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Bookish and Sweet Reads

I love to read. It's always been my solace, and though the themes and covers may have changed, the excitement of immersing myself in the pages of a book has never diminished! So here's the chance to get into my thoughts and rambles; my loves and misses; and meet the books that make me soar :)

Currently reading

Bad Things (Tristan & Danika, #1)
R.K. Lilley
Walking Disaster
Jamie McGuire
The Only One - Magan Vernon description

"I want to be your knight in shining armor. To take away the pain. I've never felt like this before and whatever we have, I don't want to lose it" - John Boy

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

After reading The Only Exception, I was more than excited when Magan Vernon announced that a sequel was in the works. Then I heard John Boy was the main character...and I had a head scratch moment. Trey's frat boy brother? I mean come on...a guy named John Boy?

Yup, I've learned my lesson. Number one: Never judge a person by their outward appearance. Number two: Never, ever, ever, judge a fictional character by their outward appearance...because trust me, John Boy Walden made me smile, laugh and swoon!

So basically, the gist of the story is that Melanie, Monica's best friend attends a Halloween Party with Monica and Trey at the Alpha Mu house. Not even a minute into the book, Melanie crashes into John Boy, wearing a loincloth...and nothing else. As you can imagine, sparks (and a little bit of lust) fly, and though Monica warns Melanie off, she and John can't resist one another. Just as things heat up, Melanie receives news that has the potential to throw a permanent wrench in the burgeoning relationship.

I like Magan Vernon as an author; her writing has a good flow and she really has a knack for creating characters that feel real; who go through both highs and lows. Her depiction of college life is really spot on, and that's coming from a college student herself. Still, as I mentioned, my favorite part of Magan's writing, is her characters.

My favorite character, by far in both The Only Exception and The Only One, was John Boy. Though I judged him harshly, John Boy won me over with his easy smiles and charm. Like me, John Boy knows other people judge him, but there's a lot more to the frat boy than he ever lets on. Except for Melanie. From the start, though neither of them knows how to define their relationship, it's clear that she's his exception. He wants to care for Melanie, but he also wants her too see beyond what everyone else does. It doesn't hurt that's he's also funny as hell!

The other main character in this was Melanie. We were first introduced to her in The Only Exception, as one of Monica's oldest friends. With this one, we get to see past the shy girl, to one who loves Harry Potter books and never has a clue how awesome she is [though John makes it his mission to constantly remind her :)] During the story she gets a bit of news that rocks her existence (though I wont spoil it for you) and make her unsure as to what's next. Through it all though, she has John's constant support. That, combined with her sister's, Valerie, attention really helped in pulling Melanie out from the dark place she found herself in. My only complaint, in regards to Melanie was that her pity party (Valerie's words, not mine) got more than a bit annoying after a while, making me wish Melanie would pull her head out of her butt sooner.

Still, I loved John and Melanie together. Like Trey and Monica, these two are very different people, who nonetheless feel a pull to one another. Rather than fall into an insta-love situation, there's a push and pull that forces these two to get to know one another, making it even sweeter when they really start to fall for each other. Everything from the cheesecake, to the makeout sessions on the couch, to the first date...John and Melanie were great together. And that epilogue...awesome! Trey and Monica also made more than a few appearances, and I was glad to see them so happy as a couple, even if they still liked their political debates ;)

Magan Vernon's story was sexy, fun, heavy at times, but incredibly light in others; making it for a great afternoon read. It was a very good follow up to the Only Exception and will have me wanting to read what this author puts out next. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is that I wish some of the feel from the first chapters had permeated more into the middle of the book, because that's when it got a bit frustrating. Still, it's a good book and I recommend both this and the one before it!

My John Boy:


My Melanie (I know she doesn't have freckles, but it's more of a gist):


Carter Reed - Tijan A dark, fast-paced, intense romance...and I loved it!

Emma's in trouble, and not just with anyone one, but the mob. With no where to turn, she heeds her late brother's advice, and heads to the one person she fears may be the only one who will help her...Carter Reed.

The relationship between Carter and Emma was intense. Though some may argue it was too instant, I fell into it just as much as I fell into everything else this book provided. Though Emma could get a bit whiny, I loved her strength in the beginning and how even though she's the one in need of help, all she cares about is Carter being safe.

