Sarah A’s Review ~ Unfinished Night Duet by Violet Duke

BEFORE THAT NIGHT:

Before that night, Addison Milan had been just a college dropout secretly raising her two young siblings in a beat-up minivan she’d bought with her first semester’s tuition refund–the only money her addict mother hadn’t taken off with when she’d abandoned them nearly two years ago.

Before that night, Caine Spencer had been just a rough, gruff cop sent to check out the phoned-in claims of suspected child neglect involving the same woman he’d met just months prior when she’d first served him the city’s worst diner coffee…which he’d been drinking daily ever since.

Before that night, Addison would never have thought the man she’d been fighting hard not to fall for–her only friend in her new shadow of a life–would be in a position to rip her family apart.

Before that night, Caine would never have believed any woman could make him fall head over heels, let alone make him feel so damn compelled to look the other way when it came to his job.

 

Then that one perfect night changed everything.

EVERY NIGHT WITHOUT YOU:

Seven years.

Seven damn years of wondering whether the woman was still alive…whether she’d spent the last two thousand five hundred fifty-five days wondering if he was still alive.

Wondering whether that night was as burned into her memory as it was his.

Seven years having his heart tethered to Addison―and now she’s back. With even more reasons to run than she’d had then.

Only this time, Caine isn’t letting the gorgeous little flight risk out of his sight.

Regardless of how noble her reasons may be.

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Before that Night

After reading the synopsis of Before that Night I knew Addison’s story was going to be heartbreaking.  I did, however, underestimate just how awful her life before her mother had abandoned her and her siblings.  That Addison didn’t let the pain of her past damage her brightness was lovely, the way she protected her siblings from feeling that same type of hurt to the best of her abilities, was miraculous.

Caine was such a great contrast to Addison.  While he’d had an idyllic childhood, he’d let the things he’d experienced in his adulthood start to harden him.  The juxtaposition of the two was a fabulous illustration of how your attitude can profoundly affect the way things out of your own control shapes you.  Even in the darkest moments of her life, Addison found the light so she could provide a better life for her brother and sister, while Caine brought the darkness he’d encountered with him and let it temper every thought he had.

Before that Night dealt with incredibly heavy issues but never felt weighty in the way other books that cover the same topics often do.  The inherent brightness that Addison colored her world with allowed the book a levity that was refreshing when encountering such awful situations.  Her love and hope gave such an innocent feeling to the book it was hard to imagine that she’d lived the life she had, until the moments her fear crept in and gave us a glimpse of the horrors she’d survived.

Violet Duke was a new to me author when I started Before this Night and I found myself greatly enjoying every moment I spent with the characters she created.

Every Night without You

I wanted to love this book as much as I did Before that Night but, for me, it just didn’t quite live up to my expectations.  While I did find myself clamoring to find out what was going to happen to Addison, Caine, and the kids, I didn’t feel the same type of commitment to their happiness in this book.

The chemistry that I felt between Caine and Addison in Before this Night seemed to be tempered in Every Night, like the years that had passed had cooled their connection.  While I didn’t doubt they loved each other deeply, I wasn’t as consumed by the moments they were together.  There was also some unnecessary tension caused by decisions that made little sense to me, I honestly couldn’t understand why they’d done some of the things they had in relation to not being together.  I did very much enjoy watching them begin to rebuild their family, especially when Caine was unwaveringly supportive of the kids he had no familial ties to.

I loved the push and pull of the new relationships that were developed in this book, particularly the ones involving Alec.  He was one of the brightest parts of this book, he was equal parts humor and intensity and I found myself wondering more about him than just about anyone else in the book.  I hope to see more of him in future works in this series, I can only begin to imagine his history and the type of person who would be his match.

Much like the bizarre decisions Addison and Caine made in the beginning of this book concerning the relationship, I felt the climax of this book held some of the same strange decisions.  By the time I’d finished the epilogue I was very confused as to why the book had ended like it had.  I feel like I missed chunks of the story and was not completely satisfied with the end of Caine and Addison’s story.

While Every Night without You was not the best book I’ve read recently, I will continue with this series.  I have too many questions, too much interest in the other characters – particularly Alec – to leave them now.  And perhaps that is why Every Night ended like it did, to give me something to wonder about, some reason to come back and read the other books so I can satiate my curiosity about why Caine and Addison’s story ended the way it did.

Caine stopped with his hand on the doorknob and studied her for a bit, with those deep, stormy eyes of his that always saw too much, read her too well. Then, he quietly pushed open the door to the darkened room and walked in.

But he made no move to flick on the light switch.

Instead, he simply stood there, just inside the doorway, holding the door open for her silently, waiting for her to decide if she wanted to go into the pitch-blackness with him.

Addison knew the choice to step over that threshold, into the unknown, was symbolic of so much more than what he was asking in that moment…a fact she was certain hadn’t escaped him.

He didn’t back down. But he didn’t push, either.

“Alec thinks there’s no way you and I can be friends,” she whispered, in a feeble attempt to keep them away from a ledge they’d be tempted to jump off of, where there would be no coming back from. “This is sort of an experiment he’s conducting to prove his hypothesis.”

“Did I mention I hated that ‘just friends’ idea from the start?”

Yeah. Her too.

“You want to know what I was thinking about when you suggested it?” he continued, reaching up to put his forearm against the door jamb, crowding the opening with his broad, six-foot frame.

She shouldn’t. No good could possibly come from being allowed inside Caine Spencer’s head. “Yes.”

The gravelly rumble of his voice turned hypnotic. “I was remembering how those soft, sexy sounds you’d make when I’d kiss you on your neck—right where that new tattoo is—would test me, nearly break me of my control every time.”

When his eyes began tracing intently over the lines of her tattoo, the air in her lungs thinned, and slipped past her lips before she could stop it.

His jaw tightened, and his forearms flexed. Once. Twice. Before his voice dropped a full octave lower. “A test. Every. Single. Time.”

