Dragonfly (Dragonfly #1) by Leigh Talbert Moore

dragonflyBlurb: Anna Sanders expected an anonymous (and uneventful) senior year until she crossed paths with rich-and-sexy Jack Kyser and his twin sister Lucy.

Pulling Anna into their extravagant lifestyle on the Gulf Coast, Lucy pushed her outside her comfort zone and Jack showed her feelings she’s never experienced… Until he mysteriously withdrew.

Anna turned to her internship at the city paper and to her old attraction for Julian, a handsome local artist and rising star, for distraction. But both led to her discovery of a decades-old secret closely guarded by the twins’ distant, single father.

It’s a secret that could cost her the boy she loves and permanently change all their lives.

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5 stars

THIS BOOK IS PERMA FREE!!!

I ‘m a huge fan of LTM and it all started with this book.  Really all her books are great though. This series is deep, poignant and intense.  Her writing really catches the teenager wishy washy feelings and ever changing desires.

Anna is a superb character. She has depth, a rare and mature understanding of how the world works combined with an insatiable curiosity, making journalism a great choice for a career. She never really made having a relationship a priority, always preferring to prepare for her future.  And I love that about her, because that’s how I was in HS as well.  I didn’t want an SO holding me back from doing the things I wanted to to.  And it’s most likely why I can relate to her so much.

Jack is….not one of my favorite characters.  He is arrogant and overbearing, putting himself first a lot in this book. Even at the expense of Anna’s feelings.  It made me hard to like him or to understand Anna’s obsession with him. Yes, I say obsession because she was like an addict looking for a hit around him.  No shame, it was almost embarrassing to read.

And then we come to Julian.  Ah Julian, even his name is wonderful.  He was like the epitome of the perfect guy.  Laid back and easy going, except when it came to his passion, making art.  And understanding without coming off as clingy either, a hard balance to maintain. He wanted more than physical, he wanted to know her.   Which says a lot about him as a person. Hell, that’s a great story on its own, but then throw in the twist and you have a wonderfully layered and deep plot.  I enjoyed it more the second time around.

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The Darkest Link by Scarlett Cole

Blurb:
30111779When her car breaks down off the side of a lonely highway far from her sunny Miami home, tattoo artist Lia never expected her very own white knight to ride up on the back of a barely street-legal motorcycle…and she never expected to fall for her dark savior. After a string of failed relationships and a bruised heart, Lia is not looking for forever, and the hot mechanic, with his sexy scruff and shaggy hair, is simply impossible to resist and the perfect candidate for a mind-blowingly-perfect, no-strings-attached one night stand.

Reid left his life in Chicago far behind him and hasn’t been back, but he’s never been able to escape the guilt he feels about his own painful role in inviting a monster into his baby sister’s life. A monster who almost destroyed her. Being with Lia is an unexpected gift, one he doesn’t feel he deserves, and their one night together has him wanting more than he should. When he surprises her at her tattoo studio, Second Circle Tattoos, in Miami, he’s in for a shock – and a fist to the face – when his past and present collide.

With secrets coming to the surface, Reid and Lia are thrown into a world of betray and lies that threatens to pull them under, and the last link to his former life, may be the darkest of them all.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This is going to be an unfortunately scattered review, b/c due to stuff happening in my personal life, this book just took me longer to read than I was expecting…so I was never really given the opportunity to get sucked in fully.  And sure, that could have been about the book itself, but I really think it was more a me thing.  I enjoyed what I read, I just wasn’t invested b/c I kept getting interrupted.

Even though I don’t subscribe to the same beauty standards as Lia, I adored all her 50s pinup girl goodness.  She rocked that look and all that went with it.  I really enjoyed the glimpses into her character, her childhood with her tyrannical father, and how it shaped her into who she became.  My heart broke for the child she was, and how her father’s verbal abuse kind of screwed her up.  It’s strange though, b/c I felt more of that for the first half of the book, and then the second half of the book I really didn’t see as much depth in Lia…but that could have been just me.  It’s like the book got caught up in the suspense part, and left the character growth part behind.

