

With her heart literally in his hands, Celia will have to try and bargain with a devil.

Edward Fasbender is my captor.

Trapped on this island he owns everything on–including, it seems, me.

He told me he would break me, but I thought he meant in the bedroom. It turns out Edward is playing a completely different game.

And he won’t stop until he’s ruined me.

Slay Two: Ruin is the second book in the Slay Quartet. Slay One: Rivalry should be read first.

Review –

I absolutely loved the first book, and I almost died when it ended with such a massive cliffhanger! So, as soon as I saw the second book on my was available on Audible Escape I dropped everything and dove right in!

Ruin starts where we were left off in the first book. And let me tell you, I couldn’t listen fast enough. I just soaked in every word! 

Told from dual first person perspectives (Celia and Edward) Ruin follows the building, but acrimonious relationship between businessman/billionaire media mogul Edward Fasbender, and Celia Warner. Several weeks earlier Edward Fasbender propositioned Celia Warner in an effort to regain control of his life, and that of the woman with whom he would fall in love but Celia is a game player, and she is about to enter into a game of which she has no control. Left alone for weeks to months at a time, on a Caribbean island with only Edward’s staff for companionship, Celia will discover that Edward’s power and control is beyond anything she could have imagined. Edward’s primary directive is to break the woman he married, and by breaking Celia, Edward will gain domination and command of her body and soul. What ensues is the tempestuous relationship, and sexually charged romance between Edward and Celia, and the potential fall-out as Celia reveals her past, a past that will affect Edward’s direction and intent, going forward. Edward is one arrogant SOB and is always one step ahead of Celia, but in his own sick and twisted way, he has come to care for/love her.

Celia Warner plays with people’s lives ultimately destroying those in an attempt to regain control of her life but the past cannot be fixed, and in this Celia’s desperate need to win at all costs, will cost her her own freedom when Edward Fasbender takes control of her heart and her life.

Ruin  is a story of betrayal and revenge; power and control. Edward Fasbender realizes that Celia Warner is broken beyond repair, just as he wanted her to be, but it’s not as satisfying as he had thought it would be. Never expecting to fall in love, Edward and Celia will come to terms, relationship wise, in an effort to destroy someone else. The premise is intriguing and captivating; the characters are strong, resilient, broken and flawed; the romance struggles in the face of vengeance and determination.

NOTE: Due to the nature of the story line premise, there may be some triggers for more sensitive readers.

If you decide to start this series, be prepared to see it to the end!

An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Book Description:

Published: January 8, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

Seeking women ages 18–32 to participate in a study on ethics and morality. Generous compensation. Anonymity guaranteed.

When Jessica Farris signs up for a psychology study conducted by the mysterious Dr. Shields, she thinks all she’ll have to do is answer a few questions, collect her money, and leave.

Question #1: Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?

But as the questions grow more and more intense and invasive and the sessions become outings where Jess is told what to wear and how to act, she begins to feel as though Dr. Shields may know what she’s thinking… and what she’s hiding.

Question #2: Have you ever deeply hurt someone you care about?

As Jess’s paranoia grows, it becomes clear that she can no longer trust what in her life is real, and what is one of Dr. Shields’ manipulative experiments. Caught in a web of deceit and jealousy, Jess quickly learns that some obsessions can be deadly.

Question #3: Should a punishment always fit the crime?

An electrifying new novel about doubt, passion, and just how much you can trust someone.

Review –

Struggling Manhattan makeup artist Jessica Farris impulsively decides to chase some quick cash by lying her way into an NYU psychiatrist’s study—of ethics and morality, no less—in this slickly twisty psychological thriller from bestselling authors Hendricks and Pekkanen.

 Still shaky after a disturbing #MeToo encounter with a top theatrical producer that dashed her dream of doing stage makeup, the twenty-eight-year-old laps up the supportive attention from impossibly chic and self-confident Dr. Lydia Shields, whose second-person narrative alternates with Jessica’s first person. So when the therapist starts to enlist her in increasingly dicey real-life role-playing assignments, including trying to pick up specific targets, such as a stranger in a hotel bar, Jess pushes aside her doubts and goes along—until she hears some information too alarming to ignore about the fate of Dr. Shields’s previous protégé. The page-turner’s second half whizzes along at a furious pace, exploiting the dual perspectives for maximum tension. Though some of the gasp-worthy final twists require substantial character flip-flops, and an eye roll or two, it’s a fantastic, suspense filled mystery that I HIGHLY recommend .

