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Monday, August 31, 2015

ARC Review: Fearless by Shae Ross

I don't even know where to begin right now. This is my first book by Shae Ross, though it is actually the second book in her Pretty Smart Girls series. Fearless can be read as a standalone story though with no problems understanding anything. Unfortunately for me while I really loved some parts of the story, this book took a huge turn that I wasn't prepared for, and it wasn't a good one in my opinion. I will do my best to avoid being super spoilery, but just be warned that there might be some ahead as it is almost impossible for me to express what I had problems with if I don't go into some detail.

Devi and Ben have been more than friends since the moment they met, however they have never actually been together. So when they both move with their friends to NY, Ben is determined to finally convince her to give them a real shot. Ben has spent the last six months trying to win Devi over, but her fear of relationships has kept her from allowing them to be anything but friends. But when something unexpected comes up, Ben realizes that he might have screwed up any chance of having Devi just as she was beginning to allow him in.

I liked Ben. He was straight forward and a good guy. I liked that he was able to be upfront with his feelings and the fact that he fought for Devi. I will say that I thought that his excuse for what happened in regards to the big twist was absolute BS, and if he was fighting so hard for Devi and had such strong feelings for her that I felt he never would have done what he did. It didn't make sense, and to me it was a total mood killer when it came to his character. I liked how he handled things, but it was his fault he was in that position and it was something that I felt never should have happened. I found myself relating to Devi pretty easily. She was strong and fearless, and I loved her sass. She was always blunt and to the point, yet her weakness was her own insecurities especially when it came to her upbringing. She let her circumstances get in the way of her life and relationships, and I wish that she had been able to see herself better earlier on. I didn't like that she kept turning Ben down, forcing him to keep pursuing her, but I did understand why she did it. These two were great when they were together though, and I really enjoyed the connection they shared. 

So obviously my biggest problem here as I sort of alluded to above was the huge plot twist that happened at about 40% of the way through. Up until that point, this book was honestly one I couldn't put down. I was loving the dynamics between these two, and I really enjoyed the group of friends and all their antics. The pranks and fun they had were some of the best group moments I have read in any NA story, and I was expecting a fantastic read. Then 40% through happened, and I felt absolutely betrayed. I took Ben's actions personally, because I felt like his personality wouldn't have allowed him to do what he did if he had been legit about his feelings for Devi. The next 50% was hard to get through, and I honestly thought about throwing in the towel multiple times. I really wish that the author hadn't gone there, and I am pretty gun shy now about reading more from her because of this. While I think the situation was ultimately handled well and came out okay in the end, I wasn't satisfied with this story or the ending at all. The twist is one of those things that can either go horribly wrong for me or work itself out in a way that I can get on board with, and unfortunately here it was the first. I think that this is one of those things that could be personal to me and might not affect everyone who reads this, but I also think that there are a lot of other readers out there that will feel exactly the same as I did here. I also felt like the blurb was a bit misleading as it made sure to bring up the fact that Ben was a cage fighter multiple times, yet that was such a small part of the story that it didn't even really have much to do with anything here. Those expecting a fighter book should know that that is not what this book is ahead of time, and that the blurb made it out to be something completely different. 

**ARC Provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository | iTunes | 

ARC Review: Thick Love by Eden Butler

I have to start by saying this is one of my strangest reviews. I don't mean the book was strange, I really mean my review is strange. I'm giving this book five stars because it is some truly epic type ish BUT this was not the book for me. My rating is an attempt to be entirely objective and remove my personal bias' from my evaluation. I'm going to start by telling you why I think this book is worth five stars and end by telling you why despite that fact, I still didn't really like it.

Thick Love is #2 in the Thin Love series. You don't have to start with Thin Love to read this book but I've heard great things about that one so you might want to pick it up at some point. The Hero in this book, Ransom, is actually the 18 year old son of the main characters from Thin Love. The first reason for my rating of this book is for the depiction of Ransom. The author builds this extremely complex character with some of the most interesting layers that I have EVER read in a character. Ransom, even at his very young age, has already suffered a tremendous loss and is grappling with the kind of guilt that can really choke the life out of you. It is in this context that Ransom begins the chapter of his life that features Aly.

When we meet Aly in the book, she is a 17 year old escapee from an emotionally abusive home. In an interesting twist, Ransom and Aly don't get together right away even though Aly is immediately attracted to Ransom. Instead, it is two years before a relationship between the couple starts and it is in the interim that Ransom becomes the person that Aly has to learn to love. For a reader like me, Aly is the best part of this book. Aly was strong but open. Aly was the perfect person to heal Ransom without losing herself which was a feat (trust me).

