Irish Kiss by Sienna Blake ~ Sarah A’s Review

Saoirse

I wanted him since the day I met him. Long haired, tattooed and tall as an Irish giant. He was more than just handsome, he was drop dead gorgeous. And the only one who ever truly cared. It didn’t matter to him that my father was a criminal and my mother a whore. He saw me, understood me.

I could be anything I wanted, he said.
Except his.
Because I was too young and he was my Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Diarmuid

It’s been years since I last saw her. No longer a girl, she has a body of a woman. When our eyes met again, I saw the only one who ever broke through my asshole mask. She never judged me. She saw me, accepted me.

She could be anything she wanted.
Except mine.
Cause she’s only seventeen and I’m trying my hardest not to fall for her.

If I give in, she will ruin me.

*This is a slow-burn, angsty love story spanning across a seven-year time period with sexual situations and drug-use involving characters under the age of eighteen.
Irish Kiss is a complete standalone novel with a Happily Ever After, but damn, it is going to hurt along the way.*

**  AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED  **
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If you read and loved All the Ugly and Wonderful things and loved it, this book is for you. If you hated it or never wanted to read it, then this book may not be one to add to your TBR. It’s not quite as dark or morally questionable as that book was, but it’s darn close, and I loved it for exactly that reason. I love when a book pushes limits without quite crossing the line into something irredeemable.

Irish Kiss is the first book in Sienna Blake’s Irish Kiss series. There was a little glimpse into the lives of the next two heroes in this book, and I’ll tell you, I can’t wait to see what Ms. Blake has in store for us. Irish Kiss is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Saoirse and Diarmuid.

Irish Kiss was an interesting take on a mentor/mentee relationship and how having a person who genuinely cares with no strings attached can lead to a deeper connection than either person was looking for. Both Saoirse and Diarmuid sorely lacked in the kind of devotion a person needs from their family, especially in their formative years. Diarmuid eventually found something akin to that type of love but was still in need of acceptance he hadn’t found elsewhere. Saoirse had never experienced love that didn’t come with expectations, even into adulthood, so when she found the kind of unwavering support and faith Diarmuid offered her, it was inevitable that she’d depend on his steadiness.

I can not properly express how much my heart hurt for these two, both for the things they’d lived through and for the love they both held but couldn’t explore. It was painful to watch them each struggle with the lives they had and the decisions they felt forced to make. The love they had for one another felt so real, so pure, it was hard not to root for them to be together even while it was morally repugnant. The connection between the two of them was visceral, and I ached for them to explore it, regardless of the consequences.

I only have a couple of wishes for this book. The first would have been to see more of Diarmuid’s past. We got small glimpses of it, and know the broad strokes, but he just seemed so interesting. I would have loved to know more about what made him who he was. I also didn’t understand Ava’s motives from the beginning, she didn’t even seem to like Diarmuid, so I had no idea why she was so intent on keeping him. Having her motivations regarding him – from the beginning – would have helped clarify that entire storyline.

I first discovered Sienna Blake when she published Paper Dolls, and I have loved everything she’s written since then. She has a unique voice and writes books about people from all different walks of life. She’s one of few authors who can write about a jaded billionaire with the same accuracy and passion she can write about a destitute child. Her books all have an underlying darkness that I find fascinating. I also love how she uses the locale of her books to help tell her characters’ stories. Honestly, I’m just enamored with her work and can’t wait for whatever she’s working on next.

Diarmuid let out a sigh. “I don’t want to fight.”

“Who’s fighting?” I said through gritted teeth.

“Fine. See you next Friday.”

Inside, I fought the growing swell of inevitability. Diarmuid and I could never be anything. The longer I tried, the harder I tried, the harder my heart would smash when he finally broke it again.

I didn’t think my heart could take being shattered twice.

“I can’t do this anymore,” I said, fighting back tears. “I can’t be around you when everything screams at me that we are meant to be something. And you…you with your fucking cool logic and detached emotion. You’re like a zombie. You don’t feel anything.”

“I feel.” He grabbed my arm, causing my gaze to snap to his. “God dammit, Saoirse, I feel. Too much.”

“Then why don’t you—”

“Feeling something and choosing not to act on it for the greater good, that’s what being an adult is about. Being an adult is not about age, it’s about how you act.”

“Are you’re saying I’m not an adult?”

“No, I’m saying what we want and what we should do are two different things.”

“That’s shit.”

“That’s life.”

I shoved his hand off me, all the old cracks in my heart reappearing. “Leave me alone. You hurt me too much, Diarmuid. You hurt too fucking much.”

I shoved open his door and tumbled out onto the sidewalk. Running for the house, fumbling for my keys, I tried to get some distance from him. I heard him behind me, calling for me to stop.

Why did he have to keep chasing me? Why couldn’t he just leave me alone?

This time I couldn’t let him catch me. I would break if he did.

I tumbled in through the front door.

“Saoirse, stop.”

I did not. He followed me into the house, his footsteps crashing across the old wooden floors. If I could just get to my room, it had a lock inside the door. He grabbed me right as I turned the corner into the short corridor before the stairs.

His hands gripped me around my waist as he slammed me against the wall. His other hand gripped my chin, forcing me to look right into his tortured, burning eyes.

“You think I don’t feel? Dear God, Saoirse,” he sounded furious, “the things I want to do to you… It kills me that I’m not allowed to touch you the way I want. It fucking tears me apart to hold myself back from stripping you naked and worshipping every single fucking inch of you with my tongue. It’s like I’ve become a savage inside. A beast.”

I felt every single one of his words in every single one of my cells, ringing out like bells.