I must say that I’m not sure the twin dying in the womb thing really was necessary…it was mentioned once and didn’t really seem to affect her at all, so it seemed superfluous.  And I feel like she really didn’t need to have an older brother, otherwise I felt like he should have played some role.  No one ever talks to him, he doesn’t play into her memories at all, and I just kept wondering why he didn’t know what was going on and hadn’t also wanted to protect the mother.  In my opinion the story read as though she was an only child, so it just seems like the author should have expanded the story, or changed the details.

Reid was pretty cool too, but I felt the same lack of depth with him.  Why was he friends with Nathan?  Was Nathan different before?  We got some glimpses of his depth with his guilt over what happened with his sister, but for some reason I wanted more.  I guess I just can’t always pin down who he was.  But again, I’m having a hard time trusting my judgement b/c I couldn’t read it straight through.  Little things bothered me, like why would he go by Kenny?  Was he hiding?  And the moments when he called Harper Taylor didn’t feel authentic whoops times, b/c he would consistently call her Harper in his head.  I would assume he would mix it up in his head more.  Little nitpicky things basically.

For surface stuff this book was fabulous.  Great suspense story, even if I did guess who the culprit was.  Loved the chemistry and sexy times between Lia and Reid.  Loved the interactions with the other Second Circle series characters, even if I’ve only read the first book…  There’s great friend chemistry there, you know?  Makes me want to read the others, book 3 in particular.  I want to learn about Dred, Pixie and Petal.

So with all that nitpicking, I really did enjoy the book.  I just apparently get picky when I start writing reviews.  I was initially rounding up to 4 stars even, but reading that all over, maybe this is more of a round down to 3.  If you go into it looking more towards suspense and sexytimes, you won’t be disappointed.  It’s just that characters are my favourite part, and I wanted a bit more from them…

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Frosted Sweets: a Romantic Comedy (A Taste of Love Series #1)

frosted sweetsBlurb: Morgan Lewis, a hopeless romantic and the bubbly owner of the Polka Dot Bakery, couldn’t wait to wed the man of her dreams. Feeling giddy as she walks through the park carrying her beautiful wedding dress over her shoulder, she sees a sight no soon-to-be bride should ever see. In that moment, the wedding of her dreams becomes a story fit for a gossip magazine. As tears stream down her face, she wonders who to cancel first; the church or the caterer.

Insert Jayden Rivers whose career in production has him relocated to Atlanta. His mother always said it would take a special woman to lure him away from his work, but he felt like someone sucker punched him when he saw her… the sweet smelling goddess carrying a wedding dress through the park. Will Jayden be able to set the camera aside and restore Morgan’s faith in love?

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2.5 stars

Eh, I wasn’t really impressed with this book.  I saw it on Books and Bindings and it was free at the time so I though, What the hay?  And the cover is pretty.

I’m glad the book was free, this story seemed to drag on for me.  And it was a lot of telling and not enough showing for my tastes.  I finished it so that’s something, but the climax wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been. I don’t know, it was just missing something. It seemed a bit cliche and tropey IMO.  And while some tropes are awesome and I never get tired of them, this was not one of them.

Morgan was lost after finding out her fiance was cheating.  This is where I get annoyed. She was with him for years and constantly did what he wanted, then all of the sudden she switches gears and decides that she is living her life for her.  I mean, I get it, he cheated, but it just didn’t make sense to me that that is what caused her to have this epiphany. Maybe I wasn’t in the mood but this just seemed way to easy.

And the other romance seemed way too fast, like who falls in love after one encounter.   IDK, it was very all over the place for me.  I don’t think I’ll be reading anymore in this series.  Bummer.

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Top Ten Books I Think Should Be Required Reading in School

Top Ten Tuesday
(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in which you make a list of ten to do with a certain topic.  This week’s topic is “Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher.”  I’m doing books I think should be required reading in school….for girls, or hell, for boys too. Who am I to tell a boy these books aren’t for him?

