Falling Away (Fall Away series #3) by Penelope Douglas

Falling awaySynopsis: Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid. K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away….

 

  1. C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.

 

Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As they grow closer, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.…

Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XCbrZJ

Add it to you TBR on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18343413-falling-away

4 Stars

I know I said that Madoc’s story was my favorite. Well, this one is a close second.  I saw aspects of KC’s (Juliet’s) upbringing in my past which helped me to really connect with her as a character.  Although Jaxon’s treatment of her in the beginning was questionable to me, you see as you read on that he was trying to help her be the best person she could be.  KC’s mind was molded.  Her free will was stretched and shaped into what her mother wanted her to be.  She didn’t have any idea what she wanted to be, she only knew what was expected of her.  And she acted accordingly.  She seemed a bit lost.  A mask was portrayed to the world that wasn’t who she really was.  Something Jax had in common with her. They both seemed normal but underneath they were both struggling to figure out who they wanted to be.  

Jaxon’s upbringing played a severe role in his treatment of others. He was cold and collected. Always in control, or tried to be.  He was cocky but he didn’t flaunt his power like Madoc or Jared.  

One thing that stood out for me that I had a hard time dealing with was when Jax would make sexual advances to KC and KC would say ‘no’ but Jaxon wouldn’t listen because she didn’t really want him to stop.  I know what the author was trying to do but all I heard in my head was “Consent! Consent! Consent!” I couldn’t get past it and I grimaced every time they had an sexual encounter.  

This book had some serious action going on in it at the end.  It was different than the other books-a tangible antagonist as opposed to an internal one.   

If you can look past the consent issue, which I was able to do, this book was really good and I would recommend reading it.  

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The Artists Touch by S.H. Pratt

The Artists TouchSynopsis: Exhausted, disillusioned and disgusted with her life in Los Angeles, Clarice “Rissa” Daniels leaves a successful acting career for the comforts of home in Olympia, Washington. Embracing a simpler life without the overabundance of testosterone that she’d dealt with in California, she works to recover and rebuild her life without the “Hollywood craziness”, away from the toxic presence of her ex-boyfriend, and far from the paparazzi. When a walk in the park drops her into the lap of Spencer St. George, she finds herself drawn to his quiet, unobtrusive demeanor, but Rissa quickly realizes that there is much more to the bespectacled middle-school art teacher.

Spencer St. George prefers the quiet life far from the hassles created by his family. Known as “Saint” to his students, he creates his own sense of peace with a paint brush in his hand while standing behind an easel. When Rissa Daniels crashes headlong into his life, Spencer is sent reeling. Unsure of her intentions, but drawn to her gregarious personality, he finds himself stepping out from behind his easel and daring to hope for more than his quiet life.

But as Spencer and Rissa grow closer, history threatens to destroy them. Met with righteous reticence from his family and stubborn pride from hers, the couple sets out to discover the events that turned their families against each other. As the past begins to surface, the present becomes dangerous, creating an uncertainty that could bind Spencer and Rissa together… or drive them apart forever.

Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MYqEiL

Add it to you TBR list on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26887765-the-artist-s-touch

4 Stars

This was a nice change of pace for me. I really liked both MC’s in this book.  Rissa has an outgoing and slightly aggressive personality that I can identify with.  She sees something and went after it.  And when you throw a ‘no’ her way she want to know why.  Her inquisitive personality appeals to me.  She is a good match for Spence’s oft times passiveness.  Spencer is a rigid opposite to her easy going manner.  It reminded me of left brain and right brain.  Controlling and order meets fly by the seat of her pants.  Both halves work together seemlessly.  Spence has this artsy yet over planned outlook that was quite attractive to me.  I love me some control.  And his control wasn’t just for the public, his appetite in the bedroom was… Gah, it was super sexy.

But this story isn’t just sexy scenes and opposites attract. It had another dimension that I truly thought felt was necessary for it to give it more layers. There is a fantastic mystery from their pasts that threatens to come between their newfound romance.   Old wounds are re-opened and family secrets don’t stay buried for long with Rissa’s detective skills. Spences steadfast support of her is what really made me fall for him.  Their relationship evolves and develops steadily throughout.  I gotta say I really enjoyed how natural SH Pratt made it feel while I read it.  It had a maturity to it that I appreciated immensely.  
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romance. It’s totally worth it.  

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On Christmas Hill by Nichole Chase

Synopsis:
19220538.jpgFind the magic this season.

When Gertie Nichols passed away, her estate was given to her great niece, Molly. After making the long trek from Florida to Vermont with her dog Remy, Molly is caught off guard by the attractive groundskeeper her aunt left in charge. At first her lonely holiday seems to be shaping up to be better than expected–until Nate tells her about the Nichols family legacy and the secret of Christmas Hill.