Carter Reed..swoon central. He was fierce, and at the end of the day, his only concern was Emma...nothing else. Hell, he was willing to get rid of Theresa, but then again she was acting like an airhead about the situation, so I wasn't surprised

My only complaint is that the side characters could have been fleshed out a little better. We are introduced to quite a few in the beginning, but I wish we could have gotten a better understanding of them. Still, this book was so hard to put down, that I couldn't care.

There was action, romance, and lots of swoon...so basically, read it. Especially if your looking for something different in the NA genre.
The Gamble (Colorado Mountain, #1) - Kristen Ashley 2.5 stars

Excruciatingly long. What started out as a sweet story, quickly went down hill into a rambling, and long, side-character show. If this had been better edited, it could have been a favorite for me.
Safe With Me (With Me in Seattle, #5) - Kristen Proby By far, the best one yet in the series!

Like [b:Rock With Me|17201104|Rock With Me (With Me in Seattle, #4)|Kristen Proby|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1364925537s/17201104.jpg|23676597], I devoured this one in less than 24 hours, and my only regret is that now I have to wait for the next one!

Still, this series gets better and better with each book. I love how Kristen Proby incorporates all the characters from previous books into each new book. The whole Montgomery/Williams/Mckenna clan is such a hoot and I adore the scenes were all the gang appears...especially the girls!

Back to this story, I loved Brynna and Caleb as a couple! For more than a few books now, its been hinted that something was going on between them, but I loved how it went about. I liked that Brynna called Caleb out on his bull, but I also loved how protective Caleb was about Brynna and her daughters. There was an awesome chemistry between them and I really enjoyed when they were together. Maddie and Josie (Brynna's daughter) were so cute and I loved how they conned the guys into getting them those American Girl dolls!. Finally, the wedding scene was my absolute favorite. Caleb's vows to Brynna's daughters and later Brynna had me in such happy tears! And I'm so glad Caleb gets his chance at having his own family. All in all, though I wasn't sure about this series when I first started it, it is now a must read now for me as will any other book Kristen Proby writes. Now, I'm anxiously waiting for Matt's book,[b:Tied With Me|17201111|Tied With Me (With Me in Seattle, #6)|Kristen Proby|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|23676605], especially after that snippet of him and Nic at the end!
Untouched (Cedar Cove, #0.5) - Melody Grace I really enjoyed this prequel! If I thought I loved Emerson before, I fell even harder for him this time around! To those who have read Unbroken (and if you haven't, you should), this short story outlines what happened between Emerson and Juliet the summer they met. I loved how we got more insight into Emerson's home life. It made me sympathize that much more with both with him and Brit. At the same time, I also enjoyed watching Juliet fall for Emerson.

As you might know, this isn't Juliet and Emerson HEA quite yet. Even so, I loved the ending, especially that last line! My only complaint is that, after reading Unbroken, I wished we would have gotten more scenes from Juliet and Emerson's summer; but maybe that's just me asking too much ;) Point it is, I'm really enjoying Melody Grace's series.

Unbroken - Melody Grace 4.5 stars

Really enjoyed this and powered through it in one sitting. It's the kind of feel good romance I needed, but it also wrung out some emotion out of me! I loved Emerson and Juliet, but what I really enjoyed was Melody Grace as an author. Can't wait to see what she puts out next!
The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence, #1) - Jessica Sorensen This to me was just good. I think that if this was the first book I read from Jessica Sorensen, my rating would have been that much higher. That said, it wasn't, because I had the pleasure of reading Ella and Micha's story before this. Compared to that, this story paled.

Yes, I did like the characters and followed their storyline pretty well, but I didn't find myself really caring about them, not really. Also, there was a lot of heavy stuff that kind of made it hard to believe Kayden and Callie would want to enter into a romantic relationship. The ending was more of a none-ending than a cliffhanger, and while I didn't enjoy it, I also didn't feel that gut-wrenching sorrow most people have expressed having felt in their reviews.