Oh God, she wasn’t going to make it.

He took a step back.

She followed him in.

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NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author Violet Duke is a former professor of English Education ecstatic to be on the other side of the page now writing emotion-rich stories with fun, everyday characters, and sweet, sexy match-ups. Since her debut series in 2013, over a million readers have put all four of Violet’s laugh & cry contemporary romance series on bestseller lists and Top 10 charts across the major e-retailers, both in the U.S. and internationally.

When she isn’t feeding her book-a-day addiction, Violet enjoys doing far too many things without checking the directions first (often with outrageous power tools she has no business operating), and cooking impossible-to-replicate ‘special edition’ dishes that laugh in the face of recipes. She lives in Hawai’i with her kids (Violet & Duke) and Mr. Violet Duke (their ringleader), with a PJs-and-rubber-slippers work dress code she takes very seriously.

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Release Day Blitz ~ Betrayed by Lies by Rebecca Shea ~ Sarah A’s Review

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Fall into the deliciously dark world where the line between good and evil becomes blurred.

 

USA TODAY bestselling author Rebecca Shea brings you the third title in her thrilling and sexy romantic suspense Bound & Broken Series, BETRAYED BY LIES.Grab your copy of BETRAYED BY LIES today, and don’t miss the first two books in the series, BROKEN BY LIES and BOUND BY LIES

 

 

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From the USA Today bestselling author of the Unbreakable series, comes a sexy, heart-wrenching novel…Betrayed by Lies.

As an ATF agent, bringing down the Estrada cartel has been my sole mission. I’m a skilled agent, determined and fearless, but a relentless pursuit and a willingness to risk everything almost killed me.

A year later, when an opportunity in Los Angeles presents itself, I jump at the chance to start over and rebuild the career and life I almost lost.

Kate Stevens was not part of my new plan. I never expected she would be the one to save me from my past. She was exactly what I needed—smart, beautiful and independent. I finally have a future I look forward to.

Only nothing in my life ever goes according to plan. Losing Kate is not an option, but fate seems poised to ruin me, and there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.

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I’m going to be really honest for a minute and tell you I wasn’t the hugest fan of Sam when he tried to steal his brother’s girl.  No matter what had transpired between them, it was not okay.  I did love every other aspect of Sam though, he was truly one of the good ones, and he deserved so much more than what life had given him.  I was so happy when I found out Rebecca Shea was giving him his own story and hopefully happiness all his own.

At the end of Bound by Lies we knew there was a mysterious Kate in Sam’s life, but we had no insight into who she was or what she meant to him and I was DYING to meet this woman he cared for enough to introduce to his brother and the woman he’d been in love with.  I was not disappointed in her at all; she was perfect for Sam.  Strong, independent, and smart Kate was everything Sam deserved and more.

Betrayed by Lies wasn’t as high action as the two previous books and for that, my heart was very thankful.  I’m not sure how much more I could watch Sam go through, he’d already had more than his share of trouble throughout his life.  The high action intensity of Broken and Bound was replaced by deeply emotional moments and a scare that would be harrowing for anyone.  I found Betrayed by Lies to be a far more emotionally driven book and I love Rebecca for continuing the intensity of this series without sending my blood pressure through the roof at every page turn.

Rebecca Shea always makes me connect emotionally with her characters.  The way she writes them makes them feel real and flawed and like people I’d like to be friends with.  That’s what makes her books so wonderful to read, the care and concern for the characters that she fosters in her readers.  Each of her books leaves me feeling like I’ve spent time with a great friend, helping them find their Happy Ever After.

 

EXCERPT:

SAM

She shakes her head and laughs. “I don’t judge. It sounds to me like your therapy has helped you see what it is you need versus what you thought you wanted, and I’m so happy you’ve recovered from your injury and you’re able to return to work. So many agents aren’t as lucky as you.” There’s a spark of sadness in her eyes. A look that only the friends and family of those in law enforcement get when they think of those who aren’t as fortunate as I am.

I nod in agreement. “Which is why I was excited to take this opportunity here in L.A. with your brother. He’s giving me another chance to prove myself. California is a fresh start for me.” I smile at her and she smiles in return, and it’s soft, caring, and does things to me that I’m not sure I’m ready for.

“So what do you do?” I ask, turning the questions on her. I’m done spilling my garbage. I want to hear about her.

She drops her eyes from mine and takes another drink of wine before resting it on her thigh. “I’m an attorney. I do corporate law, mostly negotiating and reviewing contracts. It’s extremely boring to someone who’s not interested in legalese, but it keeps me busy and it pays well.” She shrugs.

“Do you ever end up in court?”

“No. Ironically, if there is ever litigation, we typically hire outside counsel. Sounds weird, doesn’t it?” She scrunches her nose up and smiles.

“Not really.” I shake my head. “I get why. You’re an expert at what you do. The attorneys you hire are experts in litigation. Everyone does what they do best.”

“Exactly.”

Our conversation slows, but it’s not uncomfortable in the silence. We both relax in the quiet and jut ‘be’. There’s something to be said for that level of comfort when you’re in the presence of someone else.

“So, when do you think you’ll be moving in?” she asks.

“I’m having some stuff delivered this weekend, so I hope Saturday is okay?” I raise my eyebrow at her, hoping it’s not an inconvenience.

She smiles. “Saturday is perfect.”

“I’m still waiting on a truck from Phoenix, so that’ll be sometime next week, but I’m ready to get out of that hotel. Speaking of that hotel, I really should get going. It’s getting late, and I didn’t mean to keep you up.” I stand up and she follows suit. We both carry our empty glass and beer bottle to the kitchen, and Kate swipes something off the center island.

“This is the key for the house.” She dangles the ring on her pointer finger. “You can have your alarm system installed anytime. If you need anything secured before then, I have a safe and an alarm on this house. You’re welcome to keep anything in here.”