This book is epic because you will never ever forget these characters. You will never forget this story or the depth of the emotion the author is able to convey. Your love for Ransom will be rivaled only by your revulsion of his behavior. The "thick" part of this book is the incredible level of angst woven into the story as a result of Ransom's POV. Ransom's guilt and contempt for himself were almost overwhelming at parts but very human. It's just...this is a book where you FEEL everything, you are not reading the story, you are living it.

Now let me just briefly tell you why the book was not for me: The characters were too young and their reactions to the world reflected a lack of life experience. The "thickness" of the angst got to be overwhelming. At times this book can make you feel like you can't breath. Whether you appreciate that depends entirely on how much you value breathing. Last but not least, before Ransom is with Aly, he is with other women and that is conveyed to us in explicit detail. I jussssst don't like that. Wait, one more thing, the epilogue was completely confusing. I guess you have to read the next book to make sense of what happened between the last page of the story and the epilogue. It's not a cliffhanger, there is just a lost period of time that needs explaining.

So at the end of the day, if you are looking for a compelling emotional journey that will grip you and hold you until the last word on the last page, this is the book for you. If you are like me, read the reasons this wasn't the book for me and decide if you want to take this journey anyway.

**ARC provided by As the Pages Turn**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

RFTC Back to School Event with Lisa Burstein

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University. She is the author of Pretty Amy, The Next Forever, Dear Cassie and Sneaking Candy. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

ARC Review: Beauty and the Bachelor by Naima Simone

Thank the Lord for Beauty and the Bachelor because I was on a bad book trip that I desperately needed off of. B&B delivered several of things that I live for in a book: HAWT sex, a love-hate-super steam romance, and all the revenge and intrigue my heart could handle. I was like yesss Ms. Simone, give it to us.

The actual story is about Lucas and Sydney. Lucas is a pretty straight forward guy, he doesn’t need a whole lot out of life, he just wants to decimate his father’s former best friend. So we learn that revenge isn’t just a bish, revenge can be an ice cold alpha male with a large chip on his shoulder and an even bigger…well, you see where this is headed. Of course Sydney, our heroine, happens to be the daughter of said former best friend and therefore the most logical inroad to exacting Lucas’ revenge. And this is where it gets really good, call me crazy (not to my face) but I love a marriage under duress storyline. So when Sydney marries Lucas because he coerces her into believing she has no choice, I started doing my happy dance (sorry Sydney but it worked for the book). Of course, Sydney and Lucas are intensely attracted to one another which adds a layer of tension to the story that will literally keep you on the edge of your seat and gripping your e-reader.

I absolutely loved the relationship between Sydney and Lucas. The two get sucked into this crazy vortex of deceit, blackmail, lies and other crazy ish. The question is whether they’re going to find their way through the madness together or if Lucas is going to stick to his original plan. The conflict is warm chocolate fudge delicious, the sexual attraction is white hot and lines are sufficiently blurred to make this a completely entertaining read.

This book has excellent character development and relationship building. You will feel like you really know Sydney and Lucas, you will understand their motivations and you will really want to see them together. This is one of those thin line books that constantly keeps you on the edge of love and hate and hate and passion. You read this book in one sitting because you have to know what happens next. If you need something good to break you out of a book funk, pick this up, thank me later.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Twinsequences Ivy by Jennifer Foor

Twinsequences Ivy is the second story in the Twisted Twin series from Jennifer Foor. This is a very short follow up to the first book in the series, and cannot be read as a standalone. If you haven't read Twinsequences Willow, you will need to start there. This 99 page novella picks up after the events of the first book, with Ivy locked up after everything she did to Willow and Stoshua. Willow and Stoshua have moved away and changed their names, hoping to finally be free of Ivy. But Ivy is determined to get what she has always wanted, her sister Willow's life. 

In the first book we got to see Willow's POV and everything that Ivy had put her through. But this time around we are inside Ivy's head, and it was even crazier than you could imagine! This girl was not right, and after reading the first book I had hoped that there was something redeemable about her. Seeing how Ivy thought though and what really went on in her head was beyond what I could ever have imagined. I won't get into too much here so as not to spoil the story, but this girl is flat out insane. 

Overall, this one was short and gave readers a look into what happened after the first book. While there wasn't a lot here, it was nice to see how things played out. I wish there had been a bit more after the last chapter though. There was an epilogue, but I still wanted to see down the road for these characters after everything had happened. I just felt like things were a bit too rushed and abrupt for everything that they had been through. This series is unlike anything I have read before though, and I think that Jennifer Foor did a great job giving readers something new and unique. Jennifer Foor is a great writer, and I always know that she will give the reader a great story.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |