Eye Candy by Jessica Lemmon

Blurb:
34317683Don’t trust lust at first sight. One woman chooses reality over fantasy in this friends-to-lovers romance, a steamy standalone by “an author to keep your eye on” (Katee Robert).

Jacqueline: As an adult woman–and the vice president of a marketing firm–I shouldn’t be waiting by my office window to ogle the mystery man who jogs by every morning at 11:45. Sure, he’s a gorgeous, perfect specimen of the human race, but I can’t bring myself to hit on a total stranger. However, my best friend-slash-colleague Vince Carson thinks I should do more than talk to the guy. In fact, he’s borderline obsessive about “getting me laid.” (His words.) But the more time we spend together, the more it’s clear: The one I’m falling for is Vince.

Vince: Jackie Butler’s got it bad for some pompous, over-pumped A-hole who struts his stuff past her window. That doesn’t bother me. I know she deserves nice things. What does bother me is that she friend-zoned me big-time last year, so I can’t ask her out myself. But what if I set her up with Mr. Steroids? Then, when he breaks her heart, I can swoop in and save her like the nice guy I am. Everything’s going according to plan . . . until we share a ridiculously epic kiss. And suddenly anything is possible.

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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 one started off AWESOMELY!  The humour and wit was just spot on, both characters were just my kind of hilarious and snarky and sassy, and I just fell in love!  Seriously, I was smiling to myself and giggling at some of their inner thoughts right from the start.  Jackie was an intriguing mix of sassy and reserved…it was a strange mix that didn’t always work for me, but I really loved her drive and how her meticulousness could be seen in who she was both at work and at home.  And Vince was a strange book boy too, he was such a guy guy sometimes, but I loved that he wasn’t the typical ultra-successful businessman.  His work wasn’t his life, but he enjoyed it all the same.  And I really appreciated seeing him admire Jackie at work, and acknowledge that she was on another level from him.

As the book progressed I felt like we got to see more of what made each of them up as individuals, and normally I love that extra depth…but these two were a bit too human at times, and I became somewhat less enamoured with them.  I didn’t fall out of love per say, I was just disappointed in some of their childish moments, and the usual introduction of the lack of communication trope.  And honestly, there were a few moments where I felt like both characters got a bit hypocritical (Jackie with JT, and Vince with Jackie at the end), and so it ended on a lower note than it started.  BUT!!  While this all bummed me out, the rest of what I fell in love with was still present…  It made for a bit of a quandary in my feelings for them both, because I still loved them, I just didn’t always like them.  Like real people I guess.

I will say that their chemistry was freaking SMOKING.  Like honestly, I had all of the tummy butterflies, and the wave the hands on my face-ness.  Like that scene on the stairs is responsible for a happy hubby…tmi?

I kind of wish we’d seen more friend interactions for Jackie, with either Bethany or Kayla…didn’t really get to know much there.  BUT I LOVED what we got to see of Davis, and I’m very intrigued about his story.  He’s an odd one.  But I appreciated his friendship with Vince, it felt very real.

So yeah.  Basically this was mostly a 4 star read, it just lost some verve in the latter half of the book, and hence the bump down a half a star.  I have a feeling Ms. Lemmon is an author I would enjoy reading more of.

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Déjà Revu July 17th, 2017

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

Meme

Response

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Fantasy

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Contemporary

Fantasy

Paranormal

Romance

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Contemporary

Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Fantasy

Romance

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Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Fantasy

Graphic Novel

Historical

Horror

Romance

Science Fiction

Suspense/Thriller

Women’s Fiction

The Winning Side (University Park #3) by C.M. Doporto

The winning sideBlurb: Lexi’s determined to keep her word and stand by Raven’s side because her love for him is too strong to deny. As Raven learns to deal with the issues that are destined to destroy him and their relationship, their love is taken to a new level. As doors are closed and new ones are opened, Lexi and Raven find themselves in a heavenly bliss, but not without the challenges from Raven’s past. With a true test of love, Lexi and Raven have to decide if they are willing to do whatever it takes to be on the winning side.