Curly Carla’s Top TenEleven:

2477029500681cinder and ellaOpenly straightthe history of usBright Side5297Teh butter battle book180709001804039818711935

  1. Uglies by Scott Westerfield.  Great body image book.
  2. You Can’t Catch Me by Cassie Mae.  Another great body image book.
  3. Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram.  Great book with diversity.
  4. Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg.  Book about what it’s like to be gay in high school among other things.  This would be a great book for HS.
  5. And while I’m at it, The History of Us by Nyrae Dawn.  A great look at the past of present of gay culture in a fictional setting.
  6. Bright Side by Kim Holden.  A book about love and loss and not wasting time.  Inspirational.
  7. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde because some classics are still worth reading.
  8. The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Suess.  This is a book about how far some people will go to try and control others/and or judging others just because they are different that you.
  9. Imaginations by Tara Brown.  This book encourages challenging the norm and questioning authority. Which we should always do.
  10. Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan.  Book about physical abuse.
  11. Progress by Amy Queau.  Book about loving someone with Bipolar who doesn’t want help.

Deja Revu August 28, 2016

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Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
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Contemporary

Fantasy

General Fiction

Paranormal

Romance

 

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Contemporary

Romance

 

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General Fiction

Paranormal

Romance

Woman’s Fiction

 

Two Cabins, One Lake (Alaskan Romance #1) by Shaye Marlow

two cabins one lakeBlurb: Helly is a volatile blonde with a passion for fishing, a grudging tolerance for the fishermen she guides, and a part-time job putting her sexual fantasies in writing. She lives a quiet life in the Alaskan bush, alone on her little lake with only a spooky dog and her gun collection for company.

But then Gary, the most obnoxious man Helly’s ever met, roars into her life. The mysterious helicopter pilot moves into the cabin across the lake with a vengeance. And fire. And karaoke. He’s a despicably early riser with a penchant for public indecency, a talent for trespassing… and he’s handsome as the devil, with abs she’d like to lick.

Helly quickly realizes her little lake isn’t big enough for the two of them. After an initial attempt at being reasonable, and responsible, and mature, she gives up—and gives as good as she gets. What follows is a feud of eardrum-battering intensity; a no-holds-barred water fight to the tune of a screaming chainsaw, with her panties caught in the crossfire.

Just when Helly thinks things couldn’t possibly get any worse, her crazy brothers crash the party. In an unforgiving land where even the wildlife is out for blood, can the pair survive long enough for Gary to capture Helly’s heart, along with her wrists? Or will Gary’s past be the final blow, after Helly loses her boat, her dignity, and what’s left of her ammo?

For lovers of Alaskan romance and romantic comedy, Two Cabins, One Lake is a sexy, standalone contemporary romance novel with action & adventure, a splash of mystery & suspense, and a satisfying conclusion. Take a vacation to Alaska, where everything’s bigger & wilder, and you’ll laugh out loud!

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Favorite Quotes: 

Because everything is better with cheese. Life is better with cheese.

How about the simpler ‘Let’s be fuck buddies’? See, that felt pretty good. Fuck buddies, I could do. I’d just tell him not to talk to me unless he was growling dirty nothings in my ear. No conversation outside of sex. I didn’t want to talk to him; I just wanted his body.

5 stars!

I loved this book.  I’d seen it advertised on my kindle a few times and thought the blurb was decent.  I tried to find it on my own with no success, then it showed up on my kindle again so I thought, “it’s meant to be read!”  And I snagged that puppy up.  Thank goodness I followed the signs, cause this book was amazing!

I don’t know how I never knew this author before.  She is witty, hilarious and knows how to write revenge…or foreplay, however you want to see it.  ;) She doesn’t pull any punches in her writing and I appreciated that.  Like when describing things that were gross or disgusting, she didn’t sugarcoat it, it was straightforward and refreshing to read someone tell it like it is.

Helly is a a wonderful character.  At first she came off  a a bit masculine for my tastes but as I read on it made her more attractive honestly.  She doesn’t pretend to know all woodsy things but the ones she does know, she knows a lot.  I especially loved how she knew how to fish, gut and shoot like a sniper but couldn’t figure out why her car wouldn’t start.  It wasn’t an all or nothing character if that makes sense.  She had some vulnerability but for the most part she was a vicious defender of her space and no amount of wild animals or men were going to intimidate her or scare her into submission.