As sparks fly and magic blossoms right before her eyes, Molly will have to decide whether to take up the mantle her great aunt’s left behind or turn her back on tradition and the man who has quickly garnered space in her heart.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19220538-on-christmas-hill
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NC4d8B

My Review:
3.5 stars — OK, I was unprepared for the *real* magical part to this story, and it kind of threw me off.  I was expecting a straight contemporary romance, and I got something a bit more whimsical than that.  So I was as skeptical as Molly was about her legacy, and I think that tainted my read a bit.  I still really enjoyed a lot of this short story, but because it was a short story it suffered from the usual — fast romance, not enough time to get to know characters, that sort of thing.  I didn’t really get a chance to feel that chemistry — though that kiss under the mistletoe??  Pure magic.

Did really love the reindeer though….but what’s not to love about reindeer?

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His Christmas Gift by Sarah Mayberry

Synopsis:
27407659Since tragedy estranged defense attorney Jenna Macintosh from her family, she’s done her best to pretend Christmas doesn’t exist. Not so easy this year when she needs to work with client Lacey Gallagher, who is living on her brother Sawyer’s Christmas tree farm. All those fragrant pines dripping with twinkling lights are bad enough, but when disaster strikes, Jenna is stuck alone in a wooded cabin with Sawyer, the hottest man she’s ever met.

Experience has taught Sawyer Gallagher that smart city women like Jenna don’t want men like him, but when Jenna falls ill, he must abandon his plan to keep his distance and soon he’s trying to work out ways to make her his—and not just for Christmas.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27407659-his-christmas-gift
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ox6Sxo

My Review:
4 stars — A perfect start to my holiday reading season, this book had everything I love about a good Christmas read — adorable characters (A MUST), that little bit of Christmas magic, and a sweet romance.  And in this case, a little bit of steam to go with my romance.  🙂

The characters on their own were both adorable, but it was their interactions with each other where they really shined.  Even seeing them both get all flustered and excited about seeing one another was just…squeeze your heart goodness, you know?  Seriously, Jenna was a sweetheart who had a good dose of sass in her.  And Sawyer was EVERYTHING.  Shy, bashful, super dry witted, stubborn, and obviously sexy.  But it was the shy and sweet parts that got me.  Every time he turned red in the face I swooned.  And their playful moments together?  I just wanted to eat them up….  Whether it was playing Scrabble, or making that first move, they were just so adorable together.

And it was all wrapped up with a heartwarming little bit of Christmas family goodness (mostly between Jenna and her Dad) that had me tearing up while reading out in public.  Don’t mind me, sappy reader alert…

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Steal Me by Lauren Layne

Synopsis:
25293515IN HOT PURSUIT

Being a cop might be in Anthony Moretti’s blood, but protecting and serving the city of New York has always been more than just the family business. If that means his love life stays locked up, well then that’s just another sacrifice made in the line of duty. That is, until he sets eyes on the gorgeous new waitress at The Darby Diner and suddenly Anthony’s morning coffee is leaving him a whole lot more hot and bothered than usual.

Though waitressing at The Darby isn’t exactly Maggie Walker’s dream job, it pays the bills and gives her time to work on her novel. Now if only she could stop fantasizing about gorgeous Anthony Moretti every time he sits down at her table, she’d really be in great shape. But when he needs her help identifying a criminal threatening The Darby—and Maggie recognizes her ex-husband—she fears her fresh start might be a pipe dream. Faster than a New York minute, Maggie and Anthony find themselves in one perilous pursuit that only gets hotter with each and every rule-breaking kiss.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25293515-steal-me
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1OsSpmc

My Review:
3.5 stars — Unlike the first book, this one started off with more of a bang but the energy seemed to peter out a bit for me in the ending.  I’m also not sure I’m a “man in uniform” kind of girl, so that doesn’t automatically win points with me…I needed something more.

I initially really enjoyed our heroine, Maggie.  She was spunky yet sweet, and I felt for her and her circumstances.  And then I turned into a callous person apparently, b/c I just couldn’t empathize with her continued enabling of her father.  It seems like she was supposed to have gone under this change after leaving her husband, and yet it didn’t cross over even remotely to her family.  I wanted to see a bit more backbone a bit earlier in that part of her life.  Maybe I’ve just lost my empathizing gene, but it didn’t fit her character for me.  And in a similar vein, as we got further along in the book, I started realizing I didn’t really have a good grasp on who she was…like there were all these facts about her, but I couldn’t tell you what she was really like.  But maybe I was just missing my normal reading verve or something.  We’ll see if this trend continues.

