Bitterroot (part 1) by Heather Hildenbrand and S.M. Reine

bitterrootBlurb:  Seventeen year-old Regan Vuk has lived her whole life under the shadow of her future: the pack alpha. She is fast, smart, and determined. According to her own pack members, she is a shoo-in. But Regan’s dad has a secret.

Seventeen year-old Charlie spent her adolescence drifting from place to place with a mother desperate to hide her illegitimate daughter from the unforgiving reality of werewolf pack dynamics. All Charlie has ever wanted is to know her father–and the family that’s been kept from her all these years. But most of all, she wants a place to belong in the world. Where she doesn’t have to pretend she can’t sprout fur and paws at will.

Being kidnapped on her way home from prom was not what she had in mind.
When Charlie finds out the only way to fit in with her new family is to defeat her long-lost sister for the role of alpha, she refuses. That is until she learns that the strange and alluring vampire she’s befriended, Owen, is the same vampire prince that’s been promised the winner.
Regan has no doubt that, although she loathes the vampires, it will be her who “wins” Owen.

Only problem: Charlie’s already fallen for him.

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2.5 Stars

Maybe I’m in a reading funk.  I loved her Dirty Blood series.  So what gives?  This one was just too fast for me.  I couldn’t get a feel for who the character really was.  It all seemed like surface stuff.  She was thrust into this awkward situation and she kinda took it lying down in my eyes.  She didn’t even try.  I think that is what rubbed me the wrong way from the very beginning.

And then it was like everything she did after that had that negative first impression taint on it.  Her sister was so confident and almost entitled. As if the whole world rode on her shoulders.  I didn’t believe it, especially since her father started making decisions beyond what his role was as acting alpha.

It all had an element of acceptance in the face of adversity and I’m sitting here like, “Don’t give up so easily!”  Maybe that’s just my nature but I kept thinking what I would do in her situation and you can bet your ass it wouldn’t be to lie in bad for days at a time sulking. I am really not sure if I will read any more of this series.

The saving grace was Owen.  His tortured soul was appearent from the moment we met him.  He was written wonderfully in my opinion.  And if I read anymore it will be because of his character.

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Dire (The Dire Wolves Chronicles #1) By Alyssa Rose Ivy

DireBlurb: Gage was the first guy I ever wanted. He was my first crush and my first fantasy, but he wasn’t my first in any other way because he never saw me as anything more than a friend— at least not until the night that changed everything.

It was all Gage’s fault. He insisted we drive through the storm and take the back roads. By the time the storm hit full force we had no chance. One night of snowbound sex changed our relationship forever. The problem was at the same time I caught another guy’s attention. This other guy happened to be the alpha of a pack of shifter wolves. I thought the wolves were the worst of my problems, but I was wrong. When things went from bad to worse I had to make a lifelong sacrifice to save Gage, but what price is too much to save the one you love?

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2.5 Stars

I was really hoping I would like this book.  I loved her other series, but this one just didn’t do much for me.  I think it was the absoluteness of it.  There was really no choice and I always chafe against those kind of restrictions in a book.  Which effects my enjoyment of it.  I couldn’t find a connection with the MC.  She seemed a bit of a non participant in the story, just waiting for things to happen instead of making them happen.

I found the sex was too much of a focus in this book. Like they just had to have each other when they were in danger.  I just don’t understand that.  For me, it seems like they weren’t taking their safety seriously if they had the time to mess around, ya know.

I guess I’m just too practical? Maybe my priorities are more in tune with getting away and staying alive than some fleeting physical experience that does not constitute love.  But that sounds totally snobbish when I say it out loud.  I swear I’m not a snob.

Eh, I may read the next one, but probably not anytime soon.

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Addicted for Now by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Synopsis:
22895386He’s addicted to booze. She’s addicted to sex…staying sober is only half the battle.

No. More. Sex.