 

 

 

 

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DNF

This story was sooooo slow.  I started reading this series in 2014 I think and I breezed through the first two books.  Then when I started the last one I stopped reading it.  Fast forward three years later and I figured I’d come back and try to finish it since I’ve been on this kick lately about trying to finish all the series I have ever started.  (This is gonna be a lifelong commitment. )

I don’t know if my tastes have changed but I found this book kinda basic.  The scenes were going from showing to telling quickly with little to no transition. It was choppy and repetitive.  And I found some things that just didn’t jive with the plot.  It’s too bad. I really wanted to add this to my list of series finales for the year.

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Carter Reed (Carter Reed #1) by Tijan

18221931Blurb: Emma decided to skip the gym and went home early. It was the last easy decision she made because she found her roommate being raped by her boyfriend. She had two choices. Call the cops and be killed by his family’s mafia connections or kill him first and hope to survive. There was no choice to her. She killed the bastard first and went to the one person who could protect her. Carter Reed. He’s a weapon for the rivaling mafia family, but he’s also Emma’s secret. Not only was he best friends with her brother, but she’s the reason he became that weapon in the first place.

 

 

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DNF

This book started off with a bang and I was excited to see how it would play out.  But then….it got boring and repetitive with her running away and his possessiveness.  And things were happening that were really explained in the book until after they happened. I tried to hold on but then I thought, “Why?”  So, I let it go.

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Stacking the Shelves — July 15th, 2017

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(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman from Swoon Reads (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group) — releases August 1st, 2017.  I honestly don’t remember how I heard about this book, I feel like one of the authors I follow was talking about it back when it was on the Swoon Reads website, where authors can put up their books for readers to read and then popular ones get picked up for publication.  Obviously I didn’t get a chance to read it then (because I really dislike reading books on my computer), so I was crossing my fingers that I would get approved, and I let out a squeal when I got the email!!

Preorders That Went Live:

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  • Hello Forever (Hello Goodbye #2) by Sarina Bowen — released July 14th, 2017.  I already read an ARC of this book (see my review here) and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I preordered it to have the final copy.

Got It On Sale:

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  • The Rule Maker (The Rule Breakers #2) by Jennifer Blackwood — I had been intrigued by this book after reading this review by Deanna @A Novel Glimpse and this review by Cristina @My Tiny Obsessions.  So when I saw that this author would be attending Apollycon 2018 in Washington, D.C. next March, I put it on my wishlist.  And when I got the eReaderIQ alert that it was on sale for 99 cents from its usual $3.99, I snatched it up!  Still on sale!

Cross Check by Kelly Jamieson

Blurb:
32934382A party girl and a clean-cut college hockey player discover that they’re not so different in this sexy, soulful Bayard Hockey novel from the bestselling author of Shut Out and the Heller Brothers series.

Ella Verran has three goals this semester: get off academic probation, repair her relationship with her friend Skylar, and take some responsibility for her life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract her. Ella can’t stand Ben, and she knows the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting Ella in ways she never thought possible.

As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, Ben has goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. Ben is perfectly poised on the ice, so why can’t he keep his cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs him in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as they skate around each other, Ben learns that there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, he can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.

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

I love it when an author surprises me with a character!  We didn’t really get that great of an impression of Ella in the first book, but I really enjoyed her in this one.  I thought she really redeemed herself and getting a look inside her head made me understand her more.  Plus we just got to see more of what she’s about, you know?  I really appreciated her storyline of going off the rails after her friend’s suicide, and then having to rein it in and settle down after going on academic probation.  I enjoyed how Ms. Jamieson took a hard look at slut-shaming, and while Ella regretted some choices she made in partying/sleeping around, it wasn’t all “down with the promiscuous girls” as you often see in some books.  Ella really struggled with the labels she was given, and I thought we got an honest and refreshing look at the double standards between men and women, and how it’s not the actions that she regretted so much as the reasons she was doing it, and how it made her feel.

I also really loved that the author took a good hard look at mental health, and that we got to see Ella’s sessions with her therapist.  I will admit that while I LOVED that this was all looked at, occasionally it felt a little heavy-handed.  Which is funny, b/c this issue is really important to me.  Or maybe not heavy-handed so much as not as natural to the story…I don’t know, I don’t know how to explain it.

