Book Review – Broken (Redemption #1) by Lauren Layne

21408690I blush a little when I get caught enjoying a young adult novel at my age. Yet even I can appreciate this endearing love story. Olivia Middleton is a college student who decides to take a hiatus from education to gain some life experience caring for an injured war veteran. Olivia is looking at this employment opportunity a chance to escape her problems and a to redeem herself. While her past actions are far from admirable, they were not as dreadful as I expected by the weight that she gave them. Regardless, I enjoyed watching the maturity and determination for which she approaches her new role. The following excerpt provides an insight into her personality.

Your social life is no longer dropped into your lap by virtue of shared classes and extracurricular activities. Relationships, whether with friends, family, or romantic partners—from here on out, they’re going to take a lot more work. No more built-in friends at the sorority, or hollering down the stairs when I need my mom. It’s certainly not going to be as easy to meet guys now that I’m done with school. It’s not like I can just chat up the cute guy in econ class anymore.

Paul Langdon Is challenged with being physically disfigured as a result of his injuries.  Rehabilitation feels overwhelming to overcome. We come to learn that Olivia’s primary purpose is to be on suicide watch as she is challenged with bringing him out of his depression.  He is certainly a challenging case, but little by little he starts to come alive again and to recognize the value in Olivia.

I’m not proud of myself, Olivia. Not even a little bit. Do I wish I’d never let you go? Obviously. Do I wish I’d come to my senses sooner? Of course. And maybe if it had taken me only a day or two to clear my head, then yeah, I would have called. But when you fuck up as badly as I fucked up, for that long, you don’t call. You don’t text. You don’t email. You go to your girl and beg.

This has become one of my favorites! I laughed out loud and I swooned over the touching scenes.  I appreciated each of the characters. The relationship between Olivia and Paul was heartwarming and inspirational.

5 Stars

Book Review – Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor

Squee!  This is definitely one for my Favorites shelf. It has everything a good story requires. I laughed, I cried. I was happy and sad. I couldn’t stop reading until it was over.  The story has stayed with me, and I miss the characters!

This was a truly heartwarming story. Andy and Matt both come from difficult pasts. They meet while on vacation. From the synopsis, I expected the whole story to take place on vacation and I was very happy for this story to continue beyond, when everyone returns to reality. The relationship between Matt and Abby is strongly felt. The scenes with the children are so well written I can only imagine how difficult it is to write dialogue for the little ones.

The erotic scenes are well written and steamy. However, the romance of this story is so much MORE. Matt falls so hard for Abby, the children and the whole package.

She stood and their eyes met again, this time with her fingers still clasped tightly in his. Something moved inside him, slightly painful, like parts rearranging into a better fit.

I am totally in love with Matt McKinney! While his character is described as handsome, he is so much more than external. He is humble. He is a loyal soldier, a friend and family member. He knows no fear, including becoming attached to Abby’s four young ones, and he makes an amazing step-in dad.

If you are a fan of romances, this is one not to miss. It is part of the series The McKinney Brothers but can be read as a standalone.

5 Stars

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Book Review – The Tied Man – Tabitha McGowan

OMG, where to begin? This is an intense and absorbing read, so my recommendation is not to begin reading it if you have somewhere you need to be soon.

Lilith Bresson is an accomplished artist that basically gets forced by her father to accept a commission. The buyer is the madame of an exclusive resort. This is where we meet Finn Strachan, her “companion”. Every captive at the resort has a different role to play and each has a different threat hanging over them keeping them there. This is a very dark and disturbing story, on the same scale as The Dark Duet trilogy by C. J. Roberts. There are graphic sexual scenes and violence, as well as drugs. If you find this type of story upsetting, please do not put this on your reading list as it can keep you up at night. In fact, I actually stayed up all night engrossed in the story.

Having said that, I have the ability to look past the ugly of the story and see the good of the characters. I find Finn endearing. What he goes through is indescribable and inhumane. As he says, “But at the end of the day, everything I do costs me. The only question is how much.” Whichever words or actions he chooses, he is guaranteed to be punished; it’s just a tossup to what degree and type of punishment that he receives. Somehow, he continues to find love and light through simple pleasures and through Lilith. His pride and affection prevail. He so wants to be seen beyond what he is forced to do. “I want to keep hold of just one or two poxy secrets in the car crash otherwise known as my life in the vain hope that once or twice a year I can pretend to have some bloody dignity.”

I love the main heroine, Lilith. She matures and comes into her own during the story. We see her emotional maturity and her determination. She accepts the situation that Finn finds himself in without passing judgment or excuses. Instead, she works towards a solution. She works toward bringing Finn any small amount of happiness she can, sacrificing herself.