His fingers on my chin became soft, tracing my cheek, his eyes growing tender. “This is what you do to me. No one else. No one. Ever.”

I sucked in a breath and let out a moan. His words were like hands all over my body.

“Please,” I breathed,” touch me.”

Sienna Blake is a storyteller & ink slinger, word spinner of love stories with grit, and alter ego of a USA Today Bestselling Author.

She loves all things that make her heart race — roller coasters, thrillers and rowdy unrestrained sex. She likes to explore the darker side of human nature in her writing.

If she told you who she really was, she’d have to kill you. Because of her passion for crime and forensics, she’d totally get away with your murder.

Sign up for my newsletter and get Paper Dolls, a full-length romantic suspense as a thank you gift. You’ll also be the first to hear about new releases, sales and giveaways ► www.subscribepage.com/SiennaBlake

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Cracks duet by LH Cosway ~ Sarah A’s Review

Life used to be simple.

I was a city girl with humble dreams. Then Dylan O’Dea broke into my flat, held me against the wall and told me to stay quiet.

It was like in the movies, where the universe zeros in on a single scene. I looked into his eyes and knew he was going to change me.

For Dylan, the sky was always falling. He showed me how our world is a contradiction of beauty and ugliness. How we choose to ignore the awful and gloss over it with the palatable. How you need just a tiny drop of something unsavory to create every great scent.

Pretty deep for a pair of teenagers living in a block of council flats in inner city Dublin, right Probably. But we weren’t typical. We both had our obsessions. Mine was growing things, Dylan’s was scent. He taught me how to use my nose, and I introduced him to the magic of flowers.

I had no idea that one day he’d build an empire from what we started together. But before that, there was love and happiness, tragedy and epic heartbreak…

My name is Evelyn Flynn and I’m going to tell you about the crack in everything.

**A Crack in Everything is Book #1 in L.H. Cosway’s Cracks duet.**

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I almost don’t want to review this book before I have read the second.  It was a fairly difficult read, for me, mostly because Evelyn and Dylan’s story feels so unfinished.  It left me in a VERY uncomfortable place, I’ve read a lot of cliffhangers and generally don’t have an issue with them, but this one felt different to me.  Likely because of the other events going on in their lives.

A Crack in Everything is NOT a stand-alone at all, it is the first in her Cracks duet.  I would highly suggest reading them in quick succession because right now I am DYING to get the How the Light Gets In.  A Crack in Everything is told in first-perspective in Evelyn’s voice.

A Crack in Everything felt naïve, immature even (not the writing, but the tone of the book), which was perfect because Evelyn and Dylan are children – 17 & 18, respectively – and it was reflected in the novel.  It was interesting to get that feeling from a book, as I’ve read several YA novels that don’t have that same naïveté come across.  Even the gloom and doom of Dylan’s worldview felt like the lamentations of a teenager, rather than the world-hardened cynicism of an adult.

If I were to decide a theme for this book, it would be loss.  Though not all the losses were experienced within the timeline of this book, the losses Dylan and Evelyn experienced were profound.  They’d allowed the losses to affect them differently, especially at the end of the book, but there was never any doubt that each of their lives was filled with tragic circumstances.  I can’t wait to see how they cope with they continue to deal with their losses during their ‘in between.’

I won’t lie, I have several LH Cosway books on my kindle, but this is the first one I’ve read.  I’m impressed and will be moving those others up my TBR.  Right now, she has me so worked up to find out how Evelyn and Dylan’s ‘after’ plays out I can hardly stand it.  She did an exceptional job of building up tension and anticipation, and I NEED to know how it all works out.

He came back to me 16 minutes and 59 seconds into Beethoven’s Symphony no. 7.

We parted amid tragedy, so it seemed poetic. Dylan O’Dea, my childhood sweetheart, had once meant everything to me. Now we were strangers, and honestly, after eleven years I never thought I’d see him again.

I lived in the world of the average, of getting paid by the hour and budgeting to make ends meet. But Dylan, he lived in the world of wealth and success. He’d achieved the great things I always suspected he would. The dissatisfaction he’d felt as a teenager had obviously been an excellent motivator.

He started a business from scratch, pioneered a brand, and created perfumes adored by women across the globe. I was just one of the people who’d been there before. Now he was living his best life in the after.

And me, well, I’d been in a dark place for a while. Slowly but surely, I was letting the light back in, but there was something missing. I was an unfinished sentence with an ellipsis at the end. And maybe, if I was brave enough to take the chance, Dylan could be my happy ending.

How the Light Gets In is Book #2 and the concluding installment in L.H. Cosway’s Cracks duet.

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This was a far easier, far lighter book than its predecessor. How the Light Gets In was the beautiful butterfly to A Crack in Everything’s caterpillar, the eleven years in between the metamorphosis.  Evelyn and Dylan had both changed so much, grown into different, more mature versions of themselves.  One jaded by life, the other finally able to see the wonder in things where only darkness was present before.  It was fascinating to have the roots of the same people, while the foliage appeared so different.

How the Light Gets In is the second book in LH Cosway’s Cracks duet; you MUST read A Crack in Everything before reading How the Light Gets In or you will lose the integrity of the story and the foundation of Evelyn and Dylan’s story.  The story is written in first-person perspective, narrated by Evelyn.

First, I want to tell you how thankful I am the Ms. Cosway didn’t drag out the separation between Evelyn and Dylan in this book.  Too often second chance romance prolong the pain of the separation to build anticipation, I had quite enough tension built in the final pages of A Crack in Everything, so I didn’t need any more in this book.