Those are the three words Lily Calloway fears the most. But Loren Hale is determined to be with Lily without enabling her dangerous compulsions. With their new living situation—sleeping in the same bed, for real, together—Lily has new battles. Like not jumping Lo’s bones every night. Not being consumed by sex and his body.

Loren plans to stay sober, to right all of his wrongs. So when someone threatens to expose Lily’s secret to her family and the public, he promises that he’ll do anything to protect her. But with old enemies surfacing, Lo has more at stake than his sobriety.

They will torment Lily until Lo breaks.

And his worst fear isn’t relapsing. He hears the end. He sees it. The one thing that could change everything. Just three words.

No. More. Us.

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My Review:
5 stars — OMG, I ended this book with the biggest smile on my face and this great sense of fulfillment.  I’m going to try to figure out what pushed this one over the edge for me — b/c I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this series, but this book just went 5 full stars for me.

I think part of it was that I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time with these characters — partly because the books are longer than what I normally read, and partly b/c they were going through some major emotional upheavals, and so you feel like you really get to know who they are, and you want to be on their journey with them.  The authors just did an amazing job of drawing me in and making me root for Lily and Lo.  OHHHHH!!!  And you know what else I loved??  Dual POV bitches!!!  I fucking LOVE dual POV, and so I basically just squeed when I saw that we were finally going to get into Loren’s head in this book.

I think another strong point for this book is that a lot happens…I mean, there was still a lot of time in their heads, but the plot moved forward at a better pace somehow.  So I definitely had moments where I was on the edge of my seat, with my mouth hanging open and my eyes bugged.  And it’s funny, b/c it wasn’t that I was 100% surprised by some of the things that happened, but I guess I was just so emotionally invested in their journey that I felt *with* them for everything that was happening.

I also didn’t realize how much I was going to appreciate witnessing their recoveries.  I think a lot of books would have focused on the initial addictions, got them help, and then just waved a HEA wand over the end.  But the Ritchie sisters show us the lifetime struggle that BOTH characters go through as they’re trying to beat their addictions.  I really appreciated how they handled Lily’s recovery — the setbacks and the leaps forward.

And again, this book just made me love the secondary characters even more.  I’m actually sad that I have to take a break and read an ARC I have before continuing on in this series.  If the spinoffs are as good as this one, then I am going to be in for a treat!!  I’m actually both nervous and looking forward to more.  It’s just that every character has so much depth to them, even if it’s just hinted at at this point.

Ohooooo…do you ever write a review and find that it’s just totally non-sensical b/c you haven’t organized your thoughts?  Yeah, that’s this one.  I will say that this book has a lot more sexytimes in it, but it actually fit the story really well and felt right.

OK, OK, I’m done.  I think.  😉

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Top Ten Bookworm Delights

Top Ten Tuesday

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 “Top Ten Bookworm Delights.”

Curly Carla’s Top Ten:

  1. Spring!   I love to lie a towel down in my backyard and whip out my kindle while I get a some Vitamin D.
  2. Quiet.  I adore it when everyone is asleep and I can dive into a new story.  It’s very exciting.
  3. My beanbag chair.  I pull that puppy under a wide window and snuggle up with a book.  It’s super comfy.
  4. The smell of a paperback book.  I think this one is universal.  We all love the smell of a new book right?
  5. Beer.  Ok, it’s not that weird is it?  I like to enjoy a beer when I read every now and again.
  6. Nighttime. I love to read at night. It’s my favorite time, might have something to do with the fact that everyone is asleep and I can sorta just fall into the story.  Or it could have something to do with the fact that emotions are always a bit heightened at night so I can really feel the characters.
  7. My bookcase.  I love to check my bookcase several times a week just to rub my hands over my lovies.
  8. Sharing my books.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a PM or text asking for a recommendation for a book. Or received the same in return and found a great series or author I liked.
  9. Meeting my fave authors.  Does this count?  This is easily one of my top ten bucket list items.
  10. Meeting other bookworms!!!!  I love to talk about books and share thoughts on them with other bookworms.

