Déjà Revu October 31, 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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Historical

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Action/Adventure

Contemporary

Fantasy

Horror

Romance

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Fantasy

Woman’s Fiction

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Contemporary

Fantasy

General Fiction

Historical

Horror

Paranormal

Romance

Woman’s Fiction

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Romance

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A is for Abstinence (V is for Virgin #2) by Kelly Oram

22089601Blurb: Rockstar to the core, Six-time Grammy Award-winning musician Kyle Hamilton has it all—money, fame, talent, good looks, and a job he loves. His only regret in life: walking away from a certain notorious virgin because he was too prideful, stubborn, and even afraid to give her the only thing she asked of him—his abstinence.

Four years and a broken heart later, Kyle realizes that sex isn’t everything, and he suddenly can’t stop thinking about the girl that got away. Virgin Val Jensen got under his skin like no one else ever has. He wasn’t ready for her then, but things are different now. He’s grown up, he’s learned a few things, and he’s finally figured out exactly what he wants, or, rather, who he wants.

Kyle Hamilton wants a do-over, and this time he’s willing to do—or not do—whatever it takes.

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5 stars

Oh, this one was even better than the first one.  I enjoyed the passing of time and the maturity that both Val and Kyle exhibited.  They both grew into themselves and it was a lovely second chance at first love book.

Val remained true to herself and her virture and I applaud her for it.  I don’t know that its a feasible option for everyone now a days but I loved how she owned if for herself and didn’t look down on others for their different beliefs.  I also like how she evolved from being the face of Not Everyones Doing It into starting her own adoption agency and being a double major at Stanford.  This girl has serious ambitions!

Kyle seemed to have the most growth emotionally and while I wasn’t completely in love with him, (I couldn’t move past his previous behavior in the first book)  He did redeem himself for the most part.  Him having a previous relationship really helped him to be more understanding with regards to her choice.  Their relationship seemed to go pretty fast since they had not seen each other in four years but it still felt right to me.  She helped him to see past himself and use his fame in a less selfish and more productive way.

It ended predictably for me but that’s fine because its what I wanted to happen.  🙂  PS, it has a character from one of her other books referenced in it.  I love that! So go read it already!

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Reunited by Daniel Gothard

reunitedBlurb: In 1992, Ben Tallis is coming to terms with the recent death of his father. His ability to cope isn’t helped by the fact he’s secretly in love with one his best friends. At least keeping a daily journal helps him make sense of events, and he believes it’s the perfect preparation for his plan to one become a successful journalist. In 2012, Ben has achieved his career ambition—he’s a highly respected journalist and is engaged to a hardworking and ambitious lawyer. But this seemingly “perfect” relationship is fraught with problems. Ben mentions in passing to his editor he has received an invitation to a 20 year school reunion but doesn’t want to go. His editor, however, smells a great feature article and insists Ben returns home, faces his past—including his secret teenage yearning—and writes a feature on how much we change and yet in so many ways stay the same. As Ben reluctantly re-engages with his past, he soon comes to realize that we can never run from the truth—or who we truly are.

Netgalley

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2 stars

I was not a fan of this book.  I found it boring and slow  moving.  It was supposed to be my book bingo block for a comedy.  I didn’t laugh once so I’m not using it, especially since I just realized that I already have that block covered.  I honestly don’t know what else to write. It was the opposite of good.

I thought the MC was whiny and immature.  He kept looking at his fiance as someone who was keeping him in line because he was always messing up.  And the fiance left him for a very long time over one little fight.  I’m not exaggerating, she came home from work and they had an argument, then she left him and wouldn’t return his calls or emails for days!  So you argue and then you just leave?  You take off and avoid the conflict, that sounds childish to me and I was over their relationship pretty quickly after that.

I liked the flashbacks.  High school teenage angst I get. Scared of rejection?  I get that.  But I failed to see how any of it was humorous.  I know that european humor is different than us over here in the states but I have never had this issue before and I love to read Euro and Aussie books.

I guess I can chalk this one up to a fluke.  I got this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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V is for Virgin (V is for Virgin #1) by Kelly Oram

18912102BlurbWhen Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation.

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy.

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

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5 Stars

So first off, I’m a fan of Kelly Oram. I have read most of her books so I fully expected to like this one.  And I was right.  The thing of Kelly’s books is there is always some very intricate deep issue going on, and she tells the story in such a way to really make you think about it from another perspective.