How the Light Gets In felt more grown-up than A Crack in Everything did.  The tone was far more mature, the characters more attuned to the world outside the corner they’d known their entire lives.  Evelyn and Dylan mellowed, neither held quite the extreme world-view they had in the first part of their story.  It was delightful to be able to feel how much they’d changed in this book.

This second book in the Cracks duet didn’t have a continuous theme like the first book did.  Instead, it focused more on Evelyn’s journey to accepting the part of herself that she’d lost while reconciling her old feelings for Dylan with the new pieces of themselves they’d found during their separation.  I loved watching them reconnect, recalibrate their relationship, and rediscover all the things they’d always loved about one another.

I hope this duet is indicative of what all of LH Cosway’s writing is like.  These books were intriguing and kept me invested in not only the main characters’ happiness but that of the secondary characters as well.  Her writing was intelligent and conveyed the perfect tone for her characters.  I was well impressed with how well she portrayed her narrator as both a teenager and an adult, it was fascinating and something I’d never even considered before reading these books.

L.H. Cosway lives in Dublin, Ireland. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favourite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books. She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories. L.H. is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

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What the Valley Knows by Heather Christie ~ Sarah A’s Review

Millington Valley is a quintessential small Pennsylvania town: families go back generations. Football rules. Kids drink while adults look the other way. High school is a whirlwind of aspiration and rivalry, friendship and jealousy.

When smart and pretty Molly Hanover moves to town and attracts the attention of the football team’s hero, Wade Thornton—a nice guy with a bad drinking habit—longtime friendships are threatened and a popular cheerleader tries to turn the school against Molly.

The young couple’s future is shattered when Wade, drunk, wrecks his truck and Molly is thrown through the windshield. She wakes from a coma to find her beauty marred and her memory full of holes. As she struggles to heal, she becomes sure that something terrible happened before the accident. And there is somebody in the valley who doesn’t want her to remember.

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I nearly quit reading this book; if it weren’t for the prologue, I would have. I didn’t find the beginning of the book engaging at all. In fact, I started skimming at about 20% just to get to something more interesting. I’m glad I didn’t put it down completely, as it did get better, more compelling. Once the incident before the accident happened, I knew I needed to find out the rest of Molly’s story.

What the Valley Knows is the debut novel of author Heather Christie. It is a stand-alone, and while there could be other characters that could have their stories told, it would lose some of its poignancy in adding books to this world. What the Valley Knows is written in third-person limited, focusing on three characters: Molly, her mother Ann, and her boyfriend, Wade.

The first handful of chapters notwithstanding, I loved Molly and Wade’s character arcs. Wade, in particular, grew so much in the book because of the accident and he did it in a healthy way which made that storyline quite satisfying. I was also impressed with Molly’s strength, it may have taken her almost the entire novel to finally realize her own importance and power, but in the end, I was wholly impressed with how much she’d grown from the unsure girl we met in chapter one.

When I first began reading I wasn’t sure about the three perspectives, after the accident it was far clearer why we had the three perspectives. As a mother myself, having Ann’s perspective was a vitally important part of Molly’s story. We needed to be able to see what was going on with her from the outside to truly understand her.

My biggest wish for this book would be in the area of character development, especially in the beginning of the book. I didn’t find them particularly sympathetic or compelling and didn’t care much what happened to them. After the series of unfortunate events, I did have reasons to care about their futures, and their growth arcs were important; I just wish it hadn’t taken that kind of trauma for me to want to know more about them. I also wish we would have seen more of Molly’s healing post memory recovery, I’m glad she took the steps she had taken, but it would have been nice to see some real healing begin.

Heather Christie did a phenomenal job on her first novel. There was that little struggle to hit the ground running, but once her story found its footing, it was well paced and captivating. With some time and devotion to her craft, I can easily see Heather Christie rising through the ranks of YA authors, particularly those who focus on social issues. I’d love to see her continue writing books in the vein of What the Valley Knows.

Heather Christie grew up in rural Pennsylvania and, at age seventeen, took off for New York City in hopes of becoming a movie star. Flash forward several decades, a couple degrees, a bunch of cats, two kids and one husband later, she’s back in Pennsylvania writing her heart out and chasing dreams again. She loves to read, run, drink tea, and make Sunday dinner. Follow her blog at www.HeatherChristieBooks.com and say “hello” on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, AND GIVEAWAY – Wildcat by Max Monroe

 

Wildcat by Max Monroe

Available Now!

Blurb:
Wildcat: a football formation in which the ball is snapped, not to the quarterback, but to another player lined up in the quarterback position.

Wild, Cat: a beautiful woman from the sky, who hooked me against the rails, and has me on the ropes. Sweet like honey, with a hint of sass burning behind her pretty brown eyes, she took over my heart without warning.

I’m Quinn Bailey, quarterback for the New York Mavericks.
Sports analysts predicted I’d break records and take my team all the way.

But no one predicted this.

And just like the other team, I never saw it coming.

Disclaimer:
Things this book is:
·      Romantic Comedy
·      #1 in the Mavericks Tackle Love Series
·      Can be read as a complete standalone.
Things it isn’t:
·      Paranormal: The only thing magical is inside Quinn Bailey’s pants.
·      Boring: Pssh, please. Max Monroe doesn’t do boring.
·      Short: Prior to reading, prepare yourself for one huge, long, thick…book.

Disclaimer:
Unfortunately, you many not MARRY this book without proper consent from the authors.