What I'm trying to say is, I neither hated nor loved this. It was an okay read, but I really wish (after having seen what Sorensen can do) that this had been a much more impacting and compelling read for me.
Slammed - Colleen Hoover "Does he treat you with respect at all times? That's the first question. The second question is, if he is the exact same person twenty years from now that he is today, would you still want to marry him? And finally, does he inspire to be a better person? You find someone you can answer yes to all three, then you've found a good man.”

Awesome...such an awesome book!

I loved everything about it! The build-up, the romance, Kel and Caulder, Eddie...and Will, I especially adored Will., Point is, this book isn't shallow or cliché. It's simple, and in it's simplicity is where I found the beauty.

Let me explain, even though this is technically a book with many heart wrenching moments, I never felt overwhelmed by anything. Hoover's direct and simple prose kept me riveted to this story, falling in love with her characters and their world, while at the same time I wanted to know all that more about them. Will and Lake's journey was so much more than a love story; it was one about trust and acceptance and learning how to find balance with cards life has dealt you. All in all it was an incredible read and one that has me wanting to devour the next two :D
The Mighty Storm (The Storm, #1) - Samantha Towle After giving this a week, and several eye rolls on my part, it's a DFN for me at 60%. Ugh, never have I met a more dysfunctional couple than these two. Tru acted like a child and Jake was not sexy at all in my opinion
No One's Angel - Kelly  Walker “You’ll always be my Angel. If I have to, I’ll build you new wings.”

First off, I want to thank Netgalley and the author for the opportunity to review this ARC.

From the get go, when I saw the book blurb, I knew I had to read this. New Adult, which is what the author classified this as, is a really fun genre for me. Some of my recent favorites, book wise, are New Adult. That said, even with a genre that’s so young, a lot of tropes and clichés are still arsing so it’s always nice to see unique storylines. A book like this, where the characters meet online, playing a virtual game no less, is definitely unique for me.
I’m sad to say though, this wasn’t a favorite for m. I’ll get to why now.

Tess is a college dropout, who at the beginning of the book has used up all her funds into getting to Philadelphia, where her friend Arion lives. Tess, known as Angel, and Axel, known as Arion, are players in a virtual game called WarQuest, and not only do they meet and form a friendship, but they also start to have deeper feelings for one another. That is, until Angel stops playing. It’s now been a year since Arion’s heard from Angel, and that fact alone has slowly destroyed him. Little was he prepared then to see the girl he possible loved standing at his doorstep on a random Sunday night. It’s obvious Angel is running, but from what, not even Arion is completely sure at the start. That doesn’t mean he’s losing her again; no matter what happens, Arion’s keeping Angel.

The premise of this story as you can is good. I loved Arion, especially how committed he was to helping Angel heal, and while I initially like Angel, she honestly got on my nerves more than a few times before the story was over. I think where this story suffered the most, was in the actual execution of the storyline. All the elements for a good book where there: strong characters, nice setting, something a bit unusual, etc. Still, the majority of the events transpired in a week and that, combined with the fact that we knew so little about Angel and Arion’s past relationship, made it hard for me to really appreciate them as a a couple. At the same time, the problem Angel is running from is pretty big, but I thought she didn’t always handle things correctly. She’s the one who ran to Arion for help, but everytime he tried to do something nice for her, Angel pushed him away, to the point where she turned into a real b***h. I know some reviews have said Arion was a bit too possessive and maybe just as bad as Nick but I got where Arion was coming from and I thought Angel didn’t try to understand that all, which only helped in me liking her even less.

Still, the author had a good writing style and the story kept me hooked for the most part, if only to see what would happen next. I’m not completely sure I’d classify this as New Adult, since the events and characters felt a little bit out of that age range. Nonetheless, the story had a nice pace and I know many people might enjoy it.

Now, here’s one of my favorite Arion quotes, right after he gets Angel a mixed bouquet of lilies, and red and yellow roses.