Gary is a mans man.  He is broad, agile and knows how to use hand tools and guns. (A man after my own heart!) And he didn’t go easy on Helly just cause she was a girl.  He treated her the same as the other men, well, except for the sexy times.😉  Which there were  A LOT of.  And each one was more adventurous and hotter than the last.  My goodness, I usually get tired when they put sex in a lot of the story but this was exhibitionist at its best and brightest.

And the brothers!  Oh my gosh these guys picked on their little sister so much, but she gave as good as she got!  They had the best campfire stories about torturing Helly as a kid but when it came to protecting her, they did that with all they had as well.  They were hilarious and original and had their own personality that shined through quite handsomely.  I like Rory myself.

I’m going to immediately read it again because I love this story so much!

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Keeping Her Secret by Sarah Nicolas

Blurb:
31573044Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains drinking, sexual situations, and a fairy-tale romance sure to make your heart melt.

The last person Riya Johnson expected to run into at her new summer camp is Courtney Chastain—her childhood best friend and the girl who broke her heart after a secret, mind-blowing, life-altering kiss. She definitely didn’t expect to be sharing a bunk bed with her for four long weeks.

Courtney has what every girl wants—she’s beautiful, rich, and the object of every boy’s desire at Camp Pine Ridge. Too bad none of them make her feel an iota of what Riya’s kiss did all those years ago. But Courtney needs to uphold appearances at all costs—even if it means instigating an all-out prank war with Riya as her main target.

Neither girl can stop thinking about the other…but that doesn’t mean they can give up past hurts and take a chance on a future together.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

This is my first F/F read!!  I read a lot of M/M, but haven’t really sought out many F/F reads up to this point, probably b/c I love my book boyfriends and with M/M you get two.  But I read the blurb for this book and just couldn’t resist.  And I’m so glad I did, because out of the 3 books I got from Entangled Crush this month, this one ended up being my favourite by far!!

I’m not sure what all contributed to my enjoyment, but I will try to shed some light.  Part of it was that I loved the straightforward way in which it was written.  It’s not something I can really pinpoint, but it was smart but simple.  I really felt like I could understand both character’s perspectives, and since they were such different girls in some ways, that can be hard to do.  Riya was pretty easy to love…she has a beautiful soft heart, and you can’t help but admire how she’s not afraid to be who she is…  And there was just something about her personality that spoke to me…maybe it’s the clumsiness?  That she doesn’t have natural athletic ability but actually has to work hard to be as good as she is at volleyball? (not that I ever worked hard at athletics, but I can appreciate the lack of natural talent…😉 ).  It’s funny, b/c this book was sort of a diversity double whammy, since Riya appeared to be part Indian…though it really didn’t come into play in the storyline at all, and wasn’t made clear until the end what race she was.

Courtney was a bit of a different bag as a character.  It’s strange, b/c there are so many things about her that should have made me hate her in some ways, b/c she’s kind of a weaker character that cares so much about what others think about her.  But Ms. Nicolas does an amazing job of showing how Courtney’s been shaped into the girl she is, both through being in her head in Courtney’s POV, and through some of the conversations with her twin Colt.  So while I was frustrated with her and the choices she made, I actually felt for her and how she came to be who she was, and why she struggled so hard.  It’s that tricky balance in so many YA books, b/c so many teens make some frustrating choices b/c of peer and family pressure, but how do you still make them sympathetic, even when part of you wants to smack them.  And I personally felt that the author achieved that balance in Courtney’s case.

And I really loved the way each girl had such different experiences with their sexuality…and how that became a point of contention in some ways in their secret relationship…  So even at the end when things come to a head, you can see both of them making mistakes, it wasn’t one girl being the “douche” (though I felt more for Riya than Courtney, even if I did understand Courtney’s fear).  So I felt like the book really addressed concerns that many LGBT teens might face.