Take for instance this book, the virgin thing.  This is a huge deal in high school.  I haven’t met anyone who didn’t take this decision incredibly serious.  And I love how she wrote Val. How she was embarrassed about it at first  but she still stuck to her guns, and even went so far as to make it into a movement.  The only issue I had, which was so minor as to barely warrant a mention, was how fast everything blew up.  She got famous sooo quickly and I found that a bit hard to swallow.  But whateves, that wasn’t really the main focus of the story anyway.  I mean, it kinda was, but everything would have happened regardless so I dismissed it.

Kyle was the predictable bad boy.  Snarky, disrespectful and entirely too self centered.  As a rock star I can totally see how everyone giving into his wants would make him expect it. But he went too far in my opinion, and his sweet moments were too far and few between for me to really think he was sincere.

It was Cara that really pissed me off.  I couldn’t believe how the best friend could turn into her enemy so quickly.  I found her selfish and controlling.  And she was determined to have what she wanted regardless of her BEST FRIENDS convictions.  She just didn’t care. And she tried to use emotional blackmail to get her way which was an immediate deal breaker for me.  What kind of friend doesn’t support you, especially at your most vulnerable.  At that point she was irredeemable and I was glad when Val told her off.  What a bitch!

The ending was so refreshing.  I can’t really say much more without it being spoilery so you should just go read it to find out.

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Stacking the Shelves – October 29th, 2016

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(Images link to Goodreads, Titles link to Amazon)

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)

Preorders That Went Live:

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Flirty Thirty (Nerdy Thirties #1) by Cassie Mae — I buy all her new releases so I got this one.  See review here.

Had To Get the Next Book In The Series:

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A is for Abstinence (V is for Virgin #2) by Kelly Oram — I read V is for Virgin and I loved it, so bought the next one.

Lenoreo’s Haul

(All Ebooks unless otherwise specified)

NetGalley ARC Requests Approved:

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  • Completely Yours (Opposites Attract #1) by Erin Nicholas from Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
  • My Cowboy Freedom (The Cowboys #5) by Z.A. Maxfield from InterMix (Berkley Publishing Group)
  • For the Bear’s Eyes Only (Grizzlies Gone Wild #3) by Kathy Lyons from Forever Yours (Grand Central Publishing)

ARCs from Authors:

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Faults (Island Series #4) by Tudor Robins — I didn’t even know this one was in the works, but I’ve loved this series so can’t wait to dive in!

Preorders That Went Live:

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Flirty Thirty (Nerdy Thirties #1) by Cassie Mae — Actually already read it because I got an ARC.  See review here.

New Releases:

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  • See No Evil (Brotherhood #1) by Jordan Ford — Another book I already read because I had an ARC, but wanted the final copy in my greedy hands.  See review here.
  • Turn the World Upside Down by Nyrae Dawn — I actually got to read an early copy of this book last year, and was blown away.  Review coming soon.

Got It On Sale:

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  • Relentless (Relentless #1) by Karen Lynch — FREE!!!
  • Broken Skies (Broken Skies #1) by Theresa Kay — OK, technically I already have a few copies (2 paperbacks, a few beta copies, and at least one ebook), but I guess I didn’t get the latest one after she published with Skyscape, and since it’s now back to Indie-published and only 99¢, I snatched it up…  See my review here.

Siren in the City by Sophie Oak

Blurb:
9670017[Menage Amour: Erotic Cowboy Menage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, BDSM, public exhibition] When the Dom’s away…the subs will play! Jack and Sam married Abby. It was supposed to be for forever, but lately Abby wonders where her alpha male has gone. Jack has retreated, and life has become decidedly vanilla. It isn’t the true threesome she and Sam wanted. Sam and Abby know the time has come to fight for what they need. A call from his mentor forces Jack to revisit the club where he discovered his sexuality. Jack’s half-brother is in the city and interested in a little blackmail. Can Jack handle two defiant subs and a brother in need of tough love? Sometimes all it takes to find the way home is a little love and a lot of bondage. ** A Siren Erotic Romance

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Blurb:
ORIGINAL REVIEW: 4 stars — I enjoyed it….I loved the characters from the first one and it was neat to catch up with them and not just assume a happily ever after…

ON REREAD: 4 stars — OK, this is going to sound funny, but I laughed a lot…and you guessed it, it was because of incorrigible Sam.  Seriously, that man is just…awesomesauce.  I laughed so much at the tiny side conversation about them being a line…oh Abby, you are so right.  I really enjoyed that while we got a bit of a HEA in the previous book, this one showed us that life always brings more struggles, and that some traumas can be felt more deeply than we thought.  What Jack struggles through is intriguing.  Again with that shame thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed being introduced to the Club, and all the colourful characters who are going to get their own stories as the series continues.  What makes a great series for me is great secondary characters that intrigue you, and make you *wish* for their stories.  And there were so many, from Julian and Leo to Lucas and even Abby’s daughter.  And what becomes great as the series goes on is glimpses back to characters whose stories have already been told.  You fall in love with Jack, Sam, and Abby, and you know you’ll see them in the future, even if it’s just glimpses.