“I appreciate that.” The soft tips of her fingers brush against my palm as she places the key in my hand.

“See you Saturday,” she says, her voice barely above a whisper.

“See you Saturday,” I return. For the first time in a long time, I have something to look forward to.

 

 

And don’t miss the first two books in the Bound & Broken Series!

BROKEN BY LIES is just $.99 for a limited time only!

 

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BROKEN BY LIES

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BOUND BY LIES

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Author Photo - Rebecca SheaABOUT REBECCA SHEA:

Rebecca Shea is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Unbreakable series (Unbreakable, Undone, and Unforgiven) and the Bound and Broken series (Broken by Lies and Bound by Lies). She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her family. From the time Rebecca could read she has had a passion for books. Rebecca spends her days working and her nights writing, bringing stories to life. Born and raised in Minnesota, Rebecca moved to Arizona in 1999 to escape the bitter winters. When not working or writing, she can be found on the sidelines of her sons’ football games, or watching her daughter at ballet class. Rebecca is fueled by insane amounts of coffee, margaritas, Laffy Taffy (except the banana ones), and happily ever afters.

 

 

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Review Tour ~ The Gravity of Us by Brittainy C. Cherry ~ Sarah A’s Review

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.

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I am DEVASTATED this series (of completely independent stand-alones) is over.  Devastated.  Each book is so unique, each couple so wonderful, I fell deeply in love with each word and each story affected me deeply.  I am sure that these books are ones I will revisit when I need something that speaks to me on a soul level.

Graham and Lucy’s story was devastating and perfect in a way I didn’t even see coming.  They had both lost so much and continued to lose more than they deserved, but they let those losses mold them in completely different ways.  Their differences were the most beautiful part of their story.  Lucy was perhaps one of the most beautiful souls to have ever existed and she used the spirit that was inherently her to show Graham there was so much more to life than anyone had ever shown him.   Being on the journey with him as he learned how to trust, to open himself up, to truly love was a wonderful thing.

Just as important as Graham learning how to live and love was both Graham and Lucy learning that your family is so much more than the people with whom you share DNA.  I had no idea that the idea of family and the importance of that support system would play such an important role in this book, I am glad it did though.  The healing, the hope, the love Lucy and Graham needed to know could only be complete from people important to them in other roles of their lives.

After reading romance for years I found The Gravity of us to be wildly refreshing.  It didn’t rely on any of the tropes we’re so used to seeing, none of the devices to push a couple together that are used so often.  Yes, there was a little friction as Lucy and Graham figured out how to operate in the other’s comfort zone, but that is true for any couple that’s ever existed.  I appreciate how Brittainy C. Cherry slowly wove their souls and hearts together without ever taking the road that would have been arguably easier and more expected.

I’m in love with Brittainy C. Cherry’s writing.  I have read several of her books and each of them has imprinted itself on me in wonderful ways.  Her storytelling has a way of making me see things in a different light, of making me understand things in a way I would have never considered, it makes me feel like a more empathetic person.  With each word I read in her books I can feel the love she has for her craft and how she strives to make that art her own.  I can’t say enough about how deeply her writing makes me feel, but I will say that not taking the time to experience her work is doing a disservice to yourself.

 

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Lucy

We didn’t know how to act with one another after our first kiss. Our situation wasn’t the norm when it came to building a relationship. We did everything backward. I fell in love with a boy before our first kiss, and he fell for a girl who he wasn’t allowed to have. Our connection, our heartbeats, matched one another in our fairytale world, but in reality, society deemed us as an awful accident.

Maybe we were an accident—a mistake.

Maybe we were never supposed to cross each other’s paths.

Maybe he was only meant to be a lesson in life and not a permanent mark.

But still, the way he kissed me…

Our kiss was as if heaven and hell collided together, and each choice was right and wrong at the same exact time. We kissed as if we were making a mistake and the best decision all at once. His lips made me float higher, yet somehow descend. His breaths somehow made my heart beat faster as it came to a complete halt.

Our love was everything good and bad wrapped in one kiss.

A part of me knew I should’ve regretted it, but the way his lips warmed up the cold shadows of my soul…the way he left his mark on me…

I’d never regret finding him, holding him, even if we only had those few seconds as one.

He’d always be worth those tiny seconds we shared.

He’d always be worth that soul-connecting feeling we created when our lips touched.

He’d always be the one I spent my nights dreaming of being near.

He’d always be worth it to me.

Sometimes when your heart wanted a full-length novel, the world only gave you a novella, and sometimes when you wanted forever you only had those few seconds of now.

And all I could do, all anyone could ever do, was make each moment count.

After we went home that night, we didn’t talk about it at all. Not the following week, either. I focused on Talon. Graham worked on his novel. I believed both of us were waiting for the right time to come up for us to speak about it, but that was the tricky thing about timing: it was never right.

Sometimes you just had to leap and hope you didn’t fall.

Hi! I’m Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I’m learning, things I’m re-learning, things I’m forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.

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Release Blitz ~ Revelry by Kandi Steiner ~ Sarah A’s Review

Revelry, an all-new standalone from Kandi Steiner is now LIVE!!!

From the bestselling author of Weightless and A Love Letter to Whiskey:

Wren Ballard is trying to find herself.

She never expected to be divorced at twenty-seven, but now that the court date has passed, it’s official. The paperwork is final. Her feelings on it aren’t.

Spending the summer in a small mountain town outside Seattle is exactly what she needs. The peaceful scenery is a given, the cat with the croaky meow is a surprise, but the real kicker? A broody neighbor with nice arms, a strange reputation, and absolutely no interest in her.

Anderson Black is perfectly fine being lost.

He doesn’t care about the town’s new resident — he’s too busy fighting his own demons. But when he’s brought face to face with Wren, he can see her still-fresh wounds from a mile away. What he doesn’t see coming is his need to know who put them there — or his desperation to mend them.