Do not go into this looking for a heavy and erotic read. There are mostly disturbing scenes in the story than there are romantic, and yet I appreciate the relationship between them and could feel the connection.

This was an incredibly well-written story. It is a great use of the language. I look very forward to the sequel.

5 Stars

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Book Review – The Story of Us (Carnage #1) – Lesley Jones

After my nice reprieve with the Cranberry Inn series, I returned to my more intense and darker reads. I honestly have no idea why I waited so long to read Carnage #1! We all love the Thoughtless series and have been looking for that rockstar boyfriend to compete with Kellen. This one had such rave reviews that I think I was holding off for this holiday weekend to lock myself away and lose myself in a great read.

You have to experience this book yourself! Stay away from spoilers! You will laugh and you will cry.  You will be angry. This is all what pulls us in and makes a great story. I was hooked from the first words and literally could not put the book down. There is a continuation, but this can be read as a standalone. The writing is fantastic. I love the dialect used by the characters and the dynamics between family and friends. I was almost jealous and wanted to hang out with the lot of them (except for all the passing of drugs among family and friends)!

I plan to read the second book. However, I am still too emotional right now to continue on just yet.

Link to Goodreads –> The Story of Us (Carnage #1)

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Book Review – Raw by Belle Aurora

There is so much to say about Raw! I am going to start with the two drawbacks for me:  a cleaner editing job and a graphic of Twitch would have been appreciated! I had a difficult time visualizing him in my head! The number and patterns of tattoos were a mystery, and unfortunately at the conclusion I still do not understand the “13” on his cheek, so if anyone has insight please share.

That being said, this book was GREAT! Twitch was an amazing character. He didn’t pretend to be anyone that he wasn’t. Lexi loved him for who he was to her and didn’t try to change him to the rest of the world. I also appreciated that he didn’t pretend to be better than he was. We knew exactly who and what he was and still found a reason to care about him. Lexi’s monologue says it all:

“I don’t want a knight in shining armor.
I want a knight in scuffed armor.
I want his helmet to have dents. I want my knight to be real, and dark, and savage. I want my knight to be a survivor.”

The relationship between Lexi and Twitch with solid. It was an interesting concept to have her feel safe around her stalker. This story was original. It made me cry and it gave me chuckles. I do have a tendency to love crime related romances, and I absolutely LOVE the ending! It was a surprise that I did not expect it and it gave me chills. Like most others I would enjoy seeing the story continue in a sequel, because I really do enjoy sequels. However, I just don’t know if you could tell the story any better than what it already is!

As for other extras, I love the skeleton logo. It added to the mystery. I appreciate the story being told by both Lexi and Twitch. I enjoyed both of their quirky friends. And I share their mutual attraction to chocolate. I hated finishing the story and already plan to read it again. Just wish I had the recipe for “cocoa à la Lexi” to enjoy with it!

5 Stars

Book Review – The Driven Trilogy by K. Bromberg

I recently finished rereading the The Driven Trilogy for the second time around, and I loved it just as much as the first time! There are so many aspects of the story that I appreciate. Rylee Thomas is probably one of my favorite contemporary heroines. She has an admirable career, she survived a trauma and came back fighting and no anger, and she wasn’t willing to lose her sense of self for a man.

And then there’s Colton Donavan! Who knew race car drivers could make such a hot subject?! I love the whole approach to his character, the telling of his story, and how he overcame his demons. The way that he needs “Ryles” and his attachment to her boys went straight to my heart. While being such an alpha-male, we still come to see his sensitive side and his determined nature for not giving in to the dark side of his personality.

Other things that I loved included the side stories about the boys and the House. They were not forgotten over the course of the series. It was a well told story and left no parts unresolved at the end. I also tend to enjoy novels that are told from both his and her perspectives.

Reading Order:
Driven
Fueled
Crashed

5 Stars

Book Review – Making Faces by Amy Harmon

This is a wonderfully told story that is truly one of my favorites. A truly heartwarming story, the relationship between the central characters is strongly felt and remained with me several days after reading. The main story is the budding romance between Fern and Ambrose. We see Fern develop from sensitive and awkward teenage years into a well-rounded, blossomed young woman. Ambrose is a soldier returned home injured. At the same time, we witness a friendship between Fern and her cousin, Bailey, who is afflicted with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Fern is the glue that holds the trio’s friendship together. She helps bring the strength out of both men.

I wrote Ms. Harmon thank you note for writing this story. I had several friends pass away after high school from DMD. Visiting with Bailey was like revisiting with my high school pals and helped me remember just how much I miss them and what influence they had on my life. I was pleased to receive a personal and thoughtful response from Ms. Harmon to my note.

This story had me laughing and crying, and rereading it ASAP.

5 Stars