Though the idea of a spouse who does nothing but provide you endless laughs for hours at a time, turn you on, make your heart swell, and require nothing but your undivided attention for several hours in return sounds nearly orgasmic, there are laws. And the Fictional Municipality only allows twenty book wives at a time.

Due to high demand for a significant other that encourages you to leave the dishes in the sink, the laundry in the washer, and the vacuum in the closet unattended, we’ve implemented a shift schedule of marital proprietorship. You will be rotated accordingly.

Applications can be submitted by hitting the “buy” button on the following retailers:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2rOMxCx

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2DVC8tj

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2rRyH1V

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2EqqDbr

iBooks: https://apple.co/2mKGCJz

Kobo: http://bit.ly/Wildcat_Kobo

Nook: http://bit.ly/Wildcat_Nook

Whitney’s Four Star Review

I have been in love with Quinn since reading Wes’s book in the Bad Boy Billionaire series. So I was super excited to see which lucky lady was going to win his heart. And since I have adored 98% of the Max Monroe books I’ve read, I wasn’t too worried whether I’d love this one or not.

While I think this book has missed a little of the author duo’s previous magic, there is still plenty here to love. Quinn is awesome, albeit a little more boring than I had anticipated. And boring isn’t bad. He’s just very disciplined because of his professional career. He was funny, charming and sexy which let’s be honest, I’d be disappointed if he wasn’t!

Cat, our heroine, is a new character and one that I really liked. Sometimes her back and forth and risk aversion to a relationship with Quinn was a little annoying but also understandable. After all, she’s a flight attendant from a middle class family and has a mixed race background. Quinn’s world is completely foreign to her.

I think my favorite thing about this book was Denver (Quinn’s brother) and Casey (Cat’s flight attendant friend). I seriously need a book(s) for the two of them.

The book does touch on discrimination based on homosexuality and race. Since I’m a straight, white female I can’t truly offer perspective on the authenticity but I felt it was done tastefully and portrayed the affected characters in a very positive light. It’s not the actual focus of the book nor is it glossed over (especially the racial aspect) in my opinion.

If you’re looking for a fun, sexy read then give this a try. I usually recommend reading all connected books in order but in this case, I think this book truly stands alone even if you haven’t read previous Max Monroe books.

Enter the Giveaway HERE

Want to Stalk Max Monroe?

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Over two years ago, a dynamic duo of romance authors teamed up under the pseudonym Max Monroe, and, well, the rest is history…

Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far. ​

GIVEAWAY!! Free Fall by Emily Goodwin ~ Sarah A’s Review

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Nora Fisher. The way my heart sped up in my chest and blood rushed through every part of me. I was drawn to her the moment our eyes met.

She was beautiful.

Guarded.
Damaged.
Just like me.

I never meant to hurt the only woman I’ve ever loved. She was light, and I was dark, casting shadows on everything around me. Letting her go meant spiraling back into the darkness only Nora could pull me from. But I’d sacrifice myself a thousand times for her.

Four years later, she’s back, and the passion she ignites makes the fight for her stronger. But the more I try to make things right, the more I realize how complicated things have become.

And now I’m starting to see that maybe her light was never meant to be mine.

Free Fall is a standalone, contemporary romance.

** AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED **
Amazon US

Free Fall was so good.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as Emily Goodwin is a new to me author, but I was highly impressed.  This book was an emotional rollercoaster, and once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. It was completely engrossing, and Nora and Jack were wonderful characters.

Free Fall is a stand-alone novel.  It’s written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Nora and Jack.

These two had each experienced more heartbreak in their short lives than most adults do.  Their pain was completely different, yet completely unimaginable.  The things Jack had been through, in particular, were catastrophic.  It was fascinating to see how Ms. Goodwin portrayed his experiences and the fallout from them.  Each and every time he remembered the day that changed his life I felt like my heart stopped.

Based on the cover copy, I had been expecting Free Fall to be completely a second-chance romance.  Instead, we got to witness their initial love story and their second chance.  It made their reunion that much more poignant since we’d went through their first love in real time.  Experiencing the type of connection they had, the way they were each the support system the other needed at the most desperate times in their lives, made it easier to understand the connection they still had years later.

I know this is an unpopular opinion, but the only wish I had for Free Fall is that the epilogue hadn’t been included.  I know people love them, especially the type this one was, but for me, it just didn’t add to the story and felt rushed, had it been a little longer or more substantial it may have worked better.  I think I would have really been the most satisfied with the book had it ended a chapter before the prologue, that would have been the most impactful ending to me.

As I mentioned earlier, Emily Goodwin is a new to me author.  I don’t know how she hasn’t crossed my radar before, especially if her other books are anything like Free Fall, but I’m glad she’s on it now.  This book was powerfully written and covered sensitive topics without ever feeling exploitative of those themes.  Ms. Goodwin’s prose was powerful and engaging; she’s a talented artist, and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

 

Emily Goodwin is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over a dozen of romantic titles. Emily writes the kind of books she likes to read, and is a sucker for a swoon-worthy bad boy and happily ever afters.

She lives in the midwest with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, you can find her riding her horses, hiking, reading, or drinking wine with friends.

Emily is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency.

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Found by Claudia Burgoa ~ Excerpt & Blog Tour

All I’ve ever wanted was for someone to choose me. My mother didn’t. My father didn’t. The beautiful boy next door, who grew up to marry me, didn’t. Neither did the next man with whom I thought my heart was safe.

Back in the Bay area, three thousand miles from New York City, I can start fresh. Become one with the sea again, rise or fall on the tide of my own choices. But on the first day of my bright new life, the darkest shadows of my past follow me through my office door. The two men whose names are definitely not on my five-year plan.