“I know that right now, you aren't ready, and I’m okay with that. So I thought this would be a good way to show you friendship is enough for now, but that I won’t stop waiting and hoping for more. Someday our bouquet will be red.”
Keeping Her - Cora Carmack Way too short but it was so worth seeing these two again. I loved Garrick especially! My only complaint was that I'd wished we'd seen a bit further on into the future (maybe the wedding), but I was happy to see Garrick and Bliss live out more of their happy ending.
Off Limits (Off Series, #2) - Sawyer Bennett 3.5 stars

Okay, so I was new to Sawyer Bennett, until I read her latest book, [b:Off Course|18136455|Off Course (Off Series, #4)|Sawyer Bennett|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1373623519s/18136455.jpg|25477841], and loved it! For the most part, I knew that The Off Series' books can be read as standalones, so after, Off Course, I checked out the rest of the series and based on the reviews, I decided to read this one next.

Now don't get me wrong, this book is good, really good even at some points. It has a decent pace and the romance between Nix and Emily was nicely and slowly built, which I felt was appropriate considering all the things Nix had been through. I also enjoyed the dual POV that Bennett infused into her story, since it helped clear up everything and kept me endeared to Nix especially.

That said, it lacked some of the spark that made me fall for Bennett's other book (which I know it's unfair to maybe compare the two, but it is what it is I guess). I found Nix to be a bit too surly and I could't get a read on some of Emily's actions. Also, by having of lot of the action narrated and not shown (like many of the times they hung out), I'm not quite sure I felt the shift in their relationship between acquaintances (which with Nix's lack of communication is what these two were) to the whole being in love with one another. Still, this story has peaked my interest into reading others in the series and after loving Off Course, I know Sawyer Bennett has something about her writing that can make me fall for her stories.
Off Course (Off Series, #4) - Sawyer Bennett 4.5 stars

Inmensely enjoyed this one! Would have given it 5 stars but the last couple of chapters were just a bit flat for me. Even so, loved the characters, and especially Cillian and Renner.

What really sold me on this was the dual POV! I loved that though Cillian wanted to sleep with Renner, it wasn't a case of insta-love for him. He struggled with his feelings and eventually (when he got to know Renner) he really fell for her. Besides, I love a good alpha male, and Cillian checked all the boxes for that one! Also, in that sense, I enjoyed Renner's character as well and spending time with other side characters through her (especially her cousin). I liked that she was strong and wanting to learn from her past, which lead her to not being run over by Cillian's good looks or charm.

The whole Maeve situation was nicely played on Bennett's part. It gave great contrast to the story and made me want to throttle Cillian more than once! Still I loved that Cillian realized the truth on his own, without Renner having to tell him, because I agree that he probably wouldn't have believed her. Also, I love that Linc and Nix made Cillian sweat for his chance to get her back, because trust me, Cillian got pretty damn stupid there for a few chapters, so I loved seeing him have to grovel a bit.

All in all, the setting was so much fun, and the story had a good pace. It was an incredibly sweet romance, with a good amount of steam, and just the kind of read I needed after a heavy book :)
Into the Deep - Samantha Young “From the moment we’d met, he’d dragged me into the deep, swearing to me he was in there with me. It was a lie. He’d waded back out to the shallows and left me to drown”

First off, I want to thank Samantha Young, not for providing me this ARC (because that’s just the icing on the cake) but rather for being such an incredibly awesome writer! Honestly, if I thought this woman could write, her foray into the New Adult world blew my expectations out of the water! So now, without further ado, I’ll try and assemble my thoughts into some semblance of a review, because honestly, all I feel like doing is gushing.

This book starts off with Charley Redford, a seemingly normal college girl whose recently moved to Edinburgh, Scotland with her best friend, Claudia, to spend the year studying abroad. As part of them trying to integrate themselves into their new environment, they attend a party a new friend, Beck, invites them to. Not even a few minutes into the party Charley sees him – Jacob Caplin – her ex-boyfriend and the one person Charley never prepared herself to see again, lest a whole continent away from where they first met. From the get-go, just from reading through all the emotions Charley experiences from catching Jake's gaze randomly at a party, I was left breathless. It’s clear to the reader (and to everyone else around her) that not only is Charley not over her ex, but whatever happened between them clearly shattered this girl. And so the story begins.