Sometimes getting lost is the way to find yourself. Sometimes healing only adds a new scar. And sometimes the last place you expected to be is exactly where you find home.

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Sometimes after I’ve read a book I’ll go back and read other’s reviews, partially to see what they thought and partially as a way to process my own feelings in relation to those thoughts.  Usually, I feel similar to how other readers did, but occasionally I feel like I was reading something different than they did.  That is how this book felt for me.  I really liked Revelry, it was fun and sweet and, in my opinion, fairly light.  When I’d read the synopsis, I had been expecting something much heavier, so that may be why it felt so light.

Both Wren and Anderson were carrying that baggage of their pasts around with them, but only Wren was looking for a place to stow it away.  Anderson carried his like a penance, he was certain he was mean to do nothing but flounder under the weight of the guilt he thrust upon himself.  Witnessing the ways they dealt with their own pasts, both alone and together was what made this book for me.  It was interesting to see them both, slowly come to the realization that they needed the support of the other to sift through the weight of their pasts.

While I had hoped for more darkness and heavy themes, I think that Wren and Anderson’s story was exactly what it needed to be.  I loved that we got little parts of other people’s stories interwoven in Revelry and how Wren and Anderson used those love stories to help them work through their own.  Some of the most emotional parts of the book really had nothing to do with Wren and Anderson, and that was really wonderful, to me.

If I had one wish for this book, it would be to have more about Anderson’s past.  I felt like I knew Wren’s story so well, but I wasn’t nearly as in touch with Anderson’s.  Sure, the broad strokes were there, but I felt it was sugar-coated.  As I look back, I see that only knowing the surface of his story was very much in keeping with his personality, but a girl can always wish.

My favorite part of the book was the end, not because of an HEA, not because of who does or does not get together, but because it felt real.  There were no promises of forever, no guarantees that anyone would always be happy, but everyone had exactly what they needed, what made them happiest, in that moment.  And I loved that, no one is ever promised more than the happiness of a single moment and the fact that Kandi Steiner wrote her book in that way felt special and unique.

I had just grabbed my oversized hat and slipped my sunglasses on when I spotted Anderson walking up the drive with a large trash bag slung over his shoulder. He wore a simple, black V-neck and distressed jeans, an outfit way too dark and hot for the heat. A light sheen of sweat gathered on his neck as he made his way toward my cabin, his eyes hidden behind all-black sunglasses.

“Change your mind?” I asked, not even fighting the grin on my face as I walked outside and leaned against the banister.

Anderson squinted up at me, his boots heavy as they hit each stair. “About?”

“Tubing?” I asked. That was why he was here, right?

“Oh.” He shook his head as he hit the top stair, shrugging the bag off his shoulders to hold it by the neck in one fist. “No, I have somewhere to be…” His voice trailed off, and even through the tinted shades of his glasses I felt his eyes on my chest. I’d strapped on my favorite boho print bathing suit and paired it with a dainty gold chain that wrapped around my neck once before dipping between my chest and crossing over my ribs.

He sniffed, holding the bag out toward me. “I just came to drop these off. My clothes. Well, the ones that could probably use a little TLC.”

My eyes lit up and I reached for the bag, but Anderson snatched it back, brows shooting up into his forehead.

“No frills, Wren.”

I threw my hands up in surrender. “I promise.”

He smirked, just slightly, and handed the bag over, tucking his hands in his front pockets.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come?” I asked, peering into the bag at my project before setting it just inside the cabin and locking the door behind me.

“I can’t,” he said, lips pressed together. He was tense, the muscles on his forearms tight as he glanced around at pretty much everything but me.

I opened my mouth to ask why but was cut off by the sound of a truck flying into my drive, tires sliding against the gravel.

Tucker was in the driver’s seat with Davie in the passenger. Sarah and Yvette sat in the back, laughing with their hands up as the truck skidded to a stop. They were both sprawled out on a pile of tubes, wearing bathing suit tops and tiny shorts.

All of their faces froze when they saw Anderson.

“Hey, you ready, Wren?” Tucker asked warily, his eyes moving from where Anderson stood in front of me, to me, and back again.

“Yeah, one sec!” I called back.

I turned to Anderson, but his eyes were hard on Tucker, jaw ticking under his skin. When he faced me once more, an anchor fell from my throat into the pit of my stomach, immobilizing me completely. Because even though I ‘d tried to convince myself I was wrong, I recognized the look in his eyes.

Possession.

And when his nose flared and he took one big step toward me, our chests brushing, his hand reaching out to rest almost imperceptibly on my hip, the anchor in my stomach exploded into flames, burning a desire so fierce I inhaled a toxic breath and didn’t let it go.

“Be careful, okay?” His eyes locked on mine just before he leaned in and swiftly kissed my cheek.

He turned on his heel and jogged down the stairs and past the truck. Sarah called his name, but he didn’t acknowledge her, just kept his gaze forward until he’d disappeared from view.

And then everyone looked at me.

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of the press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.

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Review Blitz ~ Mr. Moneybags by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Authors
Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

 I met Bianca in an elevator.

She was on her way to interview me when we got stuck.

The beautiful, raven-haired reporter assumed I was a delivery guy because of the way I was dressed.

She had no clue I was really Dex Truitt, the wealthy, successful businessman she’d dubbed “Mister Moneybags”—her afternoon appointment.

Bianca told me how much she hated Dex’s type—snobby, over-educated, silver- spooned men who didn’t appreciate the simple things in life.

So, after the elevator finally started moving again, I cancelled the interview and let her believe I was someone I wasn’t—a bike messenger named Jay. I loved the way she looked at the fake me and didn’t want it to end.

I began dating her as “Jay”—all the while letting her interview the real me over email.

I didn’t expect that our chemistry online would be just as hot.

I didn’t expect the mess I’d gotten myself into.

I didn’t expect that Jay and Dex would fall in love with her.

And she was falling for two men.

Only, both men were me.

And when she found out, we were both going to lose her.