I will reiterate one thing though — I know NOTHING about BDSM.  So the accuracy of its portrayal in these books is not something I can comment on.  But since I’m not actually interested in the lifestyle in real life, it was thoroughly entertaining for me in a fictional sense.  But if it is something that you participate in in real life, I have a feeling this might not be super accurate, and I could see that pissing people off.  So take these books with a grain of salt.

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Falling for Fitz (Blueberry Lane 1 – The English Brothers #2) by Katy Regnery

faling-for-fitzBlurb:  Fitz English and Daisy Edwards fell in love during one magical summer when they were teenagers. When something tragic happens at the end of the summer, Daisy tells Fitz she never wants to see him again. Despite his feelings for her, he respects her wishes and for almost a decade Fitz and Daisy go their separate ways.

Almost ten years later, when Daisy moves home to Philadelphia, they meet again, and both are shocked to discover that the feelings they had that summer are just as deep and real today. There’s a little snag, however. It seems that Daisy is engaged to someone else, and she’s come home to get married.

Can Fitz get Daisy to fall for him all over again before it’s too late? Only if Daisy can learn to trust the man who shattered her heart once upon a time.

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4 Stars

I really liked the background of this couple.  It was so different that the first one and I was worried that this book would just be more of the same ya know? The had that summer love thing going on, reminded me of Grease.  Fun fact about me, I FLOVE musicals, so that really struck a chord with me.

Daisy is so funny but sometimes she irritated me.  One of the things I continually tell my husband is, “I’m not a mind-reader!  Don’t assume I know what you’re thinking!”  Which is what I caught Daisy doing a lot of.  You can’t say one thing, want them to not listen to you, then get mad when they do listen to you.  That’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works.  🙂 I enjoyed how she was ‘engaged’ though.  Even if I felt that was a bit over dramatic.

And Fitz was so cute when he threw his hat in the ring.  Once he decided he wanted to be a part of her life.  He went all in.  Like it was almost over the top how he far in he went.  His devotion was endearing.  And I loved how Daisy brought out his playful side.  He is generally a stuffy white collar guy but her presence seemed to awaken him a bit.

It all went very fast after that though and I was hoping for a more lengthy romance, but hey, what do you expect when they have been pining for each other for almost ten years?

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How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You by Tara Eglington

Blurb:
30528623Executor of the Find a Prince Program™ and future author, sixteen-year-old Aurora Skye is dedicated to helping others navigate the minefield that is teenage dating. Counsellor-in-residence at home, where her post-divorce ad-agency father has transformed into a NAD (New Age Dad) intent on stripping his life bare of ‘the illusionary’ (i.e. the removal of home furnishings to the point where all after-hours work must be done in lotus position on a hemp cushion) Aurora literally lives and breathes Self-Help.

When the beginning of the school year heralds the arrival of two Potential Princes™ who seem perfect for her best friends Cassie (lighthouse beacon for emotionally fragile boys suffering from traumatic breakups) and Jelena (eye-catching, elegant and intent on implementing systems of serfdom at their school) it seems as if Aurora’s fast on her way to becoming the next Dr Phil.

As Aurora discovers, however, Self-Help is far from simple. Aurora’s mother arrives home from her extended ‘holiday’ (four years solo in Spain following the infamous ‘Answering Machine Incident’) throwing the NAD into further existential crisis. With Valentine’s Day drawing closer and the new Potential Princes not stepping up to the mark, Aurora is literally forced to take to the stage to throw two couples together. However, being cast opposite Hayden Paris (boy next door and bane-of-Aurora’s life) in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing brings challenges of its own. Not only does Hayden doubt that Cupid is understaffed and thus in dire need of Aurora’s help, but playing Beatrice to his Benedict throws her carefully preserved first kiss for a Prince into jeopardy. As Aurora races to save love’s first kiss and put a stop to the NAD’s increasingly intimate relationship with her Interpretive dance teacher (guilty of putting Aurora on detention for a ‘black aura’) she is left wondering who can a self help guru turn to for help? Can she practice what she preaches? And can long-assumed frogs become Potential Princes?