Ella was spunky, but also really vulnerable and insecure.  I really did feel for her, even if her penchant for pushing people away made me want to throttle her.  It made her growth more satisfying though.

And then we get Ben!!  We also got to see the slut-shaming from his perspective, and I loved that it really opened his eyes as well.  I honestly thought we were going to get more from his background and past, but that wasn’t as prominent as I’d expected.  But I loved how we got an even deeper look at what it might be like for a hockey athlete looking to get drafted.  I loved how vulnerable and scared and overwhelmed he was, and I guess that’s sort of where we see the effects of his past.  He felt so alone at times, and my heart broke for him.  But I also really admired his dedication and determination, and I loved how Ella really showed him parts of himself to be proud of.

Their romance was cuter than I expected.  I guess because I never really understood why they were enemies, since it was based on assumptions about the other person.  But Ben was so adorable in his pursuit of Ella.  He kind of made me swoon at times.  Maybe because he was kind of vulnerable, but he still put himself out there.  And I really loved their chemistry…holy heck could you feel it right from that dance scene!

I loved having more fun scenes with their group of friends!  They often made me laugh out loud at their strange conversations and antics.

I will admit that occasionally certain transitions didn’t feel smooth to me…but that could be in my head too.  (Like those strange conversations with their friends didn’t always flow as naturally for me)

So yeah, I was surprised that I enjoyed this one even more than the previous book!  And again, if you love hockey, or love sports romances that actually showcase the sport, I think Ms. Jamieson is one of the best I’ve ever read for that!  And now she’s made me want to check out her Aces series!!

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Shut Out by Kelly Jamieson

Blurb:
28473716From the bestselling author of the Heller Brothers Hockey series comes the first novel of a new hockey romance series featuring a college team whose players are heating things up both on and off the ice.
 
The Bayard College hockey team isn’t where Jacob Flass thought he’d be a season ago. He was a rising star in the Canadian major junior league, cruising toward a spot on an NHL roster—until a single disastrous night on the town brought it all crashing down. Now he’s out of options, except for playing well, studying hard, and staying away from girls. He’s not supposed to be flirting with the hottest, sweetest chick he’s ever met. But how could he possibly stay away?
 
Skylar Lynwood knows that Jacob is out of her league. She’s just trying to go with the flow, which isn’t easy when six feet and four inches of total hockey hunkiness is making a play for her one moment, then giving her the cold shoulder the next. Skylar’s head tells her that this rugged athlete isn’t worth her time, but her body says something altogether different. Risking her heart for Jacob may be the craziest thing she’s ever done . . . but she won’t let him shut her out.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — Do you ever finish a book and just have no idea how to rate it?  I’m a gut feeling rater, and this one left me a bit jumbled.  There were a lot of things about this book that I absolutely LOVED!!!  But at the same time, it took me like HOURS to just finish the last like 10%.  I lost my verve for it somewhere along the way.

Let’s talk about about the things I loved first for a change (b/c I usually lead with the bad).  I adored all the little conversations this book ended up having with the reader about very important topics, and I loved the way they were brought up in the book and addressed.  From rape culture to intimate relationship abuse to actual sexual violence for both females AND males to sexual consent to even slut shaming.  I just loved that the conversations were happening in the book, were very important to the story of the characters, but felt natural at the same time.  And we got to see some very different perspectives surrounding this really broad topic, and how confusing it can be, but how important having the conversations and moving our society forward is.  Especially in the context of a college campus.  We even got to see some of the skewed mentality surrounding athletes and how they are treated by the opposite sex, as well as how that can lead to a feeling of entitlement.  The book didn’t provide a bunch of easy answers, but just took a frank look.  And it wasn’t too cheesy, and not too in your face either.  In the end, this was my favourite part of the book.

I also LOVED the bantering between our hero and heroine.  You could feel their chemistry right from the beginning, and I loved that you could see their friendship grow even when they were both consumed with feelings of lust.  But seriously, they were really pretty cute together, and they definitely made me laugh at times.  They did get a bit cheesy at the end, I struggled through some of the dialogue at times when they were professing feelings, but that could have been just me.