Then there were all the little things, like great secondary characters.  I loved that there were so many different characters, but most of them were likeable even as they were different.  Other than Bridget, I thought all the girl campers were great.  And Colt was fantastic, if a little too good to be true sometimes.  But it was so nice to see so many people in Riya and Courtney’s corner, knowing they would need the support.

So yeah, I love it when a book hits all my buttons.  Makes me want to happy clap. 😉

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For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

Blurb:
28236391.jpgWill a budding wedding planner and her bad boy neighbor stop banging heads and start hearing wedding bells in the sexy second novel in USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s irresistible new series that marries Sex and the City with The Wedding Planner?

When small-town girl Heather Fowler finally gets promoted from assistant to actual wedding planner, she’s determined to make it as one of Manhattan’s elite Wedding Belles. Unfortunately, her first client demands an opulent black-tie affair at the Plaza…in five months’ time. Heather’s days quickly become a flurry of cake tastings, dress-fittings, RSVP cards, and bridal tantrums. But what she’s really losing sleep over is the live music blaring from her playboy neighbor’s apartment all night.

Five years ago, Josh Tanner was an up-and-comer on Wall Street, complete with the penthouse and the migraines. But a grim cancer diagnosis made him realize there is more to life than the corner office. If only he could convince his pretty, workaholic neighbor to let loose, too. As Heather lets down her guard, Josh is surprised when he starts falling for the sweet, vulnerable woman hiding beneath those power suits. Soon, it’s Heather’s turn to convince Josh to take the biggest risk of all: love.

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

Oh heck yes!!  The chemistry and bantering between Josh and Heather MADE this book amazing, from start to finish.  I can’t even tell you how many times I laughed.  I mean, mostly it was at the outrageous things that came out of Josh’s mouth…any man that can make me snort is a winner in my book.  But honestly, Heather and Josh just fit so well together.  She was sassy and held her own against him in their many battles of words.  The two of them together were just packed full of chemistry, so when we got to the sexy times, it was totally hot.

I enjoyed their own individual stories as well.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about Heather and her Mom dynamics.  I was sad for her at Thanksgiving, but I kind of understood what her Mom was getting at when they had their conversation at Christmas.  I still thought her Mom could have shown a bit more effort at enjoying Heather’s life with her, even if Heather had her own things to work out besides all that.

And Josh had a bit of a heartbreaking story of his own.  I really enjoyed his family dynamics, and how his history had affected them.  He had his own figuring out to do, and growing and developing.  Occasionally it was frustrating to watch him dig in his heels, but at the same time it felt realistic for what he was going through and I really felt his fear.  (but seriously, what is with me finding these Cancer books right now?  Is there a conspiracy?)

All in all this has been my absolute fave of the series so far.  I’m still unsure how I’m going to enjoy Alexis and Logan’s book next, I really can’t get a feel for how that’s going to work and what kind of character Alexis actually is.  But in truth, Heather’s book was the one I was most looking forward to, and it totally lived up to my expectations.  Even though Josh had a bit of a player start, I totally fell in love with him and his smart mouth.  I could read so much more of him.

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More Than Jamie Baker (Jamie Baker #2) by Kelly Oram

18690119Blurb: Jamie Baker, the only girl in the world with superpowers, has now accepted who she is and learned to control her power. Not to mention she has the best boyfriend on the planet. Life is finally looking good. But the day she witnesses an accident and decides not to save the guy out of fear of being exposed, she realizes that simply being Jamie Baker isn’t enough.
After seeing Jamie so wrecked with guilt, the ever-helpful Ryan Miller decides it’s time to make all of his fantasies about turning his girlfriend into an honest-to-goodness superhero become a reality.

Of course, coming up with a decent Super Name and fending off all of Ryan’s attempts to get her into spandex aren’t the only problems Jamie faces. The more her alter ego starts to make headlines, the harder it becomes for Jamie to hide her extracurricular activities from her best friend, the government, radical scientists, and the mysterious new guy who is determined to steal her from her boyfriend.

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3 stars    I’m just gonna go ahead and warn you now, this review may contain spoilers, cause I’m pretty pissed about Mike and Becky’s side story here.  