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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.

Wow, this one is a hard one to review.  To start with, when I first picked up this book and started reading, I had an intense desire to DNF it.  For realz.  I’m not sure if I just wasn’t in the right mood (I was extremely tired and nodding off), but Aurora bugged the crap out of me at the beginning, and I just didn’t know if I could read a whole book where the protagonist was sooooo…not me.  It wasn’t that I thought the book was badly written or anything, but the characters just didn’t seem to display a lot of qualities that I could relate to.  In fact, they’re kind of the popular crowd, and I wondered if they were gonna get a bit Mean Girl-ish at times.  Quite frankly, I looked at the blurb on Goodreads, and it did NOT ring a bell and seemed consistent with what I was reading and so I was baffled as to why I would request this book.  But I went back to NetGalley, and the blurb there is completely different, so it made more sense.  So then I went and read some reviews, and they mentioned Much Ado About Nothing, and since I adored the movie adaptation with Emma Thompson and Kenneth Brannagh (and my love of my high school years, Robert Sean Leonard), I thought maybe I should give this book some more time.

And then I kind of got sucked in.  Aurora started to display a lot more depth than I had initially given her credit for.  Hayden became kind of swoon-worthy.  Some of her friends became really intriguing characters in their own right.  And they started the play, and I thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about that play.

And darnit, it kind of started to remind me of Clueless, so I didn’t even mind the popular crowd because Aurora was so Cher sometimes…wanting the people she loved to be happy, and trying, with the best intentions, to make that happen.  The problem is, while I do LOVE Clueless, the meddling got a bit over the top in this book.  Some parts were endearing, and some parts made me want to cringe.  Aurora was just so freaking VEXING!  She was the epitome of overdramatic.  But she had some really sweet spots.  GAH!  Love or hate?  Or neither?  She had great intentions, and she was a quirky one, but in the end she was a bit too much for me.

And quite frankly, that’s because of her obliviousness and over the top reactions to Hayden.  I just never got it.  He was frustrating, no doubt about it, but her reactions were an 11 (you’re welcome for the This is Spinal Tap reference).  And because it’s so obvious how Hayden feels right from the beginning, this was just ridiculously frustrating.  He was so sweet, and so genuine, and sure…brash and annoying at times.  But I honestly don’t know how he held out hope.  I would have dropped her like a Hot Pocket way earlier.  At least the ending was really really satisfying, even if I had to wait until the VERY END *to* be satisfied.

So while I thoroughly parts of this book in the end, there were just too many pet peeves for me to round up.  More minor pet peeves: Ms. Deforest and the unbelievability of her character and that ridiculous class; her way-too-mean Mom and my dissatisfaction with how that resolved; Jelena never getting her comeuppance for the mean Claire things, but I suppose everyone has that friend who isn’t as nice, but you don’t give up on because of history; the setting was confusing b/c it’s probably Australia, what with the January start to the school year, but they would make some references that felt like the US, almost like they changed the book for the re-release, but didn’t do a consistent job of it; and OMG WHO GOES INTO A PLAY AND DOESN’T READ THE WHOLE THING WHEN THEY GET THE FREAKING LEAD ROLE!!!  I mean seriously, you start readthroughs and you don’t know how it ends??  A week later and you still don’t know how it ENDS???  No.  Just no.

Now I need to go watch me some Much Ado About Nothing.  And maybe watch that Romeo + Juliet scene again too.

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Small Town Siren by Sophie Oak

Blurb:
8550873[Menage Amour: Erotic Cowboy Menage a Trois Romance, M/F/M, BDSM, sex toys] Jack Barnes and Sam Fleetwood have been best friends since they met in foster care. They share a business as cattle ranchers and a house. All they need now is a woman to share. The men are sure they’ve found that woman when Abigail Moore returns to Willow Fork, Texas. Abby left her hometown twenty years before under a cloud of scandal. She’s raised a daughter, forged a new life for herself, and is ready for the next phase when she meets the handsome cowboys. They’re a dream come true; Jack is the sexy Dom, and Sam the playful lover. It’s everything she’s ever fantasized about. There’s only one problem. She’s still not welcome in Willow Fork, and someone is willing to kill to keep her away. ** A Siren Erotic Romance

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My Review:
ORIGINAL REVIEW: 4.5 stars — BDSM isn’t high on my list of fantasies, but the characters and interactions in this book were just so delicious. Seriously sweet and vulnerable characters. Nice side plot….