And I enjoyed both characters in general.  I wasn’t necessarily in love with either of them, but neither did they annoy the crap out of me.  Not a ringing endorsement, I know, but it’s just the way I felt.  Basically for all the things I loved about each of them, there was something else that bugged me.

For example, I really enjoyed that Skylar was struggling to follow in her sisters footsteps, and had a bit of a crisis over what she wanted to do with her life (balancing parental expectations with her own passions).  BUT it kind of annoyed me that she didn’t talk to them.  I guess that’s kind of realistic, young adults can make some pretty silly assumptions sometimes.  But still.  At the same time I was really impressed with her work with SAPAP and I loved how passionate she was about it.  She really broke it down and made it less awkward, and she was pretty frank about how she was feeling.  I also loved that while we didn’t see her journey with her therapist, you could see some of the positive influences it made on her.  BUT!  I couldn’t help but feel disappointed with the way she handled the aftermath of Brendan’s suicide…and all that shiznit with Ella.  AGAIN, it was probably pretty realistic, but I guess I was wanting something there.  That’s probably more on me than her though.

As for Jacob, well, I had mixed feelings about how he responded after the “incident” that the book opens with.  BUT part of that was because the author chose not to go into details about what happened until MUCH later in the book, and so as a reader you’re left to try to guess at what happened, and so it made it hard to understand his reactions.  At the same time, I LOVED the way he developed as a character wrt all that, and how he responded to the training he underwent, and how he really took that on and allowed it to impact his life in a positive way.  And I loved how dedicated he was to his hockey career, and I really appreciated the conversation he and Skylar had about while he may have talent, he still works really hard to be that good.  I think people forget that about naturally talented athletes.

Things I disliked: how Skylar reacted to Jacob’s secret (not listening to his side is just a big NOPE); the sudden introduction to more of Skylar’s story than I was expecting (kind of came out of the blue, wish there had been hints); some of the talking during sex really ruined it for me (I just can’t read a character saying “Yeah. Oh yeah.” and not want to giggle, it doesn’t feel natural).  Which is not to say the steamy parts weren’t deliciously steamy, I just wish the talking had felt more natural.  Also, they occasionally felt older than 19/20.

I LOVED the guys Jared lives with, and I enjoyed seeing him develop friendships with them.  They were so funny and cute, and I hope to see their stories.  At the same time, maybe due to the nature of Skylar’s story, I was disappointed in the lack of female secondary characters to love.  There were a lot of tiny female parts, but the only major one was Ella, and it was kind of hard to love her.

As an aside, I LOVE reading books by Canadian authors, or about characters that are Canadian…I love seeing things I recognize.  My hubby laughed at me and said now I know how minority groups must feel when they read diverse characters that represent them.  BUT, as a good ole Saskatchewan girl, born and raised, I must say that Saskatoon’s team is the BLADES, Moose Jaw is the WARRIORS.  Tsk tsk.  😛

So yeah.  See?  Conflicted.  Do I round up or down?  I DON’T KNOW!!!  I’m going to round up and say that the awesome amount of *actual* hockey in this sports romance put it over the top for me.  😉

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Stacking the Shelves — July 8th, 2017

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(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon using Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Curly Carla’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • One True Pairing (Fandom Hearts #2) by Cathy Yardley from Swerve (St. Martin’s Press).  I read Level Up by her last year and really enjoyed it so when Lenore let me know this was up for grabs we both requested it…..and I got it! Releases July 25, 2017.

Books I Bought From The Library:

OMG you guys I just found out that my local library sells books!  They have a whole room FULL of books for sale.  And the most expensive book is one dollar! I spent five bucks last week and got eleven books!  Nine of them were for my daughter and my cousins, but I kept two for myself.

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  • Lonesome Dove (Lonesome Dove #1) by Larry McMurtry. I’ve recently started reading westerns and I have found that I like them.  This book was like 50 cents, which is a steal since the ebook is $13.99!
  • The Cadence by Casey Hays.  This book was an ARC and I thought it was illegal to sell them but I liked the blurb so I snagged it for 50 cents.

Facebook Freebies:

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  • Carter Reed (Carter Reed #1) by Tijan.  I’m a sucker for anything she writes, even if they are over the top.

Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • One True Pairing (Fandom Hearts #2) by Cathy Yardley from Swerve (St. Martin’s Press) — releases July 25th, 2017.  Curly Carla loved the first book in this series (read her review of Level Up here), and I have it on my TBR, so when I spotted this I had to request!

New Releases:

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  • The Director and Don Juan (The Story Sisters #2, Blueberry Lane #16) by Katy Regnery — released June 30th, 2017.  Often when I’ve gotten ARCs of books, I’ll wait until they go on sale to buy the released copy…or in the case of the various Blueberry Lane serieses, I’ll often wait for the box sets b/c then it declutters my Kindle.  But upon hearing that this series is not continuing beyond this story, I figured I’d grab this one now.  You can read my review here.

Book Outlet:

So I got sucked in by another Book Outlet sale.  I mean, the books are just a good deal as it is, but then they had an extra 15% off, and I managed to snag a $5 off coupon thing (which is basically shipping).  So I went a bit crazy.  *rolls eyes*  I’m going to be lazy and leave off the Goodreads links, sorry…titles will just go to Amazon.

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  • Chasing Truth (Eleanor Ames #1) by Julie Cross — I read an ARC of this one in the fall and really enjoyed it (see my review here), so I figured why not snag the paperback?
  • Love Blind by C. Desir & Jolene Perry — I love Ms. Perry, and this book has intrigued me since I heard about it.  But the Kindle book is $10.99 (actually, for me it’s over $16, stupid Canadian publisher).  When you can get the Hardcover for less than the Kindle book on Amazon, it’s just ridiculous.  Why publishers?  Why you hate your readers who like ebooks?  Actually, you know what?  I think the Hardcover is just on sale on Amazon…maybe because of Prime Day?  So maybe it’s usually more expensive.  OK, that’s fine.  But still, I’m too cheap for $11 for an ebook.
  • What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick — I’ve only read one book by this author, but I enjoyed it and this one sounded good and was pretty cheap!
  • Until Friday Night (The Field Party #1) by Abbi Glines — I’ve been intrigued by this book since it first came out (I do have the Kindle copy), and the author will be attending Apollycon 2018 in Washington, D.C. next March so I figured why not snag it?
  • Contradictions (Woodfalls Girls #3) by Tiffany King — I’ve only read book 1 in this series, but I have the first two signed by the author, so thought I’d collect the final book.
  • The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson — I have a Kindle copy of this book, and it’s a favourite of one my besties, so I figured I’d take a chance I’ll love it too.
  • The Edge of Never (The Edge of Never #1) by J.A. Redmerski — Huh, I thought I remembered loving this book, but I just read my review and I was more conflicted.  Whoops.
  • Lead & Deep (Stage Dive #3-4) by Kylie Scott — I haven’t read this series, but I got the paperback of the first two books combined, so thought I would complete it.  And since I *just* read my first Kylie Scott book and LOVED it, I’m looking forward to this even more!

Gifted/Won It:

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  • The Big Play Journal (Big Play bonus) by Jordan Ford — Ms. Ford created this cute little journal to help celebrate the one year publishaversary of the first book in the Big Play series, and I got to proof it for her!  As a thank you, she sent me a copy all the way from New Zealand!  It’s so cute in real life…it’s only available in paperback, b/c it’s meant to be doodled in…duh, it’s a journal.  But it’s got bonus content and insights, totally worth it!
  • A Songbird Novel Box Set: True Love, Troublemaker, & Rough Water (Songbird #5-7) by Melissa Pearl — I won a free ebook of my choice from Ms. Pearl, and TOTALLY NOT SUCKING UP I chose this middle box set of the Songbird novels.  I missed the sale last month, and I’m in the middle of my read-a-thon, so I really wanted to be able to read them in a box set (it declutters my Kindle).  I finished rereading True Love last week, I’m on to my adorable Marcus in Troublemaker next!!