 

We Shouldn’t by Vi Keeland

Book Description:

Published: January 21, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Bennett Fox walked into my life on one hell of a crappy Monday morning.

I was late for the first day at my new job—a job I’d now have to compete for even though I’d already worked eight years to earn it, because of an unexpected merger.

While I lugged my belongings up to my new office, a meter maid wrote me a parking summons.

She’d ticketed a long line of cars—except for the Audi parked in front of me, which happened to be the same make and model as mine.

Annoyed, I decided to regift my ticket to the car that had evaded a fine. Chances were, the owner would pay it and be none the wiser.

Except, I accidentally broke the windshield wiper while slipping the ticket onto the car’s window.

Seriously, my day couldn’t get any worse.

Things started to perk up when I ran into a gorgeous man in the elevator. We had one of those brief moments that only happened in movies.

You know the deal…your body lights up, fireworks go off, and the air around you crackles with electricity.

His heated stare left me flush when I stepped off the elevator.

Maybe things here wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Or so I thought.

Until I walked into my new boss’s office and met my competition.

The gorgeous man from the elevator was now my nemesis. His heated stare wasn’t because of any mutual attraction. It was because he’d seen me vandalize his car. And now he couldn’t wait to annihilate his rival.

There’s a fine line between love and hate—and we shouldn’t cross it.

We shouldn’t—but straddling that line could be so much fun..

Review –

Bennett Fox is right now topping my list of the most snarky, rude and insensitive men to make me totally adore them. I fell in love with him right from the start, and every biting comment, every bad-mannered thing he did, just made me love him more.

What I love about Vi Keeland is her ability to take a man that by all accounts is a jerk, and show how deceptive those appearances can be. Take Bennett for example: He doesn’t do long relationships, he’s snide, cocky, overbearing and appears to objectify women. He tormented Annalise from the very start, and yet, he was protective of her. He hated seeing her upset and for reasons he couldn’t even explain to himself, tried to shield her heart from getting broken. His internal arguments were adorable, and he fit perfectly into what the author described as the “Beast syndrome”. Gruff and grumbly, trying to scare away anyone who got close to him, but a big softie underneath the rough exterior.

As the counter to Bennett’s suave, styled Beast, Annelise was perfect. She was endearingly quirky, without being made comical. She had her own glitches, her own little annoying tics, which made her all the more human. I loved how she held her own with Bennett and matched him every step of the way.

This book was a pure joy to read. It was adorable and cute, sexy (the sex scenes were sooo hot, but tastefully done) and fun. It was the perfect mix of flirty with enough honesty to make it be taken seriously, and just one more reason this is one of my go-to authors.

Fantastic soft smut!

 

The Suspect (Kate Waters #3) by Fiona Barton

Book Description:

Published: January 24, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 4

The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.

When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years since he left home to go traveling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . .

Review –

“When two girls traveling in Thailand turn up dead in a suspicious fire, journalist Kate Waters follows the story without disclosing a hidden agenda.

Kate’s son, a former golden boy, dropped out of school and traveled to Thailand two years prior, and he’s been in sporadic touch since. Coincidentally, it turns out that he was present at the same guesthouse on the night the girls died. Sidelined because of her conflict of interest, Kate continues to investigate, as does DI Bob Sparkes, a compassionate policeman distracted by the impending death of his wife. Which leads one to wonder: When did all thriller writers begin to fashion themselves as psychologists? There’s a dead giveaway to any possible plot twist—a character whose face or eyes is described as “blank.” In Barton’s  book, to be fair, it takes almost 300 pages to reach this moment, and up until that point, she creates quite a bit of narrative interest by giving voice to the victims in addition to the many people involved in the investigation—driven reporters, bereaved parents, and very human policemen. But once the killer is clearly outed, even though it takes another 100 pages for all the pieces to fall into place, the novel quickly loses steam. Even a final moral conundrum that should immediately freeze the blood of any parent seems overly constructed rather than shocking. By that point, it had become tiresome reading about most of the characters and their shifty relationships to the truth. “No one is to be believed ever,” seems to be a major takeaway. Oh, and P.S., don’t let your kids run wild in Thailand.

This has the potential to be a thoughtful thriller with an interesting setting, but Barton is too willing to cater to expectations—short chapters, familiar clues, and stereotypical villains.” Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews is spot on and I couldn’t have said it better. I did have a problem with the ending and I haven’t decided if I will continue with this series.