Anthony…well, I don’t know.  I guess I couldn’t really get a good grasp on him either.  Maybe I’m not that big into the scowly types.  Maybe I just felt like his issues were just a slightly different version of Luc’s issues (some past instance that makes them believe they can’t do the job and have a girl).  So it just felt a bit regurgitated.

Wow, now that I’m writing it out it sounds really bad.  But it wasn’t!  It just wasn’t as compelling as I’m used to from Ms. Layne.  I think this series just isn’t my style.  Which is too bad, b/c my silly mind is curious about what Vincent and Jill’s story is going to be about….

As with the first book, the true gem of this story was the secondary characters of the Moretti family.  Whenever there’s a scene with even one of them involved, I find myself more invested.

So yeah…I’m a bit baffled.  I’m not sure if it’s me or what.  I guess I’ll continue my search for that next book hangover.

Oh yeah, and I received a copy of this book through netgalley.

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The History of Us by Nyrae Dawn

the history of usSynopsis: Eighteen-year-old Bradley Collins came out a year ago and hasn’t looked back since. Who cares if he doesn’t know any other gay people? Bradley has friends and basketball—that’s all he needs. Even if that means always sitting on the sidelines when the guys go out looking for girls.

When cute film-boy TJ tries to flirt with Bradley while his friends are doing their thing, he freaks. Yeah, he’s gay, but he’s never had the opportunity to go out with a boy before. He’s never had to worry about how his friends will react to seeing him with a guy.

Bradley accompanies TJ on a road trip to film TJ’s senior project documentary. In each city they visit, they meet with people from different walks of life, and Bradley learns there’s a whole lot more to being honest about himself than just coming out. He still has to figure out who he really is, and learn to be okay with what he discovers.

Get it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1P7mb2Y

Add it to your TBR on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25080325-the-history-of-us

5 Mutha effing stars!

I’m not really sure if you could really categorize this as a romance. It was more about his journey to being comfortable in his own skin and knowing what it means to be a gay person in this age in America.  The author touched on some really great topics in this book, such as how different it is to adopt in America as a gay couple, the AIDS epidemic in the ‘80’s which I remember a little even though I was young.  The conflicting emotions of a gay person who has faith and believes that they will be shunned by their family and church if they came out.  That one really got to me and made me realize that even though I am fully supportive of equal rights I still will never know what it is like to deal with prejudice as a gay person in America. It was very honest and heartfelt.  The title of the book has a double meaning since while it was literally about his blossoming relationship; it also gave insight to gay history.

It felt very original and very authentic to how the reality would be for teenagers who come out now.  While some people like to say, “We don’t care that you’re gay. It doesn’t change how we see you” For some people it doesn’t feel that way.  The author helped me to feel a little of what it was like to not be comfortable in your own skin or even to have that label hanging over their heads.  It was amazing really.

Brad was out but he wasn’t comfortable participating in a gay lifestyle. Never having a boyfriend or even other friends who were gay left him feeling very lonesome I thought.  While TJ on the other hand seemed to opposite in that he had been living a gay lifestyle and seemed quite comfortable and even happy. Their journey was surprising and held lots of humor to break up the seriousness.  I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE!

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Read This Round Up #59

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Photo courtesy of KissinBlueKaren

Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form.

Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.


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-PICTURE BOOK


YOUNG ADULT

-FANTASY

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-PARANORMAL

-SCIENCE FICTION


NEW ADULT


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Enter to win (1 of 2) $10 Amazon Giftcards!

Frisk Me by Lauren Layne

Aside: Does anyone else get annoyed when a cover showcases a model who quite clearly doesn’t depict the lead character?  He’s blond for goodness sake!!  *ahem*

Synopsis:
25293514Officer Luc Moretti had no idea that his dive into the East River would have him drowning in a media frenzy. No matter how many times he tells reporters he was just doing his job, they’re determined to make him into NYC’s newest hero. Coming from a long line of NYPD’s finest, Luc knows that being a cop has nothing to do with headlines and viral videos, and he’s more than ready to get back to life away from the cameras—until he meets the gorgeous but jaded journalist assigned to film a TV special on him.

Ava Sims may be the only woman in NYC who isn’t in love with Officer Moretti. That’s why she’s going after the real story—to find out about the man behind the badge. Ava’s determined to keep things strictly professional, but the more time she spends around Luc, even she has to admit there’s something about a man in uniform . . . and she can’t wait to get him out of his.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25293514-frisk-me
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1XnhnFS

My Review:
3.5 stars — I don’t know, I think I’m suffering from book hangover and this book got the short shrift.  I just found that it took me a long time to become engaged with the characters and the story.  So it *might* have a slower start…or it could be just me.