ON REREAD: 4.5 stars — Yeah, you know what?  I’ve learned through the years that I apparently enjoy reading about BDSM.  And maybe that’s because of the way that authors like Ms. Oak portray it.  I still don’t get the impulses personally, but it is hella hot to read about regardless.  And Sam and Jack, well they could sell me anything.  😛  There’s just something so enjoyable about their already established relationship, how they looked out for each other, and how they basically get the green light on Abby and MOVE IN for the strike!  Poor Abby didn’t know what hit her.  And she was a delight in her own right.  Sassy, but so damaged, but still very strong.

It’s got a lot of stretch the imaginations parts — like would a guy like Jack Barnes really rule that town?  And the ruthlessness…damn the ruthlessness.  I mean, I’m not actually a girl who is into revenge and making people pay and all that jazz, but for some reason I enjoy reading about it.  Or maybe Jack just makes it palatable.  He’s so…intriguing.

Alas, I will admit, it is Samuel that stole the show for me.  He’s just so damn incorrigible.  Seriously.  And I loved how Abby helped Sam and Jack move forward themselves.  This one doesn’t get too in to the BDSM stuff, just a taster really.  But again, it’s got some good intrigue going on, and a bit of suspense/action.  All in all, not bad for an erotica.  A great start to a series that I really ended up thoroughly enjoying.

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Siren Enslaved by Sophie Oak

Blurb:
10861836[#336 Siren Menage Everlasting: Erotic Cowboy Menage a Trois Romance, M/M/F, BDSM, sex toys] Julian Lodge has everything a man could want. He’s rich, successful and owns the most exclusive BDSM club in Dallas. But something is missing. Finn Taylor has worked his way up in the world from humble beginnings in Willow Fork, Texas. The only thing he still loves in his hometown is Danielle Bay. He never told her he was actually bisexual, and he never confessed his love for her. Now she’s getting married, and Finn is sure he’s lost his chance with the only person he’ll ever love. Julian’s vacation to the Barnes-Fleetwood ranch brings them all together. After Dani jumps into Julian’s car while fleeing her wedding, Julian knows he has to have her. But nothing is easy in Willow Fork. A danger from Julian’s past threatens them all. Julian will have to convince both Dani and Finn that being his will be the best decision they ever made. ** A Siren Erotic Romance

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My Review:
ORIGINAL REVIEW: 4 stars — OK, seriously fun to get glimpses back in the Barnes household. Loved this story of Julian….didn’t think I would end up liking him. I mean…I like plots in Erotica, but I don’t expect much. I really did enjoy his transition though… Entertaining and arousing.

ON REREAD: 4 stars — I’m in the middle of rereading this series (and the Bliss series) and I figured why not throw my reviews up on the blog!  I pretty much agree with my original review.  Obviously it’s awesome to catch glimpses of so many characters I’ve grown to really love and enjoy…and to see glimpses of stories to come (even though I’ve already read them, seeing the teasers and knowing what is coming can be fun sometimes).  While I thoroughly enjoy reading ménage (particularly M/M/F) erotica, as well as BDSM, it’s more like a reading fantasy than a real one.  What I find, personally, is that these books have made me a bit fascinated with the culture.  Not enough to explore it, but it’s like understanding different kinds of people.  And I’m not naive enough to assume that the author got it all right, but I do enjoy the way it is portrayed.  I love that all the characters have backstory and depth, and that you get to see some of what makes the big bad Dom need his control so badly.

One of the other things I love about this series, and had entirely forgotten, is the element of suspense and…action?  Thriller?  There’s always a bad guy, and a desperate (sometimes life or death) situation.  So I not only get some fabulous steam, I get a dose of (sometimes unrealistic) action too.

But my favourite part in this book comes when Julian chastises Finn for letting his own shame bring Dani down and make her question her desires.  He says ,”You are only on the outside because you’re trying to fit into your idea of the normal world.  The world is what you make it, Finn.  There are as many worlds as there are people.  This is your world.  You are the only one who can force yourself out of it.”  Deep.

Now I need to try to remember how I felt about the previous books so I can write better reviews for them too.  I’m all backwards.

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