Nothing could have prepared me for that day. And I certainly wasn’t prepared for what came after.

All good things must come to an end, right?
Except our ending was one I didn’t see coming.

Read the First Chapter here

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I’m not sure what I was expecting from Mister Moneybags but it wasn’t what I read, for sure.  Even as I write this I’m not sure if I understand why the book took the turns it did.  It felt… strange, off, forced.  Parts of it just didn’t work for me.  Perhaps because if an author is going to toe the line Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward did in this book, I prefer the book to go all the way there.  Also, because that little bit of tension that was thrown in at the end seems like it should have been enough to carry an entire book and I really would have enjoyed that.

Mister Moneybags, despite its tiny foray into the taboo, was a light fun read.  It was an interesting take on the rich man/average girl trope.  It was interesting to see Bianca have all of the power in the relationship despite the fact could have easily been overbearing and controlling given his position in the business and social hierarchy.  It was also very refreshing to see a person who’d been raised without wanting for anything be so down to earth and have the self-awareness to see when his privilege was coloring his perception of things.  I quite enjoyed the juxtaposition of what was expected from the characters with the reality of how they actually behaved.

I did have a hard time with some of Dex’s internal dialogue.  It seemed strange and stilted, and, to me, it took away from the experience of the book.  I am a firm believer in show, don’t tell when I read and this affected that for me.  While I know not everyone reads in the same way or even have similar thought processes, I would have liked to have seen these little asides dealt with differently.  I also felt like the first two-thirds, or so, of the book and the last third, though loosely linked by the common theme of deception, were almost two different stories.  I knew that it was meant to be the conflict leading to the ultimate climax of the book, but it just felt incongruous to how the story started.

Overall, Mister Moneybags was enjoyable and would be a great read for someone who wants to try something a little new, a little different, someone who wants to read a book that flirts with the idea of things not discussed in polite society.  I’d really love to see what Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward would if they threw caution to the wind and completely blurred the line between what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Vi Keeland

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in fourteen languages. She lives in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

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Penelope Ward

Penelope Ward is a New York Times, USA Today, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of thirteen novels. With over a million books sold, her titles have placed on the New York Times Bestseller list fifteen times. She is the proud mother of a beautiful 12-year-old girl with autism (the inspiration for the character Callie in Gemini) and a 10-year-old boy. Penelope, her husband, and kids reside in Rhode Island.

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Blog Tour ~ Only series by Cristin Harber ~ Sarah A’s Review

Grayson Ford and Emma Kingsley–close since they were kids, opposites in every way. He’s the stuff high school crushes are made of, Mister Popular, and captain of every team. She’s artsy, cute, and not in his league, though fully aware of Summerland’s “I Dream of Dating Grayson Ford” support group.

I can’t say no. The girl’s had my heart since before I knew it went missing.

He hides a life of hell. His father hates him, his mother’s gone. Emma is his only savior, yet she doesn’t know her power over him. She’s the only girl he wants, the only one he could ever tell–though he won’t.

I’m stronger, bigger, more of a man than he’ll ever be, but because I ruined his life, I’ve taken his crap, his attacks, the vulgar nature of his existence.

Until she discovers Gray’s embarrassment, his humiliation. Emma fights for him and for a chance. Theirs is a Cinderella story that she believes impossible. But as the layers peel back, it’s just a guy who needs a girl in order to keep breathing.

My mind is already doodling Mrs. Grayson Ford in imaginary notebooks. He has no clue where my head is at… But, given that I didn’t see what just happened coming, maybe I have no clue where his head is at either.

Only for Him. Only series, Volume One.

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The second installment in the Only series. Must read book one first!!

First loves never die but Grayson Ford comes close. Bleeding out in a war zone, he barters with God. Bring him back alive, and he’ll make it right with his girl.

All I want is Emma. I need her, and I fight for her memory. A story. A smile. Anything. But it’s all blank.

Emma is not his girl anymore. Time has skipped by and life’s been hard. She strips to pay the bills, waitresses to fill the hours between classes and her third job. All while working to be the best mama she can be to the little girl who will never know her daddy. Even though Grayson abandoned her, she mourned his death. Until he calls, and everything she knew was wrong.

It’s him. The him that ruined my life. That made my life. That confused my mind to the point that I can’t figure out if I’ve been destroyed or set free. The him that… is… dead.

He’s back with one objective–Emma Kingsley–and she never sees it coming.

Only for Her. Only series, Volume Two.

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The third installment of the Only series. Must be read in order.

Grayson and Emma. First love. True love. And… they have a daughter. Abandonment is his curse. He left his woman, survived his team, and missed the moment most precious to a father. Until now.

I didn’t know you were killing yourself with work. I didn’t know you’re raising our daughter. So help me God, had I known, there is no military force on earth that would’ve kept me from you.

Love needs to heal all, or they won’t survive the collision of their separate lives. Emma must reach deep into her heart that is barely hanging on and find forgiveness. Grayson, wrecked with PTSD-filled nightmares, must prove that he’s here to stay and able to rebuild his family against all odds.

I need to say I love you. But what I mean is I love you–in a way that defies definition and exists only in a world that you and I are in.

Only for Us.  Only series, volume three.

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The fourth and final installment of the Only series. Must be read in order.

There comes a time when Emma must face the secret she kept from Grayson. But she never thought it would be while she stood on stage at Emerald’s. The seconds she has to convey that her life is in danger are lost in the devastation that she sees rip through him.

She pinches her eyes closed. “Don’t leave me. No matter how mad you are, please, please don’t leave me here alone.”

But there’s more on the line than just Emma’s safety. There’s the danger that brought Titan’s Delta team in to the strip club in the first place. A threat that’s too close to home, too close to the family, the daughter and woman Grayson plans to claim.

I push away the sudden spring of fear. Life’s too unknown, with hidden enemies and unseen terrors. The idea that I could lose her again… it’s unbearable.