For the most part, though the story is all told from Charley’s perspective in present time, about three quarters of the book also includes alternating chapters that detail Charley and Jake’s relationship four years prior in Indiana. To be honest, I’m not a fan of retrospective in books…ever. I feel they have the potential to drag down a story, making them slower to get through (and even tedious). With that said, I can’t imagine Samantha Young telling this story any other way. Some of my favorites scenes in this book were from the retrospects! Not only did those chapters add a nice reprieve from all the heavy feelings and confusion that muddled Jake and Charley’s current situation, they also gave the reader a valuable insight into what a great couple these two were …which honestly left me even more confused as to what had happened to them. Wanting to find out the why then, not only had me ripping through the pages, it also made it clear that nothing was completely black and white where these two were concerned. Without spoiling anything, I knew a love like Jake and Charley shared couldn't have shattered so easily, but that doesn't mean they didn't have serious issues to work through. At the end of it, I was glad to see these two could finally find peace.

“I don’t know.” Jake’s expression grew serious. “Is it possible to move on from a girl like you?”
I laughed softly. “Nice line”
Jake smiled, running a hand through his messy dark hair. “I’m not sure that was a line.”

I really enjoyed Charley’s character. When the book starts out, she’s funny and smart, and always armed with wickedly funny comebacks that earn her the name of “smartass.” It’s not until I read the flashbacks that I got a sense of how much her heartbreak changed her. Present day Charley is a lot more cynical and insecure than her younger-self, and with good reason. The love of her life rejected her and appears to be moving on seamlessly. Still, I felt she acted pretty mature given her circumstance. I liked how she wasn't afraid to call Jake on his bull while at the same time trying to stay empathetic to his side of the situation.

His chest rumbled underneath my cheek as he chuckled. “I’m here because you crack me up. You never bore me. You surprise me. That’s why. Not because you made me work for it."

Jake Caplin. What can I say. From the moment he came on scene, with a girlfriend no less (who I’m sad to say shared my namesake), I wanted to hate him. The gall he had, coming to a place he knew Charley would be at, and all the while appearing to be fine, was more than enough reason for me not like him. But seeing him through Charley’s eyes both in present and past, I couldn't help but also fall for Jake’s charm. Like I said earlier, nothing’s quite black and white with these two. Though Charley doesn't want to see it, it’s obvious to the reader that Jake’s not completely over everything and still has feelings for her. Watching them wade through their feelings was a combination of funny, and frustrating and swoon-worthy and just plain heartbreaking at times. Still, at no point did I have any doubts that Jake Caplin was a pretty awesome guy who in youth made some pretty big mistakes. All I can say, is that when you read this (which you need to) give Jake a chance. Samantha Young knows how to write these swoony-alpha males in a way that makes you helpless but to fall for them.

Speaking of characters, I loved about all the side-characters in this book, with the exception of Melissa (which again, was weird). Charley and Jake’s group of friends were hilarious and written in such a way that I felt like I was a part of their dynamic every time they came on scene. Beck, Jake’s best friend, and Claudia, Charley’s best friend, were the best! Not only were they loyal and a good sounding board for their friends, but their sexual chemistry was pretty explosive. I can only hope they get together before either of them strangles the other. Now, though I would love to see Beck and Claudia get resolution (and maybe a story), the only one I’m going to plead for is Lowe. I ADORED LOWE! A friend of Jake, Lowe’s the lead vocalist of the Stolen (a band he and Beck form a part of). Though he flirts with Charley initially, nothing happens, except for him becoming such a good friend to her. I found myself swooning for real whenever he spoke and when I went to check my highlights, half of them were things Lowe had said :D So Samantha Young, please write Lowe a story, because honestly, this guy needs his own HEA!

Though it was a pretty long book, Samantha Young’s writing was seamless and I loved how lyrical it turned at times, especially when describing the breath-taking settings. Except towards the end, the story never dragged and even then, it was more my frustration with the whole Melissa situation. Jake was with Charley first, and while I understand the guilt Charley and Jake feel, they gave Melissa too much power over their happiness. I really hope this doesn't become a recurring issue in the next book . At the end of the book, we’re told that Jake and Charley’s story will continue in a second installment ([b:Out of the Shallows|18307352|Out of the Shallows (Into the Deep, #2)|Samantha Young|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|25801946]) that comes out next year. Now, though there will be a second book, that doesn't mean this ended with a cliffhanger or badly. Much to the contrary, Jake and Charley got a really nice and happy ending, making it obvious they're at a much better place. That said, after everything they've been through, issues do remain, not only for Jake and Charley, but for side characters, like Beck and Claudia. It'll be fun to see what Samantha Young will do with these characters next. Until then, this is a definite must buy! If you're a fan of New Adult, romance, alpha-males, great friends, and stories about redemption, then this is the read for you!