Had to Get the Next in the Series:

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  • #Swag (GearShark #3) by Cambria Hebert — So I recently won a gift card, and I decided I was gonna spend it on a few books I’ve desperately been wanting, and I doubt will go on sale anytime soon.  I actually have book 4 in this series already, but I only have this one in paperback.  And I really don’t like reading paperbacks anymore, so I needed the Kindle copy.  😛  This author is going to be attending the Big Apple Author Event in October, so that makes catching up on this series an emergency…and I’m an in order reader.  🙂
  • Steadfast (True North #2) and Keepsake (True North #3) by Sarina Bowen — Same deal as for #Swag.  I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, and this author is going to be attending the Big Apple Author Event in October, so I plan on bingeing this series this summer.

Got It On Sale:

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  • P.S. I Like You by Kasie West — I have never read a Kasie West book, but I’ve always wanted to.  I’m just cheap.  And this is the one that I MOST wanted to read, so it’s on my wishlist.  And when Amazon sent me an e-mail telling me it was on sale for $2.99 (it’s usually $10.99), I said yes please!!  Still on sale!!

Trust by Kylie Scott

Blurb:
35157260Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

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

Well shit.  That was just awesome.  I’m so sorry people, but this is going to be a fangirl review.  And not because I’m a Kylie Scott fangirl, b/c to be honest?  This is actually my first read of hers, even though I have been collecting some of her other books since they sound like my bag.  It’s a fangirl review b/c I just loved this book so much.  I was sucked in and just freaking enthralled.  It’s funny, b/c I really do rate just on overall pulled-from-the-gut feeling.  So was this book perfect?  Nah.  But by the time I finished, I had 5 star glasses on my face…  I don’t think that even makes sense.

I’ve been having a hard time staying focused on words lately, and I will admit that right at the very beginning I was having a hard time focusing as well.  But Edie’s voice just pulled me in, and the intensity of what she was going through in the robbery had me paying more attention to the book and forgetting to adjust my bike resistance (bad for my physical health, but good for my soul).  I just felt all of her emotions with her, even if I didn’t always understand them all.

And the book is about so much more than the robbery; it’s more about watching Edie struggle to deal with the aftermath and changes those events wrought in her personality and attitude.  All of which is conveyed in the blurb, but I guess I just never imagined what that would entail.  It’s not just about dealing with PTSD type symptoms (though those are there).  It’s that she honestly had a hard time finding importance in so much of life.  I will admit that I didn’t find her new self to be that wild.  Wild for her maybe, but not actually *that* reckless…or maybe it’s that her new friends and John helped to temper that wildness.

Edie was just everything for me.  You know how as a reader you just gravitate towards certain types of heroines?  Edie embodied so much of what I gravitate towards.  I could see some of myself in her.  She’s a bigger girl, and she was this perfect mix of content with her size most of the time (and how the choices she’s made in her life led to that, and not wanting to change those) and yet still damaged by her experiences being bigger (low self esteem, believing she wasn’t good enough, basically allowing the bullies to affect her).  I can totally vibe with that.  It’s a bit schizophrenic in some ways, b/c you’re both confident and insecure at the same time.  I thought those elements of her personality were portrayed beautifully, and that the development of her character as she navigated her relationship with John moved at a realistic pace.  And it wasn’t really the focus of the book AT ALL, but it was an element that just existed and influenced things.  I liked that.

And she was so beautifully snarky and sassy!!  GAH!  Love that so much.  I can’t tell you how many interactions I highlighted b/c they just delighted me to no end.  And part of that is that she ended up surrounding herself with some fabulous people.  I LOVE when a book has a great secondary cast (and a diverse one at that).  From her new BFF Hang, to Carrie and Sophia, to Anders…I just wanted them all to be real.  I was so glad that Edie had them in her life, even if it took her awhile to trust them and let them in.

I enjoyed the fact that there could have been incidences of horrible slut-shaming, but that the girls tried to cut it off at the pass.  I actually liked that the opportunities were presented, b/c I think it’s really hard as a society to change and get past slut-shaming, so the girls weren’t perfect, but they tried to adjust their attitudes.  It made them more real.

And then we get to John.  Oh what I wouldn’t give to be in his head…PLEASE LET THERE BE A BONUS SCENE FROM HIS POV, please please please!!  He was swoony in such a weird way.  He definitely wasn’t perfect, there were times when I thought he was a bit harsh on Edie, even if his heart was in the right place.  But my heart just broke for all that he had to struggle with.  I can’t imagine how hard it would be to overcome your own reputation and keep striving forward when everyone already judged you and painted you with one brush.  And even though it was only from Edie’s POV, you could really see how her friendship and love changed him…how unused to it he was, but how he craved it in some ways.