If I let it consume me—my need for one man, my love for the other—the darkness will swallow me whole. I can’t let that happen. Not again. This time, the waves of emotion crashing against my heart won’t drown me. This time, I get to choose my happy ending.

*** SPECIAL RELEASE PRICE 99¢ ***
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It’s time to get back to the hotel. Fitz and I have been helping Hazel set up her apartment. Installing the sound system was the last thing on her list, and I’m almost done. But I don’t want this day to end. Not yet.

I don’t want to leave her.

I want to bask in the light of the infectiously cute smile she wears everywhere she goes.

I want to stay with her for the rest of the night.

Forever—if she allows it.

Hazel Beesley has been warming my cold soul since the moment I met her. She isn’t like any women I’ve come across. I met her the summer she came to live with her grandfather.

Everything about Hazel captured my heart from the beginning. Her big eyes, long braids, wicked smile and a smart mouth. Her luscious, full lips. The eagerness to learn and help people. Behind the professional hard shell she shows to the world, there’s a smart, sensitive, caring woman. She adores her family and helps everyone around her.

My relationship with her has been by stages. The big crush happened when I met her. Slowly, I fell in love with her, and one day, we kissed. In that instant, her air became mine, and my soul was branded with her name. Her presence calms the demons inside my head. She knows most of my secrets and my fears. Hazel held my hand while we face my most significant challenges.

My phone buzzes. It’s a text from Harrison, my oldest brother.

Harrison: Where are you?

Scott: San Francisco.

Harrison: Why am I not surprised? Are you and Hazel getting back together?

I snort. That’s the plan, but there’s a complication.

Scott: I’m working on it.

Harrison: If I could, I’d talk some reason into her, but … you fucked up, and I can’t help you.

No one can help me. I let out a long, frustrated breath. Harrison is her best friend. They are so similar. According to him, I have a hefty price to pay before she forgives me. Then, I must grovel, and maybe we will salvage something. At least, that’s what he said after Christmas.

Scott: It’s back to square one. I have to remind her how great we are together.

Harrison: That puzzles me. That the two of you fit just right. You are so different. And yet, you stayed together for a long time.

He’s right. On the surface, we don’t look compatible. However, deep down we fit perfectly. Like a key in its lock, I belong to her. It’s in the way she makes me feel. The yearning when she’s away. The joy I experience when she’s steps away from me. She holds the power in our relationship, not me.

Scott: I regret being a coward, and letting her slip out of my hands knowing that this day would come. The day she’d move back to San Francisco and see the boy she fell in love with since they were kids.

Harrison: Well, you better apply yourself before she sees him.  

Jesus, I rub the back of my neck. What am I doing here?

Scott: This might be a lost battle. She already saw him.  

 

Claudia is an award-winning, international bestselling author. She lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. And a wonderful husband who shares her love for all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.

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Found by Claudia Burgoa ~ Sarah A’s Review

All I’ve ever wanted was for someone to choose me. My mother didn’t. My father didn’t. The beautiful boy next door, who grew up to marry me, didn’t. Neither did the next man with whom I thought my heart was safe.

Back in the Bay area, three thousand miles from New York City, I can start fresh. Become one with the sea again, rise or fall on the tide of my own choices. But on the first day of my bright new life, the darkest shadows of my past follow me through my office door. The two men whose names are definitely not on my five-year plan.

If I let it consume me—my need for one man, my love for the other—the darkness will swallow me whole. I can’t let that happen. Not again. This time, the waves of emotion crashing against my heart won’t drown me. This time, I get to choose my happy ending.

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While I loved the story in Found, it was an editorial NIGHTMARE. I initially read a pre-published version and did my best to overlook the mistakes as I was reading, but when I bought it, and it was still fraught with errors, I was sorely disappointed. I see that the author has several editors listed, and I’m not sure if she’s not listening to them or if they aren’t qualified, but this book is in desperate need of a re-edit.

While Found is not listed as part of a series on Goodreads or Amazon, it is the third book in a series about the four Everhart brothers and two Beesley sisters. Each book can be read as standalone and is based on a different couple. Found is written in first person perspective from three characters: Hazel, Scott, and Elliot.

I was most excited about this book. I wanted to know more about Hazel, and Scott was such an enigma, I needed to know who he actually was. What I wasn’t excited about was Elliot, I didn’t want anything to come between that interesting magic that bound Scott and Hazel. What she’d already been through with Elliot was heartbreaking, and I didn’t want her to have to relive her past, either.

While most of this story was wonderful, I loved seeing Scott as more than just a shadowy stoic figure making sure his brothers were taken care of and thriving, a lot of it was very frustrating. In particular, one of Hazel’s suitors kept pushing the issue with her, even when she said she wanted to take things slow and figure out what she needed and how to get out of the hole she felt she’d fallen into. I felt like he kept belittling Hazel when she didn’t fit into the picture he’d painted for her. What was most irritating about that whole situation was she kept going back even when it was blatantly obvious he didn’t have her best interests in mind. Even in the end, it seemed like the author was trying to make him come across as a good guy, when he obviously wasn’t – at least not in regards to Hazel.

Hazel’s other love interest was obviously the better choice from the off. He knew her, what she wanted, what she needed, and how to make sure she was supported in the way she needed. He was also able to put her needs ahead of his own when it came to their relationship, and that is the true test of what love is. How Hazel had any doubt about which man was the one she couldn’t live without was shocking to me, and maybe that is the luxury of looking into a relationship from the outside looking in. I just didn’t see any real affection or chemistry between Hazel and the other man, even in the kisses he forced upon her.