Deja Revu April 25, 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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Action/Adventure

Fantasy


Paranormal

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Contemporary

Paranormal


Romance

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Contemporary



Historical

Mystery



Nonfiction

Woman’s Fiction



Get Lucky: A YA Anthology by Ali Dean, Kristen Kehoe, Cassie Mae, Tessa Marie, Kelly Oram and Ginger Scott


29366714Blurb:
 A YA anthology featuring some of today’s hottest Young Adult authors!

Doubles Love by Ali Dean – Mackenzie Bell loves two things: tennis and the Kendrick family. She doesn’t want to be anything like her mother, who hops from one husband to the next. It’s one of many reasons why she’s never dated. The other reason? She’s in love with her best friend’s older brother, Jesse Kendrick.

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not by Kristen Kehoe – Kennedy Russo has had it rough. She’s become a pro at being invisible. But when she’s paired up for a 5 week assignment with golden boy, Gage, she starts to realize that anonymity may not always be the best option. Gage is on a mission to make her his friend, but will their tentative friendship bloom into something more?

Stroke of Luck by Cassie Mae – Jensen is well on his way to the PGA, if only he could focus. Getting stuck with his best friend as co-counselor at the golf camp will help—Penny’s always been one to push him. But when their alone time turns romantic, Jensen wonders if she’ll just be another distraction.

Someone I Used to Know by Tessa Marie – Charlotte was not looking forward to Spring Break. No technology and a boy she can’t stand. But when she realizes the boy is actually a hot guy now, and wants to hang out with her (!) she cant help but think this break may turn into something pretty awesome. But, is he harboring a secret that will challenge their budding relationship?

16 Kisses by Kelly Oram- All Cassie Caldwell wants for her sixteenth birthday is to finally be kissed. When Cassie’s older brother and his best friend—the lovable, sexy cowboy, Jared—discover her secret, Jared takes it upon himself to make sure her birthday wish comes true.

Four Letter Words by Ginger Scott – Dakota Wright has been making Jace Padgett look good for years…and she’s tired of it. What started as a favor has turned into a habit—one that she’s justified in her mind because Jace also happens to be six feet of gorgeous hunky quarterback, green eyes and a smile that can swing a girl to the moon. But the last favor she did for him may have finally tipped the scales, and Dakota’s ready to call it quits. One small hiccup—her heart can’t seem to let her. And when Jace starts to share pieces of the real him, Dakota begins to think her heart might just be smarter than her head after all.

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3 Stars Overall

Doubles Love by Ali Dean

This one was cute. I liked it. They all seem to be centered around sports, this one was centered around Tennis.  And I think that what stuck out the most in the story is the internatization of her feelings.  It seemed like there wasn’t a lot of external things happening.  Like, it was heavy on the emotion but bit in the action if that makes sense.

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not by Kristen Kehoe

I like this a lot better than the first one.  It went into more depth in the background of characters and I really liked Kennedy’s character and how Gage kinda pulled her out of her shell and helped her be more trusting of people in general.  It was like their love was so effortless honestly, they kind of just slid right into it.

Stroke of Luck by Cassie Mae

This one felt more like a middle grade or a high school story.  It was cute though. It had a bit of a long distance thing going on you don’t really get a chance to see what could happen.  I think I was left wanting actually, like it needed to be longer. The ending was too abrupt for me.

Someone I Used to Know by Tessa Marie

This one I had a hard time connecting with.  It was only over the course of a few days and, again, you only see the potential for something more.  Maybe I just didn’t believe it because so much happened so fast and we didn’t really get a chance to ‘know’ them that well.

16 Kisses by Kelly Oram

I think this one was probably my favorite out of the entire series.  It was fun, flirty and a bit sexy.  Jared is so dang sweet and I just want to squish his cheeks.  He made Cassies birthday one that will be remembered forever. And by the end of the day it was very clear that they belong together.