This book was sloooooow in the beginning. I didn’t and don’t like Teddy and I’m kinda irritated that this book wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. You see KO, when you keep writing great stuff, my expectations just keep going up, up, up. But this one may have missed the mark just a bit.  It was a good read, but it took too long to get to the meat of the story in my opinion.

The rape recover side story was going great. Until it wasn’t.  As a victim of sexual assault, I can totally understand Becky’s feelings of betrayal from Jamie.  It wasn’t Jamie’s place to forgive him nor was it her place to try and convince Becky he was sorry.  It isn’t about being sorry at this point, it’s about being a good support system for your friend.  And if Jamie was a victim like she ‘said’ she was, then she should  have known that.  You can’t force people to forgive others.  That’s not how it works. I may be a bit jaded because of my past but it is what it is.

Just cause he gets hurt doesn’t mean he deserves to be forgiven. In fact, some would call that Karma.  I don’t feel bad for him in the least.  He made his bed, he didn’t lie in it though.  Then he blamed his actions on alcohol. What about after you sobered up huh? Did he take responsibility then? Uh, no, he didn’t, then he sabotaged his own life because he’s an idiot.  And Ryan! ::shakes head:: Ryan is blissfully ignorant of the fact his best friend is a rapist!  Oh dear god, someone tell me this doesn’t reoccur in the next book. I might have to DNF it if that’s the case.

But back to the main story, well, Jamie allows some asshole Teddy to get in between her and her love interest, Ryan.  I called that plot from gate.  For someone as suspicious as Jamie was in her last book, I’m kinda shocked she didn’t realize it herself.  Maybe it was all the superhero stuff she had been doing, but I would think you would have been extra cautious if that were the case.  Okay, I may be rambling but this book took a long time for me to finish. I’m glad I finished it and am even reading the third one because one mediocre book doesn’t spoil the bunch IMO.

The ending of the main story was pretty fantastic though and if I ignore the rape side story, which I did for the most part, my 3* rating is accurate.

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Bet on Me (Bet On Love #2) by Rachel Higginson

29285233Blurb: One night. One big mistake. One boy that changes everything.

Britte Nichols has a plan.

And it’s a good one. College. Med School. Illustrious career. Then maybe a husband. Possibly children, but she doesn’t want to get ahead of herself.

Britte decided at a young age that she wasn’t going to let love get in the way of her future. She has things to do. Places to go and all that.

Until the night she has one too many drinks and lets lust override logic.

Beckett Harris is gorgeous, talented and completely bad for her. But she wasn’t the only one feeling fireworks that night. Now Beckett wants to explore their chemistry and his timing couldn’t be more inconvenient.

Her heart wants what her head knows she can’t have. But a girl has needs. So when Beckett bets her a few weeks of harmless fun, she wants to say yes.

She’ll just have to bet that Beckett doesn’t fall for her too.

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5 stars!

Okay, so I wasn’t prepared to read this book when it came out cause in my eyes no romance can really top Ellie and Fin’s.

And I was right…mostly.

Beckett is the winner of my heart in this one.  He is sensitive and introspective.  It’s like we get to see him change as he’s goes through life, trying to figure out his wants and desires. And I’m not just talking about his love life.  He does a hard course change in his professional and family life as well.  It was a joy to see a masculine persona have vulnerability and not lose his attractiveness.  He was smart, charming and had an ego to prove it.  But deep inside he was just as unsure as everyone else.

I found Britte to be a bit too controlling and rigid for my tastes.  She resisted too hard for me.  It came off as immature to me and contradictory to her actions in this book.  Her saving grace was the fact that she was, in fact, contradictory.  She tricked me into thinking she was gonna do something but then once she was about to do it, she flaked out.   I’m glad she flaked out, I just wish she could have realized  how she really felt before making a fool of herself.  I was embarrassed for her.  And the whole thing with her mom rubbed me the wrong way.  I guess she is a better person than me because I would have never allowed her back in my life after what she did.  But, I never would have allowed her to have that much power over my thoughts and feelings in the first place either.

Even though this is the second book in the Bet on Love series, you can read it as a stand alone.

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