And their romance was just butterfly inducing.  Epic slow burn, but it really allowed you to become invested in their friendship as it developed and grew.  And there were lots of tummy tingles when things started to heat up.  *sigh*  *swoon*

So yeah.  Did I convince you?  You should totally read it before you get attacked by a rabid Pekingese.  😛  Insider book joke for the win.

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The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley

Blurb:
35496084Pitcher Dylan Dennings has his future all mapped out: make the minors straight out of high school, work his way up the farm system, and get called up to the majors by the time he’s twenty-three. The Plan has been his sole focus for years, and if making his dreams come true means instituting a strict ” no girls” policy, so be it.

Lucy Foster, needlepoint ninja, big sister to an aspiring pitcher, and chicken advocate, likes a little mayhem. So what if she gets lost taking her brother to baseball camp…at her own high school? The pitching coach, some hotshot high school player, obviously thinks she’s a hot mess. Too bad he’s cute, because he’s so not her type.

Problem is, they keep running into each other, and every interaction sparks hotter than the last. But with Dylan’s future on the line, he has to decide whether some rules are made to be broken…

Disclaimer: This book contains a crazy night of moonlit skinny-dipping, a combustible crush, and kisses swoony enough to unwind even the most Type A athlete.

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

Before I get into the meat, as an aside: Covers don’t make or break a book for me, but can I just say that this cover is absolutely perfect for this book?  I love it when a scene from the book is represented, it always makes me auto-smile and squeal when I get to it!!

Ahem.  Anyways.  I am falling in love with Ms. Highley.  She writes just my kind of cute YA books.  I’ve said it in previous reviews of the other books in this series, I’m NOT a baseball fan.  But Ms. Highley makes me want to be a baseball fan (until I watch it on TV and remember that I don’t have the attention span).  And she did it again in this book.  It’s not that there’s an overwhelming amount of baseball in the book, but it’s prominent enough that it makes me feel like I understand the passion Dylan has.  I actually prefer when my sports romance books ACTUALLY have some of the sport in it (and not just have it be a small aspect of the character).

Dylan was such an intriguing hero!!  I can’t help but wonder how he came to be so rigid and structured and goal-focused.  But while sometimes a lack of “past incident explanation” can kill a book for me, the way it was done in this book I really felt like I could see how someone could just have that be an aspect of their personality.  Like being shy, or extroverted, or a daydreamer…sometimes you’re just born a certain way.  And I kind of loved how he’d allowed this one aspect of his personality to take over his WHOLE LIFE, and that was the cause of his stress.  It was so gratifying to see Lucy open him up, make him relax, show him there’s more to life.  I also loved the conflict with his parents.  Again, Ms. Highley writes great families too — not evil ones, or uninvolved, but ones that have their own set of problems even though you can feel the love.  I loved how that all resolved too, how blinded Dylan had become in his focus.

And he was SO CUTE!!  I love the heroes in these books.  They have a healthy set of hormones, but none of them are dogs (though far from perfect either).  They are all very 3 dimensional, and I love how shy and awkward Dylan could be in relationships!  SWOON!! (a unicorn just got his wings!)

And I LOVED how different Lucy was from the other heroines in this series!  She was kind of a rebel rouser, and just marched to the beat of her own drum, but with lots of confidence.  I loved how seriously she followed her passion, and how some might see her as flighty, but if you paid attention she was really focused as well.  She just knew better how to have some fun.  And I loved her family dynamics as well, and how the pressures of stepping up and being responsible in her family were really wearing on her.  Her relationship with both her Mom and her brother felt very real, full of love but also struggles.  And I loved the military Dad aspect as well.  How it didn’t overtake the story, but was an underlying heartache.

And these two together were YA gold.  So many tummy butterflies, they really had great chemistry.  And I really could see how they sort of brought the best of each other.

So yeah, another YA success!!  And a PERFECT read for the summer, I just got all those summertime vibes!!

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