Four Letter Words by Ginger Scott

I found this one kinda dark and imcomplete if I’m being honest.  And not in a good way.  I get this kid needs help but not at the expense of someone esle.  I don’t care if she ‘loves’ him. Love doesn’t work this way.  What he did was wrong on so many levels.  But all the fault can’t be put on Jace’s shoulders. She enabled him for so long it’s really not any wonder what his expectations were.  I found her… weak.  And the foundation for their relationship wasn’t stable enough in my opinon to really stand the test of time.  Making it too far fetched for me.

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Ricochet by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Synopsis:
22746831As a sex addict, Lily Calloway must do the impossible. Stay celibate for 90 days.

Cravings and fantasies become her new routine, but while Loren Hale recovers from his alcohol addiction, Lily wonders if he’ll realize what a monster she really is. After all, her sexual compulsions begin to rule her life the longer she stays faithful to him.

Progress. That’s what Lily’s striving for. But by trying to become closer to her family–people who aren’t aware of her addiction–she creates larger obstacles. When she spends time with her youngest sister, she learns more about her than she ever imagined and senses an unsettling connection between Daisy and Ryke Meadows.

With Lily and Lo’s dysfunctional relationship teetering and unbalanced, they will need to find a way to reconnect from miles apart. But the inability to “touch” proves to be one of the hardest tests on their road to recovery. Some love brushes the surface. Some love is deeper than skin.

Lily and Lo have three months to discover just how deep their love really goes.

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My Review:
4 stars — I don’t know how the series read before this addition in between books 1 and 2 (because I’m reading them in order), but I can’t imagine it without this book.  I felt like it gave you even more insight into Lily’s life, her relationship with Lo, and how she maybe came to be who she was.  The revelation at the end of where some of this may stem from was heartbreaking — partly b/c it was so real and I could see why she wanted it to be something more impactful, but sometimes the littlest things impact us the most.  So I really appreciated learning more about her backstory.

And like I said, it really gave you more insight into Lily and Lo’s relationship, and I appreciated that as well.  We got a few flashbacks…and you could see just how far back their relationship was dysfunctional in some ways.  But at the same time you could see how much they did care for each other in the best way they knew how (even if it wasn’t the best way).  So I feel more invested in their relationship than I did even after book 1.  I’m nervous for what’s to come though.

And yet again, I felt like the authors really did an amazing job of showing the power of addiction, and how detrimental it can be to life.  They ripped out my heartstrings in more than one place.  (the tub scene pretty much did me in — so many emotions)

I’m also really becoming intrigued by Rose and Connor and Daisy and Ryke.  I have a feeling before all is said and done I’ll be reading all 9 books in this series and its spinoffs.  Even though I tend to be drawn more towards books with a bit more lightness to them, these books are written very well and I am so intrigued by these characters and how they came to be how they are, and where they’re going to go in the future.

On to book 2!!

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Addicted to You by Krista & Becca Ritchie

Synopsis:
22746816She’s addicted to sex. He’s addicted to booze…the only way out is rock bottom.

No one would suspect shy Lily Calloway’s biggest secret. While everyone is dancing at college bars, Lily stays in the bathroom. To get laid. Her compulsion leads her to one-night stands, steamy hookups and events she shamefully regrets. The only person who knows her secret happens to have one of his own.

Loren Hale’s best friend is his bottle of bourbon. Lily comes at a close second. For three years, they’ve pretended to be in a real relationship, hiding their addictions from their families. They’ve mastered the art of concealing flasks and random guys that filter in and out of their apartment.

But as they sink beneath the weight of their addictions, they cling harder to their destructive relationship and wonder if a life together, for real, is better than a lie. Strangers and family begin to infiltrate their guarded lives, and with new challenges, they realize they may not just be addicted to alcohol and sex.

Their real vice may be each other.

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My Review:
3.5 stars — Wow.  I’m still trying to process what I just read.  While reading this, I think I realized that I don’t tend to read a lot of super angsty books.  And this is not angsty in like a bad way…huh, so this just spurred me on to look up angsty in the dictionary, and I’m not sure I mean that word.  It’s just that this book deals with a lot of real and sometimes very negative emotions, and our two main characters are ridiculously self-destructive.  So it makes it hard to read for me.  I’m a fairly sensitive reader, and so my heart just cringed for these characters over and over again.