A love story like Grayson and Emma needs a forever love, and somehow they’ll find their way to her fairytale.

Only Forever. Only series, volume four.

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Only for Him

Holy Cliffhanger!  I am beyond grateful I have Only for Her to jump straight into.  I’m not sure my heart could handle leaving Grayson and Emma in the place we did for long.

Though this book was very, very short – by my standards – it was jam-packed with hard-hitting issues and emotions.  The book moves quickly and I found the beginning to be a little jarring, as the scenes and timelines switch so frequently.  It was immediately obvious the reasoning behind the swift timeline, I only wish I’d had a little more time to settle into the roller coaster that was the beginning of Emma and Grayson’s story.

I loved the dynamic between Emma and Grayson.  The balance they brought to one another, particularly the peace Emma gave Grayson when he so desperately needed it, was lovely.  The juxtaposition of nearly every aspect of their live gave an interesting dynamic to their coupling.  I particularly enjoyed the softness Emma was able to see and bring out in Grayson’s normally hard persona.

Cristin Harber wrote a hard-hitting beginning to her Only series in Only for Him.  When I first started the book, I was unsure of the writing but I because to engrossed with Emma and Grayson’s story I was no longer concerned with it.  I believe with a little time and devotion Ms. Harber won’t leave me even a brief moment to question her writing and it will quickly be on par with the stories she tells.

Only for Her

A little bit too sweet, a smidge too cliché, a lot sad, and altogether wonderful.  I freaking loved Only for Her.

The pacing of this series, thus far, had been great.  Its break-neck speed keeps me wholly engrossed in Emma and Grayson’s story.  It is so nice to not have chapters full of back and forth, will they or won’t they, everything is laid out quickly and plainly.  This writing style is perfection for a novella series.  I feel completely satisfied with the story given while desperately needing the next installment so I can continue finding out what will happen with Grayson and Emma.

I’m really happy Cristin Harber gave us the insight to what each of their liveswase like without the other.  I don’t think their reunion would have been so poignant without that.  There were moments, both before and during their reunion that made me heart hurt for them.  They had been through so much, I needed them to start to find healing in each other.  I can’t wait to see haw they deal with the fallout of finding their way back into each other’s lives.

Cristin Harber seems to have hit her stride in Only for Her.  It had none of the awkwardness of the first book and completely drew me in.  By the time I got to Grayson and Emma reconnecting, I was so engrossed in the story the rest of the book flew by without me even realizing I was nearing the end.

Only for Us

While I did enjoy Only for Us, it has been my least favorite book in the series.  There were a few moments that were great, but a lot that felt like filler.  It was fairly obvious, to me, this novella was primarily to set up whatever huge events will be happening in the final book.  Had this novella series been a single novel, I would describe Only for Us as the calm before the storm.

Only for Us may have been lacking in the intensity of the first two books, but there were several wonderful moments in it.  The best being those moments when Grayson is able to meet and interact with the daughter he never knew existed.  Those moments were among the best in the entire series.

Some of the scenes in Only for Us were likely the most important of the series.  One, in particular, was life-changing for Grayson, but I wish it was given more time and attention.  Maybe it was as brief as it was to show how little sway that part of the past held for Grayson, but I hoped for more.

Only Forever

I have mixed feelings about how this series ended.  I loved how Grayson and Emma’s story wrapped up, but I have SO many questions about Titan and Delta team and everything that went down with Emerald.  So. Many. Questions.  I think perhaps it was meant to be that way, as I’ll certainly be adding those series to my reading list.

The first third or so of Only Forever was rife with action.  So much so, I found myself having to go back and reread sections because I’d been so engrossed in the broad strokes of what was going on I missed the important details that were happening around the periphery.  It felt much like I’d imagine a situation like that being.  So much tension, preparation, and anticipation culminating in an intense burst of activity that is hard to take in all at once.  The way it was written perfectly captured the frantic pace of a high-risk operation.

The hope and healing that took place in the bulk of the end of the book was heart-melting.  The beauty of the moments in which Grayson realized Emma, Cally, Ryan, and the rest of the Kingsleys were always his family were incredibly touching.  Seeing him finally find the love and acceptance he always deserved was sublime.

Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

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Blog Tour & Sarah A’s Review ~ Forbidden Dance by Deanna Roy

 Shy tender Livia has always been sheltered from the vulgar world of technology, television, and social media. At nineteen, she knows little of life beyond her immediate family, church, and the Dreamcatcher Dance Academy, where she studies ballet and assists a teacher with a group of spunky, beautiful dance students in wheelchairs.

Then comes Blitz Craven, the disgraced star of Dance Blitz, a bawdy, often-censored reality show where Blitz sleeps with as many dancers as possible under the guise of finding his perfect partner. His connections lead him to Livia, where the wheelchair ballerinas are his ticket back into the public’s good graces.

Blitz takes one look at the sweet talented Livia and he wants her. But Livia isn’t as naive as she seems, and her biggest, most tender secret is not going to be unraveled by a sexy muscled dancer who stands for everything she’s ever guarded herself against.

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Though I’ve been aware of Deanna Roy for some time, I had yet to actually read any of her work.  I will admit, after reading Forbidden Dance, that was a mistake.  I loved the writing in this book, maybe more so than I did the story, not that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the story she wrote, but it was the writing that drew me in.

Livia and Blitz’ story was quick, sweet, and altogether a lovely read.  It lacked a bit of the intensity I crave, likely because there is an entire back story we don’t really know about Livia, but there was enough intrigue to keep me invested in what was going to happen with their love story.  When the story first began they both seemed to be playing the part the people around them had written for them, but as the story progressed they found the strength in each other to shed those façades in favor of who they were beneath the surface.  In finding the strength to be themselves, they also found an unwavering happiness in each other’s arms.