My Jake & Charley: description
Losing Hope (Hopeless, #2) - Colleen Hoover 4.5 stars

I'll review this later when I get my bearings together, but for now, all I can say is that I'm really glad I read this. If you read Hopeless, this will make you love Dean Holder all that much more :)
Real - Katy Evans "You go after something because you want it bad enough to expend every one of your efforts to get it and will even risk some losses as you chase after it.”

I saw this back when it first came out, but wasn't sure if this was something I’d want to read, especially after seeing very mixed reviews about it. That said, when Remy blazed through the NA Crush Tourney, coming in second place after having gone against some real heavy hitters, my interest was more than peaked. When I saw this go on sale, I had no more excuses not to read it. So what are my thoughts? People are right I didn't like this, not one bit…I loved it!

This book starts out simple enough. Brooke Dumas is a recent sports rehab graduate who one night accompanies her best friend, Melanie, to an underground fight. Apparently one fighter, Remington “Riptide” Tate, has half the female’s population (including Melanie’s) panties in a twist. Once Brooke gets a look at him, even she can’t disagree.

“He has black hair, standing up sexily as if women have just had their fingers there. Cheekbones as strong as his jaw and forehead. Lips that are red-kissed and swollen, and as a souvenir from his walk to the ring, there’s a lipstick on his jaw. I look down his long, lean body and something hot and will settle in my core. “

Just one look between these two was enough to know there was chemistry there and apparently enough of it that when Brooke tries to exit the fight, Remy KOs his opponent to leave the ring and go after her. After that night, Brooke meets up with Remy again at another fight, and rather than sleep with her (as Brooke expects) he offers her a job, something Brooke needs. Confused and unsure of Remy’s intent, Brooke still accepts and from then on a roller coaster of emotions ensues.

I know many people had a problem with Brooke (and her bodily functions, apparently), but that wasn't an issue for me. She was strong, determined and I liked that she didn’t bend to Remy, wanting always more from him. After having her Olympic dreams shattered, one might expect her to whine or complain, but that was never an issue. Her main focus was on moving forward while all the while making sure Remy was at his best, both physically and emotionally. Though she wasn't sure about Remy’s feelings for her (even when it was kind of obvious), I loved how she always sought the best for him. She demanded he give her his all and it was great to see how she persisted with that, even when her feelings wanted her to go another way. It showed she wasn't weak. That’s not to say she didn’t commit mistakes or that at the end leaving Remy was pretty low and after what he confessed to her about everyone always leaving, I wished she would have talked it out with him. That said, I loved that Remy made her grovel a bit. Quite refreshing to have the heroine and not the hero mess up

While I like Brooke, Remy stole the show for me. He was hot, intense, demanding, incredibly sweet and just plain confusing at times. Still, I loved every minute of him. The way he kissed Brooke, how they exchanged songs to say what they were feeling (awesome!), his hesitation at hurting Brooke and ultimately, what he did for her in the end; everything Remy did won me over entirely. The secret Remy was keeping was pretty big, and I like how it played into the story. Though it seemed at tad bit over the top at times the whole sedating thing, seemed kind of off, and that’s coming from a pre-med I still think it added to what was a great story.

All in all, if you’re looking for a passionate romance, the kind that builds you up with every second of it, only to have you bursting at the seams once it comes to fruition, Real is the book for you. Katy Evans' debut was incredible and the kind of book I couldn't put down till the end. I loved how nothing was overly predictable to me, and the story and characters were all refreshing. Definitely can’t wait to get my hands on Mine now!

“ You've claimed me, little firecracker. You kicked a pair of two hundred pound men’s asses. I will never get over that. You kicked my whores out. Pete told me. You staked your claim on me, even before you realized I’d staked mine already.” He fists my hair and pulls me close to his lips. “I’m yours now … Even if I screw this up, I’ll still be your screw-up.”