And there just wasn’t a balance of lightheartedness to compensate for the heaviness…which don’t get me wrong, I definitely wasn’t expecting any lighthearted moments in this book (I wasn’t confused about what I was getting into).  I mean, objectively there were some (Connor providing a lot of it), but I think I was stuck in horrified mode and it wasn’t enough to get me out of that place.  It’s more that I realized something about myself as a reader, and that I tend to gravitate more towards books that have a balance of the two (heavy and light), does that make sense?  And so there’s a part of me that really enjoyed this book and all the issues it tackled…and there’s another part of me that’s just emotionally exhausted.  So I find myself desperately wanting to read book 2 and find out what happens with Lily and Lo, and there’s another part of me that’s more cautious of the emotional strain I’d be subjecting myself to.

And so I guess that brings me to what this book does well (much to my dismay): the authors do an amazing job of portraying characters struggling with addiction.  Or at least to me it felt very authentic.  And it broke my heart.  B/C you could see glimmers of who Lily and Lo were beneath it all, but for the most part they were just smothered by their addictions.  I can’t even honestly decide how I feel about their romance, b/c it was so hard to see their love beyond how they were enabling each other.  It really wasn’t much of a love story…at least not yet.  It’s not that you didn’t see that they cared for each other, but they both genuinely loved their addictions more and always put those above each other.

I actually wasn’t sure how I would feel about following a character with a sex addiction, b/c it’s not something that we as a society focus on as something real.  I wondered if the authors would just use that as an excuse to have a really racy book, but it wasn’t that AT ALL.  And so I really applaud them for that.  I could believe it.  And I hated it.  I hated how it controlled Lily.  😦

I feel like I honestly didn’t get a great feel for Lo.  Maybe it’s because the story was told from Lily’s POV, so we were able to get inside her head?  Maybe it’s because addiction twists characters, and so we end up seeing so many different sides of him (including some mean sides)?  I don’t know.  I wonder if the rest of the series is all from Lily’s POV, b/c I would love to see into Lo’s head so badly.

I thoroughly enjoyed the side characters in this book.  I have a feeling the more I learn, the more I’m going to want to read all nine books, including the sister spin-offs…  Maybe they’ll be a bit more reprieving in the emotional distraught-ness area.

Other than that this book is a bit outside my wheelhouse and left me a bit scarred, I also felt like it dragged on a bit at times, and so that was where that extra half star loss falls.  Also, I’m not sure how I feel about how things went with Lo’s father and Lily’s thoughts about him at the end (how’s that for vague and not spoilery).  But I’ve decided I’m definitely going to give the next book (Ricochet) a try and decide how much my heart can take from there, and see how I’m feeling at that point.

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The Red Zone by Jordan Ford

Synopsis:
29926982Mack Mahoney is hot, popular and used to getting exactly what he wants…until he sets his sights on the new girl—Kaija Bennett. She’s an exchange student from New Zealand and attending Nelson High for three months. Mack’s never been one for love at first sight, but this chick has him feeling things he never knew existed within him and in spite of her feisty rejections, he’s determined to get to know her.

Kaija Bennett did not escape her New Zealand high school only to be dragged into the popular crowd at Nelson High. She’s on the run from a past she wants to forget, and the attention of the gorgeous quarterback is not helping. Can she resist his pulling power and keep her secret safe? Or will the dynamic football captain unearth the truth and make her fall harder than she ever has before?