I really wanted to rate this book higher and I almost did, but when I sat down and really considered how the book left me feeling and the fact that it was billed as part of a series of stand-alone, full-length, HEAs, I was left wanting.  There were too many things that weren’t wrapped up about how Livia ended up living like she did for me to feel like it was a stand-alone.  I hope that the next book, Wounded Dance, more thoroughly explores Livia’s past and answers a lot of those questions that I still have.

 

Each book is a standalone full-length HEA.

Wounded Dance (April 14, 2017)
Wicked Dance (April 28, 2017)
Tender Dance (May 12, 2017)
Final Dance (June 6, 2017)

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Deanna Roy is the six-time USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction.

She is a passionate advocate for women who have lost babies. She has several books on the subject, including her bestseller FOREVER INNOCENT, a romance about a couple whose baby is taken off life support at seven days old.

She has run the website PregnancyLoss.Info for fifteen years, including many large spin-off support groups both online and in person.

To learn about new releases, sign up for her subscriber list at http://deannaroy.com/news. She has regular giveaways in conjunction with major pregnancy loss events.

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Blog Tour Review & Giveaway – The Best Man by @BarbieBohrman

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Today we have the blog tour for The Best Man by Barbie Bohrman! Check it out and grab your copy today!

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Title: THE BEST MAN

Author: Barbie Bohrman

Genre: Contemporary romance

About The Best Man:

Veronica Webber is single again after being in a loveless marriage way past its expiration date. For the first time in a very long time, she feels free and after being burned so badly by love in the past, any thought of romance is the last thing on her mind.

In walks a man from her past, Trevor Allen, a tall, dark, and handsome womanizer who is usually all about the bottom line. For Trevor that bottom line has always been made up of the countless notches on his bedpost. But when he sees Veronica after so many years, he can’t help but be drawn to her and know her again… even if that means being friend-zoned from the start.

As this unlikely pair spends more and more time together, they quickly realize that there might be something between them that goes past “just friends.” But there’s just one tiny detail that makes this situation slightly more complicated… Trevor was Veronica’s ex-husband’s best man at their wedding nine years ago.

So when past mistakes and indiscretions come back to haunt them, will their happily ever after end before it even gets started?

Or will the best man win this time.

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Patricia’s Review

The Best Man is a light and fun read with likeable characters, witty banter, and laughter inducing text messages. This friends-to-lovers tale, hailed as a romantic comedy, was charming and enjoyable.

There was an obvious chemistry between Veronica and Trevor despite their determination to keep the relationship in the friend-zone. Watching them fight the pull was frustrating but watching them succumb to the magnetism made it worthwhile in this slow-burning romance.

I don’t generally gravitate toward rom-coms but the promise of friends-to-lovers reeled me in. Bohrman did a great job of writing organic humor that did not read like some of the simulated rom-com’s I’ve encountered in the past. There was no eye-rolling or annoyance with fabricated comedy so kudos to the author.

I enjoyed this first installment of the Allen brothers series from Bohrman and I am looking forward to the next one slated to release August 2017.

Overall Rating: 3 Stars
*I was provided a complimentary copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About Barbie Bohrman:

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Barbie Bohrman dreamed of becoming an author. Long after she had given up, a book club’s prologue contest enticed her to give it one more go. What emerged were the beginnings of her debut novel, Promise Me. Now she’s living her dream and writing stories that entice readers to escape and break away from reality. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to get through the books on her Kindle (more than a thousand at last count) or watching Lost or Seinfeld. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

Connect with Barbie:

FB ~ GR ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Website ~ Amazon

Enter Barbie’s Giveaway:

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Blog Tour Schedule:

March 29th

Elle lim Review

Books and Tequila Review

What Is That Book About Excerpt

Bound By Books Book Review Review

Sip Read Love Review

March 30th

a geordielass honest blog on reviews Review

A Literary Perusal Review

Friends Till The End Book Blog Excerpt

All Romance Reviews Review

SBB Reviews Review

MammieBabbie Review

March 31st

Booked All Night Review

Mixed Emotions Book Blog Review

Bookishly yours Review

Sweet Red Reads Review

Musings of the Modern Belle Review

A Novel Glimpse Review

Reviews from the Heart Review

April 1st

Books and Tequila Review

Woman who stare at books Excerpt

Books and Things Blog Review

Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog Excerpt

April 2nd

From the TBR Pile Review

Fire And Ice Book Reviews Review

Evermore Books Excerpt

The Bohemian Bookworm Review

April 3rd

Readers Retreats Excerpt

The Ordinary Housewife Book Blog Review

Ramblings From This Chick Review

April 4th

My Slanted Bookish Ramblings Review

Briar’s Reviews Excerpt

Ashley Book Blog Review

April 5th

Shannon’s Book Blog Review

Books n Wine Review

Summer’s Eve Reads Review

April 6th

Two Girls with Books Review

Once Upon a romance blog Review

kdrbck Review

April 7th

The Escapist Book Blog Review

three chicks and their books Review

Book Bitches Blog Review

April 8th

Beneath The Covers Blog Excerpt

Nose Stuck in a Book Excerpt

April 9th

I’m A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore Review

We Like It Big Book Blog Review

Stephanie’s Book Reports Review

Jax’s Book Magic Excerpt

A Naughty Girl’s Novel World Review

Abibliophobia Anonymous Book Reviews Excerpt

April 10th

Shahla’s bookcorner Review

Four CHicks Flipping Pages Review

Alphas Do It Better Book Blog Review

Angels With Attitude Book Reviews Excerpt

April 11th

Shelly’s Book Corner Review

Dirty Girl Romance Review

Engaging Secrets Review

EskieMama Reads & Dragon Lady Reads Excerpt

Battery Operated Book Blog Review

G & T’s Indie Café Excerpt

Channelling Colee Review

Tanya the book obsessed momma Review

After Dark Book Lovers Review

Review Blitz ~ Say I’m Yours by Corinne Michaels ~ Sarah A’s Review

From New York Times Bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new second chance standalone romance.