 

 

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda

Book Description:

Published: June 18, 2019

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 4

Littleport, Maine is like two separate towns: a vacation paradise for wealthy holidaymakers and a simple harbour community for the residents who serve them. Friendships between locals and visitors are unheard of – but that’s just what happened with Avery Greer and Sadie Loman.

Each summer for a decade the girls are inseparable – until Sadie is found dead. When the police rule the death a suicide, Avery can’t help but feel there are those in the community, including a local detective and Sadie’s brother Parker, who blame her. Someone knows more than they’re saying, and Avery is intent on clearing her name before the facts get twisted against her.

Review –

“A year after her best friend’s supposed suicide, a young woman must clear her name when new evidence is uncovered.

The Lomans own much of Littleport, Maine, a fact that hasn’t changed much since their only daughter’s death a year ago. In the summer of 2017, on the night of the annual Plus-One party, aimed at summer people who’ve stayed a week longer than the traditional Labor Day end-of-season, golden girl Sadie Loman apparently threw herself off a cliff into the churning sea, but to those who knew her, especially her closest friend, Avery Greer, she seemed to have everything to live for.

Year-round Littleport resident Avery was adrift after her parents’ deaths when she was a teen, but when she met the mesmerizing Sadie, a summer person, her life took on new meaning. Sadie and Avery became so close, it was sometimes hard to tell where one ended and the other began. After Avery’s grandmother died, Avery was alone, and the ridiculously wealthy Lomans seemed to welcome her into the family, even giving her a job as property manager for their coastal rentals and a place to live in their guesthouse. But everything fell apart after Sadie died.

When Avery finds Sadie’s phone hidden in the rental cottage where last year’s Plus-One party was held, she turns it in to the police—after doing a bit of snooping. Additionally, someone’s been breaking into the rentals, and Sadie’s brooding older brother, Parker, is acting strangely. Sadie’s death is looking less and less like a suicide, and Avery is at the top of the suspect list. The Loman family’s lies are rising to the surface, but can Avery keep her head above water? The narrative, which flips between 2017 and 2018, grows increasingly tense as Avery, who is a surprisingly reliable narrator, gets closer to the truth, but while the author builds some creepy atmosphere in the lead-up, the final revelations are more sad than shocking. Most compelling are the class tensions between Littleport’s year-round residents and the seasonal, moneyed tourists as well as the elusive nature of memory and the intricacies of friendship.

An evocative and perfectly readable thriller, but genre fans will find few surprises within.” Kirkus Reviews

Even though KIRKUS REVIEWS found this novel wanting … I loved it and found it thoroughly enjoyable.

 

 

 

 

The Marriage Lie by Kimberly Belle

Book Description:

Published: December 27, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Stars: 5

Even the perfect marriage has its dark side… 

Iris and Will’s marriage is as close to perfect as it can be: a large house in a nice Atlanta neighborhood, rewarding careers and the excitement of trying for their first baby. But on the morning Will leaves for a business trip to Orlando, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt. Another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board, and according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers on this plane.

Grief-stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. But as time passes and there is still no sign of Will, she reluctantly accepts that he is gone. Still, Iris needs answers. Why did Will lie about where he was going? What is in Seattle? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to find out what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she receives will shock her to her very core.

Review – 

On the day after Iris and Will’s seventh wedding anniversary, they’re ready to start trying for a baby. But all is not as it seems.

From the outside, it looks like they have a perfect marriage. Friends and family admire their beautiful home, great jobs, and passionate commitment to each other. All this changes when Will dies on a plane flight he wasn’t supposed to be on.

Scheduled to be en route to Florida to make a presentation at a cybersecurity conference, his name is found on the passenger manifest of a plane bound for Seattle after it crashes in a field. Looking through his files to try to figure out what he was up to, Iris finds a new will and $2.5 million in life insurance policies Will had taken out only months earlier. At a memorial service for the crash victims, she meets Corban, who introduces himself as a friend of Will’s from the gym. According to Corban, Will was on his way to a job interview in Seattle, but the office he was interviewing with has never heard of him. Will doesn’t seem to be hiding a secret lover, but nothing Iris believed about her husband turns out to be true. Iris proves herself a relentless investigator in a case that takes her to Will’s hometown to solve the mystery of whom she married. High school classmates present a very different—and chilling—picture of Will. The suspense builds rapidly from there as Iris pulls back Will’s layers of deception and solves the mystery of what the circumstances of his death meant for their marriage.

Another  compelling adventure from Kimberly Belle!