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received an ARC of this ebook from the author in exchange for my honest review!! (though I’m enjoying this series so much, I bought a copy of the final version for myself)

I think I’m still in my reading slump.  I even had a harder time concentrating on reading this book than I normally would (but that could have been that my life kept trying to get in the way of my reading).  Truthfully the reading of this book kind of went in a rollercoaster.  It didn’t grab me right at the beginning, and I wasn’t necessarily feeling the chemistry between Mack and Kaija right away.  But I HONESTLY cannot tell if it’s me anymore.  It’s starting to bug me.  Anyways, by the time they started their prank war, I was totally absorbed and devouring all the words!!!  I loved their playfulness and Sam was a hoot!!!  And then I think I got distracted by life again and I lost the magic…  I was enjoying watching Mack and Kaija get closer to each other, but it kind of just felt like it happened too fast, and Kaija easily let go of her reservations.  So I had a hard time buying into the development of them as a couple.  But once I finally let that go, I enjoyed watching them together.

I think in the end I enjoyed each of their individual stories more than their romance.  I really felt for Kaija and what happened to her back in New Zealand.  It was an interesting character perspective — someone who’d been one of the mean girls and who’d learned a REALLY hard lesson.  And what happens to her in this book totally brought me to tears.  I thought her story was very authentic.

Mack had his own interesting story to tell, but I felt like his skimmed the surface a bit more.  I would have liked even more depth there, but that could have been just my mood too, you know?  I guess I just feel like I still don’t quite know what drives Mack, other than his love of his family.  But maybe that’s because he doesn’t know who he is either?  Which is ok, but I guess I just wanted more…

So yeah, I’m still super intrigued by the stories and the world that Ms. Ford has created, but this one just didn’t hit it out of the park quite as much as Colt and Tori’s story did.  I was so glad we got to see a bit of them in this story as well, b/c they are adorable together!  I wish we’d seen more of Finn, but I am super psyched that Finn’s story is next (even if I’m wary of Layla as the heroine), so there are good things coming in my future!  🙂

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Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae

friday night alibiBlurb: In the wealthy town of Sundale, Kelli Pinkins has hatched the perfect plan to capitalize on her sweet reputation. For a generous fee, she will be every trust-fund baby’s dream: a Friday-night alibi, the “girlfriend” or “BFF” that parents dream about. With college approaching in the fall, Kelli’s services are in demand more than ever, which means that her social life is nonexistent. But Kelli is A-okay with that. She’s raking in cash for school. Besides, relationships are tricky, and sometimes very messy. She’d rather be at home on Xbox LIVE, anyway. Then the unexpected happens: She meets college stud Chase Maroney.

Chase isn’t like the preppy, privileged guys Kelli usually meets in Sundale. For starters, he’s twentysomething, always wears black., and he shoots back one-liners as fast as she can dish them out. But Kelli’s attempts to drive Chase away falter when she realizes that he treats her like he really knows her, like hecares about knowing her. When Kelli finally gives in to the delicious kiss she’s been fighting for so long, she faces a tough decision: make Chase a real-life boyfriend and risk her heart . . . or keep her clients and lose her first true love.

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4 Stars

I do love this cover! So, I’m on a CM binge.  Gobbling up all her books I can get my hands on. This is my fourth book by her I have finished so far. Only 16 more to go, I think.

So this one didn’t blow me away like Switched did.  I don’t know why. Don’t get me wrong, the story was great.  Maybe it’s cause I found Kelli a bit too stereotypical in the ‘rich kid’ aspect.  And for someone who wanted to be wanted so bad, she came off as selfish.  they always go to her house and its always on her time.  She does evolve as a character but it was almost too little too late for me.

The relationship seemed a bit one-sided.  And I didn’t get the pranks that much, but that’s cause I’m a huge wimp when it comes that that kind of stuff.  I’m the type of person who wouldn’t take it as a joke and would get real mad and walk away.  So don’t play any pranks on me!

Chase was such a sweet and super understanding guy.  He was like a mind-reader!  How did he understand exactly what she needed.  He showed some great traits that everyone would love in an SO.  Compassion, wit, and humor to name a few.  We could all use a Chase in our lives.  I find that CM has an uncanny knack for writing the opposite sex with a much deeper character that their female counter-parts.  I highly recommend reading her books.

 

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