My biggest wish for this book is what I mentioned earlier, the editing. There were times when the author used synonyms in places where replacing the original word completely changed the meaning of the sentence, several instances of continuity issues, incorrect word usage, and numerous typos. Also, I wish that some of the scenes with suitor number one had been either omitted or rewritten to make them feel less forced. There was one, in particular, where they are having dinner that felt completely out of character for Hazel and almost like it was added after the rest of the book was finished, as the tone of the scene didn’t seem to fit the rest of the book. I also would have loved for Ms. Burgoa to more fully address Hazel’s battle with depression, unlike Flawed were Hunter and Willow’s battles were wonderfully explored and addressed, it felt like Hazel’s battle with mental illness was only there when it was convenient to explain a specific plot point.

I fell in love with Claudia Burgoa’s storytelling in Flawed (previously titled All of You, All of Me), but the last two books haven’t stood up to the standard she set in that first novel. I’m not sure if that book was the outlier or if the two subsequent books in the series are not in keeping with her writing, but I’m starting to question if the magic of Flawed won’t be rediscovered by Ms. Burgoa. I will be looking out for Fitz’ story because I need to know how he finds his happy ending, but I doubt I’ll be reading anything else she writes.

Claudia is an award-winning, international bestselling author. She lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. And a wonderful husband who shares her love for all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.

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Say You’ll Remember Me by Katie McGarry ~ Sarah A’s Review

From critically acclaimed author Katie McGarry, comes SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME—a story of two people from different worlds pushing themselves, and each other, to get what they deserve!

SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME is now available at all fine book retailers. Grab your copy today!

“Doesn’t matter who did it. Not anymore. I did the time. It’s over.”

When Drix was convicted of a crime–one he didn’t commit–he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the Second Chance Program, the governor’s newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.

Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor’s daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn’t may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.

When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle’s parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix’s messy life.

But sometimes love can breach all barriers.

Fighting against a society that can’t imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves–Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence–and each other to finally get what they deserve.

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This book started out SLOW; I felt like I was moving backward at times during the first half of the book.  Fortunately, the second half completely redeemed the book.  After I finished the book and looked back at the beginning, I don’t think it could have moved any quicker or the poignancy of what happened throughout the rest of the book.

Say You’ll Remember Me is a standalone novel.  It is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Elle and Drix.

I loved the characters from the beginning.  I found them both to be surprisingly relatable, considering they were teenagers. The secondary characters – particularly Drix’ brother, Axle – were wonderful.  They were just as well-developed and sympathetic as Elle and Drix, and I would love to read more about all of them.

This book broke my heart a lot more than I expected.  From what Drix had been through, to Elle’s parents, the different types of neglect and ways they’d been used tore at my heart.  I didn’t expect to feel so deeply invested in them and the way people kept failing them, whether those failures were intentional or not.  Katie McGarry did a great job of juxtaposing Elle and Drix, on the surface they seemed diametrically opposed, but the more we learned about each of them, it was evident they were both struggling with the need to be more than what people saw on the surface.

Initially, I would have said I wished the beginning had not been as drawn out as it was.  After completing the book and reflecting on the book in its entirety, I know the book wouldn’t have been as impactful without it being exactly as it was.  There was one event I REALLY wish hadn’t happened, but that horrific heartbreak heightened the emotional fallout of the other events in the novel and pushed the book into being more than your typical young adult novel.

Katie McGarry won me over, as a reader, years ago with Pushing the Limits.  While Say You’ll Remember Me wasn’t quite the emotional powerhouse that book was, for me.  It still highlighted important issues and made me think of things I’d never considered before.  That is one of my favorite things about this author and YA books, that attention to social issues that aren’t always touched on in other genres.

~Ellison~

The two of us are different. Complete sliding scale different. The only thing we have in common, as far as I can tell, is that he appears about my age and that we are both wearing shoes. My sandals to his scuffed combat boots. His sagging jeans with rips and white T-shirt to my ironed khaki shorts and fitted blue top. My diamond earrings and gold bracelet with a heart charm to his black belt that has metal studs and silver chain that hangs from his belt loop to his wallet.

By looks, I should have more in common with the loser college boys, but it’s this guy I’m comfortable with. “What’s your name?”

He throws the ball, and he’s right, he sucks at it. While he has unbelievable power, his aim’s completely off. The ball hits the back curtain with a loud thud, then drops to the floor. “Drix.”

“Drix?” I repeat to make sure I heard him correctly.

“Drix. It’s short for Hendrix. Like Jimi Hendrix.”

“That’s cool.” Because it is.

I wait for him to ask for my name, but he doesn’t. Instead he says, “Are you here alone?”

He throws the second ball, and this time he hits the top of the three bottles, sending that one to the ground.

“No. My parents are here. I’m supposed to meet them at the convention center. What about you? What happened to the people you were with? Or are you here alone now?”

“Yes, but no.” Drix pulls his arm back, releases the ball, and when the ball hits the bottom bottles, my heart lifts with the idea that he won, but only one of the bottles goes flying. The other stays completely untouched.

He turns in my direction, but his gaze roams over my shoulder, then flickers to the left. Drix then glances behind him, and when he returns his attention to me he raises his eyebrows. “They appear to be gone.”

That’s awesome news, but I’m still stuck on his answer of “yes but no.” Honestly, I’m stuck on him. He’s a million questions without a single answer, and he makes me incredibly curious.

“My parents weren’t thrilled about me hanging out alone at the midway, but I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal. It’s just Whack-A-Mole, you know?”

“And a ball toss.”