In the end neither Luc nor Ava were particular stand-outs for me.  They each had their great moments, and there was depth in both of their characters where I did feel for them.  I could have used a bit more with Ava…in some scenes I really felt her alienation from her family, but in others it felt like it wasn’t as intrinsic to her character.  But honestly, at this point I’m having a hard time figuring out what was just my own perceptions based on mood, kwim?  I felt like we were shown more and more of Luc’s inner struggles until it culminated in parts of the climax, so it felt more….real I guess, and less like a literary device.

The chemistry was pretty good between them, but again I was just missing that something extra that I usually find in Ms. Layne’s novels.  All the right elements were there, but I just wasn’t as absorbed as I usually find myself.

In the end the standout for me was the relationships between Luc and his family, particularly the delicious bantering…and PARTICULARLY with Nonna.  Nonna was da bomb.  Plain and simple.  That lady seriously killed me, and turned an ok story into an almost standout.  She has me contemplating rounding up instead of down, that’s how awesome she is.

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Bound Together by Stormy Smith

Synopsis:
BoundTogetherAfter weeks spent on the road tracking down Immortals still in hiding, Amelia and Aidan are finally ready for some down time. Holed up in a cabin at the base of Mt. Shasta, they prepare to celebrate their first Christmas together.

While Aidan makes secret plans for the celebration, he and Amelia create their own holiday traditions, finding surprises around every corner as they embrace each other and their future together.

Enjoy this short novella (40 pages) and celebrate the holidays with your favorite characters from the Bound series.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27838623-bound-together
Pre-order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1jcw4Oy

My Review:
5 stars — Well that was squeetastic goodness!!!  Seriously, this was like a love letter to fans.  So much awesome Aidan and Amelia time together….so much happiness!  It’s like the ultimate epilogue, and I LOVE a good epilogue.  There was laughter and fun, lovey-dovey-ness and even some heart squeezing moments.  And a teeny tiny glimpse into what they’ve been doing after BBP ended.  And maybe even a surprise or two.

But seriously…who wouldn’t love all that delicious togetherness?  Awesome.

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Eighteen by J.A. Huss

Synopsis:
27838211Eighteen is hard.
And so is Mateo Alesci.
He’s hard to read, hard to predict, hard in every way that counts. He wants things from me.
Dirty things, nasty things, forbidden things.
And I have to give in.
His attention is completely inappropriate, but I can’t say no. The way he looks at me… the way he watches me through my bedroom window… the way he drags me deeper and deeper into his completely forbidden fantasy world just… turns me on.
He knows it turns me on.
He holds all the power. He holds all the cards.
He holds my entire future in his hands.
And I have to give in.
Because Mr. Alesci is my teacher.
And I need everything he’s offering.

Find it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27838211-eighteen
Order it on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MsrTZr

My Review:
2.5 stars — Hmmmm….  Well, I’m not opposed to student/teacher taboo stories…but there was just something about this one that didn’t work for me.  And that something would be Mateo.  He creeped me out.  I guess I wasn’t expecting that level of dysfunction in the relationship, which is probably my own fault…I mean, it is a student/teacher relationship.  But I guess I’m a hearts and flowers kind of girl, and I just can’t get behind a relationship that is so….well, dysfunctional.  How do you fall in love with a guy who (to me) was basically a stalker?  Their entire first sexual encounter left me feeling wrong…so how do you come back from that?  I guess I just couldn’t empathize, b/c no amount of hot sex is worth the way Mateo initially treated her…it just felt like choice was taken away.  And yeah, I know there’s a lot of internal thoughts from Shannon about all of this, but I guess I just couldn’t vibe with her, so I only saw it from my perspective, not hers.  Again, probably more a me problem than a book problem.

Truthfully, the story kept me on my toes.  I knew a lot was going to go on, and not everything was at it seems, but in the end I had some designs on where I wanted the story to go, and that’s not where it went.  Which is not the authors fault, the story just did not meet my expectations.  I ended up falling more so for Sunday/Danny, and was hoping that she would realize the dysfunction in her relationship with Mateo and seek out something healthier.  I almost DNF’d the book, and maybe I should have since it just wasn’t a good match.  But there were a lot of the other things that were happening in Shannon’s life that were compelling to me (mainly her home life), and I wanted to see how that all worked out.  So there were good moments…enough of them to round up instead of down, but just not enough to save it for me.  *shrugs*

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