I spent twenty years waiting for Trent Hennington to open his eyes and see me. But it was all for nothing. He chose to keep himself guarded and let me walk away, proving that my time and efforts were wasted.

I’m done being invisible.
It’s time to move on.

A single dance sets my new reality into motion, and I welcome it. After all, Cooper Townsend is perfect. He’s kind, sexy, and attentive–everything a girl could want.

I thought I got it right this time.
That my heart could mend, and I would be happy.
Apparently, some things really are just too hard to walk away from.

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I was equal parts excited and sad that I was finally getting the final Hennington brother’s book.  They were all so wonderful and unique, it was hard to know this was the last of their stories.  Bell Buckle was a fun and wonderful place to get to visit in the pages of these books and I can only hope that we will be able to check in with all the folks we met there in future works by Corinne.

Going in to Say I’m Yours I wasn’t sure who I was rooting for in terms of Grace finding a forever love.  I knew I wanted Trent, Cooper, and Grace to be happy, I just wasn’t sure who would make each of them most content.  I was worried there was too much water under the Trent and Grace bridge, that the feelings between Cooper and Grace were too platonic for anything serious. I almost wanted there to be a whole new set of love interests so I wouldn’t have to see one of the people I’d grown to love over the course of the other books get hurt.  Corinne, of course, knew exactly what she was doing and crafted this story in a way where each person came out whole and having learned more about themselves and what they needed to be happy.

While I loved Grace and the strength she seemed to have gained between the beginning of Say You’ll Stay and the end of Say I’m Yours and I appreciated how amazing a man Cooper was throughout this book (despite my less than kind feelings toward him in Say You’ll Stay), it was Trent who completely won me over in this book.  Watching him grapple with his own fears and insecurities, seeing him learn what he needed and figure out how to hold on to the people he loved most in the world was at times heartbreaking, but ultimately wholly satisfying.

Once again Corinne Michaels delivers a book that is intense, surprising, and gratifying.  When I read my first Corinne Michaels book I knew I’d found someone whose books were exactly the kind of stories I love.  She has yet to disappoint me, if anything her books have become more meaningful and in line with my reading tastes.  Each book tells a beautiful love story and touches on topics that are dark, life-changing and intense.  Ms. Michaels always stays true to her characters and the reactions they have to those life-changing events feels completely authentic.  If she hadn’t already won me over with her Salvation series, I would have declared my allegiance to her books after reading the Hennington brother’s books.

LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxUHk9DaA6M

Corinne Michaels is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author of The Salvation Series (Beloved, Beholden, Consolation, Conviction & Defenseless), Say You’ll Stay, Say You Want Me, and Say I’m Yours. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness.

Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha heroes are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.

 

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GIVEAWAY & Release Blitz ~ Breaking Gravity by Autumn Grey ~ Sarah A’s Review

I’ve always followed my dreams with ruthless determination.

My life was going well. Success was at my fingertips.

Until it wasn’t.

All it took was three seconds to send my world crashing down around me, ripping my dreams to shreds.

Then I meet her, with her large hazel eyes that slay me at first glance.

And everything starts to make sense again.

I try to keep my distance.

To remind myself I am her mentor.

That we can’t be more,

but every time I push away, I’m pulled deeper into her.

The line between student and teacher is blurring.

One kiss.

One taste.

They’re all it would take to cross the line.

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The thing I regret most about my experience in reading this book is that I didn’t reread Fall Back Skyward right before I started.  These books have overlapping timelines and I hadn’t read Nor’s story since shortly after it released in May of 2016, understandably I had forgotten a lot of what had transpired in that book and I feel like having that all fresh in my mind would have made Breaking Gravity so much more impactful.  Throughout the story, I continually regretted my decision to not do a reread.  I will definitely be scheduling a series reread before the next book in the series comes out.  Just for clarifications sake, I would like to assure you these books are interconnected stand-alones and can be read without having read the other books, but I would highly recommend reading the books in order and the series in full.

Elon and Nathaniel had both been horribly scarred by love, both physically and emotionally.  Elon, however, made the decision to continue living whether she was destined for love or not.  Nathaniel chose to live in his pain, grieving the loss of the things he loved most in the world became the crux of his existence.  They were so similar, both so damaged, so alone, yet wildly different in the ways they faced the world after the events that changed their lives so terribly.  It was these differences, these completely different world views, coupled with the acuity of their pain, that made Elon and Nathaniel such perfect partners.  Each of their strengths and weaknesses were perfect counterpoints to the other.

Breaking Gravity was deeply moving and quite different from other student/teacher romances.  There were honestly times when I forgot Elon and Nate had a student/teacher relationship at all because they seemed on a completely level playing field outside of the classroom, if anything Elon often had the upper hand in matters of the heart.  I have a deep appreciation for how Autumn Grey depicted the quiet strength Elon possessed and how she used that strength to both her own heart and Nate’s.

I would have loved to have seen the end of the book explored more thoroughly.  I appreciate that the loose ends were tied up as well as they could be, while still leaving room for the next book in the series, but it felt rushed to me.  After an otherwise well-written and purposeful book the last few chapters didn’t have the same feeling or tempo as what had come before.  I always prefer a show, don’t tell approach to storytelling and that aspect of the ending feel short, for me.

Autumn Grey has proven to me, over the course of the two books of hers I’ve read, that she is someone to pay attention to.  Her stories are important and fresh, her writing allows me to get lost in words that I love.  I am sure that her artistry will continue to provide poignant and innovative storylines.  I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next and the ways she’ll make me feel those words deep in my heart.

Fall Back Skyward (Fall Back #1) by Autumn Grey

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Autumn Grey is the author of Havoc, Obliterate, Mend (Havoc series) and Fall Back Skyward. And just like her characters, she is quirky, sometimes funny and definitely flawed. She writes sexy contemporary romances full of drama, steamy kisses and happy ever afters.

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