“And a ball toss. None of it should have been complicated.”

“Shouldn’t have been.”

“Elle!” Part of me is relieved to see Andrew craning his neck over the crowd. Another part of me is majorly disappointed. There aren’t many times in my life I’m left alone. Not many times I’m able to explore new places and people without someone hovering and not many opportunities when I would meet someone like Drix.

“Elle,” Andrew calls again. I wave at him, hoping it will buy me a few seconds, and he waves back in a way that tells me he needs me to walk in his direction. That works well for me.

“Is that a friend of yours?” Drix asks.

“Yes, but no.” I borrow his answer because it’s apropos. Andrew’s a few years older. More friend of our family than a personal friend of mine, and I don’t like the idea of explaining that my parents think I need a babysitter.

Drix’s mouth twitches at my words, and my lips also edge upwards. “I just made you smile a third time. Is this a Guinness Book of World Records thing?”

“I liked your answer.”

“I’m just creative like that.”

Order your copy of SAY YOU’LL REMEMBER ME, register and you will receive AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER, a novella that features your favorite Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road characters!

From the Pushing the Limits series, Noah, Beth, Isaiah, West and Logan are all grown up. Catch up with your favorite characters as one of them finally says, I do.

Pigpen, Eli and Addison from the Thunder Road series: Three separate personalities who still needed to find love…and still had someone important to meet.

This is a limited time offer! So hurry! Registration ends on February 3, 2018! You must register your order to receive AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

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Katie McGarry was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan.

Katie is the author of full length YA novels, PUSHING THE LIMITS, DARE YOU TO, CRASH INTO YOU, TAKE ME ON,  BREAKING THE RULES, and NOWHERE BUT HERE and the e-novellas, CROSSING THE LINE and RED AT NIGHT. Her debut YA novel, PUSHING THE LIMITS was a 2012 Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction, a RT Magazine’s 2012 Reviewer’s Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Contemporary Novel, a double Rita Finalist, and a 2013 YALSA Top Ten Teen Pick. DARE YOU TO was also a Goodreads Choice Finalist for YA Fiction and won RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Young Adult Contemporary fiction in 2013.

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Combust by K. Bromberg ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times Bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes the second standalone book in the Everyday Heroes series. Just how hot will firefighter Grady Malone turn up the heat?

Songwriter Dylan McCoy has been burned.

By her boyfriend she found in her bed . . . with someone else.

By the contract she signed that obligates her to work with him until the songs for his new album are complete.

By her agent when she asked Dylan to keep their breakup on the down-low.

When she finds herself in Sunnyville, she refuses to let her new roommate burn her too. Still . . . a rebound has never looked so good.

That’s her first thought when she sees firefighter Grady Malone.
Sexy. Charismatic. Unapologetic. He’s a man who carries his own scars—the ones on his back, the survivor’s guilt on his soul, and the fear in his heart.

When an unexpected visitor puts their roommate status to the test, will their undeniable attraction burn out, or will they both take a chance and play with fire?

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A little humor, a dash of angst, a sprinkle of heartbreak, and a lot of healing; that’s what went into making this book such a great read.  Combust was heavy enough to keep me wholly invested in the characters, their histories, and their healing, while still having enough levity to keep it from feeling like the subject matter was as heavy as it actually was.

Combust is the second book in K. Bromberg’s Everyday Heroes series.  It can be read as a standalone, as each book deals with a different couple, but the men in these stories are brothers, so there are cameos from the other couple in this book.  If you are going to read all of them, I suggest reading in order, just to get the experience as intended.  Combust is written in dual first-person perspective, in Dylan and Grady’s voices.

Dylan was such a relatable character.  She was so strong in some areas and in others, so insecure.  The things she struggled with, in particular, her looks, is something almost every woman I know has dealt with.  It was good to see that not be her primary storyline, however.  My favorite thing about Dylan was her ability to admit her shortcomings and use them to support those around her and help them come to terms with the things they weren’t happy with themselves.

Grady, oh Grady.  He broke my heart in so many ways.  I can’t begin to relate to the kind of grief and fear he lived with day in and day out, and that is what made him so human.  Often book boyfriends are this unattainable demi-god of perfection – and I’m not saying Grady didn’t fit that mold in some ways – but the pain of existing, most days, for him grounded him.  Knowing that he bore the scars of his past and felt them every moment made my heart yearn for him to forgive himself.

Combust was a highly emotional book, from the highs of Dylan getting to prove she was more than her ex thought, to the lows of reliving what were the worst moments of Grady’s life, it was quite a rollercoaster.  From Dylan’s lyrics to Petunia to Grady’s resolution to never put someone in the position to lose him, K. Bromberg delivered a fascinating story of healing and learning to love yourself.

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New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, K. has sold over one million copies of her books and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times.

In April, she’ll release The Player, the first in a two-book sports romance series (The Catch, book 2, will be released late June), with many more already outlined and ready to be written.

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media or sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all her latest releases and sales: http://bit.ly/254MWtI

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Escape by Jay Crownover ~ Sarah A’s Review

Everything inside of him is screaming that he needs to run, he needs to go, he needs to escape.

Lane Warner is used to being overshadowed and overlooked.

After all, he’s the youngest brother and the most laid back one in the family. He’s the one known for going with the flow and not making waves, even when things seem to be at their worst.

Very few things in life have had the ability to rile Lane up and get under his skin. At the top of that list is his childhood friend Brynn Fox…no…Brynn Warner. The fact that they share a last name was the one thing that has the power to light him up and spin him out of control like no other. There was no calm, cool and collected when it comes to all the reasons why Brynn had to become part of his family.

It’s slowly killing him to keep wanting what he can’t have, so Lane sees only one way to stop himself from doing something they’ll both regret…he has to leave.

Everything inside of her is calling out to find him, to follow, to bring him home.

Brynn Warner is used to being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

After all, she’s the daughter of an unrepentant gold-digger who never once blinked at being the cause of her daughter’s pain and suffering.

Very few things in her life have ever brought happiness and a sense of security. At the very top of that list is Lane Warner. She has unwaveringly loved the youngest Warner since the first minute she laid eyes on him. He was everything Brynn ever wanted and everything she knew she could never have.

Sometimes the right choice is the one that hurts the most and Brynn’s had to make a few that felt like they might be the end of her.

When Lane takes off, one thing is clear, the only choice Brynn has is to go after him.

She’s going to bring her wayward cowboy home….whatever it takes.

Escape is a standalone novel, the third book in the Getaway series, which features the hardheaded and brokenhearted Warner brothers and the women who dare to love them. These boys are very good at putting the wild in wilderness.

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Escape was a story about going home, but it was also a lesson in knowing that home isn’t a place but the people in it. It was also a tale about family being more than the people you share DNA with; your family is made of the people who love and care for you regardless of what you can offer or the things you’ve done in the past. As happy as I am to have finally seen the final Warner find his forever, I’m also a little bit sad that they’re all paired up, I can only hope that we get to see more of this world through the stories of the secondary characters.

Escape is the third book in Jay Crownover’s Getaway series. It can be read as a standalone, but the first two books set up a lot of the tension and world that Brynn and Lane are living in. Escape is told in dual first-person perspective – with the exception of the prologue, which is told in third-person – by Lane and Brynn.

I am ecstatic that Escape was not what I expected. I was certain it was going to be full of Brynn and Lane fighting against what they both wanted because they were sure they didn’t deserve it. I loved getting a book that focused on them figuring out what they had. The tension that had been brewing between them through the first two books had given me enough anticipation for the resolution of their issues. If there was ever a couple, who had been dealt enough of a shitty hand before their story even started it was them, so seeing them start to figure out how to shovel out from under the past and look to the future warmed my heart.

I was a little surprised by the suspense in Escape. Considering how much suspense was in the first two books in the series, it shouldn’t have, but I was not expecting the turn it took while they were headed home from California. I was happy to see them have something to work together on, and think it helped immensely with their relationship to have something to focus on outside of themselves. Bauer’s story was heartbreaking, and I am happy baby Warner and Brynn stumbled upon him and took him under their wings. No doubt, his story, and many others, would have ended quite differently without their intervention. And maybe the intervention of a certain sexy cop from Denver.

Jay Crownover is a long-time favorite of mine. I love the grittiness of her characters and how she makes their flaws turn into assets. Her writing style is raw and visceral, and I always feel so many things when I read her books. I can’t wait to see what all she has in store for her readers and hope she revisits the Getaway crew so we can find out the stories of some of the secondary characters.

Brynn

For the first time in days, it felt like my world was set back to rights.

Everything was crooked and off center the minute Lane walked out of the house in Wyoming and disappeared. I couldn’t think straight. Every step I took was wobbly and unsteady. From the moment I opened my eyes, to the second I fell into a fitful sleep at night, it was like I saw things through a grainy black and white filter. There was no color in any of my days when Lane was gone. There was no joy or light. There was only a massive void where I knew I should be able to feel my heart hurting and my soul suffering, the way they always did when it came to the youngest Warner, but when he left there was nothing.

I thought I knew what it felt like to have everything inside of me freeze and shatter. When word came that Lane had been shot while trying to protect his niece from a madman hell-bent on destroying everything that was important to Sutton, I was sure I would never be able to breathe or feel again. That icy pain, that frigid fear had nothing on the numbness that followed when Lane walked out the door seconds after Jack dropped to his knee. At that moment, I knew I was supposed to focus on the man asking me to share his life with him, the one who wanted me for me, and not because he was driven by some chivalrous need to save me from my messed up family and tumultuous home life.

But I hadn’t been focused on Jack. All I could see was the resignation and regret flashing through Lane’s pale blue eyes. We were both reliving the moment another man had asked me to marry him. Only that time, Lane hadn’t been able to escape the outcome. He’d been reminded of it for years, every waking moment when I’d technically held the title of his stepmom. I was something neither one of us could get away from no matter how hard we tried. It was amazing how much one little yes could change everything.

Now that he was standing in front of me, looking much thinner and more haggard than he had even when he came home from the hospital, I finally felt like I could inhale again. Everything that was fuzzy and blurred around the edges pulled back into sharp focus. I could look at the sky behind his tousled head and see that it was the same stormy blue as his eyes. I could also focus on the lines of tension and stress radiating out of the corners of those eyes and the bruised, dark hollows underneath them. Without him, nothing felt like it mattered. There was no home. There was no peace of mind. There was no safety and security.

When he was close, the littlest things felt hugely important and essential. The twitch of his lips into a wry grin spread warmth that chased away the emptiness for the first time in what felt like forever. The heat radiating off of his long, lean body made my heart kick back to life. When his arms wrapped around me for a seriously overdue hug, I finally felt alive. Finally felt something other than the echoing loneliness and hollowness that consumed me the minute he turned his back on me. Even with Daye trapped between us, I still felt a tingle at every single spot where his body touched mine.

“It’s so good to see you.” I meant it with every fiber of my being. Looking at him, even as worn and as drawn as he appeared, settled something deep inside of me.

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Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

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